Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mi She Berach

Many of my blogging friends seem to have sick bodies and/or spirits right now. So, this is for you, Scout, Jay, MPJ's husband and family, my sponsor's mom, my partner, and anybody else who's hurting physically or emotionally.

If you want to hear it sung by the person who wrote the music and lyrics, you can hear it here.
Mi she berach avoteinu,
M'kor hab'racha l'imoteinu

May the source of strength, Who blessed the ones before us
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing
And let us say: Amen.

Mi she berach imoteinu,
M'kor hab'racha l'avoteinu
r'fuah sh'leima

Bless those in need of healing with r'fuah sh'leima
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
And let us say: Amen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Why the boundaries?"

I posted last night about my frustration re: boundary crossing and lying. On another site, I got this legitimate question.

"hmmm, well I'm funny that way. My man and I have always had all our passwords etc. open to one another. I'm an 'I don't have anything to hide' kinda gal and he knows I'm such a codie who has had such horrible fucking cheating, lying shit go on in my life that he's just happy to show me he's trustworthy. so...lest I offend, why the boundaries?"

It really is a good question, and I really want to think about it and process through it. Here's what it's not. It's not about having something to hide. One of the characteristics of codependents that is very much a part of me is that "we are extremely loyal, staying in situations that may be harmful to us for too long." That's quoted from Codependents Anonymous, where I was a member for 9 years pre-partner. The only thing she WOULD find if she explored my email or my internet account would be ventings here and the comments of responders. Chances are good that she'd be hurt, but only because the things she would read would be too hard to handle as I process through feelings here.

So, if it's not about having something to hide, what is it about? Well, first of all, boundaries and lying are two things I am constantly struggling with with my partner. My need for boundaries is constantly bumping up against her need to test them.

If I dig deeper than that, I have to look at my relationship with my mom. My mom really is a lovely lady who would die for me, but she "knows" what's best for me and if my answers don't match hers, then I'm still being a petulant teenager. I've found that I have to build a fortress of huge protective walls to keep myself safe from my mother. She knows nothing about the addiction in our lives or really much of anything beyond a superficial level.

Mom and I, while perfectly pleasant with each other, don't have much of a real relationship. I don't want that with my partner. I don't want to have to build a fortress. I DO want to set reasonable boundaries and to have them respected. But one thing I'm learning in naranon is that I have absolutely NO control in another person's behavior. I can ask that my boundaries be respected. But I can't MAKE her respect them. So, I see my options as continuing to deal with crossed boundaries or to build up my fortress. I'm not liking either option.

Oh yeah, today

My partner doesn't know my internet password, b/c she admittedly has a hard time with boundaries. She decided long ago that she shouldn't know it b/c she'd be tempted to go in and read my shit. Tonight, she wanted to watch a TV episode online. Stupid me, I thought about logging out of my screenname onto hers, so that she wouldn't go invading my boundaries, but decided that, hell, we're watching together, why bother switching. I'll be right there.

So, as soon as the show's over, she says, "gee, you have 400+ messages, let's look at them." I say, "let's not." So, what does she do? Open my email inbox. First, she says that she just opened the box, she didn't actually read any mail. Then, when I tell her I don't appreciate her doing that when I specifically asked her not to, she says that she had already clicked on it before I said that. When I called her on both lying and invading my boundaries, she admitted to both, and gave me a petulant "sorry."

So now, she's acting like I did something wrong and I'm being punished. I even tried giving her an out by reminding her of a tool we learned in couples therapy- the restitution gift. But instead, she's hiding under the blanket and I won't see her again tonight. Shit!!

What was huge yesterday, what's huge today

This past weekend, we were pet sitting for a friend of mine. I had all kinds of horrow story pics in my head. My partner's dog would eat my friend's dog or some other way it would end badly. So yesterday, I came downstairs and my partner had clipped one of the nails of my friend's dog. It bled for 2 hours. She was just gonna wrap it up and bring the dog back to my friend, who'd have been driving for 6 hours by then. I told her it's not fair to my friend, and that I think she needs to have a say about whether to go to the emergency vet. (Hell, she shoulda had a say BEFPRE my partner took the clippers to my friend's dog, but we're way beyond that now.) Anyway, my partner agreed that my friend needed to be called, but refused to make the call. I was pissed, because she left me holding it. Also frustrated and confused about what's mine and what's not mine. And stressing over my friend's dog being hurt when I was responsible. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

I tried calling a few friends in recovery, but didn't get anyone at the time. I called my friend and left a message for her to call back. Then I was gonna call the emergency vet to see whether we needed to take her in or what we needed to do. I asked my partner if she would either hold my phone in case my friend calls back or call the emergency vet. She agreed to hold my phone. She eventually talked to my friend and took responsiblity. But it had to be such drama to get her to own her shit. Blech.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taking Care of Ourselves

My partner led her meeting last night. Who'da thunk? She said that the topic was honesty, particularly honesty in relationships, and she shared how she'd always thought of herself as an honest person. She said that if someone asks her a direct question, she'll always tell the truth, even if it gets her in trouble. She said that she even thought she was being honest during active addiction because I never asked if she was using so she didn't lie to me. She talked about coming to understand that she has developed a habit of not sharing the whole truth, and she's willing to work on that. These are things she's shared with me recently. It was really cool to hear that she took such a leadership role in her meeting and that she's affirming her plan to work on this issue by sharing it with more than just me. She seems to be in a really good place right now.

Meanwhile, Scout seems to have cyber-shared her germs with me. Thanks, Scout! I actually stayed home and took care of myself today. It's weird how much of a struggle it is for me to let myself take a sick day. But, for today, I'm practicing self-care. Think I'll go make myself some Matzah Ball Soup.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Today has been a great day!

I started off the day volunteering with my partner at a Therapeutic Horseback Riding program. It's a great place for us. She loves the horses. I love working with the kids with special needs. We get exercize, we get to be outdoors, we both get our needs met, and it's a far cry from how we used to spend Saturday mornings with her isolating and me obsessing about her isolating.

Then, she went off to an NA conference, and I went to my 12 step writing workshop. We were sharing about common behavior characteristics. It was really good for me to be able to allow myself to be vulnerable, and then to hear others share stories that are so remarkably like mine. I was able to get and give validation and empathy. I was even able to share some of my crazy obsessive thoughts and hear that I'm not alone.

I almost left without sticking around for the Naranon meeting that followed. I'm so glad I stayed. The leader for the night shared about his desire to work a 4th step, but how stuck he feels and how he has no idea how to go about finding a sponsor, particularly when there are no males in our group who have completed the steps. I shared some of my experience, strength and hope. I talked about tools I'd used to work step 4, and about how a group of us had co-sponsored each other in a writing workshop in early recovery. When I got home, there was a message on my voicemail from the guy who led tonight's meeting. He said that after hearing me share, he and another guy in the room exchanged phone numbers. He said they talked for over an hour tonight, and learned all kinds of things they have in common and they agreed to co-sponsor each other. He said that he's heard "don't be alone, use the phone" at the end of each of his meetings, but he'd never reached out and used the phone until today, after hearing me share. He told me he appreciates me and what I contribute to the group. Heady stuff for this codie!!

Then, it was off to the county fair with my partner. I'd heard about the fair in my 12-step study, and it was great to have a date on a Saturday night with my partner. Since she's doing 90 in 90, we don't get to go out much in the evenings. We ate ourselves silly and just got to spend easy, nice, time together.

Finally, I came home, and was checking out blogs. I've been recently reading the blog MPJ shares at Two Women Blogging. Jay, her blog partner, had shared earlier this week about one of the torah readings for the Jewish New Year, and the feelings of loss it brings up for her. I commented about some of my experiences with loss as a foster parent, but was busy beating myself up about sharing that. How could my pain compare to hers? I'm only a foster parent. Then, in today's blog, she shared about how much she was helped by hearing MY story!! Not only was my story and my experience "good enough," but she said that it helped her process her own grief. Wow!!! This connectedness stuff feels GOOD!!

Oh, and to top it all off, I think I finally get how to put links in posts thanks to JW helping me after my rant on the Write Thought.

Yep, it's been a great day!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year

Tonight begins the Jewish New Year. Tomorrow and Friday, I'll be going to services alone. My partner and I had a silly fight last night. Silly, because she was supporting me in a way, but not in the way that I wanted to be supported. I've been putting off sending in my dues, as I do every year. I feel guilty and torn. My religion and the Jewish Community are really important to me. But I chose to become a member of a family where I am the only Jew. We talked about sharing traditions with each other, and we have, to some extent. We do family celebrations at home. We've had Passover Seders at our house, we light Chanukah candles, and we've even gotten pretty good about lighting candles and doing Shabbat prayers on Friday nights. But my partner does not like my Jewish Community. She says they're not welcoming of her. And her kids really don't consider themselves part of my family. When we have foster kids, they usually will attend services with me. But this year, we have no kids. And the High Holidays are a hard time to be alone. I wish things were different. They're not. I guess it's an opportunity to practice acceptance. My sponsor tells me that acceptance doesn't mean I like things the way they are, but that I acknowlege. And I have to acknowledge that as my partner has isolated herself, I have isolated with her. I've stopped asking her to go to functions with me, and I haven't gone on my own. I wish that I were sharing this really important part of me with this really important part of me. But it's one of those things that I cannot change.

Meanwhile I avoided the issue of dues until last night. When I brought it up, she said that "logically" it didn't make sense to pay that much, because we don't particpate enough to be worth that amount of money. While that's true, it's not the way I want things to be. I can't make her choose to participate, but I can choose to participate with or without her. So, tomorrow, I'll go to services alone. And this year, my intention is to participate in my community, with or without my partner.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It Seems


After a tumultuous couple of days, we've processed through this last incident as much as we're going to. It seems that she wasn't lying, or at least not consciously, and like all of you addicts and codies have been telling me, it wasn't about me.

She slept through all of the time that we were home together on Friday. Of course, my addict-addicted brain said that she was avoiding me, or we're going into another deeper crisis, or all kinds of other crazy shit. She woke up at 7:30pm and told me that she'd be home late that night. So of course, I'm spinning, spinning, spinning even more.

I talked to my sponsor, who was surprised that I was so upset about an addict lying. She told me that if I choose to be upset every time my addict lies, then I'm choosing to be upset a lot!! She said that I can't expect my addict to be trustworthy until she's had at least a year of clean time. She told me to stop beating a dead horse, and to read about acceptance. She reminded me that acceptance does not mean that I approve, but that I acknowledge the way things are.

When my partner got home at about 11, she told me that she'd been to two meetings, and that she only has one more to catch up in order to make her 90 in 90. She told me that she imagined that I thought she'd gone out after her meeting instead of coming home. She said that she knows that she could/ should have told me what her plans were, instead of just saying that she'd be home late, but that she's not in the habit of giving complete information. She said that she knows that her not giving complete information makes things harder for me, and she's willing to work on it.

She then talked more about opening the lockbox. She acknowledged that she didn't give me complete information, but said that it wasn't deliberate. She said that she did turn the dial until it opened, but that she really did see the numbers she told me when the combination opened. She acknowledged that maybe those were the numbers her brain wanted her to see. She said that she wished she had been lying, because the alternative is that she's crazy, and she'd prefer lying to crazy. She also told me that taking the prescription has awakened her tiger, and that she's really struggling now to stay clean.

In the words of Married to an Addict, it SEEMS that she was telling the truth, her truth,abeit not the whole truth, all along. I guess I'll never really know whether all of these convolutions (is that a word??) are her way of dealing with MY obsession with truth and trust, or if it's just the way her brain is working right now. And I guess it doesn't really matter.

"Seems" is my new detachment tool. I don't have to know. And I don't have to invest quite so much into whether things really are the way they "seem."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Well, Damn, more and more has been revealed

I really was proud of both of us, for the way I thought we'd gotten through this weekend. Then, Tuesday night, she says she has something to tell me. She said that she knows the combination to the lockbox where I've been keeping her meds. She's known it since Saturday. She says she saw the lock while it was open. She told me she opened the box Tuesday, just to see if she could.

I thanked her for telling me the truth. I told her I have feelings about it, that I feel set up. She asked me to do this for her, and then she went around me.... again!! I told her that I can't be responsible for her meds any more, b/c it triggers "not good enough" shit for me. I was really trying to be careful to keep the combination from her. I'm really mad at me for letting her see it. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Then, last night, when I tell her about my frustration about my false sense of security and how she knew the combination the whole time, she says that she didn't really know she knew it. She said that she put it out of her head, until Tuesday. Then she tried it, but it didn't work. She said she kept turning the numbers and she thought how stupid that was, and then it worked. I asked her what the combination that she knew was, and she told me THE WRONG combination!! I asked her to explain it to me again, and the process she explained was picking the lock, not "knowing" the numbers.

I told her how upset I was that on top of everything else, she lied. And that I'd been beating myself up all day for not being good enough, since I thought I was being so careful to protect both of us at her request. She insisted that she didn't lie. I told her that she told me two completely different stories, and that they couldn't both be true. She said that she understood that I was mad, and she'd be mad too if she thought I'd lied, but she didn't lie. Then, she shut down.

Today, she was asleep when I got home, and stayed in bed for 3 hours, then got up and went to a meeting. I know she's struggling and hurting. But dammit, I am struggling and hurting too, and I didn't do anything but try to do exactly what she asked me to do.

There is nothing that means more to me than trust. I've really tried to wrap my head around MPJ's concept of "a new kind of trust." And meanwhile, she's often evaded stuff over the years of our relationship, way before the drugs. But she's always told me that she won't directly lie to me. It's pissed me off that if I don't ask the right questions, she just doesn't share, and somehow that feels different to her than lying. I've learned to live with that.... hate it, but live with it. But this was out-and-out lying to my face. I don't want to live with that. I don't want to live without her. Here I am again. SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More Will Be Revealed

Thanks, Scout, for looking out for both me and my partner! I agreed to hold the pills for her, and she decided how much and when to get them. I did my best to stay on my side of the street. She did her best to be open with me about what she was feeling, and to use the medication to alleviate pain but not to get high. I'm really proud of both of us.

We travelled this weekend. That involved trying to find meetings on the road, since she's doing 90 in 90. We tried to hit meetings on the road on the way to and from our destination, but didn't connect with either one. We did find a couple of meetings and attended them together while we were at our destination. On Monday, when the last meeting we tried to find on the road didn't exist, we decided to have our own meeting in the van on the way home. It was a powerful experience.

It's funny. When I first suggested that we could have our own meeting, she said that we'd been having one for hours in the car. It's true that we had been reading and sharing before our official meeting. I had asked her to read to me from her Step Study book to help me prepare to lead last night's Naranon meeting on the 9th step. Then, she wanted to work on her 2nd step, and read the text to me, and then wrote her own answers to the questions privately. I was especially proud of me when she asked for input on one of her questions. She asked me to give her some examples of her behavior, and I instead gave her examples of my own behavior instead of taking her inventory. Yay me!!

Anyway, I told her that we had been sharing about the program, but that if we wanted to do our own meeting, I'd rather follow the suggested format- do the readings and not cross talk. We read the opening literature for both of our meetings, and then read and shared on "more will be revealed" in the NA literature. She did all the reading since I was driving, but we took turns sharing. It was really powerful, I think for both of us.

One thing I came to realize as we were sharing about "more will be revealed" is that more was being revealed for both of us as we moved along in our recovery journey, and interestingly, a lot of it has been around tooth pain. When she first told me about her addiction, the thought of having any kind of narcotics in the house really frightened me. Early in recovery, I shared in my meeting that I had pain and a prescription, but that I hadn't filled it because I was afraid of having the stuff in the house. My naranon friends encouraged me to take care of me and to fill the scrip. I did, but didn't tell her. Weeks later, I was struggling with MY dishonesty of hiding the medicine in the house and obsessing about her having found it and used it. So, we processed through it together and came up with a plan we both thought would work. I got a locked container and put the meds in it. Weeks after that, in a really courageous and honest share, she told me that she had been able to open the container and get to the meds. She hadn't taken them, but she was obsessing about them being there, and her having access. We decided to give the bottle to a friend.

Then came my need for a wisdom tooth to be pulled, which meant narcotics AND my not being in a place to be able to monitor them myself. We came up with another plan. This time, we gave the pills to a neighbor, and just got what I needed at the time. That worked pretty well. All along, though, I've been terrified (actually I think we both have been) about her having significant pain and being prescribed narcotics.

Well, that time came this weekend, and we got through it together. So, more has been revealed to each of us, as we've worked this program. I could not have imagined, even a couple of weeks ago, us both being ok and her using prescription narcotics as prescribed. But, we got through it. Today, she had her root canal. I'm hoping this part of the journey is over. But, if it's not, and her using the meds prompts another relapse, maybe, just maybe, we'll both still be ok.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


My partner has an absessed tooth. She was prescribed narcotic pain meds, her drug of choice. It's a scary time. My sponsor says that her personal opinion is that people shouldn't have to be in pain just because they're addicts and that if this prompts a relapse that I will just have to trust her higher power and that she has something to learn. Most of the time, I'm ok, but sometimes the feelings bubble up for me. We're doing well, at least for now, working through it together. AFGO!!!!!!!!!!!