S/O asked me to share something with you all

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Mattsmom277, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    In the earliest years of my relationship with S/O I posted a bit about his struggle with alcoholism. I haven't referred to it in years but he asked me to share my perspective and to share a few things of his experience. He listens often to me speak of the board and we often speak of situations among members children from all forums. The stories shared in this forum elicit the most dialogue from him, concern, respect for all of you and compassion and understanding of the difficult positions you all find yourself in.

    Lately he has taken to asking for updates on many members children. More than half of the people he asks after are the parents and their kids struggling with addictions. We are rather in a hard spot regarding his sister, about to lose everything due to a oxy addiction. His brother and his brothers wife are also actively drinking alcoholics. His sister is still in denial. She cant admit any problem. His brother and sis in law will openly mention that they accept that they are alcoholics. Followed by their belief that they don't hurt anyone so have no intention of quitting. Two forms of denial. Equally heart breaking.

    Because of M's sobriety (I'll refer to S/O as M to make typing easier) lasting and the years giving him more profound insight, he has recently really been looking back at his own addiction and active drinking years and asking himself honest questions about how he feels at the roles loved ones played in his life. Both during his drinking years and in now through the sober years. We cut ties to his sister 2 summers ago until she gets clean. We have a big gap in the relationship with his bro and sister in law in recent years. The longer M is sober, the harder it is for him to view those he loves destroy themselves. He initially felt guilty about cutting out his sister and the distance with bro and sister in law. That distance now has creeped in with his mother too. She has no addictions, perhaps with the exception of maybe a form of addiction in refusing to stop "helping" her addict children. The very way his mother "helped" him as his alcoholism robbed him of all that mattered to him, he now finds it impossible to sit back and watch her do for his sis and bro. He uses to think he didn't have a right to feel that way since he relied on her "help" when he was drinking. He has grown much in these sober years and he doesn't have anger or bad feelings to his moms enabling. He sees how she feels powerless and feels compelled to do what she does. At the same time, he has had some profound realizations. When he looks back now at his lost years, he has sadness that he manipulates the whole family to "help" him. Another part of him has come to wonder of they would have "helped" him to death. Now with his two siblings losing themselves to addiction, he struggles with understanding how other family including his mother cannot see that this form of loving the families addicts is misguided and in fact contributing to them avoiding bottom. Without family support they may still never hit bottom. But He believes that by "helping", it is only guaranteeing that they cannot and will not hit bottom. And he wants no part of it.

    Lately he has become very emotional when speaking about his own family. But also when hearing so much pain from this forum from all of you loving parents. You have helped him understand his mothers decisions in ways that have been helpful and healing. For that we both want to thank you all.

    All of this sharing is to get to this bit he asked me to share with you. He asked me to tell you all that it is okay to stop. To stop it all. To truly disengage and love in your heart and to choose to love in only acts that increase the odds your loved ones can hit bottom.

    Things done for him that he wishes looking back were never done for him: basements. Each sibling and his mother always had a couch waiting in their basements with the knowledge when he messed up, he would land on one of their couches. This happened over and over for years. He was told the odd time that this was the last time. But always one or another of them would open the door. Strings always came attached. He always agreed. They didn't trust he would comply, but always there was another chance.

    Loans and gifts. Sure he caused himself tough and lean times. Sure his family often didn't help. But when they figured it was a "biggie" and that the consequence to him without help was deemed by them to be so destructive that it may make him "worse", they "helped". Funny enough, he never asked. He didn't have to. His family would "help" when they thought the outcome too much for them to see him stand to lose. A few examples: tickets paid to avoid more serious issues for non payment. Car payments because of course, how would he get to work. Ditto to insurance. Food. Often days after he would be paid. But he would drink his pay along with paying debt incurred for drinking money between pays. Clothing. He would have clothes on his back when his then girlfriend threw him out, many times. Bail money for a DUI. Because they seemed him to gentle and passive and kind to be able to stay safe if left in jail. Rides. Usually when he was stuck mid binge. The list goes on.

    Now let me say he absolutely holds them in no way accountable for his choices or his addictions. And he believes it wasn't their job to help him find a bottom. He does however now, in his role as a sober sibling to 2 addicts he loves very much, sees that it is his job to not help them on their way to continued abuse of drugs or alcohol. His siblings and even his mother can't understand his stance because they believe him a hypocrite since he in their minds benefited from their "help" throughout his drinking years. His respOnse quietly in a recent call with his mother when this came up was that he never benefited from their "help". He told her the only thing that benefited from their "help" was his addiction. His voice that said drink. He said his twisted addict mind would take thier "help" as permission. And even their short loved attempts at boundaries were in his distorted thinking, just part of the game they all played around the topic of addiction.

    He has made a decision for himself regarding his siblings. He made the decision based on his years actively drinking, mixed with his role now as a bystander to his loved ones addictions. He said he will do for them what he now can clearly see in hindsight would have been best for him.

    He refuses to provide money. A place to sleep. Pay bills. Listen to woe is me stories as siblings lives are in upheaval. He refuses to pretend with his siblings or his extended family that the addiction doesn't exist. Or it isn't as bad as it is. He refuses to participate in their lives while they refuse treatment. He is learning to do so without guilt. Because he feels strongly that this is the only healthy or possibly helpful way, to show that he loves them.

    He asked me to share that now , with maturity and time, he can look back and wish he had been left to suffer each consequence regardless of consequences. He wishes nobody offered a bed, paid a bill, saved him the result of unpaid fines, bailed him out of jail, fixed his car and paid late bank payments even if it meant he lost his job from lack of transportation. He wishes nobody acted normal over family dinner and holidays and acted like his alcoholism was a elephant in the room while they smiled and behaved like he was functioning as a normal family member. He wishes nobody fed him or supplied groceries. He was helped with rent. Child support. You name it.

    The biggest thing he says he wishes has been different? The tears and begging him to get clean, followed up in no time with "help". He wishes they had shut that door to them so that he could have lost, in order to miss and be desperate to get them back. Most of all, he wishes they would have shut that door because in "helping" he was infantilized and the addict in him loved that and the addict in him was served by that. But the man inside him was squashed by that and never given the need to rise up and develop. He has said to me before that he probably didn't feel like a grown man until about 7 years ago. He turned 40 last year.

    He and I often speak of the impossible position his family was in and the impossible position you all find yourselves in. It causes him great pain to know through all of you what torture he out his loved ones through. He asked me to say that if perspective can help any of you in any way, that he will be glad to share even though he is a private person.

    Finally he wanted me to say to you all, nothing you can do and nothing you can not do, is going to alter the course your addict loved ones are on in terms of when it becomes enough for them to want to to stop. He just asks you all to realize what things ensure that they can't reach that place while others help them. Sometimes helping is letting go and letting God. And getting yourself strong So that when your loved one decided to change, you are strong enough to help when it can actually help. He also asked me to tell you all that his largest regrets of drinking were not the effects on his own life, but on those he loved. While drinking it wasn't enough to make him stop. Now that he is living a happy and healthy and sober life, he sees what he put his family through and it is his remaining struggle in self forgiveness.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mattsmom, thank you and M for writing such a thoughtful, caring, insightful and informative post, I imagine there will be many who benefit from M's insights. It means so much to hear from someone who has gone through being enabled and come out the other side aware of how much that keeps the ones we love stuck. I am very moved by all that you said, and my hope is that it helps those who need it. Thank you.
  3. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    Very beautifully said and very much appreciated.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Mattsmom and a big thank you to M. M, you have amazing insight to share with all of us, and it's greatly appreciated. Thank God M is sober now, despite the grip addiction had on him. It's very tragic about his family, but sadly, not unusual. It was very touching when he described his biggest regret that his alcoholism hurt his family more than it hurt him. That is a brave statement. It is an endless struggle as a mom to distinguish between compassion and enabling. Because addiction is by definition chaotic, without warning they hurl their chaos onto us and plead for help, and we have to make a quick decision about whether or not to rescue them. Sometimes it seems just so cold to turn away, even though it may be in their best interest. Then, on the other hand, I feel so furious that they even put us in such a position. But M is right, whatever we do or don't do is essentially futile unless and until they want to help themselves more than we want it for them. Thank you both again for such a moving post.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mattsmom, thank you and please thank SO. His post is exactly what I needed to hear tonight as we made the final break with difficult child because she has decided she does not want to be sober and in fact is convinced she is not an alcoholic. She is drinking and smoking pot 24/7 and claims it isn't causing her any problems. I will not have any contact with her nor will I include her in any family events. I refuse to ignore the elephant in the middle of the room, as we did for so many years with my father. If I do come in contact with her I will call her on her denial each and every time. husband told her today that she was headed for disaster and we would no longer enable her in any way.

    My heart is breaking and I will miss her but I see no other way. I cannot allow her to think we think this is ok.

    Please tell SO that it helps so much to hear his perspective so many years later. There was a time this past year when difficult child was sober when she told us she realizes how horrible she was to us. Today she thinks we are horrible to her. And so goes the disease of addiction.

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Thank you for a truly beautiful, moving, open and honest post. M is a remarkable man and I am so thankful that he is sharing his life with you and getting to enjoy sharing in your life, mattsmom!

    M, this will truly help parents. Not just now. THis is such a clear, honest and well written message and it is as timeless as it is beautiful. Reaching out wth your awareness is a gift to those who are not yet where youare. Thank you, M.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Thank you... And tell M thank you, as well. I'm going to share this with husband... This is so eloquent. Thank you.
  8. vligrl

    vligrl New Member

    Thank you for the eye opener. Certainly will make me see things we are doing more clearly and differently.
  9. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Please thank your husband for sharing that with us. I will hold on to it during the times when we are tempted to "help" our difficult child yet again. It was great to see his perspective from being on the other side.

  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I am very glad to hear that M's thoughts could provide some perspective from the other side, so to speak. I will read him your responses when he wakes up later. I'm certain it will mean a lot to him.

    I indeed am lucky to have M in my life. I remember when I realized he was n alcoholic. By that point I loved him so much. The first year and a half I faced heart breaking decisions. I loved the man he was under it all yet I could do nothing. Well I did do something. I refused to ignore his drinking nor allow it near me and the kids. I tried several times to end things and we went periods out of touch. I saw him struggling for strength to finally fight for himself, so I would try again and again. I questioned myself for that a lot. I remember with sadness but also with respect for my choices, that I called him on his koi every single "slip". If he hasn't been so close to bottom then and if he hadn't been so obviously working to stop I couldn't have coped. Heck even when he slipped back briefly around 2 1/2 years into our relationship I cut all contact and that time I meant it. We didn't speak for 9 months. He came to me when he felt he has worked to get it right and asked me to believe in him. I am glad that I never saw only the addict, because he truly is a blessing in my life. Oddly despite those early years pains, I love him because of where he has come from. Anyone who fights that fight and comes out the other side with true wisdom gained has a heck of a lot of strength and I can only respect and admire it hugely. That strength has enables him to be my strength when I have been in the roughest and most painful periods. This past year or so I truly believe hits being in my world has kept me sane.

    On a funny note, one of the things he loves is I will always keep him honest. If I could get in his face each time about his drinking and be blunt at the repurcusion his drinking had on others and himself, I can be honest to him about anything. I never gave him those home truths to hurt. In fact I believe I have been his biggest cheerleader in all he has ever done. I just don't tap about an issue ;). The experience of getting through him gettin sober required such honest and communication with us both that I believe is serving his today in every part of our relationship. He is the first relationship, not just romantic either, that communication is so good that we can't remember the last fight. We both learned give and take so well through all of his struggles that now it is natural for us to face hurtles head on and honestly and work problems together.

    It may sound odd, but him gettin sober in the midst of our relationship was in many ways a blessing for us. And I don't mean just that we stayed together either. It created who we are together.

    He and I will be the two blubbering idiots on the beach of Cuba this new years eve knowing as we say our vows for better or worse, we have already been through the worst and that means from here on in out lives we can do it all together. I have never been prouder of anyone than I am of the man that he is. I am blessed and hope to never forget it. He is a good egg. No amount of drinking could alter it. And now drinking can't mask it.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thank you for sharing Ms story.... it really helps to hear his hindsight and wisdom and i will keep those words in mind as we continue on this journey....especially the next time my son ends up homeless and hungry. It is so hard as mom to let those things happen but I know that is what we have to do.

  12. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Thank you Matts mom, for such an honest and moving story about M and his struggle with addiction. Please tell M how grateful we all are for sharing his story with us. I am constantly worried about my difficult child who is in jail right now, and I am on a roller coaster of emotions - from anger to guilt to sadness and back again. I am going to bookmark M's advice, because I can use this help when I am trying not to enable my difficult child.

    I can tell that you and M have a very strong relationship, and I wish you many years of happiness together. HUGS...