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  • Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    For friends and family of people with substance problems. Connect with others here to share support and advice today.
    Becoming cynical
    Junior Member
    Posts: 5
    Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:50 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:59 pm

    Thanks LHiver.

    I have a fairly comprehensive self-care routine - walking and riding, yoga, watch my alcohol intake, do things I enjoy etc, although at the moment I am not connected with a counsellor.

    I am a bit teary at work today and don't really feel like going home. I also DO NOT want to be unfair, punishing, controlling, withdrawing love.

    Another factor of our lives is we have a teenage son. Through lock downs I still work at my work but my partner's industry is shut down so he has had very patchy work of late, and my son is at home not particularly well supported by his dad. For a long time I protected our son from the drinking, then one day a few years ago I told him. Last night he witnessed the exchange about medication, drinking etc, and my partner's body language suggested he was not happy that our son was a witness. I don't usually involve our son because I don't want to recruit him to "my side" and I'm not sure what other motives I would have to draw him in - I suspect he is often oblivious of the drinking but I'm afraid to ask.
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    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 247
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Tue Sep 07, 2021 2:44 pm

    @Becoming cynical it's understandable you would be teary at work, this is a lot to be taking on and having no respite from.

    It's really clear that you know what is in your partner's best interests, and are aware of the importance of giving him support and connection during this. Your self care routine sounds incredibly good. Do you think talking to a counsellor is something you would be comfortable with at this stage?

    Children make these types of situations harder. You are obviously not trying to bring your son to "your side", there will always be a tug of war between protecting him and being transparent. Depending on his age and how comfortable you feel with it, having a similar conversation to the one you had a few years ago with him may be useful, or even finding out if he needs some external support, such as a counsellor, himself. Just to process what's going on and discuss it with someone outside the family.
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    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 221
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Wed Sep 08, 2021 9:24 pm

    Hi @Becoming cynical, the situation you're in with your partner sounds really hard and thank you so much for having the courage to share it with us, it helps us all.

    From my experience as well, it makes it even harder when you have been through recovery yourself and you can see things so clearly that somebody who is still stuck in active addiction and denial are completely blind to. It was a painful lesson for me to learn as well that I couldn't help somebody who wasn't willing to be helped, no matter how much I loved them or wanted them to change.

    I've often struggled with my mum through the years as I've been in recovery for a little over 12 years now and she continues to struggle, sometimes more than others through the years and I never know when she's being honest about certain things.

    The only thing that's worked for me when trying to help those close to me who are still in their addiction is to offer support, but being clear with boundaries too to keep myself sane and safe....There's certainly no easy answer with people close to us.

    A great resource you could tap into as well is Family Drug & Gambling help. They have a 24/7 helpline where you can call and get support from somebody who has a lived experience of being a family member/loved one of somebody who has suffered from addiction. They also run multiple peer support groups as well.

    Here's the link if you want to check it out: https://www.sharc.org.au/sharc-programs ... ling-help/

    Anyway I hope you continue to share with us and remember we are always here if you need to check in :)
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    Becoming cynical
    Junior Member
    Posts: 5
    Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:50 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Wed Sep 08, 2021 11:47 pm

    Thanks ScorpionPW. When l got home yesterday l had a very plain language discussion with my partner and told him l don’t believe he thinks he has a problem, that he is going through these motions to please me, that for the first time l’m doubting he maintained sobriety for a year, that drinking after going to see the doctor and with Naltrexone are not the behaviours of someone who is ready to stop. His response was that he has wasted his life and not achieved what he hoped to due to drinking, that he knows the names of all the employees at all the local bottleshops because he is at them all the time and doesn’t want to be that person, that on that day when he commenced medication he rang his mum and told her he is an alcoholic (if true this is unprecedented), that he really was sober for a year then thought one can would be okay but it wasn’t. He said he doesn’t want to be an ageing drunk. He said he loves drinking but he can’t keep doing it. When our son came in l told him what we’d been talking about - l do need to check back with him whether he wants to talk more about it to me or someone else. All in all l did believe what my partner said, though l also feel scared typing that, it’s so painful when l discover he’s lied…

    When l stopped using cannabis it was sort of easy. I started to be aware of significant mental health issues (got diagnosed with drug psychosis) and there were no benefits to continuing, only very significant costs, and l felt l had to stop or be stuck in psychosis for the rest of my life. My partner’s motivations to stop are quite different and perhaps to me not so compelling - l hope they will be enough.

    I will think about how to support him and stay safe and sane at the same time. Can you offer any tips on how to do this?
    Thanks again
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    User avatar
    teapot
    Moderator
    Posts: 52
    Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:54 pm

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Thu Sep 09, 2021 2:47 am

    What an emotional night, @Becoming cynical! It sounds like you did a really great job of starting this conversation with your partner about his drinking and you have the answers you've been looking for. You must be feeling overwhelmed.

    Looking after yourself right now is going to be really important. What do you normally do for self care? Do you have people you can talk to about what's going on? You can always connect with the counsellors here if you need some extra support ❤
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    Becoming cynical
    Junior Member
    Posts: 5
    Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:50 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Thu Sep 09, 2021 11:41 am

    Thanks @teapot.

    After posting last night I moved back from the spare room into our bed. As I said before, I don't want to be punishing or unfair, though at the same time I also have to be true to my own feelings and values. So acting out being angry at him by sleeping in the spare room is not genuine now, though it was earlier in the week. Typing that post clarified where I am NOW.

    My self care is quite well developed, though I didn't do some of my usual things in the last week (skipped yoga on Saturday, skipped meditation on Tuesday). Some of my friends know a bit about what's going on with the drinking but I do find it tricky to explain some of it; most of my friends drink and some of them are very heavy drinkers, and I can just about hear them thinking "But that's not even as much as I drink..."

    I have decided that I'm going to change my alcohol intake to share some of the journey with my partner. Since stopping cannabis and also being in a relationship with an alcoholic (I also came from a drinking-culture family) my alcohol consumption has gone up and down. My routine for a while is to have 3 dry months a year (Febfast, dry July and Octsober) and to typically not drink on a night when I have work the next day. It has been the case for a while now that my partner and I do not drink together; he drinks during the day while I am at work or finds an excuse to go to the shops and drinks then if I am home, while I drink in front of him without sharing on the weekend. Bit bizarre eh? So I've decided it would be good to stop drinking in front of him on the weekend in our home.
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    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 247
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Thu Sep 09, 2021 2:21 pm

    @Becoming cynical That sounds like a very fair and considered decision to move back to your room if being away in the spare room no longer serves a purpose.

    Your self care routine is incredibly well developed. There are always ebbs and flows in how consistent we are with our routines, as long as your aware of your boundaries and when you need to prioritise your own self care, which it sounds like you do. that sounds like a trick situation with your friends. A heavy drinking culture is very normalised here, which can make it difficult for people to really recognise when it becomes problematic. Do you feel you are able to get adequate support form those friends who are aware?

    Your relationship to drinking sounds very considered and it's clear you have some really good techniques in place to avoid falling into unhealthy patterns of drinking. Hopefully modelling that for him will be useful. From what you said in your previous post he seems to have opened up a lot in your conversation. How are you feeling having processed that?

    Have you had a chance to check back in with your son?
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    PnorkelPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 192
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:36 pm

    Hi @Becoming cynical and thanks for sharing on the forum. I share from a couple of angles these days in that I was the one who was lying to my wife and only half heartedly committing to any counselling or medications and these days I’m working to help others uncover their motivations for making change. The thing I’ve discovered on both sides is that it is up to the individual to want to make the change and nothing anyone else does can do it for them. I’m sure you’re only too well aware of this as an AOD counsellor yourself.

    Whilst my marriage didn’t survive my addictions we are still very good friends and supports for each other these days and she tried and tried and tried. Eventually it just became too much though and she had to make the decision that best suited her and our daughter. The lies and manipulation and ultimately the repeated broken promises just became too much. I couldn’t be trusted and trust is an absolute necessity in any relationship. Deep down I knew this but the addiction was too strong at the time and I was powerless to do anything about it because I wasn’t fully committed to doing anything about it. As one of my counsellors used to say there were three people in our relationship……….me, addiction and my wife. Unfortunately she came third on the list but I would never admit it because I was in denial about all of my addictions.

    In my work with families over the years I’ve shared this but when they’re looking for answers I tell them that there is no one size fits all answer. It comes down to boundaries and how much they can take. Some people will keep a loved one in the house because they’re afraid of what will happen to them. Some can’t put up with anymore and the loved one needs to leave the house. Foe some it’s about an ultimatum and for others it’s about enabling.

    The question I put to them is “Where do your boundaries lie?”…………that’s the only answer that truly matters. That’s how you then work your solution and put your supports in place.

    I reckon this is compounded for you working in AOD and as you mention the “shoulds” are playing a big part in your thinking and this can result in a negative frame of mind. It sounds like you’re doing what you need to do to protect your wellbeing in this situation. Unfortunately there is no easy solution but what’s important is that you’re doing what you need to do to look after yourself.

    I’m sure you’re aware of what supports are available to you………..what supports do you need and have you got them in place?

    I’d love to hear an update on how you’re going and am more than happy to be here if you want to bounce any thoughts around or even just vent. That’s the beauty of an anonymous forum such as this.
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    Becoming cynical
    Junior Member
    Posts: 5
    Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:50 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:15 am

    Hi @PnorkelPW
    Thanks for sharing your 3-in-the-relationship insights. There certainly have been times when I think about ending the relationship, usually after AGAIN having that experience of being lied to. Then there are other times where I think the joys of staying together outweigh the costs of separating. Also this has been my longest relationship, and he has stood by me through some very difficult times. For instance, in the midst of drug psychosis I formed the belief that he and his ex-partner had a plan to take my house from me. He was very tolerant, kind and understanding; he never throws that time back in my face either.

    In some ways his boundaries are much better than mine. In the past I have had high expectations of those around me and suffered great let-downs all the time; within our relationship I have learned to keep my nose in my own business much more often. On the other hand, I have a better awareness of the impact of my behaviours and choices on others. I have made a "kinda sorta" ultimatum that he stop or we finish, though I have never set a firm date or conditions on it. I feel uncomfortable with a concrete ultimatum because I don't think it would really motivate him - as you say, only he can make the change. Also it would mean that I would feel obliged to following through with ending - my hesitation suggests that though some of this is excruciatingly painful, I'm not actually fully done yet.

    Anyway, it's day 5 of the medication. He's got a doctor's appointment today and had contact with the AOD worker. Yesterday he did some actual parenting!! Our son has been frequently teary lately - who'd be 15 again?! If you don't mind further sharing, I'm wondering how you (or perhaps your wife) navigated how much to share about addiction with your daughter? It might not be the right time to delve into it with him in any case, he has been so ground down by schooling himself...
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    PnorkelPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 192
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:06 pm

    @Becoming cynical I’m here to share and happy to do so. It’s through sharing that I’ve gained my greatest insights. It’s usually the differences in stories that make me think the most because they challenge my view and somehow help me realise why I make the decisions I do. No two stories are the same and the solutions are different for each of us as well. You won’t often hear me give advice………….I share my experience and hope that somehow it helps others make sense of theirs.

    The decisions you make in your relationship are yours and there is no right and wrong. Someone once said to me that head, heart, gut have to be in alignment. If one of them is pulling in another direction it’s time to look at things and see what solutions are available. It doesn’t mean leave the relationship, it doesn’t mean stay in the relationship. It means something needs addressing and I hope that you and your partner are able to work through things……….it sounds like you’ve been great supports for each other over the course of the journey so far.

    Things were a bit different for us……..my daughter was only 5 when I hit rehab and at the time we told her that I was staying in hospital. She was able to come and visit on a weekend so that made it easier but we were already separated at the time. Since then we’ve offered more information as it’s seemed right. Lies and half truths played a big part in my upbringing and I’ve been determined as a parent to be honest………..even when it’s REALLY hard such as telling her part of the reason I don’t live at home is because when I was drinking I made irresponsible decisions and that her mum could no longer trust me. I suppose for me it’s about answering the questions as and when they’re asked. I’ll have the bigger conversations about addiction as the opportunities present which as she enters her teens………and especially later teens………will become more prominent.

    My daughter is now 11 and is aware that I wasn’t in hospital and actually spent three months in rehab and no longer drink alcohol or take drugs. She is also aware that I now work in a rehab and that it’s where people who are trying to stop using drugs or alcohol come to live. I suppose I just trust my feelings and give her honest answers because she deserves that. Lying played such a big part in my life that when the tougher questions come I will give her the answers. It’s not about taking the easy way out for me……..it’s about owning my past and ensuring I never lie to her.

    I’m very open with my story though because it keeps me accountable. There’s a lot more to tell my daughter in years to come but I’ll keep drawing on my experience growing up. My parents didn’t give me straight answers and I felt devalued to the point that eventually I stopped asking questions and lost trust in them which has had long term effects on our relationships.

    I hope some of this helps………trust your instincts with your relationship and with what you share with your son. I’ll finish with this……….you know you……….and kids deserve honesty because they observe and feel what’s happening around them.
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    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 247
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Introduce yourself here - friends and family

    Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:33 pm

    @Becoming cynical I just wanted to check in and see how you're travelling?
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