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Dear Adele
What you have described, in my opinion, is the soul-searching that many F&F go through before they find their own recovery. There are areas though, where I think it is important to be mindful of how much guilt you should apportion to yourself for the situations in which you find yourself.
You have described enough painful experiences for you to feel as you do but at no time did you describe the person that you really are. You have been on this forum a short time and in that time your impact has been felt – you have made a difference to others and I know from experience that you will never know how many have taken comfort from you words because many read but never write. A lazy, ne’er-do-well could not achieve what you have done. Well done.

You haven’t lost yours skills, you have mislaid them. Maybe you won’t front another landscape project as you did before but the knowledge you gained from doing it will be immeasurable. I have changed my landscape too but I have never been as imaginative as to use hand-picked rocks from the river bed and I can’t string lights, although I do want them down my garden – how I wish you lived near me to give advice.

Recovery is like your landscaping. The lights were the final piece that lit up the whole project and your neighbours, I am positive, were no longer thinking you were nuts. You had the ability to plan and see it through – that ability is dormant, not dead. I think your line ‘all the while I was trying to take care of my dad and both my in-laws’ tells me all I need to know about your ability to care and organise.

I can’t see anything ridiculous in what you have described – I see a life. Your husband supported you in your endeavours, which I cannot see as crazy and the weekends on the air mattress sound like a couple sharing a life. Why would he point out the ridiculousness of your actions when they were never ridiculous? I am married to a DIY freak but I did not escape to an addiction. You are not responsible for your husband’s addiction.

You have definitely not lost your skill in being interesting but you have certainly lost your confidence in your ability to be so, but you are right – online gaming does not give a flip about you. When you start giving a flip about you then those around you will sit up and take notice.

You could have escaped to a casino but you didn’t and therein lies the difference and the reason why your recoveries should be separate. It is a sad fact that CGs have to accept they will always be CGs – there is no cure. It is a fact, in my opinion, that Adele does not have to accept that she is unsociable, uninteresting, not creative and unable to dance and enjoy golf.

I cannot tell you what to do but I would like to ask you to do something before we meet again and that is to take one of the thing that you used to do and do it, or something similar. I was totally into 10-pin bowling years ago but following my recovery I have taken up table-tennis. I took a deep breath to walk into the hall the first time but now, after a short time, I walk in and 20 people will shout ‘hi ……….’. I don’t need to be massively interesting – I just have to have a bat and join in. The friendships follow. When you have done it you will have something to talk about to your husband who struggles with communication. Whatever it is you do, it will give you something to talk about, it will blow the cobwebs away, physically enliven you and most importantly give you a confidence and self-esteem.

I am not allowed to set homework and I don’t want you to feel pressured – I am only making suggestions because I know you can change your life – you are one amazing, unique person. I know it – now you need to know it.