Hi Jenny
Recovery can be just as confusing as living with the addiction – if not more so. I think it throws up more questions than answers because in seeking recovery we are questioning ourselves, our actions, our beliefs, our very being, resulting from an experience that we feel/felt is/was unnecessary, just a sad waste of our lives and the person we love/loved.
Your understanding of the addiction when it was vicariously controlling you was probably, as mine was, nil. Your knowledge of the addiction is now great but your understanding, in my opinion, is reflected in your post – you still want to make sense of the senseless, to tie up the loose ends, to have closure.
When I was learning to drive in Dunfermline which has steep hills up and steep hills down (Scotland’s answer to San Francisco!), my instructor was at his wits end with my deranged kangaroo hill starts and grinding gears so he asked me to pull over and stop before I crunched him into an early grave. He asked me if I was one of those people who needed to see/hear how things worked before I could take in the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. He explained, in simple terms what happened when I pressed the clutch, disengaging and re-engaging the clutch disc to the fly wheel. The outcome was that hill starts have never been a problem to me from that day and I have never (seldom) crashed gears again – recovery was instant!
If only it was so easy with the addiction to gamble. I can’t ask you to stop while I tell you that if you do this then that will happen or if you do that then this will happen because the ‘thing’ you are trying to understand is not mechanical and it has no logic, rhyme of reason. Recovery can never be instant. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
I think, judging by your excellent support of others, that your knowledge is terrific but understanding is still impacting on you and I am not surprised, you have been badly hurt and healing takes time.
I doubt you thought of the impact of the addiction on your children at the time it was active in your life – how could you when you didn’t have knowledge or understanding yourself? There is no blame or shame in this – I wrote my thread on ‘siblings’ from experience not guess work. Your children will make their choices based on their unique experiences just a mine are doing.
I would imagine that it was a priority to you that your partner sought recovery even if your understanding of what you wanted him to recover from was limited. Understanding that our needs are not the needs of the CG is something I believe we can only learn.
Did you want to believe him when he lied – frankly, yes? Who wouldn’t? We want to trust, we want to believe that if we are told something, particularly by the people we love, that what we are hearing is true or everything is pointless. Your partner’s addiction needed you to believe in him and without knowledge you couldn’t begin to dissemble truth from lies.
I know it ‘is possible to love someone and do things to another as though you hate them’ and I would love to run a group just on this subject. Just pop in and let’s talk.
Asking how many times you have to be bitten before you learn the lesson is the same, to me, as asking how long is a piece of string, the only one who can answer it, is you. The lesson you are trying to understand is in a class for a manipulative addiction, not motor mechanics but you will get there – you will cut your string when you are ready. I remember telling one member that it was like being on a strong piece of elastic, a constant bungee jump and she could see that analogy as being her life. She had been pinging back and forth until one day she had the strength to cut the elastic. She returned quite a bit later and was living a wonderful recovery.
I believe that recoveries are reached on different paths, with different obstacles until finally there is the light of freedom that comes with inner peace and honesty. I became aware in Gamanon and with GA that these paths might never converge because with freedom and honesty there is not always compatibility, the original draw can be lost on both sides. I am also aware that many paths do meet and there are tremendously successful relationships.
If you are asking if ‘your’ recovery is enough to make a relationship work with a CG who pays lip service to recovery and actively allows it to control his life, then, in my opinion, you have been using a ghost writer to pen all your wonderful posts. If you are asking if I think ‘your’ recovery is enough to make a relationship work with a CG who struggles but wants recovery then the answer does lie with you but keep asking questions until you know what you really want in your unique life.
‘Your’ recovery is enough; it is enough for you to live your life with you in control. It is enough to raise your sons and be the person you want to be. It is enough for you to be able to cope with whatever life chucks at you. It is enough to refuse the addiction entry to your life again. It is enough Jenny. What you do is in your hands. You are a survivor.