So we had our family counselling session today before his discharge sunday


#1

I’m attaching a copy of what I brought with me to the table. I feel like he was mindful, and the counselor did a great job at correcting him and redirecting when he veered, and he recognized. I am still terrified of him coming home because of the uncertainty.
I am currently reading, Get your loved one sober, I have the audio book but just ordered the paperback because taking notes is exhausting and highlighting will be easier. I can definitely recognize my wrong doings as well, but also know that although I made those poor choices in the moment because I am human, I am not responsible for his relapses. I wish I could connect better with people in alanon because I could probably use a sponsor to talk to regularly but oh well…

id like your feedback on this, and also some ideas and thoughts as well as navigating my own mindfulness and self care journey

I want you to know I am proud of you. I understand while you are coming home from a facility in which you have had structure and support throughout the day, here life has had to continue and my expectations for when your return have changed.

Although your addiction terrifies me in so many ways, I have learned that I am not responsible for your sobriety. You have been an irate and mean person the last several months and I have been beaten down by that more than anything at the end of the day. Our lives were tainted by the presence of your addiction. Instead of hoping to return to normal, I want to allow this change to strengthen our relationship. Trust will take time. I know that in the past, my suspicions have led to fights, but your behavior was very telling. I now know that those moments were indications of a relapse’s beginning.

All the events that brought us here have been painfully hard on the receiving end for me. I have spent much time thinking and reading about how to lay out the boundaries and rules surrounding your addiction. You must address and commit to certain things before I can allow you to come home and earn our trust once more. Whether you intended it to happen or not, your addiction has impacted our entire family. The fighting, the slamming of doors, the yelling and name-calling. I realize that you KNOW what you have done, now it is time to move forward and heal.

Boundaries and rules

What I need from you:

· To hold yourself accountable in your recovery.

· For you to commit to sobriety and healing and rebuilding our relationship.
o You will commit to 90 meetings in 90 days.
§ This does not include your scheduled I.O.P. appointments.
§ On days the yellow house cannot be accommodated due to your work schedule- attend Zoom AA meetings before/ after work.

o Anger management class – In person or online.

o You need to reflect on how your addiction has impacted our children-
o Roslin and Orion are a direct product of me, they are a part of me.
o It is unfair of me to expect them to continue living this life, just because I love you, if you cannot see the problems at hand relating to them more than all of them lumped together.
o You must attempt to repair those relationships and the negative emotions your actions have caused -
Ø Alienation
Ø Be targeted.
Ø Not good enough or competition for your approval due to incessant comparisons between each other.
Ø Belittled – due to negative name-calling.
Ø Afraid- due to yelling and your aggressive tone of voice they have grown to expect from you.

· There will be NO name calling-
o If this happens, be aware that I will excuse myself from the conversation and we can pick it up when you have had an opportunity to regain some clarity.
· When you come home, I need you to be present, participate in daily life, and prove to me you can show up for our family.
· I need you to be my partner.
· Acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes that have hurt the children and apologize to them for your actions.
o Be open to conversations about what specifically hurt them.
o Apologies need to be issued for these specific issues in the past.
o Be open to any questions about addiction from your children.
o It may take time for them to accept apologies and forgive you, so gain their trust back by proving to them that drugs and alcohol are no longer part of your life.
· I need your actions moving forward to align with your words
What I will do:

· I will establish a safe word for our communication, especially for moments when a conversation may be escalating quickly, would be beneficial to us both.
· i.e. Rather than big statements like, I think we need to stop this conversation and come back to it, we could simply have a word or a short phrase that can be used. It would be easier to remember in the moment, and both of us would recognize that okay, this is too much for the other. Let’s take a step back and continue this later when we’ve calmed down.
· I will commit to the family sessions of your I.O.P. to learn together.
· Learn to listen from a place of understanding.
· I will not give my opinion unless you ask for it.
· I am going to be mindful of the way I communicate.
· I will ask if you need me to listen or if you want my feedback.
· I will fully try my hardest in moments not to pull from the past to fuel current events.
· I will tell myself I have no control over your choice to stay sober, it is your choice alone.
· I will continue to love myself as strongly as I love you.

What we both must do:

· We both must be mindful of the way we speak to each other.
· We will commit to couples therapy with an outside source.
· Re-learn how to communicate healthily and effectively, from a place of respect, love, and value.
· STOP Fighting.
· Designate some time every evening, BEFORE we go to bed, to talk about our day.
o To talk about how you’re feeling.
o To talk about what you may have taken away from your meeting that day or your I.O.P.
§ I fully understand you may not always want to do that piece specifically, but we must work on building trust and safety in our relationship for both of us.
o Or just to talk about the good parts of our day
o To enjoy time alone, together

· Treat each other with kindness

I read in an article three phrases that I feel we can relate to

  1.  ” As much as you both want life to go back to normal, you must accept that it won’t happen overnight.”
    
  2.  “Both of you will need to remember the rule when you’re sharing a canoe: No sudden moves,” -. I am hoping counseling will help us, but a large part of our communication and fighting has been the stark divide coming when things are relaxed and calm to suddenly bring up a topic we have fought about previously. We both need to be able to take a step back and read the room. I once suggested saying things like, hey in a little while can we sit down and have a conversation about XYZ, that way we have time to process that topic and come to it calmly.
    
  3.  “Try to have patience and understanding that there will be good days and some tough days.”
    

One article I read said,” Once you have addressed past events to the satisfaction of everyone involved, draw a line under them. You don’t have the power to change anything that has already taken place. You can move forward from this point, though, and make better decisions in your relationships from now on.”

I know we can never be what we were, but I know we can be better and healthier.

I am your biggest supporter and cheerleader. I don’t know what the future holds for our family, but I know we can take one day at a time, together, and go from there.

I keep going back to the old turn of phrase, Happy Wife Happy Life. I decided to change it to Sober Life, Happy Wife. Because that is what I need.


#2

Thank you for sharing so openly and bravely, @jpax4141. Sounds like your counseling session went well! Will you be continuing sessions after he is discharged? Is he continuing IOP when he comes home?

I like that you included in your list what you’d like to see from your loved one, from yourself, and from your relationship. You are doing the work it takes to not only support your loved one, but to also improve your relationship by looking inward at how you can change, too.

How long have you been attending Al-Anon meetings? Have you found them helpful? I went to Al-Anon for several years and had a couple of sponsors. It is really nice to have someone to talk to about this kind of stuff in person. It took me a while to find people I could connect with, too, so I’d suggest just staying open and patient.

There are many more topics relating to boundaries in the Village Community - it’s something that a lot of people like us struggle with! You can browse through them by clicking here


#4

@jpax4141
I am glad to hear your session went well.
Now that you understand what you both need to do together and individually on his journey to recovery, you may want to think about what will the consequences be if these needs are not met or these boundaries are not respected.

It sounds like your husband has a long road ahead in his recovery. He not only has his addiction to address but he has a lot of relationships he needs to repair as well. Life is not always easy and he needs tools at hand to help him deal with difficult times.
He needs to determine in advance and discuss it with you what he needs to do and for you to do in order to support his efforts to stay clean and earn the trust and respect of both you and your children. Possibly by putting it in writing.
I.e. when he is angry… he needs to walk away and take a breath in order to prevent blowing up and calling names. You need to respect that he needs this time whether it is 5 minutes or 50 minutes to reflect on what is upsetting him and how you BOTH can work together to address whatever the issue is. These are skills that one of his classes or therapists could help him with determining what will work for him. But you should have him write it down himself and not rely on you to do it. This will make him more accountable for his own needs.

One thing my son and I have agreed to do to help keep him accountable is random drug testing. Urine tests are easy and inexpensive (I buy them on Amazon). This is something that I asked him about before I purchased them and he said he felt it would help him stay clean because at any time I could test him and he didn’t want to hurt me again by using. This has helped me greatly to rebuild trust and prevents me from “accusing” him of using. In the beginning I did them weekly, then every few weeks. I’ve even done them a few days after each other so he never knows when I will ask. It has been about 8 months since he used and I do them less frequently, but he never knows when I will ask. This keeps me accountable as well and lets him know I am committed to his recovery as well.

Best of luck
Jewelrydiva70


#3

I don’t know if it’s brave to share, but I needed somewhere that felt safe.
He will be continuing to IOP and the 90 meetings in 90 days, he agreed to all of my needs during our session. I will be participating in the IOP family sessions with him, and we will be going to couples counseling as well.

I am going to try a new Alanon meeting on Tuesday that comes recommended because the ones closest to me aren’t great and virtual isn’t great either.

I am great boundaries, he isn’t great at respecting them. I was married previously very very toxic marriage. After that ended I Worked very hard to get to where I Am mentally. Mental health is my passion and I am working on going back to school to be a counselor. I am also the child of an alcoholic, so while my position is different, when it comes to this I know how far I Can be pushed.

Thsi whole experience is just exhausting though.


#5

I definitely think sharing our stories, especially these stories, takes courage and vulnerability. So yes, it’s brave @jpax4141! :slightly_smiling_face:

And I’m glad you feel this space is safe! That’s the goal, for sure. Agree, this experience and work can be incredibly exhausting and draining. Sometimes I wonder if everyone else just has it easier, and why can’t my life be like theirs. I don’t think that’s the case, though, and this space certainly proves it. I’ve realized that all the work I put in does pay off. It doesn’t remove the struggle or fix everything, but in moments of crisis, anxiety, uncertainty, I find that I’m able to access peace and compassion - for myself and others - much more easily than before. And that has improved my communication and relationship with my loved one, and their recovery.

I think @jewelrydiva70 is onto something here:

If boundaries are crossed or if one of you is not able to follow through, what will be the response? I think it’s super helpful that you’re doing couples counseling and family sessions - and super hopeful that he is open to all of these things! It will provide a safe space to talk about next steps should boundaries not be respected.

Happy you’re here, @jpax4141!


#6

@jpax4141, you have certainly thought long and hard about your situation. Your list is loving, caring and thoughtful and, I think, will give many of us some ideas and support to deal with our own issues. God Bless you and I pray that this will work.


#7

I did. I apologize for my lack of response the last few days. My husband came home today, so far it has been lovely just existing. We agreed ahead of time today would be just be relaxing, no deep conversations.
I appreciate all of the kind words. I see no shame is sharing, it blows my mind how similar some stories I hear are to what we have been living.

We start our couples counselling on the 11th, which will be good for just US. I also bought us Ballroom dancing lessons (thanks groupon) to do something TOGETHER, SOBER!
I am praying that 2024 is more kind than 2023 was, I feel good about where he is mentally and all we can do is take it one day at a time.