Thursday, November 1, 2012

Detach With Love


**Long post ahead-either click away, grab a cup of coffee or go take a potty break...you'll be here for awhile...and I'm grateful you are.  You guys rock!**
Devin had made a laundry list of chores he wanted to get done while he was break from school. These were things he knew were important to me because they were issues stemming from his addiction days. Promise after promise had been made, but none had been kept so he resolved to get it done while he was off from school. "It's gonna get done. I promise!"

“We are going to bed early this week so we can get on a FANOS schedule again.” - The earliest the lights were out was 10:30, he’s up at 5:00.  Sleep is a Migraine trigger for me and I had to sleep in the spare bedroom while he got ready in the mornings.

“We’re going to read from Erotic Intelligence this weekend.” - We haven’t read it in months.

Finally, yesterday was my breaking point. 

“I’m going to make a dent in the spare room.”  Nothing.  He said he was working on homework but whenever I saw him on the computer, he was goofing off.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know this is not a new problem.  It’s also not uncommon among many addicts.  It’s a matter of either shifting addictions or multiple addictions.  I suffer from it myself if I’m not careful.  Ask me about my old friend hypervigilance sometime. 

While it’s nice to know Devin is sober, it’s disheartening to know he is still battling with this void within him.  The void he needs to fill with “stuff” and then he battles with being overwhelmed and scattered.  Yes, he is being tested for ADD this week – if he goes through with it because he’s quite afraid.
~~~ (Yes, I toyed with breaking this into a second post here but, it's me, I ramble.  Maybe at a later date?)~~~

Anyone reading this who has an addict in his or her life or who is an addict has heard the term “Detach with Love.”  For those of us involved with the addict, it is a safe place for us to go mentally and emotionally.  It provides us with a sense of peace and serenity while allowing us to still love our addict in a healthy way.

It’s what I’m doing with Devin now.  We discussed it last night during FANOS, which he initiated.  He was obviously upset and observed how odd it is that I am now the one detaching while it was he doing the detaching when he was acting out.  I pointed out the difference; mine will be kept in check and be done with love, respect and setting boundaries not as a result from my addiction but a result to his addiction.

My boundaries are fairly simple: 
  • I will no longer accept what you tell me about projects around the house as an expectation.  I will believe it when I see it.  (Saying it’s a lie or he’s lazy seems harsh and unnecessary, he is still learning to be forthcoming.)

  • I will no longer be baited into an argument when told I need to learn how to communicate.  I have talked to our counselor, watched endless shows, read articles and books.  It is time for you to do the same and learn communication skills too.

  • I cannot accept full responsibility for reminding you about FANOS, Erotic Intelligence or even sex.  It cannot be all me.  We are a couple and need to work together.

I have not set a time limit for the detachment, it’s all depends on him and his behavior and my feelings.  I’ve talked to my counselor and understand how to avoid becoming completely emotionally detached and had to get counseled on this once before and know it’s a fine line to walk but know I can do it through love and understanding and strength.

64 comments:

  1. It all sounds normal to me, my wife is always asking to to do stuff around the house, I know the things need to be done, but sometimes the computer is much more appealing!!

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    1. So, maybe it's a guy thing? Maybe it's part his addiction, part his hobby and a mixture of being a guy? LOL Darn that Warhammer!!!

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  2. I like how whenever you say something is a super long post it's not really :) Or I'm a fast reader. Anyway, I know what it's like for what Devin is going through. You do anything but what you know you should. Usually out of fear or apprehension. Don't become too detached from him, that's all I'll ask.

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    1. LOL - oh my gosh, I could kiss you right now! I looked at the word count when I did this and it was uber high! I think you're just a very fast reader, Mark. I won't become to detached. That was my biggest fear the last time I had to do this with him. It's why I sought counseling because I was so afraid I'd put up my brick walls (like Dan's wall LOL). We talked about it last night and I clarified my boundaries with him and that put him at ease again. He understands and it got him motivated once again. He made promises but we shall see.....

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    2. Well if you do encounter a wall you have a supersonic turtle to break through it now :) Don't look at word counts, word counts are silly. An average update for me I think is 500-1000 words and it doesn't take too long to get through. At least, I hope not. I do think sometimes the length of my posts can turn people off, long posts have turned me off, but yours aren't super long and they (usually) stick to an individual subject. If a post is long and all over the place, that's when I have trouble. Remember all men break their promises. They're lazy and shiftless and can be ignored most of the time.

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    3. Just wait - Dan's not gonna like what I do to that wall in that story of mine ha ha ha!!! My word count is usually around 650 I think buy sometimes it can get up there! Especially when I ramble on and on.

      I hope you're working on your therapy post, Mark....see, that's me gently nagging you since I'm not nagging Devin LOL

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    4. Its already written, complete with a surprise I never thought I would do. Though I will admit I do need gently nagging.

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    5. I'm so proud of you, Mark! I'll be reading it in the morning!

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    6. Do what to my wall? Don't you dare!

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    7. Just you wait, when you least expect it Dan...

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  3. I'm with Ray on this one, at least in certain aspects anyway Elsie. Devin reminds me of myself in ways which is maybe why I feel that way, I like to say that I'll do things and then usually don't commit even when I try my best. I'm not saying for sure how much Devin really is trying but I'd like to imagine that he's trying but things just don't work out. With that said I actually like the sound of the detachment idea, I think it will help if you don't take the things he'll say he does as word although it'd be better if his post-addiction hobbies decreased and he did the things he'd say he's going to do, hopefully this ADD thing will help a little, great post Elsie, I really hope things improve soon, dealing with an addict can suck, that's why I feel sorry for my family at times, I'm so lucky for them and Devin is lucky for you.

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    1. Devin is a people pleaser and doesn't want to disappointment me in the "now" because of how much he hurt me in the past. Plus, he wants to let me know what's going on in his head, what his plans are for "us" now. So, he tells me all these things he plans on doing, goes and gets all these projects started and becomes overwhelmed. Oh, the ADD appointment is next week - oops. I heard from another addict that the buying impulse and the shifting addiction is common and can last for up to a year or two after sobriety. Patience, Elsie, patience. I try and remember what else he could be up to LOL

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  4. Detaching with love is so incredibly hard and even though guys will procrastinate it just seems symptomatic of him once again failing do what he said he would do...his unreliable, Good luck babe!

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    1. It's so very common and yet it brings me a sense of hope in some bizarre way. It lets me know he's on that oddly right path to sobriety. He just has to find his way to a better, healthy life. He will, it'll just take time and some gentle prodding =)

      We talked about my above boundaries last night and even though he heard them last week, it was like he was hearing them for the first time, they made sense to him and he wasn't offended at all. He said he understood the need for me to detach for a bit and he's been initiating FANOS and going to bed earlier ever since.

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  5. It is kind of a thing with most guys though. None of us really want to do anything, we'll say we will do it to shut the nagging up and then not do it because the computer or videogame or something else is more appealing. But after the first time or two it will get done. Keeping all that stuff just for the sake of keeping it though, yeah most people don't do that, many chuck it in a closet or something and leave it, forgetting about it until they need the space or something though. Sounds like a good idea to get him to do what he says and take more responsiblity, hope it works. Oh and Pat is not a lazy bugger, I'm more of the philosphy that you get all the crap done and then you can have fun, with nothing much to do no nagging comes due. When you think about it, you spend more time saying you'll do it and arguing over it then it actually takes to do whatever it is, so may as well just do it and be done with it. Keeps everyone happy haha

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    1. I think that may be part of it too. It's easier to say, "Yeah, I'm going to do that" and get some peace and quiet for awhile. Although, for me, I haven't said a peep about that damn Florida Room since I came back from NY. It wasn't until I saw the boxes in attic that I was like woah Nelly!! LOL I can't understand the keeping it, I don't know if I ever will. I'm guessing it has roots far deeper than I can comprehend right now. If I had to take a stab at guessing - attachment issues? Not being able to let go..something along those lines I suppose. I don't hang on to much. I'd much rather donate stuff. LOL I have to laugh, all the times we used to sit and argue over the FL room - if he was just cleaning it instead of arguing with me about it - it'd be done LMAO!! You're right, Pat!!

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    2. You said Pat was right, what about the cat, there was a rhyme or two there too, how rude.

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    3. She didn't say she likes you Cat. She said you were right about something. There's a difference.

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    1. One of my favorite songs and videos - ah, the 80's

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  7. Empty promises are one of the hallmarks of the addictive personality, at least from anything I've read/experienced of addiction. I'm sure you've read the books by Janet Woititz. I always liked her stuff -- very clear and straightforward, no mumbo-jumbo or B.S.

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    1. I've never heard of Janet Woititz, Debra! You've given me yet another author to look into. I like authors who tell it like it is and don't candy coat things. What a waste of time!

      I think addicts, myself included, tend to try to be people pleasers and that's where the empty promises come from. The don't know how to say NO.

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    2. Janet Woititz is a great author (I should say "was" -- I think she passed away a few years ago). Anyway, she often wrote on the topic of Adult Children of Alcoholics but everything she said is just as relevant to alcoholics/addicts themselves. She cuts right to the chase.

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    3. You have no idea where your suggestion lead me, Debra!! I found this list of, I think it was 13 characteristics, and I could put a check mark next to almost every single one of them for Devin....I'm going through the books. I'll be picking one out soon. Just amazing - Thank you!!!!!

      Here's the site I found in case you were interested: http://www.drjan.com/index.htm

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  8. I can relate...sort of. I'm often asked to do things but never get around to it simply because I'm lazy. I don't even have any hobbies, I'm that lazy. Well unless you count blogging but still...I'm a lazy blogger too!

    As for detaching...I really don't know what to say there. When I feel detached it makes me sink even lower into a hole, feeling unworthy and unloved. Tread carefully!

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    1. Blogging isn't a hobby - it's a lifestyle! No, wait, that can't be it either because I'm never on here anymore...damn, plumber just pulled up....I'll be back

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    2. Detaching is a hard place to be. It's not being emotionally detached. It's setting boundaries and then sticking to them and not engaging in behavior that you feel uncomfortable with. We still hug and kiss and that good stuff I just have mental rules in my own head and shared them with him. He needs to know he's still loved, cause I still love him!!

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    3. Btw...a turtle was born on my blog! You know, since I cooked and ate yours! See, I'm not a complete monster!

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    4. I don't know, you're quite something over on Pat's blog...

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    5. Hahahaha I can hear the tone of your voice in that one line Elsie!

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    6. Just wait, Anne. I have a story plot inside in mind for Dan the evil cat! It's going to be loads of fun!

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    7. I'm not scared! Bring it woman! Blogwhore is me! Fuel my ego! All the more reason to get shameful over at my place!

      Anne and the cat are up to bat but you're on deck!

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    8. I need to keep an eye out for what you have in store for them since I'll be on a bit of a blogcation.....LOL

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  9. it's seems as if he is low on life energy and is just floating around. He needs some kind of kick or something methinks.

    Hope you're fine, Elsie, is Sandy over? Hope you, the family, and your home are fine.

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    1. I agree, Dezzy. I think, a big guess, it's because he's facing his 4th step. It's a doozie. It's scary. Add low self worth and *poof* - complacency sets in.

      This little gut check may be what he needs but its definitely what I need.

      We are all fantastic and back to normal around here! =)))

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    2. glad to hear all is fine. Any damage to the yard or house? I've seen so many horrid pictures from New York in past two days :( Even our ex foreign minister Vuk Jeremic, who is now the president of the UN Assembly, had live updates for our news shows. While he was speaking next to a window in one second we could see a flower pot flying through the sky behind him :)

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    3. No damages at all =) Even some of my blossoms hung on for dear life!

      My family on Long Island has faired pretty well considering. Some still don't have power and most damage was minimal. They are all survivors and are making the trek to work. Wow, you guys had updates there? I couldn't bear to watch where I grew up be washed away. It was upsetting. I was texting with my family and friends yesterday and finally got through to my aunt last night - she was my final worry. Now I now all my family is fine. =)

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    4. I'm glad your whole family is fine.

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    5. Me too!! I just finished watching the local news from Long Island. Heartbreaking.

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    6. yep, we had updates which is rather crazy considering that our national TV didn't even bother to cover the twisters and storms we had in Vojvodina this summer and autumn :( Just like nobody around the world shows anything from Cuba and other countries which were also hit by Sandy :(

      Glad the house is fine, Elsie, we shall have to use someone elses house then to kill the evil witch of the West :PP

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    7. Our coverage did the same type of thing. It switched away from our area and over to NY/NJ when we were still getting hit with the flooding. Crazy!

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  10. I autoposted and I just got out of bed. Love this autoposting thing!!

    The Hubby does most of these things. He keeps boxes of things from his childhood and teen years and we drag them from move to move. He promises to do thing around the house and doesn't do them. For him it's just a guy thing. I know that what you are going through with Devin goes beyond just normal male behavior.

    Devin probably is depressed. If he's a gamer having a lot of mini's isn't unusual. Not painting any of those mini's is not normal for a gamer. You have every right to insist that he follow through on his promises.

    I sent you an email!

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    1. You are throwing me off with this auto posting! I'm used to seeing your posts first thing when I wake up and so now me not seeing it makes me think you aren't posting that day. I'll have to get used to your new scheduling times, my friend =)

      Devin made promises last night because his school term is over today and he has "big plans" for the weekend but I didn't get myself all worked up about them. Instead, I let him know that I had plans of my own. I would be working on painting as my Migraines allowed. He asked about quality time together and I said we would spend time together in the evening but I had things I needed to finish before Jr. got home on break. He understood.

      He's got the tools to paint the mini's but not the drive. I understand it hurts his eyes (diabetes) but then he shouldn't buy the stuff.

      I got your email and returned it =PP

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    2. How do you tease out the behaviors that are just annoying man things from those behaviors that arise as part of his addiction?

      If he's no longer painting then he really shouldn't be buying. The drive to buy for most gamers stems from the drive to paint, create and play. His buying seems to be coming from another place and that's a problem.

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    3. The buying is addiction. I have chosen to leave it alone for now since it's been confirmed by my counselor and other addicts to "normal" after sobriety to occur.

      The broken promises is also part of the addiction but moreso his personality which caused the addiction. He wants to make up for hurting me so he wants to say want I want to hear AND he's a people pleaser. He doesn't know how to say no, not when it comes to me. He can tell me no on all sorts of surface stuff. But, when it comes to things he knows matters to me, he wants to appease me to avoid conflict (conflict avoidance) so he will tell his plans not realizing I take him at his word. To him, they sound like a grand idea in his head, almost like a fantasy - a bit of stretch - but almost - and then when he goes to sit down and face the task, it's so overwhelming, he's bitten off more than he can chew, he stops. That's the personality/addiction part.

      Instead of being able to tackle it a piece at a time, the door for instance - he looked at the directions and became frustrated and stopped. I looked at them and explained a different approach and he got it. If that makes any sense.

      SAs stop developing at whatever age they were traumatized. It doesn't have to be sexually abused, it can be mentally, and then when they are in recovery, they have to learn how to develop certain emotion skills....and, after writing all this, I feel like I should do a SA 101 LOL

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    4. I think I see. Do you know when his SA began and how it began? I'm pretty sure the emotional trauma for him was with his mother.

      My Hubby would never do something to appease me. And if he did, it would only because he felt guilty. So yes, I understand what you mean here. Part of Devin's problems is guilt that he's still carrying.

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    5. I don't know for certain when the actual SA began but I'm thinking the seeds were planted in his childhood with him mom, like you said and then fertilized by his first wife and the emotional/physical abuse he endured with her. It escalated after his divorce in his 30's which is unusual for SAs. This could be why he is able to stay sober for long periods of times and also why he shifts addictions. Again, I'm not a counselor so it's just a guess.

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  11. I learned something new today, detach with love ~

    I end up kicking my hubby's butt if I want something done ~ And he gets it done so I don't nag him anymore ~ I think how you handle procrastination and getting something done will differ between the couples ~ I hope both of you work it out ~

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    1. It is something each couple has to work out for themselves to make their marriage be successful or I think they will drive each other insane! Or fight like cats and dogs.

      I loved your poem for yesterday, Heaven. It is beautiful =)

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  12. detach with love is my sponsors moto...she was always whispering it in my ear...detach with love, with love, with love. i still can't quite do it.

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    1. It is such a fine line, April and I had to get counseling the first time I did it because I could feel the walls being built. I could feel myself shut close down and had to be guided back to find the balance. It's so delicate. She literally gave me permission to love him.

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    2. cause no matter what happens, we wont regret loving, right?

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    3. Absolutely, no regrets. Even if I have to walk away one day, I will take what I have learned from my love with him and myself and my steps and have zero regrets!

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  13. this post reminds me so much of my life w/ my now deceased ex-husband...just replace 'sex addict' with 'alcoholic'. Promises promises, esp about doing stuff around the house. The difference was that I detached and withdrew into Facebook. And I also gave up on him b/c unlike Devin, he refused to help himself.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that JoJo. I don't recall you ever sharing that before, thank you for that and I'm sorry to hear you've been through that struggle. I'm so glad you've got you're wonderful fiance' now who I hope is home safe and sound!! Hugs!!

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    1. Thanks Cindy. I know I can do it and I know he can too =)

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  15. Im happy you are OK Elsie and see you return to normal life LOL

    I dont know dear Elsie yesterday I was a terrible fight with hubby and he said what happens?
    I said Im tired! (silence)
    so the life goes on oh dear!!
    xo

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    1. We are happy too, Gloria! Well, I'm not sure about Peanut - school and all LOL

      Just sad to see the videos from home. So many memories from my childhood gone.

      My hubby says, "So, now what?" so, I guess no matter what the language, it all means the same thing LOL

      xoxoxoxo

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  16. Go girl and set everything straight. I do know one thing and that is ya'll love one another and will work this out too.I was so glad to here ya'll were safe and that my prayers worked.

    Love,
    Meemaw

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    1. My Meewmaw!!! Your prayers did wonders, as always so keep them coming for my family up north, please!

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  17. Hey, that wasn't so long. Did you feel better after writing this down? This felt more like a vent, and I'm sure there's MANY who go through a similar time than you have been. I hope your strength can help them too.

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    1. You're funny, D4. My blog can be 1,000 words and I have a feeling you'd be polite about it. It was a bit ventie huh? Yep, I did feel better although, Devin wasn't feeling so hot that night but he is now, for the most part. I am so hopeful this can be a help to someone out there - just one person! Please!!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.