Sickness and Health

With the understanding that addiction is a disease and the realization that we are powerless over it as well as over people's lives, we are ready to do something useful and constructive with our own.

Then, and only then can we be of any help to others.

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angiejohnson
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Sickness and Health

Post by angiejohnson » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:18 pm

I have seen so many posts about addiction being a "disease" or sickness. I have supported my AH throughout all his addiction and abuse and have forgave and forgave each time, no matter how evil his intentions were toward me. My question is, since our wedding vow states "richer or poorer" SICKNESS AND HEALTH........, is it dishonorable to leave him, in his time of sickness? This is a man who has finished rehab, now in recovery and wants nothing to do with me, still verbally abusive and hurtful. He says he is not coming home. All my family, as well as his, have pleaded with me to get away from him for over a year to escape the abuse. But, I feel like I'm dishonoring my vows , and I love him more than anything in this world. I know this is a silly thought, has anyone else thought this way?
Last edited by angiejohnson on Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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grateful
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by grateful » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:50 pm

Yes, I did think and feel the same way you do now. In sickness and health, yes. In abuse, no. I was also an abused spouse with 2 small children to support. It dawned on me one day that what he was doing to me, he could do to them. What I didn't know then was that even his abusing me with them in the house was abuse. It took me a long time to get that it was my HP moving me on and out of a toxic situation. I never remarried. The difference between then (1970s) and now is that if we have children, they can be removed from the house if we are being abused and make no major changes to protect ourselves and our minor children.

Although addiction is different than the stomach flu, if your husband was vomiting, would you stand close enough to him to let him vomit on you? Wouldn't you move away from the toxins contained in the vomitus? Abuse is the same thing to me. If a person is abusing me, I need to move away from the poisonous behavior.

My Mother - who was very religious and stayed married to my Dad until she died - helped me when I felt uncertain about the divorce after I sought one. She said that a marriage is a contract. If one member of that contract breaks his/her word (as my x did when he failed to provide for my family, brought drugs and violence into the home, ran around in bars), that renders the contract null and void. I had been trying to keep up my end of a contract until I feared my children would be next in line for his abuse when there was no contract. Years later, it came to my attention that his constant belittling, accusing me of cheating, and some other stuff that I don't want to share all pointed to the fact that he had been cheating on me in addition to the rest of the stuff he did. That infidelity was enough to have ended the marriage earlier had I not been in denial about the rest of the story.
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MarieW
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by MarieW » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:44 pm

We don't get into specific religious beliefs here, and I know religions take different views on this. But even those of us who are not bound by a religious tradition can feel obligation to stay with our addicted loved one. I know I do. I don't think I love my husband any more, at least not as a wife loves a husband, but I feel tremendous obligation to him (note I said obligation, not guilt). We will have been together 40 years this summer and have two adult children. He will always be part of my life. However, I cannot live with him, and I am worried that his actions will put me and my financial assets in jeopardy. So I know I will, at some point, file for divorce.

It is not a decision I enter into lightly, but it is what I need to do to protect myself physically, emotionally and financially.

Keep coming back.
The only wrong way to work this program is to not work it.

angiejohnson
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by angiejohnson » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:47 pm

This has come to a head after a year and I have got to decide what I'm gonna do about my future. I'm not sure if he is talking so negatively to me under the influence or if he is sober. I am really soul searching right now. He has me in so much debt and feelings of worthlessness and yet, I just am scared to let him go. I care for him so much. I cannot rest for weighing out all the options, such a hard weight to carry around. In my own little fantasy world, I see him coming home to me, sober, healthy and drug free, and living a happy life together. In reality, I don't know if he can.
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carpediem
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by carpediem » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:11 pm

My friend's husband passed after a long, slow slide into dementia that left him unable to remember his family. She eventually had to put him into full-time care. Did she dishonor her vows? No. He got sick, she took care of him until she was eventually unable to do so. He was completely unable to care for himself an needed round-the-clock care, to which he submitted.

Separating because of illness is not divorce. It is simply too big for me to handle on my own. And, if the patient refuses care, what can I do? If the patient is self-destructing because, in his or her free will, is choosing to self-destruct, am I responsible? Is it my job to sit by and watch it happen, or to enable it by creating a comfortable-enough environment to hasten that destruction?

If the sick person chooses to accept help and gets better, there is time for reconciliation. But when a loved one is in active addiction, I know I can't be "there" in the physical sense. My kid needs a healthy adult to provide their care. That's my responsibility too. I can't be healthy when I am in the throes of active codependence. No one can make me feel inferior without my permission, just for the record. That's a symptom of my codependency's progression.

Healthy choices are good choices. When I err on the side of health and serenity, I am not regretful. It is regrettable that our loved ones choose addiction, but it's not our free will to exercise. It's theirs, and I have no control over that.
"Enlightened ones only show us the way. We have to do our own work." --The Two-Year-Old Yoga Teacher.

angiejohnson
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by angiejohnson » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:37 pm

Really struggling tonight, alone yet again another weekend, I love the company of my bulldog but it's not my husband. I choose not to go out with family and friends because they only want to talk about and degrade my AH. I know if he was here he would probably be verbally abusive and negative, but my love for him is so strong, I can't seem to let him go. Missing him so bad all I can do is cry. Seems like I walk around holding my phone night and day, waiting for him to call, and he never does. I guess I still have that glimmer of hope pipedream that he is gonna come home sober to me and we can live happily ever after. I don't understand the addiction how he is running around with strangers he only met in rehab and chatting non stop with them and he just blocked me from his life like I never existed.
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SDIN2T
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by SDIN2T » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:00 am

I struggle with letting go. I know it's hard. But I know it starts with acceptance. Accepting my ALOs for who they are and having no expectations. At any given moment when I realize I'm not letting go, it's because I haven't turned my fear to 100% faith in my HP.

I know how to let go, but doing it is not easy. Sometimes it's a minute by minute process. Repeating the serenity prayer over and over helps me.

:JR
Last edited by SDIN2T on Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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linda.f
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by linda.f » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:20 am

As Maya Angelou states:

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

Keep coming back and working on you, you are worth it.

(hugs)
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Larken7
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Re: Sickness and Health

Post by Larken7 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:12 am

It was very hard to separate the man I fell in love with from the man who eventually was standing before me. The last time I spoke to my exAH face-to-face, I said, "I have no idea who you are. You are not the man I married."

I thought that by helping & being patient, I would help bring back the man I loved. Instead, all that helping & patience merely fed the addiction monster that was driving his body.

I have learned through my recovery process about "splitting". Our brains store happy memories differently than painful ones, as a way to ease the pain. That is why my happy memories were much easier to recall than the painful ones. Journalling about these memories helped me to reintegrate the whole picture, not just the happy parts. It helped me to see reality & start making better decisions.

There are such things as "Stockholm Syndrome" & trauma bonds. I've had to work through those things too.

I've had to go through a grieving process, that the life I thought we were going to have together was never going to happen. By clinging on to him, I was postponing that necessary grieving process, & postponing moving on to what my Higher Power has in store for me.

I have also learned that I will get whatever I put up with. As long as I tolerated bad behavior, it continued & escalated. I am not loving him by being a cushion for his bad behavior. My Higher Power talks about reaping what we sow. I have no right to play a Higher Power by interrupting the sowing & reaping in someone else's life. To translate that into Nar-Anon verbiage, that means I need to detach & not enable someone - including not rewarding them with all the perks of a relationship with me after they've exploited & abused me over & over again. Forgiveness does not equate enabling. I can eventually forgive without facilitating more abuse.

Working the steps has helped me clarify things with my Higher Power & over the vows we had taken.

Keep coming back -
I can always be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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