Life in recovery is a Rollercoaster. The ups and downs are intense, terrifying, and rewarding.


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Image  —  Posted: April 17, 2017 by Castimonia in Humor, Sexual Purity Posts
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https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/relapse-for-the-codependent/

by applyingmybeliefs

Relapse for an addict is relatively easy to understand.  It is a reversion to the old coping mechanisms such as drinking, drugging, or otherwise acting out.  This reversion is usually preceded by some form of negative mental state, painful emotions, or difficulty in a life situation.

Relapse for a codependent is the same.  They experience a hard time in life, a negative thought life or emotional pain, and they start to act out.  However their acting out looks somewhat different to an alcoholic or drug addict, because they revert back to behaviors that are sometimes difficult to spot.  They re-indulge in controlling others and neglecting their own needs for example.

For a codependent that lives with an addict, the relapse of their addict is highly likely to trigger a relapse.  Both partners are then caught in a spiral downward.  This is one reason that it is smart for addicts and codependents to both be part of a larger recovery group or program.

We have already said that it is hard for a person, let alone the codependent, to see when they are slipping back into their old ways.  How can a codependent identify when this might be happening?  Here is a list of “I” statements that are helpful in becoming aware of a slide that is in place; or one that is coming.

  • I’ve started saying bad things again about my partner behind their back.
  • I’ve stopped giving my partner the benefit of the doubt.
  • I’ve lost interest in doing the things I know make my partner happy.
  • I’ve stopped hugging my partner goodbye in the morning.
  • I’ve stopped using my recovery tools.
  • I’ve stopped feeling grateful for my partner.
  • I’ve gone back to indifference in my attitude to my partner.
  • I’ve become rude toward my partner.
  • I’ve reverted back to trying to control everything my partner does.
  • I’ve stopped taking care of myself.
  • I’ve started to break promises I made to my partner.

If a codependent finds themselves in agreement with say 3 or more of these statements an orange warning light ought to go off in their head, 7 or more ought to result in a trip back to the therapist.

This kind of list, if honestly worked through on a frequent basis, can help a codependent identify when something is going wrong.  The list is a tool, it is a “symptom identifier”, a way of discovering that something is happening inside that is not easily seen.  It uses affirmative answers to ask the question, “Am I being triggered toward a relapse by something?”

As a topic today, let’s talk about our own emotional relapses as codependents and answer the question, “What else can a codependent do to protect themselves from going back to their self-centered and relationship destructive ways?”

 


I think I missed something. Or maybe its just my screwed up decision making. Regardless of why, I most definitely didn’t completely understand the purpose of Step Four. Let me explain. I think I told you that Step Four was the step I most dreaded after I started working through the steps. I truly didn’t want to have to face my own flaws. I knew they were there but just felt that it was easier to blame God for why I was the way I was than actually look at myself and how my character defects kept me in a never ending cycle of sin and shame. The only upside of Step Four to me was that I at least would have dealt with those character flaws and they would be gone and therefore I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore. That is what I believed would happen.

This may come as a surprise to some of you. I truly hope not. They didn’t all go away. I know, shocked aren’t you? Ok, you can stop laughing at me now. I really thought that they were gone. Or maybe I told myself that so I wouldn’t dwell on what they are. Manipulation, lying, pride. Things I didn’t want to continue to face. Somehow, they are still there. They show up when I am stressed, angry, isolated, emotional, even when I am just not strong enough on my own and don’t give God control in the moment .  Basically at the same times they used to show up before recovery.  So what is the difference between now and recovery?

Let me try to muddle through this. Recently, I was talking with my wife. We were just catching up at the end of a long day. The TV was on, a normal evening. That’s how it started, normal. Anyway, I wasn’t really paying attention to what was on the TV but did hear a female begin to speak in an English accent. To set the stage here, one of my affair partners was English. My wife had actually spoken with her. In an instant, without forethought or delay, I started changing to another station. I was really good, or so I thought. I stated how I had just remembered we had one of the shows we liked saved and I wanted to start it.

My wife got silent. Dangerously silent. She said, and I quote, “I know what you are doing.” I said what do you mean? She told me not to insult her intelligence. She said I was trying to manipulate her by turning the channel. Ouch.

Yeah, manipulation. Right up there at the top of my list of character flaws. The only problem is, everyone close to me knows my flaws. I have named them for them. They have agreed and added a little more clarification to make sure I knew they recognize them when they manifest. Exactly what my wife just did. She called me out. I wish I could say I recognized it, immediately dealt with it, and know I won’t respond that way again.  I didn’t. I tried to say no, I want to watch a show. You know…manipulate.  Again.

So I stopped, listened again, listened to myself, and heard the truth. I was manipulating. I was going back to a character flaw. I thought when I brought them to God they were truly gone. Actually, they are part of my sin nature. I have lived in that nature for so long, my character flaws won’t just magically disappear. I do have one thing going for me now. I know what they are, so do my loved ones, and we can address them. The manipulation is still there. However, my recognition of it is heightening. Thank you, God, for that.


Doug discusses how the format and hosts of the podcast will be changing in the upcoming weeks and months due to personal challenges.

He discusses how being sober will help deal with all aspects of life, including challenges.

He gives motivation for how to face the world of problems and challenges by focusing on the strength for today.

Please email puritypodcast@castimonia.org for more information.


Matthew 7:16-20 –“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

George sat in my (Dr. Cloud’s) office, despondent. His wife, Janet, whom he loved deeply, had just moved out because he had lost another job. A very talented person, George seemed to have everything he needed for success. But he had lost several good jobs because of his irresponsibility and inability to follow through. Bosses loved the talent but hated the performance. And after several family disruptions because of his failures, Janet had had enough.

“I love her so much,” George said to me. “Doesn’t she see that?”

“I believe that you love her,” I said. “But in reality, I don’t think that she does see your love. All she sees is the effect your behavior has had on her and the children, and she asks herself, ‘How can he love us and treat us this way?’ You cannot just say you love someone and not deliver. Love without the fruits of love is really not love in the end. She feels very unloved because of what you have put her through.”

If George was to have a chance of winning Janet back, it would not come through one more empty promise. He needed to develop boundaries to gain the self-control that would make him a responsible person. Janet was only going to believe in action, not just talk about love.

George had never been required to deliver the fruits of love when growing up. His parents were fine, hardworking people. But having gone through the Depression and a lifetime of hard work, they did not want George to have to struggle as they had. As a result, they indulged him and required very little work from him. When they did give him chores and responsibilities and he did not deliver, they would not discipline him, thinking that they wanted him to have “positive self-esteem” rather than the “guilt” with which they grew up. Consequently, he did not see any negative effect on his loved ones when he did not perform.

But marriage was different. He was now in a relationship in which the one he loved also had requirements for him, and things were falling apart. For George to become a truly loving person, one whose love actually made a difference in the lives of others, he was going to have to become a responsible person. In the end, love is as love does.

Moreover, loving people respect the boundaries of others. Have you ever been in a relationship with a person who could not hear the word no? How did you feel? Typically one feels controlled, manipulated, and resentful instead of respected and loved. A controlling person steps over the line and tries to possess the other. This does not feel very loving, no matter how much the offender says he cares.

Loving people are able to control their impulses. Many alcoholics, for example, have great love for their families. Their drinking greatly troubles them, and they feel horrendous guilt. But still they drink, and although, like George, they love, the effects of their lack of ability to say no to alcohol ends up destroying the relationships they care about. Many other impulse problems— such as sexual acting out, overspending, food or drug abuse, and rage attacks—end up destroying love as well. A lack of boundaries keeps these behaviors going.

A loving person recognizes that the world does not revolve around him or her. They consider the consequences of their behavior on people around them before they act. In psychological terms, they are not “egocentric”—thinking that they are all that matters and that people around them exist only to meet their demands and needs.

George’s irresponsibility was costing him his marriage and had cost him financial losses, chaos, a lack of stability, and unrealized dreams. But what is this thing we call responsibility? Many things come to mind, such as duty or obligations, reliability and dependability, or just “getting the job done.”

Responsibility is actually broader than this. We think of responsibility in terms of ownership. To take ownership of your life is ultimately to take control. Ownership is to truly possess your life and to know that you are accountable for your life— to God and others. When you take ownership, you realize that all aspects of your life are truly yours and only yours, and that no one is going to live your life for you.

People who are accountable see life as something that has been entrusted to them, and they know that they and they only will be responsible for what they do with it. To take ownership of these is to be a truly responsible person, the kind of person with whom everyone wants to have a relationship. A responsible person says, “My feelings are my problem,” or “My attitude is my problem.” In addition, the truly responsible adult realizes, “I made me do it, and I am responsible.” With that, there is hope for self-control to develop.

Today’s content is drawn from Beyond Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2014 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit BoundariesBooks.com for more information.


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Image  —  Posted: April 10, 2017 by Castimonia in Humor, Sexual Purity Posts
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