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Giving it up to G-d

One S-Anon's success story

obormottel Thursday, 09 March 2017

I'm a wife of a sexaholic. The difficulty of being married to an addict is not only the acting out behavior. It also very much includes their demeanor.

The demeanor I'm talking about shows itself in the addict’s inability to have a healthy relationship, his mean-spirited comments, lying, sneaking, avoiding, ignoring - the list goes on. Something I've learned along the way through much program work is that the addict is the symptom, not the problem. What that means is that we, spouses, are the ones who make our own problems.

When I first started going to S-Anon program meetings, I resisted looking at myself. After all, he was the one with the problem. I was not the sick one. I was the one that had been holding the family together. He was the one who had been doing all these sick things, and avoiding reality, and passing blame. Yet, I kept hearing that we, S-Anons, also have a sickness!

What I've come to realize about myself was the following. I have been micromanaging my husband’s life. Whether it's his davening schedule, the time he goes to sleep, the time he comes home, the way he puts on his hat, how he works his program, when he goes to a meeting, and so on. Additionally, this controlling/fixing/obsessive behavior has manifested itself in the lives of my children, my coworkers, my extended family, neighbors. It's generated a tremendous amount of judgment and negativity amongst the majority of my relationships. B'kitzur, that is anonic behavior. That is the breeding ground for our problems.

I'd like to share one thing here because the 12-step program is a life work, for the anon and the addict, whether we like it or not. The only way for us to stay in reality is to continue working the 12 steps. The "Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous" says (pg 111) "...never tell him what he must do for his acting out. If he gets the idea that you are a nag or a killjoy, your chance of accomplishing anything useful may be zero. He will use this as an excuse to act out more..." (I changed the word drinking to acting out to refer to my situation). How appropriate is this sentence for the anon (spouse of an addict)! We often think that one more comment will change him, there is always that one more comment!

I am going through this very situation with my husband, where he has taken a break from his program. What happened to me was that it put me back into my old habits. All the comments and suggestions just made things so much worse. And, it generated fights and resentments for both of us.

After a making program call, a fellow anon reminded me of this sentence. The big question is, how can I work this sentence without suppressing my feelings, without suppressing my resentments? I ought to do 12 step work because that always cleans my side of the street. The next step is a meditation, that G-d is taking care of me, and G-d is taking care of him. When I try to take care of him the way I want, it doesn't work. So, I meditate on G-d taking care of us all instead. Not easy, but a work in progress. In the past, when I had been able to do that properly, I always experienced real serenity.

Just yesterday, my husband came to me and said he needs a meeting. That was a miracle. I don't know if that will make him better. I don't know if he'll end up going. But the fact that he personally admitted it after my relinquishing control was huge and a big learning experience.

From Strength to Strength to all.