I agree with oldtimer - attend a few meetings. Sometimes what we need doesn't come in the shape or form we expect it and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised if you are open to something different and out of your comfort zone.
I wanted to mention that even though all 12-step programs share the same principles and guidelines (the 12 steps), each program is unique in its own way.
I used to go to Gam-Anon (for families of gamblers). The format for most of the meeting was similar to CoDA's, yet during the "open forum" time, after people shared during their 5 minutes, others were allowed to comment back. yet those responses needed to be about personal experiences and always in the first person. In other words, people could relate their own learnings or challenges based on what others shared, but could not give specific advice.
The point is that this is a personal journey and the meetings are non-judgmental and respectful of where everyone is within their own program.
While at CoDA it is more of a listening format, like you described, it is still a very powerful way to learn about yourself and others. Pretty much like coming here and "lurking" and reading other people's threads - you can find so much insight and learn so much...
I would also recommend trying different meetings. Each location runs their meetings differently and some are smaller, more intimate groups and others are quite large. Find where you feel more at home.
Finally, each week meetings vary - one week they are focused on a specific step, etc.
If you want to learn more about co-dependency, buy the "bible book" at your next meeting (all of them sell literature). It's called "Codependents Anonymous" and it describes co-dependency, goes in depth about each of the 12-steps and has a big section dedicated to personal stories. This section is tough to read, every story is real and told by the person who lived it. I cried when I read so many of those and it was truly humbling for me.
I guess the most important thing is that regardless of the group, meeting or literature, you will get the most out of all of them if and when you decide to do your own 12-step program. Not an easy thing to do, but it can be life-changing.
Me & H: 44 D7, D6, S3 Together: 20y, M: 17y EA: 11/13/10, Sep: 12/23/10 EA becomes PA: Spring 2011 H filed for D: 09/06/12 D Negotiating began 2/15 OW seemingly gone on 3/15 Still negotiating D
Hi SS! Perfect timing! I hadn't been on for a bit but just dropped by to do some journalling. I hope things are going well with you!
I believe I've reached the point where I've become a true WAW, short of the actual walking away. I have my time frame set (when S13 goes to college) and I'm planning my exit strategy. I've given up trying to talk to H about our R because he just shuts down instantly. I've told him my plan if things don't change. I'm comfortable that I gave it due diligence (and then some!) and he can't legitimately claim he didn't know.
I'm doing a good job GAL'g, still need to do better. And I'm still focusing on my known issues, like codependency and boundaries and detachment, and there's improvement there.
I'm not angry or bitter about things. I don't have negative feelings for H at all, I just accept that this is how he is and it doesn't work for me. If I had to sum it all up in one statement (besides ILYBINILWY), it would be that I'm simply not attracted to him anymore. I think attraction is based upon a belief that another person can meet your LL needs, and I just don't see that in him anymore. This lack of attraction kills any desire I have to try. Besides, try what? Try to change him so that I find him more attractive? That doesn't work. And if I've expressed my needs and he doesn't respond then there's really nowhere to go with it anyway. So I've been humming along like this for awhile.
We saw our counselor for one last time about a month ago. It's funny (in a very sad sort of way) that he admits he really doesn't know what to suggest to help us. He advised the book "Thriving in a Difficult M." After that, and after H complaining once again about our R discussions, I told him we didn't need to talk anymore. I had said (ad nauseum) everything I needed to say and was just repeating myself anyway. I said I would likely be able to address some of his complaints/needs (chit chat conversation, doing things together, family commitments, sleeping in the same bed), but not some others (primarily sex, I'd feel like a hooker.) And that's how it has been for a month or so.
S13 and H left on Sunday morning to go to boy scout camp. H would call or text occasionally and I would respond pleasantly, though I never initiated myself. We've also done several things as a couple with family and friends. I've been pleasant and cordial as H has insisted upon, though it all seems rather sterile and rote to me, like we're just going through the motions, but I figured it was fine for H since he asked for it.
He came home from camp last night (son stays until Fri night.) He told me about his experiences and updated me on some people he knows, told me a joke he heard, etc. He asked if I wanted to do something, I said I just figured he'd have things he needed to do to catch up on since he was gone for 4 days and was working frantically until just before he left. And he did do a few things, and I continued doing the things I was doing, pausing if he had something he wanted to talk about. I even threw in a topic of an article I read about the huge amount of environmental waste that has accumulated on Mt. Everest from all the climbers over the years, in order to contribute to his need for fru-fru conversation. Since I've been letting him lead all this, I assumed it was good for him.
About 10pm, he asked if there was anything we should talk about regarding our R. The convo took about 45 minutes, with long slient pauses between my saying something and H responding, with H even falling asleep at one point. It went something like this: CV: No, we said we weren't going to have any more of those conversations. They weren't productive. (pause) H: There has to be a way for them to be more productive. CV: Well I don't know how. Do you? (pause) H: Well I may be too incompetent to bring them up, but I know we need to have them. CV: I wasn't commenting on your not ever initiating. Even when they were initiated by me, they weren't productive. (pause) H: Well I think you need them. CV: No, I don't. I think I've evidenced that. (pause) H: Well I want to feel more connected. CV: I'm trying to meet your stated needs. Was I receptive to your chit-chat when you got home? H: Yes. CV: Do I have a pleasant attitude? H: Yes. CV: I purposely didn't schedule anything for you tonight, feeling like you might have some things you needed to do, or simply to veg in the air-conditioning and catch up on some TV. Was there anything wrong in my thinking? H: No. (H falls asleep, eventually his phone wakes him up) H: Well I just want to feel closer to my W. CV: I hear you, and I'm not ignoring what you're saying. But I can't control how you "feel." What do you need for me to "do." (pause) H: I'm tired, I think I'll go to bed. CV: I'm sure you are tired. Hopefully you'll sleep better tonight than you did camping. H: I'm sure I will. CV: Good night, I'll be up in a bit.
So I have mixed emotions on this. First, I'm thrilled that I didn't get sucked into the old R discussion. I'm thrilled that I simply continued what I was doing during H's 5 or 10-minute pauses, rather that fill the gap with conversation regarding MY thoughts on the matter. I'm thrilled that HE is feeling uncomfortable for a change, rather than it always being me, because if there is any hope for our M, he has to be motivated too. I genuinely wanted him to have a nice evening and a good night's sleep. And I wasn't bothered at all when he left the discussion without answering my questions. All really great things.
The mixed emotion comes in with my not being bothered at all when he left the discussion without answering my question, and what it means exactly that I'm not bothered. Yes, I'm detached. That should be a good thing, because I can't do what my H can't tell me and I certainly don't need to own his issue. But rather, is it just that I'm fully entrenched in my exit plan and I simply don't care to do more for him anyway and this gets me off the hook?
As part of my changes, I'm going to not really even think about it. I can't answer it for H, and I'm not throwing out my exit plan, so dwelling on it would be a waste of time anyway. If anyone comments to my post, I'll consider it but I'm not going to dwell.
I stole this quote from AnotherStander. I loved it, didn't want to lose it, so I'm just posting it here.
"I'll never know. And you won't either. So do what I did- QUIT ASKING! Seriously, those questions will just eat you alive and you will NEVER get a satisfactory answer. We work on ourselves, we detach and GAL, we hold hope for saving our M's alive while preparing for life after M, and we set aside our need for answers. That's how we get through this."
I love that quote CV. One of the lessons I learnt was to "Let it be" That has been my motto most of this year. I had a lot of signs and synchronises associated with it. There were many things I felt I needed answers to. Once I learnt to "Let it be" things were so much calmer and peaceful. The strange thing is, I got answers to some of the things months later. I wasn't looking, they just came when the time was right. The ironic thing is by the time the answers were shown to me, they didn't matter any more. I had already deemed them irrelevant.
I now believe, if you can't find the answer to a question, "let it be" If your meant to know the answer, it will be "shown" to you, usually when you least expect it. If the answer does not come, Maybe it's one we are not meant to know.
You sound great! keep it up.
M: 29, H: 31 D: 9 S: 8 T: 13 Y M: 9 Y ILYBIDKIILWY 12/09/2012 ~~~~ Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. ~~~ it Emptys today of its strengths