Archive for July, 2009


Looking for help dealing with body-image challenged wife…

July 27, 2009

My wife is challenged by her body image.  It is driving me nuts.

waist measurementI am a recovering alcoholic with a few years sober.  I have done a lot of work dealing with my issues.  So I know solutions are out there for seemingly hopeless states of  mind.  I am living proof to myself.

My wife is slender.  Yet has body image issues.  Let me say it a different way…. I am at a loss for how to understand and support her in this problem.  I am finding it wearing and frankly, painful.

The constant comparisons and negativity really puts a damper on our relationship.  The constant statements of ridiculous, inaccurate ‘absolutes’…. such as…

  • I cannot get into shape.
  • Nothing I do makes a difference.
  • I am fat.
  • Men have it so easy.
  • I should just get liposuction.

My wife works out regularly and is a tall, attractive size 4-6 depending on cut.  So none of these statements are accurate.  Not even close.

The 12-step program that I live teaches me to surrender.  So this situation remains in a surrendered state.  I also know that I did not cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it.  I am weakening.  Frankly, I am tired of hearing the statements that to me, contain a strong thread of self-pity.  There are many underlying factors to these statements, but the one I hear the most loudly is self-pity.  Many women will kill for a body like my wife’s and here she is wallowing.  That’s how it sounds.

My wife has been to a special counselor for eating disorders…. but didn’t continue.  She read one book…. said it was good, but does not maintain her recovering thinking and won’t pick up another one.

I have shown her blogs that she can read on a regular basis, but she does not follow through.

In my mind, she would prefer to live in the pain of her misconceptions.  Or fear or something else is keeping her there.  She does not seem to even want anything different.  She reminds me of an alcoholic who would rather live with the pain of his drinking and thinking than even consider that there may be something different.

I do not want to nag her.  Nagging never helped me get sober.  I have put many things in front of her but she does not seem the have the willingness to pick them up.  She seems to prefer to stay stuck then complain about her body to me. Her husband.  Who finds her attractive.

This is really tough.  Any suggestions?




PTSD, betrayal, and addiction

July 21, 2009

I know little of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I have done some reading recently and have grown curious as to whether or not it is likely that I went through it.  I am hoping others can share some experiences and input.

One thing that jumps out from my reading is the inclusion of “Psychological Trauma” in the factors underlying PTSD.

My Psychological Trauma did not however include any physical trauma…. which I read is often a concurrent underlying cause.

What leaves me curious is the symptoms that I had…. including but not limited to…

  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fixation with re-living the event
  • Impairment socially and occupationally
  • Persistence of the symptoms beyond a month

The trauma I experienced was the discovery of prolonged betrayal by my wife of the time.  Betrayal with a friend of mine.  Leading to a divorce and her then marrying the guy. 

I look at my reactions and the impact the event had on me.  It was severe to say the least.  I turned to drugs.  They didn’t genuinely help…. they just masked the pain for a time.

Gladly, I have done a lot of work emotionally over the past few years and feel that even if I had been considered to have suffered PTSD, I would say I am now largely recovered.

Yet there is an eerie similarity in what I read about PTSD and how I felt and reacted after the initial trauma.

Can anyone with experience in this matter comment on…

  • Is PTSD recognized as being a result of emotional trauma only… meaning without physical trauma?
  • Do you know of any similar situations to mine that I describe?
  • Is addiction or alcoholism a commonly observed outcome?
  • Any other thoughts or comments?





Ineffective People

July 18, 2009

Ever dealt with or worked with someone with numerous agenda?  By and large, I experience people with multiple agenda to be ineffective.

double mindedI work with a guy who is always trying to prove  to us and others that he is not a 58-year-old washout.  In his efforts to prove this, he actually ends up solidifying that he is a struggling 58 year old and is actually creating what he is trying to deperately to disprove.

He does have abilities in what he does, but his effectiveness gets choked by his other agenda which appears to be to prove he is not what he fears he might be. If he would just do what he does and be good at it, he would be getting much farther ahead and we would be less prone to looking at his past…. which he continually draws our attention to with his overcompensating behaviour.

This point brings out a number of valuable lessons to me…

1. In AA when we talk about singleness of purpose, I believe we are talking about avoiding tainting our effectiveness with numerous agenda.

2. When Dr. Stephen Covey talks about how highly effective people practice the habit of “Keeping the main thing the main thing”, he is describing this same principle of remaining effective by not letting multiple agenda taint what is most important.

3. In the book of James where it describes a double-minded man being unstable, the exact same thing is being described.

In my spiritual, career, and recovery relationships, I am very cautious not to allow people with mixed agenda to dilute the effectiveness of the groups I am involved with.  I take all of these aspects of my life very seriously and strive to keep all efforts effective and focused.

So many people with mixed and multiple agenda are not even aware of it.  Like the guy I describe.  I doubt if he has any notion of how desperate he appears to be.  Nor is the socially needed guy at the AA meeting who appears to need to be important by prolonged sharing of personal details from the podium.  Nor is the relationally desperate guy at church who attends functions in hope to meet a woman.

Like in so many aspects of life, we can so easily be self-deceived.  And self-deception is impossible to spot on our own.  Which is why I make it a habit to spend time with people who will be honest with me about where they feel I am at and what they feel my motives are.

This kind of honesty helps me spot my own multiple and hidden agenda and helps me be as effective as I can be.




Recovery approach to career choices.

July 4, 2009

I am at a crossroad in my career.  My company is experiencing the downdraft of our economic situation and may not renew our distribution contract so we may fold in the next year.

It is amazing how life works.  I made a move to this career 2 1/2 years ago from another line of work I did for over a decade and had anticipated retiring from in another 20 years.  It was a tough decision, but I had to make it for the sake of my change

I burst out of the gates in this new line of work and did extremely well in my first year.  Second year not bad either.  This year is adequate but not great.  Future is uncertain.

So here I am again looking at a change at a time I really do not want to make one.  Yet never in my life have I been more able to do so.  Never before have I had a ways to order my thinking such that this crossroad is manageable.

By practicing Step 12, specifically, “applying the principles of recovery to all of my affairs”, I am getting through this phase better than I ever would have handled it at any previous time of my life.

I am less anxious, and more confident in surrendering the unmanageable parts of this journey to God as I understand him.  I am busy, but not striving.  I am working hard at this career change, but not panicking or flailing.  I am ambitious, but not desperate.

As a result, some of the most amazing circumstances and opportunities are coming my way.  I have learned to limit my expectations for any one of them.  Many things that look good one day, are less appealing the next.  And things that look unappealing one day, all of a sudden reveal themselves as something better.  There is just no way to pin life down and set laser-beam accurate expectations.

We can be wise, but never exact.  By that I mean that if I make the most wise decisions daily in how I spend my time and energy, I know that good things will result.  I just do not know exactly which good things.

I believe the Bible.  God as I understand Him is God of the Bible.  In the Bible, I read that (paraphrased)…. I do not need to be anxious.  Instead, I can choose a different pathway and be grateful for everything I have.  I can also continuously put my requests to God when I pray.  The result is peace that passes all understanding.

So I am not anxious about this career change.  I do not need to listen to negative voices.  Especially those in my head.  And those in our culture that suggest that a job change is horrifying.  Instead, I can refocus on what I do have.  I have a home, a wife, great kids, my health, my sobriety, and job-wise, I still have a great job and I am well looked after.  I have a company car and benefits, even though our market is slow and our company may fold.  That’s a lot to be grateful for isn’t it?

One would have a hard time being anxious while holding those thoughts of gratitude front and centre in one’s mind.  Yet when some anxiety does try to sneak in, I can shoot it up to God.  I can surrender it to him.

This is a great way to live.  Way better than drinking.  Way better than thinking the way I used to.