12/3/08 BB To Wives pp 118-120 (jealous spouses)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS

12/3/08 BB To Wives pp 118-120 (jealous spouses)

Postby Karl R » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:12 am

Good Morning,

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Yesterday's text spoke of workouts(conflicts) in the family during and after recovery.

Today's text (below in red) speaks of jealousness which may arise from our family during our program of recovery. As I read this section I recognized both types of feelings in my own relationships. Our spouse may feel hurt that "their love and loyalty could not cure our husbands of alcoholism" I try to encourage my family by telling them the truth-it was their care and concern over the years that brought me to a place where I could surrender and start our program of recovery.

Family can also be jealous of time spent on recovery and "AA business". We have to guard our time and concern for family. The chapter "The family afterwards" tells us of balance in our lives.

Anyone care to share of their ES and H concerning jealousies arising in the family during recovery and while working the steps? Or...of balance in our lives?

have a great day everyone,
Karl

Another feeling we are very likely to entertain is one of resentment that love and loyalty could not cure our husbands of alcoholism. We do not like the thought that the contents of a book or the work of another alcoholic has accomplished in a few weeks that for which we struggled for years. At such moments we forget that alcoholism is an illness over which we could not possibly have had any power. Your husband will be the first to say it was your devotion and care which brought him to the point where he could have a spiritual experience. Without you he would have gone to pieces long ago. When resentful thoughts come, try to pause and count your blessings. After all, your family is reunited, alcohol is no longer a problem and you and your husband are working together toward an undreamed-of future.
Still another difficulty is that you may become jealous of the attention he bestows on other people, especially alcoholics. You have been starving for his companionship, yet he spends long hours helping other men and their families. You feel he should now be yours. The fact is that he should work with other people to maintain his own sobriety. Sometimes he will be so interested that he becomes really neglectful. Your house is filled with strangers. You may not like some of them. He gets stirred up about their troubles, but not at all about yours. It will do little good if you point that out and urge more attention for yourself. We find it a real mistake to dampen his enthusiasm for alcoholic work. You should join in his efforts as much as you possibly can. We suggest that you direct some of your thought to the wives of his new alcoholic friends. They need the counsel and love of a woman who has gone through what you have.
It is probably true that you and your husband have been living too much alone, for drinking many times isolates the wife of an alcoholic. Therefore, you probably need fresh interests and a great cause to live for as much as your husband. If you cooperate, rather than complain, you will find that his excess enthusiasm will tone down. Both of you will awaken to a new sense of responsibility for others. You, as well as your husband, ought to think of what you can put into life instead of how much you can take out. Inevitably your lives will be fuller for doing so. You will lose the old life to find one much better.
Last edited by Karl R on Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oliver » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:29 pm

I've been enjoying this exploration of "To Wives", because it's one of the chapters of our text that I don't really delve into very often - because (a) I am not a wife and (b) I do not have a wife or family.

Nevertheless, I get a lot of identification with its contents. The first paragraph of this excerpt really hit me - how ungrateful at times I can be.

"Your family is reunited, alcohol is no longer a problem and you and your husband are working together toward an undreamed-of future." (These promises have come true in my life).
Oliver
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Postby Joe H » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:07 pm

Harveydog, I have deleted your post.

If you have something constructive to share or if you have a valid point/argument to make without insults feel free to do so.
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Postby harveydog » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:18 pm

Honesty is my only excuse. Bill wrote the section 'To wives". He didn't feel that Lois could be trusted to write anything charismatic. If truth is not constructive then delusion must be the backbone of the endeavor.
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Postby Joe H » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:33 pm

Insults and insinuating that Bill W. wrote this chapter to fulfill a sexual urge is not constructive.

I think you should log out and come back tomorrow when you are in a better frame of mind.
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Postby harveydog » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:46 pm

A sexual urge? No innuendo was made by me.
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Postby tasman » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:10 am

Hello Harveydog

I am a relative newcomer to this forum and to sobriety. I think the main idea of the forum is for alcoholics to help each other get sober and stay sober.

Do you want to draw attention to the personality defects of Bill W because you believe that this will help someone?

If you are genuinely here because you need help or want help, then welcome.

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Postby 120808 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:03 am

I've been enjoying this exploration of "To Wives", because it's one of the chapters of our text that I don't really delve into very often - because (a) I am not a wife and (b) I do not have a wife or family

I initially dismissed that chapter out of my own hostility and prejudice. That should make Oliver feel better that his character is not as defective as mine. Having always been a single woman and don't expect any of that to change anytime soon, I had misgivings about that chapter for the wrong reasons. Interestingly, I attended a Big Book meeting that I don't normally attend because I knew my sponsor would be there and I wanted to talk to her in person about some stuff. She had been praising that meeting for a long time and wouldn't you know? My first time attending that meeting, the chapter of topic then was To Wives. Someone said something that got my attention so much, that I actually raised my hand and made a comment about it even though I was really there just to listen to the comments of others AND see my sponsor. I ought to cut and paste that quote here when I have a moment to look it up. Maybe today.
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Re: 12/3/08 BB To Wives pp 118-120 (jealous spouses)

Postby leejosepho » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:01 am

...resentment that love and loyalty could not cure our husbands of alcoholism.

My wife describes herself as an alcoholic who has since recovered, and I do not know whether anyone in her past might have ever felt that kind of resentment although I do recall feeling fearful of my own future if she did not come to A.A. when I did. Ultimately, however, "the contents of a book or the work of another alcoholic" certainly did accomplish for each of us what neither could have done for the other.

Still another difficulty is that you may become jealous of the attention [bestowed upon] other people, especially alcoholics. You have been starving for his companionship, yet he spends long hours helping other men and their families. You feel he should now be yours.

Here is one place in our book where I believe an actual spouse of an alcoholic would have been better-suited for the writing. Saying "You should join in his efforts as much as you possibly can...direct some of your thought to the wives of his new alcoholic friends" is not bad advice, of course, but I do believe something like "Here is what we have done" would have sounded or felt much better for the advised one.

...you probably need fresh interests and a great cause to live for as much as your husband...cooperate, rather than complain...think of what you can put into life instead of how much you can take out. Inevitably your lives will be fuller for doing so. You will lose the old life to find one much better.

All still true, and I am grateful my wife and I have each had the opportunity to decide those matters for ourselves and then learn to live it all out together.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: 12/3/08 BB To Wives pp 118-120 (jealous spouses)

Postby Niagara » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:42 am

I have studied this chapter, and I came to the understanding that this does not cover all bases. It can't. Relationships are complex things.

This didn't work out, this way for me....although this would have been a chapter 'to husbands' in my case. I do feel that this is best case scenario, and some relationships just won't be mended by this program.

My husband didn't want any part of recovery. Was he jealous? I'm not sure - but I do know he was happier when I was drinking, and seemed to relish the 'caretaker' role. He only ever asked me to stop drinking once, and that was when I was doing it in bars alone. When I did it at home, he was happy to provide as much as I wanted to drink.

He never tried to prevent me doing AA stuff, and indeed would give me lifts wherever I needed to be/collect me, with no complaint at all - but then he would ask me to hold/smell his beer and things like that, knowing that I was struggling. It was really messed up, and I still do not know what it was all about really......perhaps I never will.

We did live in each others pockets, no real outside life...but that was true even at the start of the relationship before the drinking became really bad.

the only conclusion I was left to draw was I saw/felt the real need to flip life on it's head and change it all...or die...and he didn't. He was happy the way it was. With both of us having very different ideas about life now, I guess it was inevitable that it was going to end. Maybe it had already ended long before I got in recovery, and that was just the final nail in the coffin. I didn't need care taking anymore and that was all that was holding things together maybe.

In any case, I have seen him recently since he left six months ago and we are on good terms. He seemed happy for me to be doing so well, he's living with someone else now and seems to be happy enough himself.

your family is reunited, alcohol is no longer a problem and you and your husband are working together toward an undreamed-of future
.

It's been my experience that that doesn't always happen, and I do think that that part is crucial. Without that togetherness part, it's shaky ground at best. Either way, acceptance that things can't always be fixed as we would like them to be has been a big part of this for me. Sometimes the kindest (and only) thing you can do is wish them well and move on. Care enough for them to let them go. This disease is hard on them too..perhaps harder than it is even for us sometimes, since they get landed with the responsibility of an adult child instead of an equal partner. Sometimes expecting them to want this as much as we do, after all that's happened, is just an expectation too far.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt
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Re: 12/3/08 BB To Wives pp 118-120 (jealous spouses)

Postby whipping post » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:37 am

A lot of things have changed since this was written. Including easier divorces and women advancing in the workforce. Women aren't as "trapped" at home with us as they used to be.
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Re: 12/3/08 BB To Wives pp 118-120 (jealous spouses)

Postby Noels » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:21 am

Excellent post Niagra. Seeing the "other side of the coin" so to speak which is possibly more relevant to relationships today.
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