Love Over Addiction Podcast With Sherie

Hey there, thanks so much for listening to another interview with an amazing woman named Sherie. I just love this girl because she’s so vulnerable and honest. She is one courageous woman for being honest with me and, most importantly, honest with herself about loving someone who is suffering from addiction.

In this interview, we cover all sorts of great topics like trying to control someone who doesn’t want to be controlled. We talk about what to do when you don’t recognize the woman you’ve become because of your relationship with someone who drinks too much or uses drugs. Boundaries are another great topic we cover. Wait until you hear about her amazing victory.

There’s a lot we covered so I want to get right to it.

Michelle: Thank you so much for agreeing to share your story with me. Again, I really appreciate it.

Sherie: Thank you for having me.

M: Where I’d like to start is: how did you meet your husband, and when did you first start to notice signs or symptoms or red flags about his drinking?

S: Oh my goodness. I met him in a bar.

M: You did!

S: I did. [Laughing]. So that probably should have been my first clue. And honestly, I come from – my dad was an alcoholic, so it’s just been a pattern through my life. As far as it becoming an issue in our marriage, it was a few years down the road. We didn’t have a lot of money, to begin with, so we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on alcohol which was probably a blessing. Eventually, things got better. We started hanging out with people, going out, having parties and having fun.

I’m going to guess about 10 years into our marriage, I started noticing it becoming a problem. It was every weekend that he got drunk, and then it would become Friday, Saturday, Sunday, sometimes the middle of the week. We couldn’t seem to go anywhere or do anything with anyone who didn’t drink. So that’s when I would say it really started becoming an issue. The more I held back from trying not to go with these things, the more we fought. So I gave in and we went.

M: How was your drinking at that time? Were you somebody who really enjoyed drinking, or did you stop drinking?

S: I don’t mind having a glass of wine once in awhile. I was never a big drinker. I’m not really that crazy about the taste of alcohol. Even before drinking and driving was so well watched here in New York I would be the DD, and at the very beginning, we used to fight about that because he would insist on driving. There were many nights I would start walking home so that finally got through his head, and he would let me drive, but that just allowed him to drink more. So no, I was not a big drinker. I am still not a big drinker. You know, social…

M: You had 10 years of marriage with him, which is a long time before his drinking really became a serious issue. Was there anything that happened in those 10 years, any trauma, any event that occurred? Or do you think it was just the natural progression of this disease, where it starts out with binge drinking every now and then, and then it turns into a slow and steady stream of alcohol?

S: I think there are two factors. I think, exactly, the progression. That definitely was part of it. Also, I had previously been married. I have a daughter. My first husband was in an accident, and then my current husband and I tried to have children, but we were unable to. I’m not saying it was an excuse, but I do think it weighed heavily on him that he couldn’t have his own child.

We talked about splitting up over that. He didn’t want to and neither did I, so we went forward with in vitro and different procedures which did not work for us. I think that weighed on him not being able to have an offspring. And again, the natural progression. His mom is an alcoholic. Alcoholism is on both sides of our family. It was, I don’t want to say inevitable, but it was certainly a big part of it.

M: Well there’s just a predisposition genetically that’s triggered when alcoholism is present in the next generation or a previous generation, so that’s definitely something that’s key. How did you feel when he started drinking, and it became more and more present in your life? How did that start to make you feel, and how did that change the dynamics of your relationship?

S: I became very angry. I’m the oldest of six, so I was always in charge when my parents were out doing their thing. I tried to mother him. [Laughing] And I see that now. I didn’t then. I tried to control the drinking, and I tried to control who he hung out with. We fought terribly. I was working full time, and it was very difficult.

M: Yeah, so you’re saying that the way you coped with these feelings of rejection and feeling out of control – because when you were the oldest of six, and you had parents that you knew put you in charge a lot, you were probably very used to control and controlling things, and now here you are married to a man who refuses to accept your control. What you’re saying is your coping mechanism or the way that you handled that lack of control, was through anger.

S: A lot of anger, yep.

M: Did you verbally yell at him?I know I’m the type of person who has to get it out. I’m not one of those people who can repress their anger. There are other women out there who are extremely angry and resentful but manage to keep a very quiet mouth and shove it all inside. Which one are you?

S: I get it out there. Say what I think maybe not always appropriately. I would yell and scream, and I did the begging and pleading as well, and when that didn’t work…I mean, it was never a physical thing, but a lot of hurtful things were said between the two of us.

M: How did you feel after these fights?

S: I felt terrible. I felt like I was a person I didn’t know who I was. It felt as though this was not me. How could these things come out of my mouth to a person I love? How could I react so angrily and then minimize the situation? He came home from work the last two nights and stopped to have a drink with his buddies. He was here two nights.

I would try to do that, but it was always… I just never felt happy. It never felt like I mattered. I never felt like he cared about us as a family. Then the anger would come back and I would say and do terrible things. I would spend money just to get even. [Laughing]

M: [Laughing]

S: I would call it retail therapy. He went out and spent x number of dollars on a bar bill. I went out and bought a new outfit, whether I needed it or not.

M: [Laughing]

S: That wasn’t good either.

M: I’m only laughing because I can relate. I remember the first time I noticed that I did that. I went out and spent a ridiculous amount of money on Christmas decorations. You got angry. You tried when you were angry with him. I completely relate to saying things that you would never dream would come out of your mouth, and then feeling very ashamed afterward of yourself, and blaming yourself, which is what I did a lot of because this disease makes you crazy.

S: It sure does.

M: I mean it, absolutely. The more logical you try to be, the crazier you become because this disease is illogical. There is no logic to it. You can’t make sense of it. So the more you try, the more you can just go insane. When you were yelling at him, did you project anything that you were feeling towards your father onto him? Were those feelings very similar to you?

S: I don’t know how to answer that. I’ve always said I would never marry a man who drank like my father.I think I was really more taken aback that that is exactly what I had done. I used to say things like, “You’re not my father, and I’m not my mother, and I’m not going to put up with this.” In a way, I did.

M: Wow. Yeah, that makes sense. Do you remember when you realized that you had recreated your childhood situation? Was there a moment or a day or a conversation you had when you realized, “I didn’t mean to do this, but I’ve arrived at this spot again?”

S: I do remember thinking that. I can’t remember if it was an actual incident or something specific that figured it, but I do remember coming to that conclusion at some point. I remember going, “Oh my gosh. You know what have I done? I’m raising a daughter in the same chaos that I was raised in. This is crazy.” You were talking about being a logical person. I am a very logical, methodical person, so yeah, I think it made me crazier than my mom. I don’t know.

M: I love to research. I’m a huge researcher, and the more I researched, the more opinions and facts I got that completely contradicted one another. And it didn’t matter., There are so many wonderful people out there that are studying this disease and trying to make sense of it.

I think I say in the Love Over Addiction program that Googling information about this disease is a mistake. It’s not our business, it’s not our concern how they got to this point or how they’re going to get out at this point. That’s not our job because we can get lost and go very deep and wide, and that is a complete waste of time.

S: I went on researching why he can’t be an alcoholic because he’s holding down a job and providing fine for us. He drinks too much, so what would be another reason for it? I was in denial about the alcoholism and looking for another reason. Something that I could fix. And of course, there wasn’t anything.

M: I love that you’ve come to that conclusion because that’s coming from an extreme place of strength on your part. That’s wonderful because the denial is now gone. You’ve come to a place of acceptance and realized that there’s nothing that you can do. When you were a little girl growing up in an alcoholic household, how did your mother react to your father’s drinking? What was modeled for you?

S: My mother would accompany my father to the bars, and I was left to take care of my younger brothers and sisters. She did it to keep the peace. My dad, at times, could get very violent, not physical so much, but he would destroy things. He never hit us or my mother, but he would destroy things in the house so that I would gather up my child – my other siblings and we would go over across the road to my aunt’s house.The other thing she would do was fight with him. She would scream, kind of like I did. [Laughs]

S: That was very chaotic, and it was what we knew.

M: Are they both alive still?

S: My dad passed away seven years ago. He had stopped drinking for probably 15 years before he passed away.They were probably the best 15 years of their lives. I never remember a time when my father was not drinking until then.

M: Did you forgive him and form a relationship with him?

S: Yes I did. I can remember when I got married I told my dad I wanted him to give me away. He was still drinking at the time, and I said, “but if you drink, do not come to my wedding.” Michelle, he actually did not drink that whole day. To this day I look back, and I think, “Oh my gosh. He actually did that for me.”

Now, it didn’t stop his drinking, but he did not drink that day. And I loved him for that. I think that’s kind of when I forgave him. He got better and then actually at the end I was helping my mom take care of him because of course, the alcohol took its toll and he had lots of things going on.

M: I absolutely adore you for making that boundary for your wedding day. I think that is so smart and so brilliant on your part. To be able to have the courage to say that to your dad. That was very much out of respect for you, respect for your relationship with him, and out of love for you that he listened and that’s huge. That’s a beautiful thing.

S: Thank you

M: I just have to ask because I always get curious when I hear about men and women who stopped drinking and beat the odds because the odds are so low in this disease. Long-term sobriety is defined in the addiction world as 10 or more years.

A lot of people think long-term sobriety is one, two, four years but statistically, there are a lot of relapses between one and five years that take place. To be sober for 15 years is truly amazing. What a phenomenal guy. What was the turning point for him?

S: He had some health issues, and the last time he ended up in the emergency room the doctor told him, “The next time you come in here, you won’t be leaving.” I think that impacted him. It slowed him down, it slowed the drinking down quite a bit, then one year he decided he was giving up smoking, and right after he gave up smoking, he gave up drinking. Once he conquered the smoking, he gave up the drinking.

At the time, I was kind of angry with him too. It’s like he just stopped, Michelle. He just stopped. He just decided one day he wasn’t drinking anymore. And he didn’t. I thought all these years you put us through hell, and here you are, “Okay, now I’m not going to drink anymore.” I’m proud of him, but for a while, I was angry with him, too. I don’t know if that makes sense, but…

M: It makes total sense. It makes complete and total sense.

S: The man was a member of the American Legion here, in fact, he was an officer. He would go up there and tend bar where men were drinking and smoking, and he never ever picked up a cigarette or a beer again.

M: Is that right?

S: You know, it’s like, was he really an alcoholic? I don’t know. [Laughing]

M: Wow, that is a story! That is something new that I have not heard of. That’s a very strong person right there. That’s incredible.

S: Yes, he was.

M: Well, I’m so glad that you got to experience a sober father and that your mother got to experience 15 years of sobriety. I think a lot of times, and I hear this often, that men and women get sober, then they turn into a dry drunk. I know you’re probably familiar with that.

S: Right.

M: Being very grumpy, being very moody. It’s actually sometimes worse than the drinking. Often times women write me and they go, “I know this sounds nuts, but I almost want him to drink because he’s a lot less grumpy than when he’s dealing with being dry drunk.” Your father did not experience that I guess.

S: No, at least my mom never said anything that he did. He was always a pretty happy drunk I guess, a happy go lucky guy and he really didn’t… I do know what you mean – mean and a little bit different now. It’s like I used to say to my husband – he would drink 2 beers and he would be so miserable. I would actually say to him, “Have a third beer so you can be fun again.” Now, I’m like ”OMG, why would I say that?”[Laughing]

M: Isn’t it ridiculous? I thank you for your honesty because I gotta tell ya, I look back on the 10 years that I spent with my ex-husband, and I did some stupid stuff. But you know what, we don’t know any better. It’s not like there’s a manual that comes out when you’re married that you know what to do and not to do. I mean, hopefully, that’s what I’m trying to create so that we can all learn together. It’s ridiculous when I look back on what I did or said or how I behaved, so no judgment there at all. We’ve all been there.

S: Oh my goodness. I know. It’s crazy.

M: It is. It literally is. Let’s go back to your marriage because I want to talk to you about that. Where are you today in your marriage, and how are you coping?

S: When my daughter got married I went back to school. I got my degree in psychology with an emphasis in addiction counseling.

M: Oh, congratulations!

S: I have to tell you that my main goal when I went back to school was to become a counselor for families. Not for addicts. where I live it’s a very very small community, and the only thing we really have is a couple of Al-Anon groups. There are plenty of treatments for the alcoholic, and if the alcoholic is in treatment, they offer the family. If the alcoholic is not in the program, you don’t really have access to that.

My goal was always to help other women do this. I went back to school for that reason, and I did not like the principles in Al-Anon so much. I hadn’t accepted a lot of them so much either, but I never felt they gave us a concrete way to handle things. It was all very esoteric. You could detach, but they never told you how. It just didn’t make sense to me. I needed someone to tell me, “You need to do X, Y, and Z.” I wanted someone to tell me, “You do X, Y, and Z and he will get better,” which of course can’t happen.

Just to have the support so you wouldn’t need to try to figure it out on your own… And that’s what you’ve done. It’s amazing… Like walk away and do this – Find something to do that you enjoy. It’s ok to just leave and not have to listen to him and all this stuff. And that’s what you’ve done!

M: [Laughing]

S: I kind of lost my focus after I got out of school, and things got really crazy and I just never followed through. When I found your program, it was like “Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
[Laughing]

M: Thank you for saying that. What you just said is exactly how I felt. I didn’t want to hear so many stories. I didn’t want to talk about addiction and just tell stories about what tragedies had happened to us. I’m an achiever, and it sounds like you are too. I just needed a plan. Give me the steps to follow, and I will go back and do that.

I just couldn’t find that, so I thought, “You know what?Let’s get that out there.” There are real steps that really can make a difference. So when you found the program, were you at a point where you were already recovered? Had you already figured out those steps on your own? Did school help teach you that?

S: No, when I found the program, I was at the point where I had enough. I did not know honestly who I was, where I was going, what I was going to do. I had been to a lawyer. We were in the midst of a huge crisis, and I was like, “Something has to give.” I’ve got to find some way to have some peace in my life. So like you say, you get on and start googling. [Laughing] You popped up which was great. I don’t even remember what I googled because I was just googling everything – alcohol, alcoholics, support, everything.

M: I’ve been there. No judgment. You found the program and you joined. Was this before or after you went back to school?

S: Oh, it was after I went back to school.

M: So you’ve been working the program, I can tell- I can already tell because I can tell everything that you just recited. That’s beautiful and brilliant. Where are you today in your relationship?

S: We are together. It’s better than it was 18 months ago. It’s not good. I wouldn’t say it is good, but I am more at peace with myself, and I do the things I want to do within reason. Today I leave at 3:30. I am headed to New York City with five girls that I’ve hung out with for years.

M: Fabulous.

S: I don’t feel guilty anymore. I just do it. I’ve come to realize I always thought of myself as being a survivor, but I wasn’t a survivor. I was tolerating, accommodating, and I was sticking it out. But I wasn’t living.

M: [Laughing] Big difference, right?

S: Big difference.

M: Why do you say that? Let’s talk about that for a little while. What’s the difference for you?

S: The difference for me was that I actually went to counseling for a while, and one of the things she had asked me was, “What do you like to do?” and I could not answer it. I could not think of anything I liked to do or even wanted to do. I was just that out of touch. Between the program and some counseling and reading a lot of books, and doing a lot of other things, I rediscovered some of the things I liked to do and I’ve been doing them. I’ve discovered new things. One of the things I absolutely love is yoga, and that has been amazing.

M: Can we just talk about yoga which has absolutely nothing to do with anything, although it kind of does. I gotta tell you. I discovered yoga this year. All my friends have been doing it, and I kinda poo-pooed at them a little bit – like yoga? Whatever. And I adore yoga. Oh, my goodness. Just the – I don’t know what it is. If it’s the just the centeredness that you feel, the five minutes at the end… When you give that to yourself… The motion – I don’t know, but there’s something very wonderful and healing about yoga.

S: Absolutely. I had tried Hatha Yoga in the past. I enjoyed it but this version, this Kundalini version, I’ve just connected with it, and there’s something I can’t explain, but I just come out of there. It makes me feel so centered, I feel grounded, so peaceful like – ok, I can deal with my life because I had this hour, hour and a half to myself at least once a week

M: I have to go. If I don’t go, my husband is pushing me out the door to go. He’s like, “Oh you need yoga, honey. You go get your alone time.” [Laughing]. You talk about it. Now go do it. I love what your therapist said, and I think I actually have a guide sheet in the program that asks that very question. I think it’s in module two or three where it talks about what you like to do. It’s funny that you say that exact phrase, “What do I like to do?” That has come up over and over again in these interviews.

We get so lost in this addiction. That’s why they call it a family disease because it takes down the family. We get so obsessed and preoccupied with trying to fix them, help them, solve them, nurture them, and be everything to them. We just completely forget about who we are – our purpose, our gifts, our happiness, and our hobbies. I love that you are not only making a list of what you like to do, but you’re also making that a priority to do it.

S: When I first did the module, when I reached that point – I think you had asked for a list of 10 things.

M: Yes.

S: I love to read, so that was easy. I think it got four or five and then I got stuck. I was like, “There’s nothing else.” I even tried, “What did I do as a kid? Well, I can’t do that now, I’m an adult. I can’t do those things. Why can’t I?” [Laughing]. I feel that way now. I thought, “OMG, there are not even 10 things in this world that I like to do except just fuss over my husband and his problems.” [Laughing]

M: Isn’t that funny? Let’s talk about your friends, because I think that – let me tell you just really quickly, I was very lonely. I was a pretty social person in college. I never had a problem with making friends, and then I married an alcoholic, and my husband was addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography, a whole bunch of things. The longer I was in the marriage, the lonelier I became. We didn’t go out to parties anymore because he would just embarrass me. He would slur his words, he would have too much to drink, and I would have to be the designated driver all the time. It just wasn’t fun.

Then, I couldn’t invite anyone else over, because in the middle of the meal, multiple times he would either pass out at the table, or he’d pick up his keys and leave in the middle of the dinner. I never wanted to leave the house because I was always so afraid of what kind of mess would I come home to. How would he behave when I was back? I just always felt guilty leaving too. I felt very out of control and very self-centered.

All of this was incredibly unhealthy, and I worked through all of that, but it left me, in the seventh year of our marriage, with no friends. You just shared with me that you’re going away on vacation with your girlfriends to New York. Do you have friends that are local? Have you managed to maintain your friendships?

S: We have…Yes, I guess I have to say yes. These girls and I have been friends -one of them – she and I started work the same day, so we have 40+ years of being friends. They know what my life is like and they understand.They’re not judgmental. They’re supportive. Sometimes they’re like, “Get out. “Why are you there?” I perfectly get that they love me. They want the best for me, but our friends that we had as a couple we no longer have.

That makes me sad, and like you said, I can’t have people over. I won’t have people over because I don’t want them to see the mess that he’s created. He’s very verbally abusive at times. I just don’t want to subject people to that, and I don’t want to subject myself to it. I have work to do there. As far as me keeping friends we’ve had over the years, I am very fortunate in that I’ve been able to do that.

M: That’s great. I love that you made that a priority. I think that’s so healthy because our girlfriends really are our lifeline. They can be our lifeline if we use them and we make sure – I think I wrote about this in one of the programs or on the blog – our friendships are balanced and that we’re not always calling them in crisis. That needs to be reciprocated.

We need to be open to not talk about our chaos and let them get some space and airtime, even though what they’re going through probably doesn’t really compare a lot to what we’re going through. We need to give them the respect to do that. I know women are going to be able to relate to you when you say, “I’m choosing to stay today.” I always say there’s never any judgment.

I would never want to be known as the woman who was trying to get women to leave their husbands ever. That would never sit well with me. That is not the goal of the program. The goal of the community is that you can choose to stay today, and you reserve the right to change your mind tomorrow. It’s whatever works for you.

S: I love that philosophy. When I start – Actually, you’ll probably laugh. When I saw the title of the program, Love Over Addiction, I thought, “I can love him well. He’s going to get better.” I’m looking at the program, and then I’m like, “Isn’t that crazy? I mean, how crazy is that?”

[Laughing]

M: No, because someone else just told me that last week. They said they were actually mad at me, and they were going to ask for a refund when they purchased the program because they were like, “Wait a second. This doesn’t teach me how to get him sober,” and they were mad. Then they said, “Thank God I stuck with it, because I understood, and now I’m in such an amazing place.”

When you talk about staying, how do you handle it because I got that a lot? I think that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t share his addiction because I didn’t want people to tell me to leave. I didn’t. The few people I did share small amounts with all were like, “How do you put up with that. Why do you deal with that? I would have left a long time ago.” I didn’t want them judging him, and I didn’t want them judging me for choosing to stay. So how do you handle that?

S: When someone says to me… Someone that I’m very very very close to – I would consider her maybe my best friend is his sister-in-law, Mary. She’s married to her brother. She’s the kind of person I would strive to be because she’s very non-judgmental. She just doesn’t judge anybody. She has even said to me on occasion, “You have a place to go if you need a place to go.” When I tell her I’m not ready for that…She’s never asked me that. The people who do say that to me – it depends on the person and the circumstances, but I usually will tell them,“I love my husband. He’s got a disease. This is not who he is. There are 37 years of marriage here that I am just not ready to walk out of.”

Now that I have learned how to be happy, at least more than I’m unhappy, it’s not as difficult to stay.It’s not as difficult to put up with some of the stuff that I do put up with. One of the biggest things I think has helped me is boundaries. I really struggled with boundaries, because boundaries to me were what am I going to say that’s going to make him change?

Oh boy, did I struggle with that for a long, long time. It’s a very difficult concept to get around, but I think it’s one of the biggest things you can do for yourself with your own personal boundaries. My husband is a big flirt to the point where it’s embarrassing, not just to me but to the person he’s flirting with.

The other night we were headed for dinner, and he had done this just a couple nights earlier, and I said to him, “If you go in there and you start putting your hands all over somebody, or you’re hugging and kissing up that girl at the bar or whatever, I’m outta here. You are going to have dinner by yourself, and I’m going to leave you here.”

I really meant it. I have said that in the past and not meant it. When we set boundaries and we really believe that we can follow through in our voice or demeanors, they get it. He did not do anything out of line that night, not that he’ll never do it again, but for that night he was good. I don’t know, does that make sense? That you could project yourself differently so that they take you more seriously?

M: Oh my gosh. Amen to what you just said. Yes and yes. That’s amazing. I think boundaries are so important. I wrote a whole program about them.

S: I know, that is my favorite program. [Laughing]

M: You’re right because it’s so confusing. I remember when someone told me about boundaries and I was like, “Ok, so I’m going to tell him that if he drinks again, he needs to go into rehab.” That’s an absolutely ridiculous boundary. I can’t enforce it because I have no control over it. It has nothing to do with me, so that’s not going to work. I think you’re right, getting clear on what a boundary is, and it’s all about our choices and our behavior and our reactions to their behavior.

You were right in saying that it was the delivery. I don’t think if you just started out in your recovery from loving him – if you just started out that night going to the restaurant – If that was the first thing that you ever said to him, I don’t think you would have come from such a place of strength. I don’t think it would have worked. The reason why it worked with you this time is that you had so much work and so many instances invested up to that moment that it was like – Yeah, he gets it.

You know what, he sees the changes you’re making. He sees all of the little tiny steps, and they are little tiny steps when you’re recovering. It’s not this big giant leap that happens one day when you wake up. It’s a daily practice just like your yoga. You’re sitting there saying, “He gets it,” and he believes you because he sees the difference in you. He hears it in your voice, but he sees it in your action.

It’s not an empty threat because you are going to New York in an hour and a half. You are working on changing your strategies when you are getting into an argument. You are choosing to leave the house when he becomes verbally abusive to you. Does that make sense?

S: It does. It was hard to put some of that stuff into practice and liking to scream back or trying to make him understand or hurt more than he hurt me. All that stuff was such a second nature to me that I really had to work hard to keep the quiet mouth, to walk away, to turn… What is he accomplishing? He’s still doing it.It really was difficult to do that, but the more I did it, the better I felt about myself.

I did beat myself up later because I called him a terrible name or something mean or hurtful or did something that I shouldn’t have done like spend money that I didn’t mean to spend. I started feeling better about myself, and it really didn’t have anything to do with him or what he had said or done or anything else. It works, Michelle, it works!

[Laughing]

M: I’m so glad. You’re so right, and here’s the great news about the tools you’re learning and exercising, and I’m so proud of you right now. I wish you were in the room because I would give you a huge high five and a giant hug and say I’m incredibly proud of your commitment to yourself. I’m incredibly proud that you didn’t buy the program and let it sit on your computer – that you actually did it. That you went to a therapist, that you read you were in charge of your own recovery. You took charge, and that is amazing because a lot of women are perfect martyrs and they are perfect victims and they don’t do anything. They stay stuck.

When you said to me earlier in this conversation that you had enough and you went googling, what I think you meant, even though you might not have known it, is that you had enough of yourself and your reactions and your life. You went looking for – even though I’m sure you might not have known it at the time – what you found was something that you actually could be in charge of. You could take your power back from this disease, which is what you did when you joined the program and you got the help.

I am incredibly proud of you. I think you are a wonderful example and role model, not only for women who want to stay, because I think that’s a perfectly wonderful and acceptable answer and solution, but also just for women who are out there years into their marriage kind of going, “Is this as good as it’s gonna get? Is my only choice to leave or to stay?” Many times I think women start with that point. That’s completely – You don’t have to do that, don’t even think about that until you’ve done your work.

S: That’s true, and honestly, part of the reason I went into the program was, being the logical brain that I am, I needed a checklist. I go because of this and because of that. I was trying to make a list and figure out how to give weight to certain things, and I was driving myself insane with that. When you said, “You know what, you don’t need to make that decision right now. You can change your mind,” like yeah, that’s true.

[Laughing]

S: It wasn’t connecting.

M: Yes. Well, I hope you have a phenomenal time celebrating with your girlfriends, and I hope when you take off on your plane that you really take some moments by yourself to think about how far you’ve come. How much you have really been dedicated to your work, and you can look back from those instances of what you used to say or what you used to do, and of course we’re not perfect. We’re not always gonna nail it every time.

S: No.

M: You’ve done so much, and I hope you take a moment with your friends to pause and celebrate all of your accomplishments because I think there are some things to really celebrate.

S: Well, it’s thanks to you and your wisdom and your foresight in developing this absolutely perfect program for me.I don’t think I would have gotten there. I needed that concrete way of handling things, and you did that. You’ve talked on the facebook page and stuff about having group forums with different communities. I would absolutely love to be able to do that with anybody

M: Thank you so much for offering. That is my focus for this year. I am working night and day. Last night I worked until 10:30 at night, when everybody else was asleep, on that program, and when I get off the phone with you, I have three meetings lined up with people who are going to help bring that vision to life.

I don’t believe that this disease happens to random women. It’s intentional. I think it’s what we needed in our lives to get us back to a healthy place or even a healthy place for the first time in our life. I think that we can all use our experiences to help many other women, and I am so honored that you would be willing to help.

S: Thank you. I would say we were almost predestined that way. Kundalini Yoga tells us that there are no coincidences.

M: Oh, is that right?

S: Yes, everything is there for a reason.

M: Oh, I believe that.

S: Above it, you need to realize that it’s there for a reason, and it’s not just something that happened to you.

M: I love that, yeah that’s great. I can see why you like that theory. The practices that you learn in this program can very much transfer into your other relationships. I don’t know if you’ve found that but I have. I’ve used the tools with my kids. I’ve used the tools with my friends. Have you found that too?

S: Absolutely. I have caught myself being the Miss Fix-It for so many years. Now I step back, and I’m not so eager to be the one that says, “Me, me, me, me,” even though I don’t have time.

M: Exactly, oh my gosh.

S: My time for me is precious now too, and that has to take place too.

M: Perfect. I love it. Well, I’m going to be in touch. You will hear a lot more from me in the next couple months about how we’re going to train our mentors in this new program, and how we’re going to teach you to run small groups. They will look- it will look nothing like Al-Anon.

S: Good

M: Al-Anon is perfect for a very specific set of people, and that’s very helpful for them, but we are in a different- We are a different market, and entirely different people and we want to attract more women who need those practical skills. That’s what we’re about to do, so I am really excited to work with you in the future. I think it’s going to be wonderful, and I know you are going to be so helpful to so many women in your community.

S: Oh, I hope so. I hate to see… Why should women have to live this life when they don’t have to.

M: Yes, yes, and your story needs to be shared. It needs to be shared because it’s such a good story. Have a wonderful time in New York. I’m excited for you!

Goodbye

Gosh, I loved this interview. Sherie was so vulnerable with her feelings, and I loved how she took responsibility for her feelings. I also admire how she is setting boundaries for herself. That’s the kind of growth that changes our future.

I hope you found Sherie’s story an inspiration and had a few takeaways that you can start applying to your life. And if nothing else, I hope this interview showed you that you’re not alone. There are thousands of us in this world holding hands and overcoming loving someone who’s suffering from addiction.

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