Intrusive thoughts in recovery

You can go to bed having had a decent day. A day where you felt you had a grasp on things and kept your head and wake up the next morning to utter chaos! All I did was sleep and yet this morning I was riddled with anxiety. I’m feeling huge guilt for not being able to do anything special with Syl and Sonny whilst they are here. Syl especially. She’s 12 and she hasn’t left the house since they got here on Fri. She’s not been fully healthy but it still eats at me. Fable has been hard work today. She won’t be left alone and is struggling to settle. She’s coughing and crying and won’t be comforted. That is something I find the hardest to deal with as a parent. Not being able to make your child feel better. I experience it a lot with Sonny. He is very intolerant of being touched. No cuddles. Sometimes he might let you hold him wrapped in a towel after a bath but it’s very rare. I find it very upsetting. Now Fable is like that today and even though I know she’s just having a bad day (few days) and she’ll be fine soon, it definitely triggers something.

Today I feel torn between Sonny, Fable, Sylvie and Rob. I’m in an impossible situation where I’m failing to make anyone happy. Syl is so good. She caught me crying and I explained how I was feeling. She reassured me she was fine. Rob gave me a hug earlier which was nice. He could clearly see I was having a wobble. I went to my second AA meeting at dinner time leaving Rob to deal with all the kids and work. I had those feeling beforehand of not wanting to go in. The idea of actually not going and hiding out in a cafe entered my head. That is something I have done in the past. I tried going to NA meetings a few years ago. They were pretty dire. It was often just 4 of us and I honestly felt intimidated. The others had some serious stories and addictions to drugs that, at that point, I considered next level. I didn’t think I was better than these people – or less bad. I know if I had ever come in contact with drugs like crack or heroin I would have tried them. I would be dead now. It’s pure chance that I never did. Anyway, these meetings fuelled my anxiety. So I would skip them. I lied to Rob. I would sit in my car. Sometimes I would go to the pub and have one glass of wine, some food and read my book.  I did the same with my yoga class and the gym. I wanted to appear to him that I was working hard on self-improvement. I would switch off the ‘good voice’ in my head and listen to the bad one.

So today I had a bad thought. I thought about skipping the AA meet.

Rob and I can see each other’s locations on our iPhones so I was able to acknowledge the bad thought, tell myself I couldn’t get away with it and happily go to the meeting. And I did go happily. I felt happy to have a reason that forced me. I know that Rob will read this and most likely feel dismay at that statement. If he wasn’t on high alert and trusted me more, would I have skipped the meeting? It’s possible. Only because once that bad voice pipes up I find it almost impossible to ignore. It’s like OCD. It’s an intrusive thought. The hardest thing for me is to let those intrusive thoughts go without acting on them.

Buy a bottle of wine

Don’t go to the AA meeting

Steal that shampoo

Order pills online 

This is the nature of my addiction. Acting on unwelcome thoughts. Not acting on it makes my heart race, my head hurt and makes me angry and feel sick so I tell myself I will feel better if I just do it.

And I do! I do feel better in that moment. That’s why it torments me so.

The conniving voice told me I could put my phone on airplane mode outside the AA venue as if I was there, go and hide for an hour and half in a cafe, walk back to the meeting near the finish time, switch my phone back on and pretend I went. But there was always the chance Rob would turn up to check on me. That fact made me feel able to let go of the intrusive thought.

It felt comforting to have no way out. I’m sure it won’t be comforting for him to read this but this is my truth. I said as much in the meeting. I admitted I felt ambivalent about attending. However I will say this – I enjoy the AA meetings far more than I did NA. So far. I’m not feeling like they are something that creates anxiety. That they will become something I will want to avoid in the near future.

I have said to Rob that I would be happy to have a breathalyzer at the house to reassure him. He thinks it’s a bad idea. That it will become something I resent. He doesn’t want to be my prison warden. He doesn’t want to be my carer. I feel like they would be good for me. I’ve said previously, there are times when I feel like I need to be treated with kid gloves. Like a child. I feel that having an immediate way of being caught out might be an effective deterrent because simply having it there would enable me to silence the intrusive, obsessive thoughts. I don’t know? I can see the opposite point of view. I think it’s very disappointing to him and depressing that I need the threat of being caught out to be the best reason not to do it. He’s right. It is sad.  I hope that therapy and more personal research will help me learn more about the obsessive, compulsive aspect of my addictive behaviours and how to not act on them.


Now Rob is in a terrible mood. When he is struggling to cope with whatever the day brings he completely shuts down. He is mono-syllabic. He won’t make eye contact. He looks like is in barely controlling simmering rage. I find it devastating. I have said to him, I would rather he stomp about and shout that this. (I don’t know if that’s true but at the time I want him to anything other than how he’s being.) He hasn’t been able to get any work done because of Fable needing constant attention, the house being full of kids and me going to a meeting which took up 2 and half hours.  Tomorrow the kids go back and that will take up 3 hours of his day too. I’ve asked if there’s anything I can do and have basically been told to get out of his face. This is a prime example of feeling like I should be on my own.  He has barely spent a minute with my kids since they’ve been here. I’ve tried everything in my power to keep everyone happy and failed. I don’t want to feel these feelings. This is a prime example of a scenario where I end up feeling like it would be best if I was alone. If I was on my own with my kids then I would have a far better chance of keeping at least them happy. I feel guilty because he hasn’t been able to get any work done and angry that he gets like this when my kids are here.  I have other children. They are part of the deal.

I don’t want to be feeling my feelings right now. This is when I want to take something to feel different. All because someone else is having a bad moment. If he was happy – I’d be feleing pretty damn good after my meeting.



I need to go for a run or meditate but there’s too much going on right this second. I feel kind of weird writing emotionally about what’s going between Rob and I. That was what I did the other night after we had an argument, and then made the post private.I know he will read this and possibly get even more pissed off but writing right now is helping me process the jumbled, messed up thoughts so I’m going with it. Sorry babe.




5 thoughts on “Intrusive thoughts in recovery

  1. Wow, I can say that the meetings I least wanted to go to were/have been the best. I have found in the most difficult of times that just saying yes to whatever is at hand and thank you for having made it through is the best I can do. I have always had a feeling of being inadequate, but that has diminished over time. Again your sharing helps me more than I can express. Thank You

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, as addicts we have secretive and manipulative behaviour. I am still amazed that my husband didn’t find out about my out of control shopping addiction until it was totally out of control. I was a good liar. I lied to everyone. I even lied to the bank. I can remember feeling SO guilty but the addiction was always stronger. I even went as far as opening a secret Post Office Box so that my daily parcel deliveries were hidden from the family. So so deceptive. I lied to my psychologist, I just kept on lying. But that is the root of addiction. I have told you about the book, “The Addictive Personality” by Craig Nakken, he talks about the root of the problem. It really helped me. It still helps me. I am on high alert now to any triggers. I know that I am vulnerable. Always will be. But understand the WHY has helped me a lot.
    The pressure you have been under the past few days has contributed to your feelings of anxiety and sadness. My husband is not a shouter, he goes within himself and buries his head like a camel in the sand. I want him to fight and argue so we can clear the air but no, he just keeps his head down in the sand and says nothing. Thank God for Byron Katie is all I can say!! I go in to my room and do ‘The Work’ on the situation and nine times out of ten I am over the anger and frustration by the time I have finished. Our thoughts, those damn thoughts are the cause of all of our pain. When we look at the thoughts and turn them around there is freedom. Bliss!

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  3. A way out! It is so crucial, I find. Like, the ability to leave a tense situations at the drop of a hat. Harder to do when travelling, at airports, or anywhere where our phones can distract us, which is everywhere. That voice, the voice of the fiend–which I was writing about recently–is so powerful. And the “right-way” voice is as quiet as a mouse. But you can hear it! You just have to listen. So hard to do, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Wishing you find some relief today.

    Liked by 1 person

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