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Old 06-14-2014, 02:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A Letter to My Spouse


A Letter to My Spouse
~Brenda (AlAnon Member)

My Darling Husband,

I love you. And you are dying.

As you leave me, little by little each week, each month, I struggle with acceptance. I try to prepare for when you will be gone altogether. I try to prepare for the loneliness. I'm getting some practice now. As alcohol drags you away from the living, I watch you go, and though it hurts to realize your body is in the room with me though you are lost in another world, I can find some solace in the chance that these frequent experiences are going to make your death less agonizing for me. On those nights when I cannot bear the pain of your abandonment, I must leave the room. I retreat to my study, the wonderful sanctuary you built for me and for which I'm very grateful, or to the other bedroom to sleep or occasionally to go to a movie or shopping. The loneliness is hard.

I have to be practical, too, and consider finances, even though it feels so coldly harsh to think along these lines. You are the bread-winner, the family's successful provider. Your earnings keep us in our wonderful little home, keep us fed, keep us comfortable, healthy and entertained. When you can no longer provide for us, then I must. I have to create a career for myself that brings in sufficient income to replace yours, and that isn't going to be easy at my age.

It is ironic that one of the characteristics that impressed me most when we were dating and first married was your strength, both mental and physical, and your wonderful self-confidence and intelligence. I loved to watch you at work. I've never seen anyone who worked as well with young people. It's because they knew you could be trusted to do the right thing and to do it consistently, even if they didn't much like it.

You were the same at home. If something needed repair or needed to be built, you repaired it; you built it. I counted on your willingness to make our home prettier or more efficient whenever I asked. I felt so lucky to have that kind of husband, and I could see you took pride in your work, even when you pretended you didn't.

You don't jump in so willingly any more to do the extras. There isn't much time because of all those hours addiction demands, but you do manage regular home maintenance for which I'm grateful. I know how hard it must be to mulch leaves, mow the lawn, and take out the trash when you suffer from heartburn, diarrhea and headache. Yet, you always do them. The day will come when I will have to hire outside help, I know, but, for now, I thank you for working when you are sick.

One day at a time, that's how we are told to live with addiction, and it's not only excellent advice, I've found, but absolutely the only possible way to mentally survive. The moments when I allow myself to think of future events are the moments I suffer the most anxiety, like the vacation we are planning for the summer. There is no way to know what your condition might be by then. Your liver or kidneys may have deteriorated to the point you are physically too ill to go. Or you may be unable to get through any 24-hour period sober the way you can now. Already I don't know how you can manage the rigors of our trip while adhering to the present pattern of poisoning yourself one night and recovering the next. Even if you can physically manage, how can you possibly enjoy more than a few moments of such an exciting adventure. I think about the cost and wonder if it's a waste of money.

Still, some things in life one has to plan for in advance, and this is one of them. I will purchase the airline tickets and make reservations at hotels and buy the necessary clothing. Those are the things I can do. The things I can't do include planning for your health or making you stop drinking or managing your behavior in any way. One day at a time means I cannot think about next summer's vacation or the retirement years or exciting adventures together in the future. I can turn the future over to God and try not to grieve over what we could have had and won't.

The thing about your illness that troubles me most is the superficiality of our relationship now. We started with that something special. We shared an inexplicable chemistry that exists in some love affairs and goes beyond normal physical attraction. We related to each other so honestly, with very little held in reserve.

Alcohol has changed that, of course. It has weakened you physically and depleted your sensuality. It has become so much a part of you that I cannot be honest in my feelings toward you because I hate the alcohol part. Sometimes all I want to do is scream obscenities at the alcohol part, but I can't do that without screaming at you, and so I can't talk to you at all. So often, when I need some good honest, in-depth conversation, you are in your other world, and the moment passes. If I'm not careful, the need is replaced by resentment. Resentment, I have learned, is very bad for my health while it doesn't do a thing to make you stop drinking.

There is much more, lots of accumulated little sorrows I'd like you to be aware of but what's here is enough, I guess. Do you know why I'm telling you all of this? No, it's not to hurt you. It's to enlighten you. True, I hope the enlightenment does hurt because that will show you are still able to care how I feel and what I think. I am telling you because this morning you made two statements; one may be true, though I'm not so sure, and one false. First, you said you were aware that your drinking may kill you but don't wish to do anything about it. Maybe this is so, and maybe it isn't that you don't want to but, rather, are afraid to. Second, your addiction harms you, not me, which is definitely false.

I consider myself lucky that you don't drink and drive. Very lucky! I'm grateful that you aren't a hostile drinker with all that implies. The difficulty is, because the harmful effects of your addiction are so subtle, your children and friends and more importantly, you, yourself, consider your illness a somewhat mild problem and, therefore, acceptable. And this only increases my sorrow, for I often bear it without the empathetic caring of others.

I will continue to attend Al-Anon meetings and read literature about living with alcoholism and talk to a sponsor who's been through it all before. I will continue to prepare to be independent as best I can and to grieve what is already lost and to love you with all my heart until you are gone.

Love,
Your wife
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Old 06-14-2014, 06:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cynical one View Post
A Letter to My Spouse
~Brenda (AlAnon Member)

My Darling Husband,

I love you. And you are dying.

As you leave me, little by little each week, each month, I struggle with acceptance. I try to prepare for when you will be gone altogether. I try to prepare for the loneliness. I'm getting some practice now. As alcohol drags you away from the living, I watch you go, and though it hurts to realize your body is in the room with me though you are lost in another world, I can find some solace in the chance that these frequent experiences are going to make your death less agonizing for me. On those nights when I cannot bear the pain of your abandonment, I must leave the room. I retreat to my study, the wonderful sanctuary you built for me and for which I'm very grateful, or to the other bedroom to sleep or occasionally to go to a movie or shopping. The loneliness is hard.

I have to be practical, too, and consider finances, even though it feels so coldly harsh to think along these lines. You are the bread-winner, the family's successful provider. Your earnings keep us in our wonderful little home, keep us fed, keep us comfortable, healthy and entertained. When you can no longer provide for us, then I must. I have to create a career for myself that brings in sufficient income to replace yours, and that isn't going to be easy at my age.

It is ironic that one of the characteristics that impressed me most when we were dating and first married was your strength, both mental and physical, and your wonderful self-confidence and intelligence. I loved to watch you at work. I've never seen anyone who worked as well with young people. It's because they knew you could be trusted to do the right thing and to do it consistently, even if they didn't much like it.

You were the same at home. If something needed repair or needed to be built, you repaired it; you built it. I counted on your willingness to make our home prettier or more efficient whenever I asked. I felt so lucky to have that kind of husband, and I could see you took pride in your work, even when you pretended you didn't.

You don't jump in so willingly any more to do the extras. There isn't much time because of all those hours addiction demands, but you do manage regular home maintenance for which I'm grateful. I know how hard it must be to mulch leaves, mow the lawn, and take out the trash when you suffer from heartburn, diarrhea and headache. Yet, you always do them. The day will come when I will have to hire outside help, I know, but, for now, I thank you for working when you are sick.

One day at a time, that's how we are told to live with addiction, and it's not only excellent advice, I've found, but absolutely the only possible way to mentally survive. The moments when I allow myself to think of future events are the moments I suffer the most anxiety, like the vacation we are planning for the summer. There is no way to know what your condition might be by then. Your liver or kidneys may have deteriorated to the point you are physically too ill to go. Or you may be unable to get through any 24-hour period sober the way you can now. Already I don't know how you can manage the rigors of our trip while adhering to the present pattern of poisoning yourself one night and recovering the next. Even if you can physically manage, how can you possibly enjoy more than a few moments of such an exciting adventure. I think about the cost and wonder if it's a waste of money.

Still, some things in life one has to plan for in advance, and this is one of them. I will purchase the airline tickets and make reservations at hotels and buy the necessary clothing. Those are the things I can do. The things I can't do include planning for your health or making you stop drinking or managing your behavior in any way. One day at a time means I cannot think about next summer's vacation or the retirement years or exciting adventures together in the future. I can turn the future over to God and try not to grieve over what we could have had and won't.

The thing about your illness that troubles me most is the superficiality of our relationship now. We started with that something special. We shared an inexplicable chemistry that exists in some love affairs and goes beyond normal physical attraction. We related to each other so honestly, with very little held in reserve.

Alcohol has changed that, of course. It has weakened you physically and depleted your sensuality. It has become so much a part of you that I cannot be honest in my feelings toward you because I hate the alcohol part. Sometimes all I want to do is scream obscenities at the alcohol part, but I can't do that without screaming at you, and so I can't talk to you at all. So often, when I need some good honest, in-depth conversation, you are in your other world, and the moment passes. If I'm not careful, the need is replaced by resentment. Resentment, I have learned, is very bad for my health while it doesn't do a thing to make you stop drinking.

There is much more, lots of accumulated little sorrows I'd like you to be aware of but what's here is enough, I guess. Do you know why I'm telling you all of this? No, it's not to hurt you. It's to enlighten you. True, I hope the enlightenment does hurt because that will show you are still able to care how I feel and what I think. I am telling you because this morning you made two statements; one may be true, though I'm not so sure, and one false. First, you said you were aware that your drinking may kill you but don't wish to do anything about it. Maybe this is so, and maybe it isn't that you don't want to but, rather, are afraid to. Second, your addiction harms you, not me, which is definitely false.

I consider myself lucky that you don't drink and drive. Very lucky! I'm grateful that you aren't a hostile drinker with all that implies. The difficulty is, because the harmful effects of your addiction are so subtle, your children and friends and more importantly, you, yourself, consider your illness a somewhat mild problem and, therefore, acceptable. And this only increases my sorrow, for I often bear it without the empathetic caring of others.

I will continue to attend Al-Anon meetings and read literature about living with alcoholism and talk to a sponsor who's been through it all before. I will continue to prepare to be independent as best I can and to grieve what is already lost and to love you with all my heart until you are gone.

Love,
Your wife
Well communicated. Invisible points communicated well. Reminds me of my past marriage. My wife has had - an idolatry problem. But still the same effect on the relationship!

After those little insults accumulated, and time trade-offs became very expensive (why attend AA when we could go to exotic vacation ?) I PRAYED TO MY GOD I BE DELIVERED FROM THAT RELATIONSHIP.

As a disciple of Jesus, I am forbidden to divorce, but would my God and me continue to be insulted by my disobedient spouse ?

Finally, it has happened - she filed for divorce. I was glad to accept it. Very, very glad. If she wants to go to hell in disobedience - I am sorry - but why should I suffer alongside, especially because I told her the truth about God and she flatly refused to accept it ? Now she is jobless, in debt, overweight and in very bad company of religious swindlers - all avoidable if she accepted God's invitation.

You are practically dealing with the same thing - if your husband is not openly worshipping idols - hey, remember - self-worship is still idol worship. Pride and arrogance are beginning of destruction.

Let me pray for you.

Dear God, I claim promises of your power for this person, who did her best to protect the marriage vow. However father, if it is your will that she learned her lesson - will you please step in and heal her mind of worries, strengthen her first and - will you please deal with her husband ?

God of Israel ! Was it not you who gave orders to proud kings to humble themselves ? Pharaoh - remember Pharaoh , Father ? And Nabukodonosor ? Do you not keep presidents' hearts in your hand, God ? What then is this proud husband-person doing in your presence ? Will his behaviour stand against your will ? Is it sweet aroma to your nostrils or pungent stench ? Dear God, I claim peace of heart for the party offended and quick justice be done.

In Jesus name, Amen.
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Old 06-14-2014, 04:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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so moving and so sad what alcoholism does to a man and to a marriage. and what a fantastic wife to be still so loving and so understanding of the disease.
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Your letter touched me so deeply and said it so well...for any woman who has an alcoholic spouse. Thank you.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I read your letter and it pains me - you see, I am that wife, too. My husband did drink and drive and totalled the cute little sports car that he just had to have. I just thank God that he only hurt himself and no one else. God's hand is on that man and I know it but I just couldn't let him come home from the hospital to our home. I just could not take it any more - after 25 years of marriage and last being the most hideous, I am depleted. So, here is a 56 year old man living with his parents and refusing to take responsibility for anything. He started looking for another woman 3 days after he left the hospital and I am in the home, purging of meaningless 'stuff', trying to hold on to the mortgage until we can sell it. We adopted a wonderful boy later on in life and I have that little soul to worry about and try to find the best place for us to go. Right now, all I want is for him to stay in the same school until he graduates. We will give up a beautiful home for a teeny, tiny little place - but it will be ours without pain and worry and abuse. I am so hurt and confused and really wished that I had not stuck by him for so long. It did nothing for our family but I couldn't walk away. I am an adult child of an alcoholic and always want to make things right. I went to counselling and have done a lot of work on me and I am proud of where I stand. I'm just scared and that sucks when you have a 13 year old looking up to you to take care of all the wrongs of the world but I am trying to be strong. Some days, like today, when my son is out playing, I call my girlfriend and cry and cry - feeling like the biggest loser in the world. Most days, though, I put one foot in front of the other and move on. I just don't know when it will become easier.
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm new here, and must say this letter is beautiful and perfect.
My only difference is that my husband DOES drink and drive and I'm terrified that he will hurt someone one day. It is a bit better recently because he came out of a 30 day rehab a month ago. But he is still drinking.
Thank you for sharing this letter.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A touching letter and one that I would like to send to my wife but I know she wouldn't read it. But it helped me. I'm in the exact same place. Thank you.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cynical, a beautiful but poignant letter. It was written in love and not anger or resentment.
God Bless you and thank you for sharing.
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I could have written this exact same letter to my AH. I found some cards that we exchanged years ago and I cannot believe how far we are from that loving couple we once were. I have trouble with one day at a time. I'm a fixer and a planner and I know that doesn't work with addiction. Thank you for writing this.
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you for posting this letter. I've never seen it before. I was led to this post immediately, the first one I happened to click on after logging in for the first time in months. I'm sitting here in grateful astonishment because it's exactly what I needed to read.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I know this feeling all to well an d your right one day at a time. Which I struggle with I'm a super big planner in all aspects of life I like to know what is upcoming in my future and it causes for one hell of a roller coaster of emotions that's for sure. And your right in saying the alcohol part. I find myself feeling they have 2 personalities.
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank You Cynical One
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Wow
If i needed a motivation to stay sober today i now have one.
That is beautiful and tragic and brave and courageous and
thank you
my love to both of you
Gary
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow, what a beautiful letter...my heart just aches for you...I have only been married for 1 1/2 years and I can relate to how my AH has changed. He thinks he is not hurting anyone by drinking...he normally drinks just at the house but last night he left and headed to a bar. I wish I had the courage to face my resentments of his drinking..even though he is physcially there mentally he is not...you are fortunate that your AH does not verbally hurt you during his drunk state...thank you so much for sharing and God bless you and your family...
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Old 10-24-2015, 06:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thank you for this letter, but most of all thank each of you for sharing your testimony. I was not married to an addict, but I loved him very much. He destroyed our happy relationship by simply abandoning me as a lover and as a friend. I did not understand why I took this particular breakup so hard because I have broken up with people in the past. This one was potent because I saw a side to him that I did not recognize. He was not the person who use to call me love of his life, or his forever. This person was destructive and mean. I loved how this letter put the slow death process into words.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:26 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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This is lovely. I pray God gives you strength and comfort.
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Old 08-03-2017, 04:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Omg so powerful thank you
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