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Old 04-05-2008, 02:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
mle-sober
 
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Husband suspicious - how do I respond?

I am a sober alcoholic - 64 days today. I'm absolutely committed to my program, am doing an outpatient program, attend AA meetings regularly and post and ready frequently here in the Newcomers to Recovery area (I think that's that it's called.)

My husband has attended maybe 6 Al-Anon meetings and feels uninsprired by them and has indicated that he's not going to go many more times. Recenty, he has said he forgives me for lying to him about my drinking. But he very clearly is still angry at me. He says he feels manipulated and betrayed. My lying was about alcohol only - just to be clear (not to minimize) I wasn't lying about other things or having affairs or anything. We have been in seperate bedrooms every since day 1 of my sobriety.

I am trying to give my husband the space and time he needs to heal. There are only so many ways and times I can say I'm sorry. He used to give me breath tests whenever he had suspicions but he's stopped that recently - when he told me he forgave me. We are both in therapy.

Here's my problem and question: When he comes home and thinks I have been drinking or doing drugs (which I never did) and says I'm acting strange, what is the best way for me to respond? I am not drinking. I'm not on anything. He is insistant that something is wrong and he gets angry and upset. I apologize, try to reassure him, etc. I have no idea what I should do. What do you think? Help please.
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Old 04-05-2008, 02:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is a tough one. Firstly, congratulations on your sober time. I know how hard it was to reach that accomplishment. Trust takes time. I lied about my drinking also. It will take time to rebuild your relationship. Hopefully your husband will recognize your commitment and your progress in your recovery. At this point, keep moving forward and lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. Best wishes!
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Old 04-05-2008, 02:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First, congratulations to you.

This seems like a problem that only time will fix. I think your husband is probably scared. Suspicion and cynicism are defenses against being devastated by this disease once again. To approach your sobriety instantly with an open heart and total vulnerability is a scary proposition. And, no personal offense intended, it probably isn't a very good idea. It's clear that he supports you: he is still with you, he is attending alanon and therapy.

I guess my suggestion is this: have compassion for your husband. If you'd like, maybe read a couple of threads in this section and try and understand what he has been going through. And try not to make it about you and take it super-personally.

I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 04-05-2008, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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as long as you're not drinking, keep it simple.
if asked, say no.

continue to recover. trust may return. you can't force it
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Old 04-05-2008, 02:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Congrads, I guess just keep telling the truth one day maybe he will man up and appologize to you.....
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Old 04-05-2008, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have an older gentleman in one of my groups thats says if you really want to shock the hell out of your family....get sober.
they wont know what the hell to do with you !!
Good Luck !
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Congrats on your sobertime! Woohoo for you!

Here's the deal - in many cases the sober spouse has had a lot invested in the drinking spouse. Years were spent trying to control your actions - make you "behave", worrying about you, fretting, wringing hands. And now ... now your behavior has changed and your spouse is at a loss. What next? What if he has to ... examine his own behavior? Worry about himself? Stop blaming you for ruining everything and ... look in the mirror? ACK!!

This will be messy but it can be weathered if you both want it badly enough.
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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He was affected by your drinking and he became every bit as sick as you. As a codie myself, I think codepenency is an inappropriate term for my problem; coaddicted is more in line with my behavior and actions. The last time my husband came out of rehab, I was one mean and ornery woman. Why? Because that was the role in which I was comfortable. I was used to being the "righteous" one who suffered (martyr) because of his drinking and held our lives together and fixed his messes (victim). I also felt superior to him when I informed him how his drinking had ruined OUR lives (persecutor).

When I started working my own program and minding my own business, I was able to start dealing with my anger issues. The finger pointing stopped. The arguments stopped. The accusations stopped. My husband went back to drinking and continues to drink. His choice. His problem. None of my business.

When your husband asks you if you have been drinking or drugging, I'd suggest you simply say, "No I have not." If he persists and starts arguing, just leave the room. If he follows you, leave the house. Go to a meeting. Call your sponsor. Call your best friend. Whatever. I found that a lot of the uproar in my home ceased when I implemented these strategies.

Congratulations on your sobriety. I admire your commitment to remaining sober!
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mle, only time will tell. As others have said, just say 'no I havent', end of story.

You cant blame him for his lack of trust, but he doesnt have the right to make you feel ashamed forever.

Give it time.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just wanted to congratulate you on your sober time

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Old 04-06-2008, 09:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Congrats on your sobriety. As a spouse of an AH, I understand. Time will heal the wounds, but it takes time! I am still very supsicious at times, and have had to learn how to communicate and understand my husband's sobriety.

Good luck to you!
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Congrats on your sober time.

It might be trust but could also be that he needs something else to fill/focus his time apart from wether you are drinking or not.

Thanks for the reminder too, my RAB gets home tomorrow and I need to make sure I avoid the "let me smell your breath" scenarios
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:46 AM   #13 (permalink)
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MLE

I'm in a similar situation. Without the suspicions and accusations, but with the betrayal, lack of trust, hurt, etc.

M'lady is confused, I think. First, by the slow realization that she was in love with someone who put her second. Now by a man who is "recovering" (seven weeks).

What seems so utterly obvious to us is like a foreign country to others. I was totally involved with alcohol and am now totally involved with recovery. Spent hours/day drinking, now spend hours/day not drinking. M'lady spent all those countless hours simply living a "normal" life.

An extremely bright medical professional, she is no expert on addiction, nor is she an expert on addicts. She signed up for a cruise, not a shipwreck. She watched as I took on water and almost sank. She watches now as I bail water and struggle to stay the course.

So, at this point, what is she to think? I own the issue. I'm the "expert." She's the expert on living her life.

She hopes for the best. As a passenger, all she can do is watch me bail and hope that I can "captain" this ship toward home. She now knows that, like the Titanic, there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. That illusion was shattered. For her life will never be the same.

I don't think she is interested in Alanon or tedious books on codependency. She doesn't own the issue, I do. She signed up for a cruise, not for a course on nautical navigation. She assumed that all was well on the bridge of this ship.

So, I think that all we can do is stay the course and hope for favorable weather. Keep steaming toward recovery. The captain of the Titanic told the passengers not to fear. Yeah, right.

I don't know what to do other than keep things low key and as "normal" as I can. Keep the focus off alcohol and addiction. Do my work. If M'lady were to tell me that I'm "acting strangely," I might reply that she indeed hooked up with a strange man. Not only am I defenseless against alcohol, I am defenseless against the doubts of others. I gave them every reason to doubt.

Children don't mature overnight. Parents wait decades to find out if their children will end up "successful" or train wrecks. We alcoholics are similar to children, I think. Most ten year olds will tell you that they are ready to "drive." Most 16 year olds think that they CAN drive. The parent can only wait and look at the clock. Will they come home?

With seven weeks, I barely have my learner's permit. I can talk all I want, but it will take many a safe trip without "tickets" to prove my aptitude and skill. That's what M'lady wants to see. That's why she is still around. Subtle, undramatic proof over time is all we can do. Every couple of weeks I'll tell her how many weeks I have. I used to be chagrined at her lack of fanfare. C'mon, be proud of me! The parent doesn't cheer every time the teenager comes home safely. It is expected. And the parent is more focused on the next time.

In a way, all this is good, MLE. The suspension of time in our relationships gives us time to focus on recovery. While it gives THEM space, it also gives US space. To focus on navigating our ship. At he same time, I think that we have a right to do so without distraction and accusation. In troubled waters they are bound to be there. The good captain, I think, does not react. To do so takes focus off the course. Time and energy spent defending our actions may result in not noticing the iceberg ahead.

It would be nice to have a solution to this stuff in pill form. It's no more there than was happiness in a bottle. All we can do is live our days, one by one.

Peace,

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Old 04-06-2008, 12:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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mle,

it looks like you have a great mix of suggestions from sober As and Al-anons. It seems the running theme is: Keep It Simple.

As an Al-anon, I agree with the others who say he is sick, too. He is obviously filled with resentment and it will take a program of his own recovery to work that stuff out. But it takes time.

In the meantime, simply answer truthfully ONCE if he asks you about drinking and then, as was suggested, if he keeps it up, walk away, go to a meeting, make a call. Whatever it takes.

Congratulations on your sobriety.

p.s. I'll also say that if he has stopped doing the "breath test" on you, that may be an indication that he heard something in those few Al-anon meetings he attended.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The anger for me towards my recovering husband comes from other people calling me an enabler, and as well the fact that I have had to put a lot of dreams on hold while I am waiting for my husband to recover. I have needed to learn the difference between enabling and being supportive (which is healthier and better for me).

I went for so long trusting my husband with his social drinking to get to a point where he lost his job and he was verbally abusive, and my dream of having a child and having a family was put on hold.

And then when he finally took his recovery seriously, it was like God had answered a prayer. The verbal abuse stopped, and craziness of alcoholism went away temporarily.

So when my husband has relapsed since then, he will start to be snappy with me, his words will not make sense (slurred) or his memory is not as well, and I may hear him throwing up in the bathroom. The fear of the verbal abuse and relapse is there, and my only response is emotional distance so that I can feel normal (as one person in Al Anon stated it, he gave his wife an option--either she go to treatment, or he was going to put her on a plane with a lot of money and he never wanted to hear from her again).

Even last night, I had a dream that my husband was at a bar and drank a beer. When he was a social drinker that would not have bothered me, but now that he is a recovering alcoholic it really bothered me--it felt like a failure.

Your husband may be afraid of failing. With Al Anon, it has been helpful, but I am more careful on which advice truly helps me. It upset me when I had someone recently tell me that alcoholics who relapse will most likely relapse again, and that I should just move on and end my marriage. I stood up to this person and let them know that I would make my own decision on this (I am the one who has to deal with the consequences of this). Marriage is really important to me. I come from a family where my parents have been married 39 years.

Have you asked your husband about his dreams? Does your husband have a dream of a healthy marriage? With time, your husband will learn to trust you again. In the meantime, just be the best you can be and congratulations on your sobriety as well.

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Old 04-06-2008, 12:31 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PrettyViolets View Post
With Al Anon, it has been helpful, but I am more careful on which advice truly helps me. It upset me when I had someone recently tell me that alcoholics who relapse will most likely relapse again, and that I should just move on and end my marriage. I stood up to this person and let them know that I would make my own decision on this (I am the one who has to deal with the consequences of this). Marriage is really important to me.
Good for you for standing up to that person! It is your life, not theirs.

No one in Al-anon should give advice or assume authority. (Doesn't mean they don't -- there are a lot of sick people in the rooms, including myself, and some are sicker than others.)

The program is based on suggestion. I am a grateful member of Al-anon and I work a diligent program. It makes me furious when I hear people tell others what they "SHOULD" do like that. Grrrr.

(Okay, I could rant on about this for a while but I'll stop)
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Old 04-06-2008, 03:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Be patient

MLE,

My AW has been sober slightly longer than you. I completely understand your husband’s reaction. My wife, of 12 years, has told me that the only thing she lied about was her drinking, as you said was your case. However, isn’t that more than enough? I knew what was going on, but when I asked point blank I wasn’t told the truth. Trust is not something you can turn on and off. Either you have it or you don’t. As my boss told me this week, “It only takes one Oh, S—T, to undo a hundred At-A-Boys.” Wouldn’t it stand to reason, you should expect to be questioned at least as long a time as you weren’t truthful?

My AW, like you, has been and continues to working harder this time. This is her first time quitting using help. She did 28 days in a treatment center and continues with both AA and outpatient. I say that because over the past 4-5 years she has “promised” me she would never drink again several times, usually every 5-6 months. My personal fear is this is just another time, just a bit more intense. Although I wake up everyday and she tells me she’s not going to drink today, I still wonder until she goes to bed. This is something I’ve learned through her actions over years, not something I enjoy or even want to have learned, but it is a fact of life.

I also understand his reaction to Al-Anon, what I’ve seen so far is there seems to be 3 primary groups; those who’ve grown up in less that nurturing homes with A’s and those who have either have left their partners because of it or are learning to live with active A’s. It seems, to me at least, that there aren’t many couples that survive this sickness. When we (the spouses), accompany you into rehab, everyone’s world changes quickly. While those of you who suffer directly get incredible amounts of counseling and education, we are told “go to Al-Anon, you need help too.” Where little is said about continuing in a relationship, other than we too need help. I continue to go hoping to “get it” but, generally I leave the meetings questioning, more than I walked in, about what was going on that I didn’t know about. Or was it really worse than I thought.

We have lived with “your” problem for years and now in recovery we’ve been told that it is our problem too, but there is nothing we can do about it. For me at least, there is an extreme feeling of helplessness that comes with her recovery. While on one hand I’m very proud of all she has done in the past 93 days, I think that for quite a while I’ll be wondering is today the day the day……Only time can bring this to an end.

My best wishes on your continued recovery, and keep in mind he is in recovery as well, without nearly as much education or support. As has been said to me, “It’s not that common to see someone arrive in AA with a family intact, be thankful you have that!”


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