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Old 01-22-2009, 07:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Think he's drinking again

Hi all,

I haven't posted very often or in a while but think my AH is drinking again. I've been trying to tell myself that I can't control his behavior and it has nothing to do with me but it really infuriates me. I understand the disease but how many relapses do you put up with. When is it enough. When do you pull the plug. I feel like I won't be supportive if I say this is it. I feel like I will be pushing him over the edge, even though I know in my head that isn't the case. I know that I don't make him drink and the consequences of that are not my fault but still in my heart I feel responsible. Need some advice and support on this subject. Thanks
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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spooner, do you go to Al-Anon meetings, or work any kind of recovery program for yourself? That's where I learned to clarify what I was willing and able to put up with, and what I wasn't.

If you think he is drinking again, he probably is.....but it will become clear soon enough. Try not to awfulize, think the worst, before something actually happens. (My dad used to say "It's not time to worry yet.") But it IS time to think about the choices available to you. The question is whether you want to live with an active alcoholic again? Is that good for you? There is no answer to the question 'how many relapses do you put up with.' There's only "how many relapses -- and all the stress and unhappiness that go with them -- does spooner put up with?"

And as for being "supportive" --- if he wants to drink, he's going to drink whether you're "supportive" or not. You've already been supportive so far, right, and still it looks like he may still have relapsed? Try not to use that as an excuse to stay in an unhappy situation. Best wishes to you - focus on you, and what you want for your life.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by spooner View Post
I understand the disease but how many relapses do you put up with. When is it enough. When do you pull the plug.
I spent a lot of time floundering around in "When is enough, enough?" land.

I kept thinking that there was some rule that everyone else knew - like, say, 4 relapses and that's it. He'll never get better. You should pack up the kiddos and get out of there.

But, there's no rule.

I found that when I started to actively participate here on SR, attend AlAnon, read books that fed my spirit (Codependent No More, The Power of Now, etc..), and participate in individual counseling, I discovered my own rules. And I knew when enough was enough.

I didn't have to question it and doubt it and wonder. It was clear.

I think the one of the reasons I needed to find my own recovery was that recovery helped me find my voice and my certainty about what I wanted in my life. It doesn't happen overnight - it takes time. That was hard for me to accept when my husband's drinking was so out of control. I wanted things to get better QUICK.

But alcoholism doesn't get better quick. And it takes time for loved one's to learn about healthy boundaries and to rebuild self-esteem.

You can do it.
I'm glad that you're here - keep posting and reading!
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Give, I really like the quote by your dad. Those are words to live by and you are exactly right about thinking about the choices that are available to me. I had just started focusing on myself and feeling good about things and myself again. I can't let that go the other direction again. My happiness depends on that.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well he did start drinking again. Went on a bender. I asked him to leave the house. I realized that during this bender and my reactions to it that I am as sick or sicker than he is. I thought I had my feelings under control but man that was not the case at all. I asked him to leave because I feel like I can't focus on myself when I'm wondering and worrying about what he is doing.

Why do I feel so awful about it. My stomach and heart hurts for him. Did I do the right thing? Am I being callous? I need some advice and support here. His behavior to me on this bender was horrible. Didn't pick up my calls or call back. Kept me worrying and sick for 5 days about him. You would think I would be furious and I was but now I just feel sick.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Spooner, you are worrying about him, how he feels, that you are being callous. Who left for 5 days? Who is really being callous here? You say yourself his behaviour was horrible towards you.

My experience is that the awful feelings are fully our own; the fear of finally taking baby steps to confront the terrible things we put up with. Although logically it shouldn't be, it's scary. Standing up for ourselves is not as easy as standing up for others - we feel selfish, insensitive. Now that I'm in my own recovery, it surprises me how much we can drag ourselves through the dirt on behalf of others. Why are we less important to take care of???

You did the right thing if you feel that it feels right. Only you can make that decision. But along with the horrible feelings, if you feel any inkling of peace, then you know this is your path.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry, spooner. I don't think there's any way around feeling really stressed-out about this -- I mean, if you didn't care about him you could just walk away, right? You have years of habits and patterns that you've just had to change overnight. But you HAVE done the right thing for you & your life right now, which really is the only thing you can control. How many more years did you want to live with benders like this one? It never gets easier to protect ourselves; it only gets harder as time goes by.

Take it a day at a time. Don't expect it all to be fixed and perfect overnight - cut yourself some slack for having done a really hard thing.

Now is the time to redouble your efforts to focus on yourself - Al-Anon, some heavy-duty journal writing about the situation, a counseling session, something good for your mind, body and spirit. Clarity will come to you and these feelings will become more manageable.

And of course, we're here for you too :ghug3
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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>>I feel like I won't be supportive if I say this is it. I feel like I will be pushing him over the edge, even though I know in my head that isn't the case.>>

What do you feel it is to be supportive? What do you think it is to be supportive?

How do you feel you will be pushing him over the edge? Why in your mind do you know that isn't the case?

Is your spirit really that torn apart, meaning differences between your heart and your mind? If you spirit was not torn apart what would you do?
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I guess the only way to explain it is many years of taking care of an A. Growing up I always felt responsible. I was always the one that had to take care of things and help conceal my AM problem. I was always making peace in the family. Now that I'm married to one and have been for many years I still feel the need to make peace and have everyone happy. Protect the children, protect the AH, protect the A mother, it's always been someone.

When I say I know in my head it's the right thing to do, I do know that. I've done enough reading and research to know what the right thing to do, unfortunately my heart feels totally different. I don't handle manipulation well at all. I always cave in. It's just easier to do that than to fight and stand up for what I know in my "head" is right.

This time I did that and really expected to feel good and right about it but I just have an awful pit in my stomach about it all. I just want to feel better about things. I think I have squelched my feelings for so long that I don't know how to deal with them now. Anyway, thanks for all your support, this forum is a godsend.
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Spooner-
I am right there with ya as I am dealing with the same exact situation as you. My AH HAS done lots of quacking about change for some time now and after a weekend binge he had a scare of an OD and we shall see if it is enough for him to change.
I used to beg, plead, cry and threaten him to change nothing will work and words are just words and actions speak louder than words. I let my AH do his own thing and got help for myself by Al Anon and reading and understanding he was gonna take whichever road he chose and no matter what I did it will not help him. He chose his road this weekend and I havent kicked him out again like I did in October yet. So as to an answer to your question you will feel it in your heart when you have had enough and when you have no more to give.. knowing you cannot change him, control the situation and its not your fault will give you some peace within yourself.. It is not your fault it is his addiction and until he can give into changing himself you need to take care of yourself. Keep your head up and hang in there..
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Protect the children, protect the AH, protect the A mother, it's always been someone.
I empathize with you spooner, but may I ask what are you really protecting anyone from as it currently stands? My mother's position is the same - I should be 'protecting' my AH from himself. Stop him from leaving the house if he's drinking. Protect him from his work finding out or being drunk at a work function, on and on. I have been in al anon for 6 months and now I'm realizing that it isn't really protection at all. Real protection is standing up for myself, my feelings, values, and keeping ALL alcoholic behaviour away from my 15 month old baby girl. And even though I've had similar feelings to you, that gut-wrenching feeling, I picture my baby girl and I'm able to deal and stand firm. I've put up with a lot for myself, but I have found new strength for both of us through her.

It's really hard for us to start thinking of ourselves first and to stop taking responsibility for others. But resolve grows with each step and with each day that you commit to it. Hang in there.
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm sorry you're going through this spooner -- I too am in the same boat. I've been with my AH for 27 yrs, married 20 of them. His disease has been progressing for the past 10 years but really rapidly for the past six months.

I feel I'm starting to slowly shift -- as soon as I started coming here, worrying about only me and my children and letting him clean up his own messes -- very hard for me as I have so much shame and embarrassment around it. Not sure why I should but I learned well in my childhood.

It is starting to get better as I shift my focus to me. He is not out of my home yet and once that happens, I'm sure I'll be here a lot! But one day at a time.

When I started coming here (very recently -- still a newbie really), some things that really hit home with me are the stickies at the top of the forum page -- especially Let Me Fall and what addicts do. It helped me to realize what it is I'm really dealing with here.

I have always been someone who believes deeply in my vows "in sickness and in health" and have really kept that as my montra for the past few years. I then read a quote from a post here..........

"unacceptable behaviours do not become acceptable behaviours because of marriage vows" -- wow! that one really spelled it out for me.

I know this a disease - I would often say "I wouldn't leave someone with cancer" -- then someone pointed out to me that I possibly would leave if they refused treatment to get well and were abusive to me.

There are many many quotes and advice that I have read here that describe my situation and my fears. I have started a journal/book with many of them in it. It helps me to read through it regularly.

Keep reading here, focus on yourself and hang in there. It is such a terrible disease, but your life, our lives are important to cherish and to live. It's no way to live
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:46 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Protect the children
How does living with an active alcholic protect the children? If you can't act on your behalf, perhaps you can act on their behalf? Perhaps knowing that you are acting to protect them will help you act and not feel the undeserved guilt?
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Permission to leave the intolerable, spirit crushing, situation granted. stamp. next please.

LOL.

except you don't need my permission, or his, or your family's or your friends' or your neighbours' or your community/religious leaders' permission.

you just need yours. you are the one who has to live with him as he is now.

sorry if I'm out of line, but part of what keeps me from making a decision that is best for me (and I'm not saying leaving is necessarily best for you, you get to decide that bit) is wondering what others will think of my decision, will they judge me as not being compassionate, will they say I caused his downfall, will they be right?

all I know is that in my situation, having a loving wife by his side has, to date, not got a great track-record in halting my H's raging alcoholism. In fact, its got worse whilst I've been there. That's not my fault, but it certainly would be flying in the face of evidence to suggest that I help him by being there.

and although I CHOOSE to stay right now, FOR MY OWN PURPOSES, if others judge me when I do leave, then they can live with him: good luck to 'em.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:05 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I pulled the plug when there was so little left of me it would take a microscope to see me.

I was a shell of who I used to be.

Now I look back and it's so sad to see just how low I had gone in that marriage.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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You are all so right. I feel much better about my decision and realize that it is definitely time to take care of myself. Timetogo, I really loved the quote about unacceptable behaviors and it is so true. I really understand about the disease but also agree that you have to seek treatment. It's time I took charge of my life and stop spending so much energy on what might happen or how can I stop it from happening. I just have to learn to deal with what happens. I'm hoping alanon can help me with that part of it.

You are all a blessing.
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