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Old 10-16-2013, 07:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Letter to my AH

I want to begin by stating what should be obvious, I love you. If I did not love you I wouldnít bother with this letter. Yes, itís a letter rather than in person because I have a very difficult time getting all of this out without blubbering.

I know you feel it, but Iím going to say what the 100 pound gorilla is in our home between you and me and the children. Itís alcohol.

I donít know how long you have been drinking heavily this time, but it doesnít matter. It is deafeningly clear that you are to the rest of us. Even your children have come to me asking if you are drinking again. Iíve had a talk with them and let them know that their suspicions are correct. I have instructed them not to ride in a car with you until you admit your problem and admit you cannot correct it on your own. You have tried to do this on your own and it is very clear to us, your family, that you cannot do it on your own. Iím not talking about you going to buddy doctors that will believe whatever you say, Iím talking about you seeking help from others who have been in your shoes. You canít bullshit a bullshitter.

I know you think you hide your alcohol well and that it doesnít affect anyone but you are very wrong. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would marry only to eventually raise our children in an alcoholic home, never. With my upbringing and past, my goal was to avoid anything that would tear a family apart as I had witnessed in my birth family. I have learned that there is no such thing as a perfect family and Iím ok that we are not perfect, I'm not seeking perfection. What Iím not ok with is putting our childrenís very lives at risk in a vehicle with a drunk driver. If you want to drink and drive, get arrested again on a DUI, kill yourself or someone else, you will do it without our children. You will spare our children that much. Iím not ok that you choose to do this. I am not ok that even without our children in the car you CHOOSE to do this. You have put alcohol above our relationship, above your children, above your job, and worst of all above your God.

You must begin to heal whatever it is that needs healing. You must begin that hard road, if not for us, for yourself. Donít let alcohol be what our children remember; a dad who loops his conversations without realizing it; a dad who slurs his speech without realizing it; a dad who scares his children when driving them to practice; a dad who cant remember plays in practice because he is under the influence; the list goes on. You thought we didnít know.

This letter may or may not help you to seek the help you need. If alcohol is what you choose then I will make plans for our family in the event that you are not around. I will still be here, the kids will still be here, but things will change; theyíve already changed.

I love you with everything in me. I am praying for you to seek peace, not in alcohol, but in the Prince of Peace.

*********************************

I have not sent this to him yet. I don't know if it is wise to do that or not. I cried as I wrote it and keep looking in the driveway to make sure he hasn't come home because he forgot something. Maybe I'll save it for later use. I don't know. Your thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This letter is full of "you's". You do this, you must do that. With all due respect, its a nice letter - for yourself. But for him...ACTION, not words. He's a man. Speak to him in his language and he may be more likely to understand.

Secondly, let me ask what is your point with this? If its to get him to "change", how do you think this will help?

I don't want to sound negative here, but you are dealing with an addiction that is more powerful than he is right now. Have you read Under the Influence? It is a good book to begin your education on alcoholism, and I believe once you have a better understanding of what you are up against, letters like these won't seem like a effective way of dealing with the communication issue. Because Katchie, you need to clearly accept he can't hear you right now. The addiction speaks far more loudly than your words, however eloquent.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This letter is full of "you's". You do this, you must do that. With all due respect, its a nice letter - for yourself. But for him...ACTION, not words. He's a man. Speak to him in his language and he may be more likely to understand.

Secondly, let me ask what is your point with this? If its to get him to "change", how do you think this will help?

I don't want to sound negative here, but you are dealing with an addiction that is more powerful than he is right now. Have you read Under the Influence? It is a good book to begin your education on alcoholism, and I believe once you have a better understanding of what you are up against, letters like these won't seem like a effective way of dealing with the communication issue. Because Katchie, you need to clearly accept he can't hear you right now. The addiction speaks far more loudly than your words, however eloquent.
I want him to know he is no longer driving our kids anywhere at anytime and that he hasn't fooled us and thats why. I guess, because we NEVER talk about what the issue is I feel like I need to put it out there so he can never come back and ask why I didn't say something should I have to make a substantial change due to his addiction progression. I dont know. I haven't given it to him. I don't really know if I even have the courage to give it to him anyway. It made me feel a little better writing it though.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Good, if it made you feel better, and hopefully helped to clarify your own personal boundaries. Because right now, clarifying those boundaries is essential, especially when your kids are in danger. But do we need to tell people our boundaries? Or simply live them instead? Which would hold more power in your situation?

And do know it doesn't matter what you say or don't say right now. He isn't hearing you. His alcoholic voice overshadows everything, including his good judgment and reason. Yes, it is that powerful. And yes, he already knows driving the kids around when he is drunk is not OK. Can't be a grown up in this country and not know this. He knows. He just can't stop himself once he's put that first drink in his mouth.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've written my husband letters while he was gripped in active alcoholism only for the letters to be addressed to a blind man. He never read one of them. His addiction was to strong for him to look outside his own hell which was my alcohell. He could not care about me, let alone himself.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Good, if it made you feel better, and hopefully helped to clarify your own personal boundaries. Because right now, clarifying those boundaries is essential, especially when your kids are in danger. But do we need to tell people our boundaries? Or simply live them instead? Which would hold more power in your situation?

And do know it doesn't matter what you say or don't say right now. He isn't hearing you. His alcoholic voice overshadows everything, including his good judgment and reason. Yes, it is that powerful. And yes, he already knows driving the kids around when he is drunk is not OK. Can't be a grown up in this country and not know this. He knows. He just can't stop himself once he's put that first drink in his mouth.
Honestly, that would be the easiest thing for me to do, to just respond with action rather than talking about it. It may be sticky if the kids have to tell him "no thank you" for a ride to practice and back home again. I had hoped to avoid them having to tell him that. They shouldn't have to do that.
And for the record, I know he isn't dumb. I don't like him thinking he's fooled us cause we're not stupid either.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Katchie, It is my personal opinion (others may disagree with me) that it doesn't matter whether you give it to him or not. It probably won't help and it won't hurt him, either.
The alcoholic who is still active is inclined to view everyone and everything that comes between them and the alcohol as the "enemy"---and it is usually met with denial, blame-shifting and resentment (expressed directly or indirectly).

I think writing it out for yourself can go a long way to organizing your own thoughts and feelings, wither way.

It is important for you to establish boundaries for yourself and your kids. Like--the driving thing. Active alcoholics tend to respond to action more than words. I am saying, when you establish a boundary for yourself--you need to be willing and able to enforce it--back it up--otherwise, it is just hollow words.

by the way, I wrote a response in your other thread--about being afraid to talk to him.
I suspect that there is a lot of fear beneath your fear of talking to him---there almost always is.

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Old 10-16-2013, 08:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My alcoholic wife recently started to get sober. Previously she had made various attempts at stopping drinking but that was always the problem, she never really wanted to stop. This time her drunk actions caused her 13 year old daughter to move in with her father. The effect this had on my wife's fragile mental state caused her to try to take her own life. Fortunately this was prevented and since then she has finally admitted the depth of her addiction.

While she was in hospital I knew I had to say all the things I had avoided saying for so long. This really was make or break in so many ways, her life, my life, our life. However, I have learnt nothing I say or do will make her change, she had to want to change. I took this approach and wrote her a letter because it was the only way I could articulate what I needed to say without fear of breaking down or losing the courage to put out there what could have finished us for good.

It was a very cathartic experience for me and ended up running to nearly 10 pages, very much a stream of consciousness that once started was difficult to stop. However, my focus was entirely on me just as she has been the center of her illness so it was time to put myself first and explain how the situation we have been in for too many years had affected me.

When my wife came home from hospital and acknowledged she wanted to change I asked her if she was prepared and able to read my letter. She was and did and has re-read it numerous times since those dark days in late September. It did what I hoped, from my perspective anyway, which was to make her realise the hurt, anguish, pain and upset her life choices had on those closest to her.

My wife has now been sober 16 days, is attending 2 or 3 AA meetings a day and is very slowly re-discovering the joy life has to offer. The relationships with her daughter will take time to rebuild and may not happen at all but she is prepared to try and so am I. It's all I can ask of her, to try and while I see her giving it her all, not for me, but for herself, then I will do all I can to support her and love her.

Sorry to ramble on but writing such letters can be a very powerful way of telling your AH how you are affected by the situation.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You need to teach your kids how to protect themselves, be it from their drunk-driving father or a drunk-driving fellow teenager. This is a lesson they need to learn, and sadly it comes from within the home first. Tell them to NOT get in the car with him. Be prepared to cover all rides anywhere. If you tell him anything, it would probably be best phrased as something like this: It will be a cold day in he!! before you get behind the wheel with our kids in the car again. If you want that to change, there is an AA meeting at (location and time here).
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Good, if it made you feel better, and hopefully helped to clarify your own personal boundaries. Because right now, clarifying those boundaries is essential, especially when your kids are in danger. But do we need to tell people our boundaries? Or simply live them instead? Which would hold more power in your situation?

And do know it doesn't matter what you say or don't say right now. He isn't hearing you. His alcoholic voice overshadows everything, including his good judgment and reason. Yes, it is that powerful. And yes, he already knows driving the kids around when he is drunk is not OK. Can't be a grown up in this country and not know this. He knows. He just can't stop himself once he's put that first drink in his mouth.
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You need to teach your kids how to protect themselves, be it from their drunk-driving father or a drunk-driving fellow teenager. This is a lesson they need to learn, and sadly it comes from within the home first. Tell them to NOT get in the car with him. Be prepared to cover all rides anywhere. If you tell him anything, it would probably be best phrased as something like this: It will be a cold day in he!! before you get behind the wheel with our kids in the car again. If you want that to change, there is an AA meeting at (location and time here).
I let them know, under NO circumstances do they get in the car with their dad, period, until he gets help and we see he is sober. They agreed because he has been scaring the crap out of them unbeknownst to me!

I remember when our eldest was born. We were working in the yard, our son was old enough to sit in a walker in the front yard while we worked. A bumble bee started buzzing our son's head. My husband jumped off the roof to remove our son from the danger of being stung. Now, he drives our children drunk to practice.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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From my experience ~ writing things down was awesome - FOR ME ~

That's why I started a journal ~ I grew up in a home where you were not allowed to express your thoughts, feelings or opinions. Well not in a healthy respectful way ~ you could share if you were screaming, yelling and throwing things at each other ~ I carried that mindset with me into an alcoholic/addict marriage ~

Journaling helped me process my thoughts & feelings and learn how to give my fear courage to be spoken. Then through AL-Anon & my SR family - I learned how to communicate these opinions to others in a healthy respectful way - allowing myself and others to keep their dignity.

I learned to say to my now exah ~ It is apparent that at this time you are not at your healthiest. We both know that no one wants any harm to happen to our grandchildren, so I believe it is the best interest of everyone that they ride in the vehicle with me at all times. If & when a change is made, then we can address this again.

and things like: For my peace of mind and well being, I have decided I feel safer if I take my own vehicle to the party, family function, meeting, etc. ~ I'll meet you there.

He would try to argue - "you think I'm using again, I'm not taking anything, I'm not drinking" I would say "I didn't say that you were, I am making these decisions soley on what is best for me."
I learned it was not about accusing him of using or drinking ~ on the inside he was already beating himself up, lying to himself and so many others ~

It becomes about you and your children . . .

So keep writing, keep giving your thoughts a place to be heard ~ time and your inner strength and HP will let you know when it is time to share and what to share with your AH.

wishing you the best

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Old 10-16-2013, 08:56 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Katchie, I was horrified when I found my XAH driving my daughters around while intoxicated. I feel your pain and disbelief, especially knowing that he knew better.

That's what I mean by understanding the compulsion that comes with alcoholism. All logic, good reason, and intelligence goes out the window when that first drink hits the bloodstream. For you and me - we are blown away by the choices they make. For them, at the time it makes perfect sense. Factor in serious denial of just how big the problem actually is, and you have the making of a perfect storm of bad choices.

Addictions are cunning and baffling.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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From my experience you cannot depend on an active A at all so when my RAH was actively drinking I told my kids not to get in car with him, even if they weren't sure and felt uncomfortable. Keep in mind kids need direction so I also had to confide in some friends and ask them if they could be called if I was not available and my kids found themselves in a situation where they couldn't get in car with Dad.

You are doing what is best for your children. Unfortunately, the disease makes no accommodations for A's to do what is best for their kids until they actively manage their disease and stop drinking.

And, yes my son who was 11 at the time had an uncomfortable feeling and did not get in car with his dad and sure enough, dad drove away and ended up with a DUI.

(((HUGS))) to you. I am sorry for your pain.

As for the letter, it is great if it makes you feel better and yes I understand all that you have written but as TG said the addiction is most powerful and speaks louder.

What I found out is you end up bargaining for everything with an A. First it's don't drive with the kids in the car, drinking still continues, then it's don't talk to me when you are drinking, drinking still continues, then it's go to meetings, get some help and yes, unless the A really, really wants to stop drinking will continue even when going to meetings (although there is more of a chance that something at a meeting will reach them and lead them to stop).
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Sorry to ramble on but writing such letters can be a very powerful way of telling your AH how you are affected by the situation.
I'm sorry for your experience RTR, but it sounds promising that your AW is now embracing sobriety. I hope things continue to heal for all of you.

I think there is a big difference between an active A reading a letter like this & one that has reached a bottom & is now embracing sobriety. I think that they are much more open to hearing the things being said when they have come to a point of understanding their powerlessness over alcohol.

Katchie - my DD was about 7 when I had to have "The Talk" with her about not being in a car with her dad if he'd been drinking. (Or any other intoxicated person for that matter) Kids can handle much more than we expect sometimes & it's unfortunate that we have to rely on that instead of letting them be carefree & innocent for as long as possible.

In truth, even if you give him the letter he may still come to you years from now & ask why you didn't "say something". He'll only hear what he is ready to hear no matter what words you choose, no matter what format you present it in or how truthful you are.

My AH wouldn't have acknowledged the truth in a letter like this, but it would have fueled him with self-righteousness & indignation & a "How Dare She" attitude - it would have been received like the first shot fired to signal the beginning of the war & allowed him to hyperfocus on all those little points instead of the REAL problems. It all would have been turned around on me, somehow.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thank you FireSprite. Before when I attempted to get my point across I was very much met with the 'how dare you' response you mention. It was almost as if my feelings were an inconvenience to my AW's drinking and by trying to address them I was being selfish.

I hope my wife continues to make the progress I am currently seeing but the pain and grief I feel for how our lives have to change will be with me for years yet.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I dont think writing anything down for them to grasp is worth the energy until they have admitted to their drunken mess. Write it for yourself if you are dating or married to an active alcoholic. I have in 4 years never seen a single thing I have written stick, because he is a blithering drunk still and refuses to admit it ...

Once they admit their disaster then all of the sudden they are " open " and " willing " to even read and "comprehend" the contents of those letters. And even then, they are doing it with an alcohol SOAKED brain which as we all know, is never consistent, remembers Sh*t, and reasonable until at least a year of healing and AA has gone by. These are the facts, and expecting anything more is too much for them. It is almost like being mentally handicapt at that point when you expect them to emotionally grasp anything other than their self absorbed behavior and world. Just keep your expectations in line with the facts of alcoholism. It is true, words are nothing to them. most of the time.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I too wanted to send my xagf a letter. I think we all fantasize that somehow, while they read the letter, it will all sink in, they will repent and get better.

An alcoholic who hits rock bottom because of a letter is not an alcoholic.

In your letter a section of it was an ultimatum. If you are going to give him an ultimatum as a last resort I would suggest a clear one with measurable milestones, something realistic, and consequences with which you actually follow through if he fails to meet. Boundaries and actions are so important.

Sounds like you are doing what you can to keep your kids safe, good communication with them is key!
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