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Old 11-26-2011, 09:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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a letter to my alcoholic wife

Today I am mourning the loss of my wife and best friend. I don't and can't understand why she has chosen to leave me but I have come to realize that I am powerless in changing this. I have watched her struggle unfold and intensify over the years and despite my best efforts have not been able to change the path that she has chosen. I have taken it on as a full time job to find a way to make her happy and have come out an utter failure.

On feelings-
I feel unloved
How can someone continuously choose to hurt the person they are supposed to love and support in exactly the same way time and time again?
I feel betrayed
Despite being told that she is sorry and that it won't happen again, it does and with increasing intensity and regularity.
I feel completely hopeless
Admittedly imperfect, I have tried desperately to support and nurture her in the best way that I know how. Nothing is working.
I feel sadness in a way that is beyond anything I've ever experienced
Worse than someone dying because she is CHOOSING to love her problems more than she loves me. I understand that this is a disease but I also understand that she has made no effort to manage her problem or seek serious help despite my nearly begging her to do so for a long time.
I feel like a failure
In retrospect, I realize that I am complicit in her sickness. I have enabled this far beyond what is healthy by always being there to pick up the pieces, always asking her not to leave me, always apologizing for getting upset at her treating our relationship with such blatant disrespect.
I feel disrespected
Her actions have put everything that we've worked so hard for over the years in serious jeopardy.

I'm going to miss the good times. My life has been better with her than it was without her and I'm afraid of what will happen when I am alone but I understand that she will not get better with me here, I am an enabler and I need to remove myself from the picture and allow her to hit the bottom in hopes that she will find a footing there to begin climbing back out of the place she is now in. I hope with everything that I am that she will choose her own happiness over a life of pain for herself and those around her. That is exactly what I'm trying to do for myself here.

Things that I'll miss (an extremely incomplete list)-
The quiet comfort of her presence
Laughing at ourselves being goofy
Her appreciation of the subtle beauty of life
The fun of having some cash and not really giving a crap that we did because we were so used to not having any
Dorking out on movies and shows while eating the worlds best popcorn
The many times that I felt loved
Beans & greens and other foods that we either concocted or enjoyed together
Coffee o clock
Her unparalleled lack of material wants and needs, it was inspirational
The fun of making cool decor choices for the house together and watching them materialize. I'm sad to not see the final outcome of this collaboration
Trips-NYC, Europe, Maine, Wyoming, CA, FL, the North Country, Vermont, Niagara Falls, Rhode Island coast, New Mexico and all of the ones we haven't done
Being able to feel like it was ok just to be my imperfect and odd self
Knowing that I was married to the sweetest girl I've ever known and knowing that everyone else who knew her knew it as well
Waking up next to the person that I thought would be there on my last day and being happy every morning because of it

The things that I won't miss (unfortunately also incomplete)-
Coming home to realize that she's been drinking alone again even though she's trying her best to hide it (though I didn't always call it out, I knew)
The embarrassment of her being hammered and sloppy in front of our friends and everyone else for that matter
Her being resentful towards me when drunk, every time
The fear that she'd hurt herself or someone else because when she drinks she makes some of the most idiotic decisions I've ever seen anyone make
The smell of a drunk. Such an odd thing. It's not the same as the smell of someone that has been drinking. It's distinctive and repulsive to me.
Being afraid that something was wrong with her because she binge drinks so hard that she loses coherence and takes on similar qualities to that of someone that has had a stroke
The many times (if not every) that she was drinking and that I felt unloved
The thought that if I didn't make it ok she wouldn't really care if we stayed together or not (which I have lived with for years now)

There are no words to accurately describe the emotional anguish that this causes me. While I'm making the decision to formally end our relationship, informally it's been dying for quite a while and has little to no life left at this point. I am unwilling to continue down the road of destruction and emotional ruin that has been set in motion. The recurring feeling of loss every time she falls is just too much for me to handle and I have no strength left to put towards this, I'm tired and the feelings of dejection and failure are consuming me. She has never, after one of her episodes, asked me not to leave. She rarely feels any need to apologize or address what may have happened and chooses to wait for me to do so, which I do because I am weak and don't want to be left alone. The current situation is unhealthy for all involved, we are both to blame for it getting to this point but that is not a good reason to allow it to continue.

The bottom line is that my wife and best friend no longer live in her body. This letter is to the person that does, if you see my best friend please tell her that I loved her with everything that I am and am morbidly heartbroken by the sad reality that we are in. I did not want this but I can't continue to entertain my empty threats of ending this. You've made your choice and I finally have made mine.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You are in mourning my friend. Take this one day at a time and seek support for your loss. Life isn't over you are just entering a new chapter. I'm sorry for your loss.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Your decision, even though it causes you a lot of grief, is probably for the better. Alcoholics who refuse to change will never change, The person has to want to change for it to happen.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome blackkettle -

It hurts just to read your post and I am so sorry you're going through this. Alcohol/addiction is a progressive disease and it leaves everyone, including the alcoholic, asking "WHY?"

I don't know that there are any answers to that question, except to say that it has nothing to do with you, or even with her "real" self. Alcoholism has affected some of the brightest and best people - it doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, in a great marriage or a bad one.

It's a vicious cycle of suffering/relief, obsession/compulsion, until (and if) the alcoholic is willing to get help.

I hope you check out our section for Family/Friends of Alcoholics. You're not alone in this......Friends and Family of Alcoholics - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Dear blackkettle,

I came to SR today because I often get through half my day and the decide I need SR to help me get through the rest... the people here are always comforting and they understand my problems more then I do.

I think I can say for sure nothing on SR have ever touched me the way your letter to your wife did. I think minus the fact that I am attempting to deal with my drinking problem our lives may mirror each other in many way.

I am so sorry for you and I am so sorry your wife is willing to deal with her problem. The pain I hear in your words is the exact pain I have heard in my husbands voice several times this year. And, it is heart breaking to read the list of things you would miss. I pray that you find your best friend again... honestly I would be lost in this world if he made the decision you have.

I honestly wish you the best in everything and I hope you find someone to talk to. I will send you a private message with my phone number... if you want to attend an Alanon meeting we can look for those resources for you. If you need anything at all use SR we are a great group of people.

Thank you for sharing this letter... honestly it will help keep me sober today... and grateful for the progress I have made and the people who have helped get me here and keep me here.

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Old 11-26-2011, 03:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the kind sentiment everyone and Saliena in particular. I didn't really know why I was putting the letter up here but if it has somehow helped you than it was worth it.

On behalf of the spouses of alcoholics, thank you for making the effort, we know that it isn't easy but working at it means everythiing. Love yourselves, you're worth it.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm really sorry you find yourself in this situation blackkettle.....but I'm glad you've joined us - you'll find a lot of understanding and support here - welcome to SR

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Old 11-26-2011, 04:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I read this right after you posted it. It definitely brought on the tears. For both you and her. I hope she gets to read this also.
Good for you....this must be a horribly painful thing for you to do but much needed, for both your happiness and well-being, for a chance at a better life. Hopefully for your wife also.... thank you for sharing your letter.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I feel for your situation. I hope your wife can find peace from the struggle
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I could've written this very thing about my husband. I'm so sorry you're suffering now and I want you to know that you're not alone.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I am tears as i read this, as if it were in fact written by my bf, who has started packing. He is halfway out of the door and deservedly so, the hell I put him through the past 6 years. I know it is only fair to let him go, but i am begging him for one more chance. But when he tells me what I did while drunk I am so ashamed, mortified ..the anger, the "i hate yous" that would fly from my mouth I would think NO WAY he would ever stay, would I stay if the situation was reversed. He told me I would throw things. I broke his laptop in a drunken anger...slammed it to the floor and then curled up on the couch and passed out. I said mean horrible things to his daughter, things no little girl should ever have to hear. He loved me so much, he kept letting me try and try and try. Every time it would be the same, promise to work harder, take my antabuse, my prozac, go to meetings, get in therapy, joined a women's bible study at church, started going to church... all in attempt to stay sober, one more try, harder than before. But every 3 to 4 weeks I loose it. It comes on so quickly, the anger, the resentment, and I would slow down on my meetings, come late, leave early..and then pms would hit and push me over the edge. and because i was on antabuse i would have to plan it days ahead of time. Sick, sick sick. And each time I would promise myself I would handle it. That I wouldn't get blackout drunk. And sometimes I could and I was sweet and nice and not afraid to open up and let him see another little part of me. But for the most part, in the end, those moments never came, ever. I wanted them back so disparately. But this last time, I felt something change in me. i was able to make it 30 days, I was so happy and during that time i found myself falling more and more in love with you. It felt better than in the beginning. Much better knowing how much in love you were with me to have stayed all this time..And I was sober. And then people started disappointing me, not living up to my expectations. And it got dark, and it got really really cold, the time of year I cry I want to leave so badly, leave this frozen hell. And then the anniversary of my moms death hits me, and another disappointment, a cancer scare, problems at work. And then I cave in... hoping to make it only last a little and not be so horrible although I know deep down it will. I am sooo sorry I put you through that. I don't deserve another chance but because I love you I dont know what else to do but ask...
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have so much that I want to say .. but can't really find the words. I also am the alcoholic wife that got left, after almost 25 years of marriage. We were best friends.. loved, laughed, grew together, planned for happy things. But, for whatever reasons, our lives changed little by little, and I turned to booze while he looked the other way in silence, putting up with me. I was a happy drunk, but I am sure he had many of the same feelings as you wrote about. I hid how much I drank, but not the fact that I liked my drink .. and I would always have one "on the go".

When my husband left, he didn't even bring up my drinking.. or much of anything .. but only that we grew apart. I wish he would have talked about his feelings on my drinking. I know I was in denial right up to and after he left ... and I know my drinking was a huge part of where our lives ended up where they were, but it was never discussed.

The really sad thing for me is - I am now a sober person, as we go through our divorce .. and he doesn't even know me. He hasn't seen me in a long time. He doesn't know I am finally "me" again.. I even look like the old healthy me now .. the loving, nice, caring, non-judgemental, sober girl that he loved for all of those years .. before I turned from him and to booze.

He doesn't know .. and probably doesn't care. And I don't blame him.

Thank you for sharing things from your point of view. I cried as I imagined my ex saying the same things. What hurts the most about all of this is that I wasn't worth saying those things to.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Blackkettle -

For some reason today, after speaking to my wife on the phone (we have been separated for close to 9 months) and hearing the pain in her voice over my decision to leave, I decided to surf the internet and came upon you post. It struck me because I could have written the same letter. My thoughts/feelings closely echo yours. It is impossibly difficult to lose someone to such an insidious condition/mindset/disease/whatever it may be. To have all your hopes and dreams cast aside and replaced by doubt and loss - it is truly a lifewrecker. It could be that you leaving is the beginning of her recover, hopefully. In my case, my wife was pretty much forced into recovery. As important as it is to support the recovering alcoholic, I think it is far more important for the sober spouse to get healthy again. I was so deep into anxiety and stress over the situation that I had lost myself. I left. Luckily she has been very successful in her treatment and is now a peer counselor for other recovering alcoholics. I am deathly afraid of stepping back into my marriage even with her successes. The truly sad part of alcoholism is that you lose a spouse, lose the person you fell in love with and lose the feelings that kept you together. My trust feels like it has been altered completely and my feelings have fundamentally changed. This, of course, is my perspective. I struggle with the prospect of beginning a new life as well, even after 9 months but the hurts and trespasses of the past are very difficult to overcome. Those hurts you wrote about stay with me but hopefully, in time, those will soften and recovery can be final.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It takes one to Know one!.......2 months on and still going strong!

Hi there

I only joined today and by chance you were the first thing I read, I found your 'letter'. Your wife was me, you were my husband.

I 'came to' in August of this year(30 years of drinking - 10 of these years was hell - but the last 5 years I was in hell). I went over the England and checked 'myself' into rehab for 6 weeks - I managed to get onto Step 4 from the beautiful BIG BOOK. (I am English but currently live in France).

I recognise everything you wrote - it was me. My husband read your letter and it brought tears to his eyes - he was you.

Your wife needs to 'come to' and to admit that she is 'powerless over her addictive behaviour and that her life has become unmanageable - learn to fully concede to her inner most self that she is an Alcoholic and that to realise that this is a very serious progressive mental illness-
Mind Part = the Great Obsession (just one drink 'won't' hurt)
The Great Obsession = Thinking that we can drink like other people
Body Problem = an Allergy, the phenomenon of craving
Craving = Beyond Mental Control
Alcoholic = Allergic Type

I apologise if I am saying something that you have already heard but believe me I would NEVER have called my addiction an ILLNESS OF THE MIND! and forgive me but have you tried - packing her bag and getting her to a rehab (lock in) - I am unfamiliar with what maybe available for you right now to proceed down this path........................
I and my Husband can only wish you good health and gods will...........

An Alcoholic Mind
Resent...ment is, as the Big Book state's, 'The number one offender' - it DESTROYS more Alcoholics/addicts than anything else. Resentment means to re-feel anger, hold or show a bitter hurt or indignation; this feeling is 'poison' for anyone hoping to develop a spiritual way of life, a life free from SELF...........................
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Sometimes there is nothing anyone else can do. They have to want to change, and they have to want to do it for themselves. I've been on both sides of it, I'm a reformed alcoholic/addict. I've also seen others destroy themselves through addiction and it's very difficult to stand by and watch, you truly do feel as if you've 'lost' them to the problem that they have. When one family member affected passed away, I was surprised at the emptiness of emotion that I felt... then I realized, I'd probably experienced all the grief three years earlier when I knew that the addiction had really taken her away from me. I am sorry for what you are suffering, but please take care of yourself.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Owen and Kimberlie - it's good to have you with us

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