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Old 10-05-2017, 05:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My wife left me during step 6 of her recovery


Hi! My story may resonate with some of you and for others it may be new. I'm writing on here to gain perspective and maybe even some helpful advice. So my wife has an eating disorder and has been battling it for 16 years. She also recently (about a year) been heavily drinking by herself every night at home. We have been together for 3.5 years and married for 1.5 years. I did not know about the eating disorder, alcohol problem and the childhood abuse until after we were married. She was very good at hiding her purging and when I found out, she said she needed to start going back to her therapist (I didn't know she had one.) she started seeing her therapist and after about 5 months and a couple joint sessions with me, her therapist told her she wasn't seeing the progress she wanted and she was encouraging EDA and the 12 step program. I was very supportive of this. Aside from the strain of the eating disorder and alcohol our relationship was solid. Very engaging and loving and fun. So she started the 12 step recovery process 5 weeks ago and 3 meetings in a woman approached her about being her sponsor. I thought this was great, the woman is 20 years older than my wife with 8 years recovered and a lot of life experience under her belt. She's also was retired and very active with her husband (who is a recovered alcoholic that she met in AA) in all meetings. It's life consuming for them. My wife's journey started normal...she was attending 3 meetings a week and talking to her sponsor for a 15-20 minutes daily to check in and when she was struggling in a moment. She was very open with me about the process and we communicated about it. I was even invited to one of the meetings the first week and was singing it's praises afterward. I was expressing how proud I was of my wife and that I was honored to be able to support her. Pretty quickly I started to notice changes and not for the better. She was very secretive with the conversations and text messages with her sponsor. She stopped talking to me about anything recovery related. She even physically pulled away. The end of her 2nd week her meetings went from 3 to 6 and she would meet with her sponsor 2 hours before the meeting, go to the meeting with her sponsor and then spend 2 hours after the meetings with her sponsor. She wasn't getting home until 10 at night 6 nights a week. Then as soon as she would get home she would immediately call or start texting her sponsor for hours until she went to bed. I went to therapy to help learn how to support and communicate with her but nothing was helping. I started to see that this relationship she had with her sponsor was very codependent and was effecting our marriage. I tried talking to her about being open with me and using me as one of her support systems (per my therapist-she specializes in this). It was received with annoyance and anger (which is out of character for my wife. She is the sweetest human being I know.) I was worried. We went on vacation for a week and while we were on vacation she was speaking with her sponsor multiple times a day and for a total of 2-3 hours per day. She would do this out of ear shot from me too. This progressed and got worse when we got home. I noticed her taking calls outside in her car in the garage, texting secretly under the table and she wouldn't let her phone out of her sight (again, very uncharacteristic of her). She even took the phone in the bathroom with her to shower and would hide it. One night last week she did her normal routine...went to work then met her sponsor 2 hours before the meeting, then went to the meeting with her sponsor, then stayed for about 1.5 hours after the meeting with her sponsor and then came home. When she came home she announced to me that she was going to call her sponsor. After an hour on the phone she came back out of the room she closed herself up in and immediately started the secretive texting. I asked if there was a reason she was being sneaky with her phone and she immediately got defensive. Since this had started to get bad anything I said was either "controlling" or "codependent". Everything she said to me at that point were a bunch of buzz words that seemed to be getting fed to her. So later that night (she was 3 vodka cocktails deep) and refusing to come to bed because she wanted to be on her phone. I finally sat down and asked her what was going on. She said "I just want to be left alone in this moment." So I respected her whishes and left her alone. The next morning I found her on the phone with her sponsor and when she hung up (I didn't even get a chance to say good morning) she said, out of the blue, that she needed to be honest and she was lying to herself and she never loved me, not even on our wedding day, and that we were over. She followed it up with asking me to leave OUR home that we bought together. It seemed very rehearsed and she had zero emotion when saying this to me. Right after she had said what she wanted, she went into the garage and called her sponsor. I'm heartbroken, shocked and scared. All of this, this rapid, overnight change in her feelings and behavior towards me is NOT my wife. I'm at a complete loss. It has been a little over a week and we spoke briefly, twice last week and each time she was colder and more angry. I don't understand the anger at all. This was her decision and I never pushed. I asked for us to see someone and she refused saying it won't change her mind. We haven't spoken in almost a week and it seems she is going to file for divorce. I read horror stories about sponsors ruining marriages, I just never thought it would happen to mine. My wife was fragile and vulnerable and it seems like she's been completely taken advantage of and manipulated. It's like she was abducted by aliens. I apologize for the long post but I would appreciate any advice.
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thank you very much for writing that. I too have seen that same situation with my now X-husband. He had other previous sponsors while in the program but never anyone like this one he ran into and formed a very abnormal relationship with. I absolutely think his sponsor wanted control over my X for a self centered reason. I was shocked at how loyal and defensive he was about his sponsor. He would get extremely angry if I questioned any thing in regards to him. Nothing I said mattered and he also did not even want to talk. It was bizarre to me and made no sense. As you said.....It's like she was abducted by aliens ....I feel exactly the same way. It has been years since my divorce and communication is 0. I wonder how often this happens?? My heart goes out to you. I was extremely supportive just like you but it made no difference at all. I was told to not try to make sense out of something that makes no sense.
Hopefully we will hear from others too.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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#1 -- Sponsors according to the AA Big Book are not suppose to be involved with the Sponsees marital matters -- they are not qualified marriage counselors.

#2 -- To be secretive and on the phone so often and spending that much time with ones Sponsor -- would be unhealthy according to the Big Book for it says to not neglect our families.

#3 -- Sounds like hanky Panky going on.

#4 -- Protect yourself -- don't be the one to leave the family home -- tell her that if she wants to leave -- feel free.

#5 -- Don't jump out and get one but, have a good lawyer ready.

M-Bob
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Old 10-16-2017, 06:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mountainmanbob View Post
#1 -- Sponsors according to the AA Big Book are not suppose to be involved with the Sponsees marital matters -- they are not qualified marriage counselors.

#2 -- To be secretive and on the phone so often and spending that much time with ones Sponsor -- would be unhealthy according to the Big Book for it says to not neglect our families.

#3 -- Sounds like hanky Panky going on.

#4 -- Protect yourself -- don't be the one to leave the family home -- tell her that if she wants to leave -- feel free.

#5 -- Don't jump out and get one but, have a good lawyer ready.

M-Bob
Thank you! I have read this too. I'm shocked a sponsor would let this go on unless the sponsor is just as sick as my wife. It really is a shame there is no one I can report this woman to. She has convinced my wife to destroy her marriage and divorce and sell the house as quickly as possible. Sounds like a scam to me, I just don't know what the end game is.
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Old 10-16-2017, 06:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by needuall View Post
Thank you very much for writing that. I too have seen that same situation with my now X-husband. He had other previous sponsors while in the program but never anyone like this one he ran into and formed a very abnormal relationship with. I absolutely think his sponsor wanted control over my X for a self centered reason. I was shocked at how loyal and defensive he was about his sponsor. He would get extremely angry if I questioned any thing in regards to him. Nothing I said mattered and he also did not even want to talk. It was bizarre to me and made no sense. As you said.....It's like she was abducted by aliens ....I feel exactly the same way. It has been years since my divorce and communication is 0. I wonder how often this happens?? My heart goes out to you. I was extremely supportive just like you but it made no difference at all. I was told to not try to make sense out of something that makes no sense.
Hopefully we will hear from others too.
I'm so sorry to hear you went through this too. It makes no sense. It's been 3 weeks since she left. She started the program a month and a half ago, told me she wanted a divorce 30 days after she started the program with this woman, 14 days later I was served with divorce papers and 4 days after that she listed our house on the market. She's lost her mind. Someone is telling her to move at the speed of light. For what?! Why?! It's all so confusing. I had a friend send an article about Borderline Personlity Disorder and it checked all the boxes in regards to my wife. I just wish I would have known the mental issues before marrying her. It would have saved me a lot of heartache and the giant headache I've had for 3 weeks. Her mom recently told me she's acting happy, not throwing up as much and she hasn't seen her drink. I told her mom those should be the least of her worries...she needs to help her with her mental issues, not to mention my wife admitted to lying for years so who knows what the truth is regarding her addictions. She still speaks to her sponsor 1-2 hours a day and is spending hours with her at meetings every night. The bottom is going to fall out and it's not going to be pretty. Everyone keeps telling me I dodged a bullet but I still feel the heartbreak every morning I open my eyes. I will never be able to understand how someone can be ok with knowing they emotionally destroyed someone who did nothing but love them.
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kbagel199 View Post
I'm so sorry to hear you went through this too. It makes no sense. It's been 3 weeks since she left. She started the program a month and a half ago, told me she wanted a divorce 30 days after she started the program with this woman, 14 days later I was served with divorce papers and 4 days after that she listed our house on the market. She's lost her mind. Someone is telling her to move at the speed of light. For what?! Why?! It's all so confusing. I had a friend send an article about Borderline Personlity Disorder and it checked all the boxes in regards to my wife. I just wish I would have known the mental issues before marrying her. It would have saved me a lot of heartache and the giant headache I've had for 3 weeks. Her mom recently told me she's acting happy, not throwing up as much and she hasn't seen her drink. I told her mom those should be the least of her worries...she needs to help her with her mental issues, not to mention my wife admitted to lying for years so who knows what the truth is regarding her addictions. She still speaks to her sponsor 1-2 hours a day and is spending hours with her at meetings every night. The bottom is going to fall out and it's not going to be pretty. Everyone keeps telling me I dodged a bullet but I still feel the heartbreak every morning I open my eyes. I will never be able to understand how someone can be ok with knowing they emotionally destroyed someone who did nothing but love them.
Yeah while reading your post, I couldn't help but think BPD.

Listen, she lied to you from the beginning by hiding her issues. It's like you were sold a car by a shifty salesman and told it's in perfect condition only to find the brakes don't work.

You seem very loyal. A type of person who is loyal even when loyalty is undeserved. But you have to realize that you are being loyal to who you though your wife was. You had an ideal in your head. Perhaps she fed you that ideal. This is the ideal that you were in love with and married. The hidden issues and dishonesty shows that you did not know your wife. She is a fake and now showing herself to be a bpd and a mercenary who was simply looking for an easy ride and a cash payout. You say you bought the house together? both of you paid for it or just you?

Anyway, she deserves no loyalty. Kick her to the herb and get a good lawyer. If you can break into her email or phone and prove that she was cheating on you it could work in your favor....

As the behavior does sound like she was cheating on you. Whether that was with the sponsor in a lesbian affair or whether she was using the sponsor as an excuse and cheating with a male member of aa..........

Her behavior sounds like she was adducted by aliens? or indocterned by a cult...?

....anyway, women are better at hiding cheating than men, but eventually we pick up on the sneaky behavior.
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Old 10-23-2017, 08:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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"I will never be able to understand how someone can be ok with knowing they emotionally destroyed someone who did nothing but love them."

Hi Kbagel,

If she has borderline personality disorder, she's probably not capable of even seeing that she destroyed you emotionally.

Don't give her the power to destroy you emotionally. Stay strong.

I also sense her mom chooses her words carefully about her daughter. Saying that"she's acting happy" is very different than "she's happy". If she has BPD, she likely has very unstable emotions.

I would be grateful for the friend who sent you that article.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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AA destroyed my marriage twice

I was a newlywed 3 years ago when my husband's AA sponsor gave him divorce attorney phone numbers, and told him to divorce me. I have always been loving and supportive of my husband. A few months after the divorce, my (now ex) husband asked me to move back in with him, and I did. About 6 months after I moved back in with him another one of his AA "brothers" convinced him to leave me again and move in with him because the AA brother needed a roommate. So, he's gone again. However, most of his belongings are with me. He comes home for dinner only if his AA brothers aren't going out for dinner after their daily AA meetings. Even if I have made dinner for him and an AA brother asks him at the last minute, he will bail to be with his AA brothers. Before AA, we did everything together! We went to church together every week. Now he totally skips church for his AA "worship" meetings on Sundays. He once even told me that AA is like a god to him. From what I can see, AA is more like a cult to him. He was a successful banker, but lost his job because his sponsor convinced him that he needed to go to AA meetings once or twice a day for the rest of his life. This man has lost everything because of AA, not alcoholism. Now he only has one thing - AA. Since he was considered high bottom, he definitely could have easily found better groups that could help him quit drinking without quitting life. It is very clear to me that my feelings are secondary to any and everyone in AA. I am now in the process of making a definite plan to move on with my life. I deserve better; much better.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Greisinger, there are people who become addicted to 12 step programs like AA. It's sad but true. I personally have a life outside AA, but do live recovery in all areas of my life. I am so sorry for your pain! Gentle hugs from Kansas!
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lost my husband to AA

I am in a similar situation.
My husband struggled with alcoholism and opioid addiction throughout most of our 36 years marriage.
despite those addictions, we still had our fun moments, took family trips together, raised our 3 children and did a good job of it. He was able to keep his job and also do well.
in 2011, he started using heavily and my son ended up taking him to rehab while I was on a camping trip.
this was his introduction to AA and the start to a much less pleasant part of our marriage.
As described by others, AA became his new ďchurchĒ, it became all consuming of his time and affections. Nothing left for me and the family. It was progressive, but he finally asked for divorce a couple weeks ago.
It is to be noted that he kept attending AA for years while still using, so lying to himself and others.
My husband was a Christian, attended Church regularly, even preached on occasion; now he wants nothing to do with the God that we once served together, but he wonít miss an AA meeting... I donít think he has a problem with sponsors as described above, but the group therapy as a whole has had a very negative effect on him. AA promotes extreme selfishness; you have to think of yourself fist because sobriety is all that matters. He would tell me that the members claim not to be drinking, but they smoke like chimneys, have sex orgies and other addictive behaviors. He claims to be happier than heís ever been, but has terrible mood swings, anger outbursts, and his work production has gone way down. Our sex life has totally died and he looks at me with contempt. He has pretty cut off communication with our 3 children and definitely wonít speak to me anymore unless itís for business.
I attended many Naranon meetings to try to help
myself, and found no hope there; just a terrible underlying depression of being stuck with an addict and having to make the best of it.
This is not life, this is sugar coated death.
I despise AA for having destroyed my marriage and in all reality, my husband just went from one addiction to another ; now he spend a fortune on skydiving, spending all his free time getting the rush of adrenaline.
I lost my husband, my friend, my lover, to AA and will forever be very vocal about it.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It is to be noted that he kept attending AA for years while still using, so lying to himself and others.

AA has nothing to do with his issues....he was still in active addiction. sorry for your problems, but AA is not one of them.

. AA promotes extreme selfishness;
actually AA promotes selflessness and working with others.

He would tell me that the members claim not to be drinking, but they smoke like chimneys, have sex orgies and other addictive behaviors. He claims to be happier than heís ever been, but has terrible mood swings, anger outbursts, and his work production has gone way down. Our sex life has totally died and he looks at me with contempt.

his report from AA meetings, not actual fact. his behavior is the only thing that is relevant.

your husband succumbed to addiction and did not find a way to stop.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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my husband's AA sponsor gave him divorce attorney phone numbers, and told him to divorce me.
Two things that come to mind.

1. Sponsors are not supposed to give legal or marital advice.
2. I wonder why he has phone numbers for multiple divorce attorneys.
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