SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information - View Single Post - Why do women stay with an alcoholic husband?
Old 12-22-2018, 08:12 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Arlington, Texas
Posts: 63
I'm an alcoholic and so is my ex-husband. I fought like hell to get sober, but honestly, I got nowhere until he left us. And even then, it took me years.

I kept thinking if I said the right thing, or watched the right show, or read the right book, everything would fall into place and he and I would get sober together.

I also think so many people view marriage as disposable and I was determined to make mine work. But you can't save it if only one person is trying. It's a team effort or it's a lost cause. And you can't save anyone else from their addiction. They have to want it and they have to fight for it. Facing that truth is one of those universal battles. We all intellectually know it, but it's one of those things the heart is resistant to hear. It thinks, "If I love her/him enough, I can SAVE her/him!" No, no you can't.

When I got married, I was on drugs, I was drinking, I was a complete mess. We were married for twenty-one years and it shifted. I've been off drugs for twenty-two years this Christmas. And he started drinking more and more, and sabotaging any efforts I made to quit. I'd say I was going to go a week or a month without drinking and he'd sweetly make me a drink and tell me "he forgot."

He gave into every AV that whispered to him after a while. Porn, gambling, sex (the gambling was the scariest and the sex was the most hurtful). And into this came.... our baby. Lovely timing. But it was a god moment. I think if we hadn't had a kid, I probably would have tried to stay and save him (and let him kill me in the process, I'm sure). But all of a sudden we had this tiny human who had an interest in staying alive.

I'd been a doormat to my ex before the kid came along, and quite frankly, the ex was horrified that I placed the kid first. Within two years, he left. He was sure that I'd die of my alcoholism and that I'd fail at everything.

I did not fail at everything. I did okay. It took me years to quit drinking, but I did. He did not. I divorced him last year (that took me WAY too long, but I stupidly kept thinking I shouldn't break up the family and that maybe he'd figure it out and quit drinking himself). I also stupidly never realized he would never make me or the kid a priority in his life and never view us as anything other than his property.

He spent the last few years telling me that I was lying about sobriety and that he knew I'd cheated on him relentlessly throughout our entire marriage. I hadn't, but it took a hell of a lot of effort to not engage and try to prove myself and my innocence.

Flash forward to October of this year. The kid and I are doing okay. I'd been sober for ten months at that point (and I STILL AM, yay me and us). I got this phone call that he was dying in a hospital and they needed someone to sign the medical papers. Turns out he has nothing and no one aside from his ex-wife and our kid.

We went to see him. It was unreal. He was yellow - like someone had colored him with a highlighter. He had the giant distended belly from drinking and he'd lost about sixty pounds due to muscle atrophy. And they were trying to figure out why his organs were failing. He was completely out of it, but what he was telling medical staff was that he never drank, that his wife was the alcoholic. He didn't remember that we'd gotten divorced. His alcoholic dementia also makes it so that he believes his own lies.

It was stunning. He did not die during that event. They got him stabilized and moved him to a rehab - at which point we left and went home. He signed himself out of rehab two days later. He still, to this day, insists I'm the alcoholic and not him. I'm the addict, not him.

I'm a guilty person by nature, and I have some major guilt over seeing what became of him after I gave up on him and focused on life without him. But it is NOT MY FAULT. And whatever happens with your husband, it is NOT YOUR FAULT.

You have a right to a life that doesn't revolve around someone else's addiction. You can't fight their battles for them, you can't save someone else from the bottle, you can't want it for them. If you could, there would be a crapload more sober people, because all of us have people who love us enough to save us.

But I understand the emotions, I understand the urge to try, to not fail them in their hour of need. I hope you can take a step back emotionally and try to view your situation as objectively as possible. Are you damaging your life and yourself in order to try to save your husband and your marriage? Can you fix it all on your own? What do you need to do to protect yourself and your family?

I'm not trying to be mean nor suggesting I know what's best for you. I just have been in that pit and I want someone to look out for YOU as well in your situation.

Best of luck.
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