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Hello - VERY LONG - sorry

Old 07-26-2007, 11:34 AM
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Hello - VERY LONG - sorry

My name is Riqui and my husband is an addict/alcoholic. I am here because I want to help him with his attempt at sobriety.

A bit of history - my husban was an addict when we met. He had quit using just shortly before that and I guess that I should have "known" that he hadn't really quit, it was just a break from one drug to another. I think one of the things that I find most irritating is when someone who knows that I was raised by an alcoholic father and had (previous to this marriage) been involved in a long-term relationsip with an alcoholic, they ask me why I didn't know better than to get involved with M and ultimately marry him! Hello?! If I had known that his drinking was going to start destroying my life, as well as my children's, don't you think that I would have made a different choice?! Anyhow...

My husband has lived a horrible life that has included abandonment, abuses and long-term incarceration. He has a horribly negative attitude and can be very hard to get along with...and that's when he's sober! :-) There is a lot more to him than this though and I love him to death. I am not trying to say that any of those things happening to him give him a reason to drink, they give him an excuse. He has never dealt with those things...that comes later in this post.

Over the past two months, his lying and hiding has become out of control, he actually left me for a period of time and cheated on me and started using another drug, but only because he needed extra energy for work! Yeah

This past Saturday, I decided that I was going to leave him. Unfortunately, I run my business out of my home and every plan that I came up with fell through, whether it was because of my business, money or our three children. The next day was a "family day" and I knew he was going to be sober, so I let him read all of the things that I had written (my journal) to him that day, including the letters I had written telling him that I was done. Eight hours later, when we got home, we discussed his drinking and even though he tried to convince me that he just needed to quit going to the bars and start being more responsible (something we had already talked about and tried over the previous week and a half), I told him that he couldn't control it and it wasn't enough for me. When he told me he didn't want to quit, I told him that meant there was nothing left to talk about. A bit later he came to me and told me that, even though he didn't WANT to, he knew that he needed to and that he was going to try.

The next day brought about some HUGE issues. I found out that he had lied to me about using protection when he cheated, which was why I was being tested for STDs, since I had gone to see someone because of pain and it is also the day that I found out that he had been using other drugs. I was done - emotionally, mentally and physically drained. I think that he knew that he had pushed me over the edge, because he called and made an appointment with our past marriage counselor (who we quit going to as there was no point in paying her when he was going to our sessions intoxicated) and made us an appointment for the next night.

While I would say that our session was successful, I don't know if he would agree - it made him quite angry. First of all, she used an example of how some abuses affect people, which made him think that I had betrayed him by telling her something he had told me in confidence and she, ultimately, told me that I needed to decide whether or not I was ready to get off of the ferris wheel. She then turned to him and told him that he needed to get off of all drugs and alcohol and that we no longer needed to come to marriage counseling, but that the only way we were ever going to make it is if he came to one-on-one sessions. Wow, did this irratate him - to be told that he was "broken."

Anyhow, he has agreed to one session with her next Wednesday and I am praying that, after that one, he will agree to just one more. I told him last night that since he is also an Ebay addict :-) I would be willing to take some of the money that we save each week and buy him an Ebay gift certificate. On top of that, I promised him a reward of sorts for going to the meeting with her. I guess that I am hoping that, as it works with my children, positive reinforcement for doing something that may not be well liked may help to keep him enthused.

I am here because I am completely unable to go to any form of meetings locally and he is opposed to the whole 12 Step program. He has been to rehab 5 times now (although always under duress and never actually wanting to get better) and knows what he will and will not do, so he is trying this on his own. I am looking for someone or someplace where I can find out if some of my behaviours are constructive or destructive. I need to find a place that can help me figure out how to approach him, like when he comes straight home from work and is grumpy. I told him last night that I feel that it is because he would rather be drinking, as he previously spent 3-4 hours drinking before coming home, and that if it is, he can tell me. While I can't sympathize, I can empathize. I told him that if he was going to do all of this work "for us" than the least that I could do is to tolerate his moods while he is doing it and to help him through it any way that I can - even if it is just to leave him alone. I even went so far as to apologize to him for things that I have said (even though they were true) when his drinking made me angry!

So...looking for help for me so that I can help him. I look forward to hearing from everybody and apologize for how long this post is!! I just figured I would get this information out there so you knew where I was first. :-)
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:48 AM
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Why are you unable to go to any form of meeting locally?

What are the reasons you "love to death" someone who exposed you to a possibly deadly STD?

These are just two of the questions I had to ask myself.
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:36 PM
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I promised him a reward of sorts for going to the meeting with her.
I guess that I am hoping that, as it works with my children, positive reinforcement for doing something that may not be well liked may help to keep him enthused.
First off, he is not a child and I know of no reason why an active user who has abused his family should be rewarded or otherwise enticed to 'be a good boy'. Many have tried this method and I have yet to hear one success story. The addict needs negative reinforcement...the natural consequences of bad behavior to motivate for true change.

I learned in Alanon that if I continued to help someone be successful at doing what they do...I am enabling them- or have become, in a way, their partner.

If I choose to give money to an active addict- I am taking from the rest of my family and myself. btdt. I have spent alot of money in the past trying to rescue my son from his addiction. I made his using alot easier and robbed myself and my family of funds that could have and should have been used differently. And that's just telling about the financial side of it.

What works is not easy but the idea of Alanon and places like this forum is to offer help to 'you' and share what it was like for us, what we did and how it is now. There is a better way and you don't have to be alone in this.

If I may ask...why can't you go to meetings?
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:26 PM
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Well, I am currently unable to go to meetings locally as I run a daycare that is open from 7:00am until 11:30pm. I just started looking for local meetings and the best I have found are a 1-hour drive away. This conflicts with my schedule in a huge way. In a few weeks, my schedule is supposed to change and then I will take another look at what is available to me, but there are also personal/belief issues involved. I have read bits and pieces of AA and Al-Anon information and I don't agree with everything I have read. I have to further my "investigation" to determine whether or not I will be able to successfully use the "take it or leave it" approach to the meetings. I am sure that I will be able to, to a point, and I am sure that I will be able to use some of what I learn from these meetings, but at this time I am just not physically able to go.

By the way, CMC, I love your quote and have actually posted it in my home.

As for why I love my husband to death...because I do. How could I not? Am I supposed to stop loving him just because he is an alcoholic? Do I stop loving him because he made a (really) bad decision while he was in the throes of this addiction? He had been on a two-day drinking binge after we had an argument and the cheating even happened in the parking lot of a bar. It was a one-time thing and I believe that completely. I love him because I know that he loves me. Just because someone does not love you the way that you want them to, does not mean that they are not loving you the best that they can. I love him because of how he is when he is not drinking. And I love him even more for what he is doing for us right now, with his attempt at sobriety and counseling. So, yes, he made a really, really bad decision that could have put me in a medical situation, but my son could do the same thing one day when I am teaching him to drive. Everyone deserves a second chance. This is his. Some of us forgive easier than others.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:26 PM
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oh man. this is too big for me, just know i'm praying for you and your family.

the only thing is... if he doesn't want to quit, if he has little to no consequences, if he doesn't ever hurt badly enough to get some help and change his life, then no matter what you say/do, he won't stop. ever.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by riqui1 View Post
Some of us forgive easier than others.
Another thing I had to ask myself in recovery - what does it mean when I justify my behavior by criticizing another's?

Al-Anon and open AA meetings have taught me to forgive in a deeper way than I ever thought possible. Most importantly, I have learned to forgive myself.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:38 PM
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I don't understand what it is you need to "investigate" about A.A. and Al-Anon prior to going. It is suggested that you try six meetings and then make a decision as to whether or not Al-Anon is for you. As far as your beliefs go, as we say in the meetings take what you want and leave the rest. Nobody has ever tried to force their own religious or moral philosophy on me. We are there to discuss how we have become sick from being exposed to the disease of addiction for so long. We want to get better. Nobody forces us to get better. We take care of us, and our OWN business.

Your husband doesn't want to go to A.A. You obviously cannot go to Al-Anon right now because of your work schedule; however, if your schedule changes that would allow you to attend a meeting, it's still an hour away. If you want to go to a meeting, you will find a way to go to a meeting. If your husband wants to attend A.A., he will find a way to attend A.A.

Marriage counseling? I tried it with my actively-drinking husband and the counselor finally told us he could not work on our marriage with us, and we could not honestly work on our marriage, until my husband's addiction was seriously addressed. That meant seeking sobriety.

That is just my opinion, plain and simple. If anyone keeps trying to put a band-aid rather than a tourniquet on a torn artery long enough, they'll realize that the patient is bleeding to death.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:40 PM
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I know your feelings of loving them, not their behavior. Trust me, I still love him. What helped me MOST is reading the book "Getting them Sober" 3-5 times. I see what you want most is to help him. This will tell you how, in great detail. I actually saw it work within 2 weeks of trying my best to stick to the principles outlined in the book. Number one is getting out of the way so they can hit bottom and suffer the consequences of drinking, not you. It was by far the most difficult thing to do, for me and AH but the payoffs are huge. It will help him get sober, more than all the "helping" in the world. And "detaching" will help you immensely, but be prepared because the disease will do everything possible to keep you playing the game. Hugs!
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:24 PM
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Is it not possible that this was his "bottom"? I mean, to realize the he had left me, cheated (and possibly made me ill), started using drugs again and that I was preparing to walk out with our children? It is not like everything was perfect before that - we had been spiraling down and things were getting worse, which is how he justified leaving, as he thought that we were going to end up divorcing anyhow. In my opinion, he wanted to binge and knew it wouldn't be "good" to be home when he did it. I think that this was his bottom. I don't think that he ever meant to put himself in the danger that he did using or me in the danger that he did cheating. I think it scared him when I told him I was leaving. I will definitely look into the book that you have recommended.

No, the band aid is what we have been using for the past few years. For him to quit drinking, alone or with help, and to seek counseling to deal with all of his issues...I think that is MUCH more than just putting a band aid on the problem. He's trying and I give him credit for that, especially since he has always sworn he would never seek counseling.

Denny, I am sorry but I don't understand what you mean with the comment about justifying my behaviour by criticizing others. I never criticized anyone in my comment about being able to forgive easily. Some people can and some can't. He is fortunate that I can.

You know, so far this forum has not helped me in any way decide that Al-Anon is something that will work for me. I came on here looking for people to talk to that may have shared similar problems and may be able to offer me advice on how to handle things. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize that you all have a great amount of wisdom and you see that I may be making mistakes, but I REALLY did not expect to have to be justifying every single thing that I have shared with you, nor did I expect to feel as if I had to defend myself. I was excited when I found this place because I need help (for me), but now I am developing a serious disappointment in the way that this help is being given.
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:03 PM
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RIQUI,

Hello there - I am pretty new at this but your initial post in the newcomer section drew my attention to your situation. I came over to see what kind of answers some of the good folk here might have to offer.

My suggestion would be that you seek out to find the answers as to what is the best solution for YOU. How can you get through this ? Can you go through this ??

I am trying to sort my life out at the moment.... I am an alcoholic, but also the daughter of two parents who had the same problem. I remember going over it in my head... how, why and what, but they weren't my problem to solve. They needed to get a grip on their lives and no one could do that for them. I just cut the cord so to speak and told them that they could call me WHEN they had decided to STOP. You seem very focused on motivating him to stop, and that is good, but you need to look out for yourself and your children. Either he gets it or he doesn't !!!

I did get that call from my parents by the way... and they are doing well now !!!

I wish you all the luck and I hope that he really gets it !!!!! Look out for YOU !!!!

Peace,

Yasmin

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Old 07-26-2007, 05:39 PM
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anything is possible....the best advice I can offer is to read, read, read and really educate yourself about the disease of alcoholisom - reading Under the Influence, Getting Them Sober, and Codependent No More really opened my eyes....best wishes.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:09 PM
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We are sharing our personal opinions. We are making suggestions based on our own experience and recovery. Nobody is asking you to defend youself. If you want to attend a meeting you will. If not, you won't. You know your husband has committed adultery. You say his lying is out of control. He has left you. He is using another drug of choice. Nobody can answer what his "bottom" is. Nobody can answer what your "bottom" is. Each person needs to make that decision themselves because it is a very personal choice.

I don't know if I'd say anyone here has the monopoly on "wisdom." I certainly don't; I shoot myself in the foot every now and then. I simply shared my own personal experience with a marriage counselor who couldn't work with us as a couple until my husband put down the bottle.

I told you if you wanted to check out an Al-Anon meeting you would. Your husband is an active addict. Perhaps you should read a lot of the posts in this forum and the stickies at the top of the forum. It is sad but true that addicts will make promises they often can't keep because the addiction is so overwhelming. They want to keep their family intact, but they also want to make attempts to control their addiction.

Perhaps you should post on the Alcoholics forum. I think you might get an idea from the addict's perspective about the promises they try so hard to keep but frequently cannot.

Sorry you're not getting the responses you wanted.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:57 PM
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Welcome to SR. Here you will find great Experience, Strength and Hope (ES&H). Some of which you are probably not quite ready to hear or read yet.

First let me say that I was exactly 3 years sober, married to a 5 1/2 year sober alkie when my AA sponsor STRONGLY SUGGESTED that I start attending Alanon in addition to AA. That was many years ago, and I can only say that Alanon has and does help me tremendously on how to take CARE OF ME.

The first thing I learned in Alanon and it has stuck with me ever since is the 3 C's:

I didn't CAUSE it,

I can't CONTROL it, and........

I can't CURE it.

I promised him a reward of sorts for going to the meeting with her. I guess that I am hoping that, as it works with my children, positive reinforcement for doing something that may not be well liked may help to keep him enthused.
As has been said, he is not a child, he is an ADULT and as such in order to reach his bottom really needs to SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACTIONS. Rewards do not work.

You say you love him. I can accept that. However, YOU CAN'T HELP HIM! He has to reach the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired and he has to WANT to be Sober and clean more than he wants King Alcohol and drugs. I know I was there, I almost didn't make it. I had been in the ER seizuring all day, with on and off heart stoppages, with the last one being for 28 minutes. The ER Dr was writing the TOD on my chart when my heart started on it's own..............................that was over 26 years ago, I was given a 2nd chance, not all are.

There are 3 UP's for an Alcoholic and/or Addict

LOCKED UP,

COVERED UP (dead), or

SOBERED UP

And.........................it is only the alkie and/or addict who can decide what they want.

Maybe it might be a good idea for you to really start taking care of you and the kids. Keep separate bank accounts. Figure out what your BOUNDARIES are and stick to them, "say what you mean, and mean what you say."

Oh and have you thought about how this is affecting your children? You grew up with an alcoholic father.............................do you really want that for your kids?

The best thing you can do for you right now, is read, read, read. There are some great "stickies" at the top of this forum and the Friends and Families Forum of Substance Abusers.

A couple of real good books to get and read (check your library first, they may have them, otherwise Amazon.com has them)are "Co-dependent No More" and "Under The Influence."

I am sorry you did not get the kinds of answer you were apparently expecting, but here you will find plain speaking people who have been to hell and back with their alcoholic/addict and some that are still going through it.

Most of us didn't like the responses we got at first either, but we stuck around because we were DESPERATE. And soon.............................as our guards came down a little bit, the responses started to make sense.

Hope you stick around. Keep posting, let us know how YOU are doing, we do care!

Love and hugs,
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:15 PM
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:48 PM
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Riqui,

I've been to 3 meetings now. I've been married for 13 years and we have 2 kids. For years, I have said to myself that my happiness isn't a priority. Keeping my family together is a priority. Things have progressively gotten worse. Somewhere along the way, I morphed into a person I don't even recognize. I used to like me. Going to the meetings gives me incredible hope that I can find some of the peace and happiness some of the long-timers there have. Some are still married, some are not.

You see, I also thought Al-Anon was a crock. I went once several years ago and they kept wanting to talk about me and my problems, not my AH. Well, I wouldn't have problems if he didn't drink.

Now I see where I went wrong. One of best things that I have noticed in Al-Anon is how similar my situation is to others. Alcoholics, by and far, say and do some things almost identically. One thing they do is put you down when you threaten their drinking. If I started talkinga about his drinking, he'd spin it around and cut me down. That would leave me unnerved, distracted from his drinking, and made me feel worthless. Does that ever happen to you?

I heard so many stories about the nice things the spouses would do to try to get their husband's to stop drinking. I have gone out of my way to make sure he didn't have any stress, so he'd stop drinking. I've bit my tongue when I wanted to yell, because I didn't want him to drink. And you know what the counselor said in the first rehab meeting I attended with AH? Most of us have done that, and do you know what? Alcoholics LOVE THAT!!!! They love all the stuff we do for them. Your AH is going to love his Ebay gift certificates. But it doesn't change one thing about them wanting to drink. Nothing!!

Alcoholics will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. Sound familiar?

What Al-Anon has done for me in the few meetings I have been to, is remind me of who I am. My life shouldn't be consumed with trying to make him stop drinking, taking his abuse, listening to his lies, BELIEVING him when he puts me down, wondering when it will stop, praying that he'd stop. That is what MY LIFE has turned into.

And if you go to Al-Anon, you'll see yourself in every person sitting at that table. I wanted to hug every person in the room after my first meeting. And I needed to be hugged. I deserve to be a priority to somebody, even if that somebody is me.

Your situation is no different than many have experienced. Your AH is lying to you. The truth is, he probably won't stop. If he's not ready to quit, he's not going to. You'll fill your days and nights wondering how you can bait him to stop. Positive reinforcement? I bet he loves that idea.

Al-Anon isn't about taking it or leaving it. It's about rediscovering that you are a human being. You have worth. You have value. And you should be loved. Doesn't mean you have to leave him. But they have tools to help you learn to be happy with yourself without thinking about whether or not he's hitting the bottle again.

They have tons of coping skills. I'm a newbie so I can't tell you all of them. But I did buy about 5 books. One of the things I liked reading was, "It's never too late to restart the day."

Has your AH ever been drinking and blurted out something so terribly hurtful that you thought about it the rest of the day? If you have some tools, and reminders in your head of how to handle it, you don't have to lose the rest of the day.

I hope you get help. It doesn't sound like he's ready, and if you aren't either, you two are going to keep sinking until something snaps.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by riqui1 View Post
You know, so far this forum has not helped me in any way decide that Al-Anon is something that will work for me. I came on here looking for people to talk to that may have shared similar problems and may be able to offer me advice on how to handle things. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize that you all have a great amount of wisdom and you see that I may be making mistakes, but I REALLY did not expect to have to be justifying every single thing that I have shared with you, nor did I expect to feel as if I had to defend myself. I was excited when I found this place because I need help (for me), but now I am developing a serious disappointment in the way that this help is being given.
It may be that this isn't a place you find helpful. I certainly did and I think if you give it time you may also. I truly doubt that anyone meant to make you feel unwelcome but folks here do tend to cut to the chase so to speak. An awful lot of painfully gained wisdom exists in here. Its not always comfortable to hear these things.

Your husband may have reached his bottom, his turning point. We can't know one way or the other. You may be able to stay with him, love him, support him and keep your marriage intact. That would be a wonderful ending indeed. But we tend to focus on us, on what is best for the spouses, parents, children of the alcoholic and that so often is not what the alcoholic would like or need.

I would love to be here for you on you journey, whereever you decide that journey needs to go. It may be the same route I took, it may be totally different. But I and the otehrs would love to help you find what is best for you and your children.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:44 PM
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Let me see if I've got the story straight so far. You say your husband:

- Is a drug addict
- Is an alcoholic
- Is destroying you and your children's lives
- Has a history of long-term incarceration
- Has a horribly negative attitude
- Lies to you
- Hides things from you
- Cheated on you--in a PARKING LOT--and failed to use protection
- Told you he doesn't intend to stop drinking and drugging

And you profess that you "love him to death," and ask "how could I not?" After reading all this I have just two questions for you:

- What would it take for you to NOT love someone?
- You've already proven to your husband that you'll accept ANY type of behavior from him, so what incentive is there for him to change?

You say you came to this site for help and support, and you're receiving it in spades. Sometimes, help comes in a form that you don't expect. But in order to get help, you need to be willing to receive it. You say you want our advice, but in order to receive advice you need to be willing to listen with an open mind.

You're quick to criticize the folks who have devoted some of their valuable time to helping you--when no one here has criticized you. It seems to me that there are two people in your relationship who haven't reached their bottoms yet and aren't ready to get help:

You and your husband.

If you're not ready to get and receive help, that's fine. But do come back when you are. You'll be welcomed then as you were today--with open arms. I hope you'll let go of your pride and stop back in. Remember the old addage, "pride goeth before a fall?" Don't let your pride get in the way of your recovery. You deserve a better life than you have. You're worth it.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:03 AM
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R O F L M A O

Awwwwwww Denny, that is very sweet, but if I were "well" I still wouldn't be hanging around recovery sites, lmao.

Remember: "Progress not perfection." I am a work in progress.

Love and hugs,

P.S. Denny: My new Avatar is Shania as she looks today, lol healthy and happy.
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:23 AM
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By no means am I one to give advice. And most people hear aren't trying to judge you. They are giving advice on their experience. If they come across like they are angry it only means they have been there done that and they want to try and get you to get help long before they did.

In all of the post and replies I heard a lot about "the AH" and "youself". What about your children? Do you want them being exposed to this on a daily basis? Or wondering where their father is? I am not telling you to leave him. I am just saying if he won't get help and doesn't want to quit(whether he thinks he needs too) he WON'T. My AH know he needs to quit but he can't. So I am working to get myself out of that situation. I know how much you want to help. We have all been there. But you must think about your children and your self. Please try and read some of the books people sugguested. They will open your eyes. Good luck and I will pray for your family.
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