Her "Recovery"

Old 03-24-2008, 08:34 AM
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Her "Recovery"

Hello everyone. I'm new to this, but could use a little advice.
My wife has been in and out of rehab 3 times. During the last 2 trips, she completed an inpatient program for only 14 of the 28 days, then went into an outpatient program. She left rehab the last time about 40 days ago, so she is early in "her recovery."

Before her rehab, and now after, it seems that we cannot have an argument without her being "right." Even when she knows that I know she does not know something, or is not right, she gets incredibly defensive and the argument escalates quickly. We can't seem to have a substantive discussion without an argument kicking off.

In about 2 years, I've heard her say "I'm sorry" to me no more than 3 times.

She disengages from the conversations when I bring up any type of criticism about why I feel the way I do (like my opinion does not count, like I am taken for granted, like I am the cause of all of our problems.)

It seems that if things point in her direction, then the conversation is over - the conversation always must happen on her terms, not "our terms."

The more we reach out to help from our respective support networks (hers = AA sponsor; mine = counselor and Al-Anon,) the more we seem to drift apart.

I spent last night in another bed for the first time in our relationship, and feel that I am about at the end of my rope. The frustration level I reach when trying to convey why I feel the way I do is overwhelming, and it seems that we get nowhere.

We have no children, and I am concerned that she will drink again. I do not want to raise children in an alcoholic home.

I'm not sure if I can make myself leave, but I feel that it might be the only option now.

Any ideas?
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:45 AM
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Hey x.....welcome to SR. I'm glad to hear that you are going to Alanon and a counselor to get help for YOU. That's wonderful news.

About being right......that's an interesting topic. I guess one way to deal with it would be to let her be right.....even when she's wrong ;-) Respectfully agree to disagree.

I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with alcoholism with your wife. It is such a terrible disease and undermines relationships and lives. Keep working your own recovery and do what YOU need to do for YOU. It's amazing but sometimes it is the best thing you can do to help the alcoholic in your life.

gentle hugs
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:37 AM
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Hi, welcome to SR !

You need to focus on your own recovery, because after living with someone with such an addiction you need help just as much as she does. Glad you are going to al-anon.

When I first joined this group , I had no idea I needed to work on myself. Just thought it was all his fault. Once I looked inside of me, worked on me, began to focus on me, realize that no other person in this world should be my focus to make me happy, things started to change.

You've come to a great place.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:45 AM
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Welcome to SR. You have found a really great place with lots of ES&H.

Now to the 'nitty gritty.'

She left rehab the last time about 40 days ago, so she is early in "her recovery."
At this point in time, no matter how many times she has been in rehab, you are dealing with someone who's brain is PURE MUSH.

Why are you even trying to engage in any 'meaningful conversation' yet alone get into arguments at this time? You will NOT get logical answers to anything, other than maybe 'what time is it?' and I'm not real sure about that one either, rofl.

I'm sure you have heard about the 3 C's:

You didn't CAUSE it,

You can't CONTROL it, and

You can't CURE it.

They need to be applied now in early recovery also. Actually, I learned, for me that those 3 C's are applicable in all aspects of my life, lol.

I am in recovery, btw, for many many years from both alcohol and drugs and being a codependent. It took me about 6 months into recovery, before I was actually able to read a sentence through to the end and tell you what it said. It took me about 6 months to actually feel like I was able to communicate with some semblance of intelligence.

Wrong?? Nope, not me in those early months, whether I knew what I was talking about or not, I had to be right, lol. Sounds a bit like you have to be 'right' also.

Go to more Alanon meetings, step back, stop trying to engage, look at why it is so important for you to be "right" at this time. Focus on you. Keeps things light, if she chooses to work her recovery, life and these things will improve.

Instead of worrying about whether you

can make myself leave,
Focus on you and where you need to change. After all the only person we can change is ourselves, no one else. Remember please, by focusing on another, we can take the focus off ourselves.

It's rough, I know it is................................and there are many things you will need to look at, many times writing in a journal helps immensely, and WORKING and then LIVING the 12 Steps of Recovery do change us.

It seems that if things point in her direction, then the conversation is over
Of course the conversation will be over. She is filled with IMMENSE guilt right now, much of it real, but some imagined, and anything that even hints at an accusation, will have her 'turning tail.' She will only get through this as she works on her own recovery.

To be quite honest, right now all you have their is a 'guilt ridden' shell, with a mind of mush.

I know you WANT answers, I know you WANT conversation, I know you WANT to hear "I'm sorry." However, over time as she grows and changes in recovery her actions will become a much better AMENDS than a simple "I'm sorry."

I will apologize if you think I have been too harsh, however, I have to tell you having been on both sides of the street, and working with many in recovery over these almost 27 years now, I have to ask you to PLEASE work on you. Keep the peace for now, stop 'pushing', be superficial if need be, say please and thank you. It DOES GET BETTER honest, even if she were to relapse, you will have gained much in your own recovery.


Please keep posting and let us know how YOU are doing, we do care very much.

Love and hugs,
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by x02034 View Post
In about 2 years, I've heard her say "I'm sorry" to me no more than 3 times.
In nearly 20 years, I never heard that ONCE from AH. A couple years before the end of our marriage, he bragged in a bar "I never apologize." What I did hear when I apologized was "don't do it in the first place and you wouldn't have to apologize."

Welcome to SR; here you will learn you are not crazy and you are not always wrong. That helps a lot!
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:09 PM
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Hi XO,

Welcome...I am so sorry you are going through such a tough time. I do know from the alcoholic in my life--my sister-- that the intense need to "be right" is a big part of my sister's disease...she will go out of her way to prove that she's "right" and everyone else is "wrong". I think it's a big part of her being in denial of the disease and her general self-esteem: being "right" makes her feel better and allows her to not fully acknowledge what this disease has done to her.
But what I've come to realize is that it's neither about being "right" or "wrong"'s about the choices we make. You can choose to agree to disagree with your wife and leave it at that. You can choose to leave the room or discontinue a conversation when it's clear that she's behaving irrationally. This disease is terrible in that it robs us of our loved ones, but knowing that we have choices in how we deal with the alcoholic's behavior is very comforting.

I just read a great book (which I keep telling everyone about ): Addict in the Family by Beverly Conyers. It really opened a lot of doors for me in terms of understanding.

Obviously I cannot advise you on whether or not you should leave your wife. But I can advise that you are doing the right thing by seeking help for yourself. Try to focus on the present rather than the future: what will be will be. For now do what is best for you and know that you did not cause this, you cannot control it, and you cannot cure it!

Stick around...
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:31 PM
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Alcoholism is the only disease I know of where someone is willing to die for thier "right to be right".

Its all the ego......the need to be right is what sustains the ego into believeing she has some control over her disease.

There is a question that goes around the rooms all the time:

"Would I rather be RIGHT....and would I rather be happy"?

As long as I know I am right...I can be quite happy....who cares what the other party thinks. If she continues her recovery, she will come to believe that she aint as right as she thinks she is...

and hey, 3 apologies in 2 years is quite a lot. I havent gotten ANY in over 4 years! LOL
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:00 PM
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Thumbs up How long to get thinking cap on straight....

Hi x02034,

I like the saying...Agree to Disagree...with a plan in your back pocket if that doesn't work.....!

I am the alcoholic and have been sober 19 years. My husband and I rarely argue but sometimes do have "strong" discussions and do agree to disagree.

It is hard to be the sober husband used to be jealous of all the men in AA. He did go to Alanon but got tired of the women complaining all the time.

This was when I sobered up the first time....I stayed sober a year and then went back divorced from him and then 14 years later sobered up for good. The first time was in the 1970's and I also had Major Depression diagnosed at the same couldn't hardly remember to think...everything was all jumbled together in my head.

Our brains can rejuivate but it takes a while. I was told in treatment in 1988 that I couldn't have "going back to college" as my long term goal because with all the years of drinking...I wouldn't be able to study.

I proved them wrong on that. I waited until I had been sober a year and then just worked half time and went to college in the late afternoon...early evening. I got my BA Degree in Psychology and got a good job at the local Mental Health Agency where I sobered up and got treatment for my depression.

My husband and I have five grown children all successful but one who ended up with depression/alcohol problems after he got out of the Navy. He tried to commit suicide and now is a quadraplegic.

So sad....he does get all of his medical and psychiatric care from the VA and spends about six months a year in the VA Hospital for various necessary needs. He had been treated for depression while in the Navy.

I think you are headed on the right track for yourself....your wife can only change herself and you can only change yourself. That is the only way it can work it seems. It is very hard to do though.

I still rely on the Serenity Prayer to help me decide what I can and cannot change and it does help me very much.

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Old 03-24-2008, 04:37 PM
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Apology - what's that?? When AH and I were in our "last ditch effort" counseling sessions that was my biggest AHA moment. I explained a few of the issues that were causing me to be unhappy. My AH sat there and said, "I'm sorry, but I didn't mean it" . . . "I'm sorry, but she shouldn't feel that way". That's when I realized that it was always going to be "I'm sorry, but . . . . . (somehow it's not my fault -- it's hers)". I knew that I could not take anymore, and that I had to leave.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:23 PM
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I heard the words "I'm sorry" frequently along with promises to change. All of it was meaningless since no change in behavior went along with the words. I stopped caring whether AH apologized or not since it meant nothing either way.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:36 PM
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I seriously know exactly what you are going through. I'm in the same situation you are with a wife that does the same thing and has been to rehab. The reasons you argue about things that are obviously correct in one person's mind are because you're wife doesn't want to admit to having her problem. Yet she knows more than anyone that she has one. Its a way of not taking ownership by choosing denial. My wife does it all of the time to the point where I just as others say, "agree to disagree" and refuse to continue the conversation. My wife will say things that are so out of left-field to place the blame elswhere it just becomes mind-blowing to even keep up with that she is talking about. Its just not worth it. Your wife inside knows what's right and wrong and that there is a problem she's just not ready to accept doing anything about it. If you're sleeping with other people though I think you've got to ask yourself, "am I in this thing any more?" It may be time to part ways. Granted I feel the way you do to. How many times have I said I deserve to be able to go out and sleep with someone after all I've been through... Two rights don't make a wrong though and alcholism is a disease and not really a choice so it's not really something the individual chooses to have but is more prey to.. Hang in there brother. I know just how you feel.. Its not fun..
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:37 AM
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Hi everyone. Thank you for all the kind thoughts and replies.

Just wanted to clarify one thing - the other bed in which I spent the night was in our spare bedroom. Infidelity is not in the picture.

Aside from that, we spent a few hours together with a counselor yesterday, and it is clear that we have some differences. She's confident in her program, and I know that I need to really begin one (more than just a meeting now and then.)

The counselor asked her one question that really hit home though. "At what level do you love him?" Her response, "I love him as a person." Not quite what I was looking for. We agreed that neither of us has felt "loved" in the passionate/utopian marriage sense in quite some time.

I love her as more than a "person," but wondering now if I'm just hanging on for selfish reasons - i.e. not wanting to start all over again.

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Old 03-25-2008, 07:05 PM
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The counselor asked her one question that really hit home though. "At what level do you love him?" Her response, "I love him as a person."
I am glad to see that you are seeing a counselor, but I have to wonder, how familiar this particular counselor is with alcoholism and addiction? I ask, because one that was would not even ask a question like that at this time in your wife's recovery. She doesn't know at this point what love is, if she does or doesn't love herself (probably not right now, lol) and whether she loves you or not.

Couples counseling can be a great thing, IF the counsellor is also licensed in addiction. Otherwise, in my experience it can be a detriment rather than an asset.

I really like this:

She's confident in her program, and I know that I need to really begin one (more than just a meeting now and then.)
I am very glad that you will be working on YOU. We each have to work on ourselves (as I well know from my own experience's from working with others for so many years) first and then we can work on our relationships.

Sounds to me like you are getting on track, way to go!!!


Love and hugs,
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