Introduction: John, husband of alcoholic currently in rehab

Old 06-20-2009, 07:08 PM
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Introduction: John, husband of alcoholic currently in rehab

Good evening (or morning depending on where you are).

I have been married for close to 4 years, and my wife is an alcoholic. She can be the sweetest, most helpful person when sober, but an absolute nightmare when not. We have a 2 1/2 year old son together who is an absolute joy.

My wife has attempted sobriety on her own and with AA multiple times, and has relapsed each time. She has not had luck finding a good sponsor, the first one dumped her after one missed phone call, the second told her that she wasn't really an alcoholic because she hadn't cheated on me or lost her home. She is the type who cannot stop drinking once she starts until she is literally passed out and hates that she is that way.

Last Sunday morning, after the latest relapse, she told me she needed to be admitted into intense residential rehabilitation to learn how to fight this disease; she was admitted on Tuesday morning. It has been extremely difficult and relieving at the same time; it's amazing how much I've been able to get done around the house. I had a major breakdown yesterday, but was able to make it home from the office without wrecking from the fact I was having trouble seeing. My son has been doing okay with missing mommy, but tonight had a total meltdown; we were able to talk and cuddle, and he fell asleep shortly thereafter.

I am going to start attending al-anon groups this week, and am getting set up with a therapist who hopefully will be able to help me work through my co-dependent nature into a more healthy and helpful partner.

I am curious as to if anyone has had a significant other who has done well after rehab, and what you and they did, as well as what overall people's opinions are of rehab. I am completely lost as I don't know what to expect, I don't totally understand what even I am supposed to be doing and what she is supposed to do. Any advice, experience, etc. is appreciated.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:21 PM
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Welcome John. You have found a great place full of people that have been in the same position you have. Many people find the stickies at the top of the forum quite helpful as well as the book "Codependent No More" .

As for your questions I cannot answer them as the A in my life has never been to rehab and is still drinking.

Weekends can be slow around here, but more people will be around to welcome you soon.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:55 PM
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Welcome John!

What are you supposed to be doing? Taking care of yourself, so you can take care of that wonderful child

My experience with rehab wasn't that great, I have to admit, that said - I think they serve their purpose which is to get the alcoholic/addict clean for a while and provide them with the tools they need to begin a life of sobriety. After that, it's up to her. There really isn't anything you can do, or not do, to affect her recovery.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:39 PM
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As a recovered alcoholic myself, the hair on my arm stands up when I read what SO's go through during the process of a spouse attempting sobriety. I remember how difficult it was for my family, what they went through.

I applaud your wife for seeing that she needed inpatient treatment as i see that as a very positive sign. Many individuals are legislated to treatment or given ultimatums by families. In my opinion, I think the success rate for those who enter treatment by their own analysis have a greater success rate in staying sober. I also applaud you for supporting your wife and making plans for your own recovery.

I made the decision to enter inpatient rehab about 4 years ago and haven't had a drop of alcohol since and have no desire to ever touch it again. I'm done and done for good, that I know.

My experience in rehab. was a good one. I believe that if one can put themselves into full gear while there and avail of all the help that is offered, it can be a very positive experience, much like everything in life.

What to expect? Take it one day at a time for yourself and your wife's recovery. There is alot going on in both your lives right now, bringing about changes, so keep it simple. Go with the flow, don't expect perfection on either of your parts. Visit on family nights and remember that there is help and guidance and support for you too. No one knows how to handle these situations at the start. You will both find your way as time goes by.

Hope this little bit helps and wishing you all well.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:50 PM
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Hi John and welcome to SR!

I can't give you any advice about life after rehab since my EXAH went twice and relapsed both times.

What I can say is that you need to take care of yourself and that little boy. Since his mommy is gone he needs you more than ever. I think it's great that you plan on attending Al-Anon meetings. I have never been to one but I've heard that they can give you the tools you need to take care of YOU.

I hope everything goes well for your family.

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Old 06-20-2009, 09:08 PM
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I agree with Still Waters - the point of rehabs is to get the A to acknowledge that they have a problem and then give them the tools with which they can address it. Most rehabs are only 28 days, which is not long enough to effect real long term change in the A, but if it will get them to acknowledge that they have a problem and go to AA or NA in order to find the solution then there is a possibility that there will be a happy ending. Unfortunately rehabs are not a silver bullet - plenty of people come out of them and are drinking within a half an hour. Ultimately the choice is up to the A and the A only.
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:40 PM
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Hi John,

I wanted to say "Hello" and "welcome"

This all fantastic news you have begun working on you, and are going to go to therapy and al-anon, and within two hours of your first post already recognizing and "owning" your own behavior and patterns on other threads, that is the path to YOUR recovery, not whether or not your wife stops drinking, which she may or may not do.

I am looking forward to follow your journey of self discovery as time goes on. The other thread you posted on was started by ToughChoices, spending a few hours and going back and reading through her posts is about as helpful as anything on the site, personally I find them more so then most, although many others here are as wise.

There is "the basics" in Al-anon one of which is, you didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it, I find if I am unhappy or uncomfortable or angry with someone else in my interpersonal relationship issues I am usually trying to do one of those things, so reading the stickies, classic reading etc is a good way to start building a foundation for your own recovery.

Take care of yourself and your "insides" and everything else will take care of itself.

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Old 06-20-2009, 11:39 PM
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My AH went to rehab for 30 days-he sent himself there. He is drinking again and at times going to AA...he has been out of rehab for 2 1/2 months. So that was my only experience with life after rehab.

I have to agree with everyone's advice. To focus on you. I remember the first time someone said, after I told them that AH had relapsed after rehab, she said..."What do you want?" So spend the time while she is gone working on yourself and what you want for you. I wish I had done that more.
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:36 AM
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I hope you enjoy your little boy today despite the difficulties in your life right now.

The A in my life is no longer in it at the moment and we never had the experience of rehab.

I completely understand your desire to know what might happen for your wife and your family.

For me the biggest eye opener I have experienced through this whole process of Alanon/therapy/SR/reading was that it is one of SELF discovery.

It has taught me to keep my eye on the ball -- which is ME.

Since I have finally internalized the above, my life has become 10,000 times easier. Not because "things" are "better" or "improved" - my life is in total disarray- but because I am better equipped to handle it emotionally.

Rehab might work for your wife. It might not. You will never have control over whether it does or doesn't. You will however, with work, figure out what you want your life to look like going forward.

It has helped me deal with a million different relationships in my life, most of which do not suffer from the added issue of substance abuse but from garden variety problems such as denial, narcissism, etc.

I also read your post on TC's thread - you could be me

Please read all the stickies including the ones on the ACoA section. Through this process I discovered that while my parents are not As - my grandparents were, my father's sister and her 3 children all had substance abuse issues. (my father was adopted and I believe he escaped the genetic component but not the environmental/conditioning component) It is a family disease and can have ramifications for generations.

Good luck and read, read, read!
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
There is "the basics" in Al-anon one of which is, you didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it, I find if I am unhappy or uncomfortable or angry with someone else in my interpersonal relationship issues I am usually trying to do one of those things, so reading the stickies, classic reading etc is a good way to start building a foundation for your own recovery.
I love that you wrote this Ago....This has been so true for me also. After all the ups and downs of addiction and finally getting on the road of recovery I have focused on this the MOST.

When someone does or says something and I feel myself get angry I try to examine that very closely. Ususally it is the same with me trying to control. Then I journal and really pick apart my feelings and understand why I felt that way. Then I feel better. Always.

I guess my point is that now that your wife is in rehab this will give you time to learn how to take care of your self, how to process your own emotions, how to process everything that has happened. I will also add that once you start getting emotionally healthy you will be better prepared to handle the bumpy ride when your wife gets home from rehad....

Take care and good luck.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:11 AM
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Welcome to the group.

My significant other entered rehab 11 weeks ago. It has been a very tough road for her. As badly as I want to "make her get better" I have come to understand that it is up to her and God. As someone said in an earlier reply, "I didn't create it, I can't control it, and I can't cure it."

I only joined a week or so ago and have learned a great deal by reading the posts of others here. I have learned about the nature of the disease. And most importantly, I have begun to learn about myself.

Like you, I have a fairly well developed set of co-dependent behaviors. The book, Co-dependent No More has started to help. I found that the first time I read it, I read it too fast. Someone coached me to read it very slowly. Only 10 pages a day or so. I have started that approach, being sure I have time to reflect on what I am reading.

I have found that going to Al Anon has been very helpful as well. I go to about 4 meetings a week right now. To borrow a phrase from a song, it is "my daily dose of reality."

It sounds like you are off to a great start. Take care of yourself, and as hard as it is, focus on yourself and your child, and not on your wife.

Happy Father's Day.... to you and all of the fathers on this site.
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:16 AM
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My AW went to inpatient rehab for 6 weeks. She's currently in outpatient rehab and will continue it for at least another 2 months. My personal opinion is that a person's success in a place like that is dependent on the person's desire to get better. It doesn't matter if the counselors have won a lot of awards or if they are all brand new to the profession. My opinion of rehab stops there though. I will never (God willing) experience going to rehab as a result of an addiction, so I will never truly know what it is like for my wife.

The most important part though is that you are now freed from caring for her. You now have the ability to start caring for yourself. Don't worry, you can still care about her, but make sure you know the difference. Caring for someone adds the assumption that the person that you are caring for is incapable of doing it themselves. Give your wife the freedom to fail, if she so chooses that. In the meantime, protect yourself. My wife is also a sweet person, but there still is a part of her (although small now) that still wants us to go back to the way it was before. Where I take care of her and she drinks.

Read up around here, and start working on yourself. You're worth it. If you need external motivation, then think that you are giving your son the best father possible!
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:22 PM
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I know you're looking for answers about your alcoholic spouse. You want to know if she's going to be ok....if its going to be ok in your house when she gets done with rehab...if she'll be able to stay sober....etc...

Those are answers only time is going to be able to answer. Some are successful. Some are not.

The best thing I can tell you is to look in the mirror. Work on yourself and your own sanity. Work an al anon program for yourself.

The first two times my addict/alcoholic "got sober" during our relationship...I never really understood that. I thought that as long as she got "fixed" then all would be well. It was not. And now I've found myself back in the same "which way is up" situation as before. I'm paying attention to myself and my own issues this time. I realized that, although I've still decided to continue in this relationship...the responsibility if I ever end up back here in this depressed, codependent state again lies COMPLETELY on me. I am not responsible for her. Nor are you responsible for your wife. You are responsible for you.

That's a lot to lay on you...but trust me...I've been where you are...asking the same questions. They are natural. But they are the wrong questions to ask right now.

Many others here will say the same things. You are not alone.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:01 PM
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Well, I've been to two al-anon meetings (another tonight) and have my first therapy session tomorrow morning. I'm doing better, and appreciate y'all's words of wisdom. I think Al-Anon will be good for me, I can't believe how much I identify with most everyone there... Didn't realize I had a real problem until the past week or so since wife's been gone. My son and I are doing great, had a fun Father's day and are having some good quality time together.
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