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New guy here, just venting, I guess

Old 08-03-2010, 09:14 AM
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New guy here, just venting, I guess

Hello, all. I've been lurking for a few weeks and thought I'd go ahead and post an intro.

My story: Age 52, AW is 42 ("AW" means "alcoholic wife", right?). One grown son from my first marriage, one grown stepson from my wife's first marriage, and two school-age sons from our current marriage.

I first noticed AW's excessive drinking about nine years ago, which was about two years into our marriage. I confronted her about it several times, but she soon just started drinking in secret. I knew she was doing it, but she wasn't a sloppy or abusive drunk, so I mostly learned to live with it.

Then, about a month ago, she became very sick and ended up in the hospital. Turns out, she's been drinking massive amounts of wine all this time and now has liver and brain damage. While in the hospital, she was diagnosed with Wernicke's Encephalopathy, which I've learned is a type of brain damage caused by alcoholism. After many tests, and with a month of sobriety behind her now, it appears that her only lasting mental impairment is memory loss. She forgets what we were talking about five minutes ago, and she has occasional false memories, where she vividly remembers things that never actually happened.

She's never been treated for alcoholism before, but so far she's doing everything she's been asked to. She's attending a seven-week intensive outpatient program three days a week, and she's two weeks into her 90-in-90 at AA. She's joined a gym because her doctor has recommended she get plenty of exercise.

I test her with a Breathalyzer or with "Alco Screen 2" test strips, usually once every couple of days. If she gets up at night (which is when she used to drink the most), I'll test her in the morning.

AW was a stay-at-home mom for our boys, but I've had to put them in day care this summer because her doctor recommended she not be left alone with the children. Luckily, I found a really good summer program at Kindercare for school-age kids, and the boys seem to love it. It's expensive, though.

So, I keep telling myself I've been pretty lucky. She's not abusive, she's attending all her treatments, and most of the doctors seem to think her mental impairment could improve a little with time and sobriety.

But still, I can't seem to resolve my anger for more than a day or two. We've never been the shouting type, so we just have long, long periods of silence. The best part of my day is when she's at AA for an hour and I'm able to be in a house without an alcoholic. I lived with her alcoholism for years and kept it to myself, but now that everyone I know knows about it, I'm embarrassed to be around our friends. I just don't like being pitied.

I'm angry that she deceived me about her drinking. I now know that she was an alcoholic long before I met her (at church, no less!), but she didn't share that bit of information with me. I'm angry that she secretly ran up thousands of dollars in credit card debt, which I found out about only when I had to take over her finances while she was in the hospital. I'm angry that I have to come up with many thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical and child care expenses, money that I don't have.

Mostly I'm angry that she took the opportunity for us to have a good life together and destroyed it. I don't trust her anymore, and I can't imagine ever trusting her. I don't respect her. I do love her, but with each day, that seems less and less important.

Well, that's it. A familiar story, I guess, except for the part about permanent brain damage that prevents any hope of a full recovery. I'm now a 52-year-old single dad and primary care giver to wife who can never again live independently.

What a life.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:35 AM
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Welcome to SR. I"m glad you feel safe enough here to post your story, which all though not uncommon, is still YOUR story. It sounds like an affair all most, what she's been doing for so long behind your back. No wonder you're angry.

I can so relate to the anger. The trick is letting go of it and putting boundaries in place to keep you safe. The others will be along soon to welcome and help you. Glad you're here!
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:48 AM
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Welcome, You are smart to come here. I am a newbie myself, read for many months, and just began recently to post.
You will find a lot of support and wisdom on these pages. Keep coming back.
Your story touched me, as I know it will touch others who have been where you are.

Remember to take care of you. And try not to stress about the future too much. You are ok today, and you will be ok tomorrow. And the future will come one day at a time. Hang in there.
Al-Anon has helped me tremedously too, to find peace and serenity and calm in my life.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:19 AM
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Welcome to SR

It's hard not to be angry, I know. And really, it was the anger I finally allowed myself to feel that saved me. So, work through it, don't invalidate your feelings.

I suggest counseling for you, with someone who knows about alcoholism. It'll help, I promise.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:21 AM
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It is good that you have reached out for support.
I also recommend you give Al-Anon a try.
How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:53 AM
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Hi thatwasthen!
Welcome-
Lots of good reading in the "Classic Reading" stickie at the top of the first page of this forum.
Glad you're here.
peace-
B
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:03 PM
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Hi thatwasthen...and WELCOME to SR! This a wonderful place you've found, full of supportive and funny people (as in "funny" funny, not funky-smelling funny).



Please feel free to post and read as much as you need. SR is always open!
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Old 08-03-2010, 12:41 PM
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Welcome, ThatWasThen. I'm sorry for what you're going through, but glad you found SR. Alcoholism is such a terrible disease that continues to steal more and more and more from both the alcoholic and their family and friends. I hope you know you're not alone and that that knowledge provides some level of comfort. Keep reading and posting.
Welcome.
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ThatWasThen View Post
Mostly I'm angry that she took the opportunity for us to have a good life together and destroyed it.
That is exactly, exactly how I feel about my alcoholic former husband. Hello, and welcome; yours is a familiar story, but it's new and painful for every person who goes through it.

I can say from experience that it is still possible to have a good life, however, it won't ever be the one you were expecting to have.

Pull up a chair, make yourself at home!

--BG

Last edited by BuffaloGal; 08-03-2010 at 04:58 PM. Reason: grammar!
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:19 PM
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"Mostly I'm angry that she took the opportunity for us to have a good life together and destroyed it."

You hit the nail on the head and Buffalo Gal said it correctly. You can have a good life. AlAnon and this forum have both helped me tremendously.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:07 PM
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Smile

My exA took a wonderful life, all I had to give, and told me to get out, he wanted to drink, and I was ruining all the fun.
Six months later, I am happier alone than I have ever been in all my 52 years, my kids see it, I know it, and six months ago, I thought my life, and my dreams were dead. Boy was I wrong. Just wait and see all the good things you have to look forward to that you never even dreamed of.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:17 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Please make yourself at home by posting and reading as much as needed.

We're glad you found us, and we are here to support YOU!
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:23 PM
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Welcome to you ThatWasThen! We're very glad you're here! Stick around. This forum saved my life... literally. It will surely be helpful to too.

I agree about AlAnon, although I don't currently attend. Someone suggested something like going to 10 AlAnon meetings before deciding whether or not you want to continue. It's an amazing help for so many. Working the steps has worked miracles for many.

Again, glad you're here!
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:06 AM
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Thank you all for the welcome and the encouragement. It's been very helpful.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:15 AM
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Welcome to SR ThatWasThen. You are not alone, there are a few of us "dudes" here. Lot's of good information here, and friendly folks too, well for the most part, watch out for that Anvilhead character though (very strange one indeed!)

PR
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:22 AM
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Sad story, and sadly most alcohlics drink in secret that is part of the illness. The fear of someone stopping them drinking and the shame of them actually getting caught drinking makes us do this.

I think the very fact that you have stood by her for all these years, and the fact that you are still standing by her means that you certainly do love her.

You are angry as hell about what you have lost both personally and financially and that is not suprising in the least, but now she is sober and getting help from professionals maybe things can look up for you and you can at last sit down and discuss what you are going to both do now, and what you want from the relationship now and if you both still want one at all.

If all this is done gently and from the heart you may be able to sort things out and still have the good life you deserve.

I hope things turn out for you and pray that your wife continues to get healthy again.

Best wishes
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:32 PM
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Welcome

your pain is palpable.

keep reading - keep posting - it really does help
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