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Old 08-12-2010, 12:47 PM
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This is my very first post (m)

Hi everyone. I am hoping to get your valuable insight as I'm at a loss. My husband and I have been married for 13 years and have been together for 16. When I met him he was already an active participant in AA. He had 20 years of sobriety until last year, so we had about 5 years or more of sobriety when we met. Most of his drinking occurred in his 20's and after several DUI's and much heartbreak, he finally sought the help he needed. We now have two children. He is a kind quiet, wonderful person. I should also mention that I grew up in an alcoholic household where my father never got the help he needed so I lived a brutal life with empty promises, scared moments in cars, etc. I finally broke it off with my own father after my sister mentioned she was inappropriately touched while my father was drunk when she was a teen. I think I was driven to financial success and independence in college so in the back of my mind that I was always able to support myself and it really drove me to succeed and I'm now what I think of as a highly regarded career woman. Last year, my world fell apart when I received a call while on a business trip from my father in law. My husband was missing and he finally found him drunk on the side of the road, with his truck and towing our boat. I was devastated to say the least. I had NO inkling he was drinking again. fast forward to this year, he made empty promises, but I firmly told him I would not raise my children in an alcoholic household. He promised to attend aa meetings, and did, but not as religiously to be effective. Fast forward to a few months ago when it really deteriorate (again NO indication of an issue until it got really really bad). He hit a guard rail, apparently while I was frantically trying to call when I couldn't reach him. I drove his car home a few more blocks without a tire (?!), and four state troopers followed him to our home. Being the enabler I am I sent him to take a shower when four cop cars arrived at our upper middle class home (of course they turn off the lights no sirens as to not disturb our Wisteria lane lol), and they asked to speak to him. I sent him out there, and they asked him a few questions and left. I thought he had reached rock bottom becuase I started drawing up papers, but again he said he was back in AA, was meeting with an AA person I highly regard, but it simply is not enough. No other issues after that until last night, when I suspectd he had a few, and I asked him about it. He immediately left which meant that I was right. This has caused great strain on my ten year old son that panics when his Dad doesn't come home when he tells him that he will, and he left without saying anything to him. He finally allowed me to go meet with him, and he started saying that it was the stress caused by our teenage daughter (I preceded to tell him that it was his addiction to alcohol that is to blame nothing else). What do I do from here. I have forbidden him to drive our children in the car, I've also asked him to put a device in his car. HOW do I protect myself and my kids from all of this. I truly want him to get back on the road to recovery, but I'm absolutely terrified that I will be sitting across from him in a jail cell, telling me that he is sorry for killing someone on the road. I think we need to sit down with my 10 year old to tell him what's happening too. I don't know if this is rock bottom but I did tell him that if our family life is causing stress then we should live separately and that he can have supervised visits (I guess I can get nasty if I need to to protect my kids). Again, he is wonderful kind, not a nasty drunk, and I truly want to restore our family life, but in the meantime I'm fearful we are going to lose everything if he is not committed to getting the help he needs, and then what am I supposed to do or say to stay "supportive" while "firm" that he has everything to lose. Thank you for reading this very long post, and give it to me straight. I'm sure I'm doing everything wrong!
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:55 PM
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Welcome to SR! Glad you found us. This stood out for me from your post...

Last year, my world fell apart when I received a call while on a business trip from my father in law. My husband was missing and he finally found him drunk on the side of the road, with his truck and towing our boat. I was devastated to say the least. I had NO inkling he was drinking again. fast forward to this year, he made empty promises, but I firmly told him I would not raise my children in an alcoholic household.

What happened to that resolve you had last year? That was the perfect response to what you were dealing with.

Whether he has hit his bottom or not, what you have been living with is causing you problems and heartache. Sure, when you threaten to leave, he says all the right things and makes promises and then you back down and he goes right back to the way he was. He is not more apt to seek help and recovery just because you are living there. If and when he decides he wants to live a sober life, he'll do it whether you are there or not.

Have you considered attending Al-anon meetings? You can learn a lot there and get face-to-face support from other people who are (or have been) in the same situation you are in.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:56 PM
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Welcome, Joslyn. I don't have children and wasn't married as long as you but the other parts of the story are exactly the same. This time last year was completely insane. My husband was driving home drunk every day. Finally for me enough was enough and I filed for divorce and it was final in Jan. I still love him but being married to him was absolute insanity. This forum saved my life. I lurked for a very long time before I ever posted. I started going to AlAnon and it has been another source of support that helped me tremendously.

Others with good advice will be along soon. Please know that you are not alone. We understand.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:01 PM
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I truly do not want to live with an active alcoholic, I could live with someone who was a recovering one, and I thought given his background and his success of multiple years not drinking, that this was the road he was on. Clearly not. I would ask him to leave our home as to not disrupt our kids, get our financial situation in order, will have to pull our kids out of schools they love and "try" to sell our house, as I need both of our incomes to live the lifestyle we have now. I just feel like if I make this choice, the biggest impact is a huge blow to my kids' education. I think the best option is for him to move elsewhere and I will try to make ends meet. Not sure as this is so disruptive to my poor kids who are innocent bystanders in all of this....
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:02 PM
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I also have one more question. Do I ask my husband to sit down and face our ten year old himself? I don't want to be the bad guy, and I think the acknowledgment to his own son who he adores, will either put him further in the spiral or be something that will help him with his resolve to recover.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:03 PM
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Hi. Welcome. Glad you posted. I feel kind of bad for your children. They are being raised in the exact environment that you say you don't want to raise them in. What a bummer for them and you. I'm glad you don't let him drive your kids around while he's drunk. That's a start.

I don't want you to think I am harsh or attacking you but you asked:

HOW do I protect myself and my kids from all of this...and give it to me straight.
You can accept that nothing you say is going to convince him to get help for his alcoholism until he hits bottom and decides he's ready.

You can stop trying to change him and start focusing on yourself and providing your children with some emotional stability. (Unfortunately you have to do this without his help because you are the only sober parent they have.)

You can work the recovery you wish he would work by attend al-anon meetings, posting here, being open to the stories of others and reading Co-dependent No More by Melanie Beatty.

You can say what you mean, mean what you say (but don't say it mean.) Which means no more threats or ultimatums until you are actually prepared to follow through on them.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:04 PM
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I also have one more question. Do I ask my husband to sit down and face our ten year old himself?
Please don't do this. How uncomfortable for your 10 year old. How about checking out an Alateen meeting instead?
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:16 PM
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I was faced with the same situation, I'd had a gut full and had no intentions of living with an active alcoholic. I told her to find another place to live and didn't back down, it took a few months but she moved out.

Don't let your kids live in that situation another day than absolutely necessary. Don't involve them with the process or the problem, just the solution. Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:27 PM
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Hi Joslyn

Welcome and what a situation!!

It seems you got completely blindsided- however relapse is always a possibility. They are addicts after all.

But there must have been signs. Not that it matters, you would not have been able to stop it either way.

When me and my kids had had enough, I separated from my RAH with only a part time job, no health insurance, $500 in bank which he promptly took and a house that was going through foreclosure.

And I had never felt so GOOD on my life.

The lesson that I taught my children? "Guess what guys? We will always be fine and we can't be broken"

You will do what have to do - when you have to do it.

Your son will be fine as long as his Mom is strong.

Stay strong keep posting
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:33 PM
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welcome joslyn-

at this stage, it would be good to switch the focus from him and onto yourself and your children.

i don't think it's a good idea to have him speak to his son. you are the sober, sane parent here.

in making your plans, i found it best not to rely on my alcoholic to do anything. i made my plans 100% independent of any action of his.

of course, you could ask him to leave the family home until/if he gets his act together. he might not go tho.

please, protect yourself financially. full blown relapse often is accompanied by financial ruin. for example, have your paycheck deposited into an account in your name only and get off of any combined car insurance.

you're in the right place here at SR. keep posting. there is a lot of experience here.

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:36 PM
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I will pray
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:43 PM
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My therapist suggested I tell my XAH to do 90 in 90 (meetings) or I was leaving. He didn't.....I did. Now 3 yrs. later it is all good. It took awhile to get to this place but it is good. He chose drinking. I chose recovery. You can live in the problem or live in the solution. Prayer won't hurt.....and pray too for you in the situation. Mine wasn't teachable. He had DUI's , jail, lost job, still kept using....pills and pot too......
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrrisT View Post
Hi Joslyn

Your son will be fine as long as his Mom is strong.
I have learned lately this is most true. We teach our kids by example.

Once I got strong, my kids changed so much.

I wish you well and wellcome
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:03 AM
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I have learned lately this is most true. We teach our kids by example.

Once I got strong, my kids changed so much.
Unconsciously will influence how our kids will react and feel.

The last time my RAH left, I was completely done.

There were no tears - nothing - just quiet

I sat the kids down - and said we can't him back again. There was no crying, they were sad but nothing in comparison to the past episodes.

(BTW He is their step-dad, but he was/is their full time father.)

We hugged, they asked what's for dinner and we went about our lives.

There were things that crept up, but I dealt with very calmly, I smiled and everything was fine. And best part is I actually felt that way that way too.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Joslyn View Post
I would ask him to leave our home as to not disrupt our kids, get our financial situation in order, will have to pull our kids out of schools they love and "try" to sell our house, as I need both of our incomes to live the lifestyle we have now. I just feel like if I make this choice, the biggest impact is a huge blow to my kids' education.
I would highly encourage you to hop over to the Adult Children forum here and read what a huge impact it is on kids to grow up in an alcoholic home, as well as draw on your own experience in growing up in an alcoholic home.

Would it be a big adjustment for your kids in a new school? Yes.

How about a lifetime of therapy for your kids if they remain in this situation?

My sponsor has often told me over the years that sometimes all my choices suck, and I just have to pick the best one out of the bunch.

You are the only voice those children have.

They need one stable and emotionally present parent, and your husband doesn't qualify.

I drank again after 4 years sober, and there was no one to pick me up.

When I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I drug myself up that long flight of stairs to my home AA group and started over again.

My now adult children have known me as a sober parent for 20 years now.

Please check out local Alanon meetings for yourself. Get your hands on a copy of the book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie. I'd also recommend some counseling for you and the children.

I hope you continue to post, and know you are among people who understand.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:43 PM
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This hits home for me. The most innocent of all, our children, who will be forever affected and changed because of their parents' choices (both the A's and the A's partner). Please don't be so hard on yourself, though! You are trying to figure out your situation and what you must do for yourself and for your children. I have found reading the posts of others on this forum most helpful in struggling with my own situation.

I was only able to muster up the courage to leave my AH because of my daughter after 14 years together. (I am not saying you should or should not leave your AH. You will have to decide what is best for you.) I didn't want my child to grow up in a home where there was active addiction/alcoholism. At the time I finally left, I felt that even if my husband went into recovery, it's too late. I wanted to work on being the loving mother I always wanted to have/be-- a mother who focused my attention on my child, not on my AH or his addictions. Having my AH under the same roof made it impossible (it felt) for me to be the kind of person I wanted to be. I wanted to be an example of a happy, healthy successful, hopeful, positive person that my daughter could emulate. I was becoming a person/mother I didn't want to be (angry, resentful)! My daughter was 3 and a half. I wish I had the courage to leave sooner (for me, for my daughter and for my AH).

Children are sponges. They are absorbing everything in their environment, their parents' facial expressions, tone of voice, silence, demeanor --EVERYTHING! No matter how much we might think we are keeping them protected, they are being impacted.

As the daughter of an alcoholic as well, I still hurt when I think of being dragged into my parents' drama. It's not their fault, but I see how much growing up in that environment, in an alcoholic family, has forever affected me and the choices I have made in the past. I want to be an example for my daughter to make different choices than my parents and different choices than the ones I made pre-recovery.

My AH (now in recovery, as a result of my leaving) and I are slowly trying to reconcile. (SLOWLY). We each have our own healing/recovery to do. Part of my recovery is to remain separate from my husband (living arrangements). We date. We spend family time together. I am afraid of relapse but as part of my own recovery and healing, I can not focus on him and his addiction/recovery.

I wish you the best. I'm praying for you and your children. I am in no place to give advice. Just from my experience, I feel that kids should be able to be kids and worry/deal with kid stuff. . . alcohol addiction should not be part of their developmental landscape.

For now, I hope you will find strength to do what is best for you and your precious children.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:12 PM
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I second all the wonderful and heartfelt thoughts and wishes given to you.
You and your AH are adults, the kids need the protection from the result of having an A dad, and you are that for them.

The stress of waiting for him to kill or maim someone whilst drink driving, is something I still recall with horror from 20 years ago with my then AH, and would not wish on anyone.

Maybe you need a counsellor's help to sort out what you want to do, and how to handle all the different folk involved....AH, children, other family, friends eg, and the issues as well. It could be difficult leaving him, or him going...but consider him staying and later serving time (plus all the strain) for DUI or harming others, and losing what you have in law suits anyway.

I wish the best for all of you.

God bless
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:02 AM
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Wow, Thanks! Here is an Update with more questions (m)

Well I've been up since 2 am! I've read the first two Chapters of Codependent No More. Thank you for the suggestion. I'm trying to find ways to be supportive, but not Codependent, as I am learning there's a huge difference! We have had two completely NORMAL drama free days, which scares the hell out of me, although we went years with no alcohol issues and this has happened over the course of about 14 months. Thursday night I asked him to ask work for an out of state project so he can focus on meetings and I can focus on "transitioning" to a single parent. Our life is too good and too normal and I don't want to get coerced into feeling like everything is ok. I think this sneaks up on both of us. Everything is fantastic, normal then, I think this is detrimental to his recovery if that makes sense! I thought he hit rock bottom (I truly thought it happened in March when he tore up his truck and four police officers were at our door, no DUI). He was sober for 20 years I'm hoping and praying he can find his way again. He has stated that he would like to recover surrounded by his family. But is that like having the best of both worlds? How do you coexist in the same household. I would LOVE for him to be here "if" he is attending meetings, and the non-codependent in me (LOL) should be supportive of that since I don't want to "punish" him by kicking him out. So is this even possible, or will he not recover while we are living with him? What do I do? Do I ask him if he's attending meetings without sounding codepdendent? I feel like I now have a split personality now that I KNOW I'm codependent, but the book is very helpful. My question is, does he have to move out to recover? If not, how do we coexist?
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:55 AM
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does he have to move out to recover? If not, how do we coexist?
I personally cannot and will not live with a practicing alcoholic or addict. My peace and serenity are just too important to me to accept any of that nonsense. I have found it very difficult to actually live with someone who is "trying" to recover. They are just as unpredictable and volatile. Life is just too chaotic and I panic way too much because I can see everything they are doing, and I cannot control anything. They do not listen, which makes me angry, and then I get bossy, and at times get so angry I scream and yell. Life just $ucks living with an alcoholic or drug addict.

IMO, the question is not whether or not he has to move out in order for HIM to recover, it is whether or not he has to move out in order for YOU to recover. Whose life are you living? His or yours? What difference has ANYTHING you have done to "support" or "help" him, made in his sobriety? Honestly, NONE of them need ANY of us to get sober and stay sober. They don't need our "support" or our "help." We can call it whatever we want but in the end, our "help" is just us not minding our own business.

Take care of yourself.
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:59 AM
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P.S. IMO, this:
He was sober for 20 years I'm hoping and praying he can find his way again.
is Denial.
IMO you need to stop thinking about the 20 years. The 20 years is OVER, gone, water under the bridge. Live in the PRESENT moment. Ever notice how when a person who has any amount of sobriety under his or her belt drinks again, even just ONE BEER, they reset the "clock"? It all starts over as Day One. There is a reason for that. Because yesterday does not matter--we live in the Present Moment. Today, Right Now.
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