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Newbie trying to be realistic...

Old 09-14-2010, 12:42 AM
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Newbie trying to be realistic...

I've been lurking around this forum and reading through the classic stickies and other members' posts. I've been with my ABF for seven years and have watched his illness progress and devour his soul. He's a different person now than he was when we met. I love him. But I hate his disease and his disease owns him.

He has tried for recovery several times and has succeeded in sobriety for anywhere from 6-12 months at a time. But he doesn't actually recover, just shifts his addictions around. He has a serious video game problem and this is a middle-aged man, not a twenty something. Each time he has begun drinking again it's worse than ever before and he's become increasingly abusive. The last time he was "trying" he made some progress including seeing a doctor for his mental health issues (depression, anxiety), but he didn't stick with the medication and treatment. It's like the wind went out of his sails and he gave up.

I know and have known that our relationship is doomed if he doesn't commit to a real program of recovery. And maybe still doomed even if he does. I was never exposed to alcoholism or addiction before I met him and so he was a real puzzle for a long time. If I'd known then what I know now..... The situation has progressed to the point that I am going to have to detach to survive. It's not like I haven't seen it coming, but I think it's going to be incredibly difficult and painful and I dread it.

I was wondering, does any relationship ever survive? Are there success stories, marriages that come out on the other side? From what I've read on here it looks like that outcome must be quite rare. Do people who were abusive as alcoholics reach a point in recovery that they recognize what they have done and the pain they caused? Do they discover remorse? Or do they remain abusive jerks, only now they're sober jerks? These are just a few of the many questions floating around in my head.

He and I have had no contact in more than 24 hours which is atypical for us. We had a horrific fight Sunday morning that became physical and this while his teenage kids were present.
I'm thinking, thinking hard. Maybe he is too. Maybe not.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:06 AM
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HI Jaguar,

I'm a alcoholic man, so I normally don't post here, but your story posed acouple of questions that peeked my interest.

There are success stories, for I know personally a couple of marriages that survived the insanity of active alcoholism, but I think the number of these success stories are few in comparison to the overall number of marriages affected by alcoholism.

Many alcoholics know what they're doing even while drinking, such as I, but the need to have a drink most often took precedent over the thoughts of consequences. On rare occasion, the remorse, regret, and shame would cause me to reduce my intake, but it rarely caused me to stop drinking. I always thought I could fix whatever went wrong, but that wasn't the case, so I endured much lose directly attributed to my drinking. And the truth be told, yes, I'm still a jerk alot of the time, but I'm working on that, and it will probably always be something I have to work on.

I was never physically abusive, so this particular abuse in your case causes great alarm.

Hopefully others here will help you with these issues. Just wanted to welcome you to SR.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:13 AM
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Thanks firestorm for your input. And don't despair if you're still a bit of a jerk. It's ok if you aren't perfect as long as you recognize when you've behaved badly. And care. Everyone is a jerk sometimes, right?

I am interested in what all this is like from the alcoholic's perspective. I know not all alcoholics are abusive, but it seems like many (most?) of them are at least somewhat abusive to their partners. ??? If nothing else, verbal abuse seems to be a pattern, and blaming, accusing, avoiding responsibility, dumping, overall selfishness, and a lack of consideration for the feelings of others.

I've confronted my ABF many times about his complete lack of remorse. He says I don't know what's in his head. He certainly doesn't EXPRESS the remorse if he feels it. Is he feeling shame and guilt? I really have no idea. Most of the time he acts like he has done absolutely nothing wrong even though his behavior is WAY beyond any semblance of acceptable. He doesn't come crawling the next day to apologize. He acts like nothing happened. And if I make an issue out of it he responds by painting me to be histrionic, needy, a psycho, crazy, over sensitive......etc etc etc.

When an alcoholic is in recovery does he(she) feel like absolute sh__ for mistreating and ultimately losing their spouse?

This is depressing and distressing. I want to find more hope. But I seem to have run out of denial. I have a stomach ache from thinking about all this.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:32 AM
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jaguar, welcome. To find out more about alcoholism, I read Under the Influence It really helped me identify the behaviours my XAH was demonstrating. It didnt stop them hurting, didn't make it 'better' but I better understood the disease and its progress. It helped me (along with Codependent No More) to make informed choices about how I wanted to live MY life.

Stick around and keep posting. This forum has supported and educated me so much - I hope you find the same benefits I have here!
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:46 AM
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You know, Jag, I was never exposed to alcoholism or addiction during my formative years, either. It was all a giant jigsaw puzzle to me, too. In fact, I have become addicted to solving the puzzle. The puzzle is unsolvable. I don't mean there has been no genuine emotional bond involved. Just commenting on the puzzle challenge as a link in the chains that have bound me. I was within inches of a clean get-away a month ago. Now I'm swimming in yuckiness again. Drunk or sober, he is not the good guy I had believed him to be at heart. Not even close -- so. . . .can I shake my own addiction to the whole sordid mess and enforce sobriety on myself? No contact and substitute new interests is what I know I need to do. You will get plenty of support here in searching out what you need to do.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:46 AM
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Hi Jaguar,

I'm not sure who alcoholics become when they've recovered, but I suspect most of them do cease being jerks. I recently heard such a story at an Al-Anon speakers meeting. I bet there are plenty more like them.

Your AH has many similarities with my AEXspouse. Mine also displaced his addiction to other obsessive behaviours, in his case, obsessive stamp collecting for a year. The stamps became so important he stopped paying the rent. Sigh.

Mine very rarely became a jerk by saying inappropriate things. Probably because he always drank in secret and was busy hiding his drinking. He would therefore avoid any interactions with me when he'd been drinking.

He's been cycling quickly through relapse and recovery in the past months. While I was with him, he'd have periods of sobriety but was never in recovery. In the last year, he has been much more active in attending AA, working the 12 steps, etc. And when he has been, he really has been becoming the best guy ever. The guy I met but even more thoughtful. When an alcoholic chooses recovery and is actively working his steps, this will include making an inventory of harm they've caused and making amends for those harms. So that usually results not only in not being a jerk in the present but recognizing the jerkiness of the past and, often, apologizing for it. In my limited experience, alcoholics well into their recovery do generally step being jerks.

For what it's worth, I decided to leave my alcoholic, and though I miss the good parts of him, I do believe it was the best choice for me.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:47 AM
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Daybreak, Somehow understanding helps me feel better. Knowledge is empowering. But you're right that understanding still doesn't change the situation for what it is. Maybe it will be easier for me to accept if I understand it better. If nothing else reading all this material is keeping me from laying in my bed crying...
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:58 AM
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Hi Deesire, Wow stamp collecting? WOW That just blows me away. I don't even know what to say. That must have absolutely sucked. My ABF's video/xbox addiction is so humiliating for me. He chooses those games and his online "friends" over me. Those "friends" are mostly teen aged boys who are also into gaming! I don't think a grown man should spend hours every day playing xbox. But it's just another part of the whole addiction/escape lifestyle. It took me some time to figure all this out though.
I was so naive. I thought if he'd just stop drinking he'd get "better". Now that I'm getting a feel for the true scope of this disease it's terrifying. I'm impressed by those who make it through and are in recovery.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:03 AM
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Thank you for posting this thread. I was wondering the same thing. My sickness thinknig that if he decides recovery he won't be the jerk he has been. Oh well, I really don't think so but I am just living day by day. Only have my plan for today.

Thank you.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:28 AM
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Welcome,

Sorry about the situatiion you are involved in.

Don't have any advice, however, to me, physical abuse is a deal bresker. Drunk or sober, there is no excuse for abuse and I would have called the police and had him arrested, Physical abuse left to its own devices will esculate.

Keep posting, keep reading others posts. Read the stickys, it will help.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:42 AM
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Hi Jag,

Was worried about you and am glad you're still here.

I agree with dollydo that physical abuse is a dealbreaker, and also know that the other forms of abuse are just as devastating.

From this alcoholics point of view, it's not worth it if someone is not doing all they can to change the way they're living, and even then it's questionable.

In answer to your question, and I can only speak for myself, I have been abusive in most of my relationships with others, intimate or not, and probably in some way abusive in all. I come from a family with an alcoholic mother and so I've seen so much dysfunction that it became normal to me. It has taken me 50 years to realize I don't know how to do normal relationships, because I've never seen one close up for any significant length of time. I became exactly what I didn't want to be as a child, for I became an alcoholic and after watching what it did to my mother, I swore I'd never be like that. When I drink, it deadens my feelings, so I don't feel like normal people do. If I do get feelings of shame, remorse, regret, embarrassment, then another drink will put those feelings out of mind again. Thus, I can continue till all my inner resources to drink have dried up and I'm forced to face myself and my life. Even then, I am still warped and years of therapy, AA meetings, and recovery efforts will have little to no effect till I become willing to change from the inside out. I must seek a spiritual way of living because I want to, not because of any outside influences. I'm not good relationship material, and I know that, so I'm single today. I have many lady friends, but they wouldn't be friends for long if we became involved on a different, more intimate level. I am still not healthy, especially when it comes to relationships, because that's an area of my life that still needs much work. Even when sober, I'm still abusive in many ways and am still discovering how many ways I am abusive. I remain teachable, so there is hope, but it will be quite some time till I venture into any form of intimate relationship. I will admit that it took me a long time to accept that the problem was me all along.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:13 PM
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Something I've noticed reading through other members' posts is that people are quick to slap a co-dependent label on each other. You'd think that every single person who ever fell in love with an alcoholic is co-dependent. But that's obviously not true. And any "divorce" from a long-term partner is going to be painful even if neither party was an alcoholic. I don't think grieving a loss is abnormal in any way.

One thing I'd like to learn more about is the process of No Contact. This seems to be frequently recommended and I wondered what the pros and cons were and how one goes about choosing if this option is right for them.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:21 PM
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I too have no addictions in my family nor did I ever grow up around it.
Yes, the label "codependent" is thrown around too much. Most behaviours are human and most humans are codepedent.

My ex and I didn't make it, but I've seen MANY that have and went on to great lives and relationships. The key is for two people to be working a program though.
I'm sure some have made it without a program, but I've not met any since the ones I meet are only in meetings.

The abuse is common, the denial much more common. My ex was (is) a loving guy and he stopped drinking. He's a loving Dad, but he struggled with his demons and intentionally and unintentionally was abusive.
I struggle with codependency behaviours so was also abusive to a point.
My ex also showed very little remorse when I caught him cheating. Not sure why there is this lack of remorse, but I think it's because addicts cannot process shame well.
They accuse and blame to divert attention away from their actions.

In either case, the key is to get well yourself and he either follows or doesn't.
The success stories I heard were all based on this premise
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:44 PM
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Thank you so much summerpeach. That really helps. Just being part of this forum is helping me already.
Yes, I have to take care of myself and see to my welfare. Too long now I've been jumping through hoops for him because he's unhappy with ME. But there is no pleasing him. I told him the other day that I no longer could believe this was about us, he and I. It's not about our relationship. It's about his relationship with alcohol and addiction. I wanted to be fair minded. I know I'm not perfect and have my own issues. I've always been willing to work on those. I felt bad just pointing at him and saying "this is your fault". But damn it all if it isn't his fault!
I don't see any way that I or anyone else for that matter could have a healthy relationship with him while he is still an active full blown alcoholic hellbent on self destruction.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:38 PM
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Hi jaguar...I want to respond to your inquiry regarding No Contact. In my experience, it is often necessary to choose this because we (the other party, the codies, or whatever you want to call us), aren't able to "let go" of the addict and let them find their bottom. Instead, we worry for them, call them, take their calls, email/text, coddle them, enable them, get into fights with them, etc etc...

Our entire focus is THE ADDICT, what they say and do, and it can be totally overwhelming. I know it made me rather dysfunctional.

IMO, No Contact helps us accept the 3 C's...
You didn't CAUSE it
You can't CURE it
You can't CONTROL it

Also, for the truly codependent, those who are addicted to their partner or to the drama, as their partner is to alcohol, No Contact is that first step in breaking the addiction.

And once you've taken some time to yourself, to step away from the madness of your partner's addiction, you can start to see patterns of behaviour, both in yourself and in your partner. You can also start to examine the "hows" and "whys" of those patterns in yourself and perhaps begin to take steps to remedy them. It's very difficult to see these "from the inside".

In my case, No Contact wasn't an option in the beginning because XAH and I shared a young child, so contact was necessary in order to organize visitation. Due to recent developments, he is no longer part of my life so I am now experiencing No Contact. IMO, that necessary contact was much more painful that No Contact...I always have to guard myself against XAH and what he would say, and any contact we had always left me in tiny pieces.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:44 PM
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Just wanted to add that my counselor (my brother is an addict) also points out that unless the addict is in active recovery and working the steps, they won't get to the ROOT cause of the addiction - for example working thru their anger from childhood.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:49 PM
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So do you tell the alcoholic what you are doing before you go no contact or do you just "disappear"? How do they usually react to this sort of thing? Do you first give an ultimatum, like "if you don't....I'm going to"....?

I would love to buy my ABF an express ticket to rock bottom and see him get into recovery. I definitely don't want to coddle him, but I have done things inadvertently that have enabled him. No more. I suppose just staying in his life and loving him is enabling him. He's been able to rely on me for seven years. He takes it for granted that I will love him and that as long as he wants me he can have me. Lately he's been telling me how much he hates me and wants me out of his life and that we are done. But I think he says that stuff partly for the effect it has on me. I wonder how he will react if I am finally gone from his life? I'm really not sure what to expect.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:50 PM
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Question

Welcome to the family!

Here is a link that contains excerpts from the book "Under The Influence" (mentioned in an earlier post)
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html

I'm not sure how effective telling your alcoholic that you are going no contact will be. When I seperated from my active alcoholic, I went no contact. I met silence when I went no contact. In my relationship, I was always the one initiating contact after a few hours/days. My active A did what he always did when I was having an issue with him: he turned to alcohol for companionship. As I went "no contact" he was free to do what he always wanted to do: drink without interference.

If you are looking for validation from your A as to the reasons you are going no contact, it's kind of like going to the hardware store and asking for fresh bread. An alcoholic can't give rational sane responses because the relationship is not rational and sane.

Hi, I'm known as Pelican and I am a recovering alcoholic. I am a recovering ex-spouse of an alcoholic. I am also recovering from my need to rescue and fix everyone around me (codependency).

You mentioned this in your post:
Originally Posted by Jaguar55 View Post
Lately he's been telling me how much he hates me and wants me out of his life and that we are done. But I think he says that stuff partly for the effect it has on me. I wonder how he will react if I am finally gone from his life? I'm really not sure what to expect.
He is already declaring an end to the relationship. His delivery is abrasive and cruel (IMHO).

I wish you peace and serenity as you begin your recovery journey.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaguar55 View Post
So do you tell the alcoholic what you are doing before you go no contact or do you just "disappear"? How do they usually react to this sort of thing? Do you first give an ultimatum, like "if you don't....I'm going to"....?

I would love to buy my ABF an express ticket to rock bottom and see him get into recovery. I definitely don't want to coddle him, but I have done things inadvertently that have enabled him. No more. I suppose just staying in his life and loving him is enabling him. He's been able to rely on me for seven years. He takes it for granted that I will love him and that as long as he wants me he can have me. Lately he's been telling me how much he hates me and wants me out of his life and that we are done. But I think he says that stuff partly for the effect it has on me. I wonder how he will react if I am finally gone from his life? I'm really not sure what to expect.
Recovery has taught me to take action based on my needs, my life, my wants. As long as you are calculating how your actions will effect his actions, you are trying to control him/it/the situation.

Best advice I can muster is to take a long hard look at your life and the changes that YOU need to make for YOU. He may hit bottom and find recovery, he may drink himself to death. Or and infinite number of variables in between. It is completely, absolutely, unequivocally not in your control. Once you accept that, you are free to do whatever is best for you, and leave his decisions entirely to him.

L
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:50 AM
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LaTeeDa

You're right that I do wish I had some control over all this. But I don't. I know I don't. But emotionally I'm still struggling with that.

Pelican

He's been breaking up with me over and over and over......for seven years. Sometimes it's once a month and sometimes it's been every other day. We've been engaged three times....even bought a house. That's another story. This stage "I hate you, we're done, I wish you were dead" has been dragging on for more than a year. It's hard to know what he really means or when he's "really" breaking up with me. He's in a perpetual state of breaking up with me!

He's got some record breaking intimacy issues going on.

But this latest round has certainly escalated and maybe that's because he really wants us to be over or is it because he has to say extreme things to get a rise out of me anymore? It's all incredibly confusing. I'm drowning in mixed signals.

Two years ago when we were "done" I actually met someone I liked and began dating him. I told ABF and when it sank in he came running to me in a dead panic trying to get me back. He fell apart, lost so much weight that he looked like he was terminally ill, sallow and emaciated, crying all the time and begging me to stop seeing the new guy. He wanted to go to the courthouse and get married immediately which I didn't go along with. He opened up to me emotionally like he never had before and made himself vulnerable.

Long story short, we did get back together. This is the time period when he made some genuine effort. We saw a couples counselor. He was sober. He saw a doctor and tried a couple different medications to deal with the depression/anxiety that he suffers from when he's not drinking. But he didn't stick with all this for more than a few months. He became angrier, colder, and more hostile and worked himself into a frenzy of hate and resentment. And then he began drinking again.

There were a couple times when I was still seeing the other guy that I had lied about it to him and he was pretty traumatized by that when I "came clean" and everything was out in the open. He built on those feelings and fueled up this blasting furnace of rage and hatred directed towards me. I was stunned. I still am.

He's hated on me every day, day after day after month after month. And he's blamed it all on me. I did this. If I would just not do that. I don't listen. I'm not trying. I never listen he says over and over. I'm not willing to do what he needs. He say I made my own bed and brought this on myself.

And once he started drinking again he was really "gone" this time. He got meaner than he'd ever been at any time before. He became increasingly prone to losing physical restraint and becoming violent. And he ceased to have "feelings". It seems like even his ability to feel physical sensations, like being touched, have practically disappeared. He became a lump, an angry cold mean emotionless drunk lump.

Wow, I'm rambling. Ok, well I talked to him on the phone very briefly tonight. He sounded good, like he was sort of happy. That really freaks me out when he gets like, "oh, I've gotten rid of her and she was the source of my unhappiness". And he acts like now I'm not around he's finally at peace. I guess in a way that's the truth because if I'm not around he doesn't have to feel pressured to give anything or do anything except what he wants to do for himself. He can just kick back and drink, smoke some weed, play video games until he gets tired and passes out. Get up the next day, go to work, come home, repeat....

I hate alcoholism. I really really hate it. It took him away. And he let it, didn't he? He left me. And he even erased all the things about me that are me and replaced them in his head with some bitch that he can hate even though that's not who I am at all.
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