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should I just leave now?! Ugh

Old 09-26-2010, 07:15 AM
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should I just leave now?! Ugh

Hi all,

I've posted before that my husband had some spectacularly bad binges with alcohol and sobered up in July.

It's been almost three months now and he's been sober, seems to be doing a lot better. Still seeing his counsellor. He's tried to talk to me about the alcohol; the other day we were in bed and he was saying, "I want to go back to drinking casually again someday."

I just tried to stay calm and say, "Well, that's something to talk about with your counsellor I guess. I don't see why you couldn't just stop altogether if it's caused so many problems for you." He wanted to talk about it more but I told him I felt too nervous to talk about it.

My whole body seizes up when I hear him even suggest the possibility of drinking again, ever. Immediately I see another bender and all the damage it causes.

It's a strange position to be in: on the one hand we're enjoying things and making plans. And at the same time I live in constant fear of a relapse. We went to a dinner party on Friday and I was terrified he would say "yes" when the host offered him wine (he told the host he was "on the wagon," but people forget). Last night he went to a meeting at a pub (everything's held at pubs here!), I was terrified that he would come home drunk.

As I've said in my other posts I got myself an apartment during his last bender. The only reason I cancelled it was because I heard him say, "I want to stop drinking forever," and he started medication and counselling.

So I stayed because I thought, "Okay, now this is when we move on to happy times together. This is when it ends."

And yet, oddly, it hasn't ended, not for me. Not when I literally seize up with fright each time there's even the remotest possibility of a relapse.

Maybe I'd already gone past the point of no return, and I just hadn't realized it. Like a woman who's been hit by her husband: sure, they might reconcile, but once he's hit her she can't stop thinking when it might happen again at any moment.

So should I just find myself an apartment now? Now that we've been through all that together and he's been sober for three months?

Ugh.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:20 AM
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No one can answer that question for you. I will ask do you attend Al-anon meetings? It just seems that you are obsessing over whether or not he will go back to drinking and that is really a huge waste of time. He will do whatever he will do. Learning to detach from his actions can be a huge help.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:24 AM
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I'd trust my gut, and, your gut told you to find an apartment.

If you are ready to move forward then that is what you should do.

Take care,
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:33 AM
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I hate to say it, but probably you should. Not that I myself would follow good advice for healthy choices. I've been trying to describe my inescapable fear to AH (over the phone, long distance) who wants to stay married, though our relationship bears almost no resemblance to a marriage. Ever since I've been back in frequent contact with him, I am scared all the time --feeling insecure, unsafe. . . In your case, it would be different if he hadn't gone back on his intention never to drink again. I mean . . .I would live with some insecurity and fear for awhile, if that commitment were there in his heart.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:50 AM
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Akrasia,

This:
My whole body seizes up ... I live in constant fear of a relapse. I was terrified ... I was terrified ... I literally seize up with fright
Does not sound to me like a nice way to live my life.

I have been in the exact same situation. This sounds like a boundary issue to me. My XA&ABF (who had done some really $hitty things in the relationship) was always talking to me about what he was going to do, drink, don't drink, whatever. When he would "share" with me his thoughts about what he was going to do I would panic, my heart would start racing, my mind would start racing, I would literally be shaking. But soon I discovered that his recovery is none of my business and I wanted nothing to do with it. My advice is investigate your feelings, determine what you want, identify your limit, and formulate your plan of action if and when the boundary is crossed. Then, communicate to him your boundary and the consequences for what will occur if he crosses that boundary. Then follow through with what you said you would do.

There are some stickies on boundary-setting on this forum. You can also Google it. The long and short of it goes like this:

John, when you _____ (fill in the blank), I feel _____.
Therefore, I would like for you to ______.
If you _____ again, I will _____.

About this:
As I've said in my other posts I got myself an apartment during his last bender. The only reason I cancelled it was because I heard him say, "I want to stop drinking forever," and he started medication and counselling. So I stayed because I thought, "Okay, now this is when we move on to happy times together. This is when it ends."
Makes me think of a ping-pong game. And YOU are the ping-pong ball. Not sure how much peace and serenity you get living your life this way but you may want to consider taking some steps toward stopping being the ping-pong ball. Just take baby steps because it is apparent you are not sure yet what you want to do about the relationship as a whole.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:51 AM
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In my experience as a recovering alcoholic, myself, as long as I entertained the idea of drinking again, I did. It sounds to me like your husband isn't "done" drinking. That doesn't mean a few more bad experiences won't convince him and that he can't get well, but whether you stay for that process is a question only you can answer. He may never get well, or he might surprise you and stay sober in spite of his thinking out loud. Unfortunately, none of us has a crystal ball to see what the future holds.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:52 AM
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Thanks for the responses. I appreciate that none of us can really tell how things will turn out. It's just a funny position to be in. In July I had a stern talk with myself: "I'll only stay if he sobers up and stops this nonsense!" and now that he's sober I'm all, "Huh! Nevermind! Maybe I want to leave anyway!"

I have an appointment for a counsellor in two week's time (I have to go through my GP first) so I'm waiting on that. I appreciate the advice to trust my gut, but at the same time my gut is telling me to talk things over with someone and get support in place before I take a step. Except, certainly, if he does relapse, I'm out of here.

It's just a relief to be able to come here. At home I'm scrupulously calm and detached-seeming about the drinking, so it's nice to come here and say how sick I am of this crap.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:13 AM
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Learn2LIve, thanks for your post.

But I'm afraid I disagree that the usual boundary-setting script fits in this situation. The behaviors are too extreme.

I just can't see myself saying something like:

"When you tell me what a horrible person I am while I'm trying to clean up your excrement, it makes me feel degraded." (ORLY?)

or

"When you crash our car and cause several hundred pounds worth of damage, it makes me feel frightened and resentful."

or

"If you continue to trash the house while verbally abusing me, I will leave."

In these cases, the "boundary-setting" conversations don't work. If I said any of the above I'd be negotiating over my right to live normally and peacefully, and I'm not going to put myself in that kind of humiliating position.

I've never really seen the point of threats: you either do something or you don't.

He's told me he never wants another binge to happen again. I could try to force him to repeat that over and over, whenever I felt sad, but that won't change things. I know that I'll leave if he binges again, and really I can't predict whether that can happen. That's where I'm feeling kind of fed up.

Sorry if my post seems a bit strident, I don't mean to take things out on you, it's just me feeling a bit worked up... I do appreciate your advice.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:38 AM
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After alot of back and forth I left, divorced and am fiine now. Some "a"'s just don't make it......they are married to using. If he is truly an alcoholic he can't control it. 1 is too many and 50 is not enough.......The first drink sets off an uncontrollable urge.....I would go with my gut. And me and my gut would go to Alanon.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:19 AM
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Again, only you can decide what you will and will not live with. If him drinking again is the deal breaker, then so be it. My point was, you shouldn't fret and worry about whether he is going to pick up again. If the boundary is firmly set in your mind that if he drinks again you are out of there, then what is there to worry about?
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
My point was, you shouldn't fret and worry about whether he is going to pick up again.
But...but...but I'm so good at fretting!

Thanks, suki, you're absolutely right.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:59 AM
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Boundary setting conversations do no work in abusive situations either. They can be dangerous.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:19 AM
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I think it is a big deal that you feel it in your body. Stress will show up in your body and immune system. While I was deciding to decide (whether to leave) I got really "scary" skinny, would grind my teeth, my hair would fall out......couldn't sleep. My gut knew before I did.....mad as hell and just couldn't take it any more. After I left people kept saying I looked so good.....even now 20 lbs. overweight.....I guess during the deciding to decide stage I looked like ca ca. Now I am fat and happy.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:21 AM
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I was the same as Carol, the stress made me sick. I was almost to the point where I was unable to get out of bed, unable to move.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by akrasia View Post
But...but...but I'm so good at fretting!

Thanks, suki, you're absolutely right.
I challenge you to a frett-off! I'm world class, working on beating it back. It's manageable now, but if I need to I could work into a frenzy!

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:22 AM
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It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Leave or stay. At least not right at this moment. If you are worried about something that may happen, the best thing to do is to make a plan in case it does. The saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket" comes to mind.

Don't put all your eggs in the sober-forever-husband basket. Hedge your bets and make sure you are prepared for the other outcome, should it come to pass. Having a plan B will also go a long way toward easing that tension you feel.

L
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:08 PM
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Akrasia,

I experienced similar feelings when faced with something that reminded me of "old times". It's like a trigger....well, it IS a trigger. We are jetted right back to that old reaction, that stab deep in our gut. I also experienced something like this months after a break-up, a couple of times with a completely different person. For me, I know that it will take time to build trust with the new person, even though he hasn't ever done anything like the old person did.

But with the original person, I believe that it would have taken a really long time - because that is not just building, but re-building. Frankly, unless he (old person) did a complete and total turnaround - and it was consistent over time, I think those little triggers would have continued to come up and hit me.

Is your man behaving completely different from the one who hurt you? Has he sustained that change? Has it been quite awhile?

As always, time will tell.


And Coyote, I can pull out the old fretting should the "need" arise! But don't sign me up for the Fret-Off; I'd rather keep trying to lick that ol' tendency!
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:42 AM
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I understand how you feel. Felt the same way often in my marriage. Now my RAH is sober for 4 months. But I don't feel the same way any more.
I probably would if I dind't work on myself, if I dind't decide I don't have to do anything but what I want to do and what works for me. I've relaized in all previous years I needed to feel safe, but feeling safe for me meant havaing a guaranty the future is going to be good, and that great future is to come from everyone around me bahaving in the way I expect them. That has so little to do with reality, when you think about it. Not one of us in any given moment can not possibly know what the future might bring, I think we all know that, but unfortunatelly often we don't have peace with that. I had to dig deep inside of myself to find out what exactly in me making me be so dependant on my husband that I thought I can not be happy unless he stops drinking, why was I so fixed on our marriage and my idea of what family should be. I discovered my reason for this was because I am ACOA. There was a lot of issues for me there that I needed to deal with. Once I did get busy on me, worked out what is acceptable for me and what is not (my personal boundaries that need not been discussed with him) I started to learn how to live in present, not the past nor the future.
My present is this: my RAH is sober and working on his recovery, he might keep up the good work or not. I don't dread over it. There is a possibility he will not. I know that, as that is realistic. If that happens than I will not stay with him any longer, as I don't care to live with active A any more. But in the same time I am not going to ruin my present moment in life thinking of the things that might go wrong. Now for the first time I can see my RAH is serious about recovery (if I didn't think this I wouldn't stay), but also I understand it is a slow process for him, we don't discuss his recovery, I guess neither of us feels the need to. It is his business. I am not staying with him now only because he is in recovery, but because being in recovery he is again nice, caring and supportive, and respectful of me.
I know I couldn't have had this peace and happiness I have now if I didn't work on myself. The real change that gave me this peace and happiness was not my RAH quitting drinking but my own recovery. Me learning about myself, respecting myself, honoring myself, and above all understanding my happiness depends only on me. Since than nothing to do with my RAH, his sobriety or our marriage is overwhelming any more, it is not even something I need to think about. I am were I am now because it works for me, when it stops than I will move away from it.
My point IMHO the only way to remove that pain and find peace it to work on yourself. Once you sort that one out the rest will follow.
Take care
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:54 AM
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hi akrasia-

it's really common for alcoholics who abstain for a while to think they can now become casual drinkers. it's part of their denial. but they can't be casual drinkers.

i totally relate to the somersaults in your stomach just waiting for the other shoe to drop. it is not a nice way to live. and the fact that he is trying to convince you that it will be fine if he starts drinking again tells me that you are not out of the woods.

it sounds like you want to leave but feel that since he is currently sober, you are "obligated" to stay. but you know what? it's your life. you don't have to stay if you don't want to.

it sounds like a very unhealthy, stressful environment for you. time to take care of yourself. you could always get that apartment, move out, get some peace and see how his sobriety goes. that way, you are out of the front line and can focus on healing.

oh, and regarding therapy here in the uk, i waitied ONE YEAR to get my first appointment after my GP wrote out the prescription. i hope your wait is less than mine was, but you might want to explore some alternatives in the meantime, like alanon or even open AA meetings.

take care now,
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:17 AM
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hi akrasia-

i just went back and reread your first thread. at that time, you alcoholic stated:

"I think I just need to never have alcohol again. I can never drink without it sliding into a binge."
and now he is saying:

I want to go back to drinking casually again someday
three months ago, after a bad bender, he understood he was powerless over alcohol.

now, he feels he can handle it and is trying to convince you.

watch out!

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