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Old 10-01-2010, 07:32 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by evenkeel View Post
I've all ready left one long-term relationship after my ex became verbally abusive, and then she became mildly physically abusive while I was in the process of figuring out how to physically leave. You'd think that between that and leaving my previous marriage due to him being extremely controlling (among other problems) I'd be more aware of my worth as an individual. I had the strength two other times, so why don't I have it now? Why am I apparently willing to settle this time?
As suki said, you haven't reached YOUR bottom yet. When you get there, you'll know.

And, it seems to me that since you were in a horribly abusive relationship before, perhaps you feel that this one "isn't that bad", so you're not willing to drop it yet. To me, it speaks of a great lack of self-worth, and that's something that you can definitely work on in Al-Anon and individual counselling. I strongly recommend both.

I went to counselling for several months after leaving my abusive husband, and I'm about to return because I feel there are some lingering issues. It's only been a year since I left and I know that years of being codependent don't just dissappear without reflection and effort on my part.

Regarding not accompanying her to bars...I think it's an excellent first boundary. Be prepared to have her (and others) make you feel bad about it or test it. If you remain steadfast, they'll soon learn that you just can't be forced in that respect. Before you know it, you'll have quite a few boundaries that you're simply not willing to break.

As for dangling that adoption carrot, I have serious doubts that it'll achieve the effect you're looking for. To me, that sort of action speaks of manipulation, whether overt or not. Furthermore, if you really think about it, it still comes from a place of "I can change her behaviour". But you simply can't. You don't have any power over her. If she isn't willing to stop drinking for her own children, what makes you think she'll stop drinking for yours?

Spend some time thinking about YOU. What YOU want, aside from her, what YOUR dreams are. If you ever have a chance, take a peak at Codependent No More...and for a real fun trip in the land of self-discovery, I recommend The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I adore her technique.

Keep posting! We're glad to have you here
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:42 AM
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The alcohol issue isn't going to go away completely and I run the risk of, one or five or ten years down the line, her being worse than she is now despite any agreement or how eager she is to work on things so I can feel comfortable with the adoption. Is this, on its face, a bad idea? Telling her that if she wants to adopt the kids we need to go to counseling and whatever comes out of it needs to be fixed before we could consider moving forward with it? It feels like dangling a carrot in front of her, but at least this particular carrot is something she claims she wants very badly and just maybe "for the sake of the kids" will be enough for her to at least try to straighten out. Isn't it at least worth a try?
I know where you're coming from, but It feels a dishonourable (manipulative?) way to go about things, (and I have been a master at the trying to change someone by underhand means when the direct approach doesn't work). Plus a relationship counsellor is unlikely to have the skills neccessary to understand addiction issues (in my experience). You don't need anything "to come out of it" you already know what the problem is for you, and you've told her that. I can see a number of different scenarios play out here and none of them are the result that you hanker after. Going to relationship/adoption counselling with the hope that the counsellor will see what you see, "side" with you and pronounce her an alcoholic who has to change her ways, with a result that a) she does and b) is happy about that, treating you as an equal partner with love, respect and dignity for the rest of your lives is a magical, and unlikely, outcome.

The honest, and reasonable, position you have is that you don't want her to be the legal parent of your children the way she is now (and has it seems from your description, always been) . To use that as a bargainning tool to try and get her to change sits uncomfortably with me (fully admitting I tried similar approaches ). What if she shapes up for a bit, or appears to, you go through with it, and then once the "carrot" has been won, she slides back?

she's not sobering up for the kids right now, why would she be more likely to accept the need to from a stranger than from you, her wife, the children's mother, the person she is closest to in the world, and who shares her life?

I understand that you don't want to consider ending the relationship until
there is nothing else we/I could have done.
, but is she doing anything at all?

1 person can't fix a relationship it really does take 2 fully committed people.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
Just know that you cannot change her and I think using the kids as a carrot is just wrong. Children are not pawns to be used in relationships. To do so can end with disastrous results.
Definitely, using kids as pawns is a bad thing. I guess the emphasis here is that I really shouldn't be staying around with things the way they are. Counseling should be for me to be able to decide if and when I would leave her, and anything to do with her adopting the kids takes a back seat. She may see it as "if I lose her I lose the kids and I don't want that", but MY bottom line in counseling should be whether I stay with her.

I'm starting to understand that alcohol IS a problem and yes, if we fix the alcohol we fix a host of other issues. It's also become clear to me that the issue that needs to be addressed first is the alcohol, not her laziness or seeming lack of ability to step up and be an adult in other areas. In pondering her past and current behavior it's become very clear to me that she has a dependence on alcohol that is demonstrated in far more ways than I had recognized before. While reading on here I got the chills when I realized she's close to becoming a mid-stage alcoholic, if she isn't all ready there.

She ALWAYS binge drinks-it's never 1 or 2, and if it's a situation where more than a couple isn't possible (time constraints, etc) then she looks for a reason to go have more. She ends up drinking pitchers by herself when she keeps buying them after everyone else has stopped drinking. She has an astounding tolerance. Last time I kept track of what she drank in one night I counted four pitchers total plus assorted shots (probably 4) and she was still walking more or less straight. She becomes very combative when she drinks-if someone makes her the least bit mad she's ready to fight and she's not nearly that bad when she's sober. If I suggest that maybe we don't need to take alcohol to the family bonfire, we can have fun without it, she looks at me like I've grown another head. She whines when she can't drink before going to work or when her friends are out drinking and she can't go for one reason or another. She reminds me of a dog locked inside a kennel whining about the bunny rabbit outside it that he badly wants to chase.

I feel REALLY bad drawing that analogy but it seriously feels that way when she stares longingly at the beer in someone's hand and has to remove herself from the scene for a while to stop "torturing" herself and possibly fight off the urge to have a drink. On the flip side, if she doesn't have to work and someone says they're having a bonfire you can guarantee she will be there, 24-pack in hand. Her insisting on me drinking....yep, she wants me to enable her, and I'm not the only one that she does that to.

I'm sorry. I'm rambling. It's really hard to think of my wife as one that has an alcohol issue, that she needs recovery and she has to cut it out completely, forever, to ever have a chance of winning over it. Based on past experience with her, I don't see her willing to do that. I also wonder if she perceives me as a threat to her wish to drink. When I went along with it she was happy, but now that I'm not she's not real pleased with me at all. Maybe it's just better if I leave her to it and have pity on the next fool who gets involved with her.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:30 AM
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Just to clarify, the kids involved are two kids from my previous marriage. She doesn't have any of her own. I am extremely afraid that, if things work out where she can and does adopt them, I'll end up leaving and have to deal with her as the "other parent", and an alcoholic "other parent" at that.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:48 AM
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Sounds like you are thinking along the right lines. If there is even an inkling that the relationship won't last, I would not consider her adopting my kids.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:07 AM
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Yep. I have to take the adoption off the table as a possibility right now. She's going to hate it, but there's a LOT of things she does that I hate and vice versa. That's sort of how life works. I really can't win in this situation. If I tell her she has to straighten out before I'll consider it, I'm being manipulative. If I tell her she can't have it because she is the way she is, I could also be seen as manipulative but in an entirely different way. So be it.

I'm going to sit down and figure out what things she does that I will not tolerate any more and find my "bottom". I know I'm close to it right now. She can choose to care or not, but if she chooses not to care I will choose to leave. I don't see it as a possibility of her stopping drinking altogether, but if she knows the consequences of her actions and chooses to do it anyway then it's clear to me that she won't change and I should get out. I hate ultimatums but I think I need one for my own peace of mind. I all ready gave her one-now it's time to clarify what I meant by "show me you can be an equal partner in our relationship".
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:12 AM
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It isn't manipulative if your concern is for your children and not an attempt to make her stop drinking. It only makes good sense to keep your children out of the madness of her addiction.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:13 AM
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Firstly Welcome to SR

I'm starting to understand that alcohol IS a problem and yes, if we fix the alcohol we fix a host of other issues
I would definitely say that alcohol is a problem, if its a problem for you, a problem in your marriage, then its a problem whether she agrees or not. IMO, you dont go searching out sober recovery websites or google alcoholism without feeling like your partners drinking has become a serious problem to you.

You cant fix it! You cant fix it! It doesnt matter how many times you say it, or how many ways you say it, it cant be done.

Alcoholism is a disease and a serious addiction and nothing you do, say, threaten, dangle, manipulate, beg, cry, etc, etc, etc will make her stop if she doesnt want to stop.

The disease of alcoholism is also very cunning, denial is one of the biggest, with the alcoholics telling themselves they dont have a problem at all. My own AH truly believes that alcoholism has been invented by the Americans to sell books. Go figure!

My AH of 22 years alcoholic dad died recently at the age of 65 from alcohol related diseases. My AH was frightened and stopped drinking, saw a doctor for a check up and was told he was a ticking time bomb and then he went to AA. 3 months later he was back drinking, as he said that he had now realised that his dad dying that way was never going to happen to him. He also said he was only going to drink at weekends, that didnt even last a day! Now its everyday. They tell themselves whatever it takes to keep drinking. They even blame you if it helps. My favourite one is the verbal abuse, which they do when they are drinking and then feel remoresful about it and because they are so ashamed with their own behaviour they get to drink some more, because they feel so bad. Alcoholism is selfish and baffling particular if you are sober!

All you can do, (which is quite a lot) is start thinking about you. Go to Al-anon meetings, get some Al-anon books from your local library, see a psychotherapist and not to discuss leaving, but to discuss all the issues you have surrounding your alcoholic. Just reading your posts, I can tell that living with your wife and her alcoholism has made you sick. You are obsessing about her, manipulating her to stop drinking, worrying about her and whats shes up to, and feeling resentful, disappointed, scared. Lots of reasons to get some therapy, so that you can become strong within yourself and make sound, safe, sensible choices for yourself and your future.

We have a few wives at Al-anon who have stayed with their alcoholics for many, many years even though their husbands are still drinking. They do so by detaching - in otherwords, they build lives for themselves away from their partners, they ignore their partners when they are being abusive, they dont fuss over them, they dont react to bad behaviours and they treat them with respect, which is a really tough call and its certainly not for everyone.

I know its a lot to take in at the start but the first step is admitting that you are powerless over alcohol and that YOUR life has become unmanageable. Once this sinks in, it does get easier as you start to make choices based on what you want not on what you want your alcoholic to do or be.

Keep reading, read the stickies at the top and keep posting, your life will get easier once you start to recover.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:26 AM
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'They do so by detaching - in otherwords, they build lives for themselves away from their partners, they ignore their partners when they are being abusive, they dont fuss over them, they dont react to bad behaviours and they treat them with respect, which is a really tough call and its certainly not for everyone.'

THIS. This is exactly what my mother-in-law is doing with my father-in-law, though in the last year she's been fighting back verbally when he goes off. She's also FINALLY stopped buying him his beer. She had many reasons not to fight back or leave him before (first kids and then her mother living with them) but now that the kids are out of the house and grandma has passed away she's finally starting to build up the courage to go. I see this as what I have been doing and would continue to do if I decided to stay. But you're right, it's not good for me and hasn't been working so far. It's "where do I go from here" that's the issue.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:34 AM
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Hi again evenkeel...

I just wanted to speak to the notion that alcohol is a problem in your relationship...let's focus and restate: It's a problem FOR YOU.

She's going to do what she's going to do. She's an alcoholic and she's going to choose the drink before anything.

I think there's another issue at hand here: the fact that you feel you don't deserve better than what your wife is giving you right now. You mentioned a past abusive relationship that you escaped. It seems to me that you need to reflect on why you seem to choose unhealthy codependent relationships. This is definitely something that could be discussed in counselling, and that you could perhaps journal on.

Through journaling and counselling and Al-Anon, I discovered that ALL of my personal relationships were codependent to some extent. I did a massive "spring cleaning" of my acquaintances and friends, and started fresh with those I couldn't really get rid of. I set boundaries, I removed myself from situations that were uncomfortable or toxic for me. I'm still working on it...

Keep reading and posting. I think you're making some progress already!
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by evenkeel View Post
'They do so by detaching - in otherwords, they build lives for themselves away from their partners, they ignore their partners when they are being abusive, they dont fuss over them, they dont react to bad behaviours and they treat them with respect, which is a really tough call and its certainly not for everyone.'

THIS. This is exactly what my mother-in-law is doing with my father-in-law, though in the last year she's been fighting back verbally when he goes off. She's also FINALLY stopped buying him his beer. She had many reasons not to fight back or leave him before (first kids and then her mother living with them) but now that the kids are out of the house and grandma has passed away she's finally starting to build up the courage to go. I see this as what I have been doing and would continue to do if I decided to stay. But you're right, it's not good for me and hasn't been working so far. It's "where do I go from here" that's the issue.
Your MIL hasnt been practicing detachment very well if she has been fighting back verbally and buying beer - this isnt detachment. You need to do everything in your power not to react to their drinking, that way they can not blame you as to why they are drinking and they have to look at themselves. In some alcoholics this works and can bring about sobriety and in others they still continue to drink. Thats their choice and your choice to stay if you wish. Reacting to them only prolongs the drinking and just serves to make you stressed and upset.

As I said it takes a very special person to detach and many of us, including me, have tried and failed.

Buying beer for them is a whole other story and is definitely a no no!
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:52 AM
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Refusing to buy booze was my first boundary...and boy was it hard to enforce.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:24 PM
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I looked up Al-Anon meetings in my area and am going next Friday and Saturday. I know I have my own issues to work on, also, and need real help dealing with all of this.

Especially now. It's gone from bad to worse in a few hours. I checked to see how much her paycheck was this week and it was $150 less than it should have been. I asked her why her paycheck was short and she said it was because she didn't go to work on Saturday. I had woken up at 3 am on Sunday and she was home. I asked her what time she had gotten off of work as she never gets off early and usually works late. She had told me 2 a.m. I asked her today why she hadn't gone in and she had told me she was a wreck and no way could she have gone to work. Keep in mind that she's all ready on written warning for absences and they could fire her for another absence. I asked her why she lied and she said she didn't want to "start something". I asked her why she didn't tell me later in the week and she didn't have an answer for it.

At that point I was physically shaking in anger and left for a long walk to calm down. Our conversation moved to text message. She got mad that I had gone for a walk. I told her I had to to calm down. She told me that she had called her mom and was going to borrow some money because she "messed up" again. We all ready owe her mother a lot of money because she likes to turn to her mom to bail her out when she makes bad decisions financially that jeapordize our financial situation. I asked her where she was and she told me she was hanging with a couple of aunts because she "needed someone". I didn't bother asking her if she drank because I'm pretty sure I know the answer. I asked her why she hadn't come home and talked with me about how to fix things when she knew I was home and she made a bunch of excuses. I told her I'd be out by November 1st.

Then came a whole bunch of pleading, "maybe we just need a break, I'm trying, I don't understand what the problem is here". I told her in no uncertain terms that I was very upset about being lied to and that she made a conscious decision to give up income that we need and put her income at risk. I told her that I felt she was demonstrating that she has no desire to try to make things work. More pleading. I finally just unloaded, telling her that her drinking is a problem for me and it's affecting our relationship in many ways, that I'm very angry and frustrated by many things that she does and doesn't do and I won't put up with it anymore because she hasn't changed no matter what I've said or done. Now she's saying she'll go to counseling and stay home tonight and whatever else it'll take to make me stay. It's going to be a long night. She's really mad at me right now.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:35 PM
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I am sorry that you are in such a painful place right now. I am glad that you came to SR.

My ex ABF went to counseling and AA so I wouldn't leave him. It means absolutely nothing if they don't do it for themselves. While in counseling and going to 2 meetings a day, he sneaked and lied and kept right on drinking, but behind my back always. He denied it, he blamed me for not trusting him. I almost went insane; had a panic attack right on the highway with my daughter in the car. Finally, I had no choice but to leave. I love him still, but that doesn't mean that he's right for me, at least not right now.

Take care of you. You have absolutely no control, no influence at all when it comes to an active alcoholic. None whatsoever.

So glad to hear that you are going to Al Anon. The only thing we can control is ourselves. Don't forget that.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:39 PM
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She's really mad at me right now.

So, she's mad at you because you found out that she continues to make bad decisions and is putting her job in jeopardy? Classic alcoholic/addict behavior. Nothing is ever their fault, it's always your fault.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:34 PM
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Yep, it's classic. You express the desire to leave the relationship, a big blowout follows, and then *you* get to walk on eggshells because *they* have somehow been wronged in the process, despite the fact that they've been drinking the relationship away and literally pissing it down the drain.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:16 PM
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I'm glad that you're considering protecting your children from her destruction.

Using a bartering system to get people to treat their alcoholism is fruitless. She will not get and stay sober until she wants to, and how many different ways can she possibly tell you and show you that she DOES NOT feel her drinking is a problem. Period. Whether or not you want to live with an active alcoholic, is your choice.. of course, but I'm happy to read that you're beginning to think of your childrens' well being..you know it IS more important than pretty much anything else in this situation..

When my addiction(s) were active, I promised and begged and pleaded to end them over and over again to keep my husband around. I just got better at hiding stuff.. or manipulating him into believing I didn't have a problem anymore so I could continue getting f'd up.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:05 PM
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Welcome to S/R, evenkeel.

I see you're getting a lot of input, and listening! That is so great. I hope you stay around for a long time; there is much to be figured out, and we understand.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:28 PM
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Hi evenkeel,

I just wanted to tell you that I totally understand the loneliness of being married to an alcoholic.
In your posts, I heard you say a couple of times that you regret all the times you drank with her, went to bars with her, etc. You are not alone in this! Many of us have done the very same thing. I know that I have done every single thing I can think of to either hinder his drinking or prevent horrible consequences from happening as a result of his drinking. After 22+ plus years, I can tell you that nothing has ever worked. I am powerless over my husband's addiction.
As far as counseling goes ~ we went once and were told that as long as there was active addiction, counseling would be useless.
It seems you are making great progress. I want to echo what some of the others have said about Awareness, Acceptance & Action. These steps are essential in my opinion. I have found Acceptance to be the most difficult part so far... it is what it is. I can't change him, but I can change me.
Hugs to you! Kerbearz
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:42 PM
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I have been in this type of situation before. Looking back, I realize that those people were just in a different stage in life than I was. I wanted more and had worked to improve myself and my life, whereas they were still stuck in their drinking, always looking back. I moved up and on with my life. Sometimes I still see or talk to one of those guys and do you know, they are STILL drinking and drugging, complaining about the same things they always complained about: everyone and everything but them.

It really was senseless for me to have stayed with any of them longer than the few months it took to realize what tbey were REALLY like. But in each case, it was too late, I was already emotionally invested in them and the relationship. Now I know better.

The trick for me, really, has been in always looking forward. Focusing on my future and what I want for myself and my life both short and long term.

There is no person in this world that will hold me back and hold me down like that again.
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