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Old 11-11-2010, 02:42 PM
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Blindsided

I feel like a complete fool, because I totally refused to see this until a few days ago. Look up a definition of "DENIAL" in the dictionary, and there's a big picture of me.

I'm an ACOA, and I've always known that. Here's a bit of my story: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-now-what.html

So what's the surprise? I've always known my husband has poor impulse control when it comes to money. The (flashing, neon) signs were all there, for years: he's a spending addict. He has taken $$ from previous employers (and been convicted of theft), charged mountains of credit card debt ($70k), and spent and spent and spent, while I buy the kids' clothes from secondhand stores and hang laundry to save money.

*sigh*

So here I am, pregnant with #5, working on my second degree (so that I can get a job to dig us out of this mess.) What do I do? I know that no one can answer that but me. I can't leave him - how could I get a job, pregnant, in this economy? My children have never been in daycare.

There is a Debtor's Anon weekly meeting in our city. He's going. He says that he knows what he's done was wrong. He says he feels guilt and shame. He says that when he spends (charges), he's numb, that he's out of control, that it's purely on impulse. He knows while he's doing it that it's wrong, but does it anyway.

This is like a bad nightmare that I just want to wake up from. I am so alone, and so angry, and so scared. And I feel like a Class A fool.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:43 PM
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Anyone know of any discussion boards for spending addicts, or spouses of spending addicts?
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:48 PM
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no sorry i dont...but an addiction is addiction...all the same in my books...you can still use the STEPS....and so forth...

gosh i feel your pain...i am in debt also...and f***ing hate it...but working on it also...
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:20 PM
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Hi Sarah G - I have some experience, strength and hope regarding Debtors Anonymous to share with you (I guess that makes me a "triple winner" - it sure doesn't always feel that way!). It might be considered an outside issue on this board, so I'll send you a private message. Since this is my 5th post, I should be able to do that now! Best, John
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:11 PM
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Hello SarahG, I'm glad to see you're getting around the rest of SR

I am so sorry you are going thru this hardship. It must be awful.

and no, you are _not_ a "fool". A fool is one that _never_ overcomes denial, than _never_ takes action to improve their lives. You are clearly the opposite of a fool. Working on a second degree with 4 kids and another on the way? You have my respect and admiration.

I'm glad your husband is going to Debtors Anonymous, it's a very strong program here in my part of the world. The spouses are welcomed in al-anon because an addiction to debt is just as damaging to a relationship as any other addiction.

As far as I can tell, the nightmare would be if you _never_ got out of denial, and never took any action. It seems to me that you have woken up from the nightmare, and that now you have the opportunity to make a new life for you, and your kids, and your husband if he chooses to get into recovery.

You're not alone, besides the tens of thousands of members of SR, you have _millions_ of members of al-anon that are just waiting for you to show up at a meeting. There's a lot of them that are feeling pretty scared and alone too, as I once felt when my marriage fell apart.

Discussion boards? You are most welcome right here on SR. The pain we go thru when a loved one is addicted is the same, the details of the addiction are minor. The concepts of "boundaries", "recovery", "one day at a time" are all the same. Spouses of alkies separate their finances, get their own checking account, etc. etc. That's the same for spouses of gamblers, druggies, or Debt-aholics.

We're all here for you

Mike
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:29 PM
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and no, you are _not_ a "fool". A fool is one that _never_ overcomes denial, than _never_ takes action to improve their lives. You are clearly the opposite of a fool. Working on a second degree with 4 kids and another on the way? You have my respect and admiration.
I just wanted to repeat what DesertEyes said.
Wow, lady, I salute you.
You can do this, and you are certainly not a fool.

Beth
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:45 PM
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I feel like a complete fool, because I totally refused to see this until a few days ago. Look up a definition of "DENIAL" in the dictionary, and there's a big picture of me.
Denial is a defense mechanism. There is no need to judge yourself.
If you want to stop feeling like a complete fool, stop THINKING you are a complete fool.

I am also an ACOA, thanks for sharing and
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post

and no, you are _not_ a "fool". A fool is one that _never_ overcomes denial, than _never_ takes action to improve their lives. You are clearly the opposite of a fool. Working on a second degree with 4 kids and another on the way? You have my respect and admiration.
...

As far as I can tell, the nightmare would be if you _never_ got out of denial, and never took any action. It seems to me that you have woken up from the nightmare, and that now you have the opportunity to make a new life for you, and your kids, and your husband if he chooses to get into recovery.
Thanks, I needed to hear that. I'm just a bit stuck right now. Fostering my own recovery as an ACOA while living with another addict. Oh, and being in nursing school with 5 kids. Piece of cake, right?

Where do I start? Making sure my own needs are met? Not putting myself last on the list? Being nice to myself? (No more calling myself a fool, then!) Getting rid of the negative self-talk is going to be my challenge. That little mental voice has been my companion for a loooong time.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:57 AM
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I handed over the finances to him when I went back to school in June. MISTAKE! The bills have been getting paid, but he charged up a credit card that I thought was closed. That's how this all started - I wanted to write up a new budget, so I dug around online for account statements. I found the statement for a card I thought had been closed - $4k+ was charged over the summer.

So yeah, I've got his debit card, listened in on the phone (yesterday) while he closed the charge account I thought had already been closed. He has an allowance, now, in cash, and that's all he gets until 12/6. We have only one other card, and I've hidden it. That second card was supposed to pay for my books next semester, but he failed to pay as much as we agreed he would pay. (He only paid the minimum, leaving me very little room for books. I'll have to get creative.) I balanced the checkbook last night, it was a mess. Nothing hidden, just numbers transposed, a few small transactions missing. Oh, and he entered a $200 deposit twice.

The first DA meeting he can make is two weeks from now (has to adjust his work schedule), so we're in a holding pattern right now.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:21 AM
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Welcome to the family!

I too handed over my family's finances to my AXH (Alcoholic ex husband) while I was traveling back and forth to a neighboring state and caring for my mother. MISTAKE!

I can tell you what happened to our finances:

He forged my name on convenience checks from my creditors.
He sold a car that he purchased with a convenience check, but failed to repay the debt.
He only paid the minimum on my cards, but paid down his accounts.

After my mother's death and my grieving, I picked up the check book. OUCH!

I cut him off.
I closed any joint accounts we had.
I opened my own checking and savings account.
I took away his credit cards. Put them in a ziploc filled with water and put them into the freezer. (Codie alert)
He thawed them out.
I cut them up.
He got a P O box at the post office.
He opened new accounts and had the mail forwarded to his PO box
He used his new credit cards like ATM cards and kept getting cash out on his credit cards.

I didn't arrive in that mess overnight. I didn't extract myself from that mess instantly. I had to start taking baby steps.

It is tricky seperating finances that were once combined. It can be done.

I recommend letting him be responsible for his finances, but protecting your family budget from relapses. example: if he over spends - he allowance is affected not the family grocery budget.

I agree that Alanon will help you gain tools for your future.
I am also going to send a link of steps that have helped us in dealing with active alcoholism. You can tweek the steps for your situation.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:08 AM
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I nearly lost my mind trying to manage finances married to an active alcoholic (who is terrible with money alcohol or not I suspect). If there was a plan, method, idea, system, protection we tried it. It is so crazy making. It will only work if he is on board - REALLY on board. Sending lots of positive vibes in your direction.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:07 AM
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oi vey, this thread speaks to me.

XAH was horrible with money. Or rather, he was talented at stealing and spending money. He had been convicted and jailed for embezzlement in the States and never repaid his restitution.

When we first dated, he would borrow a 20$ here and there, but would repay me. Because we moved so fast into our relationship, I soon found myself spending money on furniture for his sons, clothing for him, food for us all, rent for us all. I thought money was plentiful (I was a stripper), but the spending soon caught up to us.

My mistakes:
I gave him access to my bank account and ATM card since he couldn't get one due to lack of ID (DOH)
I helped him get his first credit card.
I gave him "an allowance" which he bitterly complained wasn't enough (140$ a week!)
I paid for everything (rent, food, utilities, outings for the kids, etc)
I put his cell phone on my plan (DOH)
I let him convince me to spend spend spend (because there was more where that came from).
I bought him booze, cigarettes, a computer, video games, computer games, clothing, anything his little heart desired.
Whenever he made any money with his photography, I let him spend it however he wanted because he convinced me that he "deserved" it
I let him convince me that credit ratings weren't important and that we were "above the law" (all the while he used my credit to spend)

My biggest mistake:
I didn't leave him after he took 3K I had painstakingly stashed away in a locked box at the bank, holding it hostage, telling me I couldn't afford to leave him without the money. I never saw it again.

It took me several months after our separation to get things straightened out (bargaining with credit bureaus and lawyers to pay off debts he put in my name). My credit rating still hasn't recovered yet.

The codie in me strongly advises you to keep tabs on your H's spending, however, I wonder if at some point you won't get tired of being the Money Police. For me, lack of financial responsibility and independence has become a deal breaker.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nodaybut2day View Post
for me, lack of financial responsibility and independence has become a deal breaker.
amen
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:17 AM
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Here's a suggestion that may be helpful...

I was in a similar situation with my wife while she was drinking. While we stayed living together I did divorce her so I would not be responsible for her debts going forward. She resisted, but I didn't give her a choice. Ultimately she capitulated, we distributed the debt in the divorce paperwork (and I took most of it). I closed all shared accounts and completely separated all of our finances.

It would also make you a single mother with five kids in the eyes of the tax authority. There may be advantages to that. There were for my wife in our state.

I still call her my wife, and she still calls me her husband. Spiritually and in terms of our committment to one another nothing has changed except that legally she is now fully responsible for all of her debts. We have no shared bills whatsover beyond our rent and utility bills. Her bills are her bills, mine are mine, and we rarely discuss money.

Just because I love her doesn't mean I have to trust her. While a monogamist, and having been with the same woman for 12 years despite our insanity, I will probably never legally marry again for financial reasons. As much as I believe any consenting adult should be able to marry any other consenting adult, I don't see why they would ever want to do such a thing. Legal divorce rocks!

Take care,

Cyranoak

P.s. My daughter has been asking about emancipation because she and her mom fight all the time. She dropped it completely when I offered to help her because I would no longer be responsible for her financially. My enthusiasm for the project really put the brakes on it. If she brings it up again I'm playing it cool. So close... I was so close!





Originally Posted by SarahG View Post
I feel like a complete fool, because I totally refused to see this until a few days ago. Look up a definition of "DENIAL" in the dictionary, and there's a big picture of me.

I'm an ACOA, and I've always known that. Here's a bit of my story: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-now-what.html

So what's the surprise? I've always known my husband has poor impulse control when it comes to money. The (flashing, neon) signs were all there, for years: he's a spending addict. He has taken $$ from previous employers (and been convicted of theft), charged mountains of credit card debt ($70k), and spent and spent and spent, while I buy the kids' clothes from secondhand stores and hang laundry to save money.

*sigh*

So here I am, pregnant with #5, working on my second degree (so that I can get a job to dig us out of this mess.) What do I do? I know that no one can answer that but me. I can't leave him - how could I get a job, pregnant, in this economy? My children have never been in daycare.

There is a Debtor's Anon weekly meeting in our city. He's going. He says that he knows what he's done was wrong. He says he feels guilt and shame. He says that when he spends (charges), he's numb, that he's out of control, that it's purely on impulse. He knows while he's doing it that it's wrong, but does it anyway.

This is like a bad nightmare that I just want to wake up from. I am so alone, and so angry, and so scared. And I feel like a Class A fool.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:48 AM
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My enthusiasm for the project really put the brakes on it. If she brings it up again I'm playing it cool. So close... I was so close!
I made the same mistake! "emancipation? cool! what do we do to get it started?!?!?"
sigh...she knew if i was happy about it, it would not be in her best interest. <snicker>

and yes sarahg,

this i know from personal experience,

It would also make you a single mother with five kids in the eyes of the tax authority. There may be advantages to that. There were for my wife in our state.
I got HUGE refunds and much help from the state. HUGE refunds. Did I say that?
something to consider.

Beth
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:27 AM
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I love this...and thanks for being honest and sharing...you not alone that is forsure!
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
I didn't arrive in that mess overnight. I didn't extract myself from that mess instantly. I had to start taking baby steps.

It is tricky seperating finances that were once combined. It can be done.

I recommend letting him be responsible for his finances, but protecting your family budget from relapses. example: if he over spends - he allowance is affected not the family grocery budget.
There is no his money/our money. It's all our money. He works and I'm a student/SAHM. I am entirely dependent on him, financially. What I have done is
-take all the cards (there are only 3: my debit card, his debit card, one credit card)
- use the envelope system, a la Dave Ramsey, for expenses (and I know how much is in each, so I can track if any is missing)
- given him an allowance ($20/month, since it's all we can afford)

Honestly, he has no finances. I've taken over everything. (That I know of, and that's the kicker.) We have to have a joint checking account. He's the one with a job, and for his paycheck to be direct deposited, he has to be an account holder. I hate that, but it is what it is. I just keep tabs online of any banking activity. This isn't about being a codie, this is about making sure I have a house to live in and food for the kids. I see these steps as protecting myself. (And I welcome any input you all have about this, if you think there's a better way to handle the family finances.)

There is no other addictive behavior, that I am aware of. He doesn't drink (we've had the same 3 beers in our fridge for about 6 months), doesn't do drugs, doesn't even smoke. Spending is his problem. Right now, not counting the mortgage, we're in debt about $46k. Two credit cards ($32k and $8k) and the minivan. By my budget, that'll be paid off in 5 1/2 years, assuming (yeah, yeah) that there is no more shoveled on to the pile. He makes about $30k a year.


I agree that Alanon will help you gain tools for your future.
I am also going to send a link of steps that have helped us in dealing with active alcoholism. You can tweek the steps for your situation.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
Thanks for the links. I want to start working the steps, and finding a little emotional balance. Right now, I'm in shell shock still. Trying to figure out how to handle HIM. He's making the right steps toward being in recovery, but I'm still hopping mad. I have read that to help an addict, a spouse should be supportive of actions toward recovery, but I don't want to be manipulative, either. He recovers or fails on his own - I can't do it for him, nor do I want to push him into "acting" recovered. I want him to work for his own recovery, and own it. Do it for himself, not because I want him to. In order for recovery to be genuine, to actually work, he has to want it because it's what HE wants, not what I want FOR him.

At the same time, I know I need some boundaries. How do I establish those, without manipulation? The only things that I can see are "Stop spending. If you spend, be honest and tell me right away. If you lie, I'll know you're not sincere about saving our marriage, and you can pack your bags." It just feels like I'm trying to push him into recovery when I say that. I do want him to recover, but I want him to be intrinsically motivated, not motivated by fear. I know I can't control his behavior, and I feel like that kind of ultimatum is an attempt at control.

Did any of that make sense?
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:30 PM
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I think you've got a good plan in place. You see the situation and have plans to recover.

I was a SAHM when I turned our family's finances over to my husband. After I discovered the mess, I took a part time job. I already had a seperate checking account from our joint account. It was my account to use for groceries and gas. The money was shifted from our joint account to my grocery account. That became my primary account.

It may be possible for you to seperate finances by opening a student checking account for yourself. My bank offers a minimum deposit to open accounts for students. Gradually start paying your bills (debts that are in your name) out of your student account. Transfer enough money from the joint account to your student account. You could sell your old text books for extra money.

Depending on how his recovery flows, he could be responsible for budgeting his allowance and his debts. If he over spends his allowance, his debts will accrue late charges.

You both will benefit from sharing in your support groups. He may find a sponsor that can assist him with budgeting and financial goals. This would be a great resource for support and ideas for him. This would also take the role of supervisor away from you and give you back your title of "partner".

Keep posting and sharing. We are here for you!
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
Depending on how his recovery flows, he could be responsible for budgeting his allowance and his debts. If he over spends his allowance, his debts will accrue late charges.
I'm just concerned that his debts will reflect badly on my credit - we're married. His credit is my credit. The more $$ I give to him (even if it is to pay debt) the less I have to cover everything else.

Maybe I'm justifying my controlling behavior, I don't know. We are just strapped financially. Things are tight. Tight. I want him to sell some of his toys, but he's resisting. (He's got his own XBox & games, scads of CDs, books, etc.) I'm not sure how hard to push. The extra money would be helpful (pay down debt) but I'm so wary of trying to control him. Gah!
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:01 AM
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Okay, just re-read your post. "Depending on how his recovery flows, he could be responsible..."

Maybe. Maybe in the future. The way, way distant future when I can have a little shred of trust for him. Way, way, way in the future, when every penny isn't sacred.
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