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Letter to AH

Old 11-19-2010, 01:12 PM
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Letter to AH

I have been struggling lately with my separation with my AH and with us still fighting this battle to reconcile despite the fact the his alcoholism continues to be a problem for me and not for him. Earlier this week I had a post about therapy and about thinking about changing to a marriage counselor with addiction specialty, but I have come to the conclusion that it is pointless to keep up this fight if he isn't really trying to or wanting to recover because we are getting no where and I am tired. I decided last night that it was time he either jumped on board or we worked further towards separation/divorce. I wrote a letter to him that I intend to read in therapy, but I want some advice on the delivery. I just wonder if I am too easy on the message that drinking is a problem or if I am too unclear or non-specific. It is kind of long so thanks in advance:

Dear AH,
Iíve been doing a lot of soul searching the last couple weeks and I feel with the absence of anger between us I have finally gotten somewhere. The anger and frustration was keeping me engaged and paralyzing me in thought, but I see clearly now where I feel I/we are at. First I need it to be clear that you are my family, AH, and that will never change. I feel the connection we once had has faded on some level, but there is still love. That love will not fade away because you are a part of me and that will never change. We grew up together, we traveled the world together, and we have two children together that continue to need us both. Yes, there is blame I could place or anger I could have and you could do the same, but to me that is just a distraction from the big picture. I donít want to hate you or be angry anymore. I donít want to resent you or blame you for our problems. I want to love you and I want to still be your family. I am just not sure right now what kind of family you can be to me. I think for a long time we have been skating by in life unconsciously. We have had the pressures of life and our two young kids to distract us. I feel that we havenít really been very connected; both living separate lives under the same roof. When there was spare time I would run around with my friends and you would do your own thing at home. I invited you, but you didnít have the desire to come and I guess I didnít see the problem until it became too big. We used to be inseparable, but now we are separate. We used to do everything together and maybe that was too much, but we have slipped into doing too little. I donít fear being alone because I feel I am already. I think for the past year or so we did come back together a little, but I feel we came together for the wrong reasons. I started seeing my old high school friends more and they are single and like to party. That is something we used to do togetherÖthat is the ďsceneĒ we fell in love in. Mostly I gave up that "scene" six years ago when I became pregnant and I don't think you really ever did. For the first time in a few years you wanted to come along with me. My friends became your friends and that seemed so good. It was fun for a while and it was nice feeling young and carefree again, but for me it became too much and it took its toll. I lost my ability to be the mother I was, I lost my ability to take care of the house like I wanted, our finances got out of control and I started to lose my ability to keep up. I started to try to catch up, but I was so behind I felt paralyzed and I tried to get your help, but I felt resistance from you. I was frustrated and overwhelmed, but I didnít really understand why or how at that point. Through all this new found time together I also started to ďget to know youĒ again and I found myself not connecting with who you had grown into. I felt like who you were didnít make sense to me anymore. At first I thought that was okÖI was not you, but the truth is that has an impact on me. You are my spouse and to me a spouse should be a complement or a reflection of you and I no longer saw that in you. I mean that not to hurt you, but it feels true to me. I donít really feel like we have grown up to value the same things. Then things got rough this Summer and I begin to see a problem I had previously ignored and turned a blind eye and to me that problem was your connection to alcohol. I came to see you as an alcoholic and I have been trying to make sense of that. It brought up a lot of questions for me? I know that to you the alcohol is not a problem and I canít argue with your perception, but to me it is a problem and it has contributed to our problems and my opinion is not going to change. I think at first I felt a sense of relief in feeling that you were an alcoholic. I had something to blame for our disconnect, to blame for the dishonesty, to blame for the episodes of meanness and for the difficulty I was having in engaging your support and maybe there is some truth in that blame, but it is hard to tell where one problem ends and the others begin. As I started to try and work through this problem I noticed other problems in the relationship and things started to look so big and so outside of my control. I tried to ďfixĒ these problems. I tried one solution or another. I tried to convince you to feel the way I feel, I tried to force you to change and that didnít work. I didnít want to control you and I felt my attempts to do that took both of our dignity and have further damaged our relationship. Then I tried to detach myself from the situation. To go see friends when things at home were not as I wanted them to be, but that had its downside too. Continuing to run around all the time made catching up impossible. From my perspective now, though, the worst part about detaching for me is that detaching from a spouse doesnít make sense and it has damaged the connection I feel to you and to the relationship. It became too much and I didnít know what else to do. I couldnít ďfixĒ thingsÖso I left. I thought time away would give me the answers, but it didnít. Instead, it gave me peace and that hurts. So the next solution was the counseling and I think that has helped to some extent. We have communicated better and made better arrangements for the kids and got some things out in the open. We have found ways to fight less and that is good for everyone, but what it hasnít solved is our differences. I would like to believe that if we could solve those differences we could find the love again, we could work on re-establishing trust, we could build a better partnership, and we could find ways to connect, but I canít really say that to be true with any certainty because I feel there is a mountain standing in our way and until it is gone I canít really see past it. To me that mountain is our difference of opinion when it comes to the impact drinking has on our life and our family. I feel your drinking is a problem and I want to see you fight that problem, but you donít agree and if we canít agree we canít climb this mountain. I am not willing to stand behind you beating you all the way up (forcing you to do it for me). I think I am willing to climb ahead on my own and wait for you at the top with hope that the challenges after that will be reasonable, but I am not willing to wait forever and I am not willing to wait if you are not willing to start that journey on your own. I have found my clarity in this analogy and to me the choices arenít easy, but for the first time in a while they are clear. If you are not on board with quitting drinking and starting the process of recovery for yourself with no promises of anything from me and the understanding that even after that rebuilding is going to be a challenge, then I am not going to wait for you. If we canít reconcile our difference of opinion in some way then we cannot attempt to reconcile this relationship and I feel at this point it would be better for me to move forward with as much civility and dignity as possible.
-wife
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:25 PM
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Wiser folks than I am will be along, I am sure, but in my experience, there is no way an active alcoholic is going to be able to hear anything you have to say.

I am glad you are here, have you been to al-anon? If your H is still drinking, in my opinion, anything you do for the relationship is a complete waste of time, EXCEPT taking care of YOURSELF.

Please do. And I just hope that putting your feelings on paper helped you in some way.

I went to couples counselling with my exabf when he was drinking (hiding it though, and lying plenty about it.) It was a waste of everyone's time.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
If you are not on board with quitting drinking and starting the process of recovery for yourself with no promises of anything from me and the understanding that even after that rebuilding is going to be a challenge, then I am not going to wait for you.
This, to me, is all that needs to be said. Everything else (and perhaps even this) will fall on deaf ears. Your AH isn't ready to hear anything at the moment. The only other thing left to do is to state your boundary and then let go.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by seekingcalm View Post

I went to couples counselling with my exabf when he was drinking (hiding it though, and lying plenty about it.) It was a waste of everyone's time.
I agree and I guess that is where I am at. We are just wasting time and money and I can't do it anymore. And I know you are right in that he likely won't hear me anyway, but I need to say those words for me and not for him...I guess I just feel making sure there is some clarity in them would down the road help me when I re-read them to myself.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:45 PM
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Crystal226:

I heard my own voice in your letter and it brought tears to my eyes. I am so sad for you and for myself.

I could've written the same letter. It is like looking into the future three years from now when I will still be on this crazy merry-go-round and roller coaster ride at an amusement park!

I am so scared that my marriage is over and your letter has brought out so many painful memories and emotions. The feelings of detachment. I am not able to detach w/ out completely letting go and I have begun to detach and it scares me to death that I may also no longer be in love with my husband. I know for sure the trust is gone and has died.

I try not to see him as this awful manipulative person but just a very sick man w/ a horrible disease but it is hard sometimes. Today he is doing his all to make the best Thanksgiving Day yet by giving me money telling me to go to Costco buy the best turkey and ham and begin buying gifts for Xmas and I feel that it is almost too late because he is trying I guess and now all his efforts are possibly a waste of time and too late as I have btdt. It literally breaks my heart. You are not alone.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:46 PM
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If you do whatever you feel you need to do FOR YOU, with no expectation at all about him and his response, then you will be better off for it.
Just my opinion, based on my own experiences.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:48 PM
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crystal-

i feel that there are too many words and the key message is lost...

i agree with noday...the issue is his drinking...address that clearly....

also, i would define what "moving on without you means"...it's a bit vague...can you be more specific?

good luck today! you can do this!

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Old 11-19-2010, 01:48 PM
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I wrote a lot of letters. I began keeping them to myself because, like everyone says, alcoholics don't 'get' the letters any more then they get the words we've been saying until we are blue in the face. The letters were good for me to write though so I kept doing it - for just the reason you said. I wrote them to him but they were for me. In the end I began writing more to myself.

I think it is fine to give it to him, or read it to him, if it is going to bring *you* some closure to do so but protect yourself by exploring your expectations first. If your expectation is that this is going to somehow illicit a new response from him, you aren't going to get any closure.

I just started saying "I won't do marriage counseling until you are 6 months into recovery. That is a promise to do marriage counseling, not to stay married." Nothing more. I dug in my heels.

I said it over and over. Not even that worked. The divorce had been filed already and was on 'hold' after some threats from him. Still on and on and ON with the "I don't know what you want." in its various forms. So I got even simpler. "I no longer want to be married." Nothing after that. No more reasons or explanations. This he understood. He still didn't believe it (based on his words and actions) until about a week after he moved out. Acceptance (or at least the emails stopped coming) months after that.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:20 PM
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I wrote many long wordy letters, for me, I never sent them. I knew that if all the babbling I did over the years didn't do a thing, my letters were just another communication format that would fall on deaf ears.

If you really want him to read it, I would suggest that you shorten it. Most A's I have known have the attention span of a 10 year old.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:46 PM
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I agree that reading this to your husband would not be helpful, and may even be counterproductive. The letter still has value, though, in that it has helped you to clarify your feelings. It would have even more value if you shared it in individual therapy or with an Al-anon sponsor.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:30 PM
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Try saying what you need to say without ever using the word "you". It's an interesting exercise.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:22 PM
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Update: Going to keep this letter for myself and instead have decided I am going to set a boundary on Wed. as clearly as I can when we go see our marriage counselor. Thanks for all the advice. I am going to tell AH that just quitting drinking is not enough (I explained in another post he agreed to quit, but only to get me back). He needs to be seeking help to address the issue and really be in recovery (not just quitting). I expect him to go through a treatment program, individual counseling, AA, or something formal AND quit drinking. If he follows through for one month and things are going well I will reconsider attending marriage counseling with him, but only with a marriage counselor with an addiction specialty (our current one does not have that and he doesn't seem to want to change to one that does). I know one month isn't a lot of recovery time and it isn't going to be enough to get me back in the house with him, but I feel that is a minimum before we try and start working on our marriage. I am tired of wasting time and resources and I am not going to do it anymore. I will go to Al Anon for me and maybe individual counseling, but no more working on the marriage with someone who isn't emotionally connected to it!
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by crystal226 View Post
I will go to Al Anon for me and maybe individual counseling, but no more working on the marriage with someone who isn't emotionally connected to it!
Thank you so much for the update, and good for you!

It truly is a one-sided thing in marriage counseling if you only have one person emotionally present.

You keep taking care of you, okay?
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:30 PM
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Sounds like a good plan, good for you.

You are wise to also realize that a counselor with substance abuse experience is a plus. The therapist that my exabf and I went to together did not, and he really had no idea what he was dealing with. He focused on all of the symptoms, which we now know were all a direct result of the drinking.

Take care of you...one day at a time. It's good to have a plan, and it can always be revised. I have learned not to put exact time frames on things because what happened to me was that my exabf would pressure me once the deadline arrived. When you are ready, you will know.

Sending positive thoughts your way
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:48 PM
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Thank you for the update and your plan sounds totally reasonable and sound to me.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:14 PM
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[QUOTE=seekingcalm;2775944 I have learned not to put exact time frames on things because what happened to me was that my exabf would pressure me once the deadline arrived. When you are ready, you will know.

Sending positive thoughts your way [/QUOTE]

I like that. Initially, I set a time frame on counseling and it gave me terrible anxiety so I revised that..maybe I will consider giving something a bit more general or just say in thirty days I will CONSIDER (emphasis) marriage counseling. Thanks
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