Old 12-15-2010, 10:46 AM
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I have read posts here over the past few months and found some useful material for coping and understanding the pervasive and evidently too common challenges of living with an AW. I would like to hear from some folks that have a happy ending for this relentless story.
25 years of life with someone does a lifetime make.
Much, indeed most of this time has been pretty good.
Her drinking "habit" (she refuses to call herself and addict) is a recurring problem
that gets bigger and more destructive each time it manifests in this oscillating pattern of subsiding and returning. It never completely goes away and maybe the only real oscillation is the severity of the problem. My reluctance to address it probably skews my perception.
We have three teenage kids, wonderful kids that we both adore.
They are no longer oblivious to the problem their mother has.
We have a busy, hectic, stressful life together and the recent escalation of this problem is threatening to destroy everything. I don't know which way to turn. I feel like the loneliest man in the world. No one knows this problem exists in my family. She often feels horrible about herself, but can't recognize that alcohol is the villain. My heart is broken.
I just want to do the right thing. I'd take a bullet for my family. I want it intact, especially while the kids remain in the house. But now I'm really starting to worry about how they can be affected.

Is there any hope?

I'm sick and "blue" .....Merry Christmas
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:51 AM
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To be blunt, if this has been going on for this many years.. your kids have been affected for a very long time already.

You'll find a lot of support here.. and suggestions to go to Alanon to learn how to take care of YOU, despite her issues with alcohol.

Having children exposed to this mess can affect them, life long. You would do good by them if you'd look into Alateen, or counseling. I grew up in an addict/alcoholic home.. several of them in fact (foster care kid). No one had any idea how much destruction was going on inside me.. emotionally, mentally, developmentally, spiritually. I will carry around anger for not being protected, for a long time probably.. but that's mine to work on.

Your job at this moment, is to decide what you're willing to live with and expose your children to, who have already been exposed to way too much from what you've said here.

She is an adult, and can drink 20 drinks a day if she so chooses.. that's not really your deal.

There are a few happy endings.. I don't know that people with them post around here all that much. A happy ending for you, and your children may not be "she got sober, and recovered and we lived happily ever after in love". How can you make it happy? What can you identify that you DO have control over that you can change in your life, and for your children, to give THEM the happy ending they deserve?
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:12 AM
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LonesomeD Welcome to SR. I am happy you are here but sorry for the reason you are here.

You may want to look in on the Adult Children of Alcoholics forum if you want to see how the kids are impacted. I am an ACoA. It impacted me greatly and I did not get help for it until I was much older because everyone was in denial when around my mom.

My parents had some sort of sick simbiotic relationship that I never understood. It also impacted what I thought a "normal" marriage looks like.

I agree with smacked. Only you can decide what will make you happy. It is hard for those of us who have lived aorund or are continuing to live around our alcoholics to be happy unless we are taking care of ourselves and also our children. We need to set boundaries and stick to them.

I too think you and your kids would benefit from AlAnon and AlaTeen. I wish my kids were old enough to go to AlaTeen. It would be nice for them to be aound other kids who are going through what they are.

You took the first step--you came here. Keep coming. The people here have gone through what you are. It helps to be "around" those who understand what you are talking about.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:29 AM
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Welcome!!! Well, I can't tell you my story if you want one with an intact family, although I consider my story as one with a happy ending, even if my ex-husband wouldn't agree...

I can, however, tell you the story about my coworker, who started drinking heavily in college and then it got worse. Married, had kids, never missed a day of work, brilliant man, came home and started drinking every day after work. He would hide his bottles in the garage and go drink after the family went to bed.

One night, his wife found him there with a bottle of wine and said, "HONEY! Are you in the garage, at 2 am, drinking red wine directly out of the bottle???" His response was: "No!?"

That's denial for you. Alcoholics all do it.

This wife credits Al-Anon for her life today. After working on her own recovery, she got an intervention team together and just confronted him (I know interventions are controversial, but in this case, it worked): His family, his boss, and his coworkers all got together and told him that he had a choice -- he could leave the room and head directly to the treatment center where they had enrolled him, or he could refuse, and then he would walk out and have no job and no family. Hard-core.

He spent three months in an in-patient treatment center. He spent another few years being a miserable sober alcoholic who just whined about everything. (This is when his wife says Al-Anon helped her the most.) He's been sober for 20 years now; he still has his family (and his job) and he and his wife renewed their vows on a Hawaiian vacation a few years back. (They sent "Thank You" cards to all the people who were in on the intervention...)

So there's always hope. But I think the thing is, you can't just sit on your hands and hope. You have to educate yourself about alcoholism, and figure out how her alcoholism has changed you, and how you can start by helping yourself.

Big hugs.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:36 AM
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Welcome to SR! The short answer is YES! There IS hope. The fact that you are here means there is hope for you. Your heart is open and you are looking for answers. You're going to get some great thoughts on resources to turn to and hear some things you probably already "know" but are having a hard time grasping.

I started lurking here four years ago. I read post after post and started seeing myself in so many of them. It led me to AlAnon and various other resources. I can hardly believe that its been four years but if it weren't for this site, I don't know when I would have started on the path of peace.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:59 AM
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I guess it would be appropriate for me to add, I am an addict and alcoholic in recovery. I am still married and my relationship with my husband is obviously better than it's ever been. I had to want sobriety more than I ever wanted another drink, and it took me a long time go get to that point. But I did.. we do recover.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:10 PM
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I can identify so much with your post. I can feel the exhaustion and heart ache in your words.

It is extremely difficult to parent with an alcoholic. It is a confusing life for a child. It teaches them a lot of the wrong lessons. I was sooo determined to have my kids grow up in the ideal 2 parent family that I was blind to how the dysfunction (his and mine) was affecting them. I read somewhere that 'it is better to come from a broken home then live within one.' That made me stop and think.

I had a picture in my head of what my happy ending looked like and I tried to *make* that happen. I ignored, denied, enabled, controlled, worked around, persisted, etc. etc. doggedly pursuing my happy ending. It denied reality. It made me feel like I was losing my mind.

I now believe that happy endings come from taking care of and being true to ourselves and from doing the next right thing while letting go of the outcome. I was so afraid to let go of the outcome. The next right thing will lead to happiness, it just might not look like what we had pictured.

Alanon and a book by Melody Beattie called Co Dependent No More really helped me when I was in the same spot you are in.

Wishing you the best and I'm glad you found SR. It has been such a gift to me. Keep posting.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:16 PM
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Oh how the alcoholism thrives in secret!!
Does your wife like to read?
Betty Ford's story is pretty inspiring.

The only shame is in keeping it secret and not getting help! There is a world of help and acceptance out here for people who step into the light and admit they have a problem and are ready to ask for, and more importantly, accept help and follow directions!

I grew up with an alcoholic dad. The teenage years were the most intense because a teenager is hard wired to recognize and confront hypocrisy and living with an active alcoholic and the other parent in denial and enabling is a class A example of hypocrisy!!!

We were all "wonderful kids" too. Of 5 kids, the 3 boys have addiction issues (alcohol and pot) and my sister, despite her PhD is a puddle of insecurity, low self-esteem and depression. And we had the outwardly "normal" middle-class upbringing, with a big extended family. I suffered a lot too for years but AlAnon and therapy and hard work have gotten me to a place of real serenity.

Wish I had heard of AlATeen when I was a teenager - but no one in my family had the guts to say anything about the TRUTH to us kids. Cowards! All protecting the addict!!! Hey, what about us CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE innocently experiencing and believing this world as "normal????"

Stick around - lots of good stuff and folks here - collectively we've seen it all!
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