Trying to Help

Old 12-15-2010, 10:30 PM
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Exclamation Trying to Help

Hello, I am new here. I am the adult child of 2 alcoholic parents and find myself faced with a difficult situation. A dear friend is battling this awful disease and has been in treatment 5 weeks. She needs many more. When she ultimately gets out, I have committed to her that I will do whatever she needs to help keep her sober. Here's the problem. Her husband is determined to control her and every aspect of the situation. When I asked what help he needed, he said "You want to help? Go away". He continued, "I will handle it and as much as you don't want to hear this, all of her (my friend, his wife) former friends and her former world have to go away."

Is this how it works? How will he be able to do this alone? I am a strong, posative influence to this friend and he views me as a threat to keeping his marraige together. It appears to me that he is a big trigger to her drinking problem and I am frankly surprised she has not tried to kill herself while married to him.

If "going away" is the answer and it is what will help her stay sober, I'll do it. But what do I say to her when she calls me to go to a meeting or to help her ride out a tough day or even hour? Do I say "your husband said I can't be your friend?" As one of her very closest confidantes, I am scared to death what will happen when she gets back.

I welcome your honesty. I feel brainwashed by this man and feel very caught in the middle. I don't know where to turn.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:39 AM
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Welcome to SR....
Glad your friend is getting professional assistance.

Please read the Sticky posts at the top of this forum...lot's of info there.

You might want to rea some books on co dependancy.
"Co Dependant No More" by M. beattie and
"Getting Them Sober" by Toby Rice Drews
would be useful IMO
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:25 AM
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I hear real concern for your friend's continued road of recovery after she comes back home from her treatment facility. As you should be, I feel.

I am writing this to you as if you were my 35 year old son who, also, has been used by many of his close girl friends. My son was used by one of his close girl friends as her first confidante after she was raped one night. Needless to say she was a basket case when she arrived at his front door. My son was able to console her, and get her calmed down. After she was calmed down, :ghug3 he was able to convince her to report it to the authorities and took her to the police department.

I don't feel your close girl friend's husband is dealing with his wife's road to recovery in the proper manner. However, there is an adage in recovery that says the alcoholic must accept they are powerless over people, places and things......anything that can trigger her urge for drinking. It appears her husband doesn't understand this adage. "He continued, "I will handle it and as much as you don't want to hear this, all of her (my friend, his wife) former friends and her former world have to go away." Her husband needs to start working on his own recovery. It definitely sounds like he is a codependent, at the least.

As I view it, your close girl friend will need the continued support of her positive influences from her life to support her on her road of recovery. It's like when a surgeon is doing surgery on an organ. The surgeon will cut out the bad parts, but preserve the good parts.

You write "I feel brainwashed by this man and feel very caught in the middle." Don't let her husband make you feel brainwashed. I really do feel like you are sincerely worried about the wellness and health of your friend; but you are caught in a "Catch 22". I would recommend somehow to let your girl friend know you will be there for her, but don't try to interfer in her relationship with her husband.

I have a feeling she will be contacting you after she gets back your feelings and your intuition!

Just my personal opinion. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Love and Peace,
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BulldogBlue (12-16-2010)
Old 12-16-2010, 04:37 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Pull out your keyboard and make yourself at home.
You will find information, wisdom and support here.

As Carol D mentioned, there is a wealth of wisdom in the permanent (sticky) posts at the top of this forum. Some of our stories are there as well.

I am a recovering alcoholic.
I am a recovering ex-spouse of a 14 year marriage to an alcoholic.
I am a recovering co-dependent.

As a recovering alcoholic, I appreciated my friends and family support. However, they just did not "get it". The most encouraging and effective support came from peers that had "been there and done that". I found those people here and in 12-step recovery programs. The best help for a recovering alcoholic comes from a professional or a recovering alcoholic with more sober time. Both of them are able to call the alcoholic out on BS.

As a recovering partner from a marriage to an acloholic, I did not want to air my dirty laundry. I wanted to keep my dysfunction hidden. I have learned in recovery to trust others with my reality, but it took time. When I was ready to share my experience, it was with others that had experienced what I was going through (living in a land of make-believe with an active alcoholic)

As a recovering codependent, I am still learning to respect others and allow them to live their own lives. That includes allowing them the opportunity to experience consequences of their actions. I know I have learned a lot of important lessons from the consequences of my actions.

Your friend is on a path of recovery. It is a day by day process that requires all of her attention. Please continue to support her with positive energy and prayer.

As the friend of a recovering alcoholic, you may find Alanon meetings helpful. Alanon is a 12 step support group for Friends and Family members of alcoholics. (even if the alcoholic is no longer drinking) The meetings last one hour.

They have helped me greatly in learning to take better care of ME.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:19 AM
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Wow... Pelican... HOME RUN! Great post.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:07 AM
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Thank you all very much. To answer a couple of points, I am one of only 4 or 5 people this girl speaks to from treatment and we talk on the phone a lot. This is the rub. I don't want to tell her about his attack on me, it seems like it would be detrimental to her recovery. And I don't want to meddle in their marraige. I just want to try and help but am pretty afraid of her husband. Is his controlling behavior normal?
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:17 AM
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I think you are right in not telling your friend about the issues you and the husband have had. I think his behavior is normal, up to a point. He probably has no experience with addiction and doesn't know the proper coping mechanisms, so his first instinct is to protect his wife from everyone but him. He probably feels like no one, including your friend can be trusted, so he is entirely responsible for her well-being. He is probably scared and confused. I have been there before, and my first instinct was that I was the only one who knew what was needed, therefore no one else could really be trusted, regardless of if they had done something to merit my suspicions or not.

I think you can be there for your friend if she contacts you, and I believe that she will. I think the best for this situation would be for the two of them to attend some meetings, therapy, or rehab so that not only her issues can be dealt with but hers as well. He is going to have a rude awakening if/when your friend gets tired of him trying to make decisions for her, and your friend will never properly start recovery if she hasn't made any of the decisions herself.
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BulldogBlue (12-16-2010)
Old 12-16-2010, 08:40 AM
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I am an ACOA and a recovering co-dependent of my ABF.

As much as I don't like my ABF's mother's approach of denial with my ABF, I cannot control what goes on in their household. I have made the conscious decision to have a peaceful household with no alcohol. ABF has moved to his mother's for a temporary separation and is in no way in treatment or a program at all.

I gave you this background so that you know of my experience.

As much as I'd hate for his 'old friends to have get togethers and such, there's not one thing I can do about it. I would hope my ABF has a good friend or two who really understood the disease of alcoholism and supported our mutual goal of having a healthy family.

I'm sure your friend's husband is freaking out a little bit. In a situation like this, the sober spouse can feel that the whole family is threatened by almost every exterior force out there. Of course that's not reality, but your friend's husband probably needs some treatment of his own. Offering him support in the middle of this crisis is a good first step, I think. I do have one of ABF's friends who has offered support, but I have to be careful because she does not have some of the background needed to truly understand the situation. It's nice to know the sentiment is there, though.

As the family member of an alcoholic, I know I've been resentful of people who want to rush to the A's side with help and not notice that the whole family is in crisis.

That may be some of what you might experience with this husband, who is clearly hurting.

Patience and love is needed from all directions.


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