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Old 12-21-2010, 03:15 PM
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Need someone to talk to

Hi all! It is nice to know I'm not alone in this world of living with a recovering alcoholic! I don't know why it took me so long to reach out for support! I found this website as my last resort. I do not know what to do. The stress of my whole situation is making me sick. Today I could not eat. My husband is an alcoholic in recovery - 15 years of sobriety. We have been married for 17 years and we have 2 kids - daughter 16, son 13. Even though my husband is not drinking, his behavior is not normal. I have been living with this for years. It is like living with 2 different people and I guess that is why I haven't left. When he is "himself" - he is the most wonderful, kind, caring, awesome person to be around. When he is in his "ism", is what we call it - he is a very depressed and angry person. On Saturday, he started yelling at our son over a hockey stick - it was so hurtful and so ugly. He came within inches of hitting him, but he has never laid a hand on any of us. Today he threw a shovel and yelled at our daughter. The kids and I have gotten to call these episodes "spells". They are horrible and ugly and hurtful. They have been happening more often lately. Currently, I am on anti-depressants and anti anxiety pills because I am struggling to deal with this. I do not want to hurt my kids and they comment often about how glad they are that we are not divorced as so many of their friends come from families that are. I had lunch with him this afternoon to try and talk about how his angry outbursts are hurtful to the kids and I know he feels very bad about it. Then he goes into a self-loathing state, his self esteem is very low and he does not want to be around anybody and keeps saying that he won't take any Christmas gifts. We never know what is going to set him off into one of his spells! I don't know how to be a good mother to my kids and I am fearful that if I do anything, he will commit suicide. Any encouraging words or advice would be welcome! Sorry, this is so long. Those that are living in this...I know you will understand!
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:29 PM
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Welcome to SR..you might want to read the stickies at the top, ...make yourself at home, post and read around.

This is unacceptable behavior and not that of a responsible adult. It isn't excused by alcholism, depression or any other diagnosis that I know of. I consider it emotional, mental domestic abuse. Living with abuse of any kind feels horrible and leaves a lasting impact. Walking around on eggshells because of his "spells" is a bunch of horse-doo in my opinion. This isn't fair to you or the kids.
I would honestly suggest getting in touch with your local dv folks for some counseling to help sort this out.

You deserve so much better than this as do your kids. I know they love their dad and want their family intact but in the meantime they are learning that this is normal life and it isn't.

((((((hugs))))))))))
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:33 PM
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He can get help for the depression too. Self-pity and excuses don't cut it with me. He can get help and he is responsible for doing that as a person responsible to the family, himself, you, the kids.
It sounds like emotional manipulation.

I have bipolar which has included some very long and nasty depressions and times of despair, that has never been an excuse to behave cruelly, violently or scarily towards others. I am still and always responsible for what I do and for managing my illness.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:09 PM
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Welcome!!! I'm glad you're here. There are a whole lot of us around who have lived with alcoholics, active or recovering, or who still do. You'll find that here, as in Al-Anon, you can find people who can relate to pretty much anything you're experiencing or feeling at any given time.

A lot of what you describe sounds very familiar to me. I'm divorced from my (now recovering) alcoholic, but the behavior you're describing is exactly what I lived with for almost 20 years when he was actively drinking.

Someone here posted recently about how quitting drinking isn't necessarily the same thing as recovery -- it just means they're not drinking. True recovery is a multi-step process.

It's a tough situation to be in, protecting your children from the irrational outbursts of a person who should be protecting them. I've been there.

For me, the solution was spending enough time on my own recovery, through Al-Anon, but also through counseling and reading and doing things on my own that had nothing to do with alcohol or my family problems. I needed to change my thinking, because it was all focused on him, on trying to pre-determine when he would fly off the handle, to the point where I didn't have a life of my own. I stopped feeling. I stopped doing things I wanted to, because I felt like I always had to be available to avert disaster.

Among my Al-Anon friends, there are many who live with actively drinking and sober alcoholics. I couldn't do it anymore. Learning how to build your own life and take responsibility for your own actions, whether you stay or leave, is an amazing thing.

I hope you find some good thoughts and companionship here.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:14 PM
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Welcome...

I'm tired, so please excuse the disjointed response below.

You and I are in the same situation, except for me and my daughter it is my wife. I'm very sorry you and your children are living this way, just like my daughter and I used to live.

Just like my wife, your husband isn't two different people. He is one person who is sometimes sober and nice, sometimes drunk and mean. He is the total package-- "Himself" is an alcoholic. You know this.

Sober him is the one that chooses to have the first drink. Sober him is the one who chooses to continue drinking, and not seek help in recovery. Sober him, faced with what he did and said while drunk, is the one who is full of self-pity and loathing yet keeps drinking. God bless you, this does not sound wonderful to me.

On the other hand, Sober you continues to, as another person here says often, "give him a nice soft place to land every time he drinks."

You could read hundreds of posts here that have some version of, "when he/she isn't drunk they are the most wonderful person in the world." They are not. My wife isn't. Your husband isn't. The most wonderful person in the world does not do the things my wife and your husband does. You know this too.

He's an alcoholic not seeking treatment for his disease. You and your children are people who love an alcoholic. You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and as you now well know you can't cure it. Nothing you have done has helped. The reason is that there is nothing you can do to help except to stop helping (all of you).

There is, however, help for you and your children and it is below. Please keep an open mind, please try at least six different meetings before deciding if it will work for you, and please know everybody here cares about you already, and we are just getting to know you.

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Take care,

Cyranoak


Originally Posted by sweetie42 View Post
Hi all! It is nice to know I'm not alone in this world of living with a recovering alcoholic! I don't know why it took me so long to reach out for support! I found this website as my last resort. I do not know what to do. The stress of my whole situation is making me sick. Today I could not eat. My husband is an alcoholic in recovery - 15 years of sobriety. We have been married for 17 years and we have 2 kids - daughter 16, son 13. Even though my husband is not drinking, his behavior is not normal. I have been living with this for years. It is like living with 2 different people and I guess that is why I haven't left. When he is "himself" - he is the most wonderful, kind, caring, awesome person to be around. When he is in his "ism", is what we call it - he is a very depressed and angry person. On Saturday, he started yelling at our son over a hockey stick - it was so hurtful and so ugly. He came within inches of hitting him, but he has never laid a hand on any of us. Today he threw a shovel and yelled at our daughter. The kids and I have gotten to call these episodes "spells". They are horrible and ugly and hurtful. They have been happening more often lately. Currently, I am on anti-depressants and anti anxiety pills because I am struggling to deal with this. I do not want to hurt my kids and they comment often about how glad they are that we are not divorced as so many of their friends come from families that are. I had lunch with him this afternoon to try and talk about how his angry outbursts are hurtful to the kids and I know he feels very bad about it. Then he goes into a self-loathing state, his self esteem is very low and he does not want to be around anybody and keeps saying that he won't take any Christmas gifts. We never know what is going to set him off into one of his spells! I don't know how to be a good mother to my kids and I am fearful that if I do anything, he will commit suicide. Any encouraging words or advice would be welcome! Sorry, this is so long. Those that are living in this...I know you will understand!
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:45 PM
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Thank you so much for the words of encouragement! It is comforting to know other people are going through the same things and they are finding their way! I am so grateful to have found this site!
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:24 AM
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How similar my situation is to yours. My stbxah is the same way - 2 different people...although I will say even his nice side isn't very nice. He doesn't have to drink to be that way either....it is almost like you hit a switch and he can turn into an angry - scary person. I have tried to be the cushion for my kids when he had his angry outbursts....then sit and explain to them it is nothing they did. I have tried to cut him off during a tyrade and make him think about his words...that never ended well. I finally had to decide that I did not want any of my sons or my daughter to behave in that way, or treat anyone that way. So for them I had to escape this. We are seperated now, and probablly will be divorcing....I can't live in his misery anymore, or the walking on egg shells, or the namecalling.....I know how hard it is to live like that. I understand why you came here! Take care of you and you will figure out how to best handle your situation!
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:11 AM
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hi sweetie-

first, welcome to our group.

i find myself wondering, does he throw things or smash thing? punch holes in walls?

as for hurting your kids, i'm wondering, do you think that living with an angry, unpredictable father is hurting them?

my father wasn't a drunk but he had his moments of rage. i could literally feel it brewing and i was rarely wrong. when i was a little girl, i used to wish that he would die or go away and it could just be us with our mother. it was very upseting for me to watch my father berate my mother and watch her cry. probably why i ended up in an abusive relationship as an adult.

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Old 12-22-2010, 07:36 AM
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FreeingMyself, how are your kids handling the separation? I am so concerned for them and like you, I do not want them to think this is normal and that they will think it is ok to be treated this way or to treat others this way in their relationships. Everything is so difficult now and I don't cry, I don't react, I just try to be strong and keep going, but I am completely numb inside and I just so badly want to live my life and be happy. I want to enjoy the things that I should enjoy, like the holiday's, but now, I don't now what is going to happen. The thought of going into separation seems so difficult to me, I suppose that is part of the codependency thing - I just want to avoid this and keep on going like nothing is wrong, but it is little by little, taking everything from me and I know that there needs to be change. Any tips on how to handle this with the kids, what to expect, from someone who has gone down this road would be great. He came home last night and said that he feels he needs to separate himself from the family and get help and I agree. I hate that it is Christmas this week. My kids just want to have a normal, happy family Christmas and I don't know what is going to happen, not to mention what will happen when my own disfunctional family finds out. I have kept everything from them because my sister went down the same path I did, went thru a horrible marriage, 2 kids and horrible divorce, she was suicidal and had to be admitted to the hospital. My parents take care of her, she still deals with many issues with her ex. I am going to consider you all my family to talk to, as I really have no where else to turn. I am ashamed, embarassed and I don't know how I will explain this to others when we are separated. I know this post is just rambling, but it sure is helpful to get it out! Thank you so much for your posts and support!! I hope that I can pay it forward and help others here as well!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:50 AM
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Cryanoak, thank you for your words of encouragement and words of truth! It sounds like you have stayed in your relationship with your wife?? If that is the case, how have you come to make that work? When I made my marriage vows, I intended to keep them. I hate the thought of divorce and having my kids go thru the emotional ride of that and shuffling back and forth between us. Would love to hear more on how you live within your relationship with your wife. Thank you!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:42 AM
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Sweetie , I found SR when I was doing a web surf for "dry drunk syndome". My DDH acts and behaviors very similiar to how you described your husband. I've come to realize my DDH is psychologically and verbally abusive to me. I posted a thread here on SR entitled "Psychological/emotional/ verbal Abuse" that I suggest you check out. It sounds like your husband is a dry drunk. A "Dry Drunk" is someone not drinking, but not 'Of Sober Mind' either. There are several websites that discuss dry drunks.

Living with a dry drunk and someone who is psychological/emotional/verbal abusive can make you feel like you are going CRAZY! Psychological/ emotional/verbal abuse can turn into physical abuse, and by what you described, it might be doing. "On Saturday, he started yelling at our son over a hockey stick - it was so hurtful and so ugly. He came within inches of hitting him, but he has never laid a hand on any of us. Today he threw a shovel and yelled at our daughter."

"Currently, I am on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills because I am struggling to deal with this." I am, also, on anti-depressants and sleeping pills to help me. I, also, suffered a massive stroke last December. I'm not going to place all the blame on living with my DDH......but, I'm sure the stress didn't help!

"I do not want to hurt my kids and they comment often about how glad they are that we are not divorced as so many of their friends come from families that are." No child, how old they are, wants to see their parents get divorced. I stuck it out for the sake of the children. However, it's now effecting my very survival. I'm making plans on moving out in January. My children are 35 and 19 years old. My 35 year old son understands the reason that I must move out, but he still wishes it could have been different. There is so much hostility between my 19 year old son and his dry drunk father that I fear for a physical fight between the two of them. Right now I'm just doing my best to keep them separate.

I think the most profound thing you can do for your children is to teach them that YOU and THEY are NOT helpless and stand up for YOUR's and THEIR RIGHTS!

I know what I'm suggesting is NOT going to be easy...... as a matter of fact it might be one of the hardest things you have ever done in your life!

I suggest you start individual therapy for yourself. Attend Alanon meetings. Keep using SR for support.

But most important is to "Let Go and Let God"!

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

Love and Peace,

Phoenix
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:24 AM
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I didn't...

Hi Sweetie,

I divorced her and we were apart for two years. I did not support her during that time other than to provide for her a car and a cell phone. No cash, no calls, no helping her with her alcoholic ********. Just a car and a phone, and only because of our daughter.

I was single for those two years because the thought of dating another alcohlic paralized me. I'm literally unable to trust women in the context of an intimate relationship anymore. I probably will never be able to again. This is not a sexist thing. If I were attracted to men it would be men.

Because of that, because of the strides she made on her own without my meddling or so-called "help," and frankly because I missed living with my daughter, when my wife came to me and asked if I would consider living with her again I conceded (but did not remarry her to protect myself from the financial consequences of a potential relapse).

To be completely honest, I also felt after two years of thinking about dating other women that I might as well take the poisen I know, rather than the poisen I don't know. Also, I really do love her and I believe I'm addicted to her which is why I am in recovery myself via Al-Anon and counseling.

We got a new house together, she moved back in, and things were good for awhile. Then she relapsed. A big relapse. This time, however, because of my own recovery I did not make the same mistakes as before and did not indulge my high level denial skills at all. I knew what was going on, trusted my own judgement, protected my daughter the best I could, and let wife suffer the consequences of her relapse which ultimately included hospitlization and jail.

Fast forward to today, she is in outpatient treatment voluntarily (not court ordered), has been sober for six months, and is doing better than I have ever seen (and I've known her for 21 years). I truly enjoy living with her and our daughter on this day, and my life is trending positively forward.

For now at least, we just got lucky. A year from now I might tell you it was just another on my long list of HUGE mistakes around my wife and the disease of alcoholism.

All of that said, I know for a fact that her recovery is one day at a time and that she could relapse at any moment. I feel like I will never live a day of my life without fearing relapse-- a misspelled text message can send me to mental hell, and don't even try and talk to me if she is late somewhere. I've got a long way to go in my own recovery.

Lastly, I'm a child of two divorces and I can tell you that what I put my daughter through staying in the marriage is an order of magnitude WORSE than any divorce will ever be, no matter what your kids say-- they don't know enough to know better. IMHO he broke his vows long ago, and continues to do so regularly, so your vows no longer bind you. I intended to keep my vows as well. Her alcoholism trumped those vows.

Our daughter is now manifesting many of the characteristics of alcoholic/addicts which is not uncommon. I contributed to this with my codependancy, controlling nature, and denail. I fear that I may get to enjoy another alcoholic cycle into my 50s. At least this time I'll have the tools to handle it correctly and enjoy a certain level of serenity whether she is drinking/drugging or not.

Take care,

Cyranoak

P.s. I know I said this to you once, but I'm repeating it for you and others who may be reading this-- your husband and my wife are only one person, and that person comes with alcoholism and everything that goes along with it. For the love of God and for your children please, please, please let go of the idea that there is a good him and a bad him. There is just him, and until he fully engages in a program of recovery his drunken behavior will dominate your lives.

Originally Posted by sweetie42 View Post
Cryanoak, thank you for your words of encouragement and words of truth! It sounds like you have stayed in your relationship with your wife?? If that is the case, how have you come to make that work? When I made my marriage vows, I intended to keep them. I hate the thought of divorce and having my kids go thru the emotional ride of that and shuffling back and forth between us. Would love to hear more on how you live within your relationship with your wife. Thank you!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:07 PM
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Thank you, Cryanoak! I know you are right! I am really struggling with the denial piece. I just want to have a happy, "normal" life. I have spent so much time and energy, trying to make everything alright that I am not sure what "normal" looks like anymore. I too, am fearful that my kids will choose abusive relationships because this is the only experience they know and that breaks my heart.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by sweetie42 View Post
Thank you, Cryanoak! I know you are right! I am really struggling with the denial piece. I just want to have a happy, "normal" life. I have spent so much time and energy, trying to make everything alright that I am not sure what "normal" looks like anymore. I too, am fearful that my kids will choose abusive relationships because this is the only experience they know and that breaks my heart.
While you may not have any control ultimately over the relationships your children choose, you do have control over the kind of example you set and the kind of role model you are to them.

It's never too late to start setting a good example.

L
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:39 PM
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sweetie42, I completely identify with what you said about it being like living with 2 different people. When my XAH was working a 12 step program he was an humble, loving, compassionate man. When he went back to drinking he became an arrogant, self-serving victim of the world. It was truly like two different people in the same body. My situation is different as I had no children. I also took my vows seriously but in the end I could no longer tolerate the insanity. I've been divorced nearly a year and wouldn't change a thing except to have done it sooner.

I would highly suggest that you find a local AlAnon group. AlAnon and this forum saved my life and I am thankful for both of them.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:54 PM
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Hello! Welcome to this site!

my father was often angry and sarcastic: he didn't throw things, but we were afraid of his angry sarcasm and put-downs, even my friends were wary of him, and I didn't invite friends over because I never knew what mood my parents would be in. He often seemed to actively dislike my mother, who was depressed and anxious much of the time, she often seemed to actively dislike him. When they finally divorced I was very glad, they both later remarried and are much nicer happier people.

I'm not advocating divorce but I do get sad when people stay together for the sake of the children. my parents said they stayed together for our sake, but I always thought, even as a child, that this was an excuse to cover for their unwillingness to face that they weren't suited. It was a horrible marriage and did us immense harm, living with fear and tension, modelling a horrible dynamic to us as a "normal" relationship.

I'm not saying yours is a horrible marriage, that is not my place or call, although it doesn't seem that you are healthy and well in it, but just a point of view to think about.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:05 PM
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Thank you so much for all the replies! This site has been a true blessing to me! It has been so great to hear from those of you that grew up with an alcoholic to give me a better perspective on doing what is right for my kids. Our marriage is not great. I see maybe there is a better way. Thank you to everyone for sharing your experiences!
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:23 PM
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I think that instead of being angry...then I got numb....then it was just what it was. I don't respond to his outbursts very often, but I still struggle. My older kids are honest and they understand how "odd" his behavior is....he is not their dad. You can watch them walk on egg shells to decide how to react...I have 2 younger kids with him, not old enough to know what is happening. I still struggle....because I want to do what is right...and sometimes I don't know what that is. I have ALOT of guilt over everything, and I don't like to fail at anything. BUT....that said, my life is SO SO much calmer now, my kids are happiness, there is a 'lightness' to their step again and mine. I can be me, without worrying (unless he is here) and then I get that same uncomfortable feeling that I had before....and am quickly reminded why I am doing this! GIve it time...you don't have to make decision today....take it slow and do what is best for you!! Work on you and you will find the answers you need!
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
I feel like I will never live a day of my life without fearing relapse-- a misspelled text message can send me to mental hell, and don't even try and talk to me if she is late somewhere.
Wow, I have the exact same fear. Not checking in, ignoring my phone calls and nice-as-can-be voicemails. Puts a horrible knot in my stomach knowing the impending drunken argument that will commence as soon as she gets home.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:02 PM
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My dad had rage outbursts like your husband but he was not an alcoholic or in recovery. So perhaps that is just who he is?

I can only tell you that growing up in that type of household was very hard. When my parents got along, it was great, but when my dad was in a fit of anger, we all became anxious and worried about my mom.

To this day I have anxiety and I can almost bet it comes from growing up in that kind of household. So much so that I have a tough time expressing my feelings because I am scared that if I do, someone is going to become enraged with me. This has affected my relationships naturally.

I didn't want my parents to divorce but I was a child. I just wanted peace so I became the peace-maker, people pleaser so that things would stay calm.

In retrospect, us kids paid a huge price for my dad's temperment. As long as you are aware of this and maybe look for signs of their anxiety (kids shouldn't feel anxious in their own home around the people they love the most). Counseling would have helped me growing up so that is also something to keep in mind.

Hope this helps
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