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Let's talk separation.

Old 01-10-2011, 08:35 PM
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Let's talk separation.

I was wondering if any of you are separated or have tried separation with your A? I'd like to know :

a. how you asked for it - for example, was an ultimatum thrown in? "I want a separation and if <fill in the blank> we're getting divorced!
b. how you configured it (Were rules laid out? Was there a time length?
c. how did go (or how is it going?)
d. were kids involved
e. and anything else you want to tell me about it.

My state does not have a legal separation.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:41 PM
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I am currently separated from my AH, and I have recently decided that I will be filing for divorce. I will try to answer your questions from my own experience.

When I moved out in October, I made the conscious decision to not use it as a threat, an ultimatum, or a manipulation. I decided that I could no longer live in a toxic environment with an active alcoholic who had no intention of changing. So, I did not really have any expectation about what AH would do when I left.

Before I left, I did a lot of advanced planning. I didn't want my leaving to be the result of one particular fight; rather, I wanted my leaving to be a conscious choice to change an intolerable situation. Fortunately for me, AH and I were always pretty much financially separate, so I already had my own accounts. I leased an apartment ahead of time so I had someplace to go. I timed the actual move for when my parents were in town so that they could help me, and I didn't have to do the actual move alone. I also hired movers so that I could go quickly and all at once.

I did not tell AH in advance that I was planning to leave because I did not know what his reaction was going to be. I didn't want to create a situation where I was forced to go to a hotel, or where I was afraid to get my things. So, the morning I had planned to leave, I had my parents waiting outside, and I told AH that I was moving out because I did not want to live with his drinking any more. He was shocked (as I knew he would be--he never wanted to acknowledge that his drinking was a problem), and tried to get me to stay. I told him simply that nothing he could possibly say in the next few minutes would change my mind. I also told him that I hoped he would get help, but that was up to him, and that I hoped he would come up with a plan. I told him that I hadn't made any decisions with respect to divorce, but that I needed to remove myself from the situation. After that conversation, I had backup with my parents and the movers, and I was able to get my stuff without incident.

After I left, I had several conversations with AH, who, to my total surprise, actually started going to AA. However, I recently went no contact with him because I felt like he was constantly manipulating me by trying to figure out what I wanted to hear, rather than really embracing recovery. I truly hope that he does figure it out, but I just can't deal with talking to him about it all the time.

The thing about AH supposedly getting sober is that there is a ton of mistrust, and no matter what, it's all about him. Even if he is serious, recovery is intensive, and it's all focused on him. If he's not serious, then it's a total waste of time because I can't live with an active A anymore. I have discovered that there is simply no room for me in the relationship even if AH is serious about recovery. So, I am done.

Fortunately, we don't have kids, so that was not an issue for me. It has taken me a few months to come to a decision to divorce, but the thought of going back to that life makes me physically ill. And when I left, I was already so physically unhealthy--couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't relax. So, I took back my life, and I think it's the best decision I could have made.

The absolute hardest part of the separation/move was the actual moment of telling AH. I would never want to repeat that experience, but I'm glad I did it, and I got through it. That also keeps me from going back inasmuch as I don't know if I have the strength to go through the act of leaving a second time. So, I have decided to not put myself in that situation again.

I'm sorry you are going through this, and I wish you luck, wisdom, and courage! It is agonizing for sure, but I had 2 things that motivated me. One, I kept thinking about the fact that I didn't want to waste my life in a horrible situation that I did not have the power to change. And two, I did not want to become someone I didn't like. I could feel the toxic environment changing me, and I didn't like what I saw. Just remember that it IS okay to make this decision for you, NOT HIM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:07 PM
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a. It ended up being an ultimatum. I hit a wall after he spent an entire canoe trip getting as drunk as possible. We'd discussed the problems his drinking caused before and he would occasionally quit or moderate, but the drinking would always escalate and cause yet more problems.

b. I talked him into staying somewhere else. I run a business out of the home, whereas he works for other people, so it would be far more difficult had I moved. We were able to negotiate everything reasonably, as he's a reasonable person when not drunk.

c. I'd hoped he'd decide he missed me and our life and would make some changes on his own, but his addiction won out. I gave up after a couple of weeks and ended up filing for divorce 3 months later.

d. Thankfully, neither of us wanted kids. I can't imagine dealing with that on top of everything else.

e. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, it was still excruciating. It took a lot of faith that things would get better, a great support system and frequent visits here to get me through the worst of it.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:23 PM
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No kids for us.
After I confronted my AH he was miserable to be around.
I started that day saying I couldn't get pregnant if the drinking issues wasn't handled.
Nothing happened.
I started taking trips to friends to get sanity and clarity.
That grew to me taking a summer job away.
I got offered a full time job away from him and took it.
He actually was very helpful, even driving my stuff with his truck to my new house.
I didn't have much of a plan, but I knew there were 3 important pieces to my mental health: my work life, friend life and relationship life.
There was no work in the town we lived in and no friends (really small town).
I knew I needed a least one of the three to be healthy.
I came to where I am now where there is a good job and a number of friends.
He was the one that said, "I can't do this forever."
I agreed. We gave ourselves 6 months, but it already seems like he doesn't want to change and I shouldn't be forcing him, so what are we holding out for?
I think we will probably divorce, too.
Being away gives me a whole, happy section of my life to focus on.
It also will make divorce much easier, since I am building a new life for myself.

Good luck to you.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:59 AM
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I wonder if the separation would be prolonging the inevitable. Just one more instance where I'm not quite strong enough to do the right thing - but at least it would be the right thing for now.

I talked to a counselor yesterday and his advice was that I needed a goal for the separation - and as we dug at it, the goal was for my AH to get sober since this is the only way our marriage and family can ever work. He took it even further to say that we separate now AND my A goes to (outpatient?) rehab immediately as part of the rules of
the separation and begins his path toward sobriety NOW.

I love the idea in theory - especially getting him out now - but I won't be able to monitor his drinking, and I've learned from this board that I shouldn't be doing that anyway. My guess is that my A would not agree to rehab. My A thinks his controlled drinking is working (it is not).

So I have to be prepared for that reply. What if he says, "I'll separate but I'm going to keep drinking." That won't work.

Thanks for the stories - keep them coming. Thoughts on this additional information welcomed too.

I'm trying to wrap my head around proposing this to my A.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:40 AM
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Oh god, what if he says, "i agree to rehab and to quit drinking. Let me stay."

That one gives me heart palpitations. I need the craziness to stop and I know him staying in the house keeps us in crazyville.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:41 AM
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I am actively working on separation/divorce. Life has become unlivable with him, I have hit my bottom as the spouse, the codie. He has not hit his bottom as an alcoholic.

I can not tell him though, if I do, he will make my life an even bigger living hell than he already does. Case in point...woken up in the middle of the night to his music on the stereo. It's gotten to where I trigger when I hear the music up loudly. So, I make my plans quietly. The day I move out is the day he will receive divorce papers.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:46 AM
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My A is actually alot like FindingPeaces. When we left him during a christmas vacation, he actually worked our flights, found the cab, gave me money for the trip home. He is not vengeful YET. Which is why I like the idea of getting out before his alcoholism progresses further. I know he will not always be like this.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:58 AM
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a. I have been seperated from my AH many times now...in fact in our short marriage wehave spent more time apart than together. However, the final seperation was a result of his name calling and verbal abuse and being threatening and me know that I can't live like that anymore or expose my children to it. Luckily we each owned our own houses before and we were living in mine, which his name is not - but because of that I asked him to leave. He currently has been living with a friend for about 10months. We're getting to that more permanent part....
b. I don't think we have any rules. I have always allowed him access to the kids etc, he still pays part of the bills. I think it would have been smarter to have rules/expecations - however, he does not communicate well...one of our big prblems so that part is impossible for us.
c. I think it has allowed me to find myself in the chaos my life had become, and know that I don't want to go back to that crazy world. He occassionally will have moment of enlightenment where he will take accountability etc, but this is few and far between the anger.....I find it very hard to keep a clear head in those sincere moments he has...but I try.
d. I have 6 children. 2 from this marriage- they are young, but my other chldren are older and they have stated how much better things are. My AH acted more like a big brother to them. From being a teacher I have learned that kids are quite resilient and probablly do better than we do as long as 1 side has it together.
e. Be patient, someone on here reminded me to take it a day at a time, and not get caught up in making a decision right now...so that has helped me let myself take the time to feel what I need to and make the decision that i need to.
This isn't easy for anyone, but I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:47 AM
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I seperated from my XAH several times and we reconciled several times before I came to the decision I had to divorce. A therapist who saw me regularly and (him alone once) said I needed to give him the ultimatum.....90 meetings in 90 days or I was leaving. He didn't go to meetings, so eventually I filed. It took a couple of years. I was emersed in Alanon too and was getting sober for the second time myself. I also had to do it for my sobriety. His disease was progressing and he had dui's and jailtime and lost his (very good job who told him and offered treatment) and he refused. The financial consequences were starting and I was retired from 30 years teaching on a good pension I had to protect. I had to drive him around which I resented. It was hard but 3 years post divorce I am glad I am gone. I have 6 1/2 years clean/sober myself. I had 9 years before I met him and relapsed. We were together 9 years. We wrote our own seperation agreement so the divorce was cheap. It was very hard though. I truly loved him but like SR says...."let go or be dragged".....I just couldn't live like that anymore. I had lost myself in codependence.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:34 PM
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I too am thinking about leaving and actively working on a plan to make that happen.

Here's a great story and checklist that I used to help me.
The links in the article are also excellent for thinking about separation and divorce.

Google Answers: divorce, related to being married to an alcoholic and me being a wuss!

Now, I've been reading here for several weeks and now I'm asking myself why should I leave? I'm now researching how I might get him to leave. I don't know if it's possible but I'd be foolish not to at least consider getting him our of here. He's retired. Hasn't worked in many years but that's not my problem--is it?

There are other checklists and good advice for leaving in the "sticky" section of this forum.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by whereisthisgoin View Post
Oh god, what if he says, "i agree to rehab and to quit drinking. Let me stay."

That one gives me heart palpitations. I need the craziness to stop and I know him staying in the house keeps us in crazyville.
So you say: "Going to rehab isn't enough. I want you in recovery for at least X months (12 months sounds good) before we even start talking about reconciliation".

You NEED safety and sanity, and him going to rehab isn't magically going to make that happen. Him leaving and having some good distance will help a great deal...
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:23 PM
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We separated when XAH went to inpatient rehab the second time. He'd only been back for about 3 months, and fell off the wagon only a month out. He was falling down drunk, worse than ever, and was supposed to go with his parents to visit his grandparents halfway across the country. He knew this deadline, and that he would have to be sober. I looked for detoxes near his parent's home, but couldn't find any (he's seized while withdrawing, so required medical detox.) Ultimately, I couldn't find anything and told him his only option was to go back to inpatient.

He agreed to 3 days. Of course, he was drunk at the time. I drove him the 3 hours there and left him. They got him to stay for 3, then 7, then 10, and ultimately 60.

I knew he couldn't come home, so I packed up his stuff and my mom drove his SUV crammed with as much as we could fit it in to his parents' home. I'd told him he couldn't come back. I parrotted that I needed space. Needed time. Needed space.

He pled to come back home. He lied about transportation costs. (Rehab says they'll change me $150 to take me to the airport...) Ultimately, his parents bought him a plane ticket and flew him to their city. He tried to talk about coming back, but I went NC.

It was rough. I talked to a lawyer while he was still in rehab, and filed about 6 months later.

I had nightmares about him coming back, and me letting him come back. Which really strengthened my resolve. I'm very glad I did it, and glad it worked out the way it did. But man, it was hard.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by whereisthisgoin View Post
Oh god, what if he says, "i agree to rehab and to quit drinking. Let me stay."

That one gives me heart palpitations. I need the craziness to stop and I know him staying in the house keeps us in crazyville.
Being under the same roof with active alcoholism=crazyville for me. My axw was court ordered into rehab (probably NEVER works) for 30 daze.

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to take care of our, then, 5yo little girl. It's funny, but my greatest fear was that I wouldn't be able to do "ponytails" with my big old "man fingers".

That first Monday morning school day, my daughter asked me what was wrong. I told her about the man fingers thing.

She just laughed, asked me for the hair band thingie, whipped it onto her wrist, used both hands behind her head, and in about 2 seconds whipped out a pretty presentable ponytail. I knew we'd be alright at that moment.

Seems like my HP was giving me a "test run" to show me I had nothing to worry about. Turns out I "could", at age 54 raise a little girl w/o a drunk wife "helping". Four years later, so far so good. Knock wood.

Just having that non-stop chaos and drama out of the house for those 4 weeks gained me about 60% of my clarity back. Actually, that's probably about all I had to begin with. I never allowed her to come home after that.

We have had lots of hard times since then, but we have SERENITY in our little apartment. I would NEVER go back to that other life, with all the stuff.

I think separation (getting active alcoholism out from under your roof) promotes clarity. I've seen it over and over, here and IRL.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Verbena View Post
Now, I've been reading here for several weeks and now I'm asking myself why should I leave? I'm now researching how I might get him to leave. I don't know if it's possible but I'd be foolish not to at least consider getting him our of here. He's retired. Hasn't worked in many years but that's not my problem--is it?

Exactly!

You, know, I been around here for over four years, two years "lurking" before that. (might be some kind of "lurking record" or something)

Some just seem to "get it" quicker than others. THAT is a beautiful thing.

ETA I was a bit slow.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:20 PM
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We each had children from previous marriages, only a jack russell between us. We kept our finances separate for many reasons. It was a short marriage, only 4 years married and one year separated before the divorce was final.

a. how you asked for it - after two rehabs, two totaled cars, a DUI and a third relapse I told her I could no longer live with her AND her drinking and asked her to find another place to live, (it was my house)

b. how you configured it - I moved into another bedroom, mayhem ensued, coming to a separation agreement without lawyers was impossible. I filed for divorce and had her served. She moved out shortly after that.

c. how did go - as soon as she moved out peace was restored to my home and life.

d. were kids involved - my kids were relieved, her kids were not.

e. and anything else you want to tell me about it - as soon as she moved out peace was restored to my home and life.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:58 PM
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We talked about some of our choices today. He did not agree to rehab because he says he's seeing a counselor and is controlling his drinking..and that he will continue to. He said why should he quit alcohol altogether when I won't even sleep in the bedroom with him much less give any indication that there is sex in the future? He said, "We don't even talk anymore". Which is absolutely true. I'm beat. Of course he's been on good behavior since Sunday. Today is now Tuesday. He didn't drink a drop during the football game last nite. That's nice and all but I'm way skeptical.

So he then said that if we were to divorce he'd want shared physical custody. That pissed me right off. I am wondering how often drunks get shared physical custody and what type of records I'll need to win that battle.

All this stuff just sucks.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:12 PM
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He's not talking like someone ready to get sober.

My first marriage was for 13 years and there was no alcoholism involved. I would settle for nothing less than shared legal AND physical custody of my boys. She's the one that wanted out and I wanted 50/50 and to keep the house, she agreed and moved out. We lived close enough that they could ride the school bus home to Dads Mon-Wed-Fri and Moms Tues-Thurs, I dropped them off at her place Sat at 5pm. Sunday night was kids choice.

It actually worked out great. I got to see the boys every day, either did the morning routine or the evening routine, plus had time to myself, life was good. Maybe this would be a viable option for you at first, see how things go? Maybe agree to 50/50 physical custody only if you get 100% legal custody? If he blows it they'll end up with you anyway and you're already set with legal custody.

How old and how many?
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by whereisthisgoin View Post

So he then said that if we were to divorce he'd want shared physical custody. That pissed me right off. I am wondering how often drunks get shared physical custody and what type of records I'll need to win that battle.

All this stuff just sucks.
I know Niave isn't around right now, but please allow ME to take a stab at this.

Shared physical custody= zero child support. What a prince.

It does suck.

A lawyer told me I needed a legal paper trail (had tons of medical stuff/apparently inadmissible? IDK) to help present my case. IOW, DUI's, wrecked cars, PI's etc.. Of course I was/am a man, in Texas, so YMMV.

In general, I would say MOST alcoholics DO NOT get shared custody. Mine, got supervised visitation.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:15 PM
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I told my husband I could no longer live with him, he put our children in danger and I was done with the craziness. I said that the marriage was over as of now, and that the only chance I was willing to give it at all was if during the next 6 months (whilst we were living seperately) he gave up drinking and demonstrated that he could maintain that for at least 3 to 6 months, and at that point we could then talk to see if we were both willing to work on our marriage (counselling etc).

He took 10 weeks to move out, got himself signed off work with depression, and drank himself stupid, raging at me. he didn't give up drinking for a single day. The distance and clarity that not living with him gave me was enormous, the relief was wonderful. I gave him a big, last chance, he didn't take it, and that time allowed me to see that any pretence at giving up was just that, a complete fake.

We have children, age 7 and 2, I laid down ground rules from the beginning that he could not have them unsupervised, no overnights without a mutually agreed adult there.

He has fought this (with me) but I have held firm, even when I felt myself waver. I no longer waver. I currently supervise his visits with the kids myself, but am moving towards refusing to do that due to his behaviour.

The seperation didn't work out as far as saving the marriage, but it worked out in that it saved me. My ex has no intention of giving up drinking, he never did and that much became crystal clear during the seperation; that's his decision, his life and good luck to him.
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