How do I do this?

Old 01-11-2011, 08:08 AM
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Location: Texas
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Question How do I do this?

Hi everyone. I just found SR a couple of nights ago and have been trying to read as much as I can. Please forgive me if I'm doing things out of order, but I read a thread that really got to me. The thread was asking how someone's body told them it was time to stop drinking. Many of the responses included things like:

Hallucinations, convulsions, shaking, watery bowels, not eating, lack of desire to do anything, chronic heartburn, borderline dementia, depression, eye sight deteriorating rapidly, chest pains, back pains, leg pain, anger, rage, memory failing, heart palpitations and more.

My AH has these issues and more. He went to the ER with pancreatitis just before Christmas and stayed in the hospital three days, then went back to the ER with a flare up on New Years Eve. This was his third hospitalization for pancreatitis in less than 5 years. He has always denied his drinking, even when he's falling down drunk. He never drinks in front of me or even brings it home. Instead he runs multiple 'errands' during the day and drinks when he's out. This last week his drinking is out of control. He's come home so drunk he passed in the garage Friday, then last night it was in the kitchen. He says he wants to die. He's been through rehab, gone to AA, etc...

My question is this. How do I just sit back and watch him die slowly? I worry when he's out he will get in a wreck and kill himself or someone else. He's hurting himself and can't see how he's hurting us. I know I cannot control his drinking or 'fix him'. We have two small children - our 3yo is autistic... I know I don't have to stay with him, but I've been a SAHM and don't have a vehicle or income of my own. I'm trying to get to a place where I can be on my own and take care of my kids. But in the mean time I'm struggling with how to handle watching him drink himself to death. It just feels like more than I can handle.

Thanks if you've read this far. I'm so glad I found SR.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:26 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

You are not alone! You will find support and information here.

Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed.

I too was married to an active alcoholic. I was a SAHM for 12 years. I started taking baby steps to regain control of my life and protect myself and children from active alcoholism. I wanted to fix everything right away, but was reminded that I did not arrive in the situation overnight and it would take time to remove myself from the situation.

I understand you do not have your own vehicle and have small children. Is there public transportation in your area? Have you checked into local Alanon meetings? I recommend establishing a local network of support to help you get through each day. We are also here to support you.

Here is a link that contains steps that have helped some of us:
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:33 AM
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oh boy. I'm so sorry you're going through this. I'm glad you found SR though. There's tons of support to be had here.

My immediate reaction to your quiery is this: you don't have to watch him do whatever. You can remove yourself from the situation, even if it is to another room. If he passes out in the garage, then leave him there. Do not help him or clean up his messes.

From what I understand, you've got a plan in the works to get a place of your own, right? What about income? When is all this happening? What about finding an Al-Anon meeting with childcare, so you could bring the little ones with you?

Perhaps it would help if you focused on your exit strategy instead of focusing on someone who's obviously chosen to destroy himself and bring his family down with him.

Please keep posting and reading as much as you like. SR is always open!
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:39 AM
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Today is a New Day
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The three C's:

You didn't cause it
You can't control it
You can't cure it

Unfortunately, your best efforts will have no long term impact on making his drinking stop, so you're better off putting your energy into something more productive.

My ABF (alcoholic boyfriend) would constantly tell me how he wanted to stop, he knew he drank too much, but he wasn't an alcoholic and didn't have to go to AA or anything, he just needed my support. Every time he relapsed he told me how I need to remind him of the awful hangover the next morning, or be more forceful telling him not to drink, or this or that or the other thing, I don't know how much influence I really have on him, etc.

Whenever I "lectured" him about drinking I always did it kindly, so that he wouldn't feel the need to hide alcohol from me, and he was usually honest about how much he drank. (When he drank a lot he always underestimated, but a large part of that is that counting abilities start to fail when you're drunk. He always kept the bottles to show me, so I always fixed the math). I would hide newly bought bottles, so that they wouldn't be visible and cause temptation ("Well, since it's here" was frequently a reason he drank), but I would fish it out if he insisted he had to have it, because I thought at least I'd always know how much he was drinking, and when he calmed down I could help him walk through it.
But it didn't get better, it got worse. I would remind him, I would beg him, I would insist, I would refuse, I would tell him that I could remind him not to drink but I couldn't make him stop, he had to do that all on his own - he accepted all these things, but still drank.

Everything I did had a minor, temporary impact, and I started thinking that maybe this time it would work (especially the time he went 19 days) - but it never did. There was always an excuse to drink, and always a reason why it wasn't his fault, it was mine... But none of it was true.

When I kicked him out of the apartment, he went to AA meetings all day, and eventually allowed himself to be checked into inpatient rehab for detox and then alcoholism treatment. He's out now, and I am 100% certain he will relapse, because the whole time he was in he wasn't interested in getting better for himself, he was interested in getting better "for me" so that I could "help him not drink anymore". Nothing was about me anymore, everything revolved around him and what I could do for him.

It wasn't until I removed myself from the situation that I realized just how much negative impact he was having on my life. Last night my car completely broke down on a major highway, it took me four hours to go home, and I had a great evening in spite of it because I discovered I could go through something stressful without having to put my own feelings aside in favor of a drunk alcoholic screaming about how it's not my fault but actually it is.

In my case, removing myself from the situation was kicking him out of the apartment (he's not on the lease, it's not even his legal address) and telling him I needed time with no contact from him. In your case, it's whatever helps you detach (with love) from the situation so you can get your thoughts in order and put your life back on track to where you feel it should be.

You can't help him unless he truly wants help. You need to forcus your efforts on yourself, and your kids, and let go of the things you cannot change.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:19 AM
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Rising from the Ashes
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ShiningStars and fellow Texan, you are really asking two separate questions here. The first question you are asking is: "How do I just sit back and watch him die slowly?" You are NOT responsible for someone else’s drinking! If you find yourself living with an alcoholic, you may feel you are in an extremely difficult situation. Living with an alcoholic can be a nightmare! It is very understandable if you want to seek help for yourself even if the alcoholic will not. The biggest problem with an alcoholic is his denial. The alcoholic, himself, must recognize and accept his own need for recovery.

The standard answer you will find here on SR, and from me, is to learn how to detach with love. A simple concept promoted by Al-Anon; but difficult to practice in REAL LIFE! Check out some of the following links:

The following excerpt "How to Develop Detachment" is from: Developing Detachment | LIVESTRONG.COM

In order to become detached from a person, you need to:

First: Establish emotional boundaries between you and the person with whom you have become overly enmeshed or dependent on.

Second: Take back power over your feelings from the person you have given power to affect your emotional well-being.

Third: "Hand over" to your Higher Power the person which you would like to see changed, but which you cannot change on your own.

Fourth: Make a commitment to your personal recovery and self-health by admitting to yourself and your Higher Power that there is only one person you can change, and that is yourself, and that for your serenity, you need to let go of the "need" to fix, change, rescue or heal the other person.

Fifth: Recognize that it is "sick" and "unhealthy", to believe, that you have the power or control to fix, correct, change, heal or rescue another person.

Sixth: Recognize that you need to be healthy, yourself, and be "squeaky clean" and a "role model" of health, in order, for another to recognize that there is something "wrong" with them that needs changing.

Seventh: Continue to own your feelings, as your responsibility, and not blame others for the way you feel.

Eighth: Accept personal responsibility for your own, unhealthy, actions, feelings and thinking, and cease looking for the person, you can blame, for your unhealthiness.

Ninth: Accept that addicted fixing, rescuing, enabling are "sick" behaviors, and strive to extinguish these behaviors in your relationship to persons, places and things.

Tenth: Accept that many people, places and things in your past and current life are "irrational," "unhealthy", and "toxic" influences in your life, label them honestly, for what they truly are, and stop minimizing their negative impact in your life.

Eleventh: Reduce the impact of guilt, and other irrational beliefs, which impede your ability to develop detachment in your life.

Twelfth: Practice "letting go" of the need to correct, fix or make better the persons, places and things in life, over which you have no control or power to change.

Now, ShiningStars, if you are still with me here on my post, for your second question. "We have two small children - our 3yo is autistic...I know I don't have to stay with him, but I've been a SAHM and don't have a vehicle or income of my own. I'm trying to get to a place where I can be on my own and take care of my kids." Check out the following link:
or, if necessary About Child Protective Services
The Texas Department of Family Protective Services will conduct an investigation of your home and make a determination. If they determine that your AH is effecting your 3 year autistic child, they will take steps to protect him and you.

Hope this helps!

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

Love and Peace,

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Old 01-11-2011, 01:15 PM
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Shining Stars, For me SR has been a lifeline. There are so many people on here both women and men who live with alcoholics and feel totally alone and stuck. Frankly, our friends who have normal relationships can be sympathetic at times but they can't understand.

You are taking a big step to help yourself and your children by coming here and reading all you can.

Also do web searches for every topic you can think of that has to do with alcoholism and related issues such as: physical effects, alcohol and families, children of alcoholics etc.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:44 PM
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Thanks so much for everyone's responses! I have been on such a rollercoaster ride dealing with this. And I've also been frozen - not sure where to start or how to put a plan into action, but I KNOW I have to do something. I can use the information each of you provided.

I have felt so trapped - My AH controls access to his income (unemployment) and our only vehicle (mine was totaled last spring). I've been without a cell phone except for rare times when I can borrow his. I recently obtained my own phone that he doesn't know about, and have been trying to put back money as I can but it's been hard since I can barely get money out of him for groceries. I can't even rely on Internet as the connection I am using in an unsecured signal in my neighborhood and not always available.

I did locate an Al-Anon meeting close to me with childcare, but it conflicts with my son's PPCD program (special needs preschool). I am going to talk to his school to see how much of an impact it will have on his day if I pick him up early so we can make the meeting (his school day is only 3 hours long).

Lately I feel as though there are so many more things to do than I will ever be able to accomplish. Some days I feel as though I will

I'm sorry I didn't respond to each response independantly, but I'm afraid my connection will be gone by the time I get everything typed out the way I want to...

Thanks so much again for the links and suggestions you each provided. I have so much reading to do!
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:21 PM
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Lately I feel as though there are so many more things to do than I will ever be able to accomplish
You seem to be doing what you can, when you can.
That is amazing.
Keep up the good work ShiningStars.

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Old 01-11-2011, 03:25 PM
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Rising from the Ashes
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ShiningStars, remember a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step! Each step you take will lead you further on your road to recovery. I think it's a very good idea to "talk to his school to see how much of an impact it will have on his day if I (you) pick him up early so we (you) can make the meeting (his school day is only 3 hours long)." It might, also, be helpful if you ask them if they know of any therapist for you. From my experiences, I have found out most "school" personnel have some training in social services. I suggest you follow through with your plans on attending Al-Anon meeting.

God's Speed!
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:56 PM
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reach out. tell your friends and family what is going on. it's hard but i was pleasantly surprised at the support they offered to me. speak up! the alcoholic coerces us to hide what is going on. don't buy in. its part of the sickness.

you're in the right place and we are here, having lived through it ourselves.

welcome, shining star.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:30 PM
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Shining Stars, Is your son's SN program in a public school or Head Start perhaps? Find out if they'll transport your sn child to the Alanon Daycare program the one or two days weekly you'll be attending meetings.

My program used to provide transportation for a three year old to meet his grandmother at a Senior Center where she ate lunch four days a week. They'd walk the two blocks to her apartment after her lunch.

Do you have a friend or relative who could do this for you?
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:43 PM
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There are two things I believe are key for you. I'm not saying either one will be particularly easy, but the first you have already heard which is Al-Anon.

The second, and I mean this kindly though these words are often not heard that way, do whatever it takes to get a job and your own income.

You are trapped without it. A lot of money does not buy happiness, but a little of your own money will certainly be a start.

Take care,

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Old 01-11-2011, 09:34 PM
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Some days it's all about putting one foot in front of the other-- and I consider that a lot of progress.
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