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Grateful she's sober, but meetings til 2AM??

Old 01-19-2011, 02:28 PM
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Grateful she's sober, but meetings til 2AM??

Hi all. New guy here.
My wife has been sober for going on 9 months. We had grown distant over the 5 years she was drinking. She's found sobriety, which is wonderful, but it has come at a terrible cost to me. She stays out very late, getting home many nights at 12:30, 1:00, even 2:00AM.
I agonized over the spectre of infidelity but I'm sure she's not cheating on me. But she's purposely spending as much time as possible away from home and 9 months of this is just too much for me to take. The program has done wonders for her. But now I've discovered the extent to which alcoholism has effected me. I'm a wreck. I'm going to al-anon meetings and they're helping a little but no one seems to have my particular problem and I desperately need someone to relate to and talk to about it. obviously there's much more to the story than this but that's the gist of it.
I've told her that her nightly meetings would be absolutely no problem if she would come home at a reasonable hour. I want to be the one she says goodnight to, not some other alcoholic. She told me last night that she doesn't grow around me but that she's growing with her AA friends. We've got 2 young boys that I stay at home with every night and I just think it's so unfair of her to spend so much time away from me and them.
We love eachother. We want to be together. But I really can't take this anymore. Each night she's out is literally more and more painful and I feel like my heart is breaking.
There is something about her group that is so compelling to her that she's not willing to let it go. She says she's hanging on to her sobriety by a thread and doesnt want to change anything up right now since it's working. But it's not really working for me. I love her and I want more of her. I can't demand it though and unless it's given to me freely it's not real.
Once again, just like when she was drinking, I'm at a complete loss as to what to do.
Thank you for reading this - it got kind of long.
BL
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:49 PM
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Hi BL and welcome.

I'm sorry you're in the place you're in but I'm glad that you found SR. There are many wonderful folks who'll be chiming in very soon.

It's great that you're attending Al-Anon meetings. I've found the skills I've learned in those rooms be so valuable. They say that Al-Anon teaches you the skills you need to live with your alcoholic weather they're drinking or not.

In your case, she's not drinking. But you still need to take care of you.

You are not alone!
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:53 PM
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AA doesn't not teach that kind of self-centeredness to where she would be absent even from the children.
Does she have a sponsor?
I think it is BS, if you just want someone's opinion.
That isn't recovery to me.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:53 PM
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My ex-husband is sober, but he still has many of the traits/behaviors I *thought* were due to the drinking.

Selfishness
Immaturity
Irresponsibility
Selfishness

Did I mention selfishness?

Anyway, it was only after he got sober that I could truly see that he was not what I wanted in a life partner.

It seems that you have told her her behavior is not okay with you, yet she continues. That leaves it up to you to decide what to do. I'm sorry I can't share a more positive experience.

L
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:59 PM
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Dude, where to start...

...this is very, very, very hard. I'm sorry you are experiencing this. My wife, at the beginning of her recovery, stayed away from my daughter and I for several months as she worked on her recovery. I struggled with it, but she set a boundary around it that I respected. I would not, however, have been able to accept it indefinitely.

After that and on her own timeteable, she returned to us and even moved back in with us, but does, in fact, put her recovery before us. Her view, and I agree with it, is that without her recovery she has nothing (including our family). We do, however, get to see her and spend time together.

I wish I had specific advice for you on this issue. I feel your pain. If you've communicated your feelings to her, and she to you, and there is no answer or compromise this may in fact simply be a new reality. If so, you are going to face the difficult decision of whether or not you can accept it as is and, if so, for how long. Sadly, there may not be a happy ending.

Ultimately, she is responsible for her and you are responsible for you and your kids (which is not fair, but is the way it is). It's my view that alcoholics, and alcoholics in early recovery, are simply not capable of taking care of others, including their own children. I believe alcoholics are selfish, and I believe alcoholics in early recovery have to be selfish if they want to find long-term good recovery. It has to be about them, and you have to be about you and your kids. Again, it's not fair, but it is the way it is.

You cannot expect that your life will ever be "normal" with this woman-- mine will never be with my alcoholic wife. She will always be, until the day she dies, either an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic, and that's exactly how she has to live. She can no more choose that than she can choose her gender or ethnicity. It is what it is and she has no choice.

And I have to accept that the woman I love can only be in my life, sober, one day at a time, and that I will always be fourth in her life behind her recovery, herself, and our daughter.

I'm so sorry. Good luck my friend. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:37 PM
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I can sympathize with you very much. My ex bf is a recovering addict, and note, I said "ex".

When he went through rehab, he and I both had so many optimistic hopes for our future together, and for several months tried working things out in our relationship. However, he wasn't going to meetings; I wasn't going to meetings, and soon he left the relationship.

We continued to date periodically, but then he got into REAL recovery, going to NA meetings, got a sponsor, went on retreats, started working the steps -- and I mean REALLY working them - his sponsor has him spend over a month on each step, in fact.

But as Cyranoak stated, recovery is a selfish venture. If the addict/alcoholic is to be any good to anyone else in their life, they first have to be good for themselves. They have to go in and totally re-evaluate things, find themselves and really do a great deal of reaching and soul-searching. Like I said, it's a very selfish venture. Some relationships don't survive this, and I totally understand why. I am still in love with my ex, and I wish so badly that things would have worked out for us, and I am so incredibly proud of him and happy he is doing so well in recovery. But I am incredibly co-dependent, as well, and I enabled him and protected him a lot in his active addiction, so when I didn't get help with my codependent tendencies, I think we were doomed to failure.

There are some things about him that I don't like now. He seems very selfish, self-centered, egotistical, non-compassionate, ungrateful, unsympathetic. These were all traits he held while in active addiction, and he hasn't learned to lose them yet. Hopefully someday he will. Only time will tell.

For the life of me, though, I can't imagine why your wife needs to stay out til all hours of the night. I understand the whole thought-process of relating to others in recovery, and finding growth in the fellowship, but I've never known a meeting to last that long. You have to come to terms with what you want out of life and what is best for you and your children. That's part of the codependent's recovery process. It's a selfish venture too sometimes.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:47 PM
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Just dropping in to say welcome to the forum.

and now you're not alone.
you can come here.

You know, it wasn't until I was married
to the third alcoholic
that I realized
that he'd never lovfe me
as much as he did that bottle.
Or can.

Now that I', too am a recovering alcoholic
I see that
even though that bottle is gone
the only thing that can replace it
is recovery.

So we, as codependents
will never be higher than number two on that list.

That's what we have to learn to live with
or run away from.

But 2 am with small kids at home.
That's a priority thing.
I also wonder
where is the sponsor
and what is going on that is that late?
rarely does th eclub stay open that late here.

And ps-

the club - is not where the recovery happens.
it's in the rooms.

Again -
I think your concerns are valid.

I welcome you to the forum!
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:28 PM
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Hello and welcome...

How wonderful that your wife is in recovery.

I am an alcoholic in recovery. I attend meetings, I work, I go out with friends, I go about my daily life. At first, I wanted to be at my meetings or with my recovery buds because I was most comfortable there. I shared a bond with them that I didn't have with others.

For many months, I was uncomfortable at home, because I was just uncomfortable with myself.

My sponsor is a wise and wonderful women who continually reminds me that I created alot of chaos and inflicted alot of damage upon my loved ones when I was active. She told me that I had to start living my recovery in that place and space called home. It wasn't always rainbows and unicorns. But, I was home and more importantly I was sober.

I try to make a living amends everyday to my loved ones. That includes living the prinicipals I have learned at home.

No meetings go on until 2:00 am, although she may just be at the Alano club or drinking coffee with friends.

I would suggest you see if a possible compromise could be worked out right now. Support her recovery and friendships certain nights, and certain nights are family nights.

Just a suggestion.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
...this is very, very, very hard. I'm sorry you are experiencing this. My wife, at the beginning of her recovery, stayed away from my daughter and I for several months as she worked on her recovery. I struggled with it, but she set a boundary around it that I respected. I would not, however, have been able to accept it indefinitely.

After that and on her own timeteable, she returned to us and even moved back in with us, but does, in fact, put her recovery before us. Her view, and I agree with it, is that without her recovery she has nothing (including our family). We do, however, get to see her and spend time together.

I wish I had specific advice for you on this issue. I feel your pain. If you've communicated your feelings to her, and she to you, and there is no answer or compromise this may in fact simply be a new reality. If so, you are going to face the difficult decision of whether or not you can accept it as is and, if so, for how long. Sadly, there may not be a happy ending.

Ultimately, she is responsible for her and you are responsible for you and your kids (which is not fair, but is the way it is). It's my view that alcoholics, and alcoholics in early recovery, are simply not capable of taking care of others, including their own children. I believe alcoholics are selfish, and I believe alcoholics in early recovery have to be selfish if they want to find long-term good recovery. It has to be about them, and you have to be about you and your kids. Again, it's not fair, but it is the way it is.

You cannot expect that your life will ever be "normal" with this woman-- mine will never be with my alcoholic wife. She will always be, until the day she dies, either an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic, and that's exactly how she has to live. She can no more choose that than she can choose her gender or ethnicity. It is what it is and she has no choice.

And I have to accept that the woman I love can only be in my life, sober, one day at a time, and that I will always be fourth in her life behind her recovery, herself, and our daughter.

I'm so sorry. Good luck my friend. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
Cyranoak...That was kind of depressing.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:17 PM
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Guess I'll put on my "AA Hat" here and relate my experience in my first 3 years away from the booze and 'into recovery.'

I would have been totally LOST without my AA meetings and the "Meetings after the Meetings in coffee shops." Many was the night that I didn't get home until 1 or 2 am and then up to work in the morning. Now those 'meetings after the meetings' were usually with my sponsor and others or my sponsor's sponsor and others.

I got sober in the San Fernando Valley and over the years have come to see, that this is very popular in California, more so than in other parts of the country. But it worked for me, and has for many others.

They literally were my life line so to speak as I slowly learned how to 'live' sober and become once again a productive member of society.

Oh and as a side note, I got married at a year and a half sober to another sober alcoholic with more time than myself and there were many nights that he too went for 'meetings after the meetings' with his fellow sober alkies.

Slowly we set nights of the week where 'we' met for coffee with other A's and Al-anons.

I was a very slow learner when it came to recovery and was very fearful of 'not' getting 'it' and going back out, and to be honest I too hung on to the other sober A's VERY TIGHTLY.

Everybody's recovery goes at a different pace, and I personally think that at '9 months' if she says she is 'hanging on by a thread' then she probably is and is being as honest with you as she can at the moment.

J M H O

I am glad that you are going to Al-Anon, as at 3 years sober I started attending Al-Anon also and it helped then and still helps me greatly, with ME.

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing as we do care very much.

Love and hugs,
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:32 PM
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Live said it best. Ignoring your responsibilities goes counter to what recovery is supposed to be about.

Her responsibilities as a mom and member of your family are part of LIFE and recovery is supposed to be about the ability to live with life as you have it. If the set up isn't to her liking (married with two small children) then she can't use meetings as an excuse to not deal with what is going on at home.

Yes sobriety is selfish but she is still causing harm to others so to me that isn't true recovery. She is only sober. Something isn't 'connecting' with her so maybe she is hanging by a thread but if the life she has at home is something she has to avoid to stay sober then she and you need to make some hard choices.

I think AA can be used as an escape by some who aren't really embracing the work involved. They replace one addiction with an AA addiction. While that is the 'healthier' alternative, it isn't what the program is about, to hide from life.

I feel for ya. Hopefully she will see this but sounds like you may need counseling as a couple. Just a suggestion.... bb
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:42 PM
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Regardless of how "normal" for recovering alcoholics it is to be out till 2 am, it's up to you whether you accept it or not.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:55 PM
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I'm a recovering addict. I spent 3 months seperated from my family in a rehab and a sober living home. I must be different, because I could not wait to get out of rehab and back to my family. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days after rehab and I spend about 3 meetings a week now in NA or AA. I don't however do meetings after the meetings, I do my meeting and get on with my living and making amends to my family. I don't need to make amends to a bunch of people I just met or learn how to live sober I guess because in my particular case my addiction started up in my 40's. I felt bad enough leaving my family to fend for themselves which I think was good for them but also I missed them too and I wanted to be "present" where I had been there in body only. It has been rocky at times, because being newly clean/sober is an emotional rollercoaster but we have done fine. My husband is supportive but I also don't hang out every night away from my family. I did morning meetings so I could be home every night. Every recovery I guess is different. I don't know what to tell you about your particular case, it would also break my heart. I hope things get better for you in whichever direction you choose to take. Recovery is important to me but it is also not the only thing in my life either. Hugs for your pain
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:47 PM
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And if my response sounded harsh, I didn't mean it to. I think it reflects where I'm at emotionally -- I don't really care what RAXH or his counselor or his pastor or his family or Larry King or Elvis Presley thinks about his behavior: If it's unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable. And if it is, I have the choice of saying "this is unacceptable to me and I will not have it in my life" or saying "this is unacceptable to me but I will tolerate it for a little longer to see if anything changes" or "this is unacceptable to me but I choose to ignore that because it's too hard to take the consequences of deciding to remove myself from it."

It may sound harsh, still, but it's the most empowering feeling to realize that really, you have choices, and you have the right to make them.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:12 AM
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Thank you all very, very much!

I especially want to say thanks to barb, Laurie and Cyranoak.
Here's a bit more of my story: since I made it known that her "meetings after meetings" were getting to me, she's begun to taper off a bit. Last night she came home at 11 and tonight she came in here as I'm typing this at 10:45!
So things are looking up. But man did I have a rough time of it the last couple of weeks. I hope it lasts. For her, it seems to be about progress, not perfection, and I will encourage this progress.
I told her about an epiphany I had after reading barb's reply; that I'll never be more than #2 on her list of priorities. That one thought, which hurt at first, suddenly gave me the greatest relief I could have hoped for. I understand now that I ALSO WANT HER RECOVERY TO BE #1 in her life. So now #2 isn't looking so bad.
She told me that it's often joked about in her meetings that they should never tell their spouses that they've been moved down a notch on the list of priorities. It makes sense to me.
Laurie - it sounds as if you may have hung out with the Trudgers. That's the group my wife hangs with. I've heard from others that they do stay out late but that their methods produce good results.
I have lots more to say but I want to go and enjoy the company of my wife
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:17 AM
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Laurie - it sounds as if you may have hung out with the Trudgers. That's the group my wife hangs with. I've heard from others that they do stay out late but that their methods produce good results.
Yep, it was the Valley Trudgers, lol The groups are over 40 years old, both in L.A. and about 35 years old in The Valley. Yes, they have 'saved' many an alkie that was on the edge of 'going back out', if nothing else, keeping them out at the coffee shop until the bars and liquor stores closed.

I am glad your wife is trying to get home earlier. Yes it is 'progress not perfection.'

My very best to the both of you ....................... you continue to use Al-Anon and she AA and I wouldn't be surprised if some day in the not to distance future y'all don't start going to some of the conventions and roundups in the Southern California area, and yes many of them have events for the kids too. They are a GREAT weekend getaway of fun and program and meeting others in your same situation.

Sending good thoughts and prayers from NM.

Love and hugs,
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Live View Post
AA doesn't not teach that kind of self-centeredness to where she would be absent even from the children.
Does she have a sponsor?
I think it is BS, if you just want someone's opinion.
That isn't recovery to me.
I agree. And where do they go after the meeting? A meeting is usually an hour or so long.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BlackLizrd View Post
I understand now that I ALSO WANT HER RECOVERY TO BE #1 in her life. So now #2 isn't looking so bad.
First off, welcome. I have an AW and she has her own later night recovery program so I can related to you.

Just don't forget to put yourself in the #1 spot, kids next. I know what's it's like to get run down doing the daily grind while the AW works on her sobriety. I know it's hard feeling like you're the only person doing the work on the family. I have a similar challenge. I know what it's like to have sacrificed so much during the drinking time only to keep sacrificing while she sobers up. Seems like you aren't getting a piece of the pie. I started working on small increments of time. 15 minutes of all me time. The more of that I did, the more me time I found. I'm now carving out large chunks of the day and looking to take some classes during the week for myself.

Nobody should get demoted by someone else. We should always keep ourselves in the top spot.

Last edited by Shellcrusher; 01-20-2011 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Elaboration
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:04 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
same planet...different world
 
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Butte, America
Posts: 10,946
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Yes - (to what Shellcrusher wrote)

now YOU have to relaize that SHE can never be #1 on YOUR list, either.

you have your own recovery to think about.
then your kids.
Looks wierd,
but it's the old
"put the gas mask on yourself first; then put the mask on the kids'
thing.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:44 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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If I did needlepoint, I'd put this on a pillow

"you don't have a problem; you have a solution you don't like."

Thanks for that.
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