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How to have a healthy marriage in AA and Al-anon

Old 05-06-2013, 08:03 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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My RABF is 5+ months out of treatment and in recovery. The first couple of months were weird, I wasn't sure where we stood. I learned through counseling and AlAnon to give him space and time to find his way.

He goes to AA 6 days a week, has a counselor who specializes in addiction recovery, meets with his Sponsor once a week, and does step work. He also works, and tries to find time for exercise. His plate is full. I go to AlAnon twice weekly, meet with my Sponsor, work full time, and keep my exercise routine. My plate is not as full as his, but full enough for me. Many days we don't see each other until 7pm, and we're both tired by then.

Coming up on 6 months sober, I am now wanting more time for us. We have a great counselor (also has a specialty in addiction) who helps us through these next steps. I made it clear that I don't want to interfere with his recovery, but I need to feel I am somewhere on his schedule. We have agreed to a designated date night each week. That is all I need for now. Baby steps.

I think each of us focusing on ourselves benefits the relationship at the end of the day. I realize how I contributed to the chaos, and have worked hard to change what I can in my behaviors. He has realized that he has to stay focused at all times, or risk returning to the hell that was his life.

Perhaps you could find a counselor with a background/specialty in addictions? Any local treatment program could give you names. I think it helps to have that 3rd party facilitate communication in these early days. I would also suggest giving it a little more time, the timeline is different for everyone. Some days I'm just grateful that he's sober and we're living peacefully together. Progress....not perfection.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
My daughter mused about that and said -- now all the lying is gone from our home. She has some wicked dark humor.
Your daughter sounds awesome.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:54 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
After at first being distressed about the all the lies, and winding up in Alateen, my 10 year old daughter and I started laughing and calling it 100 Lies in 100 Days. I guess all the lying was Mrs. Hammer's way of coping with her Eating Disorder being taken away.

Finally our daughter and I got smart and prayed that God would remove all the Lies and Evil from our home. About two days later, Mrs. Hammer got a job (she is an MS Social Worker) at a Long Term Rehab Center working with chronic relapsers. She is gone about 60 hours a week. My daughter mused about that and said -- now all the lying is gone from our home. She has some wicked dark humor.

Mrs. Hammer is now telling me that the chronic relapsers she is working with -- first thing she busts and hammers them on is lying. Daughter and I roll on the floor laughing over that one. Mrs. Hammer was also telling me that she met the owner of the operation last week and he called her a liar twice in the conversation. He was joking . . . but no he was not. God does really funny and good work when we ask and let Him.
Your 10 year old daughter mocks her mother and you join in and laugh about it with the 10 year old. Can you explain to me how this is evidence of a healthy marriage and family life? I am not seeing it.

I genuinely am curious as to what makes you believe this is emotionally healthy.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:39 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lulu39 View Post
Your 10 year old daughter mocks her mother and you join in and laugh about it with the 10 year old. Can you explain to me how this is evidence of a healthy marriage and family life? I am not seeing it.

I genuinely am curious as to what makes you believe this is emotionally healthy.
I'm not sure it's evidence of a healthy marriage. But speaking from my own experience, that ten year old is able to see and understand the evidence of her own eyes, and to sort out what is real and what is not. That is a really **** valuable skill, and one that it took me 25 years to learn.

The older the children get, the more they understand and the less can be hidden from them. It is not healthy to undermine and tell them "everything's okay, she didn't mean it" when they can see with their own eyes that everything is not okay and while she said she was sorry, this is the 87th time she's said she was sorry and so clearly she doesn't mean it.

Sadly the relationship and respect between the kid and the parent who lies to them is a casualty of these kinds of situations. Kids don't give respect, as they get older, because they're "supposed" to; you have to earn your kids' respect. You don't earn it by lying, by misleading, by constantly breaking promises, by being inconsistent, rageful... I could go on for paragraphs. You don't get respect just because you're a parent. It would be nice if it worked that way, but the kids aren't five forever.

You don't have to mock the other parent (although I saw it as her honest observation and Mr Hammer just agreeing - my daughter too has a mordant sense of humor) but denying their reality is just as f-ed up as what the alcoholic is doing to you - and to them.

Edit: and the worst part is when you are the "only" adult in the home and you not only have to be the adult, you have to pick up the pieces of your kids' broken hearts when another promise is broken or another rage attack happens, and you have to try to help your kids make sense of it without being disrespectful of the other parent - OR of your kid. And stating reality is NOT necessarily disrespectful.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:29 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lulu39 View Post
Your 10 year old daughter mocks her mother and you join in and laugh about it with the 10 year old.
Seems we laugh about a LOT of painful things. Not saying that is good nor somehow right, nor righteous, but it becomes a HUGE and relatively harmless vent for an otherwise painful and emotionally damaging situations.

But it does take some Huge Honesty and Capacity to handle Real Truth. Not always common in addiction land.

On my side, I am secure enough to tell the kids to study me as a cautionary tale on some matters, as well. You may know the saying -- If you cannot be a good example, perhaps you can be a cautionary tale.

Laughter precludes and wipes away what would otherwise fester as repressed rage and becomes hate. On the other hand, we also have more serious Science based side of things -- we have also done detailed Anatomy and Physiology type study and reading together, how the limbic system works, how a dysfunctioning Amygdala causes addicts to do goofy things, and "why" Momma has the problems and acts she does.

AND that we can choose to love Momma, as she is, anyway. And we do.

Back before her relapse, when Mrs. Hammer was much healthier and tied in honestly to her AA program, we used to laugh and enjoy all sorts of humor of our own foolishness. After the relapse and the lying started to cover that -- not so much.

Ever see Life is Beautiful? Life Is Beautiful - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sort of like that at times.

Can you explain to me how this is evidence of a healthy marriage and family life? I am not seeing it.
Not trying to show such a thing to you, nor present evidence, as I am not court, thanks for asking.

We cannot do legit family T, as Mrs. Hammer is dead set against anyone competent in DBT. Do you understand what that is and what I am saying?

I had to actually block and shield our daughter out the door past a raging, screaming Mrs. Hammer to get to go to the first Alateen meeting. It is not pretty here, at times.

I genuinely am curious as to what makes you believe this is emotionally healthy.
We are only doing safe venting. I am not a T and do not pretend to be at home nor the intertoobs. Dunno if you have ever dealt with and Alcohol, Addicts, or Mentally Ill parent or spouse? Sometimes laughing beats the crying.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:19 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bluegalangal View Post
I'm not sure it's evidence of a healthy marriage.
Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
Dunno if you have ever dealt with and Alcohol, Addicts, or Mentally Ill parent or spouse?
The thread was about "How to have a healthy marriage in AA and Al anon". A marriage is between two people.

Hammer, do you feel that you have a real and true marriage with your wife?

I do understand that perhaps you were sharing a lighter side regarding how you and your child cope with your wife's addictions and mental illness. It is probably healthier than perhaps you having a co-dependent rage.

I have an AXH and am a mother of three, teens. My AXH is an alcoholic and a drug addict. He has also been diagnosed with a depressive illness but he chooses to do nothing about it. That's why I'm here.

Originally Posted by Bluegalangal View Post
Kids don't give respect, as they get older, because they're "supposed" to; It would be nice if it worked that way, but the kids aren't five forever.
I am lucky that my teenagers do. I think it's possibly more to do with them doing martial arts training 3 times a week and learning humility and respect and manners in the Dojo than anything deep and philosophical I ever said or any Ala-teen brochure they ever bothered to read.

I can highly recommend martial arts for kids of addicts. The teachers and the advanced students are fantastic role models for what it means to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:08 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lulu39 View Post
I am lucky that my teenagers do. I think it's possibly more to do with them doing martial arts training 3 times a week and learning humility and respect and manners in the Dojo than anything deep and philosophical I ever said or any Ala-teen brochure they ever bothered to read.

I can highly recommend martial arts for kids of addicts. The teachers and the advanced students are fantastic role models for what it means to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.
My kids (now 18 and 21) respect me, and my parents, and other adults in their lives who have earned their respect. Their extracurricular of choice was ice hockey - great people, great coaches, great kids.

I also don't appreciate your implication that my kids don't have humility, respect, or manners because they are aware of their father's lies and issues and they have lost respect for him as a result. That's a consequence of his actions and his choices.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:42 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lulu39 View Post
The thread was about "How to have a healthy marriage in AA and Al anon". A marriage is between two people.
Fair enough.

Hammer, do you feel that you have a real and true marriage with your wife?
Real and True? Gotta love those places. Been praying to be there -- Part of My Happy Land list.

Direct and sincere answer -- I feel that . . . We are a mess.

So I do welcome your or others' insights and corrections.

Mrs. Hammer tried to short circuit rehab upfront by cutting the time too short (3 weeks instead of the recommended 4 or more), and when they realized they "botched" her, they sent her out half-baked, telling us all to lie to her and tell her she was fine.

Went downhill. Way downhill, from there.

For my part, I have been doing Alanon with a passion, and getting our daughter to Alateen. But even the 8 and 5 year old have been harmed.

The lying stuff has been dizzying.



I do understand that perhaps you were sharing a lighter side regarding how you and your child cope with your wife's addictions and mental illness. It is probably healthier than perhaps you having a co-dependent rage.
The rage around our house gets so much generated, owned and dominated by Mrs. Hammer, that we really do not get to have any, ourselves. A good part of the interaction is towards "Do Not Make Momma Mad."

The closer dynamic that is created is Fear. The kids Fear Mrs. Hammer, at this point. And that which we Fear, we often grow to Hate. The comedy relief is more towards -- That Which You Can Laugh At, You Need Not Fear. So we laugh at the illness and try to love the person.

Not a perfect world nor perfect plan, but in the Hurricane, you work with what you can.

I have an AXH and am a mother of three, teens. My AXH is an alcoholic and a drug addict. He has also been diagnosed with a depressive illness but he chooses to do nothing about it. That's why I'm here.
Understood. Ours seems to come closer to another, but closely aligned illness, described here >>>

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...er-thread.html


I am lucky that my teenagers do. I think it's possibly more to do with them doing martial arts training 3 times a week and learning humility and respect and manners in the Dojo than anything deep and philosophical I ever said or any Ala-teen brochure they ever bothered to read.

I can highly recommend martial arts for kids of addicts. The teachers and the advanced students are fantastic role models for what it means to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.
Understood. Mrs. Hammer was/is a Black Belt from back in the day. Our 8 y.o. son thought he was interested, but maybe not.

And you are correct, that does not always align with AA/Alanon/Alateen. The Alateen folks direct advice (as much as do not really give direct advice) is to actively NOT listen to mom's crazy rants, "voices," and all the rest. Not about humble nor respect in this realm as much as Survive, Evade, Escape.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:47 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Hammer- just wondering because it sounds like your AW is not adding a lot to the family, whether you have thought about taking the kids and leaving.

they are all being impacted, they fear her, there is anger, there are eggshells...

i have kids close to the ages of your younger 2 and they are and have been very impacted by all the things you write about your AW doing and they have not been under the same roof with their dad in over a year...

i just worry about your kids-- i wish that we as the non A parents had enough power to protect the kids from the fall out from the disease and i told myself i protected my kids from most of it but in hindsight, that was me lying to myself.

seeing how peaceful they are and i am and our home is with AH gone it makes it all the more obvious how bad it was with him there...

just wondering if you've given leaving or asking her to leave any consideration?
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
Hammer- just wondering because it sounds like your AW is not adding a lot to the family, whether you have thought about taking the kids and leaving.

they are all being impacted, they fear her, there is anger, there are eggshells...

i have kids close to the ages of your younger 2 and they are and have been very impacted by all the things you write about your AW doing and they have not been under the same roof with their dad in over a year...

i just worry about your kids-- i wish that we as the non A parents had enough power to protect the kids from the fall out from the disease and i told myself i protected my kids from most of it but in hindsight, that was me lying to myself.

seeing how peaceful they are and i am and our home is with AH gone it makes it all the more obvious how bad it was with him there...

just wondering if you've given leaving or asking her to leave any consideration?
wow.

Had never thought about it.

Had mused that while she has been so crazy at me since rehab that if it were just us (not kids), we would be better apart. But the kids make that very much not so, so have never really considered it.

She had an absolute nutcase blowout the day after Christmas - standing raging/screaming in the middle of her mom's kitchen I Hate You at me when she "lost" a couple of hundred dollars (it was in her pocket) that I had left for her therapy. She had been trying to duck therapy, so she had been calling everyone -- except me -- telling them I did not leave her money for T. I asked about that and she started raging at me, pretending she could not add up $100 + 300 = $400. Really strange.

I just tried to stay sitting and calmly help her add up numbers. Really goofy. Finally she ran out of the room to call her sponsor to agree that she "was not crazy." Ok. When I figured out she had the money all along, I was glad she had not spent it on drugs or something, since she was just back from rehab for 2 weeks.

That whole thing was in front of the kids, they sat watching the spectacle over the back of the living room couch. The 5 year old came and asked if mom did know that 100 + 300 = 400. The 8 year old came up and asked me to keep the family together. And the 10 year old thanked me for finally standing up to the rages, and said if I had not, she would have run away.

So I took their response as my "Marching Orders." I watch the money, I keep the family together, and I stand up to Mom when she is in Raging Retard persona.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bluegalangal View Post
I also don't appreciate your implication that my kids don't have humility, respect, or manners because they are aware of their father's lies and issues and they have lost respect for him as a result.

I was addressing your generalisation regarding children and respect and your point that children do not stay 5 forever. I addressed your generalisation by using the example of my children, my life and my experience. I did not refer to your children or your experience. It seems you have inferred something I never implied.

In my experience my children (and many other children I know) show respect to everyone whether it's a drunk on the street drinking paint stripper from a paper bag or their own drunken father stumbling around and spouting garbage. Sometimes, when I overhear them having to listen to a drunken lecture from their father on the phone, I wish they would tell their father to STFU! They never have... I wonder if they ever will?

At least, in my eyes, my children have learned not to have any expectations of their father or from anyone on their father's side of the family. They have learned that paternal grandma will promise them the world for their birthday or Xmas and then deliver nothing. They have learned that Daddy will promise them a watch for their birthday, Xmas and then deliver nothing. They have learned that Daddy will promise to take them to the pool or the movies and then deliver nothing. Yet, they are still respectful to all these people who let them down. It infuriates me! My natural codie response is to want to yell and scream and throw bricks at the people who let my children down and lie to my children. I don't, but I want to.

They are able to talk about their disappointment when these people let them down, my youngest has even stated that paternal "grandma is a liar". However, if that woman were to deign to phone her grandchildren they would be polite and respectful.

I do believe their martial arts training and the mostly male SOBER role models they train with has something to do with the respect they display. They belong to a healthy community which supports them and explicitly teaches them respect, humility and manners. I'm really grateful for that.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
wow.

Had never thought about it.
Give thinking about it a try.

Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
Had mused that while she has been so crazy at me since rehab that if it were just us (not kids), we would be better apart. But the kids make that very much not so, so have never really considered it.

I used to think that way too. I was prepared to hang in there with my XAH until my kids were old enough for us to split up and therefore handle the split a bit better. Save the kids from the turmoil and all that. LOL! The kids were being brought up in crazy town, la la drunk-land!


Originally Posted by Hammer View Post

She had an absolute nutcase blowout the day after Christmas ...

That whole thing was in front of the kids, they sat watching the spectacle over the back of the living room couch. The 5 year old came and asked if mom did know that 100 + 300 = 400. The 8 year old came up and asked me to keep the family together. And the 10 year old thanked me for finally standing up to the rages, and said if I had not, she would have run away.
They will never forget that crazy day. Imagine the fear they had...and standing up to the rages does no-one any good in the end, just saying. Not good for anyone's blood pressure or emotional well-being.

Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
So I took their response as my "Marching Orders." I watch the money, I keep the family together, and I stand up to Mom when she is in Raging Retard persona.
You know, when my kids first found out that I was making Daddy leave they were devastated. I had sucked my kids into my codie [email protected] - we all believed that we had to stay together and present the united happy little secure family front. Which was all a lie. A BIG dirty LIE.

Without their drunken, drug addicted mental father in the house we get to go to bed at a reasonable hour without being woken up by fire, freak outs, rages, REALLY LOUD DRUNKEN SINGING, REALLY LOUD DRUNKEN PHONE CONVERSATIONS, slamming doors, him abusing the dog because all the humans were asleep, him crawling into the wrong bed, or him getting lost in the (quite small, perhaps average sized) house and calling for help to pick him up off the floor, help him aim his penis at the toilet bowl to urinate and guide him to bed.

The peace my kids and I have had since I made their father leave is pretty awesome. I also have this quiet hope that my kids will grow up NOT codie and NOT have to identify as an ACOA. I want to save them from that, if I can. Kicking their father out was the first step in that process.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:15 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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My recovering alcoholic husband has been sober for 13 months and he's still gone at AA all the time. I'm usually asleep before he gets home and we both work and have a two year old. I get home around 6pm he leaves soon after that. Then on the days that he has scheduled family time he wants to leave for a meeting and if I get upset about it I'm "jealous of the program". I'm lonely all the time and it's hard working and taking care of my toddler by myself. I'm only 25 but I don't know how much longer I can take being neglected. I've tried talking about it but he gets defensive and says that I hate him going to meetings.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:43 PM
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Welcome to SR, lvgdgrl.

A little shocked to go back and see so much of my own stuff in this older thread.

As far as YOU and Hubby . . . You may know that ALL we work on this side is YOU/US.

After all, AA-Hubby and/or AA-Mrs. Hammer are not here. (And the background choir of angels sing Thank God. )

And for YOU and ME -- the side that works on US is Alanon. You know about Alanon? Would be might fine/decent of YOUR Mr. AA-Hubby to make sure you had an open time or two a week to get some.

We are rather blessed with a LOT of good Alanon in Texas. You familiar with Where, and When to find it?
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:18 PM
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yes

I've been to alanon. More than a couple of times. Every time I didn't like it too much. And I already know that he needs to work on himself and that most of his time will go to AA. I'm just tired of being lonely and wondering if he will ever make time for me or our son. It's been 13 months and I'm about ready to give up.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:34 PM
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ahhhh. I get that. We are about at 13 months, now, too. Let's see, exact numbers . . . maybe 14 months + 1 week + not quite 3 hours. But who is counting?

She just wandered out the door to newly scheduled New Comer Meeting on the AA side, and I caught the Alanon Noon Meeting today.

We even had one of the Most Pleasant Real Conversation Chats . . . I think in the last 15 months . . . . about various Alanon and AA stuff. She *just* starts working at Local Rehab on Monday. Normal 40 hour week, only about 7 miles from our house.

Guess you may have caught some of our stuff back through this thread -- for a LONG while there, we (me and the kids) were sort of glad she was gone a lot -- over 60 hours a week. Crazy times.

But now maybe things are going towards Sanity? Dunno, Guess it is time for Step 2 to kick in.

But like I say -- THIS is about YOU and ME. Not Them.

Sooooo . . . what can we do for you?
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