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Husband of an alcoholic - new to this.....

Old 02-07-2011, 09:44 AM
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How ya doin' today, Jay?
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:03 AM
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You and I have a lot in common. We are very close to the same age. My life was very idyllic....great wife...amazing kids...life was good. I have learned a "new Normal" way of life. I have started detaching myself a bit. Started doing some things that I have wanted to do for 27 years. sharing with a friend that life is hard right now. Life is far from perfect, but in some crazy sort of way there are certain aspects that are a relief. But I would find myself measuring the bottles, Keeping count etc. Now I just put them in the garbage. Even I am told I am to blame for the alcohol, I know it isnt true. but I have become alot more resolved to myself. Life has settled into a routine albeit not what I thought it would look like at 50 but doable.

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:48 AM
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Hi Jay,

Just wanted to welcome you and let you know that you are definitely not alone!

I realized that my wife of 18 years had a drinking problem 5 months ago. My wife has also denied that she has a problem, she deserves to relax, I'm the problem, the kids are the problem.... all the while continuing to drink in front of anyone who is around and she thinks this is normal.

Grizz has it right in describing learning a "new normal". I think that's important because over the past year or two the definition of "normal" as it relates to drinking has slowly and subtly changed. By going to Al-Anon and learning the tools that they teach you will create a "new normal" for yourself. A place where you can live today.

Please be gentle with yourself and don't force anything. They say that you shouldn't make any big life decisions for 6-12 months after starting an Al-Anon program. Let that liberate you and help you work on yourself.

I know what it's like to have the love of your life change into a person you can no longer trust.

Take care and know that there are lots of folks that are here for you!
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:00 PM
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This requires an update . . . and it's all good. Not false promises or lies . . . it's real.

It is often said that the person who is forgetting that EVERYTHING must be done in moderation is the person most prone to substance abuse. The 'crutch' of alcohol as a means of making life 'normal' is viewed as a 'magic wand' that those of us who do feel in control our own lives cannot understand.

I am one of those who can control myself. I am grateful and I am fortunate.

But as 'ste' said in a reply earlier, "When my head spins I want a drink to slow it down, but realize its best to..... to what? Accept my spinning head."

That's what resonated with my wife when I shared these comments with her.

The really tragic stories I read here are not what we face - or so I think at this point. AlAnon will surely see us attending together . . . to listen and educate ourselves.

What resonated with me through the comments made is the 'progressive' nature of the 'disease'. Hers is just so very recent aberrent behavior - though the signs have been there for some time. She is 'allergic' to alcohol - and was only just starting the descent when I caught her . . . Prior to that she was only occasionally embarassing. If she drinks, she has alcoholic tendencies . . . so she just can't drink.

When I disallowed the wine consumption (liquid Kryptonite) she thanked me, as I said earlier. Then she switched to vodka . . . seeking that 'magic wand' waved over her to stop her 'head from spinning'. "Beer took too long and made me feel full" was her comment yesterday. So I am sort of feeling like I created a 'in the nick of time' moment by understanding that this hiding of the booze was a really BAD and scary sign . . . the obfuscation of drinking was causing her shame. She NEVER poured one in front of me . . . but never tried to hide it . . . But now she realizes that WAS hiding it. It was shame that made her wait until i was out of the room or out of view or out of the house . . .

So what we shared this morning . . .

Her menopause has created insomnia and night sweats of a nature that interrupts sleep regularly. Being the sweet person she is, she moves to another bedroom to not interrupt my sleep. When she came back into our bedroom this morning she laid down, put her head on my shoulder and said, "You know who I haven't talked to about this yet?" I presumed she meant a friend . . . She continued . . . "I haven't talked to God. I shut Him out. I forgot that my belief in prayer was forgotten and I needed it more than ever. So I prayed to Him this morning."

She went on to say she felt something was lifted off her shoulders and that this may not be as tough as she first thought. But she said it from a position of power - not deceipt . . . After being together so long, I sensed the truth behind it. She went on to say that she knows I could have left her behind - but that the depth of my love for her was greater than any addicition . . . and that only if she failed would I ever leave. She knows I would fight to my death for her to 'win' . . . and that was always unspoken - but now seemed so much more obvious. She's right . . . and I can tell you all this, if you knew her, you'd share the same love her her as all those who do cross her path. That's why it was so befuddling to see her begin to fail . . .

Yes, there's real work to be done . . . but in these truly tragic stories we find hope that we did not yet descend to these levels . . .

Now the effects of this forum on ME . . .

'Bellakeller' gave me this pearl of wisdom: "please give yourself a break - you are not God and can't control everything around you. So take yourself out of that equation - that's way too much responsibility to take on and once you realize that things will start to get better. "

Bella, you can't know how much that makes sense now. I'm the caretaker of many in my life . . . now or in my past. I've raised money for cancer victims, the hungry, the homeless, friends and family in crisis, attended family addiction counseling when a friend had gone off the deep end . . . I use MY strength to help others. My life seems glorious to me - so iI feel compelled to give back . . . to share my strength.

But it has gotten habitual - and closer to preaching more than helping. While I can handle criticism and critique and honesty, most people cannot. That doesn't make them bad or me good. I am fortunate - but this 'exercise' through crisis has made me realize that my strength is rare - and I need to be an example, not a mirror. Each must rise when the time is right. I was forcing it - knowing I could help. SHUT UP JAY!!! Wait for it . . .

It has been said about me many times that I am a guardian angel. That's flattering - but I think now that I started stepping on God's toes. I tried to do His work. I will now stop that and wait for the time to help. I am so grateful I can talk the talk and walk the walk. But my self-discipline is the exception - not the rule. Once, in my own life, I too had to decide between addiction and sobriety. But I was 20 years old - and ripe for failure OR success.

Once I decided 'I was better than that' behavior I exhibited, I stopped. I have always been that way. Cold turkey. That's rare - or so I have discovered here. People need strength . . . WHEN THEY NEED IT. So I will wait . . . and God will bring those most in need to me.

I just never thought it might start in my own home . . .

But you have all helped . . . both of us. This will be easily beaten. That's not delusional as we haven't yet faced the challenges of stopping . . . but if you FEEL you're going to win, you pretty much just decided how the outcome will be . . . She was NOT drinking daily - but the amount of alcohol was increasing - and the days between would have shortened to none if left unchecked. I guess my previous experiences with my friends family drug counseling influenced my 'instincts' in seeing her starting down a slippery slope . . .

She sent me one of the 'Tea Bag Mantras' she gets on her teabags this morning . . . "To be healthy: eat right, walk right and talk to yourself right." So who do you think made that pearl available to her? Her God . . . the same one that I was trying to replace . . . I back off, she steps on the gas and we head toward sobriety . . . and a renewed future TOGETHER!!

She feels renewed hope and a sense of peace . . . and she bravely welcomes the challenges she will face. Objectively, I've not seen this sort of confidence recently in her . . .

That's gotta be good for a start, eh?

God bless you all for your comments, prayers, support, advice, counsel, stories and love . . . If 'good begets good and bad begets bad' as we have preached' to our son for so many years, you will all be rewarded greatly for your generosity of helping out two total strangers. God's blessings to each of you for the selflessness shown here . . . The world is NOT a scary place if this 'Light' is there to turn on when needed.

I'll keep you posted . . . but our success won't be as dramatic as those with more tragic stories. To those people, my pause for prayer today and going forward will consider you . . . your peace . . . your greatness.

The best way I can repay you is to offer you something I found online . . . It's one man's interpretation of Ralph Waldo Emerson's amazing essay, 'Self Reliance' . . . and the soundness of his thought is truly inspirational . . . We are ALL great in our own special ways . . .

If God created Man in His own image, then he likely also imbued us with some of His greatness . . . I pray the weak find their greatness - and the strong reaffirm it . . . and please enjoy the read (Emersons' original was so 1800-speak that this 'interpretation' is more easily understood):

w-w-w.youmeworks.com/self_reliance_translated.html

As I am new here, links are not yet allowed - cut and paste . . .
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:06 PM
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Jay,
Welcome to SR. You're not alone. I understand your sadness. I too get bogged down with thoughts of the future or disappointment with the past as it relates to my AW.
Take it easy on yourself today. You're tired. Try and get some rest. Keep on reading and posting. We're all here for you.

Memorize the 3Cs. They help. Learning to look at your wife as a person and as another person addicted to alcohol may help. I still love my wife. I hate the alcoholic one.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:41 PM
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Wow Jay, we have a lot in common. I wish I had an answer for you. Personally, I'm trying really hard to trust God. I mean he is....GOD. I can no longer trust the woman that has been my companion for 25+ years.
The thing that worries me the most is what this may do to our three kids.
I can't afford to be weak. They need me and they need her.

I have a close friend whose wife ditched him and her kids recently because she found another man that "fulfills" her. Whatever....
How sickening it is to realize that my own wife would do the same thing , not because she found the worlds most interesting lover, but just so she can be alone with the toxic crap that she sucks from a bottle that just makes her stupid and sad.
It really makes me crazy.

I hope your wife can get fixed. I'm kinda new here too, still not sure what to do, but clearly there are plenty of folks that can share their experiences and encouragement.

Maybe we can learn from each other?

Good Luck
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:57 PM
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I am so happy for you, with your wife's new revelations.
I sincerely wish the best for both of you, and strength for the both of you, as finding and keeping sobriety (in your wife's case) and serenity (for both of you) is not always easy.

Also, since I can post links, here's the (working) Ralph Waldo Emerson link:
Emerson's essay, Self-Reliance translated into modern English.
I am still reading it, but so far I do agree, it is a very powerful message.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:44 PM
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I posted like 4 different responses..andkept rethinking, deleting.. All I want to do is wish you the best, and leave it at that.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:15 PM
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I wish you both the best, too.

And not to be negative (as I post a double negative), but it may not be as "easily beaten" as you think. I hope you're right. But in my experience, it is a little more complicated than having a lightbulb moment or two.

I'm not saying she won't recover and you won't be happy for the rest of your lives. Just don't be shocked if it becomes a little more complicated than you anticipated.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:41 PM
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Her menopause has created insomnia and night sweats of a nature that interrupts sleep regularly.
Thats funny as my husband suffers from insomnia and night sweats that interrupts his sleep, he must have the menopause too.

Sorry for being flippant! I have an exagerated ear these days for alcoholic bul**** Just beware of blameshifting and denial which comes in many guises. Its much easier for alcoholics to blame the effects of drinking on their bad lives, relationships, wives, families, the list goes on but you get my point.

I hope that you find some peace and you both make it through.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:19 AM
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Both sides . . . that always leads to truth....

Lexie and EightBall . . .

Believe me, I am not remotely close to being neive - but your presentation of the 'other side' NEEDS to be here to counter the conniving methods of substance abusers. I'm glad you pointed out the negative slant . . . Surely it will give someone a lightbulb moment. Skepticism is healthy and serves an incredible purpose in the lives of those affected by alcoholism. I was pleased to see the rebuttal to my optimism. You people really are amazing . . .

But the 'special' nature of our relationship has one significant component that has always seen us through tough times - and due to my speedy education here on SR it becomes even more apparent to us how valuable it is . . .

Communication. More specifically, truthful communication.

So you understand, she's not a good enough actress to fool me when she isn't being fully truthful. I know this because we have a bond that is rare - as I've noted. I sensed a slight change in her - satisfied my curiosity by unknowingly observing her - and busting her when I recognized the barely-ntoiceable aberrent behavior.

What I have learned here is the 'progressive' nature of alcoholism. It sneaks up on the victim. You do NOT turn into a substance abuser overnight.

I stopped the oncoming 'bus' that was about to hit her. I was observant enough and loving enough and instinctive enough to see what was happening. It had been an issue in the past - so my guard has been up for some time.

So for those who truly love their mates - as I do - one important thing got lost . . . She failed to communicate with me . . . she felt there was 'weakness' in her and she would feel persecuted by her husband who doesn't really suffer from those challenges.

But I would NEVER persecute her if I were told. If she had only communicated that she was feeling out of sorts. Sure, she knows that now . . . but her mind was tricking her into thinking I point out her failures and stop supporting her.

Not in a million years. Now that I 'stopped the bus' she sees that. That's so hopeful for us . . .

But it does give us concern over our views that the cause of a person's first steps down a crooked, tragic path CAN be staved off if they have someone who cares enough . . .

I read one thread on here directed at mothers . . . the stories have a consistent ring to them - and most start out innocently. One glass of wine . . . a
'happy place'. For the younger women, kids seemed the common thread. For the older women - remember, my wife is just 50 - it started out the same - and 'progressed'. One glass a night turned to 2 bottles . . .

But there is a common thread there also. Age. As a woman ages her serotonin levels (and other brain chemistry levels) drop significantly - there is medical evidence of a connection between the beginnings of destructive maladies from anxiety or panic disorders to alcoholism that seem oddly familiar to menopausal women. I'd venture to guess that alcohol consumption in even younger women spikes during their menstrual cycles.

Just to offer some professional viewpoints, you will surely find professional validation relating the two - menopause and alcoholism by typing in 'serotonin drop menopause alcoholism' in Google and surfing the articles.

Habits can consume us . . . and alcoholism - since it creeps in - must have a point at which it can be stopped or derailed - or just anticipated it as a concern. Not if the person is conniving enough and they are already too far gone - but was there a 'witness' to the abuse beginning and they just ignored the early signs and allowed the deeper slippage into the disease? Was the mate paying attention? If no mate, was the person's own moral compass skewed and beginning to justify the unneeded behavior?

Nobody WANTS to be an alcoholic. But they take a first step . . . that's all it takes . . . Before you know it, it is too late.

My wife was on the doorstep of tragedy . . . but I was there to point her to the right house . . .

We're going to go to an AlAnon meeting together. We're curious how this happened and need more education . . . but now we're focused on - perhaps - exposing the connection to menopause so this 'disease' of alcoholism can be expected by menopausal women so they are on the alert to the beginnings of potential abuse problems . . .

I never said we weren't expecting challenges . . . But we do see my 'intervention' here as being analagous to an early diagnosis of a looming problem. If we can warn just one maturing woman of this possibility, then we've done OUR part to use our 'almost-tragedy' proactively and help stem the tide of substance abuse as each of you contribuors do for the anonymous daily. We'd just be able to speak about it as it specifically refers to maturing or menopausal/pre-menopausal women . . .

Does that make sense? Sure, AA and AlAnon are THE ONLY ways to educate yourself and get help to survive if you are a full-fledged alcoholic . . . But problems always have a source - a beginning. It 'progresses' - so it has a beginning . . . If you can stop it there, is it possible to prevent the disease from full development?

I'm thinking that may well be possible . . . and our experience might help others.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:09 AM
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Hi, Jay. Please know that everything I'm about to 'say' here, is simply sharing my ESH (experience, strength, hope.. but mostly experience). I'm a 'double winner' as they call it, I'm an addict/alcoholic in recovery, and I have been in several important relationships with alcoholics/addicts. I sit on both sides of this fence. I have thought and thought about how to respond to your posts.. and thankfully you've put all this here in your update, and it'll make it easy for me to interject my perspective, from my experience and knowledge when it comes to this stuff.



Believe me, I am not remotely close to being neive - but your presentation of the 'other side' NEEDS to be here to counter the conniving methods of substance abusers. I'm glad you pointed out the negative slant . . . Surely it will give someone a lightbulb moment. Skepticism is healthy and serves an incredible purpose in the lives of those affected by alcoholism. I was pleased to see the rebuttal to my optimism. You people really are amazing . . .
I think the hope is that that 'someone' will be you. I have that hope

But the 'special' nature of our relationship has one significant component that has always seen us through tough times - and due to my speedy education here on SR it becomes even more apparent to us how valuable it is . . .

Communication. More specifically, truthful communication.
You're right, truthful communication is vital to any relationship. Clearly that was lacking in your relationship, and I think it's fabulous to keep an open dialogue as you go through this. However, all the skilled and loving communication in the universe will not stop alcoholism. If it did, most of the people on this board wouldn't be here.

So you understand, she's not a good enough actress to fool me when she isn't being fully truthful. I know this because we have a bond that is rare - as I've noted. I sensed a slight change in her - satisfied my curiosity by unknowingly observing her - and busting her when I recognized the barely-ntoiceable aberrent behavior.
Alcoholics and addicts by the nature of the disease ARE in fact master manipulators, and will go to most any length to stay in the active part of the 'disease'. I know that doesn't seem like your wife, I'm just saying.. face value is worth nothing, at this point in the game. I appreciate that you again feel your relationship is rare, special, unique.. but I will point out, that most all of us thought we were different, and unique. That can be a particularly destructive theory to hold on to. I read it in most of your posts. "We aren't like those people" "She's not like them/you". Yeah, she is. Seriously.

What I have learned here is the 'progressive' nature of alcoholism. It sneaks up on the victim. You do NOT turn into a substance abuser overnight.
I stopped the oncoming 'bus' that was about to hit her. I was observant enough and loving enough and instinctive enough to see what was happening. It had been an issue in the past - so my guard has been up for some time.
You, sir.. are NOT that powerful. If what it took to just snap our loved ones out of their alcoholism was good communication and a unique bond, again.. these boards would be empty. You're inferring that had any of us seen what was coming our way early enough, we would have been able to stop alcoholism too. No we can't.

So for those who truly love their mates - as I do - one important thing got lost . . . She failed to communicate with me . . . she felt there was 'weakness' in her and she would feel persecuted by her husband who doesn't really suffer from those challenges.
Again.. I respect and appreciate your relationship and special love, but alcoholism is very powerful. I hope you also respect that.

But I would NEVER persecute her if I were told. If she had only communicated that she was feeling out of sorts. Sure, she knows that now . . . but her mind was tricking her into thinking I point out her failures and stop supporting her.

Not in a million years. Now that I 'stopped the bus' she sees that. That's so hopeful for us . . .
What's hopeful, is that she's willing to get help. Or.. is she? I'm a bit confused on that, but I'll touch on that here in a bit. Dare I say again, you are not powerful enough to 'stop' her alcoholism. You aren't. None of us are, I promise.

But it does give us concern over our views that the cause of a person's first steps down a crooked, tragic path CAN be staved off if they have someone who cares enough . . .
Classic codependency. Are you now inferring that most people simply haven't cared enough to cure their loved ones' alcoholism? Come on now. There's such a thing as loving someone to death. There's also the fact that you're not qualified to be her treatment center, or addiction counselor. None of us are qualified to provide that for the people we love. No matter how much we care.

I read one thread on here directed at mothers . . . the stories have a consistent ring to them - and most start out innocently. One glass of wine . . . a
'happy place'. For the younger women, kids seemed the common thread. For the older women - remember, my wife is just 50 - it started out the same - and 'progressed'. One glass a night turned to 2 bottles . . .
Yes, alcoholism is progressive and fatal. Period.

But there is a common thread there also. Age. As a woman ages her serotonin levels (and other brain chemistry levels) drop significantly - there is medical evidence of a connection between the beginnings of destructive maladies from anxiety or panic disorders to alcoholism that seem oddly familiar to menopausal women. I'd venture to guess that alcohol consumption in even younger women spikes during their menstrual cycles.

Just to offer some professional viewpoints, you will surely find professional validation relating the two - menopause and alcoholism by typing in 'serotonin drop menopause alcoholism' in Google and surfing the articles.
There is for sure a lot of addiction science out there.. it's helpful in terms of education, but not always helpful in a practical sense. Grain of salt type of stuff.

Habits can consume us . . . and alcoholism - since it creeps in - must have a point at which it can be stopped or derailed - or just anticipated it as a concern. Not if the person is conniving enough and they are already too far gone - but was there a 'witness' to the abuse beginning and they just ignored the early signs and allowed the deeper slippage into the disease? Was the mate paying attention? If no mate, was the person's own moral compass skewed and beginning to justify the unneeded behavior?
I hate to repeat myself here.. but we're not powerful enough to stop this ourselves. We aren't qualified to do so. We can lovingly support our mates/family members as they pursue treatment and a recovery journey, but we're not 'it', nor is it healthy to feel that we are.

Nobody WANTS to be an alcoholic. But they take a first step . . . that's all it takes . . . Before you know it, it is too late.

My wife was on the doorstep of tragedy . . . but I was there to point her to the right house . . .
Her recovery journey must be her own. In alanon you'll learn how to detach from her recovery, as it is the healthiest approach for BOTH of you.

We're going to go to an AlAnon meeting together. We're curious how this happened and need more education . . . but now we're focused on - perhaps - exposing the connection to menopause so this 'disease' of alcoholism can be expected by menopausal women so they are on the alert to the beginnings of potential abuse problems . . .
Alanon is not the place to take her with, necessarily. People that go to alanon are there because they are affected by someone else's alcoholism. It's perfect for you, as you're affected by her alcoholism. It is not the place to walk in and try to educate people on your what, 3 day experience with stopping a bus you think you have figured out. Respectfully, it's a place for YOU to go, sit down, and listen. There's a saying in AA.. take the cotton out of your ears, put it in your mouth.

I never said we weren't expecting challenges . . . But we do see my 'intervention' here as being analagous to an early diagnosis of a looming problem. If we can warn just one maturing woman of this possibility, then we've done OUR part to use our 'almost-tragedy' proactively and help stem the tide of substance abuse as each of you contribuors do for the anonymous daily. We'd just be able to speak about it as it specifically refers to maturing or menopausal/pre-menopausal women . . .
Again, with respect.. it's been what.. 3 days? You've talked her out of her alcoholism and stopped the bus? Now what? What's her treatment plan? Or did you warn her enough about her alcoholism that she feels by talking to you, she will no longer suffer from alcoholism? Amazing you've figured this out, when we've all been suffering so. (ok, that was snarky, pardon me).

Does that make sense? Sure, AA and AlAnon are THE ONLY ways to educate yourself and get help to survive if you are a full-fledged alcoholic . . . But problems always have a source - a beginning. It 'progresses' - so it has a beginning . . . If you can stop it there, is it possible to prevent the disease from full development?
AA is not the only way for alcoholics to recover. AA is not for gutter living, whiskey drinking drunks. AA is for people who want to quit drinking and live a better life. I personally did not use AA in my recovery, but I know plenty of people who drank far less/less often/etc than your wife. There's always someone "worse" to compare ourselves to. That keeps us sick.

I'm thinking that may well be possible . . . and our experience might help others.
Your experience is very limited. I hope this is true..

Best of luck.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:30 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JayR View Post
So for those who truly love their mates - as I do - one important thing got lost . . . She failed to communicate with me . . . she felt there was 'weakness' in her and she would feel persecuted by her husband who doesn't really suffer from those challenges.

But I would NEVER persecute her if I were told. If she had only communicated that she was feeling out of sorts. Sure, she knows that now . . . but her mind was tricking her into thinking I point out her failures and stop supporting her.
My (now-X)ABF had very open communication with me. He kept saying how much he wanted to quit, how he had to cut back first because the amount he drank was so great that it would kill him if he quit cold turkey (true), how he wanted to taper it off (probably true), and how as long as I helped him that would guarantee that he'd get off the alcohol and stay sober (not true).

I kept track of how much he drank each day. Whenever he "readjusted" his measuring scale ("Well, what if I start measuring at 6am instead of 6pm last night, how much did I drink today?") I would readjust for him. I also kept a running tab of how much he'd had in the last 24 hours, and reminded him. I made it very clear that I wasn't judging, I wasn't lecturing, I was just informing him because he asked me to remind him of his problem, and that's all I was doing. He accepted that.

His drinking still went up. I tried to convince him (sweetly) that he needed help from others because I couldn't make him stop. I tried to remind him of all the health problems he was causing by drinking. I always (gently) re-calibrated his alcohol amounts when he announced that he'd had less than I knew he had (not that he was trying to mislead - he honestly did not remember at that point). I reminded him when he was extra sick after drinking "only a half pint" that he'd finished it off in the last 20 minutes and hadn't eaten anything all day.

He did not hide his drinking from me.

Communication about the alcohol, and why he was drinking, and when he was drinking, and how much he was drinking, was not absent in our relationship. It still was not enough.

Finally, I just decided I wasn't going down with the ship anymore, and left him to find his own recovery, since his recovery while I was there mainly consisted of relying on me to magically make him stop drinking (including while he was at work, and while I was sleeping - sleeping was not allowed, and me not being next to him was not allowed).
He never hid anything, he just didn't find a program, didn't stick to any program. He was all words and blame, and no action.

Communication was not enough in my relationship, and goodness knows, I invested five years into this.
For your sake, I hope it is enough. For your sake, I also hope that you prepare yourself in case it isn't.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:38 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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smacked,
a very good and gentle response to to Jay. Jay....you sound a lot like I did when I first entered this life with my beloved, five years ago. I had the perfect life and felt my wife and I could talk about anything. The first 22 years were amazing together. We would go out for dinner and have a glass of wine with dinner or at home while watching a movie. Then it went to a couple glasses. As the second glass was gone I would say I think that is enough for the night and that would be that. Fast forward to today. My wife and I for the most part have a great marriage. We still enjoy each others company, we still go out for dinner and have a glass or two. But now when we get home I hang out and my AW opens a new bottle and has it gone in about 2 hours and then falls asleep. I have had a ton of "talks" with her. My kids have all had talks with her. She will look at us, says she appreciates the concern and then pours another. I spent a lot of time, energy, sleepless nights, prayers and anything else to try and convince her... to no avail. I am not saying you are at that point, but smacked was dead on with what she is saying. I hope and pray that your life takes a better path, but remember, you didnt cause this and you cant cure it.


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Old 02-08-2011, 11:02 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Jay,

I wasn't going to respond, as all the respnses you have received say everything I would have, or could have said.

I can only urge you to read Smacked's words, with the respect with which they were written.

You see, I could be your wife. I am the same age. My path to alcoholism closely mirrors hers. I too am going thru menopause. I too told my husband the moment that I realized I had shut myself off from God. My husband and I have been married for almost 27 years, and I too am lucky enough to share a beautiful relationship with my spouse.

All of that is wonderful.

The reality is, this alcoholic needed to find the tools necessary to live without my "secret friend". I had to learn how to be inspired to create the wonderful meals, the magical moments, etc. without my secret friend. It sounds sooooo simple, and it simple it is.

Easy it is not.

I had to find a program of recovery for myself in the rooms of AA. My husband had to seek his own path.

When I first confessed the reality of the depths of my disease, we were both so happy, so relieved that it was out. Out of the darkness and into the light. Then healing can begin.

This was a pink cloud.

Reality set in, and the hard work began.

I hope you allow her to find the tools she needs to recover, and I hope you find yours in the rooms of Al-Anon.

Peace..
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:09 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by grizz View Post
smacked,
a very good and gentle response to to Jay.
Agreed.

Originally Posted by grizz View Post
I hope and pray that your life takes a better path, but remember, you didn't cause this and you cant cure it.
Me too.
I'll add that you can't control it.

side note: something that was very hard for me was to accept the fact that I couldn't control any outcome with my AW. I'm a monster of a man. Big, strong, tall, German, etc. The effects of alcoholism leveled me damn near to nothing. I'm okay with that now. I'm rebuilding myself and I hope you can do the same.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:39 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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I too believe that your wife should consider AA, without you in the room. Alanon would be for you to learn how to take care of yourself and stop controlling others--Codependent no more is an excellent book you might consider by Melody Beattie. Almost everybody on this board has read it and seen themselves in it.

Think of a person going to a psychologist and having their parent or spouse there. Not much honesty and accomplishments will occur if you are looking over her shoulder.

She is still her own person, and she still needs to combat this disease on her own, in her own way, by her own volition. You cannot do this for her, or even hold her hand. It's within her to sink or swim here--within her solely, as an independent person, independent of you. It has to come from within her, and her success has to feel like her own success. If she feels it is your success not hers--back to the bottle she will go, and really learn how to hide it good this time.

Definitely continue to be supportive. Give her breathing room though with AA and/or psychotherapy.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:39 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Smacked - WOW - well said! And sadly, resonates for those of us who have been on this path for some time.

Sometimes I find myself thinking I am not like others - in Al Anon or on this forum - that I called this for what it really way very early in my marriage therefore I am not codependent, blah blah blah... Well I have since been humbled enough to admit that is a load of BS! And when I begin to think that way, I have to stop myself, remind myself that YES I am just like everybody else having a very similar experience that I am in their own varying degrees. My husband is also learning this in AA - that although the flavor of the stories are different, the underlying themes are almost dead-on EXACTLY like his!

JayR, you desperately want this to be what you describe - stopping the bus - and I pray that it is for you. However, there are many, many more of us who thought we had stopped the bus, only to be run over by it again and again. Alcohol is driving that bus and its not stopping until your wife stops it. Be careful that you don't get run over, too.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:24 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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Smacked . . . I knew the day you checked on me that I'd be hearing from you again . . . and I sincerely thank you for the warnings. I'll include some of the emails I got from my wife in the last few days so you can interpret where you think she may stand with her 'recovery' . . . But my intuition tells me I am communicating with a mature young woman with MUCH experience to help me - and us . . .

Let me explain to everyone here . . . all my comments are based on what I saw progressing very slowly - and the day I posted first here on SR was a low point where her behavior was indicative of full-fledged difficulties with alcohol. That may still be true - and likely is . . . This isn't the first time she has had these issues . . . although they have never been excessive. So this was a slow train rolling - but a train, neverttheless. It was that hidden behavior that alerted me to her dilemma. She just cannot drink alcohol without a negative impact as some of the population can. Like people who are lactose intolerance, she just cannot drink without it stealing her soul and affecting her life.

I am so pleased these additional comments are here. What you think is my naivete is not. I'm watching her - I'm observing her - and I'm keeping her feet to the fire. She doesn't want to lose me - and she knows she failed herself. She also knows she has to change her life habits.

But in her words - and you can take them as mastery of manipulation or not - I see hope. But I truly love ALL of your stern words since I share these with her and it is very much helping us. To just accept my hopeful thoughts will NOT help her. She'll listen to the words that are a counterpoint to my point . . . and that's what your warnings serve as . . .

Here's some of her latest email comments:

This is gonna put a smile on your face or maybe be good for a quick chuckle.
Look at the situation that's at hand like this - now you have a designated driver!
I thought it was funny..............
But honestly - while we go thru all this - I was thinking, "ok, so we go out to dinner and i drink club soda - what a bore - but it's not like I'm with someone who's sitting there next to me getting slammed. You don't drink that much either - so is it really that bad? All good thoughts - in my book.


In response to my analogy of our elliptical trainer ramp rising to make it more difficult to 'pedal' and comparing that to her struggle. (It feels oddly good when the resistance gets stronger in exercise):

That analogy is absolutely brilliant - in my case - because I can relate to it so. And guess what - I think you are a genius - and I don't feel like "why didn't I think of that?" But I still have to tackle that new incline setting - and that is always a struggle - but possible? Damn right it's possible.
I am so thankful that you are discovering things about yourself - as well - that makes me unbelievably grateful - as you must feel when I do. WOW - what have we got going on here? Something pretty marvelous if I had to call it.
You don't have to respond here. Get busy - and know - I'm doing good today.
Love you - bigger than the world,


And lastly:

When you need divinity, it appears. When you need inspiration, it appears. When you need strength, something will strengthen you. All you have to do is keep your faith, work hard to fight the darkness and you'll be rewarded.
That's why we all need a Higher Power in our lives - were just not strong enough on our own. I'm glad I asked mine for help and had you to make me stay on the right path. I dont want to ever lose you and know I would. I can beat this. I know I have to do it alone but I will be better at it with you staying by my side. You won't if I keep going like I started to. What the hell was I thinking? I'm better than that.
Scared and hopeful but committed. 'in sickness and in health' Love you!!!!!


I know these ring true as expressions heard before by manipulators. I'm not that foolish to think it's over, by any means. But no denial by her - acceptance of her failure - admission of a need for help. Aren't these the hallmarks of someone taking the first steps toward sobriety?

I never said we were fixed. But our brief education has us running fast in the other direction - away from the hurt, the lies and the deceipt. What we had will be again. I'm just running behind her so she can't reverse course.

Comments please?

P.S. She's started psychotherapy again, too . . . but also going to get her blood chemistry worked up to look for physical causes for behavior that is unlike her. So we're on the road. I just think I left out some details that may have some here thinking that we're deluded enough to be 'fixed' now. Not even close.......

Last edited by JayR; 02-08-2011 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Addition . . .
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:51 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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I'm glad you responded

And since you're sharing this all with her, I'll write to you both... again just from my personal experience.

When I was first "busted" as you put it, and confronted by the reality of my addiction(s), it was liberating. It was freeing and even exhilarating to have this challenge ahead of me. I also used a bit of humor, and felt really really good. I was HAPPY, even excited.. it was going to be great, my life was going to be fantastic, now that I really could take a good look at what was going on.

And then I did take a good look at what was going on.. and the 'pink cloud' of exhilaration faded, and I realized I had a whole lot more to do than changing my choice in beverage. I didn't do any 'work'. I didn't get at why I was drinking the way I had been, it seemed a simple fix.. stop, live healthy, communicate better, move on with my life. But it sucked.. and I had been drinking for so long to 'cope' with life. When I say cope, I don't mean I was depressed and angry and drank to numb my feelings, I mean in all regards.. I felt celebratory, I drank. I felt bored.. I drank. Holiday? Which one? I drank. Course, I did also drink when I was angry or sad.. it really became an easy fix, a soul sucking, almost life ending fix.

And then I was sober.. and I felt a little lost. I realized I hadn't been using other coping mechanisms for such a long time, I wasn't sure quite how to. I didn't know what to do with extreme emotion, good or bad.. I had to really learn to live in a new and wonderful (albeit difficult!) way.

And that's where I am today.. I've only been sober for a mere few seconds compared to my entire life, and I stay vigilant in my recovery. I had to change my life, and it's been one of the most harrowing, and beautiful experiences ever. I could never have recovered if I didn't 1. admit the the gravity and reality of my addictions. 2. Admit that I couldn't operate as my own addictions counselor or treatment center. 3. Ask for help, on my own, outside of my friends/family and self. 4. Apply the tools I learned, to all aspects of my life, not just drug and alcohol sobriety. Repeat, repeat repeat.

But that's just my experience, I'm one person on this board.. with my own story, and recovery journey.
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