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Learning to be healthy

Old 02-08-2011, 12:42 PM
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Learning to be healthy

I've been on the alcoholic rollercoaster for 13 years with my AH. I've gotten off many times, and before I knew it, I was back on. I really need to stop my part of this cycle. I'm working on detachment and setting boundaries and sticking to them and learning how to spot the manipulation attempts, but sometimes it is so confusing. I start to consider leaving him, and when he realizes this, he begins recovery, things start to get better between us, then he gradually quits, and they slowly go downhill again, and then we're back to...here.

He's going to AA (again) and is "talking" about going to therapy (again). I'm stepping back from the disease and focusing on healing myself and being a healthier parent to our son at this point. He keeps telling me that he needs my support, that 'it would be nice' if he had my support, that I'm not being supportive.....I sense that it's an attempt to re-establish our unhealthy relationship, but I do wonder if I'm being too cold towards him. I would LOVE to support him with his recovery in a healthy way, but I just don't know how to without being getting back into the cycle. So, how do you give support to a newly recovering alcoholic without being manipulated by the disease?

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Old 02-08-2011, 12:50 PM
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That is a difficult question indeed.
I want to help my AW but I've been on the roller coaster far too many times. Therefore, I continue to focus more on myself and stopped thinking about what I can do for her.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:02 PM
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There is a therapy called Couples Behavioral Therapy that some psychologist will provide. It sounds successful from what I've read.

Basically, the couple enters marriage counseling together. A contract is written up and trust is developed between the couple. The contract states that each day the alcholic will be thankful for not drinking yesterday and agree to not drink in the next 24 hrs. The spouses role is to thank them for remaining alcohol free for the past day and express how positively it effects them and can also provide empathy for the difficulty the alcoholic spouse is having.

The alcoholic also agrees to AA a certain number of times/week.

If a relapse occurs or if the contract is broken more than twice than the therapist is called.

I just thought I'd throw that out there since he may be open to therapy and it does involve a supportive spouse.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:08 PM
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This is exactly what I am going through except this time, I really think I want out. I am too afraid that he will keep stopping and starting. It sucks but I don't want to live like this anymore. He is doing the good guy act trying to win me over. I have had enough of his acts. I want to pull the curtains and leave for good.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:27 PM
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Go with your gut. If he's talking to you and you get that sinking feeling, even if it's about the tv program or the neighbors or whether the laundry is done, listen to your gut. Doesn't matter what the subject is.
Your gut will speak to you.
It will tell you that you're being manipulated or intimidated, or that it's all about him.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:46 PM
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Al-Anon can show you how. Have you tried it yet?
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:52 PM
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:06 PM
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GREAT question. I'm trying to figure that out myself! My husband says the exact same thing- he always needs my support. Maybe because they don't believe in themselves, they expect us to step in and make it happen. Who knows.
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wicked (02-08-2011)
Old 02-08-2011, 05:38 PM
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Hhmm... I'm reading Women Who Love Too Much which has a lot to do with women who marry alcoholics.

It said in their one of the steps to recovering as a spouse is to relinquish control. We all know that. But part of that is to stop giving encouragement or praise, because by giving praise for things you want is a form of manipulation


I had no idea this was true. My AH and I are separated, but still living together. In an effort to "help" him I've begun praising him for anything I can find. He always complained that I didn't give him praise too.

Now this has me wondering if praise/encouragement really is a bad thing?
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:40 PM
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Part of the reason I think an alcoholic may want praise so badly is that they want their life as it is (drinking) to be OK. They want your approval for that or for as much as possible about them to offset the self-hate.

I'm not sure it is healthy to feed into that.
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