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Knowing when it's time to separate/ divorce

Old 02-09-2011, 10:20 AM
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Knowing when it's time to separate/ divorce

So last week I confronted AH of 4 years on his drinking, twice actually, and the second time he did break down and admit to it all, how he needs it to sleep, for anxiety attacks, how deeply embarrassed he is about it, and how he really does want to change. He was open to AA and counseling.

Last night we talked again. He had obviously had a few drinks, but he was still kind and coherent and the one that initiated the talk.

Well, he now says AA is a "maybe," and he is not willing to go to counseling, marriage or personal. He pulled out a lot of his excuses- how much his back is hurting, how he needs to create, to be going to school, and blamed a lot on where we live (which has always been the case, even though we have lived elsewhere during our marriage).

He says we should think about what we need from each other, and talk again in two days (we are still living together but conversation is minimal).

I feel like the "right" thing to do is give him a shot at recovery, but as I have expressed in previous posts, I have a lot of doubt. I know he doesn't want to lose us (we have a 9 month old), but I just have this really strong feeling that this won't be it.

Last night I went to bed knowing I want to separate, if not just divorce now. I feel like I'm saving myself, and my baby. But I also have a lot of guilt, like I'm giving up on him. On what could be. I don't know. I do know. But it's so hard. A lot of you have been through, or are going through this. I already know what's right for me, but it sure helps to hear from other people in the same boat.

I might go to Al-Anon tonight, but it's so small here, there's just one other person. I find a greater range of opinions and thoughts here.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:33 AM
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Loving someone for their potential, or for what they are "partially" is not a good foundation for a marriage. Right now, the person you are living with is exactly the person he is willing to be, until HE decides otherwise and takes *action* to make changes happen.

I know you want to do what's right, perhaps by the standards of society or perhaps by your own internal moral standard. I would however encourage you to listen to your instincts. They are trying to tell you something. Right now, today, you're done. You want out.

So get out. You have an infant to care for, and you don't want this child growing up to think that alcoholism is a normal thing.

In a year or two, perhaps your AH will have changed and you can consider reconciliation. If it's meant to happen between you two, it'll happen. But right now, today, it's not happening.

I know how you feel...I also left an AH when I had a nursing infant to care for...my daughter was 15 months old. So, I truly empathize with you.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:54 AM
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We each need to do what is best for ourselves. For me I needed to separate from my AH and I did that after years hidden alcoholism, being a SAHM and with 3 kids (9yrs-16yrs).

It was hard but it worked out for the best in so many ways. It has taken me a year to clear my head. Alanon - in person meetings and reading on my own, and counseling and SR have all helped.

My AH is working on his own recovery. I am at the point where I can let him know that I support his efforts to remain sober and recover, however, I am not ready for him to move back to our home and I don't think he is ready either.

There was a lot of anger and suffering and threats of divorce but since I would have to be the one to do it all, it didn't happen, it's not what I want.

Yes, I am still at a crossroads but what each day is right now is working for me and I will make my decisions one day at a time as I continue to work on myself and my future with Alanon and SR support and self-improvement and goal setting and connecting with my children and learning to set and keep boundaries.

There is so much to do and I haven't even gotten to the fun stuff yet, I don't have time to worry what the actual structure of my relationship with AH is right now.

I agree with noday "Loving someone for their potential, or for what they are "partially" is not a good foundation for a marriage. Right now, the person you are living with is exactly the person he is willing to be, until HE decides otherwise and takes *action* to make changes happen."

Whether you choose to leave or stay is what works best for you. For me staying was difficult and caused me to just be waiting for something that may or may not happen. Even with leaving, my AH may or may not recover or be that person I want to spend the rest of my life with but at least during this time I am recovering who I am and living a true life.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:05 AM
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You have to feel that you have given it your all. That doesn't include self-sacrifice.

I'd corner him on why no therapy. I can't think of how therapy would not be beneficial unless one has a very good financial reason that it is currently out of budget. What's his reason?
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:12 AM
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We live in a really small town, and he knows most everyone. He's embarrassed that he'll know the counselor. Same with AA, he doesn't want to see people he knows. Unfortunately the next town with AA in almost 2 hrs away. Yup, we live in the middle of nowhere!
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:15 AM
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I'm not sure what I can say. I remember feeling like you - and I stayed around for a long time after.

Things got worse with him, of course, but my confusion and depression got worse too. Finally things *for me* got so bad due to trying to manage it all and due to living in that weird place where I was trying to deny reality in order to live my fantasy - or talk myself into accepting something that I found unacceptable, that I had hit my bottom. That weird space left me consumed with rage and resentment and I was becoming less functional then him in some ways.

So I left then. I'm not sure what I could have heard 3yrs, or 5yrs, prior. I wish I could go back in time and start al-anon and seek some individual counseling to untangle the feelings of guilt, obligation, fantasy thinking versus reality, etc. I may have left sooner and I think for sure the leaving would have been less crazy making - maybe not. It is never an easy thing. My children would have been better off.

So I guess that would be my recommendation to you. Al-anon (which doesn't sound like a super option - I also found SR amazingly helpful) and counseling. I read the stickies at the top a lot and I found the book Codependent No More really good too.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:21 AM
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Let's say he does know the counselor. That stuff is private by law. It's not like the counselor probably doesn't run into clients in a small town unless the counselor never goes out.
Let's say he does know somebody at AA. Well now he and that person have something to share, something in common. He might make a friend.
I see no valid excuses here.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:32 AM
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Yes the "Codependent No More" is a good read. I definitely saw myself in that and wished I had read it a long time ago, although I might not have been ready to accept it.

Another big thing for me was being codie - I in some ways "forced" my AH to do many things and he being "passive aggressive" did them, so somehow the rudimentary parts of our life managed. Originally, it was me who forced him to counseling and now he is doing it and it is helping him with managing his work and alcohol consumption and has yet to benefit our relationship.

One thing I never had to "force" my AH to do was drink.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by sheila84 View Post
We live in a really small town, and he knows most everyone. He's embarrassed that he'll know the counselor. Same with AA, he doesn't want to see people he knows. Unfortunately the next town with AA in almost 2 hrs away
Excuses. If he *truly* wants to recover, then he won't let anything stop him. Ask any of the former alcoholic SR members who post or lurk in our section: when they were ready, and when they'd truly had enough, nothing and no one would get in the way of their recovery, not even their own egos.

The same can be said for you. When you have hit your bottom and have come to the realization that you are not willing to accept this life as it is now, you'll get the ball rolling and leave.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:45 AM
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He can recover regardless if you're married to him or not, if that's what he wants.

IF that's what he wants, absolutely nothing will stop him. But now his back hurts and he needs two more days. Come on.

I think your gut is telling you something, please listen.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:50 AM
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If he is not willing to seek help in fighting the disease of alcoholism, I see no reason for you to feel guilty at all for leaving him and taking care of yourself and your child.

Ultimately, the alcoholics we love can make the choice to recover. I left my exabf because he refused to go to AA, or anyplace else for help. He just "wanted to be himself", and "a life without alcohol is not something he was interested in".

That was his choice then, mine was to get out while I had a some hold on my sanity. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I lived with friends until I found a place to live...it was hard, I missed him, but if he didn't love himself enough to try to be healthy, I couldn't stay and be a part of the craziness that is active alcoholism.

One year later, he is doing very well, in recovery, caring more about his sobriety than anything else. And we are slowly rebuilding our relationship.

We can only make decisions based on what we know NOW...
You never know how wonderful things can turn out when you take care of yourself, and of course your baby. I wish you the best.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:33 PM
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For me the time to leave was the day I finally quit second guessing myself...I think deep down I knew the truth, but I wasn't ready. When you are ready you will know and if you are not ready keep working on yourself and the time will come (or it won't, but you will at least be getting yourself healthier).

Something I found really helpful when I finally made the decision to separate was..."I can always change my mind, but I need to make decisions based on what is true RIGHT NOW." IF things get better then you can make decisions based on the new truths that come your way.

Sometimes it is hard to see people and situations for what they are without all the what ifs and the what has beens, but the truth of the moment is the only truth and it helps me to focus on that when I have to make tough choices.

I wish you the best!
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:44 PM
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I have dealt with my STBXAW's alcoholism for the past 5 years and the last year in particular has been very difficult. Everyone's situation is different and only you can make this type of decision. I will tell you what I did as I know it helps to hear the stories of others in similar situations. I did everything I could to get my AW help. She has been to 30 day inpatient treatment 3 times. I have lost count the number of outpatient programs she has attended. She tried AA off and on. You will eventually learn there is nothing you can do and the only way an alcoholic will seek recovery is when they are ready, if ever.

I had been thinking of leaving for some time but also took my vows seriously. However, I also knew I was going insane and did not want to raise 2 kids in that type of environment. My lightbulb moment is when I came hope to a passed out wife and our 2 toddlers running around with no supervision. If kids were not involved who knows how the story would have ended, but knowing my 2 angels are totally innocent and completely reliant on their parents to raise them right, I did what I had to do. Being a single dad is not the best situation in the world, but it sure beats trying to parent with someone who is very sick and has no concerns for anyone else around them including their kids.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by sheila84 View Post
We live in a really small town, and he knows most everyone. He's embarrassed that he'll know the counselor. Same with AA, he doesn't want to see people he knows. Unfortunately the next town with AA in almost 2 hrs away. Yup, we live in the middle of nowhere!
I had similar concerns and have various objections to AA. I still stopped drinking. I agree that he is making excuses.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:15 PM
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I live in a major city...

and I still hear alcoholics say various versions of "we live in a really small town, and he knows most everyone. He's embarrassed that he'll know the counselor. Same with AA, he doesn't want to see people he knows."

While I wouldn't for a second advise you in what decision to make, I will say that from what you posted he is not remotely available for any kind of recovery, whether you are in Tonasket, Washington, or New York, New York.

There is always, always, always an excuse to avoid recovery and accountability. It looks, feels, and smells the same no matter where you live and who says it. He is either, by his actions, committed to recovery or he isn't. You already know this.

So, the question is, are you going to continue to live with it or not? If so, how? If not, how? You are going to have to make a brave decision, because both of these require just that.

For me it was stay with her for six years until I had lost myself entirely, then finally a divorce. Others forfeit their entire lifetimes. I'd encourage you to choose what is best for you and your children, and to leave him to his own decisions around his recovery (which is what he'll do, or not, anyway).

Take care and good luck,

Cyranoak
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:36 PM
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and I still hear alcoholics say various versions of "we live in a really small town, and he knows most everyone. He's embarrassed that he'll know the counselor. Same with AA, he doesn't want to see people he knows."
Yes, this is one of the excuses I used to hear too. What difference does it make?
The people who are close to him already know. And the people in the room wont know anything until he speaks his his truth.
So Pshaw! on the whole people will know me.
Try another one.

Beth

(spoken as one with over 20 years of excuses used and reused)
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:58 PM
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You are looking for ES&H. My story is that I had a baby with my ABF, not knowing he was an alcoholic (too new in the relationship although I'd known him through high school but boy did I learn fast).

I went through a pregnancy with an abusive man, lived another year that way under his roof and his control, learned about Al-Anon through our alcohol/relationship specialist and spent another year with only me in recovery. His bottom came soon thereafter and he went to out-patient rehab and AA. In total it was 4 years of living hell. I left him 1 1/2 years into his recovery and 4 years of us in counseling and our daughter was 2 1/2. It was a painful experience to realize the fantasy/dream wasn't going to happen. It was also the best thing I ever did for myself and my daughter. He is still in recovery, 2+ years sober. I still wouldn't consider him someone I'd have a relationship with again. He can be my daughter's father but he'll never be welcome in my life in an intimate way. I do not regret anything I've done. His addiction brought me to Al-Anon. I can't exactly say I'm grateful for him yet, but maybe someday. However, I am grateful that I found this program of recovery. And hopefully if our daugher needs it someday (on either side) we will be able to steer her in a direction that will help her to live a peaceful, serene sober life.

I hope you will find the answers you are looking for through this program. I wish you peace and serenity. You will make the right decision for you and your daughter when you are ready, whether it be stay or go.

Peace,
Jen
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:05 PM
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I can't exactly say I'm grateful for him yet, but maybe someday. However, I am grateful that I found this program of recovery.
wow, just being open to it shows how your great your recovery looks on you.
being willing. it took me awhile, but the burden lifted was astounding.

good on you and for your baby.

(i am trying to convince my daughter about the ACA (both me and her dad are/were addicted) but she is not having it now.)

Beth

sheila,
it sounds like you are getting ready.
being ready doesnt mean you have to go, it is just being ready.
(smile)
planning is good.

Beth
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by sheila84 View Post
We live in a really small town, and he knows most everyone. He's embarrassed that he'll know the counselor. Same with AA, he doesn't want to see people he knows. Unfortunately the next town with AA in almost 2 hrs away. Yup, we live in the middle of nowhere!
I'm one of those that believes that the whole idea of amnominity (which I cannot spell) breeds shame. It in my opinion it keeps this a "family situation" or domestic issue...not a real live true DISEASE.

If he can believe he is an alcoholic. That it is a DISEASE, and not a lifestyle choice then others will too. I promise there WILL be someone else there he knows..he just wasn't aware they had a problem with alcohol, they hid it just like he is.

I hate it when I mention that my husband is in a 12 step program and I get the response of "oh, I'm soooo sorry".
They don't get it...recovery isn't bad. Living the nightmare of being involved with an active alcoholic is h$%%.
I'll take recovery anyday even if it means my own RAH is leaving our marriage. it's still a better life for everyone involved...now that's something to say about the recovery process and AA!
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:02 PM
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I seperated....I went back....I seperated......went back........hoped/gave up/hoped/gaveup.......I ended up sicker than him. He refused counciling and AA. His disease was progressing fast and I was getting sicker and sicker. I went to Alanon and therapy. The therapist suggested I tell him to do 90 meetings in 90 days of AA or I was leaving. He didn't go so I left. I had a hard time breaking the vows but my preacher said the Bible says "do not be yoked to a drunkard." It was hard. I didn't get my white picket fence. I started to see it and him for what it was- not what I wanted it to be. I heard myself share in meetings and heard how insane it was. I left and have been divorced 3 yrs. and am doing fine. I loved the potential of him- not who he was. I rented an apt.....and I have a white picket fence!
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