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The futility of it all

Old 02-09-2011, 11:18 PM
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The futility of it all

She is hopeless. Truly. While my alcoholic wife has cut down the drinking, and I would say is functioning well, she can not stop.

I've been out of town for 3 days. THREE days. It has been a pretty good 3 days. Although last night we ended up in a little spat on the phone about something petty and inconsequential. I recognized it was going no where and just rang off. Didn't really think anymore about it afterward.

Came home, and all seemed ok. She seemed a bit distant, but the focus is on her recovery. So again, I just let it go. At one point tonight we had a short discussion. I reminded her that I have a right to know if she has been drinking or not. If nothing else, to know who I am dealing with. I've been very clear about understanding the road to sobriety has many stumbles and we can deal with her falling off. As long as she gets back up. And I have been very, very clear that lying about the drinking when sober is unacceptable.

We discussed my idea to contact me and talk with me if she is feeling overwhelmed with events and "needs" a drink. She claims to have discussed this with her therapist this week. And the therapist suggested she try it. What can it hurt?

I then asked point blank about the week. I asked specifically if she had anything to drink this week or if she bought any alcohol. Of course she replied no. We talked a bit more, and I made special reference to the lying about the drinking. Again. I told her I don't know how many more of these lying events I can endure. that I don't have a set number threshold, but that one day she will lie about it and I will simply say I've had enough and can no longer endure it. Might be one more event. Might be 50. I truly don't know. We then discussed the breach of trust the lying results in. Discussed how even if she is sober for a month, it doesn't simply erase the hurt that has been done recently when she knows how high the stakes are. Again, she claims to understand. We've had this exact conversation numerous times in the last few months. At least once a week for months.

I ended with my often repeated statement about coming clean after drinking BEFORE we (me or our children) find out about it: That the next time she comes clean before we discover the evidence will be the FIRST time. She says all the right things. And there is no doubt she fully understands.

Overall, this is actually a good discussion. No yelling. Calm voices. It is like I envision "normal" people discussing an issue. I'm actually kinda proud. For about a minute.

Then I start thinking about last night. And the fact that she brought up the argument again tonight, which I shut down. This raised my suspicions. So I look in her purse. She is not very bright. There is a receipt from the local grocery store for groceries.....and a bottle of wine. From last night.

Remember, I have an active divorce filed. I am leaving the country for a year soon. I have my own house already. She has everything to lose. The trigger is so easily pulled. She is a cancer survivor facing many years of medicine, testing, screening, and high risk for recurrence. Yet she can not stop. She can not be honest. She can not be an equal partner in the marriage. She is so close to being able to nip this. The drinking, as far as I can tell has been cut way down. Her overall behavior is so much better. Yet, when she does drink, as she did last night, there is a tangible consequence. Every time. Last night it was the stupid argument for no reason. She transforms into someone else. Someone I don't know, don't like, don't love, don't want to talk to, don't want to sleep with, don't want to hold, don't want to see, or hear. A being from another place.

This is why I am so vocal to young people: Move on. Move on fast. The sooner the better. In the blink of an eye you will spend 20-30 years with one of these people. And you will be substantially poorer financially, emotionally, and socially. There is no upside. Only a very few can get the demons under control. There is no hope for her to stop. She can only keep it in check for a short time. 3 days or so. Max.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:10 AM
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I'm sorry that you're having to deal with this, zrx1200R. I always knew what the answer was before I asked if he'd been drinking, and I always knew his reply would be a lie. Can't say I learned to not ask, because even after I left, I asked.

Keep on taking care of yourself. Sending hugs your way.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:09 AM
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Expecting an alcoholic to tell the truth is like expecting a cat to bark.

She can stop drinking, but she has to want to stop more then she wants anything else - more then you, more then your kids, more then the house.

Until she stops, it does not matter how many reasonable conversations you have. Her actions will protect her addiction. Every time. There is no other way it will ever be. When I finally excepted this in my heart I began to expect alcoholism - and all the lies and deceit that goes with it. I expected the cat to meow. And the cat did meow. Once I was no longer spinning around the cat expecting it to bark I had an enormous shift of mental energy. There was more clarity, more energy left to figure things out within myself.

Not that it was all easy peasy and smooth sailing but aligning my expectations up with the truths of alcoholism was certainly an important shift for me personally.
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:26 AM
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We discussed my idea to contact me and talk with me if she is feeling overwhelmed with events and "needs" a drink. She claims to have discussed this with her therapist this week. And the therapist suggested she try it. What can it hurt?
i don't think this is a good idea, zrx. this should be the role of her AA sponsor, someone much more qualified to talk her down than us.

plus, she quite obviously does not want to quit drinking yet. she is continuing to drink and lie about it.

my vote would be hands off her recovery. support her, of course, should she decide to get serious about it....doesn't sound like that is the case right now, tho.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:19 AM
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It kinda sounds to me a bit like you are still feeling you can somehow control the disease. By talking, discussing, confronting, looking for evidence, repeating yourself until you are hoarse. And I'm with naive, having her call you when she has the urge to drink isn't a great idea (for either one of you). She needs to have a recovered alcoholic to talk to. That, of course, is her choice, too. Is she attending AA meetings?

I'm glad you have your plans in place to move on. I hope eventually she chooses to recover. She isn't more hopeless than any other alcoholic, from what you've said. If she has her heart in it, she can do it. But it has to be her choice, and she has to want it with all her heart.
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:08 AM
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zrx,

It's maddening, isn't it?
Since when does this disease give a free pass to lying to spouses? Where is that in the bottle itself?
I know exactly how you feel.
Should there be a warning on a bottle of alcohol--this may promote lying?
Well I'm still not buying into that. I never will.
The alcoholic can tell the truth just like anybody else, they simply choose not to, and they make a deal within themselves that they are willing to suffer the consequences if caught.
That said, I agree that monitoring her alcohol intake or being her overseer of how much she drinks, or if she drinks at all, isn't your job. It's her job.
She believes you have crossed the boundary of her privacy. Same old rules apply as if it was anything else that she believes is a private matter.
She also made deals she had no plans to follow through on, which was to tell you if she drank. She placated and pacified, and now look what she has done--lied to you again, all because she made a promise she shouldn't have. What she should have said was that she was the ultimate overseer of her alcohol consumption, and that only she has the right to know exactly how much and when. Yeah, it really is her business alone, same way as it's your business alone what you do in the bathroom when the door is shut.

I think divorcing in anger is a very bad idea.
Have you considered spending that year apart and then, after that long breather, coming home to find out how your lives have changed, how your relationship has changed?
Removing yourself from the vacinity of the object of your anger is going to do you a heck of a lot of good! That distance alleviates the constant state of anger. It subsides, although there will be triggers for a long time.
I divorced out of frustration and anger, and I regret that. I don't know if it was the right decision to divorce because my head is clouded with the fact that the decision was made out of fury.
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:11 AM
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ZRX1200r,
I truly feel for you. I have read many of your posts on this forum and I know you are in a tough situation. The events you just described are what most alcoholics do, period. They would tell you the sky is green if they thought you would believe it. I had so many coversations with my STBXAW telling her "please just tell me the truth. I can handle things much better if you just tell me the truth". Never worked. Not once. She lied about drinking, lied about going to AA meetings, lied about going to work, etc etc. It's heartbreaking and drives you insane because you truly are powerless. In my case I felt that my STBXAW had plenty of chances at recovery and I was very supportive for many years. But for me, the bottom line is any relationship, especially marraige, is built upon trust. I felt like I was trying to build something on a pile of sand. Like everyone says, they will not recover until they are ready, regardless of husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, coworkers,etc. Every alcoholic's lightbulb moment is different and all you can do is take care of yourself and your kids. I wish you luck.
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:54 AM
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ZRX...I'm so sorry you're going through this.

From where I stand, your "strategy" isn't working. Talking, reasoning, checking up on her, asking for honesty. It's not working, IMO, because it's another attempt at controlling her, at making her accountable to you for her actions.

As others have said, your AW is clearly not ready to quit.

So what's next for you?
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:13 AM
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next: Well it will have to wait a week. I have a minor surgery scheduled for Tuesday. Can't be moving the last of my stuff out, nor commute from my house for it. My house is 3 hours away.

I'm contemplating the wait until I return from Iraq idea. It has some merit. But the reality is nothing is going to change. And I know it. Even though it is better now, it is just a matter of time until it is just like it was. It won't happen suddenly. We will just creep back to our old lives. And all of us here on this forum know it.

Waiting until I return has the added bonus of more than likely keeping intoxicated strangers out of the house with my teenage daughter in it. Divorced and out of the country, the reality is there will be some guy in the house with my daughter. She's about 5'2 and 100 lbs. No amount of "better life" for me is worth the risk. And if I'm in Iraq, my life is essentially the same married or divorced.

But, if the youngest daughter is agreeable to move in with my parents for a year until I return, the game changes.

I suppose the original intent of my post was to vent. And to illustrate to those just starting a relationship with an alcoholic what they are in for.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by zrx1200R View Post
I'm contemplating the wait until I return from Iraq idea. It has some merit. But the reality is nothing is going to change. And I know it. Even though it is better now, it is just a matter of time until it is just like it was. It won't happen suddenly. We will just creep back to our old lives. And all of us here on this forum know it.

Waiting until I return has the added bonus of more than likely keeping intoxicated strangers out of the house with my teenage daughter in it. Divorced and out of the country, the reality is there will be some guy in the house with my daughter. She's about 5'2 and 100 lbs. No amount of "better life" for me is worth the risk. And if I'm in Iraq, my life is essentially the same married or divorced.

But, if the youngest daughter is agreeable to move in with my parents for a year until I return, the game changes.

I suppose the original intent of my post was to vent. And to illustrate to those just starting a relationship with an alcoholic what they are in for.
Well I don't know it--that things will be the same when you return. Not trying to encourage false hope here. Hope is NOT a strategy. (One of my favorite sayings these days).
Just wondering if a year apart breathing room would do some good. But you may have already been down that road in the past and it didn't work.

Your life would be same in Iraq married or divorced except two ways--your heart is on hold, and two, that you can't disengage mentally and be just you alone.
Practical matters--who do you want as your beneficiary. What financial occurances over the next year could affect your decision to end it or not.
That stuff is just the math.
Keeping your daughter safe is a thoughtful and loving gesture. She can keep you up to date on what's happening around the house. A plan for your daughter should mom act out too much and affect your daughter, is a very good idea. Alternative living arrangements--that's being a good boyscout.

You'll make the right decision. I can see your mind ticking away with the pros and cons.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:03 PM
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Hi zrx--

You remind me of me, my AW is 5'2", 100 lbs, with a myriad of medical problems, actively drinking and lying about it. I am also filed for divorce as we speak, she moved out 3 weeks ago but we are maintaining a bizarre relationship/friendship. 16 years of marriage coming to an end.

My AW attracts bad friends and acquaintances of both sexes, due to her poor judgement when drinking, combined with her need to be needed and affirmed constantly. If I left her alone for a year, OMG, what would I come home to? I say this because of your concern about your daughter, and the cast of characters that may enter in your absense.

It sounds to me like you're pretty fed up. I have been where you are, trying to figure out how much she has been drinking and what can I do to help her stop drinking. Checking up, looking at receipts, what I call "playing Sherlock Holmes", which is a joke because she is not clever enough or sober enough to even try to hide it. And when I bust her, it makes no difference, she does not change her ways.

The irony over the years is that selfish AW spent very little time thinking about her drinking, while I spent a HUGE amount of my valuable time checking, worrying, obsessing about it. That's where "detachment" comes in, something I learned quite a while ago at Al-Anon, yet it only works to varying degrees.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to NOT have to think about this all the time? I do. It's humbling to me to realize how messed up I am personally, all because of AW's drinking. My head space is overly devoted to someone else's problems which I did not cause and cannot change, a phenomenal waste of time and productivity.

All the best!
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:56 PM
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Hi zrx, I am sorry to hear all of what you have gone through and are going through.
I recommend you get a copy of "codependent no more" by Melody Beatty. Great book.

Your post reminded me of this article:
Addiction, Lies and Relationships
Excerpt:

Addiction protects and augments itself by means of a bodyguard of lies, distortions and evasions that taken together amount to a full scale assault upon consensual reality. Because addiction involves irrational and unhealthy thinking and behavior, its presence results in cognitive dissonance both within the addict himself and in the intersubjective realm of ongoing personal relationships.

In order for the addiction to continue it requires an increasingly idiosyncratic private reality subject to the needs of the addictive process and indifferent or even actively hostile to the healthy needs of the addict and those around him. This encroachment of the fundamentally autistic, even insane private reality of the addict upon the reality of his family and close associates inevitably causes friction and churn as natural corrective feedback mechanisms come into usually futile play in an effort to restore the addict's increasingly deviant reality towards normal. Questions, discussions, presentations of facts, confrontations, pleas, threats, ultimatums and arguments are characteristic of this process, which in more fortunate and less severe cases of addiction may sometimes actually succeed in its aim of arresting the addiction. But in the more serious or advanced cases all such human counter-attacks upon the addiction, even, indeed especially when they come from those closest and dearest to the addict, fall upon deaf ears and a hardened heart. The addict's obsession-driven, monomaniacal private reality prevents him from being able to hear and assimilate anything that would if acknowledged pose a threat to the continuance of his addiction.


You cannot control her drinking
You cannot cure her
You did not cause this
You could not have prevented this

You can only control your life and your choices... you deserve to have your needs met.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:00 PM
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Illusion & Fantasy
Dependency - Relationship

I find very useful info in this book about the sad addict-codependent dance.

HEALING THE ALCOHOLIC OR DRUG ADDICT

Healing the alcoholic or drug addict is a very difficult task, as it cannot come from the outside coming in as it is a selfish act and anything coming in would only serve their self-interest within the Law of Self. We must, first and foremost, understand that it is a complete selfish act on the part of the dependent person. To convince the dependent person that this is so, will only create denial within the self and will make them run from their responsibilities and to indulge in their addiction in the dulling of the senses. This is their escape.

The next thing to consider is that as long as there are victims or martyrs who want to play this role, the alcoholic or drug addict will continue in their self-serving interest with or without you. If someone is willing to give, they will take. It does not matter how much love the mate, family or friends give, it will only serve their self-interest. The next thing that you will realize is that you cannot deal or work with them, as their self-serving interest will deny you of fair play. They will always let you down and then tell you how sorry they are, after the fact, and if you open up your heart, they will once again help themselves to your life force and take your power away.

Ask a person who is dealing under these circumstances with a drug addict or an alcoholic in their life, “when was the last time you have enjoyed a beautiful sunny day, or laughed in the evening, or felt free as summer’s breeze with life in general?” You will have a real sad response, as they have given their life force and power away. They feel old and depleted, regardless what age they may be. They feel as life has passed them by and their outlook is always gray and gloomy. They look like Dracula’s victim. Their life force and power is gone, all by trying to help someone they believe they loved which is an “illusion & fantasy.” If you knew this person before they became a drug addict or an alcoholic, you will know and understand that this is not the same person you knew before. The Law of Self has taken over. If you met this person once they were addicted, you became deceived by your own need.

Once we acknowledge and determine, without a doubt, that dependency is a selfish act, we must then realize and acknowledge to what extent we are contributing to this selfish cause. Perfect balance is 50% - 50% and we must bring honesty into whatever our relationship is to the drug addict or alcoholic. Even if a dependent person gives up the alcohol and drugs, they are just giving up the tools to dull their senses, they are still “self-serving parasites” if they do not accept a 50% -50% relationship. Anything less than this is unacceptable to any intelligent human being, so do not give in to a parasite that wants more. They, of their own accord, must want to heal themselves and cannot be coerced or manipulated by a self- proclaimed martyr.


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Old 02-10-2011, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by djayr View Post
My head space is overly devoted to someone else's problems which I did not cause and cannot change, a phenomenal waste of time and productivity.
this is a keeper quote!
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:42 PM
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all good comments. Thanks.

I'm certainly out of the Sherlock Holmes business. It is funny though, if I have the slightest suspicion and and take but a small effort, I find the evidence. It doesn't take much. I'm not running around trying to keep tabs. I assume she hasn't been drinking until I think otherwise.

But so far it is about 100% busted. So now I must assume she is drinking.

She hides it so poorly the only answers I can come up with are:
She wants me to find it, and press forward. She just can't pull the trigger herself and she want me to set her free.

or

She drinks and simply blacks it out right away. Not blind, passed out drunk. More of a pathological delusion.

Regardless it is difficult to live with, and anyone facing a relatively young relationship with an alcoholic is well advised to RUN AWAY. Which I will continue to preach.

Oh, daughter is 5'2". not wife. I worry about her physically being able to resist an assault in our home. Valid or not, it is a real threat to me. I have no idea what my wife will do if she is single, and I am 3000 miles away. But I have my ideas based on what other recently divorced women who drink to excess do.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:53 PM
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Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

If anyone hinged their feelings about me, or their relationship with me, on me quitting cigarettes, there is no doubt they would be sorely disappointed, and stuck on a perpetual rollercoaster ride. And I would be rather ashamed. Better to accept her for who she is, alcoholic, and Let Go and Let God.
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

If anyone hinged their feelings about me, or their relationship with me, on me quitting cigarettes, there is no doubt they would be sorely disappointed, and stuck on a perpetual rollercoaster ride. And I would be rather ashamed. Better to accept her for who she is, alcoholic, and Let Go and Let God.
Amen, and I'm not religious.
Just that I haven't given up cigarettes either.
If somebody is betting on it, they should go buy lotto tickets.
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by zrx1200R View Post
Oh, daughter is 5'2". not wife. I worry about her physically being able to resist an assault in our home. Valid or not, it is a real threat to me. I have no idea what my wife will do if she is single, and I am 3000 miles away. But I have my ideas based on what other recently divorced women who drink to excess do.
Yep, I worry about the same stuff when 9yo LMC goes for visitation, seems valid to me. I'm sure it'll get worse as she "blossoms", as they say.

Drunken women do seem to be "turd magnets", based on my personal experience. Been on both sides of that fence.

Take care of your minor daughter, your drunken wife can take care of the rest.

It's hard.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:21 PM
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Waiting until I return has the added bonus of more than likely keeping intoxicated strangers out of the house with my teenage daughter in it. Divorced and out of the country, the reality is there will be some guy in the house with my daughter. She's about 5'2 and 100 lbs. No amount of "better life" for me is worth the risk. And if I'm in Iraq, my life is essentially the same married or divorced.
I was in the Army, and if I went to the field or something, how could I be sure of what my husband was bringing in the house?
He actually brought in one of his girlfriends when I was in Grafewoehr for two weeks training.
If you are in Iraq, how will intoxicated strangers be kept out of your house, just because you are still married? You live on post? Even so, one fact does not follow the other.
Did I miss something?

Beth
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:34 PM
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I think he was implying that his wife doesn't have the weakness of infidelity?
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