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Husband sober for 2 weeks, what to expect now...

Old 02-17-2011, 10:13 AM
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Husband sober for 2 weeks, what to expect now...

I'm new to this website, just found it today. Been married 7 yrs to my soulmate who unfortunately, is a functioning alcoholic. We have 3 young children under 4. He is 34 and has been drinking since he was 14. Currently it was up to a 12 pack of beer every night after work. After years of denial, my husband finally admitted he no longer feels in control of his heavy drinking. He quit drinking cold turkey 2 weeks ago. The reason for his "revelation" was in part to recent scary drunken behavior that he did not remember the next morning, and that I asked his dad to talk to him because I felt like it was no longer safe for him to be around our kids. He refuses to get any kind of treatment, no therapists, no doctors, no AA, etc. He has been very quiet after work every night, obviously struggling with physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. I have let him have his space, and have not mentioned his "sobriety" yet. At what point should we, if at all, discuss what he's going through or what plan we have for the future to help him stay sober long term? I have a book I want to give him called "Under the Influence." It's full of information and facts about exactly what he is going through, but I'm afraid if I give it to him now, he'll get defensive or mad and I don't want to do or say anything to risk relapse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:28 AM
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Tell him about this site =).

Good for you! Stay here! Take what you like, and leave the rest!

A little bit of wisdom............... be patient recovery is a process. He is your "soulmate"!
God Bless you, michelle
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:44 AM
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Welcome, you have found a wonderfully supportive place to be.

Others with more wisdom and experience than I will be along, but I will say that the best thing you can do is take care of yourself...read as much as you can about Alcoholism and Codependency...and realize that nothing you do or don't do will change what your AH does with regard to his sobriety.

Al Anon is a wonderful resource for what you are going through as well. Your children need you to be healthy for them, so focus on you.

Keep reading and posting, we are always here. Sending you lots of positive thoughts.

My exabf said he could stop drinking on his own too...but he couldn't...ultimately he chose to get serious about recovery. Those who want it bad enough will do whatever it takes. Alcoholics cannot make up their own rules about how this works. Hopefully your AH will get the help he needs to achieve long term sobriety and a better life for all of you.

In the meantime, there is much you can learn to stay healthy and happy no matter what he does.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:47 AM
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be patient, and expect him to start drinking again. They seem to start again about the 2-3 week phase. They think they have proved they can do it, and want to show you how they can just drink a little now. It's all ok.

He may be able to stop cold turkey. And show him other places besides AA. They are not the only game in town.

Welcome.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:53 AM
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I never thought the whole soulmate thing existed, until I met him. He didn't drink this much when we met but it progressively got worse. The alcoholism has been absolute hell for all of us, especially for me, I hope that doesn't sound selfish. But it really has been. I love him more than anything and when he's sober, he's the best dad and husband. I really hope we can all recover from this, and that too much damage hasn't already been done. I read a blog on another website that was from a man who left his wife and kids after he got sober. He said they were a constant reminder of his past and all the bad things he had done to them. He said he wanted to start over with a new sober life and just couldn't do it with the guilt and shame he felt at home. That seems like a sad ending for that family. I hope that my husband and I can find the strength to make amends with the past, and rebuild our relationship, instead of just running away from it. By the way, I would love it if he would read through this website, but he will not. He is one of those people who thinks they can do this on their own, without any treatment or help. That's why I bought him this book. I will give it to him soon, when it's the right time I guess.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:00 AM
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You are not alone. There are many of us that have been or are currently in your situation. Most importantly take care of yourself and your kids. I recommend reading the sticky threads, especially "classic reading". A lot of people have found Al Anon to be very helpful. Keep posting and reading on this site, it has been a lifesaver for me and many others. There are some very wise people here.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:40 PM
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His do-it-yourself recovery is not unusual, unfortunately in my experience with AW -- it doesn't work. I hope your case is different. Welcome to this site! You may also want to try an Al-Anon meeting, there are some helpful tools, especially "detachment" that you might find useful.
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:37 PM
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Expect nothing. That's where the trouble starts. Each and every day will be what it is. Seek your own recovery though Al-Anon, and leave him to his. The more you "help," the more you monitor, and the more you interfere, the less chance he has of staying sober.

My 2 cents.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak

P.s. For the love of God, please reconsider giving him the book. My wife used to do that all the time. Do you really think, even for a second, he will read the book? It's just another form of passive-aggressive control in the disguise of "helping" or a "gift."
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ukiah77 View Post
At what point should we, if at all, discuss what he's going through or what plan we have for the future to help him stay sober long term? I have a book I want to give him called "Under the Influence." It's full of information and facts about exactly what he is going through, but I'm afraid if I give it to him now, he'll get defensive or mad and I don't want to do or say anything to risk relapse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
UTI is a phenomenal book and you are right, it has information he could really use. Speaking as a recovering alcholic (14 months this week), trying to do this without any outside help is extremely difficult - basically impossible imo. If a book truly would make him relapse, eventually something else would do it anyway. Life happens and never stops doing so, that's why many recovering people continue to go to AA or use other support long after they quit. I still go at least 5x a week, despite the fact that in rehab I imagined there would be zero chance of me going to 90 meetings in the first 90 days out of treatment.

I see no reason not to acknowledge the fact that he is "on the wagon" - and express your appreciation, love, and support. It could be the start of a discussion (not necessarily right then, but over time) that allows you to be part of the solution as opposed to walking on eggshells that something you do might "cause" a relapse. You really should look into getting yourself into an ALANON meeting - you need to better understand what is going on here for your own sake. This is serious and long term stuff you face, get informed so you can reclaim the marriage you both deserve.

I wish you all the best.

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Old 02-17-2011, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ukiah77 View Post
I have a book I want to give him called "Under the Influence." It's full of information and facts about exactly what he is going through,
I read this book a couple of years ago and tbh, it's very old and very outdated. Medical knowledge of alcoholism has moved on an awful lot since it was written and quite a bit of it is very inaccurate.

Imo, if he's not drinking let him off for a while. Physically you could help him by encouraging him to keep a healthy diet at the moment. Lots of fresh food, with plenty of fruit and vegetables. As little processed food as possible, especially avoiding foods high in sugar, could be a big help to him.

Contrary to popular belief a huge amount of people do overcome drinking problems without any formal treatment. Your husband may or may not be one of those people, but if he wants to try it then I suggest giving him a bit of space and seeing if he can manage to overcome this himself.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:06 PM
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Hi ukiah - my own relationship with my wife's drinking started to change after finding this site. First just educating myself about what was going on, then finding relief in knowing there were others I could ask questions like this and get straight talk. Eventually I came to accept that I had been trying to 'fix' her, or to get her to fix herself; sadly it doesn't seem to work that way.

I know everyone has a different story here, but they all seem to start with a shattering of denial. We are left staring at the face of a truth that we have avoided for months, years, even decades: that the fear and pain of changing our life is smaller than the pain we endure through the actions of our alcoholic loved one, or the fear of the damage being caused to our children.

In time, you will find your own path through these forums. I lurked for almost a year before crossing the line. You've reached out for help, though, and it seems like the more you share with others the better prepared you become for whatever steps lie ahead.

Be forewarned: I tried LOTS of tools to repair my wife. I poured out vodka. I gave her books. I had her parents and sister intervene. I threatened divorce. None of it worked. It wasn't until I filed for divorce that she searched for her own help, which is ultimately what is needed...the addict must internalize their condition.

She is still in rehab, so my story isn't finished yet. I'm not sure if it ever will be, no matter the outcome. That's the other thing I've learned so far.

Welcome. Good to have you here.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:31 AM
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Hi Ukiah, my story is very similar. My AH has caused problems off and on in the past, but nothing horrible. In Dec he got a DUI with some other things attached and has quit drinking on his own. He is not interested in this site, or AA. He has not had a drink since, and is doing well, occasionally will get moody, but all in all, so far so good. He told me he was done drinking before I got the chance to tell him that I was done with his drinking, but we have since talked about it. The first few weeks were difficult, but things are fairly normal now. Best of luck to you and your family!
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:45 PM
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Very respectfully and kindly I say...

Originally Posted by KittyP View Post
Contrary to popular belief a huge amount of people do overcome drinking problems without any formal treatment.
Ukiah, I've been where you are with my wife, and we are both engaged heavily in AA and Alanon and have been for many years. We've had the experiences, tried various other things, and read the studies with their dubious statistics.

Having said all of that, Kitty likes to post various versions of the idea above on these threads, and she is entitled to her opinion.

However, her belief/opinon on this is complete B.S., unsupportable in any way by any real metric, clearly guided by an axe to grind. It is impossible to support what she is saying above. Impossible.

What can be supported is that AA started with two guys in Akron, Ohio during the 30s. Two guys. Two.

It now has millions of members on virtually every continent on the planet, in every major language. All without a guru, leader, doctor, boss, or requirement for membership other than being an alcoholic.

If, as Kitty asserts, there were another really effective solution for alcoholics, wouldn't we all know about it?

So, knowing that, take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranaok
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
P.s. For the love of God, please reconsider giving him the book. My wife used to do that all the time. Do you really think, even for a second, he will read the book? It's just another form of passive-aggressive control in the disguise of "helping" or a "gift."
I dunno... I gave my first husband the Big Book, after a colleague at work gave it to me. He found it very interesting. Didn't want to go to a meeting right off the bat, but when "do-it-yourself" didn't work, he agreed to go to a meeting. He drank for awhile longer (a few months) and when I left to take a break from the insanity, he went to AA on his own and never drank again.

I never think simply offering information hurts. What hurts is nagging, "Have you read it yet, have you read it yet?" You could tell him that you found this fascinating book that does a great job of explaining how alcohol works in the body. Lay it on the coffee table and leave it there. If he hollers, leave it there. If he throws it in the trash, leave it in the trash. If he wants to read it later, he'll ask.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
If, as Kitty asserts, there were another really effective solution for alcoholics, wouldn't we all know about it?
There are lots and lots of other treatments and almost every single one of them has better successes than the 12 steps, which has a significantly lower success rate than what is known as spontaneous remission, ie, getting better alone. I have absolutely no problem with the AA (which. by the way, is run by an enormous and very wealthy company called the AAWS - so your assertion that it has no leader/guru/boss is way off base) and I'm very glad that it helps/has helped the people who it has helped. But it has a very low success rate and does not suit most people. In helping my husband through his problem I have borrowed a quote of Franklin D. Roosevelt's and made it my motto; "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." When the AA/Al-Anon approach did not work for us, I went out and found something else, and then something else.

Thankfully, there are so, many, many alternatives out there. There is SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, LifeRing, the MyWayOut programme, Women for Sobriety inc, HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol, non12step, SOS - Secular Organization for Sobriety, Dr Stanton Peele's The Life Process Program, The Clean Slate, etc. Countries with state health care (pretty much all of the western world) run free Community Alcohol Teams, or similar, which are medicine and psychology based and have a reasonably good track record as they are paid for by the taxpayer.

There are numerous medical treatments, Topiramate, Naltrexone, Acamprosate, Antabuse and Baclofen. There is also even compelling evidence that a good diet and vitamin routine will reduce cravings and associated mood swings. In fact nobody should attempt a withdrawal without taking a daily dose of vitamin B1 (thiamine) as the risk of Wernicke's Encephalopathy is too great.

In addition just getting a good addiction counsellor/psychiatrist/psychologist has a very good chance of success depending on the root cause of the drinking. Of course the emphasis is on "good" therapist as a poor therapist, or one who is a bad fit, can do more harm than good.

(And Cyranoak, swearing at people is rarely "respectful or kind" regardless of how you precede it. In fact it's downright nasty, rude and unbelievably arrogant. What I have posted is not only supported but it's supported by the HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL. What you say is supported by personal anecdote. As it happens my personal anecdote isn't that my husband got over his addiction without treatment, but that doesn't make my experience the most common. I'd never, ever be so blind as to insist that what has been shown to be incredibly common can't happen because it didn't happen to my husband.)
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:17 PM
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:19 PM
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Let's get the focus back on sharing experiences that can possibly help the OP rather than snarky debates back and forth...
This forum is for the friends and family, and it tends to run best when we focus on ourselves and what helps us, not debates about others recovery choices. Thanks
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:36 AM
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Thanks for all the helpful advice, I have not given my AH the UTI book. I have read it myself, cover to cover. I am leaving it in the closet until I feel the moment is right to share it with him. For now, it's been 3 weeks and he hasn't had a drink. Things have been so much better, it's hard to not jump for joy that the nightmare is over. I know it's not over. I know to take it one day at a time. My daughter is finally getting to spend "sober" time in the evening with her dad, something she is not used to. I held back my tears the other night, when she sat on his lap and they were laughing together. I know relapse happens, but I hope and pray that this is a new beginning of the normal life we all want and deserve. My AH looks so much different now, he has color back in his cheeks and is smiling more, he also got his hair cut, which was much needed. It's only week 3 and he looks 10 years younger! I can't imagine going back to the old ways, I was at the end of my rope, about ready to pack the kids up and leave, for their safety. The last three weeks have been so wonderful, but I feel like there's a cloud looming over, like waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I am just being the best wife I can be, and showing him much love and support.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:01 AM
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Hi Ukiah. to SoberRecovery. I am glad your spouse has gotten sober. I would suggest you take a moment or two and just share with him the feelings you posted here. Tell him how it truly makes a difference and express your appreciation for his efforts. Keep it short and simple, almost like in passing. And if you can work up the courage, please try AlAnon. Because a short period of sobriety does not reflect a willingness for long term Recovery. The more you learn about the disease of alcoholism, and the more you focus on yourself and the role you play, the stronger you will become. I sincerely hope you give AlAnon some consideration. And yes, keep reading books. I suggest Codependent No More. (((hugs))) Keep reading and posting here. We are here to support you.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:06 AM
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Imo, if he's not drinking let him off for a while. Physically you could help him by encouraging him to keep a healthy diet at the moment. Lots of fresh food, with plenty of fruit and vegetables. As little processed food as possible, especially avoiding foods high in sugar, could be a big help to him.
Diet and nutrition is extremely important in controlling mood swings which can lead to relapse. Also, a good sleep schedule. Those are the main things that benefit the alcoholic when they go into a treatment center.
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