Is this really my life? And how did I endup here?

Old 02-19-2011, 09:15 PM
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Is this really my life? And how did I endup here?

Yesterday I left on my very first night away from my husband and kids. I came home to find my husband passed out drunk on the sofa and I have been crying since.

But let me go to the beginning.

These last four years have been some of the best and worst years of my life. On the outside we are such a happy lively family. Two wonderful little boys, a dog, a few chickens, a house, a husband with a great job.... you get the point....

But on the inside everything is dying. My husband's drinking is getting worse and worse. When I read the al-non questions I answer yes to 80% of them. Thankfully he is not physically abusive, but emotional abuse hurts just as much.

Lately he's also been so angry. Always picking up fights with our son and stooping to toddler level. I find myself withdrawing from him more and more. I just don't know how I can show him any affection. I can't stand to even be in the same room with him.

He hides alcohol and can't control himself around alcohol. Especially if there is an open bar/kegger.

Last fall our friends got married and he got _so drunk_ he was falling over at the wedding in front of all the guests and friends. He of course blacked out and didn't remember a thing of those events. The next day he was SO horrified that he said he was going to quit drinking. Of course that only lasted a few weeks. Then he went back to only drinking a beer here or there. And now he's back to his old self.

I feel like I am failing our kids, I don't know how to protect them. I want to leave but I can't. If we didn't have children I would be long gone. But we built a life together, we had so many hopes and dreams for the future I don't want to just throw it all away.

I feel so much pain and despair. I am all alone. This is the first time I have ever spoke/written about his drinking.

I just cannot believe this is my life.

p.s. now to something more practical. What should I do while he's passed out drunk? What if he's drunk but not passed out and tries to talk to me. Do I talk to him? I usually get so angry that he's drunk that I have a hard time talking to him without yelling.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:35 PM
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I am pretty new to this myself, so I dont want to give any advise.
I will just say, I understand your pain. And I hope you stick on this site
to get help & find a alanon class for YOU!!!
I will share some of my experiances with you..just so you know, your NOT alone!!!

But I will share my thoughts on mental abuse, ESPECIALLY with the children!!!
The mental abuse has damaged my kids. They were & are my life!!! But now
that they are 20 and 21....They wont come "Home" due to the damage of his
verbal abuse to them...

To say the least..This momma has a broken heart!!
You think losing your spouse is hard, trying losing your kids.....It is unbearable!!!!

Today I was thinking about laws on mental abuse & this is what come to my mind...
It's kind of a mind riddle...Think about it....

If an alcoholic drinks & drives & physically kills my kids...The courts would punish him.

If an alchoholic drinks & talks & kills my kids emotinally...It's okay (forgive him) because he was drunk.

PS...My AH had 13 liquor bags under his the seat of his truck, empty bottles were stashed in the motorcyle, gun safe, coat pockets, in tool totes in the garage, behind garbage cans, in empty boxes, behind the freezer..I found them all in ONE week, when I finally woke up!!! At first he was taking them to the dumpster, behind stores. Then as it progressed he started to hide them in the places that I listed above.

He began to take money out of my purse, when I was in the shower....

Read some of the other post: You will learn you can not trust them. (I know) never thought you would ever feel like that towards your loving neither..

Hope you get some help right away!

Sending you wonderful, compassionate, sober hugs!!!!
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:45 PM
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Sorry to hear of your troubles.

What you will find here, is in most cases this problem is not going to fix itself. And you have very limited ability to effect a change.

You can try and tell him what you need. He might listen and change. Otherwise you have to learn to live with it or leave. There is no simple solution. There is no magic pill to take and it all gets better. Sorry.

Some use ultimatums. Others find they don't work. After 20+ years I gave my wife one, with our kids right there at the same time. And 8 months later our life is better. She is still drinking, just not much. She still lies and hides it. And I still debate leaving, as I know she can never stop.

Lots of experience here. So sit back and see what the subject matter experts say. Something someone says will click with you, and hopefully light the path for you.

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Old 02-20-2011, 12:21 AM
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Photuris, I'm trying to understand this. How is he holding down a job if he's falling down drunk all the time? How has he been drunk like this for years without repurcussions such as DUI's, problems at work, failing health? Or has all that happened to him?

I get the feeling you're protecting him. Always there when he falls. It's hard when you have kids because if he's the breadwinner, of course you want to protect his job so you don't lose the house. I was in that situation, though my husband wasn't an alcoholic. But, I've gotten smart. I went to school and now, I don't need to rely on a man as breadwinner. That way, if I ever did end up with an alcoholic, if he fell in the gutter, that is where I'd leave him. I'm not an expert on this board, but I believe that it takes medical help to help the alcoholic remain sober. I would think what it takes to get them to the point where they seek that help is when they become aware that their life is worse when drinking than better. For example, if an alcoholic man falls down drunk outside in the gutter, don't help him up, leave him all night, and if a dog or whatever comes and urinates on him, etc. let him suffer that.

In the movie "Days Of Wine and Roses" that is what happened to the main character and the humiliation and all the rest of suffering he did caused him to say "enough". In that same movie, the main character's wife remained a drunk but I think it's because she hadn't hit rock bottom yet.
Personally, I don't think a person is unable to stop drinking; he just doesn't want to. My brother was somebody who was an alcoholic for at least 20 years. He only stopped about a year ago, because the liquor tore up his esophagus and he was put into the hospital for the DT's. It was rather unpleasant to say the least. But, that is my point: A person will stop drinking if their lives becomes a living hell.

On the other hand, when you enable the alcoholic, what incentive does he have to change? He gets drunk, somebody calls in to work for him. He's covered. He gets drunk, somebody goes to the store and gets more groceries and liquor for him: He's covered. He's too drunk to get up and shower: you make him fresh coffee and drag him to the shower and present freshy washed clothes for him. See what I mean? Next time he gets drunk, let him starve. Let him make his own coffee, let him walk to the store and get his own food. See what I mean?
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:30 AM
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You are not alone. You will be amazed at how many of us are sitting in your house, living your life. Welcome to SR, you should also find an Al-Anon meeting pronto and get some education in your head. This ride is just beginning.

Read the stickies on this forum (above the active threads).

Read books about alcoholism. I can't recommend Debra Jay enough, and "Marriage on the Rocks", by Janet Woititz is another good one to read right away.

Just know that you are not alone - you found this huge forum full of people just like you - who are coming to terms with addictions, whether in themselves or their loved ones. We are here to support each other and find solace in our shared experiences. Hope you come back.

Take good care,
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:47 AM
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And on, and on, and on...

...we go, where it stops, nobody knows.

Hi Photuris. This is exactly how it started with my wife. I'm so verry sorry you are experiencing this.

So, I'm only going to give you one piece of advice. It was given to me by others who came before me, and it saved my life. Try it at least six times, and try different meetings:

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Take care,

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Old 02-20-2011, 01:51 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
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(((((Photuris))))) Welcome to SR. You have found a GREAT place with lots of Experience, Strength and Hope (ES&H) from folks who have been where you are or are where you are now.

I feel like I am failing our kids, I don't know how to protect them. I want to leave but I can't. If we didn't have children I would be long gone.
Actually by keeping your children in that situation you are 'failing' them. Go take a gander over at the Adult Children of A's forum and read some of their 'troubles' today because of growing up with an alcoholic parent or parents.

You've been given some really good suggestions up above. Find the AlAnon meetings close to you and try at least 6 different ones to see which ones you are most comfortable (you won't be comfortable in any at first) in.

Also, please get yourself a copy of "Co Dependent No More" by Melodie Beattie, it is available on Amazon at a very reasonable cost, read it with a 'highlighter' in hand and highlight anything that pops out at you. Then go back and read what you highlighted and write about it.

Then read the book again with a different colored highlighter and repeat above.

There are 3 C's that hopefully will help you in this rough time you are going through:

You didn't Cause this.

You can't Control this.

You can't Cure this.

In other words, this is NOT YOUR FAULT. Only your AH can and will decide when he has had enough and choose recovery.

Hopefully, you will start formulating a plan, keeping a bag filled with important papers and change of clothes for you and the children 'just in case.' Alcoholism is progressive and even though an A has never been violent before, there is no guarantee when they might become so.

Please keep posting and let us know how YOU are doing as we do care so very much.

Love and hugs,
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:45 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
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Al-Anon has helped me so much, as has this forum and the wonderful people here.

You are in the right place. You are not alone.

One of the things Al-Anon teaches is to "detach with love" from the alcoholic's disease. This means not enabling them, not shielding them from the consequences of their actions, but also not acting spiteful towards the alcoholic.

Someone gave me a good example...
Their husband passed out drunk in the hallway, and she felt she had three options:
Help him into the bedroom, wash him off herself, change his clothing, and help him into bed. (ENABLING)
Leave him where he fell and just keep stepping over him. (ANGER)
Help him into bed, or get him a pillow or blanket if she couldn't get him to move, unwashed and with his clothing on. (DETACH WITH LOVE)

Living with an alcoholic is hard. It's very easy to get wrapped up in their world of manipulations and I promise I'll do better's. You need to find a program for yourself to help you rebuild yourself, because alcoholism (and abuse!) tears you down.

I have recently broken off my relationship with an abusive alcoholic ex-boyfriend. It was verbal and emotional, but that doesn't make it hurt any less, I agree.

A book that really helped me: "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft
I couldn't put it down, I read it cover to cover over an afternoon and the next morning.
If you can get your hands on a copy, it may help shed some light on things.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:37 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
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Hello Photuris, welcome to the forum. Your post title is something I have asked myself more times than I care to count. I'm fairly new to this forum but I'm hoping to come away with some answers or at least insight into what so many others, like ourselves, are living with at this point.
I'm trying to come to terms with the 3 C's and that's one of the hardest things for me to do. They have become the bane of my existence because I am a stubborn fool who thinks/thought that if you love someone enough, you can help them and it's hard to accept that it doesn't work that way.
I hope you get some help and peace of mind from the wise people who post here.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:11 AM
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Welcome, and I second the suggestion you get to some Al-Anon meetings right away. As you can see from this forum, you are far from alone in dealing with these kinds of situations. Al-Anon will not only make you feel that you are with others who understand, but it will help you clear your own thought and feelings so you can make good decisions for yourself and your kids.

It is very hard to let go of the dreams of the life we thought we were going to have, but if we are to live we have to deal with reality, not keep chasing dreams. Nobody asks for a spouse to develop a progressive, fatal disease. That's what alcoholism is. There is hope, there is treatment, but the alcoholic must want it more than anything. We can do what's right for ourselves, we can learn how to stop enabling the disease, but we can't make the choice of sobriety for the alcoholic. That has to come from within.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:01 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
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Just about everyone here knows exactly how you feel. You'll get a lot of support here.

I felt as though I'd found a lifeline when I found this site. These people have helped me so much.

Here's what I've done in the couple of months I've been visiting here.

I have an emergency bag packed so I can be out the door in two minutes if I want to. My husband has never been physically abusive. But, I like knowing that I'm not stuck.

I have a cash stash. I built it over six months. I add a little each month. But recently I had some painting and repair work done on the house. AH doesn't realize he overpaid $400 that went into my stash. I keep my stash in a safe place that's not in the house. I hide $100 bill in my wallet.

I'm familiarizing myself with divorce laws in our state.

I've copied all our important papers and have them stored in a safe place.

I read and learn all I can about alcoholism. I'm currently reading and studying about co-dependency and verbally abusive relationships.

Fortunately, I don't have kids left at home. And, even though my husband didn't start drinking to excess until our three boys were well into their teens, they have suffered because of it. I'm very lucky that none of them drink. I'm lucky to be friends with my sons.

I go to the big city about one weekend a month. I do a big shopping and we go play for a couple of days. It's a break for me.

It's not my place to tell you what to do but you already know that your kids must come first. It's your job as their mom to protect them. They are already learning that drinking and getting drunk are acceptable behavior. If you are angry and yelling at each other,they are learning that it's okay to abuse the people you love.

When my husband is drinking, I avoid interacting with him as much as possible. He drinks outdoors while he pretends to do yard work etc. He comes in and eats lunch before falling asleep. I let him sleep as long as he wants. We pretty much live on different schedules. That's fine with me.

You should know that you can't really believe much of what an alcoholic says. They'll say whatever they have to to keep drinking. It's the booze talking. When they appear sober, it's often still the booze talking. They aren't necessarily aware that they are doing this.
They believe their own nonsense even though last weeks nonsense was different and next week's crap may take off on a whole new tangent.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:01 PM
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You are not alone.
And we get it.
Keep posting and reading especially the "classic reading" in the Sticky section.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dogluvah View Post
Photuris, I'm trying to understand this. How is he holding down a job if he's falling down drunk all the time? How has he been drunk like this for years without repurcussions such as DUI's, problems at work, failing health? Or has all that happened to him?
I'm new here, and don't understand the whole addiction thing (which is why I'm here) but I am in some kind of weird relationship kind of thing with a man who somehow managed to graduate college and keep a job while having substance abuse issues. In fact, the big thing that turned his life around was that he was offered a promotion that required him to move to another state, and he took full advantage of that to turn his life around. He's smart, ambitious/goal-orientated and very perceptive, and he used those gifts to hide his problems and maintain appearances.

Not all alcoholics are falling down drunk all the time- some are pretty good at hiding it when they want to. There's also a variety of sources of enabling- my ex-BIL drank at work, and his boss would have him clock out and go sleep it off in the car when he got too drunk, so my sister didn't figure it out until she looked over his paystubs and realized he was not getting paid for all the hours he was supposedly at work.

Oh, I guess I'm not that new to this- I remember going to an Al-Anon meeting with my sister when I was 11 or 12. He quit drinking, and they had a pretty good life for about 15 years. There are problems in life unrelated to alcoholism, but the point is that getting to that low point doesn't mean you're going to be stuck there, there will be a point when you back and see how far you've come.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:59 PM
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(((photuris))) Welcome to SR! I'm so sorry for what brings you here, but you have found a wonderful place.

Face-to-face support in an Al-Anon meeting has provided so many of us the strength and tools we need to reclaim our lives. I hope you will consider finding a meeting so that you have the strength you need to protect those precious boys and yourself. Abuse is unacceptable in any form!

Hugs, HG
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:31 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
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Thanks for all the responses, I still haven't had a chance to go through them all (hopefully tonight)....

Things have calmed down here quite a bit as they always do... I'm going to enjoy the peace until the next storm.

A quick note to those who asked, he's a functional alcoholic and really more of a binger. Once he starts drinking he cannot stop and does not realize how much he's had. But at the same time he can go for a week (or at least that's what I think because I don't know what actually goes on at night) without drinking. Mostly he drinks in secret once I go to bed.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:40 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by photuris View Post
Mostly he drinks in secret once I go to bed.
That was my RAH - he called himself a "night owl" - and maybe he is, but it was also his time to drink and feel sorry for himself. He was also a very high functioning alcoholic. However, even the high functioning ones eventually fail because of the progressive nature of the disease. My RAH began having health problems, on top of a failing marriage and family. It creeps up on even the most functional user.

Enjoy your moment of peace! This forum will be here for you when you need it.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:50 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
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Welcome to SR.
You're not alone.
Make sure you read every post in this thread. A good set of the "basics" have been shared with you and it will help.
Take this quiet time before the storm and start reading up and or posting here. We've all been there, are there or will be there. That's simply how it is and like everyone else said, we get it.
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