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New here and really struggling with choices

Old 03-02-2011, 08:31 AM
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Unhappy New here and really struggling with choices

My husband is an alcoholic. Looking back I see all the "signs" (blaming me for all his woes, verbal abuse, accusations, oversensitive to "criticism", mood swings etc....) but for years I believed that if I just changed enough or talked enough to him about how relationships can work, we could work out our problems.

About 2 yrs ago I started to realize how much and how often he'd been drinking. This past summer was the first time I started to educate myself about alcoholism and went to al-anon.

Since the early Fall my husband has been on 2 serious, weekend long binges, been arrested for domestic assault, been to outpatient rehab, agreed to and was "signed on" to go to in patient rehab and then backed out (and assaulted me that same day).

The restraining order was dropped after a month of no contact and he moved back home 3 weeks ago today. He did this only after showing me with actions that he was taking recovery seriously (or so I thought). Within a week he was still sober, but acting exactly as he had for all the years he was drinking. For the past week he has been talking obsessively about drinking, longing to do so, saying he has no joy, no life, no outlets etc.. He has a sponsor but plans out his talks with him and talks to him once a week at his home group meeting. He goes to 3-4 step meetings a week but has made a point in the past week of telling me he really has this figured out and has nothing to say at the meetings.

Fast fwd to last night. He was nasty and I broke and reacted and it was the excuse he was looking for to justify drinking.

He made a big show of coming home with a 6 pack (even though I'd bet my children's lives on the fact that he was drunk when I got home from work: he is on vacation this week) and drinking 3 beers and despite slurring his words and stumbling around, claims that was all he drank.

I don't know what to do anymore... I know that I can not live with him drinking and apparently I can not live with him not drinking bc he is not in any way taking recovery seriously. But at the same time I still love him and don't want to leave.

Last night he told me repeatedly that he should be commended for going to meetings and having been sober for a month and that if I had been more congratulatory/supportive/loving (which I really have been!) he would be able to be in recovery. Then he told me that his recovery was coming apart at the seams bc of the stress I was causing him and that his sponsor had told him that he needed to be free of toxic relationships such as ours in order for recovery to be possible.

I am SOOOOOO tired of the blame, the rationalizing, the justifying... I am tired of trying to explain to him that honesty is not subjective-- either you are honest or you are not. He lies about things big and small and when he gets caught it is ME he is angry at and says things like I should appreciate that he was "partially" honest.

I just found this site and since it is hard for me to get to lots of al anon meetings in person each week, I thought I'd come on here bc I am really, really struggling today....

Thanks for listening.
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:42 AM
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Welcome to SR. You will find a lot of support here, but you will also find honesty. You may not hear what you want to hear, but we will always tell you the truth.

It's obvious that your husband isn't ready to quit drinking. Your situation isn't good, as you know. Your children should not have to live with all that chaos and nastiness. You say you don't want to leave, but you also say you can't live with him either drinking or sober. So, what other options are there? Nothing changes if nothing changes.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:03 AM
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hi and welcome. So many of us have been exactly where you are (give or take a few details).

I can only tell you that my life now is not easy, but it is peaceful, pleasant, fun, and that my children are thriving from the stability in our home.

Please keep coming back. We understand.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:14 AM
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Thanks Suki & Stella,

Trust me, I don't want to be coddled... I know that my thinking is co-dependant at best and crazy at worst.

I think what makes it hardest is that I see glimmers of change and periods of things being something resembling normal and then with the change in the wind, it's all gone and it feels devastating.

If things were terrible 100% of the time I'd be less torn.

My husbands pattern is that he hits something he thinks is rock bottom, gets scared for a few weeks and then gets comfortable, cocky, complacent etc... and he starts lying to himself most of all (and me secondarily) that the reason his life isn't perfect is because of something I am doing or not doing.

I guess I don't know at what point I am ready to throw away the hope of what I thought married life with him would be and the hope of having a family that wasn't broken up.

I'm just in a hard place mentally right now bc intellectually what I would tell a friend and what I KNOW I should do is different than what my heart wants to do...
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:24 AM
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Taking a separation isn't throwing in the towel. It doesn't mean you are ending the marriage at this point. You and the children need some time away from the chaos. Living with it day after day blinds us to how screwed up it really is. Once you get away from it, you can start to see more clearly.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
Taking a separation isn't throwing in the towel. It doesn't mean you are ending the marriage at this point. You and the children need some time away from the chaos. Living with it day after day blinds us to how screwed up it really is. Once you get away from it, you can start to see more clearly.
This.

I couldn't even begin to figure anything out until I had some space away from my XABF. I finally got the chance once he was in rehab (he only stayed there two and a half weeks).
When I went to see him, a week and a half into the program, I tried to talk out quite a few things about the relationship, and about how I felt, and how I wanted to have some space and go backwards in our relationship a bit to rebuild things the right way. He said he understood, and I thought things were going great.

That lasted about five minutes, because that's how long he waited after our discussion to try to propose to me, and I realized that he never listened to a word I said, drunk or sober.


Your clarity will come, but you need some distance from the craziness to re-center yourself so you can listen to the real you. When you need to know what to do, you'll know. Until then, you just have to work on finding your serenity wherever you currently stand, however you can find it, so that you can rediscover the lovely lady called "you".
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:40 AM
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My bf recently relapsed. It was, according to him, stressors within my family... um, dude, you don't even live here!

Don't accept the blame. I'm having a terrible day, too, but coming here, gaining strength from reading and writing, will help you get thru today.

In my eyes, our codependency is very much the same, "One day at a time".

Hugs to you, Kim
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:00 AM
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I just left for a 6-week separation. I know how easy it is to be angry, resentful, fearful when he's drinking and then they throw us a bone with a couple of days of sobriety and a bunch of promises and good intentions, and boy, how easy it is to forget all the bad stuff and hang our hopes on an illusion!

I had planned for this leave-taking for a month, but up until Monday, which was the day I was planning leaving, I sincerely doubted my own resolve. All weekend I was saying to myself "I probably won't have the strength to do it." "I don't know what to tell him, so I'll probably just wait until I get really mad again." etc. etc.

So, I have to be thankful that he picked me up from a business trip drunk, he was drunk all day Saturday, and was even drunk at church at 10:30 in the morning, and stayed drunk all day long--even dipping into a bottle of wine that I have, which is very uncharacteristic because he hates wine.

So I am grateful that he made my path incredible clear over the weekend, and any doubts I had driving to the new place were absolved when I got here, and he called me drunk, slurring "Wanna have lunch with me? Sarah and Kate want to have lunch with me, but my own wife won't have lunch with me." The doubts flew away like a bat out of hell.

I'm just telling you this because I emphathize with what you said and to reinforce what StarCat and Suki said about the clarity of mind that comes when you step away from the craziness. And to tell you you will do what you have to do when the time is right.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:31 AM
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I've never seen alcoholic recovery in action, but I don't think it includes a quick resuming of all the crazy, abusive, blaming behaviors. Once you live free from all that, you will definitely be able to make some choices as to what you want to live with and what you wish to impose on your children's lives.

good luck.
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:36 PM
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his sponsor had told him that he needed to be free of toxic relationships such as ours in order for recovery to be possible.
I find that I can still so easily be drawn into a he-said/she-said tangle when presented with a statement like that!

hmmm.... maybe it's better all around for nobody to be in a toxic relationship.

- Sylvie
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:53 PM
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Hi Wanttobehealthy and welcome to SR!

I hope you'll read the responses you've already received
very carefully
for they are saying quite a lot.

I hope you'll continue with Alanon near you
because face to face support is so vital
when a relationship is crumbling.

Notice I didn't say 'faltering'.

I think you clearly explained the situation
and there's plenty of others here
that know first hand
what you're feeling,
and possibly even have ideas
that can lead you to finding your own solution.

I hope you'll keep posting -
whenever the word 'assault' comes up
it concerns me and even though we've just met
I'll worry for your safety
and that of your children.

How old are your kids?

Mavbe you said, but I don't remember?
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:29 PM
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Welcome to SR.
Here's something I read in your post...."I'm just in a hard place mentally right now bc intellectually what I would tell a friend and what I KNOW I should do is different than what my heart wants to do..."

Sometimes you have to let yourself be afraid and do what your head tells you to do. I think your heart will catch up to your intellect when you feel how good it is to have some peace for you and your children.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:58 AM
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Hi,
To whomever asked, my girls are very young; 5 and nearly 3. The 5 yr old I have finally taken to a therapist who is helping her deal with her fear, anger, stifled emotions etc...

I know it is not a good environment for them and yet I am here. What kind of mother does that make me is a question I ask myself a lot lately.

I have a therapist and face to face support at a weekly al anon mtg but am back to worrying about leaving the house with the girls in bed and my husband there alone bc if he gets drunk and I am not around and the girls need something, they will get ignored.

I know right now I am letting emotions and not logic or rational thinking control me and I need to stop.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:17 PM
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I'm also a mother of a little girl. She's 2.

The thing that got me moving and out of the toxic environment of my abusive marriage to an alcoholic was this: I imagined my daughter, a grown woman, involved with the same kind of man that her father was, letting herself be mistreated and abused because she thought she had no other choice or didn't deserve any better.

It made me want to puke.

That image is ultimately what got me out the door. Yes, I had a child with a terrible man who didn't deserve to be a father. I made a poor choice. And yes, I stayed with him longer than I "should have". BUT, right now, today, I am showing my daughter that people can change for the better, and that I *categorically refuse* to be mistreated or to let anyone mistreat my child, whether directly or indirectly. No way, no how.

I know I don't control my daughter's future, but my goal is to at least model healthy human interaction for her.

All this to say: if you want to let emotion guide you, let it be the Big Mama Bear emotions that will help you and your girls escape that toxicity. Your daughters deserve a SAFE and sane home, and YOU deserve happiness.

Keep posting!
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post

I know it is not a good environment for them and yet I am here. What kind of mother does that make me is a question I ask myself a lot lately.

I have a therapist and face to face support at a weekly al anon mtg but am back to worrying about leaving the house with the girls in bed and my husband there alone bc if he gets drunk and I am not around and the girls need something, they will get ignored.

The kind of mother who is actively considering and sorting her options. I know that it is not as easy as just saying "goodbye, it's over." It takes a long time and the absence of all hope for the family you wanted to have before you will leave. So the sooner you realize that the family you have now is already NOT the family you want (can't leave your children with him was a breaking point for me in my marriage), the easier it will be to let go of the dream.

You have to find a way to keep getting the support you need - this is what they mean by putting yourself first - so that may be a lunchtime meeting, a babysitter, an hour for your girls at a friend's house, family?

I know it's hard, just don't let guilt and fear keep you from doing your best clear thinking. You are a great mom or you wouldn't be concerned. The question is how long do you want to keep doing this and how many more of YOUR activities do you want to cut back on because he isn't trustworthy as a care provider for your girls? (I say this because it will creep up on you. I know women who won't go out at night because they essentially have to babysit their husbands).
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:00 PM
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Regarding the children:

One of the biggest head-butt I ever got was when my 18 year old left home with $5 in his pocket. We always had love among us all in the family--an aphrodisiac that kept us imprisoned. But my oldest son had "gotten away." He left for his new place 300 miles away with a beat-up Suburu and $5.

He didn't call to say he had made it safely, and when I said to the younger siblings that that was kind of funny and unlike him, my 12 year old son said, "Why should he? He left his troubles behind."

I tear up thinking about it now. Sure we had a nuclear family. But he was troubled, and not only did that drive him out of the house, but even my pre-teens knew why--his home life sucked.

So we can cling to our fantasies of two parents + two kids + dog but the truth is hidden underneath, and as the sober parent, it is our responsibility to uncover that truth.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:38 PM
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Wow, the support and encouragement is really wonderful. You are all causing me (in a very good way) to have to directly face reality and the last post inparticular about the impact this will and is having on my kids (no matter what I try to tell myself) really caused me to pause and think.

My husband is very high functioning. He is a well respected, adored member of our community. No one has a clue what he is like and my pride (and my ability to be brainwashed for a long time into believing it really has been my fault) has kept me here. I grew up in this community, the oldest of a large family with a mother with borderline personality disorder. She is notoriously known for her crazy antics and my husband has more than once spread rumors about me to his colleagues, friends etc... to solidify his "case" that I am the problem.

I have stayed (and I haven't EVER been this honest about this so be gentle with me!) because I don't want to face the consequences of being painted as the crazy one (just like my mother-- except she really was). I spent my whole childhood being told by my mother that I was awful and crazy. She was abusive in a number of ways and I sometimes don't know how I made it out sanely. And then I married a man who is both a HF alcoholic and himself was diagnosed last year with BPD.

So, for as bad as things have been, and as much as I don't want my children to grow up in a toxic home, I have selfishly stayed in large part (though there is love in my heart for him as well) because I don't want to be viewed negatively by our community and he has already demonstrated that he will destroy (or try to) my reputation if I leave...

None of this is an excuse for staying. I know what would be healthiest but I guess I don't feel ready or strong enough or willing enough yet to do that.

I keep thinking that I will figure out how to be happy with the good times and not be impacted by the bad times and be able to have an okay life together this way... It's pathetic that I am lowering my expectations and low balling what I am willing to live with largely out of fear of the unknown.

Tonight I am full of resentment and hurt. I hate my mother for destroying my spirit from birth onward (literally on the day I was born she wrote a letter to me which she gave me years later telling me she regretted having me and that I'd already stolen my father away from her simply by being born). I hate that I never had a chance growing up and that no one stepped in to help (bc of fear of my mother's wrath on them- grown adults who knew she was abusing me turned a blind eye). And then when I left home and gained some self esteem over many years, I wound up falling in love with someone who IS my mother but in a younger, male form.

I guess maybe I deserve these circumstances since I was stupid enough to leave the frying pan (my mother) and jump right into the fire (husband). Thinking I would ever be happy, find someone normal and that I deserved any of that was just plain foolish of me...

Thanks for letting me vent...
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:08 PM
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I'm glad you "wanttobehealthy". You can get there, trust me!

The physical abuse is a real concern. I worked in the domestic violence field for a long time, and no one should have to tolerate abuse for any reason. I suggest that, in addition to Al-Anon, you contact your local domestic violence agency, who can help you to formulate a safety plan in the event you need to escape on short notice. They can also explain how to get a restraining order if you ever feel that you want him removed from the house due to the violence.

The violence is TERRIBLE for your children, especially.

Hugs, you will get where you need to be.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I'm glad you "wanttobehealthy". You can get there, trust me!

The physical abuse is a real concern. I worked in the domestic violence field for a long time, and no one should have to tolerate abuse for any reason. I suggest that, in addition to Al-Anon, you contact your local domestic violence agency, who can help you to formulate a safety plan in the event you need to escape on short notice. They can also explain how to get a restraining order if you ever feel that you want him removed from the house due to the violence.

The violence is TERRIBLE for your children, especially.

Hugs, you will get where you need to be.
There was one episode of physical violence. He was out of the house for quite a while. The order was dropped, he made a number of changes and is headed right back down the same path of relapse I've seen before. I have knowledge of resources related to dom violence and if I felt I or my children were in danger of physical harm I would not have let him return.

My largest problem right now is that I need to detach and not expect him to be more than he is; which is an alcoholic who will behave like an alcoholic until he wants to be in recovery. When I push and get more invested in what I want him to do differently rather than focus on me, that's when things blow up and that is not all his doing-- I am 50% responsible for those interactions.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:22 AM
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ooh boy, I had no idea you came from a family of abusers as well. That considered, I understand why you've stayed in this pattern for so long. You were brought up in it. It's so hard to break a known pattern, even if that pattern is horribly toxic.

Please don't berate yourself for staying, for whatever reason. First, there's no point in beating yourself up emotionally. Your husband already does that. Second, this is a *journey*, an awakening, so to speak. You are beginning it by educating yourself here, getting support through counselling, and you are starting to consider your options. That's HUGE. A lot of people would rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend that all is well. And third, you'll leave when you're ready and when you've hit YOUR bottom. I just hope that in your process you continue to consider the impact of your family life of your little girls.

As for the mention of "what other people will say", I fully understand the desire to avoid being the Bad Guy. It's what kept me in my marriage with my XAH for a long while. Even before we were married, I realized that there was something dreadfully wrong with him, but I wanted to save face. I didn't want all those people who said we'd fail as a couple to be right. I wanted to be "the good wife" who "stood by her man" no matter what. Eventually, I realized that there's no prize for who suffers the most.

I had a rude awakening when a trusted teacher of mine passed away and I went to his funeral...the man died of a painful cancer, but at his funeral service, no one talked about his pain, his suffering, the amputation of his legs...they all cried and laughed to talk about his joy, his passion, his accomplishments and his humour. I realized that if I died then and there, there would be no note on my tombstone saying "Here lies NoDay. She was a saint 'cause her hubby was a pain in the @ss to deal with".

In the end, what other people think of your is a) entirely out of your hands, and b) completely none of your business

I encourage you to reach out to the National Domestic Violence hotline and see if they can refer you to resources in your area. You really could use a counsellor who is familiar with abuse. I would also warn you against couple's counselling with your AH...in cases of abuse, such counselling only gives the abuser the opportunity to justify himself/herself in the eyes of a third party.

Take care of yourself in every way possible. Your kids need you to be healthy and happy.

Keep posting
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