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AH comes home today

Old 03-08-2011, 08:05 AM
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AH comes home today

AH comes home today after being on a business trip since last week. When he left our relationship was in the phase of (mind you we have been here countless times) AH knows I know he has been drinking, he knows I am not happy, knows I am tired of the merry go round we call our marriage, so out comes Mr. Charming. AH continued to be Mr. C while he was gone by phone calls. Something in me changed this time... I know it, I can feel it and it is coming from my gut. I feel like for the first time ever I maybe (I say maybe because I'm not sure I fully trust myself yet) walking around with my eyes OPEN.

For over 8 years (we have been married for 21, and dated for 7) he has admitted he is an A and has tried be become sober and stay in recovery. The last year + he seemed to really take it seriously. Counseling, AA meetings, and we even started marriage counseling. During this time he has fallen in and out of sobriety, stopped and restarted his recovery and each time before now I always made an excuse why it didn't work, some stress in his life. I took his Mr. Charming as a sign that he got what I was going through. Now I see that until HE wants to stop there will always be a reason to drink and I feel that Mr. Charming is no more than his manipulation of me so he can continue to do what he as done for a very very long time.... put the bottle first, continue to be a closet drinker and continue to destroy himself and his relationships.

I have also opened my eyes to how sick I am and how much help I need. I understood I was a codie about 6 months ago, but last night it really hit me... I could not stop reading this site, could not fall asleep because I could not stop thinking about him and his illness. What I should do next, how I should handle myself, how it would affect him etc. I'm done feeling this way. I want peace of mind and I will seek out treatment until I do.

So when he gets home what do I say to him? Do I tell him what I just told you guys? Or do I simply detach myself and let him figure it out on his own (if he is even able to do that)?

Oh and yes I fear by setting new boundaries and by refusing to be manipulated this will create additional tension.

Thank you for your help.. I REALLY need it... I REALLY want to get well.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:12 AM
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Do you attend Al-anon meetings? They can be a huge help in setting and maintaining boundaries. I wouldn't "tell" him anything when he comes home. Just do your best to detach and don't let his actions ruffle your feathers. He can either figure it out on his own or not. His "recovery" is his and your recovery is yours. Again, al-anon meetings can help you.

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Old 03-08-2011, 08:18 AM
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Thank you for your help.. I REALLY need it... I REALLY want to get well.
Mr. Charming, that is good. Until he is not charming. I have been there too.
I suggest that you start your recovery.
Focus on getting well by going to AlAnon meetings, reading codependent no more, and maybe a therapist or counselor just for you.


Thank you for sharing this Alone22. You sound ready to get well and live your life.
You can do this, just step by step, and one day at a time.
You are aware, you accept, and now you are taking action.
It is a wonderful thing.
A miracle.

Beth
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by wicked View Post
Mr. Charming, that is good. Until he is not charming. I have been there too.
I've been there too. Mr. Charming used to stay around for a few weeks, maybe a month. He stays less and less these days. He was only here for 4 days after my husband grabbed my throat.

Definetely put all the focus and energy into you. We become so sick and off-balance trying to help them and their disease/problems.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:35 AM
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AHH AWARENESS! That is what you now have..my own experience tells me that actions speak louder than words..and words are pretty much wasted on those that are using..he will see the changes.Will it cause more tension..probably, but that's ok.
When we see how seriously sick we've let ourselves get it is a huge step..you sound ready to emabark on your recovery..saw that you went to your first alanon mtg..keep going..make phone calls to people on the list when you have questions, post here, surround yourself with healthy (or working on it!) people, Take care of yourself..feed yourself well, get outside everyday, exercise.Focus on you..see how it feels.There is time to decide what to do about the relapsing husband..it will be easier when you are grounded in your recovery..and most of all..take what you like and leave the rest..
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:38 AM
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As far as what you say when he comes home, you really don't need to say anything unless or until he brings it up. You don't have to announce you have changed, you just start acting in accordance with your conclusions.

Detachment is good. If he comes home and is charming, say, "That's nice." If he announces his intention to go to more meetings, say, "That's good." If he starts analyzing his problem and why he's been having trouble or something like that, you can just say, "Hm, sounds like you've been giving this a lot of thought." You don't have to engage with it.

Detachment just means not involving yourself in his disease. Non-committal comments make it clear you aren't "punishing" him but rather, you are not choosing to engage in the old dance.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:40 AM
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Do what feels right for you. If you need to talk to him, with no expectation of the effect it'll have on him, then do so. If you need to withdraw to focus on yourself, your healing and your happiness, then do that.

You've spent a good deal of your life focusing on you. It's your turn now.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
As far as what you say when he comes home, you really don't need to say anything unless or until he brings it up. You don't have to announce you have changed, you just start acting in accordance with your conclusions.

Detachment is good. If he comes home and is charming, say, "That's nice." If he announces his intention to go to more meetings, say, "That's good." If he starts analyzing his problem and why he's been having trouble or something like that, you can just say, "Hm, sounds like you've been giving this a lot of thought." You don't have to engage with it.

Detachment just means not involving yourself in his disease. Non-committal comments make it clear you aren't "punishing" him but rather, you are not choosing to engage in the old dance.
This is excellent advice; thanks LexieCat. It is hard but doable; take it one day at a time. I remember earlier on thinking that I didn't know how to feel or act while being "detached". Now I understand its more a state of mind and the feelings and behaviors will follow. I am still a work in progress, but get a little better at it each day.

Al-Anon will help you learn this. Get involved in your own program and it helps take the focus off of whatever he is doing (or not doing).
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:38 AM
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I agree with Lexiecat as well...that is my current plan of approach...we'll see how it goes!
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:49 AM
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When we become able to frame our choices as ours, because we came to the place where there is no other option for us, it becomes easier. You sound like you are on the verge of that.
It is cyclic. It will come, and go, and when it comes again it will be stronger, you will get more of a foothold each time, until you hit YOUR bottom, and you may have, but then your choice will be because of YOU.
When we take ourselves out of their blame game equation, when we just act from our own needs and wants, when our choice is OURS and they see and feel that, they have no course but to flail around in an adult tantrum.
Expect this.
Just know that you are finding what you are finding FOR YOUR SELF. And he can rise and fall with his own tides. You do not have to be on the wave anymore.

He will not like this.

And he may pull out all the stops, in the form of anger, charm, manipulation. Telling you wat you "want to hear"...
Try your best to stay off the wave. He will get the message.

Its no fun to dance with someone who isnt moving. Or someone who is otherwise involved.
Involve yourself with your plans for the day or night, let him dance around. Do not dance back.

You can watch him. I have been doing this. I just watch. He takes actions, and says things, and pulls out the charm, and then the blame, and then some cockamamie drama. Anything to get me to dance with him.

When I do not, he gets forlorn, and retreats.
Remember that he will not mean anything he promises as long as he is doing it to change your position in the dance.
When he wants to change and make a move for himself, he will, but with you dancing with him, he will not be able to even know what is him and what is you.
U are starting to see and feel what is you.

Good WORK!
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:04 PM
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Thank you! I feel like a sponge right now trying to soak up as much as I can and the information on this is site wonderful to have. I read Codependence No More about 6 months ago, and started therapy just before that (therapist had me read the book). I thought I understood enough and Mr. Charming was around enough that it was all working, but that illusion smacked me in the face the last few weeks when I found out he continued to drink. MY irritation with it, my sickness with it is what drove me to this point and that is why I FINALLY went to Alanon for the first time yesterday. I fully plan to keep going and I am continuing my therapy as well.

For me where I am lacking the knowledge is how to handle AH via detachment. AH is not physically abusive, and while really difficult to be around some of the time, he really isn't verbally abusive either. I think because those boundaries were there from the beginning, even before I knew what a boundary was! The very few times he crossed the line on being verbally abusive, I had ZERO tolerance for it. Being abusive is a deal breaker, period.

So when he returns today and is nice, not argumentative, wants to tell me he loves me and leans in to kiss me...what do I do? I feel like if I accept his "love" and be nice back without a discussion on where I am at in all of this, I am not being genuine because I do not trust it (his love). I only want his "love" if it really is HIS love, not his illness. I do think he loves me, I do think he wants our marriage to work, but I think he loves his A more. Therefore at this point in time I struggle with knowing his motivation. Is is being nice and giving love because he is nice and giving love or is it part of the "dance". In the past I have accepted the love, the niceness but now I feel it is only part of the game. I think he needs to know that is how I feel. Let me say that again... "I" need him to know that is how I feel. For me I think it sets the stage of moving forward. There is no expectation of anything more from me... no affection, no sex because now I do not trust him and his love. The only thing that will change that is time, both of us getting healthy and lots of him doing the right thing. For me this is how I view detachment. Am understanding this right? I get what it means to detach when he is baiting me to argue, being grumpy, being secretive, in a bad mood etc... but I am not sure I get how to do it the rest of the time because I struggle with what is part of the dance and what is not. Am I getting my point across because I struggle with this?

This is what I would like to do and want to make sure it is fits in with getting healthy. Let me know what you guys think.

I want to have a conversation with him sometime soon, when the timing is right. Could be tonight, but sometime between now and over the weekend. I want to tell him I now understand my illness better, that I need to get healthy and that I have to focus on me and getting healthy. I want him to be healthy too, and I feel the I have been in the way of him finding recovery, because I believe his attempts at it to this point were for me, not because he was really ready to recover. I want to tell him that while I do think he loves me, I believe he loves A more. Therefore when he is Mr. Charming I find it hard to know if that love is genuine or if it is part of his "dance" so he can continue to use. I need to detach at this point until I can trust that he is being genuine and he is in recovery. This is something that is not fixable in a few days or a few weeks or a few months. This is going to take time. During this time I will be focused on my own recovery so that I can be a happier, calmer person and mom.

What do you think?
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Alone22 View Post
I need to detach at this point until I can trust that he is being genuine and he is in recovery. What do you think?
I think detachment is a lifelong goal, not something that when you believe his recovery is real, then you can revert back..I mean, you can, but the point is to have a loving detachemnt for the choices our loved ones make..am I making any sense?
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:53 PM
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I think you're confusing "detachment" with the "cold shoulder".

You never have to act in a way you don't feel (i.e., if you don't feel like being kissed, you don't have to allow it). But there is nothing that says you can't accept a kiss if you want to. You can make yourself nuts analyzing his motives and trying to figure out how he will respond to how you behave. You can also easily slip into trying to control by withholding affection just to make a point.

If you feel like kissing, kiss. If you feel like having sex, have sex. If you don't, don't. If he asks why, you can tell him you don't feel like being kissed, or like having sex, without getting into a whole back-and-forth about it. If he starts blaming, you can say, "sorry you feel that way."
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:17 PM
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Alone - I totally get what you're talking about...you want to either be totally into it or totally out of it...not pretending you're all the way in it when you're thinking you might be headed out the door. If you feel like you have to tell him what you've been learning and thinking, then you probably won't feel ok about it all unless you do. But the thing is, make sure you're doing it FOR YOU and not as another way to try and control him. I am saying this not as a judgment of what your motivation may or may not be, but as someone who has done this kind of thing for the wrong reason only to undermine my new stance before it even began. I don't know if that makes sense, but I hope it does. Also be prepared for him to act like he doesn't know what in the heck you are talking about or act like you're a basket case or promise the moon and not follow through. I have received all of these responses at different times. So don't let it affect your resolve to handle things differently. If you tell him, it's for YOU...not to receive a particular reaction from him, because there's no predicting that nonsense! Good luck...you are on my heart, and I'm rooting for you!!!
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:41 PM
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I think I need a better understanding of detachment. I will for my lifetime detach from his illness or at least trying to control it. I thought detachment was a way of dealing or coping with an A when you don't like or trust the behavior. Not punishment( ie cold shoulder), but to not react to whatever it is that you shouldn't react to.... like being baited into an argument. Lovingly detach... I care about what you are going through, but I am not going to deal with it.. thus handing it back over to the person. Since I don't trust the "kiss" as being genuine, I detach..which is not responding to it. If at some point I trust then I would not detach

Help... now I am more confused than ever.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:58 PM
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Alone22,

I don't know if this is the right way, but when I started with alanon,
I told my AH that I was doing it for me and not him because his drinking is his problem, and how it effects me is mine. And alanon helps me deal with my problem.
(i worded it very precisely because he has never admitted to having a problem, even after almost dying last year from acute withdrawl.)

After that conversation, detatchment came kinda easy. ofcourse some days are better than others.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:12 PM
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In re; to your idea of telling him all that...
My humble opinion would be to use less words,, fo less talking.
Just be different.
Just watch more, react less.

He knows what is decent, normal expected behavior in a marriage.
He knows.
When your voice quiets down his will sound really loud to him.
He prob won't like what he hears.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Alone22 View Post
I think I need a better understanding of detachment. I will for my lifetime detach from his illness or at least trying to control it. I thought detachment was a way of dealing or coping with an A when you don't like or trust the behavior. Not punishment( ie cold shoulder), but to not react to whatever it is that you shouldn't react to.... like being baited into an argument. Lovingly detach... I care about what you are going through, but I am not going to deal with it.. thus handing it back over to the person. Since I don't trust the "kiss" as being genuine, I detach..which is not responding to it. If at some point I trust then I would not detach

Help... now I am more confused than ever.
No, you got it right, that is "detaching with love."

The trick is to examine your motives - "Am I doing this to make me feel better or to hurt him?" - and adjust accordingly.
In your case, since you do not want kisses that are not genuine, then by all means don't kiss him if you don't want to. The point was just to make sure that's the real reason, that's all.

There is a fine line sometimes, and it's important we stay on our loving side of it, and to be sure we do not cross over into the manipulative vindictive realm that A's typically inhabit.

You have it right.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:30 PM
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Yea I got it right! Learning all of this and some of the points are kind of confusing at this point. Thank you.

Interestingly enough when I got home he was home and parked right where I could not get into the garage with my car! I told him I was surprised to see that he parked where he did and that ended Mr. Charming. I got the "I've been working long days and when I come home you yell at me" I simply said back, that I was not yelling at him, was just surprised and walked away. He said a few more things and then shut up since I was no longer engaging in his comments. This set the tone for the night. Some polite talk, but nothing else. Directions to where my Alanon meeting was on the printer and he asked about it. Told him it was directions to the Alanon meeting I went to (he has stated a few times over the last 6 months that I should go). He didn't say or ask anything else. At this point I do not feel the need to tell him or explain anything. If I do, or if he asked, I will keep is short and simple. We are both sick and we both need to focus on getting well. I plan on taking care of me so that I can be a better person and a better mom.
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