Blogs


Notices

Advice, please: Am I just delaying the inevitable?

Old 03-19-2011, 05:27 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
ThatWasThen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 5
Advice, please: Am I just delaying the inevitable?

This is wordy. I hope someone will read it.

After years of my covering up for my AW and hiding her addiction from everyone, her addiction came to light last summer when she got so physically sick she ended up in the hospital. Part of her diagnosis was alchohol-induced brain damage, but the only lasting effect of that is short-term memory loss. Her memory has improved dramatically, as the doctors said it would, but she'll never be 100% and will never be able to hold down any kind of professional job again.

She started attending AA as soon as she got out of the hospital. She's never missed an AA meeting. She's there every single day except Saturday, when she attends a small-group AA study with a group of women from her AA group. She doesn't actually work the steps and doesn't seem to understand them, but she has a new sponsor who I hope will help her with that.

She's always been a compulsive spender. I recently had to take the checkbook away from her and cut up a credit card that I had given her for emergencies. All of her own credit cards are maxed out, so she's totally dependent on me for controlling her money. I have to do all the shopping now because I can't give her any money for groceries; she just spends it on online shopping and I still have to buy the groceries myself.

Her doctor told her it was important for her to exercise daily to improve her memory. She joined a gym and went there for a couple of weeks before dropping out. She spends the entire day just sitting at the computer, shopping (although now instead of buying everything shes sees, she sends me emails throughout the day asking me to buy it for her).

She takes the kids (age 7 and 9) to school each day and picks them up in the afternoon. She keeps the house picked up, if not particularly clean. She keeps up with the laundry. In a modern world, I guess she isn't expected to do these things, but I like for her to do it to keep busy, if only for a couple of hours a day. All of the heavy cleaning has always been done by me, anyway.

She's been mostly sober since joining AA. I test her with a breathalyser randomly or whenever I see evidence of her drinking. She's tested positive four times in the past nine months, most recently last night when she blew a 0.02 after I smelled alcohol on her breath. The low BAC level would have been caused by her drinking early in the day in the hope that it would be gone by the time I got home.

By taking responsibility for testing her and managing her finances, I feel like I'm probably enabling her or at least delaying her recovery. I told her I would leave her if she drank again, but she drinks, and I don't leave. I always knew that testing her BAC like this was a temporary solution, but now it seems to have made it easier for her to drink rather than harder. It's no longer a deterrent.

Sorry for the long message, but I have no one to talk to. Our families and friends have disappeared since this all came to light, and I can't talk to anyone at work because they will use it against me (it's a competitive place). I went to Al-Anon once, but that was a small room with a large group of very loud people having a party. I mean, literally, it was a party, with cake and party hats. Everybody needs a party now and then, I suppose, but a party was the last thing I had on my mind that day.

So, what do you think? Am I wasting time in not leaving her now? The only reasons I let her stay are the financial burden and the effect of a divorce on the children. We'd have to sell our house to pay the debts she's run up, plus I'll have to support her the rest of my life whether she lives with me or not. And if I don't keep a roof over her head, ultimately our children will.

She's OK most of the time. I feel like I should be grateful that things aren't worse, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life just getting by. She's not a good wife. And as a mother, she's probably doing more harm than good. But man, oh man, I've been divorced before, and the collateral damage this time around would be even worse than that. And this time, at 53, I'm not young enough to start over.

Any advice?
ThatWasThen is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to ThatWasThen For This Useful Post:
grateful101010 (03-20-2011)
Old 03-19-2011, 08:10 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Forum Leader
 
Seren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 10,605
Blog Entries: 8
Hello, ThatWasThen! Welcome to SR!!!

I'm sorry for what brings you here, but you have found a great place!

One thing we learn here and in face-to-face Al-Anon meetings is the "Three Cs".

We did not cause the addiction.
We cannot cure the addict.
We cannot control the addicts behavior.

These are very frustrating to accept because there is nothing we can do!!!!

There are also very freeing, because there is nothing we can do!!!! But let me be clear, nothing we can do for the addict. We can do PLENTY for ourselves.

We can find happiness and peace in our lives regardless of whether or not the A is drinking.

Do you think you can give up control over the micromanaging of your AW's life? Do you think can allow her the dignity of making her own decisions and accepting the consequences of those decisions/actions?

Whether or not you divorce your wife is entirely your decision. No one here can tell you what to do. Certainly, your children will need to be protected. If you think they have not been affected by living in a home with active alcoholism, I suggest you read over in the Adult Children of Alcoholic/Addict threads.

I can recommend face-to-face Al-Anon meetings if there are any in your area. Many of us have found incredible support and peace by going to those meetings.

Keep reading, keep asking questions. It is the weekend and things get a bit quiet around here, but others will be along soon to offer their ES&H (Experience, Strength & Hope).

Hugs and prayers, HG
Seren is offline  
Old 03-19-2011, 08:53 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: MASSACHUSETTS
Posts: 441
Don't ever feel like you are not young enough to start over. I am 47 and never thought I would be starting over but I am. You still have some great years ahead of you. Do you really want to spend them babysitting an ADULT? Do not mean to sound harsh but this is what I have been asking myself and it helps to realize I have options.

Good Luck with your decision.
JACKRUSSELLGIRL is offline  
Old 03-19-2011, 09:31 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: rural west
Posts: 1,375
Blog Entries: 3
Hi, and welcome.

One of the things we can do, as partners to alcoholics, is awfulize. We think we know what the outcome of things will be, when maybe we do and maybe we don't. I wanted to address some of that in your post.



she'll never be 100% and will never be able to hold down any kind of professional job again.

Maybe. I don't know her, obviously. But I work with people with disabilities and have seen people will all sorts of serious disabilities hold down jobs. Just a thought.

I recently had to take the checkbook away from her and cut up a credit card that I had given her for emergencies.By taking responsibility for testing her and managing her finances, I feel like I'm probably enabling her or at least delaying her recovery.


You, undoubtedly DID need to take the checkbook away, if she was spending all your money. The standard advice would be to separate finances. It sounds like she can't handle her own finances. Meanwhile, yep. She can't take responsibility if she isn't given any to take.
Again, I don't know her and maybe she is now like a dependent child. Maybe she is not mentally and emotionally capable to take responsibility. But she's not YOUR child. She is someone else's child.


I told her I would leave her if she drank again, but she drinks, and I don't leave.

Ahh, honey. That is ALL OF OUR story. We feel you. Making sure if we say we will do something, to do it is our tough work. (or not saying it in the first place)

Sorry for the long message, but I have no one to talk to. Our families and friends have disappeared since this all came to light,

It feels like there isn't anyone to talk to, but the world is a big place. There are lots of people in it and ALWAYS there is someone to hear you. It may be SR right now. A pastor? A therapist? A new friend. Alanon.

Why do you think families and friends have disappeared?

and I can't talk to anyone at work because they will use it against me (it's a competitive place).

This is also a maybe for me. ANYONE? Not sure. It could be, but not likely (unless your worksite is only a handful of people).

I went to Al-Anon once, but that was a small room with a large group of very loud people having a party.

That was, I would guess, an anomaly. Try again or try a new group or try an online group. Alanon is a lifesaver and a whole collection of people that will understand and listen.

So, what do you think? Am I wasting time in not leaving her now? The only reasons I let her stay are the financial burden and the effect of a divorce on the children. We'd have to sell our house to pay the debts she's run up, plus I'll have to support her the rest of my life whether she lives with me or not.
tough, tough business. I feel for you. You're not wasting time. Take all the time you need. Meanwhile, staying married to someone for duties sake is pretty yucky. Especially since they are more like a child than a partner. I certainly don't know that this is a better situation for the kids! You'll read lots of children of alcoholic parents saying it wasn't great to grow up around their drinking and dysfunction.

And if I don't keep a roof over her head, ultimately our children will.
Your kids will make their choices as adults. I have a half sister that has some issues. They are of her own making. My mom and sister and I have decided if she needs a home later, we won't bear the responsibility. She has chosen not to pay into social security, not to save for the future and her luck will eventually run out. It will hurt us all. Her son says he will take her in, as long as she pays her own way. Eventually, she will get too old to work. In this case, even her mom will not bear her burdens for her. We all agree, as much as it hurts, it is not our job. I am not saying you should do it like us. I am just saying there is more than one way to deal with a situation like this.

What are her parents and family doing and thinking about all this?

She's OK most of the time. I feel like I should be grateful that things aren't worse, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life just getting by. She's not a good wife.

None of us want or deserve to just get by. Yet, we do, don't we? We deserve more. You deserve more. Ditch the "I should be grateful" talk. I don't know about that. Being grateful for the gifts she brought to you doesn't mean you stick it out and get by for the rest of your life.

But man, oh man, I've been divorced before, and the collateral damage this time around would be even worse than that. And this time, at 53, I'm not young enough to start over.

Money is just money. Meanwhile your life is going by. The most important thing I want to say is there is no cut off for recreating yourself. Don't say that 53 is too old. CRAZY TALK! Life is your oyster until you're dead. Period.

Hugs to you in this tough time.

Keep reading. Read the stickies at the top of the forum and go visit Alanon again!

peace
FindingPeace1 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to FindingPeace1 For This Useful Post:
LexieCat (03-20-2011), Tuffgirl (03-20-2011), wicked (03-19-2011)
Old 03-20-2011, 03:53 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
ThatWasThen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 5
Thank you all for excellent advice and encouragement. It wasn't until now that I recognized how, little by little over the past months, how much of her adult responsibility I've taken ownership of. No wonder she's regressing.

I will give Al Anon another chance. I've been thinking I could figure this out on my own, but I can't. There are some things about Al Anon that make me uneasy, but I'll just have to get over that.

Again, thank you very much. You've given me a lot to think about.
ThatWasThen is offline  
Old 03-20-2011, 06:50 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
Hi, and welcome. Can't add much to FP's great post.

I would guess that the Al-Anon meeting you wandered into was celebrating its anniversary (most AA groups around here celebrate the group's anniversary once a year).

Please try it again. Al-Anon will help you get your own thinking straight so you can make the healthiest choices for yourself and your kids.
LexieCat is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
Tuffgirl (03-20-2011)
Old 03-20-2011, 01:19 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Tuffgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 4,719
Blog Entries: 4
Welcome to SR, and I second LexieCat with nothing more to add then a warm welcome and you are not alone in your journey.

Al-Anon has been a life and sanity saver for me. Keep going back. Keep reading here. And stay strong!

~T
Tuffgirl is offline  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:04 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,047
It's insane to be testing her. Insane. The problem is not her. I respectfully suggest you make it a priority to find yourself an Alanon meeting as soon as you possibly can.

Good luck.

Cyranoak
Cyranoak is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Cyranoak For This Useful Post:
LexieCat (03-20-2011)
Old 03-20-2011, 04:42 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
wanttobehealthy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,095
I don't have a spouse who is in the same kind of shape as your W, but what I can relate to is the covering up, not talking to others and fearing leaving bc I felt I was too old to start over and feeling like being alone might be worse than staying...

After my H was arrested for assaulting me, I had a fortuitous run in with a family friend and fell apart and told the secret and since then things have "fallen into place" (not smoothly or comfortably but the dominoes have continued to fall and it's like there's no turning back now).

And I guess what I've realized is that living my life trying to manage/protect/save my H from himself and hoping that the next day will be better than the current one is NO WAY TO LIVE. I've been surviving-- not living.

I'm 39 and felt that I was too old to start over... I've worried about what financial shape I'll be in as a single mother, I've worried about pragmatics... I've worried about all these things for a long time and stayed stagnant.

And finally I don't care what the outcome is for me financially or whether I will ever be with someone again-- I finally realize that being with my H as I am is not living and that whatever the unknown is, has got to be better than this.

I feel for you and it sounds to me like your life is really all about worrying about, checking up on, taking care of etc... your W. What are you getting out of the marriage at this point? I don't mean this snarkily at all-- maybe you are getting something good from it and if so, I envy you.

I just realized that when I asked myself that question (after having many others ask me it first) that I had nothing to say-- I like the way he makes homemade pizza--- that is all I could come up with. Not a reason to stay. Though I will miss the pizza!
wanttobehealthy is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to wanttobehealthy For This Useful Post:
MayaandMe (03-20-2011), TakingCharge999 (03-20-2011)
Old 03-20-2011, 05:17 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
A jug fills drop by drop
 
TakingCharge999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,783
lol wanttobehealthy


((ThatWasThen))

Can I gently advise for you to get a copy of "Codependent no more" by Melody Beatty?
Excellent book.

So we have

Collateral damage that subsides after some time, or which consequences don't compromise your inner peace & health

vs

Constant damage that gets progressively worse without end in sight (or maybe there is no end to it, until death comes.. sorry to be harsh but this is the sad reality of addiction)
TakingCharge999 is offline  
Old 03-20-2011, 05:21 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
A jug fills drop by drop
 
TakingCharge999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,783
My parents divorced decades ago and I survived. Granted I have spent a lot of $$ in therapy, have made many dumb choices but talking from a daughter's perspective I would rather have a healthy happy dad than a alcoholic mom AND a bitter, resentful dad. I would prefer 1 out of 2 rather than 0.

Also in my case, my pain has come from the fact my dad seldom visited us and barely understood that we felt abandoned... so.... if you are still present in their lives (or more like living with them I guess?) then I am certain things will be easier for them. And for you.

Peace has no price. Honestly, it has no price. And whatever you are "saving now" will be spent later in doctors and treatments due to stress, anxiety you name it if you keep on like this. Well, at least I know the more I resisted to see the truth the more headaches and ailments I got, all of which disappeared as if by magic after I removed myself from a toxic person (ex alkie boyfriend)

Just my humble opinion, from the little experience I got.

Wishing you clarity at this difficult time.
TakingCharge999 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to TakingCharge999 For This Useful Post:
MayaandMe (03-20-2011)
Old 03-20-2011, 08:08 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
zrx1200R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Del Rio, TX
Posts: 380
mine is similar, but without the physical impairment.

I tend to think of her as "very expensive, and not particularly good domestic help."

You are not alone.

It will not be easy to leave her. And only you can decide if you should. Just go back and read your post. I think the answer is right there. You've given no good reason to stay married. You've only expressed a feeling you should stay.
zrx1200R is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to zrx1200R For This Useful Post:
Florence (03-21-2011)
Old 03-20-2011, 08:51 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
grateful101010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 284
Holy moley, what a pickle. Your description of your wife makes it sounds like she's a child or a mentally impaired relative. And I guess she is mentally impaired. Can she qualify to live in some sort of a group home?

So she won't be a burden to you the rest of your life? Or is she not bad enough? If she's not bad enough, maybe she'll get better? I agree, you need to get to Al-Anon. And keep coming back here, it's great support. Sorry for your situation. Stay strong.
grateful101010 is offline  
Old 03-20-2011, 09:05 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
kittykitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: carolina girl
Posts: 578
Blog Entries: 1
So sorry you are going through this.
Throw your breathalyzer out.
Try try try to get to an alanon meeting.
And bring the kids so they can go to the Alateen meeting next door as soon as they are old enough.
kittykitty is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:37 AM.