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Finding recovery harder then life before

Old 03-20-2011, 08:54 AM
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Finding recovery harder then life before

After 6 years of living with my husband as an active alcoholic/substance abuser he has finally accepted and admitted he has a problem and has sought treatment.

I had thought that this would be a great time for me. That I would be relieved and hopeful. That I would be excited for the prospect of a 'whole' husband and a new beginning. I was never so wrong.

The years of lying, deceit, isolation & emotional abuse has left me a shell of my former self. I guess it took until the war was over to for me to actually see the collateral damage and casualties.

My husband is seeing a therapist weekly. He goes to AA at least 2x a week. He's on suboxone for this painkiller addiction and antabus for his alcohol abuse. While I find some comfort in the fact with these medicines he can't use, I also am afraid that they are just a crutch. If he doesn't deal with his demons we'll just end up back where we were. But that is just a fraction of my concern.

Part of his healing process has been coming clean about the lies. It was so much worse then I imagined. While I wasn't in denial and knew to an extent what was going on, I had no idea he was as bad and as sick as he actually is. I am scared I will not be able to move past it. I have so much anger and resentment. I basically was living with a stranger this whole time. My life as I knew it was all based on a lie. A facade.

Another reason I am so hurt is that he continually tells me he wants to put the past behind him yet is constantly calling me out for my shortcomings (lack of patience, house management skills, inconsistancy with the kids discipline.) All results of my years of basically being a single parent to 3 children, having to be a buffer between his obnoxious drunken self & the children and daily emotional abuse. I have begged him to ease up on me. Every time he criticizes me as a mother, wife and homemaker I am reminded that I am the way I am because of what he put me through. To defend myself I end up turning it around and telling him that if it wasn't for what he did to me, I wouldn't be this way. And how can he justify giving me a hard time for a messy house, being overly emotional or kids with a late bedtime when he stole, cheated & lied to me several times a day for years? How is that fair? If he could just ease up on me while I try to to move forward in my recovery we would get along a lot better. I am tired of his harsh judgments on my petty character faults when I endured years of much much worse from him.

I really need someone to talk to. Someone who has been where I am. I went to a therapist who in no uncertain terms told me to give up on him and move on. I haven't invested this much time, love & energy to our relationship - not to mention 3 children - just to leave while there is hope of his recovery. I went to an al-anon meeting, and walked away feeling like I was more saddened by my situation then when I arrived. The meeting was very structured and regimented - only letting you talk about their desinated topic. I needed to vent. I need to feel like I am validated. I need to feel heard.

I don't want to give up hope - but I am feeling very hopeless.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:17 AM
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Hi Head, just wanted to say Hi, and sorry for what you are going through.
I do not have a lot to offer on this but wanted to give you a hug.
I would probably suggest that you give him the "Silent, WTF, Shaking head in amazement look" Practice it in the mirror. You could also practice completely ignoring his input as until he has about a year sober, he has nothing that you need to listen to anyway. Also, he is telling you all this stuff for what reason exactly?
If he is doing a 4th step, that is for he and a sponsor.
If he is working on amends, he seems way off, since there is no amends being made and it is done where it "does not harm the receiver or others"
No part of a program involves vomiting all your dirty crap on the already way overburdened spouse/partner!
Also, when others come along, they (and I) will advise AlAnon or NarAnon for some face to face support and advice.
Oh, and it can be quiet on here at weekends, so be patient. People sometimes just read over posts and think about them or sympathize and say a prayer for you. You have been "heard".
Hang in there, and IGNORE him. They call it "quacking".
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:23 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

You have found a place to vent.

We understand what it feels like to live with a loved ones addiction.
We understand what it feels like to have lost yourself over time.
You are not alone.

Right now your A is sober, but not fully recovered. He may not be actively using, but some of the other undesireable behaviors (lack of parenting responsibility, lack of household participation, etc) may still be present. I am not excusing his behavior. I am just pointing out that his recovery is just beginning.

During this time, I found it helpful to remember that the A's reactions and patterns were still the same as they ever were. I find it best not to engage with a recovering A when they are clearly not being reasonable. I end up being frustrated and exhausted with trying to defend myself.

It is a form of detaching.

I dont have instant solutions to your frustrations. I do see that you are taking healthy steps to start taking better care of yourself by seeing a therapist and attending Alanon.

I thought one of my first Alanon meetings was very regimented. I remember thinking: "Boy, they really love their 'program'". But I grew to love the structure of those meetings. You know why? I realized there was no structure in my home life. My words were minimized, my thoughts were undermined, my truths were distorted and twisted back on me, my power was lost.
At the meetings, I was able to share my words without interruption, I was able to share my thoughts without challenge, my truths were accepted as being my own and I began to regain power over my life.

I encourage you to keep attending meetings and try others, I encourage you to continue with counseling, and I encourage you to continue reading and posting here as much as needed.

You are not alone!
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:37 AM
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Well, you can vent all you want to here, and you will be heard.

As Pelican pointed out, there IS a reason for structure in Al-Anon meetings. It isn't just a place to vent and be validated, it is a place to learn a SOLUTION that will make your life better.

My suggestion is that you vent here when you need to, but that you stick with Al-Anon, too. It WILL help, if you follow the suggestions.

It would also be helpful to ask for an Al-Anon sponsor. That person can help you with putting the program to work in your individual circumstances.

Hugs,
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:02 AM
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Hi HHH! I'm new here too and I hear you! Just wanted to give you a big cyber hug! I too just went to my first Alanon meeting and the structure was a bit cold for me too. However there were light bulb moments for me sitting there listening to others. I have been told to go to at least 6 meetings before you make up your mind about it. Also try different meetings as each have their own vibe.

I am only now starting to understand what living with an A has done to me. I need to find myself again and I feel very lost on where that person might be.

My AH also has told me a little here and there about how much he had been drinking behind my back, how much money he spent doing it and it too made me angry to hear about it. We also have 3 kids and trying to save up money for college is challenging so hearing about him flushing money down his mouth just ticks me off. I have so much resentment on this topic. The biggest for me is we had major infertility problems, caused in part by all of his drinking. Only I didn't know it because he was not truthful about how much he was drinking. I ended up putting my body and mind through so much all because of his lies. I think about the miscarriages, all the money, all the injections of dangerous medications and it all happened because he lied to me to the doctors. (I guess that is my vent for the day).

He has no business talking to you the way he has. Stay strong, tell him what you think and then detach and walk away. You know you are doing your best and you too need time to heal. Meanwhile come here, we will listen and completely understand what you are going through.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by headheldhigh View Post
After 6 years of living with my husband as an active alcoholic/substance abuser he has finally accepted and admitted he has a problem and has sought treatment.

I had thought that this would be a great time for me. That I would be relieved and hopeful. That I would be excited for the prospect of a 'whole' husband and a new beginning. I was never so wrong.

The years of lying, deceit, isolation & emotional abuse has left me a shell of my former self. I guess it took until the war was over to for me to actually see the collateral damage and casualties.
My husband is seeing a therapist weekly. He goes to AA at least 2x a week. He's on suboxone for this painkiller addiction and antabus for his alcohol abuse. While I find some comfort in the fact with these medicines he can't use, I also am afraid that they are just a crutch. If he doesn't deal with his demons we'll just end up back where we were. But that is just a fraction of my concern.

Part of his healing process has been coming clean about the lies. It was so much worse then I imagined. While I wasn't in denial and knew to an extent what was going on, I had no idea he was as bad and as sick as he actually is. I am scared I will not be able to move past it. I have so much anger and resentment. I basically was living with a stranger this whole time. My life as I knew it was all based on a lie. A facade.

Another reason I am so hurt is that he continually tells me he wants to put the past behind him yet is constantly calling me out for my shortcomings (lack of patience, house management skills, inconsistancy with the kids discipline.) All results of my years of basically being a single parent to 3 children, having to be a buffer between his obnoxious drunken self & the children and daily emotional abuse. I have begged him to ease up on me. Every time he criticizes me as a mother, wife and homemaker I am reminded that I am the way I am because of what he put me through. To defend myself I end up turning it around and telling him that if it wasn't for what he did to me, I wouldn't be this way. And how can he justify giving me a hard time for a messy house, being overly emotional or kids with a late bedtime when he stole, cheated & lied to me several times a day for years? How is that fair? If he could just ease up on me while I try to to move forward in my recovery we would get along a lot better. I am tired of his harsh judgments on my petty character faults when I endured years of much much worse from him.

I really need someone to talk to. Someone who has been where I am. I went to a therapist who in no uncertain terms told me to give up on him and move on. I haven't invested this much time, love & energy to our relationship - not to mention 3 children - just to leave while there is hope of his recovery. I went to an al-anon meeting, and walked away feeling like I was more saddened by my situation then when I arrived. The meeting was very structured and regimented - only letting you talk about their desinated topic. I needed to vent. I need to feel like I am validated. I need to feel heard.

I don't want to give up hope - but I am feeling very hopeless.
I think the part I bolded was pretty insightful and a good analogy. It's exactly like that!

Don't completely dismiss what the therapist said. No matter how much you WANT it to work, it may not. Putting years into a losing project doesn't mean you need to throw a lot more years away. The person you were married to may just turn out to be a big jerk sober. However, I suggest you try a different therapist first. They are not all the same, and you need to find one that's a good fit for YOU and who will listen to you. You absolutely do have a right to be angry at the way you were treated for so long and the position you've been put in by this person. It's time to take care of you.

Also note that feeling saddened or angry at this time is normal and necessary. You've put your own emotions on hold or tried to bury them for so long, but you can't just ignore them. They will have to come out one way or another. (My therapist put it a little more bluntly: "If you don't burp out gas, what happens? It will find another way to get out!") There's no way over, under or around it. You have to go THROUGH. I wish you the best. It is unbelievably painful, but if you work on taking care of yourself, life will get better, I promise.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:25 PM
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Hello HHH -

Alanon helps.

Your feelings sound so much like mine and I am helping myself become whole again with Alanon and this board and my own counselor and counseling with my AH

I am at the point realizing AH is not actively working on his recovery and I may stop couples counseling for now.

I stopped seeing a therapist who was somewhat helpful to me but who I felt was pushing me into giving up on the marriage. I was not ready to do that and still not ready to do that.

What I am ready for is letting myself speak out about what is not acceptable to me and trying to "help" my AH treat me in an acceptable way. He is an adult and he needs to work on his recovery.

I need to work on my recovery and he cannot help me. It is very hard and there are no guarantees that it will work for me and AH to be together but I do know whatever I work on for my own recovery is helping me and my kids.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:53 PM
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My experience with sobriety is that I had alot of fantasies about what it would look like..not everything magically gets better once a person stops using and is working a program..I had alot of feelings of anger and resentment come up during my daughters rehab/early recovery..she didn't sponateously turn into the person I THOUGHT she was going to be once the substance had been removed..the reality is a whole let messier and more hard work than one imagines..
As for Alanon..if it weren't structured that way it would be at the level of the problem (venting, storytelling,etc)..Instead it is at the level of the solution (giving you tools to use, keeping the focus on ourselves,etc)Venting has its place and pretty much anyone there would be happy to listen after the mtg..I urge you to give it several more tries..has worked miracles in my family..
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:05 PM
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Thanks, Keepinon, that is a great way to describe Al-Anon. I, too, found it very useless at first...what the heck is this stuff? No one here is telling ME hot to FIX this problem with HIM...they are all talking about themselves...and no one is really even complaining! Aren't they all as mad as I am right now??!!!

Wow - that was me 8 months ago. Today is me very happily attending Al-Anon, sharing my own solutions to my situation, feeling strong and healthy again. It does work. Keep going back. Listen, watch, talk with people after the meeting who say something particularly useful to you. And call those people outside of a meeting to talk more personal issues. They offer their phone numbers for a reason. Took me months to pick up the phone but boy I am glad I reached out for help when I did.

Stay strong! It does get better...
~T
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:24 AM
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Thanks for the great feedback. It helps. Every little bit of it. It's especially nice to know I have a place to vent. I have never had that before. I'd gripe to my 'friends' about how big a pita my dh is, but never putting out that he is an A. It got to the point that they grew tired of me being a downer or never being able to go anywhere social with them. Little did they know that I couldn't leave my kids alone with my drunk/drugged up husband. It's at the point I am very alone & isolated. Part of me wants to 'come out' and maybe give a few relationships one last chance, but I am embarrassed about being a Debbie Downer all the time and burdening people with my issues.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:35 AM
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HHH- When I finally told a few friends that my H was an A it was freeing. I too was the downer and never wanted to go out with friends or always felt that I was complaining... Then I told 2 close friends the truth and I feel like a burden has been lifted. I don't even talk to them about my H's antics anymore-- but knowing that they know and that it is not this hidden secret has been good for me...
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:50 AM
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Just wanted to throw something in here, re divorce. I divorced my AH. It was painful getting through it, but once the divorce was over, it's like a light came on that has never gone out again. It was the right decision for me--he was never serious about recovering, just went through the motions because of the restraining order, and ten years later he's still a drunk.

I'm not telling anyone here to divorce--each person must make that decision for herself. However, one of the biggest obstacles to my own freedom was that I felt I would be a loser if I got a divorce--that it would be failing, giving up, and I felt ashamed for that.

If that's you--if you really know deep down that your relationship is hopeless but feel as if ending it would be a failure and shame on your part, try to rethink that. Admitting that it cannot be fixed is not shameful. Wasting more time is worse.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Just wanted to throw something in here, re divorce. I divorced my AH. It was painful getting through it, but once the divorce was over, it's like a light came on that has never gone out again. It was the right decision for me--he was never serious about recovering, just went through the motions because of the restraining order, and ten years later he's still a drunk.

I'm not telling anyone here to divorce--each person must make that decision for herself. However, one of the biggest obstacles to my own freedom was that I felt I would be a loser if I got a divorce--that it would be failing, giving up, and I felt ashamed for that.

If that's you--if you really know deep down that your relationship is hopeless but feel as if ending it would be a failure and shame on your part, try to rethink that. Admitting that it cannot be fixed is not shameful. Wasting more time is worse.
A month ago I made my decision that I was DONE. We had gone out of state and were visiting his parents. It was also my birthday week. His parents were nice enough to treat us to a dinner & free babysitting. I never get a night out so it was a real treat. Needless to say dh showed up drunk to dinner & once again ruined my night. The next night I caught him red handed swigging from the vodka bottle in his dad's liquor cabinet. I called him out in front of his family. I had done it before on 3 seperate occassion but basically told them this time that it wasn't just a drinking problem, that he was an alcholic and if he didn't get help I was leaving him. It lead to a pretty intense 24 hours, but also to him finally admitting he was infact an alcoholic (something he had denied for years) and his parents FINALLY got on board with giving us their support. I vowed to myself that night that HIS next drink was MY last drink.

I am committed to supporting him through his recovery if he sticks with it. This is his 1st time admitting and accepting he has a problem and seeking help. I feel that he deserves this one chance. But I have given his active alcoholism all I can give. If he is serious about getting better I will stay with him. But that is all he gets is this one chance. I can't emotionally go through the hell I went through again, nor will I subject my children (who are just getting to an age where they understand what is going on) to it. This is my personal choice based on my situation. I just can't see going down this same road repeatedly. One chance. Get it together or get out.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:10 PM
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welcome!

you're not alone.

not any more.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:25 PM
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headheldhigh,

welcome dear.

this is the place for you.

you both need to work your programs, and see that getting the other to see something or work it right, isn't the correct approach.

wouldn't it be great if he stayed on his side of the street?

"be the change you want to see in the world"
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:12 PM
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I was the most resistant person probably on the forum to Al-anon. I was cynical and have my terminal uniqueness issues. Everyone said 'find the right meeting, keep trying'. I'd roll my eyes and stuff...

Then I found the nicest group of folks who were friendly and welcoming. The first groups I went to were huge an impersonal. I didn't see how this was such a support but keep searching for a group you feel comfortable with. It made all the difference!
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Babyblue View Post
I was the most resistant person probably on the forum to Al-anon. I was cynical and have my terminal uniqueness issues. Everyone said 'find the right meeting, keep trying'. I'd roll my eyes and stuff...

Then I found the nicest group of folks who were friendly and welcoming. The first groups I went to were huge an impersonal. I didn't see how this was such a support but keep searching for a group you feel comfortable with. It made all the difference!
I'm going to give the meeting I went to another try this week. It seems a shame not to, it's literally 2 minutes up the road from my house while all the other meetings were at least 40 minutes away.

I've been reading up on al-anon and from my understanding how they did the group is typical. I guess I was hoping to vent a little to get out all the hurt & anger and in the process try to connect with a person or 2 who went through something similar to me. We'll see. I have been finding this forum very benefical. So many ah ha moments and agreeing head nods when I read through the posts. I definately feel less alone having found you all!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:43 AM
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There is a convention coming up in Cromwell, if you have time on that Saturday there are a lot of interesting topics.

Do try a couple of different Al-anon meetings, I have been to three different meeting groups and they were all very different. It might just be the first group is not a fit for you, but another one will be. For me, the one closest to home was the one I liked the least, but the one further out is well worth the drive.

As far as therapist go, finding one that you feel comfortable with is best, so try another one, as each one has their own viewpoints and styles.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:43 AM
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Al-Anon/Alateen Family Groups of Connecticut - Upcoming Events
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