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Evaluating a relationship - seeking options

Old 03-22-2011, 09:39 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Hi Koikeeper

My AH of 22yrs is an active drinker but I choose to stay for now, mainly because I love him, I like his company the majority of the time and we have a life together with two grown up children and have know each other for 30yrs.

When things got to a head a couple of years ago, my AH told me that he will drink for the rest of his life and if I didnt like it then I could leave. I found that very hard to hear, its a bit of a self esteem knocker to know that beer can come before a 22 yr marriage.

I had let my husbands drinking become my soul focus. I was the drink police, recording beer spending, checking the beer fridge, watching bottles, cringing when the door to the fridge opened, yelling, screaming, discussing health effects and then finally loosing control. A complete mess.

Since then, I have attended Al-anon and therapy, read a lot and educated myself on alcoholism and the damage it has done not only to my AH but to me and my family. I now try to stay focussed on me, practice detachment and have developed a number of hobbies outside of the marriage. I still suffer from terrible stress and anxiety symptoms and are by no means 'healthy' but a work in progress.

If my husband gets worse (which he likely will) then I may contemplate leaving in the future. His current choice is to drink and my choice is to stay or leave. Alcoholism is not an exact science, no two alcholics are the same and no two circumstances are the same but I know that at present I have an enjoyable life despite of my husbands continued drinking.

I have read numerous books on the subject of alcoholism and a useful one was 'Under the Influence : A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism by James Robert Milam and Katherine Ketcham'. This book expains the 'desease' of alcoholism and helped me have some empathy for what my husband is experiencing. From what I read of your initial post, your GF has the same disease and is wrestling with her current choices. I have read a number of books on alcoholism and I can tell you that an alcoholic can not be 95% sober! Your GF is either sober or not. An 'alcoholic' will be just that for the rest of their lives whether they are sober or not. The desease of alcoholism is progressive and 95% will quickly turn into 90% to 80% etc. I know that if I smoke (I quit 20yrs ago) one cigarette with turn into two into 10 into 20, so I dont have the first one. Thats the same for alcoholics and alcohol.

You are obviously being effected by her drinking or you wouldnt have found your way to this website. You will be doing yourself a great favour by attending Al-anon and practising detachment.

This is my experience and I just wanted to let you know about it. I found SR whilst dealing with dramatic negative behaviours whilst AH was drinking and subjected me and my daughter to, impacting our own wellbeing. Luckily since I have sought help for me, the negative behaviours have reduced significantly, also because I 'call' him on them if and when they occur.

I honestly believe that my AH is trying to be a better person because we have calm in the house. He tries (im sensing) to limit his drinking and the occasions when he does drink so as to not effect me. He can drink without being scoulded or nagged and has to deal with his own demons because I am not the root cause of them anymore. He is still an 'active' alcoholic and I hope that one day this will change for him but it is certainly not my main focus anymore and I do feel some peace about it.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:18 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Hello, my 2 cents worth after a broken 16 year marriage to an alcoholic wife who I was SO in love with, who I couldn't fix:

1. I was trying to "understand" her, bit by bit. So much of my conscious, waking time was spent on her. This was my precious, finite mental energy. How much time did I spent talking to her and others, considering, convincing, wondering, how I could help solve this puzzle. This was coming from a good place - but it changed me, and in the end, ate me alive. She was thinking of drinking, I was thinking of her drinking. 16 years later, I'm still at square one.

2. The fact that you are watching her drinking and she is asking your permission to drink, is dsyfunctional for both of you. It creeps up on you. This can become normal, but it's not normal.

3. When I was only 6-12 months into the process, I had no idea how bad it could get, how long it could take, how many ups and downs there could be, and how low she could go, taking me with her.

By the time I realized I was married to a full-blown, vodka drinking, can't-stop alcoholic, I was deeply in love and married several years. So many things I did to "help" her, in the end, the bottle won and I lost.

Now I'm trying to figure out what's left of who I used to be. Can I still think independently of her and her drinking? My self-image is not so good. Most people know me as the nice, helpful, forgiving guy with the alcohlic wife who eventually fell off the wagon and cheated on him. I realize that I now view myself as a wounded victim, and it's pathetic.

I don't know what normal people live like, what healthy relationships not centered around alcoholism look like -- but I feel like I've been ramming my head into a brick wall for 16 years.

I'm not telling you what to do, we try real hard not to do that here. But sometimes I hear a word in my head when I'm reading someone else's posts, which I rarely express. That word is: RUN!
Djayr..your post sounds a lot like my situation. It sounds to me like you very much love your wife and have done all you can to preserve the relationship. Myself I have been married for almost 25 years and like you have dealt with a vodka drinking alcoholic that can now barely function. I have watch a beautiful caring and loving woman over the years turn into a foul mouthed hating and verbal abusive alcoholic. What happened? I'm still in awe as to what the alcohol has done to her. I have fought the disease for the past 15 years and lost. You just can't beat this addiction. As a matter of fact my AW actually hates me for it. The more I argued for her sobriety the more she hates me for it. So after almost 25 years of marriage I finally decided to separate. I have been at peace with the decision though I mourn the loss of my marriage and family. I have been attending alanon meeting and they have been a big help. I still struggle with watching the distruction of my wives personality and soul as she surrenders to the bottle and I grieve for what's probably in her future. But there is absolutely nothing I can do to get her sober. The more I try the more she hates me for it. I'm starting to think of me and my happiness and realizing that I still have a life to live and I want to be happy. As hard as it is to move on I know I can do it.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:21 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by koikeeper View Post
Part of my exercise today was looking into alanon and AA... there is a meeting near home at 8 on Thursdays. They meet concurrently. I can choose to go. Her choice is hers.
Excellent idea, Koi. And if the meeting you go to is a little "off" go several times or look into others - each meeting is unique based on who is there, topic, etc. Within the same group some meetings are really profound, others can be disappointing. You really could use some perspective in a face to face setting that as good as SR is, simply cannot offer.

Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:35 AM
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For what it's worth, night was exactly as planned. Gardened, cooked and had a wonderful night, with a great, sober, content woman. After posting yesterday, I didn't give this a second thought.

It doesn't change the issue, but it does offer a very nice morning.

I am going to go to the alanon meeting, and listen to people's stories. I don't know enough, but I plan to.

Today is a rinse/repeat of yesterday. She has dinner duty tonight. I expect no surprises - after breakfast, we went to work, and she is coming straight home. So... I have allowed the 10 minutes of my day to think about this, and now i am shutting it off. I appreciate YOUr 10 minutes of YOUR day and YOUR support.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:23 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Yes Midwestman, we do appear to share the experience of having a front row seat watching vodka destroy our beautiful sweet women. Baffling and powerful, and apparently unstoppable. My wife had a fantastic 2+ years of sobriety after a 38 day hospital stay in 2008, I thought she "got it" and we would live happily ever after. Then one day she drank, and every day thereafter, and we're all the way off a cliff again.

I have been haunted by a post on here somewhere, someone said, "I wish I would have been more thankful and appreciative for each and every day of sobriety." I did start to take things for granted -- I thought we crossed some kind of finish line. There is NO FINISH LINE for anyone married to an A.

It am sad. This divorce is going to be SO hard because she doesn't want it, doesn't even want to talk about it right now, even after 9 weeks apart. She's drunk every time I see her. More denial than ever, very frustrating. I hope all of this will start to feel better after we are divorced, maybe she can go on with her life and someone else can worry about her instead of me.

Sometime I wish I could hit fast-forward.

Blessings!
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:23 PM
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Leaving work today, and taking my 10 minutes to consider the situation and catch up on what people have said.

It's been a week of no drinking. Been a great week, actually - and not just because of the no drinking. In the car last night we were just chatting about things. Oddly, about blood pressure. She made a comment about having generally high BP, and had thought it was because she was drinking. She ended the conversation with something along the line of her not drinking as much...I wish she said anymore, but the discussion was good. We don't really talk about it, but having it out in the open is probably healthy.

Today is her Birthday. It's been a fun day so far, and tonight we are heading out to dinner. Then a weekend of gardening, friends and family. There will be no opportunity to drink. Keeping myself and house dry makes it SO much easier. It just isn't available.

I won't think about it, nor discuss it unless she chooses to. Not ignoring the reality, but I am not going to allow it to enter my life uninvited either.

She doesn't count days, and I shouldn't....but a dry week is a good week.

I enjoy the support. I really do.

I wanted to share.
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