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What are some signs of recovery?

Old 03-23-2011, 03:29 PM
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What are some signs of recovery?

Hi - I'm new here and I wanted to pose this question: What are some signs that my husband is in recovery and not just abstaining from alcohol/substances? In a nutshell, we're now separated after his last binge which culminated in a month & a half jail sentence. I left him in jail for a couple of reasons - the first was so that the binge he was on would stop (when he relapses, it's severe & rarely stops w/o some type of force), the second reason is that I didn't want to get in the way of his consequences. There is a third reason which is that I didn't have ANY intention of detoxing him again (it's absolutely miserable...I've done it several times before and I don't think I can physically or emotionally go thru it one more time). I told him that I wanted him to go to rehab from jail & that he couldn't come home. I also told him that I preferred that he go to a rehab that had some focus on family restoration but he thought that the two places that have that kind of program were too restrictive. He found a half-way house where he's required to stay sober (has random drug/alcohol screenings) and he's required to attend four meetings/week. Other than that (plus a curfew), he's pretty much on his own. The bottom line is this: he seems to be doing the right things on the surface but I don't see much change in his attitude. I'm in a position where I need to be very deliberate and careful so I can protect myself. I'm willing to stick it out and keep trying to work on our marriage IF I see that he's got a desire to change (and I see honesty & humility from him). Other than that, I can't risk staying with someone who has a flippant attitude about extremely serious matters. I also want to say that I'm not expecting 100% perfection from him, just the kind of behavior that shows some sincere steps in the right direction.

Also, please don't think from my question that I'm too focused on his recovery because I'm not. I don't make suggestions, I don't ask questions (other than a "how was your meeting" here & there to make conversation)...I'm just trying to ask what are some positive signs to look for.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:35 PM
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Welcome to SR! You'll find a lot of support here. Just wanted to point out that going to meetings won't keep him sober. Finding a sponsor and working the steps will. While working the steps, he will be forced to look inside himself and work on other issues besides just drinking. I would say, if and when you see a marked improvement in his attitude, it could mean that he is actually in recovery and not just not drinking.

Also, just because he quits drinking doesn't mean that the marriage will be okay. Many times, when an alcoholic quits drinking and even when they are working a good recovery program, the dynamic of the relationship changes. A good rule of thumb we use around here is working a good recovery program and seeing progress for a year. That will give both of you time to see if there are positive results.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:37 PM
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Great question and one I have been asking myself too. One full year... I wouldn't have thought it needed to be that long, but I trust the wisdom around here. A full year before I should believe in the recovery... not that he has even started yet.... opens my eyes to what a process it really is. Thank you.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:47 PM
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You didn't say how long he's been there, but offhand, I'd say it's too soon to tell anything.

You said you were willing to hang in for awhile--my suggestion is that you just try to be patient and see what happens. You don't need to live with him until you are feeling really GOOD about the situation.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:10 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed. We are here to support you.

There's a saying in recovery rooms:
What do you get when a drunken horse theif gets sober?
answer: a sober horse theif

Sobriety/recovery sometimes doesn't change the negative personality traits. Some people are jerks while using, and still jerks when they get sober.

While he is working on his recovery, have you tried Alanon meetings for yourself? I know they have really helped me. I was so turned around and upside down from living with my A, that I didn't know whether I was coming or going. Attending Alanon has helped me to regain my confidence that I do make good decisions, I can trust myself, and I can take care of myself while allowing the A to take care of their own self.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:16 PM
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I have "SAME" type of question over and over in my head..

EXAMPLE: This is how I would approach it, if my husband was diagnosed with diabetes.
I would certainly research the diesase and find every cause,conditions.
It would help me understand, what Im suppose to be doing to change the way
I cook for him or what kind of doctors he would need or what medicine to take.
Not that I could fix him, just understand what Im dealing with...

This helped me alot:
Check out this website called: Getting them Sober
You can also watch some videos on there.
The website is not the most organized, but hunt around,
you will find some real treasures worth reading...

Enjoy!

THIS DESCRIBES EARLY SOBRIETY---------



In early sobriety --- the alcoholic's behavior in relation to the partner is largely not a "relationship issue'.


It's not akin to a couple who just have ''issues''.


The alcoholic's brain does not even begin to appear smooth, without the huge craters all over it--- from drinking alcoholically for years ---- UNTIL THE ALCOHOLIC / ADDICT HAS BEEN COMPLETELY SOBER FOR AT LEAST 12 MONTHS WITH NO RELAPSES.

Expecting consistently 'normal' relationship communication with the person in the early-stage of sobriety is unrealistic.

Things usually get somewhat better as time goes by.... but it takes up to 3 full years of TOTAL sobriety (drugs and alcohol free with no relapses) for the brain and central nervous system to be free and clear.

So-----it's not a matter of 'is he sober' when he really is sober. It's a matter of repairing the brain damage.... which is at the HEART of all behaviors/communications with an alcoholic//addict.



DRY DRUNK REFERS TO A PERSON WHO IS PAST THE STAGE OF EARLY SOBRIETY AND YET EXHIBITS STILL-DRINKING BEHAVIOR, WITHOUT ACTUALLY DRINKING.

That ''dry drunk'' person has NOT had a drink or drug------- but if the person stays sober/clean, he has a chance to get better emotionally and spiritually
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:18 PM
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NOTE: 12 Months = 1 Year.....(( With NO RELAPSE))

Interesting huh?????

The alcoholic's brain does not even begin to appear smooth, without the huge craters all over it---
from drinking alcoholically for years ----
UNTIL THE ALCOHOLIC / ADDICT HAS BEEN COMPLETELY SOBER FOR AT LEAST 12 MONTHS WITH NO RELAPSES.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:20 PM
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NOTE:

MORE INTERESTING HUH???
but it takes up to 3 full years of TOTAL sobriety (drugs and alcohol free with no relapses) for the brain and central nervous system to be free and clear
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:21 PM
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THE WORDS I TEND TO FORGET::::

it's not a matter of 'is he sober' when he really is sober.
It's a matter of repairing the brain damage.... which is at the HEART of all behaviors/communications with an alcoholic//addict.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:28 PM
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Sounds about right, to me. I've been sober two and a half years after drinking alcoholically for about thirteen years (I got a late start on my career ), and I feel like I've ALMOST got all my mental functions back the way they were.

Even with "good recovery" it takes the brain a long time to heal.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:03 PM
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Thank you all SO MUCH!!! I don't know how to do the little individual thank yous on the bottom of the posts yet - sorry. First, thank you so much for welcoming me to the site. Second, thanks for the feedback. Suki, it's good to know that a rule of thumb is to wait a year. I've told him I need to see at least 6 months of sobriety + change before I could even begin to trust him again (when that came up recently, he said he didn't remember me saying I needed 6 months?!?). He's been at the halfway house for about a month & a half now since being released from jail. I think a year sounds like a better time frame than 6 mos.

Bobby, that's great info about the brain...I'd like to know more about this. I'll check out the website you mentioned Also, I'm familiar with what a dry drunk is...it was a year between his most recent relapse and the one before it and as far as I can tell, most of that year was with him being a dry drunk. It was awful & that's another reason I want to see progress & not just more abstinence.

I want to write more but I'm so tired, I can't. I'm going to keep checking back & reading more info from here. Again, thank you all for your support.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:04 PM
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After drinking heavily for most of 15 years, my wife did recover completely for 2 yrs 3 months before going completely off a cliff worse than ever. I thought we were good. It was awesome for a while though. The best times were actually when she was first sober and happy to be recovered and feeling good. So I really have no meaningful advice, other than trust your gut and know that there isn't any formula and certainly no guarantees.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:04 PM
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djayr, I'm so sorry to hear about your wife; I'm glad you had some good times together though. My husband & I had a good stretch too - I'm really happy we had some wonderful times. Thanks for the words of wisdom about trusting my gut.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:18 PM
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This sounds like my current situation. My significant other just got out of a 28-day rehab for alcohol on Tuesday. He used to drink four bottles of wine per day. Now he is not drinking, but he is emotionally absent. It's like living with a stranger or a roommate. He has found an AA chapter here and has gone to meetings today and yesterday, but at home I don't see him reading the literature, working on himself. I am at a loss. Is this normal behavior?
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Julius View Post
This sounds like my current situation. My significant other just got out of a 28-day rehab for alcohol on Tuesday. He used to drink four bottles of wine per day. Now he is not drinking, but he is emotionally absent. It's like living with a stranger or a roommate. He has found an AA chapter here and has gone to meetings today and yesterday, but at home I don't see him reading the literature, working on himself. I am at a loss. Is this normal behavior?
Well, it's exactly like the guy on the couch next to me...but I don't know what that means. If anyone else has input, do tell.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:40 PM
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Julius & Florence -
Damn, I really feel your pain of not understanding how or what they are suppose to be doing.

Snoop around on my earlier post, I basically had the same exact question.
Snoop around on this site, and you will see alot of others have the same exact question.

Mine came home after a 28 day rehab too. Was great for about 3 days, then started to lose it. Some call it, the pink cloud, the haze. They get disfunctional, almost like they are day dreaming. They have no motivation. No sense of direction. And the world is a wonderful place, because they are "HEALED" and your suppose to clap for them and praise them...RIGHT??? So they think....

Go back up on this post, and read what I wrote about HEALING OF THE BRAIN for the
1st year and the 3rd year....Soak it into your brain in medical terms!!! Think like a doctor instead of a wife...It will help you understand it more.

Mine relapsed after a couple of weeks, came home after a weekend party, and moved away. Said it was part of his recovery...Moved away, like 1800 miles away...

All I can tell you is:
EAT, BREATH, LIVE = ALANON
and
Somewhere on here, they list some great books for you to read
They help alot!!
hang out on this site & Learn YOUR NOT ALONE!!!

PS...One thing I have learned is: Dont try to talk to your friends or family about this too much, unless, they are educated on what an alcoholic is.
Most people dont even have clue how deep the issues is with an alcoholic.
(I was one of those people a couple of months ago)
Find help (alanon, a counselor trained in alcoholism)
Spending too much time trying to explain the story to someone who has no clue,
is only time, not spent on YOU!!!!....
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:48 AM
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Need to vent....last night, I said to my husband that I have a lot of anxiety right now....he says back to me something like...."you have a lot of anxiety right now???" (spoken very incredulously).......I say something like..."Yes, because of everything you've done"........he says something like..."because of what *I'VE* done???". This all started because of something he'd said earlier that sounded to me like he was doin' just great - kinda like he didn't have a care in the world. I asked him about it when we were alone & that's how this exchange started. Here I am today, stunned. He has a "default setting" of having an extremely light attitude about things. Don't get me wrong...I think that can be ok at times but when our marriage is hanging on by a thread, we're separated, he's given me reasons to not trust him, he's deceived me, he's put me in a position to be afraid of him when we were living together (I mean really afraid), he's possibly exposed himself to disease, he's causing financial hardship because we're separated, etc., etc.....then it's really not fitting to have a light, breezy, carefree attitude about life. In general, I'm not saying much to him about how I feel, I'm just waiting & watching to see how things progress...not trying to get into big discussions. But when he acts like this, I don't know what to think. I wanted to speak truthfully last night and not sugarcoat things...that's why I plainly said that I had anxiety about what *he'd* done....I'm tired of stuffing my feelings about things. I didn't say it meanly or sharply or anything else, I just said it because it's true.

I guess what this is is garden-variety denial. To people who aren't in denial, it's a blow to the mind....how can anyone actually act or think like that??? I need to not try to wrap my head around his faulty thinking. Thanks for letting me vent.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:57 AM
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Dry Drunk Syndrome

Please read the essay at this link.
It is the best description of dry drunk behavior I have found.

My RAH fits this to a T. He has other issues, as well, but this is a good barometer, with actual behaviors and symptoms.

Doesnt change the fact that you cant do anything about it. It has to be him.

Hope this helps
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyJ View Post
NOTE:

MORE INTERESTING HUH???
but it takes up to 3 full years of TOTAL sobriety (drugs and alcohol free with no relapses) for the brain and central nervous system to be free and clear

yep and in NA its 18 months...with no relapse...and all this is when they are working on the I.S.Ms ( I, SELF, ME attitude)
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:14 PM
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Buffalo, thanks for the link to the essay. The following really spoke to me: The self-destructive attitudes and behavior of the dry drunk alcoholic are different in degree but not in kind. The alcoholic, when drinking, has learned to rely on a deeply inadequate, radically immature approach to solving life's problems. And this is exactly what one sees in the dry drunk.

I also liked this: Those undergoing a dry drunk lead impoverished lives. They experience severe limitations to grow, to mature, and benefit from the possibilities that life offers. They lack the freshness and spontaneity that genuinely sober alcoholics manifest. Their life is a closed system; attitudes and behaviors are stereotyped, repetitive, and consequently predictable.

You said it though, it has to be him - nothing I do or say will change a thing. He's gonna do what he wants to do and he's not gonna do what he doesn't want to do. I'm just so grateful I'm now in a position where I can watch from a safer distance.

It helped me SO MUCH to type out my thoughts earlier today; it's also strengthened my resolve to continue to be very careful as we move forward.

Thank you also, fourmaggie. I've heard of the ISMs but I had forgotten what it meant. It's very applicable to our situation.
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