What if the A does decide to get better?

Old 06-03-2011, 09:36 PM
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What if the A does decide to get better?

My story is very familiar to most of you -
so in a nutshell - Five years of AH drinking where it is a noticible problem, spends 90 days in treatment then gets out and returns to the drinking. Then loses his job (past Nov) and falls into an alcoholic soaked depression that ends in a suicide attempt this past April. Carted off to treatment for 30 days and divorce papers served. Now he is out of treatment and sounds wonderfully focused on recovery and doing/saying all the right things. What IF he gets better? Does the divorce still need to happen? I guess only I can answer that question for myself. I have three children to support and these decisions obviously impact them - although I recognize the very real benefits of a healthy home. Right now I look at his past track record and I guess the answer becomes clear. Another poster asked if there were any happy endings/recovery stories for marriages. It took me so long and required so much strength to file the papers that I am surprised by how hard sticking to that decision is. I guess if we are meant to be together than that can still happen even with a divorce. I have been lurking here for a long time, I have read the stickies and all the recommended books. I go to AlAnon and I am setting up counselors for my three girls. I just want wondered you all, in your wisdom and greater experience, thought about what you would do if your AH DID decide to get better and get help? And then followed up treatment with AA, sponsors and counseling?
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:02 PM
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Welcome leaping, and keep reading!

I can tell you from immediate experience that the what-if's are in no way a good base for making decisions. Basing present circumstances on what may or may not happen in the future is pretty risky, and it will drive one crazy.

Everyone recognizes the benefits of a healthy home. But let's face it, you cannot have a healthy home with someone that is a few weeks out of his second stint in rehab. He doesn't magically come out all better.

Nothing says you can't get back together later, if he does finally decide to get better. Nothing says you have to still be married to him for him to get better... if his desire to recover is real then it won't matter if you are there or not. I ask for the sake of the children that you give him some space, focus on yourself and your/the kids recovery from living with this. Focus on raising them in a somewhat stable environment away from an A, at least until he has proven his recovery is legit-and from what i understand, that takes years.

I was raised by an A, and it ****ed me up something fierce. The kids don't have a choice, but you do, and their well being is in your hands. Follow your gut. Know that whatever you decide, we are here for you!
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:06 PM
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I have had another day of nasty arguments with my recovering alcoholic husband, 6 months sober and in AA and all that jazz. We are separated already. Has there been progress? Yes. He's sober (so he says; I can't verify that). But not much else has changed. He's still an angry, sullen man who hides behind the facade he has so carefully constructed over the years.

I know I underestimated the amount of time it would take for some emotional maturity to set in. Easy for me to look from my side of the street at his, strewn with garbage and dead bodies of past relationships...and wonder why he doesn't get out there and clean that up? Because my side of the street is a lot cleaner, thanks to Al-Anon and some wonderful people in my life.

So he did decide to get sober, but the "getting better" part is a slooooow process, one that may not match my time frame. I am growing to hate him for the way he treats me. I am not sure I could ever go back, after the damage that has been done. I am not sure it matters anymore whether or not he "gets better".

I think only time can tell in your situation. People say here to look for sustained change. I see sustained sameness. Doesn't bode well for intimacy.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:18 PM
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Thanks for you responses. I think I am looking for the easy way out and hoping to avoid making some tough decisions - like selling the house, moving ect. For a long time I had my head in the sand and now that I am out I want to go back and pretend I am not an adult with a responsibilty to my children. I have been a stay at mom for 13 years so the thought of being on my own is daunting. I agree that sustained change and following my gut is the way to go!

I try and think what I tell my own daughter if she came to me and asked if she should get back with her husband after 3 children, 2 rehab stints, 1 failed suicide attempt and a partridge in a pear tree - I would say run run away!
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Leaping View Post
I try and think what I tell my own daughter if she came to me and asked if she should get back with her husband after 3 children, 2 rehab stints, 1 failed suicide attempt and a partridge in a pear tree - I would say run run away!
And that is the painful reality of these situations. However, I do read it can get better if the A seeks and adheres to a solid recovery plan/program. I have met RA's who are wonderful self-aware emotionally mature people. I know its possible...but I don't know if it is possible for my husband and our marriage. And I no longer really care much. Because I, too, have daughters. And I would tell them the same thing you said above. Makes me feel like a big hypocrite when I frame it that way.

Take good care,
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:43 PM
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You don't need to "what-if." If he is serious, you will KNOW it by his ACTIONS over a period of time, not by his words. Stay focused and stay in the here and now. If he does recover, proves it and you still want to try, you can always address that when it does happen. Staying in the present will prevent you from driving yourself crazy with maybes and what could bes.
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:05 AM
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Tuffgirl, fwiw, I dont think you are a hypocrite I think we all want the best for our children and for them to be spared any difficulty we had to go through. You and I want what is best for our girls and for them to have a future free of the craziness that living with an A brings. Thank you all for your encouragement. I feel like there has been a death in the family, one day I am confident and hopeful and the next I am a puddle of tears on the floor.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:53 AM
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Leaping, a good relationship is built on trust. After what I have been through I know I will never trust her again no matter what she does. I still love her and I hope to be friends with her again but not until I am much stronger and she is working her own recovery.

Luckily for me our daughters are grown up with families of there own.

It is hard but I guess thats why they call it working your recovery.
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:13 AM
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As kittykitty pointed out, they don't come home from rehab all better. At best, they come home with a tool box to use when cravings hit, and hopefully, a little bit of self-awareness of how and why they became an addict. Often, people think if our addict will just stop using, then things will be okay. Rarely is that the case. It's when they come back from rehab that the real work begins, and it is a long, long journey. They will have to learn to face life on life's terms, without running to the bottle for comfort. It's difficult. I can say this because I too, am an alcoholic.

My suggestion is that you continue to put the welfare of yourself and your children first. Your husband will recover or not, but it has nothing to do with you and whether or not you are living with him. If he is serious about it, you will see it with your own eyes in due time. Until then, stay in the here and now and don't waste time worrying about the "what ifs."
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:38 AM
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AA and AL ANON and ALA TEEN do work together for a family that has been so effected by someones drinking

the choice is up to you....are you in AL ANON?
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:00 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself and share some of your story with us! Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed.

I too was a SAHM (12 years) of my 14 years married to an A.

The day he received my petition for divorce, he realized I was serious about not returning to the same old, same old. He decided to get sober. He asked me for help.

I was his band-aid for 14+ years. I was the glue that held all the pieces together. I had to tell him that I could not help him with his recovery. (I am a recovering alcoholic) I would fall into my unhealthy pattern of fixing everything and he would likely fall into his unhealthy pattern of avoiding responsibility.

I did let him use my computer and print out a local AA schedule. I told him he needed a recovering A with more time and experience to call him out on his BS when it arrives.

He did join AA and got a sponsor.

Our divorce was finalized the same weekend I moved myself and children to our new community, 2 hours away.

That was two years ago.

Did he stay in AA and stay sober? No.
Was he honest about the drinking again? No.

Today, he is trying sobriety again.
Today, I am still keeping my side of the street clean and letting him work on his.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:01 AM
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The what ifs are dangerous territory. I find myself wondering these and getting myself in a bad place. My AH is no where near choosing sobriety. I pray he does but even if he does it coud take him a few years to really recover enough to want to be a partner to any one. Then he may choose not to be my partner. If he chooses me it may take a long time to regain trust and respect. I think we could do it but I think it would take 100% commitment. Only time will tell. I try to imagine a timeline. I think it could be 10 years. Do I have that kind of time to invest in something that may never happen?

Another thing that helps me when making a difficult decision...rarely are decisions truly irreversible. Getting divorced does not mean that you could never be together again if and when the circumstances are right.

I often long for the happy ending too. I am almost envious of those who have recovered their loved ones, their marriages. But I know I have to make my own happy ending.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:53 AM
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Thanks everyone. It is always interesing to reading these boards how similar the journey can be for both the A and the family. Filing for divorce was the hardest thing I have done. I am faced with overwhelming decisions - or so it seems, I try and tackle one or two things a day and write lists. It helps to come here and see how other people broke away. Today I am occupied with soccer tryouts so the house selling/job searching/bill paying Mom will have to wait. Today, we are ok and I focus on that.
I am fortunate in that he is now three states away, living with his parents for the time being=

Any tips on reuniting children with the AH after some time has gone by? Their last vision of him was being carted out by the paramedics when he took sleeping pills and alcohol, it was not pretty.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Leaping View Post
Any tips on reuniting children with the AH after some time has gone by? Their last vision of him was being carted out by the paramedics when he took sleeping pills and alcohol, it was not pretty.
With us, I let my listening skills kick in. I listened to DS A LOT and answered his questions, age-appropriately.

DS knows ABF has an illness known as 'alcoholism' and that it affects many areas of his life, including making decisions that may not make sense to the rest of us. He has mentioned that he misses playing video games with ABF, so that's what they did yesterday and the day before for a little while. After ABF left, I listened some more.

I'm not sure of your children's ages, but I think Al-ateen is a great option for adolescents and up.

I think as long as your children know that you both love them, they will feel confident to express their fears and concerns to you.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:20 AM
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I know first hand how the what ifs can drive you crazy, I have been on a long week of them, what if he would go for help would it work for us, what if I tried just one more time to talk to him about his problem would it do any good. The list goes on, it is tiresome. I did try to talk to him last night, with kindness and understanding, my head still hurts from banging it against that same ole wall. At the first mention of alcohol he said "Oh we are back to that again?" I just gave up and did some reading starting with Serenity Prayer over and over till I got over my anger. Now it is decision time for me.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:40 AM
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As it has been said here before, if things get better, and it will take lots of time, other decisions can be made.

We can only do the best we can with what we know now, and in my experience, the first year is a very difficult time for a recovering alcoholic, and their loved ones.

Best thing you can do is take care of yourself and your children, and leave your H to work on his recovery. I hope he makes it
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:50 PM
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anvil, thanks for the detox info. He was in a detox/psych ward called - the Dual Diagnosis Unit (!!) - for a week before entering the 30 day treatment program. Now he is with his parents as I filed papers for sole use of the house during the divorce.

I really appreciate all this advice as I settle into this new phase of my life. I personally think he is years away from thinking clearly and acting maturely.
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