Dealing with Newly Sober AA husband

Old 06-06-2011, 11:01 PM
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Dealing with Newly Sober AA husband

I am posting in lieu of my wife. I'm new into recovery- coming on 4 months. The last ten years has been nothing but chaos becuase of my alcoholism. I'm getting better, stronger - able to function and be predictable.

Here's the dilemma. Her friends are telling her how great I'm doing, her parents are telling her how proud they are of me. She's getting nothing about what a great job she did working to get us to this point. She feels completely left out of the equation. When she deserves as much credit as I do. She enabled me to cover up embarassment to friends and family. I just had to not be obnoxious and show that I was drunk.

Are there any posts or books that address the spouce of the recovering alcoholic? She's jeolous because I get to meet people, get coins, get praise, get to talk about my feelings.

She's currently very anti-Alanon so I'm thinking a good book would be a nice start.

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Old 06-07-2011, 12:54 AM
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Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie. Would be a great first book to start with.

Congrats on your sobriety, btw. Why is she against Al-Anon? Because it follows the same steps and similar traditions and is a compliment to AA, she may be able to feel more "active" in your recovery, by focusing on her own. But hey - it took many meetings for the program to catch on for me. I truly had to keep going back before I got what it really is all about.
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:05 AM
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Honestly? The best thing you can do is focus on your own recovery. Show by your new actions, attitudes, priorities, and LASTLY words that you mean business about the new sober you. Give your wife her own space, and let the rest take care of itself, which it will if you keep your focus on your own recovery.

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Old 06-07-2011, 05:09 AM
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Hi there..

I am an "A" who attends AA, and also attends Al-Anon.

Melody Beatties books are wonderful, I echo the above post and highly recommend them.

The other thing to consider is now that you are sober, she no longer has "the work" to do that you described above. Our loved ones become so busy taking care of we alcoholics, that they lose themselves.

Your relationship is changing, as are both of you. Al-Anon would help her understand herself, just as AA helps the alcoholic begin a new life.

Best of luck to you. Four months sobriety is wonderful.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:03 AM
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I can realte to not getting any "credit" for tolerating, and finally for helping him to get help.

It is immature, though, and she needs to own that she did that stuff of her own chois=ce and will, and that we do not always get credit for things in life.

I also understand the sense of RAH getting new life, a fresh start, and then my "stuff" seemed so old and I felt left holding the emotional bag of anger, while he got to go off and try everything fresh.

She may need t acknowledge that she became ill in her reactions to your illness. This is hard, because we spend so many years trying to make someone see that they are so out of balance, we dont want to look down at ourselves and realize or worse---ADMIT that we have also become lost in a sea of anger and resentment.

Alanon would help, but if she is opposed, you cannot make her go any more that she could force you to an AA meeting while you wer still active.

It is humbling and scary when the focus of all our attention was a sick and emotionally crippled person, and then they start to get well, and the spotlight has to come back to oursleves.

If she wont go to alanon, she definitely needs therapy or at least needs to write out all her angries. Because, I can tell you from experience, they dont just go away, and sustained change from a recovering partner does not happen overnight, and trust doesnt just sprout up and flourish right away.

I would suggest she write down all her residual frustrations, fears, and past hurts and angers.

She needs to see them, and let them go.
BUt, dont expect her to trust and feel safe right away, she is in recovery, her own way.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:49 AM
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Maybe a BIG, HONEST, HEARTFELT, THANK YOU, from you would help also. Sincerely, saying 'thank you' for sticking with you, for having faith in you will help her a lot.

Of course, continuing to grow, change and being responsible will also help a great deal.


Love and hugs,
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:06 PM
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Whether she goes to AlAnon or a counsellor or something, that's up to her, really. All you can do is acknowledge that she deserves support and let her find what works for her.

In the meantime, here are some specific things you can do:

1. A "thanks" is nice--but don't overdo it with thanking her all the time, because then it's yet again all about you.

2. Don't talk about the AA or your sobriety process too much around her. Your recovery isn't her responsibility. Sure, a brief check-in is fine, but don't go on and on (and you know what I mean). She's got a life too. Which brings me to:

3. Encourage her and help her do fun/inspiring things, the things that make her happy. You know better than I what those are. Does she have a book group? Does she like gardening? Karate? Swing dance? See what small, practical things you can do to help her enjoy them: maybe you'll "just happen" to find a flyer for a new book group, or you could offer to help her build a new raised bed in the garden.

Caveat: DON'T SAY "Now I'm going to help you do all the things you couldn't do when you were busy wiping up after me, boo hoo hoo." Don't make a production out of it. Just DO them in a cheerful, low-key way.

4. Listen to her. Being forced into the role of caretaker is really dehumanising, and now you can help her become a real person around you by just listening. Ask her about the book she's reading, or what's happened at work, and then just sit quietly as she answers. Use those active listening things, like, "Oh, it sounds like that one client is a jerk!" Let her surprise you. Laugh at her jokes.

Caveat: Again, DON'T make a big deal of "NOW I AM GOING TO LISTEN TO YOU BECAUSE IT'S PART OF MY AA JOURNEY. TELL ME SOMETHING DEEP AND PROFOUND RIGHT NOW!" Just do it in a low-key, casual way. Then it'll become a habit.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:43 PM
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SPG, perhaps she would be interested in a site like this? I know SR has done wonders for my recovery. I'm very comfortable with online forums and to be honest I enjoy SR much more than 'live' meetings. It's here whenever I need it. And I feel like I am making a lot of friends here who understand the situation we are all in.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:16 PM
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My husband has been sober for 5 months. Often he will thank me for standing by him and putting up with everything and that he doesn't understand why or how I did it. Just having him thank me and let me know that he knows it was hard for me, too, helps.
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