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Defying the odds

Old 07-04-2011, 06:08 PM
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Defying the odds

For those who's mind is almost made up and are certain their alcoholic is going to be the .01% who get better.....

Today, STBEAW,BNFSE along with my 19 year old daughter are having 4th of July lunch of grilled dogs, chips, black cherry soda, Taboulie salad, you know. The works.

My 54 old wife, who has been "recovering" now for almost a year has actually been behaving well of late. But let's set the stage properly. I left mid May for 5 weeks of training in NJ. I returned for a day or two and left again. She then went on "vacation" to Drinking buddy Nancy's place in Colorado and just returned. So in effect this past 4 day weekend is the longest time we've been together in a while. Friday was uneventful. I didn't make it home until 8 pm or so. She drank wine on Saturday for certain, as I saw it. She realized I knew it, and admitted it. Last night I had dinner with my parents and the 19 year old. Afterward, my daughter helped me out at my shop for a couple hours. We returned home around 11 pm. Wife was in bed.

I can't prove, but have no reason to doubt she was drinking last night. Of course she claims not. Why would she choose to drink in front of me, and then choose to abstain while I'm gone from 6pm to 11pm? Answer -- She didn't abstain. I digress.

While sitting down to what appears to be a perfectly normal lunch with the 3 of us, my daughter mentions she just read where a high protein and low carb diet my help fight cancer. She says this in support of my wife, who has so far beaten back breast cancer. Wife spouts off that she's lived a high protein/low carb diet for most of her life. 19 year old chuckles and will have none of it. She states as a matter of fact, "well, not really".

You can see the almost instant change in the alcoholic. She has been called out, and now there must be a price to be paid. She latches on to my parents involvement in moving the 19 year old into her own place in August for college. Starts ranting how it is all ruined because my mother will be there. neither of us escalate this, but try to be reasonable. There will be none of that! You can not be reasonable with an unreasonable person.

19 year old has enough and bails out. I get up and remove my plate. Wife starts ramping up her nonsense. Then throws her plate on the tile floor! WTF? So I throw mine too! I know, it was juvenile. But I thought it made sense at the time. You know, demonstrate how stupid it is by being stupid. China and food all over the floor. What a mess. She gets to clean the mess up. I won't.

She's done this before. The first time I pulled less than a weeks worth of wine from the recycle bin and placed all 15 bottles on the counter top. She picked one up and threw it on the floor. So did I! and then she threw another. And so did I! So there is no reason to think I wouldn't not match her ridiculousness act for act.

19 year old calls her out again for her childish behavior. Wife tries to deny any correlation with the diet remark and her behavior. She claims wine is "sugar" not carbohydrates. Really? I'm supposed to believe this? The woman who has lost 30lbs in 2 years and goes to a personal trainer once a week has ZERO understanding that alcohol is sugar is carbohydrate? She claims we invalidated her, make her feel worthless. Then I get to hear about how bad her father treated her, and that we are just like him! YGSM!

We left her alone with her quacking. Went to the big 4th of july sale at the local thrift store. And splurged. Al Gore's got nothing on me.

So, a long story to back up my position: They are incapable of change. Some tiny fraction can change. But that is all. The die is cast. The behavior is programmed. Perhaps it's genetic and they are going to do this from the moment they are born.

Regardless. If you think your alcoholic is that one in million who will defy the odds and behave "normal", I offer you are most likely mistaken.

Cheers.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:24 PM
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Z,

I would never in a million years invalidate your experience. I agree with you, that until an alcoholic is REALLY committed to recovering, and willing to do the hard work that goes with the territory, the craziness just won't stop.

I wonder, though, why you find it so necessary to invalidate my experience, and that of the many other recovered/recovering alcoholics in this forum, and those whose partners have recovered. I think you underestimate the number who do recover, when they set out to do it.

I'm sorry you are still living with the insanity. When are you planning to move on?
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:44 PM
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Yikes, Z. Your post reminds me of all the time I spent with XABF and felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells! Just one remark taken the wrong way and out spews the crazy out of nowhere! And it doesn't end! Sorry you had to go through that. Hopefully as she recovers more these tantrums will become less frequent.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:27 AM
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Hey ZRX,

First, sorry you are going thru that craziness.

Defying a A's odds will drive ya crazy. My AW has been sober the last 6 weeks, with the last 2 years being relapse after relapse, jail stay after jail stay. So I'm not holding my breath. On the other hand and I won't lie is that I hope she can do it this time,(stupid ace me). But I have no control of the out come.

She's about to enter a 6 month sober house program this week. So she won't be around for awhile. I see this as the the last chance for her and us.

For my self, the odds that we are done is 100% if the drinking continues. The Crazy Train has to end some time. She knows it this time and the children S18 and D15 are in full support of this decision.

Take Care Brother,
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:12 AM
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Apparently, some can and do recover, but the odds seem to be pretty long for the true alcoholic. From what I've read here, it takes a huge commitment on the part of the alcoholic.

My own AW has had relatively long periods of sobriety, but so far has relapsed every time. In her mind, the fact that she's not drunk every day seems to indicate that she can "control" it.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:30 AM
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I don't think ZR was trying to invalidate any recovering A's. It seems to me, that he is just stating the facts of how many actually seek recovery and are sucessful. At 54 his wife has progressed in the disease and this is very hard on the family members. I know for me I have stuck it out way too long in the hopes of my AH being one of the small percentage that get treatment.

I personally benifit from hearing the statistics on this. I am glad to have found SR and have people like ZR post his findings because it helps me to make more informed decision on my life with my AH. I have hung on too long hoping and praying that he would finally get it and seek treatment. As of last week, he is still trying the control route and tells me he can not understand why I am leaving him. He says that he provides for his family quite well and besides the drinking issue, things are great. I finally realized I will never get him to understand and that is ok with me now.

To all the A's in recovery, congrats to you!!
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:52 AM
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I wonder what the stats are on the number of codies who don't seek help or who seek help but keep relapsing. I'd be willing to bet that number is pretty darn high also.

So congrats to all of us in recovery for whatever reason. We are those who have walked through hell and came out the other side. And I for one am never going back.

Your friend,
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:04 AM
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Lots of fireworks at your house this 4th of July, eh, Z? I remember those fights, and no I don't think it's juvenile. I think its human to just get fed up and angry.

I have met a lot of long-time recovering RA's at open AA meetings. A handful pretty miserable dry drunks, but most of them are really cool and interesting people. Dedicated to working the program, giving service to others, etc. I do think people can commit and be successful to recovering from an addiction. Your wife is just not at that place, nor does she care to be there anytime soon. Is frustrating for you and your kids, I know.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Z,



I wonder, though, why you find it so necessary to invalidate my experience, and that of the many other recovered/recovering alcoholics in this forum, and those whose partners have recovered. I think you underestimate the number who do recover, when they set out to do it.
I may indeed be underestimating the success stories. From my perspective, they are few and far between. Apologies if it appears I am invalidating your experience. Certainly not my intention.

Perhaps we can agree on the last bit. When they set out determined to change and recover, there are some who manage to beat the odds. I tend to lump them into the "not choosing to" category. From what I see and hear, most choose to ignore their problem and hoist it onto another.

Regardless, thanks for listening to my rant. Where is my sweater?
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:58 AM
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Sorry, I think my cat is shredding it.

The problem, I think, for most of the people on THIS forum is that an awful lot of us are with alcoholics who are still drinking and really have no honest desire to stop. They might be paying lip service to recovery for the sake of trying to make nice and keep the peace, but they mostly aren't people who have hit their personal bottom. Even if they realize they have a problem, they still think they can control it (despite the ever-mounting evidence that they can't). So yeah, for people who are still at that point, successful recovery isn't imminent.

You never know, though, what might happen to bring someone to the point where it CAN happen. Every person who DOES successfully recover was once exactly like ever other in-denial alcoholic that you're sort of writing off.

The question, for most people on this forum, who are still with an active alcoholic, is whether they can or should hang in there until the miracle happens (that is, if it does).

I know that when I quit drinking, it was because I saw no hope for myself unless I did. I know when I left my second husband, it was for the same reason--I saw no hope for myself unless I did. It was no longer about whether he would eventually "get it"--it was about whether I could afford (emotionally and financially) to stick around long enough to find out. And the point at which that occurs, either for the alcoholic or for the partner--the point at which you feel you HAVE to do something--is different for each person. Call it a personal pain threshold. I hit mine with my drinking, and I wanted to quit more than anything. I hit mine in my relationship, and I knew I HAD to get out.

I think for people who REALLY want to quit, the odds are reasonably good. Even if there are a few stumbles, someone who wants it bad enough will keep trying until he or she gets it right. The problem is that a lot of people who don't REALLY want to quit will pretend that they do. And that can throw off the people around them, who so desperately want them to quit drinking. It's easy to fool someone who wants to believe.

Whatever, I'm just rambling. I guess my point is that if we don't have a huge number of people on this forum with partners who are happily and successfully in recovery. So I think the odds of recovery look a bit skewed if this is the sample you are looking at.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:31 PM
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Sorry Z that you are still in this home environment. You managed to make a bloody awful scene sound comical however.

Someone said it elsewhere that a lot of people who find recovery (on both sides) leave the forum or go very quiet so the emphasis here actively posting may appear that it doesn't happen.

Equally when our spouses/loved ones are behaving at their worst alcoholically, lying deflecting etc. it certainly seems that is will be a million miles to go for them to lose that entrenched behaviour.

I suppose it comes down to whether or not you wait around to see if it can happen.

My wife "slipped" after 42 days. Lexie's remarks strike home for me.

Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Sorry, I think my cat is shredding it.
I think for people who REALLY want to quit, the odds are reasonably good. Even if there are a few stumbles, someone who wants it bad enough will keep trying until he or she gets it right. The problem is that a lot of people who don't REALLY want to quit will pretend that they do. And that can throw off the people around them, who so desperately want them to quit drinking. It's easy to fool someone who wants to believe.
.
Boy do I want to believe, but my DD16 claims she thinks my wife drank again a couple of days after that first 'slip' so when does a slip become the process of relapse?

As Cyranoak said elsewhere, they don't chose drink over us, if they relapse in recovery, they just not succeeding in their recovery work enough to keep the illness at bay.

It has always frustrated me that my wife has rejected AA as not-for-her. She was very active in SR. I'm not sure what all that is telling me...

I do believe that she wants to succeed in recovery, and she seems to have a great awareness of herself and alcoholism, but when the disease gets the better of her I think she drops right back into that mode of the text-book behaviours.

I attend my Al-Anon every week and read some every day.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:44 PM
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Thanks, Mike. As a codie & F&F of A's, I definitely need to check myself often, rather than projecting onto or focusing on the A's. :-)

I'm sure this is a tough family disease to overcome *if ever* one fully "overcomes" it or gets "cured" from it. I question if we have truly reliable stats on recovery rates of either A's or codies. . . There are many heart-wrenching stories that make us feel hopeless & make us repeat the dismal stats, but there are *enough* powerful & inspiring stories of human triumph & lifelong recovery from addiction. While we probably can identify "ideal" forms of recovery, recovery might look slightly different for each A and each codie.

I am realistic, but remain hopeful/optimistic simultaneously. . .
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:11 AM
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In my perfect world ... there would be no alcoholism.

However, in my "almost" perfect world, where unfortunately, there exists this amazingly destructive and powerful addiction called alcoholism ...
the alcoholic would travel this journey by themselves, away from others, ... and hopefully someday deciding for themselves, as only they can - to willingly and enthusiastically embrace their own sobriety creating a healthier, more enriching, productive and peaceful life.

Only then, in this "almost" perfect world, would these recovered souls entwine themselves in the lives of others. Precious time restored and relationships rebuilt, shattered families intact, damaged children healed ...
spared the suffering of immeasurable pain and despair of the millions who find themselves unwilling passengers on this roller coaster ride of self destruction called alcoholism.

Maybe someday the enormous pain and suffering created by this brutal addiction will somehow miraculously become a distant memory.
But for now, we can only hope for change, one that must begin with us.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by JACKRUSSELLGIRL View Post
I personally benifit from hearing the statistics on this. I am glad to have found SR and have people like ZR post his findings because it helps me to make more informed decision on my life with my AH.
There aren't any statistics posted in the OP though. He posted something based on his emotional reaction to his experience. That's not a statistic. The actual statistics based on medical and scientific studies show a very, very different picture.

I understand that he's had a terrible time and is writing based on his gut response to that. But his experience is not the universal experience and it's not really fair to make sweeping statements that can discourage people.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:22 AM
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This reminds me of a quote from Good Will Hunting where he talks about his wife battling cancer, here it is:

"No, I'm not kiddin' you, Will. That's why I'm not talkin' right now about some girl I saw at a bar twenty years ago and how I always regretted not going over and talking to her. I don't regret the 18 years I was married to Nancy. I don't regret the six years I had to give up counseling when she got sick. And I don't regret the last years when she got really sick. And I sure as hell don't regret missin' the damn game. That's regret."

My life has been defined by so many events, tragic and euphoric. But life is not just about the good times, as some would say a perfect world would be - it's about the bad times too. I don't know why there is the bad times. Some say it's to bring people closer together, to unite us, to remind us that we are not alone in our isolated little worlds.

And statistics are one thing. They are numbers. But if you need a number to decide about something, then I don't think you really need a number, I think you already know. Every individual is just that - an individual. We are not numbers. I won't be dehumanized in that way or let someone close to me be dehumanized.

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Old 07-12-2011, 05:13 AM
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For me, it goes back to Tradition 5 and having understanding and compassion for our alcoholic loved ones. Today's reading in Courage to Change puts it so eloquently...

~ July 12 ~
Tradition Five talks about “encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives.” This puzzled me at first. After all, doesn’t our program teach us to focus on ourselves? It seemed to be a contradiction.

Maybe the reason for my confusion is that I tended to think in extremes. Either I focused on myself and separated myself completely from the lives of others or I wrapped myself around those others until I lost myself. Our program helps us to come back to center.
I can focus on myself and still be a loving, caring, person. I can have compassion for loved ones who suffer from the disease of addiction, or its effects, without losing my sense of self.Encouraging and being kind to others is one way of being good to myself, and I do not need to sacrifice myself in the process.

Today’s Reminder
I am learning how to have saner and more loving relationships. Today I will offer support for those I love and take of myself.

“If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” Benjamin Franklin


When I was raw and hurting, and stumbled into the Al-anon room - I had no clue how to take care of me. And like the reading says, I heard "take care of me!" so I immediately shot to the other extreme! I doted on myself, and say "To he!! with him!" But neither was a good and healthy way to life. I had to learn to find balance. To have love and compassion for my loved ones, but not be a doormat to their behavior. Just because they were sick, or dysfunctional... or simply not doing things the way I wanted!!... didn't mean I had to completely shut them out. Maybe keep them at a safer distance though... in a kind and loving way. Not a hurtful, vengeful manner. I learned that it isn't my job to punish them, just as much as it isn't there job to punish me for my wrongs.

Thanks for letting me share!
Shannon
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by KittyP View Post
But his experience is not the universal experience and it's not really fair to make sweeping statements that can discourage people.
Nor is it fair to give false hope to those experiencing similar circumstances.

On several occasions here, I've asked for others to share their success stories. This in hopes to balance out what I see as a very low "cure" rate. My data pool is this forum, my home, my family, my wife's family, my friends and their families, neighbors, and people at work.

I'm just not hearing many versions of: "My spouse finally sought help for her alcoholism. And after XX number of months my spouse has broken the chains and our lives together have improved dramatically". In fact, I've not heard a single example of a similar story. Not one. I hope they are out there.

Most of the stories I hear are painfully familiar to my own: After many years of the non alcoholic spouse trying everything they can think of, they eventually tell the alcoholic to get help. The alcoholic begrudgingly heads out on an apparent quest for sobriety. Unfortunately the alcoholic doesn't fully mend, usually relapses back to drinking, and the cycle continues. Albeit, perhaps not as severe of a problem as it was. Yet.

This basic story seems the one most often played. Certainly it is not 100% accurate for every situation.

From my perspective, the cold hard truth is recovery is a very rare commodity indeed. And those coming here seeking the truth should hear it.

And of course, there was a certain amount of venting in the original post. Thank you all for listening. I appreciate it.

Some have posted the question of why I am still around. I shall answer. I'm leaving for Afghanistan in October for a year. With a high school age daughter in the house, I am far more comfortable being married to her and 6000 miles away than I am being un-married, 6000 miles away, and a large portion of my income being fed directly to her. All this with absolutely zero input or control over the household. It is a small price to pay in an effort to keep my daughter from experiencing further abuses. She is old enough now to see right through her mother's lies and fabrications. And she will never have to deal with any other men in the house when I'm gone. Oh, there certainly may be other men in my house. I am not so naive as to think it impossible. But they will not be there when my daughter is there. And that is worth a small sacrifice on my part. One more year tacked on to the 22 isn't going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TeM View Post

My own AW has had relatively long periods of sobriety, but so far has relapsed every time. In her mind, the fact that she's not drunk every day seems to indicate that she can "control" it.
I missed this the first time around. YES. Mine thinks the same thing. She feels she's done her part and has improved tremendously. She sees reducing from 2 bottles of wine a day down to a couple of glasses a day is fine. She's even started drinking a beer. She comes inside and says, wow I sure would like a beer. Then goes and gets one. As if it is perfectly ok, and she's got it all figured out.

Ref throwing dinner plates on the floor. I think there is some significant room for improvement. But don't tell her that! Oh no. You'd be invalidating all she's done. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.

If aliens visited our world and were able to "cloak" themselves to observe our behavior, I hope they don't watch our families actions. It would certainly give them something to talk about on the mothership, though.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by zrx1200R View Post
On several occasions here, I've asked for others to share their success stories. This in hopes to balance out what I see as a very low "cure" rate. My data pool is this forum, my home, my family, my wife's family, my friends and their families, neighbors, and people at work.

I'm just not hearing many versions of: "My spouse finally sought help for her alcoholism. And after XX number of months my spouse has broken the chains and our lives together have improved dramatically". In fact, I've not heard a single example of a similar story. Not one. I hope they are out there.
Maybe if you aren't finding the stories you are looking for, you aren't looking in the right places. There are so many of those stories out there but for reasons that are always posted here whenever anyone asks if there are "happy endings" they are very rarely going to get posted on this board.

I've known 5 serious alcoholics in my life, 4 (including my husband) got better, 1 died. The common denominator with 3 of those who got better was to keep trying different ways. If one recovery method didn't work, they moved on and tried something else.

Originally Posted by ValJester
It has always frustrated me that my wife has rejected AA as not-for-her. She was very active in SR. I'm not sure what all that is telling me...
Perhaps it is telling you that AA isn't a method which will work for her. Why not ask her what about AA she doesn't like and if there was anything she did like? If she liked the peer support, but not the steps maybe she could try LifeRing, they have a website and if you are anywhere near Dublin or Belfast they have face to face meetings.

Or maybe she'd find the HSE community addiction services more helpful. Each health board has one, they have very short waiting lists (usually a week or two before the initial assessment). She'd see an addictions specialist first and then would have the option of regular addiction counselling and group therapy led by a counsellor/psychologist. They also provide counselling for family members. And it's free. Just choose your health board area and scroll down to "Social Inclusion" and click on it. It will bring you a list of the state funded addiction services in your area. HSE.ie - Health Service Executive Website - HSE Local Health Offices
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:04 AM
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So you thought your wife was recovering?

One question......has she tried going to AA?

And did give it an honest try?
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