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Relationship began and ended based on alcohol...

Old 07-15-2011, 09:37 AM
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Relationship began and ended based on alcohol...

Having some flashes of realizing a lot of things due to some good T sessions and things I'm reading that others are saying that are making me think about my own issues... I'm writing this to get it out and to sort out my thoughts and am doing it here as opposed to my own solitary journal bc I get so much out of others' stories and figure if anyone can relate or get something from this then it's worth having shared it... No need to feel obligated to read it...

I've realized that alcohol was pretty much the basis of my relationship with AH from the start... I was talking to my T about this recently-- I guess I'm processing letting go of what I thought our marriage was and realizing, much like I did a year ago with regard to my FOO, that what I pretended my marriage was and what it has actually been are 2 entirely different things. And oddly, both the good and the bad that have been a part of my marriage all have alcohol at the root of those experiences/occassions.

When we were dating, whenever we got together alcohol was involved in some way-- go for a hike... get drinks afterward (always his idea!), go to the ocean... get drinks with lunch... I didn't think this was abnormal either. I remember my sister once saying something to me like "it's nice to hear that you did something with him that didn't have to involve him drinking" when I told her about some outing we'd had and I recall being angry that she was so judgemental. Never once occurred to me that I should be concerned about his drinking. I saw his dad (an alcoholic) as a man with drinking problems-- not AH (ABF at the time). His dad drank in isolation, was outwardly angry and snapped at everyone all the time. He drank vodka from the bottle and hid out in his room all day. AH at the time was a fun drinker-- expressed emotions when drinking (something he didn't do when he was sober). He charmed everyone, he was good looking, adventurous, athletic, a rule breaker and the overall effect had me enamored. His dad was the image of a man with a drinking problem and at that time I didn't see that AH had a thing in common with him. I just figured that he liked to drink and so what if it seemed he drank a lot-- he could handle it.

I found myself, a 1-2 glass of wine occassionally drinker, drinking more and more to have something in common with him. Drinking shots on a worknight and being flattered that AH wanted to spend time with me at a bar... Sick.

When I grew up and outgrew that lifestyle (after we'd been together a year he went to grad school and I moved to another state and we had a long distance r/s for 2 yrs and my lifestyle changed pretty much as soon as I moved) and he didn't I started realizing that the only positive times we had together required one of us or both of us to be drinking. If he was drinking and I wasn't, things could still be pleasant, if we both were drinking he was nicer to me than ever... It was like I joined a special club or something... But more and more we had less and less in common. I moved back to New England, started law school and dropped out later that yr bc AH said he wasn't sure he was comfortable committing to me to be around that area for 3 yrs and would prefer that I had the flexibility of teaching and could move anywhere if we were to get engaged. Bam- law school was done and I went back to teaching. HUGE regret to this day. As it turned out he came back to the area and I would have been fine to stay in law school and he;d have been around. I guess seeing me pulling away and happy with my new path wasn't something he wanted and I was so sick and co dependent and ???? that I couldn't see what was happening.

When I was pregnant with both girls and obviously did not drink (and AH's drinking was clearly increasing) I realized how much I disliked his non-drinking personality. He was angry, irritable and generally unpleasant to be around. And when he drank he was no longer the open, expressing feelings, nice guy he once was. Sad but the only times I can remember AH opening up to me and "exposing" his inner self so to speak were when he was drinking. When we dated I used to sometimes hope that we'd wind up somewhere with him having a few drinks bc that was when he was at his best. I certainly didn't encourage him to drink but I do recall enjoying who he was when he was drinking and not having a CLUE that that ought to have been a big red flag. Unreal how oblivious/naive I was.

The best memories of my r/s with him and the worst memories all involve alcohol. I don't know how else I thought this would end. I guess it was naive to think that we could party and drink like we did in our 20's and assume that he'd outgrow it just as I did. I don't think that AH is the one who has changed-- I think I have. I am not the woman he fell in love with-- I am a lot different, want different things and have different priorities. He wanted those same things (kids, house etc) but also wanted to keep up the lifestyle of no responsibility and we've clashed for years over this.

I told him recently that I genuinely am sorry and I am, for all the ways, times etc... I've tried to impose my lifestyle and my wants on to him. Its been unfair and unreasonable. Oddly, when I said this (and more) his response was to take responsibility and tell me that what I've expected is normal and what should be expected. It's as if he is desperately trying to find anything to do/say to keep me around as a scapegoat bc once I am gone he will have to a) look at himself or b) start to go downhill faster than he already is and I think he knows this.

What's important to me is that I really really see that he's let me know consistently for years who he is and its been me/my denial/my naivete- whatever it was... that didn't allow me to see things as they were and make a decision based on that. I've made decisions for years based on what I hoped would happen, what I wished for, what I was willing to do to make happen and all that led to was hurt, resentment, anger... All my own doing. I expected AH to be someone he isn't. I expected him to want the same things I did (and to my credit I expected this not bc I pulled it from thin air but bc he said he wanted these things too). I didn't look around and take stock of what was. I kept looking for answers, reasons, explanations-- in a lot of ways not all that different than AH's efforts to justify/continue his drinking...

There seem to be a lot of pieces clicking in T, in my own head, from talks with friends... I took a break from this site and another and just made myself take time to make some decisions alone without opinions from others and forced myself to make those choices on my own... I think that that was necessary in order for me to get over the spot I was stuck in-- where I was still clinging to "but maybe things can change". I had to face myself honestly, I did a lot with my sponsor and I struggled and felt a lot of sadness... But the end result (and I still have a long way to go) is that I have moved past another place of pretending and it feels good. I am sure there are many more steps on that path to take but being here vs where I've been for a few months feels so much better...
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:58 AM
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My relationship/marriage with my EXAH was also based on alcohol. Boy howdy did I hang on to his "potential" and what I thought he was going to be if I just loved him enough.

Needless to say, it did not work out in the end.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:07 AM
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Loved reading this, WTBH. I identified with a LOT of it, down to rejecting an advanced degree just to be with him (I was accepted into the Grad program at NYU, where I planned to get a master's in Broadcast Journalism but never went because he asked me to marry him--Like you, I really regret that decision).

You have really done a TON of work on yourself--I seemed to remember that you had only recently joined, and was surprised at how much you've gotten done so I thought I was wrong--and I checked your "join date" and saw that indeed, your first post was only only a few months back!

Congratulations, and thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:16 AM
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Here's a HP moment... I have a great friend I went to grad school with who moved to Seattle 10+ yrs ago and we email occassionally but that's it. She knew nothing of what my life has become and we chat about surface stuff online a few times a year at most.

Yesterday she emails me and something about how she asked how things were made me think she sensed something was up. She saw photos on facebook from a family wedding and emailed me...

I wrote back and was honest and told her I'd seen a lawyer yesterday to file for divorce, that AH was an A and had been for years, that I'd subjected my kids to crap bc I was too scared to leave and too selfish to let go of the hopes I had of our life together... I asked her if she had asked how I was bc she noticed he wasn't in the photos and she replied and said yes. There's LOTS of people (my siblings SO's) who aren't in the photos so I have to feel like there's a reason she noticed this and reached out...

Anyway, I told her the truth and what my next steps were and she then shared with me something I never knew-- she grew up with an A mother and well, you can piece the rest together from there...

I was feeling VERY alone last night. Feeling like coming to this point of taking the step to file, paying a lawyer and being solid in my decision was really very sad. I haven't told my family that I am at this point bc frankly they are not at all supportive and so I was just "being" with my feelings.

Getting J's email was random, unexpected and wonderful. We made plans for her to come out to visit (she misses the east coast and hasn't been back here in over 10 yrs) next month and I feel like our re-connecting (when we were in school together we were very very good friends) came at just the right time.

Is it the rolling stones who say something about you can't always get what you want but you get what you need? What I want is the fairy tale I thought I'd have with AH. What I need are good, genuine, salt of the earth friends who I can be totally honest with. She's that.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:56 AM
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WTBH - great post. Obviously, you've been doing lots of good work on your recovery. It's great to read - and very helpful. I, too, realized that a lot of my relationship was alcohol based, as well. I wasn't even a social drinker and found myself drinking more and more - just to keep up. And when I stopped, well, we are all familiar with how that goes for most of us.

Again - it always does me so much good to read a post that exhibits such growth. Thank you.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the update. You've given me a lot of food for thought as well.

Keep up the good work.
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:28 PM
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Thank you for this post. The part I was really able to relate to was about making decisions on what you hoped would happen.

The day my exAH and I got engaged I said something to the effect of I would like to move back to the east coast (where I am from) at some point. He agreed that he thought that would work for him. We started our life together and as we made some big choices a long the way that would always be a discussion point that he would continue to agree with. As the drinking escalated though his feelings about moving would too (we moved to his home town). I struggled to see that with out me realizing it the rules had shifted. I struggled feeling like I had done something wrong or bad for having feelings that did not match with his, that I did not love where my life was at etc.

It was hard for me to realize how important I needed to be...not only in my relationship but to myself. I heard that coming through loud and clear on your post and I appreciate the reminder.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:16 AM
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Like I said, I really posted this for me initially and figured if it was helpful to others that was great too (since I get so much from others posts)...

But these responses are just so helpful in ways I hadn't imagined-- I guess I hadn't realized until I read others sharing my experience/feelings/thinking process that I still kind of believed my experience wasn't something others would believe/relate to etc... I go to al anon and hear the same stories and talk to my sponsor but there's still a part of me that feels alone/unique and embarrassed to talk about the way I've thought, the poor choices I've made etc...

It's really helpful to be able to talk here and not feel the fear I sometimes do in face to face meetings of being judged... Clearly this is an issue I need to deal with-- but there's a comfort in being able to share things I am not proud of and realize that others have been there too and I find that here more than anywhere else...

To all who replied- I got a lot from each of your posts and thank you...
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post

I've realized that alcohol was pretty much the basis of my relationship with AH from the start... When we were dating, whenever we got together alcohol was involved in some way-- go for a hike... get drinks afterward (always his idea!), go to the ocean... get drinks with lunch... I didn't think this was abnormal either. I remember my sister once saying something to me like "it's nice to hear that you did something with him that didn't have to involve him drinking" when I told her about some outing we'd had and I recall being angry that she was so judgemental. Never once occurred to me that I should be concerned about his drinking. I saw his dad (an alcoholic) as a man with drinking problems-- not AH (ABF at the time). His dad drank in isolation, was outwardly angry and snapped at everyone all the time. He drank vodka from the bottle and hid out in his room all day. AH at the time was a fun drinker-- expressed emotions when drinking (something he didn't do when he was sober). He charmed everyone, he was good looking, adventurous, athletic, a rule breaker and the overall effect had me enamored. His dad was the image of a man with a drinking problem and at that time I didn't see that AH had a thing in common with him. I just figured that he liked to drink and so what if it seemed he drank a lot-- he could handle it.

I found myself, a 1-2 glass of wine occassionally drinker, drinking more and more to have something in common with him. Drinking shots on a worknight and being flattered that AH wanted to spend time with me at a bar... Sick.

When I grew up and outgrew that lifestyle (after we'd been together a year he went to grad school and I moved to another state and we had a long distance r/s for 2 yrs and my lifestyle changed pretty much as soon as I moved) and he didn't I started realizing that the only positive times we had together required one of us or both of us to be drinking. If he was drinking and I wasn't, things could still be pleasant, if we both were drinking he was nicer to me than ever... It was like I joined a special club or something... But more and more we had less and less in common. ...
I've been reading a number of the relationship posts and I can relate to your statement completely. I'm sorry that you went thru this but I'm thankful that you were willing to share so I can understand what life would be like if I married my AGF.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:26 PM
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WTBH, the wisdom of your post, the insight into yourself, and how you got where you are is brilliant. I seem to read a lot of wisdom on F & F. Your story is so much like mine, and you articulated it very well. All of our stories are often so familiar. It occurs to me from time to time that men and women are often similarly different. Not always, but often... the A's are men who start out fun, smart, and great to be with, and turn out very different. The women often start out just wanting to have fun and fall in love with someone like that, and wind up being wounded and wise.

Anyway... Great post... helpful to many, I'm sure.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:40 PM
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Thank you for your wonderful post. It got me thinking to back when we were dating years ago. Just after we got together he left a well-paying very secure union job to work with a bar band that paid so little it cost us for him to work with them. (Um, red flag?)

I had a secure job, and savings, and I supported his dream while he worked and travelled with the band; he was away about half the time.

I was concerned with his work situation contributing to him becoming a drinker, when in actually he probably sought out a situation that enabled him. I use to warn: "be careful, have a coke or water every second round".

Soon, when I would arrive at the bar he would ignore me, and after the set and he would go sit with other people even though he knew I was there. He would say that "this is my business, I have to connect with the people that come out to see us, so they keep coming out and we keep getting hired". It took me forever to figure out that he was doing this so coming to the bar would not be fun for me and I would quit coming out. Pressure off, he could drink unobserved. It worked!

He was the bar guy and I was the responsible one, supporting us, looking after home and kids. Primed for my role of being a full-fledged codie controlling the house and kids etc. while he reluctantly played grown up while looking for the next party.

Years later, at a soccer tournament, at the hotel in the evening, sharing drinks with the other soccer parents, he is more than half-lit and says: "let's go out and do something really FXXXing stupid". It happened in slow motion for me. The clarity of the realization of where he was, a 30-something soccer coach trapped in a party-hearty teenage mindset, smacked me on the forehead, while the other parents looked on aghast. I felt so very, very alone at that moment and for a long time afterwards. I was so out-of-tune of what I thought our marriage was and where he was. Not long after this he managed to make the soccer tournaments so uncomfortable for me with being so rude and neglectful that I stopped going to these as well.

I don't know that I actually changed, I never was the party girl, always the designated driver, always the responsible one. But my expectation was for him to grow up and that was the mistake. He never said he wanted to change, or mature, or anything like that. Although being a good dad was important to him, and he was. For years and years, the drinking took place after the kids were in bed.

Not sure where I am going with this, but your post resonated with me and I'm looking back on these things that I haven't thought about for years. Thank you.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:25 PM
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Wellnowwhat- My AH has done most of his drinking at night when the kids are in bed too and although it then leads to day drinking at times (more often surely than I ever knew), I had a hard time believing/accepting that there was a problem for a long long time bc he wasn't fitting the mold of the typical alcoholic... He'd point this out to me too and so I "normalized" what was farrrrr from normal for a long time.... Your post resonated with me on many levels-- thanks...
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:56 PM
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Wow... opened my eyes

I am currently an active (idk what to call it)alcoholic/addict. I've been living with my BF for 8 months. He is further along in his addiction than I. he's been using for 23 years, was only sober for 3 months of that time. I started using 24 years ago and have been "sober" about 5 years of those 24.

We do NOTHING without alcohol. When we go to the store, he has to grab at least 3 beers. He can't go in the store with out smoking pot. I don't use while driving, so I don't start up till we get home. But no matter what we do there is always alcohol involved, not after but during. Half the time we don't remember what happened the night before. If he remembers I dont and visa versa....... I'm starting to think this may not be a good thing for either of us....
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:08 PM
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Well, zonker,

You may well be right, but the only one whose drinking/using you can do something about is your own. You might want to check out an AA meeting. I'm in AA (sober 3 years) and it's the best thing I ever did for myself.

Who knows, maybe you will be an inspiration to your b/f. Might be tough, though, to get sober as long as you're living with someone else who's drinking/drugging. In that case, I think I'd do what I needed to do to get sober.

But that's me. Do you want the rest of your life to look like it's looking right now?
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:25 PM
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"Wellnowwhat- My AH has done most of his drinking at night when the kids are in bed too and although it then leads to day drinking at times (more often surely than I ever knew), I had a hard time believing/accepting that there was a problem for a long long time bc he wasn't fitting the mold of the typical alcoholic... He'd point this out to me too and so I "normalized" what was farrrrr from normal for a long time.... Your post resonated with me on many levels-- thanks.."

Oh boy do I know this! As the kids grew and were out more, the drinking picked up. At this point I had raised issues with it, while he sat mute, and for years I never saw him drink, only the effects, it was all done on the sly. But I did see the drain on our chequing account. When the kids started to leave for college, it picked up dramatically, and so did the shaking hands.

When I came down one morning and saw him pouring vodka in his coffee cup at 8 a.m., I could no longer wonder if it was a BIG problem. I now knew. But......my warped thinking kicked in and I began to think it may not be a bad thing. I talked myself into believing it was just a single shot, hair of the dog type thing, to settle his shaking hands so he wouldn't get fired. Didn't even consider that he could be pulled over with a DUI on the way to work in the morning!

And, because it was all done on the sly, NEVER, EVER seeing him publicly take a drink, I could stick my head back in the sand until the next issue.

I do have to give him a little credit here. His efforts to keep it a secret enable our kids to grow up not as ACOA. One started to have an inkling of his problem, but the others had no clue. I knew he was now driving drunk in the evenings if for some reason I was not available to drive. I wanted to make sure the kids wouldn't get into the car with him so when they came home from college, I told them the situation. They had no clue. And for that I am grateful. He's a good man, a good father, but under the grip of an awful disease.

Again, thanks for your sharing. I sometimes feel a little awkward sharing about my situation because there was no violence, no DUIs, no job loss, none of the usual awful stories you see here. So I would wonder, am I being dramatic, is this an issue? Haha, the "things a normie wouldn't know" list solved that!
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:50 PM
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WTBH...
Thanks for your post. I see myself in so much of it...especially the part where you said...

I've made decisions for years based on what I hoped would happen, what I wished for, what I was willing to do to make happen and all that led to was hurt, resentment, anger... All my own doing.
Yes...I did all of this too. For years. And its a bitter pill to swallow when you realize you truly have no one but yourself to blame for the mistakes you've made...all those poor decisions.

My exah used to tell me in the most sincere fashion that he WAS GOING TO QUIT DRINKING. At first, I believed his promises. But after I while I stopped. And yet I kept making decision about my life and my future based on his empty promises. How can he be blamed? He can't. My choices. My life. My responsibility.

I think that's a big hurdle in recovery...taking responsiblity for YOUR part in the dance.

What a great life lesson...really...even if it does sting at first.

Keep going. Keep moving forward!!

Hugs
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:35 PM
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Again: Wantingtobehealthy--- we sound so similar with our marriages...im going through the exact things, the good looking husband who everyone just loves, no probs with law, good job, basically a good father who drinks once kids are in bed or atleast controls it around them, the big 'social" drinker because of work and wanting to have fun with everyone surrounding him.
I dated my husband at 16, and sad to say, we sort of began our relationship based on alcohol too-- young, drinking on weekends, he had a fake ID and would buy liquor, we'd go to parties, out for expensive dinners downtown chicago and drink on the way downtown, swept me off my feet with all the fun we'd have...we got older and went to college and still partied together, meanwhile being responsible enough when needed anyway to graduate college and then later marry. We drank together and it was "NORMAL" to hang w friends in our 20s and do those things, but once we married and I got pregnant, he lost his drinking buddy and I changed. I realized I needed to be more stable and responsible and I tamed down. He remained unpredictable and impulsive, spending money unwisely as well as cheating on me. All the while I forgave him over and over. It has gotten to the point where I feel like i dont want my girls (like you as well) to have to ask questions or witness it any longer. Im tired of excuses, lies, hiding it, being blamed and all the empty promises. How can I be in a marriage with NO trust?
Believe me, I know what this is like and I wake up every day thinking "What will today bring me?" I have stomach aches and have lost weight because I have lost my appetite to even eat at times. I remain a strong person for my children but at times, I just want to crawl under the covers and cry but I have to be there for my girls. I'm hearing it all, lady...hang in there.
I sent you a private message...
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:56 AM
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WTBH: I sent you a PM. Your inbox is full.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by KeepinOnDaily View Post
Again: Wantingtobehealthy--- we sound so similar with our marriages...im going through the exact things, the good looking husband who everyone just loves, no probs with law, good job, basically a good father who drinks once kids are in bed or atleast controls it around them, the big 'social" drinker because of work and wanting to have fun with everyone surrounding him.
I dated my husband at 16, and sad to say, we sort of began our relationship based on alcohol too-- young, drinking on weekends, he had a fake ID and would buy liquor, we'd go to parties, out for expensive dinners downtown chicago and drink on the way downtown, swept me off my feet with all the fun we'd have...we got older and went to college and still partied together, meanwhile being responsible enough when needed anyway to graduate college and then later marry. We drank together and it was "NORMAL" to hang w friends in our 20s and do those things, but once we married and I got pregnant, he lost his drinking buddy and I changed. I realized I needed to be more stable and responsible and I tamed down. He remained unpredictable and impulsive, spending money unwisely as well as cheating on me. All the while I forgave him over and over. It has gotten to the point where I feel like i dont want my girls (like you as well) to have to ask questions or witness it any longer. Im tired of excuses, lies, hiding it, being blamed and all the empty promises. How can I be in a marriage with NO trust?
Believe me, I know what this is like and I wake up every day thinking "What will today bring me?" I have stomach aches and have lost weight because I have lost my appetite to even eat at times. I remain a strong person for my children but at times, I just want to crawl under the covers and cry but I have to be there for my girls. I'm hearing it all, lady...hang in there.
I sent you a private message...

I sent you a pm back but saw this after the fact... A marriage with no trust- yup, that sums mine up to a T. I told AH fairly recently that he did not have to see things eye to eye with me or vice versa but I let him know what my non negotioables were (and wasn't asking him to change- was simply letting him know to expect that I wouldn't be changing on these issues anymore).

#1. Lying is not relative and is not negotiable.
#2. Honesty isn't circumstantial and relative and is not negotiable

Sad as it is to say, I got sucked in for years just like him (or with him rather) and made excuses, rationalized and qualified why he lied just that once or who else was to blame that made him lie or break a promise.

Crazy.

Now it's clear.

Call me a black and white thinker, call me high maintanance, call me unbending etc... (which he has and will). I am okay with it now. Lying and honesty aren't negotiable and if that makes me all the things he says I am bc those are my standards, then it really ought not be so hard for him to walk away.

I'm not apologizing to him or anyone else for that matter ever again for my values. No one else has to like them. I do and they have made me a person with integrity and a person I am proud to be and that's what matters.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:59 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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WTBH I have seen many examples lately about how someone starts behaving differently because he or she is with someone else.

But in the end, some of us go back to our true selves, can no longer betray who we are.


I identify with you because I have integrity. XABF did not have it. It is who he is. Can't change that.


#1. Lying is not relative and is not negotiable.
#2. Honesty isn't circumstantial and relative and is not negotiable





Yes, dealing with someone without integrity is walking on quicksand.
I can't relax.
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