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Am I Doing The Right Thing?

Old 08-29-2011, 09:15 PM
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Am I Doing The Right Thing?

My AH was an inpatient in the psych ward of the hospital last Christmas for severe depression and alcohol use. He then got a DUI (BAC .22) and nearly totaled our vehicle this past January of 2011. Since then, he has been living at his brother's house. We have been in MC, but he is in DENIAL about his drinking and has gone to a few AA meetings. Over the past 7 months he has what he calls "freak outs" where he actually seems drunk (slurred speech, can't seem to follow a conversation, can't walk straight) which he attributes to the Paxil (antidepressant) he takes for his depression. He says he's seen his Psychiatrist to get his medication adjusted. When asked, he would say of course he was NOT drinking, and I believed him. However, I have come to learn recently from friends that he drinks openly in front of them, and that he has been lying to me about the fact that he quit drinking...he just doesn't drink in front of me. For the past year I have also been going to weekly individual therapy and my therapist told me she doesn't believe in separation because it doesn't help couples address their issues. So, 2 weeks ago I allowed my AH to come back home. (Previously he'd been back for a night visit here and there which sometimes went OK, sometimes not). He'd been home TWO DAYS and it was the SAME OLD, SAME OLD! When I came home from work he was obviously drunk (slurred speech, could hardly walk, extremely confrontational with me). Then he became violent with me. In the end, I somehow locked him out of the house. He passed out on our lawn and a neighbor called the police. The next day I filed a TRO (temporary restraining order). Things had escalated more than they ever had before and he crossed the line. He tried to call me the next day, texted me, but never once said he was sorry for what he'd done and asked me what "MY deal was". I am not even sure he knows what he did! I also had previously seen a lawyer in February about options (Legal Separation or Divorce) because we have been having problems since prior to a horrible incident due to his drinking in July 2010, after which all he did was promise me I was the most important thing to him and he would change. Last week I filed for Legal Separation as well. I believe another car accident he had in June was due to drinking, (I cannot confirm this as I have not been able to obtain a police report -- he said he hit a person, then changed his story and said he hit a light pole) and I have been advised that legally, I can be held responsible as his spouse, should he end up killing someone. I accidentally found his hiding spot for what appears to be his beverage of choice --- vodka (found empties as well as a half full bottle). He is in his mid thirties and already has severe memory loss as well as tremors. It makes me very, very sad. Partly because I really, truly do love him. But I know I have to love myself first. And it appears he loves alcohol more than he loves me.

I'm still seeing my therapist and I'm now going to Al-Anon again (I previously had to give it up, as Individual therapy and MC took priority), and am beginning to see "the light", but I am feeling SO VERY BAD. I have only been married about 4 years (NC) and this really has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. My AH is like two different people, and this really isn't the man I married, which makes it that much more difficult, which is why I guess I am doubting my decisions. My lawyer is suggesting that we ask the judge that the restraining order be enacted for at least a year. She says we can always have it reversed if he decides to get his alcoholism under control and we see sustained change. I feel that he is just going to say "I'm done", blame me, and counter file for divorce, when that is NOT what I want at this point. I am saying we need to separate legally, as a necessity because of the consequences of his behavior, but I am thinking he will not understand that. I guess I just needed to tell my story and to have at least one person say something supportive. Thanks for listening.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:23 PM
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Yellowbird, I am sorry for what you have gone through. Thank you for posting your story, I heard my story in there as wel as well since I have had a similar journey.

Please be kind to yourself and true to your heart. If you do what is right for you then it is the best thing you can do. Keep reading here and keep posting and know there are others in the same boat. Peace -
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:42 AM
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Yellowbirdy,

Sorry to hear what you have been living. There comes a point when we cannot endure anymore of the actions and consequences of the active alcoholic we are living with. We all have a breaking point, and it sounds like you have reached yours.

I too, felt like the second fiddle. Alcohol controlled our daily life, as it was his first priority. His commitment to the bottle could not be altered. I was competing with the booze, and I was loosing.

Loving a memory is not enough. The disease was absorbing him, mind, body, and soul. He became a stranger, and I did not like the selfish, lying, manipulative man.

No one should have to live in fear. His actions of abuse towards you are escalating. Violence is a deal breaker. He is a grown man and it's time he accepts responsibity for his actions.

It really is ok to say " I will not live like this for one more day." Give yourself permission to move forward and not look back. Choose to live a life free from this horrible disease.

May you find peace........ All my best to you.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by marie1960 View Post
It really is ok to say " I will not live like this for one more day." Give yourself permission to move forward and not look back. Choose to live a life free from this horrible disease.
This is beautiful. I will never forget the day I booted AD to the curb after coming home to find my stereo up full blast, the house reeking of pot, and some man I had never met in my house in her bed.

The realization that I will never have to deal with that again because of the choices I have made is wonderful. It has brought me much peace of mind.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by marie1960 View Post
It really is ok to say " I will not live like this for one more day." Give yourself permission to move forward and not look back. Choose to live a life free from this horrible disease.
This needs to be quoted twice. So important!

There are two other things I'd like to express.

People change. We choose how we live our life daily. Who is the man today? That is the man you are married to. Make decisions for yourself based on who he is right now, not on what was true about him in the past, or what the future might hold, or who he could be.

i was stuck because I wanted to plan so far out. I wanted to know what he was going to do and I wanted a crystal ball to predict the consequences of all my actions for the next 3 years - or more! I was repeatedly told to just do the next right thing and let go of my need to predict my future (and his). That was hard to do. I was used to planning every decision I made in an effort to manipulate and predict outcomes several steps down the line. I did that in an effort to feel safe but it wasn't working. I was stuck. Once I made that mental switch and just started doing the next right thing I was able to start putting one foot in front of the other and move forward. Tomorrow I could do the next right thing based on what I knew then, etc. etc. I could even make mistakes and change my mind because I was moving forward and making decisions that were best for today one step at a time....not trying to manipulate and make decisions based on some far away outcome and a bunch of what ifs. Did that make sense?
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:12 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Pull out your keyboard and make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed.

I divorced my AH (alcoholic husband) with out an extended legal seperation to protect myself and children from the consequences of his active drinking (and driving). The laws vary by state, so I suggest you check with your lawyer and be sure you are protected with a legal seperation from the consequences of his behavior.

You asked if you are doing the right thing?

You are taking steps to protect yourself from violence and a progressive disease. Alcoholism is progressive and it does get worse.

Unfortunately, your AH is taking meds that do not mix with alcohol. He behavior may be unpredictable. I applaud you for getting a restraining order.

Alcohol is a depressant, therefore, as long as your AH is mixing alcohol with his meds; he will not be relieving his symptoms of depression. Alcohol and anti-depressants do not mix.

Please continue to take care of yourself
You are important, and your life matters!

We are here to support you.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:39 AM
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I'm so sorry you're going through this. You're doing just the right thing.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:39 PM
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Unhappy Many thanks for the messages

All your replies mean a lot at this very difficult time. As Thumper says "Who is the man today? That is the man you are married to. Make decisions for yourself based on who he is right now, not on what was true about him in the past, or what the future might hold, or who he could be." Right now I am struggling with what was and what could have been and also feelings of guilt for having filed a RO and for Legal Separation in the first place. I have confirmed that a Legal Separation in the state I live in provides me legal protection from the consequences of his behavior, and that is why I decided to go this route first, hoping it might be a wake up call to him.

I know he is sick with this disease of alcoholism, and has no more control than I do over my rheumatoid arthritis. But I take my medication so I can function and feel somewhat human. He, however, has made the choice to do nothing. I just am having difficulty with understanding how he can give up the life we had together so easily when we promised each other til death do us part. I think I am also in a state of shock currently because I haven't spoken with or seen him since the night he hurt me, and now he has signed an injunction that will prevent him from contacting me in any way for a year. Our court date was set for tomorrow to make my temporary Restraining Order against him permanent, but he contacted my lawyer today wanting a No Contact Agreement, I am not sure why. My lawyer did not agree to that. I will find out more details when I meet with her later this week, it is too difficult to talk openly when I am at work. However, I did learn that AH thought I was filing for DIVORCE. Funny, because the paperwork he was served very clearly states "annulment/legal separation" on it. Maybe alcoholism causes blindness? Note sarcasm. I am greatly saddened that he apparently just agreed so quickly to not speaking to me for an ENTIRE YEAR. I pray he sees this as a strong message I intended to send and gets help, but I know I cannot count on that and this brings me to tears. I think I am having extreme difficulty dealing with this because I have not had any closure. I did not know that would be the last time I would see him and it's like he died.

I had gotten in touch with his Psychiatrist (left a message re: AH's erratic behavior and symptoms described in my original post that he attributed to taking Paxil) and he called me back today and I learned some even more disturbing news. Seems AH was a "no show" for an appointment with a therapist the Psychiatrist had recommended and then did not make another appointment when he said he would. AH should have been in to see the Psychiatrist for a follow up appointment about a week and a half ago but never scheduled that. Apparently, AH's dose of Paxil was very low because he claimed it was making him too tired, and Psychiatrist said the drunken-type of side effects that AH claimed were caused by the Paxil were not possible. Psychiatrist said AH is likely out of the drug and not taking anymore because he would be out of refills at this point. AH lied to the Psychiatrist and also told him he had quit drinking, and never told him about his Dec. inpatient psychiatric hospital stay or his DUI in Jan. They did not have AH's phone number on file (??) so I provided it and Psychiatrist was going to call him to try to get him to come in. He though AH needed to be checked in as an inpatient at a treatment facility/psychiatric hospital immediately. I asked what more I could do and Psychiatrist answered "Say your prayers. You've done everything you can."
Denial, Blame, Lies, but yet AH would tell me he's done everything he could, tried so hard, blah blah blah. I am a bundle of emotions. My whole marriage was a lie.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:32 PM
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Your situation gave me chills. I see myself in your story. My AH suffered anxiety issues and also was lying to the doctors when asked if he was drinking or how much. He wasn't supposed to drink on his medication. The drunken man that came out was not the man I had married, but the sober man was everything that I had dreamed for.

You have done all that you can. He needs to make the change for himself. He is in the throe of his disease and is not doing these things in malice. His addictive voice is in the driver seat. Until he pushes that voice out of the seat he will be a hostage passenger in his own vehicle.

You are doing the right thing. You are protecting yourself from a dangerous and miserable situation. Keep working on you. You are taking great steps.

Keep posting here. We are here for you.

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Old 08-31-2011, 05:01 AM
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YellowBird, you took the first step - the hardest step- in meeting with an attorney and protecting yourself. Your story sounds alot like mine as well, with the lies about appointments ect. I can only tell you that after the first step, each step after that becomes easier and you will be more confident. So put one foot in front of the other, and step away from his craziness and towards peace for yourself. It is the only way to get through something like this.

Watch out for your AH to now change tactics and become Mr Nice Guy, he may promise you everything you ever wanted and dreamed for. I think you are doing great! Do something nice for yourself today and enjoy the quiet that is your home. Keep posting, keep stepping -
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by YellowBirdy View Post
I think I am having extreme difficulty dealing with this because I have not had any closure. I did not know that would be the last time I would see him and it's like he died.
It is a death, a death of hopes and dreams that I am sure you had for the marriage.

I sometimes wonder if there is even such a thing as closure. Pain is pain, and there is no getting around that.

I mourned for a long time after I left my violent and abusive EXAH.

Unfortunately I short-circuited the grief process and jumped into another dysfunctional relationship. I did that off and on for 11 years and when I finally hit a codependent bottom, the grief was still there and I walked through it finally.

Be gentle with yourself. Keep posting. We care!
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:01 PM
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Just feeling really bad right now, (to the point of almost having of what I think is an anxiety attack) and there are not any Al-Anon meetings in my area today so I thought I should post. I have the day off work because I had a court date but did not have to go -- an injunction was filed so we did not have to appear. AH has to avoid all contact with me for 1 year. Thing is, that this is killing me. Maybe I should not have filed a Restraining Order. I was hopeful that we could work on our marriage, although I do understand he needs to face his disease and work on himself first. I guess I am still in a little bit of denial too, but shouldn't I at least be taking comfort that I took steps toward recovery (individual counseling for over a year now, marriage counseling with AH, previously started and now going again to Al-Anon)? I thought I read somewhere that even if your ASpouse doesn't seek any help for themselves, by you taking the first steps toward recovery, they might take steps for theirs too. Of course, having no contact for a year, my AH will not have any clue about what I'm doing. I am a mess.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by YellowBirdy View Post
I thought I read somewhere that even if your ASpouse doesn't seek any help for themselves, by you taking the first steps toward recovery, they might take steps for theirs too. Of course, having no contact for a year, my AH will not have any clue about what I'm doing. I am a mess.
The first time I heard the opening message at Al-anon meetings...

The family situation is bound to improve as we apply the Al-Anon ideas.
I thought, "Great! I'll work this program and it will inspire him to get sober!" Ah, maybe... or maybe not. What I have come to learn is that when I work on ME, 50% of the marriage gets healthier.. and thus, the situation IS bound to improve. What I have also come to learn is that the outcome I want (AH getting sober) may not ever happen, but as long as I'm am focusing on ME - MY life will get better. And if/when the time comes to end the marriage completely, I will be healthy and strong enough to follow through.

My denial/disease kept/keeps me stuck pursuing a fantasy (AH is sober and we live together, happily ever after). When I live in reality, I take things as they are, just for today... accepting that I have no control over what tomorrow brings.

Thanks for letting me share,
Shannon
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:21 PM
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*hugs* to you Yellowbird. Time to take a few deep cleansing breaths and gently remind yourself that though you are uncomfortable/sad/confused/lots of other stuff, no one ever died from being uncomfortable.

You have taken that big first step. You recognized the need to protect yourself from someone who is clearly on the path to self-destruction. This is HUGE. Many people, myself included, take a long while before realizing that they can get off the rollercoaster. Heck, some people never get off at all...Time to hug yourself (or get a hug from a friend!) and congratulate yourself for that leap.

From reading your thread and subsequent posts, I would like to gently point out that you hoped filing for legal separation would nudge your AH into getting help. It would be useful to remind yourself that *nothing* you say (or don't say), *nothing* you do (or don't do) can change your AH. Only he can decide to seek recovery, and who knows what his bottom might be. In the meantime, try to focus on yourself. Do things for yourself.

He is a grown man, and if he truly wants help, he will find it. The resources are out there and many of them are free. As for talking to his psychiatrist,...I would step away from that. It only keeps you entangled in the mess that HE created.

Trust your instinct. Your partner became VIOLENT with you. You did the right thing in getting a restraining order. In my books, violence is a relationship deal-breaker. I was married to an abusive man, and I have come to believe that it is more difficult to change abusive habits than to recover from addiction.

From where I sit, you've been given a gift from HP: the fact that your AH agreed to a one year no-contact order. I know it doesn't look or feel like a gift, perhaps because you are so used to his presence in your life, whether it's toxic or not...I would have given so much for my XAH to disappear willingly from my life in the year following our separation; that's when he got really nasty, and I could definitely have used the backing of a legally binding protective order.

Give yourself some time and start thinking about YOU instead of him. You can do this. Take it one day, or one hour, or heck one minute at a time. Post on SR a billion times if you need...that's what we're here for
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for checking in with the family!
We care about you, and we understand.

I had some of the same feelings you are experiencing. The no contact and finality of the situation caused anxiety. I needed help and a social worker friend helped me out a bit.

I also found help from Melody Beatties book Codependent No More. I had already read it several times, but went back to it for the chapter on grieving. You see, I was grieving the loss of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been, and the end of a dream.

Gentle hugs to you as you work your way through this.

Please continue to post and express yourself. What you are feeling are normal healthy responses to a major life change.

(((hugs)))
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:49 PM
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Yellowbirdy,
I know this is a stressful time for you, but please slow down, take a few breaths, and just try and breathe...............

Please, let's put your safety and well being first. Do not second guess this situation. Your husband is violent and out of control. This is about his unacceptable actions. Clearly, you did not do anything to cause this. Let him own his actions.

Embrace this court order, it truly is your chance to regain control of your life. Sending you a hug)))) We are here for you. Keep posting........
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:01 PM
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Hang in there YellowBird, you are not alone. Keep going to Al Anon, keep posting here.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:33 AM
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Thanks everyone for your messages. It's been a help, but it's still a big struggle...which is to be expected I guess.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:40 AM
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I cannot say how you did or did not contribute to issues in your marriage but I can say that most people do not immediately turn to the bottle when they are dealing with stress. You did not make him drink. He drank because that is what he does.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:45 AM
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I know logically I did NOT cause my husband's alcoholism, but I do believe I must have driven him to drink
Nope. Simple as that. You can't control his drinking and you can't control his not drinking and you can't control him. He will do what he chooses to do. You can't make him choose to drink.

All you can control are how YOU choose to react to what life is handing you at this moment. That's it. In the whole wide universe the only thing you can control is how you choose to react and your attitudes.

Sounds scary but actually it's pretty freeing. Once you give up the illusion of control you can now put down all that irresponsibility that you chose to assume because it really isn't yours. You aren't responsible for anything anyone anywhere chooses to do.

Please consider going to some Al-Anon meetings. They can help you deal with issues like this.

Codependents Anonymous Step 1:
We admitted we were powerless over others - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Al-Anon and AA Step 1:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

It's not your fault.

Your friend,
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