Do I Need To Have My Head Examined?

Old 09-01-2011, 11:01 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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Do I Need To Have My Head Examined?

I know logically I did NOT cause my husband's alcoholism, but I do believe in some way I AM responsible and I MUST HAVE driven him to drink -- I caused him to be in emotional pain in our marriage and he used alcohol to escape that pain. I take responsibility for some parts of our relationship that were not healthy. I was raised in a family where communication was lacking in that my mom let her anger control her and there was a lot of verbal abuse. AH grew up in a family where feelings were typically suppressed and no one talked about them. I think our families were extreme opposites. I do not know if anyone in his family lineage was an alcoholic.

AH's drinking began way before I was even with him -- I knew him while he was in his relationship prior to ours and remember hearing stories about how drunk he'd get. His drinking continued on while we were dating but after nearly breaking up at one point, he said he'd curb it, and he did for a while). I feel so guilty though because of the onset of an illness almost immediately following our marriage, I became one unhappy person and admit I was not myself and prone to taking it out on him with my anger. Not all of the time, but a large part of the time. He also told me on more than one occasion "I destroyed him" because we went for quite long stretches of time without being intimate and prior to marriage/illness, everything was fantastic in this area. But I did not feel well (and I know my illness was a lot for him to handle) and I was not attracted to the ugly part of him that drank, so I was rarely "in the mood." Looking back, I totally regret it now. But I did realize I needed help with my own issues (I'd gone to counseling to deal with issues with my mother previously, but believe they resurfaced during this time as a defense mechanism about AH's alcoholism). I didn't like who I'd become, and that is when I sought out individual counseling and began going religiously. Every week, for over a year now. I also fought for our marriage, found us a good maritial counselor who we both liked, to which AH agreed to going to every week. But AH also stood me up for several sessions, possibly due to drunkenness. During this period of time, I believe he did "quit" drinking for a short while, but he always went back. Intimacy issues prevailed during this time because my trust issues with him deepened, (and we actually never got back on track in this area for the duration of our marriage, and again I feel guilty about this because I feel it is largely my fault. If I hadn't become ill...) but we were working toward regaining trust with the goal of re-developing an intimate relationship through counseling. However, AH never really put into practice what we learned there. AH always denied any drinking to both myself and the counselor. When I called last week to cancel our appointment due to having a restraining order, counselor said he demands sobriety and he will be available to us if we ever want to come back and if AH can do so under that condition.

Why am I posting all of this, you are asking yourself? Because I am a terrible mess. I was asked by a well-meaning relative just today why I didn't file for divorce, why I am filing just for a legal separation from AH. And how will I feel when in 4 months I see him with a girlfriend. (You can read more at my other posting about how I decided to separate from him.) I lost it...I cannot imagine him with someone else, it breaks my heart! The answer is because I still have a tiny amount of hope...that he will get help. That we can each address our individual issues. That we can be the couple I know we were meant to be. I know our relationship sounds horrible, but it was GOOD at one time. I know I am a fool. But I really, truly can hardly stand to deal with this pain. I have lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks and am hardly sleeping. And I thought I was strong. He had a DUI at the beginning of this year and another accident in June, (not sure if it was alcohol related) and I know logically that I would likely feel worse if he drives drunk and injures/kills someone and then I am homeless and bankrupt because our house was taken from us as was all our savings for restitution to the injured/dead individual's family.

He has 120 days (now less) to utilize really good insurance to get help and start recovering. (He is on my insurance plan and is currently jobless.) I am continuing therapy and going to Al-Anon. I know it won't make a bit of difference to him and as much as I want it to, nothing will change until he wants it to, and he will just continue to blame me for everything. That's what makes it so hard...because I AM partly to blame, in this. I was one half of a marriage that had serious problems. But I thought we were doing all the right things to get help. He was the one I wanted to grow old with and I am having a hard time letting that go.

Thanks for "listening". I am one hot mess right now.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:19 AM
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Please know this is said with love, healthy compassion and experience from what I have learned. . .

"If you are so powerful, as so to control over him, so much to him that YOU CAUSED him to drink and be an alcoholic - then why don't you just STOP HIM from drinking?"

Now, doesn't that sound a little off basis?

That's what a sponsor told me - I truly mean it just to help you see - we are NOT that powerful -
an alcoholic will drink no matter what -

if you can search for it - find the thread about "excuses alcoholics used to drink" it was very eye opening for me -

There is nothing wrong with holding on to your hope that he will start a program of recovery and things will get better for your relationship - for me, I just wouldn't want to put my life on hold any longer - I want to live today and embrace all that is before me.

YOU get to decide what you want to do. . .

Therapy, Alanon, posting here & your relationship with your HP should give you the guidance as to what is healthiest for you!

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Old 09-01-2011, 11:31 AM
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Thank you for posting all that!!!

You are not crazy, or unique Yellowbirdy.

The story you just told... is exactly my life. You can go through my posts (which start in 2006 right after we got married!!). I had a chance to get away from the alcoholism back in 2006... instead, I slipped back into my denial - choosing to believe my fairytale fantasy over the reality. There were so many glaring red flags... yet I chose to stay with my AH.

I too have poured my heart and soul into saving my marriage because that's what I wanted... but it hasn't saved us or given me the marriage I want. What I've come to learn is that it is pointless to have a relationship with an active addict. They can't keep the promises they make - because their first need will ALWAYS be the drug of choice.

You are not crazy. You can't fix him - but you can fix/save yourself!

Post away because we are here to listen and we UNDERSTAND!!!
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:56 AM
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YellowBirdy, I am sorry you are going through this and feeling this way. You are NOT to blame despite what you are feeling. You stated in your post that he drank problematic during a previous relationship and at the beginning of yours, but then slowed down after you threatened a break-up. It seems to me that he did not truly identify his alcoholic triggers, or was acting as dry drunk. When times got tough, he still ran to his crutch, his love, the bottle. You did not drive him in that direction he would have gone regardless. He made the choice. His addictive voice was screaming at him during his dry spell and then he gave in.

Him telling you that you were the reason is his manipulation. My AH blamed me all the time. He would even pour me a shot to drink with him. If I didn’t he would get angry. He was just looking for a way to justify his drinking in his mind. That is what your AH was doing as well. There is no truth behind it.

Now instead of looking at the past, focus on the present. Whatever mistakes that you feel that you have made leave them in the past. What will make you crazy is dwelling on “what if I had done this”, or “what if I hadn’t done that.” Shakes those thoughts off and focus on today.

He can only be the one to pull himself out of the sink hole, and if you don’t take care of yourself you will sink further in the quick sand too. Keep fighting for your way out.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:12 PM
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Just a little background. I moved out after almost 36 years of marriage. She was an active alcoholic the last 15 years of that. I stuck out 15 years because I thought I could fix her, it was my fault, I didn't give her enough support, love conqouers all, you name it. Finally I hit bottom and moved out.

I started working my own recovery and I am in a much better place. It's not all sunshine and puppies but it is way better than were I was before. I actually like myself, enjoy life and am happy most of the time.

This is what I posted in your other thread and really applies here. What I am writing about here is from experience.

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 responsibility 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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Old 09-01-2011, 12:43 PM
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Here's the classic reading sticky you really should read:

Excuses Alcoholics Make

When I first read it, I uttered "Oh my god! That is almost EXACTLY what my exah would say! So he ISN'T unique and special!!".

Yellowbird, can I please ask you to give yourself a giant break? I do agree with you that it takes two to tango and that you need to work on recovery as much as he does, however beating yourself up for not boinking him enough when he was diving head first into a bottle is...futile. I personally cannot be intimate with someone I do not respect or trust...well, I *forced* myself to be intimate with my exah when he was blotto but it those were sad and painful experiences. What's more, you are NOT to blame for his drinking. There may have been a lot of emotional difficulty in your marriage, but you NEVER once held a gun to his head and forced him to chug, right? He CHOSE to deal with his stress by drinking. That is not, nor will it ever be, your fault. You may have the habit of accepting that blame because he spent so long repeating to you that you "destroyed him" (insert excessive drama here), but when it comes right down to him, every single gulp he took was a choice he made. Now he gets to deal with the consequences of his many poor choices.

Similarly, you have choices: you can choose to put away that big ol' "Ms. Bad Guy" sign and start taking care of you...if you don't do it, who will?

Time to take care of the basics:
H = hungry...please eat, even in small amounts. You need some fuel.
A = angry...this is where Al-Anon, friends, family and SR come in.
L = lonely...again with Al-Anon, friends, family and SR
T = tired...if you can't sleep, then try to rest.

Keep posting! SR is always open.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:10 PM
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Yellowbirdy, you did not cause his drinking. That is his choice alone. As someone else said, if you were that powerful you could also make him stop. You are powerless over anyone but yourself!

Now you have to focus on Yellowbirdy. You are in crisis. You are deep in grief and guilt and longing. Your dreams about the future all gone. It all feels so unjust. This is a very dark time. I have been going through the exact same thing over the past four months. I'm on the same weight loss program, too. The days can be very hard, almost like I can't breathe.

I am really trying to focus on me. What is best for ME. Me. It's very hard to do after years of being conditioned to be selfless wife and supermom and the who does it all. I lost sight of myself a long time ago and allowed myself to become enmeshed in a toxic situation, to grow and bend and mutate around my husband and his addiction. It takes time to dig out. Slowly I am seeing glimpses of hope. Moments where I feel OK. It is hard work.

Looking at your own role is important, but first you must shore yourself up so that you can do this in a constructive way. Right now your perceptions are warped. You are bargaining. Alcoholics really bend reality and make us question ourselves, our sanity, judgment, etc. I think before you can take an honest look at what you brought to the marriage, you have to get the perspective that only comes with time, counseling, Al-Anon, support of friends, family, etc.

I send you big hugs Yellowbirdy. You are not alone in your grief.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:50 PM
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Recovering alcoholic here. I can't add much to what has already been said here, but welcome.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:19 PM
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it is not your fault
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:36 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
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Yellow Birdy,
You don't need to have your head examined and you aren't crazy. You've been living with an alcoholic and what is it that the big book says? Something about how living with alcoholism is too much for most of us? I didn't realize how alcoholism was impacting me for a long time. I thought that my desperation, my clinging to hope, my trying to figure out how to fix things when any logical person could see there wasn't anything to fix, my blaming myself, my anxiety etc... was all normal and part of working on a marriage.

I really, really understand what you wrote about hope-- having that tiny glimmer still-- boy do I get that. And I'm not saying you shouldn't have it... Just try not to let it direct what you do. Someone (maybe folks here too) often tells me that hope is as futile as worry. Both keep us stuck, immobile, afraid to do things differently, don't allow us to move fwd and find what else might be out there. I used to think having hope was a great thing and I suppose someday I might think so again (in a healthier way) but I can now see that my years of clinging to "hope" really just amounted to denial, excusing behavior, wishing for a miracle etc...

Your post sounds much like those written by me and I can truly empathize with all that you wrote.

I'm sorry you're hurting so much and please know that there are so many of us who can relate so so well. As much as I am ready to be done with my AH and as peaceful as it is to not have him around, I know damn well that when the day comes I hear 'round the rumor mill that he is dating I'll probably go into a tailspin... and knowing that tells me that I do still have that same glimmer of hope you describe. I just need to keep myself in check and say that it's okay to have that hope but it doesn't have to control whether I go fwd or not...

Sending warm thoughts your way....
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:18 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
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I think I made a really horrible mistake last night. I'd confided in friends (a married couple) who have been a support for me since I filed for my RO against my AH, and then the legal separation. They really believed in their hearts that I should reach out to AH's best friend, in an effort to let SOMEONE know how bad off my AH is. I talked to my therapist about it. She thought it wasn't a good idea, it's not my story to tell, it's AH's. And guess, what? I DID IT ANYWAY!

I didn't do it to redeem myself or to trash him. I had his best interest in mind, and ultimately felt that SOMEONE else should be aware...what if AH dies because of alcohol poisoning? What if his health is already compromised? Isn't this my codependency showing? I know better, because NO ONE CAN FIX THIS BUT HIM! The alcohol has become so important to his brain, he can't tell right from wrong anymore, and he has chosen ALCOHOL EVEN OVER OUR MARRIAGE.

The phone conversation was 4HOURS LONG! I am an idiot, I should have ended it. I exposed basically EVERYTHING. BF did not know of AH's inpatient stay for depression/alcohol, that he was on an antidepressant but quit, about his DUI, or my OWN HEALTH ISSUES, the sordid details of what occurs when AH is drunk, but I told him ALL OF IT. Although BF has "some extended family that are Alcoholics, I'm coming to believe one must actually live with an A to fully comprehend the craziness, the devastation, the Lifetime-TV Made For Women moments!

BF was shocked. He kept asking me if dates of AH's worst drunken incidences in our home correlated with anything particular at that time. What does that matter? Is AH going to go through life and not have anything upset him? It could have been something at work, something that happened during the day, maybe he perceived something I said the wrong way. AH copes with anything difficult or unpleasant or at this point--daily life--BY OPENING A BOTTLE OF VODKA AND POURING IT DOWN HIS OWN THROAT.

And what did BF say at the end? He thought that it was good that the separation was in place, because the relationship between AH and I is "stressful". And that I should be thinking "let's work on me" now and AH should be doing the same. (Really??) Although he told me otherwise, I had the profound sense that he felt AH's issues all started happening AFTER WE GOT MARRIED so I MUST BE TO BLAME.

I feel raw, and exposed and didn't sleep at all last night. BF was going to consult with his wife, talk to a group of close, trustworthy friends (he didn't want to get into specific details) because there have been concerns about AH apparently, people noticing "things" for a while. I reiterated that that's all well and good, but I tried everything I could, and until AH wants to change, it won't happen. What's bad is that AH will be irate and feel betrayed that I shared our secrets -- he may not be able to recover from what I've now exposed, and I may have destroyed any chances at reconciliation somewhere down the road. Also, BF is not a therapist, he will color things with his own perspective, information will get passed along, things will get shared incorrectly ... this is going to be a HUGE TRAIN WRECK, and for that, I AM to blame.
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:58 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
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Im not going to judge what you said and did.

I'm going to encourage you to not beat yourself up the rest of today over what was done yesterday.

Please forgive yourself. Love yourself. And allow yourself to learn life's lessons each and every day.

Is this a train wreck? Can't say. But I find it best not to borrow from tomorrow.

Stay in today.

I like it when our fellow member Freedom reminds me of this:

If you have one foot in the past,
and one foot planted in the future;
you are in the perfect position to whizz all over your today.

(((gentle hugs)))
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:12 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
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((((Birdy)))) Try not to awfulize! I'm champion at that, and it has never done me one bit of good......

When I feel as though I have spoken 'out of turn', I try to sincerely and humbly apologize and make amends. If my amends are not accepted, then that belongs to the other person, and I need to let it go.

None of us can or will judge you, and I think all of us can understand what compelled you to do it. Please take good care of yourself!

Hugs, HG
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:30 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
If you have one foot in the past,
and one foot planted in the future;
you are in the perfect position to whizz all over your today.
LMAO!! I love that one. It is so true. Thank you to Freedom, and to Pelican for sharing it.

Just take it for what it is. Well, now his secrets are out, and he can’t hide it or lie about it anymore. Maybe this will be a good thing for him. Who knows? It may have been right, or it may have been wrong. We are all human and make mistakes. Just move forward from here, and leave the past where is belongs. There is no way to predict if it will have the potential to become a train wreck, but take it one day at a time. Keep the focus on you, and not whether or not he will become angry.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:35 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
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Speaking as a PhD (phormer drunk) here, I can tell you unequivocally and without a shadow of a doubt that all those reasons that he gave you for getting bombed are nonsense excuses. Addiction is essentially a regression into a feral, animal state, where if it feels good, do it. The only thing that might snap an addicted person out of that trance are intolerable losses, or the threat of intolerable losses via an ultimatum (ie, "Quit or I walk").

Take care.
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Old 09-04-2011, 05:49 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
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The BF is right about you needing to focus on you. As for you somehow being to blame for AHs drinking... Thats simply not true. You didn't cause it, you can't control it, you aren't to blame.

When I finally started talking to friends and family... I felt awful. I felt like I was betraying my AH. I was blowing the cover off our dirty little family secret. It felt good to talk and let it out... And then after it was done, I felt anxiety, shame... Scared to death of what I had done. I worried about what would happen next. Who would tell what to whom... Would AH find out, how would he react?!? As Pelican said, I was awfulizing the situaation and preparing myself for the worst... That never came to pass.

So, I have learned to let go of the outcome. Al-anon has given me a group of peoplenthat I can talk to without any of those fears popping up. They are people who do understand better than any friends and family. They are the ones that I trust for guidance and support.

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Old 09-04-2011, 06:37 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
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Said gently:

Could it be that part of you wants to believe you are partly to blame...

...Because if you are partly to blame for HIS alcoholism, then you must also be partly the SOLUTION to HIS alcoholism, goes the logic...

...that there MUST be SOMETHING you can FIX, to help HIM fix his alcoholism, goes the logic...

And if you decide you are not the root contributor to HIS alcoholism, then you know there is NOTHING you can do, to fix it.

You see, underneath this self-blame thinking lies a fantasy that you hold the golden key to fix his alcoholism, and to make the dream come true you only have to fix what you are to blame for.

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Old 09-04-2011, 07:21 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
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Yellow Birdy-
I spoke to a colleague and good friend of AH's this winter at the recommendation of a family member and several other friends in hopes that the good friend/colleague would be able to "help" AH in ways I couldn't. Like you I did this with all good intentions (I asked myself a lot before I spoke to C what my reasons were and all I could come up with was that I was worried sick about AH and several other friends of AH's convinced me that C would be able to help where we all hadn't).

Like you I instantly felt I'd betrayed him (and continue to feel this if I share our dirty little family secret). Sadly, the friend has since turned on me and late this Spring sent me a series of emails telling me how awful I am and how I clearly was just trying to badmouth AH when I'd reached out in the winter (this is what AH believes and convinced friend of).

Lesson learned: no matter how desperately I want to help and how good an idea I think it is, I will never again involve others in AH's issues. I'll reach out to friends if I want help for me, but trying to involve others to help AH just blows up in our faces I think....

Sorry you are hurting so much. So many of us have been there/are there...

Thinking of you.
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