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In Case You Thought You've Heard It All

Old 01-03-2012, 02:56 PM
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Angry In Case You Thought You've Heard It All

I have been using this forum to give me support over the past year, as I accomplished a legal separation from AW. I decided to end our 17 year marriage last January when I figured out that AW was probably cheating on me. She had fallen off the wagon after 2 1/2 years sober and the lying and unusual behaviour returned at 5X the normal rate. She moved out for a while which was OK with me.

What is blanked-up about my situation is that I let her move back home in April 2011 after she had a siezure and got sober. I was filed for divorce at that time, but I softened up to give it "one more chance". She went to a few follow up meetings, but generally speaking, she worked her usual "do-it-yourself" program, aka no program. Sobriety only lasted for about 2 months.

Once again, I begged her not to continue drinking (you know, so she wouldn't become the shaking-hands, jittery, physically addicted alcoholic she was certain to become), but she didn't listen. SO STUBBORN! She just kept on going with the vodka, and her foolishness gave me the resolve to keep going with the divorce action.

Unfortunately, working through a divorce with a drunk person who isn't good with money, is not easy. Especially when there are 2 houses, 2 businesses including a 38-year old good-size family business, and cash and retirement savings. In a community property state. Plus, I didn't want her to get an attorney which could have been really ugly, so I made her the best offer I could muster.

If it sounds strange for a person to be twisted in knots while simultaneously trying to give all his cash, retirement, and houses to his drunk AW -- welcome to my world. But we all have stories, so I will try to get to the point (if I have one).

To get her to "go along with the deal", I changed the action to legal separation instead of divorce. I also allowed for us to remain 50/50 co-owners of our dream house where we both live. The thought was, get sober, maybe there is still hope -- knowing in the back of my head, thank God I am detaching legally and financially...I can always convert to a divorce after 12 months without her consent, according to state law. It was also good for me financially to have her paying 1/2 the mortgage, heat, cable, etc. I thought it might be empowering for her in some way.

Here's the punchline: we are legally separated, but it's as screwed up as you can possibly imagine. We have our own bank accounts and money. We are staying in separate bedrooms in a "roomate" type of situation. She was injured emotionally but appeared to be drinking less. I started getting excited, thinking, now that I am not enabling her maybe she will get herself straightened out. And it will be different this time -- her choice, her money, her life, her future. Not for me, but for herself.

Our $7,000 health deductible was met for 2011 and I suggested to her several times, in several ways (out loud, in a letter, etc.) -- that she could have a free detox if she went in the month of December. This woman clips 0.25 cent coupons -- surely she would see the merit of a free detox!

Didn't happen. After pretending she was going to quit drinking, AW chickened out. I am disgusted and angry. She is crying and needy and she is still trying to make me happy. Why can't she address ONE THING that I have CLEARLY told her is THE PROBLEM with our relationship?!? How can she be so blind, wondering why I can't be "nice" to her? Why does she even bother asking, "why don't you want to be with me"? Insane! Alcoholic insanity!!

So after briefly feeling liberated, like a man who finally wrestled himself free from some kind of trap, I am now feeling quite depressed. I'm a codependent mess. On top of that, I'm one of the people who says they "love" their A. I guess I really need to stop saying that -- as another person said on these boards, it might just be compassion mixed with guilt. I just feel sick.

At the same time, I moved a mountain in 2011. It was not easy to get the legal papers signed and endorsed by a judge. So I do feel a sense of freedom and detachment in some ways -- but it's combined with heartache, anger, frustration and ill feelings towards AW.

Once I scrape up a few dollars, I could move out, or force the sale of our house. Maybe that's where it's all heading. In the meantime, just when you though you heard it all...

How can I stop asking myself, "why doesn't she stop drinking?" -- and quit being a codie maniac?

Thanks for listening everyone.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:20 PM
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Dear djayr,

So sorry for all you are going through, will say a prayer for you.

If you are not doing it already please consider counseling and get youself checked for depression, Prozac and counseling pulled me out of the pit I was in and allowed me to move forward without my cheating, self-absorbed ex-wife.

Best of luck to you,

Big Bear Hugs.

Bill
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:55 PM
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Man, I feel for you. You don't deserve to be treated this way. I don't think I can offer any advice to you that you don't already realize yourself.

If it were me, I would do whatever it takes to get out of that house. It will be very hard for you to get better when you're in contact with her, let alone living with her.

In the meanwhile, post here often, and educate yourself as much as possible on your options for getting out of the house and other legal entanglements ASAP. Take care amigo.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:18 PM
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I'm so sorry for your troubles. If you haven't gone to Alanon, please go... to several meetings. It took a while for me to feel comfortable, but it has really made a difference with me. The only person you can change is YOU and as soon as you really, really understand that, the sooner your life will find peace. "The Courage to Change" is a wonderful book and daily reading for me. It's not just helpful for families of alcoholics, it's just for everyone if they want to live a life of peace and joy!
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:19 PM
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I'm so sorry for your troubles. If you haven't gone to Alanon, please go... to several meetings. It took a while for me to feel comfortable, but it has really made a difference with me. The only person you can change is YOU and as soon as you really, really understand that, the sooner your life will find peace. "The Courage to Change" is a wonderful book and daily reading for me. It's not just helpful for families of alcoholics, it's just for everyone if they want to live a life of peace and joy!
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:51 PM
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Hang in there!!! You are heading on the right path!! I admire your strength and accomplishments. Soon I hope to be there!!
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:22 PM
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I just wanted to say I'm so sorry about your situation. My own stomach tied up in knots reading your post.

Take care of yourself financially and legally in every way possible. As you've clearly illustrated, she's not capable of making any sort of responsible or rational decision. Most importantly, take care of your mental health. Get to Al-anon and get a good therapist. At the end of the day, we can always eventually recoup or write off the loss of $$$ or assets but not our emotional well being.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:22 PM
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Dude, this is never easy. You've done the best you can knowing what you know and given the situation you are in. I went through that **** with one house and no business and it was still overwhelming.

That said, I'm willing to bet you are not attending Alanon meetings regularly if you've even attended one at all. If you are not, you are not giving yourself every opportunity to deal with this situation in the best possible way, and you are ignoring a vast source of experience, strength, and hope that can help you.

It's a missing piece and it's a big one.

If I'm wrong about this mea culpa. If I'm right about this get thee to at least six Alanon meetings, some different, before deciding if it's for you. Excuses to not go to Alanon are just excuses to not go to Alanon.

Good luck!

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Old 01-04-2012, 05:34 AM
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Perhaps it's time for a different, "not so nice" strategy for 2012?
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:26 AM
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I certainly don't have advice beyond going to alanon, counselling for yourself etc that was already stated. Just want to say I'm glad you shared, it helps me to know other people are in the same boat with their A who just 'doesn't get it' and they have their stomach tied up in knots. I'm so tired of feeling that way and I've found personally that I cannot be living in the same house with my AH as it's so unhealthy for my psyche. If I listen to him too long - I start to believe the insane things he says! I can sympathize with how difficult it is with properties/business all mingled together. We don't have nearly that much to sort through and it's overwhelming, so congrats to you for doing what you can for your own sanity!
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:03 AM
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You did do monumental work in 2011. It is a lot to take in and deal with so don't be so hard on yourself. A house is just some walls. Don't hang your sanity on keeping a house. I personally did not begin to feel even the least little bit of clarity, serenity, or sanity while I was under the same roof.

I sold my dream home and I don't regret it for one second. I forced him out and divorce or no divorce, it is what I needed to survive and I don't regret it. I wish things would have gone differently but they didn't. I played the best hand I could with the cards that were dealt. I had to accept I was not in control of the cards, only in how I played them. This was no easy task so I get it.

If you were sitting at a card table you wouldn't spend a second figuring out how to change your cards before your eyes because you know that is just impossible. This is no different. Every time your brain takes you to a place where you are anguishing over the cards you were dealt (that she is an active alcoholic) make yourself start thinking about how you are going to play the hand. The hand is your life and you are in charge of it.

Grief is not going to disappear but IME clarity and action do bring a freedom from the anguish and make room for some peace - and it allowed me to let go of so many things. This really benefited me.

Wishing you peace and clarity in 2012.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:29 AM
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Thank you everyone for your replies. This board gives me strength! Cyranoak, you correctly diagnose that I haven't been to Al Anon -- maybe 3 times in the past year, but not enough. I've probably gone to 50+ meetings over the years so I know what it's about, and I agree, it does help.

I also go to a Christian 12 step group called Celebrate Recovery. I went last night, and between uncorking on you guys, and then talking there, I am more sane.

Sometimes I feel the same as everyone here, and sometimes I feel different. My AW has always stirred deep feelings of pity and compassion in me. I guess because I see how "sweet" she can be sometimes. That's why it has been SO HARD jamming a bunch of consequences on her. I just hate telling people things they don't want to hear. That goes for AW or anyone else for that matter, it's part of my people-pleaser personality.

For people who are also like this -- does that EVER change? Does it ever get easier to be tougher, more blunt, more honest -- even if the truth hurts another person?
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:03 AM
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For people who are also like this -- does that EVER change?
Unfortunately recovery is a process that can be quite painful. It took longer than I care to admit to finally reach acceptance. To let go of expectations. To understand that wishing doesn't make anything happen and neither does love or hope.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by djayr View Post
My AW has always stirred deep feelings of pity and compassion in me. I guess because I see how "sweet" she can be sometimes. That's why it has been SO HARD jamming a bunch of consequences on her. I just hate telling people things they don't want to hear. That goes for AW or anyone else for that matter, it's part of my people-pleaser personality.

For people who are also like this -- does that EVER change? Does it ever get easier to be tougher, more blunt, more honest -- even if the truth hurts another person?
djayr -- you have an avatar of a smiling little kitty cat! You are obviously a very sensitive, compassionate, empathetic person. These are wonderful characteristics to have. For the most part I share them, too. I am especially marshmallow-like when it comes to my children. My son (21) is an addict and my daughter (18) has a psych disorder where strong boundaries are required on my part. I have made many mistakes.

What has made it 'easier' for me was first being aware of what was needed to feel better -- and that was focusing more on myself and my own needs. So now you are aware...and things will get better as long as you keep your head above the sand and your eyes open.

Gosh, I think I"ve said to myself at least 5 times today, "Their problems are not my problems" This is the mantra I use to help me stay on the right path. It gets easier if you detach. That's been a tremendous help to me. I try to stop making excuses for them. I also have a long way to go.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by djayr View Post
why it has been SO HARD jamming a bunch of consequences on her.
I hope you have some peace this evening. The choices you make for yourself is not "jamming consequencs on her." You have to make choices and decisions to create YOUR best life. Just focus on YOU and what you need to be happy, healthy and at peace!!!

When I finally make the decision to "stop the madness", I told my AH for me to stay in the marriage the drinking had to stop completely, I was not happy and I was going to be happy with him or without him. I never mentions the word alcoholic or AA. I just told him he had a problem with alcohol and I wasn't going to be part of that life any more and wasn't going to have one more fight about alcohol again. He immediately asked how "I" could make that decision for him, but I just said that that it was a decision I was making for ME and he could do whatever he wanted to do with that information.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:11 AM
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Aw, Djayr. You're being awfully hard on yourself. You've made some great, slow strides. We all have our own pace!!

The great thing about boundaries is that we have a choice to draw them, reflect on them, and re-draw them when we're ready.

I found out that sometimes this recovery process isn't always just One Day at a Time. For me, sometimes, it's one Minute at a Time or One Hour at a Time. It's ok, though. Even when I find myself making one step back, I still find myself so many steps forward that I still find my way.

I agree that a few more meetings, face to face support, has been the most helpful in the really big times of trouble.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:18 PM
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Her alcoholism is not a problem with your relationship, it is part of who she is. Kudos to you for trying to make compromises to save the house, business, finances, etc but it sounds like your expectations of her or your wants are, sadly, a bit too high for her to meet.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:11 PM
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"For people who are also like this -- does that EVER change? Does it ever get easier to be tougher, more blunt, more honest -- even if the truth hurts another person?"

Yes it does. It gets so much better.

It takes practice. I never could do it while actively co-dependent. It took me really having enough to say ENOUGH. Once I started being blunt and honest, it became easier and easier. At first, I actually used it as a means to punish the A in my life, which didn't feel good at all. Once I accepted my own blunt and honest self evaluation, then it was like a light switch turning on. It is what it is, not sugar coating. I could say "no" and not even feel the need to explain why. Then I was able to actually talk to the "A" calmly and with a matter of fact communication. It really seemed that he actually knew I meant what I said at that point. Really no emotion involved except, this is the way it is...period. Not being said or done to hurt them, it was really my final acceptance that it just "is". What a weight was lifted off my shoulders. No more egg shells, no more anxiety just acceptance.

Today, I live my life totally and brutally honest. With myself and with others. Pretense just masks problems. I am happier with myself now than I have ever been my whole life.

I'm sorry you are going through this, sending hugs and prayers.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:56 PM
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I'm sorry you are going through all this. I know you wish you felt differently, but I think you have done everything right! You made steps to protect yourself legally/financially *and* you gave your relationship another chance (you might have always wondered "what if" had you not, and it's good to know for certain there's nothing you could have done).

May this year be one of healing for you!
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