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Boundaries vs ultimatums

Old 07-31-2012, 05:12 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I'm wondering how he gets to live with you and drink at all???

At some point you will be subjected to his drinking in some way.

Will he drink outside of the home and sleep elsewhere???

It got to the point with my x that I wouldn't talk to him in the moring, hung over and nasty, or at night, drinking and nasty/
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Old 07-31-2012, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
Honestly, as a Christian woman I believe this is more for me. That God does not want me to live in fear of confrontation anymore and this is how I can start working towards overcoming my fears. ALL of my decisions are fear based and, therefore, not from God. They are a part of my own weaknesses and insecurities and I feel I need to confront myself with this as well as confront him. So, I think that's why I don't care about the outcome or how he feels. I am doing it for ME, and that's what matters. No expectations. Well, really, the only expectation I have is that I face my fear and that I get stronger as I work on my fears. I could just move out, but I feel that I'd be running away and there would be confrontation at some point. I want to learn how to say what I mean, mean what I say, and not say it mean. Maybe I see it as practice? God has a plan for me, and this is all part of my plan. It's not about him, it's about me. I seriously am actually looking forward to this, it's giving a lot of peace to know that I am ready to express myself and not FEAR the outcome.
For me, a couple of years ago was when I first learned how to set boundaries, and I did practice them with someone who is an alcoholic and addict. He was someone who lived in my house, who I knew a very long time, and I felt "safe" practicing this with. It helped me build myself and my abilities. It was difficult, I was shaking and my voice was shaking but I think it was the first time in my life I had truly asserted my rights as an individual. But unlike you, it was not about him quitting drinking or drugs. It was me setting boundaries for my day to day life. For instance, I think one of the boundaries was he was not to call my house after a certain time at night. Another one was he was not to be in my presence or call me drunk or high. Things like that.

So I understand completely what you are saying. And yes, it is ALL practice and good for you for taking this step in your recovery. You can do it and I admire your commitment to your own values and morals. Regardless of what anyone says, you have to do what is right for you, on YOUR timeline.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:28 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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I am not sure if this was a boundary but two years ago I told my AH that I would not live with an active alcoholic and that I would not allow our children to live with one either. We separated - he moved out as I did not want to disrupt my children's (16, 13, 9) lives at the time. It was a crazy chaotic time and I was insane and not working an alanon program. It took 6 months for me to gain my senses back after he moved out and that was primarily through going to alanon.

Two years later, he is sober and has moved back home. He got sober on his own. He suffered a lot of consequences and I was not involved at all.

Our relationship is a mess but we are both more peaceful.

It's funny. Last night we were watching TV and a political ad came on and he starts blathering about the lies and contradictions on the ad. I said, "You know, I really don't care for any of the candidates at this point. They're all a bunch of liars." He said something in a sarcastic retort that basically stated: I don't like your response, you don't agree with me, so now I'll go hide in my office. Honestly, I forgot what he said but it was along the lines of, "Whatever, why'd I say anything anyway?" He didn't like the fact that I didn't want to get into a political discussion and that I stated my own opinion which, obviously, was different from his. So, he went to his office to go do 'work' and hide.
He also decided to snap at me earlier in the day when I asked about his breathalyzer because he had to take the car to get an oil change. He just kept snapping, "I got this. I know what to do." Geez, I was just trying to make conversation. Note to self: don't talk about the interlock device, UGH!
Even though my AH was not drinking, he still exhibited behavior similar to what you describe above and it is only in the last month that he is starting to recognize this and I have been able to set what I believe are my boundaries for the kind of relationship I will be in. - I will not engage with someone who has no consideration for my thoughts and opinions.

I am learning to set boundaries and I believe there are some boundaries in place that my now recovering AH is learning how to honor.

This is working for me now but before we came to this point about a year ago, I did tell my AH that if he wasn't able to manage his alcoholism such that we could live together than I was going to move toward a divorce.

As I said, he suffered a lot of consequences and not being part of the family was only a portion. I think the biggest impetus for him to stop drinking was consequences he would eventually face in the workplace, with his reputation and his future livelihood.

I think the alcohol hid some of the true person and the commitment and love that was expressed to me before the alcoholism got really bad was not as sincere as I thought it was. My RAH primarily looks out for his own best interests whether drinking or not and because I have been with him for over 25 years I may not always realize the lack of affection and partnership that others may have in their relationships. It is what it is and is working for me and the only person I can change is myself.

I hope you focus on what is best for you to feel peaceful and safe. IMO living out of your car is not a good option, so I do hope you think through this and make the best plans for yourself.

(((HUGS)))
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:50 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Lizatola - I am typing this because I have a 41 year old son who I think is a terrific person, SOBER. I can't remember that now... After living my life with alcoholism (not me, but son, dad, brother, bil, sil)... I feel we are worth more and should do more for ourselves. We can't wait on them to be sober because they will manipulate us until we are not seeing straight. I just don't know why my mom went to Alanon to 'learn to live with an alcoholic'. Wait, I will answer that question... She was born in 1927 and came from a generation 'once married, stayed married' and she also was not self-supporting for herself and three children. She certainly was intelligent and could have had a job that paid well. Dad had a way...he could talk her back into anything. He had his own business and wanted her at home to 'answer the phones'. Oh man... I did learn to say what I mean and mean what I say. I am a matter of fact-type person I guess. I am very sensitive, emtional, and always want everyone to have a good time and get a long. I think that is from growing up in an alcoholic family, dysfunctional. For anyone out there who can make a living on their own, support their children, don't stay attached. The spouse will figure it out eventually or stay an alcoholic/addict forever. I say that and my DIL can certainly make a living, and take care of my grandchildren. Why did she stay married to my son??? I don't know. He is a wonderful person and I do think she enjoyed him. She likes to drink, she brain washes him to believe he is worth nothing and he is not loved by us or his family, and is nasty...and with my son drinking; she had control of him. I know he is the alcoholic...but my mom was not like her so I can separate the two. Take care of yourself. I understand bottom won't come until the alcoholic is uncomfortable. Even with jail and rehab (4 months now)... I don't know that my son has been totally uncomfortable as he runs his business (which may be failing) from jail, from rehab. I was contributing/enabling. I am done. I hope... I hope to be strong. Hard for a mom...because they are our son. If it was my husband... I could be much stronger!
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:12 PM
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There is a lot of area between the status quo and "I'm leaving right now". I cannot say whether you should move out or not, but there are other ways to protect yourself, your sanity, your peace of mind, and your son. For example, if I remember correctly, your AH has had his license suspended. So, decide that you no longer will be a passenger in a car where the driver has no license. Period. Not your AH, but any driver. Then when he asks why you're not getting in the car, you can simply let him know that, and walk away.

For me, an important part of determining my boundaries was quantifying them, articulating them in words to myself, and deciding how I could effect change in my life and the lengths I would go to protect my boundaries. Don't make it about him, make it about you.

Regardless of what you decide, stick to it, especially if you say it to him. Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:40 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lyssabee View Post
There is a lot of area between the status quo and "I'm leaving right now". I cannot say whether you should move out or not, but there are other ways to protect yourself, your sanity, your peace of mind, and your son. For example, if I remember correctly, your AH has had his license suspended. So, decide that you no longer will be a passenger in a car where the driver has no license. Period. Not your AH, but any driver. Then when he asks why you're not getting in the car, you can simply let him know that, and walk away.

For me, an important part of determining my boundaries was quantifying them, articulating them in words to myself, and deciding how I could effect change in my life and the lengths I would go to protect my boundaries. Don't make it about him, make it about you.

Regardless of what you decide, stick to it, especially if you say it to him. Good luck!
Yes, thank you. He is now on an ignition interlock license and will be for 18 months. He is not allowed to drive any other cars except ones equipped with the device. I don't have to worry about the driving thing anymore and can remove that boundary now.

Gettingby had some very good advice. I need to get my plan actually put in place before I pull out any stops. I'm still going to talk to him but, again, it's something I need to do for me. No ultimatums, though. I have a friend who has been in AA for 2 years now and she has convinced me that it won't go over well. Yeah, I know, you guys told me this too, but I guess I needed to hear it from a former alcoholic, LOL! Anyway, she and I were childhood friends and just recently reconnected on FB and she shared her challenges as an alcoholic and then she shared how wonderful her recovery has been. I was happy for her and wish that for my AH someday. But, he has to want it for himself.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:11 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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two weeks ago at my meeting we were talking about boundaries. One of the things discussed was boundaries v. ultimatums.
there is a woman in my group who i listen intently to, not to say that i don't listen to others, but with her, i have my mental pen poised and i usually do make notes after the meeting.
This very wise woman said and i wish i could quote her, but, essentially, a boundary is yours and it doesn't require communicating to them. if you do choose to communicate it, it has to be communicated as yours. For example a boundary is saying, 'i will no longer live in a home with an active alcoholic' an ultimatum is saying 'if you drink i'm moving out'.
it's a slim but important difference.
one is saying i am no longer willing to do x
the other is saying if he does a, you will do b

i wish you luck
as much as i kind of get the difference now, i'm not sure that i would be able to communicate it properly without it sounding like an ultimatum.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:52 PM
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Liz, I had several actively participating AA'ers tell me that my marriage had no chance in heck for at least the first year, but realistically more like the first 3 years. I think your friend at two years make a very valid point and it won't go over well, not yet at least.

It made me so sad to think that's a really long time to be on hold for someone, waiting for them to grow up and engage in a marriage, especially when there was very little progress through the first year.

Do you have the patience to see this through if you do get what you ultimately want (i.e. an agreement to seek sobriety)? And that's mostly rhetorical, because we all have different answers to this question.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:28 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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I have read your responses regarding boundaries. I need to assure my boundaries are met by my ACTIONS without verbalizing the boundaries/ultimatiums. This is my issue. His children will visit and he may tell us he wants to come to our home to stay with the kids while they are here. He will just be getting out of jail (we think, and maybe not) and rehab. What happens if he would decide to drink in our home without a license or a car? The success rate of an alcoholic not drinking is 3% I was told. (At least at the first try). Do I tell him he has to leave WITHOUT his children? This is why I was thinking we needed to let him know NO DRINKING while staying at our house and if you drink, we will take you to the nearest hotel (I was thinking a hotel). We wouldn't/couldn't let his kids get involved, even though he and his wife have for 8 years now. Anyhow... I am baffled on how to get my 'boundaries' across since we do not live together, even in the same state. But when he is visiting, I need boundaries. If he oversteps the boundary... I don't know how to enforce 'eviction' with his children here.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I want to be able to say that I did everything in my power to keep us together even if he drops the ball on his side.
Hi Liz,

This sentence makes my stomach drop. How much do you think you need to do before you can say that you've done "everything in your power"? It's very important to define what that is, and what it isn't. This kind of thinking got me back on a small sailboat with my AH to sail thousands of miles to get back home. We sailed nonstop for 45 days so that we could find help for him, I could feel the support of my family, and we could have a place to live while we worked things out. My AH definitely dropped the ball along the way, and I think we could have easily not made it back. Even though we aren't together now, I've often told my family that I was glad I did everything I could to set him up in a safe supportive environment to get help. Nevermind that I did so at great personal risk! At what point should I have decided I had done everything in my power? The fact is, I was powerless against his alcoholism since before we left. I have always been powerless against it. The problem is that I gave up much of my power over my own life trying to fight his choices. I started to take that power back when I left him Tahiti, but I relinquished it again when I returned. I had returned with the sole purpose of helping him do something he was quite obviously not ready for.

So, please, be careful that you don't cross the bounds of reason in your desire to keep your marriage together. It's extremely difficult to do when you are stuck in the moment. That's why you talk to friends and counselors about your situation. They will help your perspective.

Take care,
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