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Old 08-09-2012, 09:04 AM
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New to Alanon

Hello-

I am brand new to this site and fairly new to Alanon in general.

I must admit this is very hard for me to discuss. I am having problems finding "experience, strength and hope" with regards to alcoholism and marriage/intimate relationships. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Here is a nutshell version of my story:

I have been married to an alcoholic and drug addict for almost 19 years now. He has been in and out of the AA program (alcohol is his main issue) for most of our marriage. The alcohol has led to drugs; smoking pot and some cocaine. It also led him to frequent strip clubs.

We have a son together that just turned 17. Prior to having our son our sex life was great. I must admit I am a very sexual woman. I like sex and I like the closeness. I rarely, if ever, didn't/don't want to have intimate relations with my husband. He, on the other hand, is not very interested in sex. Since I gave birth to our son, sex and intimacy has been nil to non-existent. The majority of the time I have been the one to make the first move and most of the time my husband is not in the mood. It seems once our son was born my husband's whole attitude towards me changed. He has told me, in the past, that he looks to me as "a mother figure" now and not in a sexual way. Later in our relationship he "took that statement back" and said he doesn't feel that way anymore and that he is sexually attracted to me.

We have been separated twice and reunited because of alcohol, drug use and strip clubs. When getting back together our sex life resumed and things were wonderful. At one point, we had a really great 6-to-7 year period in our marriage. However, since he was not working any program it seemed he always found his way back to alcohol, drugs and the strip clubs. I mention the strip clubs because when he would go there he would turn off his phone and not come home until 4am or 5am in the morning. At first this was once in a blue moon but it worked its way into being two or three times a month. Things always seemed to circled around, getting back together and then slowly making his way back to the drinks, drugs and women. Sometimes it took longer than other times to get there but he always got back there. Of course our intimacy ebbed and flowed with his addictive behaviors. He once told me the strippers at the clubs were like psychiatrists to him. He could go there and vent to them about work, me, our child and/or anything else he felt was a problem in his life. He could be open and honest with them and basically tell them anything. He has never admitted to having any sort of "outside our marriage" sexual relations with any other woman however he has been emotionally attached to a couple of women during our marriage. To me, that is quite close to cheating on me - it might not ever been a sexual act but moreso a mental and/or emotional affair which, to me, is the same thing. To be honest, I don't know if he has ever physically cheated on me. When getting back together I always agreed to move forward in a healthy way and forget about past issues regarding the strippers.

Lately he has had some instances with the law. It seems his "luck" for always flying under the radar with law enforcement has run out. He found himself in a holding cell for drunken aggression (bar room fight), has had a couple auto accidents and some really close calls. He was not arrested but these things have led him to want to live clean. He has been clean for a little over 3 months now. He did 90 meetings in 90 days. I basically told him when he came home after being in the holding cell that I had enough. I told him I was done. I said either get back into your AA program and work the steps or I couldn't live this way anymore. He has chosen to get back into AA, work the steps, has a new sponsor and has stopped his addictive behaviors.

One last thing I want to add before I get to the heart of my question: it seems my husband has used sex and intimacy as a way to punish me. He has admitted that. We have been to 3 different marriage counsellors (a couple of years each time) and he has said if he is angry or upset with me about anything he withholds intimacy and sex. He also said he would HAVE sex with me sometimes in order to "make me happy" and get my "blessing" to go out the next night on the town. He would placate me sexually and then go out the next night and drink, drug and go to strip bars. He many times came to the marriage counsellor after having smoked pot so many times he said a LOT of things he might not have ever admitted to if he was sober.

So, after all is said and done, a lot of bad stuff has happened in our marriage. However, a LOT a good stuff has happened too. We have had long periods of really good times. My sober husband is a wonderful man and I love him very much. If I didn't love him I would have been gone a long time ago. I do hang onto those good years. I know it could be great. I wish sometimes I didn't love him so I could just move on; either alone or with someone who doesn't suffer from this horrible disease.

One last thing, I was sick too. I did stupid things and acted badly and basically did a lot of things wrong. I wasn't working my program either. I don't want you all to think I was some victim. I added to the problems in my own sick way. I am not perfect and I totally understand my involvement.

Since my husband has been sober he has gone to the doctor and had many tests done. One came back as low testosterone which apparently effects sexual performance. He does love me. I do know that. He is a sick person. I get that. But honestly, do I need to prepare myself for a sexless marriage? Is there anything that has helped anyone else out there? I would never leave him because of this but I selfishly would like to have somewhat of a sex life with my husband. I guess right now I am driven by fear.

So ultimately here lies my questions. Is it possible to be with an addict and have a healthy marriage, intimacy and sex life? Are there others out there who have overcome issues like this and moved forward in a healthy and loving relationship? Can anyone share any experience, strength and hope?

Thank you for listening and thank you for letting me share. I look forward to reading what you all have to share regarding this.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:50 AM
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I am unsure from reading your post whether he is currently actively drinking. I think that as long as he is, the same old will prevail.

I see the sex and the alcoholism as yes, connected, but also separate. He believes he is entitled to his fantasies and that you will always take him back. He seems to have that old guy's club belief that his behavior is acceptable. This type of thinking does not have to be associated with alcoholism, as it is fairly common. *Pukes* from the "mother figure" remark...uggh.
He values sexual fantasy above true intmacy. This much is CLEAR.

I also don't believe he has ever been truly honest with you. You may be more gullable than you think.

Yes, he loves you, as long as you let him do what he wants anyway.
What would happen if you said NEVER again? The ultimatum? What would he choose? This is for thought purpose only, not suggesting such action, that is your choice and could be a very disappointing outcome.

There is a circle of repeat here. Placate you, then back to business as usual.

Where you are at is deciding your boundaries. What is acceptable, what is not. Can you live with it? It's not about him, he's made clear who he is...what do you NEED?
Can you force him to value intimacy above fantasy? No...but you can make him think about it by raising the topic. Sometimes I think some men are simply daft to what a sexual relationship is really about.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:50 AM
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Hi and welcome to SR!

First of all, GOOD FOR YOU for going to Al-Anon! It took me MONTHS to feel comfortable and at home in the rooms of Al-Anon, but it did happen. So look at it as any other healthy habit you're trying to establish and just keep doing it even if you're not feeling it right now. And if you have the opportunity, try a few different meetings -- they're not all the same and it took me a few tries to find one where I felt at home.

Secondly -- boy, you've been through the wringer with this guy. I think it's very wise of you to get the support of Al-Anon and working your own program, because (I hate to tell you this) three months is great, but it's only three months. My AXH was sober for four. Recovery is a hard, hard road, and the best thing you can do for both of you is working on yours and staying out of his.

This:
my husband has used sex and intimacy as a way to punish me.
was a first for me -- I've heard many, many women use that tactic with their husbands exactly the same way. Low testosterone can be treated, I would be more concerned with the mental game playing part of your sex life, actually. I think breaking out of the habit of seeing "giving you sex" as a reward may be harder than fixing the biochemical issue.

I left my alcoholic, so I have no advice on how to overcome issues like that and moving forward. This, however:
Is it possible to be with an addict and have a healthy marriage, intimacy and sex life?
I can say a definite NO to. It is not possible to live with an actively abusing addict and have a healthy marriage.

But I wish you good things ahead with both of you pursuing recovery.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:52 AM
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This seems to be the topic of the week here on SR. Seems many of us are dissatisfied in this area of our relationships with As and As.

Is it possible to be with an addict and have a healthy marriage, intimacy and sex life? Are there others out there who have overcome issues like this and moved forward in a healthy and loving relationship?
I've tried three times with three separate Alcs/Adds and my answer is No, I have not been able to have a healthy partnership, intimacy or sex life with any of them. I could not overcome the issues because I kept being cheated on by them, and they do not know what is true intimacy and they have healthy sexual habits. I was never able to move forward in a healthy relationship with any of them because they are very sick people.

IMO, Your husband has been cheating on you whether he admits to having been "physical" with any of them or not. What he describes they do for him "like a psychiatrist" is the role of the spouse.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by MadeOfGlass View Post
I am unsure from reading your post whether he is currently actively drinking. I think that as long as he is, the same old will prevail.

Typically in our marriage abusing drinking and drugs has been an on-again, off-again thing with him; some times worse than others. Since I told him I was done and had enough he has been clean. It's been a little over 3 months now.

I see the sex and the alcoholism as yes, connected, but also separate. He believes he is entitled to his fantasies and that you will always take him back. He seems to have that old guy's club belief that his behavior is acceptable. This type of thinking does not have to be associated with alcoholism, as it is fairly common. *Pukes* from the "mother figure" remark...uggh.

PUKES right there with you!! I was like WHAT??? Not to toot my own horn but I am not a bad looking woman and this really messed with my self-esteem.

He values sexual fantasy above true intmacy. This much is CLEAR.

Wow - excellent. Never thought of it that way before...

I also don't believe he has ever been truly honest with you. You may be more gullable than you think.

Yep. I am. That much is clear to me too. I have always seen the positive in people and I have always been told I trust "too much". I believe people. I am honest so I assume everyone else is too. Actually when he admitted a ton of stuff to me I was floored. I had no idea. I don't think I was in denial as much as just too trusting and gullible. When he got honest with me (the first time) I almost had a nervous break down.


Yes, he loves you, as long as you let him do what he wants anyway.

He has said he "wants what HE wants when HE wants it" to me before so this speaks to me. Is that typical of an AA/NA person?

What would happen if you said NEVER again? The ultimatum? What would he choose? This is for thought purpose only, not suggesting such action, that is your choice and could be a very disappointing outcome.

Well, this last instance I did. I said I was done. I went to a divorce lawyer and I started separation papers. We have separated twice before int he past but never legally. I just told him he had to leave and he did. The first time we were apart for about a month. Then he came back. The second time he went straight into rehab. After the rehab time was when we had a really great 6 or 7 years. Three months ago is when I said I was totally and utterly done and I couldn't live like "this" anymore. He said he was going to get back in the program and get clean if i would please give him one last chance.

There is a circle of repeat here. Placate you, then back to business as usual.

Yep. I see it too. It's been a huge circle. The only time things were good was when he stayed close to his meetings and had a sponsor. When he drifted from that things always went bad.

Where you are at is deciding your boundaries. What is acceptable, what is not. Can you live with it? It's not about him, he's made clear who he is...what do you NEED?

I need a responsible husband, partner and friend. Someone who I can trust. Someone to share life with, have fun with and solve issues with. I know it's there. I know he is capable. I am even willing to forego sexual relations somewhat or come to some sort of mutual agreement. Sex is important to me but his health and sanity and our relationship are more important. I mean once a month would be awesome. He has reached out to me, holding my hand and loving in small ways but for whatever reason sex is just not happening.

Can you force him to value intimacy above fantasy? No...but you can make him think about it by raising the topic.

When I did raise the topic he immediately went to the doctor. I think he realized something was amiss when I brought it up. I don't harp on it and I don't nag about it. He knows I have issues with it and he is seeking help from a doctor. I guess that's a good first step.

Sometimes I think some men are simply daft to what a sexual relationship is really about.
I agree. Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. It has made me think.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:37 AM
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Why Compromise Yourself so Much?

I am even willing to forego sexual relations somewhat or come to some sort of mutual agreement. Sex is important to me but his health and sanity and our relationship are more important.

Why? What's important to you? He's not the only man in the world, my dear. Remember (and this site will say this over and over) - you need to focus on YOU, and what is important to YOU! I understand you love this man dearly, but you are slowly becoming something that is not you, and with no guarantees that things will be "OK" in the end.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
Hi and welcome to SR!

First of all, GOOD FOR YOU for going to Al-Anon! It took me MONTHS to feel comfortable and at home in the rooms of Al-Anon, but it did happen. So look at it as any other healthy habit you're trying to establish and just keep doing it even if you're not feeling it right now. And if you have the opportunity, try a few different meetings -- they're not all the same and it took me a few tries to find one where I felt at home.

Thank you so much and yes I have been investigating some different meetings. I have found one women's group that I really love!

Secondly -- boy, you've been through the wringer with this guy. I think it's very wise of you to get the support of Al-Anon and working your own program, because (I hate to tell you this) three months is great, but it's only three months. My AXH was sober for four. Recovery is a hard, hard road, and the best thing you can do for both of you is working on yours and staying out of his.

Yes I do try to work my own program and not interfere with what he is doing. I consider myself to be very supportive.

This: was a first for me -- I've heard many, many women use that tactic with their husbands exactly the same way. Low testosterone can be treated, I would be more concerned with the mental game playing part of your sex life, actually. I think breaking out of the habit of seeing "giving you sex" as a reward may be harder than fixing the biochemical issue.

It seems he is a master game player when he is using. And yes, I think you are right about being able to fix the health issue but that the reward/punishment side of things might be more challenging. I also think he has a skewed view of sex. He grew up in a very religious household so I think he might have issues with thinking of sex as "bad". I'm not sure about that but I have my hunches. I have always been very open and honest and it doesn't bother me one bit talking about it. He, on the other hand, clams up and gets almost embarrassed. If something sexual comes on TV he has to look away and AT me. He is very shy. All of that is okay and I knew that when I married him. It doesn't bother me but I think maybe as a kid he was taught that sex is bad? I don't know. I might have to look further into that; gently of course.


I left my alcoholic, so I have no advice on how to overcome issues like that and moving forward. This, however:

I can say a definite NO to. It is not possible to live with an actively abusing addict and have a healthy marriage.

Okay. Thank you for your honesty. I guess things will be a work in progress. I think I hold onto false hopes sometimes...a girl can dream right? But really I guess it boils down to what I want and what makes me happy. It would be a shame to have to leave him when I know things can be great. Damn those good years (just kidding - I have a humorous side sometimes - smiles)


But I wish you good things ahead with both of you pursuing recovery.
Thank you so much for your words. I appreciate everything you have said.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:57 AM
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I completely understand the confusion you have with the person raised religious yet has this sneaky desire issue.
I asked exah about this and his porn addiction. He said the lure was that it was "naughty".
Well that lure is a little twisted and immature...but I tend to focus on how it lacks respect for women, objectifies, etc.
it's so ironic, he can't see sex on the tv with you in the room, but he can run off to the strip clubs...gotta go grab some guilt!
Is he Catholic? They seem to have much greater guilt installed than other sects.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
This seems to be the topic of the week here on SR. Seems many of us are dissatisfied in this area of our relationships with As and As.

Must be something in the stars or planets. They must be aligned in a way that it's being brought to the forefront.


I've tried three times with three separate Alcs/Adds and my answer is No, I have not been able to have a healthy partnership, intimacy or sex life with any of them. I could not overcome the issues because I kept being cheated on by them, and they do not know what is true intimacy and they have healthy sexual habits. I was never able to move forward in a healthy relationship with any of them because they are very sick people.

Thank you for that. I love your honesty. I'd much rather be told that NO it's not possible rather than cling onto the fact that one day it might be. I really do understand this is a disease and he is sick. I also think that's why I have given him more than one chance to make things "better". So, for me, I guess i sort of flounder. I know he is sick and I know he needs help. When he is actively pursuing help and trying to follow the steps and program stuff I find it hard for me to make any life changing decisions. I am not devistated by how things are right now. I have taken in and processed everything that has happened in our relationship and come to terms with things in my own way. I have chosen to move forward in a healthy way (for ME). I guess that is why I reached out with this thread. I was looking to find even the smallest glimpse of experience, strength and hope but maybe I was "blue skying" that too. See what I mean by being too positive and too trusting? I guess there's a reason it's so hard to find ES&H in this area; because most of the time it hasn't happened so there's nothing to share.

IMO, Your husband has been cheating on you whether he admits to having been "physical" with any of them or not. What he describes they do for him "like a psychiatrist" is the role of the spouse.

Yes, You are right. I too think that how he acted was "cheating". I have to admit I was very hurt by those words. It made me realize he couldn't talk to ME about those sorts of things. It was an eye-opener.
Thank you very much for replying to my thread. I really appreciate it!
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:02 AM
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IDK how old you are JrsJourney but when a woman hits 40 the lack of sex becomes a huge issue.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CentralOhioDad View Post
I am even willing to forego sexual relations somewhat or come to some sort of mutual agreement. Sex is important to me but his health and sanity and our relationship are more important.

Why? What's important to you? He's not the only man in the world, my dear. Remember (and this site will say this over and over) - you need to focus on YOU, and what is important to YOU! I understand you love this man dearly, but you are slowly becoming something that is not you, and with no guarantees that things will be "OK" in the end.

You are right. I do need to focus on me and yes it is important to me. I understand he is not the only man in the world but he is the man I married. I really need to think about what you just said here. It's really hitting home for me. I do need to be true to myself. I would love for things to work out for me and him but I also need to set some sort of goals maybe? Since he is newly sober (3 months) maybe I need to first concentrate on myself and secondly set some sort of goal to see how things have evolved in another month from now. I am not ready to leave him over this right now but ultimately would love for things to be different.

Thank you for your words
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:20 AM
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I think you may want to make a list of your priorities. Sex falls somewhere on that list, but probably not number 1.
Finding a partner to mirror our sexuality for a lifetime is a near impossible task, and then there is the rest of the package which may or may not be agreeable.
Middle ground is somewhere.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by MadeOfGlass View Post
I completely understand the confusion you have with the person raised religious yet has this sneaky desire issue.
I asked exah about this and his porn addiction. He said the lure was that it was "naughty".

Yes maybe that is why my husband choses to go to the strip clubs when he is using? Would make sense to me...acting out, throwing everything to the wind, being bad and naughty and escaping reality. He also said it's the "go to" place to actually get drugs.


Well that lure is a little twisted and immature...but I tend to focus on how it lacks respect for women, objectifies, etc.

Right there with you on that. My husband is in his 40's but sometimes his thinking is very old school when it comes to women. He is extremely immature. He started his love affair with booze around 12 or 13 and drugs around 14 or 15. I think that starting out so early in life sometimes stunts the emotionally maturity in people.

it's so ironic, he can't see sex on the tv with you in the room, but he can run off to the strip clubs...gotta go grab some guilt!

LOL!!! You are awesome!! Yes, funny right?? He can be "big man" in the strip club throwing away wads of money and living the high life but he can't watch something sexual on TV with his wife in the room. Skewed. I think he has a ton of shame and guilt - actually I KNOW he does. I don't ever comment on stuff like that either. I drop it. There's nothing healthy about me re-hashing stuff with him - actually it just makes matters worse. That's something he needs to discuss with his sponsor.

Is he Catholic? They seem to have much greater guilt installed than other sects.

VERY CATHOLIC. He is actually a Eucaristic Minister *snickers* Sorry I had to laugh. His mother is borderline religiousity. She only watches the catholic TV station and she has followed Mother Angelica (I think that's her name) on pilgrimages. I was raised Catholic as well but I consider myself to be more spiritual than religious. We both have been going back to church on Sunday. i don't mind it but I don't feel the need to HAVE to be there. I go for him. He gets a lot out of it. One of our first dates he took me to church and then dinner. I am sitting here typing and laughing. It's quite comical when I think about it all. For him to be the catholic boy who loves drinking, drugging and strip clubs. It's like one extreme to the other. Maybe growing up in a household like that made him run screaming for some sort of release? Meh, I don't know
THANK YOU for making me think!!
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
IDK how old you are JrsJourney but when a woman hits 40 the lack of sex becomes a huge issue.
Oh I am over 40. So is the issue too little sex then? ACK! HAHAHAHA then maybe it's me? Hmm, never thought about that before. I will have to do some googling and see what pop's up.

Thank you for that insight!!!!!!
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by MadeOfGlass View Post
I think you may want to make a list of your priorities. Sex falls somewhere on that list, but probably not number 1.
Finding a partner to mirror our sexuality for a lifetime is a near impossible task, and then there is the rest of the package which may or may not be agreeable.
Middle ground is somewhere.

I LOVE THIS!! After I google the "woman over 40 sex drive" thingy I will have to make a list. I love lists. I love anything I can look at and analyze. This is very helpful.

Thank you!!!!!
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