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Old 09-27-2012, 06:01 AM
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Waffling

I've been going back and forth about the separation. I'm home with two kids, trying to work and get everything done at home. No tears shed, except for myself in a moment of worry about money and how I was going to do everything that needs to be done and not lose my cool. I've been a single parent before and did pretty well, all things considered, but I was a ball of stress that was known to blow and scream and rage. It's one of my real regrets as a parent and I've been working to change that part of my self, with some real success I think.

Overall, it's been nice to have the quiet and the lack of stress without AH there. It's also amazing to me how much food is in the fridge and how little trash there was out on the curb this week (double, on both counts). I guess I didn't realize how miserable I was, even with him sober and living in the house. I knew he was white-knuckling it. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The kids are okay without him. I filled in the blanks for my son, who was disappointed and sad, but also sees the sense in what I'm doing. We've talked a lot about boundaries over the last few years.

Both sets of our parents are leaning on me hard to take him back ("he needs a stable family right now," never mind about the rest of us?). I told my family that this subject is off the table with me, and I can pretty well avoid his family since they're circling the wagons. AH showed up last night to see the kids and pick up some clothes, which was fine with me. He also leaned on me to take him back, and when it became clear that I wasn't interested in maintaining the status quo, AND that I also had some opinions about his actions leading up to this relapse, he got s****y and morose with me. I let it drop.

Later, I was screwing around on my phone and found three drafts of long emails I'd written some weeks and months ago about him, us, his alcoholism, other events in our marriage, what I wanted for myself. All of them were really cranky about his lack of commitment to the local sobriety community and how stressed out I was about this lack of commitment. I sent them all at once. I don't know why. I don't think he will respond to any of them. I just wanted all that grief "out there," I guess.

He's white-knuckling it at his parents house now. I asked what his plans were, and strangely, he has none. Two years and three inpatient rehabs worth of attempted recovery, and the dude still can't wrap his mind around meetings, sponsor, and surrender. Seriously.

Any weak moments I have -- all of which are inspired by the fact that while I don't want to maintain the status quo, I'm also really not ready to jump into divorce proceedings -- I go back to that fact. After all the pain and disappointment of this, after three rehabs, two years of being on and off the wagon, he still isn't ready to do what it takes to change his life for real.

The real breakthrough is realizing that I don't have to be party to that anymore. I just don't. And that's okay.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:49 AM
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((Florence)), I have no words of advice. I just wanted to come on here and support you and give you a cyber hug. I still haven't made any dramatic changes in my life yet and now my AH proclaims he's ready for AA. So, I feel like the recovery roller coaster will now be front and center in our lives and I can so relate to how you talked about 'white knuckling' the sobriety. I know that's how AH has to do things, too.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:06 AM
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I experienced the same kind of disappointments with my now XA after years of supporting and sticking with him through years and years of his not staying commited to what he knew would keep him sober.

There is nothing more frustrating than to have so much invested in a partnership with someone who has done everything in their power to keep you emeshed and involved with unending promises and then witness them white knuckling, building up to use and knowingly neglecting their recovery.

In my case I finally accepted that he had the ability, tools and knowledge to be sober for the rest of his life but he didn't want lifelong sobriety and needed alcoholic "vacation relapses". In the past, I or someone would pick up the pieces and put him back on the wall like Humpty Dumpty but I warned him that I had resigned that role permanently.

He didn't heed my warnings and the last relapse was the last relapse... a boundary that I had set and for the first time... kept it!

I am so very happy that I made the decision to let him figure it out on his own and if you choose to do this you will be able to see how self sufficient your partner can really become and how quality of a recovery he builds.

The only recovery that lasts a lifetime is a spiritual recovery and if you feel he is white knucking then he is and that never lasts...

take care of you and your kids and more will be revealed.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:39 AM
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In my case I finally accepted that he had the ability, tools and knowledge to be sober for the rest of his life but he didn't want lifelong sobriety and needed alcoholic "vacation relapses". In the past, I or someone would pick up the pieces and put him back on the wall like Humpty Dumpty but I warned him that I had resigned that role permanently.
I've never heard it put that way before -- "vacation relapses" -- but that's EXACTLY what happens. He BUDs for months, and then when he breaks, he disappears for a long weekend to have his bender, then comes back on Sunday or Monday with his hat in his hands wanting absolution.



You're exactly right. I'm resigning the role. In fact, I'm firing myself from that role. Other than that, I'm avoiding making any other serious decisions until I'm good and ready. I feel like the friend and family circle's energy has been focused on AH and his quality of life for so long that I've got to refocus that energy on me and my kids. He's a grown up and he can have his "time off" of sobriety if he wants to, that's his business. But that's SOOOOOO not what I want my life to look like.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:59 AM
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Florence, take as much time as you want. I almost made a bad mistake. I filed for divorce, with a lawyer, my wife and I negotiated the settlement, and then I filed.

She pulled her usual passive/aggressive bs, said she would sign, said she needed to talk to a lawyer, still refused to sign, same old, same old.

I just wanted it to be over. I went back and reread the settlement, crunched some numbers and realized if this went through I would regret it. So, I called the lawyer and had him withdraw the application for divorce.

This time around I am going to have patience. I am taking my time to get all my finances in order before even thinking about divorce. I want to make sure I am taking care of myself first. Something that is really hard for me to do.

So, my experience is that don't file until you are ready, until you are willing to do the leg work and willing to put your needs first.

Your friend,
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:22 AM
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Florence,
I trust you to know what is best for you. Your experience with PTSD tells me that you know when it is an emergency to disconnect, and when you can wait. Your posts are not one of those that I want to scream at to do something.
I like the decisions you are making. Taking care of yourself and your children. Not doing anything rash, but setting into place a good boundary for sanity in your household. If and when you decide you want to separate permanently, it will be well thought out. No filing out of anger or vengance. You know what you want your life to look like--and you are making it happen.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
I've never heard it put that way before -- "vacation relapses" -- but that's EXACTLY what happens. He BUDs for months, and then when he breaks, he disappears for a long weekend to have his bender, then comes back on Sunday or Monday with his hat in his hands wanting absolution.



You're exactly right. I'm resigning the role. In fact, I'm firing myself from that role. Other than that, I'm avoiding making any other serious decisions until I'm good and ready. I feel like the friend and family circle's energy has been focused on AH and his quality of life for so long that I've got to refocus that energy on me and my kids. He's a grown up and he can have his "time off" of sobriety if he wants to, that's his business. But that's SOOOOOO not what I want my life to look like.
Here is what worked very well for me and is really logical and fair...

I told my XA that I had no more relapses in me and that I would not helicopter or put out fires if he drank. If he didn't take care of his own recovery and do the right things it was on him and not me.

He relapsed with a vengeance and I packed him up and he jumped a plane to Vegas (logic being I am in trouble might as well party, party, party before trying to patch things up and having to suffer sobriety)...

3 months later he put himself into rehab for 60 days and then into a sober living house but I was unmoved...

I promised him one thing... After 365 days of authentic verifiable recovery with your sponsor I will attend your 1 year chip ceremony in whatever state or country you are in and we will talk.

Since February of this year he has only strung together 60 days before drinking so I am in little danger of having any "talk" but if he did manage to put together a year it would be a huge milestone and I would want to share it with his family and of course... someone I once cared about deeply.

While it is loving detachment it also offers the struggling alcoholic hope that there is a chance to repair broken relationships and in your case you have children. Marriage may be temporary but divorce with children makes the A a part of your life for a long while...

There is no doubt that my XA never wanted to give up alcohol forever despite his promises that he did...it was a ruse.

Alcohol is his first love, his mistress, the siren's song of the promise that it will bath his brain and his body in a liquid bath of unbelievable bliss and and for him... a bizarre manic enjoyment that always, always ends in disaster and crisis.

No human person, no human love could offer that to him and take him to those heights of chemical induced enjoyment...and soalcohol wins eventually in his battle of his mind... everytime. I actually think that his stints of sobriety were to keep me appeased and to actually rest his liver which he has so abused in the past decades.

Why not? He had me perfectly trained for 4 years to put up with the insanity as the picture perfect enabler because I believed him everytime he promised things that he either could not do or had no intention of doing... and that was not drink ever again.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:00 AM
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I really wasn't ready for the flood of feelings. I'm all over the place in quick succession. I'm trying to remember to stay put and let it pass so I can make good/better/best decisions. Man, it's hard.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:32 AM
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Florence, you are doing the right things! Remember, Al-Anon says it takes time and that Easy Does It. You are on a new path so going slowly and watching your steps makes sense. Remember, Al-Anon recommends waiting for 6-9 months from the start of YOUR recovery before making any final, big decisions.

Peace to you and the kids.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:41 PM
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So, I kicked my AH out last week and he moved back into his parents' after his weekend-long "relapse vacation." His dad called me today at lunch, for the first time asking for more information about alcoholism and recovery resources so he could figure out what they're dealing with. For the first time, he seemed to listen to me when I said that rushing in to save my AH was probably the worst thing we could do for him. He also shared some of my AH's addiction problems (and their enabling problems) going back to his high school years.

Mini-vent: I've been asking for support in so many words for 2+ years, including suggesting to them that AH *may* have a drinking problem five or so years ago, and got shut down. They've been doing the prodigal son routine with him for twenty years up to this last relapse. Now that it's their problem, they snap to attention.

It's just... interesting. On the one hand, it's very annoying. Now you want to pay attention?

On the other hand, it feels very far away from me right now.

While I'm a little anxious about MY future, it's a relief that this isn't my crisis this time.

I can't get over how relieved I feel, and how happy I am regardless of the circumstances, especially considering that my AH was sober for the last ten-plus months. I really was waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time, and now that tension is gone. The shoe dropped, I was ready, I knew what to do, and now it's not my crisis. Holy ****.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:08 PM
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I'm reading a very interesting book that really is a new approach. If you feel inclined you might want to read it!

"Get Your Loved One Sober" by Robert Meyers, PHD.

It's mentioning some of the same advice that our therapist (a Behaviorist) is talking about. Getting out of the rut of "Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". It's starting new -

There is much in here that I like. It's a very easy read but it's not an easy read, also because "we" tend to want the alcoholic to do more and for us to do less. Many of us are burnt out, understandably. BUT if we're here and staying for now, why not be open to new advice, new ideas and ways of living? I'm game to try. The old way has proven not to work very well . . .
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:41 PM
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Florence, you sound awesome and its inspiring! Keep on keepin on!

P.S. I asked my now ex to wait a bit on the divorce, but he was in a big hurry so I agreed to everything (which meant asking for nothing) just to be done with the madness. I still don't believe it was the right thing to do, but I did it anyway. I think taking your time is a very wise move indeed.
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:52 PM
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Hopeworks, you put that so well. I felt the pain an anguish all over again, and I needed that reminder.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Hopeworks View Post
I promised him one thing... After 365 days of authentic verifiable recovery with your sponsor I will attend your 1 year chip ceremony in whatever state or country you are in and we will talk. ...

While it is loving detachment it also offers the struggling alcoholic hope that there is a chance to repair broken relationships and in your case you have children. Marriage may be temporary but divorce with children makes the A a part of your life for a long while...

There is no doubt that my XA never wanted to give up alcohol forever despite his promises that he did...it was a ruse.

Alcohol is his first love, his mistress, the siren's song of the promise that it will bath his brain and his body in a liquid bath of unbelievable bliss and and for him... a bizarre manic enjoyment that always, always ends in disaster and crisis.

No human person, no human love could offer that to him and take him to those heights of chemical induced enjoyment...and, so, alcohol wins eventually in his battle of his mind... everytime. I actually think that his stints of sobriety were to keep me appeased and to actually rest his liver which he has so abused in the past decades.
Amen to that Hopeworks! That's why AA says to wait at least a year from A's recovery start (including, among other things, sobriety), and Al-Anon says to wait at least 6-9 months from their recovery start, before making ANY major decisions except in cases of domestic violence/abuse.

As for his mistress, I recommend the book "Drinking: A Love Affair" by Caroline Knapp! A 20-year affair, her private depression and heartache, and the end of her affair.


Originally Posted by Florence View Post
Mini-vent: I've been asking for support in so many words for 2+ years, including suggesting to them that AH *may* have a drinking problem five or so years ago, and got shut down. They've been doing the prodigal son routine with him for twenty years up to this last relapse. Now that it's their problem, they snap to attention.

It's just... interesting.
On the one hand, it's very annoying. Now you want to pay attention?

On the other hand, it feels very far away from me right now.

While I'm a little anxious about MY future, it's a relief that this isn't my crisis this time.
" All of these supporting roles [that family members play] work together to maintain a balance in which the alcoholic can continue to play his or her role with as little discomfort as possible. Thus, when any member of this alcoholic circle stops playing his or her part, the entire group is affected.

CHANGING THE PART WE PLAY IN THE FAMILY DISEASE
" This is why the most helpful and most loving action any family member can take is to get help for ourselves. By recovering from the effects of the disease, we become able to stop playing our part in the family disease. The balance is disrupted. Suddenly it is no longer comfortable for the alcoholic. While he or she may continue to receive the loving support of the recovering family member, the disease is left unsupported. It is as if a group of four stood in a [cold] river, getting drenched while holding the alcoholic over their heads to keep him or her dry, and eventually one member of the group refused to continue to hold up his or her end. The entire system would collapse and, as a result, the alcoholic would get wet. Without others to remove the painful consequences of his or her actions, the alcoholic may become so uncomfortable that he or she chooses to pursue recovery. Likewise, other family members and friends ay recognize how much they have been affected by the family disease and seek help for themselves. But there are no guarantees. While health in one person frequently inspires health in those around him or her, it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes the alcoholic simply finds a way to adapt, creating a new system to support the disease." How Al-Anon Works" at page 32.

Florence, I couldn't help but think that that's like your story and that your're sticking by it! You go girl!
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