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Time to Divorce Her For Remaining Drunk?

Old 10-23-2012, 08:12 PM
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Lord Have Mercy
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Question Time to Divorce Her For Remaining Drunk?

Hello:

I am at a critical time in my life and relationship with AW. I'll briefly retell my story. I am at the tail end of an 18 year marriage that self-destructed 2 years ago when AW fell off the wagon, took up with strange men, and went off the rails big-time in terms of drinking, lying, and unfaithful behavior. No kids.

This was after 10+ years of numerous hospitalizations, emergencies, health problems, and embarrassing situations associated with being married to a woman addicted to vodka. When I saw the first "I love you" on her cell phone text to another man, and then another man -- that was it, I filed for divorce.

We split everything 50/50 and were granted a legal separation in my state last November 2011. This was expensive for me involving chunky 4-figure, monthly payments to her for 6 years -- so that I could "buy" my family business back from her, you know, community property state. I gave her all of our money and retirement plans and a rental property too.

So here is the situation: after 12 months (coming up Nov 2012) I can convert to a divorce without her consent. One signature - MY signature - and I can be divorced, and that would be that.

We continue to own a nice house together 50/50 -- our last shared asset -- getting divorced will force the sale of this dream home, where our life went to crap after we bought this place in 2010. It feels like the end of War of the Roses or Money Pit, where there is this great house and a couple that can't seem to enjoy it together. Back then I thought I had it all, AW had 2 years of sobriety at that time, after a near fatal accident in 2008 from which she recovered 100%.

Then, she went 400 miles away to see her family, fell off the wagon, and the marriage blew up to high heaven.

So here is an update -- we were legally separated November 2011 but I continued to live there with her (separate bedroom) until May 2012 when I finally moved out. I have been in a 1 bedroom apartment for 4 months, it's been healthy and much less worrisome for me, even though I feel sad sometimes.

I see AW regularly to take grandma to church on Sunday. I hang around and cut the grass -- we might go out to eat or to breakfast from time to time. She is always inviting me to move back, come back, make up, start over, etc -- but she is drunk and will not stop drinking! For real.

She is a textbook alcoholic who apparently cannot stop, will not stop, until they become another statistic about destroyed marriage, family, friends, jobs, etc. The only thing she does have is a bunch of money that I have dropped in her lap and directly into her checking account each month. Yet she doesn't open her mail, log into her online banking, or have a clue about anything -- because this is not a person who has any interest in getting her SH** together.

Here is my problem. We are getting along. She is nice and quite sweet most of the time. She is lonely and sad and misses me, which makes me feel sorry for her. I regularly suggest going to detox / rehab - why not, what else are you doing for God sakes? - but months go by, a total of 2 years of drinking at this point. There were 2 short breaks, but it's mostly been a non-stop 24/7 buzz for her.

Things are so different, so much better, when she is sober. If only she would give it a shot.

I guess I am REALLY struggling with the upcoming conversation that goes something like, "I have been waiting to see if you would change your life in the past 12 months, and since you haven't, I have decided to move on to final divorce, including the mandatory sale of this home where you live, so we can go our separate directions."

I feel like she is going to be shocked. She is so nested into this house and very comfortable in her lifestyle. But I guess it's over.

What feels funny to me is that it seems like I am arbitrarily picking a day at random, that happens to be 12 months after we got a judgement of legal separation -- but what significance is that? Is there some kind of final ultimatum I am supposed to give her? Some kind of warning? Or I just pull the plug, do what everyone in the universe has been waiting for me to do, and finally be done with it?

This is so sad, it's killing me, because I do love this woman. But how long am I supposed to drag this out if she's not changing? I don't know -- it's just a confusing time. I just sign a document, file it with the court, and I'm divorced -- it's blowing my mind, you know how attached we codies are sometimes.

Thanks for listening...
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:21 PM
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What a tragic story - a woman who has it all, and just won't recognize it or take any steps to heal herself. I am so sorry, djar.

My initial response to reading your post is "What do YOU want?"

What do you want to do with your life next? How will it feel? What activities will you want? What kind of friendships and relationships?

I'd spend some time really thinking about that, without the context of your life with your wife.

One way to get at that is to ask yourself "What do I want my life to be like in 5 years?" and feel free to daydream, imagine, no constraints, just what would make you joyful.

Then, go back and look at your current life with your wife and see if the trajectory of staying with her gets you where you really want to be.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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Old 10-23-2012, 08:39 PM
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What do I want? Good question.

When I picture 5 years from now, it's hard to imagine that I would get there with AW. It's just such a roller coaster, my trust is pretty much shot (trust that she can stay sober and truthful with me), and she can be high maintenance.

I am relieved to be apart from her, I spent so much time giving her attention and trying to please her, that it drained me. I love being by myself right now, it's such a relief. So even when I picture our happy times, our sober life and travels together, it looks pretty tiring to me.

I have had some good times on my own, travels, friends, and recently an ultra marathon. My life may not be perfect but I'm getting it under control and I have a lot of FREEDOM.

Maybe one thing I am thinking about, if life is OK why not just leave it this way -- but I guess I don't want that, among other things, I am sick of paying for 1/2 of a nice house where I don't live, and really can't afford. So there are some financial incentives to just get this done.

One other thing I was going to mention: I am a Christian and this whole divorce thing feels very uncomfortable as far as what God would want me to do. That side of me just wants to forgive forgive forgive and be patient -- but that has obviously not "worked" as a strategy against AW's drinking, or keeping our marriage on track.

In fact it has been textbook enabling. So who knows.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:18 PM
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Djayr,

Can you set a time period, give her 30 days to make a decision? And stick to it? Have a very calm conversation with her when she's sober, tell her that you need to move on with your life, with her sober or without her drunk. Keep it brief and very specific. I don't see any reason to make a fuss. She probably thnks it's OK for her life to continue on as is. She's comfortably drunk.

You deserve a happy, healthy life. it shouldn't be your job to see to her drinking problem.

I'm a recovering, married alcoholic. I would expect my husband to leave me if he wasn't happy or comfortable. I believe he would expect me to do the same. I think it's fair to give her time to consider her decision and be prepared to live with it.

Please, take care of you. Youre worth it.

Love from Lenina
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:48 PM
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I got better when I got into Alanon and cut contact with the alcoholic XH. I got better when I started to change the things I could- me. I gave XAH to his higher power. I got better when I got present in the now and not the future or past. I got better when I saw it how it was- he was a drunk. I admitted it and accepted it. I wasn't the one who was putting the relationship second. I live in the solution not the problem. I wasn't a victim. I was a volunteer- until I wasn't anymore. I heard on SR the Zen quote- "let go or be dragged....."
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:09 AM
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From a bird's eye view, you HAD all the conversations, SAID all the things why -- a year ago. You have had a year of her answer.

There is no need to have another conversation, it has already been said, exhaustively.

You have the data.

Time to sign, or not.

To paraphrase our SR member La Tee Da: "It's wishful thinking that is so confusing; reality is not confusing."

CLMI
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:18 AM
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I understand the feeling of holding on for some slim to none hope. Personally, I think you have held on until you are bleeding. It may be easy for me to say, but I would think it is likely obvious what you need to just go ahead and do. At this point you don't need to explain. It should be obvious to all involved including her.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:36 AM
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The marriage is over, the financial arrangement has been, agreed to and fullfulled. It's over.

Perhaps if she is finally left to take care of herself, she will hit her bottom, she never will, if you
continue to financially enable her.

A divorce is just a legal document, the emotional part of the marriage is always disolved before one signs on the dotted line.

Do what is best for you, it is your life to live, no dress rehersals, this is it.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:34 AM
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djayr, You have to do what is best for YOU.

Personally, I would just finalize the divorce. I would free myself of the financial obligation of the marital home. Not intending to sound cruel or disrespectful but I am sure you have heard the phrase "cash cow". You are supporting her every whim, what would be the incentive to help herself????

Perhaps now is the perfect time, to allow her to face the consequences of her actions/choices. Presently, she has not been uprooted from all the comforts of home that YOU are providing her.

Forcing the house to be sold will also be an opportunity to witness her "true" self/actions, live and unplugged. More is going to be revealed.......

You can either rip the bandaid off, or continue to painfully pick at it.....

Again, time to put yourself first, friend.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:53 AM
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I am very sorry that you are here today. But here you are. And I don't believe God put us on this earth to be unhappy and constantly disappointed. I believe He gives us the opportunities to decide that for ourselves.

I see no reason with scheduling "the talk" with her - give her a few days notice out of respect (doesn't matter if she has any or not, act respectfully anyway for yourself). Lay it all out as you have already above. "Say what you mean, mean what you say, just don't say it mean" is what comes to mind.

But just because a year went by doesn't mean you have to do it right now, if you are not ready. Be absolutely sure before you sign on the dotted line.

Honestly, djayr, I can't think of one single thing you haven't done already, including being very patient and tolerant of behavior that gets other folks kicked to the proverbial curb instantly. Don't you think its time to start living a life for yourself that meets your needs?
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:30 PM
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IMO, I don't think she is going to change, if you moving out of the house wasn't enough of a wake up call, I don't think anything will be at this point.

I know it's difficult when you love them but at this point you need to cut your losses and move on. Maybe you will be doing her a favor by divorcing her and she will finally have to confront the task of getting her life together.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:38 PM
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I am new to this site (never posted before), and usually I just like to read through and gain insight into my own situation. You made a comment though in your last post (I can't figure out how to copy the quote yet, so bear with me) about being a Christian and what God would want you to do. As a Christian myself I've struggled with this same question. I am blessed, however, to have a friend who is a Theology teacher. He answered this same question for me and my situation (I have an AH). I understand not all situations are the same, and everyone is entitiled to believe what they will, I'm just hoping this helps a little bit.
He said an Alcoholics ways are manipulative, deceiving, and words/attitude can be violent/destructive! We believe that our God is a gracious God. He is understanding. Above all else in this life, God knows our heart. Putting yourself in a situation where you're compromising yourself and your sanity isn't from The Lord. On top of that, you're very unequally yoked (not to mention being set free after the affairs, but that's for another day). At the end of the day it's a heart issue. Our God is merciful and knows your pain and sorrow. We are meant to forgive, like you said, but we're allowed to forgive from a distance, away from the harm and destruction.

Best of luck to you on your tough choices ahead.

(I hope I didn't break any posting laws, by posting something "religious")
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:46 PM
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Djayr,

In readying one of your initial quotes, this is the section that sticks out to me.

Here is my problem. We are getting along. She is nice and quite sweet most of the time. She is lonely and sad and misses me, which makes me feel sorry for her. I regularly suggest going to detox / rehab - why not, what else are you doing for God sakes? - but months go by, a total of 2 years of drinking at this point. There were 2 short breaks, but it's mostly been a non-stop 24/7 buzz for her.

Things are so different, so much better, when she is sober. If only she would give it a shot.


How do you even know if it she and your relationship is so much better anymore? You even say she only had had two short stints. I used this rational to justify how great my ex was in the morning after he had his coffee but before he started drinking. About a two or three hour window. How sad is that?

You gave her the 12 months, I gave mine 6 months and finally filed after I moved out and he did not change. He was shocked. Everyone else saw it coming but him. But you know what? Did even that make him quit or slow down drinking. Nope.

Good luck it is a horrible situation to be in.

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Old 10-24-2012, 02:46 PM
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Hi Arlie and welcome. I don't think you broke any posting laws! I have only been here a couple of months but it always seems to me like all perspectives are welcomed. Unless they're just mean.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:17 PM
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Hi Everyone-

Thank you very much for posting. There is so much collective experience on these boards!

I can now add your voices to the chorus of friends and family that are gently hoping I can finally bring this 18 year drama to some kind of conclusion. It is the voice of wisdom.

It's all so dramatic and sad and emotional to me. I hate conflict. I don't want anyone, including AW, to be mad at me. I have my own flaws and I don't want to be judgmental. So this is hard for me.

Yet I am gathering the strength to go through with it. Strength and possibly even hope and optism as to what might be next for me. It's been 2 years since she fell off the wagon; the fact is, she has not stopped drinking, so that's that. I am done with active alcoholism, this is the end of the road. Yikes.

I just wanted to say thanks again for the good advice. It might be a punch in the gut, but it really does help.

Blessings....
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:00 PM
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I was having trouble back in the day breaking the vows and my preacher said the Bible says-"don't be yoked to a drunkard."
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:30 PM
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Our God is merciful and knows your pain and sorrow. We are meant to forgive, like you said, but we're allowed to forgive from a distance, away from the harm and destruction.
my preacher said the Bible says-"don't be yoked to a drunkard."
Thank you for those!!! I wish someone had showed me the second one YEARS ago!!!
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:51 PM
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Sorry for your pain djyr, which I know and feel deeply as you do. Been there too.

Remember that your AW got mad at you for no good reasons at all many times. An alcoholic getting mad is not a barometer of the righteousness of your decision.

God's Speed & Blessings!
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:57 PM
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Why would you keep allowing her to beat you down and stay just because you're not "perfect?" I've never understood that. You are a human being and deserve just as much love and respect as anyone else. You're not getting that from her, and you won't until she reaches recovery (which we all know may or may not happen, and even then, you still may not see either of those things).

Honestly, when I read what you've written about how free you feel without her, and how much easier it is to simply LIVE... well, I think 'Gosh, that sounds like a pretty damn good life to me. If only everyone could feel so at east on their own, away from their A.' Maybe go back and reread those parts and be reminded of the life you deserve. You've exhausted just about every option in the codie handbook for trying to get her to sober up and be with you, and what have you gotten in return? I wish you all the best, and I'll be praying for you.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:16 PM
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Some great posts on here. For me, I will be getting a divorce soon, unless some miracle and intervention, divine I might say and I know for certain that God has just transformed this person.... otherwise I couldn't stomach going through another detox, dry drunk, fall off the wagon here we go again. I don't have that in me to give. I don't think anyone should. I seen this picture on facebook not to long ago of a man with a huge bull behind him and he had his hands behind him clutching the bull horns and pulling the bull along and the bulls heels were just digging in the dirt resisting with all force. Seems impossible,it is! Thats how I see for me to continue in a relationship with my AH. I want more for me than that. I am not going to drag someone along in life. I want more for him than that.
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