I am my only problem

Old 02-02-2013, 08:00 PM
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I am my only problem

Iím sure my story begins long before I was even aware that I had a problem. After 12 years of the single life, I decided I was ready for a full time relationship. My, son was living with his father and my daughter in college. I met a wonderful man. He made me laugh, we moved in together. I quit my 2nd job, which I had worked at for 10 years. We spent hours talking, traveling and enjoying life. We drank wine together. He was retired. I was still working. We married. He drank everyday. I did not. I never thought much about it, until the merry-go-round wouldnít stop.

You donít know what is happening to you when you are on that merry-go-round. Itís going around so fast that you never get the chance to get off. Everything is blurred.

At the beginning of the relationship with my husband, my son was in and out of trouble - drugs, alcohol, lawyers, jail, prison, probation. So when the subject of alcoholism came up in my relationship with my husband, he denied that he had a problem. He states he has never been in trouble with the law, never had a DUI, doesnít drink until 4:00pm, is financially secure and whatever problems we were having didnít have anything to do with alcohol. We are both stubborn. The fighting would often last several days leaving me mentally exhausted trying to get him to see the ď problemĒ. He never knew what I was talking about. It would be years before I understood what the real problem was.

My best friend could see. She knew. I never knew when the rug would be pulled out from under me. It always took me by surprise. She recommended that I attend Al-Anon. I began to read about alcoholism and found this forum. I remember telling her that I didnít want to go to an Al-Anon meeting because everyone got divorced and I didnít want that. She still encouraged me. I was scared to go to a meeting. I would sit in my car and watch everyone go in. I went to 2 meetings. I saw a woman from one of those meetings at church one day and she said she thought she knew me from somewhere. My heart began to race and I did not return to Al-Anon. Whenever the drama started, I would spend hours here at Sober Recovery, reading in disbelief the stories that so many of us share.

I tried to join the forum at the time but was never successful getting the link sent to my email address. I continued to read. I went to counseling. I enjoyed the good times but I wasnít happy about the bad times. I continued to fight for the type of relationship I wanted. I slowly began to see what alcohol was doing to my life. We fought over so many stupid things. Mostly it was his alcoholic voice telling him that he was the victim. He would treat me indifferent and I would call him on his behavior and we would end up fighting. I would have to pull it out of him to find out what was wrong. He would never validate my feelings. His negativity and judgment of everyone drives me crazy. I ask him frequently, if he was on a first date with me would he act this way. Everyone thinks he is a great guy. I have told him he gives more respect to the neighbors than to me.

I do not mention quitting drinking to him. Haven't in a long time. It makes him more hostile and difficult. It is not my business Ė it is his. I donít threaten our relationship, although he does with every conflict. Iím a straight shooter. I say what I mean and I mean what I say, so I am careful not to say something I am not willing to follow through with.

I was no longer working, however it seemed like I had less time for myself. I was exhausted. I suffered from migraine headaches. My life had become unmanageable. A few years ago after a miserable Thanksgiving and Christmas He had a fall and hit his head, which led to a trip to the ER with 12 stitches. I refused to go with him on a scheduled vacation the next day and he went alone. He quit drinking when he returned home. I started taking classes at the college. Doing something for myself was empowering.

He quit drinking from January until May. He became resentful, thought he wasnít having fun like he used to so he began to drink again. My grandson was born in August and my son moved back to town in September. When I was criticized, by both my son and husband, for spending too much time supporting my daughter, when her newborn was hospitalized with a Failure to Thrive diagnosis, I decided that I had enough.

For a couple months we lived in the same house but lived separate lives. My motto was: You do what you need to do for you and I will do what I need to do for me. I let him know that it no longer mattered to me if he didnít understand how I felt. I didnít need his validation. He hired an attorney and prepared papers. I didnít engage. I had a consult with an attorney for my piece of mind and confidence. He put the divorce on hold for the holidays. I continued on with my separate life. He continued to drink. He spent the holidays out of town with his family and I spent it with my family and grandson. He returned home and quit drinking the next day. He read the AA book, but still didnít feel it applied to him.

Life was drama free and we enjoyed many happy times. Nine months later we were out of town visiting relatives (80 something year old non alcoholics) and went to their favorite bar/restaurant with them and he said yes to a glass of wine.

It doesnít take long to fall back into the old habits. We struggled for the remainder of the year. I wasnít mentally prepared to call it quits at that point. We had many things planned for the coming year so I suggested, ďwe get through the yearĒ. We roller-coasted through the year. As the year began to come to a close I would take the opportunity during times of conflict to say that we were just going to get to the end of the year. The holidays brought their usual turmoil, reinforcing my need to address the next step.

My physical health has suffered as well as my mental health. Not ready to throw in the towel, but also knowing if nothing changes, nothing changes, I have made a commitment to myself to attend a weekly Al-Anon meeting. After attending the first meeting I told my husband what I was doing. That stirred up some trouble, but also empowered me to be able to detach and let him know if he doesnít ďget itĒ (what the problem is) he never will and maybe we should move on. The next day I received a note saying ďHE GETS ITĒ. He knows what his problem is. He wants to talk as soon as possible. I said I would listen, but Iím not talking anymore. He says Itís been a problem his whole life. He gets an attitude, if he thinks Iím trying to control him. He knows Iím not, but it is his fear and so he believes it to be true. And since he knows the problem, he can fix it. My response: Great, then it will be a good day.

An amazing thing has happened. I am not fooled for a minute. He drinks. He will be on his best behavior for a little while. He went to bed at 10:00pm for a week, knowing that if heís sleeping he isnít appearing drunk to me and saying stupid stuff.
He is the same person. The same problems will come around again. He hasnít changed Ė but I have. I donít know what is around the corner. What I do know is that I have a choice.

It has been a long road, these past 10 years, with both my son and my husband. Iím grateful to Sober Recovery for this forum and everyone who posts, not only the responses and advice, but also the heartbreaking stories that take so much courage to tell. Thank you also to Al-Anon. I donít know how it works, but it works!
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:51 PM
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I'm so humbled by your very well thought out contribution to the forum. It's a breath of fresh air from a non-addicted person having to deal with one(s, your son included) who clearly has a problem and is in a perpetual stage and or state of denial about it.
While sober going on 51 days, I can only relate to your husbands side. The idiotic things a drunk will do to hide or pretend they are not drinking or to appear to be drinking 'less than ususal'. What seems to be done out of complete stupidity to the sober person, makes perfect sense to the un-sober person.
My husband and I both agreed to stop at the same time, however it was/is glaringly obvious that I can't control my drinking and he can. He is of great support to me and I am grateful. While he misses being my drinking buddy, he can take alcohol or leave it. I can't.
I hope you find some peace in your life. You deserve it. Sorry to say, it sounds like hubby can't or won't.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:57 AM
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Thank you for sharing your path to personal growth with us. Your merry-go-round terminology was an excellent analogy.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:26 AM
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Thanks for sharing--wow, how nice to get up and read all these positive posts this morning about people finding peace and happiness in the midst of the chaos created by alcoholism.

Rock on!
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for sharing your story. So much of it resonated with me. Especially when you say

He is the same person. The same problems will come around again. He hasnít changed Ė but I have. I donít know what is around the corner. What I do know is that I have a choice.
That's the beauty of it. The fact that WE can get better. Our fate isn't sealed to theirs. Thank God for that. Thank God for recovery and for Al anon.

I hope you keep posting. Hugs and blessings...

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Old 02-03-2013, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for sharing your story, it resonates with so many of us. Your story is one of hope in the end. No matter what your AH decides to do, you have learned that you can be healthy and peaceful in your own recovery. That's one of the gifts of AlAnon.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:56 AM
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Dear Onlyoneproblem, welcome to the board! Have you read any of Melodie Beatties's books? "Co-Dependent No More" is highly recommended and was a real turning point for me.

Yes, you do have choices. You have a right to peace and serenity. Your fate does not have to be tied to his---as was well said by a previous poster--OutOnaLimb.

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:23 PM
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Thanks to all of you for your support. Iíve gained so much knowledge and confidence from all of your stories.

The hardest thing for me to do was to detach.
The best thing I ever did was detach!

Through this forum and now at Al-Anon meetings I am able to see the recurring classic behavior that is a part of the disease. Educating myself about Alcoholism was the key that allowed me to separate the disease from the man I love and detach. Detachment helped me with my frustration, anger and hostility.

I donít get it right everyday and some days I swear Iíve lost my mind only to return here to F & F and be reminded of what the truth really is.

Dandylion, Thank you! I have read Codependent No more. Excellent book. Another book that has been a great help to me is ďLet Go NowĒ by Karen Casey.

Noanxtime, Congratulations on your 51 days of sobriety! You are doing great. Iím glad you are here and feeling better.

There is always hope!
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