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How did you know change was genuine?

Old 01-05-2014, 06:08 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Liz--actually I also wondered why you suddenly made no more mention of the apartment hunting and plans of the announced separation. I found out that if you state a boundary that is not enforced---they learn that our "boundaries" are just hollow words or "threats" to try to get them to fall into line. Basically, what happened to me was that they would be nice and compliant for a little while--until I relaxed---then back to the origional behavior.....aaaargh!!

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Old 01-05-2014, 08:19 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Liz--actually I also wondered why you suddenly made no more mention of the apartment hunting and plans of the announced separation. I found out that if you state a boundary that is not enforced---they learn that our "boundaries" are just hollow words or "threats" to try to get them to fall into line. Basically, what happened to me was that they would be nice and compliant for a little while--until I relaxed---then back to the origional behavior.....aaaargh!!

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I've hit a wall trying to find a place that will take the dog and I didn't get approved for the 2 places I applied for since I don't have a job. I'm starting to get discouraged, but I have not told my AH about any of this. As far as he knows, I'm still planning on it.

I sent him an email around Christmas time where I showed him exactly where we were going to cut financially, what bills I was going to pay off(including our son's braces), and how I was going to be able to save about 2/3rds of the rental expense. He never responded to that email. So, I left it alone especially since I'm having a miserable time finding something suitable. I knew it would be easier if he was the one who moved out since he has a good job, great credit, and wouldn't be taking the dog.

As for how he's acting. I do feel there is something different about him. I can't put my finger on it without sounding like a broken record saying, "He's changed. yay, right?" Hmm, it's more like I see someone different. He has more peace, more joy, and is more agreeable than ever before. He's made no demands from me, he's not pushing me for anything relationship wise, he's made no mention of trying counseling again, etc. He's just being 'normal'. I guess only time will tell if it's an act.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:32 PM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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I think during early recovery, the RA IS genuine in what they intend to do, stay sober, keep their family intact, etc. But when the call of the bottle is too strong, and they give in, all their best intentions go out the window. My RAH is 3 months sober, and I'm not holding my breath. I am too, accepting crumbs in place of a real marriage. Aren't we used to that already though? I know I deserve better. He is also not in AA and is white knuckling it, being moody, quiet, but is taking vitamins, eating better, getting exercise, for whatever that's worth. He needs to work some sort of program or have a treatment plan (counseling) but he won't. I feel as if we take these crumbs of normalcy and because we are not dealing with the monster drunk at the moment, things seem...um, better? I guess when you're married to a raging alcoholic, when he stops getting drunk, anything seems better. But we do deserve more than this. I did not dream of marriage and family being like this, accepting crumbs from my husband and convincing myself that it's enough. It's not. But we're still married, and have 3 young kids who adore their dad. I guess we sit and wait for the other shoe to drop. I wish there was a crystal ball to tell us the future so we could decide to stay or go.
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:24 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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One thing that's hard for me is to consider my AH in 'early recovery' especially when it comes to physical withdrawal. He was never a daily drinker. Sometimes he could go a month without a drink and mostly he just binge drank when he traveled for work. My issues with him were that he didn't have an off switch once he started and it got him into trouble with the law and caused issues with us as a family.

He was 'dry' for 15 years so I know he's capable of staying away from alcohol. For us, it's more about the attitudes, the gas lighting, the control and manipulative ways he has, etc. And, also, about how poorly I handled it for years in our marriage where I realized I had to fix(read control) whatever was going wrong in his life for him. I felt that I was doing those things to keep myself out of harm's way and that I was helping. I've come to learn now that it's all part of my own dysfunction, as well.

He's going out of town for work today, the first trip in over a month, so we'll see how it goes. I'm guessing he stays away from the booze for now. But, it's really not my place to bother with it. I have so much to get done at home anyway and I need to focus on my recovery!
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:48 PM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Liz, I wanted to add one more thing that I feel would be important you you to remember:

You can't change him; you can't control him; you can't fix him. He is who he is.

sincerely, dandylion
i agree with dandylion here...its this crazy circle....

but

i stand by: Actions speaks louder than words
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:59 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
Hi Liz,

to be honest the only time when I knew change was genuine was when it was mine. As for anyone else I could never be sure.

Your friend,
That's pretty brilliant Mike.

Sorry you are struggling Liz.

I think that while we all have some common experiences we should always keep in mind that one size fits one with this.

I think that I think.... The two things that stand out are when I found out about Poh's last relapse a few months after it happened and while I hit the ceiling that night, with time and the clarity of hindsight I think that was a major turning point because she wasn't 'found out' and did not admit it to anyone until she was but while in the midst of 'getting away with it' she suddenly did like ten meetings in ten days and AA went from being something she did because she had to to something she did because SHE wanted, needed, had to have it of her own volition.

A second key thing was when I was still seething and furious with her for minimizing it and the defensive facade and feigned ignorance of what her lapse could have caused disappeared when she and I were talking to a rehab counselor about her lapse during pregnancy. She described in detail what could have happened (and thankfully did not) and the absolute horror and misery and self-loathing written all over her face instantly told me that she had spent the prior three months living in her own personal hell and I wasn't angry any longer - I understood and forgave instantly.

Final thing... her vigilance. When an alcoholic says they have it beat and can handle it and will never lapse again I don't question their sincerity - I think they genuinely believe it. When my wife tells me she is terrified because she knows in her gut that she has to be aware every day and work her plan every day despite the fact that she has been in recovery for two years and she's almost to the 18 month milestone - I know she is far more 'well' than someone who says they are fine because the people I know with ten, fifteen, thirty years sober sound just like her.

Along the lines of Mike's concise and brilliant observation... I don't know when it happened but at some point I stopped looking for bottles, sniffing breath or worrying about whether she was sneaking a drink because there is no reason to fear that - if she could drink on the sly without my ever noticing then I would not be here. I'm here because she doesn't know if it would take a day, week or month but whether it was the first sip or the hundredth or the thousandth there would come one sip that broke through the handcuffs and rope that ties up that addictive voice and keeps it from taking over and then it would take over and I'd know.

So I don't keep tabs or ask questions or involve myself in her recovery beyond attending functions and talking over things she's read or heard when she wants my take and somewhere along the line I came to feel that it would be cruel to doubt her when she has done and continues to do everything she can to get well, stay well, learn, study, meditate, sponsor others... so I am thankful for what is and what has been and having figured out a rough 'plan' in case we need it one day I stopped worrying about it and just thank God for it.

I think we see change in the rearview mirror more than we see it in the present. If a year goes by and he has not had a drink and he's changing in healthy ways you'll look back and have some moments that stand out, right now perhaps you are looking back and thinking "been here" without being able to say "but this time I am seeing things I haven't seen before".

Time, repetition, new patterns appearing ... I don't think we know when a real change is happening in someone else, we just have a moment where it occurs to us that something DID change.

Watching my wife hurt for the four friends who have relapsed this month drew big neon lines around the changes she's made for me. Three were not a surprise, one was a shocker. The friend and sponsee she was most worried about - the one who lost a child last month - did not relapse.

Alcoholism is confounding.

To Mike's point again, what changed in me is clear. I am a tad (cough) OCD and I think everything through to the nth degree and it took me 40 years or so to find a mystery I could not unravel, take apart, understand and reassemble with confidence that I 'got it'. I don't get it, I will never 'get it' but I know it's name and I know that it is patient and cunning and evil and I do not care for it much but something changed in me there too. I accept that it is out there waiting and if it hits us I won't see it coming so I refuse to let it steal my happiness or chip away at the love and devotion I feel toward the courageous and wonderful woman who gets up and kicks its ass each and every day.

Today was a good day. My wife is sober and safe and warm and surrounded by two guys and two furballs who adore her and admire her.... Ok, the furballs just admire her ability to distribute treats but they still adore her.

Liz, if he was sober today then today was a good day and started off a good week and from the sound of it 2014 has been a good year. Can't see what the rest of it will bring but maybe this is a day when you can let go of what might be, enjoy today then well, that would be a nice change that you would be able to see.

hang in there.
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:36 AM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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Just wanted to thank Pohsfriend for putting his input out there. The one thing that stood out for me was the word vigilance. And, that applies to me too. When I work my program with vigilance, I have more peace and feel better about the path that I am. When I slack off, I get sucked back in. I appreciate your feedback, thank you.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:33 AM
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He was 'dry' for 15 years so I know he's capable of staying away from alcohol. For us, it's more about the attitudes, the gas lighting, the control and manipulative ways he has, etc. And, also, about how poorly I handled it for years in our marriage where I realized I had to fix(read control) whatever was going wrong in his life for him. I felt that I was doing those things to keep myself out of harm's way and that I was helping. I've come to learn now that it's all part of my own dysfunction, as well.

Liz, this sounds so much like my marriage except that AH has never made it more than a year without drinking. He's in his honeymoon phase as I call it... the phase when he first starts drinking again after having quit due to some major event/illness/etc. He usually starts out drinking moderately, a few beers a few nights a week max. It gradually increases until he binges for some reason, then it rapidly increases to his norm. We are actually getting along really well this time. Partly because I'm working on myself, I think. Partly because he seems to be working on himself, too (despite the drinking.) But, it's too late for us. We are separating soon. AH will be moving out in Feb. We haven't told the kids because we want to iron out some of the details first. Regardless, I fully intend to continue attending al-anon and working on me. As far as it depends on me, I want this divorce to be as amicable as possible for all of our sakes. That can only happen if I keep working on me. Plus, I just really, really want a happy, peaceful life for me and my children. I'm tired of the drama and chaos.

I really hope this is true change you are seeing with your AH. IF not, it sounds like you're working on you which is all we can do, I guess.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by PohsFriend View Post
Today was a good day. My wife is sober and safe and warm and surrounded by two guys and two furballs who adore her and admire her.... Ok, the furballs just admire her ability to distribute treats but they still adore her.

Liz, if he was sober today then today was a good day and started off a good week and from the sound of it 2014 has been a good year. Can't see what the rest of it will bring but maybe this is a day when you can let go of what might be, enjoy today then well, that would be a nice change that you would be able to see.

hang in there.
Lots of good stuff in that post Friend. My wife is also in recovery and possibly because she has never relapsed, I don't worry about "when" it will happen. But I get how terrifying that kind of worry can be because I've experienced it in other parts of my life.

I've come to believe that a good life comes from "living in the present" which means letting go of all the things that "might" happen and accepting the things we are blessed with right now. I've got a job, I had breakfast, I'm warm enough, my bills are mostly caught up, my wife and my dog will be happy to see me when I walk thru the door tonight. Simple things. Today is a good day.

I know that letting go of the past and not worrying about the future is easier said than done. But like anything worthwhile, difficult things can be accomplished with practice and persistence. Baby steps. One day at a time.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:59 PM
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I would say that if he is still renting cars illegally and driving them then he is not serious.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:07 PM
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When I stepped out of the way and was no longer invested in his recovery and decisions and then my XAH made those decisions on his own for him that's when I knew...you just sort of "know" when it happens. What I realized once I "knew" was that all those times before when I was questioning the reason I was questioning was because I was basing my life on his decisions and in some way I had 'helped' him get there (indirectly and very subtley sometimes...so maybe just with some subtle "help").

Bottom line for me - if it felt wrong it probably was, our instincts are there for a reason.
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