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Advice for a recovering alcoholic

Old 05-21-2013, 12:56 PM
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Advice for a recovering alcoholic

Hi everyone I have been sober for almost 3 months. My relationship with my partner has been really great but every now and then he brings up the past: Things I have done when I was drunk, how he couldn't trust me, he was going to leave or that one time he wished I was dead. I understand he is bitter and fearful that I will drink again, but I have done everything in my power to show that I am dedicated to staying sober. I always wondered why he stayed so long with me when I was drinking, now I am sober I wonder if he is tired and fed up. He says he still loves me and wants to stay but when he makes those comments I feel so hurt. Will this phase eventually pass? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:01 PM
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Whether it will pass depends largely on whether you both work hard on your respective recoveries. YOU have to change--in more ways than just quitting drinking (I am a sober alcoholic, myself, and that is what has to happen). And HE has to work on his own recovery for his own peace of mind.

Hey, when you hurt people, you have to expect a reaction. The things you did while drinking do not magically go away because you got sober. Are you in AA? Working the Steps will help you get the past into the past, where it belongs.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:13 PM
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Chances are you caused deep amounts of pain and anxiety over a long stretch of time. Maybe you should begin by giving him a space to tell you about it. Show him compassion and love for the pain he has been through. Sure, he loves you. But he has been burned very badly.

Besides, I think you need to understand the depth of it before you can really make amends for it.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:41 PM
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Truth is alcoholism damages greatly. Not just for the user but for those around who felt secure .
Wounds do not heal because we beckon them too...they heal because we treat them properly and with time. As a spouse of a recovering alcoholic I can tell you that though I am healing and our relationship is much better its not a piece of cake ...ah quakes here and there and has moments I consider a dry drunk and sometimes his behavior just reminds me of the past and other times im alone with thoughts or reminders and I become angry or hurt.
We give eachother empathy to our own feelings and allow eachother to grow.
Its not going to be easy but if we get through the tough part of healing individually then our relationship will be a concrete slab stronger thicker and more durable and we feel better because we went through it with as much grace as possible.
Just be sympathetic and work on you. Let his healing be as it is. We must work through feelings to conquer them
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Nanoo32 View Post
Hi everyone I have been sober for almost 3 months.
Congrats on almost hitting the three month mark!

Originally Posted by Nanoo32 View Post
My relationship with my partner has been really great but every now and then he brings up the past: Things I have done when I was drunk, how he couldn't trust me, he was going to leave
I can understand his feelings...

Originally Posted by Nanoo32 View Post
or that one time he wished I was dead.
...but I (personally) felt this crossed the line.

I could be wrong, but when I read this, it triggered feelings in me from having been verbally abused in the past. Yes, you made your mistakes. Yes, he has the right to be upset/hurt about it. But telling you that he wished you were dead is not a healthy way of expressing said emotions.

Originally Posted by Nanoo32 View Post
Will this phase eventually pass? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I certainly hope so. Have you tried couples counseling? It seems that it could potentially be beneficial in this situation.
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:36 PM
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I agree wishing you were dead crossed the line.
I am in recovery from alcohol too.
I wished my ex dead, but never told him that, it was part of my recovery process.
To each their own.
Both need a program, their own program and NOT take each others inventory.
3 months is a miracle for an alcoholic, but looks like a very short time to those on the outside, do you now what I mean?

work your program, and if he says hurtful things ask for forgiveness.
He can forgive and move on, or continue to punish you.
Only you can decide what or which one to deal with.
Punishment phase is over when healing begins in my opinion.

Beth
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:39 PM
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My RABF is sober 6 months this week, and I am grateful. But I have to admit, there was enormous personal pain, and he caused a lot of damage when he was drinking. While I was happy when he got sober, I had a hard time letting go of the past. I wanted an apology NOW for all he had done to me. He was working hard on his recovery, and I could see that, but I still had a hard time with what had happened.

It wasn't until I became involved in AlAnon that I learned how to make peace with it, and let it go. I listened to a young woman in recovery one night say how she was glad that she didn't apologize to family before she got to the 9th step. Had she done it earlier to make them happy, she wouldn't have really understood what she was apologizing for. When she was ready, it was heartfelt and real. That story stuck with me. I realized I had to give him the time and space for his recovery, and trust that things would happen when they were meant to happen.

Is your partner in AlAnon? Are you in a recovery program? As time goes on, things get better. But it definitely takes work on both sides.

Congrats on your sobriety, wishing you continued health.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:50 PM
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Wow Thanks so much for everyone's response! This has really helped, I have been seeing a CBT therapist for 6 months now, partner was attending al-anon but has stopped since I quit drinking. We both read this forum together and have decided to focus more on our own recovery. Again thanks so much
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:16 PM
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Dear Nanoo32, I will speak for myself here, as a person who has been on the receiving end.

I have suffered what felt like unspeakable heartache and pain at the hands of alcoholics. thislonelygirl is right, these memories and wounds don't just go away because the alcoholic has a "period" of sobriety---and because it is politically correct to "move forward with our own recovery" I believe for me, it would be wonderfully healing to know that the alcoholic truly "gets it" that I was deeply hurt and wounded. I did not have the liquor to numb my feelings and emotions---like the alcoholic did.

I don't see where it is so hard to understand that an active alcoholic can be very cruel in their actions---and to indicate their sorrow over those actions. It is so easy to bringcomfort to another person by feeling their pain and telling them how you feel about it.
For Pete's sake--I sometimes step on my dogs tail (by accident)--and I apologize. (of course I realize that it hurt and I am TRULY sorry).

I realize that my position on this issue is very controversial--as evidenced by one very intense thread dedicated to this in the past (LOL).

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:07 PM
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You don't have to do the whole amends thing right away, but it can help a lot to try to relate to the pain that your partner felt. Just validating it--saying you can only imagine what it must have been like for him--can be a welcome response.

It's still early on for both of you, but if you try to be patient with each other, realizing that neither of you can TOTALLY understand the other's experience, and patient with yourselves, too, you can both heal.

Congrats on your sober time--it's AWESOME.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:53 PM
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YES---at least SOME indication of empathy and caring about the feelings of those who have been so injured. Not just--"I am sober; so give me a medal; and now, forget everything that ever happened".

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:12 PM
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When in doubt --

saying --

1. Yes, I am/was wrong.
2. I am sorry.
3. Please forgive me . . .

Will go a LONG, LONG way.

At least I think it would.

Having NEVER heard ANY of that from Mrs. Hammer, I am just speculating.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:17 PM
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we alcoholics leave quite a trail of wreckage in our path. it can take a very long time sometims to clean it up and earn trust, which is earned through actions.
i got a lil jacked up when poeple in my life were apprehensive of me. when i brought it up to a friend in reovery he said,"well no sh*t! have ya bothered puttin on their shoes and seein what crap they put up with?? would you trust you?"
conversation over.
i had a lot of work to do to get the trust back, which there was no time limit on, and must continue it, not for anyone else, but for me.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:36 PM
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Hi Nanoo,

Thank you for your post and congratulations on almost reaching 3 months! I do *hope* to be in your situation at some point, so I'm not completely sure what I would say, but I do believe the fact that you are reaching out for help to understand your situation is a very good sign that you are working at your recovery.

From what I have read here at SR and learned at Al-Anon, each partner needs to work their recovery and be making some progress before they can start to heal their relationship. I second the recommendation for couples counseling and believe having an unbiased third party can be a great help to having productive conversations. I also second the recommendation for showing empathy for what your partner went through as well as validating their feelings - let them know they have been heard and have the right to those feelings.

Good luck!
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:40 PM
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If that's the truth of what he felt, that's the truth of what he felt.

I think to put it behind us, on either or both sides, we have to be totally honest. Otherwise, the wound festers, even when it is covered over.

If what you did hurt him that bad, then it hurt him that bad. If he is telling you this to punish you, that is one thing, and it isn't recovery.

If he is telling you this because that is how he truly felt, then you need to (eventually) own that your behavior had that consequence for someone else.

Shakespeare said "True compassion is ruthless".

ShootingStar1
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by wicked View Post
I agree wishing you were dead crossed the line.
I am in recovery from alcohol too.
I wished my ex dead, but never told him that, it was part of my recovery process.
My XAH told me over and over again:

"I know you wish I was dead"

"I know you are sitting there hoping I die when I'm driving drunk"

"You want me to crash the car and die"

He told me that stuff so often when he was in a blind drunken rage, so eventually, I just started to agree with him. He was right. I never knew it, I just needed the drunk to tell me so.

It wasn't crossing the line. I just ended up agreeing with blind drunken raging husband.

Alcoholics say such horrible, nasty, mean soul destroying things to the people they claim to love. Can you blame us for eventually hating your guts (despite loving you enough to put up with your crap) and wishing you would quietly slip away in your sleep and thus saving us from this crap?

I wanted my husband and father of my children to match his words to his actions. So, when he says: "I'd do anything for you guys!, I love you all so much. I'd die for you". And then he follows that up with hurling drunken abuse at us, keeping us awake, making us all afraid to sleep lest he wake us all up with some drunken stupid THING he just thought of that we all HAD TO KNOW RIGHT NOW at 3.00am, at some point we start to wish that when he said he would die for us, that he f*cking meant it.

Harsh I know. He really, really f*cked with me and my/our kids' heads.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:18 AM
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Congrats on 3 months sober...

That being said, I suspect that you said MANY things you don't fully recall when in the midst of drinking and hurt your partner deeply. To you it was just words and bc of your disease. To your partner it was hurtful. Verbally abusive even perhaps.

You need to realize that 3 months, while a long time in recovery for you, is a blip in terms of earning trust back and demonstrating with actions that your partner can trust you won't behave the same way anymore.

It took a long time to tear trust apart and hurt your partner to the extent it sounds you did so you probaly need to expect it to take even longer to fix it.

When I hurt someone, no matter how minor, it is a knee jerk reaction to say sorry, reflect and CHANGE what I have done to not have it occur again. I don't repeat the past over and over. I have however experienced what it is like to be hurt over and over by the sorry's that are never matched with actions. I can't really understand, as Dandylion said, why it is so complex for those who have hurt their loved ones while in the throws of addiction, to understand why your loved ones stay hurt...

Recovery or not on your partners part-- there's legit hurt there and stepping into your partners shoes might be a good idea...
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