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The Rollercoaster Continues (long)

Old 07-06-2013, 11:25 PM
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The Rollercoaster Continues (long)

Hey All,
I have not been keeping up for a while, my recovering AW has been home from rehab for a couple months, and honestly, it has been difficult. After her in-patient treatment, she also went to aftercare which was three nights a week, including one night when family could come. I went to all of those sessions, and it was good, have also been going to Alanon once or twice a week, even though I still do not really find it very helpful.

While she was gone, and for the weeks afterward, I was doing very well, taking care of myself, doing things I like to do, maintaining my detachment. When she first came home she was mildly annoying, mostly sat around home, reading books, watching TV, very unmotivated, seeming somewhat depressed. I felt she was falling back into her usual M.O., which was not talking to me about anything consequential, and would shut down conversations about how she was feeling, her job search (nonexistent) and so on. She insisted everything was fine, she was just pre-occupied with recovery. Not much else for me to do, I continued with my life, my alanon meetings, my group sessions at the rehab. I felt like I was in a good place, and she would either come around or she wouldn't.

One month dragged into two, and I was starting to get concerned, and honestly, a little annoyed at her seeming inability to get restarted in life. I was concerned that I was enabling her to continue her social withdrawal. Turns out, I was probably right to be worried. First, I found out that during the last week of her aftercare, there was some snafu with our health insurance, and she had to discontinue it prematurely. Naturally, rather than letting me know directly, I had to ask one night if she was skipping her program - she responds, oh yeah, um, I forgot to tell you, there was some problem with the insurance, but I'm tired of it anyway, the speakers have not been great, I am ready to just go to AA meetings instead. Since I had been firmly schooled in letting her manage her own recovery, I let it go, but I was a bit concerned and annoyed that she was a little cagey about it.

After another weekend of her just sitting around the house doing nothing (while I worked numerous chores) I told her I was concerned that she was isolating and avoiding life. She asked why, I told her because she had stopped talking about how she felt, wouldn't discuss things unless I brought them up, and seemed to be avoiding and withdrawing. She had quit her recovery program through the rehab, but not very active in other meetings, as far as I could tell. I told her I was concerned that she seemed to not be actively looking for a job (at least, she was not sharing any of that info with me), and that in general, she seemed to be isolating.

She assured me she was fine, still sober, and was "definitely working on getting a job." I said ok, just letting you know I am concerned, because we were back into the mode where if we talked about anything meaningful, it had to be me who brought it up, she was not volunteering or initiating, and when I did bring things up, she seemed evasive and defensive. She promised to do better. I didn't feel good about it, but what can I do? It's up to her. To paraphrase a famous sportswriter, I wrote relapse pattern in my notebook.

Then the plot thickened - the next evening, I came home from work, and she came to me kind of freaked out, she had discovered a lump, and was fearful that she had cancer. She said she had called and scheduled an appointment with the doctor two days from then. I encouraged her to call her sponsor and/or other friends, they would understand how stressful this might be, but she would have none of it - it's probably nothing, and I would be embarrassed if it turns out to be nothing. I let it go - I was maintaining my serenity, and was pretty sure it was nothing serious. The next evening (the night before her appointment) I went into my home office to catch up on some work (for a couple hours), and when I came out, she was already in bed asleep (weird) but then I smelled the alcohol.

I thought I had been doing well with my recovery, and was able to deal with her being home. I was getting annoyed at her avoiding resuming life and stiff-arming some of my attempts to engage her, but was willing to cut some slack for a bit as she had just gone through rehab. Once I realized she had relapsed, I felt the return of the despair and frustration. In fact, in this case, it was almost worse, because I could not pretend that she did not know what she was supposed to do - she just was unable to do any of it, even though she knew she was at risk. I saw the potential for relapse, but of course was powerless to stop it.

Since then, several things have happened. One, the doctor confirmed that the lump was not cancer, and nothing to be concerned about. Two, she started taking one of the drugs that suppresses the urge to drink (not sure which one, she has not been very forthright about her medications with me, the story changes constantly, but that is another topic). She has been very enthusiastic about how helpful that drug is for her, she says it is such a relief to feel "normal" and not craving alcohol. I don't mention the number of times she denied having such cravings in the past, and therefore had no need to take those kinds of meds, even though she knew they were available. But hey, if it works for her, great. The main thing though, is we started going to a family counselor who has been pretty good in identifying the dynamics of what is happening between us, and he has been able to get through to her in ways that I have not seen before. Still, I am not feeling very hopeful. Finally, she also got a job. Once she actually started floating her resume, it happened very quickly. I am not surprised, she presents well, and there is a lot of demand for her skill set, but she is always amazed that someone will hire her. Watching her look for a job (which I have done several times during our 20+ years together) can be an excruciating, exhausting process to watch. When she accepted it, I congratulated her, but found it very difficult to feel happy while gritting my teeth and thinking it's about effing time.

I have read "The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage" and understand that it can take a long time to rebuild after a crisis like we have endured. However, after this relapse, which I helplessly watched unfold in slow motion before my eyes, with her actively avoiding using the methods she had learned, I am not sure if I have the stomach for it. I had felt I had gotten to the point of feeling good about my life and optimistic for the future - with or without her. I was somewhat shocked and surprised that the relapse - and actually not so much the relapse, but her inability or lack of desire to guard her sobriety - was able to upset my apple cart, and throw me right back into the hopelessness and despair I felt before she went to treatment.

I have friends who have given me the "enough already" speech, that I have held on and done more than anyone could ask. I realize now it is less about whether I have done enough, or have any more patience, but that I really simply cannot take the emotional strain of being around this. Because it's not just the alcohol, but the dishonesty and lying by omission, her avoidance of life, her self-esteem issues, the overall dysfunctional human being I have come to see her as. I just no longer see her as a partner, it is more like having a perpetual child who is constantly testing my limits. She knows exactly how far I can be pushed, and when I get pushed to that line, suddenly she is again serious about her recovery.

When she was away at rehab, I felt got to where I at least felt good about my life for the first time in years. It bothers me that my serenity (such as it is) is so fragile that her being around me with her passive-aggressive manipulation, chaos, and drama, it can be destroyed so easily. It does make me wonder whether it is time for me to end it and move on, or try some kind of separation - I feel myself very near the end of what I can endure, and my faith that somehow we can turn the ship around and get back to something resembling a real marriage is waning fast. I just don't see how it is possible from where I am at right now. I really don't want to throw away yet another year if this is going nowhere.

Anyway, thanks all for being here and providing this outlet for my frustration and sadness. It does help just to try to express it coherently.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:30 AM
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I'm sorry jmartin. Alcoholism destroys so many lives- it is so sad.

I'm sorry your wife isn't ready for sobriety and working a recovery. I agree with many of your friends in that it sure seems like you've been there for her and supported her for a long time.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:24 AM
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Sorry about your life situation but you seem to have found a way to stay positive and detach. Even if you think you have fallen during her relapse, you are still a very strong man and know exactly what you need to do. What I see you doing here???...Is simply building the courage to do what you already know you want and need to do for your own health and serenity. You will get there....and on a side note, reading your courage has just reminded me that I am neglecting my recovery today by staying home and thinking about him....who is not at all interested in his own recovery nor any thoughts of what he has put me through..and so because of you, I'm getting my ass up, slathering on the bug spray and going for a walk and getting out into nature. Going to get connected!

I hope you keep on the path you have started for yourself and follow through for your own serenity and peace of mind. Goodluck!!! And THANK YOU!!
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:40 PM
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Thanks, I wish I felt more detached than I do. She has expressed genuine relief in finding this medication, and if it's genuine, I am glad for her, maybe she will find a way to stay sober. The problem, of course, is how many times we have been here - where she again resolves to stay sober, and "this time it's for real." I am glad she has found a new job that she is enthusiastic about, but I find it hard to take any real joy in it, especially since she is so difficult to live with while going through the job search process. I know my inability to respond positively is a behavior I have learned, I just don't know how to let go of the resentment of the insanity leading up to it.

I do realize that splitting up would not cure all of my ills, I obviously still have a long way to go - in letting go of my resentment, and in being able to truly enjoy my life regardless of whatever drama or craziness she (or anyone else) is intent on wallowing in.

I think I am beginning to realize that I have a part to play in this. There is a fine line between empathy, and letting someone else's state of mind invade and take over my own. I have too long tolerated the passive-aggressive behavior and allowed her to exploit my willingness to place her needs above my own - merely because it was easier to go with that flow and avoid more drama than to try to change to a healthier course.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:05 PM
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I have friends who have given me the "enough already" speech, that I have held on and done more than anyone could ask. I realize now it is less about whether I have done enough, or have any more patience, but that I really simply cannot take the emotional strain of being around this. Because it's not just the alcohol, but the dishonesty and lying by omission, her avoidance of life, her self-esteem issues, the overall dysfunctional human being I have come to see her as. I just no longer see her as a partner, it is more like having a perpetual child who is constantly testing my limits.
Very good advice. It isn't about your wife, it's about what you're going to do about your situation. There's nothing you can say or do that will affect your wife's alcoholism ... she will drink or not drink.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
Very good advice. It isn't about your wife, it's about what you're going to do about your situation. There's nothing you can say or do that will affect your wife's alcoholism ... she will drink or not drink.
Yes. I thought I had reached a place where I my emotional state was not tied to hers, but I guess I have not, apparently I can still get caught up in it - I found it very difficult to maintain my detachment when she violated my no alcohol boundary.

I am really trying to follow the Alanon advice to avoid making a major decision until I can get back on an even keel. I see the wisdom in that, but this is driving me nuts, I may need some more separation from her.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:27 PM
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I have been in the same boat with my xafg concerning her meds and the non stop blatant lying. you can't trust her, that coupled with the self esteem issues and everything else you have experienced..there is no chance for a healthy happy relationship.

you know what you have to do, find the rational support for your decision. the SR forums have been indispensable in that regard.
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