Still Emotionally Tangled with XAW (Long)

Old 12-08-2013, 08:22 AM
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Lord Have Mercy
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Still Emotionally Tangled with XAW (Long)

Good morning:

When I picked up XAW for church this morning, and she was drunk for the 2nd week in a row. What makes this intense for me, is that she had been 45 days sober following a near-death experience -- so last weekend was soul-crushing for me as I realized she fell off the wagon.

That day sucked. I walked into her apartment and took one look at her. One look for one second. It's in her eyes, her pupils get big and she gets a confused look on her face. Maybe no one else would know she was drunk, but I knew in one second.

As I am gentle person, I sat down and talked to her in a "worried and concerned" kind of way. To me it is a five alarm fire but I do not like confrontation and have normally kept my calm. For the ten-zillionth time, I encouraged her that she could still pick herself up, and keep from daily drinking / active alcoholism again if she could just stop after this one slip.

The problem is, in 19 years, that first drink is ALWAYS, 100% OF THE TIME, NO EXCEPTIONS EVER the drink that starts a daily drinking routine leading to the next bottom weeks or months later. What that means to me today after seeing her one week into this, is now she is 8 days rolling and my mind is conjuring up a replay of losing weight, losing her mind, losing her bladder, and losing her life. I can picture it, because she has walked up to that line 2 times in the past 12 months. She is 44 years old.

Background, my timeline is 17 years of marriage, AW cheated in 2010, and 2011-legal separation; 2012-I moved out; and 2013-sold house and finalized divorce.

Through the whole process, even when I busted her for cheating on me (text messages gave it away, that was the final straw), XAW just wants to us to stay together and keep playing out the fairy tale. For years we spent every minute together, it was an intense, close, intimate relationship. We were unable to have kids so it was just the 2 of us. We can be great friends and we have always found something to laugh about. I thought we would always be together, even with her alcoholism, but when the other guys entered the picture it was just too much for me.

XAW did not want separation and certainly did not want divorce. She has continuously clung to hope, and does to this day.

What I am saying is that here I am, having extracted myself from a painful situation which was an expensive and emotionally difficult process (especially because I had to shove it down her throat and part of me truly feels sorry for her) -- I am still COMPLETELY MESSED UP, tangled up so to speak, with this woman.

How will this ever end, except the obvious and inevitable funeral? I cannot bear to watch her suffer and die. I have done it too many times. I pray like crazy ever time she gets on her death bed and the Good Lord keeps dealing her a fresh hand. It has been an amazing string of medical miracles with her, including 100% recovery from a brain injury (from falling while drunk in 2008).

This morning I turned around on the way to church. I took her back to her apartment where she lives alone with 2 cats. We sat in front of her apartment with the engine running and the snow falling, talking for a long time.

I said to her for the first time, "XAW, I am not going down with you this time. I don't want to be with you when you are drunk. I don't even want to be friends. If we are going to see each other, we are both going to have to be 100% sober. It doesn't work any other way. I am not helping you the way it is now, and it hurts too much."

This is good honesty for me. New boundaries. I have also been telling her regularly for the first time, the reason we got divorced, is because she cheated on me. Her text messages were willing, personal, and provocative. When she denied it, for the first time I told her, "I'm sorry, I don't believe you". Then I go on to tell her, the #1 issue in our relationship, is that I am unable to forgive her because she is not offering remorse, confession, or apology. She just wants to pretend it never happened, and in fact she she told a group that "my husband divorced me" as if for no particular reason at all. Mountains of denial.

I can't be with her if she is drinking. I am sad, scared, and frustrated. If I am in the same room with her and she is drunk (like this morning), I cannot stop myself from obsessing and lecturing non-stop, especially at a time like now when she has a short window to quit before getting completely physically addicted again.

I am so close to this situation and it is tremendously painful and dramatic. Am I a co-dependent or what? And I have been going to Al Anon for 15 years! This stuff is out of control!

So now I am back in my quiet apartment relaxing, thankful that I have escaped the quicksand and I have a safe place to go. But mentally and especially emotionally, I am still all tangled up with XAW. Thank you for listening, it means a lot for me to put this into words. God bless all of you and I wish you strength in your own trials.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:43 AM
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You may not be legally married any more and you may not share the same roof over your head but that's about all that seems to have changed, nothing else.

We can never morn the loss of a relationship if we are still dancing with the corps.

I'm quite sure God has not knighted you her savior and while you seem to take on that roll (extreme co-codependency) your in Gods ways, stopping and preventing what he has in mind for her and her life.

As much as YOU need her in YOUR life because of YOUR issues, maybe that's what she doesn't need in order to find her own way.

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Old 12-08-2013, 08:59 AM
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djayr---It appears that you are (without realizing it) giving her intermittent reinforcement that you are always going to be there holding her hand--even though you divorced her!!
Intermittent positive enforcement is the strongest kind!!!!!

You are trying to rationalize with a drunk person. You might as well save your breath--it just wears you out--and she hears only the parts that she WANTS to hear.

Caring about an alcoholic is one of the most painful things that I can think of. There is n o "easy" way to deal with it. There is no painless way, for you.

You will, ultimately, have to get out of her way--and allow HER the responsibility for her life. And, you don't have to sit and watch her.

"Let go and let God".

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Old 12-08-2013, 09:04 AM
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I'm sorry, I feel your pain, honestly I think you need to move away from her, as far as you can go, you must stop seeing her, you must get your own life. Get off the Merry-go-round. You were strong when you divorced her and got your own place. Sometimes you need to put physical distance between yourself and the A. You are staying connected because you are still getting something (sick) out of the relationship. Whatever it is that you want or need, it's out there waiting for you, it's not going to come if you are still in a relationship with an alcoholic.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:07 AM
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Thank you all for your thoughts. I have been putting distance between us incrementally. But it's like taking off a band-aid very, very slow. Not too smart.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:48 AM
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there are several things that come to mind when i read your post. i am going to list them as i know what it is like to be enmeshed with a alcoholic and verbally say you are separated from them, but emotionally you are not. i did that too.

1. no contact was very helpful to me in order to distance myself and regain a sense of self outside of the sick person (or any person). creating a life that doesn't involve your ex will be very important to help establish friends and routines that do not relate to her in any way.

2. why are you taking your ex to church with you? you might want to reconsider this as she is your ex for a reason.

3. thank god you didn't have children with an active alcoholic. i did not either, but i sure did want to when we were together and for a couple years was upset that we never had kids. THANK GOD we did not have children together. having kids is hard enough, but to do it with someone who lies, drinks and is totally unpredictable...heaven help the kids.

4. this is biology and totally unfair, but you can have kids with a new woman down the road who is not an A no matter old you are. women obviously don't have that luxury as they age, but as a man, if you want kids (i assume by mentioning them in your post you do/did) there are about 1 billion women in this world most of whom are not alcoholics and would like a nice guy.

Now, back to you being on this board. you love your exaw. she is an active alcoholic who wants you but wont quit drinking. you two have divorced and she blames you to other people (that is par for the course btw, they all do that regardless of the circumstances). you are the ONLY voice of reason in this relationship. if you truly want to get off the crazy A train (which i would highly recommend), then YOU are the only one who can make that happen.

I am so sorry you are hurting. time and distance from the A are your allies right now.

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Old 12-08-2013, 10:07 AM
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Regarding NC...I'm not sure it's black and white or that it has to be. I don't have NC with my XAH but at the same time I don't talk to him every day nor do I see him every day. I'm also not involved in his day to day affairs. We talk maybe once a week and occasionally I go over to say hello and visit. And I'm detached. I can't tell you how I did it but I'm able to just let things fall for him now - he got a DUI a while back and is dealing with that and I just listen to him talk about it I don't help, in addition he's working on getting himself to his third rehab and while I listen I don't help nor am I invested. He isn't quite as sick as your XAW but his alcoholism is pretty progressed - he just went to his probably 100th trip to the hospital for a detox to get himself sober for this rehab...the thing is I didn't take him to the hospital or even suggest it, I heard about it after the fact. Relating that to you...if either of us were religious and he wanted me to attend church with him, I would likely meet him there rather than drive him there. Since I've left I know he's been through several binges (extreme ones) but I haven't been enmeshed in any of them...I don't know how I do it but I just think - well he's doing what he's doing and at some point I'll find out how it turned out - hopefully not bad. then I let it go.

I dunno what all this rambling is about...I'm just trying to say I guess that I don't think there is a black and white line of how to detach. It's more of a gray line in my opinion that varies depending on the person...I do think you are enmeshed and crossed that gray line but I think the solution is a bit less this or that and more about you putting you first. For me once I started putting me first it was easier for me to detach in a way that for me didn't require total NC. A friend of mine from this board told me he thinks I can do things the way I do because I'm not that codependent (maybe...I do consider myself for of the type of Alanon that is like an A without the alcohol than a codependent) but I don't know.

I just thought I'd throw my experience out there in case it was useful at all - my situation is similar to yours in that we don't have kids (and just because we don't have kids doesn't mean either of us desperately wanted them or need them to be whole) and I didn't go NC. When you are in a long term relationship (10 years in my case) without kids I think the relationship becomes the family so total NC is harder because you have time to focus on the relationship itself more. My XAH is my family in some way so I'll likely never go NC but I do remain detached....I'm not saying we will ever get back together (we won't) I'm just saying we are still family. So he's that family member that is an A that I have to limit contact with...I have no idea if that makes sense but it works for me. I'm actively living my own life (classes, work , trips) and even dating some so for whatever reason it's working for me.

I don't like to give advice or suggestions so my thought is that if I was in the situation I would pray for her from afar and just see what happens. If she tries to contact you and has sobered up again then you can make the choice to talk to her at that point or not.

PS - I noticed you have some negative self talk. ("that is not smart") What I've learned through therapy is how harmful that are doing the best you can with the information you have - that doesn't make you not smart. There are no hard and fast rules here just learning what works for you and sometimes it takes a while - so what, doesn't make you any less smart than anyone else.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:33 AM
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I would just like to point out--gently--that infertility problems are not ALWAYS the fault of the female.

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Old 12-08-2013, 10:53 AM
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hi dandylion,

OF COURSE! i almost wrote something about you can always adopt, but i didn't want to get too detailed as i didn't even know if the kid thing was of interest.

the only reason i mentioned kids at all is because i always notice when men mention kids as my exes, my current squeeze and my father all did not want/do not want kids. when i see a man who mentions them, i always think, i know of about 100 women who are nice who want kids and would like a nice guy to do that with. let me fix you up! i do NOT however, know 100 men who want kids, but that is just the folks in my part of the world. even my guy friends who are dads tell me do not have children. just my experience.

back to the original poster, regardless the kids thing, i know you are hurting and i hope you feel better.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:14 PM
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When the alcoholic is drunk, so are we. We generally do things we would not ordinarily do, say things we would not ordinarily say, then later wonder over what we did and said.

Your experience, even after 15 years of Al-anon and a divorce, is not uncommon.

So you have to keep practicing. You have to have a game plan, in your pocket in writing if need be, about what you will say and what you will do regarding ex AW. And if you have to pull the paper out of your pocket and read it while she is right in front of you, then that's what you do.

Some suggestions:

Have 2-3 Al-Anon members' phone numbers always with you, and whenever exAW calls you and upsets
you and/or asks something of you, tell her you will call her back in 30 minutes. Then call an Al-Anon member and talk it through for 15 minutes. This is the equivalent of an AA calling a fellow recovering alcoholic because someone has just set a beer down in front of him.

When you walk into a room and find her drunk, don't sit down. Don't talk. Have the local AA phone number in your pocket, hand it to her, and walk out. If she texts or calls or threatens or ends up in the ER or the psych ward, keep handing out that number to her, if you feel you have to do something. If you cannot completely disengage from her life, then at least stop it with the enabling/rescuing/hand-holding/pitying/hovering/excuse-making.

She reaches out to you when she should be reaching out to AA. So put a stop to it. Because you are not helping.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:48 PM
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Wow! She has put you through the ringer! And I have done the same thing to my husband but now I am in recovery and sober since October 2012.

I think we are the same age too. (I'm about to turn 43) I have been with my husband since 1996, married since 2002. After we were married I immediately wanted to start a family and so did he. After some tests it was revealed that I had premature ovarian failure. Basically, my eggs were dead at 31 and I was in full blown menopause.

To say I freaked out is an understatement. I did not know how to handle it. I blamed myself and I felt awful period. I started drinking to black out on a regular basis. Pretty soon I got arrested for a DUI and then I lost my job two years later. I started going to AA because I was court ordered.

I kept going in and out of AA, picking up bazillion white chips, got 2 more DUIs which involved me totaled my car both times. Thank the dear Lord no one was hurt. Complete and total insanity. How my husband put up with me, I will never know. I am extremely grateful and blessed.

After four years of hell I got a new sponsor, one that had what I wanted, and started working the steps. The steps have shown me just how insane I was. I am also in therapy.

I had a light bulb moment, a God shot, and I suddenly realized alcohol was destroying me. But I had to stay sober through some crappy stuff. The first three months sucked. I had constant cravings. I went to meetings every day and told on myself. People started reaching out to me and I started to open up.

Today I am on antidepressants and also take Naltrexone for alcohol cravings. We are mending our marriage one day at a time. It is great that I am working the steps because I feel like I have a much better idea of how to be a true partner to my husband. That is what I aspire to be.

He came very close to divorcing me though. I kept drinking because I did not think he would go through with it. Alcoholics have a habit of thinking they are "special" in case you hadn't noticed!!

As an alcoholic I would advise you to detach from her. She has to want help and want to be sober more than she wants to get drunk and that's just the bottom line.
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