Marriage after alcoholism and recovery?

Old 12-29-2013, 12:45 PM
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Marriage after alcoholism and recovery?

There's a thread on the Alcoholism forum about marriage and someone asks when and if their spouse will ever stop "bringing up the past" and "throwing it in their face." It got me thinking of why we would feel the need to keep bringing up the past when it's obviously upsetting to the RA, and how we can communicate with them without them feeling like we are throwing the past in their face. I know it's uncomfortable for an RA to have discussions with their spouse about their past alcoholic behavior and how it damaged their marriage, kids, home life, etc.. But just because they "quit drinking" last week or last month, or last year, does that automatically grant them a clean slate, and are we expected to develop amnesia and don't dare drag them through the mud of their past because it might trigger a relapse? Well for me personally, all the damage to our marriage, distrust, hurt feelings, and verbal abuse, just to name a few, did not magically disappear the day my RAH "quit drinking." That pain is still with me, everyday. I still remember all the broken glass, the kids crying "what's wrong with daddy," and going to bed alone every night with the dinner I made cold still sitting on the stove. I love my husband, and I am very glad he quit drinking 3 months ago, things have been leaps and bounds better than they were. However, he has shown no signs of awareness or accountability for the past, and very much acts as if I should leave the past in the past, and just get over it and pretend like all is forgotten. Whenever I ask him about how he is feeling, how recovery is going, he gets irritated and changes the subject or walks away from me. So I have let him have his space, which still isn't fair to me and the kids, but for now, it's what we have to do I guess. Will I ever get my husband back, will the kids ever see their dad happy again? Is having a good marriage after alcoholism even possible? My heart tells me there is hope and someday we will click again and become the couple we once were. But my brain is telling me that maybe too much damage has been done. I am resentful and hurt but he seems too wrapped up with his own internal demons to care about anyone else, he is pushing me away. I am willing to give it time, but how much time? I do love my RAH very much, and the kids love him very much, we all want to stay a family and have him back but he seems so physically and emotionally damaged, even though he is not currently drinking. It makes me so sad. I just wonder if marriages can be saved, and the pieces can be put back together after 10 years of alcoholism. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:01 PM
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Dunno. Double Barrel had a good thread on that on here, too.

What a lot of the A's cannot figure intuitively is that a few months of "good" does not just somehow magically cancel out some year(s) of "bad."

That whole thing of "just drop the past," is pretty much the waltz up to Dry Drunk land. You know about "Dry Drunk?" The addiction stops, but the underlying behaviors and attitudes continue. Often leads to Relapse. By contrast look at the real program . . . The AA 12 Steps. Especially step 4 to 9 in this regard. ALL ABOUT reconciliation and true make up. Which is exactly what YOU are asking about, right?

(for the full written text and supporting book, 12 and 12)

Big Book On Line


So at any rate, the making up and getting things right steps . . . .

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people when ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


Nothing much you can do or not about whether he will or won't.

BUT you can get to Alanon . . . and we are supposed to do the Steps, also.

AND THAT makes a Much Better You . . . and I can tell you that you will not be so wrapped up in HIS nonsense.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:04 PM
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You may like this, too.

Called The Family Afterward. Chapter 9 from the AA Big Book.

Sort of our common ideals and I wish for you and us to have it.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:15 PM
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Personally, that sounds like marriage counseling territory. I know you are supposed to let the past stay in the past, digging up old wounds isn't healthy. Part of that is being aware of what you're saying and more importantly, why you're saying it. Are you flinging mud because he hurt your feelings *now*? Then talk about how you feel now.

My husband brings up the past to build a case of why I'm a bad guy. It's irrelevant to the current situation though. The past is the past. That doesn't make it hurt less but if I can't get over my hurt then I need to get over my husband. I can't have both.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:16 PM
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I do think it's possible for some marriages to be saved. It really depends on the circumstances and how much each person wants it though. I think it's Hammer who says it's possible if both sides are working their program. I'd agree with that. If the A and the spouse are both willing to look honestly at themselves, their own faults, and the blame they have in the situation, and are willing to work on change, I think there's a chance. In an al-anon meeting last week, someone said we can't control the other person's responsibility for the breakdown. They have to fix that. All we can do is fix the part that we are responsible for. Maybe that's 3%, 10%, 50% or 70%. Whatever the %, that's our part to fix.

Also, on the clean slate thing, I do think that it's not beneficial to keep bringing up the past. No, we can't just forget it. And we probably shouldn't forget it. But, we can choose to forgive the other person. That said, we should respect ourselves enough to establish boundaries. If the other person consistently tramples those boundaries, then maybe this isn't one of those marriages that can be saved.

I'm sorry, ukiah I don't know if you've tried counseling or al-anon, but I'm finding both beneficial for me.
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