Husband sober 30 days having mood swings.

Old 02-06-2014, 05:14 PM
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Husband sober 30 days having mood swings.

We have been married two years. My husband has been sober 30 days. He just completed intensive outpatient treatment. He has been very compliant with all aspects of his treatment. But...........he is becoming increasingly more irritable with everything! (When he was drinking I never saw this side of him) He is very sensitive to his counselor's expectations or for that matter anyone else's expectations. I try to support him-yet I am realistic in my comments-and he turns into an angry bull. His eyes are piercing and he yells that I never listen to what he has to say. It is like he wants to rant and have me passively sit and listen or agree with his resentment of the moment. I go to Alanon 4 times per week and I am trying to work my program. So, my question is: 1. What do I say when he yells at me? 2. Do I speak reality or sit and shut up 3. Is this normal and what can I do to get through this?
I am not willing to do this forever.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:57 PM
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It's called PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome). When my stbxh first was sober with an IOP he was soooo angry. He started drinking again so I don't know how long it lasts. My advice is be calm and excuse yourself. Say things like "I'll think about it" "Can we talk about this tomorrow.". I am sure others will have more advice. Just remember the 3Cs with this too.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:12 PM
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Thanks for the information. I empathize with his condition (PAWS) and admire his efforts. I know he is struggling, but had to set a boundary for my own dignity. But! I will do the 3 S's. Sit down, shut up, and smile (but also pray) Thanks. Your reply is every so much appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:16 PM
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hi and welcome. yes early recovery is very volatile. it takes a good year for one to settle IN to sobriety. so sure that is understandable...but NO you do not have to sit there and take his rants and abuse. that is NOT your job. you get up and walk leave the say, i'm sorry you are struggling but I will not tolerate you taking your issues out on me.

i'm sorry you are having to deal with this married just two years. we can hope that this attempt at recovery takes hold.....but be prepared, relapse is a definite possibility. keep going to YOUR meetings....find your center and it WILL help.

also, should he make it to around 90 days, he will think he has this thing licked...he will "talk the talk" as they say...quote chapter and verse from the Big Book, know all the slogans, sound good. then about 95 will all crash. it's called the Pink Cloud. if he can get thru THAT he stands a real good chance.

keep your expectations low. don't try to fix him. try to keep a stable household, but don't bend over backwards just to try and make HIM ok....that's HIS job.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:27 PM
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My husband was 10 days sober going into 4 weeks inpatient treatment; now about 50 days sober. (woohoo! didn't realize that until just now. All small celebrations are allowable. ) He was also compliant during rehab, but had a lot of internal anger when back home. PAWS and having to adjust to life without alcohol being his crutch. My only way to support him during that was to give wide berth and go about my life as normal as possible. Just as there is no reasoning with a drunk, he was a dry drunk and I can't reason with that either. It is getting better, but taking quite a bit of time. Still a daily thing, but much less frequent and less intense. This is a man who's known to be easy going, but has been burying his emotions for many years and letting things build up inside.

Going to Alanon is critical for me. Walk away when you need to and stand up for yourself when you need to. The communication exercises we did at family week in rehab were greatly needed. One thing that he took with him and I've adapted well is: you can either be happy or be right. When he temporarily forgets that, I let it go. Funny how many little things I've let go the past few weeks. I can't remember any of them - they didn't matter. There have been a few times where I needed to speak up and was able to. Figuring out when to speak reality or not is hard for me. Mostly letting it go. Slow learning on it all, but working at it. Baby steps are fine.

If he is yelling, definitely let him know it's not acceptable and walk away from it.

I really can relate. We've been married 27 years and it's been hard for me to stay with him during this part of it. He's the only one who can take care of his sobriety - whether or not I'm here has nothing to do with that; I also need to protect my own recovery. I'm still here, but if there wasn't improvement (and isn't continued improvement) I reserve the right to leave for whatever time period I need to.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:32 PM
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Thank you

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to help.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:02 PM
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As an alcoholic I know how hard it is those first weeks and months of not drinking - especially if he has no support network of other alcoholics.

Thats no excuse for bad behavior tho

Maybe talk to your alanon friends and ask how they've dealt with their alcoholics' mood swings tantrums and anger?

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Old 02-06-2014, 07:14 PM
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There are two alanon meetings I am going to tomorrow. He is at an AA meeting. So we are going where we are supposed to. It is really hard once they get sober, and you see them in such distress. It is almost like a teenager who does not have the tools to deal with the simplest daily activities. (Poor me, dealing with all the insanity when he was drinking). I know, believe me I know....get off the pity pot. But it is so aggravating that I could not speak up when he was drunk, and now that he is sober I have to be smiling despite his mood swings. He accuses me of not listening to what he is saying (while he is obsessing or ranting), and he is probably right cause I am so busy trying to frame my words in a way to help or advise. (Again, I know....I am trying to fix him) It is all so crazy cause my communication skills are great with my friends but with a newly recovering person, he is so sensitive. I suppose he just expects me to sit and listen; but quite frankly-if you have an issue SOLVE IT, dont just sit and rant. Thanks for listening.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:20 PM
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Hi Connie, I think the best action for your own self respect and to help your husband calm down is to quietly leave the room as soon as he raises his voice or becomes aggressive. Don't engage on any level, just walk away. You don't have to explain.
If he follows you, tell him he is raising his voice and you don't choose to be around when he is acting aggressively.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:39 PM
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Hey Connie,

Yeah, it can be a crazy time coming back

We (she) had a Whole Lotta Whacky coming back from Rehab, too.

Drove me REALLY Deep into Alanon, and the two oldest kids into Alateen.

Like you, I was sort of counting days and numbers, too.

Somehow I had figured after Day 90 everything should just be all better. Had a friend ask me what happens if it is not? That just stopped me. Had not considered that. All I said was -- Then, Day 91?

Crazy kept right on going. To Day 180 and beyond. Did not really return to half way human until the 10th or 11th month. Still has some residual -- I think her partly because of her shame and guilt over how she has acted and her pride and lying to cover it up. For my part, I am being a hard-ass about all of it, so that just makes a splendid, joyful mix for both of us.

About all YOU can do is work on YOUR side. Turns out for ME, that is full time work. Gets me WAY OUT of her side, and that is a Good Thing.

If you wish to be amused with how an Engineer and Jr. Social Scientist Daughter would (ok, did) approach(ed) all this, here is some horrifying crap that makes me cry to go back and read. May do you some good to know that you are hardly alone.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:38 PM
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Hey! If you hang in there with reasonable boundaries, and he hangs in there, without using you for his verbal whipping post, odds are all the roller coaster emotions out of control will ease up and he finds his rudder controls again. I have been on the recovery side first, and then had to deal with boundaries as my AW was given the decision to shape up, or ship out. I now have firm boundaries and do not bear codie drama, emotional blackmail, or escalation games. I am taking care of me and she is taking responsibility for herself and her happiness. I am not her daddy, and she is not my daughter, not parents for each other or child roles against each other. We are here only as long as we want to be, not because we have to be. Sometimes it comes together, sometimes apart. Our marriages and life doesn't get better, we get better at life. Keep your head above water for you first.

It ain't easy, if it was, everybody'd be happy.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:26 AM
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Connie11---don't forget that he has a sponsor (or should). Perhaps.....tell him to take it to his sponsor when he starts the verbal garbage.

Also, I don't think you have to "smile" all the time. You can just remain calm. I faced this while my adult son was still in the house---I learned to detach when he started his "QUACKING" ----I disciplined myself to remain calm---but, I secretly said "F*** You", inside my head. It helped me. (I would never say that out loud, of course).

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Old 02-07-2014, 11:44 PM
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My man is out 37 days(he didn't go to rehab), so I really get what you say the first days after one month he was super agitated And felt so much anxiety I don't think he could make it without AA, I just tried to feel compassion for what he is going trough and keep a calm environment like if he was having PMS .. he is a little better now.. It's very hard sometimes because ghosts of past and memories of what he had done visit me frequently and I feel anxious and needy. I really don't know what to do with them, I don't want to pressure him but I can't ignore them either.. And I have anticipatory anxiety for "relapse" I know there is a great chance for that happening and that is something he has to deal with himself, but I really don't know how to react if it happens. does any one has any suggestions??
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Old 02-07-2014, 11:51 PM
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You know about that, right?
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:00 AM
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It should pass and certainly not go on forever, well it doesn't usually. Can't you ask him to consider your feelings a bit more? There is no excuse for any sort of aggression at all in any event. xxxxx
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:35 AM
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Also there are some articles here if you search for them on grieving the loss of alcohol. Believe it or not some of us do go thru this when we quit drinking. Losing the booze is like losing your best friend and we do go thru a grieving process when we quit. Anger and resentment is definitely one of the stages.

Yes us alcoholics do keep you on your toes don't we! We just can't make it easy.

Of course this isn't a free ticket for us to treat those around us like crap. Don't engage, detach yourself if you can and walk away.
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