Almost a year later....progress? What progress?

Old 02-13-2014, 10:59 AM
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Almost a year later....progress? What progress?

I just came to the site today after kind of leaving it alone for the past few months. It was nice to see a PM from someone asking about my situation, thanks!!

Well, as you might imagine, I am not here because things are going so well. Quick summary, after ten years of trying everything else, my AW went to rehab last April. She embraced it, but relapsed one month later, but since then had been able to stay sober. I had thought about calling it quits when she returned from rehab, but I read the Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage (from Alanon) and decided to put off major decisions for a year as they recommend.

We had one incident in August wheb she had gotten together with an old college friend and for whatever reason did not want me to know about it. Quite by accident, I found out she was not where she said she was that day, and while I suspected some kind of romantic fling, she adamantly insisted it was not that, and begged me to let it go, so I did.

Since then, things had been improving, we were going to family counseling, it seemed to be helping her overcome her issues with communication, and at least acknowledging that she needed to live up to her adult responsibilities, we worked on some things stemming from my frustration. We had been focusing on rebuilding of trust. She has been active in AA, going to meetings, working with a sponsor, as far as I could tell, working a program.

One of the things we talked about from time to time was going on a vacation, but I had been avoiding it for the past few years because of our past inability to travel well together. Invariably, we would return from a vacation with me frustrated and angry at being treated like a servant and dealing with her self-absorbed complaining and sulking. She seemed genuinely committed to changing that, trying to be a good companion, and focused on having a good time together.

In January, we got the opportunity (which I normally would have declined) to share an island house for a week with my brother and his wife. Should we give it a try? We decided to go for it, she was genuinely excited about the trip.

I swear, sometimes this starts to feel like a bad movie script. The week before the vacation, due to some carelessness, she injured herself at home (long story, she didn't do it deliberately, I am pretty sure) and I got to spend an evening in the ER while she gets stitched up, etc. She is clamoring to get narcotic pain relievers, which I caution her against (we were both in the same cross-addiction risk lecture at her rehab), she ends up settling for non-narcotics. We get home, I suggest maybe we put off the trip, she adamantly insists that we go anyway, her stitches will be out, no problem. The day before we leave, she went to get her stitches out, I came home, and she had a complete emotional meltdown (this is very unlike her). Seriously, I thought there must have been a death in the family or something, but turned out it was her fear of a scar where the stitches were. I suggested we postpone the trip, but she again insisted we go. Well all right then.

All goes pretty well, we get to the island, check in, and have a couple relaxing days on the beach and puttering around the island. I'll spare you the details, but there was a stash of liquor in the house (bottles that prior guests left, no doubt) which she discovered, and could not stay away from. She is not an entertaining drunk, she made a complete ass of herself, it was awkward and embarrassing for my brother and his wife, who were aware of her issues with alcohol, but never confronted with it personally (she had confined it to strictly to our house up until this trip). She downed an entire bottle of vodka, near as I can tell. Typically, she still claimed to be sober despite her obviously ridiculously impaired behavior.

We have not talked about it much since. I did insist she apologize to my brother and SIL, which she did. For me - nothing, she mostly pretends nothing happened. I did tell her that I did not see much point in marriage counseling while she is actively drinking, and she informed me yesterday that she cancelled our appointment, which I suppose is fine. Whatever trust we had built was completely obliterated by this incident, and by the events leading up to it (I'll spare you the details, but basically I had witnessed the return of "addict behavior" where she knows better than the doctors treating her, etc.). When we have talked, she has begged me for one more chance, but honestly, I don't know I have another chance to give. I think she has been sober since, but I hesitate to ask.

I really don't know what to do. I feel I have gone beyond the call of duty already in honoring our marital commitment, but feel that every "one more chance" I have given has resulted in the same outcome, yet another betrayal of trust. She keeps throwing out things like "I was doing so well" and it was "just a momentary slip", (quack quack) but I feel like I've been kicked in the gut, and I am just weary of the insanity. I don't want to throw away thirty years of marriage, but the last ten have been lurching from relapse to relapse, getting ever so slightly less tolerable every time, with no end in sight.

I think I finally may have reached the point of no return. I hope she can get sober, but I find it increasingly hard to keep an open mind on that topic, and even were she magically sober forever today, I don't know how to overcome the hurt, frustration, and sadness she has brought down on me.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:23 AM
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I'm sorry you're going through this. The journey to recovery can be very hard. If your wife could be admitted to rehab again, bring her -- whether you're staying with her or not. That's not to try to save her, but to turn this over to others who have the ability to deal with it. There are stories of 6 times through rehab and still drinking. Although once through works for some people - especially if they continue working at their recovery afterwards - there are also successes that have come after 2 or more times through. It took my husband's counselor 4 times going through rehab to sober up for good (varying amounts of dry time in between). He said it wasn't a comprehension problem, but implementation problem with him.

Are you actively working a recovery program for yourself? One day at a time. Take care of YOU.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:25 AM
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It sounds as if she has some alarming addictive behavior. I am so sorry. Go back to the therapist...for you. You need support for yourself when dealing with an addict.

Only you can decide what your boundaries are and how much you are willing to put up with.

Keep posting, you are not alone. Be kind to yourself!
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:30 PM
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Slow and Ragged Progress

Hi JMartin,

I am sorry. This decision to wait or assess at the year point as you had originally planned is totally up to you.

My RAH went to rehab last April too. He has not relapsed, but he is goofy. From my observations, he has HALT and denial issues. I have been pretty patient with the HALT episodes, but they are worrisome in their suddeness and the toxic level of anger that gets cloud burst. I think I am making this fellow a HALT care package this weekend with cookies, trail mix, and some protein bars.

I have a terrible habit of trying to talk to him at night. Probably because that is the only time we can talk privately. So last night I asked him, "Honey, do you still follow the 12 steps?" Long pause and major sigh. "Why do you ask that? I follow those principles every day." Hmmm I said. He fell asleep and then I mused about what has been going on lately and of course being a snot I want to wake him back up and inquire, WHERE IS MY AMENDS? I WANT AMENDS! He is not there yet, and since I want to Taser him sometimes I clearly am not there either. It so sucks that I played a part in this minefield of a marriage.

So just in case you think all would be rainbows and puffy pink hearts if your wife had not relapsed, you can look at my posts and see that I am struggling with the loooong term uncertainties of living with an recovering A.

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Old 02-14-2014, 10:58 AM
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So last night we (finally) had a discussion of what happened and what to do about it. She is naturally very sorry for her actions, and expresses an apparently sincere desire not to do this in the future. I told her that I have nothing left to give, that if the ship is to be righted, she will have to take the lead and make something happen. I will live out the year with her, but I am out of ideas for trying to save us, because she is not living up to her end of the bargain. I asked her if she wants to try to save it (yes) and if so, what does she propose to do about it? Unfortunately, she has no new ideas beyond finding a new AA sponsor and a new therapist.

I am thinking I will suggest she go into a sober house for a while. I just don't see how the same old strategies will somehow break her pattern. Plus, I think I need a break from the insanity, or I believe we are marching toward an inevitable outcome. At the same time, I am hesitant to throw more money and energy at this, prolonging the agony even further.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:03 AM
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Have you considered a trial separation? This might give you the break you need, plus putting her squarely in charge of her own recovery. You can then watch her actions from a safe distance, rather than listen to empty promises.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:31 AM
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Spiderqueen -

I have definitely thought about a separation - that was where I was originally going. The sober living suggestion came to my mind because it would give her the structure I think she needs to get her act together, and I am doubtful she would make that choice on her own, but maybe I need to give up on trying to shepherd her.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:44 PM
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wow Jmartin! I said it once, i'll say it again... our paths are so similar! I feel your pain brother... I am also on the edge of marital termination. I have asked for a voluntary trial separation, pretty much as the last step before divorce. But, of course, my AW thinks SHE should stay in the house with our teenage son, and I should leave. Really? She's the one with a frequent flier detox card, not me. So, I'm left with little choice- outside of rehab stays if I want her out of the house I'm going to have to force it legally. really sucks.

I wish I could offer you solace... just know I'm pulling for ya
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:41 PM
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I believe in being separated via detox or treatment. It helps clear the mind after treatment though it's very very important to dive into 12 step work! I can't stress that enough.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:12 AM
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Sorry to hear that Woodman. No kids here, so that makes it a little simpler.

Now, here is the latest from the weekend. As I mentioned, the AW and I had a conversation late last week, and I asked her what she wanted to do following her latest relapse. She stated her plan as going to her AA meetings and finding a new sponsor, that she already had someone in mind, and was going to make that happen over the weekend. Now normally, I am all about letting her do her own thing when it comes to her AA meetings and recovery program, but I asked her if it was ok for me to inquire how that was going, and she replied of course that was fine.

She came back from her meeting on Saturday morning, I was doing household chores that kept me busy most of the day. She, meanwhile, fell asleep in front of the TV (sigh). I ended up cooking dinner with her still sacked out. She woke up to eat, I asked how was her meeting? Fine. Did you get your new sponsor? Not yet, the woman she has in mind was not there today, and I going to another meeting tomorrow that I know she will be at. Ok, great. I met up with some friends over lunch on Sunday, got back to the house in the afternoon. We went through the day, evening fell, I asked casually how things went with finding her new sponsor. Turns out she "got busy in the kitchen" and "forgot all about it" and never even went to the meeting. Wow. Really?

Anyway, I did not react other than to say I was completely surprised that she could forget about this, and I am a little disappointed. She then went off to watch Downton Abbey - I noted she had no trouble whatsoever remembering what time the show was on.

Later in the evening, I told her we needed to talk. I told her I found her behavior baffling, that I could not make sense of what she was saying compared to what she was doing, and that I love her dearly and wish she could be sober, but her inability to stay that way, and inability to live up to her commitments in HER recovery plan were destroying the trust we have been trying to rebuild. The resulting sadness and depression are interfering with my ability to function normally, and I am weary of it. I told her that I am honoring my commitment to make no major decisions for the entire year after her rehab, but I need to take care of myself. I am moving into the guest room, and my plan is to move out for good in the summer. I said that was not set in stone, there is room to discuss details, but unless there is radical, fundamental change, that is what is going to happen. I will cooperate with anything she wants to do in terms of repairing and rebuilding the marriage and her sobriety, but I will no longer be offering ideas and will definitely not be trying to shepherd the process - if our marriage is to be saved, it is up to her, I have given all I have to give.

She was upset and reassured me over and over she did not want me to go to the guest room, let alone move out, that she desperately wanted to get sober and leave all of the insanity behind. I told her that I have given her ten years and countless opportunities to do exactly this, with what appears to my eye to be little progress, and I am exhausted and can no longer fool myself into thinking just one more chance will do the trick. I still love her very much and hope she can find sobriety, but can no longer continue the way we have been. She seemed shocked and very sad. I went off to the guest room feeling that I had finally achieved some measure of the "detachment with love" that I need to break what I have come to see as my own enabling pattern. I was relieved that I was able to express what I needed to express without anger, resentment, or rancor. It was difficult, but I know that it was definitely the right thing to do, and I feel much better for it.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:26 AM
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You did a great job on your side of the street!
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:36 AM
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Great work. Setting boundaries can be so tough but is so important.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:21 AM
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Good for you. You kept a boundary that you have control of. If the meetings were important to her she would not "forget" about them.

I hope today is a peaceful day for you.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:26 AM
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Wishing you all the best, jmartin--I think you handled this like a champ! I'm so sorry you find yourself in your current situation, but you sound like you have the blinders off and are facing reality head on, dealing with what you need to deal with.

Again, great job--keep on taking care of yourself.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:04 PM
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thank you for sharing, I think you're quite brave
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:08 AM
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Thank you all for the support.

Last night I came home from work and got a text from her that she was going to a meeting. So I stretched out in my new guest room lodging and watched the Olympics while reading a book, just relaxing. She came home after her meeting, and came to find me in the guest room, and says something like "I guess you are in here because you can't stand being around me?" I started to say no, it's not that, but then I realized the sentiment was something like that.

I told her that the way she has been behaving - even while sober after her relapse - is alarming. She is the one who made the commitment to do meetings over the weekend, and "I forgot" is simply not acceptable, it makes me feel like I am dealing with a simpleton, or an adolescent, rather than an adult who is committed to dealing with her own problem. I told her I don't believe she truly forgot, and therefore was lying to me, which just makes it worse that she thinks that is how to handle this. So yes, I am avoiding you because I just can't take the insanity. At that point, she acknowledged that she had not forgotten, she was just avoiding it because she was afraid.

I told her that none of what she was doing was making me feel confident that she could live up to her responsibilities as a partner or that she could be trusted to stay sober and work her program. I simply do not believe, despite her protestations, that she truly wants to be sober, and it is simply too hard for me to live around that. She said it's not true, she really does want to be free of the alcohol problem. I told her it did not look that way to me. I asked if she had rescheduled the counselor appointment, no, of course, she "forgot".

She said that she truly does despite how it looks, and went in the other room to do some AA homework, reading, etc. that I am guessing she and her new sponsor had worked out.

I have to admit I find this state of uncertainty a little hard to deal with. I have it clear in my own head how I want to proceed and am able to do that, but it's so difficult to compartmentalize and still concentrate, work, and deal with the details of life with all this going on.

Anyway, thanks again for the support and good wishes. I will get through this, but I sure wish it was not so painful.
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:19 AM
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Have you thought about going to Al-Anon?
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:28 AM
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Hey JMartin, how are things going for you this week?
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