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Parallel Universe - Does it end?

Old 04-17-2014, 06:32 AM
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Question Parallel Universe - Does it end?

I'm looking for some advice from people who have successfully managed to come out of the other side of this as unscathed as possible. When can I reasonably expect the hot/cold to subside? For our communication to pick back up? For our ability to connect at a husband and wife level to return?

My qualifier went to rehab willingly, has been actively engaged in his own treatment, goes to meetings, when he struggles calls a friend from AA, participates in web forums and chat rooms for recovering alcoholics etc. Most of the bad stuff has left - at least for now- I recognize it can come back.

I'm in therapy. Going to al-anon. Working my own program and my own self care. We are both individually taking care of business. Things at home are calm and most of the time pleasant.

What I can't seem to make sense of - and it's probably my own source of denial - is why the f$&@ing Jekyll and Hyde routine didn't go away. I know it won't. I know that. I am not that far in denial. Of course any of us want to believe when they return home that the recovery process will happen smoothly with no bumps. That the past is in the past. But I really did want to believe that the parallel universe would no longer exist. Why can't it go away? I want to feel safe and secure in the notion that I only need to be aware for one crazy train. I'm EXHAUSTED from all of it. This is my recovery time too.

Undeniably, I truly believe that being able to shut your mouth and absorb so much of this process while watching someone take the future of your marriage in their hands and figure it out...it's terrifying. It takes so much strength to be the partner. I don't know doubt for a second how hard it must be for the alcoholic. But goddamn it is NOT easy to be a supportive, loving force and deal with them day in and day out. He was told that he struggles with intimacy by a group of professionals. DUH! You just want to scream-OF COURSE YOU DO!!! That's why you medicate you idiot!!! But their professional assessment that intimacy makes him feel uncomfortable has turned it into the latest excuse. It's just too hard to deal with his sobriety and give me any quality time. Yet when I speak with his professional staff, they say we should be practicing small, short dates to reconnect, have fun, move forward. Don't bring up the massive elephant in the room. I don't. I'm so sick of talking about him. I want to live without it for awhile. Yet HE brings it up. Then shuts down.

What advice do you have for me? I try to practice affirmations, gratitude, and detachment. I really do. But when you feel so tired and you want reliability, how do you not flee from the house and give yourself a mini vacation somewhere!?!?
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:48 AM
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when my XAH got sober, I did not have a clue how to interact with him. I did not know him sober.

I felt threatened by his new sense of self....he appeared to be the man I always knew he could be. as sick as this next statement will sound, it was very true......I was afraid that if he became well, that he would not want me anymore. I was very threatened by that.

I knew how to react to the chaos, but not to the calmness.

unfortunately, he did not stay sober, and then I was back in my comfort zone of hell. sick, I know....but it was how things happened. can't change how it was then, but I can change the "now".


al-anon and this forum were my tools for survival and healing.
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:58 AM
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Is the Jekyll/Hyde stuff part of a mood disorder he was self-medicating for? I know I wonder that a lot with my XAH. Of course I don't believe mine is sober but I think looking back maybe I always had Jekyll/Hyde. I know it's friutrating and I'm sorry I don't have any words of wisdom. For a long time I thought the issue was just the drinking, I've come to realize there were many more issues...
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:23 AM
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findingmyself---some people do "flee the house" to avoid the special kind if Hel* that is early recovery. Some become separated and re-evaluate the relationship down the road.

Personally--I think that (in a perfect world) the addict should live a long time separately from the family until they get themselves together.....while giving the family the same chance. I think it should become "standard practice". It sure would eliminate a lot of collateral misery.

There ought to be law.....


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Old 04-17-2014, 10:55 AM
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ummmmm, I probably would flee the house and take me a mini vacation, even if it is just a weekend in a hotel/motel right there in the same town. Eat out, read, watch movies, just relax.
I would consider some peaceful downtime part of my recovery.
(((((hugs)))))
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:01 PM
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How long has he been in recovery altogether now? I'm thinking it's around or just under the 3-month mark, right?

If so, that is pretty early in recovery and although it has felt like an eternity to you at this point, it really is very, very early in the process. Depending on how long he's been drinking prior to this, it may take many more months for his physiology to reset into a more "normal" zone. Not that that is any excuse for poor behavior, but it helps to set reasonable expectations of what is even possible this early on.

I know that at this point in his recovery, I could hardly even speak to RAH. Yes, we spent a lot of time apart. We had been separated for 2+ yrs & only just reconciled/moved back in together a few months before his secret drinking/alcoholism came to light & he started recovery. Oh how I wished upon a star that we could separate THEN - that's when *I* needed it most. It would have been a lot easier on me, but it wasn't financially possible at that point any longer.

I found it just as dificult to connect & communicate with him as I did while he was actively drinking for about the first 6 months. In the first 90 days he was only focused on meetings & not drinking. That's it. It helped me to find the newcomer's forum here & read how other A's struggled in their early recoveries though, sometimes they were able to articulate things my RAH struggled to explain or answered questions I hadn't even realized I was wondering about. It really helped me to gain some understanding and not spend too much time spinning my wheels in confusion - allowing me to keep putting the focus back on me, where it belonged. Hang in there!
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by embraced2000 View Post
he appeared to be the man I always knew he could be.
Isn't that funny? Here you are, being with someone for years, sharing a life with them and yet not knowing them at all?! What's terrifying for me right now is not necessarily seeing the man I know he could be - because the addiction wasn't present in the first half of our relationship. It's more this space that suddenly I am a threat. I think I get the psychology of it but how can it be that the person most affected by his addiction, who assisted with getting him to rehab, who said she's done if he goes back to that mode of life- how is that person a threat? Maybe it's because I'm the one keeping him from his mistress - or at least that's what I've decided to call it. It seems like a perfect analogy to me.

There are days now that remind me of then. No it's not the same. Technically not as bad. But in that moment - oh it feels the same. He cuts me with his sharp words. That drunken mean snarl still manages to appear. I have to keep steady by focusing on my breath, finding gratitude always and reading and rereading literature from his outpatient on friends and family patience while his brain repairs.

I wish someone would dedicate their f'ing patience to my recovery. I feel as though I can't step out of line. He's the first one to point out the mistake. Then I think (but truly I know-it's hard to admit) I never knew him at all. This may be the way he will be. Harsh, judgmental, critical and not forgiving.

He doesn't have a mood disorder per se but like most alcoholics, the booze was covering for childhood trauma, high levels of anxiety, ADD and depression. Thanks to his parents, he has extreme low intolerance of frustration and being perceived as doing something wrong. Blame lack of understanding of ADD mixed with good old Italian discipline and you may see the picture. Due to this and an early learning of fight or flight, the response is literally to flee or go to sleep OR get angry so fast you don't even know what is happening.

Cue the walking on eggshells. I swear sometimes he baits me to see if I will fly off the handle the way I used to. What he hasn't grasped yet (and where I'm constantly reminded of the power of denial) is that 99% of our fights were rooted in his alcoholism. Without it, there's almost nothing to get that worked up over!!

Thank you everyone for your statements and suggestions. I especially like the living separately thing. If it becomes a law can we make sure that the person in recovery also has to maintain the house, walk the dogs, etc.?! I jest, somewhat. It was a single household before. It continues to be. He tries when he can but the video game playing and TV watching and couch potato behavior continue to increase.

He has every right to do what works for him. What I'm finding the hardest right now is navigating a commingled existence when not being commingled. We did it before-why is this so hard? I think because we are having a surface level relationship and conversation. It feels fake. Like I'm living with someone I don't know. Gotta love the irony there!

Does anyone have any suggestions about reconnecting? I don't think he particularly wants to or can right now but yes we are approaching 3 months and I'm sick of everything right now. I can say that can't i? I feel those oh so familiar feelings of resentment creeping back in. Good thing I have al-anon tonight.

He actually threw in my face yesterday, own your own feelings and go to al-anon to get support-you have none from me. I bit my tongue. I almost bit through my tongue. It makes me boil. Just writing it is making me boil. The better part of the past year, especially intense over the last 6 months has been all about him and supporting him before during an after. Are you kidding me right now? No sympathy. No connection to me. Nothing. Just empty, selfish and angry. Feels a lot like November again!!

What is frustrating me most is that he is approaching 90 days and he is working his recovery. But he has been advised to not work full time, as he works with childhood trauma and it's a constant trigger. Yet what is we doing? Working full time. He shouldn't go to conferences on stressful topics for at least a year. Monday he is going to one on sexual predators on children. There is a balance that isn't being leveled out in relation to home. It's hard. I'm trying to be supportive but it pisses me right off. Exhaust yourself and then come home. Super. Thanks for that.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:03 AM
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findingmyself, I read this in the humor section of the May issue of the Grapevine, the AA monthly magazine: Despite sometimes having an arrogant exterior, an alcoholic is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring. However, these feelings don't usually involve anyone else.

My A and I both laughed when I read it out loud to him, but yes, he DID laugh harder than I did...2 different viewpoints of the same experience.

I have no sage words for you, but I do wish you strength and clarity and send you hugs in your frustration.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:43 PM
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What I can't seem to make sense of - and it's probably my own source of denial - is why the f$&@ing Jekyll and Hyde routine didn't go away.
I'll answer this as a recovering alcoholic in my 23rd year of recovery. When an alcoholic puts down the booze they're the same person to a big degree. We change, become responsible adults, by working the 12 Steps and with therapy .... it takes many years of hard work. In the book Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson points out that drinking was but a symptom of the disease of alcoholism. Wilson describes alcoholics as self-centered, self-involved and self-will in the extreme. Enormous ego combined with low self esteem. Recovery is so much more that sitting in a few meetings and not drinking.

I later became involved with an alcoholic which brought out my codependency. What happened to me, in both cases, was there was too much damage to the relationship and we parted ways. Not everyone does, certainly. But once trust and respect are gone there isn't much of anything.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:05 PM
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Hey there. You are welcome to look through my posts whining and struggling with RAHs first year of recovery here.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:48 PM
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The only thing that's worked for us with reconnecting on any level is his relapse. Sick. I hate that. WHY NOW is he finally willing to talk to me? I do.not.recommend this approach. He had 3 1/2 months sober before his relapse.

As his rehab counselor said, he's doing what's natural. Birds fly, fish swim, alcoholics drink. To drink is natural. To not drink is not natural and takes a lot of work. My husband hasn't been putting in that work with his recovery; he has been right back to normal with the job "needing" all his attention. It doesn't get his full attention when he's drinking, but that's beside the point when their brain is in active addiction.

Congrats to both of you for working on your own healing!

Check the stickies at the top of the Friends and Family forum about abuse. I never thought they pertained to me. I finally figured out those little "digs" are emotional abuse. That's been the biggest thing holding up my recovery. I finally called a DV hotline this week and reaching out was really good for me. Even after it stopped, I'm still effected by it.
Also this book: Respect Me Rules

You might also do a search for PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome). Learning about that also helped me a lot. He's not able to be there for me right now. It's okay to build my own support system for myself. For a while I thought he didn't love me at all anymore. Now I realize he does, and so does he, but he sure doesn't love himself yet.

The one thing that is truly working for me is working my own recovery. That, no matter what else, is very worthwhile.
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by findingmyself14 View Post
I wish someone would dedicate their f'ing patience to my recovery. I feel as though I can't step out of line. He's the first one to point out the mistake. .
See here is where I find you got problems. Screw his patience - seems you are projecting your own behaviors onto him and how you THINK he should be. You helped him, shouldn't he help you?

It doesn't work that way. Recovery is personal. Helping can be codependent. I am not talking about encouragement - what exactly do you want him to do?

Have you written a script and he is not following?

I think it hardest to reconnect while in recovery. The person is different and the relationship odd. My RAH also points out mistakes. I simply tell him to fix them LOL.

I hope I am not coming across as harsh and certainly not on the side of your RAH. Yet I hear in your post a neediness or something along the lines of wanting him to be responsible for the way you feel and he is saying no. He is telling you to work your program and leave him out of it.

So do it. That's the way it should be. Stop giving any of your energy to him - let him take care of him. That to me is the best way to navigate back to a healthy relationship. If you find the situation intolerable then by all means move or ask him to. You gotta do what's best for you now NOT what (you think) is best for him.

Might suggest some marriage counseling as he is sober. That could do you both a world of good in getting through this time.
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:44 AM
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More so a frustration that I wish I could be in an insurance-approved treatment program. I was typing so angrily that I wasn't clear. I wish I had group and one and one and psycho pharm and meditation and all the things that he is getting. That I have to continue to take care of the house, the finances (tried not to buy received a foreclosure notice-yea I don't think so), the dogs, making sure there is food in the house. I have to go to work when he's picked a fight in the morning. I have to continue to hide my tired, sad puffy eyes underneath makeup. I can't tell if I am more exhausted now than I was before or vice versa. I had in my mind it wouldn't be so exhausting. More sour about the lack of familial support I am finding locally than anything. It has nothing to do with where or what I think he should be offering me. I'm just finding aside from you lovely folks online and the daily al anon meetings nearby, I'm struggling to build a support network for me. People who do not have/had addicts in their lives only understand to some degree.

With him-it's so much of his own projections coming to light within the context of our cohabitation. I've pledged for this weekend to avoid him at all costs. I need the space to heal from this past week. Just that alone is a huge step for me. Not the realizing but the doing. He still benefits from the partner who cares and wants to help. I just can't be all things and that is perfectly ok!

Would love the marriage counselor. Was told no. Reading CodeJob's one year of recovery post yesterday really captured my frustrations. He still holds the cards to our relationship. The detachment for me works up until a point. It's like living with a friend who controls whether you can connect (talk, take a silent walk with, go to the movies with, hang out with, etc) with them at all.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:31 AM
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finding....there is a program of recovery for you and only you. it is not about him at all.
it's all about us....the family and friends of alcoholics. and it is free.

I can't remember.....have you joined an al-anon family?

the connections I made in my al-anon family led me to develop deep, profoundly healthy relationships with others that still foster my recovery to this day.

many activities involved, also. it truly becomes a family.

I went kicking and screaming at first.....it took me 6 months before I could even breathe correctly during a meeting. I spent those 6 months crying, sobbing, out of control, challenging every step and tradition they had.

but, after pushing through it and coming out the other side, the rewards have been bountiful.

I came through it, with war stripes and battle scars, and will always have remnants of past, but.......I came through it.

still need lots of help from time to time. always will. I can accept that.

thanks for this post....reminded me so much of the network of friends from the past on this forum.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:45 AM
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findinmyself---my heart goes out to you. I once was in that kind of relationship---only, the husband was not an alcoholic!! (spouse is not my qualifier..lol)

If I hear you correctly--you feel like you are married without the benefits of marriage...in the area of your emotional and companionate and practical needs. You feel that you are not seen or heard and that your feelings are of lesser importance in the relationship. And, that your considerable efforts (alanon included) have not resul ted in any hope for the viability of the relationship.

Looking at the situation from the premise of human equality--you are inheritently valuable and how you feel is important. You have every right to voice your opinion and have your needs be known. While the recovering alcoholic needs lots of space and l atitude--I don't believe that anyone should have to become a martyr in the name of someone else's recovery. trust me there is no reward or glory in martyrdom. It is m ore like a breeding ground for resentment.

I agree that you need your own healing field--where YOU matter. Your own interests and social circle. Your own counselor or therapist (in addition to alanon). You need an opportunity to be first priority in your own life. It is fairly early in the recovery process--and, your husband has the right to conduct himself as he sees fit--but, so do you. Time will tell if this is as good as he gets (in terms of responding to you). You shouldn't be confined to sitting quietly on a shelf while this comes to pass. This is why I am of the opinion that the alcoholic should live separately for a long time--at least one or two years.

Some marriages do survive sobriety--to varying degrees of satisfaction to the partners. Many do not. There is a LOT of variability here.

You have lots of power. You also do matter as much as anyone else on this planet. In order to have peace of mind, you have to be true to yourself.

findingmyself--I realize that I am speaking in a very direct manner to you. Please just take my words as food for your own thoughts.

Keep posting. You are not alone in this.

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Old 04-19-2014, 03:53 PM
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Thank you everyone xoxo
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for clarifying that. I hope that you are able to achieve the level of support that you need. One think I might suggest is to stop carrying the weight you are carrying. Forget about the food and the cleaning, all the extra "jobs" that it sounds like you have.

Since husband agrees you both need to work your own program than he should also agree to pick up some of the slack. (well….he should not sure if he will).

Take care of yourself - proud you are getting out this weekend.
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