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Success - is it possible?

Old 05-01-2014, 06:05 AM
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Success - is it possible?

I would really like to hear from spouses/partners of alcoholics who temporarily separated until the A got themselves cleaned up and then returned to the relationship.

Is this even possible?

Can it be done?

Is it worth me even getting my hopes up?
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:23 AM
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MissBeth--I think you might find some success stories by talking to recovering alcoholics who have very long histories of recovery (many years).....or those who are longtimers in alanon............in addition to here, of course.

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Old 05-01-2014, 07:59 AM
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Success stories come in many forms. There are many here with success stories, but if your definition of success is limited to only one possible outcome, then you see other outcomes as failure.

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Old 05-01-2014, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MissBeth View Post
I would really like to hear from spouses/partners of alcoholics who temporarily separated until the A got themselves cleaned up and then returned to the relationship.

Is this even possible?

Can it be done?

Is it worth me even getting my hopes up?
I used to see this temporary separation situation you're describing as a tool to use to get the A to change. But that's not how it works. It's about you doing what you want to do, with or without the A.
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:44 AM
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In an alcoholic relationship, both sides have a fair amount of cleaning up to do. My ex and I temporarily separated. I focused on myself and he...focused on the bottle. So our separation has now become permanent. I am attending Alanon and therapy and building a happy, safe, healthy home for myself and my sons. That is my success story. Like LaTeeDa said, limiting your definition of success to one outcome means seeing everything else as failure, and that simply isn't so. Hanging the responsibility for your happiness on someone else is pretty much a recipe for disappointment.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:40 PM
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MissBeth, I would like to echo those who say that success comes in many forms. Along those lines, here is a thread you might like to take a peek at:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...s-stories.html

Never forget, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. The chance for relapse is ALWAYS there, even after 10, 20, 30 years of sobriety. I don't say this to sway you one way or the other, nor to scare you--simply that it's a truth we all need to keep in mind. I tend to feel that w/every passing day of sobriety, my AH is less likely to relapse, but that is absolutely not true--each day is a new one, w/its own perils and rewards. Guess that's why AA (and Alanon) says "One day at a time..."
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:38 PM
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Hi MissBeth,

RAH and I have done what you describe, but I first want to say that I wholeheartedly agree with what the other posters have said. Success comes in many different forms. When dealing with this disease, it is best not to allow your hopes to be dependent upon anyone other than yourself. I feel like my *individual* story is a success; my marriage is yet to be seen, though we have made positive progress.

Here goes...feel free to ask me any questions or PM me if you like.

Background - RAH started drinking in his teens, quit on his own in his 20's. We met & married when he was several years into sobriety. In total, RAH was sober for 17 years before he relapsed.

RAH relapsed in Nov '11, by Feb '12, I had concerns about his behavior while drinking. I sought help in Nov '12 when my anxiety was at its height and I didn't know how to handle it. I hoped that if I started to get some help, I could eventually get him to come with me and thereby get him help. Between Oct '12 and Jan '13 he "quit" several times. By Mar '13, I discovered that he was again hiding his drinking with lots of lies.

In the four months from when I started counseling & found that he was hiding the drinking, I felt as though I had made significant progress in my own anxiety and depression through the work I was doing with my counselor & educating myself about Alcoholism. In addition, my infant niece was born with very serious, life-threatening, medical issues. I also turned 34 & still want children. I tell you these things so you understand the perspective I was operating from - I had an AH 16 months into relapse that refused to acknowledge his drinking was an issue, an infant niece & family that needed my support in fighting a medical battle, and a ticking biological clock. I absolutely refused to go backwards in my recovery progress, which I knew would happen if I continued to live with an active A.

Kicking my H out of our home was a difficult decision, but I had learned & understood that his drinking had nothing to do with me. I also now understood my codependency and that I was not yet in a place to properly care for myself with an active A around. We lived separately for 8 months, during which time I continued counseling, joined AlAnon, joined SR, and researched Alcoholism. I also spend TONS of time with my family, my friends, my dogs, started yoga, and did a lot of self care.

For the time we were separated, I went back & forth a lot of whether or not we would end up working on our marriage. However, I reached a place where I knew that I would be okay regardless of what AH did, that the work I was doing on myself was necessary whether my marriage resumed or I moved on to another partner, and I am grateful for the things that I have learned from this difficult experience. AA/AlAnon advise to not make major life decisions for a year, especially about relationships. The general thought is if you separate, to do so for a full year before resuming a relationship, but I personally reached a point in my recovery where I needed to see how RAH and I functioned together again in order to move forward.

RAH has been back home a few months now...we attend couples counseling together and continue to work our own recoveries. He is more attentive & helpful now than before, which is great. I am less controlling & emotional. I focus on today rather than worrying about what may or may not come in the future. We still have stuff that comes up, but it is normal stuff.

Enough out of me...I do not want to get your hopes up as what works for one may not work for another. This worked okay for us, but we have a long road ahead of us. I wish you the best, and hope that you will focus on yourself and your own recovery.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:03 PM
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Okay, I just have to say that being successful at recovering from alcoholism is like asking someone how they win at life. There is no distinguished finish line here or point of "success".

My husband and I are separated and have been for a few months and he's moving back in soon. Things are much better for him, me and our children. We contine to work on ourselves daily and our marriage and family benefits from our efforts, but it is work and its uncomfortable sometimes not to mention that our individual therapy sessions, Soberlink, child care during therapy, etc. is also costing us an extra $2k a month. All that and he could move back in and start drinking a week, month, year, 10 years later. I'm proud of my husband for working so diligently to become a better person. I'm proud of myself too and I'm VERY aware that I'll never stop working on myself.

When I first found this site one of the first things I did was search for happily ever after stories of families with alcoholics. But now...I'm not even sure what happily ever after would look like.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:08 PM
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I thought AH would get his act together when he terrified me and the children and the police were called in. I was almost sure the time before that when he was sent to jail for domestic violence. I thought he'd quit drinking and Mr Hyde would go away, never to appear again.

Why the heck I believed any of that is now beyond me.

My happy ending will be when my divorce is finalized and My finances and career path get straightened out. And when my children move ahead with their owns lives, and let the past go, too.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Stung View Post
Okay, I just have to say that being successful at recovering from alcoholism is like asking someone how they win at life. There is no distinguished finish line here or point of "success".

My husband and I are separated and have been for a few months and he's moving back in soon. Things are much better for him, me and our children. We contine to work on ourselves daily and our marriage and family benefits from our efforts, but it is work and its uncomfortable sometimes not to mention that our individual therapy sessions, Soberlink, child care during therapy, etc. is also costing us an extra $2k a month. All that and he could move back in and start drinking a week, month, year, 10 years later. I'm proud of my husband for working so diligently to become a better person. I'm proud of myself too and I'm VERY aware that I'll never stop working on myself.

When I first found this site one of the first things I did was search for happily ever after stories of families with alcoholics. But now...I'm not even sure what happily ever after would look like.
whoooooaaaa!

Stung, YOU are getting better.

I better start sweating on THIS race.

Go Girl.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:11 PM
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Hammer, I can't let you get healthier faster than me. It'll hurt my ego too much.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:19 PM
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that act alone of quitting and staying quit is only the beginning of the journey...how one chooses to live that now sober life is the true test. some addicts wake up and say WOW, you mean all this cool stuff has been here all this time? look at the flowers, listen to the birds, God smiled at me thru the sunrise this morning.

and others find life without the substance empty, meaningless, a prison sentence.

many those who truly seem to GET recovery also have some type of recovery program that they immerse themselves in. like having a personal trainer at the gym...it only works if you WORK IT. and that means time away from the home, the family, going to meetings, or counseling, or after care....working with other recovering addicts and those who still suffer. going thru the emotional revelations of step work, or therapy.

some can't handle the ordeals of REAL life. some need to separate and be alone without all the distractions. some realize they made a mistake in getting married, but now have a wife and three kids. some have a hard time getting back into the work world and struggle to earn a decent living. some have made such a financial mess that it seems near to impossible to ever straighten out. some can't find their @ss with both hands and a map.

some go on to be responsible productive citizens. great fathers, wives, sisters, sons. some may amass YEARS of recovery and that make that one bad decision and drink or use again. some quit and never look back. some quit and ALWAYS look back.

addiction isn't a cold you get over. it's a complex illness coupled with a physical compulsion and a mental obsession. there are deep seeded reasons why one will drink or use regardless of the consequences, in spite of the consequences, again and again and again. and even with the "best" of efforts, the beast known as addiction never sleeps.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MissBeth View Post
I would really like to hear from spouses/partners of alcoholics who temporarily separated until the A got themselves cleaned up and then returned to the relationship.

Is this even possible?

Can it be done?

Is it worth me even getting my hopes up?
I'd love to know if separations work at all.

-DrS
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DocSobrietist View Post
I'd love to know if separations work at all.

-DrS
You guys realize there are no blanket or absolute answers, right? Sometimes yes, sometimes no and throw in a million variables.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DocSobrietist View Post
I'd love to know if separations work at all.

-DrS
My ex and I never actually separated (he spent a few days living with his parents before) I can remember about 10,000 times I threatened to leave him if he didn't quit and he'd stop for quite a few months from time to time. He eventually started back, worse than he'd ever been before and LEFT ME for his mistress who doesn't mind his drinking. My point is...if it's a separation ultimatum I would proceed with caution because sometimes it's easier to find someone that's okay with drinking than it is to quit drinking because someone else has a problem with it. I guess my opinion is...sobriety doesn't work for any addict who doesn't themselves want to quit for THEMSELVES. Quitting for someone else is short lived.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:16 AM
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Nobody else can make you happy. That is a choice you make for yourself. There are million-to-one odds that any of a dozen things could happen to you in any combination. One thing I think you'll learn if you hang around here enough is that success is US getting healthier and being able to take care of ourselves, whether or not the A is in our lives. My success story? I have a happy, healthy family made up of my husband, five kids (one with ADD, one with Autism/ADHD/ODD), and myself. For the first time in my life I'm taking responsibility for myself and my actions. For an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, that's huge. I haven't talked to my AM in two years and I probably never will again. But yes, mine is a success story.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:38 AM
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Does separation work? In the case of my XA it was the ONLY thing that ended up working.

Readers Digest version: Hyper-controlling ACOA Codependent ME hovered, helicoptered, rescued manipulative binging A through countless hospital emergency visits near death, arrests, detoxes, rehabs etc for 4 years. His family filled this role before I did with many times he was actually living in the streets or penthouses.

Chronic relapsing was a nightmare and when he took a drink the world was at risk...it was to insane blackout usually with benzos.

Fast forward to now. The last relapse lasted through dozens of states with long stints gambling and drinking across Las Vegas and a few jail cells sprinkled in between. Two years of complete and utter insanity with a jellied alcoholic brain he made the decision to get sober... and without a single soul helping except God he did it. It was a hard struggle and he had burned every bridge and had no one but himself and his HP to get him through it all.

That was 9 months ago. He is now 1 month longer than he has EVER been sober in his entire life since becoming an A in high school (25 years of active addiction). He is 2500 miles away in another state but has visited his kids and is rebuilding that relationship.

He would love to rekindle our relationship but in the past two years I created the most amazing, joyful, happy life and I can't even begin to imagine an A, recovered or not within my inner circle. I would 'relapse" lol!

My XA is growing so much spiritually and is a great guy...the love of my life in fact! I gave him a 1 year date for a "date" to some exotic locale and he is counting down the calendar! It looks like he is going to make it! I NEVER dreamed he would stay sober and made this promise! WOW...

So...does separation work? If they have the tools, a true recovery program, mentorship and are completely and utterly consumed with the desire and willingness to do whatever it takes it can set the stage for authentic recovery. But if they are not serious and are just quacking... well...separation is just geography change. But...creating space and boundaries is life changing for YOU and for ME!

And when we set them free to find their own way out...well...it means something to them. They had to figure it out and run their own lives like grown men and women... and they grow up because they have to.

HOpe that helps.
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:16 PM
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I'm so glad that some of you have found success.

For me, I had gotten my hopes up over one email from the XABF, and thought there was a chance of reconciliation. However that one email was soon followed by ever increasing abusive emails and proved that he hasn't changed at all.

So it's over. Done. No chance of getting back together. Not now, not in 6 months time, or 1 year or ever.

Thank goodness I never married him or had children with him. I am in awe of the strength of those who strike out as a single parent to escape the A partner/spouse. You guys are magnificent, strong, courageous, wonderful parents and doing the right thing.

So my success is that I escaped. I can recover from his years of emotional abuse. I can find someone else if that is my destiny. If not, I'd rather be alone than put up with his abuse and alcoholism for one second longer. I am free and safe.
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MissBeth View Post
So my success is that I escaped. I can recover from his years of emotional abuse. I can find someone else if that is my destiny. If not, I'd rather be alone than put up with his abuse and alcoholism for one second longer. I am free and safe.
This is so true, MissBeth. And succeeding by escaping is no small thing--many people remain enmeshed for the rest of their lives. They never get to say "I am free and safe."

As for finding someone else--well, it seems to me that you're finding yourself, and everything else is just kind of icing on the cake...

Wishing you all the best in your wonderful, free, safe life today and in the future!
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:03 AM
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You have become your own success story here!!

Leaving an abusive relationship is always a success story. I hope you stick around a while you have a lot to offer to others who haven't successfully left one yet.

((hugs))
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