Blogs


Notices

HOw do I know he is an alcoholic

Old 05-28-2014, 09:38 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
Question HOw do I know he is an alcoholic

Hello,

I joined in the spring but then haven't been on in a while. My question is a simple one, but I think there is no simple answer and I was hoping to hear some perspectives from family members who have been there.

I suspect my husband is an alcoholic but I keep flip flopping in this assessment as to whether it is true or not. I see him use alcohol on a regular basis and his usage can dramatically increase depending on what's going on in his environment (work stress, fights with me, etc). Let me share some examples. Maybe I'm just looking for validation of what I already know but I feel like I am going crazy in trying to figure this out. OUr marriage is in trouble (we are legally separated) and I'm trying to determine whether to give it one last chance or not and the alcohol behavior scares me.

We've been married 6 years and in that time frame he has been drunk hundreds of times. When with his buddies or work colleagues he routinely will come home hours later than what he said he would (e.g., come home at midnight instead of 9 pm) and often smells like booze. When we argue, he storms out and goes straight to the bar and stays there for 7-8 hours. On vacations, I see him order a double martini in the airport at breakfast, and then 2 more on the airplane at 9 am. On one vacation he drank an entire bottle of rum in 24 hours by himself. Last week I found a receipt for a lunch he had by himself where he ordered 6 tequilas and 4 bar drinks for a total of 10 drinks at 2:45 pm. That night he came home at 10:30 pm and slept on the couch and smelled like booze the next morning. So I know he drank more between 2:45 pm and 10:30 pm. He showed up drunk for a dinner with my friends a few years ago acted horrifically and never apologized for it. AT times when he has come home late he rings the doorbell deliberately to wake me or flips the lights on while I am sleeping with no regard for me.

IN between these episodes though he can go days and sometimes weeks without drinking or just drinking moderately. He can also be incredibly sweet, loving, charming and kind during these days. When drinking he can be mean but it is more of a stony arrogance. I refer to the differences as "Saturday morning Matt" (the nice one) and "Wednesday night Matt" (the stony/withdrawn one).

Fewer of these episodes have been happening lately because he is more secure in his job. It was really bad in 2008-2010 when the economy was at its worse. But they still happen. (2 times last week)

I struggle in my assessment of his degree of really being an alcoholic because I can see him go without. But I also see him drink incredibly large quantities - more than any friend or family member I've ever seen in my lifetime.

Our marriage is in trouble and I keep searching for the root cause. IN my readings on alcoholism I can see that it makes people act irresponsibly, with poor judgment and lack of consideration and so I vacillate between thinking that those behaviors are really his core self or whether they are the alcoholism.

Once several years ago he did attend 1 AA meeting to see what it was about but he said the stories were so over the top that he didn't think it looked like him. I did not push the issue.

My instincts tell me 10 bar drinks at lunch just are not normal, much less all the other stuff. But then we have days of nice, sweet behavior and I think that my marriage can work. But I'm afraid to commit and jump in with both feet because I don't see the acknowledgement on his end. We don't have kids - largely because things have been so tough for so many years that I couldn't imagine bringing kids into the environment.

I feel stuck - I don't feel I can fully leave without really giving him a chance to see this issue and a chance to address it, but I can't fully stay without him at least acknowledging it.

For those who have been there, do the incidents I describe sound like alcoholism to you? How do I weigh this into the decision of whether to stay and fight for our marriage or move on? He seems to want it, but my behavior has been very ambivalent in the past few months. I get hysterical at the idea of him leaving, but then when these episodes happen I feel so alone. My ambivalence is also not fair to him or to me, and I just feel stuck and scared and worried about the future both with him and without him.

Any advice? Thank you so much for listening.

Sally
SallyTaylor is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SallyTaylor For This Useful Post:
ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), readerbaby71 (05-28-2014), suncatcher (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 09:48 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Florence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest, USA
Posts: 2,899
We've been married 6 years and in that time frame he has been drunk hundreds of times. When with his buddies or work colleagues he routinely will come home hours later than what he said he would (e.g., come home at midnight instead of 9 pm) and often smells like booze. When we argue, he storms out and goes straight to the bar and stays there for 7-8 hours. On vacations, I see him order a double martini in the airport at breakfast, and then 2 more on the airplane at 9 am. On one vacation he drank an entire bottle of rum in 24 hours by himself. Last week I found a receipt for a lunch he had by himself where he ordered 6 tequilas and 4 bar drinks for a total of 10 drinks at 2:45 pm. That night he came home at 10:30 pm and slept on the couch and smelled like booze the next morning. So I know he drank more between 2:45 pm and 10:30 pm. He showed up drunk for a dinner with my friends a few years ago acted horrifically and never apologized for it. AT times when he has come home late he rings the doorbell deliberately to wake me or flips the lights on while I am sleeping with no regard for me.
That's a lot to drink. I might point out too, that's what you *know* about.

When I first got here, I fretted over whether to call my STBXAH an alcoholic. Someone told me, it matters less that we label him, and it matters more that you have decided that his drinking is a problem for you, and that you don't want to live like this.

Whatever you call it, his drinking means consequences for you, and that's no good.
Florence is offline  
The Following 23 Users Say Thank You to Florence For This Useful Post:
coolchick (05-28-2014), ErinGoBragh (05-28-2014), fedup3 (05-28-2014), FireSprite (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), itsmylifenow (05-28-2014), Kavora (05-28-2014), kudzujean (05-30-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), lillamy (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), m1k3 (05-28-2014), mdkathy62 (05-28-2014), peridotbleu (06-04-2014), readerbaby71 (05-28-2014), redatlanta (05-28-2014), RevivingOphelia (05-28-2014), shil2587 (05-28-2014), Stung (05-28-2014), suncatcher (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014), Thinking (05-29-2014), TonightTonight (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 10:08 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
Thanks, Florence, that is a very helpful perspective. It's easy to get too focused on the labels rather than the behaviors. I guess I just keep searching for a "benchmark" that I can measure all this against so it can tell me what to do. I know that is futile as it is all shades of grey and only I can make the decision. It does help getting outside views on the quantities as my yardstick is now way off after years of this. Meanwhile, I'm essentially a tee-totaler, barely finishing 1 glass of wine! Go figure - opposites attract I guess. Thank you:-)
SallyTaylor is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to SallyTaylor For This Useful Post:
ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), readerbaby71 (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 10:18 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
lillamy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: right here, right now
Posts: 6,523
When I first got here, I fretted over whether to call my STBXAH an alcoholic. Someone told me, it matters less that we label him, and it matters more that you have decided that his drinking is a problem for you, and that you don't want to live like this.

Whatever you call it, his drinking means consequences for you, and that's no good.
This. Exactly. It took me a long time to decide that whatever you called it, it was something AXH had no interest in changing, and something I didn't want to live with anymore.

I would also like to gently suggest that when we get to the point where we keep track of when and where our significant other is drinking, and what type of alcohol (and also when we hear ourselves say things like "he's not drinking heavy liquor, only beer") -- then their drinking is affecting our well-being in a significant way.
lillamy is offline  
The Following 16 Users Say Thank You to lillamy For This Useful Post:
Astolfo (05-28-2014), ErinGoBragh (05-28-2014), FireSprite (05-28-2014), Florence (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), Huntingpeace (05-28-2014), itsmylifenow (05-28-2014), Kavora (05-28-2014), kudzujean (05-30-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), m1k3 (05-28-2014), peridotbleu (06-04-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014), Thinking (05-29-2014), TonightTonight (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 10:26 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
m1k3's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 2,884
((((hugs))))

It doesn't really matter if he is an alcoholic or not. What matters is the impact of his drinking on you. Think about it. If his drinking wasn't a problem would you be on the internet searching for sites about friends and families of alcoholics?

Your friend,
m1k3 is offline  
The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to m1k3 For This Useful Post:
Charmed3 (05-28-2014), fedup3 (05-28-2014), Florence (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), kudzujean (05-30-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), peridotbleu (06-04-2014), readerbaby71 (05-28-2014), suncatcher (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014), Thinking (05-29-2014), TonightTonight (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 10:34 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
AZliving's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
Posts: 133
I am an alcoholic, and no one could convince me of that except ME. You cannot change your husband. He must want to change. Until that happens, you will be stuck in the hell that you are in now. The only person you can change is yourself. Posting here will help, and going to an Al-Anon meeting may also be helpful.

We Alcoholics say the Serenity Prayer:

God give me serenity for the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

BIG hugs to you, and know you are not alone in your strife. Be good to yourself.
AZliving is offline  
The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to AZliving For This Useful Post:
fedup3 (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), Huntingpeace (05-28-2014), Kavora (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), readerbaby71 (05-28-2014), suncatcher (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014), TonightTonight (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 10:35 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
HopefulinFLA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 976
I agree with Mike, whatever you call it, your husband's drinking is a problem.

Here is a really good clinical definition if alcoholism.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-c...n/con-20020866
HopefulinFLA is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to HopefulinFLA For This Useful Post:
Florence (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 10:52 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 42
I agree that it can almost be distracting to get too focused on labels, but at the same time I sympathise with your urge to find a benchmark or yardstick - I was with my husband for six years before I was able to fully recognize and face up to what his drinking meant to me and to our relationship, and one of the reasons it took me so long, even though the drinking had been there from the beginning, was my own confusion over what "officially" counted as "too much" or "dangerous" or "alcoholic."
At one point, I normalized the behaviour and my own shock about how much he was drinking by telling myself that he was very tall and perhaps therefore needed more alcohol and/or could handle more alcohol than most people. Or I would think, “Well, he’s had a hard day.” Like you, I was also confused because there were times when he would be sweet and caring and funny and at those times, I would start to think my concern was misplaced; he was also never "roaring drunk" or loudly abusive - just often tipsy, sometimes inexplicably cruel (only to forget the next day the devastating things he said), and often unreliable. But you learn to live with all that, somehow.

For me, there were three things that made the difference to my own measure of what felt OK and what didn't: first, he started drinking in the morning, and when I asked a couple of therapists about this I was told it was a very unhealthy behaviour (in retrospect I’ve thought I a lot about this - imagine what it must do to your stomach to wake it up with hard liquor. Someone who is willing to do that, repeatedly, is actively harming themselves). Second, it became clear that he was relying on the alcohol to get him through any kind of difficulty or even strong emotion, and it became impossible for me not to see this as a dependency rather than a conscious choice. That was when I also started noticing that he never, ever, left a glass or can of alcohol unfinished.
And third, his reaction to my concerns about the drinking when I finally voiced them out loud (denying that it was a problem, responding that "you have flaws too", refusing to seek help of any kind, finally lying outright) showed that his priority was the drinking itself: my distress, my fears, the breakdown in our relationship, the increasingly obvious negative effects on his health - none of these was more important than his being able to continue drinking. That’s when I moved out and started going to Al Anon.

I understand how living with someone, especially someone you love, who drinks, can dull your instincts; and for some reason, many of us feel a profound need to be "fair" and not "dramatize" or “give up”- but somewhere inside yourself it sounds as if you have a recurring gut feeling that "this is not OK." Trust your gut.
Astolfo is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Astolfo For This Useful Post:
Florence (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), Huntingpeace (05-28-2014), jarp (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 11:15 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 42
PS
One more thought: in retrospect, I guess I was waiting for things to become unbearable – thinking that as long as there had been no DUIs, no getting fired from a job for drinking, no physical violence – things must be OK. Almost as if I needed some sort of dramatic incident, spectacular proof, some massive announcement complete with orchestral accompaniment, that NOW things are really bad and so it’s OK to freak out.
But no massive dramatic incident or announcement ever came; instead the three little realisations added up to a lightbulb moment of understanding that if he kept going down this road (and he seemed determined to do so), things could only get worse. By then I had found the Sober Recovery site, started reading other people’s stories, and found many of them already resonated for me; they also offered terrifying previews of what I was likely headed for if I didn’t make a change.
Astolfo is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Astolfo For This Useful Post:
Florence (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), jarp (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), m1k3 (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 11:38 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: somewhere south
Posts: 510
Originally Posted by Florence View Post
That's a lot to drink. I might point out too, that's what you *know* about.

When I first got here, I fretted over whether to call my STBXAH an alcoholic. Someone told me, it matters less that we label him, and it matters more that you have decided that his drinking is a problem for you, and that you don't want to live like this.

Whatever you call it, his drinking means consequences for you, and that's no good.
I too wasnt sure when I first came here is my STBXAH was an alcoholic or not. Things just didn't add up in our marriage something was off. He drank alot sometimes but not always. I posted on here and read up on alcoholism and learned alot about the disease. I think our perceptions of what an alcoholic look like-homeless, passed out, angumentative bum on the street- make it difficult to see that A's come in all forms. Read up all you can on alcohoism. The stickys at the top help a lot.

I agree with the others, if his drinking bothers you then it's a problem. I would also add that most non-alcoholics would not visit an AA meeting "to see what it's about". He obviously felt something was wrong. He is drinking alot at times from what you are saying. There are many A"s who space out there drinking and can go a while without drinking (binging) but will ultimately return to the bottle at some point. Its not how often they drink its the lack of control over it once they start.

Welcome, feel free to post anytime. We understand how you feel since many of us have been where you are.
unsureoffuture is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to unsureoffuture For This Useful Post:
fedup3 (05-28-2014), Florence (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 12:11 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
Thanks to all for the helpful thoughts and support. Really good food for thought. I will check out an AlAnon meeting. I've started going to CoDependents Anonymous and that has been really helpful b/c I realized I've been so focused on what he says/he thinks/his view and I've completely lost my compass. AlAnon would be good to try out. My words feel inadequate in thanking each of you for your helpful perspectives. The point about waiting for a spectacular incident totally resonates with me as I keep thinking that something like that would give me the final push that I need. I also keep finding myself wishing it weren't so and wanting him to be ok. And the idea that if I am not with him how will I know that he is ok, b/c I so desperately want him to be ok. I get in my head that it is not my responsibility yet I've been thinking this way for so long it is hard to break it. This separation may give us both the head space to see the issues and address them. And the point about only him being able to acknowledge the problem is spot on - it doesn't matter what I say - it has to come from him. It's kind of ironic isn't it that in this dance the alcoholic partner so vehemently defends his own point of view without a 2nd thought for the other's point of view, and the other (spouse, family, etc) oftentimes also vehemently adopts that alcoholic's point of view at the expense of their own? So 2 people validating one point of view, and nobody advocating for the other! I have glimmers where I get my own perspective and feel strong in my conviction - sometimes it lasts for just a few hours and sometimes just a few minutes, and then I slip back. But at least I am starting to see those glimmers - and I'm holding on tight to them! THANK YOU for the support and warm welcome.
SallyTaylor is offline  
The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to SallyTaylor For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (05-28-2014), fedup3 (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), m1k3 (05-28-2014), peridotbleu (06-04-2014), readerbaby71 (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014), unsureoffuture (05-29-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 01:48 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Maryland
Posts: 145
Dear SallyTaylor,

Thank you for sharing. I agree with Florence that it's not so much about whether or not he is an alcoholic, but whether or not who he is now is a problem for you.

My ex was similar in that regards. He had moments where he drank all the time and then he could go awhile without alcohol. The pattern was predictable yet unpredictable at the same time. Rest assure, whenever I started to think he was done drinking and was sober and life was butterflies and candy, he began his downward spiral again. One bad thing could set him off into that spiral.

I remember having extensive conversations with my friends about what kind of person he was. How he was truly a great guy when I met him, when he was sober and so forth and the pivotal question that made me stop and pause was when my friend asked me "Would you date him if you met him right now the way he was?". So similarly, I'll ask you: "Would you marry your husband the way he is now if you are meeting him? Would you think upon meeting him now, wow, what a great man. I have to have him?"

People have their ups and downs and I'm not saying to judge them by their downs, but to look at who he is now vs who he was in the past. People change and not always for the best. You probably didn't sign up for this when you married him.

I had to learn to either deal with my ex's alcoholic rollercoaster or leave and in the end I chose to leave. It was too much work to analyze what was wrong with him when he was down, what caused it, why he keeps doing it, is he an alcoholic, etc. So many birthdays of mine went invisible because alcohol needed the money and I apparently didn't need anything. So many times I was let down and treated badly and you know what? I did not sign up for that.

Take care.
mdkathy62 is offline  
The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to mdkathy62 For This Useful Post:
Blueskies25 (05-28-2014), dandylion (05-28-2014), ErinGoBragh (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-28-2014), HopefulinFLA (05-28-2014), Huntingpeace (05-28-2014), Kavora (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), MAGW (05-29-2014), redatlanta (05-28-2014), RollTide (05-28-2014), theuncertainty (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 03:03 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
mdkathy62 - what an insightful question as to whether I would make the same choice today or not. I'm not quite ready to admit to myself the answer to that but I will chew on it and see what my gut says. This is scary stuff at times - denial has been a real anesthetic. I guess every anesthetic wears off eventually...
SallyTaylor is offline  
The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to SallyTaylor For This Useful Post:
Blueskies25 (05-28-2014), desertgirl (05-28-2014), honeypig (05-29-2014), HopefulinFLA (05-28-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014), mdkathy62 (05-29-2014), redatlanta (05-28-2014), unsureoffuture (05-29-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 04:25 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,407
His drinking pattern is abnormal, and excessive. Alot of A's are good at intermittent control, it doesn't last. It's affecting your relationship. You want to give him a chance to "see this issue" and a chance "to address it". There is nothing you can do to make that happen, and it's not your responsibility. You will make yourself crazy trying to figure this stuff out, nothing the A does makes sense. Be glad you don't have children in the picture. I agree that you would benefit from AlAnon...you can work on your own recovery from this.
Recovering2 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Recovering2 For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 04:37 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Pressure makes diamonds
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 521
Hi Sally,
I would say he definitely has alcohol issues. You only see what he allows you to see, he may be drinking every day, just not to the point of obliteration. It sounds as though you made up your mind by obtaining the legal separation. He will not change until HE decides to, IF he decides to. You already have 1 foot out the door and no children. Why stay? It will continue to get worse, as alcoholism is a progressive disease, unless he is willing to make concessions with his alcohol intake.
I wish you strength with this difficult decision.
Hope2014 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Hope2014 For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014), ladyscribbler (05-28-2014), Live (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 05:05 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
These thoughts have been very wise and helpful. Can you all help me with one more piece of it? We have the legal separation and he signed a new apartment lease a month ago. He's been splitting his time between our place and the new place and we said once he got settled we would then try to work through the relationship. We agreed that would entail periodic contact/dating and trying to give each other some distance and room to breathe.

This past weekend he said he was going to pack up all the rest of his stuff and bring it to the new place. I became hysterical. I was weeping, crying, begging him not to go for hours. It was a complete meltdown, and it surprised me, and certainly him too. He said no need to get so upset - we would still go forward with our plan to work on it, just that he needed his things. I totally understood that logically and of course I want him to have his stuff. I just couldn't bear the thought of all of his things being out of our home. It just felt so final. LIke if some of his stuff was still here he would be more likely to come back but if all of it was at the new place he wouldn't.

The boxes are now all packed but not moved out. I feel horrible because I am sending him such mixed signals and am really confused myself. When I look at the facts of our relationship and all that has happened, there are not that many compelling reasons to stay. Yet when I face the situation of him truly leaving I completely fall apart. I love him and yet I have this dim awareness that this isn't healthy - the drama itself is horrific, much less the things in the relationship that have happened.

For those who left did you go through something similar? I don't know if it is that I am not ready to let go or if it is that the love is so strong that my feelings are telling me to stay and work it out.

The events of this weekend are truly my responsibility - he was calm, reasonable, logical and dealing with the situation quite maturely. I was the basket case.

Any advice on how to handle this ? I do think we need some space apart with the periodic contact/dating as we had agreed, but now he is going to think I'm reversing myself again since my hysterics basically said "don't go."
SallyTaylor is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to SallyTaylor For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014), Live (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 06:05 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 42
First off, big HUGS to you. This is an agonizing and bewildering situation. The good news is, there are many on this site who will recognize what you describe. In fact, it resonates so much with me that it makes me cry (in that strange, grateful, “yes me too” way). I remember vividly the disconnect between the clear knowledge that separation was necessary, the “dim awareness” that I was moving out of a horrific situation, and the paralyzing agony of actually seeing the home we had shared for so long half empty, the naked fact of us being well and truly apart, and the terror that this might really be the end and oh my god what had I done…
But three years on I am proud of all of it – of my courage to act, and my courage to let myself feel all I felt, and my courage to be fully, messily human for perhaps the first time in my life.

Although it may not feel that way, everything you describe makes perfect sense. As you mentioned earlier, you have spent a long time focusing on your husband's words/thoughts/needs/feelings and are only now reconnecting with what YOU feel, think, need, want. When your own emotions etc. have been suppressed for so long, it makes sense that they will return in strange bursts - one minute a tiny glimmer of something, the next an overwhelming flood.
Also, if I am interpreting your story correctly, you have recently been focused on action - on taking charge of your life, making the decision to separate, having him move out (even temporarily). When we are in that kind of action mindset I think there is no room for feelings - our system goes into "get it done" mode. It's only later that the full emotional impact of the decision really hits home, and you can start to process the full tangle of feelings. And of course, there is often a clash between the emotions (irrational) and the calmer, decision-making mind (rational). Our western culture tends to value one over the other, but actually neither one is better or worse. They are both profoundly human, both essential parts of who you are and what you need to experience at this point in your life. It is possible, though really hard, to do what you need to do and also allow yourself to feel everything you are feeling. Of course there will be fear and grief and bewilderment and one feeling will contradict another. Your reality is changing and your system is scrambling to adjust. You are exchanging a painful but familiar routine for the unknown.

That’s why “one step at a time” and “one day at a time” are such crucial slogans for both AA and Al Anon. And please allow yourself a bit more leeway in terms of how you are responding. It would be nice if we could be reasonable, calm, mature, at all times – but would you expect that kind of consistency and healthy detachment from a friend, if they had been through what you have been through recently? Wouldn’t you allow them to be upset? If you don’t get to be a basket case now, when do you? I remember telling my therapist that I felt guilty and embarrassed for being so inconsistent and flaky, and he replied, “I think it’s high time you find out what your flaky looks like” as if this was a great opportunity.
Of course it’s scary and incredibly confusing in this kind of relationship because traditionally he has been the unstable one and you have been the “sane” one. Unfortunately that is not a healthy balance and as you will likely discover when you move deeper into recovery, a lot of what felt like sane behaviour to you before will look like insanity a while from now. You have realized that things need to change, and part of that will be you changing. And that is difficult (but ultimately also incredibly freeing).

Have compassion for yourself - at least as much as you have had for him, all the times his behaviour was surprising or confusing. And remember that if the marriage is meant to survive, it will not only weather this but come out stronger. If both of you step into recovery, there will be many times that you surprise each other (in good and bad ways) and you will basically be getting to know yourselves, and each other, all over again.
Astolfo is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Astolfo For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014), Live (05-28-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 07:17 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
I can't tell you how reassuring it is to hear your words, Astolfo. I think you may be right - the actions have provided a shield to the emotions. And the emotions can be absolutely bone crushing. I also think in some ways it is easier to be the one to leave than to be the one that stays in the home. Everywhere I look I see ghosts and memories, while he has a brand new space to make his own. Not that it matters who it is harder for - it is just awful period. I do agree it is a necessary part of the growth and it will either knit us together or split us apart and I keep telling myself that it is in the hands of the Universe/Higher Power/God/Supreme Being. For now, I am just trying to surf the ups and downs and trust what will come. It's great to hear from someone on the other side, who has made it through.
SallyTaylor is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to SallyTaylor For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 08:43 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
redatlanta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: atlanta, ga
Posts: 3,581
Of course you got upset. This is your husband, even in much worse scenarios people grieve when a relationship ends (or possibly ends). Your identity as you know it is changing.

As for the other regarding whether or not he is an A, as the others have said the label doesn't matter. What you should be asking yourself is if you can live like that anymore. Can you? Is it ok to give up two nights a week to Wednesday Night Matt? What about what else you give up, the other things you have to deal with? We all know you are dealing with way more than 2 nights of your husband being cold to you because he is drunk.

No I don't think its your sub conscience telling you you love him so much you should give it another try. I just think you are human, and are sad that it didn't work out the way it was supposed to.

((((hugs)))
redatlanta is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to redatlanta For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014)
Old 05-28-2014, 08:53 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Pressure makes diamonds
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 521
I went through a very similar situation. Luckily, eventually I got an uncontested divorce so it wasn't drawn out. I had the same emotional reaction- I begged him to stay when he left, even though the relationship was destroying me on many levels. I spent many months alone, crying and second guessing myself before I filed for divorce. I blamed myself for not being able to make him happy, or so I thought (would make him stay). What I didn't realize at the time was that it wasn't about me. Looking back now, it was the best decision that I ever made. But it was also was the hardest.
It's called a break up because something is broken. You can spend years trying to change him, but the only thing that will change are the years you lose trying. It will wear you down and exhaust you in the process.
I think you've gotten a lot of good advice and support here, but in the end only you can chose to stay or go.
I wish you strength as I have walked in your shoes and it isn't easy. ((Hugs))
Hope2014 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Hope2014 For This Useful Post:
honeypig (05-29-2014)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:45 AM.