Kicked her out, finally (long)

Old 06-30-2014, 09:15 PM
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Kicked her out, finally (long)

I have posted here very sporadically over the past couple years due to the troubles with my chronically relapsing AW. We have been married 26 years, and in the last 10 of those, she has been a semi-active alcoholic. She returned from treatment about a year ago, and following the advice of The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage and others, I put off making any major decisions for a year. And my, what a year it has been - I cannot do it justice other than to say the episodic relapsing has continued and even gotten worse. She always has some typical lame excuse, and really cannot seem to help herself.

Earlier this year, she got hold of some liquor on a vacation and behaved horribly in front of family. When we returned from that, I moved into the guest room. We have continued with couples counseling, she attends AA regularly. A couple months ago, though, she seemed to have some kind of "aha!" insight, and suddenly was much more open and talkative about her problem with friends and family, and seemed to approach AA with new vigor. I was hopeful, but knew enough not to put too much stock in it. Still, I have been honoring my for-better-or-worse commitment and trying to keep the marriage alive.

One thing I discovered recently is she is now adding dextromethorphan (cough syrup) to the mix, and I discovered by accident she was dosing on that before going to work (she is a professional). After her last relapse incident a few weeks ago, as she expressed remorse and regret the next day, I told her that enough was enough, I could no longer be around this behavior, and if she relapsed again she was going to have to find a new place to live. She acknowledged and conceded.

Well, naturally, things have continued to spin out of control. She lost her job a couple of weeks ago (downsizing, I am told - but I am skeptical). She seemed to be doing ok emotionally, but also seemed in no hurry to start the search for a new one. Over the weekend, we were relaxing around the house when my spidey senses began tingling, she was slurring and saying the usual crazy things she says when using. I asked if she was sober, she insisted she was, but it became increasingly obvious that she was not, and she finally admitted as much.

Well, I felt I had to follow through on what we had agreed upon, and told her she needed to be out of the house. She could go to a hotel, friend's house, whatever, just as long as she was not here. I told her she could go binge all she wants, I just don't want it around me. As near as I can tell, she hung around the house all day today, "sleeping." I half-expected she would somehow find a way to try to beg another day, but she got her stuff together and just drove off to a hotel.

I feel a strange sense of guilt for making her do it, but still feel it is the right thing, and I don't want to back down on my resolve. I know she resents me for kicking her out, and is very unhappy about it, but I really feel she has brought all this onto herself, and after ten years of putting up with her relapsing, I think maybe she does need to hit rock bottom and stare into the abyss a bit.

I had originally thought I would move out, but there is no way she could keep up the house by herself, even with a job, which makes me think it's probably time to downsize, but I also decided I have sacrificed enough to her addiction, and SHE is the one who needs to suffer a bit for a change. Being away from the dog, her home, and her stuff is something I think she needs to experience, because I think that is the direction she is headed.

It's strange, she is a very savvy and intelligent person, and we have often talked about whether she will need to hit the proverbial rock bottom; she has always said, no, I don't need to do that, I will not need to go through that. In the last year, I have come to have my doubts, especially as her behavior has grown more erratic. I finally got to the point where I finally understood what it meant to detach from her behavior though, and I was able to let go of the anger.

Anyway, I am a little surprised at the sense of peace I have with her leaving the house. I feel for her, it was painful to get to this point for both of us. It was not easy make myself follow through with the consequences, but it feels very much like the right thing to me right now, and that counts for A LOT. Her sadness and pain give me no pleasure, but I really have come to the point where I feel I can accept whatever happens from here.

Thanks all for the support.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:46 PM
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Thanks for sharing your story. Now she has left, have you made a plan to start helping YOU to recover from this?
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:55 PM
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You have done the right thing for both of you. Her comfortable living conditions are contingent upon her sobriety, not the other way around.

Whether and when she gets to the jumping off place mentioned in AA's big book has very little to do with her external surroundings, and everything to do with her perception of the pain of drinking relative to the terror of never drinking again.

Trust your instincts here - you did the right thing.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:37 AM
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wow you're very strong champion x
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:18 AM
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Hi Jmartine, you may have done her a favour; maybe this will be her rock bottom. I know that's not why you did it.
Alcoholic or not, she will need somewhere to live so down-sizing may be your best option. Be careful of wanting to punish her. Your very legitimate aim is to remove yourself from her disfunction.
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:52 AM
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downsizing seems like a good idea to me too.

she has contributed to the assets by working, and if you divide them fairly now,
what she does with her part will be up to her.

This sounds like a wise and compassionate decision on your part.
I really hope she sees where she's headed and chooses recovery.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:05 AM
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Our situations are very similar. My RAH(for now), also an intelligent professional (retired pilot) made a fool out of himself at a family occasion-- not unusual for him over the last 30 years or so -- and I told him he had to move out for at least a year. He did and I'm debating about what to do about housing for both of us if I decide he can't move back, which is the way I'm leaning. Due to other circumstances he's caused, I don't think I can ever live with him again.

It's always good to have your ducks lined up and know what your options are. The housing situation for me has been one of the biggest issues. Maintaining two households is expensive. Downsizing sounds like a good idea. But I love my house, we owe very little on it, I'd probably just refinance it to lower my payments. My husband is retired, I'm close to it, I'm not interested really in divorce, just permanent separation.

Don't make any decisions too quickly.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:07 AM
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I am sorry you are going through this. I agree with Hawkeye. Split things fairly, downsize, and let her live her own life. She has to hit bottom if she has one, and without consequences never even stands a chance to do so. Good for you to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Take good care of YOU!
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:59 AM
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Thanks all for the kind words. As far as downsizing, it is not urgent, just thinking out loud, really. I like this house and could stay here, but there are times that starting fresh has its own appeal - I am sure the reminders and memories would fade, it's just a house after all. Anyway, not urgent.

She seems pretty sure this is just temporary, that she will be able to get herself together and we will reconcile. I have avoided saying anything about that - I don't want to be hurtful or paint myself into a corner with promises I don't feel like keeping. I am not making any big decisions right now other than getting some distance and keeping the insanity away so I can take care of myself.

It has been a long struggle to get to the point where I feel comfortable refusing to accommodate her bad behavior, but I am there. I will say this, it is one thing to see the wisdom of the Alanon approach, it is entirely another to assimilate and integrate it, to apply it unconsciously. It has been hard to let go of the impulses to take care of her, accommodate her "needs", and sublimate the conflict - for so long it seemed so at odds with my easy-going nature. I no longer see it that way, but feel it is finally part of who I am rather than some weird prescription that seemed at odds with my impulses to respond. I still can't always do the right thing, but at least I can see it and understand why it is the better path.

By the way, for the record, I don't want to give the impression that I consider myself some kind of expert on Alonon. I have been to meetings, and read a lot of the material, but have never gotten a sponsor or worked the steps. My study of the concepts and an appreciation of the overall approach to the problem, though, has helped me enormously. It has led me to many insights and removed my preconceptions as to the nature of the beast she struggles with, as well as giving me ways to let go of unhealthy and counterproductive impulses.

So far, after an entire day of her being gone, I have to say that the moments of loneliness are fewer than I expected, and more than compensated by the RELIEF of having the chaos and muddled thinking away from me, along with its attendant low-level stress. I have no illusions that it's all a big party from now on, but am savoring the peace and quiet right here right now.

Thank you all again.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:21 AM
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Ok, so here is an update - one week later. She has stayed in contact over the past week, calling or texting each day., telling me she misses me, being at home, and so on. Yesterday she texted that she wanted to talk, would I be home in the evening? I said yes.

She came over, pleasantries out of the way, we sat down and she says ok, it has been a week, she has been sober, going to a meeting each day, and really immersing herself in the program in a way she never has before. She has discovered that she can reach out to people, call for help or just to talk, and it is working for her. She misses me, she misses the dog, she misses our house, she wants to come home. Through all of this, there is an edge, almost belligerent attitude, and she finishes with kind of a "so there" body language and facial expression.

The whole thing took me aback - it was so strange. Long story short, I told her I get that couch surfing is no fun, and you miss your home, and maybe - just maybe - me. But just the way you are making your case tells me I am not up for that.

First of all, why now? You have only been sober for a week. How many times have you told me that "this time I am really really really done drinking?" There is no credibility, and I would think if you really were sincere about this, you would understand. I really do hope that you have found some answers here, and are truly on the road to recovery, but I don't feel all that willing to risk my well-being and sanity on you after only a week. Also, you say you love me and miss me - yet since you arrived, you have expressed no concern for me, no apology for what you have done, no remorse, just trying to convince me you are sober. You say you want a loving marriage, and yet all of this conversation has been about what you want or deserve. You are treating this like I am punishing you by making you leave, but I assure you that is not what this is about. I simply cannot be around your behavior, and one week is not nearly enough to convince me you are for real, and I am unwilling to risk my sanity because you are running out of friends to lean on. I really and truly hope you have found recovery at long last, I really do. But YOU pushed this to the point where I could no longer stand it. I am not trying to "teach you a lesson", even though that might be what you are feeling.

Here is where it got really strange. I said - but I understand that you miss the house, miss the dog, and you are right, it is your home too. I said I am willing to stay in a hotel or with a friend for a few days so you can have that for a bit. Then she starts back-pedaling, no, no, I don't want you to do that, and shifts the conversation to how she can't find a hotel that is nice but not overly expensive. I almost feel bad - I suggested she try to find a house-sitting gig instead, and she immediately called some friends of ours who are out of town and arranged to stay at their place. Anyway, it was odd how quickly the idea of coming home flew out the window, and still, how little concern I felt from her for me.

All in all - a very strange conversation, leaving me little doubt that she is still living in alcoholic fantasy land where her actions do not have any effect or consequences, and everything is about her and what she wants. I feel glad that I found the strength to not give in, and could maintain my detachment - while still caring for her. And - while it was totally twilight zone, at least I could continue the conversation in a way that did not erupt into complete insanity, even though there were times when I simply could not believe what I was hearing. I kept reminding myself that this was little more than quacking, and no good can come of giving her what she wants. So, the saga continues...
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:33 AM
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We are downsizing too. I'm splitting the equity 50/50 with exAH and we are both buying smaller places. Weirdly enough each time I let him come back he acted like your AW and even managed to get rewarded in different ways for me being the wicked witch throwing him out. His idea of sober is cutting back. He's never, ever not drank something. He's never, ever been able to see consequence or take responsibility and it is always all about him. Even when he wasn't here he was phoning me wanting me to do things for him and I spent hours sorting out his life and he wasn't even living here. No more.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:57 AM
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Wow J my hat's off to you! You did exactly the right thing. Only time will tell her true intentions. That was quite noble of you to offer a few nights you switch (but still not necessary, but noble of you). Yep... she wanted to slink right back in to Cushville with everything being the same as it has been for years for her. Keep up the good work. We're here for you.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:55 AM
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jmartin - I feel for you and relate to what you are going through. My XAW was addicted to alcohol and was mixing the dextromethorphan. One night several years ago I found her not breathing on the toilet in the middle of the night. After that point I did not sleep right for several years. She left the house June 26, 2012. After she was gone her drinking from my understanding got worse but I have tried my best not to be in her business. After she left my anxiety went through the roof and sleep got even worse. I had a nervous breakdown in Sept of 12. Life had handed me more than I could juggle. Alcoholic wife, pending divorce, loosing the farm I had worked all my life for, family that I worked so hard to keep together destroyed, my job was in deep question from a hostile takeover, my father in rehab from being on life support from a bad heart surgery, my step dad since I was 5yo was dying of an incurable lung problem (he died in december), My mom the lifelong alcoholic and drug abuser was relapsing after a 5 year white knuckle attempt to quit, and I could go on. Two weeks prior to my ex leaving she wanted to buy a new farm. The good news is with Al-Anon, this place, and lots of understanding of alcoholism and working on me things are profoundly better. I still care for the ex and wish she would get help but she is in denial. The house is calm and peaceful. I do what I want when I want. I no longer subsidize $400 a night bar tabs. I bought me a Harley and ride it all the time. My daughter moved back with me and now her and my grandson live with me. We go on walks in the evening and play alot. It is much easier to watch the XAW crap from a distance than up close. Hang in there!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:35 AM
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I am sorry. Addiction turns out the most selfish people. That is a fact.

I hope they lock up their alcohol stash tight as it does not sound to me she is ready for sobriety at all. It's a mindset that is not just about if you have been drinking or not. Sounds a lot like dry drunk behavior to me.

I hope you get some rest from all of this.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:42 AM
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Wow ispaz, that is complete insanity you had to deal with, congrats on making it out alive!

As a footnote to my last post, she called today to apologize and say that I was right, she was being selfish. Now I guess we play another round of "hey, I apologized - so we're good, right?"
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:48 AM
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Take care of yourself and trust your feelings.

Sounds like she's really all about herself and getting back into comfort zone.
Still thinking about the downsizing or do you have another plan?

You are right--as a recovered alcoholic, I can tell you one week is nothing.
12 months of recovery work and sobriety would be a much better indicator of if she is serious about recovery or just white-knuckling it to get back in your good graces.
Be very wary, as others have said, about allowing that.

Good job holding the line and taking care of your needs in this situation in a compassionate way.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:51 AM
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Oh, alcoholic "edge." I know it well.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:05 PM
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Hawkeye -

I completely agree. I told her - in a perfect world, I would like to see six months to a year of sobriety, and her handling her life in a responsible way, before we talk about any kind of reconciliation.

As for downsizing, I am taking it one day at a time, there is no urgency to that. It is just not the ball in play right now. That said, I am keeping myself busy with projects that will make a sale easier if it comes to that. I think the symbolic nature of selling this house would be very powerful, though. Just not sure that is the card to play at this point in time.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:45 PM
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One thing I am realizing tonight is that just having to point out the fallacies of her reasoning (such as it is) and say no is, in itself, stressful and demoralizing. It saddens me that my responses - however valid - even need to be made. Dealing with an A is simply emotionally exhausting.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:53 PM
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I would be careful of using the house (in your mind) as a pawn in a game - kinda sounds like you think it would twist the knife.

Don't make a lot of big changes at one time if you can afford to keep the house. You have been through a lot and you need some stable quiet time right now.

So does she. Selling the house just "because" isn't going to help anyone.
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