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Tired and feeling alone

Old 04-01-2002, 01:02 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
hellofriend
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Unhappy Tired and feeling alone

Hello friends. I found this messageboard and would like to share a little of my story in the hopes of gaining something in return, if even an ear. I am married to an alcoholic. He has been sober off and on throughout the six years we have been together. When I say "sober", I do not mean in recovery. I mean just not drinking. He has never been in recovery. He is a very successful man and recently retired early. I knew what would happen. Just like one of the stories in the Big Book, out came the carpet slippers and the bottle. It has only been about 5 months since he retired. But he is already back to the bottle. It varies from week to week, but I would say that on the average, he spends about three nights a week drunk. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I knew this would happen, and have tried to mentally prepare myself for it, but still it has been very difficult for me. I am growing so increasingly tired of looking at a drunk man all the time. The smell, the mess, the hassle of it all. The reason I feel so alone is because to the outside world he presents a different face. At least to most of it, including his family. The only people he drinks around are the few friends he has that are drinking friends, most of which don't even live in this state. Most of the people he knows here think he doesn't drink. What a joke that is. His family thinks he gave up booze a long time ago. I have never said anything to them because I hardly ever see them (they live in another state), and have not wanted to deal with the fallout from him. He would be very angry. I recently started going to Al Anon. It has helped some, but it is still hard. I have a hard time not nagging him, not saying anything, not complaining or lecturing him. I have a hard time not pouring out alcohol when he's drunk. You know, all the things we good co-dependents do. I'm truly hoping that as I continue in Al-Anon, this will become better. The twist to all of this is that I AM in recovery. Maybe that's what makes it harder for me, because I know that it IS possible to be happily sober. I also know that everything I've been doing is pointless. I feel like I am the only sober person with a drunk partner. I did not know this man was an alcoholic for a long time. He hid it well from me. But, eventually, it always comes to the surface. Is there anybody out there who is in my position? I could use some words of wisdom.

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One day at a time.
 
Old 04-01-2002, 02:40 PM
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blufan60
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Hellofriend,

Looking back in your post, I see many words of wisdom... "I have recently started going to Al-Anon...I am in recovery...I know it is possible to be happily sober...I also know that everything I've been doing (nagging, pouring out booze) is pointless...One day at a time." (You have the wisdom within you!)

The thing is, we always want quick answers, quick solutions, but it usually just doesn't work that way. I think back to the time before I started a program and started working on my own recovery. There I was, doing what I wanted to do, doing what I thought I needed to do, and it probably would not have much mattered what anyone told me to do to get better because I just wasn't ready at that time. Eventually I came to the point where I was ready to start working on me. Then I thought because I was ready, my A should be ready, too! I've since realized we are each on our own timeline. Just because I've finally come to the point where I'm making changes doesn't mean I should expect everyone around me to be ready to make their own changes.

So keep on doing what you're doing...working on your own recovery! Keep going to those meetings and it slowly but surely sinks in...what we need to do, how to do it. For me it has been a very gradual process, with two steps forward, one step back. There has been no one defining moment, no one magical secret I learned, no one thing that suddenly made everything change or gave me that one big light bulb moment.

I know what you mean by not telling anyone what's going on, especially if they live far away and the drinking isn't affecting them personally. It's time to stop covering up, though. Our covering up for the addict enables the addict to keep drinking/using because we're "keeping the secret." They should have to face the natural consequences of what they do. We should not have to keep their secret. Someone told me in a meeting the other day, "We are only as sick as the secrets we keep." This doesn't mean I'm going to start calling up everyone and telling them what's going on in the addict's life, but if the occasion arises, if a comment is made or a question asked, I'm not going to pretend any longer.

You are not the only sober person with a drunk partner! Keep going to Al-Anon. You said you hope things (your codepedent ways) will get better in time as you keep going to Al-Anon. I believe they will. Those meetings have truly been a lifesaver for me and I think I've finally found one that feels "just right" for me. Good luck and keep us posted on YOUR recovery!
 
Old 04-01-2002, 02:53 PM
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Aim
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You are not alone. Never forget that.

I have a question, though: what if everyone DID know about his drinking problem? Would it make it easier for you to handle?
Also, maybe more people know about his drinking than you realize. The fact is though that you are the only one that must live with him, and live with everything that goes along with being in an alcoholic's life.

I'm not in your exact situation, but I know what it's like to live with alcoholics. And deal with them every day. I would suggest continuing your Al-Anon meetings. AND keep visiting this site. I only found it about 3 or 4 days ago and it has already helped me immensely. There is a lot of wisdom, caring and concern here. It's great.

I've noticed that a lot of people who post on this site that have experience with Al-Anon say that one of the best (yet most difficult) things to do is DO NOT react. Do not react to him when he is drinking. Do your thing. I'm curious: does he abuse you? Have you told him that you've thought about talking to other people about his problem? How does he react? Do you guys have kids?
Do you work and/or have things in your life to call your own? Unfortunately (and this is just my opinion) even though you live with this man, in certain ways you must seperate/detach from him and this problem. Always remember that you cannot control it and you cannot cure it. AND you didn't cause it.
Have and participate in interests that are yours and yours alone. Occupy your time. If anything he will be left to face himself. Go to meetings. Talk to people who know. Don't blame yourself or put yourself second. As soon as that happens, you are no good to yourself or anyone else.

Take it easy.
You are not alone, ok? We're all here for ya.
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Old 04-01-2002, 05:31 PM
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hellofriend
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Thank you both for your words of widom and regards. It helps to know that you're not alone in this dark place. In answer to a question...no, he does not abuse me. Not physically, at least. Sometimes, certainly not all the time, he can be a bit verbally abusive and angry. You know, obscenities and mean things said. That's only when he gets crazy drunk, which is not his usual way. Usually he just gets sloppy drunk. I can honestly say that I have never been afraid of him when drunk. Hurt, yes. Annoyed and disqusted, absolutely, but never afraid for me. Afraid for him, yes.

It's funny, I just got home from an Al Anon meeting, and on the way home I was thinking the exact same thought "You're only as sick as your secrets". I believe that to be so true. I know that I should not keep them for him. Part of it has been that I think I should keep my nose out of it. Meddling, you know? The other part has been to not want to deal with his anger, because I know that sort of thing would really make him mad. But I will think about maybe responding in some way in the future to his family. He has one brother and his father, who is ailing. I don't believe I would ever say anything to his dad. But his brother has said things to me several times obviously indicating that he believes his brother no longer drinks. I finally asked him the other day why his family seems to think he doesn't drink. He told me that he didn't want to "worry" them. They know he went through "spin dry" (as he refers to it) once, which was quite some times before I met him. Man....he's been keeping up this charade for a LONG time with them. As for business associates here, yea, you're probably right. There's probably more people that know than I think there is.

I know that this is his disease and that it is, in fact, a disease. Just like I have. I work on remembering it instead of being angry at him. I am working so hard on trying to have a life despite all of this.

I was also asked if I work outside the home. I did until March 1. My job was eliminated, and I had the choice to take a lesser position or a bounus and severence package. We had planned on my leaving my job anyway because we are planning on moving. So....this whole thing is even more amplified because he lays around the house all day, and I have had no outlet. I do try to get out everyday. I can't stand to be around him all day long. I've been going to some daytime Al Anon meetings, too. It's been very hard, though. I've been praying a lot for guidance.

Thank you for your responses! Thank God for people like you.
 

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