Can Anyone Relate?

Old 02-22-2015, 06:32 PM
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Can Anyone Relate?

Ok. Facts first. I am a man, father, three teen kids with busy schedules, own and run a small business, and do not drink at all, never have.

My wife of 20 years (couple for 23) entered rehab for alcohol 13 weeks ago. She stayed 6 weeks. She came home, but left home every day to go back to the rehab for some reason or another. The third night she stayed out all night turned off her phone and was nowhere to be found.

The next day she came home and told me to move out. I didn't, so she did. Another week of day trips and overnights. She came to me the following week and said that she had an attorney and was filing for divorce.

That was it. 23 years gone in 6 weeks at rehab.

The next week we found out about the affair. The man lives in a neighboring state and she travels frequently to see him. She left me, the house, and constantly leaves the kids.

The kids and I recognize our codependency issues. We are in the ala's, and counseling, and family counseling. It is still hell.

My divanćee (a word I made up that means "woman to be divorced from" - easier than saying wife) thinks she is doing great. She really does. She cannot understand why anyone is upset with her. "I am doing the right things everyday", "I'm the one that got better, why am I being punished", "I am the victim here", "I didn't have an affair, our marriage was over long ago", "It's not a big deal that I left, stop acting like it is"

She is not doing steps, she is making major life changes (rehab relationship, getting a job after 3 years at home, living on her own for the 1st time, and a divorce), she is constantly blaming and manipulating, etc.

The children do not want anything to do with her at all, they have told her, she then blames me for their feelings.

It feels like nothing in my life has been my choice for the last 15 years. I want to detach, but I don't have any closure to this issue. I thought I was doing well, then today I had to sort pictures for her move. My whole life has been with this person, and now she won't even talk to me, hates me for not giving her everything she asks for, says that I would have caused her relapse.

You don't know me, or my situation, I know. Our marriage was a codependent living with an alcoholic. It was rarely pretty.

Rehab was supposed to have been a second chance. Instead it ended everything. Her choices made any reconciliation impossible.

So in my early 40's, 3 kids, working my ass off, and I have to start over. Her life has no obstacles, lots of back patting, sex, all new friends with no bad memories, all roads have been cleared. She thinks and acts like someone in their 20's.

I know what I have to do, keep working on me and mine. I know that. I want to know how you did it. How long did it take? How do you stop feeling for someone that stopped feeling for you? When do you know you are going to be okay?

I didn't think I could be lonelier than I was at the end of our marriage. I was wrong.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:08 PM
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I'm so very sorry for what has happened to you and your kids. You and I have a lot of similarities, but divorce/affairs isn't one of them.

I hope that one day you will be able to look back on this point in your life as a gift from your "wife" to fine your own health and happiness that is addiction free. Personally, she does not sound like a person in recovery.

Again, I am so very sorry she has abandoned her family
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:56 PM
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Hulk, I don't have your direct experience to relate; just posting to say I feel for your situation. I'm sure it doesn't feel like the first steps of recovery for you, but it probably is.
Speaking only for myself, it took the (non-A) person I was addicted to to leave me, or I never would have made the necessary break.
I don't know how much latitude you have, but if possible, go easy on yourself on the logistics side of running the household. You don't want to be under more strain than you are now. Do you have someone who can take care of the meals and basic cleaning so you can clear up time to spend with the kids? I hope you aren't running yourself into the ground. Family support? Al-anon will help relieve some of the loneliness too.
If you're ok with the safety angle, allow the kids to spend some time with their mother, and give yourself a break.
All the best - you'll find SR a great support so post as often as you need to.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:57 PM
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Hulk, Welcome, and I am sorry that you are here. SR is an awesome place and you will learn a lot. I am glad you are all getting help because you will all need it,to cope with everything going on in your life.

As you know it is not easy being married to an A. They are completely selfish people and everything revolves around them. I am glad that she is "sober" but not drinking and working a program are 2 different things. From what she is doing, I almost can guarantee that she is NOT working a program.

So enough about her, lets talk about you. I know you are over whelmed with what has transpired, more likely in shock!! But you are going to have to deal with your reality. You are asking about how long it will take to move forward. Everyone here is different. Starting back in January 2014, I went to at least 4 meetings a week between alanon and open AA meetings to get up the courage to file. My X never thought I divorce him, as we were together 34 years, (25 married). But I did it, back in October. With the support of the wonderful people here and all the meetings that I could attend, I found the strength.

It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have good days and bad. I still love my XAH, but I love him from a distance. I was only enabling him to be drunk, and I had had enough of it.

It will take time for it all to settle in. You need to be mentally ready to do what you need to do for you and your kids. You will know when that is. You don't need to make any plans today or tomorrow. Take your time, breath, and take care of you. Keep reading SR and with the little time you have keep getting help at meetings or therapy.

Good luck my friend and keep coming back!!
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:57 PM
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I'm really sorry you find yourself here. I've only been divorced since Tuesday so I can't tell you when you're going to be okay...I'm not okay yet. But I did want to share two thoughts...

(1) Great job caring for yourself and your kids. You really are doing all the right things!

(2) It helps me in some weird way to think about how quickly things got really, really bad with my XAH. It reminds me that things can change quickly...and that means they can get better quickly too. The fact that two years ago I was in a better place means two years from now I could certainly be in a better place again. Life is like that. I just have to make sure I'm ready for it.

Hoping for some peace for you soon.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:03 PM
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Thank you all for the comments. I really appreciate your sharing.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:20 PM
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I am so sorry for you and all of your pain. Your head must be spinning.

You said " her life has no obstacles". That's not true. She has the worst kind of obstacle -- herself, a not-in-real-recovery alcoholic. She will be her own worst enemy until she begins to work a program.

Things will get better. Each day is a new opportunity to bring healing to yourself and your kids. My own progress has been slow, but steady. I think back to the person I was just 6 months ago, and I feel like I have taken back my life and sanity. Take care of yourself and give yourself a chance to grieve all of this.
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:50 AM
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As someone who just exited her 20s I can tell you that I would not want to be right backing to acting like I was in my 20s…especially if I was already in my 40s. That is NOT a good look for anyone. Her life is not shiny, it is not sexy and fun, it is denial of the worst kind. Give yourself a pat on the back for being able to see YOUR life exactly as it is…your wife is going off the rails right now. Alcohol might be out of the picture for her but it sure sounds like she's trying to find the next rush with any implosive thought that comes her way. That is no way to live.

I don't have the experience that you're looking for or answers to your questions. This stuff sucks but it does eventually get better. Hang in there and keep taking care of yourself and your kids. You're setting a good example for them right now.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:31 AM
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Welcome Hulk! I think focusing on the kids and you is wise!

Your wife sounds a bit manic, but at least she got a job. The classic recovery advice is no major decisions for a year. Early recovery is a nutty and trying period.

Work on you. If the marriage was not good, maybe she is speaking some harsh truths even though her actions are absolutely self-focused?
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:36 AM
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The next day she came home and told me to move out. I didn't, so she did.
Smart move on your part!

I'm sorry this is happening to you and your family. Best to you!
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:53 AM
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It took me about two years, in full, to get from the worst of the worst to feeling normal and okay most of the time. I went to a lot of counseling and I spent a lot of time reading and writing here. I also chose to remain single for that time and concentrate on rebuilding myself and my relationship with my kids, cleaning out my house (and my life in general), and just processing how I got from there to here. I spent a lot of time thinking about where I wanted to go next.

Giving myself the time and space for these efforts was one of the BEST things I did for myself. I learned a lot about myself, got onto a good and healthy trajectory that continues today, and was able to put distance between me and my XAH in a way that sees him for exactly who he is (hrm) but still has compassion (from a great distance) for his struggle. It keeps me from being angry. I was also able to grieve the relationship and the loss of myself in that relationship at my own pace.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:14 AM
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No kids here, but the rest I can get pretty close to. Your STBX (soon to be Ex), is an Alcoholic. Everything she is doing, she is doing because of this. The sooner she can re-attach to something that enables her, the sooner she will want to do that. Whoever she attaches to will crash and burn, unless they also are AC. In short, she is looking to carry on her life as an AC. And you aren't helping (enabling) her, so she no longer has any use for you.

I hate to be blunt, but been there done that. My ex would hook up every time she needed to get drunk. Her concept was, if I found out she had been drinking, I would dump her, so she would simply carry on with the newest guy she was getting drunk with. Thinking of course they would want her. So if I dumped her, she already had her new landing pad. AC is more important than pretty much anything. People are the easiest and most expendable, because there are LOTS of them.

You stay the course. Get the divorce over with and move on as quickly as you can. What she says today, will change tomorrow. When the finality starts to set in, she will start to panic ans say all sorts of things to make your emotions even worse.

Trust me, the peace and serenity and "normalcy" you will get, will make you forget her pretty easily.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:25 AM
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Welcome to SR Hulk!

You both have skewed perceptions of the situation - she blame shifts everything to you, and you see that her life "has no obstacles....all roads have been cleared". Not true my friend, its just not the way it is.

Your wife is making some really detrimental decisions and you are correct, she is acting like she just left her parents house to head to college with no responsibilities and only the world to conquer. Even 20 year olds get a dose of that reality, really quick. The world is not a soft bed to land on - its tough, really tough.

Its much harder when you are an addict as well.

I can't say how long it will take you to get over the betrayal. What I can tell you is you will. When the loneliness abates (and it will) you will see glimmers of life without chaos, life without a drunk disturbing the peace, life without lies and manipulation, life without anger and sadness mixed together.

it may feel like nothing has been your choice for 15 years, that is also not true. It has all been your choice in as far as what YOU have done in dealing with your wife. You chose to stay, you chose to support, you chose to continue. If you can get a good grasp on that it will help you as feeling like you are a pinball being knocked around with no power is a terrible way to feel.

I recommend you get to Al Anon as soon as you can. Al Anon is to help you, focus on you, and it teaches you how to control your life while entangled with an A.

I'd like to say that the wheels set in motion by your wife will continue their path, but history shows that most likely she will try to return to you. I can't say that for sure. Alcoholics need enablers and co-dependents. Your wife, as you describe, has not had to have much if any responsibility over many years. That's a whopper transition. The best you can do for you and your kids is switch the focus off the alcoholic that is caused so much misery, and focus on your family and doing what is best for them. Not what's best for her.

((((hugs)))). You can and will get through this.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:37 PM
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What is AC?
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:04 PM
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:10 PM
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I want to know how you did it. How long did it take?
Well, my story's kinda different from yours in that I was the one who left and also the one who refused reconciliation attempts even though AXH entered rehab and swore up and down that he was going to stay sober and become a better human being. (Spoiler alert: He didn't -- after rehab, he did all the wrong things, just like your ex, and was back to drinking within four months of rehab.)

So I'm not sure what to tell you.

What helped me let go of my old life (with all the hopes and dreams of an intact, "normal" family, etc) was largely the children. It was very clear to me very quickly how much healthier and happier they were without the alcoholic parent. How much more space they allowed themselves to take up in the world; how their stunted sense of adventure blossomed; how they sort of grew into themselves. (Don't get me wrong -- it hasn't been an easy process, it hasn't been smooth sailing, but the kids have a very fundamental sense of contentment, rootedness, and trust that they never had while I was married to their father.)

You're doing all the right things. And while it may seem like your ex is "getting the sweet end of the bargain" I really don't think she is. She's leaving her children to act like a 20-year-old. That's not "fun" -- that's pathetic and sad. You are getting to do the heavy lifting -- but you're also getting the reward of having your children know that you are there for them, always, no matter what. And that's some pretty good stuff right there.
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:33 AM
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Who knows what her reasons are; from her perspective, she is doing what is right for her. I only hope she gets to being a mother....
It doesn't really matter what Ber reasons are. What matters is your healing and recovery. Time to take the focus off her and onto you. And, I think it's great your kids have you.
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