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Success Story!

Old 09-04-2015, 07:11 AM
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Success Story!

Seven years ago, I was in the process of divorcing my first husband (who is not an A). Our divorce took nearly two years, and was highly contentious. During that time, I spent a lot of time in therapy and worked on myself a lot. I also reached out to a man I had dated briefly in high school. We reconnected and started dating long distance. Things progressed quickly. He was open with me about his alcoholism, his three DUIs, and the fact that he had been sober and working a recovery program for nearly two years. I had absolutely no context for addiction, and thought to myself that everything must be fine. Six months after we started dating, my divorce was finalized (finally!), and we were planning a life together. My divorce included a settlement that required me to pay child support for our two daughters, and alimony to my ex-husband. The alimony amount was far in excess of what my ex-husband would have received at trial, and for a longer duration than he would have received. However, I agreed to settle because I was looking ahead to a life in a two-income family with my new fella, and I had a high paying job.

Six months after the divorce was final, I married my AH. We were still long-distance at that point, and waited 3 months after our wedding for him to move to my city because his probation from his final DUI had not quite ended. Very shortly after we were married, I became pregnant with our son. While I was pregnant, my AH relapsed.
My AH relocated to my city, but was unable to find work. While I was pregnant, he worked several hundred miles away and came home about one weekend a month. He started drinking again, and “controlled” it fairly well for a couple of years. The signs of abuse started cropping up in our relationship. He declared that I had “ruined his life.” He periodically grew enraged at me. I returned to therapy and began attending Al Anon meetings. He returned home about 6 weeks before our son was born, but had to go back out on the road for work when our son was about 4 months old.

Shortly after our son turned 1, I lost my job. I was devastated. At almost the same time, my AH was given an opportunity for a job in a city about 60 miles from where we had been living. He accepted, and ultimately we decided to move. That meant reducing my time with my daughters and moving to a new city in a new state. AH began drinking in earnest. He loathed his job. 99% of the time, he drank at home, alone, after he got home from work late at night (he worked 2nd shift). I took a contract/temp job at a large bank while I looked for a permanent job. The abuse escalated. I was called every name in the book. Once, he pulled his fist back as though he was going to punch me. I found SR around this time.

Shortly thereafter, my mother died. I spent most of 2012 in a fog of despair and depression at the loss of my mother, the reduced time with my daughters, and my AH’s verbal abuse.

HP was at work, though. As the fog started to clear, my temporary job ended and I found my current job. After eleven years in private legal practice, I took a government job that has proven to be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Never did I imagine I could enjoy work this much. THAT shift in my own life was the start good things to come for me personally.

My AH began spiraling downward significantly in early 2013. He was laid off from his job, and it became apparent that he would have to go out on the road again. The emotional abuse escalated significantly. My AH started drinking and driving again. Professionally, I was thriving. Personally, I was a mess. The last 6 weeks before he left in July 2013 were the worst of my life. I was abused repeatedly, on a daily basis, usually in front of the children. AH forced his way into a bedroom I had retreated to at one point to get away from him—something our son heard. I was unsure I would even be able to hang on to my sanity. Once he was gone, however (returning for a weekend every 4-6 weeks), I was able to relax. The kids were able to relax. My daughters admitted to me what I had long suspected: that they despise their stepfather, who they had heard and seen abuse me verbally countless times and who they had heard insult their father frequently. We all agreed that we would no longer allow him to be the most important person in the family. And thus began my two-year battle to reclaim myself personally.

After a year on the road, work in our area picked up enough that my AH returned for good. That also happened to coincide with the end of my alimony payments to my ex-husband—something that had rendered it almost impossible for me to support myself should I have left AH. The drinking has continued to escalate (of course). The emotional abuse was still present (of course). It was hard for me to practice detachment when he returned home, but I did my best. As the months went by, I became more and more aware that I simply could not “detach with love” as a long-term coping mechanism to deal with AH. (Side note: it is my belief that detachment is rarely, if ever, a long-term coping mechanism to deal with living with an active addict. It's a temporary measure we use while we get our own heads on straight. THIS is why I believe it is impossible to have a "success story" that involves staying in a relationship with an active addict--particularly when kids are involved.) As our son has grown older, the toxicity of our dynamic impacts him more and more obviously. After a pair of particularly ugly confrontations in early June, I made it clear to my AH that our marriage cannot be saved, and I asked him to move out. He agreed. And then proceeded to act as though nothing had happened.

But I had gone over the cliff, so to speak. There was no going back. Finally. FINALLY. After over five years of active alcoholism and emotional abuse, I was done. I have never placed all of the blame for the demise of our marriage on AH. I’ve been a hot mess, too, and done some pretty crappy things. But once I went over that cliff, it became clear that I was not willing to wait around for AH to “do the right thing” and move out, and I started looking for a place of my own.

Against all odds (terrible credit, past-due bills that had to be repaid, and no savings at all), I was approved for an apartment. A small apartment that would take me, the three kids, and my dog. I had to jump through many hoops to make it happen, but I did (with the help of some amazing friends). Every time a roadblock popped up (including a confrontation with my AH early on in the process that ended with me telling him my plan to move out), I busted through it.

I moved out earlier this week. I am a SUCCESS! I have turned my AH over to HP. I am working on myself, and working to live by example for my children. My life will always be about my own recovery and progress (not perfection). This is my success story, which I crafted over many years through my own hard work. It is not dependent on somebody else getting sober. It is not dependent on anybody else doing anything. It's about ME, and MY choices, and MY behaviors. I am proud of myself, my choices, and my behaviors today (for the most part). I couldn't say that 12-24 months ago.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:16 AM
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:27 AM
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Wow Wisconsin! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. You have been such a brave person through all of this.

I am so happy you are out of there! YOU ARE A SUCCESS!!!!!

I know many will read this and it may be the thing they need to hear to know that even though it may be hard, you can do it!

Many hugs to you my friend!
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:34 AM
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Wonderful story, Wisconsin! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your new life. You deserve it.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:40 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing....I can relate so much it's scary! I was a hot mess for a while too and did crappy things as well-toxic alcoholic relationships, eh? When I started my recovery journey almost three years ago I was determined to overhaul myself-I'm happy and proud of my choices, behaviors and actions-I too couldn't have said that a few years ago.
You are a real inspiration and I thank you so much for sharing!!

Much love!
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:47 AM
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Thanks for sharing, Wisconsin - I am so happy for you and the kiddos! Your perseverance, determination and strength are AMAZING! So glad to have "met" you and hear your story!
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:53 AM
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:08 PM
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Just re-read this thread, Wisconsin, and wanted to:

A) Bump it up for newer members to be able to see and take heart from, and

B) Say Wow! You've come a long, long way. I'm so very happy to see where you are now, a year after this post.

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Old 09-30-2016, 02:24 PM
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I'm grateful every. single. day. Every single one. Even on those horrible low-self-esteem days when I get mired in my own head and fearful, I am so grateful for this place, and the role it played in my ability to save my own life and the lives of my children.
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for bumping this, hp,

And thanks (again) to Wisconsin for a truly inspiring story of what determination and "doing the next right thing" can accomplish!

(It should be noted that hp has a similarly inspiring story--without kids, but with a couple of loyal houndies )
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:28 PM
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I'm not gonna lie...honeypig is my Real Life friend, too, and she was a BIG part of my emotional readiness to leave. I can never thank her enough for that. Her story is amazing and inspirational, and I never tire of hearing/reading it.
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:41 PM
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I'm not surprised you two are friends--I think of you almost in the same brainwave.

Both a couple of strong, capable, caring women.

The kind of people who would have looked out for me in the pit at last night's Green Day show, lol (I'll post about that on another thread).
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:46 PM
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I cannot say enough about the support, education, inspiration and the occasional kick in the pants that I found here at SR. Some of the members from when I first came here are still around, sharing their ES&H, while others have moved on. Some check back in like Yurt did recently w/news of her wedding.

I always kind of poo-poo'd online groups, feeling they somehow weren't "real." In fear, confusion and desperation, I found myself here at SR, and guess what? The people I've met here are incredibly real. They've been down the hole and made it back out, and they know what they're talking about.

I feel privileged to have shared a part of this journey w/my recovery friends, past, present and future, here at SR. And I'm not just shining you folks on--I really mean it, every word!



ETA: Oh my goodness, Lexie--I'll be looking for that post about the pit!
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I'm not surprised you two are friends--I think of you almost in the same brainwave.

Both a couple of strong, capable, caring women.

The kind of people who would have looked out for me in the pit at last night's Green Day show, lol (I'll post about that on another thread).
I take this as the highest possible compliment. I aspire to be as self-aware and as articulate about recovery as hp!
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:59 AM
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So proud of you Wisconsin, love hearing survivor stories. We all need hope in our lives that there is life after loving an addict.

Honeypig, r you from wisconsin also? I live on the boarder right below your state.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:40 AM
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Get it girl......
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by maia1234 View Post
Honeypig, r you from wisconsin also? I live on the border right below your state.
Yep, Wisconsin and I live in the same area of Wisconsin--I'm glad to know that there is another SR neighbor nearby!
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:12 PM
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I was actually up in Kenosha tonight for October fest. We had so much fun.
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