The Doubt, and The Resolve.

Old 12-27-2016, 05:50 PM
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The Doubt, and The Resolve.

Hi everyone. Hope you are having a nice holiday season.

The holidays can be a tough time for F&F, I think, especially those like me where that final straw, that final step, was so recent. This was my first Christmas without my ex, and obviously it's natural for that to bring up old memories of holidays past (good and bad) and it's also had me doing a lot of reflecting back on my ex, the things I miss about her and of course the things that I don't.

During the holiday gatherings, now over, most of my family was respectful, I'm sure they wanted to know why she wasn't there, but I don't like the attention or the focus, so for the most part, her absence was ignored, though I imagine the grapevine already had spread news of our summer breakup, even to those distant relatives you only see once a year.

One of the most amazing parts of it was a brief interaction I had with an aunt. I had totally forgotten that almost 25 years ago, she split with her husband -- I was just a teenager back then so not in the conversation as to why, though I had recalled it was something about alcohol. Sure enough, she confided in me and asked me so many wonderful questions about what I had been through, and it was remarkably like coming here. What really struck me was how SIMILAR the feelings are when you get caught up in this whirlwind of a mess with alcohol in your family. She remarked at how well I seemed to understand and had been taking the situation. Of course I didn't get into the rollercoaster of it all, but the understanding and knowledge I have received from this community and my own research , namely, the 3 Cs and that the alcohol and the breakup was NOT ABOUT ME was something she was happy to hear me say. Turns out, for the longest time, she struggled with this -- She told me that she felt inadequate, why didn't he want her, why was the drinking more important, etc. It was AMAZING to me, to hear her saying this, after she happily remarried (and has stayed married to a great guy for over 20+ years now)...I could STILL, 25 years later, sense the pain and the anguish in her voice as she told the story. Like, the memories were as fresh as the day they were made. She's doing amazing, and is walking proof of how walking AWAY does wonders, but it's also incredible to see just how deep the cuts of being in a relationship with an alcohol abuser can be.

What this reminded me to do, at this time of year when I reflected back on 10 Christmases with my ex, and other Christmases with other exes past, and this being the first one I woke up ALONE in many years...To remember why I am here. To remember why I had to draw the line in the sand and finally not cross it or let her cross it.

Yet, I knew I still had the love for her. I still would sometimes romanticize the past. I'm still not ready to date yet. I'm still lonely. Yet everyone says, as soon as I say I'm not dating, DO NOT WAIT AROUND FOR HER. Which I of course know better than to do, and continue to be proud of my resolve, despite the fact that the early months were so hard.

We've been in total NC now for over a month, first time ever, though I never officially asked for it, but it has been a mixed blessing. Contact as you all know continued since the breakup, most initiated by her, mostly attempts to stay in touch or get emotional support or just someone to talk to. So my crazy brain of course assumes that she has found my replacement and hence the reason the contact stopped. But I have to try and temper any jealousy and be OK with that, because that's exactly what she has the right to do, and I have no say over it and, in fact, it's what I more expected her to do than try recovery. It is her pattern.

So, the holidays loomed, and I needed to take some inventory. Doing good here. Losing a little weight, work going well, time with friends, neighbors, family great, accomplishing tasks daily. Yet, still the missing piece of my completeness from time to time drifts back. Not the bad parts of course, but those good parts of our relationship that we try and romanticize when we bargain with ourselves that we can make a case to take them back. Maybe it wasn't THAT bad. Maybe I overreacted just like she said I did. Maybe I WAS controlling. Maybe I caused this! Gak!

So I went back. I read posts, stories, on this site, on other sites. I read your stories. I re-read my stories. I looked for other guys like me who were in the early stages of this. What did I learn?

She fits almost EVERY pattern universally. How many times do I need to read these other posts for it to sink in? It's not like a LITTLE similar. It's a LOT similar. How many times have you read in this forum "My god, I could have WRITTEN your post!" It's so true, right? I mean the whole walks/talks like a duck thing, it's just astounding to me. Even moreso, the patterns of a female alcoholic, and the way she uses words like CONTROLLING to defend the drink. The way that the words ANXIETY and DEPRESSION almost almost come into the story. The way that the trust erodes. It affects us guys differently, I think. We typically are protective of our mates and also can be a bit jealous when we see that attention going to another (the bottle, which when we question it mutates into attention away from the house, attention with other people, etc). It's a terrible thing we go through.

But it IS exactly that story. That is what I lived. I can remember our good times and I do. But then in the next mental breath, I need to remember all the things that were eating away at my soul. Listening to the horrible vomiting. The unexpected drunk days that just came out of nowhere. The horrible crack of that next beer after way too many or the clink of the wine glass. All the empty bottles. The gradually increasing aggressiveness with each sip. The TV and music getting turned up to deafening levels when I tried to ignore it. The unwanted attention in public. The smell of alcohol through the pores that she could never smell herself. The lost time together because she couldn't bring herself to get dressed. The uncertainly of where she was, and with who, in the dead hours of night. The sadness on her dog's face when she didn't came home. All of this, and so much more, is what I need to remember came along with all the good stuff in those 10 years.

Those things are things that no one should ever have to live through. And evidenced by my aunt, when you do, it never ever leaves, no matter how good it gets. This disease cuts deep and leaves scars.

Any of you who made it this far, who may be in the same holiday funk, or missing companionship or love, just as much as I am, I only ask you this -- Remember why you are here. Remember the reasons that you had to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Remember that you can love them, but you also need to stand your ground, watch your own side of the street, and love yourself more. Love yourself this holiday season.

Peace be with all!
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:07 PM
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What a powerful, moving post. Thank you...I'm sure you're helping a lot of people who are struggling this time of year.
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:11 PM
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I am the one who destroyed my marriage though being an alcoholic. I have nothing but respect, admiration and support in your resolve. Prayers to you and your ex.
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:14 PM
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Dear wells
Thanks for your very well written and thoughtful post. I went on a little trip this Christmas. In fact I am on the return train home even as I write this.
Getting away gave me a little distance to evaluate the broken relationships with my ex and siblings. Although I am aware of the perils of the geographic cures the programs talk about , getting away helped.

To put it succinctly , all I was to my ex was as a drinking buddy and occasional sexual partner, which I came to dread. I realized that I really don't want to live like that.

As far as my siblings go, this weekend helped me see that my family of origin was an incredibly hostile environment; something my siblings are maintaining.

My hat is off to you , sir , for holding to your own line in the sand.
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Old 12-27-2016, 07:52 PM
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Hi Wells... if I remember right she was also on antidepressants and wanted to get off them. Not sure if she got off them but that could have been the worst thing for her to do. Causing such a catastrophic slide that you can't even get out of bed. Not making excuses here, but just explaining depression and medication that gets taken for it. I know. I have taken antidepressants for over 20 years and tried "just stopping" a couple of times. Of course the drinking is a bad thing and is causing her more issues on the depression side. Her dog could very well all that keeps her alive. I know mine were for a time. But this post is not to guilt you out, but to encourage you to keep moving on. You will not "save" her (as you know). She is sick and will find her way whatever her way will be. Thanks for sharing. I know it's hard to understand and you miss what you thought you might have had at one time.
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:56 PM
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Your post made me sob, because I was having a moment where I am just feeling so depressed. I was on a high before the holidays, during them and now for some reason today, my being without my x is just getting to me. He has just moved on like I am a piece of discarded trash. He has a new, younger, totally beautiful girlfriend. He actually seems to get pleasure in rubbing it in. I have the unfortunate burden of having a child with him so I envy that you are able to go no contact. I think life would be so much easier if I didn't have to co-parent with him for the next 12 years.

Like you, the thought of dating just seems too full of pain. I created (and deleted) an online dating profile. The rejection with that whole scenario just feels like too much for my emotional state to handle. I suppose after being treated so badly for a decade, feeling used and disposable, just feels like too much pain to endure.

My xAbf actually took my son to a party until 2 am last weekend. When I found out I drove straight there and picked him up and told him overnights were over for now. Until he can make good decisions which would probably include him recognizing he has a problem. He scoffed at me when I brought that up as I was pulling up to his house, and then a beer cap fell out of his pocket as he fished for his keys.

You are right in that these relationships are so painful. I have to say your posts are so articulated and really hit home in the feeling department.

The stories are all so similar, the patterns are like reading a textbook case of getting an infectious disease. Except with the disease, the conclusion is administer some medicine. In the case of the addict, we all know the medicine being administered in sinister, destructive and all consuming.

Take care of yourself in the New Year. I am happy to hear you have been losing weight. It really has been helping me to take care of myself, eat healthy, etc. 33 pounds gone since 9/1/16 for me.

BTW, the story of your aunt and carrying that pain all these years, it affecting her, powerful, truly.

Sorry this is all over the place, but your post was really what I needed tonight.
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Old 12-28-2016, 04:59 AM
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Well said my friend!! Healing and awareness takes time. Things us codies don't like to do.

Sending hugs for a healthy New Year!!!
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:27 AM
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This disease cuts deep and leaves scars.

The extent of which I am only just beginning to realise 3 years out of my marriage to exah. The crack of a beer being opened still makes me jump. A year ago I met a wonderful man. Am not ready for him. That's the truth. I doubt I ever will be cos I am fundamentally broken. He is patient and kind and we have a lot of fun together but to share my life with him is terrifying to me. I can't trust that much ever again. I need to be in control. I feel destined to be a lonely old woman surrounded by too many cats. My sons live with me until they decide to move on with independent lives and take the edge off the loneliness but I have few friends, having made bad choices of friends ( I ended up in a cult which my dad and boyfriend managed to get me out of) when I first split with exah, I don't trust myself anymore. I invest too much in people who do not give back. I spend my day's sewing, caring for my son's and avoiding socialising. I am estranged from half my children. I travel a bit but mainly alone. Despite this my life is still better than when I was with exah. I have a peace in my heart. It's a solitary, lonely life for me now but it beats what I had before.
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:44 AM
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Thank you for this. I am still "celebrating" Christmas--DS and DD are still down here. Without going into the whole situation, key takeaways are:
  • Kids finally see HOW BAD their father is
  • There is no way Christmas 2017 is going to be like this
  • Not only do I have to deal with AH's alcoholism, but also with the pain of knowing DS is following in his father's footsteps
  • DS is a poet and the typical "tortured artist" alcoholic archetype--so he has asked me questions that are hard to answer: Mom, where do you feel happiness? Mom, where does your pain come from? I told him I'd get back to him on that.

But I just read a great quote: "Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain" Robert Gary Lee.

I have read so much wisdom here on this forum, and we all know where that wisdom came from, so I am grateful for the collective pain and healing that has enabled so many of us to grow and learn.
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:47 AM
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What a great post, Wells. Thank you.

It's been an interesting holiday season - ups and downs. Your post captures a lot of my feelings and I'm so happy you added in a reminder for us to take care of ourselves I often have to remind myself to be gentle on ME!

This is the first holiday season without my ex and honestly I am happy to be moving on from him and his chaos, but the bad memories of Christmases past troubled me. I found that the more "present" I was, the better! So, that's what I plan to do for the remainder of the holiday season and beyond.

Wishing you and all of us here on SR a wonderful New Year! We deserve it
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:18 AM
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Well written, Wells. The holidays are difficult. Two holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) down, one to go. I hope you have a wonderful New Year's Day. Warm thoughts coming your way...
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:26 AM
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Thanks Wells <3 Have a very Happy and Peaceful New Year!
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:42 AM
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I appreciate everyone taking the time to read and respond. And those who just read, if it helped even one person at the right time, it was all worth saying!

It is nice to hear from those of you who like me took inventory at the holidays, and stepped back to look at the big picture, despite the natural nostalgia and lonely feelings that can creep in around times that become about family. Some great wisdom in the replies in this thread.

What I wanted to be sure I wrote down (and this was as good a place as any) was that I didn't have to hate my ex or stop loving her or even forget about the good memories we had together, as long as I didn't let that thinking fog the reasons why the relationship had to end.

Regarding depression - I feel for anyone who has ever suffered from any level of clinical or even un-diagnosed depression. I've had a couple spells here and there, but to live with it every day, that's gotta be awful. I truly believe that my ex and many others who suffer from addictions have a level of depression, and turn to the substances as the medicine when the doubt of prescribed treatment sets in, or the prescribed treatment doesn't work.

I imagine if every time you got a headache, and you took advil, and the advil did nothing, you'd keep searching for your own miracle cure too. Unfortunately for some, that becomes alcohol, which begets deeper depression, and being convinced that traditional medicines and treatment are fruitless.

I do not know if she stopped her meds but I suppose it is possible. She did remark she wanted to be "drug free" when we were splitting up, but when I reminded her alcohol was a drug, she sort of clammed up. She was proud to have gotten off the pills she was addicted to over the years, all by herself, and I was proud too - I think she just felt taking ANY kind of daily pill was a weakness of character.

The hard part when you see the fire burning is to not run over with the hose and try to put it out, which I tried to do for so many years. Of course I know that the right answer to solving her depression would be eliminating the alcohol depressant, perhaps trying new meds, or even new doctors, until the right person and the right medication is found. But given the medication time to work without alcohol clouding it up. Would there be any sense in having said this to her then or ever? None.

I hope she finds recovery in this new year and discovers her full potential and a life without sadness or depression, where alcohol isn't needed because the right balance has been found elsewhere. Heck, who knows, without the alcohol she may find she can truly get "drug free" after all if it turns out that the only reason her depression was increasing was because the alcohol intake was increasing. You never know. It's a nasty cycle.

I've gotten a bit sidetracked myself here, mostly just wanted to say thanks to you all for sharing and be well in the new year - We're just a few days away and while the holidays can be depressing after a breakup, a new year for many also represents a new start. As much as our ex's love their new starts, which just become a restart of the same problematic cycle, we get the true new start where we can build a life where we come first and we can be free of all that stress.

Happy New Year!
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:46 AM
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Oh, and letitend - I am sure you have read this elsewhere, because I need to tell myself this as well at times, too.

It's so hard to think of our ex's with another and it also feels unfair when we see them happy or with our "replacement", etc. That's why everyone here encourages the No Contact rule and I firmly believe in that especially because I don't want to know who she is dating or what she is up to as far as relationship goes.

Part of that is our jealousy, part of that also is I think because deep down we know that it means they are not changing or looking to get better, they are just looking to "keep the party going" or "start over" having learned nothing. It would sort of be like if you left an alcoholic, then a week later, started dating another alcoholic!

The more I think about it, the idea of her dating someone else doesn't make me as sad as the thought of what her, and that someone else, might be going through as far as a repeat of our past. All the negative things I mentioned in my first post above, are about to get revisited onto someone new. And probably even worse than that due to the progression.

So, in hindsight, it doesn't make a lot of sense to feel jealous, but maybe just sad because you'd had hoped they would turn it around and seek out recovery. But as we all know, only they know when they are ready for that, if ever.

You will be good! If I could recommend anything though it would be to avoid knowing as much about his new relationship and life as you can, just to protect yourself and stay focused on what makes YOU awesome.
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Old 12-29-2016, 11:54 AM
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Well said Wells. I agree and I try not to learn too much. I actually met her (don't know if I stated that). It was an OK meeting but after it I felt miserable. I decided I do not want anything to do with their relationship.

I WISH with all my heart I could just walk away. The child shared by the two of us prevents that. I am trying to keep convos short between us. When he calls, I hand the phone to my son.

I know I will get thru this. I know someone else will not make ME happy. My son makes me happy. My job and security (both monetarily and degree of responsibility) makes me happy to come to work everyday. I am fulfilled in so many ways.

Leaving the relationship has brought about so much inner peace. It has also brought peace to the household. Working to undo the damage that the xA created between my son and I is a daily conditioning if you will. Of course I love my son and he loves me. However, he was being groomed to disrespect me and to devalue me. He is only 6 so he could not fully understand what was happening, but I did. I am so happy that I recognized that and did not accept that. I am teaching him my ways of looking at life thru a different lens. And my son is a really great kid. It wasn't his fault, so I am applying love, patience and kindness and have a space to do that in.

So all in all, my son's life is worth what I have been thru. My life is worth what I have been thru in terms of the pain of ending the relationship that was sinking us all. I truly hope my xA finds a place where he can understand what his choices and lack of responsibility have done to those around him. I hope he realizes what his selfishness has created and works toward sobriety and accepting the role of what it takes to be a responsible parent. If he can do that, my son will benefit from it.

And I plan on 2017 being a great year.
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:02 PM
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You are so blessed to have such a wonderful son, and such a great mom to have taken these difficult steps to protect him and give him the wonderful life that he deserves!

I realize limited contact is necessary with a shared child, and there's nothing you can do about that, but I am extremely impressed to see what you are saying and also what a great mom you are for your son, who doesn't know it now, but one day will know and understand what you went through both for yourself and for him to have a fantastic life!

You are doing great!
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