crippled by fear

Old 01-29-2017, 03:52 AM
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crippled by fear

where to begin....

i want out, i want to build my own life again, rebuild my self esteem but i`m crippled by fear of leaving.

I am the husband of an AW in recovery and nothing in my eyes has been the same since she quit, which was about 4 months ago, maybe it hasn't been for a long time and me concentrating on alcohol being the problem has just masked everything else. For years when she was drinking i have been kept at a distance with regards to most forms of intimacy. I`m not just talking about sex (although that was infrequent and often felt awkward) but something as simple as a cuddle in bed or a hug when you walk past them in the house. The lack of intimacy put together with the treading on eggshells around her when she was drinking of an evening, so as not to start an argument and her general negative attitude has left me feeling like i no longer in love with her.

I suppose all my trepidation of leaving comes from the fact that we have a 7 year old son together and how he will react to me leaving. If she says to him that mum has this disease that is called alcoholism (what AA tells them it is) then will he just think. why are you leaving my mum just because she is sick? he wont understand the years of neglect i have felt and the resentment that i feel that if she could just have stopped years ago instead of now, things could have been different. She is a great mother and always has been but i just feel that she has not been a good wife.

I cant eat, cant sleep, cant concentrate at work anymore. I never seem to be able to relax or feel at peace.

All advice welcome, especially from anyone who has been through this.

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Old 01-29-2017, 04:03 AM
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That song..... Addiction sucks. I cannot offer advice on relationships. My own story is testament to that. There is so much information and support atr SR. Also there is Al-anon. You have identified this is effecting you, your son and your wife. Firstly make sure of the health and safety of you and your son. I do not mean your partner should be isolated, but she has to heal for herself. Dynamics of where your son goes, that requires much thought and input- perhaps from a relationships counsellor?
My thoughts, support and prayers for you and your family. Keep posting.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:08 AM
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Hi, people leave marriages all the time when there's illnesses. That does not make you the bad person. You are not married to the illness you are married to the person.

If the person does not make you happy then your son is seeing that. He will think this is what a marriage is like.

If you leave he will see you happy. He will see you in a happy relationship.

My father left my mother due to her mental health issues. Mom was not alcoholic. He actually was the drinker. He slept on the couch for seven years and divorced when the youngest turned 18. I wish he would have left when he was unhappy. It wouldn't have made me so codependent.

There was adjustments that I had to get use. I was mad at him for making me have to take care of mother. (Which now was always my choice) We have worked those issues out. As long as you continue to have a wonderful relationship with your son he'll understand.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by EnterSandman View Post
I am the husband of an AW in recovery and nothing in my eyes has been the same since she quit, which was about 4 months ago, maybe it hasn't been for a long time and me concentrating on alcohol being the problem has just masked everything else.
It seems to me that this might be pretty accurate. I know that I certainly felt that if only XAH would stop drinking, everything would be fine. That's what led me to accept his claims that he was going to AA meetings and was sober when, if I'd done any work on my OWN recovery, I would have clearly seen that there was no recovery of any kind going on on his part. I guess I viewed it as some kind of surgery--AA helped "remove" the drinking, and after a little recovery time, he'd be back to the person I'd believed him to be. (Oh, my lord, what we don't know that we don't know!!)

I don't think I can address your situation any further than that, since XAH and I are divorced and you're apparently looking for a way to stay together. I will say this, though--as a child of an extremely dysfunctional family (altho not alcoholic), you are not doing your son any favors by remaining in an unhappy relationship.

I know there are plenty of others here who've been in your shoes and who can shed way more light than I have. I hope you find some answers and begin to see a way to move forward.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:01 AM
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Spending years having that feeling that you need to 'walk on eggshells' around someone to keep peace in a home really wears away at you, doesn't it? I spent many years with my ex-husband (not an A) feeling the same way simply because his personality was so mercurial. He ended up having an affair and divorcing me...which was a gift to me in the long run!

I can't tell you to stay or go. I can tell you that your peace, your happiness matter...the safety and peace and happiness of your child matters, too. How best that can be achieved, I don't know. But at the base of it all, perhaps that is where you can begin to make decisions.

Come here and vent all you want. We are walking this path with you...and I'm so sorry for all you and your whole family have been through.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:21 AM
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The conundrum is that no matter what happens the two of you are the parents of your child. That fact will not change. The two of you are in the very early stages of recovery and the wounds are still fresh and wide open. Of course, there is going to be fear on your part. Absolutely normal. There is much work to do on both of your parts and not just to stay together but to co-parent your child. It didn't take overnight to get to where you are and it isn't going to right itself overnight either. It takes time. Peace can be found in true forgiveness even if you stay or leave. At this point in recovery (both of you) you have a ton of individual work to do to heal. In many ways, the alcoholics recovery is much easier as we quit drinking, acquire tools to deal with life without medicating ourselves and move forward by loving ourselves. It's very easy to forget the wake of destruction we created. In my case, while I was drinking we never really talked but do now. There are times I can read her and her resentment is high and I tread lightly by reflecting on the fact I created this situation. Others times she opens up and we go deep into discussing our addiction journey. She doesn't want to divorce and I don't either but I have to show her the same amount of patience she showed me all of those years I was going to bed at 9:30 pm because I needed my fix. I've accepted that I'm different, she's different but we built a life together and I want the best version of me to be there for her for a long, long time. We've been together for 30 years and if it takes years to fix, I'm in for the long haul. If she decides, she can't do it and is better off on her own, it's another thing I have to accept as a part of my journey.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:32 AM
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I suggest couples counselling Sandman. I'm not saying stay if you're miserable, but leaving after counselling can be much less traumatic for everyone involved.

Why not ask your wife to participate? You might not save the marriage, but it may give you both insight into the other's feelings. It's so much less traumatic for children if parents can be on reasonable terms when separating.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:30 AM
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I would recommend counseling for yourself before couples therapy. You need to figure out yourself before you add in another person's perspective.

Good for you for recognizing nothing has changed in your marriage, Sober or drunk. It is the hardest thing In your life to do, meaning divorce. You need to take your time, reach out for therapy, alanon, open aa meetings, and sr. Do your homework. You owe it to you and your child to make sure that you are making the correct decisions in the right frame of mind. This is not a race, take your time so you have no regrets. Hugs my friend, it will be clear one day, just be patient.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:33 AM
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I left my first husband when he had been sober for almost 15 years. It had nothing to do with his alcoholism, nor even any failings on his part as a husband. I simply felt empty in the relationship. It was me, not him.

We had two young boys (elementary school age), who stayed with him (because of work schedules, he'd always done more of the day-to-day parenting stuff, and he was frankly the better, more patient parent of the two of us).

After some initial hurt/anger on his part, we had a very amicable divorce and are good friends to this day. Our kids are in late 20s/early 30s. We all spend holidays together. They were not embittered by the divorce.

I'm not suggesting this is possible for everyone, but it is possible to divorce without having a "war" and without significant damage to kids.

You might want to re-think how you are framing this in your mind. You say she "hasn't been a good wife." Maybe she hasn't been a good wife, in part, because the relationship simply isn't right. Not that you just dismiss the alcoholism, but the bottom line is that you aren't happy in the relationship, which may not be anyone's "fault."

Have you talked to a lawyer about possible legal separation? That might give you both some space to work things out, one way or another. If not to continue the relationship, to determine how to work out a civilized divorce that is fair to both of you and to your child. If you approach this in a non-adversarial way, there may be hope for you both to have a good co-parenting relationship, which would be great for your child.
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Old 01-29-2017, 08:34 AM
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EnterSandman......consider this: If your son reaches young adult life and asks "Pappa--why did you make me stay in an unhappy home? Why didn't you leave?" What will you say? "Well, son. I wanted to leave, but, I stayed because of you". Think of the guilt and resentment that will place on his shoulders.
Children are quick to take on guilt feelings for everything, anyway..

Make no mistake...children can tell when the home is unhappy...they can feel the tensions between the parents. They are like little sponges...they absorb everything around them...whether it is positive or negative. They might not understand all of it..but they "feel" it...and that makes an impression on a developing child.
I wish I had a penny for every person on this forum that has confirmed this....the ones who say that they wish that their parents had separated and how being in a dysfunctional home has been a burden for them, even to this day....
I can remember well as a I could tell if the adults around me were happy or unhappy...even if they were taking good care of me, in general. It was like Is like there was a grey cloud of some kind...and it made me feel "bad", also....
Most all of us parents underestimate what our children see and feel and "know" about....
I remember from a course that I took on Marriage and Family, that they made this big point....most all children can recover from (or adjust to) the affects of divorce within 2yrs....if the divorce is handled in a way that the children feel day to day security...It is not the divorce, itself---it is how it is handled!
If the child feels love and security from each parent when the child is with each parent...and, are not put in the middle of the fighting.....

I think that the idea of a legal separation, if it is available in your state. might be a good give both of you some space...AFTER you had had some individual counseling, yourself. I don't think that couples counseling is a good idea at this you need to get your own s***
Also, in addition, alanon would be a good addition to the individual therapy....
(there are some personal issues that alanon is not organized to address in depth).....But, both seems to be a winning combination that so many others, on this forum. swear to.....

If you at feeling "paralyzed"....making appoints with a therapist and finding an alanon meeting are good baby steps to busting that paralyzed feeling.....
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:06 AM
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And actually, you might be surprised by the response if you bring up the idea of separation. I know I was somewhat cold in my marriage, because I didn't have intimate feelings toward my husband. I tried to get over that, and we went for marriage counseling, but it just wasn't there. A large part of the reason I left was that I felt guilty about the pain I was putting this good man through. He deserved better than that. He's happy in his second marriage, to a woman who adores him. That's what he deserves.

So it's POSSIBLE that she would view this as a relief--especially if you approach it in a kind and non-accusatory way. You both seem not to be engaged in the marriage, so maybe it's time to simply admit that it isn't working and figure out a way for both of you to move on with your lives.

Just a thought--I'm sort of sensing that she may be feeling as disconnected as you are, but reluctant to hurt YOU.
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:29 AM
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While it is true we are pack animals like wolves and since the dawn of time been social beings and need companionship, without being able to find happiness within yourself, it is very difficult to be happy with someone else. So, it is very likely that whatever baggage you haul from this relationship will follow you into your next relationship. I agree with a lot of what was shared with you.
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:17 PM
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This is really hard what you're going through Sandman. She is still in early sober times. She may change, but you and no one else has any control or accurate predictions about that.

I know it gets old to hear, but I believe what is going to 'save' you and your own sanity is focus on YOU and what it is that YOU need....; What you need to be happy; what you need for your son too...when you factor in children, it literally changes everything.

You must have been in love with her at some point in time, even though you don't feel in love with her now. It's sad when love sort dies out like that. How to get it back? Maybe you don't even feel it's worth trying to get that love back.

The ideal is that your marriage would be saved and become a happy marriage; not just a marriage you are sort of "enduring". A good counselor will help you broach all that; explore it and also help you deal with the fear.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but you identified a big factor in your title of this thread: fear. What are you MOST afraid of? What are least afraid of? What are you willing to endure and can you endure it and not sacrifice your own happiness/fulfillment. Then, there also the GUILT factor. Guilt and fear often steer our decisions. But love can steer our decisions too.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:46 AM
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I think Lexie is right--your wife may be feeling just as disconnected.

The "breathing room" of legal separation may give you both the space
to work out your feelings--and for her to be able to cope with the roller coaster
of early sobriety without having to deal with family issues which may be beyond her right now.

Sometimes relationships aren't for a lifetime--that doesn't mean failure
if lessons are learned, growth happens, and parting is compassionate.

I strongly agree that raising a child in an unhappy home is far worse than
a "child-first" divorce.
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