I got sober, she is in denial

Old 02-05-2017, 10:25 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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I got sober, she is in denial

My wife and I have been heavily drinking for the better part of 6 years. I had a horrible DT episode that scared the sht out of me, and ended up going to rehab. I'm sober 2 months 15 days today.

At first, I focused on my recovery.. She drinking around me honestly didn't bother me much.. I thought she would try to cut back, I hoped she wasn't a "true alcoholic" and would be able to cut back.. or stop drinking.

This turned into me basically being an enabler. She is constantly asking me is she a good mother, a good wife.. I bite my tongue and say yes babe...

I was a too much a coward to tell her my true feelings. But I've since changed that, and told her that she is not a bad mother, or a bad person, but her drinking is affecting everything around her. It is affecting our marriage, our kids, our finances, and her health. She has also been holding on to an emotional affair (when it rains it pours) which I don't think she even sees as wrong.

She is basically living a delusion, and I don't know how to get through to her. I've basically done a 180, focusing on me instead of her and her affair.. Divorce may be in our future depending on if she is serious about reconciliation.. Regardless of whether we stay together I love her, I want her to get better, but I don't know how to help her.. I know how difficult it is to pierce denial..

I'm still pretty new at this life, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:23 AM
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Sounds like a train wreck about to happen. You need to draw boundaries for yourself and the kids and stick to them. I'm not an expert by any means but she's an active user and your in recovery. She's not good for your recovery as she might have to tell her you need to change your people, places and things and that will include her if she doesn't get her act together. As far as her emotional affair, I'd immediately ask her for no contact with the other guy (I assume) and if that didn't happen, I'd be making plans to have a life without her.
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Old 02-06-2017, 03:23 AM
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Congratulations on your sobriety sponsx. You must have been through a lot in the past couple of months. I too had a huge clash in a 4-year relationship when I got sober, with a former partner in denial. We weren't married, though, but it was rough nonetheless.

You're still in very early sobriety and this is huge. Since you're asking for advice, I'll just parrot some things I was told that's also worked for me. Whatever happens, don't let the focus stray too far from your recovery plan otherwise it could be a threat to your sobriety. Especially if you experience DT's then sobriety vs relapse could really be a life or death matter.

It's wonderful that you want your wife to get better, but she has to want it too. Many people don't welcome help or opinions if they're not really ready to recover. Not that there isn't any hope, but efforts to help could turn out to be counterproductive because if she stops drinking for you or for anybody else before she's ready, it could easily fail later on. Maybe one way to help right now is simply to lead by example? In any case, just getting one of you sober could be a great first step to a better future for both of you, and you're the one who is ready right now.

Just an idea. When she asks you questions about whether or not she's a good wife and mother, maybe you could also tell her some specific things that she does (or something she did) while she is sober that you like or appreciate? A way to point out that you enjoy her most when she's sober. So it doesn't all just come across as an attack when you're being honest.
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Old 02-06-2017, 06:28 AM
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I agree that staying focused on your own sobriety is the most important factor for you right now - you are still so early into recovery yourself & have so many unforeseeable growth points ahead. The beauty is that the stronger your recovery, the more awareness it brings in all areas of your life & it will provide tools to help you manage all of this - things like boundary setting, detachment, etc. In the meantime, "more will be revealed", right? So all you can do is keep baby-stepping forward, you don't have to decide everything today - nor should you.

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Old 02-06-2017, 06:38 AM
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It's sad reading stories such as these.
Recovered drunk here -- many broken hearts left behind.

For you and her
both secular and some type of church counseling recommended.

It's good that you told her that she was falling short.
It's the truth -- she needs to face that head on.

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Old 02-06-2017, 07:22 AM
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I was in the same boat.

I got sober and the hot mess that was my marriage/spouse began to appear. I was told to DISENGAGE from the drama and worry about my side of the street. And I did: meetings, steps, service work.

I did not know whether my marriage was going to last or not. When the time came (I was about 6 months sober), we went to marriage and individual counseling. We came to a mutual decision that we would find out if there was a foundation upon which to rebuild our relationship. We found that there was and we went to work. It takes work. A lot of work. BOTH people working.

His drinking became a hinderance to our marriage and although it was never said out loud, it was clear that he had to choose booze or his marriage. They could not coexist. The first day of the rest of our lives was when my groom picked up a white chip on December 31, 2010, 18 months after I came into AA. We have not looked back...except to make funny jokes about how the other used to be a drunken ass. lol

Good juju to you. :-)
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:05 AM
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Hi sponsx, unfortunately, no matter how much we want someone to change we can't make that happen, only they can. Once I got sober I expected my husband to automatically start working on his stuff. I was resentful when that didn't happen.

By working with a sponsor I was able to learn that I can't fix him, he can only fix himself. So, I stopped trying and focused on my own recovery.

What would be interesting is the next time she asks you if she's a good wife and a mother turn the question back to her and ask what she thinks. Don't be mean about it just say what's more important is what she thinks the answer to those questions are.

You're doing hard work and a great job right now, focus on you and your recovery.
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:29 AM
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There's all sorts of stuff happening in your relationship, and sobriety or drinking is just part of the picture.
- You don't say how drinking impacts on her ability to be a mother. Is she drunk in front of the kids? Neglecting them? Driving?
- The emotional affair is possibly the biggest threat right now. How is it affecting you? It seems she's fled elsewhere for emotional fulfilment.
- It took you a few years to decide to become sober (and congratulations on that, you won't regret it). As you've no doubt worked out, she's not there yet, and probably feels uncomfortable about still drinking, while not ready to stop.

Counselling, and lots of it is possibly your best chance as a couple to retrieve your marriage. It will allow you speak to each other honestly in a non-threatening environment.
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