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Boundaries and Acting on hunches

Old 04-28-2017, 02:27 PM
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Boundaries and Acting on hunches

I am a new poster to SR but have been reading a lot, not just here but as much as I can. I have been married to an AH for 16 years. We are in our 40s, we have no kids. He has always been a drinker but not heavy and not disruptive to his job or our life. But the last 5 or so have been particularly bad, he's been very depressed, anxious, and full of self hate. His drinking got worse when he was allowed to work from home on some days, then with hiding, lying, driving and showing up to work drunk, he slipped into a very bad place. I have done the begging, the crying, the detaching and we were headed towards separating.

But in December when one of his bosses smelled it and called him out on it, she said he needed to get help or she would tell the higher ups. He finally admitted he needed rehab. But he is well known in the community so inpatient was out. He started going to weekly outpatient meetings and AA meetings and he really likes his counselor. For the most part, things have drastically improved. He no longer works from home and goes to the office every day. But there have been slip ups, some of which were more obvious than others. He always apologizes and tries again.

So, I know he still drinks but he is much better at hiding it now. I have confronted him when I suspect, but he just denies it. Since he isn't fall down drunk and I have no real proof, I never press.

I have been treating this like a disease and just encouraging him that he can beat it, that slip ups are ok as long as he gets back to it and learns from it. Truthfully, we have gotten closer since all this came to a head because, before, I just couldn't stand to be around him. But I have seen him try and that gives me hope.

But part of me is still very hurt because I know he is still lying. And I have a hard time calling him out on it. Especially since he once said that even if he didn't drink, he might as well have, because he knows that I think he did (does) . So I try no to hover and check on him all the time, I've gone to AlAnon meetings and I see a therapist.

So how do I stand up to him when I have a hunch he drank, but no real proof? And something I need to figure out on my own, but how can I keep supporting and loving someone who tries 80% of the time, but lies to my face 20%.

Thanks for reading. I know I am going to have come to terms with my situation and figure out what I want in life. Obviously I want to stay married and have a good life, which is up to me, I know, but I'm not sure if that's ever going to happen at this point.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:52 PM
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Welcome Rose, thanks for your post - I can relate to it for sure.
Sorry you are going through this, it is so difficult. The loss of
honesty in a marriage is very damaging and difficult to recover
from, especially after witnessing how easy it is for them to do
it.

Keep posting and taking care of yourself. I am curious to see
what other more experienced posters here will have to say.

"Especially since he once said that even if he didn't drink, he might as well have, because he knows that I think he did (does) "

Have you read the "quackers" post? Your A's comment would make
a great addition to the thread
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:58 PM
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RoseCK.......first....you say that you are "hurt"because he is drinking and lying....It might help you to know that alcoholics don't drink to hurt other people (even though it does).....they drink because they are alcoholics and that is what an alcoholic does. He is not drinking at you...he is just drinking....

I gather that you have been open with him about you feel about the drinking and the effects it has had on your feelings about the relationship....

the way I look at it...it really doesn't matter what you say...one way or another. because it won't affect his drinking....He will get it that he is helpless over alcohol when he comes to that conclusion, himself....and, it will be on his timeline....
I think the main reason not to harp on him about it, is because it makes life harder for you....it just causes more conflict between the two of you....
I'm not saying that you shouldn't have boundaries as to what you will tolerate or not...you definitely should....

time marches on...and, the nature of alcoholism is that it gets worse over time....so, things won't remain like they are now, forever...he will either decide that he wants real recovery or he will get worse.....
Meanwhile, you will have time to work on your own recovery...as hard as you wish he would work on his....

By the way...he doesn't need you support....except tp the point of getting out of his way...
He has the program and AA and his own counselor....those are the people that he should be going to for help....you can't be his therapist, and you shouldn' try. You are too close and too entangled.....
If he wants genuine recovery, he has all the people that he needs for that....
alcoholics will listen to another alcoholic in recovery much better than they will listen to their loved ones.....they are too entangled with their loved ones, also....
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:11 PM
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From what I can see, he's not really in recovery at all. He's continuing to drink, but trying to keep a lid on it so it doesn't get "out of hand." It's really up to you how long you want to put up with this.

There is no point in confronting him when you know he's been drinking (and deep down you DO know). Calling him out on it won't make anything better. His alcoholism will continue to progress, even if it seems to have plateaued for now.

What are you doing for yourself? Are you in Al-Anon? Have you talked with a lawyer to find out how you can protect yourself in the event it gets to the point where you have to leave?
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:30 PM
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I think it's pretty safe to say we get keen radar to "know" when they've been drinking or not, and if you suspect it, it's likely happening.
I agree with Lexie it sounds like he's just pulled back on the drinking and is keeping it as secretive as possible to keep his job and perhaps you at bay, but this can only go on for so long.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:14 PM
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I don't have anything to offer, but this caught my attention:

But he is well known in the community so inpatient was out. He started going to weekly outpatient meetings and AA meetings and he really likes his counselor.

inpatient is out because hes well known in the community, but can go to outpatient meetings and AA meetings where he will be with people from the community.
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Old 04-28-2017, 07:50 PM
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I have been treating this like a disease and just encouraging him that he can beat it, that slip ups are ok as long as he gets back to it and learns from it.
No, slip ups are not ok. Relapse is not part of recovery. And you telling him it’s ok, makes it ok for him to continue doing it.
But part of me is still very hurt because I know he is still lying. And I have a hard time calling him out on it. Especially since he once said that even if he didn't drink, he might as well have, because he knows that I think he did (does)
He told you that to manipulate you and cause you to doubt what you know ito be true so that he can continue to drink.

So how do I stand up to him when I have a hunch he drank, but no real proof?
What’s the proof going to do for you? What is your plan once you find the proof even thought you already know he’s drinking. What’s your boundary with his continued drinking and lying to you about it?

Obviously I want to stay married and have a good life, which is up to me, I know, but I'm not sure if that's ever going to happen at this point.
It takes two people to make a marriage work and right now there appears to only be one of you trying to do that and the other is working hard on his alcoholism.

Maybe it’s time for you to think about al-anon and getting support for you. Keep posting here, learn as much as you can about alcoholism and about addict behaviors.
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Old 04-29-2017, 04:31 AM
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Rose, my A was a master of hiding his drinking too, and I really relate to your feelings about the hiding/lying/hunches/etc. If I had a penny for each time I felt things were "off", but yet when I asked him if he had been drinking he told me no, absolutely not--well, let's just say I could take all you F&F folks out for lunch, and I'm talking someplace nice, NOT McD's!

I would agree w/those who say that yes, we can indeed tell, but when your A is a hider, the "tells" are so subtle that it's hard to trust your intuition, especially when A) you really would rather have what you suspect NOT be true, and B) the A is proclaiming, all injured righteousness, that he is sober. For XAH, it was things like just the slightest bit more effort to not trip over a dog lying on the floor, a fraction of a second of confusion when deciding which cupboard held the thing he was looking for, the tiniest slowing of his footsteps on the stairs outside....nothing that was clear cut, all just small matters of perception.

So how do I stand up to him when I have a hunch he drank, but no real proof?
I guess I'm wondering exactly you mean by "stand up to him." Do you mean "get him to admit that he was drinking"? If so, I don't think it's possible, and I'm also not sure what the point would be. Is it that you think that catching him in a lie will cause him to see the error of his ways?

If what you mean is that you don't want to be around him when he's been drinking, that is completely within your control, and requires no admission of guilt from him. Simply have a plan (or plans) regarding the action YOU will take if you feel he's been drinking. Then, when the situation arises, put it into place; there is no need for an announcement of why you're doing what you're doing, no need to justify, argue, defend or explain. Go to the gym, go for a walk, work on a project you have, or simply go about your business, giving him noncommittal answers if he tries to engage w/you (check this link Medium Chill ? Out of the FOG or google "medium chill" for details).

And something I need to figure out on my own, but how can I keep supporting and loving someone who tries 80% of the time, but lies to my face 20%.
I agree, only you can decide what is good enough and when it's not good enough any more. Remember what others have said here, that alcoholism is progressive and the 80/20 ratio will likely begin to change as time goes by. Even if it stayed like this, though, is that good enough? I struggled for a long time before splitting from XAH, as we'd been married for nearly 20 years, and he certainly wasn't an evil or horrible man; there was a lot of good there too. One of the things that helped to tip the balance for me was the utter lack of respect for me that I increasingly felt ("lack of respect" in both the way he treated me and the way I was treating myself). One of the main ways in which I felt that lack of respect from him was in the continuous lying.

Let me also add that, if he is indeed that good of a hider (and XAH was a world-class one, so I have some experience w/this), the 80% that you perceive as being a "good effort" may in reality be more like 40% or 20%, if even that...XAH chaired a local AA group, drinking all the while!

I know I am going to have come to terms with my situation and figure out what I want in life. Obviously I want to stay married and have a good life, which is up to me, I know, but I'm not sure if that's ever going to happen at this point.
Although you may not be ready to fully accept this right now, please remain open to the possibility that staying married and having a good life may turn out to be mutually exclusive situations. AH does not seem sincerely interested in recovery, and detachment (which is what you would need to do to remain in the marriage w/o losing your mind) is not usually a long-term solution.

A member here has a tag line that says something to this effect: "When a problem seems to have no answer, it's most likely that it DOES have an answer but we simply don't like it."
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Old 04-29-2017, 05:41 AM
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Rose,
The above posts are spot on. Your husband does not have a problem with his drinking, you do. So it's not his problem to fix, its yours . What are you going to do about your problem?

You know he is drinking and lying, as that is basic 101 when dealing with an addict. We validate that for you; as they make you feel like you are "crazy". Now that you see who he really is, what is it that Rose wants? I see that you don't want a divorce, as none of us who come here did/do. We come to these forums to find out how to get our addict sober, and live happily ever after. You will see, when loving an addict, there are very few happily ever afters.

I would keep going to the therapist, hitting alanon meetings, keep reading all over this forum, and maybe even hit an open aa meeting. Education is power. Take this time and realize what you are up against. Then make the decision that you feel is best for you. We are all here for you, keep posting and asking questions.

Sending hugs to you..
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:25 AM
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Hello!

Just wanted to say that I can totally relate to having a "hunch" - and it is not a good feeling, especially when it involves small children being left in his care in my case.

In case of XAH - "more will be revealed" was always true. His drinking will most likely become more obvious as his disease progresses.

+1 on his drinking being your problem. He is obviously fine with the way things are. Also not following why "inpatient is out" - I imagine this is something he told you about? Inpatient rehab facilities treat privacy very seriously - so him being a known person in a community has little to do with it. Plus there are a ton of places out of state. I call QUACK on that one.

Think about what you need. Where do you want to be in a month? Year? 5 years? I was intent on being married to XAH till the death do us part. Did not work out my way, but I sure learned a lot in the process.

Nothing changes if nothing changes

Good luck - we are here for you

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Old 04-29-2017, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by RoseCK View Post
So how do I stand up to him when I have a hunch he drank, but no real proof?
I encourage you to keep developing your participation in the Al-Anon community because it's not your job to police his drinking. As was said, he doesn't have a problem with drinking, you do. Many of us get caught up in the belief that everything would be fine if our loved one just stopped drinking, so "drinking" becomes the thing we try to prevent. In Al-Anon, we keep the focus on ourselves, not the alcoholic and this is just basic, good relationship advice. What anyone focuses upon is what grows and right now you're focused on his drinking and hiding. To change your experience, you can't change him, you have to change how you look at things and this is where Al-Anon can be a huge help. A-Anon isn't about getting away from the alcoholic or about getting him to stop drinking. It's about learning how to create a life in which our own happiness is the focus and supporting others as they do the same. Al-Anon is about fashioning a life that is fulfilling and meaningful for you, no matter what anyone else chooses to do. Your happiness is never truly dependent upon your husband's drinking, even though it seems right now that perhaps it is. You do not have to monitor his drinking or "catch" him or prove anything. All you have to do is get more practice with keeping your focus on you. There's enough wonderful stuff in you to keep you happy for 20 lifetimes. Truly, there is.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:46 AM
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FA's post reminded me of something I should have said in my earlier post but didn't. Like you, I struggled with knowing whether he was drinking or not. I was very focused on that. People here tried to tell me that if he was in recovery, I would know--the signs would be unmistakable. Likewise, if he was NOT in recovery, the signs would be equally unmistakable. A member posted this for me, and in the time since then, I've shared it w/many others here who are in the same place I was:

Ya wanna know the SECRET to whether someone is serious about recovery or not? When they stop TALKING and start DOING. When they abandon the alcoholic oath:
I'm Sorry
Please Forgive Me
It will NEVER happen AGAIN
Talk is just squawk....noise to diffuse and disturb....

We live on a lake and have ospreys and eagles that come 'round. When they are on the hunt, there is NO doubt about their intentions...they hover above, they swoop and swirl and then DIVE after their prey. It is magnificent and silent. They have a purpose and have no NEED to announce their plan. They are unconcerned with the world around them....for the eagle there are always the attendant "murder" of crows, dive bombing, harassing, relentless...they are honed in on their goal.

Recovery is the osprey, tucking its wing in close to its body, a missile now, a projectile diving in a straight line towards the water, seeing beneath the surface to the fish.


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Old 04-29-2017, 07:56 AM
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:36 AM
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No advice, but I wanted to reply because you and I are in very similar situations, although my AH has progressed further in the past couple years. Together 15 years, married, no kids. I love him and desperately want him to get his 💩 together so we can live happily ever after.

Even if my husband would have followed through with recovery a couple months ago, there was still so much to be repaired that I often wondered if it was possible. For both our situations, it would be hard if they were 100% sober and honest now. Impossible while they are still lying and drinking.

Since it is difficult to see the forest thru the trees, I will say from the outside looking in your husband is most certainly not in recovery. Period.

Alcoholism is not something you can beat; it cannot be cured, only managed, so true, relapses happen. In recovery they are followed by intense, long term recovery activites. An increase in aa attendence, escalation of treatment level, etc. You can't do the same thing and expect different results. I suspect he is drinking even more than you think, and that he has convinced himself moderation is an option.

My husband attended both inpatient and outpatient and I would say inpatient offers even more anonymity than outpatient, oddly enough. While there, a very high ranking city official also checked in, and everyone, especially the patients, respected privacy.

On the other hand, I noticed a lot of turnaround while attending the family portion of outpatient. The clients seemed less commited and would attend irregularly, presumingly because they were still using. At times I was uncomfortable speaking in front of them, because I didn't trust they wouldn't repeat my story while kicking back a few beers with their buddies that night. I didn't feel that way with inpatient. You are exposed to more people with outpatient, plus at any given appt some one can see you coming or going. Just my perception, but the excuse that inpatient is somehow more of a risk is pretty lame.

I wish you the best and hope we both find the answers we're looking for.
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:46 AM
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Ditto, it's not your job to police his drinking. Just because he can keep it secret now doesn't mean it will stay that way. Alcoholism is progressive, his drinking will get worse. Alanon is a life-saver and I hope you jump in.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by honeypig View Post
FA's post reminded me of something I should have said in my earlier post but didn't. Like you, I struggled with knowing whether he was drinking or not. I was very focused on that. People here tried to tell me that if he was in recovery, I would know--the signs would be unmistakable. Likewise, if he was NOT in recovery, the signs would be equally unmistakable. A member posted this for me, and in the time since then, I've shared it w/many others here who are in the same place I was:

Ya wanna know the SECRET to whether someone is serious about recovery or not? When they stop TALKING and start DOING. When they abandon the alcoholic oath:
I'm Sorry
Please Forgive Me
It will NEVER happen AGAIN
Talk is just squawk....noise to diffuse and disturb....

We live on a lake and have ospreys and eagles that come 'round. When they are on the hunt, there is NO doubt about their intentions...they hover above, they swoop and swirl and then DIVE after their prey. It is magnificent and silent. They have a purpose and have no NEED to announce their plan. They are unconcerned with the world around them....for the eagle there are always the attendant "murder" of crows, dive bombing, harassing, relentless...they are honed in on their goal.

Recovery is the osprey, tucking its wing in close to its body, a missile now, a projectile diving in a straight line towards the water, seeing beneath the surface to the fish.


Thank you honeypig.

I was having a rough day today. Missing my fiancÚ and feeling regret and guilt that I coulda/shoulda done more.

Your post reminded me that for all the talk she did. Little action followed and she truly wasn't as "close to figuring it out" as I was trying to convince myself.

I do still miss her every day. In some sick way it helps me to know that she wasn't really going to figure it out no matter what she may have said.
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