Blogs


Alcohol - Like a Third Partner in our Marriage

Old 07-01-2019, 07:11 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: California
Posts: 143
Alcohol - Like a Third Partner in our Marriage

I've been out of the house for over a month now and doing fairly well considering the circumstances of ending a 20 year marriage. I've been deliberately working on changing my focus and I've found a really great Alanon group, but I find myself thinking and still trying to just figure out why this marriage just crumbled like a house of cards, so easily, like nothing was ever there. I just still want to understand what happened because there was never any ongoing emotional or verbal or physical abuse; STBXAH was the kind of dad that was involved with the kids' sports activities (rarely missed a game and volunteered to help with their teams); he never cheated on me; he seemed to love me and he definitely loved (loves) the boys. But that moment back in February when I set a boundary that "I cannot live with the level of drinking you are doing" it - my marriage of 20 years - just crumbled at my feet. It's like he switched - it felt like I was suddenly the enemy, and though there was lots of ongoing emotional distance for years, he was suddenly cold as ice and I was out (with STBXAH you are either in or out, liked or disliked, good or bad - not much middle ground with him).

I recently heard someone use the analogy that alcohol was like a third partner in their relationship and I really really identified with that. I realize now that is how it has felt for me for so many years, for our whole marriage really. It's not that there were DUIs, abuse, missing work (but actually there was a bit of that), or other irresponsible behavior - it's that drinking was always his first love. I was always second. As long as I was there to support that, I guess I was in. When I became unwilling to support it, I was out. I guess he loved me in his own way but it hurts because I feel like I have been dumped for alcohol. I do realize this is the nature of alcoholism and I try to accept that.

I guess my biggest thing now is - why did I play second fiddle for 20 years? That is a question whose answer I may come to understand in Alanon, I suppose. Thank you for reading. I think this is helping the grieving process.
PerSe is offline  
The Following 18 Users Say Thank You to PerSe For This Useful Post:
Amaranth (07-01-2019), atalose (07-01-2019), Bernadette (07-01-2019), Cyranoak (07-13-2019), HardLessons (07-01-2019), honeypig (07-14-2019), hopeful4 (07-02-2019), JoePenner (07-01-2019), LifeRecovery (07-01-2019), LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), Mango212 (07-03-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-01-2019), QuietlyTired (07-03-2019), Ringo123 (07-02-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 07:51 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
dawnrising's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 500
I can totally relate to this. For me it was like I had become the enemy well before I said I could no longer live that way. I became the enemy when I started questioning AH's behavior. Just keep doing the work and the answers will come. The only way I can wrap my brain around this disease is, my AH is very sick. He chose the familiarity of his sickness over the unknown of getting healthy. You most likely played second fiddle because you were sick as well. Congrats to you for working on your health. Unhealthy people cannot love someone in a healthy way. Thats all. Some will get healthy eventually and some will never be healthy. It's sad and devastating but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Much love coming your way.
dawnrising is offline  
The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to dawnrising For This Useful Post:
Amaranth (07-01-2019), atalose (07-01-2019), dandylion (07-01-2019), HardLessons (07-01-2019), LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-01-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 08:06 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
atalose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,104
I think the more knowledge you can gain about alcoholism/addiction the better understanding you might have about the power of the disease.

The worst part about anything thatís self-destructive is that it becomes so intimate to them. They become so close with their addictions and illnesses that leaving them behind is very much like being asked to kill a part of themselves, the part that taught them how to survive, how to cope in life, itís the only way of living them know.

Certainly not justifying any of the bad behaviors that make, made loved ones unhappy just trying to point out that itís not as easy to stop/quit and go into recovery as we may think it is.
atalose is offline  
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to atalose For This Useful Post:
dandylion (07-01-2019), HardLessons (07-01-2019), LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-01-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 09:33 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 16
I can very much identify with this. I told him many times that it was very demoralizing to constantly play second fiddle to a $1 can of beer. And saying that out loud still hurts, because in a choice between that beer and me, he never once chose me.

That being said, as much turmoil as my 4 year (and previous to this go around, 2 year) relationship had, it didnít crumble until I finally started setting and sticking to my boundaries. Much like you, when I was along for the ride, he loved me because he still had use for the relationship. When I started to prioritize myself over him and his addictions, I really saw him for who he was and how he treated me. He became more and more hurtful as I put my foot down, and I lost sight of the person I felt like he was in my head. The actual person he is isnít a very good friend or partner.

Iím sorry you find yourself where your at, but youíre not alone. And now you have the power to make yourself happy, instead of being constantly disappointed by someone who makes you sad. Best of luck to all of us that left.
Imaginarium is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Imaginarium For This Useful Post:
Bernadette (07-01-2019), HardLessons (07-01-2019), LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-01-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 09:45 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 94
This sounds so familiar, and is very much how my relationship played out. I always felt second fiddle to alcohol during my relationship/marriage to AH. Like your husband, he was always very kind and loving. However, the moment I put my foot down and made it clear I was leaving, a flip switched. I was the enemy and the way he's treated me since has been absolutely horrible. As you said, I see him for who he is now or at least who his disease has made him.

Anyways, I just want to say we know and understand what it is you're feeling what you're going through. I wish so much luck in taking back control of your life, and hope you find some much deserved happiness.
emmab219 is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to emmab219 For This Useful Post:
Bernadette (07-01-2019), LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-01-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 10:54 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 379
yes, me too. I was always second to alcohol. So were the kids, unfortunately. I never gave him an ultimatum because I knew I wouldn't win. I did, eventually move out and eventually delivered the ultimatum but by then it was "stop drinking or take your wedding ring off" I just couldn't bear to see him with that ring on his finger anymore. He chose alcohol over the marriage. He refused to take the ring off. He maintained it was his ring and he could wear it if he wanted. It was ridiculous, he was already seeing (drinking with) another woman by then. He seemed to think he could have it all, the girlfriend, the marriage, the drink.

It seemed like I'd asked him to stop breathing, it all seemed so utterly unreasonable to him. Obviously, my sobriety was the problem. That is what wrecked the marriage.

I choose now to put myself first. I was always looking for things from him that he could not give me. He was not able to. I give those things to myself now. Learning to love yourself is hard but in the end you won't need to look to other people to provide the things you need.
Amaranth is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Amaranth For This Useful Post:
LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 11:18 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Community Greeter
 
dandylion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 16,089
PerSeÖ...in response to your question---"Why did I play second fiddle for 20 years?".....
I would propose that the seeds for your personal dynamic were planted in your early developmental years....and, that you brought this (these) dynamics as your own baggage, into the marriage....though you may not have been very consciously aware of them....
I think that uncovering how this happened is the kind of work that that a therapist can be helpful with (in addition to alanon)Ö.
I do think that it is important to get this kind of insight, because we humans seem destined to repeat our patterns, if we don't become aware of what makes us tick and what our needs are....
dandylion is online now  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to dandylion For This Useful Post:
HardLessons (07-01-2019), LovePeaceSushi (07-01-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 12:53 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 296
I actually thought mine must be having an affair because of the change in him. As soon as we started drinking low alcohol beers at home... A switch flipped. Our marriage wasn't great at the time. Newborn, toddler, New jobs etc. But he just turned sour. He had quit drinking for me 3yrs before and pretty much white knuckled his sobriety. I didn't even know he was an alcoholic. Just thought he had a bit of a control issue. Thought he was so mature to quit altogether. Fast forward another couple years and it was sodas mixed with beer at home. He started to resent me..resent my disproval. Another year later he was getting wasted again.. Rinse repeat of where he was before we met.

It's sad what alcohol does. It really is insidious how the people who care the most are seen by the alcoholics as harmful.

When I think of my husband, I think of the sober guy who is now dead and I grieve for him. Because he really did want to marry, have kids, grow old with me.

My EXAH is just a shell....a brain in love with alcohol. That's what alcohol does. It turns your love of surfing, Dawn rain, camping, waterfalls into nothing. In the same way, 'the other woman' probably would too. You don't need to go surfing babe... You've got me.
Milano58 is offline  
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Milano58 For This Useful Post:
dandylion (07-01-2019), mnjen (07-14-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), Sasha1972 (07-02-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019), woodlandlost (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 01:19 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 246
Per Se

Same.....same.....same. My EXAW, same story, with infidelity too tho.

If you have't already, download the Getting them Sober, 4 volume series off kindle or wherever you get your books. This series has saved me may times when the Why's and what if's come up. It grounds you and helps you separate from the disease...Toby Rice Drews is the author. Saved my life.
woodlandlost is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to woodlandlost For This Useful Post:
PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 01:41 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
flower959's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 133
Originally Posted by Imaginarium View Post

Much like you, when I was along for the ride, he loved me because he still had use for the relationship. When I started to prioritize myself over him and his addictions, I really saw him for who he was and how he treated me. He became more and more hurtful as I put my foot down, and I lost sight of the person I felt like he was in my head. The actual person he is isnít a very good friend or partner.

This resonated with me. I think I'm starting to see a very selfish & disrespectful person that isn't even a good friend. He's incapable of being a husband or a friend, because he's consumed by his relationship with alcohol.
flower959 is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to flower959 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (07-01-2019), dandylion (07-01-2019), honeypig (07-14-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-01-2019), SmallButMighty (07-01-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 04:24 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 395
This thread brings tears to my eyes. Brings up so many deep layers weíve all battled, and suffered from. Anyone whoís in love with an alcoholic or addict... and questioning whether to stay/go truly needs to read this thread and every response. My heart goes out to everyone. Thanks for sharing and I hope all of us/all those suffering or still suffering make it to the other side of the bridge where peace awaits.
LifeChangeNYC is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to LifeChangeNYC For This Useful Post:
dandylion (07-01-2019), MyGirlGracie (07-02-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-02-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019)
Old 07-01-2019, 09:02 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 296
Originally Posted by LifeChangeNYC View Post
This thread brings tears to my eyes. Brings up so many deep layers weíve all battled, and suffered from. Anyone whoís in love with an alcoholic or addict... and questioning whether to stay/go truly needs to read this thread and every response. My heart goes out to everyone. Thanks for sharing and I hope all of us/all those suffering or still suffering make it to the other side of the bridge where peace awaits.
I think not only do we debate staying or leaving but we then start wondering we're we ever loved. I'm wondering if our whole marriage was just to appear respectable...appear sober. Physically he was sober but his mind was that of an untreated alcoholic. I felt like a life jacket. What did somebody else call it... Wife Support? So true.
Milano58 is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Milano58 For This Useful Post:
PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-02-2019), trailmix (07-01-2019), woodlandlost (07-04-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 06:31 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
hopeful4's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 13,566
Blog Entries: 10
After a long time of being divorced (5years) and looking back, I have stopped measuring it in that way. Addiction is addiction. I don't think the addict is mentally trying to "choose" alcohol over you or your children or anything else. I think it's just become something they absolutely cannot live without, or so they think.

I look at my XAH. It's so ingrained in him that he cannot see any other way without it, it is just who he is. I am the one that changed in that I could not accept that behavior any longer. He is still the same ol addict he always was. I have just changed to form healthy boundaries for ME.

Sending you a big hug!
hopeful4 is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to hopeful4 For This Useful Post:
Neagrm (07-06-2019), pdm22 (07-02-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-02-2019), SmallButMighty (07-02-2019), trailmix (07-02-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 07:58 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: California
Posts: 143
Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
After a long time of being divorced (5years) and looking back, I have stopped measuring it in that way. Addiction is addiction. I don't think the addict is mentally trying to "choose" alcohol over you or your children or anything else. I think it's just become something they absolutely cannot live without, or so they think.

I look at my XAH. It's so ingrained in him that he cannot see any other way without it, it is just who he is. I am the one that changed in that I could not accept that behavior any longer. He is still the same ol addict he always was. I have just changed to form healthy boundaries for ME.

Sending you a big hug!
Your perspective makes me think of this article that I have read now so many times. It really is just who he is rather than a rational choice to drink or not drink.

Addiction, Lies and Relationships
PerSe is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to PerSe For This Useful Post:
honeypig (07-14-2019), hopeful4 (07-02-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), trailmix (07-02-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 08:16 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
hopeful4's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 13,566
Blog Entries: 10
I know for for myself, it took a VERY long time to come to this place. My youngest DD is still not there, she actively sees it as a choice and I believe deep down she hates her father for it. She cannot get past it. She does not let it control her, and does not let it affect her life very much (she does not spend much time w him), but when she talks about it, it's very harsh.

It does not mean I condone it, or any of the behavior that come with it. It just means I do see it as part of who he is, and it's my choice not to accept that behavior in my own life. I deserve more, as do my children. He does too for himself, but only he is in control of that.

It takes a long time in life to do one thing, look at actions and ignore words. You can apply it to all things in life, and cut out a lot of "whys" people do certain things. It basically boils down to how I choose to be treated by others in my life.
I needed that, desperately.

Great article, thanks for the link!
hopeful4 is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to hopeful4 For This Useful Post:
honeypig (07-14-2019), pdm22 (07-02-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-02-2019), trailmix (07-02-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 09:55 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
NYCDoglvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 6,247
guess my biggest thing now is - why did I play second fiddle for 20 years?
Alanon was such a godsend because I learned what my part is in the relationship. And, how not to pick the same person again. I recommend it.
NYCDoglvr is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to NYCDoglvr For This Useful Post:
hopeful4 (07-02-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019), PerSe (07-15-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 10:06 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Hawkeye13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 10,021
My mom never chose to do the work to heal her addiction and move beyond it.
I am doing that work, and it isn't easy. But it is worth it.

hopeful is spot on in that if you allow addiction to define who you are, it is who you become. It isn't personal at that point towards others-it is a spiritual contraction which manifests outwardly as all sorts of negative behaviors. But really, it's just a reflection of the internal self-loathing and fear the addict is enmeshed in--and only they can choose to escape or not. But so many get caught in the storm trying to help the addict when they aren't ready / don't want help. It's hard to accept one you love can hurt you so much when all you want to do is save them.

In terms of reframing, I learned to make a boundary late in life for what I was willing to accept in terms of treatment / behavior from my alcoholic mother.
I accepted far too much abuse nearly my whole life. Finally I began saying No.

In hindsight, I see addiction as an opportunity for those of us around the addict to grow. To get healthy and not sacrifice ourselves in unhealthy ways--to learn self-esteem and overcome huge difficulties. Not an easy learning curve, but very powerful.
Hawkeye13 is online now  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Hawkeye13 For This Useful Post:
honeypig (07-14-2019), hopeful4 (07-02-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 10:20 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Community Greeter
 
PeacefulWater12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: uk
Posts: 2,335
Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
Alanon was such a godsend because I learned what my part is in the relationship. And, how not to pick the same person again. I recommend it.
Amen, especially the part I have made bold. I am on my third addict, I do not want to attract another. I need to work on myself to get healthy.
PeacefulWater12 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to PeacefulWater12 For This Useful Post:
Sasha1972 (07-02-2019), trailmix (07-02-2019)
Old 07-02-2019, 11:27 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
Ringo123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: California
Posts: 2,722
Per Se, God bless you and good luck in your recovery.

I too used to be in a marriage in that alcohol was the third person--and food was the fourth entity. It took years to clear away the wreckage of my past (and some wreckage from the present!) but I can tell you, God heals all wounds--if I do my part.

My current marriage still has three "people" in it but now it's quite different. God is at the top of our marriage triangle, with my hubby and I at the other corners. So very grateful.

Last edited by Ringo123; 07-02-2019 at 11:28 AM. Reason: left a word out.
Ringo123 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Ringo123 For This Useful Post:
LovePeaceSushi (07-03-2019), PeacefulWater12 (07-02-2019)
Old 07-03-2019, 06:14 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
dawnrising's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 500
Originally Posted by Milano58 View Post
I'm wondering if our whole marriage was just to appear respectable...appear sober.
- I have had this thought exactly. When I got healthy I started seeing all the red flags I never noticed and they went all the way back to the first date. I wondered if I had been casted into my part of supportive wife so he could just build his career. The higher level jobs in his industry require wives not girlfriends and a steady date, who does charity work, adores her husband, handles all the issues related family and moving non - stop. I'm a can do girl, youngest of a large family very used to being a team player, overlooked and undervalued. I don't know if it was intentional or not on his part, it doesn't matter. I allowed it until I didn't. I do know I am a much happier, relaxed individual who finally has the time to nurture the relationships that nurture me back. I thought I struggled to make good friends, but I struggled to maintain them because all my time was spent supporting his dream. I am so thankful that my eyes opened enough to show our children how to live the life you were meant to live. I thought they may think I'm selfish but they keep telling me how strong I am and how its nice to see me so relaxed and happy.
dawnrising is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to dawnrising For This Useful Post:
hopeful4 (07-05-2019), Neagrm (07-06-2019), PerSe (07-03-2019), trailmix (07-03-2019)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:16 PM.