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Old 08-13-2019, 06:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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3+ weeks in of no drinking


AH and I had an impromptu good for my emotional/mental health after he got home from work yesterday, before he headed to outpatient therapy.

He seemed very stressed when he walked in the door so I asked him to talk to me about it. He said he was afraid for our relationship and that he thought he had a good 40+ years of life left in him hopefully and that's a long time for him to imagine himself not drinking. The guys at work apparently spent the last 30 minutes there playing corn hole and drinking beer to unwind before heading home to their families... (my husband didn't partake in the drinking).
I told him I understood and that I was fearful too. That I wished he'd have chosen the AA 12 step route because it seems so many of those A's go through the steps and come out the other side with a new perspective on life and actually seem happier/more fulfilled as a sober person than continuing to live in their old way.

I asked him how he'd felt 3 weeks into no drinking, specifically if he felt like life was no fun without alcohol (he's all but said this in the past). He said it's actually been a surprising exercise and that it's not nearly as bad as he thought. He went on to explain that he wishes he'd have done things different, that he doesn't resent me at all or feel controlled by me, that he'd drink if he really wanted to. He says he's taking this time of not drinking evaluate himself and his relationship with alcohol. He said he completely understands my position on his drinking and that he deserves it, that he's let me down way too many times for way too long and I'm entitled to feel how I feel right now.

He did go on to say that the hardest part is giving up having a drink or two when we go to the local outdoor taco place or go have a steak at the steakhouse. I know him saying this is a slippery slope, he's saying he wants to be able to moderate. But at the same time he went on to say that he's terrified to even try to moderate and he doesn't know if he'd succeed and that he'd know this time, the first time he's ever really meant he's working on his relationship with alcohol, that if he failed he knows it would mean no more drinking. Ever. And he's not ready to find that out. I told him that I didn't think that was a good idea because he could end up in a hole that he couldn't mentally get out of, that the alcohol could skew his logic and make him think it was worth it to go down the road of hiding/deception/etc.
He also said he's absolutely not willing to lose his family over this so I did leave the conversation with some hope that he's headed in the right direction.

I do really appreciate him being open and honest with me about his feelings, they seemed sincere. He's never gone 3+ weeks without drinking. He doesn't complain about wanting a drink or make me feel like the villain. He's happy at home with us and the kids and doesn't mope. It's really been wonderful.

My gut tells me at some point we're going to have to visit this 'moderation trial' he's alluded to... I don't even know what to do with that. Because I know he can moderate sometimes, but I also know that it ultimately gets the best of him and he ends up over-indulging, lying, hiding, etc. and that scares the **** out of me. I just won't go back to that way of life and he knows it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Because I know he can moderate sometimes, but I also know that it ultimately gets the best of him and he ends up over-indulging, lying, hiding, etc. and that scares the **** out of me. I just won't go back to that way of life and he knows it.
Because there is no such thing. Thousands (perhaps millions) of addicts have tried.

In fact, if he could moderate, why isn't he already doing that? It's not something that's teachable?

He's been promising that he will moderate for years, so I don't understand what, if anything, has changed?

More will be revealed I guess, perhaps he will decide to quit drinking.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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His response was he is going into this outpatient program open minded, with the intention not to drink for the 2 months he's in it while learning more about alcoholism and himself. He says he'd love to learn to moderate but at this point he's not sure that's possible for him. He says he's unsure if he can even make it these 2 months without drinking


From the perspectives thread.

Is your husband currently in the same outpatient program?

Are you in a recovery program for yourself, such as Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery or something else?

One day at a time.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Trail mix - I will tell you one reason he is not drinking right now and that is because he knows I am not open to it, but the other is that in this outpatient program they have agreed not to drink for the duration of the program. So he is three weeks into two months.
My fear is he will finish the program and ask me for “one more try” because “this is the first time he’s been serious about changing his habits with alcohol”

mango - we don’t have many options here, the al anon times don’t work with my current crazy child schedule in the summer (ha, no schedule) but I plan to try it out once they start school in September.
And yes, I’m taking this one day at a time.

Ive found that I am still hyper aware of his drinking status, as if I subconsciously worry it could change at any moment. Paying close attention to his speech, being on high alert with his drinks. Being nervous when he leaves the room to go to the garage. Hopefully this eventually goes away as we build trust. Thankfully no incidents yet, I’m pretty terrified of being blind sided because that would be such a blow to us. I neeeeeed to trust him again.

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Old 08-14-2019, 05:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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fortworthnative…...I think that you will have to continue to invest in yourself so that you can trust yourself to meet whatever happens and feel/be strong enough to prevail.....
I absolutely get why you want so badly to trust him with the drinking issue....that is understandable...
I can tell you that I have known many long time recovering alcoholjcs who appeared to have stable and trusting marriages....but, it did not come with a wave of a wand, when they tell their stories....It seemed to take quite a while for them to earn the trust of their families, again....a long time of behavior that earned them that trust.....
I sure do hope, for you, that you get started with alanon and counselor, etc., before the baby comes....as it will be easier to do before, I imagine. If my memory hasn't failed me? your mother will be coming when the baby arrives....and, she knows the situation, now. This could be a time when you can get away from the house, for yourself, more....
Most communities have support groups for mommies...of various kinds...that enable mommies to get out of the house and have socializing time with each other....it is so important to build an independent social network of one's own.
It was that kind of social network with other mothers and acquaintences that helped me with my (enjpyable) journey as a single mother of three....
One can become sooo isolated with small children and alcoholism in the mix....

Another thought....It would be good to have a prepared answer(s)...for when/if the time comes that he asks your "permission" to give controlled drinking a try......I think we all know what will happen if that should come about.....
Personally, I think it would be easier for you to get prepared, rather than live in near paralyzed fear of the future.....This understandable fear give the alcoholism too much power over you, hour to hour....and, day to day....
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That sounds pretty stressful for you.
What specifics are you doing to build your own recovery? Mango made some good suggestions.

It's great you have been able to connect with the sober person inside the addict, but the addict is still part of the sober person, and what I see is that external controls are what is managing his abstinence--fear of you leaving and the agreement he made to not drink while in outpatient.

If he doesn't truly want to quit for good and accept social drinking is off the table, relapse will happen and all this is just a lull-a delay that buys him time. Look on the other threads and search moderation to see how unlikely success is.

Given what he keeps saying about leaving the door open to moderation would make me jittery and anxious as you are too. You have a lot riding on this.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I wish you the best. I hope that he stays with his program for himself and his family.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It helps me a million to understand that i have permanent brain damage from booze.

I believe all drinkers do. Even the ones that periodically over do it and the ones that drink 2 beers a night or so.

The brain damage is progressive and irreversible. The brain has to rewire with each new relapse. The Harder the relapse, the more damage.

Obviously, ones like me that binge drank until i couldn't walk straight will never be free of the desire to get annialated.

It is for life. It will never never ever ever go away. Each time i don't give in to the crave and then it disappates i get a feeling of strength.

When the crave hits, and it still does, i have to suffer. There are all kinds of life skills i have learned here and there.

The whole not wanting to quit, moderation, i can't make it for 40 years, show me proof blah blah etc etc are the addiction still being strong.

Relapse equals mental beat down and a clock reset. Folks eventually go crazy in the end.

My grand parents were all drunks and they were pretty much wacked out at about 70.

Basically, i represent the minority in understanding the big picture on addiction. I had to choose to get out of the emotional brain and analyze the situation.

Thanks.
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When I crave I think of the next day after effects:

high blood pressure, sleep issues, strength loss, immune system comprimise (sick).

BpSSS. My mantra.

Studied "alcohol kindling" and "alcohol PAWS."

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Old 08-14-2019, 08:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sorry for all the stress you are under FWN.

It was during our second pregnancy that I realized my (now ex) husband was an actual alcoholic. My entire pregnancy was a horribly stressful, fearful and angry experience because of my drunk husband and his personality disordered/drunk parents. It was awful. I was sad, angry and worried all the damn time. I ended up with several bouts of preterm labor because of the stress. I'm sorry that this special time in your life has been overshadowed by the alcoholic drama. As tiring as it is I hope your other two Littles keep you busy enough that you don't dwell on the negative stuff 24/7.

I agree with what the others have said. Your AH doesn't sound committed in his core to finding true recovery. I think you know that too. I think that anxiety you are having is your instincts giving you an extra poke in the ribs trying to get you to pay attention to them. I didn't listen to my instincts and ended up with raging anxiety disorder because of it... I didn't get well until I started paying attention again. My advice would be to trust your instincts. Set your boundaries and stick to them, whatever that means to you. Being prepared is always a good thing, it doesn't mean you have to act, but knowing you can and having a pathway, alleviates a lot of the turmoil.


I truly hope your husband comes to a life changing epiphany by the time he finished his program. I hope he wants to pursue true sobriety and a healthy life with his family.

Sending positive vibes your way, wishing for you peace and clarity going forward.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for the replies. What I'm hearing from you is that this is a bad, bad idea yet the way he talked about it the other night it may be inevitable that he wants to try it unless he comes to some personal conclusion that he is in fact an alcoholic and it won't end well.

I want HIM to come to that conclusion, I mean I know I cannot force that upon him either but I don't want to tell him what to do or give him some sort of 'pass' to try it. He'd show me he could moderate a couple of times and then screw up and ask for forgiveness and tell me it was just that one time etc. been there done that. The whole thing gives me anxiety.

I read something in another thread early this morning that was so simple, yet incredibly profound... if he does everything right, would I still be able to trust him? My trust in him has been obliterated over the years. I do find that I'm starting to try to build that with him right now though and honestly a slip up would just be catastrophic for us at this point. Trust is such a huge factor in marriages I don't know how many chances a person can reasonably get, at some point mentally I just won't be able to try again.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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[left]Trail mix - I will tell you one reason he is not drinking right now and that is because he knows I am not open to it, but the other is that in this outpatient program they have agreed not to drink for the duration of the program. So he is three weeks into two months.
My fear is he will finish the program and ask me for “one more try” because “this is the first time he’s been serious about changing his habits with alcohol”
Just out of curiosity - how close is your due date to his 2-month mark to complete the program? Are they scheduled to hit at/about the same exact time?

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I’m pretty terrified of being blind sided because that would be such a blow to us. I neeeeeed to trust him again.
I get this but I also had to change the way I approached Trust - I had to realize that trust really isn't about the other person, it's about trusting myself to read the situation properly & make the right decisions for myself, regardless of other people's behavior or decisions. Trust is a huge, complicated issue for me in recovery. (maybe others have an easier approach)
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I get this but I also had to change the way I approached Trust - I had to realize that trust really isn't about the other person, it's about trusting myself to read the situation properly & make the right decisions for myself, regardless of other people's behavior or decisions. Trust is a huge, complicated issue for me in recovery. (maybe others have an easier approach)
I think this is spot on FS, about trusting yourself and that it's complicated.

The first is imperative (and we are not always up to the task with perspective and that's where our trusted friends and family come in to it). But I think there is reliance on your partner.

If that person cannot be relied on (which can be referred to and actually is trust) - then what the heck. If you can't even rely on the person you have chosen to marry/be in a relationship with to have your back (whether that be emotional support, bringing up children or making sure there is milk in the fridge) then what is the point of having a relationship with them at all?

Not making a statement here btw lol - just throwing that out there.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If that person cannot be relied on (which can be referred to and actually is trust) - then what the heck. If you can't even rely on the person you have chosen to marry/be in a relationship with to have your back (whether that be emotional support, bringing up children or making sure there is milk in the fridge) then what is the point of having a relationship with them at all?

Not making a statement here btw lol - just throwing that out there.
I agree & I still beat my head against the wall about it because it's one thing in theory & another when applying it to Real Life.

The answer to your question is: It depends. If no milk in the fridge is just an aggravation & not a big deal maybe you just deal. If it's a critical issue, you have to trust that you will always provide the milk yourself, stop wasting energy expecting the other person to do it & decide if you want to live this way forever.

I'm explaining this poorly, but these threads were great:
https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...one-again.html (How do you trust anyone again?)

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...274-trust.html (Trust)

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...027-trust.html (Trust)

....and there are TONS more if you just search the archives here.

It is SUPER complicated but one thing I realized when I started down this road was that my experiences had jaded my trust in any/everyone - not just my qualifiers. I had to start internally with trust otherwise I was going to bring my issues with it into any new relationship I started - we take ourselves everywhere we go, right? No matter why or when I had lost trust, I needed to start inside ME to rebuild it properly.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yes I totally agree about the milk (I mean that is the way I operate). If I want something done I do it. I do it for myself. I don't build up a bunch of resentment etc.

But for the bigger issues, like bringing up children, maintaining a household, financial responsibility. Can we do this all alone, absolutely no question but I would hope that the other person would be trustworthy enough to be relied upon.

Then again, this is an alcoholism forum and I guess that is not the prevailing experience.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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What struck me from your original post was that your husband was seeing his buddies at work drinking and playing games and that sight led him to think that he didn’t want to spend the next 40 years not drinking ... which leads me to think that he still has a somewhat romantic view of what drinking could be like for him, hanging out with the boys and having a few beers and playing whatever. I’m thinking “but dude, if you’re an alcoholic, this romantic beer-commercial view of drinking is not one of your options. Even if you ‘moderate’, it’s always going to be an anxiety-inducing, nerve-wracking experience because you know you’re at risk for relapsing and ending up way down the hole. Relaxation and fun around drinking have left the building for good”.

It reminds me a bit of someone pining over a person they’ve got an impossible crush on - how good we could be together, how awesome it would be ... and not really paying attention to the reality that we aren’t together and won’t be together because [insert reason]. It sounds like your husband still has something of a crush on alcohol.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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There is good reason for the saying "One day at a time"....but, your husband probably hasn't learned about that, yet.....
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:33 PM   #17 (permalink)
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He did go on to say that the hardest part is giving up having a drink or two when we go to the local outdoor taco place or go have a steak at the steakhouse.

i'm curious - how often did you GO to the taco joint or steak house? and how many of those times did he ONLY have a drink or two? and then not drink any more alcohol afterwards?

that is part of romanticizing alcohol. i'm pretty sure they will still sell you tacos or steaks if you do not also order a drink?? and these are not the places one usually goes JUST so they can drink. but it sure sounds all nice and prettied up.

this COULD be part of him sorting it all out, but he doesn't sound fully committed to not drinking again ever. time will tell.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:59 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. My gut tells me he's not all in on this recovery thing either. I do definitely think he's gone in open minded and serious about learning more about alcoholism, but I don't think he's willing or able to put that label on himself at this point.

I went to dinner with someone I've been friends with since we were 14, she came in town for business and stayed with us. It was helpful talking all of this situation out with her. Her mother was an A (still is) and she has experience with addiction because she grew up in it. We both came to the conclusion that the reason why my marriage counselors and even her never really gave much consideration to my husband being an alcoholic was because the way I presented the information has always been that I have this control issue that I need to work on as a wife and 'why do I get upset when he's only had 2 beers' etc. etc. when all this time it's very likely that he's had more than 2 beers (duh 260lb man doesn't seem drunk after 2 beers...) and I've always even gone so far as to explain to them that something changes in his brain when he drinks and it's BECAUSE HE'S DRINKING MORE THAN I REALIZED. MORE THAN HE SAID.
Anyway, that was a good ah ha moment for me. She knows me better than almost anyone and said she'd never classify me as a controlling person, I do like things the way I like them and am a type A personality but controlling? No. That's just the label that has always been put on me by my AH (up until recently when he said he knows it's not about me). So I've been going to therapy for 4 years trying to figure out why I'm so darned controlling and how to get over it when my husband has 2 beers when all the while it was a total farce. Pretty unbelievable. But also such a life changing thing to realize back when I started on this forum that this ISNT a marriage problem, it ISNT a me problem, it's an AH problem.

He's got a one on one therapy session today and I suggested this morning that he bring up the conversation we had a few nights ago (what I started this thread with) and talk it out with her. Somehow in that same conversation this morning it seems he genuinely thinks he deserves some sort of credit or pat on the back for doing this program and not drinking for the duration. As if at some point in the future when he decides he's going to moderate that I should say 'oh okay, you did this program and now we can go back to you trying to drink' and I'm somehow supposed to accept this.

My boundary is no drinking, no lies about drinking, no deception. I'm finally at the end of my rope. And sadly that may end our relationship as husband and wife.

But at the same time, if he makes that choice, is it really sad? Talking to my friend last night just reaffirmed how not normal things have been for so long. A spouse who lies to your face about what they've had to drink? Who constantly disappoints and never takes true action to resolve the problem? And reading through all of my past letters to my husband, somehow I know I have taken on the 'mother' role from the very beginning because of his drinking. This cannot be normal or healthy either. I want a spouse who doesn't lie, who cherishes me, who cares about how their actions affect me and my children. Who cares about me trusting their word. If he decides to keep drinking there's just no way I'll ever have that. I deserve to be happy.

He asked us to sign up for the marriage workshop this weekend at our church, I did. Ironic because no aspect of marriage works well without trust and I will never trust him if he decides to keep drinking.

And yes, the outpatient program ends right about the time we'll be having our 3rd child.

Something else someone said in the replies, I do feel a bit like we're delaying the inevitable. I don't feel like he's all in. He told me last night when I got home that yes he did think about drinking but that he knew he wouldn't get away with it so he didn't do it. So it worries me he's just 'putting in the time' during this program and that we'll end up back at the starting line when he's finished.

I also think he's serious about not wanting to lose us and lose this life we've built, his family, our house, etc. I just don't know how that will fare against his desire to keep drinking.

I have a therapist appointment tomorrow, been quite a while.

Oh, and in the mix of all of this it very well may be that my dad is dying and not telling us about it. Liver failure (not A related, he survived leukemia with a stem cell transplant 7 years ago and the stem cells have attacked his liver and pancreas). He lives 5 hours away. Acts like everything's fine. All information in front of me suggests otherwise. So much to handle mentally right now. I'm a pretty strong minded person, but it's a lot.

Wow, that was quite the rambling post. Thanks for listening.
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Old 08-15-2019, 09:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm glad you got to talk this out with your friend, that sounds so helpful, which of course it is.

Where you say:
Quote:
somehow I know I have taken on the 'mother' role from the very beginning because of his drinking.
That's true. As you tell more of your story this is coming through loud and clear.

Even the comment last night: " yes he did think about drinking but that he knew he wouldn't get away with it so he didn't do it"

This is something a kid would say, not a grown man.

So are you controlling? Well probably, but you are not dealing with an equal partnership here. You are dealing with someone who is looking at you for clues as to what he can and cannot get away with. While you may be looking at your family as a "whole", I don't see him looking at it that way.

The only person, as is said often, that you can control is you. Now, that said, other people that you control to some extent are children. As you (very well!) know, that's your job and you keep them corralled as you teach them.

Well somehow he has wandered in to that corral. Now, does that make you controlling or is that just his role in this relationship/family and you have just stepped up to the plate.

chicken - egg

Doesn't really matter, it is still where you are at. Drinking aside, there is much more going on here.
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Old 08-15-2019, 09:22 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Trailmix - I totally agree, so much more going on here. It's so messed up, and it's been like this since 2010. And it got MUCH worse when I had our first child because then I really had no patience for the drinking, I had to be the grown up.

What do you mean by him not looking at the family as a 'whole'?

Ugh I just wonder if we'll ever be able to have a normal husband and wife dynamic. He's a very manly man when it comes to most aspects of his life, but how has he fallen under the child umbrella in our home. I want normal and I feel like I'm so screwed up from all of this that I have no idea what that even is anymore.
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