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Old 12-04-2019, 11:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How do you act with your alcoholic?


Iím starting a new thread because I have a specific question.
When things are normal, and your partner/spouse is soberÖ How do you act? Do you love on him? Do you keep up the distance you had when he was drinking and you are angry? I ask because my alcoholic husband that is now slipping back into drinking but seems to pick and choose when he does it. I have only been around him twice in the last few months when heís been drinking, but I know heís drinking when he goes other places here and there. That infuriates me that heís drinking at all. For instance, Thanksgiving he drank and from what I could see he has been sober since. I have been so angry with him that I have been cold and distant and now itís eating me alive and taking over my whole life and all of my happiness. So in the in between places when they are sober, do you let go and act normal and loving? I donít want to hate my husband 24/7.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good question. Iím no longer with my GF of 6 years but (initially) when she was sober, or even less drunk (sounds ridiculous to say) I was so relieved and happy. I was so in love with that girl.

But I can understand your anger and disgust. I became that way... the more times she relapsed, and the more time I invested in trying to help her detox over and over again! The endless cycle began to drive me insane and our fights became bigger. Oh the resentment! I was so frustrated. I felt trapped. And I just couldnít stay ďon my side of the street!Ē I was too mentally consumed by the addiction... and trying to control both it and her! I returned 5x to the relationship! Ugh! And by then, my tolerance was very low and her addiction was 24/7. She couldnít stop drinking. Honestly it was unbearable. Waking up to her puking in our kitchen sink and then falling asleep to her drunken suicidal threats and abusive words certainly make someone you once loved into a demon you never want to see again.

I donít know if itís possible, in some cases to heal from all that... I mean, if you choose to stay. I understand and hope you find some clarity and inner peace!
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I easily fell back into the loving behaviors between relapses, and sometimes during if he was in the sad, remorseful drunk scenario. I think it was one thing that kept us afloat for so long so I doubt it was a good thing.

I truly believe he left me because I "left" him when I refused to fall into the normal lovey, supportive role during his last, longest relapse.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So in the in between places when they are sober, do you let go and act normal and loving?
I guess I am wanting some clarification about your question.

I was married to an alcoholic for a long time. I tried acting, and it was acting, in many different ways..happy, sad, mad, indifferent..the list goes on. I tried all those different tactics and more, hoping whichever might be the right one, would make him straighten up and fly right. None of them ever worked. He didn't get sober and my codependency got worse.

So I guess my question is, how do you feel when he isn't drinking? Are you still angry and anxious? Or do you feel relaxed and happy with him? Honestly, I don't think it is worth the effort and energy in acting any way other than what you are actually feeling. Are you hoping that your behavior will somehow affect whether or not he drinks?

Loving an addict is tricky business. Have you read the book, Codependent No More by Melody Beattie? It's an excellent book and an easy read. You do not have to identify as codependent to learn a lot about boundaries and other important factors when your life is affected by someone else's addiction.
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Old 12-04-2019, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you aren't happy, don't fake it. I don't have anything more profound than that.
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Old 12-04-2019, 03:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess I should clarify. Iím sorry.
My alcoholic husband had been sober since 2011, until a few months ago. It would have been nine years next month. Very disappointing.
like I said. He doesnít drink every day. And when heís not drinking itís like he has been for the past eight plus years..a normal guy with a normal life. His relapse is just now coming to light so all the feelings are very new again. for instance he has not drank since Thanksgiving last week. The first few days I was very angry, and I still am, but I find myself craving our normal life again. So my question isÖ When life is good, and heís not drinking, do you act normal and happy? Wishful thinking says heís not going to drink anymore ever, but obviously reality is not that right now. We are supposed to go away together this weekend and I want to enjoy it provided heís not drinking.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Eek, hate is a strong word.

Really it all depends on what your intent is. Are you hoping to detach from him emotionally so that you don't continue to get hurt? Are you trying to punish him in the hope that he will change?

Detaching is about saving yourself and taking yourself out of the insanity and applies 24/7. It's really just an interim coping mechanism, until you decide or are ready to make a decision.

You didn't Cause it, can't Control it and can't Cure it. So if ignoring him the rest of the time is supposed to in some way change his behaviour, unfortunately that probably won't work at all.

If you are not planning on leaving the relationship, why would you pull back? You are either in the relationship or you aren't really. Now, if he is actually drinking/drunk, that's a different kettle of fish, you might want to exit the room/house/hotel room when that is the case, if it bothers you.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I tried acting, and it was acting, in many different ways..happy, sad, mad, indifferent..the list goes on. I tried all those different tactics and more, hoping whichever might be the right one, would make him straighten up and fly right. None of them ever worked. He didn't get sober and my codependency got worse.

what smallbutmighty said ☝🏼


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Old 12-04-2019, 05:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It was only when I began acting honestly, true to my own feelings, whether XABF was drinking or not, that I found any peace.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I especially like the way res01 put it!...lol....
Any time one is "acting"....it is just stuffing your true self inside....
But, some others have made some good points, also, in my opinion...

Personally, I have always liked the saying..."Say what you mean; Mean what you say: But, don't say it mean."

Remember, that detachment--the way we mean it here---is mainly to keep YOU from being sucked into the vortex of the Cyclone of his alcoholism. It is just one tool, of course...but, useful to buy some more peaceful time and space from the chaos....
A hammer is a fantastic tool...but, one can't build a whole house with just a hammer, alone.

***one specific word of caution.....if the "good times", in between the obvious drinking episodes cause you renewed surges of Hope....it could cause you some whiplash,,,,when he picks up, again.
Especially, the Horizonal Tango (if you get my drift). This causes, especially for women, and increase in the bonding hormone Oxytocin. It is the same hormone, by the way, that is released in the mothers of the newborn, to facilitate the bonding with the infant.
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Old Yesterday, 06:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Iím hoping that a week ago was the last time he ever drinks again. He said he was done so we will see. Actions/words, I get it. I think being exposed by so many really hit hard for him as is very telling heís not ďhandlingĒ it well. I went back to the addiction specialist yesterday who gave me some wisdom to add to what I get here. He said itís hopefully early enough in husbands relapse that he can catch himself and move forward. He summarizes our meetings and sends me this later;
ďTry really hard to see the positive. Itís easy to see the negative but takes work to see the little wins. This is a little win. You have to give him a little road to try and turn around.Ē

Time will tell. We go tonight to our marriage therapist so that ought to be fun. I donít know what to expect for that. So many things to talk about.

Last night I was sos busy with daughter that I didnít think about whatís been happening in the last couple of weeks. Daughter needed to see that too. Dad was happy, helping her with homework and smiling. Will it last? Who knows.
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Old Yesterday, 09:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Good question!

I am not with my A anymore, but I was always ready with open arms to live in him no matter if he was drinking or not. I was also ready to take care of him even when he was sick or hung over. The only thing I knew about alcoholics is that it is a disease, so poor baby there is nothing he can do about it right?!

however it is impossible not to became resentful from all the manipulation that we donít even realize it is going on. Sometimes jut to have a good night I would cuddle in the couch with him and watch a movie, but I would make sure he knew I was mad at him for drinking and lying to me. He didnít care he got what he wanted and although i was mad I wasnít going crazy, so he would apologize and make promises for the next day blah blah blah blah....

if we stay in hope of things getting better of course we canít just go cold on them. But they do t accept when you show your anger for the situation and use it against you. Even thou I wanted to show love I was to hurt and he started blaming everything on me, I was the one who couldnít be happy for just one day. Of course one fight created another and the cycle never ends:

what I took from my experience is that the alcoholic doesnít care how you feel as long as they get to drink thatís all that matter. They donít care if you love them or not as long as they get to drink. But they will use you behaviors and feelings to blame you for what they donít like at the moment.
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Old Yesterday, 01:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I hope so too CT and I also hope your therapy session goes well.

Do you have a short list of items you want to discuss?
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Old Yesterday, 02:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I hope so too CT and I also hope your therapy session goes well.

Do you have a short list of items you want to discuss?
Yes.. My biggest issues are the relapse, and the text messages he did while he was drinking. All the little issues that we sort of had before this seem so tiny now and I would trade just to have those problems back in a heartbeat. But for him, I guarantee he will be OK talking about it for a couple minutes but he is not going to want to focus on his drinking and behavior very long. He wants to move on and tell the therapist all the horrible things that I am. We will see. Iím curious to see how the therapist handles it all. I know Iím not perfect and there are things that I could work on in our marriage in general. Although most of the things he gets irritated with me about are my reactions to fear. I have hope. But at the same time Iím going in with my eyes open.
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Old Yesterday, 03:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yes, it's one of those situations where the rest is just details. The two big elephants can't be ignored any longer.

That's another thing really isn't it. In "normal" relationships there can be conflict, disagreement or just plain negotiation that needs to happen. With active alcoholism in the mix, all that goes by the wayside because the alcoholism becomes the center of everything.

I think it is why sometimes, after years of neglect, the relationship is no more even when the alcoholic does start a path of sobriety and attempt at recovery. Too much water under the bridge, too much damage and not enough attention because who can attend to the little matches when the house is on fire.
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Old Today, 07:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Counseling went ok. It was our first time together so most of it was spent getting to know my husband and his background. She was very focused on how he grew up and life circumstances since then. I know it has a lot to do with his pain. But I donít care. Big boys make big boy choices. Alcohol use only came up one time basically. Husband said that he can drink socially now and heís good and he can handle it. The therapist sort of nodded her head and Iím sure we will revisit that again. An hour just isnít a lot of time to get things going.
We are leaving in six hours to go to his brothers for the weekend. Itís my understanding that the brother had removed all the alcohol in the house. While I think that is a nice gesture, it screams that we have a huge problem. My boundary is, if husband drinks I will not be around him. I donít know if that means leaving the room or leaving and coming home. But that is my boundary.
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Old Today, 08:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Hi there. 9 years. That sucks u r going thru this again. My H just did this again too after 3.5 years. I have been all over the place. Lol. Loving, empathetic, raging, firm, confused, angry, sad. Now I am just worn out. I put a post about it and someone asked me if I had stopped working my own recovery. Turns out I prob never really worked one. When it's chaos, (at least for me) i felt like everything was always all about him. Even in MY therapy, all we ever talked about was him. And I was tired of him. I signed back up with therapy this last week for myself. I am just taking it one day at a time. I have also been very open with my husband in telling him not only do I not want to be around if he wants to go back to drinking, but I also just can't do it. The kids and I deserve better. I know if it starts to go spiraling, then I need to be prepared and strong enough to leave. And I am also reminding myself not to panic and take things as they come. Hugs to you and your husband. Being an alcoholic has to suck. I know my husband would love to let loose and just have a few drinks. But, it could cause utter devastation. So I pray he keeps that in mind, makes good choices, and gets the help he needs to get him to a place where he is comfortable again.
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Old Today, 09:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The leaving for me depended what else was going on. If it was late at night I'd leave the room. If it was during the day and I could run an errand, I would. It also depended on how loud and obnoxious or how safe the children were. I'd have a bag packed just in case.

I've been pretty quiet lately. Not arousing suspicion but not giving too much either.
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Old Today, 09:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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How this helps you, I'm not sure? And do you need to be there to hold his hand while he sorts all this out? I mean it's NICE that she realizes he needs help, but is couples counselling the way to go about that?

You might be far more ahead if you left him to the therapist and you got your own counselling. When do you see her next? I suppose more will be revealed then, to see her approach.

As for his drinking, well, at least he was forthcoming on what he plans to do and that is not quit. He has decided to continue drinking. What is your boundary on that?

Quote:
While I think that is a nice gesture, it screams that we have a huge problem. My boundary is, if husband drinks I will not be around him. I don’t know if that means leaving the room or leaving and coming home. But that is my boundary.
It is a nice gesture and yes, you do have a big problem. I think deciding how you will deal with that is a good idea. Do you just leave the room or do you go home? Personally, I would go home. Well actually I wouldn't be going at all, but that's my personal view.
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