I'm new, my husband is an alcoholic

Old 12-26-2004, 09:55 AM
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I'm new, my husband is an alcoholic

Hello everyone, I am hoping to find someone who can relate to me and my situation. My husband is an alcoholic. He is in recovery and has been sober for 62 days. He goes to AA every morning sometimes at night also. He has changed so much... He thinks he wants a separation. he says he needs time to think and needs space. I have stood by him through all of the disasters he drinking caused.... and now that he is sober he says he is not sure that he has loved me for the right reasons. He said that he was so messed up for the past ten or fifteen years that he hasn't had real feelings... I don't understand him and I am so very hurt. I think he may have met someone at the meetings, another woman. In fact, I know he has but he is not being completely honest about it. I am packing my bags today and my son and I are going to stay with my mother for a few weeks while he thinks. I don't know what to do, I am thinking of going to an Alanon meeting tomorrow night... I have been hesitant but I have no choice at this point. I hope someone can relate to my story.... I don't want to lose my husband now that he is finally sober.
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Old 12-26-2004, 11:11 AM
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Sandiphoto. I just separated from my husband of 17 years who is still an active alcoholic. But, I have read much literature on everything, even after a person goes into recovery. You really need to go to Alanon. I have read where the marriage can be harder after recovery than when he was actively drinking. You have been playing a specific role as well as he and your son while he was drinking. Now, the roles are changing and it can be very hard. Go to Alanon. I got a lot of literature from there plus the meeting that was so helpful. Good Luck! I hope things work out. I know it won't be easy.
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Old 12-26-2004, 11:48 AM
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Welcome to SR, this is a great site.
Each person is different, even alcoholics, however I know from being around AA and Al-Anon that people in treatment centers and people in AA become attracted to each other. (There seems to be alcoholic insanity when drinking, but I suspect there is, "trying to stay sober insanity also"). The A is haveing a terrible time, some have no idea who or what they are without the alcohol .
It is sad and unfair that the wife has to be understanding and patient, but men are who they are, and they are different.
Yes, I know of some A's that divorced, but more choose the wife.
None if us know what the outcome will be.
I hope you will go to Al-Anon, read all the posts on this site, sometimes Al-Anon is confusing, so try different groups, but this will give you a face to face support. Then find a sponser, someone to call on phone and go to coffee. Talking helps, also post on this site, it really helps, and we all understand and care.
Might I suggest, just wait before trying to decide what to do. My thought only.
The AA people warn against any relationship changes for a year while getting sober.
Does your hubby have a sponser ??? They usually fuss at any relationships in AA.
Maybe someone will talk to them. Sorry to say but relationships in AA usually ends up with one or the other going back to drinking. Take care of you for now, and read everything.
Always remember to take what you can use and leave the rest.
HUGS thelma
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Old 12-26-2004, 12:21 PM
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Sandi -

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. Living with an alcoholic - drunk or sober - can be difficult. Just a thought, but why are you going to your mother's for a few weeks to give him time to think? You and your child are leaving your home. If he needs time and space to think, isn't there some place that he can go to do that? If that is what you want to do, then it is the right thing. Mom's can always make us feel better! If that is his wish though, you might want to think about it.

As spouses of A's we get so used to walking on eggshells around them and doing whatever we can to make life easier, to run smoother that it becomes a way of life. If we don't make them face the consequences of their actions they seldom learn to take the responsibility for those actions.

I would strongly recommend that you go to Alanon meetings. There you will learn that nothing we do will fix them. We can only work on making changes in ourselves. You need to learn to take care of yourself. Recovering alcoholics tend to be very selfish in their recovery. They are taught to focus on what they need to remain sober. Obviously, it is a tough time for everyone. He probably feels that you just don't understand what he is going through - and of course, you don't. He doesn't understand what you are going through either. They are often filled with guilt over the pain they have caused their families and alot of them just don't want to deal with that when they are newly recovering.

Spend some time here with us. We are a very supportive group of people and you can learn alot from reading other posts and sharing yourself as well. You need to learn to take care of yourself. Your husband will have to work through his own issues. One day at a time is a good thought to hang on to.

Sandi, glad you found us. It helps lighten the load when you know that others know how you feel and what you are going through.

Big hugs, Jo
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Old 12-26-2004, 07:06 PM
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Maybe the space will do all of you well. I know he is going through a lot of changes with his new found sobriety, but I don't think it's fair that you and your son are the ones to leave. Maybe it's the best arrangement for all of you regarding space, but I still don't think it's right.

Good Luck to you and your family. I know this is going to be a tough time away. But maybe your absence will make him realize what is so special about you that you stuck it out with him after all of these years.
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Old 12-26-2004, 07:20 PM
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I am sorry you are going through this. I have no words of advice. But I do agree with JOJO and wonder why you and your son need to leave. It doesn't make any sense for the two of you to be uprooted when your H is the one who wants. Be confident in the fact that the home and its belongings are yours too, know matter what he tries to tell you. I WOULD NOT LEAVE!! I will tell you, i have been separated from my AH for ten weeks now, and it was difficult at first especially the first two weeks, but i am finding a peace I didn't know existed. I hope you can find some peace in this situation.
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Old 12-27-2004, 11:23 AM
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Do you folks really believe that AA encourages break ups and seperations etc. Just what an alcoholic needs to worry about. thier marriage falling apart. have your HUSBAND LEAVE
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Old 12-27-2004, 11:39 AM
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ahcb, I don't think any of us believe AA encourages break ups and separations. ahcb, I hope you simply misread the above. I don't think that was the intent.
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Old 12-27-2004, 12:27 PM
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I agree Wraybear about any of us believing that AA encourages breakups or separations. I believe people are telling their own individual stories of how they have coped on dealing with the alcoholic in their lives, whether leaving, attending alanon meetings, staying and changing our own behaviors, or other resources. I believe in listening and reading about others in our lives that have dealt with these situations. To me, it makes me more at peace and helps me to make my OWN decision in the end.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:29 PM
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Again the word BEHAVIOR comes up which is sooo important. Was your husband ever unfaithful while drinking? Did he ever tell you he wasn't sure if he ever loved you? Both happened to me. AA is not to blame, it is the behavior of the sick individuals gathering together trying to get well. I agree, DON"T leave. I did it and you will be the one stuck out there with YOUR life interrupted and you will return home for all the wrong reasons. I know you feel hurt, but it really has nothing to do with you, it is the AH selfishness budding it's ugly head. I wish you well be strong and keep coming back.
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Old 12-27-2004, 04:07 PM
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Don't leave the house

You need to keep what stability you can for your son. Your husband's problems should not become his. Your son should not become a part of the swirl. Not even for a week. Even if right now you think you are hiding it from him. Your leaving to give your husband space is sending the wrong message everywhere...
to your husband, to your son, and to yourself.
If you want emotional support, will your mother come to you? It doesn't matter how that makes him feel, it is time to do what is good for you.

If we here can tell you one thing, it is that nothing you do will effect his success or failure in recovery. Nothing. None of it is effected by what you do or don't do. If he tries to tell you differently, it would be just manipulation to get what he wants.

As he works through his problems let him see a strong, loving woman and great mother who had the strength to stand by him during his worst times, and now is standing by herself and her son with that same strength as some bad times seem to be coming their way because of his selfishness.
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Old 12-27-2004, 04:48 PM
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Dee at Mt Bully
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Looks like a lot of thoughts going on here. I know from a friend who has attended
AA for 11 years that having a relationship with someone in the group or during the
first year of recovery is frowned upon by the group. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen and it doesn't mean it isn't happening to you. I'm very sorry that you are
being treated so poorly right now after taking care of your AH for so long. Unfotunately
it appears to be common for newly sober people to go through a huge range of emotions. I think that having been numb to thier feelings for so long they have know
idea what they think or feel. I know my own AH is pretty much like that right now
and we are living in seperate houses. Fortunately we have two homes on our property
so it's easier for us. I wish I could share one of my houses with you. The real point
is--that it will be awhile before he really knows whats going on with his own emotions
so you will be experiencing some turbulance for awhile. If you go to alanon (good idea)
they will incourage you to hold off on any life changing plans for awhile and of course
be patient. Myself I feel like I've been patient for years and I'm tired of being the one to be patient. I agree with the rest of the group here--why are you leaving your house?
Your son needs the stability of his home and so do you. Not to muddy up the issue
but it does seem to me like he should move if he wants space. What no basement LOL
Please keep coming back and let us know how you are. Smiles--Dee
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Old 12-27-2004, 08:33 PM
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Hey all. No I dont believe that AA encourages breakups etc was just curious as i have heard alot of it before....
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Old 12-28-2004, 07:12 AM
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Thank you for all of your kind words. I feel better knowing that there are people out there that understand. I went to my first Alanon meeting last night and I felt a little weird. It seemed to deal more with the drinking alcoholic than the sober one (which I understand why they would focus on the drinking alcoholic) But I really need to understand the sober alcoholic. I left my house because my situation is a little complex. My husband has no drivers license, no job, no friends, no family. I have all of those things... so of course I felt bad and agreed to leave. It is only for two weeks, after that time I will be going home and if he wants more time than he is going to have to leave. It is my house, I pay the bills. Thanks again for all the replies...
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Old 12-28-2004, 02:08 PM
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As for AA encouraging separations, I am afraid of just the opposite. I am trying to get a divorce from my alcoholic husband and I'm scared that Al-Anon will try to encourage me to stay with him. My heart has been checked out of this marriage for about four years now after I felt I tried every way possible to wake him up (he's also an insulin dependent diabetic). With the help of Paxil which allowed me to take a step back and just watch what was going on rather than scream and cry and vent (I've since safely gotten off it as I couldn't stand the extreme lack of emotion it caused), I realized that it wasn't going to be me to help him, it had to be him - he now has two pending 3rd offense OWI's, tens of thousands of dollars in lawyers fees and numerous other bills in the tens of thousands all as a result of his problem. All the while, since I have known him, his family has continued to enable him and tell me I am the cause of his drinking and subsequent legal and financial problems. I've made him so depressed and made him go out drinking and threaten to take the kids from me, leave me out on the street with nothing and he has even threatened suicide (verbally and with actions) whenever I said I wanted a divorce. I've only threatened divorce when I really meant it - in these past few years. It was never a tactic to upset him or scare him, it was meant, just not acted upon soon enough. My heart totally checked out of it all. Since I finally filed 4 months ago, he's moved an hour and a half away to his mother's, away from our three children 6,5 and 3. He has cried to his family about how I made him leave and leave his kids. His mother out of pity for him and anger towards me has been paying his bills and even giving him bar money while he can't make our court ordered family support payments. Our mortgage is now months behind among all the other bills. We are not eligible for aid because he most definitely makes enough money. And he continues to cry to his mother (also an alcoholic) as she hands him whatever he wants. I truly believe that is because she cannot suggest to him he has a problem since she would then have to admit her own. She tells him she does not believe he is an alcohlic. She even does not believe he is a diabetic despite his insulin dependence - and she is a nurse - a psych nurse nonetheless! It's like she is taking her own son down with her and allowing him to continue to destroy his own family just as she and his father (they divorced when he was young) did to their family. He has called me numerous times telling me how he can't take it anymore from her yet believes her over me. The final straw for him to realize his true disease was on my birthday early December. It was his weekend with his kids at his mother's. He works minutes from here, travels every day to and from work (on a revoked). He insisted on stopping here the night before my birthday, a Saturday, for a birthday beer which turned into three which I kept telling him not to do. He left. Little did I know it was to supposedly commit suicide on my birthday. He never made it back to his mother's where our kids were. He did attempt to call me at 3:30am from his cell - I do not answer his calls so late as he's usually drunk and figured if it was an emergency relating to our kids, he'd have left a message. His mother called me that Sunday morning of my birthday and demanded I drive down and pick up my kids while refusing, almost laughingly, to tell me what was wrong with him. Despite my cries, she would not tell me even if he was okay, not in a hospital or jail, nothing - insisting it's none of my business and that I do not care. I have never told him I don't care about him - he knows that. Because of our heated conversation (she even stuck the phone to my 5 year old's ear while I was yelling and laughed at me as she told me I was unknowingly yelling at him), I brought along a local police officer to get my children and have legal documentation of the situation and that they would not let me know of his whereabouts or his vehicle (our vehicle). With refusal or claims of not knowing his whereabouts, I could file a missing persons report and/or report the vehicle missing - all backing for my lawyer and the judge if he made screwy claims with the divorce. Since she would not allow me in her home, the officer had to physically remove each of my children, my two boys 6 and 5 were bewildered, my youngest daughter screaming and crying as she didn't know what was going on. We left, got home and I called every law enforcement and hospital in every county from here to there. I've called jails and hospitals in the past when he's not made it home - I know I should have been stronger and let it go but I was so scared. I was relieved I did not find him in any of those places. I contacted his sister in law that Monday morning and explained how no one would tell me what was wrong. She got word to him, he called me and told me how he was going to kill himself on my birthday. He got an OWI that night - I suppose that was a good thing if his true intentions were to kill himself. And now he has 2 pending 3rd offense OWI's - if one is a conviction, the next goes to 4th offense. As a result, he has finally put himself into counseling/treatment. He's being nice as pie now knowing how much he's screwed up and learning more every day. I'm proud of him but afraid to express how much I care for fear of giving him the wrong impression - that I want the marriage. I'm scared to attend Al-Anon or similar for fear that I will be told that I am so wrong for wanting to move on. I want to be his friend and work at being the best parents we can for our kids if he will allow that. Am I just full of wishful thinking just as it's been for the past ten years of our marriage? I truly want what is best for him and he now says the same for me but I'm afraid he's saying that while in the back of his mind he's holding out hope for something I do not want. Am I so wrong? I will meet his counselor in a couple days and then I hope I'll have a better idea of what to expect from him and if Al-Anon will be right for me. In the meantime, I've read Getting Them Sober and will begin volume 4 while waiting for the volumes 2 and 3 by mail. The book was a true eye-opener. I only wish I had known of the book(s) so many years ago. Thank you for listening. Good luck to all - I'm amazed at how diverse yet similar all of our situations end up being.
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Old 12-28-2004, 02:50 PM
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Hi Sandi, I know it must be very hard what you are going through, and even though after all these years that you stood by him this must feel like the slap in the face, still somehow I feel that this acctually could be very good for both of you. To me he sounds very serious in staying sober, and if he is, of course that he will need some time for himself, I guess he needs to see that he can do it on his own, to help him feel like a whole person again. I should think that has to be a major step in one's recovery from alcoholism. Maybe he feels that you have always been there taking care of everything and maybe he wants to find out if he can take care of himself for a change. I hope you can see my point, even thought I might be completely off the track here, but I believe that you can not love other person truly and have a healty relationship unless you feel good about yourself. Maybe this is all that he is doing. And I guess after all that you invested in your marriage, this could be the last step you need to take. Give him the space he needs and be supportive, no metter how hard it is. At least that is what I would do if I were you.
I hope this makes sense to you.
All the best XXX
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:39 AM
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sesh- I fail to see how a possible affair with a woman in the program can have anything but a negative effect. If this is so, he deserves no support from his wife whatso ever. dax
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Old 12-29-2004, 07:59 PM
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Sandi...what you can do is go back to that meeting or another one...when you find someone who is living with a recovering alcoholic talk to her after the meeting. Perhaps she could even sponsor you.

There is always someone living what you are living...

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