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Questions about detachment

Old 06-18-2012, 08:36 AM
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Questions about detachment

Hi. I'm new here. So, here's my situation. AH is a "new" alcoholic. When we got married he disnt drink at all. Didnt believe in it. Once he started though, within a few months (probably 3 yrs ago) I started being concerned about where his drinking might lead eventually, because of his general attitude about it, he has only been a problem drinker for probably about a year. I have been aware of it for less than 6 months.

So here's the thing, over the past 6 months he has gone from realizing it might be a problem (I knew it was), trying to stop to "see" if it could and if it was really a problem, starting up again secretly a work for several before confessing and realizing he har a problem, but still sort of thinking he could just decide to stop, starting CR and not drinking for 4 months, having a first official relapse by 3 days of drinking over the last 2 weeks, and confessing at the last one because he was totally trashed at work, and supposedly now, realizing that he needs help and support to quit because he clearly can't do it by himself.

We have had a great relationship. He is a great husband and father, other than this TINY detail (sarcasm). He is the sole breadwinner. We talk about everything. We have a very intimate relationship. We have talked about the alcohol, he processes and so do I.

I definitely have codependency issues. When I discover he has been drinking I go into a period of anxiety and depression for a time. But then life gets back to normal. He's not drinking and all seems well again. Though trust has been broken and so knowing that at any time he could relapse and I will find out about it is overwhelming at times.

The lady I've been talking to from CR is telling me I need to emotionally detach. Not talk to him about my feelings. Not talk to him about his recovery. Not encourage him toward recovery because it needs to be all his idea. I understand to some extent that I shouldn't pressure him into going to groups or anything. But I guess I feel like to take such a drastic step of moving away from my husband emotionally doesn't feel right at all. Our relationship is still a top priority to me, and I think it should be. If he was drinking regularly it would be different but Especially when it seems he is moving forward with recovery, I don't see the point.

And I also don't understand detachment in this respect either: if your spouse does something hurtful, it hurts. It should. They are your spouse. So I don't understand how detachment is fully healthy. I get it to an extent, especially if the alcoholic is drinking on a regular basis. But I still feel like I am in the beginning of this process and I don't get why I shouldnt be devastated by it. I would be devastated if I learned he had cheated.

So, help me please. What am I missing? Also, I don't understand why we can't help each other in our recoveries if we are both active in it (which he is, despite a relapse). In an emotionally close relationship, you talk about everything. It feels unnatural to avoid this one topic.

When I read things online I feel like my situation is so different. Not that he still doesn't have a problem. But it seems so many on here really feel stuck with their AH's. The types of behavior I read it about from the A's are so different from what I experience. I really pray that he continues in his recovery and it never goes there.

I know I need recovery too. I definitely am acclimating quickly to some codependent behaviors. I definitely want to learn to handle this better. And to have a life outside of ours together, especially for when he does drink, that I don't just feel like, "what do I do now?"

So, again, what am I missing? I read that it takes years to really feel like you start to "get it" with codependency 12 steps. Is that the problem? I do want to fully get into recovery, but I don't feel fully committed to the 12 steps because of these hesitations. I don't know if it's an improper understanding or just a different belief. Help please.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:13 AM
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Detachment doesn't prevent pain, it prevents me from taking things personally and suffering.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:19 AM
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His drinking is a problem for you. It appears to impact your wellbeing.

There is nothing you can say or do that is going to keep him sober or cause him to relapse. You are not that powerful. None of us are.
Recovery from anything is an inside job.

You can accept him as is, where is, or decide you no longer want to be in a relationship with someone in active alcoholism. It's that tween part where you want/need to help/support him sober, that's a real killer.

Only you can decide if you want to put your self and children into a front row/center seat to all of this. While he might be a good provider right now, active alcoholics and addicts are not competent to parent because alcohol/drugs always come first.

You and your children deserve more than the leftover crumbs.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by outtolunch View Post
His drinking is a problem for you. It appears to impact your wellbeing.

It is and it does. But understand that, as I explained, he became a problem drinker rather recently, realized it, went into recovery, and just last week had a short relapse which has seemed to jolt him into jumping more fully into recovery. Those that I talk to from CR have said all along that he is doing very and we are very lucky for him to realize there is a problem and stepping into recovery so quickly.

There is nothing you can say or do that is going to keep him sober or cause him to relapse. You are not that powerful. None of us are.
Recovery from anything is an inside job.

I realize this. I don't see how this means we can't encourage each other in our recovery. For example, he has encouraged me to call a friend from CR that has been supporting me. Without his encouragement, I wouldn't have done it. On my part, I encouraged him to rethink drinking non-alcoholic beer. He thought it made a good obvious substitute. I told him that psychologically, it tricks his brain into thinking that he is drinking alcohol, which continues the association that alcohol equals fun and relaxation and stress relief. That it could undermine his recovery even if he is fully committed because it continues a positive association with alcohol. That made sense to him and he stopped drinking it. Obviously, if he isn't fully committed to recovery, it won't matter. But if he already is, it can help. IMO

You can accept him as is, where is, or decide you no longer want to be in a relationship with someone in active alcoholism. It's that tween part where you want/need to help/support him sober, that's a real killer.

Okay, I think I do accept him as he, but also, love him enough that I want to see him grow. Now, depending on where this road takes us, if he gets worse instead of better and isn't committed to recovery, I will have to rethink whether it ss something I would choose for me and our kids.

Only you can decide if you want to put your self and children into a front row/center seat to all of this. While he might be a good provider right now, active alcoholics and addicts are not competent to parent because alcohol/drugs always come first.

I don't know what all is considered active alcoholism. But I guess I don't see him as active. He had a relapse. A very short one after 4months of sobriety. Which may not seem that long to some of you, and honestly doesn't to me, but his period of real problem drinking was much shorter than that, say 6 weeks. So to me it seems positive.

You and your children deserve more than the leftover crumbs.
Agreed. And at this point we get way more. When he drinks I would say its true.
His life isn't centered around drinking now though, by far, and when it was it was for a short time.

I am just having a real problem trying to find people to relate to in this community. Everyone has bad stories, and all it does is scare me about where this could go. And I swear almost every person online says nothing but negative things about the alcoholics in their lives and I just can't relate to that. And it seems like people cant fathom that my situation is really the way I describe because it is so far outside of their experience. But the people at CR that know both of us tell me how blessed we are to be here so early and how lucky I am that he's so willing and recognizes this for what it is after just getting into problem drinking.

ETA: I totally messed this up when I tried to quote on my phone. Will try to fix ASAP.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:53 AM
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ETA: I totally messed this up when I tried to quote on my phone. Will try to fix ASAP. UPDATE: I fixed it below. But the messed up post is still above. Hope that doesn't confuse anyone too bad. Admin, any way you can delete above post. Also, this is supposed to the be in the Friends & Family of Alcoholics Forum, not the F&F of SA Forum. I'm new here, sorry.

Originally Posted by outtolunch View Post
His drinking is a problem for you. It appears to impact your wellbeing.
It is and it does. But understand that, as I explained, he became a problem drinker rather recently, realized it, went into recovery, and just last week had a short relapse which has seemed to jolt him into jumping more fully into recovery. Those that I talk to from CR have said all along that he is doing very and we are very lucky for him to realize there is a problem and stepping into recovery so quickly.

There is nothing you can say or do that is going to keep him sober or cause him to relapse. You are not that powerful. None of us are.
Recovery from anything is an inside job.
I realize this. I don't see how this means we can't encourage each other in our recovery. For example, he has encouraged me to call a friend from CR that has been supporting me. Without his encouragement, I wouldn't have done it. On my part, I encouraged him to rethink drinking non-alcoholic beer. He thought it made a good obvious substitute. I told him that psychologically, it tricks his brain into thinking that he is drinking alcohol, which continues the association that alcohol equals fun and relaxation and stress relief. That it could undermine his recovery even if he is fully committed because it continues a positive association with alcohol. That made sense to him and he stopped drinking it. Obviously, if he isn't fully committed to recovery, it won't matter. But if he already is, it can help. IMO

You can accept him as is, where is, or decide you no longer want to be in a relationship with someone in active alcoholism. It's that tween part where you want/need to help/support him sober, that's a real killer.

Okay, I think I do accept him as he, but also, love him enough that I want to see him grow. Now, depending on where this road takes us, if he gets worse instead of better and isn't committed to recovery, I will have to rethink whether it is something I would choose for me and our kids.

Only you can decide if you want to put your self and children into a front row/center seat to all of this. While he might be a good provider right now, active alcoholics and addicts are not competent to parent because alcohol/drugs always come first.
I don't know what all is considered active alcoholism. But I guess I don't see him as active. He had a relapse. A very short one after 4 months of sobriety. Which may not seem that long to some of you, and honestly doesn't to me, but his period of real problem drinking was much shorter than that, say 6 weeks. So to me it seems positive.

You and your children deserve more than the leftover crumbs.
Agreed. And at this point we get way more. When he drinks I would say its true. His life isn't centered around drinking now though, by far, and when it was it was for a short time.

I am just having a real problem trying to find people to relate to in this community. Everyone has bad stories, and all it does is scare me about where this could go. And I swear almost every person online says nothing but negative things about the alcoholics in their lives and I just can't relate to that. And it seems like people cant fathom that my situation is really the way I describe because it is so far outside of their experience. But the people at CR that know both of us tell me how blessed we are to be here so early and how lucky I am that he's so willing and recognizes this for what it is after just getting into problem drinking.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:03 PM
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I'm going to suggest something to you and I may be way off base, but here goes. As long as your husband is willing and able to put your needs before his needs (and the need that alcohol used to demand of him), then marriage counseling may be in order for the two of you. Once alcohol abuse creeps back into your relationship with your husband, then detachment from you must resume. At this point in time, you may be able to move forward with marriage counseling.

There is a website that I have found very wise and helpful. It is called Marriage Builders. The doctor has an article how the co-dependancy movement is ruining marriages. What he is saying (IMO) is that for drug and alcohol abuse, co-dependency counseling is absolutely essential because the alcoholic/drug addict can not/is unable to put his/her spouse's needs first--the drugs and/or alcohol are who the person is really married to. The alcohol/drug abuse issue must first be brought under control before marriage counseling is of any benefit. However, many counselors apply co-dependency techniques to normal, non-addicted individuals and it is not appropriate to apply co-dependency techniques to people who are not addicted.

In your case, hopefully your husband is now in a place where he can put your needs first--his alcoholism is not his master right now. What you are hearing, though, is co-dependancy techniques still being applied to your situation (detaching from your husband) and it is not sitting well with you. It doesn't feel right. Check out Marriage Builders website and see if what I'm trying to say here rings true to you. But be on the watch for your husband slipping back into his addiction as then you will need to forgo marriage counseling such as Marriage Builders and slip back into co-dependancy counseling.

Hope this makes sense and I haven't ruffled anyone's feathers! I'm certainly no expert on this situation. It's just what came to mind when reading your posts.
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