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Old 06-21-2019, 05:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Questions about being supportive but separate.


I have encountered a few things since being separated from my addict (only 2 weeks now) that I am having trouble sorting through. My husband is currently living with his mother. I can tell that he is making effort to stay clean from drugs, and I do not believe he has used in a few days. He has cut back on alcohol. He has NOT stopped drinking. By no means do I think this is recovery. Just stating what I have observed.

My questions are as follows:

I have expressed to my husband that I believe that he is trying, but that alone is a bandaid over a bullet hole. Without counseling/therapy/support, he can only go so far. I do not reside with him now, and have limited contact other than to discuss issues related to our children. I am trying to focus on me, and hope that he will focus on his addiction. I obsessed over looking for things, and have found separation to be a breath of fresh air in a sense because there is nothing here to look for. He has asked me to try to begin to trust him on some issues (like being unattended with our children, or picking them up from daycare). But how will I know if he is making a concerted effort, seeking therapy or counseling, if I am not asking questions? How am I to decide if I even want to make an effort to trust him again if I have no idea if he is making steps that he needs to heal himself? How do I justify saying no, when he does appear to be sober.

I am well aware that the time we have been separated and he has been ďtryingĒ isnít even a drop in the bucket. But how can I tell him that what he is doing is not enough in my opinion, if my opinion is not supposed to matter in HIS journey to HIS recovery.
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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he is still using drugs and drinking. less is still using. he is still under the influence and even tho he is removed from the home and separated from his wife and children, he is still choosing to use. which pretty ends the discussion..........

recovery LOOKS like recovery. if it ever happens, you will KNOW, not guess, not hope. because he will commit to a new way of life and change people places and things in his life, eliminate that stinking thinking, change his viewpoint of his place in life and strive to be the best human he can be. he will show an energy and enthusiasm towards life, he will treat you with respect, his children will be his everything. and he'll crawl across hot coals naked to be with them.

when you see THAT...you'll know.

however...even when you do see THAT, there are no guarantees in recovery. well i mean sure, don't drink, ever. but humans being humans and addicts being addicts, that "option" is always there...the beast never sleeps.

former crackhead here, among other things.....did you see on the news about the humungous port bust, container ship, lots of cocaine. now normally those "thoughts" about that stuff are fleeting, like a leaf blowing by in the wind. but i made the mistake of hitting the google - curious just how big a ton of that stuff would be....and anyways, it has stuck with me a bit longer than i like. i'm not in any "danger" but i am aware of the lethargic beast.

it's been 13 years. for me. the message that "we must remain forever vigilant" is god's truth.
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think your questions highlight some of the insanity of addiction.

You ask... "how can I justify saying no when he appears to be sober"... Answer: No one is obligated to justify saying no to anyone. You have a right to say no just because something does not feel right to you. You are not obligated to prop up his recovery by prematurely "trusting" him (which you don't really or you wouldn't be asking). In fact "propping up his recovery" is a sure fire way to sabotage it. Trust is trust - and comes from being trustworthy.

A better question might be - what behaviors of his would make him so trustworthy in your eyes that you would unflinchingly say yes to his requests. Let THAT be your yardstick.

Maybe for starters - drinking means he's not really in recovery. Still using a chemical to cope.

The thing with addiction is that those of us who have loved an addict get things "upside down" - meaning we think we owe explanations for our legitimate reservations and can feel pressure to "trust" way sooner than our wisdom would suggest.

Or, we start to think that if we are kept in the loop about the progress of recovery that we could somehow figure out if they are making a "concerted effort". One signal that they are making a concerted effort is when they respect your "no".

And, the only way you'll know he's actually in recovery is by his behavior over TIME. And, still drinking is not a good sign.

I actually think you know the answers to your own question, but we all do our own "bargaining" with addiction. We hope they will get better faster than they do, we hope they are more honest than they are, we hope it won't have to be so hard they'll give up or we'll have to watch them suffer.

Look inside and ask yourself, how would you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that he is in recovery, seriously and all in? Anything less than that is bargaining and won't work.

Best of luck discerning your best path.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Kids safety comes first...

Would you leave your child in the care of teacher, baby sitter if they were still drinking/using AND saying they're trying to recover?

You'd kick em to the kerb. It's difficult, I know when you have feelings for an addict and you just want them to be OK again. We pretend to ourselves that he/she will be the one who recovers because we Need them back.. Whole.

If he's drinking... Using.. Sitting at home and doing feck all. He's not in active recovery.

He has to EARN trust. He needs to feel the consequences of his drinking etc. It may not make a blind difference. We can't police them back into sobriety!!
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
recovery LOOKS like recovery. if it ever happens, you will KNOW, not guess, not hope. because he will commit to a new way of life and change people places and things in his life, eliminate that stinking thinking, change his viewpoint of his place in life and strive to be the best human he can be. he will show an energy and enthusiasm towards life, he will treat you with respect, his children will be his everything. and he'll crawl across hot coals naked to be with them.
Wise words always. We can't make them be that way, and words are just words when they tell us how they are. Actions speak volumes and until you see what recovery looks like, it is wise to keep yourself and your children at a safe distance.

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Old 06-24-2019, 05:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your input. I do see what you mean. I try not to ask questions about what he is doing, but I do believe that if he were getting counseling, he would tell me. Not because I asked, but because he would be proud of himself for taking a step in the right direction.

Today he got upset with me because I didnít say ďI love you tooĒ. In reality, I did, he just didnít hear me because we were getting cranky kids into my car. But that really got me thinking about his expectations. I told him in no uncertain terms that I had no timeline for my feelings or trust. We would need relationship counseling, but at the moment he should focus on his own counseling. I guess heís still in denial about the kind of help he needs, or wallowing in self pity and wondering why I canít trust him.
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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so even while dealing with his children who were a bit stressed/cranky, his overarching concern is that YOU did not respond to HIM as he deemed acceptable. that just says so much...
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Iím sorry you are going through this. It sucks, Iíve been there. Good for you for separating and focusing on you and the kids. I found that to be the most important step when my husband was in deep, of course itís also the one I waited an eternity to take. But once I finally did it I was able to start to separate myself from his chaos and break some of my codependency. And most importantly our children didnít have to live in chaotic home anymore. Itís so hard to find that balance between codependency/enabling and being supportive but in time you will.

Donít let him take the kids if he is still using. I know this is incredibly hard and the guilt is extreme. I choose to let my husband continue to see the kids. It was important to me that he remain an active part of their lives but that is not the right choice for everyone and you need to do what is best for your situation. For me personally I settled on having him come to my house to see the kids or going to a public place when I wasnít in a place to have him come to my home and supervising his visit. It worked for us because I separated from him due to not being able to live with his insanity but didnít actually end the relationship. not that we really had one at that point but basically we remained married and didnít see other people, otherwise it was more like a friendship during that time. If you want to allow visits but donít want to be a part of his visits (which I totally understand) can his mom supervise since heís living there? My husband lived with his mom for part of the time we were separated and there were some times that I would have the kids go there when she was home and wouldnít stay.

As far as asking questions about his actions towards recovery I found that less is more. I know all too well the urge to talk about it all the time but looking back it was a waste of my time and in reality I was trying to fix him and thatís not possible. If he wants this he will do what he needs to do. And like others have said you will know if/when he has found recovery. Be mindful of his ability to manipulate and convince you that he is doing better when there are signs that this is not true. And like others have said and you know, if heís using at all heís not anywhere near recovery.

Thinking of you! Stay strong and keep your boundaries
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Iíve come to realize that there isnít really such a thing as ďtrying recoveryĒ. Youíre either doing it or not. Trying I think is just to make you feel better about it and gives them an excuse for when they fail. They tried but they failed.....but they really tried, thatís what they want you to think at least
My ex was an alcoholic for all of our relationship and it just got worse over time, he quit several times on his own, it would last 2-3 months and then he would start drinking in moderation except for that wouldnít last. Longest he stayed clean was 13 months but it really wasnít much better as he no longer had his one coping mechanism so it was probably even worse as far as depression/ anger etc. He was a dry drunk.
Once he went to rehab that is when things changed. He was truly working a program, getting counseling and going to lots of meetings even after rehab and he continues to go to meetings, 2.5 years later just not as frequently.
Theres is almost no chance that he will be able to truly recover without any sort of help. AA or NA would be a start but likely not enough. They need individual therapy and they need to be clean and sober before attempting couples counseling. If he is drinking e is not clean, cross addiction is a real thing. Meaning that many addicts will find a different addiction. Could be shopping, going OCD on working out, gambling, sex or just a different substance. So oven if he has not taken drugs in a few days (which btw mean very little, that is a drop in the bucket) he is substituting it with another substance. You have no reason to trust him be since he has not given you one. He is not getting help for his addiction. His words mean nothing. That is why he is telling you that he is trying g recovery so that you will give him a break. Donít fall for it, not when there ar kids involved, I would demand supervised visits or else nothing. I got really good at not leaving my kid with my ex (when we were married and he was actively drinking) . She was 5-6 at the time when it got bad again and so she would go for play dates if I had stuff going on because she wanted to play with her friend (which she did but I didnít trust him with her alone). It is a huge reason why I didnít want to leave him while he was actively drinking because I just didnít know what would happen to my kiddo.
Set boundaries and stick with them. His ďtryingĒ doesnít mean anything and he knows it. If he decides to actually seek professional help that is a start but even then it wold take several months to see if he is really changing.
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well another week has passed and not much has changed with my situation BUT things ARE better for me. I am not stressed, and am able to focus on me rather than being obsessive over my husbands actions. Iíve been focusing on a healthy diet and just feeling better about myself in general. There are still plenty of things that trigger stress, and I still find myself wanting to ask him questions about what heís doing, if anything, to better himself. I just try to remind myself that his recovery is in his hands, not mine, and I am able to let it go much better than before. If he wants to share parts of it he will. It shouldnít be a priority for me to pry it out of him. I think the hardest part for me is that at the moment, I have no romantic or intimate feelings towards him. And I feel very guilty about that. I can feel that it hurts him that I donít express those feelings towards him. Despite everything I donít want to hurt him (kill him maybe, but not hurt him. 😂 I kid! I kid!) I suppose that is a bridge we can cross after he has a plan for his own problems. In the meantime Iíll be over here drinking green smoothies and eating enough spinach to turn into Popeye...and feeling damn good about it.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Good for you! You are controlling what you can, yourself. That is wonderful! Well Done!
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Update!

Oooook. So today my AH told me he was speaking to his employer about taking a leave of absence for treatment. HOORAY! Until....he turned it right back into deflecting

When he told me that he had decided to go, I told him that was a good decision and exactly what he needs. Conversation was good until he said he wanted to know that I was ďsupportive and that we would come out of this togetherĒ. Hold. The. Phone.

We have been separated for more than a month. I have come so far on my own path to happiness, that I donít intend to start making false promises now. Over and over, I reiterated that I was absolutely supportive of his decision to get help, but that I could in no way promise anything further regarding our relationship. There is more work to be done regarding US, but none of that can be accomplished until he works on himself. Well that was not received well and went downhill from that point. I refused to argue or go down the ďUSĒ rabbit hole until there is clarity and sobriety on his end. I feel like he does intend to go, but there is a lot of manipulation still involved in that decision. Gonna keep on keeping on like I have been, and keep focusing on me and the little ones.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well he's not asking for much. Just for you to stop everything you have been doing to improve the lives of you and your children, demolish your boundaries and focus back on him.

After all he has spoken to someone about maybe doing something.

I'm glad you are sticking by your decision/boundaries Reneevc, you seem to have a good handle on this.

Don't know if you've had a chance to look around SR but you might find the threads in the Friends and Family of alcoholics section helpful as well:

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...ly-alcoholics/
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well....he checked into a rehab facility. He was there for 7 days and then was discharged for outpatient rehab 3x weekly, with meetings in between. Today is just day one that he has been out. I am happy that he went, and I hope he continues his treatment. We will remain separated. I have no plan to attempt to rekindle any sort of relationship until I see some long term commitment from him. Iím already a little angry because his mother (who was admitted to the hospital a few days before he checked into rehab) has already given him the money to pay back all the people he owes. I was hoping he would have to figure that out himself to be honest. Iím still angry. I have been taking care of our children, all of our needs, and his mother and father while he was in the rehab facility. It feels unfair that he comes out and has no consequences of his previous actions to face. Itís almost as if she was rewarding him for his 7 day stint. Maybe Iím just bitter because I love his parents so much and it hurts me that he can hurt them and then take their money when he just stole several thousand dollars 2 weeks ago. I need to try to focus on other things I suppose. Things I do have control over

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Old 08-02-2019, 09:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Sounds like it was possibly a detox situation? Regardless, 7 days is absolutely nothing. Honestly, 7 months is nothing. His attitude in the post above was definitely not one of someone focused on recovery for the right reasons. Try not to judge his parents. They are dong what they think is best. Resentment for that will not help anything.

Proceed with caution!
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Time for an update: AH has been going to outpatient rehab for about 2 weeks now. 3 nights per week, 2 hour meetings. Fresh out of detox, the first week he was drinking. This week he seems to be taking a bit more seriously. He has admitted that he needs to find more meetings on the weekend gap between the others. He knows what he needs to do, but is avoiding it. Surprise.

Throughout this time period his motherís health has seriously declined. Sheís now in a nursing facility. His sister and I have been taking care of his mothers affairs, and I have had to make all the final decisions on the house we are rebuilding (house fire in February), while he was in detox. Since leaving detox, he is sort of....stagnant. He misses work. Doesnít do much. He is clearly depressed. When we talk he gets upset and says he canít do this, and that he so lonely and depressed. I have encouraged him to speak to a therapist about these feelings, as I cannot ďfixĒ him. But I believe in his mind, thatís what he believes. That if we get back together he will be happy. But I donít think I will. I struggle daily with the question of ďdo I want to continue this marriageĒ even if he does everything that I hope he does in recovery. Can I ever be happy with him again? I feel like I know the answer but I push it out because it makes me feel guilty. I feel pretty happy being separate but will I be long term? Much to think about....
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Can I ever be happy with him again? I feel like I know the answer but I push it out because it makes me feel guilty. I feel pretty happy being separate but will I be long term? Much to think about....
How can you actually know the answers to those questions at this point? The things that separated you two have not changed.

Feeling guilty is not a good reason to return to the relationship?

Maybe now is a time to just focus on yourself and what you want. The rest will unfold as it will, perhaps just wait and see.
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thatís the plan. It just feels wrong to me for some reason. I guess because I am afraid Iím avoiding the situation. Maybe I am. But those are the days I feel happy.
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #19 (permalink)
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You are supposed to feel happy! You deserve to feel happy. This is good for you and your children.

Nobody and I mean nobody gets anything from you being unhappy. You don't need to punish yourself for doing what you know is right.

You are separated and will be for a while, perhaps you will never be a couple again, no way you can answer that right now and absolutely no use worrying about it. If you feel you have already made that decision, perhaps sit with it for a bit and make sure it feels right to you. In the meantime - yes, be happy!
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Old 08-18-2019, 04:23 PM   #20 (permalink)
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But I believe in his mind, thatís what he believes. That if we get back together he will be happy.

i don't think his goal is to be "happy" - i think his motive is to just be let back in the house and not have to deal with being responsible to himself and his own decision making (or lack thereof) and not have anyone to run around and fix everything for him or someone else to blame and share his misery. he wants his status quo back.

best to stay out of his head and what you think might be going on in there. stick to your own head. what YOU think. what YOU want. you absolutely deserve to be happy in whatever way makes you happy (minus anything classified as a felony!!). you are not OBLIGATED to stay miserable and wait for him. the universe will appreciate your joy.
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