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My spouse thinks I am selfish in recovery

Old 03-05-2010, 09:21 AM
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My spouse thinks I am selfish in recovery

I just completed 2 months in recovery and my wife increasingly thinks I am being selfish because I tell people I became sober for "me first". I realize that my drinking was a problem in our marriage, but never dreamed recovery would be too. I decided to go it alone without AA, but one of my best friends started his recovery with it and he has been a godsend with his advice and support. But my wife doesn't see it that way. She thinks we are just spending too much time together (as always has). She doesn't understand now that now it is way more than golf and hanging out etc. He really is the only person that understands what I am going through. Does anyone have any advice in dealing with a situation like this? I love her dearly, but she doesn't seem realize how stressful this is no matter what I say.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:52 AM
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Chicubs, it makes sense to me that recovery has to be about you first, because you are the one who has to own the coping skill to survive. And we are only good for others when we are at least good for ourselves. I never really grasped that concept until recently.

It's really easy for the non-addict to see the addict as selfish within their addiction and also without their addiction. It would be nice if there were some way your wife could gain more insight into this through someone else. But at the same time, I would not want her to feel like "she has to change."
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chicubs1 View Post
I just completed 2 months in recovery and my wife increasingly thinks I am being selfish because I tell people I became sober for "me first". I realize that my drinking was a problem in our marriage, but never dreamed recovery would be too. I decided to go it alone without AA, but one of my best friends started his recovery with it and he has been a godsend with his advice and support. But my wife doesn't see it that way. She thinks we are just spending too much time together (as always has). She doesn't understand now that now it is way more than golf and hanging out etc. He really is the only person that understands what I am going through. Does anyone have any advice in dealing with a situation like this? I love her dearly, but she doesn't seem realize how stressful this is no matter what I say.
Editing. It's important to learn your audience and editing when talking to a spouse during this time can be a key element.

Instead of giving her the message "It's all about me"!

Remember this is your wife. Your companion. Change the words to be sensitive of her needs. Say something like this:

"The meetings and my own self-discovery are going to teach me to be a better husband for you".
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:08 PM
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Hi Chicubs. Maybe your wife is resentful of your friend because he is able to help you stay sober, where her efforts have failed. I agree with Alzerin...editing is a great tool. The recovery is for you, but it will help you to become a better husband to her. Good luck to you. Don't jump off the train before the miracle happens. Welcome!
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Alizerin View Post
Editing. It's important to learn your audience and editing when talking to a spouse during this time can be a key element.

Instead of giving her the message "It's all about me"!

Remember this is your wife. Your companion. Change the words to be sensitive of her needs. Say something like this:

"The meetings and my own self-discovery are going to teach me to be a better husband for you".
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:48 PM
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Spawn,

Man, do I know THIS one from first hand experience!!!!! When I met my spouse, I had just begun seven years of insanity with drugs and alcohol. My spouse had always been there in the past to get me home, help keep me out of jail, get me to work, out of scrapes, etc..... It wasn't until my employer said "Go to Treatment or you can go work somewhere else!" I went, but not because I wanted to! I was very angry, but I went.

In Treatment, they told us (married folks) that "EVERYTHING is going to be different once you get out of here. Even those of you who thought you KNEW everything about your spouse! Of course you love them, but the person they married is now changing! That's not what they got married to you for! They expected you to stay the same, but you can't! We have to change playgrounds and playmates, or else WE DIE!"

They told us to give our marriages two years. They said we could ask them to go to Alanon if we wanted to, but we should be very careful how we say it. We don't want them to think there is "something wrong" with THEM too!
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:05 PM
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It's not unusual to go through this "Know Thyself" phase. Almost everyone does.

Sooner or later you need to move on and learn the "Balanced" phase of recovery.
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:10 AM
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hi there,

i usually post in the f/f forum, but your title caught my eye.

1. she has been wanting you to get sober for a long time. a magic wand is not waved as soon as you do to take away her resentments. they are eating her up.
2. she does feel hurt that she has been patient (her viewpoint) wanting and expecting you to one day see the light, and then step up to the marriage plate. now that you have, in a way, you are still not the husband she wishes for and expects you to be. "what? i have been the spouse by his side for years, and now that he's stopped drinking, where is the payback for my loving patience and tolerance?" why aren't you giving to me yet, for a change?
3. she needs al-anon. maybe, as someone else suggested, be gentle in your approach so she doesn't feel you are saying there's something "wrong" with her. (even though there is lol) could you go to a couple of open aa meetings and invite her along with you? does your buddy have a wife and could that wife be a support to her? could you ask your wife if it might be ok with her for someone in al-anon to contact her? i would ease into this, but really, she is doing what she has been doing all along: trying to get you to behave how she wants you to. she has legitimate "gripes" imo, but she is not addressing them correctly. and for you to address them correctly, yeah sober recovery is great, but perhaps re-consider attending aa. there is a huge toolbox of stuff for you to utilize there.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:58 PM
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LOIS WILSON Movie Coming Up

Your wife might relate to Lois Wilson, Bill Wilson's wife and founder of Al-Anon.

There's a made-for-TV movie about Lois Wilson called: "When Love is not Enough" that is airing on Sunday, April 25th.

Here's a snippet about it:

"After devoting 17 years to healing her sick husband, Lois felt isolated and resentful that he [Bill Wilson] was sober without her help. Lois eventually discovered that she was not alone. She slowly engaged the wives of the men in Billís program..."

In the meantime, before the movie, there are a number of books that have been written about Lois that your wife might relate to. Just a thought...
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