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Old 06-11-2015, 03:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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drinking, SMART meeting, and then drinking again?


Oh boy, heavy sigh. Last night my AH texted to say he was going to a SMART meeting; I texted back "Great!" It has been a couple of weeks since he's gone, and I know he slipped off the wagon once and more likely at least twice last week. (The week before he saw his doctor, attended 3 meetings, and told me how hard he was trying to change his habits.)

He came home an hour or so later than necessary and glassy-eyed drunk.

I said "hi" but mostly ignored him.

Later he tried to pick a fight with me, "what did I do wrong this time?"

I said "you've been drinking" and refused to engage. Thankfully he slept downstairs though I slept with one ear open, afraid he would harass our kids or me.

This morning he apologized. I asked what happened. He said he went out for a few drinks after work, felt bad so went to the SMART meeting . . . and then went out for a few more drinks.

How does that make any effing sense?

I know I don't cause and can't control his behavior, and I'm no longer triggering it, either. He's making choices that are killing himself and harming our family. To make matters worse, he drove drunk last night, which he generally doesn't do. So it almost seems like he's getting worse, despite the program, rather than better.

Other than focusing on my own life and our children, which I'm doing, does anyone have any advice?
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Old 06-11-2015, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sauerkraut View Post
Oh boy, heavy sigh. Last night my AH texted to say he was going to a SMART meeting; I texted back "Great!" It has been a couple of weeks since he's gone, and I know he slipped off the wagon once and more likely at least twice last week. (The week before he saw his doctor, attended 3 meetings, and told me how hard he was trying to change his habits.)

He came home an hour or so later than necessary and glassy-eyed drunk.

I said "hi" but mostly ignored him.

Later he tried to pick a fight with me, "what did I do wrong this time?"

I said "you've been drinking" and refused to engage. Thankfully he slept downstairs though I slept with one ear open, afraid he would harass our kids or me.

This morning he apologized. I asked what happened. He said he went out for a few drinks after work, felt bad so went to the SMART meeting . . . and then went out for a few more drinks.

How does that make any effing sense?

I know I don't cause and can't control his behavior, and I'm no longer triggering it, either. He's making choices that are killing himself and harming our family. To make matters worse, he drove drunk last night, which he generally doesn't do. So it almost seems like he's getting worse, despite the program, rather than better.

Other than focusing on my own life and our children, which I'm doing, does anyone have any advice?
Focusing on you is good.

I guess for me, I would try to have a discussion with my husband and ask in a non confrontational way if he can explain how hes feeling, why he was drinking after work , if he sees a trigger causing it, and what he felt after he left the meeting and decided to drink more. Maybe he was intoxicated at the meeting?

I mean if hes making an effort and his current plan isnt working then he might need to add something to it, like seeing someone 1:1. Or maybe hes struggling internally with the decision to stop and its part of his process?

Id check the safety precautions you have in place with drinking and driving.. ((hugs))
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Old 06-12-2015, 11:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, Blue. That's all sound advice.

Update: last night he came home late from work, looking a little tipsy. We had dinner quickly with the kids and then I had a meditation class (awesome and highly recommended). When I came home, he said he was taking the dog for a walk, and he tried to pick a fight with me when I said it looked like the dog was limping. He thought I had said the dog was sleeping, which he interpreted as me criticizing his decision to take him for a walk. (!)

Then I knew he was either already drunk, spoiling for a fight, or he was itching to go out and get booze, and he took my dog comment as an indirect attempt to impede his plan. (It was none of the above--just a comment on the dog's leg.)

He came back an hour later after I'd put the kids to bed and gone to bed myself.

At 1 am I was awakened by the TV blasting. I went downstairs and asked him to turn it down and he said 'yeah yeah,' as if I was being unreasonable.

Half an hour later the TV was blasting again; I came downstairs again and he was passed out on the couch.

At least he didn't come upstairs and harass me or the kids, but I'm very discouraged. We have a family vacation planned in two weeks, and I want to ask him to please not come. He knows he needs more help; we had this discussion with his doctor 6 weeks ago when he (finally) let me come to an appointment. That's what spurred his meeting attendance and almost a month of mostly sobriety.

He also, however, appears to want to continue drinking. I don't want to continue living with a drunk.
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Big hugs sauerkraut. Things were looking up but it sounds like he's hit a stumbling block. Good for you for not engaging - that's awesome. It sounds like he knows he's having problems but just not able to set himself straight for whatever reasons at the moment.
Wonderful that you were able to get to your meditation class, whatever happens you will be well on the road to healthy .
I have a lot more thoughts on this but I need to gather them first ... quick question - are you and the kids safe with him actively drinking?
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm sorry that you're going through this, Sauerkraut. I can tell you from a drunk's perspective, that when we're drinking oftentimes we do not make rational decisions or behave in a way that makes sense. I don't think there is any reason why you shouldn't tell him you don't want him to go on vacation unless he stops drinking.

I've been on both sides of the coin and it is awful all around. Sending you love and hugs. xo
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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RB71 thank you for your feedback. That's what I was wondering--what is going on in an alcoholic's head that makes sense of choices like my husband's. I keep wishing I could find a book called "Your Brain on Alcohol" so I could understand things from his perspective.

Your comment is a good reminder that I'm asking for rational explanations for irrational behavior, which in itself is somewhat irrational. I am familiar with the RR ideas on the automatic/reflective parts of the brain and corresponding actions, as well as what a person can do to try to engage the reflective system. It's interesting (and confusing) to me that my husband was rational/reflective enough to realize he should go to a meeting, but then back on automatic afterwards, such that he continued drinking. (!) Maybe he didn't go to a meeting at all and I'm believing his story.

Anyway, it's this kind of analyzing and 'what if-ing' that make me want to pull myself away from his predicament and focus on my own life and our kids. If I had Blue's heart of gold and depths of compassion, I would continue trying to help him analyze his motivations and triggers. Problem is my own frustration and anger get in the way so I just want to say please do what you need to do to get your act together (or not, if that's your choice) and then let's see if we have a relationship left.

So I did. I reminded him that a long time ago I asked him to move out until he got sober. He said no.

Then, a year ago, I said okay I'm taking the kids and moving out. He said if I did that he was going to fight for 1/2 custody. I got two different answers from the attorney I consulted about whether or not he would be awarded unsupervised custody, so I backed off, deciding it was better to help him get sober than jump into an adversarial relationship. The kids need a sober dad, whether he and I split or not.

Then, over the last 6 months or so, I tried to work with him, reading BA and GYLOS and using the RR strategies to try to help him understand and change his behavior. He improved somewhat, letting me come to his doctor's appointment, and attending 4 SMART meetings, which is more than he'd done over the past 7 years that he's been dealing with this problem.

But then he drank the week before last, and again last week, and I just feel exhausted by it all.

So, rather than follow Blue's astute advice, I said since you won't move out, and you don't want me and the kids to move out, how about if we live together but separately in our house until you get sober.

And he said 'okay,' took his pillow, and moved to our guest room.

So, that's where we stand, cordial but distant.

And I've had a couple of excellent nights' sleep, without an angry, anxious, insomniac who wants to drink lying next to me.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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How are things going Sauerkraut?

Do you remember in the Beyond Addiction book how it says to make sure you are aware of your own feelings, and warning signs to keep yourself emotionally safe and stable? I think this is probably what you did when you told him about your need for space. Its good to pay attention to your own needs and recognize the yellow warning lights.
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Blue hit the nail on the head.

You have tried to help and can still be supportive, but ultimately it is up to him to make the decision and do the work to stay sober. I don't know if this helps, but him going to a meeting and drinking on the same day shows that he is struggling in his own head about letting alcohol go. Addiction is so powerful. Especially psychological addiction. He wants to do the right thing, but the pull of oblivion still has him in its grip. I think you detaching from him and focusing on yourself and your children is a good thing. You can't jeopardize your own well-being and sanity for someone who can't commit to stopping. Stick to your boundaries and let "him do him", as they say. It doesn't mean you don't love him, or don't care. He needs to face the consequences of his actions, and that is not your fault or responsibility, and you deserve peace and happiness as much as the next person. So does he, but it is his choice to reach for it and do what it takes.

Hang in there. I hope you're feeling a bit better! And again, try not to overanalyze his behavior. Some of it just cannot be explained or make sense to a rational person. xo
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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And I've had a couple of excellent nights' sleep, without an angry, anxious, insomniac who wants to drink lying next to me.

This right here tells me that you're doing the right thing. As humans, we absorb others' negative energy even when we try not to. It is virtually impossible to avoid if you're sleeping next to each other!
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Readerbaby71 and Blue I really appreciate the support and insights, particularly as my husband showed up in 'my' quiet haven early this morning to tell me how mean and unsupportive I'm being. He's so good at manipulation and making it all about him. Meanwhile, I'm fairly sure he was still drunk from last night.

That's a really good point about what going to a meeting and then drinking afterward probably means, too, RB71.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I think its kinda tough. I dont believe change is so much one big event as it is a process. The stages of change make a lot of sense to me, and I dont think change follows an exact straight line. When my husband was in treatment the doctors told me this and said I had to have patience. But its also hard because how does someone find their way through the stages of change, how long does it take, and how is the family member effected while they are on this journey? I think we often want them to have their own motivation and truth is sometimes it falters. We want them to look to outside support like therapy, or meetings at smart, or maybe even yoga classes to help them keep moving and growing. We want to also be of support to them too and know how to encourage, or just listen. But we are also in a constant state of change and growth ourselves. I like the traffic light metaphor because it helps me remember its ok to slow down, stop, then start moving again if I want to. Im the one to interpret the signals of how Im feeling and what I need at any given time. I can balance a lot in life (relationships, career, friends, wild animals eating my broccoli plant) as long as I monitor my own emotions and apply the correct response to what Im feeling.
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks, Blue. Those are good reminders, well stated. I both recognize that I get angry at his choices sometimes and also feel guilty for being angry/non-supportive. That's a good idea to just recognize the yellow light for what it is and take a breather. Not sure I could deal with a wild animal eating my broccoli, however--unless perhaps it's a rabbit
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Old 07-14-2015, 05:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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How are you, Sauerkraut? Been thinking about you and sending my best thoughts your way.
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