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A different approach

Old 12-06-2012, 11:48 AM
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A different approach

Hi. I'm after some advice.
My H and I gave up drinking together 6 months ago. We were long time drinking buddies but for the past 10 years things had deteriorated to the point where we were daily blackout drunks. Long story but things were not good at the end.
Anyway, fast forward 6 months. Our relationship is so much better, we laugh a lot, we appreciate what we have and things between us are great.
But....we are following very different paths. I'm in AA and its working well for me. I've fully accepted I'm an alcoholic. He is supportive but not interested in going to meetings himself. I'm fine with that. I fully understand that it isn't for everyone and I wish he would consider looking at other recovery methods.
He has never admitted being an alcoholic. He appears to have just replaced his addiction to alcohol with spending money on things he doesn't need, binge eating, compulsive behaviour. He is becoming obsessive and secretive about things. But the thing I've noticed most is that he's so angry about everything!
Life in general annoys and irritates him, most of the triggers seemingly minor.
At home he is fine, family life is great, but as soon as he steps out the front door, he finds everything so stressful.
Drink helped him cope it seems.
He is very single minded and his determination to stick to his statement that he won't drink again has seen him through this far. But he hasn't the tools to help himself. He is strong and I'm proud of him.
I am really ignorant as to other recovery methods there are out there.
How can I help him?
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:50 PM
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Hi Jeni,

Sounds like you're already being helpful.

Is your husband expressing interest in other methods or ways other then AA?

Just to inform you, his not being an self-identified alcoholic won't slow him down with AVRT, which may interest him further. A book exists too, detailing AVRT: "Rational Recovery: The New Cure by Jack Trimpey. Well worth the read for a solid understanding and appreciation of AVRT. And an internet site exists. Just google Rational Recovery.

FWIW, I use both AA and RR. RR isn't tolerant of other recovery models, but when you look past all that, AVRT is a totally worth while endevour for those who can rock with it.

How very loving of you to reach out for your husband. Awesome.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:59 PM
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Thanks Robby. No, he isn't expressing interest in recovery methods whatsoever unfortunately!
Looking back I can see he always had a lot of anger issues. He did briefly get some therapy many years ago. But then he sort of got lost in the bottle. We both did. Without it his anger, which I believe stems from a lack of confidence, has resurfaced.
I think he might be willing to look at anger as a separate issue from drinking. He is very touchy if we talk about alcoholism. Very defensive.
He is struggling and I'm worried about him. I don't want him to pick up again. That would be disastrous but I hate to watch him living like this.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:26 PM
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Sorry things are happening as they are, and it may seem like perhaps things can get a whole lot worse, based on your earlier years of drinking experience with each other.

I want you to perhaps relax a wee bit though knowing that many things have changed for both of you over the past months, and those changes could very well mitigate some of the problems which seem obvious today.

You're a great example for your husband, and I'm sure he knows it. Don't put too much stock in his defensiveness. Rather work with what you got, and look for special ways that he is doing well in, and encourage him no end on those. Not drinking is not always about rules and responsibilites for this, that, and the other thing. Often times, spouses just having good sober times makes a huge difference in a persons day. Good times about anything in their lives, you know? We get sober to be happy too, and this is important not to overlook how the simple deep love spouses have for each other can brighten even the darkest day.

You guys are on the same side, even though you're walking to slightly different songs, the music is still there and shared between you both. I know this, because you're reaching out, and he's struggling to do well. You are both contributing to the relationship.

There is a way thru all this, Jeni. Be brave. Don't let doubt and fears of one possible future out of many possible somehow stifle your moments today.

Thanks for starting this thread, Jeni.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:51 PM
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Thanks Robby.
That was a lovely message.
Yeah things are good now, and I will do anything in my power to ensure his happiness and to maintain my own sobriety.
I had a quick peek at the rational recovery website and I will look again when I've got a bit more time tomorrow.
You have been very kind x
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:50 PM
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"I will do anything in my power to ensure his happiness."

ok,a lil brutality: since when is his happiness your responsibility? didnt ya just go through some stuff tryin to please everyone and make em all happy? what was the result of that?

Last edited by Dee74; 12-06-2012 at 04:39 PM. Reason: secular forum
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:05 PM
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Jeni, you are an impressive combination of heart, mind and soul, and your husband is a lucky man. You are steadfast within yourself, but are still willingly and actively seeking to be present for him on his own journey. This speaks volumes about you and the bond you share together.

Around these parts, sobriety = abstinence, they are synonyms and indicate an alcohol free life. Your husband has accepted that his life no longer includes alcohol, and this leaves him free to address other aspects of his life now. In my mind and possibly in his, the addiction to alcohol is indeed separate from other issues like anger, and revisiting therapy sounds like a good idea. It is interesting to note that SMART and other cognitive behavioral techniques address things like appropriate reactions to emotions as part of their approach to sobriety.

Robby suggested that pursuing your relationship together will be helpful for him, and I agree with that because that was my experience too. Your care and support can be a constant thing and a safe place of comfort for him.

But your big concern as you say, Jeni, is the new way he needs to deal with his anger. I can't predict what will ultimately help him, but I can share what helped me. For me, acceptance was and continues to be the glue that is allowing me to build this new full life. I accept that my past is done, that I don't always need to feel like superman, that not everyone will like or approve of me, or that I always make the right decisions. This acceptance has been freedom and allowed my natural abilities and tendencies to take hold. I am learning more about music, meditation, mindfulness, I am more active physically, I take a bigger role in my affairs without the weight of anger and unreasonable expectations.

Those are vague suggestions, so I can make some specific ones too. Any activity that develops and promotes mastery is so important to me and my world, it may be so for your husband too. T'ai chi is something that I am enjoying a lot now, among other things, and it is teaching me about myself as I improve, grow and learn. Very satisfying.

You will receive advice to ditch this guy, and that is disappointing in the extreme. There are lots of us ex addicts who owe much to our partners and can only hope to justify their help and support. Best to you, Jeni.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:51 PM
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Thankyou. Your reply was very helpful.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:16 PM
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Jeni, I was never a joiner. I have stuck with my resolve not to drink but as you know I crashed.

I didn't do aa.

That cost me everything. I am slowly rebuilding and hope I get back to normal. That involves counselling. I hope that will purge me. The urge to drink went but the problems didn't.

Now Mr Jeni maynot have had issues in which case he probably will be ok

If they are there they will come up and bite him on the bum.

He's got what I didn't have. Jeni. I didn't talk to Ms Billy. The relationship was to young to add that as a layer.

How long have you been together 20 years. Too much to throw away and trust me out here isn't nice

You're there you know him. Just talk to him. Not Hector him. He took a big step too. A man find it hard to admit things wrong with their emotions. His love for you will let him listen. Your love for him will let you be there.

He will do it to keep you. Just be the gentle conduit
Your pal BP x
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:21 PM
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I have just reread your op. Mr Jeni sounds even more like I was look after him. Tell him there are solutions for stress. But talk is one mighty Jeni Jedi weapon. You have that

I have never met a woman who can't rattle on. Use it gently to coax him to release those demons.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:29 PM
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Thanks BP. Just heading out to work. Will contact you later. Xxx
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeni26 View Post
Hi. I'm after some advice.
My H and I gave up drinking together 6 months ago. ...
Our relationship is so much better, we laugh a lot, we appreciate what we have and things between us are great.
But....we are following very different paths. I'm in AA and its working well for me. I've fully accepted I'm an alcoholic. He is supportive but not interested in going to meetings himself. ...
He has never admitted being an alcoholic. He appears to have just replaced his addiction to alcohol with spending money on things he doesn't need, binge eating, compulsive behaviour.
Not admitting to being an alcoholic is not a bad thing. People who stay quit on their own like myself often believe that those who endlessly need recovery groups (and/or SR) to keep from drinking have a sort of compulsion of their own. It sounds like he has accepted your need for meetings and time on SR, but at some point he may logically wonder whether you really do need all that any more to keep yourself from drinking.

He is very single minded and his determination to stick to his statement that he won't drink again has seen him through this far. But he hasn't the tools to help himself. He is strong and I'm proud of him.
I am really ignorant as to other recovery methods there are out there.
How can I help him?
It's quite likely that it's not a "recovery method" that he "needs". If he's promised you he won't drink again, then he's done it the AVRT way and he may benefit some from the book that Robby mentioned above, or if he were to check out the rational.org website; but outside of that, I would guess any other recovery programming would be counterproductive. On the other hand, counseling from a non-recovery-program-focused therapist could give him some useful feedback.

My last tidbit of advice is you might try doing things together outside the home that have nothing to do with "recovery" or "other people in recovery".
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:18 AM
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Had some great thoughtful responses here. Thankyou all very much.

I think any recovery method may be doomed from the outset as he doesn't see himself as 'recovering'.
For him, he's just stopped drinking, plain and simple. He didnt like the way he behaved when he was drunk, he had started feeling great remorse and shame, and he saw what it was doing to me and to us.

His stress and anger have always been there, just masked with alcohol for years. In fact my daughter mentioned just the other day how his shouting used to make her cry when she was little.

It's not new, but it is more evident sober and I guess it is a separate issue altogether to alcoholism.

But as for ditching him, that won't happen!
Things are generally really really good.
I just worry about the stress and anger building in him and want to help.

Thanks everyone x
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:03 AM
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People quit drinking on their own once and for good and its been happening for ever. Infact quitting drinking is quite easy YOU JUST DONT DRINK AGAIN EVER! And statistically speaking he has a better chance of staying sober than others using a traditional 12 step programme! If hes an alcoholic or not what differances does it make if he will never drink again!!

Aa will tell you he is in denial, is a dry drunk blah blah blah the point is hes been sober as long as you!

If he has given up drink how can he be recovering, he is recovered!!!!
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:50 AM
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I find it best not to tangle up my "issues" with my past drinking. It sounds as if he has dealt with the drinking. Now he can focus on ways to manage his anger. As others suggested, some counseling might be very helpful. After I quit drinking, I saw a counselor regularly for four years to address my problems with relationships, anger, etc. I can count on one hand the times we talked about my past addiction.

They need not go hand in hand. For me, it only complicates and clouds things.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:20 AM
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This thread has given me a lot to think about. Thanks to all of you for your replies.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:08 PM
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i know whats probably coming and feel bad for him..
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:26 AM
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I don't think any of us can really know what's coming.
I'm not wasting time on the 'what ifs?'. I've done that too much in the past and it leads nowhere good.
I'm concentrating on the now, on protecting my own sobriety and doing what I can to look after him.
After decades of drinking its hard for any of us to make sense of our emotions. We are handling sobriety differently but are in it together.
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:48 PM
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Hey Jeni26. It's a tough one.

I got sober with help from a rehab, and couldn't have done it on my own - but we all have our own route and if your hubby's decided for himself that's more important than any specific plan or method.

But since then I've had anger issues and ... don't know really. Looking back, what got me really steamed was that the world wasn't behaving like I thought it should. "Why has that bus stopped right on the pedestrian crossing WHEN THE LITTLE GREEN MAN IS LIT UP??!!" (a little bit lol at actually standing in front of the bus not letting it move so I could shout at the driver some more and inconvenience him like he (hadn't actually) inconvenienced me).

It was frustration at myself looking back, that I wasn't the way I wanted to be. At my own faults, which I transferred onto everything and anything except the appropriate place. My own imperfectness. It was like I'd managed to stop drinking, so I should be able to change myself to exactly how I wanted to be. Which is, of course, impossible. I'll never be the person I dream of being, and it was only when I managed to start laughing at myself things got more... manageable. (Warning: I'm not suggesting you should just laugh at him!)

But being human is imperfection. (And I bloody promise you, being this human is proper imperfection!) And the difference between the perfection I expect of myself, and the inevitable imperfections that result... it can be amusing, even to myself as I'm being an ass (well, about three minutes afterwards).

One time at uni I was prepping an assignment on the top floor, and there was a couple chatting about their love life at the next desk. So I glared at them with my grrrrr face, and said very deliberately so the whole floor could hear: "Excuse me, this is the silent study area." To which the reply was "No, that's the floor below." Cue hasty exit.

Dunno. Maybe see if he can find the funnier side of life? It's not easy, and it can be pretty brutal sometimes... but it doesn't half undercut the angry side.
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:44 PM
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im sorry but i just fail to see what the problem is here. youve said that things between you are great and you laugh a lot?

is it because you have different paths? or hes angry? nobody is angry in aa?

i think, for a lot of people, theyre going to experience anger when giving up the booze, in whatever path that they choose to do so.

i guess my only concern is why you are feeling this way, if it is because feedback youre getting at aa or things that you hear there that make you feel like there is some type of problem.

also, what do you mean look after him?
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