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Feeling trapped
February 11, 2004
9:21 pm
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vixster
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I just found this site. Thought I might give it a go. I believe I am co-dependent, and now it has gotten to a point that I really need to change. In the past, when relationships have gone wrong (usually because I've picked the wrong person), I could just leave. I've done it several times - across country, and then came back, and then left again, etc. I finally made a move to Georgia, from Ohio in 1979. Been here ever since. Have wanted to go back home to Ohio but somehow never made it. I made a great career for myself in the hospitality industry. I got married in 1990 when I was 36. Had a son at 38. He's 11 now. My husband drank a lot when we were dating, and like all other women, thought it would ease up once the responsibilities of marriage and a child were upon him. That has not been the case. He has been DUI twice, the last time he was involved in an accident. Cost us over $10,000 in addition to our insurance, he went to jail for a week, and worked on a road crew. In Sept. 01, he was thrown out of a campground (minutes before my son and I arrived to join him) for being drunk and shooting off his rifle! At that point, we went to counseling, and he was told to get sober. He quit drinking, but did not go to meetings. So he was basically a dry drunk. He was the same withdrawn person, but just not drinking. He did not learn how to live sober. Well, it's now 2 1/2 years later...he's been drinking again, of course. Sometimes trying to sneak it, and then other times, just blatantly drinking. I used to work full time. I went to part time in 2000. Also in December of 2000 I had to move my mother from Ohio to Georgia because she has Alzheimers. I found her a place to live, just 3 miles from my house. She is only 68, but she is doing pretty well, on good medication and likes where she lives. My husband travels extensively - usually 4 - 5 days per week. So, I basically run the house, handle my son and homework, sports, etc., as well as look after my mother and our two dogs, one cat, guinea pig, and a turtle. All of our relatives are in Ohio, so I'm the only person she knows here, and I am responsible for it all! Anyway, I have been "obsessing" for 2 years about packing it up and moving back to Ohio. The only problem is now, instead of it just being me and my U-Haul, it is me, my son, and my mom. Plus we own a house here and all the other crap that goes with being married for 13 years. I am on anti-depressants, I've gone to a therapist, I've read all the books, and my husband has not done anything. I realize I cannot control or change him. I am just paralyzed right now. I know I can work out the logistics of making the move. I'm concerned how it will impact my son not being with his dad. I'm worried about moving my mom - I think she would be happier being close to family members. (My dad died when he was only 38, and unfortunately, my only sibling a brother died in 1996 when he was 38). Sometimes, I think I should just "count my blessings" and stay put. My husband is not physically abusive, but he's not "mr. emotional, either. When he's home on the weekends, he buries his nose in a book and stays down the basement - coming up every once in a while. I've made a list of pros and cons of staying versus leaving. As I said, I only work part time from home. Money would be an issue if I moved, but does anyone have any "success stories"? My husband and I had a talk yesterday. I told him to tell me what his intentions are as far as drinking is concerned so I could make a decision on what I would do. He said he does not want to quit drinking. (He drinks beer). He said he will try to be a better husband and father. He has never asked me what I need from him...., so of course, I doubt he has the ability to even get close to being better. I told him he is unavailable - emotionally, physically, etc. We have not slept together in over 3 years - except when we're camping. I don't even know what to ask of him -- I don't believe him, and I really don't know if I even love him anymore. I have lost so much respect and trust for him. If I were reading this, I'd say - get out now while you can!!!! I'll be 50 this year, and have been told I look 10 - 15 years younger, but so what! I'm having trouble visualizing what life would be like back up North (the weather - ugh!). I can make things happen if I can visualize it. Right now, I'm not able to "see" anything - whether I stay here and try to work on our marriage, or if I leave, and try to start a new life, as a divorced person with a son and an ill mother - yikes - that sounds dreadful! I need a positive vision to carry in my head about the future! I've written enough! Thanks to anyone who takes time to read all of this!

February 12, 2004
2:08 am
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gingerleigh
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One thing that stuck out to me from your post was that you knew you could handle the logistics. I've been on these threads for a few years watching people come and go, some make it, some don't. But you are the first person I have ever seen come here who had as much self confidence and sense of her own power as you do when evaluating whether or not to break out of a bad situation. Should you decide to make this move, you will more than survive... you will be a great success.

I'm sorry that this is affecting your son. I know you are concerned for him. But, think about how staying there will affect him. Silently he is getting the message that alcoholism is an acceptable way of life. Each day it affects him, so ultimately if you leave and take your son with you, your son can still have a relationship with his dad, but he won't be subjected to that daily influence of alcohol in his life.

You are so concerned for your son and mom, that's lovely. But what do you think would be best for you? What solution pulls most strongly at your own heart?

February 12, 2004
5:59 am
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vixster
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Dear Gingerleigh

Thank you for your response. Your statement about the silent message that alcholism is an acceptable way of life was powerful.

Although my husband is gone most of the time on business, he hears the arguments we have, and has seen me drink wine as well - my escape hatch. I need to really evaluate myself, and then truly decide what answer pulls most strongly at my heart.

My gut instinct is that I want to move back to Ohio. I miss having family near me, and it would be better for my son to grow up with relatives. My brother's 3 children (now grown and one niece has two young children) still live there. Their mother moved out of state shortly after my brother died. I would like to be closer to them, and to my long time friends.

I've asked my husband to move along with us. He does not want to move there. Could I be manufacturing problems in my marriage, and making too much of his drinking simply because I just want to move?

One Ohio friend suggested that I just go to visit there move often instead of moving. I am planning a visit this summer.

Actually, we have been going at least once per year, and I take my mom along too. Last October, I went up for a week by myself - it was nice to get away. I actually looked at places my mom could live (assisted living), and looked at schools for my son. I was trying to visualize a new life there, but then things improved at home -- at least for a while.

Well, more to think about on this brand new day! Hope you have a good one. I appreciate you response and your words of strength!

February 12, 2004
8:23 am
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themis
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Phewwwwwwww, I can feel the weight of your decisions. None of them easy. I loved what Gingerleigh said also, some of the biggest messages are the silent ones. When I left my 22 year marriage it had been as if my husband had sat down and given notes to our son on how to behave.
There is also the message that you send your husband, that you are accepting of his behaviour and its ok. There is one consideration I'm not sure you have made.........he may have new motivation in your leaving to make different/healthier choices for his own life.
As for me, I'm 9 years sober. Couldn't have done it without meetings. The meetings help me find a way to start loving myself. After 3 years sober I was loving myself just enough to leave my marriage. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I can't even say, 5 years later that I'm on the other side. I married when I was 19.......this man has been a part of every memory of my life. It became my identity.....even when the marriage was at its worse I knew who I was and where I fit in the world. When I left I was astounded to feel so lost. I had thought I'd feel lighter without the weight of the marriage ..........but as bad as the marriage was, it gave me confidence in where I fit in the world. It was all very weird.
That having been said, I would do it again in a minute. I moved back to the city and bought a house with tennants and within a year and a half, I took over the entire house and renovated for a Bed and Breakfast. I have developed into the woman I was meant to be. As I look back over my shoulder I am astounded at the things I have done. I guess my words to the wise...........don't expect your life to be ALL BETTER with the leaving, but it is a crash course in beginning a journey TO SELF. One I don't think I could have made within the marriage.

February 12, 2004
9:30 am
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Zinnie
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Hi Vixster and welcome,

Perhaps start by taking the suggestion of your one Ohio friend. Maybe rent a place there for the summer, near your friends and family, take your son and your Mother and see how that works out. Or you may have to decide to leave your Mom there in GA if she is better off in the home she is in, but you still go and check out potential homes.

I'm not one to advocate the demise of a marriage. Personally, I think too many walk out too soon without trying, because "something or someone" looks better. BUT, in this case - you are the one in the marriage, and I'm not so sure about your husband. It is one thing to have seperate interests, but his are completely seperate.

Let me elaborate a bit if I may. My husband is an avid outdoorsman, including being a firearms instructor. My idea of being outdoors is sitting in my back yard. He loves to fish, hunt, camp etc. I don't mind camping, and enjoy fishing BUT you will not see me in a deer stand at 4:00 a.m.! He loves to do these things, and I love to let him go enjoy himself. BUT, when I need or want him here, he has always made himself 100% available to me. I'm not working this weekend, and for once he is not teaching a class - it's Valentines Day. He asked me "what movies do you want to rent? What do you want to eat? Etc.? for Valentines Day - I LOVE our weekends and home, just you and I hanging out and relaxing and being goofy."

You are doing a tremendous job, and you are more than working part time, you are working two full time jobs. Taking care of a home, a child, pets, and a Mother in care is not easy, and you are to be commended for it. But, I agree with the above. What message is your son getting? We hope that he is getting the message that he will not treat his wife like his Dad. Sadly, more than likely he is getting the message "I will do whatever I want when I get married, Mom puts up with it." OR... he might marry someone that he has to bend over backwards to make happy - the reverse of your situation.

I commend you again for all that you are doing. Also, for looking at the realistics of your situation. I really think I would try to spend a summer there in Ohio though first. See how your son likes it. See how much time and help your friends and family really are to you. They may say they will be, and have all good intentions - but, it could be very different once you are really there.

Good luck,

Zinnie

February 12, 2004
12:22 pm
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vixster
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Dear Themis and Zinnie

You are all giving me good things to think about. I am really happy that I found this site, and that people actually respond!

Zinnie, I like your idea of just going up for the summer. -- that may be the best move I could make at this time. I would bring my mom for various reasons, and to really see how it would be with her there.

This might also be a way for my husband to see how he wants to proceed. In a way, I don't want to end the marriage, I just want it to be different!

Do you think it would appropriate for me to talk to my son about what is going on? He is very intuitive, and I'm certain he knows something is not right. It's true that the silent messages are almost louder than any yelling can be, and I'd like to have him hear that it's not OK to accept things, and that you do have the power to make positive changes in your life.

Thank you for sharing each of your experiences with me, and others. It really helps to know I'm not alone. It also helps to get a new perspective. I think I have thought about this for so long on my own, I'm not thinking straight any more.

I appreciate your time and thoughts!

February 12, 2004
12:33 pm
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gingerleigh
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"Could I be manufacturing problems in my marriage, and making too much of his drinking simply because I just want to move?" Almost all of the relationship and marriage counseling books I've read have all had wonderful advice, but they give two caveats: if either drug/alcohol abuse or physical abuse is involved, forget it, their advice won't help until those elements are removed from the situation. If the "experts" are refusing to touch alcohol abuse with a 10 foot pole, I find it hard to believe that you would be "making too much" of the drinking. Just throwing some validation your way.

Anyway, I like the suggestions from Zinnie and Themis, smart cookies those two.

February 12, 2004
4:09 pm
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vixster
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Gingerleigh - that makes sense. The ball is in his court now, but he told me he does not want to quit drinking forever. He thinks its acceptable to drink on special occasions, and at night (not during the day). How's that for rationalization!

I had insisted, at one time, no drinking at all. He has somehow worked it back into his life and I'm freaked out again!

The therapist I went to last year said that some people do stay in these relationships if they have a good support system - family and friends nearby to help or distract them. Maybe that's what is propelling my desire to move closer to family...I don't know?!? Hope everyone has something to smile about today - I'm sure Zinnie brought smiles to lots of people when delivering flowers!

February 12, 2004
9:31 pm
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themis
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nobody quits drinking forever........they just quit for today.........if I felt I had promise to never drink for the rest of my life I likely wouldn't have tried because it would have been just too big

February 13, 2004
1:18 am
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vixster
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Dear Themis

You're right. Asking for forever may be too much to ask!

I'm just scared that if he drinks at all, he will lose his job, which is our main source of income since I'm not working. I think that is my greatest fear -- I am so vunerable right now with not having a full time job and not making the "big bucks" to which I have been accustomed to.

Should I compromise my request? Or are my expectations too high? That is my big dilemna. I've been in previous situations where I knew I HAD to get out. And I did.

With nothing more than a housecoat and my electric curlers - that was in the early 70's, I tried boarding a plane to Atlanta, only to have it grounded in Ohio due to weather.

I finally made it out and lived in a trailer park in Georgia with someone who is still a dear friend of mine.
Talk about culture shock for an Italian from up north to be served fried liver, collard greens and black eyed peas!

Anyway, my friend took me in (sight unseen) and I stayed for about a year before calling the jerk and going back to Ohio! That, in itself is a whole other story, which I can't believe I lived through!

Of course, I was only in my 20's so life was ahead of me, and I had nothing to lose! Boy, was I wrong.

I finally broke away, and returned to Atlanta on my own in 1979. I pursured a great career in the hospitality industry - lots of travel and glamour! Along with stress and long hours, but I loved it for 20 years!

This relationship is sort of "on the fence" -- i.e., it's not really that bad, but not what I expected my life to be like after everything I went through to get here.

I guess I've made some bad choices early on and am trying to correct them now.

It's sort of like asking yourself - "What's worse - being blind, or being lame?" What would you chose?

OK, enough for tonight, thanks to everyone who has read and digested this information. You are all very special, and I appreciated knowing you are "out there somewhere"! Smiles and big hugs. I'm new to this, so I am impressed by your "shorthand" with regard to hugs and kisses, but please feel the love and appreciation!

Take care and find something to smile about today!

February 13, 2004
9:00 pm
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themis
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Sorry I couldn't respond earlier but I was out all day. I had a few thoughts after reading your last comments. Remember of course that I come from an A.A perspective ok? But I hear over and over again in the rooms,"I wish I'd hit my bottom earlier". It is only in hitting a bottom that an alcoholic finds enough courage to do something different. Alcoholism is not just about drinking, it is about thinking. So it is very easy to lie to oneself. Another comment heard is "how could I have been an alcoholic, I didn't lose anything"? Should he lose his job before things get even worse(i.e. drunk driving etc) that may be the good news.
For yourself, all I could do and have advised other women to do is to put your focus on yourself so that should you lose him, you don't lose everything. Most importantly, yourself! Is it possible to get a part time job? The strokes gained away from him are very important. Meeting new people and developing new interests. It was in this process that a path just evolved and it led me to my life and away from ours. Sometimes it can have a happy ending but the biggest reward is building a safe place for yourself. Be your own best friend. Treat her as you would treat me.
Huge steps..........know you're not alone.
hugs

February 13, 2004
10:42 pm
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vixster
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You're right, he does not think he has hit bottom - in spite of the losses he has experienced - still in the denial mode.

I work part time from home, but it's getting lonely. Part time outside my home pays less than I'm making, but it would get me out and around people.

I've always been a people person. I volunteer at my son's school, and take jazzercise classes, and am involved in the assisted living home where my mom lives. I'm thinking of volunteering with our church, or at a hospital.

Thanks for the insight from your side of the fence. I did go to AlAnon a few times, maybe I'll try that again. I need to snap out of this mood soon!

Hope you had a good day, and a nice weekend ahead of you!

February 13, 2004
11:12 pm
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themis
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It is kind of neat because I have been on both sides of the fence as I also married an alcoholic. I did Alanon.....you need to do 6 meetings before you make a decision. In retrospect I believe my issues are being better dealt with in A.A and CODA. You sound like you're doing all the right things. You maybe think you're not making strides but I certainly hear a lot of good. In the bad times its easy for me to lose sight of the good things that I've done. You may be taking on water but you're a STRONG SWIMMER GIRL! 🙂

February 14, 2004
12:26 pm
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vixster
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Thanks themis - I've been reading all of the other threads, and you are very helpful to others, and I appreciate your insight here.

Last night I pulled out my old book - co-dependent, and co-dependent no more. I was told to read it in 1996 -I only read half of it. This time, when I started reading it again, I can tell my symptoms have intensified. Sort of scary.

Thru all of these threads, and inspirational stories, I now have a renewed sense of purpose -- I've got to get back on track, and out of this dark place! Only I can do it!

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