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How to deal with an alcoholic spouse
October 26, 2008
8:21 pm
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atalose
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It’s a good thing you don’t have that addictive personality. I know where you are coming from in wanting to hear success stories of recovering alcoholics, those stories give you hope but keep you focused on HER and away from yourself and your issue of letting go.

It’s sad she has a 13 year old child that will become affected by her disease and the only thing you can do is report her if you strongly feel the child is in danger being with her.

Whether or not you drink has no impact on her drinking, never did and never will. I’m sure she uses the Nyquil to come down and fall asleep after binging on alcohol. Her self esteem is broken and she may feel the need for alcohol to feel better about herself and demanding to be the center of attention.

It’s normal for addicts/alcoholics to find accepting people to surround themselves with while remaining active.

Keep going to al-anon, keep posting and try and put the focus on you and not her

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

October 27, 2008
2:12 pm
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RemoGazzo
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Thanks for your support. RG

October 27, 2008
7:25 pm
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truthBtold
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I am so sorry to hear about your situation.

I truly am.

Many here have offered some excellent input.

For what it is worth, I would like to add that perhaps you might want to rent the movie: "When A Man Loves A Woman" with Meg Ryan & Andy Garcia.

Aside from that, what really stuck out to my mind was the part that you said:

"My wife was very succesfull at her work, she had a very high paying job, this gave her inmense confidence, her company closed down last year and she stayed home, at that time she began drinking and watched alot of TV"

I really do think that this is the crux of the problem.

This is such a screwed up society that as soon as we meet someone new - the first thing that comes out of our mouth is - what is your name?

That's OK. Innocent and innocuous enough.

The second is - what do you do?

Ahhhh - that's the REAL kicker in otday's society!

We somehow just automatically relate to 'what you do' for a living somehow describes WHO YOU ARE as a person - you know?

THAT'S the bottom line.

And to somehow LOSE that occupation -THAT IDENTITY - can just naturally leave one grasping at straws.

I know.

I've been there.

It ain't pretty.

I was once completely financially independent - at one point - had a company car and everything - had insurance, was able to pay my bills, did NOT live beyond my means - everything was going pretty well - then I got laid off not once, not twice but THREE TIMES and right now - my former occupation is paying literally paying 2 dollars LESS per hour than when I started 20 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!

20 Years ago!!!!!!!

A SHOCK - to say the least.

Yet - never did I find an appropriate way/forum to connect with others whom had experience the same thing.

I must say - that I resort to alcohol from time to time out of utter frustration as well.

I continue to struggle with this.

I don't have an answer here - lest to say that perhaps your wife does need find a way to connect with others whom have been laid off and to which taking away the job status indeeds strips away at the very core of our being of 'who we are' as opposed to 'what we do for a living.'

American society of late seems to foster this ideal that we ARE what we DO.

Your wife has incurred an incredible hard reality check.

That her (my) job was intrinsically combined into just who we are as a person....and that our self esteem plummets as a result.

That's all I've got.

By no means condoning her bahavior - I just know where she is coming from and I ain't figured it out yet......

Have to try and reinvent myself - I guess.

Find new skills.

No easy task.

Perhaps if you talk to her about her frustrations about losing her job and what it meant might be a beginning.......

To try and tell her that her former job was not all that she was or is......

I dunno.

Just my thoughts.......

October 27, 2008
9:09 pm
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RemoGazzo
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truthBtold, I see alot of truth in your words, I wish she could realize that her former job did not define her, she is so much more than that. Thanks. RG

October 28, 2008
1:21 am
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salt4u
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RemoGazzo,
I am an adult child of an alcoholic. You either have to let the alcoholic do as they please or learn to live with them and I suppose emotionally detach from them. I have not been able to emotionally detach maybe I have from my father, but not my husband. We cannot change them. They have to suffer the normal consequences and decide to change themselves. This is what I have been told and find true. Did you get a sponsor at Alanon and work the 12 steps. I have not done this yet, but it is supposed to help. I am working on finding a sponsor.
Salt

October 28, 2008
1:38 am
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RemoGazzo
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Thanks salt,

I am living through what I believe to be the hardes thing I have ever been through, my wife is an alcohol addict, she blames me for every thing that went wrong in our marriage, she blames her drinking on me, she has reffered to me as "the ailment" meaning that now that the ailment is gone from the house she doesn't feel the need to drink as much, only her drinking has gotten worse, now she can booze up with her fucked up friends completely unsupervised, I feel like shit, I didn't want to be here at this time in my life, she is an excellent woman, I allowed her to associate with her alcoholic friends, their influence has ruinned her, she is not the same person I married, her therapist doesn't help, they seldom do. RG

October 28, 2008
12:30 pm
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StronginHim77
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I am alarmed by something you wrote. You "ALLOWED" her to be with her alcoholic friends? Excuse me? ALLOWED?

That sounds like a very controlling personality to me. I hear alarm bells ringing loudly. And you feel that her therapist "DOESN'T HELP?" Why? Is the therapist unwilling to approach this situation from YOUR viewpoint of trying to rebuke/correct or control her drinking habits, rather than addressing the root cause via legitimate therapy?

Have YOU sought personal therapy yet for what may be codependent/controlling issues of your own?

- Ma Strong

October 28, 2008
2:04 pm
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RemoGazzo
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What I meant by "Allowed" was that I never strongly objected and by never objecting she felt it was OK to hang out with her alcoholic friends to the point that now she has realized they are a terrible influence on her, she has now crossed the invisible line between social acceptable drinking into an addiction, I am a very low key person and all I wanted was for my wife to be happy, I object to her therapist lack of involvement because now that we clearly see a problem I see every one act as I did before, (Permissive and non objectant) an addict needs help to get to treatment, I am the worst person to bring this message to her. I love my wife and want the best for her. Ma Strong, I welcome your input, please keep posting, I appreciate it. RG

October 28, 2008
2:09 pm
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RemoGazzo
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Also by the time I objected, I was trying to reverse months of alcohol abuse, I came down so strong that I turned the whole world against me, I wanted to force changes in her that she wasn't going to make rapidly, I have learned by attending Al Anon that recovery is slow and that the addict needs to face the consequences of her actions, the worst thing I did was to react to her provokation, I yelled and became angry and called her ugly names in my frustration, I regret handling the situation in this manner, had I known what I know now I would have handled it diffrently and in a more loving and compationate manner. RG

October 28, 2008
2:17 pm
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RemoGazzo
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There is a reason why when parents object to their children's friends, parents can see trouble brewing, I have never tried to control my wife, this is why I say that I never objected, therefor "Allowing" something to happen without objection, please don't missinterpret the word, you may think I am a control freak or a wife beater, Not true, I am being very open about my life and don't want things to get twisted, my wife did what she wanted and went where she wanted and saw anyone she wanted, there were no restrictions from my part, (Please understand that I am a frustrated husband and observer of my failing life and can not do much about it, it kills me to know that my wife boozes up every night and is unable to stop on her own. RG

October 28, 2008
3:40 pm
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RemoGazzo
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MaStrong, I thought about what you said, I agree about the co-dependency, my wife is a very wonderful woman in many ways, very intelligent, beautiful, good mother, good wife, I can go on and on, about 15 months ago things took a turn, her loss of her job affected her inmmensly, this was very dramatic for her, I can deal with adversity way better, I have had way less in my lifetime and I guess some people can't scale back, she has taken it very hard. I can tell you more, I just want you to see things for what they are, ask me anything and I promise to answer 100% truthfully, after all what is the point to open up about things if I am not 100% open. Thanks. RG

October 28, 2008
10:40 pm
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_anonymous
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Ramo- An alcoholic is someone who cannot not drink.

She will not quit drinking until she decides she wants to quit.

Even if she decided to quit drinking most alcoholics go through a lot of relapses before they finally stop.

Even if she decides to quit drinking, attends AA every day it still takes a minimum of 1 year or more if ever before she is rehabilitated.

Many alcoholics do not decide to quit drinking until their spouse walks out on them or worse yet they get arrested for a DUI, or do something else stupid while under the influence that lands them in jail. Even then most of them do their time then go right back to drinking again. Why? Because they enjoy drinking and it is almost impossible to get someone to stop doing something they like doing.

There is the other sad side of alcoholism, for some reason some alcoholics become physically dependent on alcohol and if they quit suddenly can have DT's and die without medical supervision. It is pretty serious.

If you try to stop them from drinking then they will avoid you disappear so they can continue to drink uninterupted. If you allow them to drink then they will continue to drink cause they think its OK by you. In other words no matter what you do or say they will continue to drink. They do not drink because of you or not because of you. They drink because they choose to.

October 29, 2008
11:48 am
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salt4u
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Hi RemoGazzo,
It's not your fault. Please try to attend an Alanon Meeting in your area. You need to be with people that have similar issues. They will give you a phone list, and you can call others for outreach also in addition to talking to persons here. You are not alone. Have you ever considered Alanon?
Salt

October 29, 2008
11:56 pm
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RemoGazzo
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I am so frustrated, I hate this feeling, she loves to blame, point fingers at every thing I have done as the cause of our demise, it is mathematically impossible for me to be wrong 100% of the time and for her to be right 100% of the time. Her stony silence frustrates me even more, she stands silent while I am nailed to a cross, all for showing concern and for asking for help for my wife, sometimes I feel like jumoing in front of a moving car just to end the fucking pain. My mother is still alive and I just couldn't inflict this kind of pain on her, I don't drink at my problems like my wife does, this pain I feel is raw heart ache. RG

October 30, 2008
4:59 am
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CraigCo
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RemoGazzo,

As someone once told me, blame & denial are trademarks of the acoholics. You could have been many times better than you were & it still wouldn't have enabled you conquer her alcoholism. I was guilty of enabling myself & often though that I had been more strigent during the last half of our marriage that things could have turned out better & that perhaps we may have endured. I was separated from my wife several months ago. We had met almost seven years ago. I too, lost her, due in no small part to her addictions & skewed thinking that were a result of all that. Woke up on day & she was gone. Never to be heard from or seen from again.

I was in shock & disbelief as right up intil her abandonment I had been reassured by her that I was unlike any other man she'd ever encountered. Loving, caring, a great father & grandad & all that. Empty words in retrospect. Now myself, her/my family & her 1st grandson whom I'd thought she was attached to the hip, are without this woman as well. When it was good it was good but, alas, it can never go on (at least happily) forever with an addict.
She has a history of failed relationships & has excuses for them all. Perhaps some of her previous mates were not so good but, I'm confident that they weren't all bad. In retrospect I should have seen the signs, the "Red flags" if you will, & reponded early on but initially she was a strong member of AA with 16 & 1/2 years of sobriety. She ultimately traded our relationship in for the bottle.

Now I work at not harbouing the anger & resentment that one feels naturally at the onset of such a trajedy as those emotiona, although neccessary to go through, will not end up in soothing our souls. As they say in Al-anon, all we can do is work on ourselves. Give it to our higher power & work the steps.
I share the pain you are now feeling & although it has subsidied substantially over the past several months I still feel it very acutely from time to time. All too often for my liking. Therefore I empathize fully for yor tormented emotional state. Please just keep on hanging in there, bud! You'll be a better man for doing so.

My wife had also lost her position as a head cook making decent money in a busy establishment & took it very personally. Her self esteem was affected big time. Definetly a lot of mental issues with her from her past life & God knows if she'll ever get them sorted out. As it turned out it was not a wise choice for me to have accepted her & married her as my lifelong mate.

Now that the trust has been shattered, the chances of it ever working out again even if the opportunity presented itself are literally slim to none.

I am in my late 40's & had no desire to find myself single at this stage of the game. I've always said that I have always been of the notion of home & hearth but, as we all know, life is not fair & it is all about change. It only seemed that it was a change for the worse in the past but I work hard at being optimistic that it truly will be for the best one day.

Working on oneself is no easy task.
I've been at it for sometime & although my emotional state has improved greatly, I still am haunted from time to time with memories & reminders of the times both good & bad. It's really, really tough stuff.
Hearing from others that time will heal all waa not particularly comforing initially but, I am finding out gradually that it is tue to some degree. There is a ways to go yet though I must concede.

I could go on & on but as I have to get up early I must now retire.
Al-anon helped me only so far. I worked on my steps but was never able to secure a counsellor & I gradually faded out of the program. It was, however, a great provider of relief through understanding the disease & realizing that I couldn't realistically continue blaming myself.
Aside from my enabling there really wasn't anything else that I could've done to fix er. Only myself, as I know you've heard it said there as well.

Counselling might be abother avenue of action for you to take in the dumping of a lot of the things that tend to eat at you inside. Reike might be something else for you to consider learning about incorporating into you regime.

You got some good folks here with experience & knowledge on this AAC site. Hope we can talk again soon RemoGazzo.

Crg

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