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Post Info TOPIC: Dealing with a new wrinkle...


Senior Member

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Posts: 264
Date:
Dealing with a new wrinkle...


So now that I have accepted the realities of living with an alcoholic, really accepted my situation, the last month or so has been livable. What I want? Definitely not.

But I successfully use my slogans, attend my meetings, and use the "right" tools when dealing with my AH.  I even weathered the storm that was my AH not enjoying my new-found peace from Al-Anon. He was constantly trying to engage me in arguments, but I walked away, left the house etc. All while gently telling him that I wasn't going to stand for that kind of behavior. All good things, right?

Well, tonight after getting bombed, he has changed tactics. He now is accusing ME of being angry and always "ragging on him." In other words, simple, innocuous conversations have become "angry attacks" by me. I can never predict what conversation will set him off.

This stemmed from me walking into the bedroom to ask him what he would like for dinner because I was going out to pick up. All I actually said was, "What would you like for dinner?" I then saw the bottle of tea sitting on the bed (on my side) nestled in my "good" pillows. Early on in my recovery, I posted how pissed I had become b/c everything that is on our bed is ruined in some way... food & drink stains, blood stains (from drunken injuries), urine... you get the idea. I let it stew and stew. But Al -Anon taught me a new way to deal with this issue. So eventually I was able to ignore all of his junk and allow him to do what he was going to do and do the things that would take care of me... ie: I kept 2 really nice pillows on my side of the bed, and repeatedly asked him kindly to not put drinks or food on my side of the bed. When I would see him drunk in bed with food or drink, I would just put my two nice pillows on the floor, away from him, but I wouldn't say anything.

But tonight I saw that bottle in between my two nice pillows and instead of ignoring it, I picked up the bottle and asked if he could please put it someplace else. Those exact words... said in a kind way. I guess that was enough for him. After his tirade about how I came in all angry at him, I tried to calmly explain that when I initially walked in and asked him what he wanted for dinner, I wasn't mad at all. I was angry at the bottle... and all he could say was, "But the lid was on tight!" I told him that it didn't matter to me. I explained that each time he does this, I feel that he is completely ignoring my feelings about this issue. It's like I am talking to a wall, I told him. It makes me feel like I don't even matter. AT this point I told him I am still not angry and I don't want to fight about this... I just wanted him to know how it makes me feel, and I want to go get him some food.

Even though I left & bought dinner, he spent most the night angry at me.

I realize that "you can't reason with an alcoholic..." they just twist your words and focus on how you are "wronging" them! I know that. So part of me is mad that I slipped and sat there trying to show my AH reason. But at the same time, I began to realize that even though I am using my Al-Anon tools, many of the tools end up feeling to me like I am tip-toeing around him! And in that moment, I was just sick and tired of him accusing ME of being the angry one - especially since I have been working my Al-Anon tools REALLY hard!

After dinner I left and took the dog for a long walk...I am now trying to formulate how to tell him that I am not happy living with an alcoholic. I think I need to consult with a lawyer regarding separation. I really thought that I could ride this out... living with an alcoholic spouse is so darn hard!

Thanks for letting me vent!



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Music makes my soul soar!
a4l


~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 851
Date:

It is hard PNP. Something that helped me was to enquire about what was available to me in my situation. It helped me know the difference between what needed accepting and what I had power to change. Once I couldn't accept anymore, I knew what my options were to make change. Its all a process. Keep coming back.

__________________

"When one door is closed, don't you know,another is open?" Bob Marley.



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 2585
Date:

Hugs PNP,

You are working your program .. what he does is what he does .. it really is what are you going to do kind of situation. I really don't know anyone living with an RA (who was active before) or one that is currently active (I'm sure someone will correct me) continuing the same behavior because sanity/serenity is necessary in all forms. If nothing changes .. nothing changes. You are right where you need to be in recovery and doing what is best for you.

Hugs S :)

__________________

"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay

Bo


Senior Member

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Posts: 393
Date:

This can be a very difficult situation. I went through the very same thing. It was early on, in my early days, and I began to make progress -- on me getting better. My AW was not getting better, but I was. And, this was the first obstacle I hit, and it was not easy to overcome...at least not at first, LOL. However, I got through it, and very well might I add -- because of the help I got from my sponsor. What my sponsor brought to the table was a great deal of experience in this specific area. He had been through it, many times, so he was able to help me, guide me, and so on. What he also brought me was objectivity and accountability. When these incidents, conversations, etc., was happening -- I was allowing my emotions to supercede my common sense and intellect. I also spiked up my meetings. It was important for me to share on this, and to hear what others had to say -- face to face, in-person. I would share, and other people did as well, and so much of what they had to say applied to me and my situation. I heard what I needed to hear. I was surrounded my healthy people, people who were striving, trying, everyday, to get better, to get healthy. 

Meanwhile, at home, with my wife, was this what I wanted. NO. I didn't want it to just be livable (and livable did not mean enjoyable, as some people point out). I didn't want it to just be bearable. I was not looking to tolerate the intolerable. I was not looking to make the unacceptable acceptable. No. I didn't accept "well, this is just the way it is going to be" so to speak. I lived in...JUST FOR TODAY. I also immersed myself in NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES. That kept me focusing on me. 

For me, simple, the most simple, one line comments or brief, the most innocent and benign conversations -- turned into confrontations, arguments, etc. Most important -- whenever this happened, I had to immediately detach. Both mentally and physically. I would not engage. I was very quick to say "I am not going to get into this with you (right) now" or "I am not going to engage with you" and so on. For me, even if it meant "not being able to express my feelings" -- and yes, here's the catch and slippery slope, and this is where I had to really look at me...I just wanted her to know how I feel...BANG! There it is. Me, I had to look at why. To what end. I had to check my motives. While you cannot apply logic to an illogical person, or situation...I was trying to get someone to understand how I felt, and they were absolutely, positively incapable of understanding that! She was incapable of having this discussion, in any open and honest way. She was incapable. An alcoholic can and can't do certain things. Was she ignoring my feelings? Being insensitive to them or completely dismissing them? Was she trying to engage, manipulate me? I have no idea, nor do I care. I focus on me and what I need to do. In all my years experience, one thing I learned is that the more I tried to figure this out, the more I drove myself crazy. So I focused on what I needed to do...not engage, detach, not contribute to the situation, not perpetuate the situation, and so on.

You cannot reason with an alcoholic. You cannot be logical with an alcoholic. There are many things you can't do with an alcoholic. So, I don't try and figure out why! You didn't slip. You have awareness around what has happened and what will continue to happen. You are doing a great job -- using your tools, detaching, not engaging, and keep doing it. This might be a new wrinkle, so it's time for you to develop a new way of behaving, reacting, acting, etc. Perhaps look at setting some boundaries. You should also look to focus on you and not that he spent the rest of the night, day, week, etc., being angry at you. I've heard many times in the rooms -- if the alcoholic/addict is angry at you, then you are probably doing something right! For me, when I was accused of being angry, passive aggressive, starting, whatever -- and I knew I wasn't -- it was enough for me to know. I checked my motives -- a lot!!! And when I knew it wasn't me, I wasn't angry, etc. -- that was enough for me, and I just let it go. Is this the way it was going to be (with her)? Well, just for today, it was. So I had to deal with that. I had to face it. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I had to detach and let it go.

That said, meeting with an attorney can be a very good thing. It can be traumatic, upsetting, and the like, but can also be empowering. You can and will become educated, learn about your options, your rights, you can learn about everything. On that note -- nothing changes if nothing changes. Sometimes, people get to a point where they ask themselves...is this the way I want to live the rest of my life? If nothing changes, is this the way I want to live...one month? Three? Six? One year? Five? Sure, this can be an enigmatic, circular, scary mental exercise. That's not the point though. The point is to focus on you and what you need to do to get better. Nothing changes if nothing changes...and that is about YOU.

Focus on YOU. Keep coming back.



__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 441
Date:

Hi PnP
Yes I agree living with an AH can be very difficult. I think you did great though. I also found we had a huge upheaval in our home when I first started working the program. Now things are a lot calmer. My AH fed off the drama in our relationship as much as I did I think. I used to say for years that it was like I was the gasoline and he was the match. And I do feel that he would often try to get a reaction from me so when I changed then he changed tactics for a while trying to start an argument. Telling me I was angry when I wasn't was something he did for a while too. It was a great learning experience because I learned to evaluate for myself if I was comfortable with my reaction. I found in my situation that my AH eventually started to enjoy the peace in our home that my program brought. He now calls me KT version 2.0 and in a positive way. He still mocks my program from time to time however, he has also commented on how much better I am with people. I actually see him using some of the slogans and tools I use. But that change was very gradual over time.

You're right you cannot reason with an alcoholic. Especially when they are drunk. I tend not to have any serious conversations with my AH when he's intoxicated that is a boundary I set for myself and no matter what he says I refuse to engage in any serious discussion. I have never come across any discussion between the two of us when he is drunk that can't wait until the morning (or another day). Thankfully he is sober most days and doesn't start drinking until the evening. SO I have lots of non intoxicated time to discuss things with him. But I don't really have long discussions with him I ask for what I need, or I say what I need to say (when we are both calm) and I leave it with him. I let go of the results. I am so darn particular with my pillows so I can relate to how frustrating that must be. I think you're working your program really well. Keep up the good work. You're doing great.

__________________
Bo


Senior Member

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Posts: 393
Date:

How ironic is this...I just got a call from my AW and after a brief explanation regarding the purpose of her call (there are still various, minor, financial issues that we tend to have to deal with on a rare occasion), she went right into accusing me of being angry at her, making the conversation confrontational when it didn't have to be, and that I was the one "causing" this angst, animosity, etc. What a glorious way to start a Monday morning, LOL.

While I am not fanatical about the program, God, religion, etc. -- I do live my life the right way. I do the right thing. I live the 12th step, and this program has been a curriculum for living for me. It has been a framework for how I live my life. That said, this happened for a reason. Nothing too deep or philosophical. But this is something put in my path this morning.

I listened, I didn't react, and certainly not hastily. I waited. I took a nice, casual, conscious, deep breath. I took two. And then a third. I decided to ask her if she wanted to focus on the issue at hand, the original issue, purpose of her call -- and then after that was handled -- if there was anything else to discuss, we could then each decide if we wanted to discuss it. She wanted no part of it. She just wanted to keep going, accusing me, blaming me, saying that I was the reason we couldn't have a simple conversation. Again, I said, I am willing to discuss X (the issue at hand, and the issue she called me about), so let's discuss it. She did. She still threw in some snide remarks, sarcastic comments, and some accusations and blame, but we discussed. As soon as it was done, she then wanted to discuss why I made it impossible for us to have even the simplest of conversations. I let her say whatever she was saying and at first opportunity, without interrupting, I simply said, "I am not going to get into this with you right now." Of course she had nasty comments about me making that statement.

Every single time she hit me the ping pong ball...I put down the paddle!!! Every single time she started to pull on the rope in the tug of war...I dropped the rope!!!

She was not drunk. She was just who she is. She was just doing what she does. Is she going to be angry at me, unhappy with me, etc. -- absolutely. But that doesn't consume me, that is not a concern of mine. And, it wasn't, even when we were living together. I couldn't satisfy her and what she wanted, because that was unhealthy for me. She wanted to dance and I wouldn't. I have found, my experience, sometimes the alcoholic thrives on the confrontation. They thrive on the adversarial and hostile back and forth. My experience is that is their only so called "release" so to speak. She lashed out. I get it. She did what she did. I get that too. So, I did what was best, and healthy for me. I detached, I focused on me. Even saying these things, typing these things, helps me stay on my side of the street -- it helps me stay healthy.

Living with an alcoholic can be extremely difficult. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

2HP


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 237
Date:

Great post, what wonderful progress!

And I see myself in the way that you are "trying to formulate how to tell him you are not happy living with an alcoholic."

Would that really be a news flash to him??

I had countless expectations... how I tried to open his eyes, how I tried to string the "right" words together expecting that he would finally get it, that he would finally understand this nightmare and stop it already.

The more I struggled and tried to force him to understand, and the more I kept believing things should NOT look like this

........... it only made ME more crazy.  I was still on the merry go round.  I became sick fighting a battle I could not win, trying to control something I could not control.

The only one who truly needs to know how you feel is YOU, honesty is the first step. we are either powerless over THEM, or we aren't. I determined that I had a need for more peace and began moving in that direction.

Keep putting your hand on your heart, "I am going to take care of you today" 

 

in this way, nothing is new, no new wrinkle... every day, we just keep letting go... letting go... letting go...  again and again.  this "is" life in recovery and you're doing it   (((big hugs)))



-- Edited by 2HP on Monday 31st of July 2017 01:01:45 PM



-- Edited by 2HP on Monday 31st of July 2017 01:04:21 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Living with an AH is very, very hard PNP - I too believe you are doing a great job working the program. In my case, when these things happened I too got upset with me. I then would be told by my sponsor that these are learning moments. Even if I leave the marriage, there was a lesson...so - I kept practicing what others suggested and figured out that I truly struggled with letting go of expectations.

I believe most of us are brought up to be nice and respectful. We're told to treat others as we want to be treated and many other logical interpersonal skills. What I struggled to accept is all 'that' goes out the window with this disease. I truly had to let go of all expectations and as mentioned above, focus on what I could change. I remember the discussion about the pretty bedding and the destruction. I am fortunate enough to have enough room in our home that I made him a 'man cave' and now have a healthy haven. I have been in the man-cave and it looks like a frat house setting without a house mother. Yet, my haven is comfortable, clean and has what I enjoy/love. I get annoyed that each time I leave town, he does 'something' - takes off with my good blanket, 'borrows' some of my memory foam pillows, etc. A part of me wants to slap him bad and yet I am reminded these are 'things' and my recovery tells me to manage my own joy and serenity.

If I let go of expectations and recognize another for what they are (a different person with different values), I can QTIP - Quit Taking It Personally. I really don't think my AH intends to sneak off with my nice pillows and blanket to irritate me or even disrespect me. He just knows I take better care of my things and he's all about seeking his own comfort. Would it be nice if he asked? Sure. Would it be nice if he told me? Sure. But I can't change anyone but me and hoping, wishing, asking or demanding just doesn't end well here.

I also made sure I knew what my options were before I took any formal action. I was one before recovery who would spout off and then not follow through. That certainly did not make for a healthy home either. My best suggestion is to keep doing you and your recovery. The answers will come. I also will share that texting is a blessing often around here - I can just send a text and ask what he wants from XYZ for dinner....that sure minimizes the risk of confrontation, agitation and aggravaction!!! (((Hugs))) - you done great - progress always - perfection is overrated!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



Senior Member

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Posts: 264
Date:

Oh man, I almost started crying when i read these replies to my post!!
I am feeling your love... your strength.
Thank you, A41 and Serenity!

Bo, as usual, I gained much insight from your posts. My sponsor said almost exactly what you posted! Mainly, that no matter how kind and quiet I say things, he may always try and turn in around so that I am the "angry" one. As long as it takes the focus off him and his drinking/drunkeness. Don't try and "make" him see that you are being reasonable, she said. It makes me glad that you think I didn't slip... I guess it's important to me to feel that. I am going to practice "putting down the paddle!" LOL!

KT - sounds like you can really relate with my situation. Thank you for your support.

2HP - No, I guess me not being happy in this marriage would not be a big news flash... but I think that he thinks I would never leave. I think my "formulating" is really for myself, though. How to say it in as little words as possible, but still have some kindness.

Iamhere - I believe that is my greatest weakness... expectations. Because I am a huge people-pleaser, and because I was raised by the Golden Rule, I DO have certain expectations of people, situations, etc. But because he is my husband, my expectations are even greater. And as you said, all that type of reasoning flies out the window with alcohol! All I do know is that I am going to start texting from now on... LOL!

Thank you all!

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Music makes my soul soar!


Senior Member

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Posts: 106
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Your post resonates with me completely. Sometimes I just don't want to let things go. Sometimes I want an argument but I know I'll never win but sometimes the anger needs to come out. Even as a newbie I try to detach from arguments. My bottom line is my dog gate. if it's not closed the dog could escape and she's my life at the moment. When that's not closed that's the one thing I find it really hard to detach from. I really try to be positive in my interactions but the slightest word, as you have said, can provoke an alcoholic. I find it easier to stay in a different room or - my best strategy - try to get him to go to bed as then he can sleep it off and I can relax again. I sleep on the sofa when he drinks. It's not ideal but I get to look over to my dog that way and remind myself of the good things in my life. However I'm finding more and more that I am losing the words to talk to him when he's sober either as the damage he does to me emotionally when he's drinking is deep. We will gain strength together.

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"To change the world, start with one step. However small, first step is hardest of all" Dave Matthews Band



Senior Member

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Thank you for sharing that MissB, and welcome! Yes! We WILL gain strength together! smile



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Music makes my soul soar!


Member

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Posts: 17
Date:

I can relate with all the posts of how hard it is living with the alcoholic. I used to be so scared when the fights would begin with my AH and be upset the rest of the day. Now with my alnon tools, I know not to engage in conversations with my AH. How the stress level has gone down at my house because I know it does not benefit me to talk to a drunk and that it will not be a reasonable or logical conversation. It has taking me forever to let what ever he says just go in one ear and out the other. Most of what comes out of his mouth are lies and I would want to point this out to him that he is not speaking truths. Now when I see those glassy eyes on him , I can either say a few words or leave the room when he is trying to have a conversation with me. I don't have to be his captive audience nor do I have to join the conversations. It's funny because now I leave the room, he follows me. If he follows me, then I will go for a walk to get away.
I treated him like a normal person who is going to be able to have a fluid conversations with me or help me make important decisions. This will not happen. Boom! I finally got that he can not be my go to person and I need to find normal people in my life to get that conversation I miss.
I had to grieve that this is what is the relationship between us. Pretty much he has his life and I have mine. I am trying to remove the anger from myself that he is not the person that will be by my side or that I can count on him for anything. I have fears that he will lose his job but I try to stay in the present moment to keep the fear away. Nothing is pretty about being with an alcoholic and I know there is nothing I can do except to make my life the best it can be living in this environment. I know I will not get validation from him that I am a person or expect to be acknowledged because they are so focused in their own little world. I keep telling myself he is a very sick, sick man and don't expect normal behavior from a very sick man. I started to plan my life everyday and started going on walks to be healthy. I don't know why it was so hard to pull away from him and have my own life. I don't try to make our relationship work anymore. I make our relationship peaceful.

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Senior Member

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Lexie A - I completely agree with your strategy. When ABF comes in drunk, I take the dog for a nice long walk. It calms me down and lets him have his space. Last night he tried to talk to me when I got back. It was pointless as he says the same stuff over and over about getting sober but then drinks the next day so it's meaningless. SO I just sit there impassive now - but he always finds a reason to provoke me or find it to be my fault. Last night it was because i didnt "help" him smooth over a situation by accepting a coment as a joke. I hadn't realised it was a "joke" as it felt like more criticism of me. SHortly after that I got him to bed and I got my peace again. I completely agree that it's not making a relationship work, it's making it peaceful. The more I analyse this "relationship" the more I realise I'm getting nothing from it. ANd the only thing he gets is free accommodation and board and a babysitter to dry out at the weekend. THis is making me stronger to end it as it's not a relationship. Its being used. I also agree about the sickness. I had severe depression in my 20s and wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a particular friend who forced me to get help. I thought that I was supporting him as I was supported - helping a sick person the get treatment. But when he refuses to help himself with the treatment there's no point.

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"To change the world, start with one step. However small, first step is hardest of all" Dave Matthews Band

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