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Post Info TOPIC: Trauma and drinking


Member

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Trauma and drinking


It's been a beautiful sunny day, but my stomach has been in knots. I'm married to a lovely man, who is deeply traumatised and uses alcohol to cope. He is not abusive when drunk, but his trauma spills over, PTSD I think, and at times things get pretty weird. He gets paranoid, and at his worst, hallucinates. It's very traumatic (for me) when it gets that bad, it's way beyond what I know how to deal with, and it's emotionally draining even when it's not. The last time it was really bad, I was so shaken I called mental health helplines, but none of them help family.

This is my second marriage, I was previously in an abusive relationship for almost 20 years, so meeting my current husband some years ago was such a gift, he is a good person, and caring, and tries so hard to please, but finding that there are these very serious issues, from a selfish pov, is devastating. I've struggled myself with anxiety and depression since I was a little girl, and I have 3 equally sensitive young children, with some special needs thrown into the mix, so sometimes it feels like how much more can life throw at me and think I can still manage (yes, it can get worse I know, I'm not seriously asking, Universe). I love this man, he is a dear person, but he needs help he is not willing to get and I can't give. I don't want my kids around him when he is drunk, and frankly, I do not want to be in his space when he is either. When he is sober, it's like it never happened. I don't know how much more I can take. It takes so much emotional energy, and I already struggle to be emotionally stable for my children. I have told my parents about his drinking and trauma, because I hid my former husband's abuse, and I refuse to be isolated by trying to protect someone's reputation again, so I have someone who 'knows', but they can't really help, so I am going to try a local Al-Anon meeting, but I am nervous. If I am to stay in this marriage, I need strategies to cope, and I guess also to know I am not overreacting (or if I am!). It took me nearly 20 years to get out of an unhealthy, damaging relationship; I would walk away from another one in a second, but not if the person has good intentions and actual feelings - that really is a spanner in everything I had learned from the past experience! I have to learn everything from scratch. But how do I walk away from yet another marriage, when the person is doing their best and suffering from other people's mistakes, and do I have to?? How do I maintain my own stability and boundaries, but stay together? What are practical things I can do in that regard? What am I 'allowed' to do?



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~*Service Worker*~

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Doodlesworth - welcome to MIP. Glad you found us and that you shared. So sorry for the affect this disease is having on you, your AH and your family. Alcoholism is a progressive disease that is never cured. It can be treated yet that usually only happens when one hits bottom. Should they decide to get help, AA is one recovery method with success. Al-Anon is for family and friends affected by the drinking in another and you are welcome to attend no matter what he is/is not doing.

I do encourage you to attend some meetings. There you will find others who understand what it's like to live with or love another who abuses alcohol. We work the program to help ourselves to heal/deal from the affects of the disease. It is in Al-Anon recovery that I found myself and many answers as to how best to live in my life and find joy/serenity no matter what others are doing.

Know that you are not alone - keep coming back.

__________________

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

 

 



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I too live with an active alcoholic. I understand everything you are experiencing. The focus needs to be on the children and their safety. When he is using, can you leave the house for the night? Day? Couple Days? Go to a woman shelter? Friends house?Family members house? to just get myself together. I have also been writing in a note book, all my anger and frustrations. It help me calm down and think better and make better decisions when the craziness of my mind is not taking over.I also feel calmer. You do not have to decide about the marriage today, leave or stay. Focus on safety now. When the alcoholic goes nuts I leave for a day or two. I have to or I will go nuts too. I need to look after me and have at least have one sane person functioning. PTSD, I understand. I suffer from it as well. I take medication and exercise to calm myself down,al-anon meetings,domestic violence support group meetings, therapy, doctor follow up, document my feelings, anything to bring me back to the day. I get triggered bad around loud noises still,active drinking, raised voice and violence. I know when I get triggered, I have to take a time out for myself and calm myself down.

I leave the active alcoholic when he uses till he sober up. I am still trying to decide whether to stay or leave too. . I am just focusing on one day at a time. Its day 2 coming up today that the alcoholic is sober. The weekend is coming up, I have fears he will use. I have a plan B, get the heck out of the house, as he gets nuts. I also read a lot on line here and get some perspective. I also attend face to face Al-Anon meetings. 

Slowly, things are getting better, because I am not going nuts too. I am being calm. I had to let go of my anger and frustration to get to this calm place today. I have been writing out my fears and worries and anger and pent up feelings and crying. I have also been driving around and just screaming just screaming my frustration out. No one is with me, so I just go on the freeway and scream out my anger inside my car. This is what is helping me keep some sense of sanity in an insane situation!   

I understand and hope this message helps you in some way! 

  



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~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome Doodlesworth Please do search out alanon meetings and attend. You are not alone and there is hope

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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud


Member

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Thank you for your responses, it does all help, I'm processing your replies. Joker, thank you yes it does help, in the sad way that you are going through it too, which I am very sorry about.



-- Edited by Doodlesworth on Friday 1st of December 2017 04:38:33 PM

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Member

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Joker, I had been wondering about leaving overnights. I have a place we can go, but I didn't know if it would make things worse, though that is for sure what my instinct is to do. The kids don't 'seem' to notice the change inhim, but their biological dad is a messed up person anyway, and I suppose I am too at the end of the day, so poor kids probably can't tell the difference. But it means I have to get creative on how to explain the many nights out of the house. I can do that, though.

There is a meeting in my area today, I'm getting chicken on attending blankstare It is a big step of admission, to myself if no one else. And it's very 'out there'. Not sure I have a babysitter today either.

I am struggling with 'the morning after' - when I'm still traumatised from the night before, but he's forgotten all about it and is back to his awesome self, until later in the day. Rinse and repeat. I can't believe my poor judgement! After the last marriage, I was happy to be alone, with my kids, then I got myself into another unbearable situation. I feel pretty stupid. And yet desperately sorry for his pain. I guess you all can relate cry



-- Edited by Doodlesworth on Friday 1st of December 2017 04:26:09 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Aloha Doodlesworth and welcome to MIP from the Pacific...One of the earliest suggestions I was given in Al-Anon which helped me to re-enter the program after a run, and to sit and stay was "read your story as if you were someone else and then decide..."  I never ran again.  I felt horrified and shocked that that man would try to exist in the situation he had for the time he already had.  

I listened when I came back and heard "go to 90X90...90 meetings in 90 days" which I did cause we had so very many in the area I lived in and at the end of 102 meetings I knew I would never attempt to leave Al-Anon...I got my sanity back and my life.  I honestly should not be here ...this is a fatal disease and I will not ever attempt to second guess it and leave outcomes up to chance.

I went on to become a therapist for families and individuals in families who were affected by someone else's drinking and using.  There isn't another disease, in my mind and experience quite like this one.

Trauma is but only one mild way of describing the insanity of alcoholism...Keep coming back...after  going to your meetings.   ((((hugs)))) smile



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Member

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Thank you Jerry. That is a jolly good suggestion, wish I'd heard it years ago. I've been struggling to define this as alcoholism, because it's his life trauma that drives him to the alcohol, but the fact i have to accept is, his drinking affects me, the family and our life, so it doesn't matter what I, or he, calls it. I'm trying to work myself into courage to go to this meeting today... It's nearly time to leave O.o Thank you for sharing your insights.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Hey Doodlesworth - I don't know if this will help so 'take what you like and leave the rest'.....I and a few others here are double winners. That means we are in AA (for the disease directly) and Al-Anon (affected by the drink of another). I can share that many Alcoholics, if not most, do drink or indulge in other mind-altering, mood-altering substances to escape. It may be past trauma, it may be a million things but it's usually not a case where one is a social drinker and then just 'falls in'. Alcoholics are wired a bit differently and consuming alcohol is a natural way to escape until it becomes a problem.

The alcoholic (me) is the last one to ever admit, see or realize it's an issue. I had to hit bottom as do all and only then did I pause long enough to consider how I was living may not be optimal. It took me even longer to realize my life was totally unmanageable and a few years to truly accept that I was an alcoholic who needed to work the program every day or risk a return to the chaos/insanity the disease brings.

So - we each have to walk our own journey and allow others to find their way - even when it's hard to watch/see/be around. I fully understand how painful it can be to be on the receiving end of the alcoholic rants, antics, spite, etc. For me, the only way I could literally separate the person from the disease was through Al-Anon recovery. I hope you made it but if not, keep working on your courage - it's so worth it.

You will find others that understand when nobody else does/can. You will find folks who share their own ESH (Experience, Strength & Hope) so you know where there were and where they are now. Finally - it's anonymous - nobody ever discloses who was there or what was said. All that's said is kept in the confines of the meeting/space.

Keep coming back - it's what got me to much saner places!!

__________________

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

 

 



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Thanks Iamhere. What you say is so true. Hard, but at least I am in a place to hear and understand, which is a long way from where I was years ago. And I made it to the meeting! I think it will help, just having people who have been there and get it. So I feel hopeful of finding peace in the chaos. Deep breath. It is hard to step back from someone you love's journey, but at least I have practice with that. I just didn't expect it a second time, with such a different person. Common denominator, me? Someone in the meeting made that comment when I said that. Guess it's true, my naivety in both cases, the willingness to put up with crap in the first case, and the willingness to put up with a different kind in the second? Hm. Well, I'm less tolerant now, so for me now it's learning to be kind in setting boundaries. Among other things.



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~*Service Worker*~

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I think your asking really good questions and you seem to have a healthy perspective and sense of your own life and what you want. In my experience, and I don't mean to sound cynical but alcoholism is a disease that tells the person they don't have it and then the justifications are powerful. I drink because ... that person or that situation and its all really the disease means they have to drink no matter what and they grab and hold on tightly to excuses that enables them to justify their drinking to themselves and others. It prolongs denial though because it blocks the person taking responsibility for their problem or the underlying problem. If your husband is an alcoholic then unless he sees that as his responsibility then he wont get help.

Alanon sounds like the best bet for you and your family, you will learn about the dangers of enabling and setting your own healthy boundaries and the best bit is its a recovery program for you, you will get help and support from others who know and have lived it too. Good luck.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Doodlesworth - so, so glad to hear you found your courage and made it to the meeting! That's awesome....and it was a huge sigh of relief for me too. It seemed my mind convinced me that what I was going through was not comparable to other's journey and Al-Anon showed me that I was truly not alone.

It took me a while in recovery to decide that my picker was broken. There are many, many things that may have contributed to that scenario, but what I know believe is my HP does want me to be happy, joyous and free and if I allow him will lead me to peace, joy and a great journey. So - don't assume you're the only one who's not made the best partner choices - I can so relate!!

I would hope should the opportunity present itself that I'd be more selective - I care about me more today and love me where as I can't say that was true in the past. I practice with friends and program people - I don't always know who is 'healthy' and who is 'less healthy' but when I take my time and use this program in my life, I can begin to weed out those who are not a good fit for me. And - yes - with kindness and compassion....establish healthy boundaries!

You are doing great - keep coming back!

__________________

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

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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I'm so sorry for what you're experiencing. The first step in helping ourselves and the children is awareness that we can't do this alone and then seeking help. You posted that you are having thoughts of chickening out concerning going to a meeting. I hope you'll go. You can show up and just listen and make a decision as to whether you want to. Keep coming back. You deserve the best life you can give to yourself and your children. Alanon can provide tools that help. We don't advise anyone concerning staying with or leaving the alcoholics in their family. You may here people at meetings share in a way that makes you believe that they really get what you are going through. That can definitely help with feeling less alone. My personal experience has been that its not been good to make my life changing decisions based on what somebody else has done who has a situation that seems to look similar. Sometimes the hardest thing to do can be sitting with our uncomfortable feelings and not making life altering decisions without thought just to get rid of the discomfort. With that said, alcoholism without recovery is unarrested addiction, one drink after the other after the other. Without Alanon recovery, we too can become hostages of alcoholism through repeated emotional triggering from another's drinking. These negative effects we experience due to another's drinking can be changed by listening and learning new ways. The Alanon program offers us tools of self care, self love, courage, compassion for the alcoholics and permission to put ourselves and minor children in our lives well-being first without guilt. I hope you make it to a meeting. If you just aren't ready or simply don't want to, I hope you find what you need here and will keep coming back. There is hope, support and recovery here. Thank you for sharing your story. (((hug))) TT

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Faith unsticks fear.



~*Service Worker*~

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An alcoholic will try to convince you that their "stressful job, awful family or chilhood issues" MAKE them drink. Your empathy sounds admirable, but his drinking is nobody else's "fault" but his. Plenty of people have super crappy chilhoods and do not dink alcoholically. He drinks because he is an alcoholic. Period. Sounds like he is good at heart but sick. Just be careful to not view him as what we call "terminally unique" in AA. Nobody is so damaged they can't recover. That applies to alanon as well.

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Member

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Wow. That was a lot of processing, and new perspectives for me. Yes, I made it to the meeting, and fronted up to my partner about where I was (he asked), which also was scary, but both were good healthy, necessary steps. I've struggled to 'get help' because in between times, we have days like yesterday/today where there's been no drinking, and all is good, and then i feel like I'm overreacting. But now I've taken the steps of going there and also posting here, hopefully I've stepped off the enabling track and onto a new one. I'm very grateful for finding this board, I've already learned so much.

I've been challenged by your insights. While I didn't think he has license to drink because of his horrible experiences, or that he couldn't stop with help, I still have bought into his narrative that 'the trauma made me do it'. That takes some reappraisal. Tiredtonight, thats a good point about making your own decisions. And I'm not rushing to make a decision, hell, it took me 20 years to make the last one, though I do have a lot less patience now, or more self respect. I might be a little too good at sitting with discomfort...I am still hoping for this to work though. I really don't want to walk out on another marriage and break up another family. But it will depend on what happens. It's sad and ironic that it is my husband who made me feel confident and worthwhile through constant affirmation, even though I recognise also that some of the things he does is a part, for him, of continuing to drink - "I will treat you like a queen, then you can't complain if I drink." What a * to untangle all that. 

 



-- Edited by Doodlesworth on Saturday 2nd of December 2017 07:11:23 PM

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I.dont think it is the same mistake to meet someone.with problems.

Denial is.a formidable issue. 

One day at a.time is a good maxim to work on.  Putting the stick down.from.beating ourselves up is.essential too. 

I think patience.is.one.reason.we.rush into.relationships. Dating requires patience to.see.how people really are rather than what they seem to be. 

None.of.these issues is a.reason.to berate yourself. 

Al.anon.has certainly helped me to negotiate life.    I.cannot say working the program ended all my problems.

Being kind to myself has been.essential.  I.was.kind.to.everyone.else.before.but.me. 

You are in the right place.asking all the right questions. 

The questions.can.spur you into learning new.skills. 

Those al.anon.skills.are.very.very helpful.  Pain.is.about the.only thing that would motivate me through them. 

 

Maresie 



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Maresie


~*Service Worker*~

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Hey Doodles, you are not alone in the "marrying it again" , my 2nd was a sweetheart, but a "not wanting recovery" alcoholic..I ended up leaving because sweet as he was, it was not healthy for me to always have to practice detachment, doing life alone, etc., when i wanted to be in a better place and it had to begin with me

meets are a great thing, A, you get to learn how to take care of you and B, you make friends with healthy friends who can be great allies in time of need...on line works , too if there aren't any meets close by (my problem)  anyway, glad you showed up and decided that you need to change and that has to be you......in support



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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***



Member

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mamalioness, that is exactly what I'm struggling with - detaching/reattaching - detaching to protect myself and then next day when he's great and expects the usual bond, either reattaching and enjoying the moment or remaining detached, and what kind of relationship is that? I hate the on/off thing though. It's not normal. Already tonight I've got the churning stomach and am distracted from my kids because he's alone, supposedly renovating our place, but I know that means he'll be desperately wanting a drink even though he's been trying really hard to abstain since he learned I'd been to a meeting, and of course then the reno will go by the way, and I won't be seeing him tonight. Or maybe he won't, but it's the constant worry. So yes, I need those meetings. Thank you Maresie for the encouragement, and listening.



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Senior Member

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Detaching is a lot of work. 

Expectations were a big.issue for me. I.felt like I was being short changed.   In reality low expectations make every situation very much easier.  I used to expect my co workers to be fair (lol) 

 

Reattaching and detaching are two different things. In every relationship it is important to have boundaries. Boundaries go out the window when alcoholism comes in.   Getting back to boundaries feels like a loss but is a big gain. 

Being with an alcoholic can feel very rewarding. They have high needs that appeals to us.  What we have to look at and it us very hard is we expect a lot for answering those needs 

Loyalty isn't a blanket concept.  I am no longer unconditionally loyal to others.   Unconditional love is a spiritual concept.  In reality if you are doing all the work in a relationship you are going to have a lot of feelings about it. 

 

For whatever reason alcoholics tend to feel #entitled# to very different concepts of love. They can switch it on and off.  Some of us can't do that.  One reason we #detach# is to be able to take a good look at not only what they are do8ng but what you are doing too.  Reactiveness is draining. Learning to respond is much easier but there are times when everyone's energy is depleted.  What do you do for yourself when your batteries are low? 

There is no point system here. No one is going to judge label or chastise you. There are a lot of people who can help. 

What none of us can change is alcoholism is brutal deadly and destroys everything in its path.  There is no arguing with the d8sease. There are ways to #respond# to it so you won't be nonfunctional.   While you may not get what you #want# you can get a sense of peace and serenity. That isn't over rated 

Whether you stay leave or whatever you #choose# am anon can help a great deal.  

Maresie 



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Maresie


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Hi doodlesworth, I can relate to your experience too. I lost my husband nine years ago, found him dead at work so was very traumatised by this for many many years. 4 years ago I met my soulmate - I adored him and I think he loved me too. He was such a sweet, kind and compassionate person and so talented with his work. Unfortunately what I didnt realise until too late was that he was a drinker, drank alone when I wasnt around and this only got worse especially as I am a nurse so he had lots of time to hide this while I was working shifts. I felt so stuck, as cared for him and loved him when he was sober but knew that there was no future for us as he became less and less motivated to work, ended up hugely in debt and then of course got depressed and drank more. When he drank he became very impulsive, doing crazy things. Chopping down trees with a chainsaw at midnight, cut my main water pipe so I had to get an emergency plumber in... also there was water pouring out everywhere. Continunally had fires outside and forgot to put them out and one night I came home to him with an outdoor patio heater on in the house - he could have burnt the house down. In the end I knew there was no future for me. I have a 19 year old son who is at uni and living at home and he ended up despising my ABF because of his drinking (he only told me this after my ABF moved out). This last reason and the knowledge that we would be always be financially struggling and that the fact that I knew my son would never bring any future grandchildren to my home (he never said this but I just knew) was the reason I ended our relationship. This became one of the worst experiences of my life as he refused to go. Getting increasingly drunk and angry. The police ended up taking him to a motel one night after a large vodka session. I still miss him very much as I did really love him but I know now from this site that alcoholism is a progressive disease and without recovery his and mine - we had no happy future to look forward to. Thank you for allowing me to share - I really wish you all the best - Such a sad process seeing someone you love succumb to this terrible, destructive disease. I hope that whatever decision you make it is for you and your children - I am still at step one - understanding that I am powerless over this disease, and trying to get my head around step two - so only started on the program. I have had no contact with my ABF for three weeks now.

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Lou



~*Service Worker*~

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Aloha Takotsubo and welcome to the board and Mahalo (Thanks) for you share...I hope life is going so much better today for you and your son.  Nurses quite often live and behave from the center of giving, supporting and loving and for me that must make it very difficult to understand and work with the tools of detachment and enabling self to recover and heal.  I hope you stick around and that you have found and are attending face to face Al-Anon Family Group meetings.  Again...Thanks for your share.   (((hugs))) smile



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Member

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Maresie, there's a lot of information there, thank you. Lou (?) I am very sorry about what has happened for you, almost too sad to read, but thank you for sharing. I hope that you find strength and peace as you move ahead



-- Edited by Doodlesworth on Tuesday 5th of December 2017 10:40:29 PM

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