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Post Info TOPIC: Has it all been for nothing?


Senior Member

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Date:
Has it all been for nothing?


Hi all,   I've been reading alot of posts and recently started going to Al Anon and have 1-1 therapy for the last 4months too.  My husband was an emotional abusive alcoholic and the past 4 yearsthings really got a lot worse as we had to do a complete house renovation which we weren't prepared for.   We've been together 10 years, married for 6 and have 3 beautiful girls together.    A little history....when we first got together I figured it would never work as we are polar oppositesbut somehow it worked brilliantly. We supported each other, loved our pets, loved cooking and travelling together and have a passion for children. I come from a very stable, close, happy family and my husbands parents divorced when he was 3, his dad went of with someone else, and his father used to beat him. His mother was always more interested in work and money (also an obsession of my husband) and left the raising of her children to family members or she let them sort themelves out. My husband is also dyslexic and dropped out of school, got into the wrong crowds and worked his way up to the boardroom of an investmentbank. He was nevera light drinker but in then again I mever think English are light drinkers so mever thought anything of it.   When things with the house we bought went horrifically wrong and landed us in a  hotel with 2 small children for months he started drinking all night, 5 months later he had an epileptic seizure and frontal lobe brain damage. He also became emotionally abisive and started Facebooking women telling them what a horrible person I was and alsed them if he could show them a good time. Even though he was drunk through all this, it doesn't make it right.    He went to rehab in Ja uary, came out 3 weeks later, mid February amd has been living at his mums ever since. The first thing he told me is that he shouldn't make rash decisions but he doesn't know anything, or who he is and whether he wants to stay married ( I later heard him talk to his AA buddies that he doesn't want to give false hope as he loves me but doesn't know whrther he wants to be ina relationship with me) which is the least of what I expected. I expected hard work, rebuilding everything from scratch and a long recovery but not that he didn't want to be with me anymore. When he gets angry this is the first thing he shouts at me. He is also very distant, I do all the contacting. He doesn't communicate or say anything but is constantly on his phone with his AA groups.    The last few weekends have been very good and we watched movies with the girls and hadout arms around each other. He has agreed to spending a day together but doesn't seem very forthcoming and one day he'll agree to a few days away and the next day he won't. I booked our annual holiday anyway and he is booked on it but he keeps repeatin that he doesn't knoe if he'll come. He can only do 1 day at a time. I havebeem working hard at my codepency and have let him be, do my thing and support him, be happy when he is around but I am getting to a stage where I find the sitiation too difficult. He is refusing to come live at home (we moved last December) or ignores certain questions.   I  now travelling back to the UK with the girls from spending time with my fsmily. He said he'd try to come but as it'sholidays there were too many people off already and I have to be honest that it was quite last minute. We left on Thursday and on Friday we had a lot of happy chitchat, smiley faces and I shardd photos of what we were doong but I havem't heard from him since Friday evening. He agreed to stay at the house to look after out cat. I found out from my bestfriend he had phoned her at 3am on Saturday morning and he didn't respond until a day later. The inly other time he did this he was drunk.    I would love to share our kids happiness with him and the things we have done over the weekend. I find it concerning and odd he hasn't made any form of contact and I am unsure whether I should contact him. I only emailed him a reminder of ourfirst couples counselling for coming Thursday ( emailed hom this morning) and got nothing back.   HaveI losthim? Hasall my support and help been for nothing? I was looking forward to getting to know each other again and we wanted to grow our family which seems impossible now.    He gets angry when I tell him I will move back to Holland if we end up divorcing but he doesn't give me anything to say otherwise. It's like me and the girls don't exist.    Any help, insights, telling offs are welcome.   Thank you for reading! And I'm sorry for the loooong post!    

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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome Dutchy...you ask some very good and important questions, and while I am sure you are looking for answers and perhaps advice...the best advice YOU are going to get, and I hope YOU embrace it, is to go to face to face alanon meetings. Go ASAP and go to as many as YOU can. Meeting makers make it.

I would also recommend that YOU immediately find a sponsor and start learning what the alanon program is all about, so that YOU can start to focus on YOU, learn what the tools are and how to use them, and start to make changes in YOU. Right now, YOU are so "in it" that you thinking, thought process, etc., has become distorted.

Right now, you should focus on YOU and your daughters. That may sound contradictory to what you've been thinking, or to your natural, what has been your normal reaction and behavior. And, you may not like to hear focus on YOU, however, his focus, right now, he needs to focus on him, and staying clean and sober -- if he wants to. That's his decision. Not yours.

All the best.



__________________

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...



~*Service Worker*~

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Dutchy, welcome to the family. As you keep coming back gaining Experience, Strength and Hope, you will find that answer you are looking for. We don't give advise but share our ESH with others. We cannot tell anyone else what is right for them to do and only what has worked for us. We can and have been wrong and much of the good stuff that has come about for me came from others who were shared with by others still.

This, our disease, is incurable and you haven't caused it, cannot control it and will not cure it. We get better by doing what you have done this morning...coming here and sharing your ESH with others and being shared with in return is how we learn and grow. Keep coming back. ((((hugs)))) smile



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~*Service Worker*~

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Dutchy - welcome to MIP. So glad you found us and so glad that you shared. Alcoholism is a progressive disease that is cunning, baffling and powerful. It's also considered a family disease which means that usually the disease reaches beyond the drinker to affect those who live with or love them. We find that we obsess over the A almost as much as they obsess over the alcohol. I am truly sorry for what the disease has brought to your life and want you to know you aren't alone. There is hope and help available!

Alcoholism is never cured - only treated through abstinence and recovery. AA is for the Alcoholic and Al-Anon is a program of recovery for friends and family affected by the disease is another. You are welcome to attend Al-Anon meetings whether he is/is not in recovery. Al-Anon helped me change my focus from beyond me to just me. It helped me realize that I matter, my needs are important and I was doing a lot of 'wait-n-see' instead of living.

We do share our ESH with others without judgement or advice. What the program recommends is that you find and attend some local meetings. I found a good fit 'home' in the second group I visited. Most meetings have literature and members will give you phone numbers so you'll have instant support when you need it. We work the 12 steps for ourselves, focus on the literature and slogans and suggest a sponsor to help guide you in step work and recovery.

It took me a while in Al-Anon to realize that I wasn't 'living' life but was enduring in a 'wait-n-see' mode. The program taught me to put me first and that I mattered. I too had kids, and others in the rooms gently reminded me that those kids deserve a healthy home and parent. My obsession with my AH and the future was robbing them and I from joy in the present.

Al-Anon gave me the tools and support I needed to deal with the disease and to heal from it. I too am not cured, but One Day at a Time, I can enjoy life today and find peace. That for me is a great return for which I am extremely grateful.

Please keep coming back and know that you're not alone.

__________________

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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Dutchy wrote:

Thank you for reading! And I'm sorry for the loooong post!


Long is good here,,,smilewe do not have to put an egg-timer on the table....

I am 35 years in Alanon. 35 years ago we used to say this maxim- most women stay with their alcoholic partners, and most men leave their alcoholic wives.

In my parent's day the maxim was- you made your bed- so now you must lie on it.

Not so today. My own relationship was tough... but we have made it through... so far so good.

Another much older maxim is- "out of the frying pan and into the fire". Meaning, that is here are no significant changes in our outlook we are always vulnerable.

These changes are not usually about our own faults. More than ever they are about the set of circumstances we find ourselves in.

Acceptance, detachment, and serenity is what us old timers remember most trying to find. [Well, at least, I think so!]

a good topic, A. and well written...

reaching out- in whatever direction, is a good start.

the goodness within will find good in the world, and generate hope...smile...



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One day at a time.



Senior Member

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Posts: 152
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Thank you all for reading and for your support, it means so much! Ibjabe attended an Al Anon meeting but I don't always have the childcare so there are weels where I don't go. I must say I have felt a change since I started my own 1 to 1 therapy and am continuing to do so and challenging my thoughts by doing 'The Work' from Katie Byron. It's horrible really how my husband can be even more horrible in recovery than as an active alcoholic.

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~*Service Worker*~

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((((Dutchy)))) we feel what you feel as we can remember what it was like for us also and then we also feel what it is like after and while working this program. You will read where we now use the words, miracles and awesome and more yet those only come from the experience of working the program. You are free to choose to use everything and anything that might work for you and we will continue to be here with and for you. Keep coming back ....((((hugs))))smile



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~*Service Worker*~

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Dutchy - just FYI - if you look to the top left, you'll see the scheduled meetings here - they happen usually twice a day. I fully understand child-care/life issues so this is a great alternative!! The link is there too - I believe they are currently seeking meeting leaders, so if you try to attend and nobody shows, try again...

The link to the room is there also! Keep coming back and any effort you make is better than no effort at all - this is my personal motto as my brain tends to process often in black/white or right/wrong...(((Hugs)))

__________________

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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Thank you again for reading, listening and being kind, I will certainly check out the online meetings too. I am on another forum and there they say that the more he distances himself the more likely it is that he is going to DRI k or drinking again already. I have been worried for a while that he is "white knuckling" his recovery as he has a lot of fun and contact with his AA buddies but not with us. He is working and going to AA and that is it. Would he have met someone? He has been short with answer since rehab. Never has answer and is irritated very quickly. For as far as I know or think I know, he should be honest and open, neither of which he is. Whilst he stayed in our house again to look after the cat I noticed he let the plants die, didn't eat what I left for him in the fridge even though I wrote him a note to say he could have everything which meant I know had to throw everything away. It feels he has been here like a stranger rather than the home where his family lives and uses it as his own. I am really worried now. Couples counselling tomorrow.....first time

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Hugs and welcome Dutchy,

One thing I heard around here is he's going to do what he's going to do .. drink, cheat or whatever .. it is really about what are YOU going to do. You will find the answers for you as you work your program. I spent so much wasted energy and time obsessing over what he might do or would do and the reality is it really didn't matter because I couldn't control it. When I started putting that same energy into me things really got better and I didn't base my choices of what he might do or even would do .. I just did me and I am so grateful I did.

I'm really glad to hear you are attending meetings and taking care of yourself .. I didn't have much luck with couple's counseling since my XAH was so angry (and so was I) as well as in my case he was still drinking as soon as he could (it didn't help we were both already emotionally checked out) .. so in my mind after about 3 sessions .. it was done.

Big hugs again and keep coming back.

S :)

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"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



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You are right SerenityRUS!

He will do whatever he will do. It's horrible to see as we started out being an amazing couple. Being there for each other, challenging each other. He is the best person to have when it comes to pregnancy, labour or helping out. We have had 4 rescue cats and 2 died suddenly and we were both devastated and really got even closer by the experience.Before rehab I could see he really enjoyed his children when 'sober' ( he was off course never really sober I have now learned). It's difficult to see how different it all is now and the girls don't even ask after him anymore. Me and the girls are now a little family and he will have to come and join us but he seems not interested, not honest, non committalcommittal.

Hewas cheated on by a long term girlfriend before me and it is something I would never expect him to do but in the last year when drunk and abusive he would completely bury me towards women I never heard of and he even went as far as to tell one he would show her a good time. This is so not the person I married at all.



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My husband has just told me he relapsed on Saturday, tomorrow is our first couples cou selling session. I pick him up a little earlier so we can chat before the counselling session. Somehow I knew this would happen but I still feel i shouldn't be angry as he probably already feels disgusted enough about it. If anything I feel bad for him.

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Dutchy, I'm reading your thread and feeling your pain. You are not alone. xx



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



~*Service Worker*~

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You know I took my XAH's sobriety and non sobriety very personally and so when he relapsed I'm not sure who I was actually mad at .. him for relapsing .. or me for feeling stupid for believing him .. and both were a tad irrational on the logic .. as his sobriety or lack of is just not about me.

I am sorry to hear this however when someone is not ready for sobriety and working a program of any kind relapse is going to happen .. sometimes it happens because the alcoholic gets complacent about their recovery.

I am not someone who believes that relapse is part of recovery .. some people find recovery and never take another drink and some people have a much more crooked path to walk. It is about honesty with self over where they are at and where the sickness resides .. for me it is about keeping the focus on me and not obsessing about the A.

Hugs S :)

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"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



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I am not actually feeling angry I am feeling quite calm about it. I saw it coming. I was talking to others about his behaviour and it seemed he was 'white knuckling' his sobriety and displayed traits of a 'dry drunk'.

He came out of rehab totally confused, not knowing who or what he was. He had a name and he was 37, a boy who started drinking at 13 with parents who never cared about him, never parented him. His father used to beat him up whenever he felt like it, without reason. So I am dealing with a teenager with a lot of issues. He pulled himself out of school, worked his behind off to have the City job he has now, he has done well in that part of his life. He met me. A caring person, from a close and stable family and we wanted the same things. I think he liked coming home to a warm person, someone who listened, someone who cared.

Before he went into rehab he phoned me and said that he wasn't just doing this for himself. He was doing this for us and the girls (we want(ed) more children) and if I was prepared to keep investing in him through this. I had just started my own therapy and with that 'The Work' by Katie Byron and started challenging my own thought processes such like 'what would my life be like without this thought'.

THen last weekend when I hadn't heard from it all I did get angry because I thought it was plain rude to not be interested in your own children children whether they are in this country or visiting their grandparents in Netherlands. An that's when I realised since rehab he has only been busy about himself. Work and AA work AA work AA work AA and nothing else. He came at the weekend 'to help' as he had no clue what to do with himself otherwise.

He was riding a massive emotional roller coaster with the added benefit of memories popping into his head of the horrendous things that he has done to me, the girls and to himself. He is left with severe frontal lobe brain damage and seizures.

In the whole 2 months he was sober he was non committal, barely contacted us, was sometimes really loving and seemed to have fun with us, was nasty to colleagues when working from our house, quickly irritated, showed no real interest in anything, came after morning rush and left before the girls bedtime, not forthcoming with weekend ideas (he just followed me), when angry shouted 'I don't want to be with you', refused to move back home (a teenager in his mums spare bedroom even though his mum is often away or out to dinner, they rarely see each other and she thinks everything is peachy).

So tonight there is couples counselling and things will have to change. He has to be more open, honest and communicative. He shouldn't dwell on his relapse. It happened and he needs to pick himself up and move on. In that respect we are the same We either do it or we don't and we don't let bumps in the road easily get us down I have my next child wish I refuse to let go however dumb and he needs to do his thing. And he is going to have to give me some other answers at which he's only been saying 'I don't have an answer for you'. Problem is, he knows I will move to the Netherlands if/when things don't work out. He's been very angry about that as well.

A few weeks ago I wrote hi a 5 page letter, more for myself than for him, in which I explained my recovery, how i felt (sexier, freer, doing the things I love which I didn't do before his rehab, the therapy I am attending) and where I am in my recovery. And what I ultimately want and he might not be able to give me. It wasn't an accusatory letter, it was a letter simply to explain reminisce about our good times together and to tell him that I am not letting go of my wish and what that might mean. He has read it, has not responded to it and I didn't expect him to and that's ok. I needed to write it to him and I feel better for it.

He days he doesn't know why he slipped Saturday night, I think I now and I will want to talk about that tonight.



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(((Dutchy))) - sending you (((Hugs))), thoughts and prayers. I love that you realize his maturity was stifled by the disease - we discuss that often on the AA side. It's not an excuse by any means for bad behavior, but it is real and it does suck to have to try and grow up in public with adult relationships, responsibilities, etc.

You sound very caring and compassionate, yet determined to work on you and support him. I see these as admirable and a great plan. Keep doing what you're doing - and lean into all the support available. Keep coming back - you aren't alone!

__________________

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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Thank you iamhere for your uplifting message!

It must be horrible and difficult for him to have to do this with children and indeed a lot of responsibilities.

I've always been one to research and read when something happens that I don't understand and by doing that and talking to people I think I've got a better idea of what is going on than my husband thinks.

It's not easy but it is what it is for now. I'll update tonight when we have had couples counselling. I'm sure I'll need to get it out.....



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~*Service Worker*~

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(((Hugs))) - just do you, one moment at a time. This disease is absolutely horrible for all involved. It's cunning, baffling and powerful. I remember repeating a million times over in my mind when I started Al-Anon - "I love my ______, but I hate this disease"!!! It really helped me separate my people from the disease. I also go straight to, "Bless Them, Change Me...." each time I am practicing listening and not speaking...

__________________

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 will start practising that too!

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I have just come back from our very first couples counselling session and I honestly don't know what to make of it.

My husband came to the house and we drove together to the therapy session. He explained he relapsed on Saturday not knowing why it happened but blacked out at some point and woke on Sunday morning to finish the rest of the bottle. He was 67 days sober. He is angry and disappointed at himself. I tried to support him and told him it was a slip up, that it was good he spoke with his sponsor and that he should try and not dwell on it but pick himself up and continue working the program. He was very distant and seemed angry (I have learned that he gets angry when he is uncomfortable), he took his wedding ring off a few weeks ago and still isn't wearing it as it doesn't feel right to him.

He started some small talk while waiting for the therapist, asked after the girls, my family and my niece (he never does that).

When we were sitting with the therapist he asked us what it was that brought us here and my husband had trouble explaining so I did and said that in 2014 we bought a house which was full of issues we didn't know about and it caused a lot of issues and tensions seeing we had 2 small children and came from a one bedroom flat and were made to live in a hotel where my husband started to drink drink drink. I explained his behaviour became worse, abusive, seizures and that at the beginning of the year he went to rehab (he translated that as being kicked out when actually the GP threatened with Social Services and when I spoke with his mum she said she'd talk to him about him staying with her for a few days), that I phoned our health insurance and basically begged them to help him which landed him in rehab. After rehab, at first he was open and wanted confused but wanted to be with us and he wanted to work on our marriage but slowly he became distant, communicated badly, was agitated, had mood swings and didn't think it was necessary to contact us while we were visiting my family last week and then he relapsed.

He told his side of the story, he was so angry. He said, and it's true, that I wanted to back out of purchasing the doomed house as I never liked it and had a bad feeling but it was our only choice. He was asked about his childhood. Parents divorced when he was barely 3, mum kept full time job, his aunt babysat him, bad relationship with his sister and his father (who beat him), got into the wrong crowds, substance abuse.

We were asked how and why we got together and we could finally laugh as on paper we are polar opposites but we seemed to work even though I am slowly realising we may never have been right.

I moved in with him 6 months into our relationship and only today I heard that he couldn't remember it (he was never a light drinker) and that he wasn't sure about it, that he was the one to always end relationships and he did so with me 3 months after we moved in together because he wanted space. That same say he said he didn't want me to leave. This evening he said he doubted us moving in but he didn't want us to break up and if he told me to move out it would mean breaking up so I stayed (this is not good and this was news to me today).

His parents were heavy drinkers, his childhood was not very good. My childhood was very good and secure My mum was a stay at home mum for 7 years before she went back to work. m parents have been married for 45 years with their ups and downs, our family is very close. I did get bullied in secondary school, had low self esteem because of it, I found cancer in my father and felt so guilty I became anorexic for 5 years. I am doing great and have given that period a place in my life and it doesn't bother me anymore. It is sometimes a struggle with Christmas and Easter but other than that it's not an issue at all. When my mum returned to work she had a period where she did drink a lot as her work was so stressful, she was also diagnosed with MS around that time. My mum no longer drinks after a bad accident while drunk but the therapist found it interesting both our parents are substance abusers and so are/were we. Him alcoholic, me recovered anorexic.

My husband also got very angry about our holiday to France. We've been going to the same camping as family for over 20 years. We love it in the Loire Valley. My husband now hates it, is bred of it and refuses to go. The girls really wanted to go so we are going as I love it there too and I see it as my husbands loss for missing out on family time (if he's even bothered about that). We have been to Otley in Yorkshire a few times too. Again me and the girls love love love it there and we looked at moving up there about a year ago but now my husband doesn't like going there either! He wants to go somewhere else, is bored of it.

He said he is constantly thinking about drinking, was even checking out in therapy thinking about wanting a drink and thinking 'sod it I am going to get drunk tonight'. I left it for what it is because it is his choice.

He told me he doesn't know me, he doesn't know himself. The therapist said that his recovery is a long and slow process. I explained that I felt he was white knuckling his sobriety and wasn't recovering at all which is why he relapsed. my husband had nothing to say to that. I explained that if we wanted to see whether there is something in this marriage we need to spend time together and him hiding at his mums place instead of coming home isn't helping things. I didn't get to the point of saying I do everything on my own, am always reliant on other for times for myself as I need people to look after my girls if I want to do something as simple as going to the gym of pay people for it.

My husband said that I thought everything would be great when he got out of rehab (he thought he had committed career suicide, turned out to be the opposite) which is far from the truth. I explained I knew we needed to start from scratch but that he seems very unwilling to want to have to do anything with us but because AA tells him not to make any big decisions in his first year he won't do it. I also explained that that doesn't mean I am just going to sit here and wait to be dumped,that I am following my own recovery and that that might mean I am not able or willing to give him as much time as he needs if he doesn't show me at least that he would like to try and see what is in this marriage. He started biting his nails and instantly brought up the fact that I would move back to the Netherlands and he would never see his children again. Children he doesn't know, he can't remember most of the last 10 years so how can he be angry about something like this?! I have my family in the Netherlands, more support, more love and I need that too. I feel I need to move on too. He got angry I looked at other ways of having another child. It is bad and horrible of me but something I can't let go.

My husband was very subdued and seemed confused at the end of the session while I felt I needed to be strong and I felt strong. I feel this marriage won't last. Maybe because my recovery goes quicker than his and the fact I am actually upset about the fact that in the last 10 years, even when I thought things were great, I have now learned that they weren't in my husbands eyes. Mostly because he can't remember a lot of it. I feel cheated by that. I gave my all for 10 years and probably even more than that and when I'm the one saying I want to move on my husband gets angry, defensive and harsh or, as we left the therapy session, confused, insecure and sad. He wanted to walk me to the car but I said it was better he went to his train which was close. I also said that him continuing to live at his mums is not going to help this marriage at all. You can't make up your mind about anything like this if you refuse to bring yourself back into the family and if it's too hard for him then maybe I need to let him go because if I do that I will never have to think or deal with alcoholism like this again, I hope, at least I'd be truly free as I can leave England (I'm only here because my husband is British) and be with my family and who knows what comes onto my path.

There is one thought I am afraid to tell you because I feel I would be judged negatively if I did even though it's my choice. It's the one thing I need to figure out for myself.

Another looooooong post, thank you for reading and for your comments, help, advice. It helps so much just to write off and put it out there. I don't think I would've been able to sleep if I hadn't.



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As...

...putting aside the content, this is a fine piece of journalling. Inside of 'the rooms' is a privilege- where we hear and see stuff that takes the place of our messed up world- truth and spirit and honesty. Your honesty and integrity shows up in every word, in every phrase. Good on you gal!aww...



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One day at a time.



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See, not sleeping. But I love your encouraging words DavidG! I wish I found this board months ago.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Dutchy wrote:

See, not sleeping. But I love your encouraging words DavidG! I wish I found this board months ago.


smile... there is strength is diversity here... members from all over the world...a reminder to take care... yes...aww...



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One day at a time.



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Indeed and as the day goes on and I think about things that happened in counselling and things that were said some other things become clear.

My husband is very much still throwing his toys out of the pram, incredibly angry in his teenager way and is trying to find fault with everyone else as well (including my family's drinking habits) so as to not be the only one. I felt that I was made out weak because of the anorexia I beat almost 17 years ago. With Christmas and Easter I have to admit I would love to eat all the food but never will. I will moderate always but I an absolutely not taken by the anorexia anymore. I have more to live for than that. My recovery from anorexia was a speedy one once I decided I wanted a happy life. I had therapy and a dietitian and am completely healthy and almost happy if it wasn't for my ailing marriage.

I also think that when my husband next phones I might ask him not to come round anymore if he is not prepared to move back in and get know us again and see where it goes. I feel him hiding at his mums is not recovery and I think the relapse showed that. I am confident he will see this as an ultimatum and it's really not meant like as I just don't see the point of him coming to 'visit', 'hang out' or 'help' without rebuilding anything. I don't know if he is able to or wants to but I have myself and the girls to think about.

The other thing I remembered him angrily saying was that he was 'thrown out' of the family when Social Services were due to be alerted by our GP. His mum knew I was called in to see the GP and we both knew what that meant before I went so when I returned and his mum phoned me to ask how it went and I was upset she suggested it best she phoned him and ask him to stay a few nights and see what the best way forward was and I at that time thought it was a good idea because we were all suffering and something I never thought would happen to me (I've got a childcare degree) happened to me.

I'm really sorry for banging on about this and if I've become slightly boring. I have to say I like to write my issues out on paper to get it out of my head and get perspective and it's great I'm getting feedback here on my ideas and I can do while my 3 young girls are running around.

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Dutchy - I too am a visual learner. Since I process better with black/white in front of me, I write often - it does help me get it out, see what's up, determine what my part is and consider options. I heard early in Al-Anon to Write About It, Talk About It and Pray About It. I had the first 2 down well - it was the 3rd one that was an Aha moment for me....it does help so I get it and can relate!

What I hear is that you are processing and working to heal. This is my 'attempt' to align your post with recovery so I may be wrong. When I was uncertain and my brain was 'full' of jumbled things, my sponsor pushed me to try and simplify and determine what I need/ed. So - in your situation, if it causes you more confusion/pain/anger/other for your hubs to visit or hang-out, you are well within your rights to say what you mean, mean what you say and don't say it mean.

My A(s) never respond well (in recovery or active) to You statements. They are less likely to react when I use I statements. I learned this through my sponsor and Al-Anon that I statements really help me express where I am, and You statements are often viewed as blaming/shaming statements. I can share the following with a bit of detaching humor today, yet when it was 'real' and 'in my face' it was uncomfortable and a huge source of anxiety for me...

My youngest had a habit of getting really messed up, showing up and camping out. He tested and pushed every possible boundary I tried and is a smart, resourceful young man. If I let him in the house, it literally took an act of God or the police to get him out. He would plant on a bar stool in my kitchen area for hours and I have no idea what was going through his mind, but it was a battle of the wills as one of my boundaries was all about not being welcome when under the influence. One time, we did not let him in, and my hubs had left the spare car doors unlocked, and he stayed in the car for almost a full week! It was pure insanity and I can tell you I was rattled often/always.

Everyone would say, You need to leave. You are not welcome. You are messed up.... Finally, my sponsor suggested I try to use I statements. It took me a while to find my truth but it was something like this...

I love you so much that it causes me great pain to see you under the influence. It causes me great anxiety to be around anyone under the influence. My heart breaks when I have no answers to help you with your pain. I feel hopeless when you are active in your disease.

Things like this helped me keep the focus on me and gave me truth to share with my As. I was still called crazy, emotional, etc. which bothered me a whole lot less as when I could identify my truths, I found it easier to stand tall with them. I also had a list of things to work with my sponsor on - fear, anxiety, projection, hopelessness, etc.

So - you don't have to be a long time Al-Anon person to practice the tools! There is no perfect program or process - we just start with what we learn and we grow from there. I have a ton of photos of my youngest doing his 'squatting' here and none of them are remotely attractive. I took them to have 'proof' of his insanity when I was insane! Today, I can actually look at them and chuckle at how crazy I was and then be grateful I am not there any longer! So - also as we say - this too shall pass! Do you, and trust the process as best you can! (((Hugs)))

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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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Iamhere, that is an amazing post! Thank you! I have learned while working with children and doing my childcare degree that we talk to children a lot like this. I mean in the 'I' way. I will take your example and will do my best to start communicating like this to my husband. I feel that he feels everything is an ultimatum or an attack and, even at the session last night, he will shout conclusions without listening or gets angry and zones out. I wonder, I hope I am not rude, just ignorant, where I could 'find' a sponsor? Is it someone from AlAnon meetings who we get along with and has worked the program?

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Dutchy, you are right about finding a sponsor. I found mine at Al-Anon meetings. I found someone who had been in almost exactly my situation, but had worked the program and I could tell she had learned how to apply the program to her situation.

I've heard it said to look for someone who "has what you want," meaning the type of serenity you want for yourself. I approached that person after a meeting and asked if she would be my sponsor. She said it was an honor to be asked, and she would do it. It worked out perfectly for me.

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Oh that's brilliant. There is only 1 AlAnon meeting I can go to in my neighbourhood which is Saturday at noon if my husband is around to look after the girls. I will ask if the girls can come sometimes so I can go more often as I've only been a few times. Hopefully I can find someone!

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I too found mine through recovery. I am not unique at all - I am blessed! I started in the other side (AA) and have been sober a long while. As such, I've had a few sponsors....about 9-10 years ago, I needed another and was praying about it and looking. It's hard to find folks with 25+ years of sobriety that still attend meetings - they're around but not always attending when I can/do.

And - then it happened. I found someone who had what I wanted (that's what was suggested to me for a sponsor), and I asked. As we got to know each other better, she started in Al-Anon and then landed in AA - the opposite of me. As it turns out, her early experiences in life and with the disease led her to a career in therapy/counseling - an added bonus for me! She's now retired. She's been sober 43 years - a lovely sponsor, friend, golf partner, etc. now....

In my area, there are a few meetings that do offer child care. If you find some time, I'd do some googling for local meetings and see if that may be an option in your area. I needed more meetings in the beginning and often did the online ones here too!

As for the I statements, I grew up hearing that I statements were about ego/selfishness - yet another perception that's not black/white in reality. As I began practicing, I found that taking the time to process and truly look for the facts before responding gave me the courage to admit I am not a super-woman, super-mom, super-employee, etc. Due to your formal training, it may come easier for you - bonus!!! (((Hugs)))

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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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Oh wow, 43 years well done her! It must be so nice to be free, something my husband definitely isn't. As I've been talking and writing here I've noticed that a lot of what my therapist is doing is AlAnon. Bringing it back to me, challenging my thoughts (what would my life be like if I didn't have this feeling or that thought) and I've learned a lot. My therapist has worked with alcoholics for over 20 years before she started for herself and now has a practice in her own home. She understand exactly where I come from and is very helpful. I see her every Friday morning for an hour . I phoned a few AlAnon groups around but haven't found one that accepted childcare. I will go to a new one tomorrow and ask again if I can take the girls as they have morning, afternoon and evening sessions. It sounds so lame but after a day with a 5, 4 year olds and 21 month old I am too tired to go to AlAnon at 8pm which is why I am so haopy to have found this forum and such amazing people. I feel blessed and lucky, the only way is up and forward. I can't thank you all enough! Let's hope me setting the boundary with my husband tomorrow goes well and that I am able to use the correct language.

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Your husband is acting like a confused and angry teenager, as you note - and sometimes like a toddler having a tantrum. That's his developmental stage and I think it would be unrealistic to expect that to change any time soon. I know that when we've dealt with alcoholism for a long time, we feel we are overdue for some partnership, maturity, and caring - and that's true. But even if they are not drinking, they are simply not capable of that yet. It's like asking a toddler to take care of the family. What seems obvious to us is not at all obvious to them, plus they have every kind of swirling emotion, plus they are spending every moment trying to adjust to the new sobriety and not go back to their only coping skill, which is drinking. It sounds like your guy is hanging on to sobriety by his fingernails. He already had one slip and that is not a good sign.

My instinct is that being at his mother's is his way of trying to limit the stimulation he encounters, and hold off on the drinking. My instinct is that if he moves back in with you before he's ready, it will tip him over the edge. Of course, he may well tip over the edge anyway.

It's certainly fair to say to yourself, "I've waited way longer than I wanted to for a partner who could step up in the relationship. I simply can't wait any longer." It's also fair to say, "I'm going to do this just day by day, and not make any big decisions for now."

The most important thing is to take care of yourself and get involved in your own recovery. Hang in there.



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Hi Mattie,

All you are saying is right and he has soooo much anger in his body which he has been ignoring, especially now and I think the combination of the difficulty of being sober and the immense anger tipped him. He needs to do something about that, not me.

I've spoken to my therapist about this before. I am going to stay here until the end of the school year and if there isn't a sign of things becoming better I will pack up in summer holidays, take the girls back home and he can do what he likes. It becomes easier every day to step away from him. I've done enough. I've made mistakes and I've handled things very badly sometimes and certainly added to his anger. That still doesn't make me feel guilty about him reaching for the bottle. One of the first therapy sessions I had back in January my therapist told me that if my husband started drinking when he was 13 he never grew up. His brain never matured and that is certainly true.

One thing I know for certain, he loves his girls deeply but on the other hand his girls and me deserve to get what we want and what we need and he is not able to do that for a long time and I don't want to be in this house, in this country on my own. I have a few very very good friends here but it's not the same as family on which I can call 24/7 for anything and the girls absolutely adore my parents and their aunt and uncle. His parents have never really been involved. Won't even find the time to babysit. I know my husband will be very very upset and hurt when I leave but that's his own doing. I've given him everything, I am an adult and a person and an awesome mother with wishes and needs and I would like to grow my little family before it's too late and that's my prerogative.

I do sincerely hope and pray he will find a way to work through this. He was my first boyfriend (at the ripe old age of 27 which is almost 10 years ago now), my first love and divorce was never something I envisaged having to do when I married him but I might actually have to do it. For myself and my girls.

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Hi Y'all...

I get balance in a group by doing a share of my own, usually...

I can attend this group daily, rather than weekly... swirling around me is the "B" word, boundaries... and by that I mean group boundaries and protocols.

At age 67 I have found myself- as far as it goes. I was very wounded.

I will never under estimate the recovery abilities of a survivor... ... a lot of the time it felt like I was the only one. And the hard graft i had to do alone.

So I leave others to do this too. My SO had a different addiction- but, when the crisis came I was the one who intervened. And this was successful. My first "qualifier" was my dad.

Now I regard myself as the qualifier.

I had to move away from the cliches- and the slogans on their own. I had to deal with the nitty gritty of life itself. And draw in the thoughts and the ideas that worked the best- in a direct practical way. It is not an easy journey- and I believe that all of us know this.

Sometimes I speak on a whim. I let the thoughts flow- and the tears sometimes. And some times i cry from sheer joy gratitude and relief!

I am a work in progress and i believe that Alanon is too. I believe that Alanon has to move with the times.

Having an Alanon meeting online is a really good example of this!

Having said that i also believe that Alanon should remain true to its underlying principles. To the Steps, Traditions and Concepts...

I rang my daughter just before. I was a bit worried about one of the two kids. The young five year old was out on the gold course with his dad!. The kid in question was at home with her mum- sitting by the fire...

...the problem, if there was one, was bring solved by my daughter. And this was me letting things go and handing it over...

it is autumn here- fall.. Saturday morning... with bonny day coming up... I think of the time inside of this group. My memory and concentration have improved heaps here... I can see and hear a sea of faces... only one member of this group have I met in person! And it was a true and sweet meeting indeed!

Sometimes things baffle me- as to why i say and do certain things. Certainly, in years past I seemed to have cabbage for brains and had little or no control over body and mind. But hope prevailed...

health and wellbeing spring up... I seem to have normal emotions... but, because of my past I treasure and value them enormously!

Thanks for the share, here on your thread Dutchy-

for some reason i did not want to top post this morning...confuse...



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Oh DavidG what a beautiful post! It frels to me like you've had 'one hell of a journey' and are still on that journey. I feel gratitude and cautious happiness with a bit of doubt. It feel to me like you've come a long long way. My husband has just started, I have just started. People often ask me why I stayed with him and if I'm not a afraid of his relapse. To anseer the first, I love him. The person underneath the alcoholic. The person who is right there in pregnancy and labour. The person up in the night to change nappies regardless of its contents, the person would a weeks worth of weaning meals for our babies and freezed them. The person who encouraged and supported me in changing careers completely. The person who comes home with a rescue cat (again) because he heard the horroble life it had and felt we could give it all the love the cat needed (he did this 4 times) and he was heartbroken when 2 of them suddenly died. I feel that that person is still there, underneath it all. That said, boundaries now need to be placed, including him 'visiting' due to his alcoholism having wrecked a big part of the last 4 years (I am not blameless in our marriage trouble, off course I am not). And so, no I am not afraid of relapse. It's his choice, his to deal with, his to work through. BUT if it keeps happening and he is stuck and not progressing or recovering but instead just desperately trying to stay sober I have to male that choice I never thought I had to make because in all of this there is also me and the wellbeing of the girls. It was so nice to wake up (it's Spring here) to your calm and beautiful message DavidG! Thank you very much! And it's amazing people on here actually met! The beauty of it, amazing!

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Aww..., As. ...aww

Iwasputting in a pitch for hubby, through talking about myself... and for family too... which is always a family, whatever happens in the future...

...its just about giving things our best shot, really... all we can do. In your last big posting you seemed to venture right into the centre of the 12 Steps- as you began to focus on yourself and on your own life journey...

so i really suppose that added to the tenor of my post... I sense you would be receptive to it.

I am here today, literally, because people gave something of themselves- at some vital time... I still need this- need to generate this in my life.

And knowing it is there... hope... in people around me... is a real treasure...!!! Thanks back...smile...



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I do hope one day my husband will be a happy human again. He ohoned this morning to ask what he should come round and what our plans wrere. I told him our plans and that I wanted to talk to him here. He wanted me to tell him on the phone so I told him, hopefully with a lot of 'I' language that I feel that the visits, however nice, are quite difficult for us as he always leaves and that I feel that there is no relationship rebuilding. It is lovely when we see him but he comes in saying he'll need to leave on time for an AA meeting. That I feel it would be lovely if he moved back in. I would never compromise his meetings and journey but that we might be able to provide some fun, happiness and distraction (I know it probably won't work like that but I felt the need to say it regardless). That we can have dinner together, laugh about movies togrthrr, talk and get to know each other again. That I feel that the journey he is on now might not be the best one as he seems stuck. I said I loved him, that he is so so welcome to come home but that there has to be some rebuilding and not just alloweing me to attend the gym of have a few hours of 'help'. He sounded down, upset, sad. Said his mum wasn't back yet so he would do some washing instead and that there was a lot to think about. For a minute the thought crossed my mind that he might drink but I had to counter that thought that that would be his choice. I realise he is vulnerable after his relapse but I am hopong that with his sponsor he might 'tackle' it differently. The only emotion I am struggling with is guilt. Was I too hard on him? It is nice when he is here and I don't want to push him away, I just wanted to set the boundary that we are not just a place to hang out at the weekends but that we are his family and want a relationship with him too other than just him popping in and out. I told him I loved him, that I wanted to be a family and for him to come back home. Hopefully all in the right manner.

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One of the rude awakenings for me was going from my first meeting and I just want her to stop...to 5 years later and I just want her to be in recovery, healthy, etc. As a matter of fact, the problem -- as far as I saw it -- was the latter was an unknown to me. Just because my wife stopped drinking, and then found recovery, doesn't mean things would be back to where they were before she started drinking/alcoholism. There was the problem. I didn't know or understand what her not drinking looked like, what being a dry drunk looked like, what her recovery looked like, and so on and so on.

At that point, it was not about what I wanted. I wanted her to take a different track, work toward getting back and co-habitating, work back toward dinners together, try and get back together as H&W, and so on. Unfortunately, as her counsellor and therapist told me -- it wasn't about what I wanted. What I wanted had to come second to what she wanted and her sobriety (if she chose sobriety, and recovery). I was convinced she'd be happier "back together" and having the love and support I so wanted to give her. But, that didn't matter. It wasn't about what I thought and what I wanted.

I had to detach, and let go. I had to accept that her recovery was her recovery. Not mine. Mine was mine, it was different and separate, and independent of hers. I had to focus on me, not "us" -- and I had to let go of what I wanted and what I thought. Once I did that -- I got better, I got healthy. That's just my experience and perspective.

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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...



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You're right. I just want him to know thqt the door is open for him if he wants to come through. If we ever get that far, we can address the past in the correct manner but at the moment I just want him to know that I don't despise him and haven't given up on him despite me choosing me and my girls. He is their dad. They love him dearly, I love him and we are there for him but we will live our own lives. I do have my own timeline for this in which I will decide to take the girls and go back home to the Netherlands.

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It is Sunday morning here... getting cold outside these mornings... getting to meetings is designed to get a handhold on maturity- emotional maturity.

For me- I hammed it- I faked it through life. I had learned some good values- but overall emotional maturity was not demonstrated in my family. I had not resources. I could not expect my wife to give me these. She had a life of her own- even issues of her own to sort out.

Gaining personal space to enjoy a relationship is possible... ...I got this inside of Alanon. I gradually learned how to adult. I learned this amongst people with whom I could identify strongly. I had close contact with AA members as well.

Taking care of myself was essential- HALT... hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Losing sleep dragged me down. I grew up as a worrier- I had a lot to worry about, or so it seemed. Making contact and keeping contact with close friends... ,,,dealing with emotions... and having regular enjoyable meals is a baseline.

I still read the title to your thread- "Has is all been for nothing?"

A question you will find answers to over time... in all of your sharing this crops up all the time. You are going through a challenging life crisis.

In my journey I helped create a pathway too, for my kids... ...things were really tough, at times... and I said to myself- let my kids see me resolve this one the best way I can. In the end I did this for myself- not primarily for them. But the example was there- the lesson of life.

I was really lucky my wife-partner was working her way towards me. She did have a Plan B. [I think we always have to have a Plan B.]

But my best shot, Plan A. And her Plan A. won through, thankfully...aww...



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I'm so happy it did! And I hope it will for me. My husband rew not being able to show his emotions in any way, just wasn't done in his family. His mum still thinks he is absolutely fine..... In my family everything was always spoken about and feelings discussed. I talk about my issues with my husband but also about my happiness, the things the girls have done/are doing and I miss that sharing with him. He has no clue how to share whatsoever. He has to learn all that. I definitely have a plan B and my husband knows I do, it makes him angry, desperate almost but that is his to deal with. He has to figure all this out by himself. It's Saturday evening here and I've had a wonderful, beautiful day with the girls. A birthday party in the park, shoe shopping for all, ice cream then home and moving the garden and making it reqdy for spring/summer, making grass 'cakes' and having lots of fun. It seems easier now, calmer, happier. I still believe this is what my husband really wants but hasn't got a clue how to get it or work to itand Ibhope he figures it out. The girls and I can't hang around forever and definitely not in a country without my family around (I'm Dutch, husband British) He told me this afternoon he was on a walk, he sounded good but I could hear in his voice he was doing some thinking and if he can put that thinking into some form of action, he might get somewhere with himself.

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