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Recovering alcoholic problems

Frank wrote:

My wife has agreed to marriage counseling , but only for the resolution of the marriage. We have been seperated for the past 1 1/2 months due to my drinking problems and broken promises.

She indicates thats she's had it with this crap, is not willing to put her heart out there again and get trampled on. We have 3 children 13, 9 and 7.

I feel there is to much to lose and dismantling the marriage will have grave effects on everyone.

If going to marriage is my final chance, (and yes I am doing the right things,AA meetings and counseling/never any physical abuse, just a lack of attention to the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental aspects of our marrige)...and she is indicating that she is not lifting a finger to make it work is there hope?

I can only tell her how I feel,and maybe the counselor will be able to break her hard shell and make her see something in the marriage that still exsists. I deserve a another chance,and feel that if she can see me now, sober and clean, she'll get the best man she's ever had...

Whats your insight on the marriage counseling and her insisting on not lifting a finger?

Dear Frank

You say you are a recovering alcoholic, who has neglected the "the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental aspects" of your marrige, and you seem surprised that your wife is slow to trust you.

  • How long have been off the booze?
  • How long were you controlled by it?
  • Who told you it would be easy?

You do have a chance of rebuilding your marriage, but not until you stop thinking about your needs, and start thinking about hers ... and the kids.

For I don't know how long, you have - on your own admission - neglected your family, broken promises, and put yourself first.

Your circumstances change, but you still expect the whole world to revolve around you.

Life ain't like that.

You can destroy a relationship in seconds - your wife deserves a medal for holding on so long - but rebuilding can take a long time. I suspect your wife's decision is not based on her feelings, but on her love for the kids (remember them?). She stayed with you for them, now she's leaving you, before you destroy them wih more broken promises.

Maybe this time you have turned the corner. I hope so. So does she. But if so, take the time to prove it to her. Win her all over again.

Doesn't she deserve that? Else why do you want to keep the marriage?

Gus added:

> Hello,...I just read some advice you wrote back to a
> recovering alcoholic who has been having trouble
> with his wife. He stated he was never physically
> abusive. His troubles were not being there
> spiritually and mentally for her. You told him that
> basically he should expect to be treated the way he
> has been even now that he is sober.

You say he's a recovering alcoholic; I read his whines as an alcoholic who has stopped drinking, but still feels the world owes him a living - "never any physical abuse, just a lack of attention to the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental aspects of our marrige" - as if that makes it all right, then. It doesn't.

The point of my reply, is that his attitude stinks - and - like it or not - he has more to do.

HE destroyed the trust (yes, DESTROYED - get your head around that!) and now he whines that she dosn't trust him.

> Its people like you who make getting sober even more
> difficult for the alcoholic. Let me guess ... you're not
> a former addict are you??? So how could you possibly
> know what its like? These people yelled at us to stop,
> pleaded with us to stop, threatened awful things
> against us to get us to stop. Then when we are finally
> ready to stop for US, (which is THE ONLY way staying
> sober can work )

That's the problem; you only really care about your own agenda ("These people!"), and yet it's everyone else's job to make it easy for you.

That is NOT recovery - that is being a sober alcoholic. To rejoin the human race, which you chose to leave, YOU must make sacrifices, YOU must make it easy for those you tortured.

If you don't like the truth, well tough on you, because that's the way it is in the real world, whatever I think - and whatever you think.

> these same people shut us out. Bring up things we did when
> we were drinking in the middle of an argument just to belittle
> and embarrass us. Then with all the ignorance a non-addicted
> person can muster about the disease, they say "I'm not going
> to change,....Im not the one with the problem." How can two
> people be in a relationship for say 4 years or so, while one of
> them is an addict,.......THEN the addict gets sober and the
> other person continues to treat them like an addict????? BOTH
> people must change. The addiction has affected BOTH of them.
> THEY BOTH need to heal from it,..just in different ways.

Yes, both will need to change; but it's the alcoholic who must change first, as they are the ones who have caused the breakdown in the first place.

Often, the partner has had enough, and does not want to change. And why should they? Why should they take a risk, when they've lived with lies and deceit and mental torture for years?

How, pray tell, are they supposed to know that this time it's for real?

OF COURSE it's not easy; and the alcoholic who is really ready for change deserves a bloody medal for courage and persistence. But HOW DARE YOU put the blame on those who tried, time after time to help - and are still there after all that. Be grateful they'll even talk to you, because no law says they have to.

> So when you say its perfectly normal for someone to treat the
> recovering addict like an active addict ... I think you're full of &*#@@!

I didn't say it's 'Normal' - but I do say it's entirely to be expected; yes, I know it makes recovery even more difficult. But what do you want, miracles?

> Sorry to be so rash, but I cant stand when people who have NO
> experience of being addicted try to "touch" on the subject. Some
> things you just need to be to understand. Kinda like the phrase
> after telling a funny story to people. "Well, you had to BE there"

I don't have to be buried in shit to know it smells; I don't have to see a relationship destroyed by one person to know that ONLY THAT PERSON can rebuild it.

Alcoholism is NOT about just one person - the alcoholic - it's about ALL those connected. And the alcoholic who fails to see recovery as rebuilding and making good ALL that damage, is not in recovery.

OF COURSE it isn't easy. And nobody can make it so. But for one in genuine recovery, it will be worth it. And that's a promise.

Queenie added:

Gus is upset because he thinks that the wife should bend over backwards to make things work because Frank is trying to recover and she has indicated that she will not lift a finger to help the relationship. The point he is missing is that usually it is when the other person in the relationship has finally had enough and is emotionally detached from the addict and is ready to leave that they then want to recover.

Well, hurray for them that they want to recover (and I mean it is a good thing) but sometimes it is too late to revive the relationship after all the emotional carnage that has been done. I am at that point, he wants to recover and I just want him out of my life. Difficult place to be. I have no more patience, compassion or caring about his problems.

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