i've spent a lot of time collecting a lot of valuable input regarding a very difficult separation, and have used so much of the info to (i think) my marriage's benefit. in fact, i believe that, if i had known of this board way back when, i wouldn't be in the situation i'm in now. (guy's, take that as me saying "honor you wife, get your head out of the smut, off the booze and spend time making your family the number one.)
having said that, i've drained my wife emotionally. i'm making a monumental effort to show her i've changed my tune. sobriety, prioritzing my life in a way i believe a family man should, etc. but it's gonna take a while, cause i had a stroke because of lifestyle issues. it's a constant reminder for the woman who, BY THE GRACE OF GOD (those who've seen my posts understand why i believe that phrase) saved my life. anyways, i've changed direction, sober with AA, weekly individual counseling, periodic marriage counseling, prayer, physical therapy to acheive 100% recovery from stroke, weigh loss (70+ pounds), etc.
so now my goal, while separated, is to have my wife see and acknowledge the changes. so, a smart poster here suggested:
>>>maybe create a separate post on here and ask for ideas from others on showing her you are a changed man<<<
and i thought that was a good idea that everyone could use as a resource. so....
guys, if you've weathered the storm or are successfully weathering it, my question is:
what are your ideas to show you spouse that you've changed for the better?
I think that you actions must match what you say. Bring her to an AA meeting. I have been with my father-in-law and I know that it is a humbling experience. Maybe she will understand that you now understand there can never be one slip up. That you know you can never go back.
that was my problem with aa in the beginning. it seemed like everyone there was coming back from a relapse. i actually used that as motivation. although i've learned not to judge people (hey, i was the most successful, highly paid talk show host in town. if the evil mistress alcohol can get to me, who am i to judge!) i would see these relapse people and say "chris, you go back and that's what it looks like. bleak, man. you wanna be like that dude?" no!
and you are right about the humbling. again, i was #1, documentable, in my profession. also, later the top used car guy in town. again #1, and my numbers proved it. no humility there man, but lotsa humility in the fact that alcohol kicked my a$$, took my health, almost my life. oooh, yeah, i'm some tough hombre, full of bragadoccio, crying like a baby at the prospect that i've lost my one true love, the woman who at one time told me i was her dream come true and her knight in shining armour. tough guy, alcohol just about did you in! humbling, amen. and thank God for that.
Location: Temporary Resident of Earth Lord Only Knows Where Next
Re: how have you changed???
My best advice for anyone trying to change their behaviors to better their marriage is to be consestent and steady in your actions. Benchmarks don't work. telling them about it doesn't work, pleeding doesn't work, over the top actions don't work. Your consistent actions in honering your spouse, family and marriage will have the most impact. Recovery takes time if it is to be done right.
i have made many mistakes in my life with you, and tried to cover them up with short term promises.
it is almost, as a smart man has told me, pathological. looking at it from my perspective, i wouldn't trust me.
having seen the consequences of my actions and through talk therapy with a very good counselor (Dr. Rice),
i have committed myself to be clean and sober for life. the reason i asked you to go to a meeting with me a
few weeks ago is so you could see exactly what i see about the risk to relapse. i take this disease very seriously,
what you have said to me sounded very genuine, i acknowledge my pathological behaviors of the past. i am
extremely fortunate, though. i have found an incredible resource in Dr. Rice. he has opened my eyes to the hurt
that i have caused. i realize that chances like the ones i've been given are extremely rare. luckily for me i've found
a "new way of thinking," a more holistic way to look at things. a way that will consider you needs for independence,
freedom from worry, cherishing your existence, honoring you as a person. the only way you can trust that this is
not an empty promise is to see it in action.
i intend for you to see these changes. i am a changed man, one you will be proud to sit down at lunch with your
friends and talk about, one you will have pride in introducing to your friends i've not yet met and say "this is my husband."
alcohol has been the demon. an evil mistress as dr. rice says.i've had an affair with the evil mistress. i apologize to you
and our children and your family and anyone else that i have negatively affected..
finally, i know that many years have going into building the "walls" that you have erected, and there's no reason to
believe that they will come down fast. when you stated in my first counselor mrs. baze's waiting room, "let's hope that
this works fast" i truly saw a glimmer of hope in your eye, one that said "i know this can work, pleaselet's get this sorted
out soon." i know you've seen some changes. some will take time. time that 20 years investment in our relationship is
worth giving. please know that more, and worthwhile, changes are coming. you'll be relaxed, independent and free.
those are my goals for you, my beautiful beth.
for those who haven't invested fully in the lord, i just want you to know that i was devinely inspired to write those words. tears rolled from my eyes as i typed, knowing that the words were real, deep, true.
I think that having some kind of routine that you stick to everyday, that she can see that you are following would be good. Like if she called and you said, "I'm sorry, Beth, but it's time for my run now. Can I call you back later?" would be good because she would see that you have a vested interest in yourself in a positive way. Picking up positive new hobbies like golfing or painting or carpentry. Whatever floats your boat so that you have something to focus on and unwind with in place of the drinking. You could then show off your wonderful works to your family. My father does carpentry for fun and it gives me a sense of pride that he has the patience and skill to make something so beautiful that can also stand the test of time. My father grew up in an abusive alcoholic household and has had problems with drugs and alcohol, but he has not relapsed since he was in his early thirties. He is now fifty-seven years old. He keeps himself very busy doing productive things with his life like running his business, household repairs, yard work, his various hobbies, one of which is now boating. His mother just passed away three weeks ago and guess what? Not even a thought of relapse. Drug use is a habit and he broke that habit years ago. Keep going the way you are going and you will have such a beautiful life to look forward to!
I am so glad to hear of someone that is making the difference in their life. I get so down from reading about so many people who do nothing to change their situations. Kudos!!! to you!
Wow, Chris. Very nice. It encapsulates that 'you get it' and are serious about change and also understanding how your past has affected her, in such a personal, loving way. Have you given this to her yet?