Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk - Talk About Marriage
Relationships and Addiction Whether it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, pornography, or anything else, addictions can be detrimental to the health of a relationship.

User Tag List

 123Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
post #1 of 162 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
Shimmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 67
Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Okay, I've now browsed quite a bit of this forum, somewhat learned the lay of the land and feel like this is where I probably fit in best, so I'll do another introduction.

I've been married for nearly 25 years to a very high functioning alcoholic - he's been at the same job for longer than we've been married and his well respected there. He's never been arrested, wrecked a car, has no financial problems or any of the other usual pitfalls that typically befall an alcoholic. It's just that if he's not at work or asleep, he has a drink in his hand and WILL go to bed drunk, day or night. He even brings his beer into the shower!

I've threatened to leave many times in the past, and he's been to rehab twice, both failed, obviously. I've done Al Anon, individual counseling, etc. Professionals have told me over and over that I should leave. Why haven't I?

I needed help with the kids, for one, and in spite of it all he IS a good father. Besides, they're all pretty much grown now, so that ship has sailed. Another reason? He's a good person, beneath it all, and I have terrible guilt about 'bailing' on him. He helps around the house and in many ways is an ideal husband, probably a better spouse than I am since I've given up trying over the past few years.

I promised myself long ago that I'd leave once the kids were independent, and have only been marking time for the past few years. This has had an unexpected result. Once I stopped asking him to conduct himself a certain way, stopped hoping for normal companionship, etc., he's never been happier and there are no more fights! He takes my silence as meaning that things are fine and I feel terrible knowing he'll be blindsided when I tell him I want a divorce. Heck, at times I've fooled myself into believing that our marriage is okay... until I see the affection and friendship between other couples and could cry with envy.

I've made an appointment to see a counselor (alone, he swore he'd never see a marriage counselor and I'm not about to try again at theis point). I'm hoping to find the courage to do what I know I need to do, and looking forward to some new perspectives. Thanks for reading.
Shimmer is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 162 (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 07:10 AM
Member
 
movealong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: on a mission from God.
Posts: 866
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

You need to answer three questions for yourself (imo):

1. Have you checked out of the marriage and there is nothing that will keep you there?
2. Are you prepared to give an ultimatum and carry through with it whether it be leaving, or, staying if he gets sober?
3. If you give the ultimatum and he decides to get sober, are you prepared to re-attach emotionally?
movealong is offline  
post #3 of 162 (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 08:05 AM
Member
 
Giro flee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 623
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Definitely go to counseling. Living with an alcoholic is torture, nobody should have to live that way.

That guilt you feel about leaving him has been carefully cultivated by the codependent relationship that develops with alcoholics. They are masters at manipulation, making us feel guilty for everything in their life.

You only get one life you deserve to live happily. The absence of the constant tension living with an alcoholic is indescribable. I was so tense I didn't even realize how bad it was, it was my natural state. To come home without worrying about what might happen is so liberating! Love, peace, affection; these are all worth it.
Giro flee is offline  
post #4 of 162 (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 08:39 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 8,917
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

A few thoughts...

You're not considering "bailing" on him. You've been enabling his behaviour for your entire marriage, and you're considering stopping that enablement.

He may see you as a "walk away wife", as he thinks things are peachy keen because you're not nagging him about his negative behaviour. Too bad, so sad for him. Point him back to your many previous discussions and see if he can recognize that he hasn't changed from your original complaints.

He wasn't a "good father" if he's taught the kids that it's normal to take a beer into the shower and fall asleep drunk every night.

Possibly the reason he wouldn't ever consider counselling is because he didn't want to face the music he knew he'd hear (and deserve).

It's great that you're finally getting counselling. You need to get yourself in a place that you can take the advice that you've already been given.

Good luck!

C
PBear is offline  
post #5 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 10:00 AM
Member
 
SlowlyGettingWiser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: On the cusp of something great!
Posts: 1,258
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Read this book NOW (really, download it to your computer -- Amazon.com has a FREE kindle app for people with PCs). Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie.

Read it SLOWLY, with thorough comprehension (it's not a 'race' to see how fast you can complete it). USE it like a workbook; there are questions at the end of every chapter. Answer them. Literally WRITE down the answers to each question - use it like a workbook.

At the end of the book, you will have a BETTER UNDERSTANDING of yourself, your life, your choices (past and present).

This book should give you some CLARITY after which you should have an easier time choosing a path forward in your life (we don't know what it is, you don't know what it is. Read the book and you'll be able to pick it out.)

If you answer the questions TRUTHFULLY by looking inside yourself for answers, you'll be able to make better choices in a week or two when you're finished with the book.

Best wishes for 2014!


.
SlowlyGettingWiser is offline  
post #6 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 10:14 AM
Member
 
bandit.45's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 17,166
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

I'm a recovering alcoholic, and I know exactly the kind of person your husband is. I know many alcoholics of this type. He will not stop, and he will occasionally go to treatment to get everyone off his back and then start drinking again.

I would divorce him if I were you. He needs to hit rock bottom and lose everything to maybe....maybe wake up and see how dysfunctional his behavior is.

You deserve to be happy and live a life without being shackled to a drunk.
bandit.45 is offline  
post #7 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 12:19 PM
Member
 
larry.gray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5,384
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Quote:
Originally Posted by bandit.45 View Post
I would divorce him if I were you. He needs to hit rock bottom and lose everything to maybe....maybe wake up and see how dysfunctional his behavior is.
Put the emphasis on maybe. I know a highly functional alcoholic who is royally screwing up his life yet isn't quitting. He's ran his father's business into the ground. It's enough to survive on, to support himself, but not what it was. He's lost the comfortable life he had. His WONDERFUL wife has left, his kids avoid him (his youngest graduates this year). Yet he's not stopped. He's one of those guys that only those with knowledge of the 'tells' that he's flying high would notice.
larry.gray is offline  
post #8 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 08:02 PM
Member
 
Pinkpetal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 56
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

I've been reading threads here on TAM for a while now, but I joined today because I wanted to offer my advice to you Shimmer.

I too was married to an alcoholic for 20 years.

It's my opinion that it won't get any better. Let your loneliness and anger drive you Shimmer. Hubby doesn't really believe that you're going anywhere, you've threatened it before. You've taken this behaviour from him for years and he has learned that you will stick around for it.

In my opinion, the best thing you can do is leave. I left my husband 5 years ago, divorced him, and am now in a wonderful relationship with a man who loves spending time with me and treats me beautifully. When I look back, I really can't believe how different my life is now - how different I am.

And what of my husband...? Nothing has changed for him. He drinks as much as he ever did. Our kids visit him every few weeks, and they tell me that he still has the same ol' routines. He likes his life with lots of beer in it.

Continue with your IC, and choose happiness Shimmer. Don't let feeling frightened stop you.

I wish you all the best.
Pinkpetal is offline  
post #9 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 02:04 AM
Member
 
larry.gray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5,384
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

If you said whiskey instead of beer I might think you're talking about the same guy Pinkpetal.
larry.gray is offline  
post #10 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Shimmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 67
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Thanks everyone, and especially you PinkPetal, for your input.

I'm having such a terribly hard time with this. When I was much younger I endured a brief marriage to an abusive jerk. It was easy to leave him, and this feels so different. My husband truly is a good person underneath it all and I hate the idea that I'm going to cause him pain. The marriage we have is apparently enough for him, even if it seems like an illusion to me.

At the same time, I question my own judgment and wonder if what I have isn't enough... a man who works hard and provides well, has never laid a hand on me and has been faithful for 25 years, at least as far as I know. Am I a fool for wanting more... a friend, someone who makes me laugh and wants to talk to me at night instead of staring into his beer can?

I have read "Codependent No More", but will do a refresher. I've also read "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay", and as expected, all signs pointed to "leave". There has been so much anger between us, so many issues swept under the rug, but I know he's been lulled into a false sense of security now, since I've quit fighting him and just let him be with his booze. He's happy as can be and I'm perfectly miserable.
Shimmer is offline  
post #11 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Shimmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 67
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Quote:
Originally Posted by movealong View Post
You need to answer three questions for yourself (imo):

1. Have you checked out of the marriage and there is nothing that will keep you there?
2. Are you prepared to give an ultimatum and carry through with it whether it be leaving, or, staying if he gets sober?
3. If you give the ultimatum and he decides to get sober, are you prepared to re-attach emotionally?
These are hard questions.

1) The last counselor I saw (a few years ago) told me I was already emotionally divorced and could not believe I hadn't already left. Sometimes I can't believe it either, but here we are.

2) The last time he quit drinking (for maybe a month?) about 2 years ago he was miserable the entire time and I remember thinking back then that I didn't know if I could handle being married to this version of him either.

3) As far as reattaching, I'm not sure. There are so many resentments, so many awful experiences which he has never apologized for, just pretended they didn't happen. I find myself dreaming of a different existence, while at the same time I feel frozen in abject fear of rocking the boat and going through the trauma of a divorce and all that it entails.

So instead, every night, he watches TV, smokes and drinks while I keep my nose in a book or spend the evening online, chatting with friends or researching my hobbies. In many ways we may as well be alone, but he will cling to me as his wife to the bitter end, I know it.

And maybe it has something to do with what he has to lose in a divorce settlement - believe me, I've debated with myself over just letting him have well more than his half just so he'll let me go a little easier.
Shimmer is offline  
post #12 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 10:32 AM
Member
 
turnera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,186
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

He will never change as long as you are living with him. Period. He has no reason to.
turnera is offline  
post #13 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 07:01 PM
Member
 
Pinkpetal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 56
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

You are very welcome Shimmer.

I know that deciding to leave is a process, and it doesn't sound like you are quite there yet.

For myself, I wavered for years. After 20 years of marriage of course I cared about my husband and worried about what would happen to him if I were to leave. I didn't want to be responsible for any downward spiral, and I was pretty sure that that was what would happen. But I felt as though I was very slowly dying inside. Every day became another day to get through, same as the day before, evenings being the worst.

Loneliness and lack of intimacy matter in a relationship Shimmer. Of course you feel bereft because you are not receiving the love and attention from your husband that you truly deserve.

It's my opinion that you're fighting a losing battle. Be honest with yourself - is this really the life that you want to live Shimmer? Another year of this? - another 5, 10, or 15 years?? I don't believe that your husband's behaviour is going to change, not after so many years and failed attempts. And your loneliness is not going to go away.

I know this may sound harsh, but in my own experience, the best thing you can do for your husband is to stop being his safety net. Cut him loose and let him sink or swim on his own. He may flail around and go under water, but I'd be surprised if he didn't pop back up and eventually start to swim.

You can do it Shimmer. Your hubby is a grown man. He needs to step up, and you need to require it of him.

Best to you.
Pinkpetal is offline  
post #14 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 07:46 AM
Member
 
turnera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,186
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shimmer View Post
but he will cling to me as his wife to the bitter end, I know it.
So?

He can WANT to cling to you til the bitter end, but if you divorce him, he won't have a choice, will he?
turnera is offline  
post #15 of 162 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 07:47 AM
Member
 
turnera's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 35,186
Re: Married to Maybe the Most Functional Alcoholic Ever, and Ready to Walk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkpetal View Post
Be honest with yourself - is this really the life that you want to live Shimmer? Another year of this? - another 5, 10, or 15 years??
You only get one of them. Lives, I mean. Is this what your parents wanted for you?
turnera is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on Talk About Marriage, you must first register. Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

Important! Your username will be visible to the public next to anything you post and could show up in search engines like Google. If you are concerned about anonymity, PLEASE choose a username that will not be recognizable to anyone you know.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Am I being a doormat? ready to walk away. Smudgecat Considering Divorce or Separation 13 03-10-2013 06:29 PM
32 married for almost 16 years and ready to leave! idkwhat2do General Relationship Discussion 19 10-17-2012 10:43 AM
you are a married femal, when you walk in a mall or streets, do u check men out? Tourchwood General Relationship Discussion 10 05-04-2011 03:11 PM
Ready to walk away... marilee General Relationship Discussion 7 09-07-2010 01:52 PM
Has anyone been married to an alcoholic? pgk453 General Relationship Discussion 8 08-08-2009 04:39 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome