H in recovery - 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.

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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H in recovery

My H is 6 weeks into recovery, we're still separated there is limited interaction (coffee for example ) but he does his thing, I do mine. I believe that is necessary for our respective healing. In fact, personally I am in a good place of peace and calm.
Had a good session with my IC and realise there is so much brokenness to be healed.


However, can anyone tell me if they have been an A or lived with one, what an A goes through in the early days of recovery. Before you tell me, I do not get involved in what he does with AA and have no desire to do so, I am in a stage where I want to simply take care of myself. I refuse to be that interested as he has to take that responsibility and deal with it, not me.

I don't know (because it is very early days) if I want R or not, I think he is also in a place where he is not thinking too much of the marriage either, that is fine with me for now. We will still go to MC though I am beginning to wonder if that is premature.

I do have moments of loneliness and am ready to just move on. I know i am capable of doing so, but something tells me to see how this goes, a final spin as it were. If this goes belly up then I know I've given it my all.
I could go on a specialist forum but would like to hear from TAMers (if any).
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 12:45 PM
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Re: H in recovery

Hello Aine-

My husband and I attend an addiction recovery group...at our meeting last night someone said the following:

Sobriety and Recovery are two very different things!


One can be sober (having abstained from the addictive substance/issue)...but not recovered.

Recovery requires an internal, visceral change (takes more time to incorporate this into one's life/behaviors). The length of time you need to see a change in his behavior (not merely abstinence) depends on you, on the length of time he has been struggling with this addiction, on his willingness to make take the necessary steps in all areas of his life.

You need to make the decision to stay and work on this relationship not based on what and how his recovery is going but if that is truly what you choose. IMHO, When you choose whole-heartedly, you remove regret no matter the outcome. You'll be able to have your integrity with how your choices are played out.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-14-2016, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: H in recovery

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Originally Posted by cons View Post
Hello Aine-

My husband and I attend an addiction recovery group...at our meeting last night someone said the following:

Sobriety and Recovery are two very different things!


One can be sober (having abstained from the addictive substance/issue)...but not recovered.

Recovery requires an internal, visceral change (takes more time to incorporate this into one's life/behaviors). The length of time you need to see a change in his behavior (not merely abstinence) depends on you, on the length of time he has been struggling with this addiction, on his willingness to make take the necessary steps in all areas of his life.

You need to make the decision to stay and work on this relationship not based on what and how his recovery is going but if that is truly what you choose. IMHO, When you choose whole-heartedly, you remove regret no matter the outcome. You'll be able to have your integrity with how your choices are played out.
Thanks, that was a very helpful answer. I mix up the sobriety and recovery as I'm new to this. i do read alot but no longer go to Alanon. I know he is sober for now but you are absolutely right about the inner change, that would take a lot of time.

He has said and done some things recently which suggests he is becoming more self aware but I am not holding my breath.
Unfortunately, I am not in wholeheartedly, too much pain and damage and I need to heal, I am definitely not in a position to be there for him at all, I feel I have given too much of myself already and need to help me first, I have nothing left to give.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-14-2016, 08:28 AM
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Re: H in recovery

Aine-

I hear you...the pain of the deceitful selfishness that addictions bring to an intimate relationship run soooo deep.
It's okay to say there's been too much pain/lies/false recoveries/broken promises....We're human...those wounds are often left unhealed and then another offense occurs...it can feel like death by a thousand cuts...

Your counselor will be a great resource for you to focus on your healing...which means stepping away from your relationship (whether temporarily through separation or perhaps more permanently)...

I would recommend attending an AlAnon group if you could. It helps to talk things out with others who have been there.

Hugs to you
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-15-2016, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: H in recovery

Thanks Con,

Was so down last night and vacillating between moving out and staying in the same house and asking him to move out.

Met friends last night including some couples, and it made me sad to see them so together while I am dealing with all the s*** back at home, it really depressed me and I went to bed in tears.

H and I had a good talk this morning, the MC session floored me a bit yesterday too. We really do not know how to communicate and I assume the worst of my H automatically and misinterpret what he says to the negative. I guess I have been hurt so many times that I do not expect any good thing to come from him. It is like I am stuck in a groove that will be difficult to dig myself out of and assume he is good willed and does care about me and what I say.

He said he knows he has pushed me over the edge and he will do the work necessary to try and restore us. I just don't know if he has it in him. I dont know if I have it in me.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 02:48 PM
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Re: H in recovery

Hey Aine,
I'm an A and have been in recovery/clean and sober for a little over 3 years now. I'm not really sure what you are asking about what an A goes through early in recovery. I can say from my own experience my brain was a scrambled mess for about a year. Everything, even small things, seemed like a really big deal and my memory was terrible, but around about a year sober everything seemed to calm down. I think the ole brain chemistry finally healed. I think you are doing the right thing by focusing on yourself and going to IC. I too went to MC early in recovery which is kind of a joke when I think back to how crazy I was back then, but ,whatever, it worked. So who cares?
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: H in recovery

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Hey Aine,
I'm an A and have been in recovery/clean and sober for a little over 3 years now. I'm not really sure what you are asking about what an A goes through early in recovery. I can say from my own experience my brain was a scrambled mess for about a year. Everything, even small things, seemed like a really big deal and my memory was terrible, but around about a year sober everything seemed to calm down. I think the ole brain chemistry finally healed. I think you are doing the right thing by focusing on yourself and going to IC. I too went to MC early in recovery which is kind of a joke when I think back to how crazy I was back then, but ,whatever, it worked. So who cares?

So how is your marriage now? In a good place?

My WAH has been relatively high functioning, managed to hold down a high powered job and not get kicked out in spite of some bad drunken missteps,
He could drink an awful lot but had not got to the stage of hiding bottles around the house though he didn't have to as he was out working late (i.e. in the pub after work) or travelling through airports (lots of alcohol available in airports, planes and hotels).

So i guess his body needs to heal. He did tell me in MC that he also needs the space from our separation to deal with his problem at AA. he has only managed to deal with step 1 of the 12 steps and that has taken him almost 6-7 weeks! At this rate he will cover the 12 steps in 2 years.

The MC is good, we are making progress tiny steps but it is enough for me as I want to see if he means what he says and will keep sober.we do not see each other much as we do our own thing, though living in the same house so I guess the MC keeps us in touch and I think that is necessary as we both could probably walk away.
We no longer fight, so I love the peace and calm.

The limbo though is difficult sometimes and I sometimes grieve over what we have lost and just want it to end.
I realise if we do stay married it will have to be a completely new marriage relationship as we have to unlearn all of the ways of coping and communicating of the pass.

Although his drinking is top of the list of issues there are others. The mC says we must go slowly.

I am hearing stuff that i never thought about from him, he is opening up and I see how much I have hurt him too. It is raw. I never thought working through issues could be so difficult.

I admire couples who decide to work on their marriages, give it their all as I think walking away is sometimes a much easier option.

So from your post I guess it is safe to say, I should not expect too much in the first year? and just go with the flow. i think i might go back to al anon.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 01:51 PM
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Re: H in recovery

I think AL-anon is a great idea. I actually went myself for a little while. (long story) It was great!! I have huge respect for alanons. I call some of the long timers the black belt ninjas for dealing with azzholes!

The marriage now is great. I was in treatment the first 3 months of sobriety, so I guess that is sort of like being separated. The MC did help even though it was difficult and I hated every second of it during the time, and the fact that he is actually showing up to MC and going to meetings on his own accord is a pretty positive sign. Two years for 12 steps isn't totally unreasonable in my opinion. I think I did them in about nine months, but I was not a high functioning addict/alcoholic and the consequences of my actions were very motivating to me. I was desperate to not be the person I was. I hated that person. Like I said, everything calmed down after about a year.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 12:49 PM
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Re: H in recovery

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Originally Posted by aine View Post
My H is 6 weeks into recovery, we're still separated there is limited interaction (coffee for example ) but he does his thing, I do mine. I believe that is necessary for our respective healing. In fact, personally I am in a good place of peace and calm.
Had a good session with my IC and realise there is so much brokenness to be healed.


However, can anyone tell me if they have been an A or lived with one, what an A goes through in the early days of recovery. Before you tell me, I do not get involved in what he does with AA and have no desire to do so, I am in a stage where I want to simply take care of myself. I refuse to be that interested as he has to take that responsibility and deal with it, not me.

I don't know (because it is very early days) if I want R or not, I think he is also in a place where he is not thinking too much of the marriage either, that is fine with me for now. We will still go to MC though I am beginning to wonder if that is premature.

I do have moments of loneliness and am ready to just move on. I know i am capable of doing so, but something tells me to see how this goes, a final spin as it were. If this goes belly up then I know I've given it my all.
I could go on a specialist forum but would like to hear from TAMers (if any).
I have been clean and sober for 11 years. I have one person that I sponsor and I act as a temporary sponsor for new people to AA.

You are correct that the recovery is your husband's responsibility. However, if you believe that his recovery is purely his issue; that you can remove yourself entirely then I would suggest that there is no way your marriage will work.

I have seen this many times where an individual is in recovery and the spouse views this as not their problem. That they can do their own thing while their spouse works on the recovery on their own. These marriages always fail. They fail because of expectation, that once recovery is over things will return to normal. Sometimes there is so much damage and hurt that it prevents compassion. Marriage requires compassion, communication and support; especially when one partner is in desperate need. If your marriage has become harmed to the point that you are unable or unwilling to offer this, I would suggest that you would be doing yourself and your husband more harm by staying.

I do not say this to be mean or hurtful. I'm speaking from experience. Love him as he is and be supportive, help him through it the best you can. If you cannot, then leave.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 02:59 PM
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Re: H in recovery

Well that begs the question @thebard77 , what do you consider to be support for an addict/ alcoholic early in recovery? She's going to IC and MC with him, (possibly alanon) I'd say that's pretty supportive. I believe alanon has a slogan that if you want to support someone's recovery then you need "to get a life and get out of the way." Something along those lines. I think the meaning behind it is to work on yourself and get healthy, and hopefully two healthy partners can have a healthy relationship.

I have sponsored several women over the years and have seen some unsupportive spouses as well. Like the one guy who couldn't understand why she couldn't have just one drink. He was in alanon too. She had almost died from alcohol poisoning a few months prior. I mean WTH dude? I think the best way to be supportive is to not give them any grief over going to meetings, not try to get the person to drink or use, and working on themselves.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: H in recovery

Now I have got to the stage where I am committed again to the marriage, previously I had one foot in and one foot out.
I have told him this in MC.
I listen to him, but do not push about AA, that is his journey and I am pleased to see he is still following through.
We have both agreed we have to build a new marriage - the old one is broken.
I am looking at him as the man I married, dealing with my hurts and wounds in IC. He is doing the same in IC.
We agree not to talk about difficult stuff without MC there. However, when we have tense moments we choose to confront them rather than bury them, or at least I choose to bring up why I am upset, he is doing the same and it clears the air. We apologize and move on.

We take it one day at a time there is no rush. We enjoy each others company when the opportunity arises for coffee, dinner etc.
I have told him his drinking is a deal breaker, if he falls off the wagon he must get on it immediately otherwise there are no more chances, I will be done. I can never go through what I have gone through in the past.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 07:46 AM
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Re: H in recovery

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Now I have got to the stage where I am committed again to the marriage, previously I had one foot in and one foot out.

I have told him his drinking is a deal breaker, if he falls off the wagon he must get on it immediately otherwise there are no more chances, I will be done. I can never go through what I have gone through in the past.
aine -I'm glad that I found this thread as I have recently sought support/advice on TAM regarding my situation. My H is an alcoholic but is in complete denial about it. He absolutely does not comprehend the impact that his drinking has had on the marriage, me, his family, his friends, etc. He does not understand the level of hurt and heartbreak. I went to my very first Al-Anon meeting last night. I was an emotional wreck but it did lift a little off my shoulders. I sat in on an AA meeting for 10 minutes before it dawned on me that I was in the wrong room! There were a lot more people in the AA room than the Al-Anon room and I think that surprised me a bit. Any ways, I can't offer advice on the recovery part for the alcoholic because my H isn't to that point but I do understand how it has impacted your life, your well being, and knowing that the damage can not be undone.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Re: H in recovery

Tropicalbeachiwish, I'm glad you joined an-anon, it will help for you to realise you have no control over your AH's behaviour though he hurts you, lets you down etc. That is the toughest part, because the wrought so much damage and get up the next morning thinking all is fine with the world and cannot understand why you are the way you are.
When you learn to let go, it helps considerably. Do you have children?

I stuck around for the kids, the youngest went to college less than a year ago and then I started to fight back more, I did the ultimatums, etc. nothing worked till I asked him to move out, then I think reality began to set in for him. It is never easy and although things are stable now, I know we are not out of the woods, may never be fully because they will always be alcoholics whether sober or not, but I know I have become stronger and know I will walk away before I go down with a sinking ship. My own emotional and mental health is so much more important that the marriage. It took me a long time to get this.
The best thing you can do is work on yourself, attend Al-Anon, get your hands on Al-Anon literature such as Courage to Change, go to IC, sort out your financials, ensure you have an income, take care of yourself, etc.
I would also suggest that you read Melodie Beattie's book Co-dependent No More. We tend to cover, aid and generally enable their behaviour and do not let them suffer the consequences of their actions. I know not wanting your AH to lose his job etc. results in this as it has consequences for the family, but there are other times when you can let them suffer the consequences. Do NOT hide what is happening.

The one thing I have learned is that alcoholics only get worse if they are not working a programme like AA or Bottledup. Sadly, your AH may have to reach rock bottom before he chooses to get help. My RAH says that he has met many in AA who have lost everything before they would acknowledge they had a problem. Keep posting, I shall do so from time to time.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 04:16 PM
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Re: H in recovery

Hi aine,

No, no children in my marriage. And I'm thankful for that right now. It's complicated enough as it is. I am currently reading that book; just started it last weekend. Last night, they said to try not to do anything for 6 months. I'm not sure that I understand the reasoning behind that. I've remained silent for a long time and I've found my voice. It may be gradual, but my voice is getting louder. My silence is no more. I do need to focus on me. I need to get emotionally healthier. There was a book that I read a few years ago and I believe it was called "Should I stay or should I go". At the time, I felt like that book really helped me make the decision that I was struggling with back then (which it really is the same decision that I'm struggling with now), so maybe I'll read it again. Maybe the outcome will be different this time around. Take care. Feel free to private message me if you need to vent :-)
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 08:39 AM
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Re: H in recovery

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My own emotional and mental health is so much more important that the marriage. It took me a long time to get this.

The one thing I have learned is that alcoholics only get worse if they are not working a programme like AA or Bottledup. Sadly, your AH may have to reach rock bottom before he chooses to get help. My RAH says that he has met many in AA who have lost everything before they would acknowledge they had a problem. Keep posting, I shall do so from time to time.
Hi -I wanted to check up on you to see how things were going. Are you going to Al-Anon and has it been helping? I have continued to go to my weekly group. It's been helpful sometimes, but I'm finding that the people there are long timers so they're in a different stage of recovery than me. They almost seem to be talking directly to me as I'm the newbie.

My H and I had a blow out this past weekend. The weekends are the hardest for me because that's when he's drinking now a days. He went from drinking 7 days a week (high functioning) to stopping for about 2 1/2 months when I told him that I wanted a trial separation because of it. Then he went back to drinking 2, sometimes 3 days a week and he has made it clear that he has no intention of stopping but he promises that he will never go back to the way things were (meaning drinking 7 days a week). The holiday weekends make me nervous because he has extra time on his hands.

So, any ways, I'm now starting to learn about alcoholism and that it is a disease although I understand that not everyone believes that. I do, absolutely, believe that he has a different reaction to alcohol because of his disease. He likes how it makes him feel so good. Do you think that an alcoholic has the ability to control his drinking (as with my H-going from 7 days to 2-3 days per week)?
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