Earthling husband doesn't get it

Some alcoholics still have families when they get to AA. This is a place to ask questions and share experiences about relating to family members sober, especially when newly sober. (If you are not an alcoholic, please use the "Our Friends and Families" forum.)

Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Bella » Sat May 19, 2007 1:17 pm

My husband sees who I am today and understands I can be "neurotic at times" but he has no clue what hell I would put him and our children through if I were to pick up again. We met after I was sober for some time and he's never seen me drink. It seems so clear to me that he would want to encourage me to go to meetings knowing what the alternative is... but he doesn't get the alternative, he doesn't believe I'm actually capable of the things I've told him. He thinks I've grown up since then.

We've been married for 3 years. Here's how I've now put it to him. I knew he had children from a previous marriage and he knew I'm an alcoholic. I didn't understand what I was getting myself into being a stepmother but I understood that he had obligations and that he would be able to contribute to my household whatever was leftover after his ex raped most of his paycheck. Me and my children get what's leftover.

So same thing with me. I am an alcoholic. I deal with that first. My family, including him and the children get what's left over of my time and energy. He doesn't have to understand it he just needs to accept it. He knew this before he married me. I hope I'm not making him sound horrible, he's really a wonderful man. He's just clueless about alcoholism and he doesn't understand why I can't just take antidepressants.

So our deal is Tuesday nights, I know of a meeting where many people from my old home group (Sunday nights) also go. Sundays are not working for us. Tuesday is not until 8pm so he can even work late, just as long as he's home by 7:30. Part 2 of the deal is that I will go on two commitments a month. Commitments are a huge part of my recovery that works for me and help me to be "a part of". Thats it. It doesn't sound like much but it's better than nothing.

This coming Tuesday he's already got a commitiment for an extra job that will go very late, but after that he's going to be available on tuesdays . I don't have a whole lot of hope that this arrangement will work, but we'll see.

I have to be honest and say that it's certainly not all him preventing me from going. I could be better at putting my foot down or taking the random opportunities that come up. The thing is once I miss one or two meetings, it's so easy to miss more. I let him rationalize it for me sometimes. He's good at rationalizing me missing meetings because to him it is rational. So I need to get better at not buying into it.

Any tips on dealing with earthling spouses? Is there something magic I can say to instill the same healthy fear of active addiction that I've got? Hopefully he'll never have to learn through experience!
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 7:25 pm

Postby keithd » Sat May 19, 2007 6:24 pm

I feel it's not so inportant if someone who has never been through the hell gets it,but i damm better get it. (third paragraph on page
xxviii). "The firing line" is another way of saying we must remain
familiar with our alcoholism - "keep the memory green" so to speak.
Then look up page 102 there it is again (keep on the firing line of life) Sounds like to me that i need always remember where i came from and what it took to get me to this phase of my development. What did it say over ther on 86? ( We will not regret the past) But let me shut the door on it and it won't be long before i think i'm all healed up (Hell one won't hurt) I never did get enough,just more then i could stand.
Forums Contributor
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:01 am
Location: N.C.

Postby Blue Moon » Sun May 20, 2007 9:43 am

Wow is this "spouse day" or something?

My spouse disrupts my actions in recovery only so much as I allow her to. They call it a "selfish program", and I think this is where that epithet applies. My first priority is sobriety. Non-alcoholic or non-recovering spouses seem to have difficulty accepting this concept. Yet they'd more readily accept the first priority of someone needing weekly kidney dialysis. AA meetings provide an AA member with dialysis of the mind. When we try going a while without taking any recovery actions, the toxins just build up.

I don't understand kidney dialysis. But I'd not be so selfish as to stand in the way of a spouse who needed it. Why should I be shown any less respect for what I need?

There are rare exceptions, but on the whole I will be at my home group's weekly meeting on a Saturday evening. I don't need my spouse to understand it, don't need her permission, but she should accept it and never has permission to try and disrupt my serenity.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon
User avatar
Blue Moon
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3677
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Postby someoneinaa » Sun May 20, 2007 11:57 am

Whether they know or acknowledge anything from our past, we do know one thing: AA = Attitude Adjustment.

There is a difference, Before and After a meeting. Even small children know this. Eventually, your husband will too. Sometimes, even resent it.

But, as others have said, the fact remains: I am an alcoholic. Only We can do what I cannot. This is a personal program, and its starts wih me reaching out, seeking help with the steps that you have taken. That I, too, may share Recovery.


~ Keith M.
User avatar
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:01 am
Location: Nova Scotia

Postby ShaneL » Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:43 am

I sobered up when I was 16 years old. I married my wife when I was 27. I met my wife while serving as a missionary in El Salvador. She grew up in a sheltered, religious home where no one used alcohol, tobacco or bad language. She also knew I was an alcoholic and involved in AA before she married me.

She never liked the idea of me going to meetings and leaving her at home. So during the first few years of our marriage, before we had children, she would attend Al-anon meetings while I attended AA. This not only kept her from feeling alone but she learned why it is important for me to go to AA.

Since we have had children she has started staying home. I have switched to attending noon meetings over my lunch hour which also works out better as it allows me to spend more time with the family.

The marriage is important and both spouses should be willing to work at preserving it. If there are meetings at different times of the day that might help relieve pressures at home, that may be something to consider. However, like has already been mentioned here, meetings are a form of medical or perhaps even spiritual treatment that the alcoholic needs. If the non-alcoholic spouse simply can't understand, perhaps a few visits to a professional marriage counselor would help both spouses see the other ones perspective and work out a solution.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
User avatar
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:01 am
Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby RJOregon » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:47 am

I have this same experience...he has only seen me as a sober person and has even made comments like "I wish I could see you drink" he is really a great ignorant guy. I have four kids and for a while I was not making meetings a priority. I am now and he has more understanding of how important it is to me, I meet with my sponcer a few times a week and go to at least one meeting a week and that feels good. We have been together for over two years and in the beginning he was more afraid of me drinking, now he has been drinking around me more and even offered me a "sip" at dinner. thank god I have my program between me and the next drink! I know I would loose him if I picked up again, he just does not know that.

So I have no wisdom for you on how to make them believers....I think with time he will just have to trust me that this works for me and is important for my health and our relationship :D I know now that I am making it a priority he is a little jealous and also making himself available to watch kids for me to go...hope the jealous goes away :wink:
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:33 am

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby AlisonT » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:33 am

I read this somewhere, I think it is from Melody Beattie - "It is not important for them to understand, it is important that I understand". I've found this works in a lot of situations. So many times I waited for another person's approval for me to take care of myself. I don't have to do that today. Yes, I have to take into account the feelings and commitments of other people I care about but I have to put my oxygen mask on first.
User avatar
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:21 am

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Patter » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:05 am

Oh how I remember the tidal wave of frustration from my wife after coming home from my 5th step. I listened to her chew me out for being successfully sober and confiding all my 'stuff' in a guy I had met just a few months before. She wanted to be the one to rescue me and also thought she should know 100% of what bounced around in my mind. My memory as to how I handled it may be flawed, but it seems I offered to ignore the program's directions and go back out there drinking, if she wanted to try fixing me herself next time. I said I don't know exactly why it works, but apparently it has been working for many years so, "Would you rather me be sober or drink?"

Using 'The Doctor's Opinion," I explained to her the medical estimation of alcoholism and related some specifics from my history. It may not have soothed her ego but illustrated how treatment of this disease is beyond the expertise of most non-alcoholics.

She never has taken suggestions to try Al-Anon but she did start seeing results. She can't argue with it if it works. She met my sponsor and saw in him a guy who was living life more like she thought I should. Eventually she went with me to an open meeting to see for herself how broken lives could be fixed. She even 'encourages' me to get to extra meetings nowadays when she thinks I may be getting harder to live with. I feel for anyone who has to deal with lack of understanding, but for alot of folks it's part of the deal. Take care. patter
User avatar
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:17 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Layne » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:59 am

It is not important that my wife understand my alcoholism, it is only important that I understand my alcoholism. In his prayer St Francis beseeches that he may not so much seek to be understood, as to understand. Attempting to strive in this direction brings me far more serenity than the reverse. If I find myself wanting to be understood, as happens frequently, it is my old self centered egotistical behavior attempting to creep back in. In these instances, I just need to take a step back and remember that after all, "it isn't all about me".
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1625
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Buffy » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:14 pm

My husband and I seperated for about 5 months a year ago. He begged me to come back so I did. He has been so distant since my return. My depression grew to be unbearable. I attempted suicide in February. I came to realize that I was an alcoholic. Been in rehab since beginning of March. He is even more distant than before. Not sure how to handle this
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby ann2 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:58 pm

Welcome to e-AA Buffy :D

Thanks for posting, so glad you're here. Best thing to do is work on your sobriety. I know it's tough, the guy thing, and I've leaned a lot on my group and the wonderful ladies in it who share with me about their relationships and listen to me when I am at the end of the rope.

I have found solutions, thanks to my sobriety. I know it is the most important thing I have. As long as I can put it first, everything else alls into place sooner or later.

Hope you stick around :)

"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 7941
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Layla8888 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:09 pm

Hi Bella,

You made a comment that your husband is an "earthling spouse." I personally don't like to hear that. Do you consider your spouse to be an alien? Just because he is not an alcoholic, doesn't mean you should categorize him in that
way. I hate it when people who are in recovery talk about their significant others as if they are "Not one of us" or something similar.

Just because we are in recovery, doesn't give us the right to judge our loved ones and make them feel that they owe us something simply because..."I'm sober now."
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Lali » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:55 pm

Hi Layla. This post goes way back and I think Bella is gone now. No biggie. Why not start your own thread so that we can get to know you.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 4296
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:13 am

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Tosh » Mon Dec 29, 2014 2:25 pm

Lali wrote:Hi Layla. This post goes way back and I think Bella is gone now. No biggie. Why not start your own thread so that we can get to know you.

It's a good topic though. I'm 5.5 years sober (the .5 is important, I normally round it up though); and Mrs Tosh, who was with me while I was drinking, sometimes seems to sometimes forget I'm an alcoholic and what the repercussions are if I pick up. There are times when she's resentful about A.A..

It's funny really because she knows a lot of the guys I sponsor - they come around my house - and she'll ask how "Such and such" is doing? And sometimes I'll sigh and say they're back out there, and she's like "Well, why didn't he do the stuff he should be doing?" She's been to Alnon, she knows the score.

But when it comes to 'me', it's like she feels that I've paid my debt and should be at home every night rubbing her feet; or just around; in case she needs her feet rubbed. I do two meetings a week and meet up with a sponsee once-a-week (so three meetings), and I also take one-or-two calls a day. Not long calls either. I think that's a fair amount of time for someone who works and who has a family. I used to be drunk every day.

What I don't want to do is kind of threaten her with my sobriety, like "Look, if I don't do this stuff I just might end up drinking!" because that doesn't seem fair and nor may it produce a sense of security for her; like I'm on some kind of knife-edge. And that wouldn't be true either. I do this stuff because it's all part of my spiritual practise and I do it because I think it's a route to a deeper kind of happiness; not drinking doesn't seem to come into it these days. But also giving off 'I'm strong in my sobriety vibes' seems to create resentment in her when she'd rather have me at home (rubbing her feet), than out at a meeting.

And when the shoe is on the other foot, and she wants to do something - I'm behind her 110%. She runs six-days-a-week, she goes to her running club twice a week, she often runs races at weekends (that's nearly a fully day away), occasionally she goes away for a weekend to do races further afield, and I never complain. Why would I?

I think sometimes that our partners are just unreasonable! :lol:

Any helpful advice from those who've experienced similar would be helpful. Thanks.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
User avatar
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Earthling husband doesn't get it

Postby Duke » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:07 pm

I don't know Tosh, I've been at this over thirty years with the same woman and she still really doesn't get it. However, she does accept it now. I know that there were quite a few intervening talks in which I reassured her that she is number one in my life and if she really needs me for something, I'll be there. Time has allowed me to prove that and she's relaxed about my regular commitments to the program. She's also seen the benefits of the life, not just the not drinking and genuinely appreciates it. But true understanding? I don't think that's going to happen.

We have a great partnership and I'm grateful for it but AA was, is and will always be my deal.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa
User avatar
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1480
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:35 pm
Location: Kansas, USA


Return to The Family Afterwards

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest