Trouble on the homefront

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.)

Trouble on the homefront

Postby highcostofliving » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:21 am

To avoid a double post, I'll quick place my apologies for lack of messages or comments in these forums. I am now 5 months (171 days) into my recovery, and wouldn't have gotten through my first 30 without the help of this forum. I've currently complete through step 7 with a sponsor, so I'm Into Action so to speak.... again, thank you.

Now for the reasoning of this post.... while we have had our struggles, my wife and I seem to be in a very strong place....... sure we still have issues and some resentments (she is not an alcoholic, but does do some Al Anon work), but we've been working our way through - mostly just typical stuff (household chores, money, time, etc)..... but we seemed to be really supporting each other and in a good place lately..... while cleaning the other day, I moved her Al Anon stuff, and noticed something (I don't remember what sparked it, but it was bookmarked with a pen)... I tried not to read it, but last night I finally did.... (I know, violation of trust maybe, I'm working on that).... well what I found was something to the affect of her having an affair... or wanting to, with a nameless figure..... she mentions wanting to go to sleep to dream about 'you'? wonders why it hasn't worked out 'yet', worries that it won't make it better and that it's 'new love and passion'.....

It hit me pretty hard.... here I am turning the corner, thinking we're finally getting things figured out.... I realize my part in this... as an alcoholic, I'm sure I did not meet her emotional needs... I get it all. I am honestly not even mad at her... I'm understanding of it... (I also don't know exactly what is going on).... but I'm fearful now, that she's seeing someone else, that she's checking out (I actually asked her a few weeks ago during a fight if she was because I sort of got that gut feeling that she was acting a little off).... I have prayed on it (still working on higher power, but practicing giving it to God).... maybe I'm writing this because that was the answer I got... I don't know....

I know my part right now is to continue to stay sober, to be a better man, husband, and father.... to be understanding, I put her through a lot after all (I never cheated though - or led her to believe I did/would). I'm not sure how or if I should confront her? I know I shouldn't have read that, and by confronting her I will have to admit that, possibly damaging trust that I'm trying to rebuild.... I also don't know for sure what is going on... I read it over and over to see if somehow she wasn't talking about someone else, but it's fairly clear... "I'm yearning to reach out, praying to god for the strength not to. Even if i did could it even work out. I just want to sleep these feelings away, and hopefully dream of you'....

I don't know, I feel guilty airing some of this as its her private thoughts... but I am stuck here, trying not to let this build up within me to some anger nuke. Trying to pray and give it over to God. Trying to be honest and trustworthy..... to act with gratitude and good intentions.... but this sucks.....

One thing I am grateful for, this situation has not made me want to drink....
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:15 am

highcostofliving wrote: (I never cheated though - or led her to believe I did/would).

How many times were you at the bar with your hands on what you love, while she was home alone maybe wondering where you were? How often did you sneak out of the house to go meet up with a bottle, hoping not to get caught? How often did you return home to her with a lingering smell? How many evenings spent in the basement with a glass doing a lap-dance?

IMO we don't get to feel morally superior just because our love came in a cold bottle rather than warm clothing. I've even heard it said that "an alcoholic will step over a woman to get to the bar".

OK so you may not have specifically broken any wedding vows. But I speak from experience when I tell you those "vows" are of little comfort at the break of dawn when you're wondering if that someone is face-down in a ditch somewhere with their "chosen one". As drinking alcoholics we rank among the most selfish, self-centered idiots on the planet, yet genuinely don't even know it.

You're doing far better in the here and now, because you're sober and trying to recover. That counts for something. Just beware of deluding yourself that you weren't checked out of the relationship years ago, having an emotional affair with what you love and came to depend upon more than any spouse. I believe that until we recover we're incapable of having a meaningful relationship even with ourselves, let alone anyone else. There seems to be some truth in the saying "alcoholics don't have relationships, they take hostages".

I know I shouldn't have read that


It is what it is. If she's having an affair (emotional, physical, whatever), what will you do? She's probably feeling bad about it as you finally quit doing what she's been wanting you to quit doing for years. But nobody gets to magically switch on or off any person's feelings, even our own. Brain-chemistry is involved. I would avoid confronting her until I know I'm truly ready for both their reaction to my approach, and whatever the truth may be, without drinking on it.
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby D'oh » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:32 am

My Sponsor told me to read page 83-86 Every night, and 86-88 Every Morning.

I think that might help you some.

As the Late Tom Petty sang it, "The things I worry about the most, never happen anyways."
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby gaftech » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:45 am

Just a thought...

Is it possible that she was writing about you in a sober state?
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:11 am

This only reminds my of the "ducks with the human mind" passage I posted from a new earth book by Eckhart Tolle. Its all in the head.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby PaigeB » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:00 am

"For those whose eyes dare to partake, will surely feel the bite of The Snake"

I wrote that on the front of my diary when I was a teenager.

Now you have venom in you. Like drops of ink into water, it will permeate the clear very quickly unless you ACT. I am glad you see your various parts in it, but I wanted to tell you what I have had to do on a daily basis, multiple times a day... say the Sick Man's prayer on page 67... Here are the paragraphs I needed
Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."

We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn't treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.

Somehow you have to work to rinse out that venom. I mean, you can say, "I'm not mad..." but hey - something inside you IS MAD if you bring it up in a fight. That is resentment. Look up the definition of resentment. Re living the pain and fear and anger. IT WILL EAT YOU and this disease is hungry.

Maybe you need to Step BACK - do a 1-7 Steps just on this issue. Write out the paragraphs from pages 66 & 67 over & over, like an errant school boy. DO DO DO something - anything - everything necessary to be free of this Selfishness. Page 62...
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby highcostofliving » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:23 pm

Thanks for the posts and advice... so far I've left it to trying a let go, let god approach and just trying not to be the person that I was, one sober day at a time. The advice and thoughts given have been helpful..... thanks for reading.

Regardless of what is going on, I'm still sober, and grateful for that.
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:08 am

Regardless of what is going on, I'm still sober, and grateful for that.


Exactly. Thats the whole spirit of humility. Clarence Snyder talks about this word. He says the way it was used then is, un-conditionally. And in working with others chapter too, the book talks about reliance on this power.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby highcostofliving » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:09 am

Update:

So after praying on the right course of action, I finally confronted her about this... (I did a LOT of reading on the best way to do this, and used a text message to avoid any immediate conflict or aggression rising in her response)... she said she does have feelings for someone else. So we went to a terrible counseling session (it was a highcost ambush about my alcoholism... without dealing with the actual problem at hand - it's a lot of info here, so readers will have to trust me on that). After which I met with my sponsor and really talked through this....

The counselor told me three things: I'm not working AA correctly and need to go to more meetings (no offense to her, but go pound sand lady, I'm sober after 6 months and my wife is probably leaving for another man, and I am not even considering drinking, the program I'm working for myself... is working.... so spending half of the time telling me what I need to do in the program... shame on her, she should know better) - my sponsor and I did a quick resentmentment list, I'm just filling in here... Second thing was that my alcoholism was to blame for her feeling this way. Third that I am angry and feeling ashamed of myself. All of which my wife agreed to..... this was then followed up with a 'plan' to just ignore the problem and be nice to each other for a week and a half, allowing my wife to go out of town for the weekend on her 'self' vacation.....

For those reading this, wow, what progress for me. I immediately recognized her issues with AA are not mine and after the resentment list, am confident I am doing AA right for me... I think anyone truly doing the program knows AA is not about meetings.... it's about spiritual growth, applying that in real life, sobriety, and helping others.... if you can do all that without attending another meeting..... that's good. If you need meetings.. that's good too. The beauty of the program in my eyes is that it's not a one size fits all, it is fluid and flexible..... work at it and it'll work.

Also, my biggest 'light bulb' was after coming home from a meeting and talking with my sponsor that night, I realized for the first time the importance of 5-6-7.... I did those. Thoroughly. And I can say this with all honesty. I do not feel ashamed anymore, about any of it. I gave all that to my Higher Power. I am sad, hurt, and feel betrayed. But I am not at fault here. I have apologized enough for my alcoholism... and what she is doing right now, is trying to use it as a tool to justify her own actions. She fostered a relationship, when she could have shut it down the moment it became inappropriate. She could have talked to me, a counselor... we could have (and I have and was always willing to see one with her) gone together... but she hid it. She continued to act inappropriately..... I'm stronger today, because I'm operating spiritually.... and while I'm certain I had a part in the holes she was trying to fill in this new relationship, I am not at fault for her actions..... it is a strange feeling of empowerment that crept over me as I began to realize that I truly had given my wreckage up, it no longer has power over me, my Higher Power removed that burden, guilt and shame.... people, this program works.

Where do we go from here.... who knows, but I'm not a door mat today. I will work at this, and pray for guidance to know what to do... hopefully i can make this clear. I did my first amendment today and have a few more lined up.... that's what I can do, I can continue to be a better man, and father... and husband if that's in the cards... if not, it'll be ok.

Thanks all for reading, thanks for all the help and guidance too. You all are rockstars in my book!
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby PaigeB » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:07 am

So we went to a terrible counseling session (it was a highcost ambush about my alcoholism... without dealing with the actual problem at hand

Hey! Me TOO! We even went to a guy who billed himself as an expert in Alcoholism. We went to 5 sessions. It was good and mainly without any ugly conflict and my husband said he got some communication skills out of it. But at one point, I was trying to explain something and I asked the shrink if he had a Big Book handy... he did not. I think I looked at him askance after that - NO ONE can call themselves an expert on alcoholism without reading the 164 pages of the Big Book... IMO. But the last straw was when I was in the middle of my 4th Step. I was coming up on a year of sobriety - relatively happy sobriety for both me and my husband. My husband, though he does not understand AA and has no desire to go to Alanon, is SO grateful to AA for my sobriety. Anyway ~ I was telling the Shrink about what the 4th Step was. He said the last words he would ever say to me, "Don't be so hard on yourself. Surely your parents must have done..." I seriously tried not to laugh. Then I tried to argue... to get him to see that I tried that path of blaming my parents and only got more sick. Besides, I knew they did the best they could. He continued down that path and wanted my husband to take a swipe at his parents and he would not go there either.

I have paid out a lot of $cash$ over the years, but here we paid our final co-pay and never returned.

Somehow. for me, quitting drinking and following the simple and practical program of AA is all I ever needed.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby positrac » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:15 am

Highcost--- Wow you know many things said it seems you are seeing that more is revealed when you work it! Sadly as said in the rooms that playing a country music song backwards doesn't always bring the dog, cat, kids, house and wife back and thus is life in a harsh way. All we can do is try and not make the same mistakes again and we make other mistakes and hopefully these won't be as drastic. You have a right to be angry and yet you didn't need to drink over it and that is a weird way of adding acceptance to this mix!

If you can try and keep your mind free of the what if's and what she doing as the weekend is here and you have better things to do. I'd like to add some examples: wash and wax the vehicle(s), pull weeds in the yard, mow, edge, and trim the shrubs. Clean the windows, count your socks, wash the cloths and the list could go on and on and it is going to be difficult and yet maybe therapeutic of sorts.

Chin up and smile you can do it!
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby highcostofliving » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:14 pm

Thank you Paige, and Positrac...

I can honestly say I'm not too worried about drinking, but it is an emotional time... I think somewhere in the BB it says something about not a cloud on the horizon..... I plan to stay close to the meetings and with my sponsor this weekend.... and those activities are good to keep in mind!

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:10 pm

highcostofliving wrote:I have apologized enough for my alcoholism...

What Step asks you to do that?
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby highcostofliving » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:57 pm

No steps... but I've been apologizing for years, so I guess if all that isn't enough, it never will be... I've done steps 5,6,7... right? All that stuff belongs to my Higher Power....

Rough day today guys... she came back and wants to separate. I'm struggling with some serious self esteem issues right now... that now makes all 4 of my relationships where she left for another guy... damntit... it's like I have a sign on that says "easy to decieve"... I get the first one, but the rest... I really thought this one was it... you know? It's also going to break my little girls heart....

She won't talk to me now... so trying to respect that is driving me crazy... so hard not to text or email or call right now... as she doesn't seem to have a plan or an idea or what the hell.... I'm trying to turn it over to God... right now, I don't feel him... I've prayed on this constantly, and I just don't get it, or see anything or gain any comfort or purpose or... nothing. These are the moments I doubt the program, or the spiritual part of it.....

I'm venting now... thanks for reading....
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Re: Trouble on the homefront

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:37 pm

highcostofliving wrote:No steps... but I've been apologizing for years, so I guess if all that isn't enough, it never will be... I've done steps 5,6,7... right?


I don't know. Have you?

Steps 8 and 9 don't talk of apologising, they talk of amends. I know we tend to think of these things as being the same thing (just as we tend to equate anger with resentment), but I assure you they're very different. To apologise is to say sorry for something; amends is to fix it. For some, the amends might be achieved by an apology alone. But for others, it requires more direct, sustained action.

Case in point: one AA I knew said he owed money, so he called the creditor to "make amends" for having paid nothing. No, he called to say sorry. If he still failed to make any effort at repayment, his apology alone was an insult. He said sorry, which is a good start, but had still not yet made any amends.

All that stuff belongs to my Higher Power....

Who does what with it, exactly?

The insanity of doing the same thing yet expecting different results doesn't apply just to drinking. Sure, it's written that "God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves". But I've never yet read a book that suggests "God is a lackey who'll do what we could have done if only we had thought of it first".

Rough day today guys... she came back and wants to separate.

Ugh. Yes, that's difficult, even if the writing was on the wall. ISTM she is in a very non-spiritual place. Little you can do about that, but you can try to be there for others who matter. At times like this, I just keep everything in the day. Maybe she'll eventually remove her head from her rear end, but nobody can predict when that might happen. You should just be true to yourself.

If this is a pattern in relationships, ISTM the common factor is you. That's a good thing, because it means you can do something about if you want.
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