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For Those That Love An Alcoholic - II

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SI Staff posted 7/9/2011 18:52 PM

Why?? posted 7/9/2011 19:31 PM

Thanks for the new thread.

Having a relapse of sorts regarding my xwh.

My divorce has been final for over 2 years but I got some paperwork from my L that xwh was dragging his feet on and it lists his address as that of one of the ow's town. I feel kind of sick and he probably lives with her.
We've been NC and he has never apologized or made amends (alcoholic) for all the harm he caused me yet he can just go on with his life and act as if I never existed.

I'm signing the papers and mailing them to my L and want to continue moving on but this is a new hurt.

How is it that they can move on with their lives so easily without ever apologizing for all the damage they have caused?

I feel like I have been permanently affected by living with an alcoholic yet he just goes on his merry way with one of the ows - Thanks for letting me vent here!!

betrayed1012 posted 7/10/2011 08:22 AM


It is amazing how a person can so easily move on without remorse or regret for the havoc they have caused. But, in the mind of an alcoholic they haven't done anything wrong. It is always rationalized so that they don't own the problem. With my xWW it shows in how she deals with our son's depresson and emotional issues. These things manifested due to her actions, yet her response is they would have happened anyway. She doesn't own her problems. While not drinking currently, she hasn't changed behavior. The alcoholic thinking is still there.

That is why you've gotten nothing from your alcoholic. No amends, because it's not his fault... he's done nothing wrong. He moved on quickly because he rationalized it was over for a long time to justify what he's done.

You long for the person he was. You have memories of a person before alcohol took over their life that would have never done this to you. You also have codependant tendancies most likely as do nearly all of us who loved alcoholics and you've bought into you could have done something to control what happened and make it different. But, you don't. You had no control over what he did. It was his actions and choices that led you to where you are. You could only control what you did. You did what you had to do. Keep doing it. Continue to grieve the loss of the person you loved. They don't exist anymore. Alcohol took them away with the help of their own charactor defects that enabled them to break their vows to you.

Take care of yourself and move forward with your life.

suckstobeme posted 7/10/2011 16:07 PM

How do you know if someone is a "functional alcoholic"?? I've heard that term many times over the years. My STBXH drank a lot while we were in grad school, but so did everyone. He drank after we were married, but he never drove and it never seemed to get in the way of life. After we had kids, he really didn't drink much (that I know of) - it seemed to curtail. However, during the A, the drinking ramped up about 1,000 percent. And, for the first time since we were M and had babies, he became exceedingly reckless and thoughtless. The drinking seemed to come first before everything.

I guess I don't understand or know if that was because of the A and his guilt over it or was the alcohol what fueled the A?? The OW apparently is very into partying so that's the common thread.

It's very hard to understand.

njgal480 posted 7/10/2011 22:02 PM

So sorry that this revelation is causing you pain.
It is amazing how long it takes to recover from infidelity. And it doesn't matter whether you reconcile or you divorce....the pain is still there.

If he is still with the OW then most likely she is an alcoholic as well.
I did not realize this until after d-day and after reading about alcoholism and infidelity...but the two go hand in hand. It's not 'IF' your alcoholic spouse will have an affair it's 'WHEN'...
and now, thinking about it I realize that it is so obvious.
My husband said that drinking was a big factor in his affair and a big reason that he was attracted to the OW.
I did not approve of his drinking. I did not want to encourage his drinking by joining him. I did not find him attractive when he was drunk-in fact it was the opposite-it turned me off.
The MOW not only approved of his drinking, she encouraged it and joined him and drank him under the table.
I represented reality. She represented fun and fantasy. very well may be that your exWH is still with her because they are both drinking.

And, for what it's worth-you do know that the odds of a WS marrying an affair partner is very low...something like 5%.
The reason? that fantasy thing. As soon as they start seeing them 24/7 they realize that they are no where near the fantasy.

The way I understand it a 'functional alcoholic' is someone that has an alcohol problem but still manages to hold down a job and a semblance of normal life.
Many people think that to be considered an alcoholic you have to be a homeless person on the street. Meanwhile, alcoholics can be anyone-your dentist, lawyer, teacher, etc.
My husband was a functional alcoholic. He always held down a professional job etc. and yet his drinking was out of control, his life had become unmanageable (especially during the affair years).

[This message edited by njgal480 at 12:35 AM, July 11th (Monday)]

Why?? posted 7/13/2011 19:51 PM

Thanks Betrayed1012 and njgal480 -- I just wish this new hurt wouldn't affect me but I have emotions and perhaps now knowing the final outcome after the D will help me to move on.

He supposedly got sober in the Fall of '09 so if he's working his program then why have I never received an amends?...Instead he has a relationship during the 1st year of sobriety...Well, good luck to him and ow.

Hope everyone is hanging in there

njgal480 posted 7/16/2011 10:09 AM

I think you know the answer. He is not doing the program.
He probably has relapsed and definitely has not made been working on himself. It does not appear as if he has done the internal work needed to truly change.
Do you have children together?
If so.. I could see why you would be concerned about his sobriety etc.
But, if you do not have children together it may be best for you to detach from him and his issues. has a lot of books on codependency /alcoholism and little pamphlets of affirmations etc.
I listed a number of books that helped me understand alcoholis/addiction etc. in the previous forum. It may be helpful for you to go back and read some of the older posts.
I am so sorry for your pain.
It is horrible how addictions can destroy people/families/marriages and the pain of infidelity takes years to get over.

momdaughterwife posted 7/16/2011 10:36 AM

BS here. My WH is an alcoholic. I think "functional" means they are not behaving recklessly, yet. One thing I learned in my meetings is it's a progressive disease. It affects/damages the brain. There is a turning point for most people with the disease where it has progressed to the point where it changes who they are. They become very ill. There are health problems brewing in their bodies and they may not have symptoms yet. They have to drink more and more to get the same affect. They switch from beer to the hard stuff. Right before rehab., my WH was drinking a quart of vodka every three days. He was vomiting daily. He had all kinds of health issues. All of this was being hidden from me. The thing that prompted my "intervention" was that he was drinking and driving. Not okay! It was much worse when he told me all after getting sober and going to AA. That being said, they can be influenced to feed their addictions in the company of other addicts. If sober, they usually have to "lose" quite a few friends. It's a deadly progressive disease. Destroys lives.

phoenix_vs posted 7/18/2011 20:54 PM

Word. Same song, third verse.

For this verse, I have a ring, lovely diamond eternity ring. So far, same empty promises. I'm not buying into it this time. I have two paths always in front of me. One of us together, and one of just me. I never know which one to take.

Now he's decided to be more honest and open, and he told me he needed to apologize to his first ex-wife and that she's the only girl he feels he needs to apologize to.

If the guy that broke up with me at that age had called lately or emailed, I would say, "ok, cool, it's ok, have a nice life". Instead, he writes this big long letter, which he shared with me after I confronted him last night about a (wait for it) THREE HOUR conversation with this woman he was married to for six months in 1979!!!

Nothing really wrong with the contents of the letter, but why the PHONE CALL?

More promises, and reassurances. Alcoholic nonsense.

I'm tired.

njgal480 posted 7/18/2011 21:39 PM

Did he also apologize/try to make amends to you?
Or is this his way of making amends? just to his ex wife from long ago?
Is he in IC? AA? It could be that this is something that he remembered and has been discussing... just realizing now after all these years how badly he treated her and now he wants to make amends?

As long as he's also doing the right thing by you...and it's just this one contact with the ex.... maybe I would let it go.

Sometimes its easier dealing with something far away and long ago as opposed to dealing with the here and now.
Do you think that may be what's going on? avoidance of what is right in front of him?

Secondbestiguess posted 7/20/2011 12:14 PM


My STBXH drank a lot while we were in grad school, but so did everyone. He drank after we were married, but he never drove and it never seemed to get in the way of life. After we had kids, he really didn't drink much (that I know of) - it seemed to curtail. However, during the A, the drinking ramped up about 1,000 percent. And, for the first time since we were M and had babies, he became exceedingly reckless and thoughtless. The drinking seemed to come first before everything.

I could have written this. I fully believe my WH is a functional alcohol addict. Or more so he's addicted to the feeling it gives him so he doesn't have to think about the pain so much. I can u derstand somewhat, as I have drank more in the last 8 months than in my whole life! However, he is also very reckless now, drinks and drives, I have caught him thinking he was going to drive with the kids, it's horrible! He used to drink a lot in college I guess, but once we had kids and such, there were times I would have to beg him to go out with me!
He started feeling really dissatisfied with life before the A, and I did notice the drinking and gambling picked up, but during the A, it became out of control. After DDay I asked him to quit numerous times and he would say he would, but he could only last a few days at most. He would find a reason to be mad at me as an excuse to break his promise. Of course he also says that how dare I tell him to quit when I am drinking also. The difference is, I still make sure my kids and family are first and most important before any drinking. I don't drink and drive with my kids! I am home, he's at the bar. I still can make good choices, know Right From wrong, and know when to quit!
He's spent well over $10,000 in the slot machines this year already! He makes very reckless choices and is NOT there for his family other than financially, which I guess in his mind is what matters.

betrayed1012 posted 8/7/2011 07:13 AM

Looking for some thoughts from those who have an alcoholic in active recovery and those who don't, also.

My xWW seems to think the world should trust her because she's got a year without drinking. My worries are she has not done the work needed for active recovery. She goes to AA meetings and that is good, but you have do more than show up and share to be in active recovery IMO. She's in a relationship with a fellow alcoholic, her OM, that she used to relapse with. Most importantly she's accepted no responsibility for the damage she's caused in her children's lives. She's not working or looking for work, but living off the settlement money. Essentially, she's living a fantasy that will come to a end at some point. The money run out, the relationship fail...

If it were just my xWW, then I would know she's responsible for getting into active recovery verses just being dry. I'm concerned with how this affects my children. I'm concerned it's not a matter of if, but when she relapses again.

Am I being too hard on her? Not giving her enough credit because of the pain she's caused me as well as the children? Or, am I just being realistic about it?

njgal480 posted 8/7/2011 17:38 PM

Wow Secondbest!
Your WH has a lot of different addiction issues doesn't he? But, then again..that's not so uncommon.
My husband also has an addictive personality.
I too knew he had a drinking problem when we were young and dating in college you..I thought it was just one of those things that kids do in college, that he would mature and outgrow it but I was wrong.
It turned out to be an issue throughout our marriage.
My husband was a 'functional' alcoholic. He managed to always maintain his professional job etc. but the binge drinking and partying with drinking buddies took it's toll on our marriage.
And then..he did what most alcoholics eventually do...he had an affair with a female alcoholic/drinking buddy.
It took him 25 yrs to get to that point..but he did.

D-day was hitting bottom for my husband. I kicked him out of the house and that's when he finally realized that his life had become unmanageable. That he had betrayed me and our family in a way that he never thought he was capable of doing.
But, that's what happens...they get caught in a toxic downward spiral and things just start spinning out of control until they hit bottom.

There are ways to bring up the bottom so they hit it sooner. Implementing the 180 is one way to do this. Have you read about the articles about the 180 in the Healing Library? (yellow box in the upper left hand corner).
That could be a start.
Then going to ALANON for yourself is another thing that I would recommend you try.
It helps to talk to others that are living through the same thing.

How have you been handling all of this? Has that big gambling loss impacted your family?
Have you gone to IC for yourself?
Have you gone to MC with your WH?

Do you want to try to reconcile with him?
Is he remorseful? Do you think he wants to save the marriage? Or is he too lost in his addictions at this point?

njgal480 posted 8/7/2011 17:45 PM

I hear how concerned you are about the welfare of your children.
It does sound like your WW still has some toxic thinking going on.
Actually don't they say that it takes as long as 1 yr of sobriety for the alcoholic to totally come out of the 'fog' of the addictive thinking?
At least it appears that she has stayed sober for 1 yr. That is an accomplishment.

The fact that she is not looking for work or facing the fact that she will need to find a job very soon does raise a red flag as to whether or not she is thinking clearly about her future etc.

Did she have affairs during the marriage? Before she went to AA? or was that her first OM? the guy she met at AA?
Is he sober? or don't you know?
You still have primary of your children don't you?
Does she see the kids at all at this point?

DO you think she's expecting the OM to bail her out and support her when the settlement money runs out?
What about her family? parents? siblings? do they have any influence over her?

betrayed1012 posted 8/7/2011 21:27 PM


I do have physical custody and xWW sees the children every other weekend and once or twice during the week. All supervised.

The OM was her first affair. She said they have a special bond. They met at detox when I checked her into the psych hospital as did the OM's wife. They decided their spouses weren't supporting them, didn't understand them and turned on us declaring theyhad a special bond. All in less than 30 days.

My xWW has alienated her brother and her father who is a recovering alcoholic doesn't think she is on the right path to long term sobriety. They both call her to try to stay in touch, but she returns calls if she needs something. they can supervised her visits as well as her mother. Her mother is who xWW has chosen to maintain contact with. She has to if she wants to see the children. Her mother is enabling and finds her self-worth from "saving" others. My xWW plays up to this. How manipulative an alcoholic is when not in true recovery.

I see red flags just as you have mentioned. I've had to take xWW to court to get support. I have a lot of worry about her condition as it relates to caring for the children. I don't think she'd ever go for trying to take custody from me even if she continues not to drink. That would cramp her life with OM. But, I think she wants 50/50 to get out of support or for me to pay her.

I've been dealing with her alcoholism and how it has affected the children for over two years. I feel I must protect my children. They love their mother and worry about her.I just wish she would show that she could handle responsibility by getting a job rather than how she has done this litigation. She has never told me she was going to seek unsupervised visits, I was just served the summons. Even after, nothing to show what she has done to change... maybe because other than staying dry there is no change.

I am so glad I found this site and especially this thread/topic. I used to think I was all alone in dealing with adultery and a spouse's alcoholism. Thanks to all who have given support and insight as I've dealt with this.

[This message edited by betrayed1012 at 9:46 AM, August 8th (Monday)]

njgal480 posted 8/8/2011 09:08 AM

Betrayed-Sorry that you are dealing with all of this.
Hopefully posting here will help you to get your thoughts together and process this.

healingtree posted 8/22/2011 22:52 PM

After four years....fwh has fallen off the wagon. Tells me now that he is not an alcoholic...and that he can handle drinking.

Oh yes, like you handled it so well before?

Four years of sobriety and trying to rebuild down the fucking toilet. And he is acting as if nothing has happened.

tryingtwo posted 8/22/2011 23:20 PM

I just want to write this on this thread for those that are suffering with an alcoholic.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease that is progressive whether a person drinks or not. Once an alcholic is sober they can be sober for years, but when they take that first drink it doesn't take them back to the level of drinking when they stopped, it takes them to the level of drinking if they had been drinking all those sober years. I learned this from my alcholic Aunt that stayed an active member of AA for over 40 yrs. She never relapsed, she was too afraid of where she would be.

I am so sorry Healingtree. After going through so much for so long and working so hard to keep it all together, he throws it away for a drink. It is a harsh sickness and a grand crutch for those that cannot deal with life on their own. A learned coping mechinism that carries a death sentence.

My heart just hurts with you right now.


healingtree posted 8/22/2011 23:56 PM

Thanks TT that is important info.

For those of you worried about your own my WH whiteknuckled it, never did the program, said he didn't feel comfortable and he was fine on his own.

He did do fine for quite a while.

Sad all the advice he gave his friends who were drinking heavy, and he turns around and starts again

sad sad sad.

Many of them admired him for turning his life around...

Do I say that to him? Do I press the matter? Is there anything I can say that might trigger a response? I would hate to just let go without trying...sober he can be an asshole too, but I don't want to see his life go to waste.

njgal480 posted 8/23/2011 23:47 PM

Healing Tree-
So sorry to hear this.
My FWH has also been sober about the same amount of time-4 and 1/2 yrs.
I guess your story is a reminder that it can all change very quickly with that one drink.

If you're asking if you should try to intervene in some way at this point...
well, my answer would be yes.

I lived with a functional alcoholic throughout my marriage..and then like most alcoholics he fell into an affair with a female alcoholic/drinking buddy.

If my FWH were to fall off the wagon I would go berserk.
I would absolutely draw a line in the sand.

After d-day I kicked him out of the house and not too long after...I filed for divorce. D-day was hitting bottom for my FWH. He woke up and realized how toxic his life had become. He got sober right away...white knuckled it but then sought out IC for 1 and 1/2 yrs and...most importantly started working the program through AA. He started with 90 meetings in 90 days.

I know that some people can stop drinking on their own but... I think the support of a daily or weekly AA meeting is priceless.

What I always say is that stopping drinking is not enough. That is a dry drunk. Someone who has stopped drinking but has not done any of the hard work on themselves. Someone who has not gone to IC or to AA meetings and has not changed anything about his or her toxic thinking.

Same as with infidelity. Stopping the affair is not enough. The WS has to do a lot of internal work...trying to figure what was broken in themselves,how they sunk to the point that they betrayed their marriage vows, betrayed their spouses etc.
Are you reconciled with your FWH?
Does he want to save the marriage?
What do you think you could say or do that would get him to go to an AA meeting?

Just one..for starters.

A husband of a friend had 2 LTAs and had issues with porn etc. He ended the affairs and tried to stop the porn...went to MC , R was going well and then 4 yrs post d-day he slipped a tiny bit in terms of porn...his BW flipped out and demanded that he either leave or go to a SA meeting.
He had always insisted that he was NOT a SA....
but, now because he ws motivated to save the marriage he went to a meeting. changed his life.
He realized that the other men at the meeting were more like him than he had imagined..just regular guys struggling with these issues...
now he leads the meetings, has become much more communicative and open in the marriage..etc. etc.

My point is... that support groups can be so helpful for the addict.

Wish there was a way to get your FWH to buy into that......

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