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Somber posted 11/6/2019 19:11 PM

If there are any alanon members on here, I am just looking for a little advice. I do go to alanon but not weekly and not always to the same group. I have yet to obtain a sponsor or phone numbers. I have not yet started to really work the program but find relief and support with every meeting.

My question is when you detach, how do you react to their drinking?

Itís a difficult concept to grasp. Alanon quotes to detach with love whether the alcoholic is drinking or not. How do you really do that? I think I am detaching with resentment and pain right now, not with love. I am trying to detach and focus on myself. I no longer search for hidden alcohol, monitor the levels in bottles, etc. I donít even bother to comment on his drinking when he does. This feels like I am ignoring the problem and rugsweeping which feels like I am enabling it to continue. Detaching should relieve me of feeling responsible but I feel responsible for not reacting. So maybe I have it all wrong???
Tonight he got called for OT and asked if it was okay for him to go. I calmly replied, it seems as though you have been drinking so no I donít think itís a good idea to go to work. He had no reply, didnít go to work and routine bedtime with the kids carried on as normal.
Iím not okay with him drinking; hence why he is hiding it somewhere...he completed rehab just in July. I just donít know how to respond now that he has started to drink again. Certainly him having one drink is a trigger for all the pain his drinking has brought to us this past year mostly. He hasnít been drinking like he once has but he also isnít drinking like normal people (which was his intention) because normal people donít hide drinking for starters!!!

How do I address this but detach and be supportive and not enable him all at the same time???

Whether we are together or not, I want my kids to have a healthy sober father...itís all so damn hard.

[This message edited by Somber at 7:14 PM, November 6th (Wednesday)]

sunwillshine posted 11/6/2019 20:42 PM

I would suggest you use your phone list. Detachment is a really hard concept, not one that is easily understood until I've worked my steps. Step work is hard and takes dedication. So well worth it! For me detachment is all about how I want to live my life. I didn't know what I wanted until I had worked my steps with a sponsor.
I also really like the acronym for detach.
Don't Even Try And Change Him.

TrustedHer posted 11/6/2019 23:11 PM

It's a hard concept to understand, and harder to actually do it.

One of the phrases is "Fake it till you make it". You may need to learn how a detached person acts, and then act that way even if you don't feel it, and eventually you'll feel it.

About your alcoholic: You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. So what can you do?

That's what alanon is supposed to teach you. What you can do for your own health and security and peace of mind. Learning that your alcoholic needs to find his own bottom, and you can't help him.

Somber posted 11/7/2019 07:42 AM

Thank you both for your responses. I misplaced my phone list but will attend another meeting soon and obtain one. I do feel the need to work the steps now. This past year I have been on step one only while trying to survive, process the infidelities, support him going to rehab, work, take care of the kids...
I wish life could pause until I figured it all out but it doesnít work that way.

I know I canít change him but I am finding it difficult to detach completely without feeling responsible for not doing more to support him.

tushnurse posted 11/7/2019 07:48 AM

Detach with love for self. Not the addict. You can't change them. You can save yourself.

k8la posted 11/7/2019 10:15 AM

I found the actual meetings in my area to be a waste of time. Two older women ran the meetings in a way I could only describe as caricatures of non-recovering al-anons. It was awful and I basically never went back.

After that I found some younger women closer to my age who were dealing with husbands who were addicted to porn as their primary choice for using, with alcohol and drugs to supplement that primary habit. We started reviewing the literature on our own, but also did book reviews.

One of my favorite friends became my sponsor and we read "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend together, then "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. We found our way into anon recovery more through those two books than the Big Book or anon books. She lived in Ohio, and I lived in the Rockies. But we connected in an online forum and she was my hero for dealing with her life the way she did.

To me, more important than the meetings were learning how to think about my own life, my own actions and my own thinking, rather than living in reaction to my husband's porn addiction/online grooming behavior with women in the 12 step groups he went to, or my dad's behavior (my dad was an alcoholic and my mother was a raging anon trying to manage his and a couple of my sibs' addictive behavior, then grandchildren's addictive behavior). I had all of that to recover from so that I only managed my own behavior, end of story.

Somber posted 11/7/2019 10:37 AM

Thank you. I suppose I feel guilt giving up on him. At the same time, I feel a greater pull to take care of myself. The fear of things staying the same is greater than the fear of change.

What you shared is very helpful. My WH is also a SA...not sure what addiction comes first for him but they are both present. I need a library for all the books I should read to help. What online group was it that you used? I do find alanon helpful as I hear and speak stories that are similar to others. So I donít feel alone and leave with something each time that gives me strength for that day. However, most members where I go too are 20 years older than me, without young kids, so I donít often relate with exact situations. I relate with the devastating effects the alcoholic has on our lives, how we become so wrapped up in them that we lose ourselves. So I am trying to find myself again bit by bit.

But My heartstrings are being pulled on even now as he begs for me to give him a chance, support him, help him, let him try a new IC, a SA program for once and return to AA...I donít know how to let go...

pinkpggy posted 11/7/2019 11:16 AM

Somber- I am the WS but my BS is an alcoholic and everything you've written really resonates with me. I also have young kids and have detached but there is a lot of anger there. My husband also hides bottles or waits until I leave the room to refill. I've had conversation after conversation, and nothing, including being arrested for a DUI have had an effect. I just found an Al-Anon meeting near me and Im scared to go. I know I have to. It's time for me to put myself and kids first. I can't imagine living like this much longer. It's taken the joy out of a everything. I've been with him since I was 20 and I really feel like I'm done. I can't help someone that doesn't want to be helped. If you ever want to chat let me know.

[This message edited by pinkpggy at 11:17 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

k8la posted 11/7/2019 13:12 PM

Somber - the online group was a faith based group that was dismantled many years ago. Some of us kept in touch via Facebook, but the lessons I learned from the book study was the biggest help. I had to switch my own heart from rescuing to getting out of God's way in always being the soft place for my addicts to land/dump on, etc.

Somber posted 11/7/2019 13:23 PM


Thank you for sharing. Infidelity aside, living with an addict is unbearable for most of us. We come to a point where our lives are unmanageable and that is when we start to really seek help and support. There is so much anger behind my detachment too. I feel like my children get the worst of me as I am so broken from our marriage. My children love to play with playful drunk daddy but I am the frustrated one trying to enforce routine in chaos while he is the fun one (when he wants to Be) and I am always the one picking up the pieces!
It is a tough role to continue playing. I am depleted of energy, exhausted and just donít want to do it anymore. I want a sober partner but that may never happen.

I sat in the parking lot of my first meeting and never went in. The following week I just walked in and listened, cried and found I could relate to much of what was said. The next meetingI began to share and it felt like a relief. I was no longer alone, I was understood and validated. There is no judgement there, just support. I strongly suggest you try a group, even a couple once you start. You may find it very helpful. If not, well at least you tried something new to help deal with a difficult situation and that is worthwhile!!!
My WH has a DUI years ago when I was pregnant, the blow thing came off right before our first born. Last fall he drove drunk with our children for about 10 minutes. That is when things really fell apart, I had to report it....then things worsened right until rehab in the spring. He was sober for 4-5 months and is starting to drink again. He used to hide it and he has to be hiding it again because I donít see booze is so painfully heartbreaking to watch someone you care about falling apart. The thing is I am falling apart too and he doesnít even notice...a very lonely place to be!

This was already said but very true:

You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

The1stWife posted 11/8/2019 05:14 AM

It is painful to watch your loved ones make mistakes or bad choices.

It you & kids need to survive. A different heís nit actively in recovery or getting help etc. - you need to too focusing on him. Break the cycle of drama.

Heís a SA alcoholic. Your words describe it all.

Heís not your priority anymore. You and your children are.

Get on a path to healing and getting out of the cycle of his drama and issues. Stop trying to drag him down the road. Make him get up and walk down the road/path on his own.

Somber posted 11/19/2019 06:22 AM

I have a day off today, 6 hours alone while the kids are in school. I should go to alanon but I am feeling so angry that I have to spend my free time going to alanon and therapy!
My husband is still intermittently drinking, hiding it, minimizing it...he says he can stop drinking, he has before but he just wants to be loved. I told him that I canít love him right now and that he needs to find a way to deal with that. That he canít blame drinking on me because I donít throw myself at him when he stops.

I also told him that his drinking is escalating and that it doesnít make me feel safe. I said that I need to ensure the kids safety and I wonít be sticking around if he chooses to drink in the company of the kids. To this he says sorry (for lastnight) then says I wasnít drunk. Is being drunk really necessary to him
to see his poor behaviour? Clearly he canít see the differences in his moods, choice of words, overreacting behaviour or disregard to routine, etc. Sure he is funny to the kids but in my eyes a damn idiot!! He is right, he wasnít ďdrunkĒ on his terms and if he were I am ready to pack up and get outta here!

Get on a path to healing and getting out of the cycle of his drama and issues.

Iím trying...

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/19/2019 06:48 AM

My heartstrings are being pulled on even now as he begs for me to give him a chance, support him, help him, let him try a new IC, a SA program for once and return to Aa

He can do all of these things without you. It's all words. What has he done? He's manipulating you.

Can he go to an inpatient detox or treatment center? He may need that to stop, initially. Is that at all possible?

Wither way, you take care of you and your kids. You are not causing any of this. He is. You are not responsible for him. He is.

Sometimes, the best way we can love someone is by letting them go.

Somber posted 11/19/2019 07:11 AM

Thanks Coco,

He went to rehab for 3 months, from May until July. He was sober until late August (although he frequently smoked weed or ate weed gummies.m). He started off going to AA, meditating, feeling healthy and going to counselling and then slowly stopped. In his mind, I think he wasnít getting enough applaud perhaps! He went to rehab to save our marriage though. It was me insisting on a separation that initiated it.

Iím trying hard to focus on me and my kids but addicts are demanding of attention and are very manipulative. I can see that now but it is still so difficult to navigate. Every time I push my boundaries, he puts in some work to correct his behaviour for a while so I hang on...but it never lasts. I am seeing that now as well.

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/19/2019 19:50 PM

Every time I push my boundaries, he puts in some work to correct his behaviour for a while so I hang on...but it never lasts. I am seeing that now as well.

Good that you are seeing that now.

It's very common for it to take several times before an addict gets sober for real. You don't have to stick and wait until he gets there. Smokin weed and eating marijuana gummies is not being sober. So, sounds like maybe the only time he wasn't actively using was when he was in rehab.

RidingHealingRd posted 11/20/2019 03:18 AM

Sometimes, the best way we can love someone is by letting them go.

My WH was a functioning alcoholic for many years. He was never fall down drunk, never stopped for DUI, and often times did not appear drunk, but his drinking was daily and in excess. I would tell him he was an alcoholic, which he denied. I would tell him that I would divorce him if he did not stop drinking, this was an idle threat. He continued to drink.

After dday we were in therapy together. The therapist was a reformed alcoholic who told me that the idle threats would never get my WH to stop drinking. He told me that I should have left my husband. He needed to see the consequences of his behavior if he were to ever stop drinking. If I could turn back time I would do exactly that,,,leave him.

My WH had his last drop of alcohol nine years ago, on 10/29/10 (dday).

woodlandlost posted 11/26/2019 23:47 PM

Hi Somber:

I am a longtime observer of this forum. I have been a member of the forum, Sober recovery . Check it out. You can read without signing up, and sign up is free. Go to the forum called friends and family of alcoholics and you will find hundreds of other people who have lived with and detached from the madness of active addiction.

I am a BS of an alcoholic wife. You will see my story on that forum under the same handle of this forum, Woodlandlost.

I am almost a year out of D-Day after watching my wife carry on a 4 year affair with a male co-worker. Crushing blow that I still struggle with and the fallout of years of living with an alcoholic.

Blessings to you and all on this forum.

EllieKMAS posted 11/27/2019 01:22 AM

Hey Somber - your post resonates with me. I am an adult child of an alcoholic. My mom (thank the heavens) will be getting her 7 year chip in January.

Detachment is really hard. Until it isn't. I know that is SO not a satisfying answer. In my case, I fought her demon alcohol for years. Emotionally (and literally in one instance) bailing her out over and over again. Putting her thoughts and feelings and needs and wants before any of mine. Because don't rock the boat right? I don't know what finally made it happen, but her last night of drinking I just got done. It was the strangest and most wonderful feeling ever. I still loved her, still wanted the best for her, but was not going to tolerate her behavior anymore.

I went to alanon before that night and remember people mentioning the 'drop the rope' moment. I didn't understand that - how could they say they loved their alcoholic if they were just saying fuck it?? But for me, loving detachment was very quiet. I loved her, but I loved me more. And for the first time ever, that didn't feel selfish to me (and it isn't selfish!).

The detachment point I think is just where that scale finally tips. Where staying in it is intolerable, no matter how much leaving it hurts. I lucked out. I drew my line with her - you will either have a relationship with me, or you will drink. You will not do both. And god love her, she never touched a drop again. So I didn't have to 'react' or not to her drinking. But honestly for you? If you aren't ready to detach at the moment I would just remove yourself from his presence when he drinks/is drunk. And if he is going to go out driving or whatever, let him. He has to hit bottom - he has to decide for real that he wants sobriety. It is not an easy journey, but it is one he has to do all alone. You can't help or support him in that. That letting go is so incredibly hard.

Also, just food for thought. Being an adult child of an alcoholic is no picnic. And it is pretty amazing how many dots connect between my codependent tendencies with that and the shitshow my marriage ended up being. Your kids are absorbing all of this too, just as I did.

He is manipulating you. Addicts do that masterfully. But that stops when you say it does. Again, I know that seems so simplistic, but it is the absolute truth.

I feel for you - I never want to go back to those days. They are so hard and so heartbreaking.

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/27/2019 07:45 AM

he is going to go out driving or whatever, let him.

I don't think I could do this. It's, basically, the same as a bartender letting a drunk customer drive. The bartender and the establishment can be held liable for anything that the drunk person does while driving.

Can you call the police and report him?

Somber posted 12/6/2019 16:39 PM

Thank you for the responses and sharing your experiences.

My WH was a functioning alcoholic for many years

Mine was too until he wasnít, until there was a DUI and multiple affairs and late nights home. He was only truly sober in rehab and he felt good about himself. I wish it lasted.
Now he is a functional alcoholic again who goes days or weeks without drinking. His behaviour is inconsistent and u predictable. I enjoy the moments he is sober and the peace that brings. I cringe the moment he has even one drink as it triggers the fear of going backwards. He gives me intermittent moments of the man I loved and wanted to be with. These are moments, days, maybe weeks...this is what makes it hard to let go. Certainly if his drinking escalates, I do plan to leave.

Woodlandlost, I did check out that website. Thank you for that!
I havenít been back to alanon for a month maybe. I just donít want to go or spend my time there right now. Iím not entirely sure why. I have a lot of anger and resentment. Alanon has helped when I needed it most, I just need a break or maybe didnít really connect with others and also have so many other things to do in a day off...

Right now, I started with a trauma therapist and this has been very helpful. I have compartmentalized since trauma as a child and have become a pro at it. This has made it easy for my spouse to carry on with his behaviours as I just stuff all that pain away and never deal with it. I now feel the pain seeping out though and it physically hurts my heart.

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