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Alcoholic DH in recovery but is it too little to late?

(6 Posts)
TheOKWife Fri 17-Jun-11 13:53:31

My DH is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. He has recently stopped drinking and taking and drugs and now regularly goes to AA meetings. I know what he is doing is wonderful but i can?t help feeling it might be too late for us. He couldn?t/wouldn?t stay off drugs or alcohol when we were trying for a baby and then through IVF. He used heroin when i was pregnant and since I?ve had twins I have had to pretty much hold the fort for the first year and a half while he was drunk or too hung over to help or in deep depression and wallowing around in self pity.

Now he is a good man and tries hard to love me and be there for me and the DCs. The trouble is I can?t forget everything that has happened. I feel like I have been a mug to put up with all of this and should have got shot of him years ago. I feel like I have come out the other side of a pretty hard couple of years to find that I can cope and do well on my own. I?m annoyed that I have a husband who does not want to socialise at all. We never see people. I feel like for once in my life I could and should be on my own to figure out what I want.

I just wondered if anyone else finds themself in this situation where even though their partner was on the road to recovery it was too late?

Sometimes I wish he was still taking drugs or drinking heavily so I have a good reason to leave him and find my own path.

TheOKWife Fri 17-Jun-11 14:08:05

grr dont know where the ?? came from..

doubletake Fri 17-Jun-11 14:20:23

Maybe your relationship only worked because it suited you in some way that he was an addict? I think you really have to look at that.

My DS's father was an addict and I know that was true for me. I did love him but if he had straightened out then we would have had to play happy families and in my heart I didn't really want that.

bejeezus Fri 17-Jun-11 14:58:19

yes-i felt the same. but my situation is probably different in that I realised, after the drinking stopped, that my stbxh is a bit abusive.

From Al-Anon and such, as I understand it, this is a common situation. I think for a variety of resons; sometimes what doubletake says (if you are co-dependant- in which case I think you have to take care not to seek out another addict for your next relationship)

I clung on to my marriage thinking 'if only he would stop drinking, it would be OK, we could work through any other problems'. And that wasnt the case-only when the drinking stopped did I realise this

akaEmmaFrost Fri 17-Jun-11 17:41:16

I don't think this is uncommon. For me I did end the relationship when we were still together and he was drinking heavily. I always said to him that if he managed to stop and sort himself out then I would be with him again, he still drinks but not so much and seems to have a lot more control over his life now. So to be fair he has kept his end of the bargain. Unfortunately I am used to being on my own now. I don't like being in a relationship. He is trying hard, does loads more with the kids etc, he was a nightmare when together, lay in bed every morning while I ran around getting kids off to school, never lifted a finger to help, never did a stroke of housework, disappeared drinking for days on end.

I think that deep down though, I dont actually believe he has really changed. It is the dynamic between us that has changed ie no expectations from me anymore and is what makes his behaviour better. I honestly think that were we to get back together he would revert to being exactly the same because he is so conditioned to believe that this is how a marriage is ie the man does his own thing, drinks, stays out for days at a time etc and the woman sits around waiting for the crumbs from his table. Might that be the case for you, that you dont believe deep down that there has been real change?

Snorbs Fri 17-Jun-11 17:58:08

When you're in a relationship with an addict then the addiction and consequent behaviour overwhelms everything else. The whole relationship rises and falls on a tide of drink and drugs. The personality changes caused by such addictions are so extreme that they're well outside the range of "normal" emotions experienced in "normal" relationships. And that can go for the highs as well as the lows.

When all that stops then all the other issues in the relationship are no longer being drowned out. So you get all that coming to the fore as well as the major, post-addiction problems of trust (how long do they need to stay clean and sober before we can trust them not to go back?) and the memories of how oh-so-^very^-shitty it was at times.

The other thing to consider is that, for many people in a relationship with an addict, we get fixated on a thought of "If they would only stop drinking/drugging, then they'll be a lovely person." That's a nice dream but it doesn't necessarily come true. Someone who could be a self-centred arsehole while drunk could very easily turn out to be a self-centred sober arsehole even if they never drink again. Stopping drinking and drugging doesn't automatically turn someone into a good life partner.

I think that, sometimes, there is just too much water under the bridge. There can be too many bad memories and too little trust for a relationship to survive. But that doesn't need to be a decision you make today. It will inevitably take time for things to settle down after such a turbulent few years. Things like him not wanting to socialise is, I'm sure, an issue but could you not go on your own? It's very important you keep in touch with the outside world.

One thought - he's getting support from AA. Where is your support coming from? When I split from my alcoholic ex I went to Al-Anon for a while and that did help. However, what helped me much more was one-on-one counselling organised through my GP. I also found Melody Beattie's book "Co-dependent No More" enlightening reading as it's all about how being in a relationship with an addict can overwhelm our own lives. I think you'd get a lot from it.

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