This patient support community is for loved ones of people who drink and are trying to quit for discussions relating to abuse, behavioral issues, caring for yourself, counseling, divorce and separation, enabling, guilt, and when to get medical help.
Two nights ago was seriously the most traumatic experience ever!
I was sound asleep...all of a sudden I could hear hubby make a very strange noise...I shot out of bed and dialed 911.
He had stopped breathing!
It took 20 minutes for help to come...took them quite awhile to resuscitate him! It was very scary.
He spent the rest of that night and the next day/night in ICU.
He has now decided to quit drinking and smoking!
After they told him that he had been "dead", "brought back" and was touch and go for many hours thereafter, he decided that enough was enough.
I truly pray that this IS the end of his drinking days.
We all had a good cry and he vouched that his remaining days would be spent more constructively AND with his family.
tschock I love this story--- whatever helps someone find their bottom or jolts them to "think" is such a blessing. Sounds like he had the experience that he needed to put things into perspective. Curious how things have changed for you now?
Things are...strange. lol
We don't fight like we used to...both are kind of cranky from trying to quit smoking however, but that's to be expected.
He's pretty much tired all of the time. Not sure if it's withdrawls from drinking and smoking or because of the Champix and the other meds he's on for COPD.
He's starting to spend a little more time with our son, but he's yet to spend much time with me...could be because we have the little guy around us all the time, or perhaps because we are both a bit upset that this latest pregnancy ended tradgically due to the stress that I was under...perhaps it's because he no longer knows how to spend time with me or what to do when it comes to that...only time will tell I guess.
Other than that, things are a little strange, as I said above.
It's very odd, yet very exciting not to see him with drink in hand.
He's been snappy and irritable, but he's not lashing out at me and finding fault in me all the time anymore.
He's nice to be around again...not embarrasing like he has been the past few years.
We haven't gone out anywhere yet, but I'm sure that when we do it will be a whole new experience...I don't think I'll be dreading it anyway. lol
I hated going anywhere with him the past few years...he would always do or say something to make me look like a complete fool for being with him.
He used to take me out and ignore me...cuddling up with his beer instead, or sitting outside flirting with all the women while having a smoke...made me sick.
He's back to defending me again, and telling me that he loves me. So much more believable when he's sober.
He's learned how to care for himself again too. He now brushes his teeth, washes his hands, etc...something he only used to do if he was planning on taking me out to the bar to flirt and chat with everyone else.
We had a long talk the other day about the way he used to be.
He couldn't believe that he was like that. He thought I was telling him a bunch of lies...until a friend of our's told him that I was telling him the truth.
He told hubby that most of their old friends had "lost interest" in him a few years back because of the way he treated everyone and because every time they saw him he would do the "Mr. Ego" thing. They all got tired of him talking about himself and belittling them and me.
Most of them are still very leary about seeing or talking to him again...they can't believe that he's changed or that he's stopped drinking...and I can't say that I blame them because of how he treated them.
It will take some time, but I'm sure some of them will come around again once they see the changes for themselves.
More than half of them are waiting for him to fall off the wagon...again, time will tell.
But for now...life is getting better day by day.
It's very common to not believe anything an addict says and very justified. Our actions speak louder than words now.
As for the "strangeness" you are experiencing...this is all very normal feelings you are all undergoing. It is very different living for your husband. He hasnt been living in the real world for quite some time. His emotions will be all over the place and it is very confusing at times. It's like learning to walk all over again. We have to change our playmates and playground as being around others who are drinking is not a healthy environment. We also find out who our real friends are. Is he getting any type of recovery care? Using(drinking/drugs) is just a symptom of our addiction. Many demons are buried during our drinking days and we need to face them, deal with them and find a place for them.
How are you doing thru all of this? You have taken the brunt of this. We are very selfish people when we are drinking. It is all about us and we hurt the ones we love. Make sure you take care of yourself as you are just as important. Dont lose sight of that.
Congrats to your husband on his sobriety and also to you. Be good to yourself~~sara
Thanks so much for posting an update. Everything that is occurring is very natural. The alcoholic has to find a new way of doing everything, from spending time with your son to spending time with you. Not to mention he is quiting smoking at the same time which for a lot of alcoholics is harder than quitting the bottle.
Like Sara said though how are you transitioning through all of this? How is your personal recovery? When the alcoholic quits drinking, they often don't recall all the people they harmed or even the ones they harmed that were the closest to them... which is you... so sometimes we have some unfinished business with ourselves that we have to deal with.
There is a lot of recovery that needs to go on when your self esteem has suffered for so long. Definitely keep talking and sharing your thoughts. It helps get out some stored up emotions :D Congratulations on this new way of living, you are both making changes towards the better!
It's hard like you all say, because he doesn't remember what he did and said.
I have tons of issues that I have to deal with still.
There are some things that were said and done that hurt so bad that they are hard to let go of...
I have to bite my tongue constantly...especially if he says something that reminds me of a time where he really hurt my feelings.
The other day I left a pop can sitting by the door instead of placing it in the recycle bin...he blew up at me...it took ALL of my strength NOT to punch him in the head. All of those times he left beer cans around and I had to pick them up...
We talked about it several hours later and I explained to him how I had felt; telling him that he had done that for years, and that I would have to follow him around the house picking up after him...and what did he say? " I never did that!" UGH!!
So ya, it's really hard.
The quitting drinking isn't as hard on him as the smoking, it's true. He knows that if he ever touches a drink again he will start smoking...and he knows that will kill him.
So now I have "ME" issues to deal with...and I think those are harder.
Old wounds heal slowly. He seems to be adjusting just fine though...wish I could say the same for myself.
Just glad that the little guy is too young to remember any of this. He will grow up having a sober daddy, and never knowing the one he came so close to having instead.
Unlike his mommy who bears the scars of a drunk daddy and hubby.
You are certainly right these wounds remain and especially for the sober one that remembers. I don't know if this will help you personally but it helped me. I wrote down my scars. I wrote down the events that happened with my alcoholic. It helped me kind of categorize what still "hurt." When you share these things with the alcoholic unfortunately yes they don't recall what they did so they either don't associate remorse at all, or they make amends to you and acknowledge their wrong doing.
And you are so right on with the process you are encountering right now----- you said "so now I have "ME" issues to deal with" I think just saying this shows a tremendous sign of growth because, now instead of fully focusing on worrying about the alcoholic, you are actually putting in some needed time on yourself. This is not an easy task at all, but I am so glad you are on this journey! Keep talking it helps :D
I am really glad you are focusing on YOU now as i have a feeling(from experience here) that your husband is in the denial stage. Many times when an addict quits they feel the addiction is over, it's not. Using is just a symptom of what is really going on with him and he needs to face the emotional part of this now but that is up to him. I would really like to see him get some type of recovery care but this is about you here.....
You as the family member took the brunt of his addiction and now you are left to pick up the pieces of your life. As seattlemom said, make a journal and write down how you are feeling. I would also write a letter to your husband(not one to give him if you dont want to) and tell him everything you are feeling. You will be surprised how much better you will feel. I have written many letters in my journey, none which i have shared with the person. It is very healing. Have you thought about talking with someone or Alanon? All the emotions that you are feeling become very overwhelming at this point and you need to sort them out and deal with them.
dominosarah is right just quitting alone does not solve the problem. Alcoholics or addicts need to look at why they drank in the first place, what their triggers are. By doing so it allows them to bring their own issues into awareness instead of covering them up like they might be used to doing.
You have certainly carried enough burden of your own though to worry about someone else's recovery and how they deal with it. I know that's hard to view it that way, but it also puts everything into perspective. We don't have control over other people,places, or things. We only have control over ourselves. You seeking support might just be a catalyst for him seeking support.
I joined Alanon back in the 1980's and then revisited it again in the 90's. I was certainly more broke down the 2nd time I went. I was so upset I don't even think I remember my first meeting because I cried through most of it. Part of me had this attitude that "it's their problem.... why am I here?" but see I was just as much as an addict to their unhealthy behaviors as they were to the alcohol. I had a lot of recovery steps that I needed to take, otherwise I could literally become a trigger for the alcoholic.
I didn't always like the meetings, I didn't always like the people, but I will say that I was able to meet the right people at the right time. I met a 60+ year old woman and I asked her to become my sponsor. I was in my 20's at the time, but it was a perfect match for me. She was a great confidant and I finally had someone that I could trust that listened to me and didn't judge what I was saying.
Did my alcoholic get pissed off because I went to Alanon, you better believe it--- because I was starting to put a stop to some of the familiar patterns we kept repeating over and over. It helped me realize a lot of the similarities. It helped me recognize my own denial. It helped me recognize manipulation... and that was a huge one for me.
I did a lot of crying but let me tell you I did a lot of healing and life became so much easier to deal with. Keep talking, keep reaching out, it's the healthiest thing you can do for yourself right now.
I tried to go to Alanon...I posted about that experience a long time ago...
I have no friends or family...no babysitter = not being allowed to go to Alanon meetings.
I asked the lady if there was somewhere else I could go for help, another organization perhaps...and she said no. She told me to try again when my son reached school age.
No idea how that would help, as the meetings are from 7-9 on Tuesday and Thursdays...and NOT during school hours.
I sat outside the building where they had Alanon meetings once...I had tears running down my face as I saw how happy the people leaving the meeting were...
an older lady approached me and asked "Why the tears?"
I told her and she said that it was very unfair that "the system" would do this to me...offer help, only to deny me because of a baby.
She suggested calling the local churches to see if they had some sort of special meetings.
Only one church did, and I could bring my baby...only problem is they ignored me and talked among themselves about their knitting and such...ugh...I hate being a new comer.
So now I just come here from time to time and I get all the help I need.
Thanks people! You are more appreciated than you can imagine!
You know what you are absolutely right. I have travelled to a lot of different states around the country and gone to different meetings and yes I in fact encountered several "bad" meetings where I was not welcomed. I was very shocked and surprised at the behavior. When I first went to a meeting in my hometown I was "accepted" in but the feel for many other states was not helpful. Every meeting is different. And yes it can be difficult to find a group.
Have you tried the online meetings? I never been to one of them personally because they didn't have them back then, but I wonder if that would give you some support. It would likely only be an hour online. The other thing that helped me too was listening to women give leads that were a part of Alanon. I could relate a lot to what they had to say. I would even look for Alanon leads online that maybe you can just listen to.
Ugh I hate that you had a bad experience with it and that you had to feel turned down upon making a step towards helping yourself :( I'm so glad you are at least reaching out here... so you have some outlet for what is going on in your life.
They have Alanon on line? The lady never told me that...
Of course, if it's anything like our mental health department around here, I'll never get any help. lol
My doctor sent a note to mental health and told them that he wanted me take an online anxiety course. The lady called me and asked a thousand and one questions...she said that I would truly benefit from taking the course. She gave me a special number to call and she said that they would take my email addy and then send me a special link to a special site and give me a special password to log in with...uh huh...
I called that number and at first the lady said that she had no record of the other lady having talked to or diagnosing me...she said that she would send it to me anyway because, as I explained to her, how else would I have gotten her number?...the lady took down my addy...she repeated it twice to make sure that it was spelled right...it's been six months now and nothing.
I have called back several times and have been told that they are going to send it...they have repeated my email each time...ugh!
I told my doctor about this horrible experience and he wasn't impressed at all.
I now have an appt to see someone in his clinic instead...not sure if it's just for anxiety, but...any help for anything is better than no help for nothing...lol
I'm thinking that if someone doesn't do something soon to help me...well let's just say that hubby isn't going to like me much longer.
It really ***** when you TRY to get help, and there's no one on the other end to give it.\
Starting to realize why there are so many suicides and murders...cause no one can get the help they need, even when they are reaching out.
My mom came and picked up our little guy yesterday, so I thought I would finally get some much needed house cleaning done. I put on some vinyl ( yes, I'm that old! LOL!) and started working to the music...something I hadn't done in a few years. I love to listen to 50's and 60's while dancing around and cleaning house. I've missed being able to do that the past few years...anyway...I had just started when he came inside, went straight into the dining room, and cranked up HIS music! He was drowning mine out totally.
I explained VERY nicely that this was the first time in YEARS that I had been able to do this, and I was looking forward to it. How often does ANYONE get excited about cleaning?
He just sat there with a stupid look on his face (which I wanted to smack) and then he said " Well some guy asked me a question and I had to listen to this so that I could answer him."
So I told him that he was SUPPOSED to be at work, and that he could read and reply to his emails later...
He's just gotten back into the "swing of things" as far as work goes, and we could really use some money for the stupid things...such as food, mortgage, bills....
I explained to him that my name is on the title of the house, and that I should be able to do things in my house.
Every time I try to watch tv, listen to music, etc he always seems to barge in, turn the channel/turn off the music, whatever.
I used to just put it down to his being a drunk...finding out now that he's just totally self-absorbed.
Not sure if he's being such a jerk because of all of the withdrawls or if it's because he's become so accustomed to acting this way while being drunk that his personality has drastically changed from it.
Hope it's not permanent.
I try to stay cool and calm for him...I try to be understanding...but it gets harder by the day.
I think mostly it's because I THINK that he should be ok now...that it should all be over with and that we should be able to get on with our merry little lives...but I guess maybe I'm pushing it too quickly. Maybe it takes years to get over booze and stuff...I don't know...he's the first person in my life that's ever made it this far in the quitting game.
And by all means please do not feel you are going crazy :) I cannot tell you how terrible my own anxiety was. I was physically sick because of the stress of dealing with my alcoholic and trust me I was in denial the whole way. I would never wish anxiety upon anyone, it is a very terrible feeling indeed. You can either treat the anxiety or you can treat the problem that has caused the anxiety.
I didn't realize all the control I had given up to my alcoholic. And what resulted was my own self being broke down. It didn't help that my alcoholic insisted that I was the one with the problem. Once I started opening up to other people in the same situation I realized how unhealthy my environment was and how unhealthy our relationship was.
The mere act of you cleaning and listening to music shouldn't be an issue at all. You should be entitled to do that after all this is your living space... but because you were having "fun" on your own apparently your recovering alcoholic came in and manipulated the situation. It's the small things like this that add up. And one thing our loved ones can get really good at and "know" like clockwork is how to push our buttons to start a disagreement.
Especially when someone is just getting sober and hasn't developed a recovery program of their own, they will look for triggers. If not from themselves, they will try to ignite triggers in other people around them. Part of gaining tools to deal with this in Al-anon would be to recognize when they do this and react differently than what you normally do.
When I stopped arguing and would step outside and just take some breaths and kind of pray to myself or meditate.... I took control of the situation, not my alcoholic. When I was being cornered in a closed room or hovered over being yelled at and I chose to walk away or get in a public place... I took control. Instead of sitting there and being broke down, or sitting there and arguing, I stopped. These tiny changes that we make in ourselves can literally be huge.
But I just want to say that a lot of us dealing with alcoholism or any type of substance abuser feel like they are going crazy or are anxious. This is completely normal. And part of gaining a recovery support system means helping you get back yourself. Keep writing, keep talking :)
That is so right about early-recovery (or tapering) alcoholics looking for that trigger. So much the better if pulling that trigger can be blamed on someone else, and by then the only people left to blame are immediate family members. "Poor pitiful me. Can't drink and have any fun all because of YOU! See how miserable I am? You really want me to be miserable don't you? It's all your fault I have to go get drunk to forget all my woes. YOU ruined my recovery! Waaaaahhhh!!" Yep. Living that movie quite a bit over the past several months.
I learned to behave as if I were training a wild dog. Absolute calm in the face of irrational, illogical chaos is the only way I can survive when the pendulum swings back and forth. Can't say I always maintain that calm state, but I'm not plagued with constant anxiety anymore. One step in the right direction!
@ tschock --- Wow you made my morning, I am so excited for you, I really hope you can find that additional support and that you actually have a positive experience this time with it.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you do get to the point where you reach out for help for yourself and can't find it ;( Definitely let us know how this goes.
@ Jaybay -- I can't agree with you any more, you are very right, it's a pattern. You would think with so many people that are different that their recovery actions would be different but they are not. There are so many similarities in the process that it is very helpful for family members to understand the stages. I remember I kept thinking to myself "I am NOT going to be this person's excuse to drink. I am not going to be their excuse to use." I can walk away and I can take control of my immediate surroundings and do whatever I need to do to get my own sanity in check.
Thanks for your posts everyone, your sharing does so much for me.
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