Kina, Families & Addiction Trust

Val's Story

Posted on 18 February 2016 | 2 Comments

Hi,

So I am new to this site, and have been recommended this site from an Al Anon member.
I have been with my partner for 6 years now and knew he was an alcoholic early on. I thought we could manage it ourselves and he started going to AA meetings on and off. Then he started to drink alcohol in the garage and hide the empties. He would pick up an 8 pack of bourbon and cola and drink it before he got home in the van. I knew he was drinking and whenever he came home I would ask why he would drink in secret. He had no answer. then I married him 3 years ago (knowing that he was an alcoholic). At this stage he never admitted he was an alcoholic, he just thought he drank a bit too much. He convinced me this was true. He told me that he would control his drinking and things would get better once we were married. It didn't. It got slowly worse. with more stress came more drinking in secret. We never spoke to our families about it because he didn't want them to know and he thought he could get it under control. Last March we had our first baby. My anxiety was at an all time high, as I knew when he would come home drunk- he slurred, didn't make much sense. It all came to a head last April when I told him enough was enough- he had to tell my parents and his parents. They didn't believe he was an alcoholic- they never saw him "Drunk" or drinking to excess, but he had. He started going to AA meetings and seeing a recovering alcoholic counsellor, Then he went on Anti-abuse thinking this would help too... it was good for a while. Then came Christmas last year. He started drinking again, and I asked him to take his Anti-abuse pills in front of me... surprisingly he wasn't sick... so I checked the pill container- he had made a partition from the pills with a piece of paper and was putting Panadol pills on top, so he was taking panadol rather than his anti-abuse... the things they do to get another hit eh...
New years arrived and he went for a drive again and drank again. I totally lost it at him. Then it was my family that convinced him that I was going to leave him if he didn't do something about it, so he said he was going to check into rehab. He is currently at The Retreat Clinic in Auckland. He has been there just over 10 days and I have visited him last weekend. He looked good and was really positive about the situation he was in. He is now getting the tools help him with his addiction...
I suffered from post natal depression- which I was told his addiction was a major factor of my depression.
I am still anxious about what will happen when he comes out and how I can help him help himself. 
How can I stand back and try and trust him again when he is by himself?? 
How can I start feeling good about myself when all I will be thinking is "what is he doing? is he drinking?" and all the questions that will be floating around in my mind...
What will I do if he falls of the wagon again... am I really going to leave him... be a single mother??.
The list of questions go on and on....

Comments

  • I can really relate to what you are saying. It is so difficult to know what the right decision is to make when we can't see into the future and know if they are going to stop or not.

    Posted by Shelly, 19/02/2016 8:41am (4 years ago)

  • Firstly thank you for being brave enough to tell your story. Secondly if no one else answers don’t become discouraged, writing and reading is good for your soul and sanity. This is just one way you can help yourself and at the same time you are helping others. Just because people don’t respond, doesn’t mean they didn’t read your story.
    I have been with my alcoholic husband for 26 years. He hasn’t always been an alcoholic. He has had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol on and off for the past 20 years but it never affected our lives. He has been an active alcoholic for the past six years. He was a wonderful father to our two boy’s prior to this. Our boys have been affected by their father’s drinking in their prime development years, teen’s. I have had to be the mother and the father for them. They are both balanced and happy boy’s with every aspect of their lives except with their father. This has taken huge energy strength and sacrifices on my part. The memories they have formed of him have been harmful. We have attended counselling over the six years with and without his father. Talking is good but 'doing' is better. Our eldest (21) left home last year so no longer experiences his fathers drinking, only through occasional phone call’s or text’s. Our youngest is 16 and is very angry with his father, when he feels the anger I tell him to turn it around, (I call it pivoting) I tell him to try and send the negative emotion away and remember to tell himself his Dad is unwell, the drunk Dad is not his Dad. This person isn’t my Dad, feel sad for your Dad not mad. (sad not sorry there's a difference) But be safe too, be respectful to yourself and don’t be cruel. This will only fester and turn your feelings further and further into resentment and hatred and mould you into someone you are not.
    The only reason I have stayed with my husband over the past six years is because we are dealing with serious issues one being financial & legal that were not caused by either of us, (we run a business) and the other is that he is physically unwell. He survived cancer a few years ago and he attempted suicide two years ago. My husband has no one else, he see’s his parents but he comes from a dysfunctional family. I feel obligated out of loyalty to support him until these serious issues are resolved, the price I have paid is knowing he has dominated our family life, being an alcoholic is an extremely selfish thing. His problems are valid and traumatic = his reason for drinking. Drinking is to numb their emotions, this is temporary that’s why they keep drinking. They drink because they cannot deal with their emotions it’s too painful, I understand this. But drinking just makes everything worst, you need clarity in order to problem solve, and life will always throw problems at us, the only way to survive is to be resilient and have personal faith whether you choose that through religion or personal faith. In order to be resilient you need courage, you need strength you need self esteem and confidence you need humour you need faith you need positive relationships,,, all the things that an alcoholic takes from you. It takes a strong person to overcome the harmful affects of living with an alcoholic, you must also ‘plan’. You manage your life, not his, you manage your child’s life, not his, you plan for any outcome whether you choose to stay or go. You build your support, whether that’s people you know or not. (you need to trust the right people not everyone responds in the right way) Sometimes it means leaving for breathing,,,, (space) maybe a few hours or a couple of days it may be permanent. Don’t be anxious about what will happen when he get’s out have a plan it’s a process, give him a chance but have rules and boundaries don’t lecture him he needs his dignity you need yours these rules are for you, are you being compromised? are you adapting to suit his needs? are you changing your belief’s your values your dreams to help him what are you sacrificing? Your baby is almost one and thankfully will have no memory of their father’s bad behaviour, or your’s, remember it’s not the drink that is harmful it is the behaviour, his and your’s. Many people such as your husband and mine are emotionally unstable, they have issues could be from their childhood, or something that happened, they learned to behave in a particular way and never dealt with their emotions in a healthy honest way. They need to unlearn all the bad behaviours this starts with their thought patterns. But this starts with honesty, dedication and then practice, practice, practice. This is key to why an alcoholic drinks, they know they are dishonest (with their feelings, and in their daily life) they are manipulative, deceiving and clever, they are also ashamed, remorseful (in themselves) and don’t know who they are anymore. If they put the same amount of energy into living that they do into drinking they would be supersonic! They must be exhausted, living a lie, their poor bodies and minds have taken a beating and yet it still forgives.

    My husband has been in re-hab twice and respite once he relapsed each time within a week, because they are safe and supported in re-hab, out of their drinking routine then they get out and alone with their thoughts, the mental chatter going around in their head. No organisation has the resources to fully support an alcoholic. The only way they survive is through others managing and enabling them. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, there are many unhappy dry alcoholics who have not changed their behaviour. Unless their mind set has changed they will return to their old routine, this is what they know, because it takes months to build strength.
    You cannot help your husband, you can help yourself and your child. You can make yourself feel good again, don't seek it from others. What we receive from others is a bonus. Your husband is exhausted equally you must be exhausted, all your energy is going into the alcoholic, physical and mental take that energy use it for well being, you will become supersonic! Look for the words that are meaningful to you, go back to basics to remind yourself of who you are, words like honesty, courage, curious, resourceful, one of my favourite words is s e r e n e. We are all growing and evolving it is never too late, who do you want to become? If your significant partner does not fit with how you want to be, and how you want your child to become, let go and move on. No false drama just quiet resilient planning, step by step. There are many happy young people out there brought up by strong happy single mother’s. Acceptance is key, I have always held the Serenity Prayer close (I am spiritual not religious) Remember your life will be tough whether you stay or go but which life offers you freedom.

    Posted by Mary, 18/02/2016 3:30pm (4 years ago)

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