What Does A Real Alcoholic Act Like

JC: Olga, thanks for submitting your questions about what does the true nature of someone addicted to alcohol look like. We have had many discussions on this site surrounding this very subject. In simple terms, if the person’s drinking habits are causing problems in your relationship and in their individual life, there’s a good chance you have a real alcoholic on your hands. I have included some links below your submission to articles on our site that will help you understand what a real problem drinker might act like.

 





Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Submitted by: Olga

Can you tell me the difference between a ‘problem drinker’ or alcohol abuser and an addict (alcoholic)? I am confused as to the difference. My husband shows some signs of having an addictive personality, lack of regard of consequences, risk taking (has driven drunk) and drinking alone etc… but at the same time, when I am around, he can respect limits. These upsetting incidents only seem to happen when I am at work as he has a day off (He can also respect limits for the sake of his work). I do not wish to underplay the seriousness of his issue as I am fully aware that either way he is playing Russian roulette with his life, but at the same time, how I deal with this issue? I will eagerly await your guidance…

JC: Olga, you will find a few answers to your questions about what does a real alcoholic look like here:

Personality Of An Alcoholic
Social Drinking and The Alcoholic

250 comments to What Does A Real Alcoholic Act Like

  • Julie

    Brigitte, I agree wholeheartedly with Debbi and Pez. I have been there, Done that with my exah in hopes of saving a marriage. BUt now i understand that the marriage as i saw it never truly existed. Make sure if you try this route with him that you do not fall for lies. CAUTION! as Pez said. And actions will prove the truth, words are just words.

  • Sheila

    Brigitte… I am one of the ones that bought back into the lies of my A and remarried him to give him that second chance…… when they are at the lowest form and down and out they seek out the ones they know care and love them because that’s their “safe zone”….. I bought all his lies “honey I will change, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, I am “in love with only you”, our lives will be totally different”…….. lies…. he is just as bad as before if not worse, he made no effort what so ever. Do not buy into his lies. I wish to God I had of waited and sat on that fence until he had proven what he was saying…. all his promises were empty. That’s how an A does it, they know exactly what you want to hear, so they are going to tell you these things out of selfishness to get what they want. God is a miracle making God, and God can deliver them from this chemical addiction, but the A has to want to help themselves first. You can’t help them if they do not want help. The A is all about themselves, nothing else matters to them, nothing but getting that drink….. take care and first and fore most…think of your child and yourself first…..

  • Ben

    Brigitte,

    Don’t buy into that lie. If he’s going to change, he can do it before you two get back together. I have been fooled like this at least twice- once when i filed for divorce and once when she was arrested at kindercare for picking up our daughter drunk. Both times she begged and pleaded for me not to take Olivia away from her, she’d kill herself, blah blah blah. As soon as I bought it, she became instabitch. If you step back, isn’t this baiting and switching what they do all the time, it’s only more noticeable to us when it’s a “big” event, but their behavior is like this all the time- small things to large.

  • Ben

    Hi Karen2,

    Thanks for the encouraging words over the weekend! I am still hoping you can shed some light on the “shaking” post. The weekend was mostly ok, as she worked both days. Livi and I cleaned the house, went to the store, and did phonics exercises. The drunk came home Sunday after work and was very irritable. I refuse to walk on eggshells any longer, but its not a very enjoyable way to live….again- begs the question “why live like this?” Last night Olivia wanted to go to the grocery store. Nikki agreed to go it was one of those rare occasions that she actually left the house after she had started to drink. She picked a fight because I went out to warm up the car and the neighbors actually talked to me. She then picked a fight at the grocery store, and a bigger fight on the way home. Livi was crying and had an awful time at the grocery store as Nikki stormed off. I felt awful for livi. We came home and I retreated into the basement bedroom and about an hour and a few beers later, I could hear livi laughing and playing with her mother. I realized that livi is now officially on Nikki’s crazy emotional roller coaster- crying one minute and laughing the next. How sad.

  • brigitte

    Thanks debbi and pez. I thought the exact same but it just makes me doubly sure to hear it from all who know what they are talking about. If I’m honest with myself, I don’t know how I feel about him anymore. I do have love for him but I’ve seen how nice life is without him and I realise that I don’t need him anymore for anything. I got my power back and I cannot allow him or anyone else to take that away from me. As well as my serenity. Feels good to be in such a great place finally

  • Debbi

    Hi Brigitte:
    Glad you are getting your peace & serenity & power back so don’t give that up. If you decide to have a relationship with him again do what Ben & Sheila said–ask him first to “show you the proof”–in other words tell him you will consider after he’s been sober for at least 6 months and in a continual program. Don’t give up the serenity you have now achieved by letting him disrupt your home and life again. Good luck–make your decisions slowly and with good common sense this time. Hey–send some of that serenity to me–I sure could use some right now! Good luck!

  • Ben

    Has anyone experienced their alcoholic giving the silent treatment and withholding affection? Mine picks a fight over the smallest thing and then doesn’t talk to me for a few days. This happens at the same time of the month, every month. Sept 20th it was over a phone call, August 20th it’s because I talked to HER parents (not about alcoholism- she doesn’t want anyone to talk to them), etc. I know she’s a woman and yes, this does seem to coincide with pms, but come on – its totally out of control. She doesn’t even apologize anymore. It’s like she expects me not to have feelings. If I do bring it up, she’ll start explaining how I DESERVE the way she treats me because of xxxxx. I always DESERVE it. She complains that her mother was awful and that she gave her and her siblings the silent treatment for weeks at a time for no reason in particular. She also says her mother is nuts and that everyone hates her. Yet she is exhibiting the EXACT same behavior she accuses her mother of. Her parents are fine. I think her mother is nice. They spent a month here with us this past summer and I enjoyed them.

  • Karen2

    My AH used to do that, might do it now if my responses to him hadn’t changed. The worst event of silent treatment lasted 5 weeks. I’m not kidding. When I finally “broke”, it was at bedtime; I pounced on him while he was sleeping. Before all was said and done, he was threatening to call 9-11 on me! You know I told him to go ahead, nobody would believe him over me.

    As for withholding affection, had plenty of that as well.

  • Kristi

    Ben,
    I was the victim of the A withholding affection for the last 2 years of the marriage. It was a mental emotional torture to me. It is my opinion that as the A progresses in the disease they lose the ability to empathize with others and show love in any form. Intimacy ceased to exist in any form in my experience. The a was only there in the physical form, but not there in any emotional or family/father/friend capacity. The alcohol stole it away. He is now a shell with only one goal. His life goal is to do anything to achieve the next high from intoxication. Anything includes lying, stealing, writing hot checks, taking credit cards out in my name, etc. I’m sorry to see you go through this. Soon I fear your A will do what mine did which is to cut your daughter off emotionally too.

  • Ben

    Hi everyone,

    I just got done listening to how crazy I am and blah blah blah. I have a question for those that have gone through this- what kind of evidence works to prove an alcoholic is an alcoholic to a judge? Receipts? Pictures? Police reports? I mean, anyone can accuse anyone else of being an alcoholic. I will be visiting with a good attorney in the next week, but was wondering what people have experienced. I’m just thinking about Olivia and her safety and emotional welfare. Thanks everyone, ben

  • Kristi

    Ben,
    I just went to court on September 12th and won with these things.
    1. Try to get a recording via iPhone or digital handleld recorder of any drunken craziness you can get. Then burn to a CD. I ended up with 3 full cd’s and only used 1 in my case ( where he was ranting on how much he wanted to kill me when he was intoxicated. Also admitted to driving drunk).
    2. Take pictures of anything you can use. Her passed out with alcohol, empty bottles in their hiding places, her drinking, etc. make a proof binder with pictures.
    3. Get copies of the police reports!!!
    4. Write a journal going present day on. Chronical everything! Also get a separate journal and write the history date to date as far back as you can remember up until the present tense. (Surprisingly this was used the most in my case).
    5. TEXT MESSAGES!! Print them! Put them in the evidence binder along with emails if you have them.
    6. Get bank statements showing any proof you can on how often she is buying alcohol and or squandering money at bars, hotels, liquor stores, etc.
    7. Get your financial documents in a safe place before you file. Things like tax returns, info on purchase of house, social security cards for you and your daughter, your wife’s social security number, a copy of all household bills for the past however long u can find, take pictures of every room in your house because she will pawn anything she can when desperate enough, get birth certificates, etc. everything that is important that you will need should be in a safe place where it cannot get destroyed. FYI a safety deposit box is community property. I put all my important things at my parents house till he moved out.

    Hope that helps. If I can help you in any way I can. I feel a connection to you in that I also stayed far too long in my marriage for fear of the kids going with the A for visits. Luckily I was over prepared and he gets only supervised visits at my home. I can say yea or nay depending on his actions and soberness. He saw the kids for the first couple weeks, then disappeared out of our lives. Be very careful from this point on to not give her anything to use against you. Not that you would. But you are about to see a side of her you never dreamed of.

  • Ben

    Hi kristi,

    Thanks so much! Here’s what I have:
    * Police report and cps case (that was “unfounded”) before she ever met me that her now adult children stated “mom drinks to the point of intoxication every night”
    * Lots of receipts
    * At least a few police reports in Glendale Arizona regarding her drunkeness ( I got pulled over while trying to prevent a DUI and I ended up getting a field sobriety test!!! Anyhow, it said “he states his wife is out drinking in the car and he wants to find her and bring her home safely”
    * I actually filed for divorce myself ( pro se) and documented the heck out of everything. So all that information is there.
    * In Arizona I also reached out to her manager (she’s a nurse) and coworkers and tried to do an indirect intervention (this was the advice of an addictions counselor) it went nowhere
    * Here there was a police incident where she took my phone because I texted my daughter and wouldn’t return it (use it at work) so I called the cops, she tore my shirt, and drove off. Cops looked for her for 6 hours.
    * she got arrested at kindercare for showing up drunk to pick up our daughter and the daycare called the police after smelling alcohol on her breath. She didnt get a DUI – she drank 16 beers from 9 am to 4 pm, passed out for a couple hours then went to get livi and blew a .076!!!! She’s 120 pounds.
    * my 21 year old daughter is willing to fill out an affidavit about her drinking, swearing, and attacking both of us verbally. When i took my daughter for a ride to let Nikki calm down, we came back to her suitcase being outside and soaked with a water hose.
    * my sister willing to write an affidavit about her showing up drunk w my then infant daughter completely drunk (she drove there)
    * when her ex took us to court because her teenage kids didnt want to live with her- I couldn’t be in the court room because i was testifying but it went on for two days. She swore alcohol never came up, but I’m hard pressed to believe her. Arizona records everything on DVD. I’m getting a copy.
    * her mom may write an affidavit.
    *our counseling records – both of which are filled with alcoholism issues
    * her doctors records- highest hdl ever seen in her doctors career. Her doctor told me she had “the talk” with Nikki and it went nowhere. It’s now up to me to talk to an attorney, an interventionist, or both.
    * possibly our neighbors
    * I have some voice recordings, one where she threatens to destroy the house if I leave her
    * I have some journal entries in an iPhone app
    * I have some pictures
    I haven’t been as diligent with some of these because, frankly, I keep starting then things aren’t nearly as miserable and I stop.

  • Kristi

    Ben,
    You are very well prepared. I can’t remember which state you are in, I think up north. I’m in Texas. I’m also an RN like your wife. One thing I notice all over the country however is that nurses seem to be held very accountable for good or bad actions. I really think you should ask for a drug test because she may be taking things from work with her DT’s (shakes) so evident. I bet there is more going on than alcohol. How does she get through the 12 hour shift without anything? I’m suspicious. A better test to ask for would be a hair follicle test, it will show everything. I’m guessing she has long enough hair to prove your point. Don’t let on you are seeing the lawyer. Don’t tell her you filed. Give yourself a head start. A word of advice I learned from my lawyer….you must get recent proof. The journal and evidence gathering was emotionally exhausting to me too, but it won my case. If you remind yourself you are doing it all for Olivia it will carry you through the hard parts. I had prepared all the things I previously mentioned before seeing my lawyer the first time. I then continued gathering things I could after filing to prove current safety concerns. I really think you have all you need to protect Olivia, but remember you can’t get a redo once everything is said and done. So it’s best to go in with an entire library of validating evidence. A word of warning: when she figures out what’s going on she will beg, plead, put on a good show etc. don’t fall for the lies. The best prediction of the future is past behaviors. Your goal is to prevent disaster, not react to it. Help protect Olivia and make that your focus. It will keep you strong.

  • Ben

    Hi Kristi,

    Yes, I think you commented on my other post regarding her shakes. She no longer works 12s (Minneosta doesn’t have much of them), but when I saw her get the shakes one day at brunch at 11 am, then rush home to take calcium pills (she said it was calcium tetany) and wash them down with two cans of beer, I asked myself what happens at work? I know when she works evening shifts she drinks a couple before she leaves. But what happens at work? I’ve never seen booze in her car during work- but the couple of times I’ve gone through it I’ve always looked for receipts and stuff- never a bottle. She works at county so it’s possible she diverts withdrawal medication. Or is she running out to her car to drink? She does keep an awful lot of gum on her. She is now starting ICU training and I’m starting to question if I should keep hiding her secret. This isnt ortho anymore. People lives will be at stake.

    Glad you think i have good information. Part of me wonders if shell told and run and I’ll just have to raise livi by myself.

  • Kristi

    Ben,
    I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed that I would be raising 3 young kids alone. I didn’t realize he would bail on the kids, although I always knew he would not stand by me. He doesn’t even call them. It is very sad, but maybe a blessing. Last week he came over to my house unannounced. He looked like a stray tom cat all beat up and wasted away. He begged me to reconcile, said all the right things, begged to come home. I told him there was no way we could ever reconcile unless I had amnesia or a mental handicap that prevented me from remembering everything. He called me a crazy b*tch and stormed off. The next day (Friday) he called me totally wasted while driving to re-check in to rehab for the third time. So apparently he only came back begging because the kids and I were the last resort. He had worn out his welcome everywhere else I suppose.
    As far as your wife, I hope I am wrong, but I suppose there is a much deeper addiction going on here. I’ve seen it at work before, as I have to monitor the two nurses we have on our unit in TPAPN. I am a charge nurse so I’ve seen a lot of drug misuse by nurses, doctors, especially anesthesiologists. Here is a thought. Imagine your wife’s patient is ordered 25mg Demerol IVP. The vial comes in 25mg, so she would not need a witness to give or waste the extra part of that drug. Who is to say she isn’t giving her patient half and herself the other half? It happens more than you would imagine unfortunately.
    You could call Minnesota’s board of nursing and file an anonymous concern or complaint. They will definately look into it, and test her for all drugs/alcohol. Think of it this way also, God forbid any of our children ever be in the hospital. But if they were, how would you feel if something happened bc the nurse had a few drinks before work? You are in a position to prevent a catastrophe.

  • Julie

    Ben you say you wonder if she will run and you will have to raise Livi by yourself. BUt in reality you are already raising her by yourself and it sounds like you are doing a great job. I too am going through trying to prove to heh courts that my ex AH is a threat and a danger to my chidlren. The older ones have been refusing to see him at visits and he was caught drinking with the youner one and threatening him and drinking and driving when he brought him home. It has been a long time coming but they finally granted us a protection order after he showed up to our residence and threatened all of us in front of neighbors who were out in their yards watching it all go down. I had a very difficult time proving anything in court as it was a lot of my word against his and he is a great manipulator. But now after almost two years of fighting him he finally started messing up and the truth is coming out. Of course we are still going to court becasue even after the protection order he is dragging me back to court to fight everything. He has filed contempt against me for not forcing the kids to go on visits before the CPO and then filing an appeal to the CPO. Really? He was caught lying to the magistrate under oath in his last testimony yet he still feels he is in the right and will beat us if he keeps taking me to court. So do not under estimate how far the addict is willing to go to keep their fantasy alive and insist that they are not to blame and neither is their addiction. I think Kristi gave a great list of what to have and my attorney also told me that you need history but you also need recent proof to show they are exhibiting the same behaviors as in the past. I used many of the same things she has on her list for you to fight my fight in court and after almost 2 years we are finally winning. Good luck and let us know how things are progressing.

  • debbi

    Ben:
    Me & my exAH–silent treatment all the time–the record. . .one time he did not speak or acknowledge my presence for 362 days. Almost a full year.

    Be very careful turning your wife in at work-if you do not work there or spend alot of time there you do no know about the dynamics–she may be getting prescriptions from doctors. My ex had a full crew of guys that got prescriptions from doctors & covered for each other. Only record & document what you can as far as her actions around you and your daughter. Best thing is call the police when she’s obviously under the influence and let the police press charges–that will then put her nursing license on suspension.

  • Ben
    As an A myself
    But blessed to be in recovery and getting myself
    And my love for life back.
    I’ve been thinking about what to say to you
    I think it’s much harder to prove, impossible
    Probably
    … To price that you are NOT an A if one is

    The court will see through it…

  • Ben
    I meant prove one is not
    I typed price
    I may be getting my love for life back but
    Not my eyesight!!!!
    I wish you all the best
    The courtroom is an intimidating place but I think it’s
    Also part of getting the truth out in the open…
    Peace to you and yours …

  • Ben

    Thanks Stephanie- thanks everyone on this site! I moved all my stuff down to the basement and moved out of the bedroom completely. Didnt say a word to her- didnt argue, didnt fight- nothing. She came down to the basement drunk and tried to love me and said “you’re detaching” obviously she knows about the tools that we use better than we do!!! We went to the mall Thursday night, went out for dinner last night and then to the local home center!! Usually once she starts drinking we don’t go anywhere. I’m not getting sucked back in, but it seems to me that she knows the price and is trying hard to limit her drinking. She’s still drinking, but less- and living a little bit of life at night, which is nice to see.

  • Dale Were

    I hope it lasts Ben…glad she is taking some steps…today is the *silent treatment* day for me again..as usual. He tried blaming me for somethings as I got into bed last night and I said save it. I have had a great night and you are not going to ruin it (I had dinner with my two little granddaughters last night) and I rolled over and tried to sleep. It is a little after 11 am and pop goes the cap off the corona bottle…and thus it will be until probably 11 tonight. Days are long and I am trying to find another job to get out of here and get my sanity back. Glad you were able to get out a bit Ben…just those precious moments help. Far and few of them in this house. We can’t even eat inside Burger King because they don’t serve beer!! 15 minutes…really????

  • Karen2

    Ben, Good news!!

    Dale, Hang in there and if you want to talk, we’re listening.

    And honestly, as I sit here, knowing that all of us are spread out coast to coast and beyond, we’re not only united in our troubles and grief, we’re united in strength.

    No longer alone.

    If you aren’t familiar with the song Overcomer by Mandisa, listen to it. Karen

  • Ben

    Thanks, Karen and Dale. My mind isn’t going to chane at this point. Her newest thing is not texting me. I want to be in love, text, miss each other, and stay in love. She calls any expression of attention “gay” and always calls me gay if I try to show affection. Yet she claims to “love” gay guys. Go figure. This is yet another way for her to refuse to give me love, attention, and affection. Keeping me close, yet just far enough away. Make sense? The only thing the last couple of days have shown me is that she realizes there is something wrong with her. Helps me realize there is nothing wrong with me :).

  • Mike

    If it’s mean to be, you can wait.
    Wait for the person to get help and fix it himself.
    No need to marry a baby.
    Babies cannot raise babies and cannot make good spouses.

  • Ben

    For all the people that have achieved serenity and happiness with their alcoholics- how do you do it? Don’t you ever get fed up and say to yourselves “there has to be more to life than this?” How can you drone on day after day, month after month with less than you deserve? Doesn’t you look at your neighbors or strangers- doing things that normal couples and families do and wonder why you can’t have some of that normalcy? I’m sitting at a subway eating, alone. She’s been hell all afternoon. I see people walking in and out of a nice grill/tavern restaurant next door- couples, families, extended families. I get none of that, and its killing me. Am I not strong enough? Is “working the program” somehow going to make all this misery acceptable? Why don’t I deserve what these people have? Don’t even start with “everyone has problems” and “you don’t know inside of those people’s lives”. I’m sure these families I see don’t have two loser parents, three adopted kids- 2 alcohlics and one compulsive gambler that lost the farm. I’m not buying it.

  • gabby

    Since each person is unique what gives someone serenity might not work for another. Find what works for you. I am still trying to find it–but I know it’s out there somewhere & not giving up until I too find that place of serenity.

  • C

    Ben:

    Excellent post. I realized that I did not want to go almost everywhere by myself. If we went anywhere, there had to be liquor. Bob Evans is out! We went to Cheesecake Factory for Brunch, etc., because he could get wine or a beer! Forget about strolling through a mall to pick out anything – he would have a fit after 10 mins.

    That was the least of my concerns – I got to the point where I was livid about him getting another beer, wine, Martini or Manhattan. I couldn’t see any of the good things he did because I felt he was never sober and I was in a scary position – we had no future.

    I understand everything you have said. Do what is best for you and your daughter. I believe you are much stronger than you think. Best wishes.

  • Dale Were

    Thanks Karen…I will listen to it for sure. Feeling so alone tonight. We said maybe 10 words to each other today. I am so lonely..I layed in bed for a while this afternoon and just cried my eyes out. This is so not worth it, but unfortunately until I find another job I am trapped. I now have a glimpse of what hell must be like and I am not liking it at all. No affection, no more I love you unless I say it first…nothing in common at all…just a very lonely existence for me until I can get out of the house again. They say it is better to be alone, than to feel so alone in a relationship and I truly believe this to be true. Beer is first, front and center…it is the almighty god to my husband…do any of you have problems with your’s not bathing? Mine will take a shower MAYBE once a month…sometimes it has gone for as long as 2 or 3 months…on another note…I left and took a ride and took some pictures..I am a photographer..and I ended up driving through town and there was a huge fall festival going on, as I drove through I saw so many couples and families smiling and laughing and having so much fun together..I was so happy for them, but yet my heart just sunk because I will never have that here…he will not go ANYWHERE where there isn’t beer.Sorry to ramble, just feeling really down and out tonight, weepy and wishing I had made a different decision about marrying him in the first place….Thanks for being here…you all are indeed a God send!

  • Ben

    Karen, thanks for that song! Amazing!! I’ve heard it on Christian radio and never listened to the words. Believe it or not, my drunk only listens to Christian radio. Go figure.

  • Ben

    Hi Dale,

    I feel ya about the drinking pattern. Alcoholics are all very different. Yours sounds like mine- except for the shower part. Mine keeps HERSELF very clean. The house is another matter. However, once mine starts drinking, she can’t stop. She can’t even walk to the mailbox at the end of our driveway without a beer in her hand. I can totally relate to your stories. I’ve eaten many a fast food meal in the car sitting in the parking lot. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone to bed with a kiss or I love you. I can tell you that ALL the other times in 5 years its been swearing, kicking, and punching. I remember a couple years ago when we lived in Boston I got a hotel in Times Square between Christmas and New Years Eve. I wanted to leave at 7 am. She rolled out of bed at 9 am, picked a fight, and started drinking. We left at 3 pm after she drank and fought/swore all day. The only way she would go is if she coulfd drink all the way there in the car. She pulled out her eminem CD and played that song that he wrote for his mom all the way there, over and over again as she rapped along while motioning with her hands like a rapper “you stupid f*#ÔÇó! B$!?!” (Her mom is the reason shes a drunk, although her mom HATES alcohol and her adopted older coalcoholic brother got her drinking). I stopped for gas in an oasis on the highway and she kept it blasted and kept singing. I was mortified. Along with stopping every 15 minutes to pee (because she’s had kids, not because she’s a drunk). We finally got to Times Square. I asked her to go check in at the front desk of our $400 per night hotel room. She came back with her jacket wrapped around her midsection. She had peed herself at the front desk. That was one of the BETTER vacations we’ve had. We’ve been to some of the best hotels in the country, only for the bathroom sink to be filled with ice and used as a beer cooler. You know what they say- you can take the girl out of the trailer park……

  • Ben

    Oh I’m sorry…..how insensitive of me…..she has a disease. Bahahahahaha

  • Dale Were

    It’s hard not to be angry and bitter Ben..I try so hard to fight those feelings because I am not that kind of person to walk around with bitterness anger…it’s not my heart, and it’s not God’s heart for me either. It is an uphill battle and God help us all get through this….you know the song…Lean on Me…I’m here for you guys too!

  • Jane S

    I so relate to all of you who see happy couples and ask, “Why can’t that be me??” This disease is the pits, but it is an opportunity to learn to love ourselves in a way that people with a good partner never have to. I can achieve serenity if I dump the victim mindset and take care of my own needs. However, it’s like going to the gym. Flabby muscles set in with neglect; it has to be an every day routine to love myself and not look to the A for affirmation. I consider tracking this website an important element of self care, so thanks to all of you for the inspiration! PS — love Mandisa’s Overcomer, as well as This is Gonna Make you Stronger.

  • Kristi

    To all,
    Ok I need constructive advice if anyone has input. My question is how can I help myself not become a bitter victim of the disaster of a dream my A has left me to manage? I am good more days that I’m not, but I think that’s because I stay busy and try not to think about it all. I am in counseling, in alanon, have a sponsor, read co-dependant no more book, follow this site like its a close friend, go out with and talk to close friends, pray, etc. However at the end of the day at bedtime I have the most difficult time. This is because at the end of the day I am still in the same place. I am living a shattered dream, stuck in the home we bought together because he trashed my credit, I’m raising 3 young kids alone, I am alone in everything, I’m working overtime because of no child support paid even after it’s ordered and garnished(He quit his job to not pay and checked back into rehab for the next 3 months to avoid a warrant for not paying). Also I am very much affected by the mental and emotional abuse I have endured. I am also reminded by my anxiety of how he has no problem finding new younger or “better” women than myself, while I feel like a discarded used up piece of trash mostly. I guess I need something to look forward to but even if I did I have no one to share it with. I was supposed to the A’s help raising these children that I love dearly. It’s so overwhelming all the responsibilities I have on my shoulders. At the end of the day all the “help” doesn’t help. I am still left to figure it out alone and the responsibility feels overwhelming to the point I’m frozen in my mind.

  • Pez

    Kristi, I said the same thing to my Aunt ie “I don’t want to become a bitter hard bitch hating men”. My Aunts reply was simply this and it was so true, “You won’t, that’s not who you are. You are just putting up you armor because you were hurt. It will go away in time and when you meet the right man”. You’ll be ok Kristi because that’s not who you are. Time and healing and acceptance of what has happened to you.

    My hardest times are on my weekends when not working and not with family or friends to distract me. Today was one of those days. I know, in time it will pass and the incidence of those feeling will be less and less. Thank God for the Gift of time. You will make it. Are your parents willing to help?

    I feel used as well they call it “used up” what the addict does. It doesn’t mean they didn’t love you and want you. It just means they could not or would not get the help they need to stop imbibing. It’s not your fault.
    The new one will not have it any better if he’s not successful in sobriety or remains a dry drunk. You and your children are better off even though it is hard to see in the midst of anger and all those feelings. If you need to have a glass or 2 of wine! We are not alcoholics and it helps me once in awhile.

    My dreams were shattered and my soul weeps for what it could have been–But he chose it not to be–not me. So, I will make that dream come true with someone worthy of my love. It hurts and life is unfair but we humans are resilliant and we will bounce back. Too bad we can’t see a few years into our future!

  • Kristi
    My first husband left me with 3 young children and
    I was 6 months pregnant…
    My mom advised me to wish him peace or I would
    Never have it. I did. I met my soulmate …,
    and my ex never changed and hurt more women
    and children. It sounds like you are very strong .
    One thing I did not do until now… 25 years later
    Was learn to love myself…
    I’m also in recivery and believe that’s how I became
    alcoholic… I had many years sober but relapsed.
    Anyway, this sure is for families of A’s…
    But I feel slot of compassion for you . I remember
    well that feeling of raising children alone.
    I read and swill do all those kinds of books.
    May I suggest Byron Katie ; Living what Is.
    You can watch her in YouTube also…
    Peace to you

  • Debbi

    Hi Kristi:
    I know those thoughts well and want you to know that the bitterness towards him is understandable–you were betrayed. And betrayal takes 2-5 years to recover from. You do have a lot going for you with friends, counselor and a sponsor. I had none of those things when I was in your stage of grief and sadness and hurt. Since you have recognized that evenings are the worst time–probably after you put your children to bed you could try the following: going to bed early yourself and sleep, ask your sponsor to be available to talk during that time or a family member. My help was always music. When I had to sell my piano to pay bills then I turned back to my CD’s. I would start with a song that slowly matched my mood and then start playing more upbeat ones. Nothing actually but time will take away those feelings of being discarded and I’m right there with you crying. Hopefully in a couple of years both of us will be in a much better place.

  • Kristi
    I have been thinking about you and your children .
    I myself have 6 daughters….
    I was by myself with 4 for a time…,
    I read Debbi’s post about evenings…
    and how difficult they are. I think her advice is
    really good….
    Something I did that helped a lot
    ( my addiction problem did not start til some
    years later)
    I ‘went back’ to who I was before I met him.
    I read a book called ‘men who hate women
    And the women who love them’ about
    Mysogynists …. I highly recommend it
    Maybe ask your counselor…
    Anyway, I started reading the periodicals I used to
    like , etc…
    But having friends over for coffee and dessert
    Or a potluck made me feel like an adult again
    And a change from bedtime stories…
    But on that note, my nephew gave
    me the best advice :
    He said pile on the same bed with the kids and surround yourself
    with love…. and it was healing …
    There are good people out there …,
    Please keep your heart open ….

  • Pez

    Kristi, re-read your post and it sounds like you have a lot of memories in that home that are unwelcome. Can you get a priest or pastor to come in and bless the home and cast out any negativity? It may help and where you place your faith. If not there is an old Indian practice of sageing. You can get sage sticks at your local heath food store, burn the sage throughout the house and say prayers of cleansing and blessing. Put all your faith into it! Also, I would totally change the house around so it looks different. Get rid of things that cause strong memories. Maybe get new curtains and things you can afford. Maybe re-paint? This will help the house to “feel” new and yours alone! Be creative. It help using our creative ability. Maybe do this at night in your mind when you struggle. Scetch it out, color it with crayons. You are becoming a new you, maybe the house can reflect that.

  • Julie21

    Pez that is such a great idea. I know since my exah has been moved out my 3 children and i have made this place our home which was something he would never let us do. All his junk that he collected is gone and we actaully have a real family room and both of my sons and my daighter have their own bedrooms now where before he was using the extra rooms in the house to hoard his stuff that he calims was so “collectible”. But just allowing the children to pick their own paint colors and help to paint their own bedrooms made a big difference in their attitudes. And I rearrange our bedroom so it feels like my own now. So Kristi you may want to try this idea. Even if you cannot afford anything new, I know we were able to get a couple hand me down pieces of furniture from a neighbor and made our family room special and new to us. It really does make a big difference in attitude and could be a way to make yourself feel good and free inside.

  • Ben

    Kristi,

    I totally understand where you are coming from. Sure, I can fill my schedule with activities and friends and marginalize Nikki. But what kind of existence is that? I would purposely be staying out of my house, exiled like the Shah of Iran. At the end of the day, everyone I met and did things with would snuggle up with someone they love and I would still be lonely and longing for affection. Not a good way to live. Some people adjust, lower their expectations and accept that this is what their life will be like. If you can do that, then you are a stronger person than I am.

  • Julie21

    Ben to be honest with you i tried the detach and still live with the alcoholic. But like you said what kind of existence is that? and still the children and I had to deal with his violence and his controlling behavior and his squandering our income. I realized even though the methods above helped make things better and gave me bettter actions to take other than arguing and crying, we still had to face violent outbursts and struggle with finances and emotional badgering and it was not a life we wanted. I did not want to be packing up three kids and leaving the premises almost every day because he was violent and drunk. Not being able to share my life with my partner (who was not really a partner). I think when we decide to leave we have to first decide why we stay and if it is actually good for anyone involved to stay. If you are staying because you don’t want to give up hope on a dream you had to live with your partner and share a life, please realize you are living for a dream and not reality. then why stay in the relationship at all? The way i see it you are strong in either case but it is a decision of how you want to live your life. If you do not want to give up hope on the partner i believe you can always go back to them AFTER they change if you are willing to take that risk. In my case too much damage has been done and i will never go back.

  • Kristi

    Hi all,
    Thank you all so much for all the words of wisdom and advice. I feel like you all help more than anything else even more than my counselor. You all get it!! You are living it too. I love the ideas about the house. You are right, there are so many bad memories here, but there are a few good ones too. I had actually been thinking about painting. I am going to pick colors I want ( he never let me choose anything and criticized my taste). I love the pottery barn color pallets, I’m going today to get the free magazines from the store and vizualize how I’d like the house to look. Since I don’t have the extra cash to actually do anything yet, I love the hope that comes with planning. And it’s so funny about how someone talked about de-cluttering. My A was a master of crap collecting also. I’ve started putting his crap in the empty side of the garage. I can’t stand clutter and he created so much of it. The blessing of the house idea is fantastic. I never thought of that. The fact is I love the house, just need to de-clutter the emotional pain associated everywhere I look.
    And Ben had made a good point too. The fact is that way too much damage had been done and I could not trick myself into settling for the kind of existence we had when the A was here. He has left me alone fir the past two weeks since he is in rehab. I am starting to feel peace since he isn’t stirring things up. I wish when he gets out he would just drive away and not come back. He loves to torment me. I love peace when he is gone. No angry calls, threats, or him spying, etc when he is away. It actually gives me peace in a weird way to know I’m not really ever going to get financial support from him, because luckily I can work 4 shifts a week instead of 3 and support myself and the kids without him. It helps my self confidence that I can do that. I’m very grateful that I married him after I had my career, otherwise I would have never had that option of supporting myself.
    The end of the days I feel the same as others mentioned. Alone. But the reality is I am mourning the broken dream, and I would rather be alone than settle in an abusive horrible relationship. My goal is to be happy about being single and a single mom. The holidays will be very difficult, but I’ve realized I’ve always really been alone during those too. I just pray that one day god will send me someone that I can go to dinner with, or to a movie, or have a vane times date with, that won’t forget my birthday, that will want to talk to me or spend time with me even in silence. Just the hope of that gives me hope. For now though, my focus will remain on dealing with the pain I’ve endured, becoming stronger, and being a happy person at peace with the way things turned out. That would be better than if I had stayed with the A by leaps and bounds.

  • Kristi

    Sorry about the typos. I didn’t proof read this time. I meant “valentines date” in my post. Haha. I will be treating myself to something of valentines though. I refuse to sit around miserable and bitter. ­čÖé The fact is I’m only 33 and still have some of what I had before I got all beat down by the A. There is nothing more attractive than a happy confident person. My goal is to become that person again.

  • Ben

    Kristi,

    You sound like you are getting stronger. The fact of the matter is that this is all very hard. It is totally senseless and something none of us should need to endure. While I talk a big game, honestly, I don’t want to leave my wife- I don’t want my daughter to experience divorce. I don’t want to start all over. That keeps me stuck where I am. People on the outside dont realize how hard this truly is. All we can say (for those of us that have not yet left the A) is that we are a step closer to leaving. Every day brings me a step
    closer to the realization that there is nothing I can do for Nikki and that a drowning person will drown you also. Every day is one step closer to the door.

  • Kristi

    Ben,
    I think if there is any way to save your marriage you should. Divorce is terrible for everyone affected. In my marriage I had tried everything and had become exhausted. Maybe it’s different for women, or maybe it was just my case. He had over 100 pounds on me and his “violent button” control was diminishing. Not to get to into it…but a week before I filed he told be he got great pleasure from hurting me in any way he could. I was always in fear. I left my marriage with as few regrets as possible. That gives me a little peace about my divorce, but it is still difficult. I do not intend to enter the dating scene like so many new divorced people do. I want to work on myself, and healing. If someone comes along that would be wonderful, but if someone doesn’t I want to be happy alone. I will be very picky if someone shows up one day, but I’m not pursuing anyone. I’m burned too badly for that

  • Dale

    Ben, I can so relate to where you are coming from. The times I go out with my friends they are usually a couple and I am the third wheel. they don’t make me feel that way at all…but I feel that way…and they do go home and snuggle together and do things together. For god sake my granddaughter called me sick from school today, couldn’t get in touch with me (distant) daughter so I picked her up and brought her to the house, fed her, gave her liquids, had her rest. When it was time to bring her back I asked husband to go. He went begrudgingly and I am paying dearly for it now. WE don’t have to do everything together. I said everything really? Oh that’s right going to the store once in a while is everything together…Of forgive me…you go ahead and live your happy little life separated from mine and I’ll live my life without you. There ya go. I am so pissed off right now. He NEVER wants to do ANYTHING I want to do EVER, yet, he gets upset when I don’t do things HE wants to do on the seldom occasion HE actually wants to do something. I am so tired of this freaken roller coaster…I swear if it weren’t for this stupid cancer I would be gone….Selfish is as selfish does….I am so tired of this up and down and up and down and him just acting like a total child in the car when I was bringing my granddaughter home. He put his hat over his face, pretended to be sleeping…then we get to the store and he is all perky with the girl at the checkout counter…I pray and I pray and I pray and have been a believer since I was a little girl, however even with God this is NOT easy at all….

  • Dale

    …a side note, I don’t want a divorce either, but I am afraid that if I don’t do something I am going to end up being a misurable woman the rest of my life and lose what little sanity I have left. He is so on and off it’s not funny, and then I get accused of being the same way…does anyone else feel this way or am I really losing it?

  • Dale

    Kristi, I so know that feeling of him getting great pleasure from hurting me in any way he could (can). He is like a child who pouts when he doesn’t get his way, punishes me with silence. I am at the point where I don’t even want to talk to him any more. Nothing good comes out of our conversations anymore. He has no interest at all in anything I have to say, but expects me to be all ears when he has something to say, and most of the time I just ignore him. He is rarely nice to me at all anymore, there is more silence than talk…he has absolutely NO respect for me at all NONE…and visa versa. I am really going to take this time during the holidays to figure out and pray without ceasing if I should really keep staying in this hell…and it is a form of hell I truly believe.

  • Kristi

    Just got a call from the A in rehab to “talk to the kids”. He somehow got me to talk to him after talking to them. I could kick myself. Turns out he isn’t staying as long as I thought. Getting out November 18th. I should have remained in ignorant bliss. Better toughen myself up a but more before then.

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