Wife Is A Former Alcoholic & I'm Struggling
Posted: May 8, 2019, 12:02 AM

I'm honestly happy she's doing so well & she beat her drinking, but I'm still living in the past & I'm having trouble forgiving her for some of the horrible moments that were caused by the alcohol. She's doing great - better then great, but I sometimes wonder if too much damage has been done. I recoil when I hear her open up a can of soda - or if when she's laughs like she used to when she was drunk. Little things that happen on a daily basis & send me into a rage. I know it's a form of PTSD, but I'm having a real tough time dealing with it and our new lives. I struggle in silence & I feel alone & isolated. That's we're I'll start. Thank you.
Posted: May 8, 2019, 8:07 AM

Posts: 478
Joined: November 9, 2018

Hi Theid and welcome. I think just like she is in recovery we have to be in recovery too. Loved ones are affected by addiction and it damages us too. You are obviously coping with the aftermath of your wife's alcohol addiction. From what you described, it does sound like PTSD. Having a relationship with a person with an active addiction is very traumatic as you well know. She is doing well which is great. Now it's time to take care of you and start healing the wounds you have suffered. You can and deserve to do this for yourself. All the best.

This post has been edited by Sallyanna on May 8, 2019, 8:08 AM
Posted: May 8, 2019, 5:59 PM

Posts: 26
Joined: March 28, 2018

Your message struck a cord with me.  I too am a recovering alcoholic (sobriety date 8/19/2012) and your words made me feel so bad for the pain and anguish I put my husband thru.  Because my drink of choice was fireball whiskey, he couldn't stand the smell of cinnamon.  He was always waiting for the other shoe to drop (dreading me relapsing). I broke trust in areas of our lives that I don't know if he"ll ever fully trust me again.  And I don't blame him one bit.  

It's hard when alcoholics first find recovery because to the alcoholic, we know we have turned the corner.   We have done the work thru the steps (or so we think) and we dont understand why others dont believe us.  When in reality, when doing true recovery we come to understand the damage we did to those around us and try to make amends. 

I say all of this to say, please talk to her about your feelings in hope she isn,t aware she is triggering you.  This way she can help support your recovery as well so the two of you can grow together from the ashes of her choices.   If she doesn't, well... that tells a whole different story of her recovery and you have some hard choices to make yourself...

I battled my own addiction only to be buried by another's...
Posted: May 8, 2019, 7:54 PM

Posts: 1746
Joined: June 27, 2016

When my son was in recovery for a short 3 months last summer, I cried more than I was when he was in active addiction. My feelings were so mixed. relief that he was sober, grief for the past unfortunate events, grief for the future - knowing there's a good possibility he will relapse and we will go thru this hell again. (he did relapse). Part of it was a release of emotion that I had kept in check for the previous year while he was he was active. addiction keeps us on high alert. after living like that for so long, it takes time to feel safe again.

suggestions: read about PTSD, behavioral therapy.. on the internet, go to a book store... there are many types of therapy. do some research for a therapist in your area if you think a few visits would help. maybe help to get some feelings out in the open. or maybe if you see a therapist or do some practice on your own, you wont need to share too much w your wife - that might put her on the defensive.


Cognitive behavioral therapy
A talk therapy focused on modifying negative thoughts, behaviors, and emotional responses associated with psychological distress.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
Psychological treatment that reduces the stress of traumatic events through eye movements.

another thought. the same way you are triggered, your wife is triggered too. by similar things around the house, or something you do.

Doing one new thing together that takes you both out of the familiar (triggering) surroundings so you can "make new memories"

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on May 8, 2019, 8:03 PM
Posted: May 8, 2019, 9:12 PM

Posts: 478
Joined: November 9, 2018

I think too a relationship with a spouse would shift in some way once they are in active sobriety. It has to change the dynamic of the "old" relationship. In a way it's like they are 2 different people. For this reason , I would think it would affect the sober spouse. It probably changes a lot of things. Just thinking out loud.
Posted: May 8, 2019, 9:56 PM

Posts: 327
Joined: December 23, 2018

Welcome Thiel, This is a great group to just talk. The other parents & partners have such great advice & wisdom. You need a safe place, with a safe person to talk about YOU!! Not her, her addiction, her behavior or her recovery but what YOU felt, heard, what angered you, hurt you & work on a way to work thru that - without having to hear how well she is doing (which is great, but you are NOT doing well & you need your own recovery.

You may be experiencing some anxiety & depression too because she is doing so well, but what about YOU? Does anyone ask how YOU are doing.

I hope you can find a therapist or counselor to help you with your recovery too, you also deserve to feel good again. It is hard not to feel selfish because everyone is happy she is doing well but no one is thinking about what you went thru too.

Posted: July 16, 2019, 10:52 PM

Posts: 32
Joined: July 16, 2019

First of all, there is no such thing as a former or ex-alcoholic or a cure for alcoholism, only recovery from its effects. The only way to manage alcoholism is through abstinence. Picking up again will only return the abstinent alcoholic into the raging alcoholic he/she was before with real expectation of worse to come. And without help, abstinence only brings an angry and irritable alcoholic. For without alcohol, the alcoholic can no longer hide from his/her emotions and from life’s problems.

It is an axiom that hurt people hurt people and that alcoholics don’t take a spouse, they take hostages. So, as alcoholics continue to spiral down, so go the people around them.
When an alcoholic enters recovery, the people around them do not automatically recover. Perhaps the exception is when one spouse joins Al-Anon and the alcoholic joins A.A. It is my opinion that alcoholics start as emotionally damaged people and turn to alcohol, or other addictive substances and activities, to cope.

In my 30 years of sobriety, I have never heard of an alcoholic’s spouse suffering from PTSD, per se, but you may have symptoms that are shared with PTSD or that it was caused by something else.

Nothing personal, but you are now emotionally damaged too, but knowing that, and without your wife’s behavior harming you, you can start to recover. You may find some relief in therapy, Al-Anon or even Neurotics Anonymous or its offshoot Emotions Anonymous. For the 12-step groups, Google their headquarters and inquire about local meetings.

The loneliness and isolation are things that alcoholics also suffer from as their alcoholism progresses. But, what makes any 12-step program work is that the target group can best identify with other members of the target group, even see themselves in others and know that they are not alone and not unique.

One of the posters kept talking about YOU! YOU! YOU! While I found it helped for a while to express my feelings as “I feel this way when you do blank”, I do know that A.A. is about working on self by being unselfish. I don’t imagine it is any different with any other 12-step program.

I believe that as we withdraw from the world, as the world becomes more hostile to us, we retreat inward to protect ourselves, thus becoming selfish, self-centered, or egotistical.

I pray that you may recover and find yourself truly happy, joyous and free, and at peace and one with yourself and the world.
Posted: July 17, 2019, 8:59 AM

Posts: 478
Joined: November 9, 2018

Thank you for your post soberinmi
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