It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Some alcoholics still have families when they get to AA. This is a place to ask questions and share experiences about relating to family members sober, especially when newly sober. (If you are not an alcoholic, please use the "Our Friends and Families" forum.)

It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby md6040vr6t » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:58 am

I'm a little bit over one year sober. In that time I have completed treatment and have been rigorously involved in AA. Learned how to see my part and where I was being dishonest (with myself), self-pitying, scared and resentful. Most of all, I have learned how to develop a manner of thinking that makes it possible to quickly see my part, where I'm deceiving myself and how to adjust my behavior. I think the progress I've made has been very drastic and even though I get little to no credit from my family, my friends and other people who know say "My god, you have changed so much! It's wonderful!"

That brings me to my wife. She sees the changes I've made and recognizes that I have done everything I could have possibly done to turn around my life. However, the relationship is just as bad now as it's ever been. Aside from it being a warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold in 2 week cycles, she really thinks of my rigorous effort being like a simple "light switch" -- like I recognized I had a problem, flipped the switch and now I'm better. She has said, "It's so much easier for you to work on this. All you had to do was recognize you had a problem and get help. It's so harder for me".

There's certain behaviors she has that leave me out of ideas. It seems the only way to solve our relationship problems is to separate.

-She can't forgive me for the past. Everything I have done to correct the problems by her observation is just a "whatever" type of trivial effort.

-She has so much flaming resentment that is just unbearable for me to be around. When she sees that I'm humble, willing to look at my part and make a motion to move forward, she comes absolutely raging mean and unglued. She'll usually just scream terrible things at me and walk away.

-She has SO much self-pity. She often cries to herself, saying "I could have been with someone so much better" as she lays in bed crying for hours. "You used to drink and made bad choices and I don't think I can ever trust you again!"

-I can't do anything right in her eyes. She has indirectly stated that I am 100x more responsible than I was a year ago, but her day to day conduct toward me does not reflect in her attitude. It seems listening to her requests and acting on them get me nowhere, as she will only focus on what wasn't perfect. Even if it was perfect it reminds her that things should have been like that in the past so even that makes her distant. No matter what she asks for, big or small, it seems to not recover any ground on her ability to trust me.


I don't really know what to do. She doesn't really want to go to counseling because the idea that she would need to go infuriates her even more. "Why should I have to go when you're the one who screwed up?! You're lucky I'm even here with you, bla bla bla. You should just accept it or move on!"

It seems I really have no way to reconcile. I'm deeply sad about giving up on the possibility of reconciling things with her, but I'm also being honest with myself that perhaps that possibility hasn't been there and I feel entitled to a normal relationship or that I could bring it back to something good again. Maybe she really is just kind of a B-word and I didn't have the respect for myself to see it earlier.
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Reborn » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:39 am

Maybe your wife would benefit from Alanon? Try checking into Alanon meetings in your area and with kindness, patience, tolerance and love suggest that she look into it. The people that are around us develop a spiritual sickness as well.

Have you completed the steps? If so the only thing you can do is practice the principles you have learned in the process. I would suggest reading the chapters "The Family Afterwards" and "To Wives". You have to remember that just because you are recoverying that doesn't mean your wife is. Pray that your wife finds her own recovery...always do the next right thing...check your motives...everything in this world happens for a reason...Acceptance is the key!
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby PaigeB » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:01 pm

What does your sponsor say about this? Have you been through the Steps?

I know that my marriage was in trouble when I was drinking and when I got sober. Like our personal alcoholism, removing the drink is not all that is required for us to get well. I think I can relate to the idea that my hubby might have had that I was taking "whatever" efforts and that I had a switch that I could turn on and off. And right around a year too... I always get a little edgy when it is my anniversary time!

My husband does not go to Alanon, but he loves my AA people. I often wonder if he would be happier if he went to Alanon... but he was always a rather stoic fella, not much into too much feel good stuff. I just this minute remembered to ask him to make his Christmas for my home group anniversary this year and he said, "K" like it was a given and he was happy to do it. Here is the link to Alanon - I hope she will try at least 2 meetings... http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/home. It is not like they are sick - they go because WE ARE SICK. And it is not a cry fest there, they do not complain a lot. They talk about real, action based solutions.

Now back to my alcoholism. In this case it is really all about me. I am the problem. I am the one who needs to do the work. The book says whenever I feel bad it is me. I have no room for exceptions for any other person - all I can ever deal with is myself. The rest I have to leave to God or HP or to the Universal Chaos. So If I wanted my marriage to work I have to work the Steps and put sobriety first and make the Traditions of AA also the Traditions of our marriage. Having a sponsor was absolutely priceless at this phase of my development because I was able to call her and she would help me see what my part in all this marital turmoil.

Families are infinitely more complicated than any other relationship and I find that it is the hardest thing I ever have to work on - it excites my defects the mosts and I have the least amount of self control inside my own home. Things got much better for us both after I made direct amends. I had to be working Steps 10 & 11 all the time.

It is easier for us to trust the process than it is for our partners to trust it. We put them through Hell.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby md6040vr6t » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:04 pm

Reborn wrote: Maybe your wife would benefit from Alanon? Try checking into Alanon meetings in your area and with kindness, patience, tolerance and love suggest that she look into it. The people that are around us develop a spiritual sickness as well.



Yeah. I very carefully suggested this but she is not the least bit interested. She says, "I don't deserve to be around a bunch of trailer trash when I did nothing wrong. You're the one who screwed up, not me!"

Reborn wrote:I would suggest reading the chapters "The Family Afterwards" and "To Wives".


Oh yes, many times.

Reborn wrote:You have to remember that just because you are recoverying that doesn't mean your wife is. Pray that your wife finds her own recovery...always do the next right thing...check your motives...everything in this world happens for a reason...Acceptance is the key!


Yes, absolutely. I question my motives a lot. I also try to be very sensitive to the fact that she doesn't want me as a resource for helping her through this, which I completely understand and accept. This is where disfunctional relationships can become toxic or dangerous. Everything happens for a reason, but rarely for reasons we would like.
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby md6040vr6t » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:00 pm

PaigeB wrote:What does your sponsor say about this? Have you been through the Steps?


He says she's probably dealing with a spiritual sickness and that I can't really encourage her to want to look at it if she is completely unwilling. He has become concerned that I become too accommodating, too apologetic and too willing to do whatever it takes while I'm getting absolutely no support or anything back.

Yeah, the truth is my wife is very attractive. Very attractive. Everything she's ever had was handed to her on a silver platter, first by her family and then by her past boyfriends. Even my neighbor commented on it. She's known both of us for at least four years and said "Yeah, you can tell she's never worked on herself in a relationship. With those doe eyes and a figure like that, she probably has never had to".


PaigeB wrote:My husband does not go to Alanon, but he loves my AA people. I often wonder if he would be happier if he went to Alanon...


God... He's wiling to be involved? That's fantastic.

PaigeB wrote:Now back to my alcoholism. In this case it is really all about me. I am the problem. I am the one who needs to do the work. The book says whenever I feel bad it is me.


I run that into the ground daily.
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:11 pm

md6040vr6t wrote:
Yeah. I very carefully suggested this but she is not the least bit interested. She says, "I don't deserve to be around a bunch of trailer trash when I did nothing wrong. You're the one who screwed up, not me!"


Yep, when I first suggested Al anon to Mrs Tosh said to me "I'm not the one with the problem, you are!" :x :x

I'm sorry, I have nothing to offer other than to practise being kind, love, patience and tolerance. Our loved ones had to put up with a lot of bad behaviour when we were drinking; I guess it's our turn to suck it up until they hopefully recover too.

We're not doormats though.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:17 pm

Reborn wrote:I would suggest reading the chapters "The Family Afterwards" and "To Wives".


In early recovery I asked Mrs Tosh to read To Wives. Upon reading it, her eyes filled with tears, and then that turned to anger. This bit particularly annoyed her:

Try not to condemn your alcoholic husband no matter what he says or does. He is just another very sick, unreasonable person. Treat him, when you can, as though he had pneumonia. When he angers you, remember that he is very ill.


She felt like I'd put her through so much worry, and now I was sober, she was meant to treat me with kid gloves. No-f______-way!!!!!! :lol:

We could try and apply the very same to our sober partners though.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Niagara » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:20 pm

I heard once in a share it's a sick person that's an alcoholic. It's an even sicker person that is around them for a long period of time.

When we sober up, things change for everyone - and change is scary. The abnormal situation has to some degree become normal, if it's been going on a long time....better the devil you know, and all that.

My own marriage didn't survive me sobering up. As much as my husband would say I put him through hell (and I probably did) he never once asked me to stop drinking. He liked the dependency I had on him. When I sobered up and no longer needed him in that way, tried to forge a decent, loving relationship, he couldn't handle it. I would go so far as to say he tried to sabotage it....he would say he supported me and was proud of me, then he was making homebrew and asking me to sniff it see if it smelled good. We stepped out at a party in my early sobriety because I was struggling being around the drink - he handed me his beer and went to the toilet, leaving me alone with it.

I'm not saying that as a 'poor me'. I'm just trying to illustrate how change - even positive change - can terrify people. I know when things get tough for me, I'll turn to things that I know comfort me, even if they're not good. Ways of the past. 'The known'. 'The safe because they're known'. In one breath he was telling me he loved me with all his heart, then the next day when he realized I was serious about recovery and positive change after a very long talk,he left and moved in with a work colleague (female). I was shocked, it's the last thing you expect to happen when you look at the chaos of the past, and the positive changes that are happening now. You expect people to love it (my god, the chaos is finally over), but what I found was it knocked him off balance, and he couldn't cope with that change. He had no interest in alanon either...he didn't accept that he had any part of it, so why would he need the steps? It was all me...but this disease affects everyone, as we know.

It's a period of reconstruction for everyone, and reconstruction takes time. After a year, I daresay my own family are still half expecting me to go back to it. Trust has to be earned by being a living example of this program, and real, lasting, consistent change within me. Not by what I say, but by my actions.....and maybe somewhere down that line trust and healing will take place for those I affected with my alcoholism......but it's not going to happen just yet. I have to be patient, and focus on my recovery. The rest will fall into place, through gods grace. I'm not the only one his power can heal, if I can get out of his way long enough to stop trying to force healing on everyone else. I can't do that. No more than I could force healing on myself....I have even less chance with another person (especially one who has no cause to trust me at all) All I can do is my part, and what others choose to do with that is up to them.

Of course if their behaviour is unacceptable to me, I also have to find a way to put decent boundaries in place. Just because I'm in a program, doesn't mean I need to be a doormat. Letting people treat me badly because of guilt and I feel on some level like I deserve it, isn't healthy either.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:29 pm

I almost thought you are describing my wife. But things changed for good now. I had to be firm in my recovery, doing what is good for myself and the family. At one point I had to put the foot down and tell her we might have to separate. That shook the root of her being. She pursued a spiritual course of action not through Al-anon but through some other spiritual organization. She now has great appreciation for the program of AA. And last 1 year I have been taking a meeting into the corrections facility that is about 1 hour away. So, about 3 hours out of my Sunday schedule. That is a HUGE shift.

And I was sharing with her what the Warden of the Angola prison said at the convention that he was talking about how noble the service we AAers provide to the prison system. That we have the power to change the prisoners life, where they couldn't. She said our family changed because of AA. For that to come from a woman who hated AA and Al-anon is something God doing what I could not do for myself. Pray and Meditate on you can do for your wife, answer will come. But you got to be sincere about it.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby goodytwoshoes » Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:28 am

md6040vr6t, my advice would be to sit down and have a deep talk with her. if you can’t get her to listen, tell her outright that you might have to separate. Please don’t misunderstand me, or be offended, but there will be absolutely no happiness in having a wife that doesn't appreciate your efforts and keeps crying out stuff like “I could have been with someone so much better”. She needs to get serious and understand that both of you need to work hard on getting this right. And the only way to do this is to make her UNDERSTAND that you will have to separate if she doesn't agree to work on your relation.

I've been in your shoes, and the point where it all turned around was when I told her all of a sudden that she can apply for a divorce if she doesn't agree to go to al-anon.This came as a total shock to her- she knew that I was totally dependent on her. I know it’s harsh, but wives do not understand how having an addict husband can affect them. After that incident she got much more accommodating, and was willing to work on our relation. I had (Link removed per forum policy) where I live, at Canada Drug Rehab after that. Been sober since.

Talk to her. It’s the solution.

P.S. We’re expecting our third baby now!!
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Layne » Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:38 am

md6040vr6t wrote: She has said, "It's so much easier for you to work on this. All you had to do was recognize you had a problem and get help. It's so harder for me".

Until she recognizes that she has a problem and gets help, nothing will change for her.

Sounds real familiar to me. Just need to sub in "I" and "me" for "she" and "her" and it becomes my story.

Even though I got help and still continue to do so, at times I still have trouble seeing the forest because those damn trees are blocking my view.

Serenity prayer.
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Ludwig Drummer » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:41 pm

Hi there md6040vr6t.

I'm wondering where your relationship is now? I've been dealing with the same thing for 2 months, and I don't know if I can deal with this for a year or more! My wife is also very attractive and never does anything wrong. Shs is literally as close to perfect as abyone I have met, and every problem we have ever has is because of my addictions. I pray daily for her forgiveness, and that she can see and believe what I am doing in my recovery. I alsok now that I can't let her shunning get in the way of my sobriety and serenity. We have 2 young boys, and she does acknowledge me in front of them so they don't know anything is going on. We had been married for 12 years, and she recently told me she hasn't trusted me in the last 4 years.

I could use some help and guidance. I have talked to my sponsor, and he said I am doing everything I should be. I give her space, I make myself extra useful, I asked her if she wants me to move out, I turned her on to Alanon (she is going to a meeting tonight). I have been going to meetings daily and working the Steps with a sponsor that I trust.

Thanks
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Re: It seems my wife can't forgive me.

Postby Tosh » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:35 am

Ludwig Drummer wrote:Hi there md6040vr6t.I've been dealing with the same thing for 2 months, and I don't know if I can deal with this for a year or more!


I reckon you can deal with it. You have A.A., meetings, a sponsor, the Steps and God (even); your two boys deserve your perserverence.

Can I ask how long your wife put up with your drinking?

Sorry to sound blunt. I'm not usually, I've been working hard and I'm a little tired. Maybe jealous too. I've not seen my two (now grown up) kids in years.

You only need cope with your wife's behavior for one-day-at-a-time. We're not doormats, but we're patient and tolerant; it's our code.

And as a fringe benefit, those of us with difficult spouses/partners, we learn so much more than those who have a bunch of easy going people in their lives.

It's why people like us grow more, spiritually.

Well, I would say that wouldn't I? :lol:

Happy trudging.

Tosh.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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