He's newly sober and I'm lost...

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.)

He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby oopsiedaisy » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:02 am

He's four days into AA. He decided on his own. He needed to. I'm ecstatic. Really. But seriously, under that JOY that he's finally decided to admit he has a problem, I feel anger, sadness, I'm scared and confused...I have all these feelings I'm having a hard time reconciling. Despite the fact that I do attend Al-Anon.

Anger that it had to come to this. That all the times I told him he had a problem, all the times he lied about how much he was drinking, all the times I told him his drinking was causing relationship issues for us...all those times....I WAS RIGHT and he knew it. He admitted that to me. And yet I was frequently referred to as The Fun Police.

Sadness that now I have to deal with HIS emotions and keep myself quiet, detached and supportive. Supportive...while he talks about his alcoholism to anyone and everyone else. Why not me? Why can he not explain to me? Why is he talking to random people that aren't sitting across the room waiting to hear what's going on inside his head/heart?

Scared...that one is pretty self-explanatory.

Confused because I don't understand what he's going through. He seems depressed and withdrawn. Which goes back to 'why can't he talk to me?' And in addition to that confusion, why, when he apologized for some of those things he admitted to, do I not feel better?

Someone care to talk me through all this? I know there's no normal, but if you could share your experiences with someone who is dealing with a newly sober person...I'd sure be grateful.
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Re: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby Brock » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:46 am

Welcome to e-AA oopsidaisy, people make up all sorts of names when joining here, but that one is a winner.

There are a couple of things in your post that I have experience with, firstly, it’s understandable that our better half's are upset at having told us about our problem, usually many times over a period of years, and true that we realize all along that they are probably right, my wife did that as well. But our denial until WE admit and seek help serves a useful purpose, we simply can’t do the program of AA without that acceptance, it’s the first step. Also when on a few occasions I stopped for a few weeks at a time, just to stop the nagging and show her I could stop, I was miserable and difficult to live with, on one of those occasions she went out and bought a bottle of my favorite rum and said ‘drink that,’ better to live with a rummy than a miserable man.

My wife didn’t feel better with an apology, she had heard it all before anyway, it took a while, but the improvement in my relationship with her, and my thoughtfulness replacing my old selfishness, what AA calls ‘living amends,’ that worked well. Her kids used to say get rid of that drunken bum, now one of them lives in our spare room after a bad divorce left him broke and no job, now supported by this ex drunk, and my wife very happy she held on.

With respect to not sharing his feelings with you, I am not sure, I didn’t really share them with anyone, sort of kept things bottled up, not the best idea. But it’s a spiritual program and I shared things with the God of my understanding, it’s where I found the power and serenity.

Wishing both yourself and your husband the very best, have faith it will get better, and you are welcome here anytime to ask questions or let us know how it’s going.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:27 am

Read the chapter in the Big Book about "To the Wives." It explains some of your questions.
AA Big Book ‘To Wives.’
https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt8.pdf
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Re: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby oopsiedaisy » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:14 pm

Thanks Brock, and Spirit Flower! :)
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Re: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:46 pm

I could relate to what you have posted. I also walked into the rooms of AA only after I realized this can't go on like this anymore. You should be glad to have your spouse realize it. Many don't. Please read the family afterward. He may get excited and go deep into fellowshiping. You may feel neglected. The book talks about the whole situation.
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: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby desypete » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:02 am

well done for hanging on in there with your partner
he is a very lucky guy to have some one stand by him, but i doubt he will see that just yet

if you attend al anon then you should open up there about how you feel as in al anon they will fully understand as most of them will have all felt just like you feel now, they to have a program and a fellowship just like aa and if you can open up to them you to will find out all the answers and a lot more

its certainly not uncommon for partners to even start to dislike aa as they can feel pushed out at times, more so when there partner starts to get sober and is newish in the early couple of years
they can become obsessed about it all some call it a honey moon period because its all new to them etc once they have been around a few months then they feel there have got it and become a little unbearable with there new obsession in there life and it does put partners off unless of course there in al anon and again al anon will prepare you and be there for you through all these stages
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Re: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:24 am

You say that scared is pretty self-explanatory. Is it? This is the one I would actually focus on, not brush aside so casually. It's fuelling all the other questions and doubts you're talking about. Cut off that fuel, and you will then stand the residual heat from the others.

So what do you have to be scared of, really? That he's going to magically get sober and become a contributing member of society? No, that's nothing to fear. So perhaps you fear that you are losing an element of control which he'll take back? It's his control, after all. Maybe that he'll leave despite all the effort you invested, leaving you destitute. Not an uncommon fear to have, despite the new-age quest for equality. Or perhaps that you won't like the real sober him after all.

Any which way, what's really the worst that could happen, in truth?

You attend Alanon... Have you worked the Alanon program, the Steps?

Why would he talk to you about what he needs in order to recover? You're part of the problem, part of the "family sickness". How can he trust a person who has done a mixture of enabling then cajoling. How many times did you buy his booze? How many times were you happy to watch him drink? How often did you get angry or jealous when you couldn't control him? How often were your actions inconsistent with your words?

He is sick and has a long period of reconstruction ahead, with a support network of people who have been where he is.

The same applies to you. You need to heal and recover, no matter what he does. Deal with your own fear, and much of the rest takes care of itself.
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Re: He's newly sober and I'm lost...

Postby odat12 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:41 am

4 days in is some serious fresh meat. I'd guess that he can't talk about his feelings because he really doesn't know what he's feeling and they're probably paralyzed or overwhelming.

I go to Al-Anon as well as AA and it sounds this is the best time to start putting into practice everything the program teaches us. Take care of YOU. There will be plenty of time to talk to him but right now more than anything he needs to focus on staying sober and learning about the program otherwise you'll be caught up in a merry-go-round. Call your sponsor, and if you don't have one, now is the best time to get one.

Good luck and congratulations. We see so many in the Al-Anon rooms who struggle with never seeing their alcoholic reach the rooms of AA. Your lives are about to change and that is a good thing. Thank your higher power.
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