Married to an alcoholic

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
kowachka
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Married to an alcoholic

Post by kowachka » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:29 am

Hello! I have a difficult life situation and I am looking for a Buddhists way of dealing with it.

Anyways, I am married to an alcoholic, that can be very verbally abusive. He never hit me but there were a few situations when I should've called the police, but I was too scared. When he is sober he has some anger issues but when he is drunk it's bad. For the last 2 years I've been trying to help him however I could. He doesn't want to seek professional help. Sometimes he gets better but after a short while it goes back to where it was, maybe even worth.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand I am tired of trying to help someone that doesn't want to except any help. On the other hand I feel bad for the guy. Its hard to watch him go down like this. But I don't trust him anymore, don't feel safe.

I am very new to Buddhism, so any advise, personal opinion, recommendations to texts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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tiltbillings
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:03 am

It is a difficult situation in which you find yourself. Check out, before you need it, women's shelters. Call them, and they can direct you to support help. Also, while it is not Buddhist, Al-Anon may be a good source for dealing with your situation.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:22 am

kowachka wrote:Hello! I have a difficult life situation and I am looking for a Buddhists way of dealing with it.

Anyways, I am married to an alcoholic, that can be very verbally abusive. He never hit me but there were a few situations when I should've called the police, but I was too scared. When he is sober he has some anger issues but when he is drunk it's bad. For the last 2 years I've been trying to help him however I could. He doesn't want to seek professional help. Sometimes he gets better but after a short while it goes back to where it was, maybe even worth.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand I am tired of trying to help someone that doesn't want to except any help. On the other hand I feel bad for the guy. Its hard to watch him go down like this. But I don't trust him anymore, don't feel safe.

I am very new to Buddhism, so any advise, personal opinion, recommendations to texts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
A couple of points which I hope may help:

This being MOST important -

1) You cannot 'FIX' him.
He has to fix him, and he has to want to enough, to take the initiative and activate it by himself.

2) Learn the difference between "Idiot Compassion" and "Wise Compassion"; In brief, idiot compassion can cripple them further; Wise Compassion enables them to help themselves.

3) The most important person in this scenario, is you. Take care of yourself, safeguard your well-being and you really should ensure that what you do, is to ensure your own peace of mind and relief. living on tenter-hooks and walking on egg-shells is detrimental to your mental and physical health. You can be no use to him, if you operate from a place of fear and uncertainty, and you cannot operate rationally or logically in such a state.

Got to Al-Anon. They will help and support YOU - even if it means telling you that leaving him would be the best thing for you both.

be well, take care.

Much Metta to you.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

Dinsdale
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:22 am

kowachka wrote: I have mixed feelings. On one hand I am tired of trying to help someone that doesn't want to except any help. On the other hand I feel bad for the guy. Its hard to watch him go down like this. But I don't trust him anymore, don't feel safe.
You have my sympathy, it sounds like a very difficult situation. Would a period of separation be possible?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Aloka
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by Aloka » Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:24 pm

Hi kowachka,

I'm really sorry about your situation.

Its possible you might find some helpful suggestions at the Buddhist Recovery Network website.

http://www.buddhistrecovery.org/about.htm

With kind wishes,

Aloka

kowachka
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by kowachka » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:04 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
kowachka wrote: I have mixed feelings. On one hand I am tired of trying to help someone that doesn't want to except any help. On the other hand I feel bad for the guy. Its hard to watch him go down like this. But I don't trust him anymore, don't feel safe.
You have my sympathy, it sounds like a very difficult situation. Would a period of separation be possible?
We run a company together. But right now I am looking for another job. So I hope separation will be possible in a near future. Unfortunately I don't have any family near me (all of them are 10 time zones away). And I don't have the guts to tell them what is really going on. Thank you everybody for all the warm words!!!

I wonder what did I do or didnt do in my life (previous?) ? I hope I'll figure it out in this one :)

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:58 pm

kowachka wrote: We run a company together. But right now I am looking for another job. So I hope separation will be possible in a near future. Unfortunately I don't have any family near me (all of them are 10 time zones away). And I don't have the guts to tell them what is really going on.
Permit me to suggest you pick the member of your family to whom you are closest, and you sit and write them a letter.
Begin it,

"Dearest <name>, I,m sorry to drop this on you, but I don't know who else to approach.
I have something to tell you, which I can no longer bear to keep to myself, and I need help.

For the past XX years, I have been living with an alcoholic....."


And continue from there. Once you begin to open your heart to those you love, the words will come, and so will their affection, support and comfort.
Thank you everybody for all the warm words!!!

I wonder what did I do or didnt do in my life (previous?) ? I hope I'll figure it out in this one :)
With the greatest and deepest respect, forget it. It doesn't matter, and won't help you, where you are now.
Focus on the NOW, and what you need to do now, to help yourself, now.
What you do now, counts.
The little we can offer, we do so gladly.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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robdog
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by robdog » Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:32 pm

kowachka wrote:Hello! I have a difficult life situation and I am looking for a Buddhists way of dealing with it.

Anyways, I am married to an alcoholic, that can be very verbally abusive. He never hit me but there were a few situations when I should've called the police, but I was too scared. When he is sober he has some anger issues but when he is drunk it's bad. For the last 2 years I've been trying to help him however I could. He doesn't want to seek professional help. Sometimes he gets better but after a short while it goes back to where it was, maybe even worth.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand I am tired of trying to help someone that doesn't want to except any help. On the other hand I feel bad for the guy. Its hard to watch him go down like this. But I don't trust him anymore, don't feel safe.

I am very new to Buddhism, so any advise, personal opinion, recommendations to texts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!



This is a very difficult situation to deal with. I am a recovering alcoholic and when i was drinking heavily i made my wife's life hell. I was aggressive sometimes but not violent and like your husbands situation i would also sort of get better for a while but then start again worse. It was definitely a pattern i seemed to follow all the time.

Not sure on the Buddhist approach but as stated above he has to want to stop for himself. Its a difficult situation because its an illness where alot of sufferers don't want to get better. Heavy alcohol use really changes a person physically and mentally.

Would he not be willing to compromise and maybe just talk to someone to start with, no pressure to totally quit right away but just talk at this stage? Maybe you also need to sit him down and explain that you cannot go on like this and that it is getting to the stage where you cannot continue to be with him while he is still drinking?

I think its a case of trying to steer him in the right direction because sadly no matter what you say if he doesn't want to stop then there is nothing anyone can do about that. I feel its good of you to feel bad for him as although self inflicted its a very bad thing to go through but at the end of the day you have to put yourself first because an addict will never put you first im afraid. Its a fine balancing act to be able to support him but not let it totally consume your life at the same time.

I feel for you having to go through this, i wish you and your husband well and i hope he can overcome his problems.

kowachka
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by kowachka » Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:25 pm

Would he not be willing to compromise and maybe just talk to someone to start with, no pressure to totally quit right away but just talk at this stage? Maybe you also need to sit him down and explain that you cannot go on like this and that it is getting to the stage where you cannot continue to be with him while he is still drinking?
I asked him several times if he would consider counseling or talking to our family doctor. Not even about his alcohol abuse, about him feeling depressed. But he doesn't want to. And he doesn't want me to go to alanon. And I've tried explaining how I feel. He would say that he doesn't want to talk about it ("I know what I've done... Trust me, I feel horrible..") or he would say that he is quieting for sure now, but he doesn't.

Do you think he will have to "hit the rock bottom"?

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robdog
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by robdog » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:55 am

kowachka wrote:
Would he not be willing to compromise and maybe just talk to someone to start with, no pressure to totally quit right away but just talk at this stage? Maybe you also need to sit him down and explain that you cannot go on like this and that it is getting to the stage where you cannot continue to be with him while he is still drinking?
I asked him several times if he would consider counseling or talking to our family doctor. Not even about his alcohol abuse, about him feeling depressed. But he doesn't want to. And he doesn't want me to go to alanon. And I've tried explaining how I feel. He would say that he doesn't want to talk about it ("I know what I've done... Trust me, I feel horrible..") or he would say that he is quieting for sure now, but he doesn't.

Do you think he will have to "hit the rock bottom"?

Im really not sure, everyone is different. Some addicts when they hit rock bottom will then try and change their ways where as some just stay at rock bottom im sorry to say.

If he is feeling depressed then alcohol will not be helping at all as it is a depressant in its own right. Its a vicious circle as i am sure you know. The times i drank the most was when i was depressed but then that just made me more depressed.

It seems like you have tried everything, you seem to have been supportive towards him which is great as a lot of people just write you off right away if you are an addict but maybe it is time to put yourself first now.

Dinsdale
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:42 am

kowachka wrote: Do you think he will have to "hit the rock bottom"?
People can bump along near the bottom for a very long period of time, so there won't necessarily be a crisis point where things get resolved.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:50 pm

kowachka wrote:
I asked him several times if he would consider counseling or talking to our family doctor. Not even about his alcohol abuse, about him feeling depressed. But he doesn't want to.
He's in denial and frankly does not have either the guts or the determination to face what truly ails him. He doesn't WANT to know. He is totally sure he has demons which need facing and conquering, but he is not in any frame of mind to be willing to put the work in to deal with them.
And he doesn't want me to go to alanon.
This is controlling.
He doesn't want you to GET help because he fears you moving on, being supported and finding your own feet. He is dependent on you to be there for him as his whipping post; the one person he can happily bully, abuse, insult, argue with and let down, time after time after time, because up to now, you've always put up with it. He doesn't want you to go to Al-Anon for his own selfish purposes.
All the more reason you absolutely MUST take control of your own life, cut this co-dependency and find some beneficial and rewarding freedom.
And I've tried explaining how I feel. He would say that he doesn't want to talk about it ("I know what I've done... Trust me, I feel horrible..")
Obviously not horrible enough. He only feels horrible to the point that he knows his behaviour is bad.
He refuses to face the fact that his behaviour is beyond unacceptable. He doesn't care enough about how negatively this is affecting you, to consider that he really should address his actions.
or he would say that he is quieting for sure now, but he doesn't.

Of course not. Because he doesn't have to. he persists in this atrocious treatment of you, because he can.
Because he is 100% certain that he can do precisely as he pleases and continue exactly as he likes, because you, as you always have done, will always continue to take it.
Do you think he will have to "hit the rock bottom"?
He won't be doing this any time soon.

Why do I know this?

Because it is you keeping him afloat.


While you support him in his habit, he will always remain buoyant.
You need to take his water-wings away....
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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robdog
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by robdog » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:27 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
kowachka wrote: Do you think he will have to "hit the rock bottom"?
People can bump along near the bottom for a very long period of time, so there won't necessarily be a crisis point where things get resolved.

I agree with this.

I personally feel although some addicts hit rock bottom and see the light so to speak from my own personal experience most just adapt to that rock bottom and it becomes their norm, ie on the streets begging and homeless, life as a criminal etc.

kowachka
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by kowachka » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:16 pm

Thank you everybody for support and help. Just sharing it with you helped me to see a big picture. I know it sounds crazy that I didn't see it before (or didn't want to see and accept it). But situations like that don't happen over night. I am happy to say that I finally opened to my family member, and now I am working on separation plan. I wish my husband well; and if he will need any support I won't turn him back.

Thank you again!!!

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Married to an alcoholic

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:32 pm

kowachka wrote:Thank you everybody for support and help. Just sharing it with you helped me to see a big picture. I know it sounds crazy that I didn't see it before (or didn't want to see and accept it). But situations like that don't happen over night. I am happy to say that I finally opened to my family member, and now I am working on separation plan. I wish my husband well; and if he will need any support I won't turn him back.

Thank you again!!!
Very pleased to know you managed to engage with a family member, on this....

Does your Husband know?
Is he aware of your 'separation plan'....?

Could you clarify this...?
....and if he will need any support I won't turn him back.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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