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Ask the Divorced Woman!
by Maria Costa
Title: New Beginning After Being Married to Alcoholic
I have been married for 12 years to a "functioning" alcoholic who never
missed a day of work and was actually nicer when he drank. He stayed with
beer only and finally admitted he was an alcoholic about 9 years ago. He
is a third generation alcoholic and had a negative, abusive mother. The
problem in our marriage escalated when he began to drink at work and
increased his "workaholic" status to week ends and week nights (coming home
at 10 or later). I always blamed myself for his work hours (because that's
what he told me) I chose to go back to school...I chose to have two
children...I chose to spend money...) I finally realized after I received
my teaching degree and began working that this didn't make sense anymore.
I was bringing in a good salary and he began to work more. He wouldn't
delegate...had to do everything himself...of course, now I know much of the
time was spent drinking. I left last summer after many years of begging
him to do something to help our marriage, telling him I was unhappy,
telling him I didn't feel emotionally close to him, that we never spent any
time together, that he didn't see his children, etc. At this point, I was
so depressed from being alone all the time and seeing no end in sight. He
was 47 and I was 35. Was this all life held for me? I truly loved him,
but when I moved out, I felt numbness and a sense of relief to escape the
stress. Well...he immediately joined AA and quit drinking...every day
begging me to come back. I told him I needed time. Well, to shorten this
story, I met someone that I enjoy being around. I have seen a sense of
what a relationship can be like without the alcohol. We have spent a lot
of time together...I spend time with his family...they are very family
centered...he is very nurturing and loving with me and my children...my
children love him. So what is the problem? I have felt so much guilt and
turmoil that the right decision is to divorce my husband. Since he has
sensed I am not coming back, the AA meetings have not been attended
regularly and the 12 steps were never focused on. He only attended. Well,
I never felt he was doing it for "real" for himself...only to keep me
there. He says now he has no desire to drink and he has friends to support
him (the same drinking buddies) Can he be successful this way? Will it
last without AA? Should I accept my decision as the best for me? Since
the separation he has spent more time with the children. It seems that it
was the best thing to do. (Oh, by the way, he says he wished I would have
left sooner, so he would have wised up faster...)
You have done the right thing in leaving your spouse. You have been in a
marriage that has been going no where fast! He was not serious about
attending AA and only did it to keep you and not to stop his problem.
You should read up on the subject of codependency and understand that you
have been living in this role for a long time. There are some great
books on the subject available that will help you understand why you
still might feel guilty.
By the way, there is no need to feel guilty and if you are thinking of
going back to him on his empty promises than you are setting yourself up
for lots of heartache!
I am glad that you have found someone else in your life - but please make
sure you start your divorce proceedings as soon as possible - before your
ex starts using your new mate as the reason why you left him. He will
use this relationship to add to your "guilt" which you definitely don't
need nor deserve.
Best of luck to you as you start to rebuild your new life!
Pick up my book "When the Vows Break: Living Through Separation &
Divorce" it will help you with the above questions plus how to join
support groups which you need to do! If you can't find it in your local
bookstore call my toll free number 888-267-3929 PIN #7176.
Maria Costa (Author & Seminar Speaker) A well known certified speaker
and seminar leader, continues to inspire, motivate and challenge people to push their envelopes farther, both before and after experiencing divorce. A graduate of National-Louis University,
with a Masters in Management, Ms. Costa is very active in her community. She
is President of the Board of Directors of the Women's Resource Center, Fredericksburg, VA, President of Hispanic Internal Revenue Employees (HIRE), IRS, Washington Chapter and board member of Professional Women's Network. Be sure to visit Maria Costa's web site
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