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Hi, I'm new to this so bear with me. I am married to an ACoA for the past 7 yrs. I was aware of his mothers alcoholism from nearly the beginning but never realised the full effect it had on my husband until very recently.
I had a child before we met whom my husband has since adopted and we have 2 other children. We both love each other and them very much but lately the arguments have started. we always argued but nothing out of the norm. Now we are in marriage counselling because my husband has become over controlling. He refuses to go see any of my family (we are very close and my husband included) and now tells my he has been unhappy for the past 7 years but was afraid to say anything. He is cold and angry all the time unless things are happening his way. He can stay silent for days at a time and I am losing my mind - hence marriage counselling. He had one on one counselling last year and reckons he has dealt with his demons. He quit counselling and came off his anti depressents on his own without consulting his doctor. He still doesn't recognise the fact that his mother alcoholism has any affect on him today. What am I to do?
Welcome, Welcome! My husband's mother was also an alcoholic. Among the problems he has are emotional unavailability, sometimes controlling behavior, he's basically allergic to feelings (except his own), but he's getting better because of my efforts at my own recovery. My father was the alcoholic in my home and my mother was the enabler who held the strings inbetween my father's raging. The ACOA characteristics might help to validate some of your feelings:
ACOA Laundry list(s)
Adult Children of alcoholics:1. Guess at what normal behavior is.2. Have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.3. Lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.4. Judge themselves without mercy.5. Have difficulty having fun.6. Take themselves very seriously.7. Have difficulty with intimate relationships.8. Overreact to changes over which they have no control.9. Constantly seek approval and affirmation.10. Usually feel they are different from other people.11. Are super responsible or super irresponsible.12. Are extremely loyal, even when evident the loyalty is undeserved.13. Are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess."
I got into this program mostly to deal with my problems that were a result of living in an alcoholic home as the youngest child with 5 siblings older than myself and each one abused more than the next, and the dysfunction that goes with that. However, after being in the program for not too very long I realized that my own marriage was falling apart - mainly because I could not hold it together. I had been trying unsuccessfully for years until I just couldn't do anymore.
All I could suggest to you to do was what I did. I learned to help myself. I took matters into my own hands that he could not/would not do and I stopped allowing unacceptable behavior to be "accepted" by not accepting it any more. I put my foot down.
If your husband won't take advantage of the therapist, maybe you could go. No matter what you decide to do for yourself and your children in this situation, know that people here at this site DO understand and we care and you are not alone.
welcome to the board,
your in the right place.
all the best,
Hi Daisy. I'm glad you're here. I'm an ACOA myself and for a long time I thought that my problems were the main "problem" in my own marriage, but my husband is an ACOA too and the things you said that were happening w/ your husband really hit home for me. I think my husband would really benefit from the program but he's never gone and I'm not sure if he will. For me what finally helped was accepting that maybe he won't change, but that if I can put the time and effort into making my own life better, then I'll be okay no matter what happens. Also, I realized that maybe he WILL change one day, but not because of my trying to make it happen or even just wishing for it to happen. I never would have thought in a million years that anything in my husband or this marriage would change, but after living apart for the past five months, he finally found a therapist and has been getting counseling. I don't know what will happen when he gets back here (right now he's looking for work in this area so he can come back and we can go to marriage counseling), but I know from just talking to him on the phone that somehow, his attitudes are different.
I'm trying not to have any expectations right now because I know that I easily could get into the whole thing of worrying and wondering and wishing he would change. Something that makes that easier to do is when I realize that his recent changes have nothing to do with me. They didn't happen because I was involved, they happened because I wasn't involved. I think that everyone comes to their own changes and healing at their own pace and their own time, and the best we can do is detach with love and pray for them until they do.
I"ll keep you and your husband in my prayers and thoughts right now. I really do understand what you're going through, hon. You're not alone.
Wow! I know nothing has changed but it has really helped reading your message to me. The characteristics were really helpful (and I recognised quite a few!!!) Thank you for listening.
My wife got as many people as possible to pray for me continually.We have been to counseling over the years several times. Its been one on one as well as the whole family. Our marriage has lasted 28 years. My wife was married and had a child and she and I had 2 together. Its a similar scenario as yours. Forgiveness is a tough issue. Prayer for your husband is foremost. It will look worse before it looks better.I went through 16 jobs in the first 5 years of marriage. My wife almost left me because of that and my temper outbursts.I just this past year read Adult Children of an Alcoholic by Janet Woititz. If there is any way possible to get him to read that it will be good. I saw myself in those pages and went back to counseling. Life is a continuous growth experience. Your husband has to forgive his Mom before he will get well. In my case it was my Dad. Its nice to think all this recovery is instantaneous but its not. If you can get him to listen to tapes I would recommend the Healing of the Inner man by John Sheasby. His web page is Liberated Living ministries.He has a lot of insight on inner healing. Meantime I hope eve
ryone on this page reads and prays for your husband. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and its not a train. He can and will heal but it does take patience.I'm thankful daily that my wife held on through my craziness. I know it was tough on her and the kids. I had been sober for a long time but things kept surfacing and I had to keep going back in my mind and extending forgiveness. I found that what we don't forgive we become. Its tough to face that but its true. I wanted life to be better for my kids so I chose to forgive and SAY IT. I didn't feel like it but I took a step of faith and done it. Life can and will get better. Keep coming back to the page. It really helps.
Duke, my HP must be working through YOU today. Thank you for the following comment: " I found that what we don't forgive we become."
I really needed to see that today. I've been feeling like I've been *becoming* my A father for years (minus the alcohol), but even more since he passed away last fall. I've been trying and failing to stop this process in myself, and while I have been trying to forgive him for a lot of things that happened throughout my childhood and adult life, its obvious I'm not there yet. Your comment just triggered a real "Ah ha!" moment.
Just like Mer I have to say that you have made alot of sense for me. If I really think about it I can see some (alot) of his mother in him - again without the alcohol. He says he has forgiven her and he has moved on but I know from talking with you guys and our counseling that this is not really true. Thank you for your prayers - they really mean alot to me.
I hope I am as strong as you and your wife and persevere to this through. I really do love him.