6047092 tn?1378670417

ACOA and my husband just left for alcohol treatment.

I am 41 years old. My husband of 16 years left this morning for a 5 week treatment program for alcohol abuse (first time.) We have two children, girl almost 19, and son, almost 13. We quit drinking 13 years ago after a alcohol fueled fight caused an accidental injury to our daughter. We had been fighting in the bedroom when we realized the french door was jammed. I, in anger, said, Just break the door! We didn't know our daughter had gotten up and was on the other side. She was cut on her face. It required stitches and left a scar. It was the only time I have seen my husband cry and we both quit drinking that day. Three days later, I received a call from my mom (who divorced my dad when I was 5) called late at night to tell me she had just heard my dad had died. I was 12 or 13 when my dad was diagnosed with chirrosis. He had quit drinking for some time after his diagnosis but later returned to drinking, from vodka to beer. After my daughter was born, in total protection mode, I cut my dad out of my life and never spoke to him again. All of this complicates my pain so much. Back to my husband... he has always shown the signs of an workaholic (he has always financially supported us) so I always knew there were underlying issues but when, on occasion, he would return from a friends house obviously inebriated, or, once on a family cruise, we had a fight and he drank. Obviously this caused me unimaginable pain, confusion and disappointment. Six years ago, my husband, unhappy with our move to my small town and the job he had there, took a job in a nearby city a ferry ride away. He does not  have a job that enables him to commute so he comes home when he can. This put increasing stress on the family and eventually I said he wasn't welcome to return, although we never financially separated. For nearly a year we were unable to make any progress together. I returned to college and got a decent job. ( I had been a stay at home mom until my oldest was 13 and my youngest started school full time, at which time I got a p/t job.) He ended up getting 3 24hr prohibitions for drinking and driving which forced him into counselling and required him to have a breathalyzer  in this vehicle for 6 months. Somehow, we reconciled, probably out of fear and love. I have gotten counselling, on and off over the years. The idea of self care was introduced and since my son was born in 2001, I have lost 100lbs.  I have made huge strides (I am a walker, no pun intended) in both my physical and mental health. I know this has created a whole new dynamic with both my husband and my daughter. My husband has been telling me to hold on, the job will end soon and open up other possibilities in terms of working closer to home. But things have remained very difficult. At my wits end two weeks ago, I sent him a very heartfelt letter about my pain and confusion around his behaviour and choices. I had never written a letter to him before so I think he knew I was at the end of my rope. I was very honest about my feelings. After a couple days he came home and confessed that he had been increasingly drinking and after reading my letter, proceeded to get drunk. His job puts incredible pressure on him and he has taken his job on 24/7. When an incident arose that night on the job,  he was unable to handle the situation because he was drunk. So that is what prompted him to go to treatment. Our daughter blames me for putting up with him. She had called the authorities on me twice with unfounded claims of abuse... and now has publicly claimed a new family on FB. After running away 2 months ago, she came by yesterday to get more of her belongings. My husband was here and he continues to really try hard with her... they exchanged their new cell #s etc. She barely looked at me and left without even saying goodbye. It is sometimes hard not to blame him for everything... and it is very hard to forgive her right now too. I didn't hug her. So much pain.
2 Responses
3060903 tn?1398565123
Congratulations on the weight loss and for going to college to change your llife. It is commendable that both your husband and yourself quit drinking after your drinking caused injury to your young daughter. I'm so sorry that you lost your dad to cirrhosis. It is my recurring nightmare as i have hepc (although i am not at the point of cirrhosis yet, it looms in the distance). I understand why you would cut out your dad from your daughters life/

So the first thing that put stress on the relationship with your daughter and her dad, is that he chose to abandon the family when she was how old?
Then, you reconciled after ...... " He ended up getting 3 24hr prohibitions for drinking and driving which forced him into counselling and required him to have a breathalyzer  in this vehicle for 6 months." and this was still a long distance relationship.

Two weeks ago, after your sending him a letter, it prompted him to be honest about his "increasingly drinking" and proceeded to get drunk in your home. Because he was drunk at this instance, he messed up somethng at work, and this prompted his 5 week rehab.

Your daughter sounds like she's very angry that he abandoned that local job, and allowed for a long distance family relationship. Maybe she feels that he did this to get a way with drinking? Maybe she's angry at you because on the one hand, you said you would protect her from alcoholism, with your own father, but you have allowed your husband to work long distance (love long distance) so that he can continue drinking and posing as a partner and father, when in fact she felt very lonely and felt like she didn't really have a dad. That would be so confusing for a child. and she is still a child dealing with this as it continues to affect her life. She's got all the problems of a practicing alcoholic, all these years, with none of the benefits of having a dad close by.

I had the same relationship with my mom and dad, as she seems to have with you and her dad. That being, I blamed my non alcoholic mother for insisting that I put up with an alcoholic/dysfunctional parent in my life, forever. And I felt sorry at times for my alcoholic/dysfunctional father, because he was so obviously pathetic. I had more expectations of my mother becasue she was not an alcoholic, while I had no real expectations of my father. I knew that my mother was capable of removing people from my life that were not contributing to my well being, and yet, I watched her coddle my father, for her own reasons, (sex money what have you). I felt second to my dysfunctional father. I would do well in school (before i started to act out) I would clean the house everyday, while she worked, I would cook the dinners, and try to be the best for her, and she always put my dysfunctional dad first. It was like i was invisible, nothing i did was really appreciated. I was wise beyond my years wanting to be the one person that would never let her down. In the end, i was my mother's worst nightmare. But again, while she always took my dad back, she immediately felt able to get rid of me, without so much as a back ward glance. She would help my dysfunctional father his entire life, while when i got into trouble myself, acting out, she was cold and didn't want to work on my sobriety with an addictions counselor that would have helped me immensely. I still resent her for alwasy being there for my dysfunctional father, while throwing away her kids. Kids know when they feel second fiddle......

It probably would have helped your relationship immensely if you had gotten her counseling when she was growing up, got her into Alateen so that she could make sense of her father abandoning her for booze (which is why i think he took a job a ferry ride away).

It is NOT too late, it is NEVER too late to get into family counseling. In this case, i think that you need to get your daughter and yourself into counseling so that she can express herself and her anger. I fear that she may have a terrible life coming up, if you don't get her some help. Alcoholism is a family disease, and all suffer the consequences. Please, make sure that you put in as much work on your relationship with your daughter as you are your dysfunctional husband who has left a huge scar on your daughter's psychy. ~ or she'll continue to have more of a probem with you than she does with her dad. He's an alcoholic, right? But, in her mind , what's your excuse for not getting her the help she needs too? Just one ACOA's opinion. Incidentally, has your daughter attended ACOA, (Adult Children of Alcoholics)? It is a great place to start talking about how we felt as children.....you're daughter is asking for your help, by acting out with you, in my opinion...Best of luck with it all. I'm praying for you all. If you ever need to talk, I'm here.
3060903 tn?1398565123
In short, i would tell your daughter that you'd like to get therapy for the both of you, plus i would tell my husband that he was not welcome to come back in the home, and plan on straightening out the issues that your daughter has as a result of you allowing her dad to stay a part of your lives, while he abandoned you both for booze.  I think she's screaming out for you to make her your first and only priority.....now!!!!

Your daughter is at a very dangerous age, where she is scared and on the run. The disillusionment of having her father getting help all alone, while she possibly had none, no counseling , no Alateen, nothing to help her with the family disease of alcoholism. I fear that she will become dependent herself on drugs and alcohol, or get invovled with a relationship with a partner who actively uses, because it was accepted that her dad be able to use alcohol, and stay a part of the family (in spirit).

Your husband is a grown man, but your daughter is still a very young girl, in need of your support and direction. Please get her the direction now, that you might have missed getting her growing up (Alanon, abandonment issues concerning both her dad, and you). I am NOT putting you down, i am only looking at this situation through your daughters eyes, because believe it or not, she may well become THE  most important person in your life yet, the biggest regret of your lfie.......
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