Spouse of an alcoholic

Anyone here have a spouse or significant other who’s a recovering (sober) alcoholic…what’s life like? Did you know them before recovery? A little background: one of the posts reminded me of how I used to keep some alcohol in the house (just whatever people brought over as I don’t really drink) and I always questioned my husband if he wanted me to dispose of it, what with temptation being what it is. He said he was OK with it…well until that day…but anyway…

Has anyone gone to Al-Anon…I’ve been and I CANT STAND it!!! I don’t know a drunk husband and he’s certainly not been abusive, but was just wondering about others’ experiences.

This isn’t quite the same thing, so I was initially reluctant to be the first response, but seeing as it’s been a few days now and there haven’t been any other bites, I figure, why not?

My SO is a recovering/recovered (depending on your preferred terminology) heroin addict. I was not in his life at any point when he was actively addicted, but I knew him very well before (and after, obviously). We went to high school together, and while we came very close to dating each other on a number of occasions back then, it never happened–I was either in a relationship with someone else, or he was too anxious (a major factor in starting and maintain his addiction, it would turn out) to follow through during the times when we were both single. Back then, he experimented with a lot of drugs and drank a fair bit, but no more so than many other people I knew and not to the extent that any of it was particularly problematic. We remained good friends for a period of about 5 years or so, then lost touch in our early twenties. In the meantime, I moved out of state for graduate school while he dabbled with and then began abusing prescription pain killers, then progressed to snorting heroin when that became too expensive. This was over the course of approximately three years. We reconnected somewhat unexpectedly shortly after he completed a 30 day rehab program, which was followed by outpatient, which was followed by several weeks of 12-step programming before deciding that wasn’t the best fit for him. Even though the timing was pretty awful, we fell in love in the midst of all this and started dating about a month later.

There have certainly been times where it’s been challenging. It was scary when he drank his first beer or smoked pot for the first time afterward—even though he never had a ‘problem’ with either of these substances before, part of me questioned whether these would be gateways right back to heroin. They weren’t (in his case), and though I didn’t really believe they would be even at the time, I still didn’t know that for sure. He has periods of profound depression during which time he’ll sometimes talk about how much easier it would be to go and get high and the realness of that temptation is palpable; times when I’ve suspected (they’ve all been unfounded) that maybe he’s been using again; times when his family have thrown all of the horrible things he did to them when he was at his worst back in his face. Like the OP, though, I’ve never gone to any support groups because a). these times are few and far between, and b). I feel my experience would be very different than those of the other members: I’ve never seen him on heroin. He’s never stolen from me or manipulated me. I’ve never been around for a relapse, let alone half a dozen of them.

I don’t keep prescription pain killers in the house. Thankfully, this hasn’t been much of an issue. I had a bunch of Oxycontin leftover from a triple laminectomy a few years ago, but disposed of them before we moved in together. This was a decision I made without even mentioning to him that the pills existed, as I didn’t want to put any pressure on him to say ‘I’ll be fine’ or any needless temptation. The possibility that they’d be needed for a legitimate purpose was far outweighed by the risk I believed existed by keeping them around. Sometimes I worry about what would happen if I need to have another spinal surgery or something else happens (to me or to him) which requires prescription pain killers. I don’t like the idea of him having to see me on dilaudid or morphine (and I worry about what I’d say, as I tend to be pretty loopy throughout recovery). I don’t like the idea of him being tempted to sneak a couple pain killers once I’m home (it would be so easy!) I don’t like the idea of having to monitor his meds if he ever got hurt. But I suppose we’ll figure that out if we come to it.

My ex husband was an alcoholic, and a recovering meth addict. I don’t know what his life is now sober from alcohol, but he stopped doing meth when we got together and I got to experience how he was off of that.
We went to High School together, and when he asked me out on a date I told him I couldn’t date someone who did Meth. So he quit cold turkey. He never did it again while we were together, but he talked about missing it a lot. There were a few occasions where he tried to talk me into doing it with him - but I think he was trying to have an excuse to get back into it. I always said no.

He had a problem with obsessions. Addictive Personality. He would get hobbies and become so obsessed with them, they consumed his every waking moment. It didn’t matter what it was. Cars, working out, history, cooking, etc. He also couldn’t say no to things. If he started drinking he couldn’t stop. He would drink the whole bottle. When he was obsessed with working out, he got so into it he started taking steroids because he couldn’t physically get bigger. When he was obsessed with his car he spent an entire paycheck on parts, and we went without food.

It wasn’t easy, and he knew he had a problem but was unwilling to seek help for it. He also had a lot of anger problems, and the meth effected his mind a little. He was in the military and after a deployment he was diagnosed with PTSD, started drinking every day, and the abuse went from just emotional to physical. That’s when I threw in the towel.

We are divorced now, but check in on each other from time to time. He has become heavily involved in his church, and from what I understand has sought help for his addictions and anger problems. So, there’s some good news. He is obsessed with church now and goes three times a week, and reads the bible all the time. I’m not Christian, but I think that in this case that’s a good obsession for him.