Fear Relapse Because of My Anger and Resentment
I feel like I’m currently treading a very slippery slope in my recovery from alcoholism. I’ve been sober almost seventeen months now. And the biggest reason I feel I’m slipping is my wife – the very reason I got sober in the first place.
She threatened divorce and that she’d take the kids unless I got sober. Fair enough. That shocked me enough into doing something about my ongoing drinking problem. So I went through an alcohol treatment program, and with a lot of effort I’ve managed to stay sober for this long. I probably haven’t done as much as I should in terms of working a 12 step program and going to AA meetings, but the fear of losing my wife and kids is what has got me this far.
But what really gets to me, is that she has made no real effort to support me in my sobriety. Even coming to the family day when I was in treatment was an effort for her, and she has done nothing since to show any encouragement or support. She happily drinks too much on a regular basis, freely leaves alcohol available in full view at home, and when I try and speak to her about it she says it’s my problem and she isn’t going to change who she is because of it.
I don’t know what I expect or if I’m being unreasonable?? But I would have thought, if someone loves you, they would at least go to a bit of effort and show some encouragement?
Anger and resentment are such dangerous emotions, which can have devastating consequences. And while I can see why you’re angry and upset, and think you have fairly good cause to be so, they’re emotions that help no one, least of all you, in your attempts at staying sober and preventing relapse.
So first of all, I think you need to realise that the person you need to be doing this for, is no one else, but you. Yes, maybe
keeping your family was enough of an initial motivation to get you sober, but if you don’t make the shift to actually wanting this for yourself, it’s going to be very difficult to sustain.
And in that way your wife is correct, even though from what you say I do think she could be more supportive and encouraging. It is your addiction, and you are entirely responsible for it. No matter what she says or how unsupportive she may be, it remains your choice to ultimately pick up that drink again.
So you have a decision to make. Are you going to take responsibility for it, irrespective of what others say or do - or choose the easy way out and because someone has upset you, decide to use that as a reason to drink again?
I do also think a lot of what you’re experiencing stems from that fact you’re not actively working at your recovery. We all experience anger and resentment. But if you’re actively working at your recovery you know how to manage it and let it go far easier - and thereby never let it become a reason to end up relapsing.
There may well be fundamental issues in your relationship with your wife, that despite your best efforts may never be resolved. But without your sobriety you have nothing. So you need to really work at your recovery and find a way to let go of these emotions, so that they don’t derail you. Then you’ll be in a far better place to make decisions about how best to handle things with your wife, than you would be looking out the end of a bottle.
Get yourself to some meetings and start surrounding yourself with good like-minded people. There you’ll get the support you need, and it will help you get through this.
Best of luck and take care.
PS. Also check out these suggestions on alcoholism recovery
and the kinds of things that will make a real difference in helping you move forward.