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Fear Losing My Wife Now That She's in Recovery from Alcoholism

by Robert B

My wife 18 month in recovery is distant, I guess in denial that it is the disease still lurking. She goes to AA, I'm in Al-Anon, we both see shrinks. I'm afraid she is just going to give up on the marriage because she is lazy.

I don't even know what I want from you but really want to save my marriage and try to get back to my wife who says she does love me and wants to work at the marriage. However, she won't talk about anything other then superficial things. We never see each other but she does not want to make time either for me.

We practice detachment and I just think the longer this goes on the worst off she will be. Any advice????


The dynamics of every relationship is different, but what doesn't change is that for a relationship to work - commitment, hard work, patience, tolerance, communication etc. is required from both parties.

You say she's lazy - what does that mean? It's so difficult to comment when one can't see first hand what's going on. Maybe there is still a lot of stuff she is processing and coming to terms with in her recovery from alcoholism. Each person in recovery recovers at their own pace and in their own way.

So if it's really bothering you, you need to talk to her. Try and get her to open up to you. Find out what's going on for her. And the only way she's likely to do that is if you approach it in a calm, non-threatening, non-defensive way. Communication remains key if a relationship is going to work.

But at the same time be patient with her. If she says she loves you and is committed to making the marriage work, why are you doubting her? 18 months isn't that long in recovery so give it time. What about also creating some quality alone time where you can just have fun and enjoy each other again - a weekend away, fun date nights? That way she may start feeling more at ease again and feel more comfortable about opening up.

It is impossible to say what your wife is going through and what she's feeling. Only you can find that out by getting her to open up to you. But take the pressure off yourself for a while - and be creative and think of ways where you two can spend quality, fun time together again. Get that right and I'm sure everything will fall into place again.

The consequences of there having been alcoholism in a relationship can cause lasting damage, scars for either party that may take time to heal. So take the time to get to know each other again, rekindle the romance, and hopefully that way in time things will develop to where you want them to.

Take Care and Good Luck

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May 10, 2011
by: Anonymous

Well my fears, now a year later somewhat came true. The marriage is over, we are selling the home, told the kids, breaking apart what we had built up together. I know it will all work out but to say or think one should not have fear and for what this will do to the children is just emotionless. I'm moving on, but still I'm saddened by what I think is just a waste of time.

May 09, 2011
by: Anonymous

I would be curious to know what your specific fears are

May 24, 2010
It is what I expected
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your post and I realize what you are saying. I just live with what we had that was so fantastic before the world came apart and then back together without booze.

I think my wife is still in there and realizes what we have. She does not want to toss it out the window I think, and hope. I love her and realize working on myself and helping her grow at the same time is a good thing. I just never knew as most civilians, what addiction is all about. Never thought it would happen to me. Happy I found Alanon and I'm getting to really understand it all. Still, it is a damn shame. I want to just shake her and say, "You have made it and we still have everything to look forward too" but you see the battle that still rages in recovery. Truly amazing.

May 24, 2010
No point living in fear
by: Anonymous

It does happen that sometimes when a spouse achieves sobriety after years of active addiction, that there is nothing left to sustain the marriage. Some relationships somehow survive due to the chaos and codependent dynamic an addiction like alcoholism creates. But once that's no longer there either or both parties realise the relationship has actually run its course because there is nothing left that binds them together. I guess its a similar scenario to when the kids are grown up and leave the house - and a couple realise their marriage is dead.

Whether this is the case with your marriage I can't say, but just want to warn you of the worst case scenario so you don't continue living in fear and can prepare yourself for all eventualities. Basically if your marriage is going to survive and you both are committed to making it work, you have to see this as a totally new and fresh start. The whole dynamic of your relationship needs to be redefined, new expectations discussed and agreed upon, because you can't just expect to keep going as if nothing has changed.

That's where communication comes into it, these are things you're going to have to discuss. It's not necessarily going to be easy, but it's the only way to go if you're going to make progress.
Good Luck

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