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I Thought Recovery Meant Things Were Going To Get Better?

by Anonymous

My husband drinks heavily (vodka), at least three days a week. He hides bottles around the house, lies about it and denies ever drinking. Whenever we go to parties or at holidays, he is out of control, drinking non-stop from the beginning to the end of the party.

I finally broke down and told other people in the family and we all got together and approached him about his problem (because when I mention it, I am "making up things" or "exaggerating" or "maybe if I drank, he wouldn't drink so much". . .the excuses go on). He finally decided after the group intervention to go to treatment and checked into an alcohol treatment facility. He was there for a week.

He seemed all excited about recovery at the family session (but concerned with the fact that he should not drink ever again) and seemed interested in bettering his life upon being discharged. However, not even a week later, he went bowling with his brother, which resulted in a call to me to come pick him up because he had vodka in his pocket, had drank way too much, and was staring a fight with his brother on being confronted.

THE VERY NEXT DAY, after THERAPY, he went out again, not returning my calls. I get a phone call from the police after midnight that he was passed out behind the wheel outside of a bar and had vomited all over the car. What is going on?! He is back to drinking three days a week and lying about it.

He came home tonight visibly drunk and said he hadn't been drinking. Now it is 2 am and he is "out walking the dog" like he does every time he drinks. He says he really does want help (when he seems sober) and is taking his medicine (naltrexone). He makes and keeps the therapy appointments, but what is going on with the drinking and lying?

Am I wrong to think that he really doesn't want to get better and only did the treatment to get me off his back and act like he wants to get better? Is this normal for people who are supposed to be in recovery?

He was just discharged about two and a half weeks ago. Has had the drinking problem for about two years. We have two small children, a 2 and 3 year old. I don't want to keep hanging on in misery if things aren't going to get better, especially for the sake of my children even though I love him.


Achieving lasting sobriety involves so much more than spending a week in an inpatient alcohol rehab facility. And even a week in a program like that isn't enough - these programs typically last a month.

Going through a proper alcoholism addiction treatment program is only step number one. It allows you the opportunity to detox properly and begin the initial stages of a life of recovery.

But as you're now noticing, the crucial part happens when a person leaves treatment. Because this is where recovery really begins - and having a recovery program to continue working at becomes so important. This is where 12 step programs like AA are so helpful, because they provide a person like your husband with a clear program to continue working at, so that he can maintain his sobriety.

Because without having a recovery program to work at, achieving lasting sobriety isn't likely to happen. And from what it sounds like - your husband doesn't seem to be working at any kind of recovery program, so the fact that he's relapsed isn't surprising.

And that's the crux of recovery - unless a person is committed to achieving sobriety and is prepared to put in the work and effort - it just isn't going to happen. And by the sounds of things, your husband doesn't seem all that serious about his recovery right now.

So where does that leave you?

Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do. Because he has to want it for himself if he's ever going to change and begin putting the work into his recovery.

Some spouses eventually reach the point of 'enough is enough' and force their partners to choose - alcohol or the relationship. That can sometimes then serve as sufficient motivation to change, but there are no guarantees.

You need to start think of doing what is best for you and the kids. Your husband is entirely responsible for his choices - and as long as he chooses to continue a life of alcoholism, your things are unlikely to change for you.

God Bless

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Feb 18, 2010
Recovery is an Action
by: C-P

Recovery is all about taking action and doing the mental, emotional and spiritual work to change those self-defeating and addictive tendencies us addicts have. And that's what 12 step programs like AA and NA facilitate. So until your husband begins working his recovery - whether it be through a formal 12 step program, or something else, don't bank on things changing. All a treatment program does is prepare you for that - and provides the foundation on which to make the necessary lifestyle changes needed. Hopefully your husband comes around and realises this. Best of luck.

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