Post Rehab Life with an Alcoholic Wife
My wife has been out of rehab now for 4 days, we have spoken about some of the things that she went through and had to confront while in there. Things were looking optimistic for 2 days in that she was telling me how she felt, in general what some of the other patients in rehab were experiencing, etc.
We had even started lovemaking again and that was terrific, she even said that it felt so wonderful that she could experience it sober. The problem was that I had the temerity to let her know how I was feeling, mainly that I was scared that my religion might come between us even though it was what helped me have the strength to endure her drinking and self destructive behaviour.
Somehow she translated this fear into 'THIS IS THE END OF OUR RELATIONSHIP' and will not back down from this stance(she is also excessively stubborn). No matter how much I have said that I want to work on not only her maintaining her sobriety and our relationship she feels that I have said we are over.
Her coming to this conclusion is tied in with her sense of worth (or lack of it) and in very strong terms "How bad a person she is", "How selfish she is", "How uncaring she is" (these are all her words not mine). I have been battling this lack of self esteem she has for the 8 yrs we have been together(5 yrs married) and in the space of one comment her self-esteem plummeted.
There is always so much more to say to give you a more accurate idea of the actual situation but my lack of writing ability prevents me from saying all that has happened.
So my question is "What do I need to do now to repair the situation?"
I also understand that I can only do my side of things and only she can deal with hers. I also understand that this is still very early days and don't/didn't expect that we would immediately be on track to a happy life together. I knew/know that it would be long hard struggle, so what now?
Thankfully Yours Peter (AUS)
Your wife is at an extremely vulnerable and sensitive stage and so you simply need to be extremely patient with her.
Poor self-esteem and being insecure is one of the reasons that leads people to look for refuge in alcohol - and since your wife is very much still in the infancy stages of her recovery, all those inner demons that contributed to her alcoholism will take time to be healed.
The most important thing for her now is to work an active alcoholism recovery
program - because that will ensure she keeps working at herself and that she keeps on the path of sobriety. So encourage her to do that, but also give her the space to find her own way in her new life of recovery.
But at the same time you're right - you aren't responsible for your wife's feelings. You both have to be responsible for your own stuff. So if she's mis-interpreted what you've said, despite your reassurances, she has to deal with that because you can't walk on eggshells around her constantly.
The bottom line though is that you just need to be patient. While your wife is working on her recovery, you should also look at going to a group like Al Anon, which is for family members of alcoholics. Understanding how to deal with your position from others who've been there can make a world of difference. Plus I'm sure your wife would appreciate the effort you're putting in to better understand what she's going through by doing that.
Your wife has been to rehab
and that's great because that's step number one in beating alcoholism. But to ensure lasting sobriety and to really change those self-destructive patterns that led to her life of alcoholism, she now need to work hard at her recovery. And as long as she's doing that, she'll be fine in the end.
So I'm sure given time your wife's insecurity will pass. There's nothing you can say that will 'fix it.' She just needs to do 'her work' and things will start changing. Good Luck and God Bless.