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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:12 pm 
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Hi guys,

I spent about three hours last night reading various posts in this forum. It is extremely relieving to know I'm not the only one out there who struggles. It is also disheartening to know I'm not the only one out there who struggles. Then there's the 10,000 other emotions with which I'm trying to keep up.

I've been married for a little over two years, after a year-and-a-half courtship with a wonderful man I knew had a history of narcotic drug abuse. At the time we started dating, he convinced me he was clean and in active recovery. I was absolutely aware of his past, but naively thought I understood what it's like living with an addict.

There were a few red flags (even some really awful ones) early on, but I was in love and thought our relationship would eventually be able to supersede his "pesky" addictions. Y'all have my permission to laugh at me 'til tears eek out the sides of your eyes. :)

I first found out he was on sub when we were on a family vacation with our blended family of seven (yes, 7) kids as well as another family who came along with us. I found his pack of cigarettes in the bathroom of the condo, but it didn't contain just cigarettes. There was a cut straw tucked in (I now know he prefers to crush and snort his sub). I confronted him and he vehemently denied the pack and straw were his, but eventually admitted it was sub, and he had to explain to me what exactly sub is. He had been afraid to tell me because he was scared I'd be disappointed in him (a fear of his that continues to influence his actions to this day, hour and minute).

I was pretty pissed he kept something like that from me for nearly two years, but fairly quickly accepted sub was probably good for him and his opiate addiction, even if he was getting it off the street at the time.

I'll fast forward a little to last year, when husband fell and severely injured his foot and ankle. It coincided with a time he was trying to wean himself off sub (his sub source, also a friend, had passed away {he was elderly and his passing was not drug-related}). My husband struggles with ANY kind of pain, so you can just imagine what happened next. After a week or so of odd behavior, I directly confronted him, and he finally admitted he had been snorting opioid pain pills (unprescribed, of course).

OK! Time to get back on sub! He was fortunately able to find a legit sub doc pretty quickly, but after the first few weekly appointments, new doc said he only needed to come every month for his maintenance appointment. Husband takes full advantage of this by smoking a bunch of pot and taking legally-prescribed (but from a different doctor) klonopin…just up until the point he thinks he needs to stop to pass the drug test. He initially lied about the klonopin to me, but now admits he takes it (he reports 1 mg in morning, 1 mg in afternoon). I suspect, because of certain physical and behavioral side effects/symptoms there are other drugs he is taking, have taken during the course of our relationship -- or at the very, very least, again, current known substances in a greater quantity. His suboxone rx is 8 mg a day, but he told me he was only taking 4...until, of course, he was taking more than 4 mg/day. He also drinks a lot of wine. A lot, roughly a bottle and a half each day. When he gets effed up, it's a horrific game of "name the substance."

(I define 'effed up' as abnormally out-of-it, strangely glassy eyes/abnormal eye dilation, puffiness and/or droopiness around the eyes, slowed or slurred speech, unexplained nasal issues, nodding off, abnormal clumsiness, memory loss, and other observable behaviors, mostly sedative in nature).

He tells me he suffers from extreme anxiety and this is why he self-medicates with the pot and alcohol, and goes to a different doctor to get klonopin (because is not approved by his sub doctor). He is in counseling, to his credit, but I'm not sure how committed he is to the behavioral changes and practices that are an essential part of such counseling.

His behavior remains secretive and he lies, almost uncontrollably, which I do understand is common with addicts. I love him. I find it nearly impossible to believe anything he tells me. I live in constant fear of the next lie, or another substance popping up. It rips me apart. No, it *is* ripping me apart. He usually tries (?) to not get effed up around the kids, but when it does happen, the wrath of sub_et_ex quickly ensues.

Anyway, reading these forums last night (and talking with my dad, a recovering alcoholic who has been clean for30+ years), one particular definition/understanding really struck me. Yes, I know I'm naive (or was), but oh my God, my husband might not be on pain pills or shooting heroin anymore, but whoa - he's still an active addict!
Probably the worst face-palm ever.

I am a bundle of frayed nerves, suffer from anxiety myself, am hyper-sensitive to Every. Single. Thing. I am suspicious of every action my husband takes. I also likely have a drinking problem (my own self-medication?). All of these things play into my reactions to my husband's behaviors. My reactions and anxieties are sometimes really self-centered (I hurt! OMG I hurt! You do these things and I feel pain!! Husband, why can’t you see I hurt???! I’m soooooo flippin’ alone in my anger and pain!!! Stop being effed up and pay attention to me falling part because I witness you being effed up!!!!).

As self-satisfying as those reactions can feel, my husband’s recovery is not really about me and I really doubt those kind of thoughts have any kind of positive effect on my husband, and at times likely make things worse. HE is the one suffering from addiction. My head knows addiction can’t just be turned off. But God, does my heart and ego ever get in the way of me truly accepting that very thing.

Facts: I don't want to make things worse. I want him to know that I love him wholly, and am really trying to understand his disease, but I also want him to know that behaviors wich support an addicted life are just not ok for our family. It’s actually not ok for him to continue certain behaviors, and I shouldn't feel guilty for wanted him to stop. I want to help and I want him to be in active recovery. I know I can't carry or solve his burden. I just don't know what to do to help him realistically deal with addiction and at the same time preserve my own sanity.

I am restarting myself by attending an Al-Anon meeting for the first time tomorrow. My dad’s been bugging me to do that for a number of years anyway.

Sorry for the novella…I have exactly one friend and one parent to whom I confide nitty-gritty stuff, so it feels a little cathartic to just blast it at a bunch of strangers.

If anyone has any piece of advice on how I can help my husband or myself, I am definitely all ears, and readily acknowledge my own quirks and shortcomings. I'm pretty damn paranoid, actually. Most days, he and I are both flailing.

<3,
Ux


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:05 am 
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Hi Sub, Welcome! You are doing the best possible thing, in my opinion, by goining to alanon! It will give YOU the support YOU need regardless of what your husband decides to do with his life. You don't say how many children are his and does he have full custody? Would he be in jeopardy of losing them if he can't get it together? Is he in jeopardy of losing you? Sometimes that is the only thing to do. But only you can make these decisions! I wish you all the luck! Please, keep posting...because it is cathartic and because we care!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:32 am 
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Hey sub welcome to the forum,

Well believe it or not once upon a time I was like u (minus the drinking, I didn't drink). I'd went through a horrible divorce and was just miserable and probably looking for anything to take my mind off that. I ran into my first love from high school. He was fresh out of rehab and I thought that meant ur cured pretty much if u go to rehab, I was completely uneducated about addiction and I did love him. I eventually noticed all the red flags of him using again. He finally starting stealing and went full blown again. I got pregnant with my youngest son and I felt stuck, so I tried to help him. He tried methadone for a bit then suboxone then jail then rehab again. He was leaving a rehab in Nashville the day our son was born. After a yr later, he started using again. This time he took me with him. That's how my misery train started. I guess I'm telling u this because no matter how hard u try, u can't change an addict and it's heart breaking. Until ur hubby wants to stop messing around with other drugs during his suboxone treatment, he's just chasing his tail going in circles. I know how frustrating that is for u.

I don't know how ur hubby is passing his drug screens at his doctors office. The weed stays in ur system for about 30 days and getting nerve pills from another Dr is a ticking time bomb for his sub Dr to find out. Is his sub Dr strict or do u get the sense that he's not really invested in his patients recovery?

I do believe ur hubby is wanting help or he would not be on sub, but he has to quit messing around with other drugs. I don't know what it's going to take for him to realize that because every addict finally has to just surrender. Like myself, my family wasn't enough, until I was ready my recovery failed. I started suboxone four years ago and haven't touched anything else since. I haven't spoken to my son's father in over 8 yrs. I'm betting he's still using. My son doesn't even remember what he looks like, he's 10 now.

Just be careful and don't get caught up in the madness like I did. I think I see myself in u a little bit (that's probably why I'm writing a book lol). All u can do is be supportive and take care of u and ur kids. He needs to know though that ur not willing to live like this forever and he needs to take his recovery serious. Suboxone does save lives, it did mine 100%, but u also gotta work at recovery. Suboxone alone is just a tool.

Good luck sub, I truly hope that u and ur hubby get in a better place and remember that us here at the forum are here for u anytime u need support!!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:20 pm 
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Sub,

Good Afternoon and thanks for coming here! Michelle & jennjenn nailed it in their posts to you. Great posts!

I have a couple of questions. Are you sure your husband has a legit bup script? Do you see the packaging and label? w his name on it? And MD's name? And he's taking it? Can you see financial transactions showing he regularly purchases it? It's happened before where addicts will say they are staying in prescribed treatment, when they are not, especially when they have good street contacts. They say they go to appts & have clean UAs but instead are back using. Imo, w klonopin, weed and whatever else he takes, its hard to believe he passes a UA. Also, does your state have a prescription database where MDs pull 1 yr of meds at each appt? Many do now. If so, the bup, klonopin and whatever else will be listed and discoverable. I recently went to see my PCP and all meds, from any MD or DDS w dosages & refills for the past yr, were listed including self pay non-insurance scripts. Heck, do vet scripts for our pets show up too? maybe?

I honor you for coming here, asking for help for him and for you. I wish I'd been given that chance and my marriage survived while I worked to get clean. But my spouse left, divorced me, tired of years of living w my opiate abuse. By the time I started to get clean, it was way too late for our marriage to survive. Altho I begged, desperately wanting it to, it was not just up to me - it takes 2 to make a marriage and 2 to stay in a marriage. I later learned that it imploded long before I knew. I'm 6 yrs clean and have a much better view now of just how hard it is to be married to someone in active addiction.

Wishing you and your husband my very best. P

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Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:33 pm 
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Michelle F. wrote:
Hi Sub, Welcome! You are doing the best possible thing, in my opinion, by goining to alanon! It will give YOU the support YOU need regardless of what your husband decides to do with his life. You don't say how many children are his and does he have full custody? Would he be in jeopardy of losing them if he can't get it together? Is he in jeopardy of losing you? Sometimes that is the only thing to do. But only you can make these decisions! I wish you all the luck! Please, keep posting...because it is cathartic and because we care!


Thank you, Michelle! I really appreciate your welcome and understanding. :)

He has partial custody of his kids...about 40% of the time. It's very possible his ex would take full advantage of any missteps. Though I don't get along with her at all, I do understand. She lived with him through the worst of his addiction.

Is he in jeopardy of losing me? I hope not. I don't want that. But sometimes I think about how I might feel if I was on my own again, and the thought of that kind of freedom seems really...peaceful.

That's a last resort, though. I really do love him, and just want him to get better, for all our sakes!

And yes, Al-Anon was incredibly helpful today. One of the topics was "mind your own business," which I REALLY struggle to do! I'll be going back.

Thanks again,
Ux

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:42 pm 
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jennjenn wrote:
Hey sub welcome to the forum,

Well believe it or not once upon a time I was like u (minus the drinking, I didn't drink). I'd went through a horrible divorce and was just miserable and probably looking for anything to take my mind off that. I ran into my first love from high school. He was fresh out of rehab and I thought that meant ur cured pretty much if u go to rehab, I was completely uneducated about addiction and I did love him. I eventually noticed all the red flags of him using again. He finally starting stealing and went full blown again. I got pregnant with my youngest son and I felt stuck, so I tried to help him. He tried methadone for a bit then suboxone then jail then rehab again. He was leaving a rehab in Nashville the day our son was born. After a yr later, he started using again. This time he took me with him. That's how my misery train started. I guess I'm telling u this because no matter how hard u try, u can't change an addict and it's heart breaking. Until ur hubby wants to stop messing around with other drugs during his suboxone treatment, he's just chasing his tail going in circles. I know how frustrating that is for u.

I don't know how ur hubby is passing his drug screens at his doctors office. The weed stays in ur system for about 30 days and getting nerve pills from another Dr is a ticking time bomb for his sub Dr to find out. Is his sub Dr strict or do u get the sense that he's not really invested in his patients recovery?

I do believe ur hubby is wanting help or he would not be on sub, but he has to quit messing around with other drugs. I don't know what it's going to take for him to realize that because every addict finally has to just surrender. Like myself, my family wasn't enough, until I was ready my recovery failed. I started suboxone four years ago and haven't touched anything else since. I haven't spoken to my son's father in over 8 yrs. I'm betting he's still using. My son doesn't even remember what he looks like, he's 10 now.

Just be careful and don't get caught up in the madness like I did. I think I see myself in u a little bit (that's probably why I'm writing a book lol). All u can do is be supportive and take care of u and ur kids. He needs to know though that ur not willing to live like this forever and he needs to take his recovery serious. Suboxone does save lives, it did mine 100%, but u also gotta work at recovery. Suboxone alone is just a tool.

Good luck sub, I truly hope that u and ur hubby get in a better place and remember that us here at the forum are here for u anytime u need support!!!!!


Hi Jennifer!

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences -- and I absolutely see the similarities. I'm even in Tennessee as well! :)

I honestly don't know how he passes the tests. He stops smoking pot about 10 days prior to tests, and once got a positive one, but got off with a warning. I think the doctor is pretty relaxed about things, or maybe there's something else going on.

What you said about every addict having to surrender, on their own, really hits home. I've been trying to get him to surrender for a long time -- and that just doesn't work. I am realizing that now.

And yes -- I'm going to try to focus more on myself and our kiddos.

Thanks again!!

Best,
Ux

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:57 pm 
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Pelican wrote:
Sub,

Good Afternoon and thanks for coming here! Michelle & jennjenn nailed it in their posts to you. Great posts!

I have a couple of questions. Are you sure your husband has a legit bup script? Do you see the packaging and label? w his name on it? And MD's name? And he's taking it? Can you see financial transactions showing he regularly purchases it? It's happened before where addicts will say they are staying in prescribed treatment, when they are not, especially when they have good street contacts. They say they go to appts & have clean UAs but instead are back using. Imo, w klonopin, weed and whatever else he takes, its hard to believe he passes a UA. Also, does your state have a prescription database where MDs pull 1 yr of meds at each appt? Many do now. If so, the bup, klonopin and whatever else will be listed and discoverable. I recently went to see my PCP and all meds, from any MD or DDS w dosages & refills for the past yr, were listed including self pay non-insurance scripts. Heck, do vet scripts for our pets show up too? maybe?

I honor you for coming here, asking for help for him and for you. I wish I'd been given that chance and my marriage survived while I worked to get clean. But my spouse left, divorced me, tired of years of living w my opiate abuse. By the time I started to get clean, it was way too late for our marriage to survive. Altho I begged, desperately wanting it to, it was not just up to me - it takes 2 to make a marriage and 2 to stay in a marriage. I later learned that it imploded long before I knew. I'm 6 yrs clean and have a much better view now of just how hard it is to be married to someone in active addiction.

Wishing you and your husband my very best. P


Hello, Pelican, and thank you for sharing your experiences. Reading all of this does put some ground back under my feet, though I hate that anyone has to experience either side.

To answer your questions - yes, I do believe husband has a legit sub rx. I went with him to the first appointment, and while I have not been to subsequent ones, I do have access to his bank records and see debits from the doctor's office on days he tells me he has appointments, and what look like co-pays at the drugstore. I have seen bottles with accurate dates that say Buprenorphine/Naloxone. I also ask him to always send me copies of his drug tests, which he does. They've been negative except for sub, with the exception of pot one time. He got a warning from the doctor about that.

All that being said, it is entirely possible he would go through all the motions just for show, so that I am "unaware" of what's actually going on. Or, maybe the doc really doesn't care, and lets him slide. I honestly don't know. Maybe he's not taking any extra drugs, but hiding drinking in addition to what I see him drink, and that's why he appears effed up sometimes. It doesn't really matter in the end, though. Addiction is addiction.

Thank you for the excellent idea about the rx database. I have been encouraging husband to get an actual PCP, so hopefully when that happens, some things will be cleared up. And actually, when our dog had surgery last year, I did have to lock up the pain pills just to be safe...so adding vet rxs might not be a bad idea. :)

I'm not giving up. Thanks again, Pelican.

Ux

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:10 am 
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These previous posters are awesome and have given you some super advice. I want to bring up one thing you said and talk about it more.

You say you likely have your own drinking problem. What does that look like? How much, how often, what circumstances, etc.? You really have to get real about your own addiction before helping him if you are addicted to alcohol. If you say you think your drinking is problematic, then you definitely need to address that. Do you and your husband have health insurance through work? You need to find out what benefits you have have for substance abuse.

Obviously, for whatever reason, your husband is not ready to be in recovery. If he was ready for it he wouldn't be messing around with snorting sub and smoking weed and taking klonopin. I also have doubts about him getting his sub legitimately from a doctor because he should have been drug tested by now and the MJ and klonopin would have shown up.

But let's start with you. Your children are counting on you to be the adult in the family, so you need to get on the road to recovery. Please share the details about your drinking.

Amy

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:32 pm 
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Amy-Work In Progress wrote:
These previous posters are awesome and have given you some super advice. I want to bring up one thing you said and talk about it more.

You say you likely have your own drinking problem. What does that look like? How much, how often, what circumstances, etc.? You really have to get real about your own addiction before helping him if you are addicted to alcohol. If you say you think your drinking is problematic, then you definitely need to address that. Do you and your husband have health insurance through work? You need to find out what benefits you have have for substance abuse.

Obviously, for whatever reason, your husband is not ready to be in recovery. If he was ready for it he wouldn't be messing around with snorting sub and smoking weed and taking klonopin. I also have doubts about him getting his sub legitimately from a doctor because he should have been drug tested by now and the MJ and klonopin would have shown up.

But let's start with you. Your children are counting on you to be the adult in the family, so you need to get on the road to recovery. Please share the details about your drinking.

Amy


Amy, I have to admit that at first I was REALLY irritated you were asking about my drinking. Then I remembered I had actually asked for help for myself as well, and even though I don't want to talk about it -- every single thing you said regarding my drinking needs examination. So, sorry I got mad at first. :) Here goes:

I've been drinking what I consider heavily for about 6 years. Right now, I think it's between 6-8 5 ounce servings of wine a night. I don't know for sure, because I drink cheap crappy boxed wine and never measure, but the length of time it takes me to get through a 5 liter box seems to average 6-8 servings a night. I have tried in the past to stop, and last year was able to stop cold turkey for 19 straight days. I was also trying to quit smoking cigarettes at the exact same time, which I think contributed to my eventual relapse.

This year, I started off just quitting one thing, and I'm really, really happy to say I haven't had a cigarette in over 2 1/2 months. I know the alcohol is an issue that needs to be addressed, and soon, for all the reasons you've mentioned. I have been trying out a few things lately: I'm trying to walk every time I feel stress or anxiety (instead of reaching for a drink, and hey, it makes my Fitbit actually like me), and I hand-quilt at night to keep my hands busy (and not around a mug of wine).

It's scary, though, and I am still drinking. There's a mug beside me right now. After having a mug of wine in my hand for nearly every night in the past 6 years, the thought of stopping really scares me. I have to admit, as well, that drinking wine is something my husband and I enjoy doing together. Get off work, relax, have a glass of wine. What replaces that when I stop drinking? If I move on from my addiction, but he can't, am I leaving him behind? I know that might sound silly, but that's just how it feels some times. I already feel like we're alienated from each other in a lot of ways.

I have been to several AA meetings in the past, and always found them helpful and sometimes really inspiring. However, my first Al-Anon meeting on Wednesday kinda felt like home (and in a funny way, as this particular Al-Anon meeting has been literally staring in my face for 13 years, as it's in the same office building as my job!). Anyway, it allowed me to see my husband through different eyes, and made me realize how my kids might be seeing me. Perspective. Whoa. I'm going to keep going to those meetings.

And if I'm not annoying y'all yet, I also really appreciate the insights, advice, and a**-kicking I need, and hope to spend more time on this forum and learn all that I can. I feel like I've been avoiding A LOT for a long time, and this is the first week I've actually tried to take off the rose-colored glasses and be truly honest. Thank you guys.

Also -- this evening I asked husband what he thought of me going along to his next sub doctor appointment (Monday). He looked a bit surprised at first, but was not hesitant in telling me he didn't have a problem with it. So, we'll see. Best case scenario - I'm paranoid and he hasn't been doing as much stuff as I thought (yes please). Worst case...we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

You guys are awesome,

Ux

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:47 am 
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Hey Ux, you're so brave!! Do you know how hard it is to be vulnerable in front of lots of people, even if we're strangers? It takes a lot of guts!

Thank you for getting past your anger and trying to look at the situation objectively. You know that your kids deserve the best you can be. My boy was my reason for admitting my opiate addiction.

It's my opinion that you have to help yourself and your children before you can really be there for your husband. It could be that you are using his problems as an excuse not to examine your own behavior. But I believe that you really wanted to bring your own dependency problem to the surface, or you wouldn't have mentioned it. One of the hallmarks of addiction is an inability to stop using the substance. Another is thinking about your substance of choice all of the time. Another easy question you can ask yourself is "Is my drinking causing problems in my life or the lives of others?"

I just want to clarify the amount of wine you're drinking. Are you saying that you go through one 5 liter box a night? That does seem to be quite a large amount of wine. I don't have much experience with alcohol addiction, but there I'm sure that some of my fellow members can speak to how much is too much.

I just want to remind you, Ux, that we are here for you! Whether you need help to support your husband, or if you want to start tackling your own stuff. You take care and I will comment again soon. :)

Amy

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:50 am 
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Amy-Work In Progress wrote:
Hey Ux, you're so brave!! Do you know how hard it is to be vulnerable in front of lots of people, even if we're strangers? It takes a lot of guts!

Thank you for getting past your anger and trying to look at the situation objectively. You know that your kids deserve the best you can be. My boy was my reason for admitting my opiate addiction.

It's my opinion that you have to help yourself and your children before you can really be there for your husband. It could be that you are using his problems as an excuse not to examine your own behavior. But I believe that you really wanted to bring your own dependency problem to the surface, or you wouldn't have mentioned it. One of the hallmarks of addiction is an inability to stop using the substance. Another is thinking about your substance of choice all of the time. Another easy question you can ask yourself is "Is my drinking causing problems in my life or the lives of others?"

I just want to clarify the amount of wine you're drinking. Are you saying that you go through one 5 liter box a night? That does seem to be quite a large amount of wine. I don't have much experience with alcohol addiction, but there I'm sure that some of my fellow members can speak to how much is too much.

I just want to remind you, Ux, that we are here for you! Whether you need help to support your husband, or if you want to start tackling your own stuff. You take care and I will comment again soon. :)

Amy


Hi Amy! Thanks for your kind words! And just a quick clarification (sorry, I looked back and my wording was a little off), it generally takes me between 4-5 days to get through a 5-liter box. I'm trying to be more aware of when I'm drinking and how much...

Thanks also for your insights...good things to think about.

Best,

Ux

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:55 pm 
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Hi Ux, You are taking such positive steps! You should be very happy with yourself right now! Trying to walk and keep busy, to avoid addiction and going to alanon meetings are great steps! Keep up the good work! Please keep posting!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:14 pm 
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Hi all,

I just want to say thank you again for listening, keeping me on my toes, and above all, understanding. I've felt a lot more positive and hopeful this week than I have in a REALLY long time, and that's largely because I got positive reinforcement from total strangers here and in Al-Anon! Holy crap. I'm not alone.

I'm not thrilled that the first answer staring me in the face is dealing with my own drinking. I'd much rather try to control others than myself...what an awful truth that is! :-/

Anyway, again, thank you. Thank you for allowing (and pushing) me to be honest as best I can. There's still a mug of wine by my hand right now. I hope in future posts I will be able to tell you that's no longer the case. I am working toward that.

I know I will have more specific questions and advice I'll be asking you guys in the future (both about me and my husband).

I hope everyone has the best weekend possible!

Best,
Ux

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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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