Sunday, 25 December 2011

Clean Your Side of the Street First

by Dov (See all authors)

Someone posted:

Before first joining GYE, my wife discovered that I had been chatting with women online. That is how I ended up on here. My wife is not happy about this. She is asking me a lot of questions.

I, on the other hand, am starting to be happy that she found out. Our marriage didn't take a major hit, as it is pretty bad anyway. However, it [she] did force me to seek help. I am hopeful that with seeing a therapist about my addiction, I will finally face many demons that plague me.

Our marriage stinks, and I am not so sure that the typical "if you work on your addiction, your marriage will be better" applies here.


Dov Replies:

Pardon me, my friend - I am an addict, and so, hope you know that I am your friend - but, what the hell does "I am not so sure" mean? Please forgive my harsh words, but I figure: what do you have to lose, really?

The counseling has not bore fruit, now what? Recovery that 'might not work' anyway?

So, you have not really tried it, right? Otherwise why are you not sure yet that it does not work? And by the same token, you still do not know whether your cleaning up of your own side of the street has the power to save it all for you or not, correct? I know that you describe your marriage as stinky, but how precious is saving and improving your marriage and family life to you? If it doesn't rank very high for you, then who can blame the wife for being un-supportive? Just an observation. We generally get what we pay for. If you want it, then you need to pay, without any thought about her stuff. She has nothing to do with your work.

Maybe your marriage always was very precious to you, but because she didn't give a rat's pa-toot for it from day one, you lost interest in it....but is that the way it really was? Or, does she see it as having been the other way around: that she struggled to make something out of your marriage from the start but with her perception that her husband was more concerned about his "eiver" than with her, the relationship got more and more silly until she gave up a while ago in disgust. And now you just see her as "un-supportive of you". Something is missing here, DJ.

Or did you mean something else entirely?

In my case, it took us about a year and a half until my wife stopped yelling at me for going to SA meetings - every time. It took us about five years till we both felt that our marriage was back on solid ground. And I was sober the entire time and working my steps (poorly, but working them). It was worth every day of that time and things got slowly better every day, whether I realized it or not.

There is shared and unshared pain. She has hers, you obviously have yours, and painful people generally need to become a lot less sore before they can hold hands again.

Whether I misread you or not, I hope you consider giving your sobriety the far priority ahead of your marriage, that you stay sober one day at a time, work the steps (if you choose to go that way), and learn how to focus on being a sober, safe husband for this mother of your children. Apparently she cares enough to "force" you to seek help. Nu, she cares. That's worth a lot.

Hatzlocha and if you hate me, just pretend I don't exist ;-)