Question: I cannot bear my wife’s alcoholism any longer. I’m continually moved by the vivid descriptions of the carnage that addiction causes, and the impossible “you choose, you lose” dilemmas faced by exhausted, isolated partners.
Most of my friends tell me to leave her, and my family tells me to stick it out. Note: I first wrote this answer as a way to talk about methods to approach tough dilemmas, and since that time it has grown into the forum you see now.
I’ve been to an Al-Anon meeting but it’s not enough.
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Update: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 – Justice triumphs again!
Due to the efforts of and other concerned individuals and organizations, Facebook has now deleted the group "Third Intifada" from its website. Palestinian groups are simply playing cat-'n-mouse, posting the "Third Intifada" page elsewhere on Facebook.
Choices 3 and 4 would be the most attentive, well-equipped approach to staying with her, vs. In other words, the way in which you select a choice and then follow through on it what is important, and it is where you can make nitty-gritty choices on a day-to-day basis.
The working out of those specifics might be where your attention is going to be productive. Al-Anon is not for everyone in your situation, but those who do find it helpful would probably say that it’s the repeated attendance that makes it work.
There is another general rule in making a wrenching decision. That is, whichever course is more reversible might be considered first. Loneliness and anxiety, among other troubles, are almost universally difficult for partners of alcoholics. This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at pm and is filed under Addiction, Couples-Marriage, Transition.
In your case, it is much easier to recover from the mistake of waiting a bit more, than to recover after discovering that divorce was a mistake. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
But, I also notice that many describe their own addiction of sorts – to the partner.
A love and attachment you cannot shake, despite the consequences. My first suggestion would be to treat with skepticism any advice to take choice 1 over choice 2. And only you will know just how much sadness and anxiety is going to be inherent with either option.
It’s something like finding yourself holding a hot panhandle and gripping all the more tightly the more it burns. I also encourage you to respond to other postings with a few words of appreciation, support and ideas. There are many more readers of this dialogue than there are responders – you have an interested group here and we want to know what happens. Try viewing your dilemma as four-pronged: Choice 1 would be that you decide to leave your wife and that you do so in the most careful, strategic manner, doing the most that you can to ensure this unfolds as becoming the right choice.
Choice 2 would be that you leave in a way that magnifies the potential for a negative outcome, say by being mean, impulsive or passive, neglecting the care of your self, your social network, financial interests and so on.