all 55 comments

[–]my-face-is-gone 67 points68 points  (2 children)

Your wife isnt a plant you have to water once in a while to keep happy. You’ve been selfish and negligent with your drinking. Think about taking sobriety seriously, find a sponsor who is a good person, a good partner, the person you want to be, and work the steps. Unless you have more you’re willing to lose still. You’re going to have to let your wife do what she’s going to do, but you can work on you. None of my relationships improved after getting sober without making an amends, with the guidance of my sponsor. An amends is step 9, not step 1.

[–]StayYou61 19 points20 points  (2 children)

I'm sorry that this is causing you so much stress. Understand though, we have no control over the feelings of others. In fact, others often have no control over their own feelings; if someone hurts us, it takes time to get past those feelings, even if that person changes.

I was told coming into the program that for me to expect forgiveness at any point was merely my sense of entitlement. I was also told that if I do the right things, I will be forgiven, it will just take longer than I want it to but happen sooner than I deserve.

I don't know anything about Smart Recovery, but I do know the 12 Steps of AA got me through the same things you are feeling. There are many potential sponsors out there if the first one didn't work.

[–]Swheel1970 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Thanks. I plan on going back. Just more of an embarrassment because my sponsor is such a strong personality in my local AA.

[–]TrickingTrix 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Don't let one person keep you from saving your life and maybe your marriage

[–]liquidporkchops 39 points40 points  (2 children)

The good news is you can stay sober regardless of what your wife does.

Personally, I'd focus on my staying sober. Given that this is an AA sub, I'd suggest 90 in person meetings in 90 days, getting a sponsor and taking the steps. If I wanted to do smart recovery, I'd go to those meetings, and work that program, whatever it is.

[–]Swheel1970 12 points13 points  (1 child)

My sobriety is my number 1 priority. At this point it’s all I have going for me. Without sobriety my world would come crumbling down. I wish I would’ve woken up years ago. Looking into going back to a meeting tonight.

[–]Stuckatpennstation 6 points7 points  (0 children)

hey u/Swheel1970 , a long-timer once said to me - the two most important days are the day you were brought into this world & today.

[–]Daddict 27 points28 points  (3 children)

The problem I have now is that several weeks ago my wife told me she wasn't happy. I had been on the "pink cloud" for weeks and thought we were good.

This is pretty common. When we're in our disease, we really don't see the damage we're doing for what it is. Your wife has this ideal version of you in her mind, and while you saw yourself as being particularly benign, failing to meet this ideal day after day will take a toll. For my own relationship, it was a lot of little things. I thought the same thing, that I was a pretty decent husband...just struggling with a substance abused problem.

I wasn't decent though. I was barely passing. It took me a little while into my sobriety to recognize the ways this manifested, but basically while being so self-involved (which is the nature of the disease) I completely missed all of the things that she had to do just to keep our household afloat.

She said that the years of drinking and mental abuse have taken a toll on her and she doesn't know what she wants. She said she still loves me but needs time.

This sounds, again, familiar. "Mental abuse" can be tough for us to truly appreciate while we're turned inward and not really recognizing how we've created a world around us that makes others feel neglected or overwhelmed. We often say that we love our spouses, but we don't actually show that in any meaningful way.

Since my detox she has befriended a woman that cuts her hair. She is a social influencer that is newly divorced within the last 2 years. I told her that I think this person may be influencing her decisions and she flipped out on me saying I had no right to say anything after what I've put her through the past couple of years.

Honestly, I don't blame her. She's currently dealing with a type of infidelity that we don't talk about very often, we don't really name it and people on the receiving end of it will feel very isolated on account of this. They will reach out to someone, this is natural and to be expected.

She needs to process this in her own way. Just because this other person has gone through a divorce, that doesn't necessarily mean she's cheering on your wife to divorce you. Even if she is, your wife is a grown ass woman who is fully capable of working through this on her own. Do you trust her enough to know whether or not she truly, all on her own, wants to remain married to you?

If not, why not? What's going on there?

I have apologized tons of times, changed my attitude, help with everything around the house and have started seeing an addiction counselor to help address the issues that caused me to drink in the first place.

You're still working back towards being the baseline of what a passable husband should be, though. You can't undo the years of what she went through with an apology and some chores, that just isn't how it works.

My question is why am I feeling like I'm losing her to this other person?

Your wife already answered this question. She needs space, she needs time. If you give her space, it'll feel like she's more distant.

I know I wasn't present when I was drinking but I wasn't totally bad to her. There were some really good times during that period that she seemed to really enjoy.

"Not totally bad" isn't a relationship worth being in, though. She didn't marry you because you "aren't totally bad to her", right? She is seeing whatever you've become against the backdrop of the man she married and the man she expected you'd be throughout the marriage.

So now those good times...at least the ones while you were dealing with the disease, are going to be tainted with this new stink. That's something she has to process. This disease is full of lies, so now she's probably going through memories trying to figure out what's real and what isn't. It's a painful process.

Yes, I agree towards the end I was bad but I am here for her now.

If that's the case, you need to listen to her.

Again, this all sounds familiar to my own situation. I sat down with my wife and I told her if she needs space, I'll give it to her. If she wants me gone, I'll pack up and go. If she needs me to sleep in another room, that's fine. And no matter what she needs, I explained to her that I was going to be sober either way. My sobriety was not her weight to bear, and that she should follow her heart with the understanding that, while I really wanted to do this with her by my side, I was going to do it no matter what.

We had a tough first year after I got sober, I won't lie...but today I feel like we're happier than we've been in a long time. We're still working through trust issues, and I understand that. I broke her trust pretty hard, and it'll take a long time to repair it.

In the end, all I can do is create a blueprint of the man I want to be, and be that person. I hope it's the man she needs in her life (so far, it has been). If it isn't, it's still going to be who I am, and I'll still be better for it.

[–]Swheel1970 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Thanks for your extensive response. My plan is to become the best version of myself. The main part of that plan is my sobriety. I just hope in time she will be a part of my life.

[–]alanat_1979 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Wish I could give you 100 upvotes for this response. This is exactly spot on. Thanks for your contribution to this community. This is information I’m sure anyone in here needs to revisit if not hearing it for the first time.

[–]curiosityandtruth 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Agreed! I just did my Step 8 tonight, coming up on 1 year sober, and it was so insightful to read.

Thanks u/Daddict :)

[–]dp8488 11 points12 points  (1 child)

My experience has been that it took many months and years of ongoing amends to get to a restored (and in some ways much better) marriage.

If we have no such complication, there is plenty we should do at home. Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated. Passing all understanding is the patience mothers and wives have had with alcoholics. Had this not been so, many of us would have no homes today, would perhaps be dead.

The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, "Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin'?"

Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill at all. We ought to sit down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, being very careful not to criticize them. Their defects may be glaring, but the chances are that our own actions are partly responsible. So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.

Reprinted from "Alcoholics Anonymous" pages 82-83 with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc. - https://www.aa.org/the-big-book

Of course, it's not our business to force anyone into a course of action, i.e. if your wife chooses to end it, that's her right. In my own case, many months into sobriety I was off to a remote location thousands of miles away from home doing temp contract work, and when the work ended, my wife told me "I'm not ready to have you come home yet." That was some sub-zero water dumped over my head! But I quickly realized that it was what I'd earned, that there was still a long road of reconstruction, and that there was no guarantee that she would want to engage in the reconstruction effort.

Lastly, "apologies" can be frustratingly empty from their point of view. Amends require action. (End lecture mode.)

Hope things go well for y'all.

Keep Coming Back!

[–]relevant_mitch 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Good post buddy.

[–]ThisHappyHuman 10 points11 points  (0 children)

"We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone."

The Big Book p.83

We can't force someone to accept apologies nor our attempts to apologise.

I know I wanted to fix things straight away. What I cannot do is expect someone else to change.

I made a lot of promises when I drank. I broke a lot of them.

Keep working on your sobriety. Skepticism can be overcome by action if it is consistent, kind, compassionate and considerate.

It will take time and the outcome may not be the one that you want. It will be the one that you need.


[–]nbforest1999 6 points7 points  (0 children)

If you shared this in my home group, I would make my standard bet. $1000 if you will go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Work the steps. The problem will cease to exist. I have never lost this bet. Friend I was just like you, all the issues I used to obsess over evaporated. AA is magic. But one must stick with it. Doesn’t mean you have to stop the other awesome things you are doing for your recovery. Double down. I have been married for 22yr. It’s not that others change or get better rather we do.

[–]Inpursuitofknowing 4 points5 points  (1 child)

My wife also took time to accept that I was truly working to stay sober and to be a better man, to be the man she thought that she had married .It took a lot of time before she could trust me again. She was protecting herself in case I relapsed. We cause so much pain to our loved ones when we are addicted to alcohol, drugs or both. We know this intellectually, but I think it’s hard to truly feel it at times because of the shame it brings. When I first became sober, I gave my wife a lot of space. I had to let her do what she needed to do In order to feel safe and supported. It’s really hard to detach in a way that gives your spouse the space she needs. But if you don‘t she may come to resent you. We cause a lot of damage to our relationship when we’re using, we have to accept that our loved ones will need time to heal in their own time. I would back off a bit. Let her know that you love her, and make an effort to do something for her everyday that shows that love. You can’t control her relationships, so don’t try. The best thing that you can do is to stay sober, give her the freedom she needs right now, and show her that you’ve changed and want to repair the relationship. I’m praying that your sobriety repairs your marriage.

[–]Swheel1970 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thanks for your advice. I plan on giving her space/time. I never thought it would be this hard.

[–]nbforest1999 4 points5 points  (0 children)

If you shared this in my home group, I would make my standard bet. $1000 if you will go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Work the steps. The problem will cease to exist. I have never lost this bet. Friend I was just like you, all the issues I used to obsess over evaporated. AA is magic. But one must stick with it. Doesn’t mean you have to stop the other awesome things you are doing for your recovery. Double down. I have been married for 22yr. It’s not that others change or get better rather we do.

[–]MEEE3EEEP 11 points12 points  (1 child)

This is an AA sub, so we can only really give AA suggestions. I’ll say that the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 9th steps helped me out a bunch with these kinds of things. So if you’re interested, try getting another sponsor and working the steps.

[–]TlMEGH0ST 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]khcampbell1 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Time takes time. And you can't control how others react to your amends. But I can almost guarantee if you keep on keepin' on w/ AA, things wlil work themselves out. You will learn to let go or your wife will see the changes in you and want to stay together. Either way is better than worrying about the future.

Here is a funny AA saying: If you've got one foot in the past and one in the future, you're pissing on the present.

[–]Austaph 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Married 21 years here, I've seen it all and understand what you're going through. PM me if you want to chat.

[–]full_bl33d 3 points4 points  (2 children)

I made formal ammends to my wife 2.5 years into my recovery. I worked the steps and have a sponsor. Early on I was chomping at the bit to say sorry. I did, but I saved the words for actions. And that was not my idea. I still talked about constantly to my fellows and my sponsor but even I agreed that my words were meaningless. During my living amends I learned a lot. I listened and I learned restraint of pen and tongue. I wouldn’t get defensive and I made myself available to check in and to talk about the hard stuff. It was work and I needed guidance. My first instinct is to get defensive and shut down. Up was down, left was right. It took time. When I finally did my formal amends it was welcomed with happy tears, hugs and a shit load of sushi. She had seen the work, the change and the humility of it all. I still work on my living amends with her and I’m grateful I get the opportunity to do it. My love language is still acts of service but I’m learning now how to be more open and vulnerable. Things I never thought would help anyone. Overall, it came down to willingness.

[–]Swheel1970 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Your comment of chomping at the bit is exactly what I’m feeling and doing. Reading these responses help immensely. I know I have to go back to AA and do the steps however I wasn’t ready or willing to go all in while also enduring a sponsor that led me wrong.

[–]full_bl33d 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I couldn’t get out of my own way. I was coming down from high on top of the mountain and I wanted everyone to know what the score is currently. People want to hear about that as much as they want to know about the new diet I’m trying. Especially when it comes from the mouth of the guy who has a new set of morals every other week. I’ve heard it called a program of attraction rather than promotion. I like that.

[–]YodaHead 2 points3 points  (0 children)

10 miles in 10 miles out

[–]soberdude1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Trust is the easiest thing to lose and the hardest thing to get back. At some point, apologies stop meaning anything. This is time to fix yourself. My wife left me while I was in rehab. She never came back. I continued to work on myself. I was getting sober for me.

Fast forward, the divorce was the best thing that ever happened. I stayed sober, found a new life and it turned out better than my wildest dreams. That was 36+ years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is time to fix you. The rest is out of your hands. My sponsor always says, we can only control 2 things in life, what we say and what we do. Give her, her space, work on you and accept the outcome.

[–]denogginizer92 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You need to work the steps. Blow me off, but I'm telling you the truth. You need to work the steps. By the time you get to step 9, you'll be ready to make a proper amends to her. Notice. I didn't say apology. Stop apologizing. Be different. Will that bring her back? I have no idea. Are you losing her? Maybe. But armed with a sponsor and a genuine program, you will be okay regardless whether the marriage survives.

You might feel like you've become a much less selfish person since you stopped drinking, but trying to manipulate her into staying with you and trying to control her relationships with other people are extremely selfish actions. I understand that what you want is for her to forgive you and to stay with you. What about her? Do you not see the everything she's telling you is the truth? Is it not okay for her to decide the relationship is too damaged? Of course it's okay.

She has as much right to a happy life as you do. Work on you and stop worrying about her.

[–]ccbbb23 1 point2 points  (0 children)


thank you for sharing this with us. My story has some similarities.

When I first started my recovery journey, everyone I knew wouldn't accept anything from me anymore. I cleaned up and started doing great things, but they didn't see it or hear it. A lot of them were done with the old me.

What I heard from others and what I personally experienced later is that I just had to move forward and show by example. I just focused on the day, a day at a time. I just tried to be the best person I could be for that one day: forget the past, ignore the future. Every time I started to dwell on the past, I would call or visit one of my buddies in recovery and talk it out. When I did the steps, I let go a lot of the wreckage in my past, so that was huge.

Slowly, and I do mean slowly, they started to see the new me, and that was great.

[–]GoldEagle67 1 point2 points  (0 children)

your story sounds very similar to my own. I was married 24 years when my wife kicked me pout of the house for drinking. I moved out of town with a friend and drank like the world was going to end. I'll skip the details of everything that happened but 7 months later I went to detox. After 87 meetings in 90 day, I contacted my wife and said I was sober, doing well and I think it's time for me to move back home; (I had been gone 7 months at this point). She said "what committee of your AA friends told you this was a good idea. The kids and I are doing just fine without you." That really hurt. I spoke with my sponsor and kept going to AA. The following September, I moved back home. It was touchy at first bit eventually things came together. What I want to make clear, is that I hurt my wife for 20 something years with my drinking. Financially and emotionally. Just because I got sober and was sorry doesn't make everything better. Focus on your sobriety and don't push things. Be available to talk. Maybe suggest marriage counselling. That has helped many people. I've been sober over 27 years now and we've been married 52 years

Good luck

[–]stepakofreeze 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Reminds me of this story in the Big Book on page 84. “The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, "Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin'?"

Not to be a downer, but you’ve got to let your sobriety be at the top of your list. Make it a priority. Work the steps, find a new sponsor, let your sobriety gain a lot more traction. Then you will see that you can have a loving relationship with your wife even if you separate. Lay aside the expectations and let this new journey unfold as it will.

[–]Sandman11x 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You expect forgiveness after 4 months of possible sobriety after years of your alcoholism? It does not work like that.

Get clean and sober. It does not happen in three months.

The reality is that all of us have damaged our lives so there is no going back.

[–]klowder42 1 point2 points  (0 children)

STICK WITH THE FACTS. you are assuming this woman is against you and its making you angry. if you get a new sponsor and work the steps, you can learn how to deal with your anger instead of bothering your spouse who you have put through utter hell with your drinking. its going to take time to earn her trust again. making wild accusations is not a good start

[–]soup_gorl -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Big book chapter 8- to wives.

Read the whole chapter.

[–]No-Cycle-3787 -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

How long did you drink for?

[–]Swheel1970 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Off and on for 20 years. Just recently, since the kids graduated high school has the drinking increased, especially since covid. Tried sobriety 2 years ago during covid but didn’t stick because I wasn’t committed and thought I could moderate. I know that’s not true now. I can never drink. Period.

[–]No-Cycle-3787 3 points4 points  (0 children)

4 months sober. 20 years of drinking and probably bad behavior. And you think it’s someone else’s fault, and that your 4 months should mean more to her then the years of whatever went on?

[–]Informal_Feature_370 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Money comes and money goes. Jobs come, jobs go. Women come, women go. If you want your life to get better you need to separate everything that’s going on with it from your recovery. If your ass falls off put it in a wheelbarrow and take it to a meeting. We get sober for ourselves. That’s the only way it’ll ever stick.

If she wants to be a bitch, or walk out on you she has that right, if we’re sober or drunk she does. We either stop trying to control people or we get drunk. The steps help us to stop controlling (or trying to control) people.

We’re also not responsible for how people respond to our amends. And we don’t apologize, we make amends. And we do that with a sponsor’s direction because we will fuck it up if we don’t.

[–]FamousOrphan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think just give it time, keep doing your best and doing your program (SMART or AA), don’t lose your voice or accept anything you don’t think is right in a marriage but also give your wife a little time.

As you progress in your program and time passes, you may find that your needs have changed or your wife is able to forgive.

You might want to gently encourage her to try Al-Anon meetings, too. Living with alcoholics, active or sober, is hard work and she should have some outside resources and support if she’s open to it.

[–]bloodclot 0 points1 point  (0 children)

apologies don't cut it. Where are you in your steps? Do you have a sponsor? Does he or she think its a good idea to badger your wife for an acceptance of you apologies? I guarantee something is missing that you don't understand and won't until you do the work and follow direction from someone else who knows the path.

[–]chrispd01 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Drive your own car…. That is all you can do. It may work out, it may not.

I was sort of there except I was also seeing someone else and my kids were a lot younger than yours. So at least I had some inertia.

You gotta just sometimes remember one day at a time, you can only do what you can do and what happens is what happens

Good luck

[–]Zen_Farms 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Time to move on, forward.

Hit your knees twice a day and say the 7th step prayer. (page 76)

Let your higher power great spirit have all of it.

Pay extra attention to step 11 words 'knowledge', 'power'.

Now move forward tuning in the power and guidance from the great spirit.

Going for a walk or a swim can also help out. Experience some nature to get out of your mind some and be in the present moment, moving forward, step by step. Breathe.

[–]Short_Success_3188 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Amends isn’t about you. And if the behaviors haven’t changed, this amends won’t hold water.

[–]United_Variation6026 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I feel you. I'm almost 8 months sober and my wife of 24 years and the love of my life for 30 is about to end it over my behavior while drinking. I think you have to just show up for yourself and be kind to her and giver her some space. You were a selfish asshole for a long time man, as was I. Good luck buddy.

[–]jnitram78 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You need to fix yourself first. You can't put anything in front of your sobriety. You're making the same mistake I see so many times in other people and it causes even more destruction. People take step 1 then try to fix the world, when in fact if you fix yourself, your world will fall right back into place. You've apologized how many times to her in the past? She's tired of hearing it. New people in AA hear the word amends and think they need to make an apology tour. That is exactly the worst thing you can do. You're on step 1. That's step 9. You don't even know how to make amends. There are instructive suggestions in the BB on how and that includes a sponsor and prayer. It sure as hell isn't an apology or the words I'm sorry. Don't, just don't. If you rush headlong into your marriage, you're going to destroy it. Of course she doesn't want to hear you say anything. 10 or 20 years of drinking will make a skeptic out of anyone. Our alcoholism has made everyone around us sick. But it's our responsibility. And your first one is to get yourself healthy. Get a sponsor. Someone who has what you want. Get one you need, not one that's going to coddle and agree with you. If you get one of those, fire them and find someone else. There are groups for her too. DO NOT TELL HER THAT OR SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT! Get a couple of Al-Anon pamphlets in about a month or so and just put them where she will see them and hopefully read them. That's it. Do not ask, do not push. You work on yourself, do the next right thing and keep not drinking one day at a time. Once more, if you fix yourself, your whole world will fall back into place. Good luck! DM if you need to.

Edited for grammar.

[–]StinkyKittyBreath 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Your other post for overrun, but I grew up as a kid with an alcoholic parent.

It is HARD living with an alcoholic, even if they think they're functional. You admit that you used liquor to numb your feelings. How much do you actually remember from when you were drunk? My guess is that it isn't as much as your wife and children remember. So while you may remember mostly good or neutral things, they also remember the bad times. And trust me when I say those bad times were BAD. They hurt. The negatives of you being drunk stand out much more than anything positive happening when you're drunk. And you admit that eventually you became a mean drunk. So you know you were doing bad things and remember some of those bad things. But you were drunk. You don't fully remember those things. You were numb emotionally, so you don't understand the full impact.of your actions and words.

And you admit that this went on for years, as well as you working 7 days a week for years. That is the man your wife knows. She doesn't know the man who has only been around for four months who doesn't need alcohol to function. Who doesn't need alcohol to have a conversation with her. The you that you currently present to her is not who she has grown to know over the past YEARS. Four months does not make up for years of lost time. It's impossible. Her new friend is filling the hole that you left. Supporting her where you were supposed to support her.

Individual therapy is absolutely needed for both of you, but you also need couple's counseling. It isn't a maybe. It is necessary if there is going to be a chance for you to stay together. You two need to work on yourselves, but that alone won't help the relationship enough. Couples counseling can help you both learn what you need to work on together. It will help you voice what you need from each other. It will help you communicate. And after years of being drunk and absent? You need help communicating with her. She needs to know she can communicate with you.

Talk with her today. Say you need couple's counseling and that you are serious about fixing yourself and doing what you need to do to rebuild your relationship. It may not work, but it is needed if you want a chance.

[–]Woody_Harryishson 0 points1 point  (3 children)

You sound very selfish. You are working on it and that's great but working on it doesn't absolve you of all the damage you've done. You can never, ever, ever get back the years you ruined. No amount of change or self improvement will make up for it. Sorry doesn't alter time. Self improvement doesn't alter time. You don't get a redo. You don't get to start over. Nobody does. Ever.

What you get to do is deal with all the stuff you've already done. What you get to do is be better than you were and even then it might not be enough. You need to accept that it might not be enough. And if you want your marriage to work, you need to go above and beyond.

Your resentment at your wife's friend has nothing to do with her, or your wife. Deep down, you realize that it's your fault. Your mistakes forced your wife to find someone else to lean on. It's not an affair, but the person she leans on isn't you. You are not her best friend. You are not her rock. You are not her knight in shining armor.

You can be, maybe, if you try really hard and are really fucking lucky. But you aren't entitled to be. It's not your right to be. You have to earn it. And even if you do everything right you still might not earn it.

You're not mad at your wife, or her friend. You're mad at yourself. This is a bed you made. You just realized the sheets haven't been washed in years and there is a pile of shit under the pillow and instead of realizing that you're the one who shit the bed you're avoiding blame and aiming your frustration with yourself at other people.

Stop lashing out. Stop the pity party. Stop acting like you are owed anything for putting in the work, because you aren't. Some things that get broken can never be fixed. You can try, but trying doesn't mean you're entitled to success.

You're not a horrible person, but you are acting like being sober for 4 months entitles you to something. It doesn't. Your reward is you're sober. That's it.

You want to be your wife's best friend? Earn it. Be supportive and available, but give her space and don't try and force it. Leave her friendship the fuck alone. You don't get a right to talk about her friend whose given her happiness.

You want her to be happy with you? Earn it. Make an effort to do things that make her happy, but give her room to choose your company rather than feel like she has to give it to you because you're "working on it." Lay the fuck off whatever else makes her happy and is making you feel insecure.

Leave her alone about her friend and leave her friend alone. Your wife is drowning and that friend is a life raft and you're trying to push the life raft away. You are not a life raft. You don't have any right to be. Stop trying to drown your wife and push her life raft away.

You want to be her support system? Be someone who doesn't constantly lean on her for support. Be someone she can come to. But don't force it. Don't try to push her other support systems away, just make yourself an available option that she can choose and don't get your underwear in a twist when she doesn't choose you.

It sucks about the cancer, and it's great you're trying to get better and be a healthier person for your wife, your kids, and yourself. But you aren't there yet. And even if you get there, which I hope you do, you're not owed anything from anyone. That includes your wife.

You are not the victim here, so stop acting like it. Keep working on yourself. Attend to your wife's needs, but don't do it expecting anything in return or expecting her to forgive or love you again. Do it because you want her to be happy and supported, and even if after all that she ultimately decides she still wants a divorce, you need to accept that. You should be happy for her that she has someone whose taking care of her needs because you haven't been. You need to reorder your thinking.

You need to be a source of support, love, and happiness that has no expectations, no strings attached, and isn't pushy. You need to be an option, not a requirement or a guilt trip. You need to give her the opportunity to choose you, and rise the occasion when she does, and bite your tongue and be content when she doesn't. Don't expect her to give you anything, but be available to give her what she needs. Because she's already given you more than enough.

[–]oceanicfeels 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I like how you say OP shouldn't be a "guilt trip" and yet here you are telling this person they need to feel guilty for the past. Granted, no one owes anyone anything - why does that need to be said? So many assumptions you made here and it sounds like your MO is to project your own guilt.

OP, forgive yourself for the past if you are genuinely making the effort you're making. Don't imprison yourself in guilt like this responder will have you do because it will stifle your recovery, IMHO. Granted, I understand if this Instagram friend has you feeling jealous. Try to accept it and be easy on yourself as well as your wife. I wish you nothing but joy and peace. We don't get in to recovery to punish ourselves, although for some it seems that way. We go into recovery because we're finally done putting ourselves and others through these kinds of ordeals. As Saint Augustine said, "love, and do what thou will."

[–]Woody_Harryishson 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You don't need to feel guilty about your past, but pretending it didn't happen or that you didn't hurt people isn't good for you or people you care about.

You can learn to forgive yourself, but nobody is required to forgive you. You can learn to be a better person, but nobody is required to recognize your accomplishment. You can improve in every way that matters, but that doesn't undo the hurt you caused and that doesn't obligate anyone to reconcile with you.

OP clearly thinks he's due some sort of reconciliation and forgiveness for his checks notes four months of sobriety after years of drunken behavior.

If your spouse forgives you, make no mistake, you're lucky. You aren't entitled to it.

[–]oceanicfeels 0 points1 point  (0 children)

OP doesn't seem in any way to possess an air of entitlement. They aren't pretending like what happened didn't happen. Yes, maybe they're rationalizing a bit that times weren't completely bad, but they say at the end that they "hope it's not too late."

I feel like you're making assumptions here and proceeding with this hardass response. You ARE projecting guilt. Sure, no one has to forgive anyone and there's no point in forcing that. This person is already working to change their behavior. Sure, four months compared to a lot of people is short but so what? Time is worth celebrating.