So lost I can’t even find myself!

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  • #52144 Report


    Hi, I’m completely new to this.

    To be honest I’m not sure where to start so I’ll just share what’s happening to me. (Sorry it’s long)

    I’m separating from my partner of 14yrs we have 2 children, she’s a recovering alcoholic and has recently returned from rehab, fortunately being on furlough I was able to look after our girls for the month she was away.

    Prior to rehab and partially due to lockdown her drinking had become so bad she was practically bed bound (or sofa), ultimately she ended up in hospital and even before that point it was clear she needed professional care. Between her, myself, and my mother we created the funds and the platform for her to go to residential rehabilitation.

    Upon her return things were strange and about a week later she told me she’d met someone in rehab, sees things differently now, and our relationship is not even worth a go so I’m surplus to requirement, obviously this is brand new and horribly shocking to me and the kids. Our relationship may have had it’s problems but 99% of those we’re down to her alcoholism, I’m completely gutted that we don’t even get the the chance to move forward now she’s sober. Going to rehab was supposed to make her well and all our lives better, not destroy our lil family.

    The children are besides themselves and they’re displaying a lot of anger towards her, they think she should leave and they’ve already expressed their desire to live with me which leads me to the next part of my living nightmare.

    She’s in so much debt with the cost of rehab, and is reliant on the DLA and other benefits she receives that there’s no chance of her moving on anytime soon (if she just leaves she’ll have no income) plus the tenancy is in her name so the kids and I are completely relying on her doing the right thing and signing it over to me which she has said she’ll do, unsurprisingly my trust levels are very low right now.

    I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I’m back at work now but barely able to do my job, I spend every minute of every day catastrophizing about what will happen, I look back and feel nothing but sorrow and resentment for the sacrifices I’ve made over the years and for what? She was always quite controlling and over the years I’ve lost almost all my friends and my interests, even my identity. I’ve been so institutionalised by our relationship I don’t remember who I was :'(


    Thanks for listening.

    #52148 Report


    Hello Dat79,

    unfortunately this kind of development is not uncommon for people in stationary rehab. It happens. You have every right to be angry as she has obviously not taken up her part of the “contract”. You are treated badly, and I can feel your frustration and disappointment. The same goes for your children. And rightfully so. But this is an emergency and you really need to think out of the box if you don’t want to end up in a vicious cycle and become more of a co-alcohlic than you already are. There is only one road for you to take. All thy energy you have put into your wife needs to go into your children’s and your own wellbeing now. Make a plan for a living without her and build a life for you and your children on your own. You don’t need to take any prisoners, just leave behind what is left at the moment and start something new for yourself. If she ever comes round, is still sober and wants back in, you can decide what is the best then but at the moment you need to cut loose. Look for a house, move out as quickly as you can and take the children with you. Even if it is smaller, your life more uncomfortable, at first glance. this is your best bet.

    She has taken the back door. You have to wait if she will make it back through the front. Chances are high, she won’t and will relapse. By then you need to be miles away. In the best interest of yourself and your children.

    #52157 Report


    Hi , my ex is also an alcoholic. He had an affair and moved on and is now drinking more than ever. I am sure part of it is that the new relationship at least initially was much more conducive to his drinking. I however had 13 years of the alcoholic cycle with him promising to change after something bad happened then a good week or two then over the next couple of months back to you the overt drinking and another mess up. And repeat.

    I hate to say it but my advice is the same as sirtobi. You need to look after yourself and your children. Plan a life without her being involved. Even if this affair doesn’t go any further it will happen again. Look at what help you can get and look at childcare without her. It may not come to no involvement from her but you need to know what you will do if / when she starts drinking again and is unable to look after the kids. You may find you get benefits and help with childcare costs. Do you have family who can help? My ex moved 4 hours away to be with his affair partner and sees the kids every couple of months for a weekend . I deal with all childcare etc and am the sane patent ( Google chump lady blog).

    It is so difficult to be in a relationship with an alcoholic or drugs abuser. My experience is no matter what they say you always come second to the addiction. So if the relationship is not acceptable to you please, look at your exit strategy now. At least if you have a plan in place you won’t feel so powerless.

    As someone out the other side it does get better. There are a lot worse things than being a single parent. Think of what you would say to a friend if they were in your current situation. Would you advise them to stay?


    #52224 Report


    Thank you both so much (sirtobi and ishtar) you’ve really made a difference, I feel so much more self worth, and I can see a pathway out of this mess regardless of whether she signs the tenancy or not, only a few life/job changes and my girls get to spend the foreseeable with me.

    So glad I reached out, gingerbread and it’s kind user’s are great

    Thanks so much 🙂

    #52232 Report


    Hi Dat79

    I’m a recovering alcoholic, and also went into rehab. It was well before I had kids. I’ve been sober about 12 years now, so it can work.

    It’s advised not to get into any relationships when in recovery for a good couple of years.

    Sounds like she’s still trying to use external things to fix herself, in this case, another man. It’s also advised to put any existing relationships on hold to try and get you to solve your problems yourself, and not reach for other people to do it for you (codependancy, reliance).

    It doesn’t sound like she’s taking any of the teachings seriously, and unfortunately I’ve seen many do exactly the same, and end up in very toxic relationships.

    Keep you and the kids safe, I can’t offer any advice from a legal standpoint. But I’d like to think that any court wouldn’t allow unsupervised visitation with a woman that had embarked on a relationship with a drink or drug addict that they’ve only known for 5 minutes from a rehab. Behaviours don’t change unless you change them, and I don’t think either of them are trying to change anything at all. You’ve no idea of the guys history, and I would have to say, she/they will be drinking again pretty quickly, one does, the other follows.

    I’d speak to a solicitor about what you can do to safeguard the kids.

    If you want to chat, give me a shout.

    #52347 Report


    Hi Dat79,

    I haven’t been on Gingerbread for several years now and came on to find some advice. Your post was the first I read however, and it has brought tears to my eyes. My story is a long one that started over 15 years ago and took a turn for the worse 10 years ago. I have no desire to repeat it suffice to say my wife was also an alcoholic and whilst circumstances may be slightly different I recognise most of what you are going through.

    I can’t add much to what Sirtobi and Ishtar said. But do seek as much help as you can from family, friends and wherever you can but do everything you can to protect your daughters and yourself. Children (teenagers?) can be remarkably resilient given the right support but the bitterness they harbour towards your wife may be long lasting and they may say some shocking things about her, I found it best to listen to them but not necessarily agree or disagree with them. I encouraged, but didn’t force, contact (she was not allowed unsupervised contact) between them and that wasn’t easy.

    The advice I was seeking? 10 years on my children are both at uni and I’m looking at moving in with my partner of three years and her two teenagers, it feels right, but being a single parent for 10 years I’m as nervous as hell! Things will turn around for you as they did for me, but it will take time and perseverance. I’ll never forget the times I cried in the shower feeling I was in a hopeless situation but I haven’t done that for a long time now.

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