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Unread 08-02-2008, 02:45 AM   #1
jerryg
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Default The Letter

Often on this friends and family message board the idea of writing a letter to a loved one. A loved one who is drinking and is not aware of the effect it is having.
How is this advice being taken?

Has anyone written that letter and presented it? Are some of you finding it difficult to start or finish the letter? Are you concerned on how your feelings will effect your message, anger, resentment.

I propose that we begin to talk about the letter.

But I want to assure that it is done safely and thoughtfully.

1. Do not use real names nor identifiable places and situations.
We want to identify with the symptoms of the alcoholic behavior not with personal information.
This way people can express and share ideas safely and without fear.
Here you may take chances and find out what works for you and your situation.

2. When responding to letters be honest but with restraint.
This is a process. Sometimes it's not about "fixing" something and more about having a place to go to vent.

3. We ask that you also be sensitive and temper how you express your anger.
We understand that people will have feelings of anger that will be expressed. Remember the purpose of this letter is not to beat up on the person drinking. And I think it is fair to ask that be the same for this forum.

But hold off on the letters for just now. Let's begin to talk about it.
Let's open up an opportunity to express the experience of living and being affected by destructive drinking behavior in a clear and organized manner.




Clearly the purpose of the letter is to give a clear message that a persons drinking is doing harm.
And the trick is doing it in a helpful, focused, loving but firm manner.
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Unread 08-02-2008, 11:35 AM   #2
Mary Ellen
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I love this idea, Jerry; it's something I think I would like to do for my husband. I am at the point where I feel hopeless and helpless and, though I've 'talked' with my husband (in a one-sided conversation) about his drinking, I always feel that he really doesn't understand what his drinking is doing to me and our son. And, this letter would be a safe way to express myself to him. I would be very happy to work on this - with your guidance.

Thanks. Mary Ellen
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Unread 08-02-2008, 05:47 PM   #3
CASEY
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Jerry,
I think this if a great idea. Talking to someone under the influence is like talking to dry paint!! You get no where.
I hope this is not breaking your rule about letter's. But I just wanted to add that I have written one, and under my Therapist's advice - he wanted me to write it and then leave it alone for a few day's and re-read it. And I have to admit
I had to do alot of re-write's, as my Therapist said " you have to get past your anger ( and there is so much ) and get to the pain and destruction the person's behavoir is causing.
I think this is a great idea, for people with all different situation's . Can get great idea's that will help them.
Casey
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Unread 08-03-2008, 02:36 AM   #4
jerryg
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Casey,
The only real hard and fast rule is regarding confidentiality.
You've got the spirit of the idea.

I just wanted to begin this as a process. To take it easy as people get involved.
We could encounter some powerful stuff, I would not want emotions to get out of hand and lose the value in this exercise.

Sharing your therapist's advice is a great place to start.
And you applied it.
What were some of the changes you made?
Was it difficult?
Share an excerpt if you need to make a point. All insights are welcome.

Mary Ellen,

Thanks for the thumbs up.
Let's see what happens.


------------------------

What are some examples of language that really doesn't help?

And these may be things you have said. Share without guilt or regrets. You may have said some hurtful things but temper that hurt with the present knowledge of a lesson learned.

Or you may look back at those words and you find yourself laughing. Not a mocking laugh but a chuckle of humility. A bittersweet realization.
Or you may have expressed those words and had a "what was I thinking?", moment afterward. D'oh!

Things you might want to say but you have learned you can't.

Jerry








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Unread 08-04-2008, 11:35 AM   #5
Mary Ellen
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Jerry,

Before I begin composing my letter to my husband, I want to ask . . . what is the point of the letter? I will be writing mine for 2 reasons: 1) it will be therapeutic for me. I will be able to get my feelings down on paper which will help me through the rough nights of his drinking and 2) through it, I will be able to tell my husband, in a kind but firm way, what he is doing to me and our son. Is the purpose of writing this letter also some hope that it will open his eyes so that he might consider treatment? Or, am I writing this letter simply for myself?

Mary Ellen
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Unread 08-04-2008, 02:54 PM   #6
jerryg
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Casey
It sounds like you have put a lot of thought and work into this. You are fortunate to be working with a therapist to bounce ideas and get feed back. That is so important. I think of many other folks on this board who don't have that, and that is why I started this thread.
I also notice, if I may say, the passionate quality of your post. As I said, this was a bit of work for you wasn't it?
You mentioned how you avoided directly pointing out the actual behavior. And yet, is there a way to address the behavior as a matter of fact? Not to shame but to shed light where that person may be oblivious.
What is the role of detachment in this process?

Was there any noticeable result or response?

Thanks
Jerry


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Unread 08-04-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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Mary Ellen,

You raise a good point. Are you writing this mostly for yourself?
Often times we may write letters and then not pass them on. I have in the past. And it helped me to make changes in how I dealt with that person.
We want to stay on point but we still need to work at being patient with the process, because there are no guarantees the desired result will be achieved. It sounds like you are taking this seriously and being mindful. Good for you.

Asking "what is the point of the letter" is a key question to ask and the answer is not easily arrived at. You can see that.
I believe in these matters the question has a greater value, rather than the answer. One is best served by allowing the question to be present, otherwise we may seek to "chase the question away" by forcing an answer onto it.
Obviously you want them to stop the drinking behavior but there are so many other human relationship issues to consider.
It's tough learning patience and using effective timing in our actions.
You present good points
Thanks,

Jerry

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Unread 08-05-2008, 01:53 PM   #8
Mary Ellen
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Jerry,

I've composed a draft of a letter. Should I send it via the forum, sharing it with everyone, or can I send it to you separately? It is very personal and heartfelt.

I am approaching this exercise almost as an intervention. I want my husband to know what he is doing to our marriage. I want him to know how his drinking is affecting me. I feel as if I owe him that much. I don't know if it will do any good, but at least, if one day, when I've finally had enough and take our son and leave, he won't wonder what the heck just happened.

Mary Ellen
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Unread 08-05-2008, 03:07 PM   #9
jerryg
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Mary Ellen,

I see no problem posting it. Just make sure you keep it anonymous, maintain confidentiality and discretion.

I'm sure it will be welcome.
And helpful.
Thanks
Jerry
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Unread 08-06-2008, 01:57 PM   #10
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Jerry,
I realize how blessed I am to have my Therapist ( took along time to find the right one) But I know there are so many who cannot afford one .
You asked about directly pointing out their behavior. The reason I said I had to do so many re-write's is because I was putting so much anger in my letter pointing out what he was doing, and I realized that will not help , he will just put up more fence's and excuse's. So how I did it is , I did tell him what he was doing , but instead of a mad way ( which believe me I was ) I decided that I would tell him what he has done to me and how his action's are causing pain to me.
The line that really struck him ( and he is really not a talker about his past, which was very violent and judgemental). His father was quite horrible to him and of course he hold's anger at his mother for not helping him.
The line was " I will no longer be your " VICTIM"!!" that really shocked him, he could not believe that , that is how I see his action's.
I did tell him what he has done, and how I am scared to death to get the call that either he is dead or he has taken someone's life, and that would not just affect him , it would affect me. I would feel horrible , and have to live with the fact that he hurt someone innocent.
The main thing I was taught about the letter, which is really important ; is first , write it ( but hold on to it for awhile) re-read and you will be amazed at the change's you will need to make. Also I told him I will not accept any verbal abuse from him and I will not cover for him.
He is a Grown Man, and he need's to start looking at his life.
I am in no way saying it has changed over night, it won't! But I decided he needed to know some of the thing's he was doing ( because I knew he blacked out on them). He didn't like hearing it , but it did open his eye's , only the future can tell. But I told him I was Verbally Abused in my childhood by a horrible nieghbor and I never told anyone, and I was in no way going to be put through that again. His change's have been small, but it is a start. Jerry you asked if this was a bit of work for me, and it was . It was hard, you never know what the future hold's , but I just could not take it anymore.
And just to repeat one thing; " The best thing I did was leave this letter in his vehicle, so he had to read it and he could not start a fight with me and try to get off the subject."
I don't want anyone to think it is easy, I know it is extremly hard!! But you really have to be selfish and decide how much you can take and if he is at least willing to try! Remember what they are doing is " So Selfish", so why can't we be the same way about how we want to live. Live is too short!!
I hope this was what you meant Jerry, if not feel free to contact me or again take it off the posting , it will not affend me in the least. ONe last thing you asked is " detachment" , you really have to detach all the anger and hurt and get out what you need to say !
I wish everyone luck! My Thought's are with all of you, I do know how hard this is.
Casey
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Unread 08-07-2008, 04:55 PM   #11
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This is an edited version of a letter that was written for a family intervention a year ago. The letters were most effective, but we all worked together with a counselor before we presented our letters, then we had the big meeting. The "wife" is now in treatment and doing well, it has been a long journey, but most of the family/ friends were willing to support the 'wife" and husband so they could work through their issues.


Dear Wife,

It is important that you know how your alcohol misuse and other substance misuse has affected me and what it is doing to to our family and everyone around you who loves and cares about you. This is a very difficult letter to write, but something has to change, we can no longer live like this. I cannot live like this.

In the past year, I have watched you change into a completely different person, I walked into this marriage knowing you a happy person. Now, I see you as a shell of the person I once knew. You do not talk to me, you do the bare minimum with our child, I do not feel any love or affection from you anymore.
I understand you wanted to be there for your mother during her illness, but, she is gone now. We are still here, yet you seem to have checked out completely. I cannot spend the day worried about what I will find when I get home, will you be alive? What if their is an emergency at day care? I cannot rely on you. How can I live like that? I cannot stand by as you hide in our room, spend days in bed, sick from hangovers or you go on a rage about bills, money, you have lost the ability to have a conversation, a normal conversation. You have promised and promised to get help, but always come up with excuses not to. This is not living, it is not fair to me or our child.

I know you love our child, but I know we are damaging him, he asks me questions no child should have to ask , like why is Mommy angry, why is she talking like that? When you are locked in the room, he asks why you are sick, take Mommy to the doctor, so she will feel better. I come home from work and have to be both parents, for his sake. How do you think he feels when you say things like-"you take care of him" that is cold and not like you at all.

I cannot remember the last time you laughed, what mood you will be in when I get home. The worst thing is when our child sees you sick or in bed all of the time and asks me if you are going to die like Grandma and go away forever. I will not put him through this. This is where I draw the line.

I feel like we are not married, I am your caretaker, I want to be your husband, not a nurse. I have let it go, thinking you will get better, but it has become worse, you know that you need help. I cannot make you better and we cannot go on like this. I love you, I know I am not perfect and I will do what I need to do for myself. You have an opportunity to get help, you have my support with this, I hope for our sake you will make the decision to get professional help. If you choose to do it we will support you, if you choose not to then we will explore other options, but I will not continue living like this.

I need you to know how I feel, what your disease and behavior is doing to us, to me. I love you, but I have reached my limit, something has got to change, now.

Love, Husband
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Unread 08-08-2008, 05:00 AM   #12
jerryg
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Casey,

Thanks for sharing the work you put into the letter. I hope others are able to identify, and find their own words.
Having a realistic attitude is really helpful.
Will it work? You won't know if you don't give it a true effort.
I would hope there was some change, but if not I hope you found a personal value and insight through your work.
And of course your words posted could give others some hope.
Thanks, and keep posting.
Jerry
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Unread 08-08-2008, 05:03 AM   #13
jerryg
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CarlyO,

What a great example. It speaks for itself.
How long did you all work on it?
Was it difficult getting everyone on the same page?
Thank you very much.
Jerry
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Unread 08-10-2008, 08:16 PM   #14
CASEY
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jerryg,

I did get some change in him but more important it helped me. I decided he needed to know how I feel , whether he wanted to or not. The reason I left it in his truck , is because when he leave's for work, he cannot try to twist my word's.
The change's are slow, but more important , I FEEL BETTER!!
It was like a huge wieght off my chest. And it did wonder's for me , and that in my eye's that is what mattered the most!!

I think your letter idea is great and it will give people an idea what to write, and they really should do it for their own well-being! They too will be amazed at the wieght that is lifted from them, and the release of all the built up stress & anger ( THEY WILL BE AMAZED AT HOW ANGRY THEY ARE!) That is why they should write the letter, leave it alone for a couple day's and go back and re-read. Because you want to make your point clearly,and not let them think you are attacking them , they are very good at being the VICTIM"S, let them be alone when they read it,and let it sink in, otherwise you will be in a fight where they try to turn it on you, and you know that is wrong, don't give them the chance, I didn't even pick-up the phone that day-let machine answer it! Again I hate to repeat myself-but if you take there call it will just end up in a he said she said & you get nowhere fast.
And please DO NOT EXPECT RESULT'S OVERNIGHT!! It took them time to get were they are, and recovery is a life-long battle, for both of you!
but for once put yourself first! And your children if you have them.
I wish you all well, any question's feel free to ask me a specific question! Again Jerry I think this is a great idea!!
Casy
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Unread 08-10-2008, 09:35 PM   #15
jerryg
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Casey,
There is some great insight in your post. Learning from a difficult experience, and putting the lessons to use.
Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Thanks

I hope folks reading here chime in with heir questions and stories.
How is your message getting across? How are you delivering it?
Where do you start?
Carry on,
Jerry

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Unread 08-11-2008, 10:50 AM   #16
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Hi jerry,
About the letters, The husband had been seeing the wife's counselor on his own, wife had stopped attempts at counseling, so wife agreed to 1 appointment, unbeknownst to her we had worked with the counselor for 2 Saturdays in a row. the group included - husb. , 2 friends and me, one of the sisters.
Wife had had many years in a program prior to a relapse in 2006, so the family and friends were very comfortable in Al-Anon and counseling.

It was a powerful day, it is one thing to put pen to paper, very cathartic, but to actually take turns reading the letters in a safe environment, was life changing. Wife did not feel attacked - only Loved, and within a week was in a program. But again- wife had had many years without drinking alcohol, so she knew a bit of what to expect.

Carly : )

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Unread 08-11-2008, 01:32 PM   #17
Mary Ellen
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Jerry and others,

I am still working on my letter; I ran the idea past my counselor and she thought it was a great idea. As soon as I get a good version together, I will post it.

Mary Ellen
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Unread 08-11-2008, 07:36 PM   #18
jerryg
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Carly,

I think your shows that this process can involve a bit of planning and work. But I am glad to here there were positive results. And like we all know, there are no guarantees.
As always, thanks for the input.

Jerry
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Unread 08-11-2008, 07:37 PM   #19
jerryg
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Mary Ellen,

We look forward to your letter.
Carry on,
Jerry
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Unread 08-13-2008, 05:21 PM   #20
Mary Ellen
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Here is a draft of the letter I have written to my husband. Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent *. I would love to have anyone comment and make suggestions. I am particularly interested in whether I have said things that will make him angry and not want to read the whole letter.


Thanks. Mary Ellen

To my husband,

I am writing this letter because I love you deeply and passionately. You have been the love of my life for nearly 25 years. You were so shy and so handsome the first time I saw you that I fell in love with you immediately. For almost 25 years, we have been in love, have made love with incredible joy and passion, and together have begun to weather the trials of growing older.

But now, our life together has become strained and painful for me because alcohol has grabbed you by the balls and is wrenching you away from me. I am losing my husband to booze and there is nothing I can do about it. On Mondays, the first and worst day of the ordeal begins. I worry all week about you driving home. Is this the night you will be stopped by the police and end up in jail? Is this the night you will run your car into a tree? Is this the night you will run into another vehicle carrying a family? You arrive home drunk, perhaps drink more, and then fall asleep on the sofa. You pretty much remain in that state the rest of the evening. You are often angry, you barely interact with us, and, the next day, you often don't remember anything you've said or done. This continues the rest of the week and by that time, my nerves are shot and I've had countless panic attacks. I worry about what will happen to us financially if we lose our car insurance and I worry what will happen to you if you hurt someone. I worry about you going to jail and I worry about what this is doing to our son. I worry constantly about how long you are going to live. Fortunately, you usually don't drink on the weekends so I get a glimpse of the man I married. While I am happy to have you back, this also makes me realize how much I miss you and need you.

The pain of watching you drink yourself to death has become almost unbearable for me. You have become a shadow of yourself and your health is quickly deteriorating. You are covered with open sores, have several lumps around your neck, and often suffer from severe muscle pains. You barely eat and you barely sleep.

Joe*, I want you back. I need you and our son needs you. I am begging you to get some help so that you can stop drinking. There is a very good outpatient program in town that is tailored to your daily routine. You can live at home and go to work as usual, participating in the program in the evenings and on weekends.

If you choose to stop drinking, I will do whatever you need me to do. I am there for you 100%. If, however, you continue to drink, our relationship will continue to deteriorate to the point where it is no longer salvageable. I cannot save your life and I cannot save our marriage. I can only save myself and my son from the pain of watching you slowly kill yourself.

I am writing this letter because I need to let you know how I feel and where I stand in regards to our relationship. Whether or not we talk about this letter and this situation is up to you. I will not bring it up, but I will definitely talk about it if you initiate the conversation.

Joe*, I don't want to live without you but I cannot continue to live like this.


Mary Ellen
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Unread 08-13-2008, 05:31 PM   #21
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Wow - Mary Ellen, This is powerful, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, I think you expressed yourself, your fears, and your Love and support for him in a very eloquent way. I hope and pray he will be able to realize what his drinking is doing and makes a decision to get help.

I really hate this disease and what it does to families, but I have to believe that there is always hope and you sound like you still love him deeply, I pray this will be the catalyst that he needs to at least look at his drinking and consider help.
I hope everything works out, sending good thoughts your way. I think it is an incredibly moving letter and thank you for sharing it . Take care - carly.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 06:47 PM   #22
jerryg
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Mary Ellen,

Wow, what a message. The drinking behavior and losses are so painful.
That's a good letter. I am so glad you posted it.
Have you shared it with any friends or family who are aware of the problem?
If so what did they think?
I don't think there is anything I would point out to change, though as a writer, I always consider a rewrite.
One exception I'll make is around this statement.... "If you choose to stop drinking, I will do whatever you need me to do. I am there for you 100%."
Leave out the part about 100%, that's a hard promise to make, and keep. By omitting it doesn't mean you are not committed but it just potentially paints you in a corner. And rather than saying... "I will do whatever you need me to do"..., why not just say "I will help."
I hope that makes sense.
Still, this is your letter and you know the situation better that I do.
Let's hope the message finds its mark, and begins to turn your man around.
Thank you so much, I hope it inspires others reading here who are weighing the decision to do the same.
All the best.
Jerry
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Unread 08-13-2008, 09:18 PM   #23
CASEY
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Hi Mary Ellen,
I agree with Jerry on the 100% being there. I think your letter is really good,
You tell him you are suffering from panic attack's ( very common ). Have you thought of telling him of all the stress this is putting on you and it is not good for YOUR health.( they don't get how much we worry , especially when they are driving!) That is one of the part's I have learned that they don't realize how we worry , and everytime the phone rang for me - my stomach would drop and I would think " Oh, God what has happened" . I finally got tired of sitting up waiting to make sure he is home safe, it take's so much out of all of us who are dealing with and addict!
Just another little suggestion, if you do give it to him telling him you will help him but no longer live this way, just make sure you are prepared to do that.
He will just assume that you are just threatning him to change and he could turn this around on you.
Just something's to think about.
Otherwise I really think you letter is good.
You will be amazed at the wieght lifted off of your shoulder's when you give this to him.
Just try not to be there when he read's it or is under the influence! He again will turn that on you! The addicted person get's very defensive and will say and do mean thing's and then of course they don't remember it in the morning and wonder why you are so mad at them.
I wish you the best of luck!!
Casey
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Unread 08-14-2008, 12:41 PM   #24
Mary Ellen
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Thanks for everyone's comments and suggestions. I will change my claim of being there for him 100% and doing whatever he needs to something like "I am there for you." That suggestion makes much sense.
In the letter, I purposely didn't make any real threats. I told him I couldn't continue to live this way but I also didn't say I would leave. I wanted to make an implication but not a threat. I am not ready to leave or to ask him to leave.
I hope that doesn't dilute the power of my letter.

I plan on leaving it in his truck one evening, after we are all locked up and ready to call it a night. During his lunch hour, he typically parks at the river to eat so I thought I would leave it in an envelope in the truck with something like 'to be read by the river' on the front. In any case, he won't see it until he gets into his truck at 5:30 the next morning to go to work.

I plan on showing the letter to my counselor and I might show it to his sister. I'll alert you all when I am ready to leave it for him.

Thanks again. Mary Ellen
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Unread 08-14-2008, 03:47 PM   #25
CASEY
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Mary Ellen,
I think you are doing a great job. My one concern is why don't you just show it to your counselor and ask about showing it to his sister. When you involve family it can really get ugly. They tend to take side's and In my opinion this is something between you, your husband and your counselor.
Let us know what the counselor say's. I know my Therapist told me to keep it betwen me,him and my therapist.
Good Luck!!
Casey
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Unread 08-16-2008, 12:15 PM   #26
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Wow Mary Ellen,

Like everyone else has said, your letter is powerful and right on target. And those few little "tweaks" that Jerry suggested make perfect sense. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I'm interested to hear what kind of input your counselor has. If it's not too personal, I hope you can share that with us also. I know this is helping me and probably countless other silent readers.

If nothing else, I'm sure this helped to relieve some of that pressure that is building daily. Hopefully now you can take it to the next level, present it to him and it will serve as a catalyst for change. I just know you're on the right track...maybe soon it will start paying off. Good luck and keeps us updated.

Take care,
Glennda
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Unread 08-19-2008, 12:19 PM   #27
CASEY
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Hi Mary Ellen,
I was just wondering how you are doing?? Please let us know, we CARE!!
Casey
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Unread 09-03-2008, 09:59 PM   #28
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Mary Ellen,
How are things going?
Jerry
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Unread 09-04-2008, 12:57 PM   #29
Mary Ellen
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Things are the same. Thank you all for asking. I've not given my husband the letter yet. I've rewritten it several times and have shown it to my counselor. I do plan on giving him the letter tomorrow, though. I'll sneak out after dark and leave it in his truck. He can read it at lunch time. Things actually hadn't been too bad but last night, my husband made up for lost time. He was falling down drunk in front of our son and looking for a fight. I took my son to our bed and locked the bedroom door. I was waiting to give my husband the letter until the time was right. It's right now. I will let you all know how he responds; if he responds. He might just choose to ignore it but, that in itself, tells me something.

Mary Ellen
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Unread 09-04-2008, 07:39 PM   #30
CASEY
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Mary Ellen,

I am so glad you are putting the note in his truck, that way he has no choice but to deal with what you have to say. Don't be surprised if he does not talk about it, and don't bring it up. This has to sink into him
You can say something of course if he bring's it up! Just don't let him use blame, they are Master's at that!!
I think it is good that you waited and re-wrote your letter, it can take a few draft's , because it is amazing how anger can come out when in reality you are hurting.

I Wish You Luck, let us know what happen's.

Casey

Last edited by CASEY; 09-04-2008 at 07:41 PM.. Reason: needed to add something
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Unread 09-06-2008, 12:23 PM   #31
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Mary Ellen,

So things were going well for a while and then it starts again. *sigh*

I guess you'll just have to give it to him and see what happens.

Nice to hear from you.
Jerry
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Unread 09-06-2008, 01:49 PM   #32
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Mary Ellen,

Congradulation's on putting your letter in his truck,( That is a Huge Step to Take!) that way you are not there and he can't blame you, which of course he would. Then you would have a fighting match-and that is not what you want.
Be prepared that he may be angry with this letter and try to blame you.
If you can get out of the house , just go for a ride or to a store, but don't be there to be his emotional punching bag.
Addict's never really think they are hurting anyone, so when they read it , it truly does surprise's them. Because addict's are very selfish with their addiction!
But he has to start taking responsibilty for what he is doing to you.
You have the hardest part in my opinion because , you love this person , but the stress and emotional abuse can just get to be too much. And it will affect your health.
I really hope you find a way to start helping yourself. They do not want to admit that they are causing so much pain. But I am sure it keep's you up at night worring when he is coming home and in what condition.
You really have to realize that " YOU MATTER!" , keep saying that to yourself, because when he does decide to get help, he is going to have to use that selfishness in Recovery, because an addict has to realize "why" they are doing this and alot do not want to talk about it, so they think by drinking or using something else help's them forget, sadly it make's matter's worse.
Please let us know how you are doing, and I wish you luck!
Casey
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Unread 09-10-2008, 04:46 PM   #33
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I put my letter in my husband's truck last Friday. So far, he has not said a word about it. On Friday, he came home from work after drinking and was just as sweet as he could be, until he started to sober up. Then he started to make snide comments about me watching too much Dr. Phil (which I don't; I work during the day) and he couldn't close any door in the house without slamming it- even the refrigerator door. So, I came to the conclusion that he read my letter and it pissed him off (I couldn't care less about that). He went out after work on Monday and I am guessing he is in the bar as I write. My goal for the letter really wasn't to change his behavior. I am not naive enough to think that reading one letter from me is going to change anything. What the letter did, however, was to let him know how I feel about his drinking. It allowed me to 'draw my line in the sand'. Now, if I kick him out or take my son and leave, he will know why. And I know that I have given this my best shot and that there is nothing else I can do to help him. I finally feel that I can put this all in God's hands and do what I need to do to detach myself from my husband. I will live my life the best that I can and when I am ready, I will tell my husband that he must leave. We've been together for almost 25 years and the sadness of all of this is almost too much to bear at times. But, I have accepted that this is the way it is. My husband is an alcoholic and there is a good chance that our marriage will not survive. There was nothing I did to cause it and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I can only take care of myself and my son. I can't predict the future but I do know that I will not live the rest of my life in this hell.

Thank you all for your support. Mary Ellen
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Unread 09-10-2008, 07:26 PM   #34
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Hi Mary Ellen,

It sound's like the letter did for you what it should. It helped you and that is what truly matter's. You have to remember that you matter and
your worth more than just accepting how it is , you told him how you feel now the ball is in his court. There is nothing you can make someone do, but hopefully a little part of the letter got to him, it may have or may not.
But it sound's like it has helped you alot and that is Great!!

I wish you the Best Of Luck!
Casey
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Unread 09-10-2008, 08:50 PM   #35
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Mary Ellen

I feel your pain and disappointment. I just wanted you to know that.

Hope only lasts for so long and then you have to practice realism. You have to be realistic for your own sanity.

You're in my thoughts.

SLynn
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Unread 09-13-2008, 04:03 PM   #36
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Mary Ellen,
You have sent your message. Good.
He is probably acting as expected, but things may change. Hold fast to the boundaries you have set. It may be painful, but you are seeing the value in caring for yourself and your son. I am really glad you have shared this process with the board, it may be helpful to someone else in a similar situation.
Hoping things get better,
Jerry
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Unread 09-15-2008, 01:55 PM   #37
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Hi Mary Ellen

Any updates on your husband and the letter?

I hope you are doing well.

SLynn
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Unread 09-16-2008, 02:47 PM   #38
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He hasn't said a word about the letter and he is still getting drunk. He even toppled over in the kitchen yesterday. He claimed he simply lost his balance but I know differently. I went against all the rules and started a fight with him after that, asking him to leave. He started to pull things out of his dresser and I lost my nerve. I told him that I didn't want him to leave, that I just wanted him to stop drinking. I asked him if he thought he was an alcoholic and he said "well, you think I am so I must be" very sarcastically. I asked him again for a straight answer. He said he didn't think he has a problem. Surprise, surprise. I thought I had come such a long way since I started dealing with this thing. I've been to counseling and to alanon meetings and thought I was handling this well. Then, I caved; I couldn't follow through. God, how I wish this would all just stop! I feel as if I am buried in cement up to my neck. Does anyone have answers?

Mary Ellen
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Unread 09-17-2008, 06:08 PM   #39
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Mary Ellen,

I am saddened to hear about your situation.
Don't be too hard on yourself, you don't have to be perfect.
You're doing the best you can.
And yet, what have you learned as you look back on the interaction?

All the best,
Jerry
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Unread 09-17-2008, 08:31 PM   #40
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Very good point, Jerry. Even though we don't handle the situation as perfectly as we'd like, we can still learn from the encounter.

Does that mean it will automatically change the next time.......no. Not IMO. We're all human. The way you handle a situation can change on an hour to hour basis so don't beat yourself up too much. You have to do what feels right at the time even if you see it as 'wrong' at a later time.

'It' will happen when it's meant to happen. Whatever 'it' is....it is what it is. Perhaps you'll follow through if (when) it happens again. To me, that means the time was right.

Mary Ellen, I know it hurts. I know you're drowning and feel like there's no place to turn. Do I have answers? No. I wish I did.

As Jerry said, don't be hard on yourself. Each day we do the best we can.

SLynn
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