I’m not an alcoholic nor do I have any addiction issues. However I’m cursed with a lot of personal experience with alcoholics/addicts as well as blessed with having worked with recovering alcoholics/addicts. This has give me a strong view on how their mind works.
Many differentiate between alcoholics and functioning alcoholics. I don’t agree with that. I’m of the line-of-thought that alcoholism (add addiction here) can really only end in one of two ways: recovery or death. Even a "functioning" alcoholic will eventually wreck his liver, fall asleep at the wheel, get diabetes, get stabbed at a bar… whatever. It’s not as if alcohol poisoning eventually gets them but the lifestyle catches up on them. A functioning alcoholic is simply someone that hasn’t yet been fired for taking a four hour lunch and coming back reeking of booze, or hasn’t yet been reported to CS for picking up jr at child-care smelling like a tavern. The differentiation is more correct as an active alcoholic an inactive alcoholic and a RECOVERING alcoholic.
The difference? Active is self-explanatory. Inactive is someone that quit drinking and is hanging dry on willpower alone. Nearly 100% guaranteed they will fail. Then there is the recovering. He’s the one going to 100 AA meetings in 100 days, the one that arrives early every third meeting to make the coffee, the one that talks to his sponsor, does the 12 steps… the one that avoids drinking buddies, bars and even events where he might encounter booze. He’s also the one that after the initial steps might ease up, but will still do AA meetings 1-2 a month, still do 12 steps every 3-4 years, might be fine with booze in his environment but will have the sense to leave if he’s tempted…
Your husband isn’t one of the latter group. He’s an active alcoholic.
For him there is NOTHING – NOTHING – NOTHING more important than his buzz. Am I clear enough with the nothing?
This is why alcoholic parents drive with their kids in the car. Why they risk losing their jobs to have a sip. Why they risk their lives, vehicles, insurance rates, health, sanity… EVERYTHING because they need a sip of rye.
In my mind there is NOTHING an active alcoholic will allow to come between himself and his ability to drink.
In fact – I sometimes think an alcoholic will have an affair or be in an affair simply to have the spouse focus on something other than sobriety. "You let me have my vodka and I will stay away from Wanda" sort-of-mentality.
If you look into AA and 12 step – a successful sobriety platform – then the 12 steps is based on brutal self-evaluation and honesty. It’s based on learning to accept your shortcomings and working on them. There really is no way anyone can accept a shortcoming as serious as infidelity and think they can remain sober while that’s not dealt with. In fact I don’t know of a single marriage where the infidelity started in rehab that has survived… That is unless the WS commits to sobriety.
If you want this marriage then this is what I would suggest:
First of all recognize, realize and accept it’s not in your hands. What is in your hands is what you are willing to accept. Because of that you need to accept that if he doesn’t meet your criteria then MAYBE this marriage is over. Therefore it makes sense to understand what the divorce process might be.
Then I suggest you accept that without sobriety there is no future.
Focus on sobriety over infidelity or infidelity recovery. I’m NOT suggesting you let him have his affair, but rather that you prioritize the process.
"Husband – I need you sober if we are to work on the marriage. I’m not willing to share you with another woman, nor am I willing to compete with alcohol. If you want this marriage you need to work on your sobriety first and foremost before we can work on our marriage.
Its your call if you want to remain in contact with AP, but realize that just like the drinking then any contact erodes whatever belief or want I have to reconcile. I suggest you focus on your sobriety with a program like AA, and when you have been sober for some time we can work on the infidelity and recovering our marriage.
I’m not forcing you to do any of this. You can go drink all you want, lie about AA and sobriety and meet any woman you want. Only you won’t be doing so as my husband."