I don’t know what to do….



My husband has been away since April 18th.  He went to see his 98 year old father, check on his health and attempt to get him to understand that it is no longer safe for him to drive.  For some reason, the state of NY allowed him to renew his drivers license for an absurd amount of time, and it doesn’t expire until 2017, at which time he will be 102 years old.  If he is still alive, and moving around, he will still think he belongs behind the wheel of a car.  Stubborn, selfish man.

My husband and I have been in a really rough patch of late.  He retired, my college age son moved back in with us after graduation, is under employed, and I quit drinking.  Life has been stressful, to say the least.

I feel the majority of the stress comes from my husband.

Prior to retirement, he was depressed that he felt he still HAD to work.  He is a cardiologist, and his job was very stressful.  Since retirement, he has been depressed because he feels as if he has no value any more.  He is upset, stressed and depressed that my son is living with us while searching for a job.  He is depressed because he feels that he suddenly got OLD.  He is stressed over the situation with his father, and trying to manage it while living 1700 miles away.

His biggest stress and depression comes from money.  Not having enough money, setting up living trusts, changing his will to take people out, put people in, and the constant monitoring of the stock market.  A lot of his daily mood is tied to the NASDAQ.   He lives his life in the past, I shoulda, I coulda, if only I woulda.  Ebeneezer Scrooge does not hold a candle to this man.

He allows the situation with my son living here to ruin any given day, for no apparent reason.  My son realizes how my husband feels and makes every effort to stay out of his way.  The situation is temporary, but we have no end in sight.  I am not happy about it either, but he is my child, and I love him.

I am walking on egg shells constantly.  I am trying to keep peace, meanwhile feeling like I am always sitting in the calm before the storm, or the warm spot in the lake.

In short, my husband is sucking the life out of me with his moods, and the fact that he will not admit to and deal with his depression.  I can not talk to him as he is in denial, and we just go around in circles.  I am at his mercy as he controls the purse strings, and I do not have an income.  (Plus, despite all of the above, I do love him.)

I am working hard at being sober and staying sober.  I am attending meetings, and I have a sponsor.  I am trying to find peace within myself, searching for a higher power and working toward serenity.  I  have done a lot of work on all of this while he has been gone, as it has been easier.  My moods are not on a constant roller coaster depending on what comes out of my husbands mouth, or how miserable he looks when he gets out of bed in the morning.  I am trying to find the wisdom to realize I can not change this.  I feel like I need more time.

My husband comes home tomorrow.

I wish I could say that I am looking forward to this, but I can’t, and I am  not.

I don’t feel that I have had enough time to set a good foundation for realizing I can’t change this situation.  I am a fixer by nature.  I am a middle child, I am a Libra, I have always worked so hard at maintaining balance.  I have done it all my life, it is hard to let go of trying to control things, even though I really have no control.

Intellectually, I have accepted that I can not change him, or our current situation with my son.

Emotionally, I have no idea how to hold onto the wisdom of that and not keep trying to fix everything.

I feel I need more time, more tools, and more practice.

I have 24 more hours.

I don’t know what to do.


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22 thoughts on “I don’t know what to do….

  1. Sigh. That sounds rough. I did the eggshells thing while in China, and it sucked. I don’t have much to offer here besides commiseration. I suppose I could come up with some “setting boundaries” stuff, but it’s so much easier said than done, especially with loved ones. I think my wife might identify with you about certain things. My return from the east has shaken things up a bit in my home, but good communication helps. At any rate, meetings offer a safe space, and remember the words of Tim in Shanghai. Any day that an alcoholic doesn’t drink or use is a howling success! I wish you all the best with this, and hope a spirit of peace and safety come to pervade your home.

  2. That does sound rough. Its difficult enough to maintain sobriety on our own (not that I am an expert at all!) but its really difficult when our loved ones make it more so. My fiance makes it difficult for me with his drinking and denying. I feel your pain and I hope you find some way of not letting his attitude affect you. All the best. Stay strong.

  3. First, go buy yourself some flowers before he comes home 🙂 Stay strong and don’t stop working your program. I wish I had more to offer and I can imagine how hard that is. I am a pleaser and would walk around and try to keep everyone happy but remember you have to be happy too. Is it an option to suggest he stay with his dad for a while since he can watch the stock market from there and keep Dad company?

    • LOL! I suggested that in a super supportive sweet way. He said I want to come home. Not to your son, but I like being at home. I even offered to drive up and stay for a couple of weeks. But it is cold there and in the eighties here.

  4. That’s tough.. very tough. I think the only thing is to remember is that his life is his life, and your sons life is your sons life, and your life is your life.. and even though they all intersect majorly (especially being in the same living space day in day out) we are each only responsible for how we choose to live and face every day. So lift up your brave sober head.. keep smiling when you can.. listening when you can.. cooking and feeding and singing and bustling around when you can.. and going to meetings, talking with sponsors, blogging, reading what you want.. live how you want but detach slightly from how he is choosing to live.. keep loving.. but lovingly detach.. you will be sending a subtle message just by your actions… stay strong, it’s very tough.. best of luck and love from me in NZ xxx

  5. Just discovered your blog and am new to living my own new life. I know when I quit drinking it impacts my husband (who drinks moderately and enjoys it). We’ve also had an adult son move home while getting his feet on the ground (which he’s done, brilliantly). I can’t imagine what it’s like for all of you to add retirement from a demanding profession to the equation. It’s touching to me that your husband wants to come home. He’ll find his balance, just like you’re finding yours. I love the previous comments, especially the self-care ones. Sending support and good wishes from my own fragile ground.

  6. Best advice I read wad Mrs D. Yourlife is your life, it’s difficult but necessary. You will do fine. Keep up the good work.

  7. There is a lot of fears at play here…and a lot more in common than you would think.

    To wit:

    When we stop drinking, we fear that once we get the old us out of the way, there will be nothing left. The old “hole in the donut” thing. If I am not the busybody, loud, excited, bar hopping, bit time fun, funny as hell person I was when drinking, what will become of me? Our identies were wrapped in the alcoholic lifestyle and thinking. I will have not much value, methinks! Your husband has retired, and he too has his self-worth and identity wrapped up in a prestigious title and job. He fears the same thing – what will become of me? Who am I now that I no longer have this attachment?

    Very similar, you and he. At that level, at least. You’re both finding your way in this new way of living. Oh, and so is your son. The three of you have intersected in more than one way, and it’s causing stress because you are all at a tipping point in each of your lives. Unable to seemingly “get” one another, and yet you are all intrinsically intertwined.

    What to do?

    Hell if I know…lol. Communication I think – and lots of it. Get this all out. He’s opened up to you and you to him. Keep at it. You all have your own lives, and are responsible to maintain your own serenity. not easy when others are acting out out of their own fears and anxieties and regrets. You aren’t there to fix things. But you can offer to listen – not griping or drama – but real listening. And share what is going on with you.

    and as for the boy – I am sure he feels the pressure of feeling like a leech or unappreciated and such. I am sure he is trying to find work. Give him a noogie or hug 🙂

    I hope things turn around soon – keep working what you need to work and at least get some clarity about what is going on with you…and your perceptions will start to change and the situation may not look as bad as it is.


    • Thank you Paul. Very introspective and direct as always. You should be a counselor. You hsve given me a lot to think about. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. I am so glad to hsve all you wonderful thought provoking, wonderful advice giving people to lift me up.

  8. this all sounds tough for all three of you. a lot of adjustment all going on at the same time. a bit like a three legged stool…if you saw a bit off one leg the whole stool wobbles, and you are constantly adjusting the heights of all three legs at once! I wish I had the perfect three word answer for you that you could write on a post it note….but the best I can come up with is ‘sober first’ – because everything else will be easier if you are sober, rather than throwing fuel onto the flames with booze. lots of love to you. one little thought – does your H have a buddy he can see and talk to? my H will sometimes open up to a friend if he won’t to me. big hugs from England! xxx

    • Unfortunately he does not have anyone to talk to. He is very closed off, partly because his profession did not let him speak freely, partly his personality. He hardly talks to me!

  9. I felt so sad for you when I read your post, what a difficult situation for you all. My heart goes out to you and hope that today and the next few weeks see a turn for the better. I have read through the comments too, and feel better about having no advice whatsoever (I have *so* not worked any of this stuff out myself), as you have got such a wonderful lot of advice and support here. Hang in there. Hugs. xxx

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