Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.
This is a very important question, indeed. You have been together for a long time and so this is a very serious time.
Tell me, what do you think about his problems, his demons? How do you feel about his drinking? And his depression? And his financial situation?
You are asking such a difficult question. let me just make sure, before I answer your question about whether to keep hoping for change: is it that your hope is he will change from being an alcoholic? That he will become the part of himself that you love, that is the clear thinking part of himself as opposed to the part that needs to numb himself emotionally?
I am concerned for you here. I hope that's okay.
In my training and experience, alcoholics do not change without there being some triggering force that makes the change. It doesn't happen from realization that they have. Because realization is something they have plenty of. Thus, they can have very deep conversations. And they can even be inspired to mean it...for the moment. But it pales when the emotional need to numb comes up and they need to self medicate and the bottle is there and readily available.
So I'm concerned for you because so often these hopes like you have become codependency and enabling in marriages.
He needs treatment. If he were... hold on, let me respond to your last post
Shana Tova to you as well. Your sister needs our prayers. Do you know her Hebrew name and mother's name? I'll be going to synagogue soon and we can put her in the prayers. Your lives are entangled and it won't be easy, I understand.
You need to take a deep breath. Can we continue later this evening after I return from synagogue? Is her name Simcha? That's usually a boy's name.
No, we'll continue the chat. I'll post as soon as I return. Simcha bat Dorit. Talk to you later this evening.
Hi, I'm back. I'll wait for you to come online as well, okay?
Thanks for your patience. Give me a minute to type .
Tell me what you mean that you aren't sure if you're strong enough to leave the relationship. What is scaring you?
Yes, it's true that fear is a powerful motivator in life. And inertia. They seem like a mountain. But then you look 10 years later at that fear and inertia and you realize they were only a mountain in your mind and there are regrets. Wanting to make the most of your life is also a motivator if you let it be.
I'm concerned because he also needs motivation. And his motivation also has to be there for himself to get the help he needs. Because he needs help to overcome the alcoholism.
And there are some elephants in the room as well. They have to do with marriage and children. One is being the child of an alcoholic. There are national and international societies devoted to Adult Children of Alcoholics. I treat people who came through this and have resources I use specifically for this.
How shall we proceed? I really don't want to go in a direction you don't want to. By the way, in the synagogue, I mentioned Simcha bat Dorit. I wish her a speedy recovery.
I meant in terms of your decision. What would walking away look like?
Two thoughts: first, you're making a life decision based on a short term consideration. Second, you're turning a positive into a negative. Give me a moment to expand on this.
If he would somehow get it together after a few months, you're talking about a miracle, aren't you. A true miracle. You've been together 9 years, he has a family history. To overcome that in months is quite amazing. And if it happened, what would cause such a turnaround? You're saying you want to still be there and not have rocked the boat as if it would happen on its own somehow. Is that how life works? If he somehow is back at AA and counting sober days and in therapy and working on himself after months, perhaps having had to actually look at his life because you also made your life your priority.
And you would be either still single or have moved on. Either one is okay, isn't it? Now for the other thought.
So that was the positive into a negative.
Now, we're talking about your life. For a few months, your life decision has to be based on you and who you are and what your life needs to be about.
That is the second part: your life decision has to be based on your life, not a few months. What do you want for your children?
Yes, we know that part. But we're just now having you begin to recognize what it would be like to have children with an alcoholic. He is thinking about it. You've been avoiding actually looking at what that would be like for your children.
Is it important to you that your grandchildren are Jewish? Because if so, that is another thought you need to have in mind. The statistics are overwhelming about this.
Yes, that's true for the children. But the grandchildren do not stay Jewish in these situations. Again, I don't know how important that is for you. You mentioned that your sister is named after your grandmother I believe. This is where it breaks down. The children don't have the same strength of identity as you, and their children have none is the pattern. This is why the Jewish population in the US has remained about the same over the half century even though there has been a positive birth rate.
I can't make that decision for you. But I can help you clarify your own heart and mind's path.
Is this your way of saying he's the only man who you believe will love you?
Life is a series of choices we make between unknowns. You don't know what will happen if you stay. You don't know what will happen if you leave. I'll continue, hold on.
You are imagining if you stay, everything positive you wish might happen. And you've prepared for that. You're imagining if you leave, everything negative you dread might happen. And you've prepared for that.
I've shaken that up. I've introduced a more realistic perspective on alcoholism and it's pervasiveness. I've questioned you about your desire for connection to Judaism. That has given you a more even handed view of staying.
I'm suggesting that there are men in the US who can love. There are Jewish men if that is beginning to be of interest to you. There are men who are seeking to raise a family. There are also lots of men who are not who you are looking for.
So, it's a question of getting to know yourself some more too, don't you think?
If you want to explore Judaism, there's Aish.com, a remarkable site with so much information in so many areas and there are many ways to connect.
Yes, that is the truth.
And that is what reality is.
You can't predict. Life is a taking of chances. There is a Chassidic saying: life is a narrow bridge and the main thing is not to be afraid.
It's not bad. This is not a question of good or bad; it's a question of inertia. The ancient Sages said that when we have a thought we know is right and true, to delay it is to cast it aside until it trips us up. The interpretation is that casting aside means that when we know something is right and true, if we say "later", we are erasing it from our lives. The problem is, we will awaken again some time later, sometimes years later, and realize that that truth is still there but we are now older and less strong. This is tripping us up.
That's beautiful. Okay. Yom Kippur is coming. Do some reading on Aish.com about Yom Kippur and fix in your mind your resolve about December 31 and your sister's treatment ending and prepare yourself.
Just Answer.com has an internet counseling site called www.pearl.etherapi.com where you can ask for me. I believe that the link for me is:
All the very best to you and if you could give a positive rating, I'd be grateful. Again, all the best to you and a speedy recovery to your sister.