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I don't know if I am making the right decision. The wrong

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I don't know if I...
I don't know if I am making the right decision. The wrong decision could result in me possibly going into the depths of depression, never to recover. I am so scared. My husband of 32 years molested my daughter when she was 17. It is his stepdaughter. He has admitted to this but denies anything bad was intended - just saying goodnight like he usually did he said. This was 27 years ago. He has always drank - 2 - 3 bottles of wine each night all through the marriage - never quit despite my begging. He sounds awful but people are complex - he is a good man otherwise - has always been attentive to me but not very emotionally supportive. After the sale of our home in another State he is coming to join me in our home in a few days. He says he quit drinking and he certainly regrets his%
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
2/23/2011
Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,856
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

This news had to be a shock for you. I am sorry to hear you have to go through this.

It is going to be hard to determine if your husband is telling the truth about the situation. You can make it known to him that doing so is in the best interest of the marriage and for him as well, but that doesn't guarantee he will be forthright.

It is a hard decision to make, whether or not to stay in a marriage like this. I think there are a couple of ways to look at this:

One, if you stay, the two of you would definitely need to see a counselor. The feelings that your husband's actions have caused for you as well as his issues with molestation must be resolved before you can consider moving on.

You also need to address how you feel about the situation. On one hand, you have your feelings about what he did. On the other you have your feelings about your daughter and the effect of the molestation had on her. And third, you have your feelings about your marriage and your husband. There also is probably some grief involved because of the loss of the image you had of what your marriage and husband were and the loss your daughter suffered. You also have your husband's alcohol use on top of that. He needs to become sober and deal with his use.

Two, you can leave the marriage. Leaving would help you heal in that it separates you from your husband and helps that you don't have to face him each day. But it also means that after 32 years you would be alone. There also would probably be grief as a result of the loss of your marriage. That may be the biggest loss and would take some time to get through. And if you decide to divorce, there are financial concerns as well.

There are some resources that may help you. No matter what you decide, counseling is needed. You need support right now, either way, and a therapist can help you. Ask your doctor for a referral or if you attend church, your pastor could help. You can also find a therapist on line at http://www.find-a-therapist.com/.

You may also want to consider getting help for yourself so you can better deal with your husband's drinking. Try this link- http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/. There are also support groups you could attend.

There are also some books that may help. One is called Addict In The Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery. by Beverly Conyers. Another is When Your Child Has Been Molested: A Parents' Guide to Healing and Recovery by Kathryn Brohl and Joyce Case Potter. These are available on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

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Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago

I haven't heard back from you. Did you need more information or maybe you have another question?

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hello, I have just been thinking and trying to disseminate it all. Thank you for the resources. I have been trying to copy your response so I can save it on my computer system (other then email). But, I can't get anything except a blank page on my copier.

I do have other questions: Please tell me if it is your opinion that someone who has drank at least 2 bottles of wine a night for over 32 years is a chronic alcoholic? Does this person have the faculties to stop drinking on their own? Or, in your experience do they need professional help? My husband promises me he will never drink and if he does he will leave the marriage and home. I was wondering about the chances of him doing this without help. He will not likely go to any AA meetings or get individual counseling. He did, however, promise to go to marriage counseling with me. I am so scared that once he is here, after this Monday, after the sale of our home in another State, that he will eventually start to drink again and I will be trapped - he probably won't leave the home - it will be me and all the animals that have to leave my beautiful lake home. I cannot and will not have any intimacy with him although I think that maybe someday if all goes well, I will heal enough for this. I am afraid of this too - can't fathom any intimacy and don't even like touching hands.

Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago

You are welcome. I am glad the resources helped you.

Yes, it does sound like your husband is an alcoholic. Two bottles of wine is a lot of alcohol and if he is unable to function without drinking every day, then he is alcoholic.

If he is not in denial about his drinking, then he does have a chance of recovering. However, his motivation has to be there and it cannot come from you. He has to want to get sober on his own.

I would say getting sober without professional help is very difficult. He has been drinking long enough that it has become an ingrained behavior. Also, physically he is used to drinking. Detox would be a great first step, if he is willing. But if he can face up to his use and seek out help, AA is a good place to start as well.

If he will go to marriage therapy with you, then that is a good sign. Any kind of therapy will help. But he has to be willing to change for it to be effective. Hopefully, he will be open to changing.

You may want to make a back up plan on how to deal with him once he joins you in your home. If the home is in your name, you can have him removed if you feel unsafe or cannot get him to leave. If it is in his name, you will most likely have to be the one to go. You can talk with an attorney about your options. At least you will know what will work for you in case you decide you cannot stay with your husband.

Kate

TherapistMarryAnn
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