Thank you for writing to Just Answer
Since you can't afford a lawyer, and you are miserable, you may want to go for support to Al-anon while you are saving every dollar you can to hire a lawyer.
The people in Al-anon have lived with the manipulation and self-absorption of alcoholic as you have. You will find supportive friends to help get you through this.
It doesn't matter that he has stopped drinking--in fact, family life often gets worse the first year of sobriety
You'll need the support to stop being bullied by him. Al-anon is about supporting you--your serenity and mental health while having to deal with him. (It isn't about getting the drinker sober, as many people seem to think it is).
One of the things alcoholics often do is try to keep their spouse isolated from others; Since he is or was, AA, he won't be able to try to keep you from Al-anon without being a complete hypocrite.
Tell him alcohol is a family disease...and that you are suffering from the effects of his drinking. e other important thing to do is to get your children into Ala-teen They too have lived in this hostile environment in which alcoholism caused their parents to stop loving one another. For the sake of their future relationships, please get them help too
Some towns have lawyers that are willing to take cases for reduced fees to help people who don't have money. Also, call your local battered women's shelter or help line. They often know of resources for women who feel trapped in abusive relationships--and it sounds as if you have suffered from emotional abuse for many years
Sleeping with someone because he brings you flowers will damage your self-esteem over time. Only sleep with him at times when he treats you with respect, and you feel warmth toward him. One way to help a husband learn more appropriate behavior is to only respond when he reacts like an adult. Ignore the rest. He has to learn that acting like an emotional bully won't work.
There is a great article called What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage that I will give you a link to. This woman learned about behavior modification from animal trainers and applied it to her husband, who liked to rant and bully like yours does. She was able to shape his behavior by selective ignoring.
If you can't get a divorce, the only course of action left is to make life where you are more bearable. I hope this has given you some ideas about how to make that happen...
In the meantime, save your money for a lawyer! Just knowing that you are saving toward your freedom from this situation will make it easier to bear.
I wish you all the best,