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Addiction to Alcohol/alcoholic's 4th marriage could it be rebound


QUESTION: Clyde, thank you for taking the time to read this and hope you can help me.   I have been divorced from my ex-husband for 1 1/2yrs now.  We do have a 14 yr old daughter together.  My ex-husband started to date a divorced woman 11 months ago and now is married for the 4th time as of April 2 2013. (4 months now).  He is still an alcoholic and dysfunctional.  He did not tell our daughter that he was dating, nor did she know he married until after the fact.  I know she does want to spend time with him and has come to terms that the new wife is a part of his life.  We both have been in therapy for 8 months and plan on going back in October. (took the summer off).  Is this a healthy relationship or a rebound marriage?   He has not changed for the better.  He is still spending money he does not have and I am sure the new wife has no clue what he has gotten himself into.  He is a great manipulator and liar. He told me after he married that he found someone just like him.  Do I enable my daughter to be part of this dysfunction?  Would it be wise for her to see this and to see what her and I have at home together which is peace and quiet, love and respect.  I have done some research online about rebound marriages however nothing I found also included alcoholism.   please help and thank you  Joanne

ANSWER: Joanne,
    Thank you for your questions and for sharing somewhat of the situation.  First, let me say, that, no, this is more than likely not a healthy relationship.  Only God knows that true answer but we can surmise quite a bit from what you have shared.
    The first and foremost is that he did not share this possibility of marriage (and actual!) with his daughter until the deed was done.  Any sober person would consider the effect and impact on others in their life, and much more, that sober person would want to have the future spouse build a relationship with their daughter.  The fact that this "secret" was kept and then sprung on your daughter is definitely indications of a sick mind.
    Now, if we are honest, we all are "sick" in our mind from time to time.  After all we are human and we do not always use good judgments and we all face situations which offer some challenges from time to time.  BUT, the normal individual (to distinguish from an alcoholic) has ways to handle life with some maturity and growth and learning.
    It is my opinion (and my experience) that the alcoholic, left untreated, will continue to live a life of immaturity and dishonesty and repeat behaviors over and over and over expecting different results.  Your ex seems to be on this track.  Best to leave him to his life as he chooses to live it and hope he sees the light some day.
    I am glad that you an your daughter are in therapy and intending to continue it.  That is the only way that people affected by alcoholism can sort out the "effects on them from the disease" from the "this is me and who I am as a person." We lose who we are, essentially.  You are on your way to finding yourself again minus the effects.
    As for shielding your daughter, no, it is not a good idea.  She has her relationship with dad and that is between those two.  Anyone violating that relationship is trying to triangle it, and that is not healthy.  She needs some guidance as to the relationship but she has the right to be part of his life as she so desires.  As she matures and continues to be in relationship with you as a healthier person, she will eventually see the truth and make some choices on her own.  
    I hope this may have helped answer some of your questions and write back if I can be of any further help.
Grace and Peace,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you Clyde,  My daughter and I have been working real hard to get a grasp of what has happened in our lives.  I cannot afford to lose my daughter in this mess.  I am doing everything and anything to make life as normal for her as possible.  She knows her dad is an alcoholic but will not confirm the "word".  She sees the dysfunction but I always wonder what is going on in her mind.  Is she reading or understanding the whole picture.  I myself know who and what he is.  It is a shame that he has found a new "victim" however I know she has demons of her own.  She is a functioning alcoholic with narcissistic ways.  She comes from a family of 7 children all divorced and all portray the same narcissistic ways.  (according to my daughter).  I pray each day gets better for both myself and my daughter.  I pray that time will heal my broken heart.  I gave 16 years to this marriage and he chose booze over us.  I will never understand this dysfunction.  I cannot grasp the notion that booze is more important than a wife who cared, a wonderful daughter to watch grow and become a fantastic woman.  God help me!!!!!!

    Thank you for your follow up words.  They are very poignant and very truthful of the impact of the disease of alcoholism.  Alcoholics are not bad people - they just chose a behavior that gets hold and will break one if that person does not find a source of something other than self to break the hold.
    You do not say but perhaps you and your daughter have considered Alanon and Alateen - both wonderful places to meet people who are walking your road to recovery.  Those friendships you could foster there might provide relationships with which to share your experience, strength and hope.
   for your daughter's sake in understanding a dad who chose booze over family, you might suggest she read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  it will provide both you and she some insight into the thoughts and travails of the alcoholic mind and what "turns the tide", so to speak.
   one last suggested reading is a book by Smedes titled "Forgive and Forget" a very powerful book on forgiveness - one of the best I have ever read.
   Hope things do keep getting better and I know and am a believer that prayer is the answer and it does work - we just don't know exactly what God will do with them.
Grace and Peace,

Addiction to Alcohol

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I can answer questions on the recovery from alcohol addiction as I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of sobriety. I can also address the spiritual aspects of the 12-Step program as I have a Master of Divinity degree; serve as a pastor in the Quaker church; and, serve as a hospice chaplain. I have also served as a prison chaplain for one year and currently volunteer as a mentor once a week, working with two inmates one-on-one as they work towards reentry into society as free persons.


I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of continuous sobriety.

Master of Divinity awarded in 2000 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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