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Alcoholic Recognizes Sober Truths After Wife Leaves Him

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 17 years to the love of my life. I met her 40 years ago while we were growing up in the same neighborhood. Last year she decided our marriage is over.

Nine years into our marriage, I became an alcoholic. Try as I might, I couldn't find a way to stop drinking. Year after year she stuck by me, hoping something would change. I never laid a hand on her, but I was verbally abusive at times while I was drinking.

Last year I found out that, due to my drinking, I had developed a heart condition that may end my life. I think it was the last straw for her because even after getting the news, I continued to drink. Seven months ago she told me we are done.

Since the day she said it, I have been clean and sober, and my heart is getting stronger. I have tried contacting her, but she won't return my calls or letters. I know the trust is gone, but I so badly want my wife back. I don't think she believes I'm finally sober because we have gone down this road many times.

How do I prove to her that I have changed and it will no longer be an issue? This is breaking my heart and has given me an insight into what she must have been feeling all these years. -- LEARNED THE HARD WAY IN INDIANA

DEAR LEARNED: The best way to prove to your wife that you have changed and won't fall off the wagon again is to continue living a clean and sober lifestyle. If you have friends or family in common, when they see what you are accomplishing every day, they may mention it to her. Even if you receive no response, continue writing to her and describing how your health is improving. I can't guarantee it will bring her back, but it may help.

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