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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    3

    Drinking Away The Pain

    OK, so first of all I'd like to say I'm going to remain annonymous but I'm looking for some guidance and advice from people in perhaps the same situation as I find myself.

    I have been living in Brazil for the past 11 months and since 2010 for a cumulative time of about 18 months. I met a Brazilian girl during my stay and after a short time spent with her I moved back over to be with her and her daughter (now four years old).

    This was my first serious relationship and I fell madly in love with my girlfriend and have grown attached to her daughter. Initially I thought nothing of it, but a few months down the line she began to call me daddy. Of course we both took it with a pinch of a salt, but after a while my name wasn't spoken by her and I was seen solely as her father. Her real father isn't and wasn't around and so it was perhaps easier for her to see me as a father as I was always in the picture.

    Due to problems with legal status and right to work, we decided to marry as we wanted to stay in Brazil for at least the immediate future. Even after marriage I found it near enough impossible to get work over there and had to come back to England.

    This is where I am today. After spending the last 11 months with both of them and being part of a family, my little family, I have to be apart. And we have no idea how long it will take. I need to get a salaried, contracted job, find my own apartment, have utility bills paid for 6 months, have notable savings just to even entertain the idea of bringing them both over here. Aside from that she will need to be working in Brazil, save up some money, show she has a job offer in the UK, can speak fluent English and know enough about the country to legally stay here. This could take in excess of over a year. I;m finding it even hard to get a job here in the UK, and I really am worried I will never see them again.

    I will admit me and my wife have had some problems in our relationship and perhaps if she did not have the child maybe we wouldn't be together; perhaps I would never have gone back the first time. We were only together for 2 weeks before I left the first time...

    So, here I am, in the developed, first world in my nice house with relatiive comfort and ease. I know my wife has no money. And my daughter is hungry, tired and wondering where I am. My wife has recently been mugged and has had her wedding ring - previously of my dead mum - stolen. Things just keep getting worse and even I do not have any money. I am living with my dad. I am 25. Whatever money I make I send to her.

    I desperately want to see my little girl again, as well as my wife, but I just cannot help thinking how much I let my little girl down. She looks up to me and loves me and is the only person in my life who has ever made me feel like I am worth something, like I have a purpose. I just want to hold her again and brush her hair and hold her hand in the street. I want to see her get excited when I tell her she can have her favourite crisps because she has been a good girl. I want to see her get excited because I've turned the football off for her to watch her favourite cartoon. But I'm alone, without either of them and I just drink.

    I don't like remembering and feeling all of that, because I cannot change anything right now. And I'm trying, so, so hard to ignore it all and get everything sorted. But it's so hard. And I hear my daughters voice and see her face every day. I just want to hold her close to me again. I was so proud the day she called me daddy and she has continued that every day since, as if she really does believe I am her daddy. I don't know what to do to beat this. I am trying to get things sorted, but I am aware it can take so long.

    What if my wife doesnt want to wait? What if I never ever see my little girl again? My friends tell me "she was fine before you, she'll be fine after you" but that's not the point. She is hurting NOW. Why is that not an issue? And I don't want her to lose another person in her life, ANOTHER father to abandon her. She's 4 and she's remembering and feeling things. I don't want to be a disappointment to her and I don't want to break her heart.

    It's killing me and I'm finding it really damn hard to appreciate feeling sober. I think I have a problem with drinking because I cannot handle being sober. I need a drink. I need to get rid of these thoughts about her. I have let her down so much by leaving, and there were times when I was over there when I acted out of anger or stress towards her and I cannot forgive myself for how short I acted with her. How I didn't give her the benefit of the doubt enough and how I wasn't kind enough to her. We were living as a really poor, 3rd world family for the majority of my time there and that meant eating 1 meal a day, not drinking tap water, having literally no money in the house even for bread, Scrounging our fridge and cupboards for anything to eat. It was so stressful and my relationship with my wife became abusive and violente and transferred onto the child. We are better and did get better, but there are so many issues to resolve, but aside from all that, I just want my little girl. And I can't do anything.

    I don't know what to do other than drink and I don't know how to stop. I feel strange when I'm sober and very restless. I crave the drink and I don't even feel ashamed to drink the amounts I do. I do feel ashamed, obviously, but I mean it's as if it's normal for me to just keep on drinking and ask for more. At times I don't even realise.

    I just hope there is at least one person here who can understand me, and I hate the idea someone else has gone through the same thing, but I just hope somebody can tell me what to do.

    Thanks,

    Johnny

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Re: Drinking Away The Pain

    I can relate JohnnyC.

    I have done the long distance thing, though there was no (step) daughter in the picture, nor a marriage. So I do now a bit of how frustrating it is to live in limbo, not knowing when you will see your wife and daughter again.

    At the same time, you must find ways to work towards a future together. That could be in England, and that could be in Brazil. Both of course come with their challenges, such as language, the job market, how much you need to make, and naturally the legal hassles. The legal hassles is ultimately what did my relationship with my ex in.

    I was not allowed to work where she lived, I could not build a professional future there (even though I do have some qualifications, and I speak the main local language fluently), and she did not want to move. She had good reasons not to, since her profession is hard-hit by the economic meltdown, so she is lucky to still have a job to begin with.

    So you and your wife do have to be very strategic in planning a transition. One way or the other. Note what the legal requirements are for the both of you, in terms of:
    • income and job situation
      professional qualifications
      language skills
      obtaining residency status
      savings
      health requirements (!)

    and start working towards these goals.

    You could also look into doing volunteer work in Brazil? I know there are plenty of organizations around that provide such opportunities. You would not make much money / if any, but at least you might be able to spend time with your wife and kids this way? Also, if you struggle to get work in the UK, showing some initiative is generally appreciated by employers / future employers, so doing something useful with your time in a completely different setting (Brazil), will greatly add to the strength of your CV.

    With regards to your drinking problem, I think it mostly is a result of you not seeing a way out of this situation. Once you feel you are working towards a shared future with your wife, and know how to get there, I think you'll be able to stop drinking.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    3

    Re: Drinking Away The Pain

    Vautrin,

    Thanks for the response. I only posted last night so to get a response so quickly is great. Thanks for that.

    Well I think our situations are quite similar then. I didn't manage to get work over there, seeing as I don't have a degree or any experience for any viable field to work in Brazil. I struggled to get a job there just as much as I did over here, but it's positively 3rd world there and with little opportunity. And whatever I would make over there would be positively minimal and coupled together with bills and expensive food and travel, there would be little for comfort. At least this way, doing some comission based work in the UK for the meanwhile I can make good money, rent free - living with dad - and send back what I make so they are OK.

    Of course this can't go on forever, though. Ideally I'd want to bring them over but it could take literally years to sort out. I am fluent in Portuguese but my wife is probably a bit less than conversational and lacks the confidence required to really push on with it and get fluent. As well the lack of opportunity to do so. I can't ring or text as much as I'd want so I miss their voices and conversation with them, and as she has literally no money she cannot afford a laptop or anything to talk to me. So when we talk it is very sporadic.

    I feel so guilty because they are still there with very little and I have come back to my relatively easy life. Of course it was like that before I even met her, so I know it's not my fault but I care about them both so I am conflicted. I want them over here, definitely. I'd rather bring them both over and even if me and wife separated 6 months later, at least they would both be in England and I'd see her daughter regularly.

    I just can't stand the idea I've hurt her. And left her. I keep one photo of her up in a photoframe that reads "TE AMO PAI" because if I had loads more then I'd go crazy.

    I've volunteered in Brazil before. I've taught English freelance for Business Executives. That job was so poorly constructed it wasn't worth doing. Nothing came of it. Schools rejected me because of no degree. I tried other places too and noone wanted me. We didn't have any money to realise any of these opportunities either. And if you struggle in a place like that it's awful and so stressful and unhealthy mentally and physically.

    What became of your situation with your wife?

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    Re: Drinking Away The Pain

    I could do some volunteering, though I did not get a cent for it. Technically, the money I received was unemployment benefits in the Netherlands, which I used to pay my bills in South Africa (I could not legally work there, since I would be displacing a native South African; even if I had married my ex, I would have to wait for five years before I would be allowed to be gainfully employed).

    It was a lot of hassle to get that sorted, but I managed to get that eventually sorted, claiming (and rightfully so), that doing this would greatly enhance my work experience and future employability. Dutch unemployment benefits are nothing too grand here, but in SA, it is a fair amount of money.

    Seeing that you have no degree, would seemingly rule out any opportunity for you to do something similar to that.

    Since you are fluent in Portuguese, is it not an option for you to relocate to Portugal? Moving to Portugal would be a lot easier for your wife (since she speaks the language), and I think that family reunification rules are easier to cope with in Portugal than they are in the UK. I am not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination, so I have no idea if you would have to have Portuguese citizenship for this to be a viable option. But do investigate.

    Also, what are the requirements for her to be allowed to live in the UK?
    How much money do you need to make, how much money do you need to have? Issues surrounding your wife's residency status etc.. You may have multiple options available to you (UK, Portugal), so I would first analyze what you need to achieve to be allowed to move your wife to Europe.

    Make a spreadsheet and list all the things you need to achieve, and compare what would be the easier option. I am sure there are some cheap / free legal advisors with regards to family unification processes. If not, you could probably contact a refugee / asylum lawyer, who can probably quite quickly tell you the things you need to be aware of.

    With regards to my ex: we never married, precisely because it would negatively impact on my job and financial situation. We even managed to live together for about 18 months with an interruption of 2 months (due to compliance with government regulation).

    We grew apart because I got increasingly unhappy with being stuck in a professional hole, and she for various reasons (the tanking of the economy, her father getting gravely ill), was unwilling to move to the UK / US. In the former we both could have worked (gainfully), in the latter I would not have had too many problems to get a paying job and pay the bills.

    Sadly, it was not to be.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    3

    Re: Drinking Away The Pain

    I did think about relocating to Portugal, but am unsure on how that would work. I am currently looking for any jobs that use fluent use of the Portuguese language, i.e. interperators, translators, proof readers etc... and will see where that takes me. Who knows, I could get a job and be outsourced or 100% based in Portugal. That would be beneficial, and although Portugal isn't as economically strong or consistent as the UK, it would be better than 3rd world Brazil.

    I want to have as many contingencies in place as possible as to back up whatever plan fails.

    As far as how much money I'd need to bring her over, my thinking is I'd like to just get a salaried job, save, put a deposit on a flat, and sort myself out first. Only when I am ready and sorted can I even entertain the idea of bringing her over. It just means I have to sort myself out first whatever the situation is.

    I will definitely look into when the time and my situation allows it, all of these things I need to do. I know roughly I need paid utility bills, she needs a job offer, she needs money behind her and a job in Brazil beforehand, I need to have resided somewhere at least 6 months etc... etc... So these are the things we need to just even be considered for it all. It's a lot to get done but there is no other way.

    Your situation seems really damn annoying, as it seems that your relationship was pretty solid but became weakened by circumstances out of your control. Do you keep in touch still to this day or are you completely separated from her?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Re: Drinking Away The Pain

    I do know that the UK is far more strict in these rules than Portugal. That is the primary reason why I suggested looking into Portugal as an option. It would also be a lot easier for her to get into the jobmarket there, than in the UK, especially if there are additional demands on the amount of money she would make on the job she gets an offer for.

    If she can get access to a European passport through heritage that would solve a lot of problems as well. That would be the easiest route of them all. I doubt that is possible though, since you would have explored that as a first option?

    I do suggest you get a clear picture of where you and your wife need to be at, so that you can work most efficiently towards these goals. Once you have a clear picture of what you need to do, then it becomes a lot easier to motivate yourself to achieve the targets, and naturally it becomes easier to keep your spirits up. It would also help you reduce your need for alcohol.

    The situation with my ex was really annoying. It created a lot of tension, communication broke down, and we could not really solve the issues we had. They tended to get worse over time, since we had no clear picture of the future, since real life (economic crash in 2008; her father's illness in 2010), kept interfering. We broke up in December 2010, and I literally spent New Years Eve flying above the DRC. It was an amicable split.

    We have been in touch on occasion, but she is really not that communicative (funnily enough that was one of the complaints she had about me). Last I have heard from her was more than two months ago. We did not have children, but we did have two pets (cats). I have been sent the occasional picture of them. The only thing I know is that one of them contracted FIV.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

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