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Old 12-08-2008, 02:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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my GF has drinking problem & serious mood swings - NEED ADVICE!!!

Hi all,

I just discovered this forum about 1 hour ago while I was looking for advice on my situation. I must say this forum looks great, many posters with lots of experience, so I figured I'd post my situation here:

My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year and are in our mid-twenties. We both have jobs and have gone through "College life" where drinking is a daily activity... We are both, today, "normal" or casual drinkers, we don't need to drink everyday (and we don't), we have some wine with dinner from time to time, and go out sometimes on weekends. Ever since I met her (a year ago), I noticed that she has a drinking problem, which I will explain shortly. We have had many, many discussions about it and even she admits she has a drinking problem (vs being an alcoholic, which we researched online, that she doesnt NEED a drink daily) but that she could easily control it and it's no big deal (first red flag for me).

So, here's the situation: When she's drinking alone with me i.e. share a bottle of wine with dinner on the weekend, everything is fine. We will finish off the bottle, usually after her 2nd glass she says she's had enough, after the wine we might have a glass of port, we're both a bit tipsy, life is great and the rest of the evening is perfect. On other occasion, she will not drink, or simply have 1 glass. This is what I consider "normal" drinking... no abuse, just for fun.

The problem is whenever she drinks with friends, either at someone's house or in a club, she can't stop drinking. She will drink as long as there is alcohol, and some of her friends are also really not the best of influences on her. Not only does she get completely wasted, when she gets that drunk she becomes extremely abusive towards me (not physically but verbally) and always tries to pick a fight. If I ignore her, she continues, but if I reply then we argue. Also, if she's drunk and I say "Babe you've had too much to drink, let's go to bed and discuss this tomorrow" she gets extremely angry at me and is even more abusive. These evenings usually end with her passing out on my couch or in bed. Lately she's also been having black outs the next day. The rock bottom was when she was so drunk she got kicked out of a bar... Not only does she drink when other people drink, but I've been in situations where we would be 5 or 6 people casually drinking at a friend's house on a Friday night, and by 10 pm everyone had had 2-3 drinks and was fine, except for her, she was already wasted. She can't seem to "pace" her drinking...

In the year we've been together, I honestly can't recall one time where we had a big argument and she was sober. If she's sober, our relationship is incredible. But every time she gets really drunk, it's a disaster. I have tried filming her, once we're back home and she's abusive, and then showing it to her the next day. She's always embarrassed after a night like that (especially the time I filmed her, or if some of her friends tell her how bad she was), apologizes for hurting and insulting me, says things like "you know I don't mean the things I say when I'm drunk" etc. Fortunately, this doesn't happen every day, although there was a period during the summer where it was once a week, sometimes twice. Normally, it happens once or twice a month (which is still WAY too often...).

Now I know this is not a relationship advice forum, and my question is really more on her drinking. Do you think it can really be just a phase? after all, we're still young. Also, how can you explain that her drinking habits change if she's with me vs with her friends (and I would not consider it peer pressure because no one forces her to drink). Finally, how do you explain the extreme change in personality after too many drinks? Can this change with time, or is she doomed?? Also, I have seen her, although very few times, go out with friends, we have several drinks, nothing in excess, we get back home and everything is fine. I have seen her do it, I know she can do it, which for me adds up to the mystery of why sometimes she has no control...

I know I'm seeking a lot of information, but I've been seriously thinking of ending this relationship. It would be a very easy decision if overall, I wasn't happy with her. But as I previously mentioned, when she's sober (which is most of the time), our relationship is really perfect.

Please let me know what you guys (and girls!) think, it is much appreciated!
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, Chad, you've just given me a trip down memory lane to how things were between my girlfriend and I when we first met 11 or 12 years ago... I know exactly how bewildering and shocking the outbursts are - the whole "Where did that come from??!?" thing as the evening turns from being fun to suddenly being one where you're pinned to the wall by a torrent of abuse. And then the morning remorse and yet, and yet... she'll still do it all over again.

Are you at the stage yet where you start to feel tense before a night out with her at a friend's house? You know she's likely going to drink too much, but you're walking on eggshells around her and not mentioning it in case doing so annoys her and that's the reason she drinks too much...? You will.

Here's how it seems to me. She knows she's got a drink problem. She knows that she behaves badly and causes offence to her friends when she's drunk. She also knows that she treats you badly - the man she presumably professes to love - when she drinks too much. And yet... she's happy to continue drinking. Whether she's an alcoholic right now is impossible to say and, to be honest, beside the point. That's her business. Whether it will get better or worse is, again, impossible to say. All I can say is that over the years my girlfriend's drinking got worse and worse, the abusive episodes got more frequent and nastier, and eventually we split up and our kids live full-time with me as she's just too much of an unreliable drunk. Last I heard is that she's in rehab.

But let's turn the perspective from what's up with her to what's up with you. You're in a relationship with a girl who will, on occasion, treat you appallingly. She blames the effects of alcohol for this, but she continues to drink. In effect, then, she's saying that she's more willing to continue to risk offending you and hurting your feelings by being awful to you than to do something about her self-confessed drinking problem. Actions most definitely speak louder than words in these situations and that is what her actions are saying. Is this the kind of relationship you want?

I'd recommend going to a few Al-Anon meetings to see if they're appropriate for you. Being in a relationship with someone with this kind of Jekyll and Hyde personality is really hard work and can seriously dent your self-esteem. Or, some counselling may help you to identify what it is that you really want from your life and aid you in setting boundaries for what you consider acceptable behaviour from others, and what to do when those boundaries are transgressed.

You can't do anything about her drinking; nobody can force someone to stop drinking too much if they don't want to. She'll either continue to drink or stop drinking entirely for her own reasons and at entirely her own pace. That's her business. Your business is if you want to be around that or not.

Take care,
Mr B.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Are you at the stage yet where you start to feel tense before a night out with her at a friend's house? You know she's likely going to drink too much, but you're walking on eggshells around her and not mentioning it in case doing so annoys her and that's the reason she drinks too much...? You will.
I'm already at that stage, unfortunately...

Wow, it's amazing and it feels good to see that other people have been in the exact same situation as I have. Unfortunately the way things degraded for you is pretty much what I've been anticipating for her, so you really confirmed what I was already thinking... Thanks for your reply, it really helps me realize that this is more than just a phase, and we'll need to seriously talk about it.

I just have one question though: did your girlfriend get like that all the time? Was she able to control her drinking from time to time? For me, that's really the puzzling part... her ability to control herself is very sporadic...

Thanks again for your reply!
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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chad, sorry you're going through this.

Mr. B is right on, unfortunately. SHE is the only one who can decide when and how she wants to use alcohol. Some people here have talked, begged, pleaded, and reasoned with alcohol-abusers until they were blue in the face, but until someone wants to seek help, nothing will really change.

The choice you face is whether you are comfortable with this or not. I found I had to walk away - the alcoholic madness, tension, etc. was just more than I wanted to handle any more.

I wish you luck!! Please feel free to keep coming back to SR. There's lots of good thinking and good support here.

GL
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm already at that stage, unfortunately...

Wow, it's amazing and it feels good to see that other people have been in the exact same situation as I have. Unfortunately the way things degraded for you is pretty much what I've been anticipating for her, so you really confirmed what I was already thinking... Thanks for your reply, it really helps me realize that this is more than just a phase, and we'll need to seriously talk about it.

I just have one question though: did your girlfriend get like that all the time? Was she able to control her drinking from time to time? For me, that's really the puzzling part... her ability to control herself is very sporadic...

Thanks again for your reply!

Here's the deal. This may be as good as it ever gets with your girlfriend. Are you willing to settle for that the rest of your life?

If she is an alcoholic, and no one can tell you if she is or not, alcoholism IS a progressive disease, and only gets worse, never better.

Alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful. I was a master at throwing out enough 'crumbs' to my enablers to make them think I had things under control.

Eventually I completely lost control and finally hit a bottom after I married my EXAH.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I just have one question though: did your girlfriend get like that all the time? Was she able to control her drinking from time to time? For me, that's really the puzzling part... her ability to control herself is very sporadic...
My husband spent many years drinking normally.
And several years after that drinking normally most of the time.
I hear that he still, from time to time, will have a drink at a party or a glass of wine when he's out to dinner with friends.
He doesn't devolve into alcoholic chaos every time.

But, he's been arrested for driving under the influence, he drank to the point of such physical illness that he had to be hospitalized for 4 days, and he's spent a month in an inpatient addiction treatment facility.

I would argue that you needn't wait for her to lose total control, before determining if this is a problem for you.
If you're waiting for that, you might be waiting (in chaos and discomfort) a long time. Periodic spurts of control are not signs of well-being.

I'm glad that you're here. Keep us posted.

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Old 12-08-2008, 12:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was the sloppy, depressed, disaster on wheels and lazy drunk after a while but in the beginning it was usually fun. Then came the DWI (S) ! ...Not to mention the MAJOR life threatening illness that I had repeatedly. I never learned that it could REALLY KIll me until I quit completely.

Mr B said it - memory lane w my beloved X - mellow when sober, downright MEAN and ANGRY when she had been drinking anything but wine. Also, enough psych issues to fill and advanced text.
The things that make me go uuuuugh,,,,
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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TC,

"Periodic spurts of control are not signs of well-being."

This statement sums up my investment of 4 years in my exabf. I kept thinking of those moments in time and believing that was the "real" him.

He never drank around me, so I thought that he just had minor relapses when I wasn't around. Minor turned into major.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I just have one question though: did your girlfriend get like that all the time? Was she able to control her drinking from time to time? For me, that's really the puzzling part... her ability to control herself is very sporadic...

Thanks again for your reply!
When we first met in '96, the complete drunken freak-out times were few and far between. Maybe once every few months, on "special" occasions where the drink was really flowing - birthdays, New Years etc. In between she could control it. As time went on, the control got shakier. I ended up with the feeling that, a lot of the time, she drank as much as, or maybe a bit more than, she thought she could get away with. So if there was a good "excuse" for heavy drinking like a party, she'd drink really heavily. If there was a situation where it was less likely I'd raise a fuss about her drunkenness (eg, we were in company), she'd drink really heavily. In between times, she'd not drink so much. I think that her ability to exert at least some control, some of the time, "proved" it to herself that she didn't have a big problem as well as giving her an excuse to subsequently drink heavily as a "reward for being good".

As time went on, her ability to exert reliable control over her drinking has got worse. Her binges went from the occasional night, to the occasional weekend, to regular weekends, to "The weekend starts on Thursday!", to binges that last a week or two... The last one started in August and stopped about a week ago. It's a real shame. She used to be so beautiful, and - most of the time - so graceful, full of life and fun. She's barely recognisable these days.

Sorry to be such a downer. My ex isn't your girlfriend and vice-versa. I'm not saying that what happened with me is what's going to happen to you. But I do think the important thing here is the lack of respect and complete disregard for your feelings she's showing when she continues to drink regardless of how she treats you when she's drunk.

I would just say one extra thing, though, and forgive the personal intrusion. Take personal responsibility for birth control. Don't rely on her promises. There are few more wretched pursuits in this world than trying to raise kids with a drunk.

Mr B.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Chad---I am sorry for the reason that you have come here. Addiction is painful.

Welcome to SR.

The way that you feel is exactly how everyone who is in the initial stages of the addiction feels. Its a family disease. It affects the family (spouses, SO's, siblings, friends, everyone around that addict/alcoholic is affected to some degree). Probably even more then the addict/alcoholic. This problem will not disappear. Everyone above is sooo very right on the money. It will progress to "out of control proportions" in a matter of time (probably sooner rather then later).

Keep reading. You will gain strength. Know you are not alone. Keep posting.

Prayers to you....I hope that you find what you are looking for.....
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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To all,

thank you so much for your replies and for your support.

Mr B, I still can't get over how similar my situation is to yours. I'm very sorry for what you had to go through, but I am forever grateful that you shared with me these difficult times you had to go through.

Unfortunately my gf is currently traveling for a month (which was planned before we met) so we won't have a serious conversation for a while. Her being away, me being alone I guess, really gave me the opportunity to look back at the times we had and realize how serious her problem had become. Once she's back, dealing with this issue will be my first priority. I plan on sitting down with her, discussing it, and even possibly reading to her not only the message I wrote on this board (to show her how I feel about it) but most importantly the things each and everyone of you have said about this disease. Hopefully, it will open her eyes once and for all. As many of you have said, she's the only person who can help herself, and the recovery will start when she's ready. Hopefully this will make her realize not only the pain I go through, but more importantly the danger that it poses to her well-being and her future. Mr B, when you say "She used to be so beautiful, and - most of the time - so graceful, full of life and fun. She's barely recognisable these days", this is what strikes me the most. This is what I fear most about this, seeing the woman I love deteriorate before my eyes...

At the end of the day, if she decides not to deal with this, I will have to be strong, walk away and erase her from my life. I'm too young to get involved in such a relationship...

Again, thank you all for your advice and support. Mr B, are you ok with me sharing your story with my gf? I truly hope she will see the similarities between her and your ex.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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One last thing, I will keep you updated once I have this conversation with my gf. Thanks to your help (all of you), one of 2 things will happen:
- She will realize she has a potential problem, is still young and can get better, which at this stage should not be that hard (as long as she accepts it), and we continue dating. Whether we stay together for a while or not is irrelevant, but at least she will live a good, sober and happy life

- She denies her problem, I leave her. As cruel as it may sound, I delete her from my life, and whatever happens to her is not my problem nor my responsibility. I was able to get out of this situation early enough (not married, no kids, etc.). At the end of the day, I can't ruin my life just because I could not hold my grounds with her.

Thanks again to everyone for helping me in my thought process.
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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"periodic Abuse" isn't "well being" either FWIW

There were times I could "drink normally" 8 out of ten times maybe, I just couldn't always tell you when those eight times were going to be, and I qualify as an "Alcoholic" so much it's not even funny.

Abuse is an entirely separate kettle of fish though IMO. I mean drunk people puke and crash cars and sleep with your relatives, but only "abusive" people are "abusive" the drinking has nothing to do with that, even if it only occurs when she's drunk, that's my experience, is there is something going on there, like Hunter S Thompson put it, "Fear and Loathing".

/shrug

This is just me, but one alcoholic in my life is enough.....and that's me, we're a frickin handful, first year of recovery is fun too, like a dozen kittens...cute, fun, cuddly but then they wreck all your furniture and poop all over the carpet and stuff...If she decides to get sober I guarantee there will be times when you want to throttle her and think that maybe a drink isn't such a bad idea for her..and maybe 2-3 for yourself wouldn't hurt either.....lol.....sorry

Sorry, kind of a "fey" mood right now, overworked atm and getting ready to go on vacation in a few days so I'm kind of "amped"

Anyhow, Good luck, and I approve of your boundaries, I realize you are in a lot of pain, but it seems you are making the right choices.

Also, FWIW in my experience, whether I was addicted to Alcohol, Drugs, or a Relationship no matter how many times I removed "the problem" like the alcohol, or the Insane abusive drunken Girlfriend, something seemed to keep popping up until I realized "the problem" was me all along.

I had to realize for myself healthy people don't hang out with delusional binge drinkers that say hateful awful things to them on a daily basis.

Took awhile and some doing though.

Just something to think about if you should ever find yourself in a Deja Vu' moment sometime in the distant future...maybe you just got unlucky though and this is just an anomaly though, it happens.

Anyhow, sorry if I'm not coming off well, stressful day, and I was probably "triggered" by her "abusing" you, then seeing you make excuses for her (it's only when she's drunk), and after living through that crap for 18 months I'm still a bit sensitive, that sh1t pisses me off, but feel free to fill my PM box with like dirty kitty litter or something, and good luck.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Chad,

You are completely describing my life with AW. Let me tell you from my own experience. My wife started the same exact way as you are describing your GW. I thought it was a phase and we got married. Okay things only got worse. Physical and verbal violence all of the time when she became drunk it would drive up her insecurities some how and it would be an evil concoction. She became so unpredictable. More than half of our friends left us because they couldn't stand being around her any more especially when she was drunk and mistreating me. She began drinking every day and to the point where after many gory episodes and just a painful down-cycle I told her she could go to re-hab and change or I was leaving. She went to rehab and changed for a couple of months. Honestly things are worse than ever and we're about to seperate because I just can't help her any more and am falling apart myself. To be honest with you I would have never gotten married if I knew this was going to happen. I should have seen it back then but I loved her and was blind to thinking this could get to wear it is today. Take a long, long time and think this through. I would never wish the life I've had in the last three years on anyone. I love my wife but she is so sick and so hurtful and she will never change it appears. I really hate anything to do with alcohol these days. I'm not saying this will happen to you but I'm telling you that it could though. Just be careful. Take care brother.
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot Faith12,

I now better understand the path she's on, and if she does nothing about, the potential consequences to this. For too long I've been thinking "it's only a phase there is no way it's a serious problem"... Anyways, I will keep you all posted.

thanks
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Girlfriend has a drinking problem

Reading what others have wrote has left me somewhat relieved to find other people out there battling with the same thing I am and also scared that it will only get worse. My girlfriend and I have been together for almost two years and we have a beautiful girl whom is about 8 months old now. We are both in our mid 20's and would drink on a regular basis and I soon realized that her drinking was more of a crutch than a good time. I would come home and she would be passed out occasionally from drinking the bottle left from the night prior or she would go and get alcohol while I was at work.
We addressed the drinking due to verbal fighting and she would quit for a while but started doing it in secret. It felt horrible but I would make sure she didn't have money to drink and she would find a way to do so anyway. Our daughter came into our lives and she cleaned up her act for the most part with small relapses here and there. She never fully committed to AA meetings or anything of the sort. I partly blame myself for not being there to make sure she was doing something about her problem. I have had alcoholics in my life that didn't make things easy so I found it easier to ignore the problem than address it.
Things were going really well for quite some time until we went to a large party where she started drinking and caused a huge scene. I asked if she had been drinking and of course that started a huge fight and she would get extremely defensive bringing up every hateful thing she could like every time I would address it in the past. I admit that I wasn't the calmest person and that I would get very angry when she drank.
After coming home from the party she felt ashamed and that next morning I came home to surprise her with a coffee and found she wasn't home. I called her to see where she was and she became defensive which always sends red flags for me. She ended up going to her sisters and long story short the cops came and I had to leave work early to pick up our little girl whom was there for all of this which truly breaks my heart.
The cops told my girlfriend to leave and I tried picking her up while walking down the road but she wouldn't get in the car. I went home and thought I could make things ok by letting her in and things got out of control. I didn't want her around our child for that (the same as her sister didn't want) so I locked her out of the house and called for her sister to come and get her. She screamed and banged on the door until the neighbors came out. They let her in and she came back and did the same and slammed her head against the door and punched herself until she got a black eye. That sounds very horrible and I didn't know she was doing so until her sister came up to ask if I hit her. We didn't talk that night, but I ended up picking her up the next day after work from her sisters.
I cannot explain how torn my soul is and how I just feel like giving up but we have a child and I want us to be a normal family. I have told her that she needs to go to AA / counseling or I can't be with her. It hurt so much, but I feel it will only hurt worse over time. I have been so stressed at times I cant eat and feel I have no where to go. She feels ashamed after episodes and says all the things that you should say (It won't happen again, I didn't mean what I said, I was drunk, I love you, etc, etc, etc...) Any advice or courage would be accepted for I feel that I am at the end of my rope. Thank you for reading, I hope it wasn't too much.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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adamr-

I have been impacted by alcohol in a similar way that you have. My loved one was my husband (though I have other family that struggle also).

For a long time it was not just the alcohol use that impacted us, but we were both in denial. When my denial stopped it was actually more painful for awhile. I think that is what I hear you saying in your post.

For me the following has helped. I did not cause my loved ones problem drinking. I cannot cure it, and I cannot control it.

In addition I have done the following which has helped me immensely:
1. I have joined Al-Anon
2. I have been doing individual counseling and bodywork
3. I have done a lot of reading about the disease of addiction, co-dependency etc
4. I have shared my struggles and come to realize that I am only as sick as my secrets
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice

Thank you for the advice. So Al Anon meetings aren't only for people with the drinking problem? My girlfriend says she is going to start counseling/ AA tomorrow and I am proud of her for doing so. It sounds very pessimistic but she has said the same thing before. The last incident was by far the worst so it is my only hope that she will start the road to recovery. How do you not hurt so bad inside? I cannot even explain it.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Al-anon is for friends and family of alcoholics.

AA is for the individual with alcohol problems. With that said though there are many types of AA meetings (step groups, open meetings, topic etc). I live in a small community and go to many Open AA meetings (you do not have to have a problem with alcohol to go to those).

I go to both types of meetings but for different reasons. I go to Al-anon to learn about me and my choices in this disease. I go to Open AA meetings to learn about the disease of alcoholism and frankly because bearing witness to so much recovery helps me to have hope. In general I share at Al-anon and listen at the AA meetings but that is just me.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadDJC View Post
One last thing, I will keep you updated once I have this conversation with my gf. Thanks to your help (all of you), one of 2 things will happen:
- She will realize she has a potential problem, is still young and can get better, which at this stage should not be that hard (as long as she accepts it), and we continue dating. Whether we stay together for a while or not is irrelevant, but at least she will live a good, sober and happy life

- 4.
Chad, I had many many of these conversations with my husband in the early stages of this disease. He would listen, tell me exactly what I wanted to hear and then drink again when he thought he had been good enough to deflect my concerns. He would cry crocodile tears, express remorse and be so wonderful that I would tell myself the problem was gone. Please know she may lie to you and may say anything to get you to focus on something else.

I wish you all the best, keep posting and learning
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