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|01-26-2012, 08:10 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Just realized my significant other has a serious problem
I have never written on a forum like this, so bare with me,I hope this isn't too long.... I have been with my boyfriend for about 3 years and have recently come to realize that he has a drinking problem that is more serious than I was aware of. To add, I am concerned about his weed habit, especially in light of the problems with drinking. So for some background info, we have lived together in the condo that I own for a little over 2 years and during that time, and I have been happy in the relationship for the most part. He is 29 and I am 26. We have talked about getting engaged and having kids once we are married, but he has voiced how he wants to have his life in order before doing so. However, there have been a few incidents and behaviors that have occurred (periodically over time, not in large amounts close together) and in retrospect these were warning signs. These have included getting too drunk when he was alone, stealing bottles of wine that were mine (gifts that I had planned to save for when company came over), hiding drinking and smoking from me, being unable to hang out with friends and not drink or smoke, isolating himself from his friends over guilt or to avoid being near alcohol, lying about it when I have asked him if he smoked or drank, blaming problems on me on occasion when drinking, always having beer when out to eat, turning to weed or alcohol for emotional reasons, insisting on continuing to drink after he has had enough, spending money on these habits when he can't afford it. Furthermore, on 3 separate occasions he has said to me that he felt like he had a problem, but whenever I tried to talk to him about making a plan for cutting back he would shut down and tell me he overreacted and to forget he ever said anything etc etc. He asked that I trust he will do a better job and each time he seemed to. These occasions occurred during the first two winters we were together and during this most recent summer. I had attributed some of this to depression about his job situation, but when he recently got a new job scheduled start this March in his dream field, I thought these days were behind us...
This week it all came to a head on Sunday when my boyfriend confessed to me that he needs to stop drinking. This came out of left field as I had only really seen him drink a few beers / drinks here and there for the past few weeks. He went on to say that he had taken a bottle of wine that was mine and drank the whole thing the night before (things had been going so well I had felt comfortable having a bottle around the house). He had been complaining about feeling sick that week, and said that it is related to the drinking. I was supportive and started asking him questions about his plans. He went on to say he wants to detox for 2 weeks and then begin trying to drink again socially. Like before, when I asked how he would be able to do that (how will he decide when its ok and how much is ok), he shut down and tried to make me forget about it. I didn't push it, and wasn't sure how much to be concerned, especially b/c I haven't seen him drink that much, or act really drunk. The next day, Monday, I did more research online and learned that there were signs I had not been processing / connecting together. I started to remember more recent incidents when he was trying to hide drinking and smoking from me etc etc. I then went to him and shared my concerns for him and asked that he seek help from a counselor. This is important to me because I don't want him to feel like he has to hide from me if he slips up which would lead into the same behaviors that got him here. I also feel like he needs to address the underlying reasons behind his behaviors, and I feel that is hard to do on your own. He has been adamant against a counselor and we got into a big fight about it and were on the verge of ending the relationship. I told him I needed space to try to process and think logically. We slept in separate bedrooms to get our space. The next day, Tuesday, I listed all my concerns in writing which included the issues really beyond how much he drinks / how often, which are: turning to weed and alcohol to deal with problems / stress/ to sleep, hiding these habits from me, increasing them when left alone making me feel like I shouldn't leave and go do things with friends or family, drinking or smoking just because that's what he has always done in a certain situation or environment, and isolating himself and us as a couple because of drinking. We communicated well and he said how much he wants to change and how important it is to him. He said that he has been experiencing physical signs of with drawl and that this is the most serious this problem has ever been for him. The only issue he started to drag his feet on was the weed issue. He feels like he needs to use it to get through with drawl. He eventually said he wants to change this too, but needs to work on it. He told me had not drank for 4 days, and we agreed that we were ok for right now, with the understanding that I still want him to see a counselor and that if any of the above habits continue it would be over. He said he would see a doctor in about 2 weeks and be honest about what he is going through. He said if the doctor recommended a counselor he would see one, or if that he would if he is having problems sticking to his plans. He is however, still unclear about about how he plans to manage his drinking and smoking after detoxing ( I think partly due to being confused himself). I am still sleeping in the other room and am trying to be there for him, but also make sure I am keeping space to focus on my needs.
Yesterday he texted me at the end of my work day saying he needed me to take him to the Doctor. He complained of shakiness, shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain etc. I took him and he said he was honest with the Doctor about what he is going through. They did a heart test and his heart was ok. The Doctor thought it was with drawl and anxiety about what he was experiencing. The Doctor did not make any recommendations about counseling but told him to continue what he was doing and to come back in a week. I question whether he told the whole truth, because how could a doctor tell someone it was ok to continue doing this on your own? He was very shaken up, but felt better after seeing the doctor.
Today, I have continued to think about all this and am still confused. I am having difficulty trusting him and this relationship. To add to everything, I decided to look at his online fitness tracker, where he has tracked his food and drink intake for the past 2 months. It was there that I discovered he has been drinking anywhere from 4 to 15 drinks a day on most days according to what he logged. On average it was around 10 drinks a day. Sometimes I wondered if he even included all of his drinks and was actually drinking more than he recorded. Either way, he was drinking way more beer that I saw him drinking, he was drinking more wine than what had come from me, and he was drinking hard alcohol that I have never seen. I think he has kept beer in his car to hide it from me, and I guess he must hide other drinks in the basement. To make things worse, I saw that he drank beer on both Monday and Tuesday (after he said he was detoxing), when he told me he had not. These were days when there was tension about the issue. He also told me he tried to not smoke weed, but needed to yesterday and today. He does not know that I looked at his account and learned how much and how often he was drinking.
So this leaves me ever more confused. I love him, but don't know if I trust him anymore. I don't know if I can be in a relationship where I feel like I have to watch him so carefully. If all this was happening under my nose without me noticing, how diligent would I have to be to spot it happening again? He seems so sincere right now about changing, but then again he has already lied to me about Monday and Tuesday and has not confessed to this. I know that I can't be in a relationship with him or take steps to get married etc. if this problem continues, but I don't know if he is really changing this time. I don't want to give up prematurely but also don't want to get hurt. I also don't want to upset him when he is still experiencing with drawl symptoms and is vulnerable to start drinking again. It is more complicated by the fact that he doesn't want anyone to know, and won't seek support from his family. I don't think it is good for a relationship for all this pressure to be on me to make sure he is ok, and pressure on him to have me as his only support. I have noticed that I distance myself emotionally each time he has brought up this issue, and while I grew close to him again each time, I don't know if it was as close as before. This time, I feel the need to distance myself even more because of the seriousness and because I don't want to make a mistake and end up in this same situation a year or more from now. So basically I need so advice from people who have been there before... is it possible for someone to change without the help of a professional? Can someone simply cut back on their drinking after having a problem significant enough to experience with drawl symptoms? Am I right in thinking that using weed for emotional reasons is just the same as using alcohol? Am I ignoring all the signs right in front of me to end things because my judgement is clouded? How do I know if he is really ready to change? Please help!! I need some outside perspective!!
|01-27-2012, 08:56 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Columbia MO
Hello phm, welcome to you, so glad you are here.
Some suggestions for you, first start by reading the stickies (permanant posts) at the top of the page, there is lots of good information there. Second, I would recommend counseling for you, it reaaly helped me get through a lot of rough times, many folks here will recommend al-anon, it will be of a great benefit to you from the standpoint of recognizing co-dependent behavior, teaching you just to work on your recovery and to leave his recovery up to him, etc.
I will tell you this from first hand experience, you cannot control his drinking, you cannot yell or cajole or plead or anything else enough that he will stop. He will not stop until he has really decided he wants to stop, what will cause that to happen is anyones guess.
All you can do is decide what you will tolerate, al-anon will help you set boundaries.
If you need to vent, need to talk, need some propiing up, or need a ((hug)) then I will be here for you, this site has been wonderful for me.
Please come back often, let us know how you are doing.
Best of luck,
|01-27-2012, 09:32 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Alcoholics can't "cut back" on their drinking. They either drink or don't drink. They will also tell you whatever they think you want to hear about them cutting back, or needing to quit. Until he decides for himself that he wants to be done with it, and enters true recovery, nothing will change for him.
Things can change for you, however. You can chose a different life. He's living in your condo? Maybe he shouldn't be. It's YOUR condo. I know you love him, but it's impossible to love him into sobriety. You can't control it, can't cure it, didn't cause it.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease. As long as he is drinking AT ALL, it will only get worse. I watched my XAH go from moderate, functioning alcoholic, to full blown, lost his family and is homeless alcoholic. He has lost everything, but still drinks. They have to truly want to overcome if there is ever any hope of it happening. I'm sure there are plenty of alcoholics out there who go into and stay in recovery. I just don't know any of them.
The most important thing is to take care of yourself. Check out alanon. Read as much as you can-Codependant No More by Melodie Beatty (spelling?) is a great one. Undrunk is another good one. Under the Infulence is an excellent title that really teaches you what to expect.
This forum is a great source of support. Keep reading and posting. It does help.
|01-27-2012, 09:41 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2011
Keep reading this forum and you will clearly see how your life will go if you stay with this man.
Your going to read and say OMG..that couldn't ever happen to me....but it will.
Get him out of your life.
At worst you can always reunite once he has a good handle on his sobriety.
this is a horrible disease. you deserve better.
|01-27-2012, 01:13 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2009
i'll give you the advice i was given 7 years ago, from the leader of the local AA group when i called her for counsel. she said:
run. run quick.
i didn't take her advice. 6 years later i understood the wisdom of that advice. 6 years later i had been abused, lied to, beaten, cheated on, stolen from, my shoulder was broken and i had no money left, we were being evicted and i knew every police officer in town. 3 DUIs by him, 5 cars trashed or wrecked, horrible decisions as to whether to call the cops and jail him and i sold my home (which was paid in full) just to survive.
don't be me. you seem to have a good head on your shoulders.
if you don't run, then in the name of mercy for yourself, move out and get your own place. if you want to see him, see him on your own terms. establish what your boundaries are...i personally found it almost impossible to enforce my boundaries when we were living together...
i would also advise you to follow up your hunches and convince yourself of the severity of the problem, because all the signs are there. go have a good search in the basement, start reading receipts, pop up unexpected, come home earlier than normal...i needed to convince myself and have proof, because they are so very good at hiding and lying.
|01-28-2012, 08:12 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Hi and welcome, phm22. I think the members above have said it all so well, so I am only going to say keep posting here, read all you can, and talk to other people (in Al-Anon, AA, or wherever) because education is empowerment when it comes to making big life-altering decisions.
You are not alone, though. We here have all struggled with the same questions and feelings.
Take good care,
Major insights begin as quiet knocks on the door of denial. Just listen for them. Dr. Keith Ablow
|01-28-2012, 09:08 AM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: On a Rollercoaster Ride
I started here almost 4 weeks ago, and it has been along with alanon a GOD SEND! Lots of support and wisdom here for you, KEEP COMING BACK for support. Sending you lots of healing wishes!!! Follow your 'INTUITION" and it is true he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear...YOU DESERVE MUCH BETTER!!
|01-28-2012, 05:00 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2011
I am wondering how you are doing.
I know you read our responses and thought
what a bunch of self rightous B#%^&s...they don't know ANYTHING about me, him..our life...etc..
but we do.
We want to save you, save your future children from the horrible things we know you will go through.
Please...keep reading. You will see.
|01-30-2012, 09:55 AM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Thank you to everyone who responded. Today was my first chance to check back and read relpies. Sooo now I think its time for some serious soul searching. I am so grateful for the advice from others who have been there. I will keep you posted!
|01-30-2012, 10:00 AM||#11 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Delran, NJ
One little thing to remember. Alcoholics don't have relationships, they take hostages.
Sanity is giving up the illusion of control.
Happiness is letting go of the past.
Serenity is just being me.
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