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Old 02-17-2017, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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In love with a functioning alcoholic


Hi Everyone!

I am hear for some advice. I will start with a background about myself. My dad is an alcoholic. He is sober now and has been for quite some time, but many of my childhood memories are of him drunk, stumbling, and with a bottle of vodka.

Fast forward 10 years later, I fell in love with someone and moved across the country for him. He suffered from severe back pain and was drinking a lot. His family and myself urged him to get a back surgery so that he would not have to live his life in pain anymore. It has been 7 months and the recovery is taking much longer than we expected, but the doctor is still hopeful that he will be pain free one day. I truly pray this is the case.

Where is stand right now is that he starts drinking before 2 and 4 every day and probably drinks on average 10 beers a night, maybe more maybe less. He doesn't get sloppy like my dad did, just talks a lot and is more annoying than anything. I have no way of knowing that his drinking will subside once his pain subsides especially since this has been part of his routine for so long.

I love him and I want to help him through this, but I am terrified that I will live the life my mom lived and that is absolutely not an option to me. I appreciate any help as to how I can approach him and help him.

Sincerely,
Nichol
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is he a functioning alcohol? So he goes to work every day and just starts drinking when he gets home?
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Be honest with him and tell him you refuse to live your life with an alcoholic and see what he does (Not what he says). If he cannot or will not quit drinking, then you have your answer. If he's not an alcoholic he won't have any issue with stopping drinking for the sake of your relationship. It's a no brainer, IMHO.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"If he cannot or will not quit drinking, then you have your answer. If he's not an alcoholic he won't have any issue with stopping drinking for the sake of your relationship. It's a no brainer"

That's not necessarily true.

As I posted yesterday in a reply to another poster in a codependent relationship, it's not up to us to change our partners, our parents, or Joe Blow on the street.

I just ended a two year relationship with someone who was too controlling and decided he was going to tell me what to wear.

Uh, no. You're not.

If someone is in a relationship with someone and their behavior is so offensive, do everyone involved a favor and leave.

Threats, emotional extortion to get someone else to"change's...ugh.

Even the 12 steppers in alanon will tell you to detach and work on yourself.

Additionally, not all folks that drink have a problem, and to imply that this poster has a right to impose her will on someone else is over generalizing.

The only healthy thing to do is LEAVE if she finds the behavior of another so offensive.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa1217 View Post
"If he cannot or will not quit drinking, then you have your answer. If he's not an alcoholic he won't have any issue with stopping drinking for the sake of your relationship. It's a no brainer"

That's not necessarily true.

As I posted yesterday in a reply to another poster in a codependent relationship, it's not up to us to change our partners, our parents, or Joe Blow on the street.

I just ended a two year relationship with someone who was too controlling and decided he was going to tell me what to wear.

Uh, no. You're not.

If someone is in a relationship with someone and their behavior is so offensive, do everyone involved a favor and leave.

Threats, emotional extortion to get someone else to"change's...ugh.

Even the 12 steppers in alanon will tell you to detach and work on yourself.

Additionally, not all folks that drink have a problem, and to imply that this poster has a right to impose her will on someone else is over generalizing.

The only healthy thing to do is LEAVE if she finds the behavior of another so offensive.
Respectfully disagree. If I'm in a relationship that I claim means the world to me, and I'm not an alcoholic, why would I put it at risk by continually drinking to excess and doing something that A) I know irritates and annoys my SO B)Is probably going to damage my relationship eventually on some level and C) put me at a very high risk of watching my disease accelerate.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Awesome. But if you came at me with reasoning trying to get me to "do it your way", I would leave.

Codependency and alcoholism are very old friends. They like to play that game.

I do not.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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This also has very little to do with control. It's more about being able to state clearly what your expectations and boundaries are in any given relationship. We all have a right to refuse behavior that we find unacceptable from anyone we happen to be in a relationship with. In fact, it's the opposite of codependency to say, this is what I need and expect from you. If you are unwilling or unable, I feel it's best for me to leave this relationship.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well exactly, just leave.

And hopefully after you leave you'll take a good look at why you chose this person to begin with, so you don't repeat your pattern of choosing those you have to "fix", find fault with and control.

I really do believe that every time you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi, nalafo. Welcome to SR. Glad you found us.
Along with tons of experience, strength and hope, this site has much good info about alcohol dependency, drug addiction, and how the alcoholics' choices and behavior affects those who love them. Informative articles, called stickies, are posted at the top of the main menu and can be very helpful.
As the child of an alcoholic in recovery, you know firsthand about the crazy train. Scary stuff.
You are not overreacting. Your SO is drinking a lot of beer daily. Don't blame you for being concerned.
It sounds from your post that you are concerned about the alcohol consumption but are not ready to pack up and leave just yet.
How is your communication with your SO.? I ask because addiction thrives on secrecy. When we pretend that everything is normal (drinking beginning at 2 or 4 pm and drinking an average of 10 beers a night is not normal, btw) it makes it easier for the person to just keep going the way they have been going.
I think a good step is to express your concern about his consumption. Neutral voice, no shouts, no demands. Just...you are concerned.
See what he says, and proceed from there. More will be revealed. Peace.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi and lWelcome,

You're right that you have no way of knowing if the drinking (self-medicating the pain) will stop when the pain stops. And, unfortunately, you're not even sure the pain will stop. I started drinking to self-medicate anxiety/insomnia/depression and I created a worse mess. I not only still had the above issues to deal with, but now I was an alcoholic. I hope your boyfriend's pain diminishes and I hope he stops drinking, but I would be surprised if it was that easy.

Take some time to get to know yourself and to understand why you chose this relationship.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Have a calm talk with him to express your concern. See what he does when confronted with his drinking. If he chooses drinking over you, then you have your answer.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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when you do talk to him, make sure he's sober. make sure you are clear on what you want your message to him to be......make sure to use "I" statements.....such as "when you start drinking at 2 in the afternoon, I <<feel/think>> - and then provide a "solution" - so my options are to avoid you for the evening, stay in the den until you go to sleep, leave and hit a late movie at the mall. i'd like to talk about other solutions with you. i care about you and i am concerned that you may not even realize how much you are drinking on a regular basis now.

or something like that! avoid ALWAYS, NEVER and I NEED YOU TO......

have you ever driven by someone and noticed they had a flat tire? so you slow down to their pace, roll your window down and wave and point like crazy? WHY? it's not YOUR tire right? your car is fine. but their tire is not safe and COULD cause harm to themselves or others. and it's just common courtesy. try to see this more like pointing out a flat tire, rather than a full out intervention right now.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It's a tough situation but I will give you my experience as it relates. First in the end I was drinking around the same as he is. My wife and I would have both said , prior to getting sober, that I was a functioning alcoholic.

I will tell you now that in my opinion only , there is no such thing as a functioning alcoholic. I was going to work, taking care of most of my family responsibilities, and living life but it was at a level far from my best. I am much more productive sober.

I will say that my wife of thirty years has stood by me through all of it. I do believe if she could have seen the future three decades ago she would have ran the other way.

We are happy now but it is only because I do not drink at all ever. I do know that an alcoholic can have a rewarding happy relationship but only if they are sober.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mattq2 View Post
It's a tough situation but I will give you my experience as it relates. First in the end I was drinking around the same as he is. My wife and I would have both said , prior to getting sober, that I was a functioning alcoholic.

I will tell you now that in my opinion only , there is no such thing as a functioning alcoholic. I was going to work, taking care of most of my family responsibilities, and living life but it was at a level far from my best. I am much more productive sober.

I will say that my wife of thirty years has stood by me through all of it. I do believe if she could have seen the future three decades ago she would have ran the other way.

We are happy now but it is only because I do not drink at all ever. I do know that an alcoholic can have a rewarding happy relationship but only if they are sober.
I agree with this 100% because this was 100% me. I was a functioning alcoholic in the sense that I went to work and functioned in life but I was far from functioning in the real sense of the word.
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