A Primal Scream

Old 05-22-2003, 01:57 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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A Primal Scream

Hello, everyone. I am new here, and it was desperation and pain that brought me here, and I'm sure many others came feeling the same way that I do right now.

This is going to be long, but if I don't get this out of my system, I will eventually do what my post title suggests.

I am in a relationship with a recovering alcoholic. When we started dating 16 months ago, he was 3 months into his recovery. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

But despite that, we stayed together. I've been married before, and I had a really good idea of what love ISN'T. This man and I clicked on a level I never realized possible, and are - first and foremost - the best of friends. Doesn't that sound wonderful? It is on the good days, but the bad days are something else.

When he quit drinking it was because he had received 2 DUI's in a short span of time. He admitted to his problem (drinking from morning until night, every single day), and his brother helped him through the horrible withdrawal period. As I said before, I came in 3 months later.

He used to attend AA meetings regularly, in those early days. He praised AA to the skies. He really lived AA, especially honesty and taking care of himself. He was very honest with me (probably too honest as it would turn out), as he told me all of the horrible things he did when he drank. This included sleeping with countless women, and that the 2 women he had truly loved he had driven away by drinking and constant cheating. He had become deeply spiritual, and turned to God rather than the old behaviors. I admired him for his honesty with me (while it set the stage for insecurities I didn't realize until much later).

As he continued going through the early AA steps, he found them difficult and began to criticize them. Eventually, by late summer of last year, he stopped attending entirely and stopped all contact with his sponsor. Still he remained sober. One of the biggest obstacles he faced was frustration with his career. He has 2 Master degrees, but he was unable to find employment in his field (terribly underpaid). Money and success became the bigger focus.

Right before Thanksgiving of last year, he disappeared for an entire night. I was furious -- and I never considered drinking. When he came back the next morning, he admitted to have dinner with a friend and then ordering a bottle of wine. He was too afraid to go home to face his brother, or me if I were there. He said that the wine had made him sick, and he didn't enjoy the experience at all. I felt terrible about it, and frightened. I couldn't stand that smell on his breath, and couldn't imagine dealing with it regularly. But then he returned to semi-normalcy, and I all but forgot... and wrote it off.

The time following that was like a honeymoon, right up until April of this year when he moved in with me. We are looking for a bigger place, but we both thought it silly to continue paying rent on two apartments. Romance was abound, everything was coming up roses for us.

After the move, he started to become more irritable and sullen. Not every day, but about 2 days out of a week. I did everything in my power to help out.

Then the bad moods became worse and worse and more common. Having a good day became a rarer blessing. Then one night, about 3 week ago, he exploded. I mean really exploded. Smashed a carton of 18 eggs on the wall. I'd never seen him act like this. Then he ran out in the pouring rain and stayed out for hours. Fortunately. he came back sober, but said he felt out of control of his life and wanted to move. I cried, he was stubborn, I "ran away" for the weekend, he called me back, apologetic, and with a change of heart. The most important thing I said to him at that time is, "Honey you can run from me, or your crappy job, or your friends or your family, but you can't run away from yourself."

The next week was magic. Everything was better. That next weekend, his best friend - a former drinking and "trouble" buddy - came into town. They hadn't seen each other in 4 years. To say I was nervous is an understatement, but I kept my mouth shut. I knew it wasn't my place to nag or tell him what to do. And I had faith that he was strong enough to tell his friend he quit drinking, and that their fun would have to be modified from the "good old days."

I was very wrong. When I went to pick him up at 3 AM, he was wasted. Couldn't walk or talk right, and very hard to handle. I did my best to keep my mouth shut, as I learned really quickly that this was NOT the time for talking it all out.

The next morning, he was in physical pain. I don't think it was just a hangover; he was hot and then cold, cold sweat, shaking from head to toe. He said that he could end the feeling if he drank again, but that he had to stick it out. He made it through, thankfully. The next few days were scary, and he was very emotional and clingy. We discussed what happened, and he said he felt so invincible that night with his friend, so in control. He said he started to believe he could control his social drinking, but he also knew after the fact how wrong he was. He stated that he wanted to go back to AA. I told him that I would never abandon him for making one mistake, and that I would support whatever he felt best for his own health.

He never did go back to AA, but then he seemed to be doing better for a few days, which leads us to last weekend. I went and spent the day with my family. While I was there, I checked my e-mail. Lo and behold, I found an interesting response to an old, OLD personal ad I had put on the net over 2 years ago. There was no picture, and the "handle" was not one he would recognize as mine. And he responded to it. Bad enough that he responded to me in a personal ad saying, "I like what you have to say here -- what's next," but he also listed himself as a social/occasional drinker and a wine enthusiast.

I had the wind knocked out of my sails. But to tell the truth, when I read what he wrote about drinking, it put the personal ad issue to the side for a moment. I told him what he had done and that he had responded to me (and proved it), but the most important question I asked him was, "Why did you say you are a social drinker?" And he responded, "Because maybe I feel like drinking again, but if you please, I don't want anyone else to know that." I said, "Everyone will know soon enough once you start drinking." and he replied, "That is IF I start drinking again."

For now, although I addressed it with him, I am putting the personal ad issue (and other problems with his constant flirtations) to the side, no matter how deeply it hurts me. This because I recognize who I started dating as a man who wanted to reform, and what happened when he got off the track.

I also recognize, although I didn't go into big detail here, that I am a terrible co-dependent (my father was an alcoholic as well, so I think I learned to behave this way as a child). I don't believe that I am an enabler of his alcoholism, but I am his victim right now. I am considering going to see a counselor to address these things.

But here's what I need help with: What do I do? This entire week has been horrible again. He is terribly moody and wants to be left alone all the time. He won't let me touch him or hug him, and he talks to me as though I am the enemy. I am tired of crying everyday.

And I feel a desperate need to address the alcoholism issue, but I don't know what the best way to do so would be. Right now, I am considering giving him a letter that outlines what I know about his problem; the danger zone from straying away from AA, the pink cloud (and what happens when you get off), and telling him that these are SUGGESTIONS and that I am not trying to force him to do anything... but that if he ever begins as a regular, practicing alcoholic again, I will leave him. (And I really don't want to do that - I love him so much, and I know that he loves me.)

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on what the best course of action is in this case, I would be very, very grateful.
Old 05-22-2003, 02:43 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
matters's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: California
Posts: 329
Hi Henny and welcome to the board!

I think we have all been in the position of wanting to SCREAM at one time or another concerning our loved ones with drinking problems. Coming here to vent is a great alternative.

He is going to do what he wants no matter what you say or do Henny. Save your energy and focus on yourself!!!

Read the sticky posts at the top of the Al-anon and Nar-anon boards! They are full of great info! Barbiedebs daily posts are really helpful too.

Take care of you and keep coming back,
matters is offline  
Old 05-22-2003, 04:16 PM
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smoke gets in my eyes's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: That's what I'd like to know.
Posts: 2,416
Welcome Henny.

I'm with matters. Save your energy. If he's been to AA he knows all about pink clouds and relapses and the like. There's nothing wrong with telling him where you stand, but trying to tell him where he stands probably won't get you anywhere.

Have you considered finding an alanon group in your area, or perhaps CoDA (codependents anonymous) or ACOA (adult children of alcoholics)? You are not alone and it sometimes help to hear how other people are coping with similar problems.

Scream away... primally or however.

Keep posting.
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Old 05-23-2003, 07:10 AM
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Thank you so much for the responses. I just felt like I was falling apart yesterday, and I am very glad that I found this board. I've been to some Al-Anon meetings, and should go to them more often. But this is a fantastic tool, allowing people to reach out for help 24-hours a day.

I TRIED to think rationally last night, and I think my boyfriend is also dealing with a depression problem. I don't know if this is related directly (or perhaps indirectly) to alcoholism issues, and I know that he doesn't "believe" in shrinks or drugs.

Sigh. Just one day at a time, right?

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