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FUNCTIONAL Alcoholic

Old 06-16-2008, 10:05 PM
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Unhappy FUNCTIONAL Alcoholic

I'm married to a functional alcoholic and it's crushing my spirit. My husband is very smart, college grad, multi-millionare, successful person. When we met at age 16, he would drink on weekends...beer and shnops. When we went to college, he would drink heavily Thurs-Sun....late nights...parties....everyone was doing it, having fun being young... When we got married, it was less crazy then college, however it was steady... 20 years later, it's every night and has switched from beer to whiskey. He may "take a day off" as he calls it and skip 1 night or 2. I'm afraid when he is alone with the kids at night... His personality changes after 5+ drinks.... bitter, angry, defensive, egotistical. His speech get's slured, he stumbles, he doesn't remember things the next day. He's the not same person I married. I don't want my kids to think that alcohol is necessary to "enjoy life". I don't want my kids to think that they are "2nd" to Dad's alcohol... His parenting is inconsistent which causes stress in our marriage and family life. He doesn't drink during the day....he doesn't get violent... he has a successful career... he doesn't go to bars.... Am I over reacting?
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:58 PM
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Welcome VerySad

Your story is like so many others here... including mine. This is my story of being married to a functional alcoholic.

I met my husband in college where heavy drinking was the norm... however, after we got married surprisingly he rarely drank and then only when we have friends over. We both worked hard at our careers and getting settled... but after about 7 years we moved to a neighborhood where the husbands ALWAYS had a few beers every night after work, and he joined in ... and that was the beginning of my AH's downhill spiral over the next 25 years. At first it was only drinking a few nights a week and weekends .. then he drank increasingly more on week nights and started hiding it from me. There were more and more incidents of outrageous behavior. Eventually, he would drink a couple of beers in my presence and then go out on errands to get more or drink beer he had hidden in the garage... unfortunately, this went on for years before I found actual proof how much he was abusing and hiding alcohol - even though I had suspected it for years.

My AH was very functional during the day and worked long hard hours for many years successfully developing our own business .... but in the last 10 years, he no longer could restrict his drinking to just the evenings and started drinking during office hours. I had already been overwhelmed by his bizarre behavior in the evenings and weekends ... like you, I didn't even feel comfortable leaving our kids alone with him and worried how his erratic behavior would impact them. His drinking grew worse.... with an occasional improvement with promises to change... only to secretly start the drinking along with the irrational behavior all over again. His business decisions grew sloppy and careless ... and eventually his health began to fail and he could no longer work, leaving me with numerous bills to pay and having to take over his job on top of mine on very short notice ... as well as being a single parent to our 2 sons. He couldn't stop drinking and eventually became almost helpless ... a far cry from the man I married who could do the work of 4 people. Sadly, he deteriorated quickly ... both his mind and body were failing ... and he ended up losing his life to alcohol.

This was the tragic end to the life of a once functional alcoholic.
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:54 AM
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No you are not over reacting,
and he will not stay functional
my AH lost everyrhing in a short time.
It is a progressive fatal disease.........
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by VerySad View Post
I don't want my kids to think that they are "2nd" to Dad's alcohol...
XABF once advised me that he thought he would make a better parent than myself. That sparked a lot of anger from me considering he was unable to be honest with himself, let alone everyone else, was in serious denial and put alcohol above all else. I thought I would clearly be the best parent, far exceeding anything he could offer. Recently I revisited this thought and I came to the realization that if I had continued to allow myself to come second to alcohol, to allow myself to be in an unhealthy environment, I would not be modeling the life I would want for my children.

I am still working through resentment I have towards my parents for not teaching me things like self worth, being able to validate myself...they taught me how to be a codependent and live my life through others rather than for myself. I was taught it was better to not rock the boat than it was to protect myself. I saw my parents do it every day. I resent them because some people grow up learning these tools and it comes naturally. I never saw it, never experienced it, and at 33 I had to learn how to do something I have never been witness to or had in my life.

Today I try to remind myself that they were not given these tools either by their parents and unknowingly passed down these unhealthy and toxic behaviours and habits. I have accepted that they may never see the nature of their codependency or how it negatively impacted my life growing up. However, I feel that I am breaking the chain of dysfunction by protecting myself, keeping harmful, unhealthy people outside of healthy boundaries I create and if I become a mom someday I want my kids to witness the new tools I am learning and will continue to learn so they will never allow themselves to come second to anyone or anything.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:26 AM
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No you are not over reacting. If alcohol is causing a problem in your life, its a problem.

Stay around, keep reading and posting and start educating yourself on what alcoholism is doing to you andyour children and what you can do to improve your life.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:32 AM
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Hi and welcome verysad, I agree that if this is a problem to you that is enough! He will always play down how dependant he has become it is the alcoholics way.

Keep posting and reading (the sickies at the top of the forum page are very informative). Now is the time to heal you and your children, he will make hi sown choices irrespective of yours. Remeber the three C's

You didn't cause it
you can't control it
you cannot cure it.

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:31 AM
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No you are not overeacting at all!

I'm married to a functional alcoholic and it's crushing my spirit
Not alone with this comment-My spirit was crushed-I lost who I was and never
thought I would be happy....

Today with the help of Al-Anon, My HP, SR, counseling- I have become a happy person
again! I see and hear nature-which Is something I was never able to do among the
fear and chaos that surrounded me-

My father was an A and a Doctor (surgeon) and he was known to be a "functioning A" which IMHO really does not excuse the behavior and choice to drink and put others at risk. Money is material ....life is more important than that!

Keep posting and work on making that spirit of yours shine again!
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by VerySad View Post
I'm married to a functional alcoholic and it's crushing my spirit. My husband is very smart, college grad, multi-millionare, successful person.
How do you define, "sucessful person?"

Do you base your definition on monetary wealth, career, homes, cars, etc...

Or, is a sucessful person one that respects others, is honest, has several, meaningful connections with other people, and is helpful to others?

In my mind, there's no such thing as a "functional" alcoholic. Alcoholics that have money, a good job, never been arrested, etc. are just better at fooling others. Those are all tangible things that are no measure of a person. The important stuff (honesty, respect, integrity) is where the real malfunction occurs.

How is it that a functional human being could crush the spirit of another?
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:40 AM
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I also have trouble defining "functional". My ex husband, had 2 or more drinks per day, and he NEEDED them. Sometimes he had more and he'd get argumentative or pass out, but if he didn't get the 2 he would go looking for them.

He never got a DUI even though there were plenty of times he would have been arrested if he had been stopped, he never lost a job (that I know of), and he only embarrassed me in public a few times. The group we hung out with were social drinkers mixed with a couple of heavier drinkers. He fit right in.

He was such a good actor that I didn't realize the extent of the problem. The infidelity was my big wake-up call.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:51 AM
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You're not overreacting. And there's nothing functional about the behavior you described. I think the main reason most people abuse mind-altering substances is because they're NOT functional.
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