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Not So Clear to Me.............

Old 01-06-2009, 10:41 AM
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Not So Clear to Me.............

So what do you do when your AH is not the falling down, and out alcoholic? What if your AH has made drinking a priority and used it as a "release valve" for the 26 years you have known him, but he doesn't seem to be getting worse. They say this is a progressive disease, so what if it is not progressing? The only difference I can see from years ago, is that he is more depressed and discouraged. Otherwise the amount he drinks is fairly stable. Also I see this as a pattern in his family, his father and both brothers in the same boat.

I know the focus should be on me. Sometimes I wonder if this all applies to my situation, because others share what it is like to live with an alcoholic and that has not been my experience.

I know he drinks too much, I know he uses it as a crutch, but I wonder why I don't see other posts like mine. Is there anyone out there that knows my kind of alcoholic?
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:56 AM
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The first alcoholic I was ever involved with was like your husband. High-functioning, drinking patterns stable, etc.

I eventually had to go my own way because I was desperately unhappy with the man he had become, and I wanted to be with someone who did NOT self-medicate every chance he got. It undermined every ounce of respect I had for him, and made him unreliable, impossible to establish any sort of trust and intimacy with. Also, pouring unending alcohol through your body is a virtual guarantee that you are on a fast track to some really heartbreaking medical problems, and I didn't want a front seat to that. Plus all the doubt and wonder if he would hit 50 or 60 and I'd finally see the raging drunk, and at that point my fears about living alone might keep me from finding the courage to change my situation. That wasn't what I wanted out of marriage....none of it.

If you are content with your situation, rose, then why would you consider changing it? What bothers you about your current life, other than the philosophical angle of "he shouldn't do that" ?
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:57 AM
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My husband has an excellent job and earns an excellent living.
He drives a Meals-On-Wheels route twice a week during his lunch hour.
He always remembers family members' (immediate and extended) and friends' birthdays and sends thoughtful, interesting gifts.
He takes a Tae-Kwon-Do class with our son.

But, in his free time, alcohol is THE priority. It's what he needs to relieve stress, to escape, to deal with pain.

He doesn't drink every day - doesn't drink in the mornings.
But when he drinks, he consumes such large quantities of alcohol that he is sick for days afterward. He's been hospitalized as a direct result of his alcohol consumption. He's spent the night in jail for driving under the influence.

I can say that he is pretty "functional" right now.

It's certainly been worse - and better- than it is right now.

In my experience, alcoholism doesn't progress linearly - there are spurts and spirals. Things get OUT OF CONTROL quickly, then, sometimes, a sense of normalcy returns for a while.

But, ultimately, turning to a bottle to deal with pain, will only lead to more pain, and, in time, more bottles. I think that's what they mean when they say it progresses.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:27 AM
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My husband self-medicates with alcohol. For our area he earns a pretty good living, pays the bills and plays with the kids these days. He'll pick them up or drop them off if needed.

The kicker is that if he's not busy doing something he's drinking. We were both home last night and have $120 for the next two weeks. So far he's made sure he's gotten some movies for us to watch, bought cigarettes, chew and beer. I'm sure he'll make sure to have more beer before he gets paid again, plus he's planning on buying a $200 gun this week.

I'd consider him functional, but not a lot of fun for me. I hate his drinking because of the manipulation, verbal abuse and bickering that it causes between us. He however is convinced that his drinking does not cause a problem, but it's my fault we end up fighting because I get to uptense. He says that if he said some of the same things sober that we'd not fight, but because of the alcohol we fight because I have issues with it.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:58 AM
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If you are content with your situation, rose, then why would you consider changing it? What bothers you about your current life, other than the philosophical angle of "he shouldn't do that" ?[/QUOTE]

Thanks GiveLove & TC for the validation, I was starting to doubt myself.
These are the things that bother me:
He has "given up" on having a solid job, and believes that he is off the hook, what my dad would say is a case of "they owes it to me". He is unwilling to go through any training that might lead to a dependable job, and also unwilling to accept a low paying job. In the past 10 years he has worked for three periods, each lasting from 1.5 - 2years. Otherwise he has been unemployed. His not working is a HUGE trigger for me.

He accepts little responsibility for the things that happen in his life, and I accept too much. Nothing is his fault, whereas I see everything as my fault or more to the point I can influence what happens in my world.


I feel distant from him, not emotionally close.

I can't share frustrations with him, because instead of listening, he starts ranting about how the world is messed up, people are mostly out to &*($% you etc.

He is sometimes grumpy and nasty when drinking, no fun to be around.

He goes through periods when he drinks mostly from home and then he drinks 3 times a week at bars. I hate it both ways.

TC, you hit it on the head, in his free time, drinking is THE priority. I like what you said about drinking to ease the pain only leads to more drinking.

Thanks, this had helped me to clarify my thoughts.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:33 PM
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his drinking is a problem with you.....it is standing in the way of what you want your marriage to be. so whether he is a "functional" alcoholic has little bearing on what you want out of life. and it sounds as if you dont really want alcohol to rule your life.

and it is progressive. it can happen very quickly after years of drinking. i guess you could say the worst is yet to come. that is how it was with my hubs.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rose56 View Post
In the past 10 years he has worked for three periods, each lasting from 1.5 - 2years. Otherwise he has been unemployed. His not working is a HUGE trigger for me.
Originally Posted by Rose56 View Post
He accepts little responsibility for the things that happen in his life, and I accept too much.
Originally Posted by Rose56 View Post
He goes through periods when he drinks mostly from home and then he drinks 3 times a week at bars. I hate it both ways.
So, is the big unsaid thing being said that you support him financially? You pay the way and he does what he wants?

That's how it was in my marriage for a long time. I held on to the belief that it was only temporary. And when he did make a little money, he always contributed what he could. He had me convinced that he was doing all he could do.

I have since realized that I do not want or need a "partner" who cannot pull his own weight and contribute his fair share to the relationship, financially and otherwise. He convinced me that I was a greedy, selfish, biotch for feeling this way. Guess what? I'm not!

I don't know if this is how it is for you, but your post reminded me of how it was with me.

L
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Rose56 View Post
These are the things that bother me:
He has "given up" on having a solid job, and believes that he is off the hook, what my dad would say is a case of "they owes it to me". He is unwilling to go through any training that might lead to a dependable job, and also unwilling to accept a low paying job. In the past 10 years he has worked for three periods, each lasting from 1.5 - 2years. Otherwise he has been unemployed. His not working is a HUGE trigger for me.

He accepts little responsibility for the things that happen in his life, and I accept too much. Nothing is his fault, whereas I see everything as my fault or more to the point I can influence what happens in my world.
You've known him for 26 years, right? Now look at his job history you just stated over the past 10 years.

I'd say that's progression, no? People assume the 'progression' is with the alcohol only, but it can also be of other behaviors (besides the drinking) and attitudes.

He may very well accept no responsibility eventually for the things that happen in his life at some point down the road.

I know in watching the progression with my oldest AD, who by the way is not drinking right now because she's on a plethora of medications that keep her in an altered state of mind, the blame game and rationalizations have increased tenfold over the years.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:51 AM
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LaTeeDa,
Oh Boy, a couple of AAH HA realizations.
Yes you are correct, I am supporting him financially, and I don't like it. I feel the same way you do, I don't need a partner that can't pull his weight in so many areas. I know this and yet I have ignored my bottom line in this area.

DeVon,
I am shaking over your comment, yes you are right, this is progression. It has gotten worse, just not in the way I thought.

This post has been so helpful. I feel more ready to hear these two important points. The tide may be turning, I may be really close to the end of this relationship.

Thanks so much for listening and responding.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
So, is the big unsaid thing being said that you support him financially? You pay the way and he does what he wants?

That's how it was in my marriage for a long time. I held on to the belief that it was only temporary. And when he did make a little money, he always contributed what he could. He had me convinced that he was doing all he could do.

I have since realized that I do not want or need a "partner" who cannot pull his own weight and contribute his fair share to the relationship, financially and otherwise. He convinced me that I was a greedy, selfish, biotch for feeling this way. Guess what? I'm not!

I don't know if this is how it is for you, but your post reminded me of how it was with me.

L

Thank you so much. That is exactly how I was made to feel by him and his mother. That I was money hungry and selfish, and he was just trying his best. That my focus on his bringing home more than $200/week was causing too much pressure. Thank you for saying this. Even though I know better now, deep down I still had this doubt. painful doubt.

Last edited by felicidade; 01-07-2009 at 09:23 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:55 AM
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FWIW, I think my husband was actually convinced that he WAS doing the best he could do. Part of that had to do with me treating him like a child, too. I had to change the way I approached the situation before he changed and started acting like an adult.

L
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:15 AM
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IMHO....

Inside, we're all the same (as alcoholics). What has hasn't happened are some of the more tangible consequences. And it can be tough for folks on the outside to see the intangible consequences.

Just because someone isn't experiencing arrests, job loss, serious health problems, etc. doesn't mean they are any better or worse off than anyone else.

If he's like me, there has definitely been a progession with respect to his emotional health and spiritual health. For me, these things were not so apparent to my spouse or anyone else in my life. They really weren't even that visible to me.

It was only after I sobered up and looked back when I realized what had been happening to me.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as a "functional" alcoholic. The malfunction occurs on so many deep levels. Those other things that most people tend to identify with the problem alcoholic are just superficial issues.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:33 AM
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Yes, I know I am supporting his drinking, during some periods more directly than others. Right now he is paying for this with his unemployment money, which will run out soon. At other times, I have actually bought beer for him. It is an ugly truth.

I understand now that his disease is progressing, thanks to this post. Last summer while he was still working, I knew something bad was coming. He started complaining about the job more, talking tough, and that's when he started going out again to bars. That's when I started getting very anxious, because I knew his disease was progressing. Now I have this knowledge out in the open.

So here is where I have to start focusing back on me. Why do I stay even when I want to go? What keeps me here? How can I change those things?

I stay because I NEED to be able to fix him. I can't give up, because that would mean facing the world alone, with no one to validate my worth. Who am I if not his wife?

I know this is crazy thinking, but inside my head sometimes, it gets crazy. This is left over from being raised by a mother with mental illness.

But I can do this, move forward in my life regardless of what he chooses to do. I just need a bit of help. And I am focused now on getting that help on a consistent basis. Going to meetings, reading, posting here, therapy. I am moving forward by hook or by crook.
Thanks friends................
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:40 AM
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Rose, I read this yesterday and had to think about it for a while. My STBXAH was probably what a lot of people would say is high functioning- from the outside. He drank in secret but also had the ability to drink socially and not make an a** out of himself. For years I didn't know what was going on with him, though, because emotionally he was becoming more distant- for instance not sleeping with me so he could drink alone on the couch, where he would pass out 5 or so nights a week. I thought he was just a night owl and wanted to watch tv before coming to bed. I grew tired of sleeping alone and tried to talk to him about it, but it always turned into an argument. Why? because I was trying to separate him from his alcohol- but I didn't realize that at the time. Little by little this kind of interaction eroded our relationship.

Over time he lost 3 jobs but always blamed it on someone else and had a new job to move right into, so it didn't always appear to be as bad as I now realize it was. If I showed concern or fear, he always gave me krap about it, because with each job his income went down. I started to think the problem was just me- and I took on more work to help compensate for the lower income he was taking in.

I guess my point is we are all dealing with progression in some form or another- very slow and insidious progression. STBXAH wasn't falling down drunk, calling in sick or getting duis, but he was gradually losing touch with reality, blaming me, emotionally distant and getting worse, withdrawing from family activities and responsibilities- so I was picking up the ball in many of those areas- I was getting progressively worse. . . more frustrated, fearful, hyper responsible.

There were times when I *wished* he would get a dui so I could say- "See! it's really that bad!" Now I know better. It was bad- and still is. STBXAH is not someone I could live with. He lies. He hides his issues from everyone but me, he's not engaged in life as fully as I would have like him to be. Yet- he claimed he was. I needed much more than he was able to give me. So it comes down to what you want- what you need. It's valid and important. I kept feeling like I was settling or lowering my standards until one day I woke up and realized I was living a very narrow life. Now I live life for me.

Maybe I am misinterpreting, but if you are waiting for it to get *really* bad- like for him to get a dui or end up in jail- I say why accept that? If you feel badly- if your needs are not being met- if you feel the relationship isn't fulfilling- what can you do about it?
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Rose56 View Post
I stay because I NEED to be able to fix him. I can't give up, because that would mean facing the world alone, with no one to validate my worth. Who am I if not his wife?
Excellent insight! I asked myself the same question- who am I if I'm not his wife? I'm taking time now to find out, and I am enjoying it! It hasn't all been easy, but it is getting easier. Divorce is not what I wanted, but it's something I have to accept as my reality. I can lay in the fetal position, or get up and choose to live a life that I make mine. Stepping away from STBXAH was scary at first, because I had spent years making him and our marriage my project. Now- after 16 months of being alone, I am starting to feel more sane, more about me and what I want. It's taken a lot of work, talking, and counseling, meetings, reading, but so worth it. I can't do anything to change him, but I can change myself. . . and it sounds like you are beginning to realize that too.

(((You're doing great Rose!)))
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:26 AM
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My ex AH became so depressed and depressing that just coming home and having dinner was a DRAIN. No one and nothing made him happy. Hated job, hated coworkers, picked on me and kids.

About a year ago he decided he wanted to see if other women found him attractive. That graduated into little phone and texting relationships, which escalated into a singles ad and full-fledged dates while we were married.

While the signs might have been there for a while, I honestly thought we were just doing OK -- not great, but love, enjoyed each other's company, etc. I'd stay away when he had the negatives... then everything crossed over into this seedy, torrid set of affairs.

That was our painful, public, humiliating escalation. THAT'S when I understood what could happen with advanced, untreated alcoholism. And BOY did I wish I'd gotten out much much sooner. Hindsight.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:18 PM
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Hey Rose!

I was lurking and saw you...I am sorry to hear that not much has changed but...you know what... same with me. It is tough.
Since neither one of us is moving on it comes down to doing what we need to do to take care of ourselves. That would be you. Be kind to yourself, treat yourself from time to time and let him be. You and I both know that he is not going to change.
Put some joy in your life
Love ya!
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