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neuropathy or drunk?

Old 03-26-2009, 06:33 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I cannot imagine staying in a relationship where there is so little trust that a breathalyzer was something I felt I had to have on hand. I cannot imagine wanting to treat my presumably adult partner in what I see as such a humiliating, child like manner.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:53 PM
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Using a breathalyzer or anything similar, can empower us with the ability to face reality and to take the appropriate actions based on the truth without second guessing our decisions. Having a sane, rational sober person use a breathalyzer does not make sense - however, an active alcoholic does not behave in sane, rational or sober ways - and thrives on deception. Being able to tell the difference between a "sober" alcoholic and an active alcoholic is sometimes almost impossible - especially in the days of early sobriety.

SITUATION:
1- Someone truly sick, stressed, tired, disoriented or confused AND sober - appropriate reaction - support and compassion.
2- Someone disoriented and confused due to ongoing abusive drinking by an alcoholic - appropriate reaction - Moving on with your life without the alcoholic in it. Sobriety for at least a year before any consideration of a renewed relationship.
PROBLEM: Easy decisions if you know the truth but we often don't know if we are dealing with situation 1 or 2.

It is the uncertainty of sobriety or deception that keeps us trapped for so long. Anyone that has been involved in a close, long term, complex relationship with an alcoholic that has slowly transformed from a fulfilling relationship to alcoholic chaos, with marriage, kids, house ...etc. understands we cannot easily walk away from this individual we care about, especially if there are children involved that will always have a connection whether the alcoholic is sober or drinking. When the alcoholic is sincerely telling us that they are no longer drinking and is seeking sobriety, it is only normal to want to give them the benefit of the doubt if they have taken actual steps to get sober. Having our alcoholic find lasting sobriety and keeping families intact is the goal most of us strive for - and for some it becomes a wonderful reality. However, as we quickly learn, sometimes the alcoholic is telling the truth about sobriety - and sometimes they are lying and manipulating us, and many times it is almost impossible to know for sure what the truth is, leaving us feeling conflicted and confused over and over again. There in lies the problem - uncertainty that keeps us trapped for years.

There is no crystal ball that will let us know what the future with an alcoholic holds for us - years of endless broken promises or a future with someone healthy & sober. We also learn we can't always make correct assumptions as to whether our alcoholics are drinking or sober just by a quick assessment. During early sobriety, an alcoholic many times will exhibit strange behaviors for weeks and months as their body and mind slowly adjusts to sobriety - sometimes called a dry drunk. Also, alcoholics are still human, and that means there will be times they seem disoriented and unfocused because they are actually extremely tired or sick. I have known alcoholics that also suffered from low blood sugar causing their moods to change dramatically, becoming light headed, disoriented and shaky. They appeared to be impaired but were actually sober, experiencing symptoms of severe low blood sugar. Active alcoholics quickly learn how to manipulate this uncertainty and, short of a blood test or a breathalyzer, those close to the alcoholic are left unsure of what is truthfully going on. This is the state most of us live in for too long until it becomes undeniably clear (usually after many years) the alcoholic has been deceiving us and has been given every chance - yet continues to drink and we decide to move on. Sadly it can take too many years to get to this point. Not wasting energy on those "in between years" of uncertainty would be a blessing - and nothing short of a breathalyzer or a blood test will give us the confidence to make permanent changes much sooner in our lives, serious changes that can sometimes involve the unfortunate dismantling of families, changes made before all those years of uncertainty have been lost.

If we had the ability to distinguish the truth between addicted deception or a truthful effort to get sober, we could make wiser decisions much sooner with more confidence and less hesitation - and spend fewer years living unhappily in the land of uncertainty.

Last edited by EnoughisEnough7; 03-27-2009 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:01 AM
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i agree with "enough". (and welcome). i too think it is very important to know what the truth is and with addiction in control, the only way to find the truth is to drug test.

the fact of addiction is that it will cause the addict to lie about using, and to lie with great finesse. we are at an extreme disadvantage if we want to know what REALITY we are living, if we simply have only the addict's words or behaviors to go on.

i know we cannot control or cure the addiction. but if we are going to live with people with this condition, then we have to protect ourselves. many addicts do not seem at all intoxicated when they are high as a kite. princess diana died because she stepped into a car with a drunk driver who was not apparently drunk.

i want to be safe. i want to know that the person driving the car i am riding in is not high. i want to know that the person who might be having a cigarette in the living room or who might be taking care of the house while i am away or who might be parenting the children or petsitting the pets....is not DRUNK or DRUGGED.

if we are going to continue our relationships with recovering addicts, then i think we need to protect ourselves with information that is solid.

i don't think drug testing is controlling or demeaning. i think it is a check-up on the disease, not the person. i think it is survival in its most basic form.

here, we say watch ACTIONS. so in addition to the drug testing when we are uncertain of what reality is really at work, we also must promise ourselves that we will not minimize addict behavior, nor deny addict responsibility and accountability by making excuses for the addict who is not working a recovery program.

so it isn't just, is he slurring or wobbling or mean.....it is also is he walking the recovery walk. and the recovery walk is umistakable. it is meetings, amends, service, humility.

and we also have to monitor ourselves. no breathazlyzers available for codie thinking and behavior. but staying connected to recovering people and being totally honest and willing to accept feedback is a pretty good substitute.

all the very best as you work things through.
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by EnoughisEnough7 View Post
SITUATION:
1- Someone truly sick, stressed, tired, disoriented or confused AND sober - appropriate reaction - support and compassion.
2- Someone disoriented and confused due to ongoing abusive drinking by an alcoholic - appropriate reaction - Moving on with your life without the alcoholic in it. Sobriety for at least a year before any consideration of a renewed relationship.
PROBLEM: Easy decisions if you know the truth but we often don't know if we are dealing with situation 1 or 2.
and spend fewer years living unhappily in the land of uncertainty.
This is exactly my thinking when I posted this question!! That's what I'm looking for right now....the answer to that. If my wife is truly sick, if she suffers from a diurnal drop in blood sugar, hypoglycemia, then I want to support and help her, not ask her to leave. She insists she's not drinking, was completely shaken when I asked about the empty bottle and for the last few days has had some severe emotional breakdowns thinking that she is going crazy or thanks to me, is suffering from a neurological disorder.

She was willing to be breathalyzed at the counselors office because she "knew" that she hadn't been drinking. So, she should feel the same about being checked at home. And when I get the breathalzyer and ask her to use it, I WILL KNOW!
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:16 AM
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That's what I'm looking for right now....the answer to that. If my wife is truly sick, if she suffers from a diurnal drop in blood sugar, hypoglycemia, then I want to support and help her, not ask her to leave. She insists she's not drinking, was completely shaken when I asked about the empty bottle and for the last few days has had some severe emotional breakdowns thinking that she is going crazy or thanks to me, is suffering from a neurological disorder.
If I knew I was not drinking but was coming accross as if I was, I would be seriously worried too, and would be hot-footing it to my GP for a referral. Job done. A bonus for that would be that my partner wouldn't feel they had to ask a bunch of random internet people who've never met me whether I was drinking or if it was some srious nerve/brain damage.

Perhaps you could suggest she goes to a GP, given the behaviour, and then let it go....

do you need to know either way right now, or could you wait and see what pattern emerges, how her behaviour pans out in the next couple of weeks?

that might give you and your gut a better chance for the truth to unfold.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:06 AM
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She has an appointment with her physician next week. Do I need to know right now......good question. I guess that I do. I feel that if the current situation continues it can't be good in the long run. If it's alcohol, the sooner something is done the better. Same if it's physiological, the longer it continues without treatment, the more damage may be done.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:15 AM
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I came home to a spouse who appeared drunk but swore he wasn't. I would take him to the ER for treatment since the behaviors/symptoms would strike me as serious. A delay in the light of serious symptoms doesn't seem to be a good idea. It would also immediately settle the question of is he drunk or sick?
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:15 AM
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Looks like my question has been answered.
I got home from work early yesterday. At the front door was the express mail pkg containing the breathalyzer. Inside the house, my wife's asleep on the couch (3pm). I test the breathalyzer on myself (0.00%). I leave the breathalyzer on the kitchen table. Wife wakes up. We order take out dinner. I go to pick up dinner, bring home some flowers for her as well. During dinner, she gets all upset about the breathalyzer, starts cursing me out about it. Even though she agreed in the presence of her counselor that if I thought she was drinking, she would be willing to get checked for alcohol. After dinner, I'm cleaning up, cleaning the floor, open the kitchen closet door, two packs of mini wine bottle on the floor, two empty bottles. OK, time for a breathalyzer test. Go to the box on the kitchen table, open it, what the h.....the 6 mouthpieces that came with the analyzer are gone!! light bulb goes off,....she threw them out when I went to pick up dinner!!
"Why are there bottles of wine in the closet?!!!"
"I bought them to test myself!" that's the answer....
You REALLY can't trust or believe alcoholics.....
And yet, 7am this morning she's going to an AA meeting.
It hasn't even been three weeks since she got out of the rehab program.......
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:21 AM
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You REALLY can't trust or believe alcoholics.....
Pretty much sums it up.

It's a hard lesson to learn though. Because you truly don't want to think that someone you give your love to can be THAT selfish and conniving.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:10 AM
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Her behavior says all you need to hear. Someone who is still drinking is not serious about sobriety obviously.

So the big question remains. What do you want for your life?
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:48 AM
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Still drinking, still lying, nothing's changing. No surprises here. I'm sorry.

Here's wishing you will make the right choices for yourself.
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:24 PM
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I've been sober going on 4 months.. I could have been her, 4 months ago. I was NEVER drunk.. I NEVER had been drinking when asked, I lied about that all the time, and I fully admit it. I also suffered from some scary neuropathy (numbness, eye twitches, leg spasms..), it has NEVER made me act drunk.. I'm only here to offer insight, because I remember exactly what I did (in horror..), and I was amazed sometimes when my husband would not only find a bottle, but find me smelling like alcohol and acting drunk, that I could convince him I was "just tired" or some other nonsense. That is gut wrenching to me to even think of now, but I think if anything else, I can offer my experience here AS that drunk.

She would blow a 0 the next day anyways, most likely.
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:25 PM
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whoa sorry didn't read the whole thread before responding, looks like you got your answer.. that sucks
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:59 PM
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It was 13 hours later!!!! The breathalyzer tells you nothing. And this behavior and then lying about it is very common for the A. My husband did this, well, and does this.( separated in same house he still tries to give me the impression he is not drinking when he is) You need to do a breathalyzer immediately, not 13 hours later. The counselor should know this and that you should get to her office as soon as you are suspicious, not the next morning.

When my AH made an effort to stop drinking I told him if I had any question that he was drinking I wanted him to take a breathalyzer. This was the agreement I wanted to not continue to seek divorce because if he relapsed i was going to go ahead with divorce. I did this and he agreed because his history was to lie that he had not been drinking and would say he was tired or sick or whatever it was and that I was wrong. I got to the point where I was not sure when he was drunk sometimes and didn't want to fall for the lies so this is what i asked for. ( vodka drinker who goes to work everyday, comes home and works around the house and drinks his hidden vodka in private, in doses, then goes to bed and repeats the same thing the next day. Only pays for his drink with cash so that it does not come up on the debit banking papers)

Ago mentioned to you in his post ,"at some point I'd have to ask myself what I was doing in a relationship where I had to get a breathalyzer." I don't know if your perspective is the same as mine was. Mine was to check myself , set a boundary and proof so that I could leave the relationship where the A was still lying and hiding alcohol, while yet doing other things before not common and going to meetings to continue an appearance of not drinking, so that I would not follow through with the consequences attached to the relapse. The breathalyzer request was there so I wouldn't stay with an active alcoholic. It was not in place for a continual " I knew it and told you so"or "okay, now I know so back on the wagon" but instead " you are still lying and I need to go and you now understand that I will not question myself in light of this evidence"

Anyway, ended up not needing it. But the day i demanded the breathalyzer he of course wouldn't take it and said i was wrong and claimed he was not drinking. So I just went to his bedroom and got the bottle of hidden vodka as I was sure it would be there. I showed it to him and basically said it is proof enough and we are getting divorced .
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:49 PM
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Sorry to hear that your wife relapsed.... but at least you have been spared the endless days and weeks of "I don't know what you are talking about... I haven't been drinking" rhetoric ... an easy game for them, but pure torture for everyone else.

Like I mentioned before ... the breathalyzer I ordered never even had to be taken out of the box. When the verbal game of denial started ... all I had to do was mention the breathalyzer and the games stopped, my AH would get indignant and I would have my answer. Knowing I could easily catch him in this lie, very quickly led to ending his deceptive attempts to hide his drinking ... something that for years had allowed him to keep secretly drinking while convincing me I was just imagining everything.

Using the breathalyzer was not something I wanted to do ... but I never dreamed I would end up having to question the lucidity and trustworthiness of the person I married. And simply suggesting he use a breathalyzer was a whole lot saner than trying to continually debate as to why his behavior seemed so strange.

Ahhhhhh ... the mini wine bottles. Before the breathalyzer, I long suspected my AH had started drinking at the office. When he called me and I noticed a subtle slur in his voice, he would always insist he had no idea what I was talking about and start the .. "it must be my sinus problems that are causing me to slur my words" ... game. Eventually I found out he was purchasing the mini wine bottles for the office because: A) He could easily slide them into his pocket throughout the day to sneak into the office undetected and B) Wine did not have an easily detectable odor. Several years later, when one of my sons was mowing at our office building, I found a huge pile of empty mini bottles under a bush when he had tried to hide the evidence. The insanity of this addiction never fails to amaze.

At least now your wife will know she can no longer deceive you while secretly drinking ... and you can now make decisions based on the truth as to how to move forward.

Alcoholism thrives in a atmosphere of lies and deception. Knowing the truth, though sometimes painful, can be a huge relief and allows us to confront our problems and productive steps to be taken.... based on reality and not conjecture.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:34 AM
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mini bottles should be illegal!
I've found them under the mulch in our flower beds, inside work gloves on the shelves in the garage, stuffed under the cushions on the couch, inside cabinets where we keep christmas decorations, inside coat pockets, under the back seat of her jeep, drawers, on and on......
I think we could have a whole discussion on mini bottles!
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:28 AM
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:ghugI'm sorry,
an answer at least, even if not the one you wanted.
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by nowinsituation View Post
or had bad sinus problems ...

I thought mine was the only one that had used that line?? Too funny!

or the one I heard "I have a cold and thats why I am so tired and run down"

Funny thing is that cold lasted every day for more than 1 year
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:52 PM
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I too bought a home breathalyzer hoping to help aw see that she was legally intoxicated when she wanted the car keys. she refused to use it. end of story. you r not dealing with a normal rational reasonable mind.
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:56 PM
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Alcoholic neuropathy usually means the peripheral nerves are affected, thus extremity numbness and/or motor weakness. alcoholic dementia is another entity. things that can mimic intoxication include #low blood sugar, very high blood sugar, stroke, vitamin deficiency, something called NPH (normo pressure hydrocephalus), and there are others, though less common.
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