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Anyone have a very very functional alcoholic SO?

Old 06-27-2010, 04:58 PM
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Anyone have a very very functional alcoholic SO?

It makes it kinda hard to realize how bad/ not bad things are.

My boyfriend does not lie, cheat, say mean things, never comes home drunk, never leaves and goes off with friends, never goes to the bar. I never have to wonder where he is.

He has good freinds, well respected at work, good family..

As a matter of fact? He's more functional than the NON-alcoholics I know.

He works every day, has had the same good job for 15 years. He gets up at 3 am, ALWAYS makes sure he's in bed by 7-8 pm .. never like.. goes out drinking and ends up missing work.

He always comes right home. He doesnt have anything to do with other women.

He's very nice looking and very clean. Showers twice a day. His house is very nice and clean. He pays all bills responsibley.

He never drinks and drives. ever.

He's a good cook and makes decent meals even if its just him home and I am at my house that day ( I do not live with him).

He's very sweet, affectionate and thoughtful to me and my kids.

He's just... honestly very perfect. Very responsible. . Aside from the beer attached to his hand.

But even after I know he's had 8 beers or so? He isnt annoying or loud or slurry or stumbling.. he doesnt get overly all, "Oh gaaawd I love yooou" like some drunks are. He never gets mean. He doesnt get mouthy. Just... nothing, almost nothing is different. If I had to pick something that changes its that he'll tell the same stories.


I wonder why he choses to drink? Habit? I wonder how things would change if he quit.

He has told me he wants to. He didnt drink one night and he told me how good and clear headed he felt the next day. He has very good control, meaning, he doesnt drink at all during the day all week. he quits when its bedtime. if he has drank to much he knows and stops. he never stays up just so he can drink or anything.

Does anyone else have an alcoholic SO like this? I want him to quit because.. you just cant drink that much every. single. day for 25 years and have no medical consequences.

But Im kind of scared it might change him.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:30 PM
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My exah was like your BF for many years, it did take it's toll eventually though. Alcoholism is progressive, eventually they can't juggle anymore and the ball drops.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:41 PM
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Hi Incognito,

It is definitely possible to have "functional" alcoholic SO. You list a lot of things that are wonderful about your boyfriend, which I'm sure are true. However, the fact is that his drinking is a problem for you, which means it is a problem for the relationship. One thing that is very difficult for a "functional" alcoholic to understand is that alcohol can be a problem even if it isn't causing you to lose your job or be abusive.

One of the things that you mentioned in you other thread is that you don't want your kids to grow up with the example of seeing someone with a beer in his hand all night every night. Only you can control whether that is what your kids see, and by choosing to be with this man, you are exposing them to daily alcohol. I don't mean that in a mean, harsh or judgmental way, so please don't be offended. But do consider that while you have the freedom to choose who you are with, your children do not have that choice, and you must always protect them.

Another thing that you mentioned is that you are afraid that your SO will change if he stops drinking. That may very well be true, especially considering that you really never see him sober.

My husband is a highly functional alcoholic who does not think his drinking is a problem. It caused me great stress, not because he is "falling down drunk," but because I do not believe he can or will control his drinking, and I believe it will only get worse unless he decides to get help. I feel that I have the right to spend time with my husband in his natural state of mind, but he does not agree. If I had known that he was going to turn out to be an alcoholic, I would not have married him. I would urge you to carefully consider whether you want this problem in your life permanently. And it will be in your life permanently because you cannot control whether your SO drinks, and even if he gets sober, you have no way of knowing whether it is a permanent change.

I'm so glad that you are thinking carefully about your situation, and that you are looking for help and information. Alcoholism is an overwhelming problem, and I truly appreciate your situation. I hope that everything turns out well for you and your family, and I'm glad you are here.

Sasha
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:16 PM
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wow I'm reading this and I realise I was close to getting VERY involved with an alcoholic.. after a long time of struggling with a drug addict.. like you said, drinking doesn't mess his life alot right now, he has a job and an apparently notmal life, but at night, every night, he can't live without lots of beers or alot of absinthe.. doesn't get violent when drunk, but he does get weird/over emotional. He drinks and plays online games all night.. though I never really considered him an alcoholic, in my head, he was supposed to be permanently drunk and unaware 24/7 to be called like that. and the worse is that he always pushed me to drink and get drunk with him also, even though I wouldn't listen to him..

I think too that things will get worse as time passes, and I have a feeling his new girlfriend likes to drink too. I drink at parties but seriously, EVERY NIGHT? it makes me sad to see him like that, he is a very intelligent man, but he does stupid things.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:19 PM
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Hi there
I agree with the other posters. My AXBF was a functional alcoholic for 35 years. He worked hard as a police officer and tended to a 200 acre farm complete with donkeys and horses. Now his disease has progressed so much in the past 6 months that he can barely walk from falling down all the time. He has memory problems, Cirrhosis of the liver and is incontinent most of the time. He is 59 years old and looks 79. There was a time I thought he was perfect too...
Now I try to keep one foot in front of the other and try to keep my world from caving in with despair.....this disease will eat you up...the sicker he gets over time the sicker you will get too....Keep reading the posts and you may start to see yourself in them.
I highly recommend Codependent No More by Melody Beattie....best book I ever read.

I always say information never hurt anyone so I am glad you came to this site. There are some amazing people on this forum with loads of wisdom. Look after you and your children and I wish you well.

Maggie
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:46 PM
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It was a big light bulb moment for me when I found out that functional is a stage of alcoholism, not a type of alcoholic.

L
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:45 PM
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I have a dear friend who is married to an alcoholic. I guess I've known him 20 years now. He's always been a heavy drinker, though 'restricted' to nights and weekends. He owns a successful and demanding business with 100 employees. Although their marriage has been rocky at times, they are still together in their beautiful home with their 12 year old very-high-achieving son.

Problem is that it is apparent that now the alcoholism is really starting to take its toll on him. He used to be a very funny guy with lots of good stories, could talk intelligently on just about any subject, and was very involved in his son's scouting activities. Now he's up at 4:00a.m. on Saturday because he can't sleep. He's already drinking very tall screwdrivers by 6:30 or 7:00a and drinks them ALL day. He passes out about 2:00 and gets up about 5:00p very cranky and starts arguing and complaining. Dinners at their house are always tense. Yuck.

He's becoming very withdrawn and you can see that it's taking a toll on his health. He's thin and his eyes are just dead....bloodshot and glassy all the time.

Their marriage is in shambles but they keep up the facade, never considering counseling or AA. My girlfriend complains that he is very verbally abusive but she doesn't see a way out. She's been a SAHM for 13 years. He refuses to stop drinking.

It's gonna be very hard to watch him deteriorate over the next few years because it's starting to get really bad. He's 54.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:25 AM
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LTD wise words. That's right. We all fall for them while they are still this side of functional although depending on our background and tolerance for seeing people drunk, that could mean different things for different people. I can see now I wasn't very fussy.

But never have I seen this posted - I have fallen in love with an incontinent abusive end stage alcoholic that drinks all day and all night.

They all start off charming and wonderful. How quickly it slides depends. And it is the memory of how it used to be and the fantasy of "if only" that keeps us stuck.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:39 PM
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And there are those that are heavy drinkers and not alcoholics.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by incognito70 View Post
He has told me he wants to (quit drinking).
Non-alcoholics, normal people NEVER say this. They just do it without thinking. They never get to the point where they say, "Hey, I want to stop this." They stop before they become aware of wanting to stop.

There's nothing easier than stop drinking when you want to, you just put the bottle down and don't pick it up again. Easiest thing in the world.

Unless you are an alcoholic.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by incognito70 View Post
He didnt drink one night and he told me how good and clear headed he felt the next day.
So every single day he chooses to feel less than optimum...why?

(because he's an alcoholic and it's not easy to choose feeling good if it means putting the bottle down).

Why would anyone choose to feel bad every day unless they didn't have much choice?

(because feeling bad drinking feels better than feeling good not-drinking--that's alcoholism).
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by incognito70 View Post
He has very good control, meaning, he doesnt drink at all during the day all week. he quits when its bedtime. if he has drank to much he knows and stops.
No, he doesn't have 'very good control'. Very good control is not drinking when you want to stop. Very poor control is wanting to stop drinking, but drinking anyway.

Originally Posted by incognito70 View Post
he quits when its bedtime.
Everyone does, even the most savage drunk.

Originally Posted by incognito70 View Post
if he has drank to much he knows and stops.
If he wants to stop, and has the tinyest sip of a drink, then he drank too much. Because he wanted not to drink at all.

And how come he has to get to the point of drinking too much before he knows it's time to stop? Why doesn't he stop before he drinks too much?

He doesn't show very good control of his drinking. He shows drinking management. Drinking management is a sign of alcoholism.

He's not in control, the alcohol is. It's just subtle right now. But all the signs are there.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by totfit View Post
And there are those that are heavy drinkers and not alcoholics.
And there's a stage alcoholics go through where they debate are they a 'heavy drinker' or a 'problem drinker' or an alcoholic . Some spin in this cycle for years, delicately defining the most nuanced meaning of the words.

Like it matters.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:21 PM
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We all fall for them while they are still this side of functional although depending on our background and tolerance for seeing people drunk, that could mean different things for different people. I can see now I wasn't very fussy.
I did not grow up around anyone who drank and not even friends parents or anything. For most of my life my mom had a "no alcohol allowed in the house" rule. I like beer but I can (and do) go week or months in between drinking. I dont usually ever keep it in my house. Ive had times Ive drank every weekend (but not for 10 weekends in a row or anything.. maybe 3 at the most) and Ive had times I havent drank even once in a year or two. Its never really been a focus like this, KWIM? Ive lots of times been like, 'Woohoo, I like beer!' lol same as I like mac and cheese.. but I havent often went out of my way to get it. So, ANY of his drinking habits stand out quite a bit. It was a bigger realization at first, I was all " is this guy really an alcoholic or what?" I did the whole, 'huh.. he had a few beers last time I seen him, too' questions. This was maybe 2 months in. Ive since realized that, yes, he is an alcoholic.

No, he doesn't have 'very good control'. Very good control is not drinking when you want to stop. Very poor control is wanting to stop drinking, but drinking anyway.
Good point. I think being this is the first time I have dealt with this problem, what I have done is compared him, in my reasoning, to a skid row bum. Which he definitely is not. "He's not bad because he doesnt do XYZ" He is not like those people on Intervention who will lie cheat and steal to get booze.

When he lived with his room mate for years it was a nice upper class house. He always worked. Always paid his child support. He did the cooking and cleaning. His house now? Very nice. Always clean. Always dressed nicely. Always showered and well groomed.

I have confused those with with "having control" but you know what? Drinking is a separate thing. Yes, he does have good control of his life, but he does not have good control of his drinking. I am beginning to see a separation and difference now.

And how come he has to get to the point of drinking too much before he knows it's time to stop? Why doesn't he stop before he drinks too much?
He does. Most nights it does not become an issue of "feeling bad" before he stops. Many times its not even spoken of, he has beer and its no big focused on deal. I guess I was just saying that I have never ever seen him throw up or pass out or anything. But there HAVE been nights where he will say, "I dont want that anymore" or "I had enough" and I always have a feeling its because he's at a point of not feeling 'good' drunk anymore, its because if he DID drink more, he'd be sick.

He doesn't show very good control of his drinking. He shows drinking management. Drinking management is a sign of alcoholism.
Very good point. Thank you for saying that. Having not dealt with this before, I wouldnt even know to think of it that way.

So every single day he chooses to feel less than optimum...why?

(because he's an alcoholic and it's not easy to choose feeling good if it means putting the bottle down).

Why would anyone choose to feel bad every day unless they didn't have much choice?

(because feeling bad drinking feels better than feeling good not-drinking--that's alcoholism).
Good questions and good answers.

It was a big light bulb moment for me when I found out that functional is a stage of alcoholism, not a type of alcoholic.
Wow. Thank you so much for that powerful thought.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:34 AM
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Well he sounds about 99% better than most addicts.
My grandfather drank 1/2 bottle of amerato daily until he died at 96. He died of prostate cancer which could have been avoided had he been to a doctor and he had not been to a dr in 50 yrs.
Not saying drinking is excess in any way is healthy, but not every drinker gets progressive or gets sick from booze.
More people die from smoking 2 packs of smokes a day.

Is he having health issues?
If he doesn't drink during the week or all night, are you saying he only drinks 8 beers a day on weekend?
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:59 PM
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In this and her other several threads its mentioned he drinks from when he gets home from work, til he goes to bed. Every single day.
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:43 PM
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The fact that the alcohol doesn't make him seem drunk is probably actually a bad sign. He probably has to have a certain amount of beers just to feel "normal." His tolerance is so high that he doesn't seem noticeably drunk. He is at the point where he doesn't enjoy the beer, but he feels like he can't function without it. The problem is that he then needs more and more to feel normal.
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:47 PM
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I'm concerned about the fact that you do not want to see him when he hasn't had the beers. Also, the fact that you don't live with him could make it easy for him to hide the aftermath of his drinking. You see a very clean house. Like you said, maybe he is very much able to control other aspects of his life. He may even have an issue with control - like an obsessive compulsive disorder. I dated a guy for years who was OCD. He was very neat, but also had a problem with porn addiction. It was like he was very wound up and perfect, and the addiction was the only way that he could let go.

Your bf has even mentioned that he has a problem and he wants to stop. I think you should take him seriously.
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for this thread. Especially to LTD and Bucyn.

Yes there are also heavy drinkers. To me an idea of a heavy drinker is an adolescent without much responsabilities like those on the MTV dumb reality shows about drunken university guys. GUYS not MEN.

A heavy drinker that is old enough to be working/married? Uhhhm... I doubt it.


I am with damndone with "seriously, EVERY night?" how can someone who does drink daily NOT be an alkie?



Anyway that is my personal opinion and I know that is a subjective topic. Just wanted to share my point of view.


I think the problem is that you are expressing an opinion or preference yet he ignores it. And I would be worried if children learned beers are OK, daily and while you are with loved ones.

You have choices and among them are, leaving if he drinks or has a beer opened, not allowing your children to be around when he is drunk, or forget about walking on eggshells and spend time alone or with different people.

I would say there are great men out there that do all those things and don't drink either or drink in a controlled manner (like a cocktail in a wedding or wine with lunch once in a while!) and would have no issue not drinking at all if it bugs you. You know.. those people that don't consider alcohol a topic (because in the World of Healthy People, it isn't)...?
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bluebelle View Post
The fact that the alcohol doesn't make him seem drunk is probably actually a bad sign. He probably has to have a certain amount of beers just to feel "normal." His tolerance is so high that he doesn't seem noticeably drunk. He is at the point where he doesn't enjoy the beer, but he feels like he can't function without it. The problem is that he then needs more and more to feel normal.
I totally agree with what Bluebelle stated here. His tolerance level must be very high and it takes a lot of beer just to make him feel normal. That is why he doesn't appear drunk. I have definitely seen this. It is very true!
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