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New Member... not ready to give up

Old 07-14-2010, 01:12 PM
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New Member... not ready to give up

Hi everyone, I found this forum after doing a search for how to deal with an alcoholic.

My BF of 3 years is an alcoholic, and in severe denial. He is not physically abusive, and he keeps a regular job and attends school full-time. He helps cook and clean the house (I do not live with him, but spend about half the week at his place), takes good care of his pets, and stays on top of his bills. For all of these things, I am blessed, and so is he. However, it is clear that he has a problem. He drinks every single night, he says "to help him sleep", and often (once every 1-2 weeks) binges to the point of blackout. He does not drive drunk, and only drinks at home, so he is not a danger to others, but I do worry about his health.

I have tried talking to him about his drinking, asking him to try alternative methods to help him sleep at night, but of course he refuses or changes the subject. Last night we got in a fight when he was drunk, and this morning, in a fit of anger, I tried to talk to him about his addiction. I know now that it was a mistake to do so in that manner, but the damage is done.

I don't want to leave him, and I honestly don't see a reason to do so. We have a great time together, we love each other, and his drinking rarely affects me, as he does his "heavy drinking" after I've gone to bed. I am worried that his habits will affect our relationship, though. I worry about his health (he is 30, with a history of diabetes in the family), and I worry that his addiction will worsen in time. Mostly, I'm worried that he feels he can't or won't talk to me about what he's going through. Sorry if this is TMI, but our sex life has diminished greatly since the beginning of the relationship, and I tend to blame that on the alcohol.

I guess what I'm looking for is a ray of hope... is there anyone out there who has a success story for me? Someone whose boyfriend or husband managed their addiction and saved their relationship? I get depressed when all the random anonymous advice on the internet says I should leave him... I love him and I'm going to do all I can to help him before I bail out.

Thanks for listening, and thanks in advance for your help and support!
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:20 PM
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It's impossible to help someone when they won't even admit there is a problem. I'm sure there are some success stories, but the thing is, alcoholism is a progressive disease. If he is (not saying he is) an alcoholic, it will never get better. Many people drink heavily for years and years and still function quite well, hold down good jobs, act in a responsible manner. You say his drinking doesn't really affect you, yet you were searching the internet for suggestions on how to deal with an alcoholic, so it must affect you, at least somewhat.

No one can tell you to leave your boyfriend; only you can decide that. Have you considered attending Al-anon meetings? You will find a great deal of support there from people going through the same things.

Welcome to SR...hope you'll stick around and read and post often.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:21 PM
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I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can't "manage" an addiction.

Unfortunately, alcoholism is a progressive disease. It doesn't usually stay at a "manageable" level. The fact that your boyfriend can function quite well despite his drinking problem is actually not a good thing - it allows him to stay in denial.

My exabf was the same way. In the beginning, his drinking didn't seem to affect me. He held down a job. He still has his job, to this day. He's been there 4 yrs. However, I could no longer tolerate the drinking-mainly because it got to the point where he'd blow up at me for no reason when he got drunk.

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to put up with verbal abuse for any reason whatsoever, and many people, as their alcoholism progresses, become "mean drunks."

Thing is, my bf drank a lot more in the begining of our rel'ship than he did at the end. So he is still able to fool himself into thinking he doesn't have a problem. His drunk temper tantrums have been enough to make me leave the rel'ship more than once - we've been off and on for the last 3 yrs. The last time we got back together, I went wiht him to see his therapist. With the blessings of his therapist, he decided to try "moderation management."

Wow, that was a big failure, but even now, he fails to see it. Yes, he was able to cut down, but I had established a boundary that, if he got drunk, it was over, and he would have to declare his experiment a failure.

He got drunk about 3-4 times, the last time being the worst. Yelling and screaming at me for 3 hrs..throwing things..it was BAD. So, even tho he wasn't drinking every night, or even binge drinking that often, my life, his life, and our relationship had clearly become "unmanageable" due to his drinking.

When I finally told him, stop drinking or lose me, he decided to let me walk. That's a big sign right there, when someone can't STOP drinking. Many alcoholics can go days, weeks, even months w/out drinking...but they eventually go back to it. They are unable to stop for good.

Honestly, nothing good can come of being w/someone who has this problem, even if things seem "ok" right now. I see burgeoning problems, tho-you are already affected by it, because of what you said about your sex life. Someone who binge drinks, can be very difficult to be around. I remember having to wrestle my xabf for the keys to his car.

I remember my xabf doing some very stupid, impulsive things while drunk. I basically went from being his gf, to being his babysitter during those times.

He put me in many uncomfortable, awkward and even dangerous situations.

Anyway, stick around, read the stickys...esp the ones about codependency. I found that the longer I stuck w/my ex, the more ingrained my codependent tendencies became, until I was giving up way too much of my own needs, bending my own boundaries WAY too much...until in order to protect and look out for myself, I eventually HAD to walk.

Originally Posted by bettymilo View Post
Hi everyone, I found this forum after doing a search for how to deal with an alcoholic.

My BF of 3 years is an alcoholic, and in severe denial. He is not physically abusive, and he keeps a regular job and attends school full-time. He helps cook and clean the house (I do not live with him, but spend about half the week at his place), takes good care of his pets, and stays on top of his bills. For all of these things, I am blessed, and so is he. However, it is clear that he has a problem. He drinks every single night, he says "to help him sleep", and often (once every 1-2 weeks) binges to the point of blackout. He does not drive drunk, and only drinks at home, so he is not a danger to others, but I do worry about his health.

I have tried talking to him about his drinking, asking him to try alternative methods to help him sleep at night, but of course he refuses or changes the subject. Last night we got in a fight when he was drunk, and this morning, in a fit of anger, I tried to talk to him about his addiction. I know now that it was a mistake to do so in that manner, but the damage is done.

I don't want to leave him, and I honestly don't see a reason to do so. We have a great time together, we love each other, and his drinking rarely affects me, as he does his "heavy drinking" after I've gone to bed. I am worried that his habits will affect our relationship, though. I worry about his health (he is 30, with a history of diabetes in the family), and I worry that his addiction will worsen in time. Mostly, I'm worried that he feels he can't or won't talk to me about what he's going through. Sorry if this is TMI, but our sex life has diminished greatly since the beginning of the relationship, and I tend to blame that on the alcohol.

I guess what I'm looking for is a ray of hope... is there anyone out there who has a success story for me? Someone whose boyfriend or husband managed their addiction and saved their relationship? I get depressed when all the random anonymous advice on the internet says I should leave him... I love him and I'm going to do all I can to help him before I bail out.

Thanks for listening, and thanks in advance for your help and support!
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:28 PM
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Hi betty...and WELCOME to SR!! This is a great place to be; you'll find lots of Strength, Experience and Hope (ESH) here.

In case you don't know them already, I thought I'd post the 3 C's of addiction for you:
You didn't CAUSE it.
You can't CURE it.
You can't CONTROL it.

The last two are particularly relevant to your situation; as you've seen, nothing you say (or do) will ever change your bf's drinking. He'll go on doing what he wants to do. The only power you have is over yourself.

I'd also like to mention that the disease of alcoholism is a progressive one. Though your ABF may be functional *now*, it will only get worse as the years go by. His drinking may only rarely affect you (well, except for the diminishing sex life...) TODAY, but there's not guarantee about tomorrow. As you have seen, drinking leads to aggression which can and will affect you.

Have you considered going to Al-Anon for support?

Keep reading and posting! SR is always open.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bettymilo View Post
My BF of 3 years is an alcoholic, and in severe denial. He is not physically abusive, and he keeps a regular job and attends school full-time. He helps cook and clean the house (I do not live with him, but spend about half the week at his place), takes good care of his pets, and stays on top of his bills. For all of these things, I am blessed, and so is he.
I wouldn't call it a blessing. He's supposed to do these things, these are normal things to do, not extras, not blessings.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tally View Post
I wouldn't call it a blessing. He's supposed to do these things, these are normal things to do, not extras, not blessings.
Just wanted to repeat this.
Very well said Tally.
I am learning too.

Thank you,
Beth
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:47 PM
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Hi Betty, I think you are in the right place. There is so much support and wisdom here.

My BF of 3 years is an alcoholic, and in severe denial.

Then he's not ready to change anything huh?

I have tried talking to him about his drinking, asking him to try alternative methods to help him sleep at night, but of course he refuses or changes the subject.

Alcoholics will ignore the facts, twist the truth, and bend reality to protect their addiction.

Last night we got in a fight when he was drunk, and this morning, in a fit of anger, I tried to talk to him about his addiction.

Partner's of alcoholics have a lot of anger to deal with. Al-anon would be a very good idea if you haven't already gone.

I am worried that his habits will affect our relationship, though.

There is no doubt that alcoholism will affect the relationship. Alcoholics have a primary relationship with alcohol (not their partner) and when push comes to shove, that is the one they will protect. Again, al-anon is a great resource to give you tools to work your way through such a situation.

I worry about his health (he is 30, with a history of diabetes in the family), and I worry that his addiction will worsen in time.

Legitimate and realistic. It is a proven fact that alcohol harms the body and alcoholism can even lead to death. It is a proven fact that alcoholism is a progressive disease. There are stickies at the top of this forum that really helped me. You might want to check those out.

Mostly, I'm worried that he feels he can't or won't talk to me about what he's going through.

He can't and he won't. He's in denial and to talk about it would threaten his relationship with alcohol. His addicted brain will not allow that.

Sorry if this is TMI, but our sex life has diminished greatly since the beginning of the relationship, and I tend to blame that on the alcohol.

That is to be expected. Both the alcohol itself and the resulting relationship issues will impact this area.

I guess what I'm looking for is a ray of hope... is there anyone out there who has a success story for me?

There are lots of success stories here. It is just that they might not look like what you are hoping for.

Perhaps slightly spin your definition of success. Instead of defining success for your boyfriend - define success for yourself. What are your hopes, dreams, needs, etc. for you personally? How can you go about meeting those? You get on that path, and you'll find your success story. If he is walking there beside you, great. If he is not, well then he is following his own path but you have still found your success.

T
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:56 PM
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Not only that, but the fact that he is functional...allows him justification to continue to be in denial about his problem.

My xabf kept holding up the fact that he still had his job, as proof that he wasn't an alcoholic.

Funny, but losing his gf didn't seem to register in there as a symptom of any problem...???

One of his enabling drinking buddies even said, "the only thing J's drinking is screwing up, is your relationship with him." as if, the rel'ship was totally inconsequential.

Yeah, unfortunately, although we do not wish harm of anyone in this disease, sometimes it's good for them to lose their jobs, rel'ships, etc...it forces them to hit bottom, and hopefully recognize they need help.

Originally Posted by wicked View Post
Just wanted to repeat this.
Very well said Tally.
I am learning too.

Thank you,
Beth
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:38 PM
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Hi Betty-
Welcome!

When you say you don't want to "give up" what specifically are you not going to give up?

We don't "give up"on our alcoholics when we decide to stop enabling, or get out of the way of them feeling consequences, or decide to stop trying to change them and give them the dignity to live their lives as they choose, or decide to completely let go of their problems and focus on our problems, our dreams, the things in our lives we CAN control.

Do you mean you don't want to break up with him? Then, like in ANY relationship, you might have to get to a place where you accept this person exactly as he is 100%, which in this case includes alcohol abuse. That way you don't build up resentment which is so poisonous to relationships.

A success story is one where you feel successful, where you have pursued your dreams in your one fabulous life. We can't change other people, so hopefully that's not your dream!

Can you try an AlAnon meeting nearby? AlAnon is for the friends and family of As. Alanon really turned my head around!

Peace-
B
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:59 PM
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My husband of 22 years is a 'functioning' alcoholic but I use the term lightly.

Yes, he works (hard), cleans the house and cooks.

But he can not function as a healthy husband, lover, father and these are the things that should matter in life. He verbally abuses his wife and 19yr old daughter, keeps himself disconnected from his family choosing to drink alone, listening to music. His sex life is absent because he drinks and verbally abuses his wife and daughter, he is bored with his life because he is numb to life.

There are very few happy endings with alcoholics, sorry to say, especially those in deep denial.

As you read more, attend Al-anon and learn about the disease, you will discover that you need to start putting yourself first and learn to detach, whether you stay with him or choose to part, or it will suck you in and cause you years of misery.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bettymilo View Post
... I love him and I'm going to do all I can to help him before I bail out.
I did that ... in the end I bailed out. As others said this is a progressive disease. And no one can help him but himself.
Years ago I thought him and I were different - that our story would somehow turn out fine ... It was very hard for me to take any advice from other people because of that ...
The way I learnt was to go through ten years of slowly slipping down, until the situation became unbearable ...

My AH used to be lovely to be around 10 years ago ... things slowly got worse ... over the last year or so he became abusive... this disease is ugly ...
10 years ago .... I did not know much about alcoholism and knew nothing about codependency
10 years ago ... my judgement was clouded by my need to be loved by someone and my wish to have kids (took me 10 years to realize this).

and about kids - I want the best for my children - I thought I was so good because I got him to sober up for a few months before conception...
... I thought a lot about protecting each of my children while pregnant (eating the right things, not drinking, avoiding smoky environments etc...). but protecting them does not end when they exit the womb. Raising kids with an active A in the house has been very hard. As the disease progressed it became harder and harder to protect them, and I grew more and more exhausted. On top of this I now know that children of alcoholics are 4 times more likely to become alcoholics than other children.

... good luck ...
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:20 PM
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My late AH held a job where he was responsible for quoting jobs worth millions of $$$$, and did it successfully for 30 years. Just 5 short years after he retired, he couldn't even work out his pension, and daughter had to take over.

He went from a drinker who was very capable, to just functional to totally inept, in 6 years. There is no chance that your man will stay as he is, certainly he will not get better, but there is a 100% probability that he will become a parody of the man you love.

Follow the wise words from those who have been in that same place, sometimes a few times.

God bless
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