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Is there hope for a happy relationship

Old 12-01-2010, 04:49 PM
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Is there hope for a happy relationship

I have read alot of potential negative outcome for relationships in which one person is as alcoholic and one is not. It makes me feel like these relationships won't work out in the long run. Is it ever possible to be in a happy relationship with an alcoholic? Any positive stories to share?
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:54 PM
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I believe that if the alcoholic in question is serious, very serious about recovery and long-term sobriety, AND the non-alcoholic in the relationship is just as serious about their own recovery from the effects of being in a relationship with an alcoholic, then "yes", it is possible for a relationship to work.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:02 PM
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In my 20th year I can report that I've seen some relationships go the distance when one person is in recovery and the other is a non-alcoholic. As "seekingcalm" said, both have to be very serious about their own recovery and be willing to work like a demon to change and grow.

But an active alcoholic or addict is incapable of having a relationship with anything, anyone other than the bottle. As the alcoholic sinks he/she pulls the other person down.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:08 PM
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But an active alcoholic or addict is incapable of having a relationship with anything, anyone other than the bottle. As the alcoholic sinks he/she pulls the other person down.
This really is a fantastic summation.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:14 PM
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Yes.

It depends on lots of factors though. The alcoholic really taking recovery seriously and the non-drinker being patient and knowledgeable about the disease (not getting lost in it or having it control their life).

Communication and establishing healthy boundaries need to be in place as well. But like any relationship, what works out in the long run depends on so many variables outside of coping with alcoholism (having the same goals, shared interests, respect etc).

In active alcoholism though, all bets are off and even the strongest of relationships will be challenged.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:28 PM
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It really depends on what type of alcoholic it is. If the alcoholic is active in their disease, meaning still drinking than more than likely not. If the alcoholic is in recovery and practices the principles of AA in all of his/her affairs than you probably will have a happy relationship. I'm in recovery and I'm not perfect but I am a complete 180 of what I was before. No more lying, stealing, cheating or manipulation. If I want to stay sober I can't go back to the behaviors I had before.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:39 PM
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I wish there were more positive outcome stories on SR. Not every addict/drinker is the same. Not every relationship with one is the same. There are common traits when they are active drinking or using but even there it varies. Like John says, it depends on the type he is. IF he has other issues besides the drinking of if the drinking is covering up other issues (mental health, abuse, etc) then that is going to be problematic regardless.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:46 PM
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This is a very interesting thread for me because I continue to live with an active alcoholic. Yes I do have some very bad times but things are definitely improving, due to me practising detachment, not reacting and choosing when best to fight my battles.

Most people come to SR when their life is really unmanageable and consequently there is a lot of reported negativity about alcoholics and their behaviours. I too have been guilty of this and the majority of my posts would be about the negative things happening in my life. SR, afterall is a website for support and most members would have found there way here through some trauma or disappointment caused by an alcoholic.

However, I remain fairly resolute that I will lead a relatively happy life with my active AH but sometimes feel quite put off from being positive on this website as the general consensus seems to be that your wasting your time. I have also deleted many of my intended posts, not wanting to be accused of 'justifying' why I am still with my AH.

I appreciate that not all alcoholics are the same. Of course there are those who are spiralling out of control extremly quickly, those that appear not to have any morals and regard for their love ones. Those that break the law and do not fear consequences - the list could go on and on.

My particular AH of 22 years, is a 'functioning' alcoholic (although I hate that term), he works hard, very hard and has done all his life. He is up at 5am most mornings and very rarely has a day off sick and has very few holidays due to be self employed. He does far more around the house than me too - washing, cleaning and cooking. The majority of the time he is loving, caring and thoughtful, sending me a txt message most days to see how my day is going. Sometimes he even runs me a bath for when I get home from work. We even plan our future together, growing old. He can be generous with our daughters and for the most part, is an interacting, loving member of our family.

Of course he is an active alcoholic, so he is not perfect by any stretch of the immagination. There are times he has been verbally abusive, downright annoying, cruel and unreasonable. Most days he bothers me, only by being sleepy or making a general comment that seems a bit off wack to me and this I am learning to live with and ignore. Even 'normal' non alcoholic husbands can be hard to live with and somethings you learn to let go of.

There are a few at my Al-anon group who continue to live with active alcoholism, one has been going to Al-anon for 22 years and her AH is still drinking. The key really is looking after yourself and detaching and keeping the focus off the alcoholic and this is getting easier for me, every day that I practice it. I have a couple of 'hobbies' that I have taken up too that get me away from the house for a couple of evenings a week.

So to answer you threads question 'is there hope to a happy relationship' - I hope so, as I am working on it and do I wish my AH could get sober - Of course I do, then I would have best of both worlds.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:49 PM
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i have a different take on this entirely...

I have been having happy times with my recovering A, but there are still problems.
I know some non addict couples who have similar ups and downs.

For me, it is not so much whether I can have a happy relationship, but whether I am finished having to TRY so much.

I go thorugh periods when I think I am done with it...the whole deal, and then...I find myself swimming in the mess, again.

I am not done yet. trying. I feel like it could go either way, but, my arms sure are starting to get tired, and this is the upswing...
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:49 PM
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EightBall I LOVED your post.

It's helped me so much. Thank you!
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:50 AM
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The same for me. I kept reading pages and pages of this forum, trying to look for happy ending, and couldn't find any.
I keep thinking if I could ever take her back, and I keep convincing myself that it's a really bad idea. How do you rebuild trust? she lied to me so many times, I don't see how I can ever trust her. Even if she does remain sober.
I do miss her greatly though, and even though it's been 4 months since I left her, I am still miserable, and I feel that I am more miserable without her than I was with her and her drinking


Originally Posted by Rayn3dr0p View Post
Gosh, when I first started logging in here I wanted to ask the same exact question. And like everyone else has already said, while it is possible, it is highly unlikely if the A is still actively drinking. Also from what I understand, even when the A stops drinking, it is quite an uphill battle and many of the behaviors associated with alcoholism remain: the deception, the manipulation, the irresponsibility, etc.

At least, this is what I keep telling myself. It has been so difficult lately to stay away from my AXBF. I miss him so much. But I just keep telling myself: "Things never changed over the course of three years, so things probably never will. You're better off without him." But I'm not sure how much of what I'm telling myself is just some script I repeat over and over trying to convince myself or if I truly believe it. More and more, they feel just like empty words.

So, to answer your initial question, I don't have a positive story to share. Whether you try to stay or try to let go, it hurts.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:27 PM
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I am currently not in touch with my exabf, and I miss him very much. He is sober and working a program of recovery for almost 10 months. I am working on my own recovery.

I believe that if I work hard, and really learn to "let go and let God", then I will have a chance in the future to love and to trust again, maybe with my exabf, and maybe with someone else. I am going to wait and see.

I know I am not ready...I know how easy it would be to let go of my loneliness, and call him and take him back...but it won't be right, because neither of us is ready, and I just don't want to throw away another chance on happiness.

I believe this with my whole heart. And I believe that if I get healthy, and follow the principles I have learned that all of my relationships will be healthier and stronger. And it will be worth all the pain, and the hard work, and the time it takes to get there.

We can help each other stay strong throughout the holiday season. I am glad you are all here. Thank you
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:28 PM
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Hi im sharon and Im an alcoholic.

My husband and I ended a 25yr.
marriage several yrs. ago.

A few al-anon meetings and
the word dettachment was
learned and that was it of
his recovery program.

I know he didnt ask to be
married to an alcoholic and
all the baggage that came
with it.

I myself didnt come to terms
with my disease until 7 yrs
into the marriage and family
stepped in with an intervention.

I went thru a 28 day rehab
program and continued on
my journey a day at a time
changing all along the way.

We brought 2 awesome kids
into the world whom are adults
now and living a normal happy
productive life with no consequences
from our dysfunction family.

Thank God..!

For myself, i grew, changed and
moved on leaving my little family
scratching their head as to what
happened to their mom and dads
marriage.

We grew apart due to little
communication, understanding,
support, appreciation etc.

I too have seen over the yrs.
both couple living happy with
an awesome recovery program
as their solid foundation in
their marriage.

When one is sick in the family,
the entire family is affected and
therefore a program for each is
available to live healthy and
happy together.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:31 PM
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For me, it is not so much whether I can have a happy relationship, but whether I am finished having to TRY so much.

Thanks for this Buffalo. It helped me today!

I keep thinking if I could ever take her back, and I keep convincing myself that it's a really bad idea. How do you rebuild trust?


Thanks phineas, exactly, once trust is broken then its very difficult to keep on, alcohol or not.


Also it is about our own boundaries, for instance I have endured sexual, emotional and verbal abuse and would never, NEVER EVER be with someone who is cruel even a single time, or abusive a single time, due to my own history/triggers. Also because in therapy I am learning the meaning of "partnership" and I am a person that would NEVER be sarcastic, abusive or cruel with my family/loved ones and I am starting to believe I deserve the same level of respect I give others... I am learning that basic respect at all times is NOT too much to ask for.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:30 PM
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I am in a very happy relationship,everything is great. Then the A lost his job due to a DUI. He got depressed, and started drinking to help ease his depression. He lost his drivers license and says it's hard to find work if you can't drive to interviews. He becomes more depressed and thus continues to drink. Don't get me wrong, we have good days, the A even spent a week with his family at Thanksgiving without a drink. I pray that when he gets a job, license back he will return to the man I fell in love with. He never had a problem with work attendence when he had a job, drinking was never an issue. I really believe that his drinking is a problem directly related to his "crisis", the loss of his job and car. I hope and feel like there will be light at the end of the tunnel and we can move on. Thanks for the note Kittyp
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:35 PM
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Thank you for this thread. I ask myself this question everyday. My husband has been in recovery for 9 months. I see such a difference. I feel there is a hope I never felt before. At the same time, it requires so much work on my part (detachment, patience, etc.) His meetings & recovery always come first. Seeing him devoted to recovery, finding fellowship with others who understand his struggle make me happy. I prayed for this for a long long time (14 years!) 9 months sober is still very early in recovery.

This is, of course, a wonderful opportunity for me to work on myself & address all of my lifelong issues as a co-dependent/enabler. I left my husband about 16 months ago. I left fully intending to divorce & leave that chapter of my life behind me. It took him another six months of attempting to drink himself to death to finally surrender & enter an in-patient program. When I saw him making the effort (sincere effort to enter a life of recovery, my heart softened. We have been "dating." There have been bumps in the road since his recovery, emotional shutdowns & addict-thinking creeping back. However, it is night & day! I have not yet moved back home because I feel he needs to have more "sober time" & active recovery under his belt. I too need my own recovery. I don't know "when I will know," but I am turning it over to my HP.
If or when (if we keep up, it will be "when") I return home, it will be an adjustment for him, me & our child. I want to be prepared. I am in no hurry, though I get impatient sometimes. Getting (&staying well) is my priority. I do not ever want to go back to the insanity of active addiction
. I will never again tolerate EVER active addiction in my life or my child's.

I know there are no guarantees, but I appreciate my RAH's sincere effort to remain in recovery. His actions (& mine) will tell.

I think it's possible, but not easy. . . I am trying hard to take it one day at a time.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:30 PM
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I have heard of great relationships that came out of someone being successful at recovery, even through harder times. If the person with the alcoholism truly embraces recovery, they actually can be more honest and self aware in a relationship. That is what recovery is all about, being honest including in relationships.

My RABF relapse was tough but it actually brought us closer. Hard times in any relationship are a true test. You either get through them and come out stronger than before or the relationship crumbles under the weight of the stressors. Start piling on other issues (depression, abuse) then the odds of success greatly diminish.

I'm always the eternal optimist. People are capable of change when they really decide to do it for themselves. Undoing possibly years of damage to themselves and others is a huge undertaking so people successful at recovery have to have a certain strength to want to succeed. I'd rather be with someone who wants to do better than someone who didn't have a drinking problem and doesn't change or evolve into a better person.

Anytime you enter into a relationship with someone who has a set of challenges (e.g. addiction, chronic illness or disability, mental illness) there are going to be lots of bumps and it won't always be pretty but if both people enter into it with eyes WIDE open then there is no reason why it can't succeed.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:00 AM
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I debated long and hard about posting this here and started and deleted this post many, many times. I know a number of couples where one was an addict and now isn't and they are perfectly happy together. I also now belong to one of those couples.

My husband doesn't drink any more and as soon as alcohol stopped being the focus of his life our marriage almost instantaneously reverted to (better than) what it once was. Neither of us had a spiritual deficiency, neither of us had a personality fault, neither of us had a disease. He had a neurochemical addiction that was damaging his brain function, affecting his personality and mood. The only way he knew to sate the effects of that that damage was with alcohol, which was making things worse and worse. Once he moved out of denial, he was frightened and angry and vulnerable to intense mood swings.

I researched it, we treated it, he got better and our lives swiftly became normal. Our relationship is better than it ever was. Not everything in our lives are wonderful. The company he works for announced this week that they are folding between now and Christmas. This feels like an unbelievably cruel blow, he managed to keep his job during a deep active addiction and gets better in order to lose it to the economy. But he has held steady and not drank as he knows that drinking would only worsen his situation. Instead he's been refining his cv and applying for every and any job that's open and even a few that aren't. It's utterly amazing to be dealing with something this bad as a team. That's never actually happened in our relationship as he always turned to drink in the face of adversity, even long before his addiction took a deep hold he could never face bad news as he has been this week.

For my part I'm just very happy to have my best friend and partner not only back, but back and improved. We've had a hellish 2+ years and now it appears the worst is over and we can move on into the decades and decades that lie ahead of us. I see no reason for me to carry on with distrust or unhappiness, in fact I'm just filled with admiration for what he's come through and who he is now. Of course I know that this may not last and I remind myself of that, but nobody has any guarantees in marriage anyway. Right now I have a strong, healthy husband and we have a strong, healthy marriage and it feels like we will get through just about anything.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:20 AM
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Thanks to all of you for your sharing and your insight. There are many relationships that fail through no fault of alcoholism or addiction. They fail because of a multitude of other reasons - abuse, infidelity, crime, selfishness, growing apart... sometimes they just end because the relationship has run its course and it's just over.

I've been around people in recovery for a long time. I've seen many marriages / relationships survive and thrive within alcoholism or addiction when at least one of the parties is working a program of recovery. That's why the answer is always the same when someone comes here and says "My loved one has a problem with alcohol or drugs". The standard answer is to check out Al Anon or some other recovery program, work on yourself, etc etc. How can there EVER be a downside to getting ourselves healthier, stronger, smarter ? Even if the relationship fails, the person working to better himself or herself is ahead. Healthier is a good thing, no?

I hope to read more success stories. That's what this site is all about. How we handle our situation, what we can do to be supportive, and how we can get healthier. The answer shouldn't always be "gosh why are you with him? You should leave". That answer comes from someone else who has had a lot of pain in their life and found that to be a solution. It's not the only solution.

Thanks again. I love this place.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:27 AM
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How can there EVER be a downside to getting ourselves healthier, stronger, smarter ? Even if the relationship fails, the person working to better himself or herself is ahead.
Amen Sister!
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