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Did you stop drinking to support your RAH?

Old 12-05-2010, 08:08 PM
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Did you stop drinking to support your RAH?

It's a weird thing, not being an alcoholic, and dating a recovering one. I don't drink much, barely at all really, but there are several social events I attend where it is kind of par for the course, and would like my man to be at these events with me, but...

My RABF has, throughout his recovery, had no problem going out to bars with friends, or to social functions where people would be drinking, and has always maintained that he wants to be able to do those things and doesn't get the cravings, but last night we ran into a problem! I was out at a friend's bday, at a bar, and he met me there much later on after his meeting. I was surrounded by guy friends who were buying me drinks, which he said contributed to the problem, insecurity on his part, and he freaked. When we left he said he really wanted to drink and join in the fun, and that he was never an alcoholic anyway (he was addicted to Rx painkillers, and drank entirely too much IMO, but alcohol wasn't his DOC), and would like to be able to drink socially again some day. As he was saying these things he was admitting that these feelings were wrong, he knows it, but I guess one in his position is naturally going to think those things...

How does this work, when you have a normie and someone in recovery? I barely ever drink, like I said, and wouldn't really mind giving it up 100% (destroyed my mom and childhood so good riddance anyhow). What were your experiences with this? Did any of you give it up, or do you continue to drink occasionally around your RAH or BF? Thanks
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:02 AM
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nicam,
You wrote "I was out at a friend's bday, at a bar, and he met me there much later on after his meeting. I was surrounded by guy friends who were buying me drinks,". My persceptive of this statement was the birthday party was for one of your friends. The guy friends buying you drinks were your friends. These friends were not his friends originally, but only through you does he know them. I can see where this situation could make your RABF uncomfortable. The party was held at a bar which primary business is to serve alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.

You wrote "he said he really wanted to drink and join in the fun"......"and would like to be able to drink socially again some day." I perceive his statements mean that he wants to be just like your male friends and be able to "socially drink" like them. He feels uncomfortable with your friends, and being the only one that can not just "socially" drink. It sounds like he is working his recovery steps and has accepted the fact of not being able to control his drinking.

You wrote "My RABF has, throughout his recovery, had no problem going out to bars with friends, or to social functions where people would be drinking, and has always maintained that he wants to be able to do those things and doesn't get the cravings, but last night we ran into a problem!" What I perceive from this statement is that these are his friends and is lot more at home and comfortable with, where he can just be himself! He might feel the primary reason to be with his friends at a bar is not for the drinking, but for the companionship.

There's an AA saying: "If you hang out in the barbershop, eventually you'll get a haircut." We stay away from anything we identify that reminds us of using: People, places and things.

Now to answer your question about normies socially drinking. However, I actually drink for the taste. I have been known to drink two small glasses of strawberry margaritas, frozen lemon-lime daiquiris, and fine wines. However, when we drink around our alcoholics it needs to be based upon their stage of their recovery. In the beginning of their recovery I would suggest no social drinking around them. I highly recommend drinking in bar scenes be very limited. The business of bars is primary for drinking. Us normies need to be choosy when and where we are going to drink socially. It's like playing with fire! The last time I socially drank was at a wedding for a very close friend. My husband was the best man. I had a couple glasses of Champagne.

Take what you like and leave the rest!

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Old 12-06-2010, 12:26 AM
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I was never a huge drinker but I have not wanted to since being with the RABF. Why even risk the potential for damaging his sobriety by making alcohol the focus in a situation he is in (party, bar, etc). Him staying sober is much more important than a good time with my friends in the long run. So how it works for me is if I want to drink socially, I won't do it in his presence. The alcoholic has more of a love affair with drinking than us social drinkers. It would be waaaay too tempting for him if I invited him to a bar. Yes in a perfect world he should be able to abstain but he is also human and its like trying to be on a diet and going to a pastry shop. Not really a good idea.

I wouldn't invite him to any situation where there is alcohol until he has sustained recovery for quite some time. For them not drinking isn't just not picking it up, it is avoiding the triggers which could cause cravings. I can imagine being in a bar where you see your loved one drinking could really be a temptation. So it is more out of respect for what he struggles with that I would avoid those situations. It is a constant daily battle for them. It isn't just giving it up, it is learning to live without it which is the only way to sustain sobriety in the long run. I don't think many full blown alcoholics can ever go back to being social drinkers.

I do wonder how that will affect me in terms of my family, if it gets that serious between us, because my family likes to drink at most gatherings. (beer for bbq's, cocktails at a holiday party etc, wine for dinner guests) so that will be much more tricky. I also realize that my family loves to party! It is a miracle that no one has a drinking problem but doesn't mean it can never happen.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:29 AM
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I don't...

...but it's by choice, not because she asked me too. I'm just not comfortable drinking around her so I don't do it. That said, I'd never have her come meet me in a bar, surrounded by women buying drinks for me either.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:42 AM
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I am not nor have I ever been in a relationship with a recovering, or even dry, alcoholic, so take this with a pinch of salt. but from the outside, and as someone who changed their life immensley to fit in with another's issues/difficulties/requests and ended up isolated and abused because of it...

... be careful what you give up for the sake of another; alcohol, places where alcohol is served, friends who drink alcohol, male friends who buy you alcohol, male friends, female friends....

alcohol is his problem, not yours, insecurity and jealousy are his problems, not yours. Sure he's being all honest with you, opening up, sharing even his not nice feelings (my ex did that too, it was a hook).

But I wonder why your solution to his being uncomfortable in a situation where he has non-earned trust issues, and cravings issues is that you modify your behaviour rather than agree that he doesn't meet you at bars (he can meet you after? or the next day?).

I am not coming from this as an alcohol issue, it's the jealousy and the fact that he asserts he is fine in bars around HIS friends that are flags for me.

Nothing you can do will make him drink, he could have left the very moment he got a whiff of a craving, and he knew you drank and had friends that drank when he met you and got together with you?

Just something to think about.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:43 AM
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I don't. But I also think it's just a habit I've acquired over the years of having to babysit an alcoholic. At this point in my life and in his recovery, I don't feel right drinking in front of him. He say's he's fine with it, but I'M not comfortable with it...and I'm not sure I'll ever be. I do occasionally drink a glass of wine with girlfriends, so I don't completely abstain. It's a fine line. Yes, YOU aren't the one with the alcohol problem, but I do think that having a relationship with someone who does changes the way we approach social drinking situations, especially when we're out together.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:43 AM
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Cool

I just gotta second JenT1968 here....plus

I always find it interesting that folks think alcoholics need to avoid alcohol, wherever it may be found; avoid the temptation, so to speak. Yes, this may be true for some in early recovery, but if a person is truly recovered, I love what AA's BB has to say--even if you don't agree with AA as a way to recovery (truly a good definition of a recovered alcoholic for me, anyway)......:

"People must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so. We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind."

"We have ceased fighting anything or anyone--even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new
attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality--safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience."
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:24 AM
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I do not drink alcohol. I stopped when he began to wean himself down in earnest.
It is not a sacrifice for me, I dont need to be running around spending money on alcohol, I can be social without it.
He told me that in rehab, they asked them to check in w SOs, to see if they planned on drinking when he came out. I told him I would refrain.
He did not TELL me to, but, I know it would be an issue.

Now, What if I want to have a cocktail with my girlfriends when he is not around? He says he would be fine with that. He does not want to smell it reeking on me, does not want to deal with me falling down. That would never be a problem, but...
Whatever.
It is a LEGAL drug in our country, but it is a mind altering substance.

I do look at it this way: if I had an addiction to heroin, if I almost lost my life to it, both literally and figuratively, and I went through a program, kicked the drug, was trying to stay sober, was going to meetings...How would I feel if he came home from a friends house high on heroin?

many couples struggle with cigarettes the same way, and if one quits, often the other will follow suit.

I dont think it is a big give, and my career has put me in many drinking environments.

If I was 25, or even 30, I may feel differently, but I am 40, so...I dont think it needs to be in my world that much anyway.

As far as a number of guys buying drinks for you, I think there were probably a couple of buttons pushed, there..Insult to injury kind of thing.

Just my experience and 2cents
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:44 PM
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Years ago, I dated a RA. He told me he didn't expect me to not drink anymore than he expected me to ask him to not eat apples (I'm allergic to apples). He said, "You don't have a drinking problem; I do."

One of my RAXH's big issues when he's ranting at me post-divorce is that I never really wanted him to stop drinking "because if you had, you would have quit drinking completely to set a good example for me." I like that attitude a whole lot less because it to me reeks of placing the responsibility on someone else.

If, however, he had gotten into rehab & recovery while we still had a marriage, I might have considered not drinking around him, had he asked. I don't drink a lot anyway, so it wouldn't have been a big sacrifice. I think it depends on the context how I would have felt about a request like that.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:55 PM
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When I moved in with my exabf, I stopped drinking completely, as I believed he had. He was going to meetings...

What I realized over time was that as I sat there not drinking, he was sneaking it...

I now believe based on that experience that it matters not what I do. Although I know I would be very sensitive to someone in early recovery should that situation come up for me again. But I think that even someone in early recovery should be aware of their own feelings, and handle them accordingly. Not my job.

This may sound cold, but I know it is because of what happened to me in the past.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:03 PM
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I lost all desire to want any kind of drink at all when I saw up close and personal what it's done to people I love. So, when I noticed ABF is really an A, I stopped having my regular Saturday night cocktail. It just does not appeal to me at all.

It is important to me in my recovery in Al-anon to make sure I'm making decisions for me, and then our relationship can possibly recover as a by-product. I noticed I was getting resentful about feeling as if I was having to make decisions about almost everything based upon his schedule of drunkeness or not.
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for all your replies, I haven't logged in all week because I started a new job and had wireless router issues, so it was nice to see all of your responses!

Yeah, jealousy was a factor. He's a little insecure about being the sober guy who can never touch a drink while everyone else does, and couldn't help but feel maybe I would rather be with someone who doesn't have theses issues.

The thing with him is alcohol was never his DOC, it was painkillers, He loves wine and was even a sommelier at one point, and lately he's been flirting with the idea of having the occasional social glass of wine after having 2-3 years of recovery on his belt. Says he has NO desire to EVER touch drugs again, but...

I don't know how I feel about this... He's being open and honest, and these feelings and thoughts are natural, but I just don't know how this sort of thing works in recovery. Hopefully he'll change his mind about this further down the recovery road. I hardly ever drink, but I am also careful not to sacrifice my social life, and he really wants to go to these occasional things with me, but I will be more careful now!
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:27 PM
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He's a little insecure about being the sober guy who can never touch a drink while everyone else does, and couldn't help but feel maybe I would rather be with someone who doesn't have theses issues.
Well, you could tell him that drunk guys are as a general rule way less attractive than sober guys.
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Old 12-12-2010, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jds0401 View Post
You're the first person here I noticed is in a situation similar to mine...my AH's DOC was heroin, he quit 15 years ago and never looked back (He quit heroin before I met him). The alcohol started slowly...and while he recognizes he has addictive tendencies he can't seem to let go of the idea that "alcohol" since it is a socially acceptable vice (in his mind anyway, I don't agree) is something he can handle. He's been toying with the idea of recovery and has tried and failed to quit multiple times.

I quit drinking not for him but because I personally can't stand it even socially after I've seen what it can do (I also don't like altering my state of mind even a little - one drink does that as far as I'm concerned)....since he's not committed to a recovery program yet I can't answer the question of if it would help him were he a RAH. I can say the choice was mine, and for me, not for him.

I had a question for you if you don't mind: how did your RABF come to accept/realize that it wasn't just painkillers that were a problem but also alcohol?
Wow, 15 years! That's great as far as the heroin goes, but I'm confused...did he NEVER work a program? Has he been toying with the idea of recovery for the alcohol?

I'm not sure my RABF has recognized that alcohol is a problem too...I mean, he has for NOW, it being so early in his recovery he recognized ANY mind altering substance as a problem, but he too claims that alcohol was never his problem and he could always handle it. This is a new thing though, he had previously recognized that a drug is a drug is a drug...

My BF works an INTENSE program... 30 day detox followed by 6 months of sober living (in progress, near the end), book work daily, meetings 2x a day, groups, sponsor talks every day...it's a lot of work. So, I think being so embedded in this program has deterred these thoughts about possibly drinking in the future thus far. Plus, the people in his program to to mostly AA meetings despite being drug addicts, so I think it's more situational than his own realization. I know recovery is a life-long process and I just don't know how an addict can remain in recovery and active in these meetings while drinking here and there...
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:01 PM
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Yup, they say alcohol or drugs are just a symptom of a spiritual ailment and I believe it 100%. There are core issues here and the substances help numb and cover what we can't cope with.

It's hard with alcohol, I know...his family drinks wine, there are weddings and toasts and holidays full of ceremonial drinking. And it's almost as if one is shunned or stigmatized for not partaking in alcohol related celebrations whereas it's not the case at all with drugs.

We certainly can't influence what they do but I think your husband is at least on the right track and a program is absolutely essential for recovery.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:40 AM
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I drank some as a teen and in my early twenties. Having so many people in my family with "drinking problems," I stopped all together in my early twenties before I met my RAH. I never enjoyed the taste or the effects of alcohol. (I think I had a fear of becoming an alcoholic. . . but of course, instead, I became a codie/enabler who doesn't drink. . . different side of the same coin!). I would tell our friends or family when we were out and I wasn't drinking, "Oh, my husband drinks for the two of us" in a joking fashion (*as if* he were a social drinker. . . but it really hurt while I was "jokingly" saying that because I wished my husband wasn't drinking at all).

I remember a rehab counselor saying that the most dangerous place where an addict/alcoholic is at risk for relapse is *in his/her own head.* The temptations are everywhere. In the end, it's all up to the A, no matter where he/she is, no matter what others are doing or not doing. It's a nice & helpful gesture to stop drinking and removing alcohol from the home to support one's recovering alcoholic.

I don't live with my RAH right now, but it did cross my mind that "I wonder if I will ever be able to have cooking wine in my cabinets anymore" if or when I move back home. Sacrificing a little cooking wine is really not a big deal if it serves as one less temptation/trigger.

When we are out at a restaurant and alcohol is being served or we are watching something and a commercial on alcohol comes on, I feel a little "ping" in my heart. I'm thinking in my head, "I hope it's not triggering anything for him." Then, I have to tell myself to "Stop! And, enjoy our time together."
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:55 PM
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A recovering alcoholic is always better off when alcohol isn't in the vicinity. The saying "people, places and things" will lead us to a drink. Sounds like his feelings were kicked up, he got jealous, which contributes to wanting a drink. There's a big difference between someone having a glass of wine or a beer and lots of people drinking and having fun.

I suggest keeping away from situations like this. As a recovering alcoholic I can say that I wouldn't be able to handle it either....
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nicam View Post
Thanks for all your replies, I haven't logged in all week because I started a new job and had wireless router issues, so it was nice to see all of your responses!

Yeah, jealousy was a factor. He's a little insecure about being the sober guy who can never touch a drink while everyone else does, and couldn't help but feel maybe I would rather be with someone who doesn't have theses issues.

The thing with him is alcohol was never his DOC, it was painkillers, He loves wine and was even a sommelier at one point, and lately he's been flirting with the idea of having the occasional social glass of wine after having 2-3 years of recovery on his belt. Says he has NO desire to EVER touch drugs again, but...
Ok, the alcoholic (20 years) must speak up about this. Alcohol was MY drug of choice but it would take me a nanosecond to get hooked on drugs. It would be the same thing as picking up a drink. I'm an ADDICT. As they say, you can't turn a pickle back into a cucumber

He should talk to other addicts about this. It's his decision entirely, you can help the most in encouraging him to talk to another person about this.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:43 AM
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In my daughtrs rehab they put it like this..your brain doesn't know a xanax from a shot of vodka..pretty simple really.While she is in early recovery we won't even keep alcohol in the house (and I work in a winery).She says it's not a problem if we drink, it's her problem...but I am so grateful for her recovery I will do anything to support it..I have to say there was a look of relief on her face when we said we were ALL gonna be booze free at the holidays this year.
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