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Living with an extremely HIGH functioning alcholic.

Old 12-07-2010, 09:08 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by highfunction View Post
At this point in my life, I have decided not to leave him over this. It might be denial or nativity, but I can't justify leaving a happy relationship because my boyfriend has an illness. This man is wonderful aside from his drinking. I mean, amazzzzing. He even likes cooking!
He does indeed have a disease, but please realize that his continuing to drink is a CHOICE. He is choosing to ignore the dangers and impact that his addiction is having and will have on himself, and on you.

I know what's going through your mind with regard to your relationship: you're thinking that all the good in this man that you've managed to find, amongst all the other not to great catches out there, far outweighs this "small" issue with his drinking. Until his drinking becomes more of a priority, and until you focus more and more of your time and energy on "managing" his drinking...perhaps hiding it from your friends and family, perhaps talking to him, showing him literature, arguing with him,...yelling at him, having fights with him, crying...

You're probably thinking.."what? No! That'll never happen to us! Not to US! Not to me!"...And yet, you don't really know, do you? He's 33 now, young and relatively healthy. The booze hasn't affected his health *yet*. But I'll bet you 100$ that his acid reflux gets worse over the years, and that other digestive problems crop up as well. My XH has constant diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn...I don't know what he's got now.

In truth, I had no idea what I was up against when I married this man. Sure I knew about "alcoholism" and there was some in my family, but I have No. Friggin. Clue. what it was like to live with an alcoholic...and to have a child with one.

But anyway, I know you've made up your mind to "stand by your man". I made that decision too, a bunch of times over.

I do hope you keep coming back here for support and to further learn about addiction. SR is always open.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:50 PM
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Ladies,

I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my post. I'm so glad I found this site. I could not have imagined so many people would chime in-- I went from having spoke with no one about this to speaking with several people with lots of experience.


.....And my response will likely seem stubborn.

I have no intentions of leaving him. Taking into consideration all the positives, I just couldn't do that. My life would truly be worse without him. That is not negative self talk-- he has pushed me to be successful in school and life. I am on the verge of breaking out of the sad cycle of poverty that neither my parents nor my 3 siblings have been able to break out of, and I owe a lot of it to his life skills, patience and love.

Eight Ball, thanks for responding. I think my BF may have a lot in common with your husband. The denial factor is huuuuuuge. I could actually see my bf saying something like "alcoholism is a word people use to sell books."

He's also definitely done the whole "if you'd have something to drink, you'd lighten up, thing." (This is actually quite true, if I have 2 glasses of wine I am a lot less likely to bug him about drinking). He doesn't really do that anymore, though, as I've pointed out that him bringing more alcohol not only into my life, but into my body is actually quite bad.

That being said, I am going to try everything I can to reach him before there are any children in the picture. At least then, I'll know I tried. If I left him now...I would always wonder. And if I checked back years later and found that he'd stopped drinking I would, of course, be happy for him but I'd also be heartbroken that I hadn't been a part of that. And if when I'm old and my boobs are down to my knees, he has lived without suffering any slow, deteriorating illness, I'll know I tortured myself by leaving him without any good reason. And on the other side of that, if I left and he shacks up with some enabling alcoholic chick, I'll wonder if I could have at least prevented things from getting worse...
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by highfunction View Post
.....And my response will likely seem stubborn.
It doesn't seem stubborn to me. How many people would come here, start a thread, and then come back and announce they are going to leave based on a bunch of strangers' opinions? Now that would be weird.

I can only speak for myself, but what I was trying to say to you was not "leave." It was "learn." I know lots of times when I type "let go," people read "leave." That's not what it means. It means you cannot control the other person, you can only control yourself.

To leave or not is a very individual choice, based on individual circumstances. Looking back, I made that choice later than I should have. I believe, had I known more, I would have made better choices at more appropriate times.

All I'm saying is--the more you know, the better. Denial can be very strong, in both alcoholics AND their partners. Wishing it wasn't so, or looking the other way only makes things worse in the end.

L
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post

All I'm saying is--the more you know, the better. Denial can be very strong, in both alcoholics AND their partners. Wishing it wasn't so, or looking the other way only makes things worse in the end.

L
I had a whole paragraph written about how I turned my head to it for quite some time, but I deleted it before I posted. I tried to justify his drinking as "normal." A LOT of people in my peer group drink-- definitely more than he does in one sitting and maybe even more than he does weekly. But no, I don't want to spend my life with those people...

And even though I definitely acknowledge it now, I still "wish it wasn't so, " daily.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:08 PM
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Welcome, HF.

Just stay in touch with your process of discovery, keep an open attitude, honor yourself, and more will be revealed.

That you are here, learning, is good, for today.

Today, you needn't solve the whole puzzle.

More will be revealed.

Sending encouragement,

CLMI
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:09 PM
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I wish you the best. I was 25 when I met mine. He was everything to me. He was educated, highly functioning, treated me like a queen, sweet, kind.....I am 35 now and divorced and childless. My prince charming is now an alcoholic and a drug addict. I wanted a family more than anything and we tried but no luck and my doctor did tell me it is harder if he has a substance abuse problem for some. I dont know what will become of my life but I would do ANYTHING to be in your shoes right now. I would honor myself, respect myself, think myself worthy to be with someone who cares enough about myself and himself to get himself healthy, who wanted to have babies with me without drinking himself into a stupor constantly. I would look at myself and wonder why I dont think I deserve someone healthy instead of dealing with 10 years of chaos. I tried everything. Church, marriage counseling, 2 rehabs, crying, family intervention, begging, throwing him out, taking him back...Nothing worked. All I did was waste some of the best years of my life. Please please educate yourself. Don't be me in 10 years. Its been a long road and not only did he try to take me down but everyone I loved too. This disease hurts all around. Watching my parents cry after finding out all he did was a moment I will remember until the day I die. I have stopped asking myself what did I do?? But I used to ask myself that often. I hope this doesnt seem harsh but I want to hug you right now and tell you to read all you can on this and go to open AA mts to see what may happen of your life. I wished to God someone told me all this when I was 25.

My biggest hugs and bestest wishes..

Lulu
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:13 PM
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I just typed a whole page of a response, but then changed my mind.

Insead I'll just say this -

If you were with my borther i'd say run a mile, fast.

He had his own business, he was a very 'high functioning' stained glass artist, he made a fortune, then drank it, then told his wife she'd be more fulfilled etc having a good job, then when she got one he drank her wages too.

There was even a point where he cleared their sons savings account, he drunk that too.

You wouldn't be with him though, he lost the battle almost two years ago. He left a son (that would be sort of equivalent to your future babies perhaps?) who he'd physically and mentally abused for a couple of years.

A different slant I know but we thought he was 'just one of the guys' off to the pub after a hard days work.
When we were forced to look at reality we all knew deep down that wasn't the case.

I wish you well and I hope you and your man are some of the lucky ones.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:26 PM
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I truly wish you the best of luck! Loving an alcoholic is not a heak of a lot of fun! Especially when you have children with them!!

I don't know anyone who intentionally becomes dependent on alcohol (or drugs). It starts out as social, then daily, then before you know it there are serious physical repercussions when the body doesn't get the booze. Just out of curiosity, if he went 2 weeks without a SIP of booze, does he experience any withdrawal symptoms yet? Crying, irritability, mood swings, tremors, excessive sleeping, craving sweets, etc... (Detox isn't the prettiest sight.)

I have seen the 2 headed monster of the progression of this sad disease and not knowing how it will end BLOWS!! I can honestly say the insanity does become contagious...obviously or we wouldn't all be here on SR.

Best wishes!
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by RollTide View Post
"If I knew then what I know now I would have ran away screaming when he asked me out."

"If I knew then what I know now...I would bail like a house-a-fire."

Me too on both of these.
Me too. My husband was very high functioning. Started his own business - became stinking rich> i did not have to work even ! We are on the verge of losing everything. He is in rehab nr 16 (yearlong)

my children suffered - because of alcoholism and me- that became crazy and I still am fighting the craziness off after 23 years of marriage. It does not happen in one day.

Think of the future children! By far the biggest regret is that I stayed too long.

I left when I was sick and tired. You will make your own plans. I applaud you for seeking information and guidance- as that is brave and show that you are showing awareness. !

hugs
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:31 AM
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Nothing will tear your heart out like a man who you know loves you but can't make the emotional connection because he isn't there.
Nothing will be sadder than looking in his eyes and watching the shame.
If you want to get a hardened heart, marry this man. Have his children. Do make plans ahead of time for every evening watching those little ones as well as all day long. Because a high-functioning alcoholic has to drink whenever they aren't at work. Watching toddlers is tough to do when passed out.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:10 AM
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High functioning will only last so long...My husband and I were together many years. His employer kept him around because he made alot of money for the company. They paid for his rehab twice.
He had alot of health issues, that he went to the doctor for they told him to stop drinking.

We had 2 beautiful children who after time interfered with his "drinking time".
After the violence started --which I believed could never start--- I took my children and ran.

He died on March 9th of this year due to liver failure, he was 43 years old.

High Functioning is good while it lasts, but I promise you it never does last.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:28 AM
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The male child of a male alcoholic has a 50% chance of being an alcoholic.

Alcoholism is a fatal disease. The only treatment for it is abstinence from alcohol.

You sound like a sweetheart. But I have to say, the nurse (in your case nursing student) in love with an alcoholic is just such a sad cliche.

Devote your love and energy to yourself, your future children, and, in your professional life, to your patients who want to help themselves get better.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Faith1010 View Post
I truly wish you the best of luck! Loving an alcoholic is not a heak of a lot of fun! Especially when you have children with them!!

I don't know anyone who intentionally becomes dependent on alcohol (or drugs). It starts out as social, then daily, then before you know it there are serious physical repercussions when the body doesn't get the booze. Just out of curiosity, if he went 2 weeks without a SIP of booze, does he experience any withdrawal symptoms yet? Crying, irritability, mood swings, tremors, excessive sleeping, craving sweets, etc... (Detox isn't the prettiest sight.)

I have seen the 2 headed monster of the progression of this sad disease and not knowing how it will end BLOWS!! I can honestly say the insanity does become contagious...obviously or we wouldn't all be here on SR.

Best wishes!
In the beginning of our relationship he took 1 week "off" of drinking anything at all. That's the longest he's ever gone, in the 3 1/2 years we've been together. At that point, he didn't have any withdrawal symptoms that I know of.

Usually, he won't take more than a 2-3 days at a time without anything at all.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:46 AM
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so glad you are still here, high function, and that we haven't scared you off.

you are wise to take stock now and educate yourself here. it could save you and your future children from going through what we've been through.

i hope you keep posting.

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Old 12-08-2010, 06:57 AM
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LucyA and Aweda, your stories were definitely not what I wanted to hear and reading them made me bawl.

I'm so, terribly sorry you had to watch your loved ones deteriorate.


I ended up speaking with my general care practitioner about this. She told me, quite confidently, that based on the amount he drinks it is not "if," but when he will become clinical, and that once he is there won't be any undoing it. That it's not so much her opinion as it is a known medical fact.

He and I have been talking about his drinking a great deal the past few weeks and he is trying. The past few nights he's been down to 3 (large, 16oz) beers. I could live with that, but I know a few nights isn't nearly enough to tell. I don't want to push so much that he pulls back, as he's responded quite well to it. I do believe that he knows his drinking is an issue and wishes it wasn't, so I think he wants to prove to himself that he can cut back. And this cutting back deal was for life, not for any period of weeks or months. I don't believe that quitting alcohol sounds remotely attractive to him at this point, even though I would love to never see another bottle of any kind of alcohol in my house...

As much as I'm trying to just support him in cutting back, knowing what I know about him and his love affair with alcohol, I don't think that's possible for him. I don't think he WANTS to have 2-3 beers a night. He WANTS to have 5-6.

Ehh, only time will tell. But I am soooo glad I found this board.

Oh and grateful, the truth is that many patients in the hospitals are indeed there with preventable illnesses such as complications from alcoholism, obesity, etc. The large majority of others are there with co morbidities of aging. It's very refreshing to see people who want to help themselves get better, but that's because it's so rare.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:22 AM
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ah Highfunction...I knew you were a smart cookie when I read your first post. I'm glad to see you're still here, thinking, learning, debating and questioning. I'm also relieved to hear your GP didn't sugar coat things for you. Your ABF is suffering from a progressive disease, and unless he decides on his own to find recovery, supported by a recovery program, I seriously doubt he'll "get better".

I'm so sorry this is what you're facing.

Please try to remember, as you talk to him about his drinking that
You didn't cause the drinking
You can't cure the drinking
and you CAN'T CONTROL the drinking.

This is where detaching from the outcome of things comes in real handy. I know your future hangs on this man and his addiction, so it's very difficult to detach, but it is possible. It'll just take some time and practice to turn the focus away from him and on yourself.

I sincerely hope that your ABF finds his all important bottom one day and decides he's had it with drinking. Until then, keep coming back here, grab a copy of "Codependent No More" and perhaps find an Al-Anon meeting to attend.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:41 AM
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Hi Highfunctioning,

I know how you feel, our situations are almost identical. I have been reading these posts for only about a week and already feel that I have learned I can't control his drinking. The difference between you and I is I don't drink, never have around my ABF in the past 2 1/2 yrs of our relationship. Maybe that's why it took so long to realize I have an ABF! He is a great man, he just choses to drink..and he does it alone. I have learned about detatchment...you don't have to physically "leave" the person, but you have to develope your own life, outside of "our" life. Alcoholism is a lifelong disease. He will never be cured. And from one nurse to another, that's a hard thing to accept at first. You have to look to youself for the answers about a future with this man. If you stay, you WILL have to learn how to cope with this disease or else it will kill you, and then the Alcohol has controlled you to. Keep the faith, Keep looking to yourself for the answers, and try to stay focused on YOU, and not just him.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:57 PM
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I am a high functioning alcoholic in recovery. I have had periods where I went completely off the rails but mostly hung (clung!) to the functioning end of the spectrum.

I am married and I have two small children, expecting a 3rd. I am 35 and I've been with my husband for 9 years. I have been sober for 3 mos.

My husband married me in spite of all the glaring signs that I had a serious problem (including falling the night before we got engaged and smashing a lamp in the process). I don't know how many times I've made him cry because of my behavior. How much he had to turn a blind eye to because he loves me and wanted to stay married. How he gritted his teeth through my HAVING to go to a restaurant with a liquor license every freaking time we went out to eat. How he left his 2 beautiful children in my half-hungover care every single day. And honestly lots of other things that are too painful to type.

Alcoholism is progressive in a much more sneaky way than I thought. To be honest I got absolutely flat out plastered drunk much much less as time went on. An outsider would have thought things were improving. I didn't seem AS drunk as much. But instead of drinking say 6 drinks between 8 and 11pm. I started drinking at 4pm and drank 2 bottles of wine between then and bedtime. My drinking seeped deeply into my life. A glass of wine at playdate. Lunchtime get togethers on the weekends. Beers on the deck at noon on a Sunday. (from noon until bedtime).

Every time I visibly lost control I'd reign in my drinking again because quitting was so terrifying to me.

So, I did quit. And we're in a good place now. But the whole point of me posting is to say that you have no control here. NONE. All the crying, begging, threats etc from my husband really did nothing except make me scared and secretive. And that is a very scary position to be in. His alcoholism can rule/ruin YOUR life. An alcoholic's first love is alcohol. That's what they prioritize until they decide otherwise. IF they decide otherwise.

I can't explain the hold alcohol had over me. But I know that my husband didn't get a look in when it came to my sobriety. And THAT is scary stuff.

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Old 12-08-2010, 06:06 PM
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And even though I definitely acknowledge it now, I still "wish it wasn't so, " daily.
high function,
keep learning, and keep your eyes open.
give yourself some credit for getting yourself out of poverty, i am sure you had something to do with it. you seem very intelligent and aware.
i appreciate the position you are in now.
keep coming back, I admire your strength.

Beth.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:14 PM
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highfunction, just wanted to post my story because I was 26 when I met my now AH who was 36 at the time and like you there were many positives. Unlike you I didn't notice the drinking until looking back later on. He encouraged me and made me feel understood like no one else could. He helped me to get through school and get a good job while he "worked hard" pursuing his dream.

Now 20 + years later and 3 children I could tell you what my life looked like by cutting and pasting pieces of nodaybut2day, 4mylittleones, Thumper, lillamy, MichelleAL, and Eightball's posts.

My heart goes out to you for feeling what you may be feeling at this point in your life and your relationship that brought you to this site because as many have said the disease is progressive.

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and despite so much heartache and being separated for a year and in counseling for myself and finally getting a feel of being my own person again I am still trying to be with my AH husband.

I haven't quite let go of the dream marriage even after all these years of not living it.

As others have said learn about the disease, go to Al-Anon, maybe even work some steps and you may find some peace for yourself that no one else can ever provide for you no matter how much you love them or they love you.
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