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Living with a highly functional drunk

Old 12-26-2010, 06:54 PM
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Living with a highly functional drunk

I'm hoping to find someone who can relate to my story.
My live-in boyfriend of 3 1/2 years is an amazing fathter to his 2 kids and also my 2 kids from my first marriage. He is successful in the armed forces, never misses a day of work, can fix anything around the house and is good to me. Unfortunately, he is also a alcoholic.
He will drink between 10-12 drinks each day on the weekends and days he doesn't have to work. During the week it's 3-4.
He went to counseling for about a month this last summer and was down to a 6 pack a week. He thought he was cured and quit. Before long, he was buying a 12 pack, then and 18, and now we are back to at least two 18's in a week. I expressed my concerns that he was falling backward but was told not to worry.
I am a successful professional and am embarrassed when we go to places because I know how he will end up at the end of the night. He doesn't remember converstaions that we had the night before, and I am worried about his health.
I love this man dearly but, I love my kids more and don't want them growing up seeing this. I also don't want them growing up with no father-figure
HELP?!
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:02 PM
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most alcoholics are of the functioning variety alanon says only about 5% are homeless/bums...alcoholism is a progressive disease so there may be less and less functioning as time goes on.I would suggest alanon..it really save me from going down with a sinking ship (emotionally). They will not tell you to leave or stay, but you will learn boundaries and things to do to help yourself.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:22 PM
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Hi Jodyrae,

Welcome to SR, I am glad you found us but sorry for what brought you here.

There are many on SR who can relate to your story and most of us have arrived on SR because we had concerns for our loved ones health and wanted to help them.

Unfortunately, we soon learn that we cannot help our loved ones. They have to help themselves and want to and that is the real difficult part to accept.

The disease that is alcoholism, has some fundamental elements that you have already witnessed. You have expressed your concerns and was told not to worry. He is placating you but continuing drinking, because he cant stop. It doesn't matter how much you discuss with your BF how much you are worried for him and his health, it will not make a slight bit of difference. His urge to drink is so strong that nothing you do or say will make him stop.

Most of our 'functioning' alcoholics live in the strange world of denial. My AH doesn't think he is an alcoholic because he works, cooks and cleans. He also thinks that the term alcoholism was invented by the Americans so they can sell books. His denial allows him to continue drinking.

As you have discovered, the counseling your BF did failed in the long term. This is because an alcoholic has to stop drinking, they cannot simply cut down. Alcoholism is progressive and so one leads to two, leads to 3 etc, the need to drink is overwhelming for them.

When I found SR, I had no knowledge whatsoever about alcoholism and how it was affecting me. I was a mess, living with an alcoholic and worrying about him and wanting him just to stop drinking. My AH and I had many fights about his drinking and when I finally lost my patience and gave him a choice, he told me that he was choosing alcohol over me and a 22 year marriage.

This was my rock bottom and by chance someone told me to try Al-anon. Al-anon has been good for me and I am learning to live with my functioning alcoholic. I now understand that I didn't cause it, I cant control it and I cant cure it, but I continue to live with him and the very negative sides but do so whilst trying to protect myself and try to stay healthy in the mind, body and soul.

Alcoholism is known as a disease of the family, as it effects everyone who comes into contact with it, not only the drinker. You already sound conflicted and alcoholism will do this to you. You dont want your children to see this, you want a father figure for them, you love him.

Knowledge is power, so keep reading, check out some of the stickies above and check out a a local Al-anon group to you. Once you learn the facts/truths of alcoholism, and are able to keep the focus on you, it should help you to make clear, healthy decisions for you and your children, based on your own circumstances and what you can live with. Keep reading and posting and welcome again.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:25 PM
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My A is a highly functional drunk, as well. You're not insane, you're not crazy, simply because he's highly functional doesn't excuse the drinking.

In the case of my A, he would take everything out on me. The final straw was when he started screaming and throwing everything all over the place, so I left my own apartment (his name isn't on the lease) and spent the night at work, and refused to see him in person since. He wouldn't give back the keys, so I switched out the deadbolt and told him that he needed help and I wouldn't see him again until he got it.

...turns out losing me is his biggest fear, so he went to AA meetings all day (I suspect to manipulate me into "coming back") and eventually told his family (without my prompting) about his problem. His sister was a giant help, he spent the night at her house, and her son kept an eye on him to make sure he didn't drink. (He got in a giant tug-of-war about 2am). His sister and daughter drove him to the psychologist that I chose, and then to the inpatient detox/rehab that the psychologist chose, and while he's still been manipulative over the phone he's been getting better at that.

I'm fortunate in the sense that his entire family (excluding his mother, who has been extremely cruel) already recognized the problem and weren't sure what to do about it. Ever since I picked a course of action, they've been backing me up the whole way, and I've grown much closer to them, and learned quite a bit about why they seemed so distant before. We're working on a course of action together, and everyone has been stepping in.

All I can share with you is the advice that the psychologist, and one of my A's pro-AA friends, have shared with me. The alcoholic will only seek help for themselves when they have to seek help for themselves - we have to let go, let God, and let them fall for themselves so they can pick themselves back up again. In my case, he loves me so much that he's traumatized he hurt me and desperate to make things right (currently - anything can change, I know), and as long as I stick to my guns and keep the boundaries I've been setting while he's away, I'll be fine. If I let him start to control my life again, the problem will simply repeat.
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:23 PM
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For me, love didn't get a look in.

It was like he was gripped by a white pointer, with me watching it and unable to do a thing about it. The last thing on his mind was me, love or anything other than his immediate and urgent need.

I know of no-one who gave up drinking for more than a short time, because they loved someone, or were upset at abusive behavior when drunk. This happened to try and stop the wife leaving, and/or taking legal action against them, and drinking resumed.

If drinkers stopped because partners, children, parents etc, were sick of the cr*p caused them by the drinker, heck there would not be many drinkers still active.
Unfortunately, it takes the pits to hit drinkers for 6, before they even consider it and then it may be years, if ever before sobriety is really desired.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:46 AM
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I'm sorry that you are in this situation. However, I beg to differ with you. I was married to Air Force Major. I had to tell his CO (Commanding Officer) as although he 'seemed' to be functioning, alcohol does dull the reflexes and he was putting himself and his personnel in grave danger.

Yes, we eventually divorced. I could not continue to put our children and myself through the mood swings, the rages that started to occur and other various things that come with the progression.

Please read around this site, read the 'stickys' at the top of this forum, ask questions, come and post and vent and rant and ask any questions.

There is great ES&H (Experience, Strength and Hope) on this site from those who have been where you are or are where you are now.

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing as we do care very much.

Love and hugs,
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:59 AM
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Better to live with no father figure than to live with an alcoholic one.
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