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DonnaJL 01-25-2011 09:42 AM

Same stuff, Different Day from a Newbie
Hi all,
I don't know if a forum can help me, but I am fighting this fight virtually alone as my partner of 20 years is alcoholic and while I have tried to enlist his family to help, I am the only person who has to deal with his drunk personality while everyone else only sees the 'good' guy and I guess it's hard for them to relate. He finally went off on me in front of his sister a couple months ago and she, admittedly, didn't believe it was her brother that was behaving in such a hostile and belligerent and bullying manner toward me but I go through that on a regular basis and nobody ever sees it.
He doesn't see his drinking as a problem, he goes to work and so far, it hasn't caused any major problems although his boss has confronted him because he smelled like booze and my guy told him that he had been drinking the night before. He's not fooling anyone, they know he's a drunk but its a gov't job and nobody cares.
He is in denial that his drunken verbal and emotional abuse is a problem for me, and blames me for any fight that we get into. I really fear that the booze is causing brain damage because he says stuff when he's trashed that is so illogical and unreasonable and there is no way to argue with a drunk and expect to make sense.
If I could get out, I would go but circumstance are such that it's not possible so I am stuck in this situation.
I still love him very much and really want to get him healthy and there are times he says that he wants to quit too, but he's not strong enough and is unwilling to do the work. He will on occasion, stop and will shake badly for a couple of days but then he is fine and our life is great, no fighting or anything until he slips back, usually in 2 or 3 months. It's so frustrating because he makes it look so easy, and to start up again when things are so great is just heart wrenching for me.
Well, I could go on, but thanks for listening. I have nobody to talk to about this who really understands.

Codie101 01-25-2011 09:51 AM

Hi!! I just responded to one of your posts on another thread! Welcome! I am new here too. This is the best website for what you are dealing with. My ABF (alcoholic boyfriend) is the same way. No one in his family believes that he could be a monster. They all blame me. I call it his alter ego - named Kurt. Kurt is just plain evil. Please read as much as you can on here. It helped me beyond belief! I have discovered not only that I am codependent and therefore enabling his alcoholism, but I am ACOA (adult child of alcoholic), which is why I put up with his alcoholic behavior. Yes I love him, but I am attracted to the craziness that his illness breeds. It has taken its toll on me emotionally and physically. I am going to a counselor through YWCA domestic violence program (its free) and I am beginning codependents anonymous and Al-anon this week. I need to get my head in a better place and then evaluate my situation with him. I too am not in a position to leave him. Not yet anyway. Bottomline, we can't make them stop drinking. We need to protect ourselves and get ourselves well. Only they can stop themselves.

I am glad you are here!!!!

Shellcrusher 01-25-2011 10:07 AM

Welcome to SR, Donna.
Congratulations on taking a few steps forward in your recovery.

I put the word recovery on your feet because you'll find after enough reading that getting him healthy and not able to leave him and him and him and him, has nothing to do with you.

You're not as stuck as you may think and what I mean by that, is you have ways to reduce the impact your AW is having on you. You can take action to improve your life until you're in a position to make bigger/harder decisions about your future.

Keep on reading and keep on posting. You have a massive support team right here and yes, we've all seen something similar and different.

DonnaJL 01-25-2011 10:20 AM

Thanks Codie. I guess I have a problem with being considered an enabler, based on stuff I've read. I don't feel that I enable. I don't buy him booze, I don't call his job to say he can't come in because he's sick, I handle the household stuff because that is one of my functions in this domestic partnership since I am retired and have time to do it.
I do admit that I will wake him up if he's fallen asleep (due to drinking) and I know he has to be somewhere (and I've often gotten yelled at for not waking him up soon enough) but if I didn't wake him up I would take a major ration of you-know-what, so I consider that self-preservation. I think I need to read up some more on enabling, etc. I honestly don't know what I can do differently to expect a better outcome, or how I can protect myself from his nasty attitude when he's drinking without locking myself in my car and just turning up the radio. I try to not engage him when he's drinking and try to avoid any conversation but when the man comes home from work and is already starting to drink, it becomes an option that is not really do-able.

stella27 01-25-2011 10:34 AM

honey, if locking yourself in your car and turning up the radio would give you some peace, then I encourage you to do that. Waking him up if he's drunk or hung-over is enabling him, and even if he gets mad at you, you aren't his alarm clock.

Self-preservation is a hard way to live and it's the origin of all these maladaptive behaviors that keep us as sick as they are.

Welcome, and please do read all our material. I have learned more from this site than all the therapy in the world. (even though I go to therapy too.)

Shellcrusher 01-25-2011 10:38 AM

Well said stella.
Donna, I'm still working on my own recovery with an AW and I am pretty darn sure that the friends and family walk the harder path.

It's different and easier for me because I'm the big feller with the little drunk AW. I don't run and hide from her and if she was passed out drunk and had to be somewhere, she wouldn't be getting a wake up call from me. I'd let her go about her business.

Codie101 01-25-2011 10:41 AM

I don't think an enabler is just about buying or not buying alcohol...You should check out threads about codependence. The way I understand it so far is that you are codependent when you live your life through him. There is no you. He is your sole focus. Unfortunately, when you live and deal with an alcoholic, that is the name of the game. Everything and I mean everything is about them - completely narcissistic. You walk on egg shells to keep the peace (when there is none to be had); you sacrifice pieces of yourself in an effort to make him happy; you take abusive behavior from him; and so on. It was suggested I read Codependence No More - you may want to check it out too.

You have really come to the right place. Keep posting and will help more than you know.

Midwestman 01-25-2011 11:02 AM

Originally Posted by Shellcrusher (Post 2843547)
Well said stella.
Donna, I'm still working on my own recovery with an AW and I am pretty darn sure that the friends and family walk the harder path.

It's different and easier for me because I'm the big feller with the little drunk AW. I don't run and hide from her and if she was passed out drunk and had to be somewhere, she wouldn't be getting a wake up call from me. I'd let her go about her business.

I'm with you and I seem to be in the same situation..though I just separated couple days ago..I feel heartbroken for a lot of the women here because it's gotta be a lot harder for them to deal with a pissed off AH who is angry..some of these AH need their a** kicked...sorry, just a little pissed off now.

lillamy 01-25-2011 11:07 AM

Welcome!!! I read your post and immediately want to step into action and DO something.

I was where you were -- saying "I can't leave" -- and the best advice I can give to you is to find an Al-Anon group. Al-Anon helped me stay sane while living in an alcoholic marriage; it gave me the skills to create a life for myself within that marriage, and build the strength I needed. There are lots of posts at the top of this forum that were immensely helpful for me.

Take are of yourself. That's the most important thing. Because it's the only thing you have any power over in all of this.

tallulah 01-25-2011 11:17 AM

I've been where you are now. I too thought I couldn't leave. I was forced to leave by circumstances and it was the best thing that could have happened to me or I may still be on the merry-go-round.

I'm not going to tell you that this is unhealthy and you should pack a bag and leave now.. even though every fibre in my body is screaming go, run, don't look back. Having been in the position, I know you need to reach your rock bottom to effect change and may not have reached there yet.

All I would say is this.. keep coming back here, attend al-anon if/where possible, put things in place which help you keep as much of your sanity as possible.

yorkiegirl 01-25-2011 11:41 AM

I hate the label "co-dependent" but recognize that I am. If I were not a codie, the minute I saw unacceptable behaviors, I would have known that I don't deserve this & left. If I were not a codie, I would listen to the voice s within that say, "this is wrong!", respect my intuitions & honor my feelings. If I were not a codie, I wouldn't have selected an A for a partner, stayed with him for 14 years, praying/believing he would change. . .(and *I* would be that loving, wonderful partner who would "help" him to that change).

As long as an A can continue his drinking & keep from hitting his lowest low (whether it's his government job, roof over his head, a wife who stays with him through his hell, etc), he is being enabled.

My heart goes out to you. We codies have to hit our bottom too, sometimes, because we are often as deeply addicted to our A's as they are to their substances. When my RAH was in his active alcoholism, I used to tell him; "If you aren't addicted to alcohol, then don't drink for one week." His answer (when he was in denial) was "I could quit whenever I want. I just don't a want to right now." I guess the same question is "If I am not an enabler/codie, then why I do I put up with this? Why don't I just walk away?" I had all my reasons (excuses) too. (I did hit my bottom & I did walk away. He went into recovery. I decided I need recovery too. We are each doing our own recovery. We tried counseling but we are in different places in our recovery. I think working on ourselves separately works best for us right now. We are physically separated but together now as a couple.)

I am an ACOA & now that I am not all immersed in my RAH's drinking *and* his recovery, I am seeing how growing up in (in)active alcoholism/co-dependence has so deeply & intricately affected & influenced my whole being (& just about every single life decision I have made).

Best & warm prayers to all of you here. The SR Forum is part of my recovery & healing efforts. Thank you for this thread. I appreciate reading what everyone is going through & has gone through.

Shellcrusher 01-25-2011 11:52 AM

Well said, yorkie.

I think a lot of us codies see the behavior in people and want to rush right out and tell them. Best to just relate their story to our recovery and see how it fits. Good job.

TheReader 01-25-2011 12:03 PM

I am new here too - just joined today
I am new although I have beeing "reading" these wonderful posts for two weeks. I dealt with my spouse's 25 yrs of alcoholism by abusing RX pills/ narcotics on and off for years to deal with my pain and became an addict. Last few years got these from internet ordering and spent lots of $ and took legal risk. Thankfully, God was watching over me :)

I was raised pretty much spoiled only child and never really say alcoholism. Went to college and partied myself with alcohol but never became addicted. Thought everyone who drank was lovey-dovey and had fun. After several failed relationships, I was ready at 26 to marry the first professional, good-looking guy to come along that wanted marriage and got myself the alcoholic. He only drank beer, so I had no idea what I was getting into - however, the beer was 24 a day til he passed out.

Looking back, don't know why I stayed but now he is 67 yrs old and clean for 5 years, but it bad health. I always was trying to protect everyone, the ultimate enabler and people pleaser - my parents (now passed), our only daughter (now grown), his work (now retired), my job (yes, I am still working), etc. I am ten years younger and finally off the pills, but need this support group and happy to find it.:tyou

DonnaJL 01-25-2011 12:57 PM

Ironically, the husband I left for this man was a 'beer drunk' who never thought of himself as an alcoholic, but it sure seemed that way to me. He was also a mean drunk and was physically abusive and destroyed my self esteem in the process. When I met my partner, he was everything the husband was not and it was such a relief to be in a relationship where you could feel at ease and not be blamed for everything.
Who could have known that I was stepping right back into a very similar situation, not the physical abuse thank goodness, but the mean, nasty evil person he becomes when he's drinking is not something I could have ever foreseen.
In the meanwhile, I'm reading and learning from you all.

TheReader 01-25-2011 01:16 PM

My husband stopped a few times, but did not really embrance recovery until her retired from working. He was even cutting a limb off a tree at age 60, intoxicated and broke his foot and almost lost it. The surgeon told me - He must quit drinking - but I could not make hims stop. He hated his job, but made great money. He is really an outdoorsman at heart and was stuck inside all day during his 30 yrs of work.

Sometimes I just cannot believe he has been sober 5 years after 25 years of living hell. We have become active again in our local church and he has even joined some other activities, which was alien to him during his drinking days - just work and home drinking back then. He never went out with the boys; he just drank at home until he passed out, over and over, night after night, day after day. He had a few years here a there, one year at the most at a time, sober, but always went back until 5 yrs ago. I was like you as I use to wake him up to go to work when he was passed out on the floor, esepcially in the early years when he was really drinking heavily. His family thought I could cure him, so that put pressure on me to become more of an enabler. I stil hear today - he would have died early if he not married you, you saved him and we are so thankful. Of course, they never knew about how I coped!

Ugh - when I look back, I don't know how I did it. That is why I started using the pain pills to relieve the pain, so I stayed in a fog a lot of the time to copy, but it really never worked. The addiction got to me. How do you cope now?

DonnaJL 01-25-2011 01:43 PM

I don't cope. I worry myself sick. I have a disagreeable 86 year old Mother who is a widow and lives alone, and is a 'handful' and I have a grown daughter who, when she got laid off, stored her belongings and moved from her apartment, and is basically homeless. I cannot have her stay with us, as she did once before; having to live in a very small house, with my partner's addiction and the way he behaves when he's trashed and 'on a roll', is something I cannot subject her to, especially after her being raised fearing that my ex would kill me when he was loaded. Those years traumatized her as much as it did me, probably more.
So, I worry. About her, about my mother, about my alcoholic partner and about me. I worry and I have anxiety up the wazoo, and have become more or less agoraphobic. I use Xanax sparingly and sometimes I'd really like to have a drink. I know that sounds bad, I'm not a drinker, but there sure are times it would seem nice to just chill out with a glass of wine, but I don't feel that I can do that living with an alcoholic. I feel like it would be like condoning his consumption.

lillamy 01-25-2011 01:58 PM

(((hugs))) Donna!

It sounds like you're taking care of everyone else, and nobody's taking care of you. :( That's a lot of stress for one person to carry. A lot of people not acting their age and not taking responsibility for themselves.

I know I felt like it was selfish of me to tell people what I wanted and what I needed, because they were so quick to tell my how much worse their lives were compared to mine. It took me a long time to work up the stamina to dare say "I can't live like this anymore; this life is siphoning the joy out of my living and the strength out of my body and soul."

You do have the right to say that. You do have the right to live your own life, and not just be the Pillar Of Strength for everyone around you. We all have that right. And it doesn't have to start with great big pronouncements and giant leaps. It's OK if it starts with baby steps. Like saying "no" to certain things.

TheReader 01-25-2011 02:08 PM

I reread your first post and saw so many similarities between us. I remember how angry I was and worried like you are now. I will never forget when my daughter was young, I had to travel on the job and was in NJ and he knew he had to care for her a few days and promised to stay sober. I called home and I could tell her was wasted - and he had picked her up in the car from daycare and she was about 18 months old! I had no choice but to call my parents who lived about 25 miles away to come and get her. That was one of the hardest calls I had to make as I knew I had disappointed them so much. Their well-educated, successful daughter had married a drunk. I worked so hard to keep it a secret. I always knew as well that if I left him, he would make my life miserable and I feared he would get visitation with my daughter and drive drunk with her all the time. I thought if I stayed, I had a better chance to control it. Boy, I was sick for years and not just the narcotic addiction.

Oh - and I tried AlAnon back then and he always knew if I went and was worse sometimes and he would quit a few months sometimes. He hated for me to go, because that made him feel like he was an alcoholic, which he never admitted in those early years.

Like you, too, I know my daughter is affected. She is 29 now, got a Master's degree and is doing alright, but has a weight issue she is currently tackling healthily with exercise and good food, but she is very heavy and just shared with me last week that in her early 20s she suffered from Bulemia, so I am wrecked with guilt about all of that. Also, she is relationship phobic and has only had a few minor relationships in the past ten years - wonder why?

I cared for my 87 yr old Mother at the tail end of his using as she passed away 4 yrs ago. I did that job for ten years on top of all the other stress and working FT.

Keep sharing as this really seems to help me and hopefully you.

Cyranoak 01-25-2011 06:39 PM

Hi Donna
I'm so sorry you find yourself where you are today. I'd like to share with you what helped me when I felt trapped, and with all due respect I'd also like to share that it is very rare for it to be truly impossible to leave. It may be impossible to leave right now, but it isn't impossible to start planning and preparing for your exit if that's really what you need and want to do.

Having said that, if you want your life to improve in many ways, please give Al-Anon a chance. Try at least six meetings, some different, before making a decision as to continue going or not. Here you go:

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Take care,


barb dwyer 01-25-2011 06:52 PM

Hi Donna and welcome to the forum!

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