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Serious diagnosis for sober alcoholic

Old 02-07-2011, 07:58 PM
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Serious diagnosis for sober alcoholic

Recently, my sober alcoholic boyfriend received some potentially serious news about his health - a diagnosis that will shape the next few months in the short run, and likely affect the rest of his life. He was stunned when he heard the news and is saying "I'm fine" despite being in pain and receiving a prescription for painkillers that he will not take as prescribed because of his sobriety.

He sees a new doctor tomorrow, in a step to further diagnose and determine a course of treatment. He has asked that I not join him and I am fine with that. I asked him to call me after the appointment and he was reluctant to do so, saying "this is not a big deal and I wish people would leave me alone."

We are very close, I was in the room when the doctor first told him. In fact, the doctor told me before he even woke up from anesthesia. As a caregiver in the very early stages of all this, I am trying to be there for him, keep life as normal as possible and not set many, if any, expectations. While I want life and our relationship to remain as wonderful as it has been for the past 2 years, I also want to help him get and stay healthy. This is a very survive-able, but life-threatening diagnosis.

He is close with his sponsor and attends regular AA meetings. I have attended several local Al-Anon meetings as well.

If anyone has experience with this, I would appreciate some advice. How much is too much? How can I help him? What should I do to take care of myself?

I am grateful for all thoughts.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:16 PM
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Some people process things best on their own. He also may want to share things with his sponsor and others in the program more than he does you. Please don't take that personally. His own head may be spinning right now and he may feel he needs to pull his thoughts and emotions together before he spews them all over you.

My own feeling is that you let him take the lead. Let him know you are there to talk to, and to help with whatever he needs help with, and then step back a bit.

You don't have to be his sole, or even primary, source of emotional support. It isn't a rejection of you.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:31 PM
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Thank you for your thoughts, Lexiecat. Just like with alcoholism, I did not cause it, I cannot control it and I cannot cure it. But I am afraid of this diagnosis. I am trying to hide that fear from him, trying to talk to the right people, read the right books.. "empower myself" to be strong for what's ahead. In doing that, I think I am allowing my fear to control me.

I want him to surround himself with people who care about him and who can help him. I fully support his involvement in AA and time with his sponsor. I want him to know that I am on his side. I keep telling myself I cannot push.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:43 PM
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He has said to you, according to his post, exactly what he wants. Listen to him. Honor his wishes.

Don't care for him unless he asks, and don't do for him what he can do himself. The last thing he needs for his recovery, from both this ailment and alcoholism, is a codependent, enabling girlfriend.

As for this: "We are very close, I was in the room when the doctor first told him. In fact, the doctor told me before he even woke up from anesthesia. As a caregiver in the very early stages of all this, I am trying to be there for him, keep life as normal as possible and not set many, if any, expectations. While I want life and our relationship to remain as wonderful as it has been for the past 2 years, I also want to help him get and stay healthy."


Why does this matter? Did he ask you to do any of this?

Take what you want and leave the rest.

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Old 02-08-2011, 07:09 AM
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Thanks Cyranoak. My first impulse was to rebut by saying "I love him and want to help him." But the more I thought about it, the more I realize that he doesn't want that kind of help right now. He doesn't want to be smothered. Co-dependent is a tough label to swallow, but I do have those tendencies and I need to lean AWAY from them.

Bottom line is I know he loves me and he will tell me what he needs. He knows that I love him too.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:43 AM
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Many chronic illnesses have support groups geared towards family members and/or the patient themselves. Maybe you should look into it for yourself.
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