My situation

Old 02-11-2011, 01:15 AM
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Unhappy My situation

I am new to this forum, I'm 25 years old, and have been with my significant other since I was 17 years old! So this coming Valentines Day it will be 8 years total that we have been together. I have never had another real serious relationship obviously! Things were always absolutely wonderful until a few years ago... This is going to be as brief as possible, but will probably be a little long. I've been dealing with this on my own for too long now, and I really need someone not directly involved in my life to talk to...

So, when we were growing up, we would drink occasionally with friends... socially... like a lot of people do in their younger years...

Well one day (back in 2008), when we still lived with our parents, his parents were out of town, and I was to go let his dog out while he was at work, so I went in their house to do that. I went upstairs to his room to look for something, and I found empty liquor and beer bottles all over his room! I was caught by surprise, and very upset... I said a few things to him about this, but it didn't really go anywhere, because it was like talking to a brick wall. For the next year, I just noticed his drinking habits, even when we went out with friends every now and then had changed. He drank things faster, and he seemed to drink too much... and it just worried me.

This led me to where I had made a huge deal about it after one night where I just felt like he really over-did it, and it got us into a huge fight because when I would try to talk to him about it, he just wouldn't respond... and it turned out he said some seriously mean and nasty things about me to his best friend, that I found out about because he accidentally sent me a text message that was supposed to be sent to his friend, which led me to look into his cellphone and see the whole conversation... okay, so we made up of course after things were all said and done, but things, in my eyes, haven't been the same since then.

So, We have moved in together in summer of 2009 (right at the same time when that big fight happened) We are now married as of July 2010... and in the past year and a half, it's not EVERY NIGHT, but atleast once every 1-3 months I will notice he seems drunk (like I'm not going to notice) when I would get home from work, and he would play it off like he wasn't, and that I didn't notice... and then it got to the point where I have found liquor and beer (empty and full bottles) at times... The first couple times I was furious, and yelled, cried, tried to get him to explain to me what's wrong... and it always ended with "I'm sorry... I wont do it again, yadda yadda..." and I would just accept the apology. As the times went on, I have reacted differently... I'm definitely not surprised anymore, but each time just takes a little bit more trust away. Kind of give the cold shoulder for a day, and sometimes I will just cool off too much, or something will happen to where I'm forced to get along with him (family get together), and it will blow over without even having the chance to talk about it... In the couple months before our wedding I was even thinking about calling it off, but that was after all RSVP's were in, all presents were bought, showers were thrown, and I just didn't want our families to know about our "secret upsetting life"... I don't think I would have had the guts to call it off, I love him too much and can't imagine my life without him, because he has been there through all my tough times, and we have had so much good happy years...

and don't get me wrong, it's not an EVERYDAY thing... or at least I don't think it is YET. Atleast once every 1-3 months for the time being I will notice the drinking alone while I'm gone at work... Then When I suspect it, I search the house when he goes to bed, and what-do-ya-know? I find liquor/beer...

So... I guess my husband gets this problem through genetics... I hear alcoholism runs in families, and his dad was an alcoholic (sober now 12-13 year)... His older brother does NOT drink, probably because of his experience with his father growing up... and his sister drank heavily before she had her children, and now rarely ever drinks...

So now, when I suspect... I search and find something... and if it's not empty, I pour whatever is left out, and sit it on the counter almost to display "I'm not stupid, I know what you are doing, please stop". But obviously that doesn't work... I have threatened to quit my job so I could "babysit" him (although I don't think I would ever do that), I have threatened to bring his dad into the situation (because he works for his dad's family company, and his dad has also lived through the same problem), I have even threatened to leave him (the couple months before the wedding)...

I just don't know what to do anymore, and I am writing this because this just happened again a couple days ago... He definitely knows that I know, but how can he just go on like nothing is happening? I just don't get it? He knows I'm not stupid... I am a nurse and sometimes have to take care of people who have abused alcohol and are slowly dying of liver disease or some other complication from alcoholism... I see what it can do to someone's body, I constantly tell him about it... and even though he doesn't do this everyday (that I know of), I just KNOW that alcoholism is a progressive disease, and only gets worse.

I'm kind of at a loss... Trust is really an issue here, because he has definitely broke my trust in him more than once... it's gotten to the point where I feel like a terrible person because I have to secretly whisper to him to settle down on the drinking when we occasionally have a few drinks with friends and it sometimes angers him... It kind of makes me feel guilty to occasionally have a couple of glasses of wine when we are with some friends... only because I tell him to not drink so much. I am almost to the point of talking to his dad for real this time, and bringing him into the situation, because I'm tired of dealing with this alone...

Please share your thoughts!
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:18 AM
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I'm not sure. I think you need to take a closer look at the situation. How often does he drink? I'm confused on that.
It's just that being drunk once every 1-3 months just doesn't sound like an alcoholic. It sounds like somebody that enjoys drinking a lot once in awhile. I don't mean to make light of your situation, but for those of us that have dealt with a daily drinking spouse, yours seems mild in comparison. Maybe I am missing something here.

Somebody will come along with the right questions.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:25 AM
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cp85rn and welcome to SR,

You have come to the right place, many of us have gone through what your going through and can empathize.

There will be lots of SR people coming along soon to welcome you. When I first arrived on SR, I was very much like you and knew very little about alcoholism or problem drinkers.

I met my husband at 15 yrs old - we are now 45 yrs old and have been married for almost 23 yrs. Of course we used to drink a lot as teenagers but i grew out of it when I had my daughters and only drank on social occasions. My husband continued to drink. In the UK where we come from originally, we have the local pub culture and my AH would visit his 'local' 3-4 nights a week and drink at home in-between. When we came to Australia he got himself a beer fridge which is an iconic Australian thing to have. Now he drinks at home every night. Its taken me about 21 yrs to get sick of it and realise that he has a problem and cant stop. I know this because I begged, pleading, chastised him, stopped speaking to him, cried, shouted and gave him ultimatums but nothing worked.

All that happened was his drinking made me ill. I was coming in from work, and looking inside his beer fridge to see how many bottles were gone or how many more were replaced. I kept a spreadsheet of his beer purchases to see how much he was spending. My life had become one big beer police lifestyle and just made me feel stressed and sick in the stomach. He didn't change at all!

I found Al-anon and learnt that I had to focus on myself and 'detach' ignore his drinking and behaviors. I had to do that for my own sanity because I felt totally out of control.

Keep reading the stickies above and come back often and read and re-read what people respond to you on your thread with because it all takes a while to sink in. You and on a steep learning curve now but there is peace waiting for you.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:35 AM
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It's just that being drunk once every 1-3 months just doesn't sound like an alcoholic.
I thought that too, but something troubling you has brought you to SR.

The standard units for men is 21 a week - a 500ml bottle of beer (5%) is 2.5 units and to be healthy this should be consumed maybe over 4 nights of the week (2 per night with a couple of nights off) Many men who aren't alcoholics drink regularly but they can stop easily and switch to tea/coffee etc.

Is it that you dont want him to drink at all? Is his drinking crossing a boundary that you have set up and him drinking crosses that boundary for you?
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:29 AM
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Hi CP and Welcome!!!!

If you are concerned about his drinking, then I would venture to say that there is probably something worth being concerned about that. Obviously, something about it worries you and that is enough!

Alcoholism is progressive. He may even be drinking now more than you think. If he seems to have issues with drinking, its likely to get worse over time.

Many of us have been in your position of being the alcohol police and begging and pleading our loved ones to quit. We have heard the promises to stop and have watched as those promises are broken.

From this experience, we can tell you, with certainty, that trying to control what he does will have a negative impact on YOU! You will start to feel crazy. The bottom line is that you cannot control what he does, and you shouldn't try. He's an adult. If he wants to drink, he will drink, regardless of what you say or do. For your own good, stop trying to control the situation and detach from it. You will find more peace when you stop trying to control something you can't. Let him make his own choices.

Turn your focus to YOU. What you can do for you is figure out what is acceptable to you and what is not. You can set your own boundaries. If YOU don't want to live with someone who drinks, YOU can leave. Thats a boundary.

We spend so much time focusing on our alcoholics and what they are doing or not doing that we lose ourselves. You can choose to be happy regardless of him. And I hope you do!! You've got a lot of life ahead of you!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:21 PM
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To clear up some confusion... I am most certain he has a problem for the first person that replied... Once every 1-3 months is how often I suspect he has been drinking alone at our house, by himself, to the point where he is drunk (passed out on the floor a couple times, almost dry-heaving in his sleep)... and then I find the evidence that he hides... there have however been more times I have suspected it and not found anything anywhere (there are probably hiding places I do not know about and haven't thought of yet) and I'm almost sure he was drinking at home alone these times, but didn't find anything to back me up... then there are times where we will be with friends to add to the frequency of drinking, but those times are not alone... but when we are with friends, he drinks way more and way faster than everyone else, and I pretty much have to tell him to slow down, although he don't listen... It is a progressive disease, and I have noticed the progression with him over the past several years... so yes, he does have a problem...

and I mean he has told me he "has a problem" before, but it seems like he just can't stop. and even if he doesn't do it every single night, which he may do it every night and just hide it THAT well from me... I just know that it will progress to an everyday thing if he continues like this whether it takes 10 or 20 years...

It's not that I don't want him to drink at all... I occasionally like to drink on special occasions and have a good time, but he is doing this alone at home(probably more frequently than I know about), hiding the fact that he is doing it, and whenever it is brought up it's like he pretends like nothing is wrong and shuts down completely, and wont talk about it... he just enjoys it too much to where he is doing it more and more over the years, and doesn't realize that it is a problem. I don't know how else to explain it... I'm sure you guys understand what I am going through though...

For those who seemed to understand where I am coming from... I just don't know how to focus on myself when he is such a huge part of my life, and when it repulses me to come home from work to him passed out from drinking... it just seems impossible to me right now... how do I do it??
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:34 PM
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Go to an Al-anon meeting! The whole point of those meetings are learning how to focus on yourself and detach from the alcholism.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie is a great book. I highly recommend it.

I got a lot out of some visits with a counselor that specialized in addictions. I didn't go very long because I moved but I still found it enormously helpful.

There are lots of stickies at the top of the forum and they have great info and insights. I read them a lot.

I noticed that you moved forward through this relationship even though there were incidents and red flags. I feel compelled to urge you to hold off on the babies. I did not and it changes things sooo much and it is so sad and unfair to the children.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:41 PM
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Please find an al-anon meeting and go to several until you find a group you feel at home with. You'll learn to put the focus on you, because you are the only person you can control. From everything you've written I truly believe your husband is an alcoholic. I was like you and met my husband when I was young. I was not familiar with alcoholism and had no idea for many years that he was an alcoholic. You are a nurse so at least you know what you are dealing with and that he cannot control his drinking. Unless he wants to stop drinking, there is really nothing you can do other than setting boundaries and making choices that are best for you. One of those might be choosing to live without him.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:26 AM
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Hi cp85rn, to Sober Recovery.

how can he just go on like nothing is happening? I just don't get it? He knows I'm not stupid...
He can go on like nothing is happening because to him, nothing is happening. It's nothing to do with whether or not you are stupid, or whether or not he KNOWS your not stupid.

When a person is an alcoholic, their thinking and their thought processes are not normal. And the way they relate to others is not normal. Trying to have a normal relationship with an active alcoholic is like trying to have a relationship with a potato: The potato just doesn't get it. And likely never will.

Do you know the Three C's?
You did not cause it. You cannot cure it. And you cannot control it.
Dumping the alcohol out does nothing. That is just one way we attempt to control it.

(((hugs))) keep reading and posting here.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:57 AM
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Don't suffer in silence. That is what the disease of alcoholism wants you to do so that it can keep you in the role that it assigns to you. You have taken the first step by posting on this board. Continue to do things to help yourself by reaching out to others who understand what you are going through like the people in alanon, and those that specialize in counseling families of alcoholics.
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Old 02-12-2011, 01:28 PM
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What you have described is what used to be called a 'periodic' in the Big Book of AA. Now it is commonly referred to as a "Binge Drinker."

They 'Binge' periodically. The problem with this is, alcoholism is progressive and the sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly the binges start getting closer and closer together until the person becomes a 'daily' drinker with no control over how much they drink.

Obviously this is a problem for you. You can't fix him.

You didn't Cause this.

You can't Control this.

You can't Cure this.

The solution is all on him. Therefore, as said above, I would suggest you check out AlAnon for YOU. There is nothing like have some folks, face to face, to talk with at any time of the day or night, WHO REALLY DO UNDERSTAND.

AlAnon will help in so many ways! Please check out some different meetings to see which ones 'fit you best.'

Also, 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 02-12-2011, 01:50 PM
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My ex was a Weekend Binge drinker. He would only drink on wednesday nights after a pick up hockey game (3 or 4 beers) then when the weekend came, he would go out all night on friday, drink on saturdays and saturday night and sometimes even sundays. He would drink more than any of our friends combined. He would drink really fast and would stumble all over the place and slur his words. This happened every weekend and at any social event, party, wedding, etc. It was maddening to be around him on the weekends because he couldnt just stand there and socially drink like everyone else. It took me awhile to actually believe that he was an alcoholic because he barely drank during the week. There all all types of alcoholics and just because he doesnt drink everyday, doesnt mean he doesnt have a serious problem. Its really about what happens when they do drink. If he doesnt have a problem he should easily be able to stop because he knows you dont like it. If he doesnt consider your feelings and make a change, then maybe he really is addicted. My ex's grandfather and half brother were alcoholics also. His drinking just got worse the more I stayed with him...he is only 34 so I didnt want to stick around to see what his drinking was like at 44 or 54 or 64 etc! You get the drift! Hope that helps a little!
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:09 PM
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Thank you, L2L. No wonder I feel like I've been having a relationship with a non-human. He does have the capacity for emotions of a potato. It is also true that to him nothing is happening. He doesn't get it because he doesn't get relationships at all. The best relationship my AH has is with his bottle, and I'm quite sure that will continue until the bottle wins.
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by boomerlady View Post
Thank you, L2L. No wonder I feel like I've been having a relationship with a non-human. He does have the capacity for emotions of a potato. It is also true that to him nothing is happening. He doesn't get it because he doesn't get relationships at all. The best relationship my AH has is with his bottle, and I'm quite sure that will continue until the bottle wins.
You're welcome boomerlady Your "potato" response made me giggle so thanks for that.

IME (in my experience) knowing alcoholics all my life, and being one myself, alcoholics have real difficulty with feelings and emotions. I very rarely experience the feeling of joy. And when I do, it feels over the top, almost manic. Like I'm not supposed to feel that, or like I'm just a complete idiot.

You're probably right about continuing until the bottle wins. We often say how an alcoholic will not seek help or even consider changing their alcoholic behavior until they "hit bottom." And as long as someone is softening their fall day after day, it's difficult for them to hit bottom.
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:51 PM
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Grown men who drink enough to pass out, whether it be once every couple months, once a month or once a week have an alcohol problem. Period. How many grown men do you remember from your past who drank enough to pass out? And what was your general opinion of them as a man, husband, brother, etc?

No one here can diagnose him through your posts. But let me be perfectly clear. If he has an alcohol problem now, it will not get better with time. It is not like a fancy cheese! It sinks now, and will just stink more later. The problem will slowly, and almost imperceptibly get worse. And 15 years from now when you have two kids and no money in savings you'll be second guessing yourself on why you hung around so long. Ask me how I know.

You're young. Young enough that you shouldn't have to endure what so many of us had to endure. I had no one telling me this straight talk when I first started suspecting my wife's drinking problem. Oh, and it sounded a lot like your husbands. It wasn't really a "tangible problem". But 15 years later it was 15 bottles of wine a week, passed out on the couch almost every night. But she wasn't passed out. Oh no. She said she was just tired. She didn't have a drinking problem. Oh no. I had a LISTENING problem. You just can't make this stuff up. No one believes you. But look around this forum and you will see the same stories told over and over. They are almost EXACTLY the same.

As the alcohol gains more and more control, the alcoholic starts making up alternate realities to fit their version of the world. This is sometimes called delusion. And if you don't do something, you will be living in this fantasy land with him. It won't be fun. But it will be expensive. Heck, just the sales tax on the wine my wife has bought would buy a couple of pretty nice family vacations. Maybe 3.

It is wonderful you are questioning now and looking for help. Good on you for trying.

Now you have 3 choices:
Do nothing. Hope for the best. This is the easiest path, and is almost guaranteed to play out as I described above. But he could be one of the tiny percentage of people who suddenly and on their own decide to stop. It could happen. And you could win the lottery. Either is a statistical probability. But neither is a very likely reality.

Pack your stuff and run away now. Tonight. Really. It will not be any easier in 2 weeks, 2 years or 20 years. This might be the event he needs to face his problem. It might work. But in the end, even this probably won't change him. It has a higher chance of working than hope and change, though.

Confront him and talk about it rationally. This is a great plan if you were dealing with someone like you or me. But if he has a drinking problem, as you suspect, you are not dealing with someone like you. You are dealing with an alcoholic who most likely will not listen and decide everything is YOUR fault. He might suggest if only YOU could be better, he would be better. You can always take this course of action, then run away, and then hope for the best. It is best to try this order first. The reverse order generally brings much unpleasantness your way, usually a couple of kids, and many, many more complications.

Only you can decide.

Welcome. I'm kinda new here myself. But I am very experienced!
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:19 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by zrx1200R View Post

As the alcohol gains more and more control, the alcoholic starts making up alternate realities to fit their version of the world. This is sometimes called delusion. And if you don't do something, you will be living in this fantasy land with him. It won't be fun.
This is so true! I feel like I was living in a fake world with fake rules that my ex made up as he went and I had to abide by them or I would be chastized by him. Nothing was ever right or good enough and he could never be pleased. Its like Alice in Wonderland with random twists and turns and far fetched ideas and rules. Thats the world of an A. Please read my thread "Feeling so beat down" and I think you will have a better understanding what its like to be in a relationship with an Alcoholic and what you could feel like even after you get away from them.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:42 PM
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All I can say is you sound just like me in the early years of my marriage. My AH was more of a social drinker then, but I could see the makings of an alcoholic pretty early on. I did what you are doing...I nagged him about it. Overall we lived a very normal and successful life, but his drinking was always that thorn in my side. For me, it was probably more personal since my own father had died from alcoholism. But again, I saw something, red flags so to speak, and I told him about it, but honestly never did anything substantial with it.

Unfortunately it progressed, some bad things happened because of it (won't go into detail, but I was the one that got horribly hurt emotionally). Now today, it has progressed to drugs. After 18 years of marriage we are currently separated. I also loved (still do) my AH with all of my heart. I couldn't imagine leaving him over the issue. Of course back then it wasn't near as bad as it is today. I wish I would have did something least for me.

I can't tell you what to do. And not sure what advice to give you. All I can say is that I wish I would have did things differently. I wish I would have taken the issue more seriously than I did. And, I wish I would have gotten help for myself... It is all very confusing, I understand. But at some point you are going to have to deal with it, someway, somehow.

Consider going to alanon, consider reading some material either from alanon or about alcoholism. Your husband may not be an alcoholic, but if not, the red flags are there. The bottles in his room several years ago...makes one question just how far it is.

Keep reading here...I wish I could give you some clear cut advice...just do what you can to educate yourself...and don't ignore the issue. If it's alcoholism it will not just go away. ****{hugs}}}
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:53 PM
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Oh wow zrx: "15 years from now when you have two kids and no money in savings you'll be second guessing yourself on why you hung around so long"

Yep, my story to the hilt! Like I said, I really don't know what to tell you, except that my own story sounds so similar to yours at 25, 26, and I can't believe where I am right now.

I remember back in the day going out, I might say something a bit nagging to my AH. People would say to me, "oh, he's just having fun! give him a break!!!" Seriously! I thought I was crazy sometimes. He admitted to having a drinking problem. But doing something about it, well, that was another story. Meanwhile, I got the label, the nagging wife who wouldn't let her fun-loving husband have fun. He was a fun person, a happy drunk. People loved being around him. But they weren't the ones dragging him home...out of the car totally passed out and into the house hoping I could get him to bed without one of us falling down and getting hurt in the process. One of my AH's friends even had it out with me one night, told me I was a control freak who couldn't handle him having a little fun. Seriously, it's ridiculous at times. But nothing can stop the gut feelings, and noticing the red flags. Don't ignore your gut. It is telling you something.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:59 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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Thank you all for all of your support!
I like how you said it was like talking to a potatoe. I always refer to it as talking to a brick wall. hah...

and yes, it scares me to think how much he drinks to get drunk... It really does! Cuz he is 240 lbs and 6'1", and it isn't a light weight. :-( and it also really scares me to have all these stories that started out similar to mine, and how they have progressed to worse over the years... Of course I'm glad I am not alone, and it's good to know the reality... but it just sucks that there isn't a switch you could flip in someone's mind to make everything all better...

I don't ever see myself leaving him yet... It really brings tears to my eyes to even think about it. I feel like if I left him now, that I wouldn't have given it my all, and that it would only make his drinking habits worse...

Let me ask your advice to whoever is reading... should I tell my husbands Dad? My husbands dad is his boss at work, and is also a recovered alcoholic (12 years sober)... I am so close to sending him an email or phone call... but I dunno if that would be a good idea.
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TakingCharge999 (02-17-2011), wicked (02-15-2011)
Old 02-15-2011, 12:58 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22
Dear cp85rn,
There are many wonderful, wise, expert, supportive caring people here at SR and you will become very, very grateful for all of them. I don't know everyone's story yet, but we each have one, and many here have overcome great challenges and lived to tell about it. I am positive that they will have very gentle and encouraging words for you.

On the other hand, I am four years into my relationship with my STBXAGF, whom I believe is an alcoholic, though a high functioning one. I am 34 years old. I am a mom to a seven year old beautiful little girl. I have a fantastic job. I am young at heart, physically fit, still attractive, friends like me.

And I am miserable.

Because I have become obsessive about my GF's drinking and her lies. My heart is broken into a thousand pieces for all the hope that I have lost and the time that I can't get back.

I have been trying to leave for fourteen months.

I pray with all my might that this month I will actually do it.

Not because she is so awful, though at times she can be. And not because she is so sick, though at times I believe she is. But because I AM. I cannot stand who I have become, through my relationship with a problem drinker.

And so it is from this very raw, terrified, and sorrowful place that I want to say to you:
Please think very, very carefully about what you can do to change this and to get help for yourself, RIGHT NOW.

What I really want to say is: RUN AWAY!!! You are soooo young! You deserve more!

BUT...I know that there are other options. You could choose to stick with this man that you have grown up with. I suppose if there is still love there between you, this is a completely valid choice. You could choose to stay whether or not he ever stops drinking, but you could choose to get help for yourself via Alanon, or therapy, or both.
I want to encourage you to start setting boundaries that you feel very clear about, that are deal breakers for you that you can both live with, and live up to.

Mostly, I want to offer you my support and care, and to welcome you here.
And to applaud your strength and courage.
And to tell you that you are not alone. Or crazy.
May you feel peace tonight...
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