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This is all so new

Old 02-24-2011, 06:35 PM
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Unhappy This is all so new

Ok, I have been struggling with this for a year or so now. I found this forum last night and have been reading some of the posts in here. I can relate to some, but most is foreign to me. Here's my story, it's pretty long but I felt I needed to lay it all out on the table so someone can respond.

I was a widowed 40 year old 5 years ago who met this great guy at a bar (first tip off). We dated for less than a year and bought a house together. Now I have an 18 year old (14 at the time) and he has a 12 year old (8 year old at the time). All of a sudden we went from dating to buying a home and trying to blend a family. But those first three years were bliss, other than an occasional argument.

At first the drinking wasn't bad. Two or three nights during the week and on the weekends and not excessive. Over the past 2 years, the drinking has gotten progressively more frequent to the point that it is just about every night. But so has all the stresses of our life. Throw in me losing my job, house underwater, and all the daily chores and dramas from having a teenager, you have a recipe for an alcoholic. He starts his night now by stopping for a couple for the "long traffic ridden" ride home from work. And continues until it is time to eat and settle down for the night (9pm-10m) or unless we are not talking to each other then its until he goes to bed.

Now for the kicker of it. He doesn't treat me badly - has never abused me, loves me to death and dotes on me. He contributes to the household chores and does things with me, whether its fishing, taking in a craft show or doing chores around the house. He listens to me, helps me with my 18 year old, takes our relationship very seriously and will do anything (except quit drinking) for me. He's always concerned about me and for the most part very thoughtful. He has a fulltime job and is very secure in his job due to his performance.

So why does his drinking bother me so much? He asked me that too and I'm not sure how to answer it. It makes me very uncomfortable when he drinks that much, I know that. I know his son has to notice how much too and I always tried to set a good example for my son. He is somewhat "goofy" when he drinks to much (and I mean that in a good way) Is it because after being widowed for so long I just want someone to be the strong one in the relationship and I believe alcoholism is weak? Is my morals and belief that you don't need alcohol to live a good life a part of it?

Am I crazy for feeling how I do when other than his drinking, he treats me like a queen? Any response would be greatly appreciated because I feel like such a **tch for being upset over his drinking when it doesn't affect my day to day life. And he has pointed that out as well, though he doesn't call me a **tch

Thanks so much for your time!
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:47 PM
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If it bothers you enough to search for a forum like this, then it is a problem, and yes, it does affect your day to day life. Have you ever heard the story about the frog in a pan of water? If you slowly turn the heat up, the frog won't jump out because he doesn't notice the difference in temperature. But, if another frog came along and jumped into that same water, he'd immediately jump out because he would recognize that it is far too hot. Well, living with an alcoholic can be much like that. We don't notice the way it affects us because we have slowly gotten used to it. Also, alcoholism is progressive. It never gets better, it always gets worse. While he may be able to handle his job quite well now, there will come a time, if he continues drinking, that things will start to unravel. It can happen slowly, or it could happen quickly...like one night coming home from the bar after drinking, getting pulled over and arrested for DWI. It can happen to anyone.

Welcome to SR! You will find a lot of support here from people who have been where you are. Not all of us had horrible lives, but we finally recognized how much alcohol was affecting us. Hope you'll stick around and do a lot of reading and post whenever you feel comfortable. We're here to support you.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:57 PM
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This sounds so much like me. I could not figure out why it bothered me so much. I resented the fact that he could detach so easily from the family and I resented feeling like I was left with the responsibilities for the majority of the time. He could "tune out". I could not. I was filled with anger. I slowly started to detach and decided to do things on my own and not always have the expectation that he would join me. It worked for a while. And this was even before Al Anon. But it progressed to the point where he rather have his beer than do anything and then it was him saying he did not think he wanted to be married anymore. He changed from a great guy to an angry, moody, verbally abusive guy. So, it bothers you. You don't want it to become more important than the relationships he has. You don't want it to keep progressing. He is not a good partner when he is drinking. Knowing all that...you must decide if you want to lay it all out on the table. And then go to AL Anon and learn how to detach. Remember you cannot control it or cure it. But you can contribute to it if you are filled with anger and resentment. It will become your obsession and consume you.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jamaicamecrazy View Post
This sounds so much like me. I could not figure out why it bothered me so much. I resented the fact that he could detach so easily from the family and I resented feeling like I was left with the responsibilities for the majority of the time. He could "tune out". I could not. I was filled with anger. I slowly started to detach and decided to do things on my own and not always have the expectation that he would join me. It worked for a while. And this was even before Al Anon. But it progressed to the point where he rather have his beer than do anything and then it was him saying he did not think he wanted to be married anymore. He changed from a great guy to an angry, moody, verbally abusive guy. So, it bothers you. You don't want it to become more important than the relationships he has. You don't want it to keep progressing. He is not a good partner when he is drinking. Knowing all that...you must decide if you want to lay it all out on the table. And then go to AL Anon and learn how to detach. Remember you cannot control it or cure it. But you can contribute to it if you are filled with anger and resentment. It will become your obsession and consume you.
I second this - could be my story, too. I would bet your "inner self" is talking to you and you aren't fully listening just yet. But it will only get louder and more obvious over time. And pretty soon your "inner self" is kicking the crap out of you for not listening back then.

You'll find lots of support here. Take good care.
~T
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I know that not everyone here has had horrible lives, but the fact that my boyfriend doesn't abuse, lie, cheat, hide his drinking or even go to bars (he hardly ever goes out without me) makes me think that since it's his only flaw,when you compare the good in him to the alcohol, the good seems to outweigh the drinking. That's what makes me feel so horrible for feeling how I do. I don't want to leave him, I love him very much. But how much longer can we go on like this? Neither one truly happy?

I know you guys know the drill, but he comes home drinking and in the house with a beer. I get disappointed and mad and he knows. We dont talk to each other for a few days, he stops for a day or so. Then rinse and repeat. He says he has it under control, that he can stop anytime and he likes how it makes him feel. He says he likes himself more when he drinks, that he's more comfortable. (He's very open to talking about his problem). I'm not a therapist, but I think that's a problem. If you can't enjoy life without alcohol, can you really enjoy it with?

I really do appreciate any and all advise and I am glad I found this board to talk about it. There really isn't anyone to talk to as he's hidden it well enough that I don't think anyone really knows. I guess Al-Anon meetings will probably help as well as a few books that were mentioned on some posts.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:25 PM
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In my experience, it's never been much of a relationship when my significant other was married to a bottle. No matter how much they cooked, cleaned, or otherwise helped out around the house. Active alcoholism is a love affair. With alcohol. Maybe that's why you have a problem with his drinking. to SoberRecovery
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:38 PM
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I understand where you are coming from. My ABF has never once abused me in any way, and loves me like no one else. But he still has a problem. Not all the love in the world could erase it.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:46 PM
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Learn2Live - I hadn't thought of it that way but makes sense now.

Mimic that's how I feel to. No matter how much he loves me or I love him, he still has a problem. Though he thinks of his drinking problem as a vice...no different than my addiction to cigarettes or my coffee drinking.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:08 PM
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If you count, how many drinks is he having in a week?

NIH recommends no more than 14 units (drinks) of alcohol per week for a man. More than that and serious health issues can arise.

So...did you ever answer the question for yourself?... what DOES bother you so much about his drinking? Were there alcoholics in your family? Are you triggered that something would happen to him and you might be widowed again? Are you concerned because you've seen it increase over time? Are you just plain mad 'cause he won't stop even though you've asked?
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:34 PM
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I am also wondering how much he's drinking a night?
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:12 PM
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Yes, but... does it really matter how much or how little? If there's a problem that you're noticing, it's a problem. Otherwise, you wouldn't have noticed it, and you wouldn't have found this place.

I struggled with that at first too. "Well, it's only a couple of beers." Except it was far more than I realized, which is why I noticed his behavioral changes.

My Ex-Alcoholic Husband (XAH) was not abusive, and even when he was falling down drunk, was not mean intentionally. He was a nice guy, but he was totally inert. Did nothing. He never left the house. He wasn't a partner. He was the proverbial bump on a log. True, he didn't cheat, was mostly honest, and was nice. But that doesn't cut it. (At least in my book.) For all practical purposes, he worshiped the ground I walked on. But he wasn't a PARTNER in life, which is what I expected of a husband (and he'd started out as). As many here will attest, alcoholism is unfortunately progressive, and while mine started with a career, it somehow fell by the wayside along the path.

Hang in there and keep reading. You aren't alone.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:33 AM
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<deleted post> too early to think straight...lol
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:14 AM
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66Angel,

Your story sounds so familiar! Before we moved, my AH was the highest functioning alchoholic I've ever seen! And it never interfered with our lives, except when I would bring it up. As I said in my post, I got him to a "manageable amt"
so I thought. But, now, its so far out of control. I never thought I'd be living life hanging on by a thread, wondering where my next meal is coming from.
I don't know if every alchohlic does infact get worse, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't wait to find out.

Like that analogy of the frog slowly boiling.... right now I'm being cooked alive but its too late too scream!
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:59 PM
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welcome to the forum!

Reads to me as if it's time to educate yourself about alcoholism.

People don't become alcoholics because their lives are terrible.
People's lives become terrible because they're alcoholics.

The post reads as if you're trying to see
through the opposite side of the binoculars is all.

You describe a gradual process of increase
that anyone with a propensity for alcohlism
could fall into...
and it is not required
to have a crisis *do* that *to* anyone.

We don't drink because of a thing, person, event.

We drink ... because we're alcoholics.

With that, I welcome you again to the forum
and hope you'll find some answers here.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:48 PM
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This could be my story. The details are a little different but no matter. My AH wasn't always a heavy drinker. We were married over 20 years before he started to drink regularly and to excess. He too was a great guy, a decent and good man who loved me. He was the man of my dreams: a good father and husband.

You wrote: "Now for the kicker of it. He doesn't treat me badly - has never abused me, loves me to death and dotes on me. He contributes to the household chores and does things with me, whether its fishing, taking in a craft show or doing chores around the house. He listens to me..."

Well my husband did all those things too. Then about 20 years ago things began to change. He quit a job that he hated and I suggested that he should consider taking a break.
I could go back to work and support us for awhile. He could do the homemaker stuff and I'd bring home the bacon. Our oldest had just moved out on his own and the other two boys wouldn't be far behind.

That was the last job AH ever worked. But neither he nor I knew that at the time. I didn't just find a job I landed into a career. I loved it. AH supported my career.

He was a lousy homemaker. I didn't care. It wasn't my job and the boys continued to become more independent and move out on their own so it wasn't as important as it once was. He started drinking more but I didn't see it. He was sober when he brought me coffee in bed every workday and he was sober when I got home in the evening. Although I did catch him asleep every now and then. Back then he either didn't drink on the weekends when I was home or kept it way down. This went on for about 15 years.

My sons had some issues with their dad. I either didn't see or didn't want to see a lot of that. I passed it off as father/son teenage issues. I have maintained good relationships with my sons. None of them are drinkers and I hope they never will be, but knowing what I know now about alcoholism the statistics are against them. My middle son behaves so much like his dad it scares me. It's as if he has learned all my husbands alcoholic behaviors and merely skipped the drinking part.

My husband is a morning drinker. He drinks at home and doesn't drink and drive. He's always been a bit of a loner but for several years has totally isolated himself.

Now, retired and home everyday I see what I missed. I've had to own up to the fact that I really have been in denial about my husband's drinking. He started being verbally abusive, calling me names and blaming me for everything in his life that went wrong. I knew that had to be BS because I wasn't pouring the beer down his throat nor could I have been the reason he didn't get along with co-workers on his last job.

Then as I started learning all I could about alcoholism I began to understand that alcoholics invent issues and say whatever they need to say to keep drinking. This year I've begun to notice physical symptoms of AH's long term drinking.

I finally got it that I can't fix him but I can take care of me and I've begun putting together a plan that I call TAKING MY LIFE BACK. I've set myself up so that if I want to I can be out the door and gone in about two minutes. I've almost completed my research into the divorce process in my state should I need it.

I've got a few friends and a support system. I don't know if I'll leave my marriage, but I like knowing that I'm not helpless and stuck. I've got a cash stash hidden away. And, I'm working on how I might make some money to supplement my social security. Geeze.

All I'm saying to you here is don't be foolish. His drinking already affects your day to day living. If it didn't, you wouldn't be posting here. Alcoholism is progressive. It keeps on getting worse. Today you are his queen but he might be calling you something else down the road.

I'm not telling you my story to hurt you or make you angry. I just don't want to see you in my situation fifteen years from now. I take my marriage vows seriously. I promised until death us do part--not love and honor until it becomes inconvenient.

Alcoholism may or may not be a disease. There are good arguments on both sides of that debate. But is sure as heck is a "DEAL BREAKER." I didn't sign on for this. It's the worse kind of worse in for better or worse.
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:27 PM
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Welcome, and the words of experience from my corner of the alcoholic universe are:

They never start off as bad as they get. If they did, we would have all ditched them the minute they did. It is insidious. It happens over time. If you did nothing, and could magically project yourself 10 then 20 years into the future, you would never believe you allowed yourself to live like you are then. Yes, you allowed yourself to live like that. You made a choice.

Now, before all that happens here in the present you have some choices.

Armed with the statistical model generated from years of dealing with these people, the collective wisdom here indicates: Things will get worse. Things will not get better until something big happens. You are powerless to effect the change.

You can possibly start the change process by giving an ultimatum. Sometimes they work. The alcoholic sees this as a major consequence and chooses to quit, or maybe even reduce the consumption. Again, you are not making the change. You are simply clearly stating what you will and will not accept. The alcoholic makes the choice to change or not. It is up to them. Often the alcoholic laughs at your ultimatum, stand firm on his ground that HE has no problem. And the problem is you. At that point you have 2 choices. Leave or stay. I stayed, and it cost me dearly both financially and emotionally. I don't recommend it, but understand if you do stay. Leaving is hard for people like us.

Since yours is not drinking heavily, it may be a relatively easy process. And I would encourage you to act sooner than later. Like Gouda cheese left in a baggie with fish heads sitting out in the sun, this situation is not going to improve over time. It will only smell worse. that's for certain.
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:42 PM
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We have all made excuses as to why it isn't so bad...until we suddenly realize its a lot less than we deserve. I recently said I deserved a partner who was willing to give 100%. He claimed he has. I agreed. For a long time he did and then the alcohol started taking more and more. I deserve more. You deserve more.
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:55 PM
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Thanks again for the responses. I'm not exactly sure how much he drinks, but if I had to guess, probably 6-7 16oz beers. More on the nights we are arguing I'm sure.

After I sent my original post, I sent my AB an email with a link to this post. Friday night when he came home , he said that we should probably seperate for awhile, as he is not ready to give up drinking. Sadly, I was very disappointed that he chose his beer over me, but reality said that was a possiblity. After we talked most of the night, we went to bed exhausted and undecided. Just knew that we both loved each other and wanted to make it work. Saturday while I was at work, he texted me that he wanted to avoid seperating. Saturday night we talked again and he said he wanted to try to make it a week without drinking, after that, who knows. But the fact that he wants to try gives me some hope. It breaks my heart that he is going through this.

Barb, you are right, it is time to educate myself. I went out today and bought the book Codependent No More. I did glance through the book and read a few passages and it definately sound like my personality. I am like this with my 18 year old son as well.

zxr - you are definately right about that one. Had I known that he had a drinking problem, I definately would have taken a step back. I know things will get worse over time, they have since we've met. He says he won't let it get to that point, but who knows? Statistics say not.

One thing is for sure, I plan on educating myself as much as possible in the upcoming weeks. Maybe a trip to a therapist as well?
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 66Angel View Post
He says he won't let it get to that point, but who knows? Statistics say not.

One thing is for sure, I plan on educating myself as much as possible in the upcoming weeks. Maybe a trip to a therapist as well?
They all say that but the very nature of addiction is that it always gets to that point, unless they enter recovery instead.

Mostly wanted to respond that I had just a few sessions with a good counselor that specialized in addictions and it was very very helpful. I would still be going to her if it didn't mean taking 2.5hrs off work to get it done.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:57 PM
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Sadly, I was very disappointed that he chose his beer over me, but reality said that was a possiblity.
There is the possibility that he is already dependent on alcohol.
I just wanted to say that he is not really picking alcohol over you, the alcohol has him now.
I am not making excuses for him, I agree if he is an alcoholic in denial (looks acts and quacks like a duck) then you should not make any long range plans with him.

I am a RA and it took me twenty years to stop. I was highly motivated and practically giddy at getting some help.
He says he doesnt have a problem, when it is a problem to you, is well..........a big problem.

Beth
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