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Does it usually get worse after they start getting help?

Old 01-14-2012, 09:59 AM
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Does it usually get worse after they start getting help?

My ABF of 2 years just started seeing a psychotherapist for his drinking/depression/etc. He's had 1 session so far, and I was so incredibly proud of him. But since then, he has been drinking and in more turmoil than normal. (He does not get violent when drinking, but does get even more depressed and expresses more self-loathing. When he's drunk, he often says he doesn't deserve to be with me, etc.) He spent yesterday ending it between us and then saying he doesn't want to end it because he needs my support.

Is it normal for things to get more difficult right after they start trying to get help?
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:13 AM
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Thanks for the hugs on my first post - my ABF sounds a little similar to yours. Since seeing his therapist, he's got better at expressing his feelings, previously he'd not say a bean about what he wanted, felt or thought. Now, he is better at showing and saying but in his most recent relapse, he's started to say that he would kill himself if it weren't for me. That he loves me too much, more than his children and that he should leave me. When drunk he alternates between pulling me too him, then pushing me away often within a heatbeat, back and forth, back and forth.

I think the getting help can stir up new emotions, thoughts and behaviours, he's starting to look at things that he's previously ignored - the good thing is that he is seeking help, I hope it continues.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:51 AM
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Welcome to the SR family Protocol!

You have found a wonderful resource of information and support for yourself. Please stick around and read some of our stories in the 'stickies' at the top of this forum page. I also encourage you to post as much as needed. We understand.

Alcoholism is a progressive condition and it gets worse if untreated.
Your ABF has depression, and unfortunately he is self-medicating with a depressant. Alcohol is a known depressant. He will intensify his depression. He and his therapist will need to work that out.

We have an expression here and around the rooms (AA and Alanon) of recovery:
Alcoholics don't have relationships, they have hostages.

You may be feeling some of that with your ABF.

Keep reading and posting. You are among friends that have also experienced the same thing.

I can't tell you how to fix him, but I can tell you about the 3 C's that helped me understand my loved ones alcoholism:

I did not Cause it
I can not Control it
I will not Cure it

It took me a while to finally let go and allow the A to own the addiction. Best thing I ever did for ME.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:53 AM
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As long as they continue to drink, it gets worse.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:12 AM
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I can only speak for my experience, and that it was an arduous process breaking through the denial, for my RAH and myself.

Then you have the guilt. Oh my heavens the guilt (or should I capitalize it?) in all the stories I hear in open AA meetings.

Denial is such a warm comfy place...letting go of it is a painful process.

Doesn't necessarily mean you are in for bad times, just that the process itself of seeking and succeeding in recovery is a roller-coaster ride of a different flavor.

That's why we F&F'ers have our own program...don't hesitate to give Al-Anon a try. Was a sanity-saver for me!

Take care, and welcome to SR. Keep coming back!
~T
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:39 PM
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Thanks so much! Yes, I am going to my first AlAnon meeting tonight. It is a Family Group meeting, so I guess specially designed for people dealing with an alcoholic loved one. Even before going, I am feeling more serene.

I don't know what will happen - to him, to me, to us... but I will take it 1 day at a time, I will take care of myself, and I will work each day on making detachment a positive part of my life. I will continue to decide what boundaries I will create and how to enforce them. I love him, but he is a grown man and I am not his mother. I know he can get better if he wants to, and I know my presence or absence will not make a lick of difference in that process. I am learning. My head knows all these things, and I will be patient with myself as I teach my heart to feel them truthfully.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:37 PM
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He spent yesterday ending it between us and then saying he doesn't want to end it because he needs my support.
What I've discovered is that alcoholics love to have other people take care of them so they can continue to drink.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:43 PM
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I think anytime a significant change takes place in either partners life, the dynamics of the relationship get shaken up. It's hard to know if, when or how they will settle.

I think it very often "gets worse" at first, and then...it might get better, or it might turn out that the relationship simply won't work anymore.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:58 PM
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Thanks so much to each of you for responding and/or sharing your experience. It calms and soothes me when I read them. I went to the meeting tonight! Though I accidentally was at an AA meeting, and not an Al-Anon meeting. They were super nice about it though, and showed me the room the Al-Anon meetings are in, and gave me a schedule for those.

I also talked with my bf before and after the meeting. He was sober, and only remembered some of the events from the past couple of days. We are negotiating boundaries. He suggested the new boundary that I put should be that I have no contact with him when he is drinking. (Since I told him I know I can't ask him to control his behavior while he's drunk.) This seems good to me, so we are going to move forward with that plan. He is going to continue his counseling, and is now seriously considering AA, or some other similar program to augment the counseling. I told him what the meeting was like, and he thought it sounded very helpful.

He is going to continue working on himself, and I will continue to work on myself. (For that's the only person I can work on.) We will have contact during healthy times, and not when he is drinking. We both feel this will be a very good boundary for us. Rome wasn't built in a day.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:46 AM
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I wish you all the best!
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:40 AM
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At the point where our drinking is so bad that it puts us in the awful spot of having to drink and occasionally go places to supposedly stop drinking, we often get worse not by tiny gradations, but like going down a ski jump. Because at the point when people are on us about our drinking, we really need a drink.

What is customary is we do as little as we must do to drink and still keep people off our backs because we are 'doing something'. If you aren't buying that after a while and enough heat is applied we will have a few drinks and attend an AA meeting or have a few drinks after, telling the heat applier that we needed a few drinks to calm down because what we did for her was so very hard, but we were willing to do that for her and we hope she appreciates the difficulty we experienced in doing this very hard thing she made us do, and hope she'll understand that we need a few drinkies to oh...ease our stress levels? (heh-heh)

If you keep falling for excuses for his continued drinking then you're the right girl for an alcoholic. Without partners like you we might actually have to stop drinking (the easy part) and work hard to change enough to stay comfortably sober for the rest of our lives (the hard part).

I admire him for getting this kind of milage out of only one shrink appointment. 'I have to drink, I'm self-medicating my depression'...'I'll get this depression worked out and be just as right as rain, but for now the solution is for you to not bother me while I'm drunk'...just wow.

At this point the game is on, even if you don't like the game and don't want to play.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:10 AM
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The old "working on issues" instead of actually quitting ruse. Yes, this one is a classic, folks, and sad to say, I have used it myself.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by langkah View Post
At the point where our drinking is so bad that it puts us in the awful spot of having to drink and occasionally go places to supposedly stop drinking, we often get worse not by tiny gradations, but like going down a ski jump. Because at the point when people are on us about our drinking, we really need a drink.

What is customary is we do as little as we must do to drink and still keep people off our backs because we are 'doing something'. If you aren't buying that after a while and enough heat is applied we will have a few drinks and attend an AA meeting or have a few drinks after, telling the heat applier that we needed a few drinks to calm down because what we did for her was so very hard, but we were willing to do that for her and we hope she appreciates the difficulty we experienced in doing this very hard thing she made us do, and hope she'll understand that we need a few drinkies to oh...ease our stress levels? (heh-heh)

If you keep falling for excuses for his continued drinking then you're the right girl for an alcoholic. Without partners like you we might actually have to stop drinking (the easy part) and work hard to change enough to stay comfortably sober for the rest of our lives (the hard part).

I admire him for getting this kind of milage out of only one shrink appointment. 'I have to drink, I'm self-medicating my depression'...'I'll get this depression worked out and be just as right as rain, but for now the solution is for you to not bother me while I'm drunk'...just wow.

At this point the game is on, even if you don't like the game and don't want to play.

You made a lot of assumptions about me and about him. Thank you for insulting me. I do not picture myself coming back here.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by protocol53 View Post
You made a lot of assumptions about me and about him. Thank you for insulting me. I do not picture myself coming back here.
You shouldn't take Langkah's words personally, certainly not enough to skip out of here.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:28 AM
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Not my intention or desire. Hope the boundries work out just fine for you both.
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