Any advice for a newbie?

Old 02-01-2013, 01:24 PM
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Any advice for a newbie?

My girlfriend of 4 years told me a couple of hours ago sheís been going to AA meetings every day for about a week. I would really love some advice on my role in supporting her through this process. Some background about our situation (Iím 29 and sheís 26):

For the first couple of years we were together her drinking was a real issue. I have a close group of friends who grew up together and would binge drink in the weekends. She didnít grow up in that environment (never drank as a teenager) and would often get out of control when we went out - like angry and confrontational and verbally abusive. Over time, we developed a rule that she would only drink beer.

That solved the worst of it, but some issues remained, like sometimes she would have 6 -10 beers at home and get confrontational or emotional, or a couple of days after Christmas just passed, my mum took her aside and said she thought she was too drunk on Christmas day Ė she was being loud and slightly confrontational with kids around (to be honest I didnít even notice at the time). This left her feeling really embarrassed (we were vacationing at my parents and theyíre still getting to know each other).

She told me today that for the last month sheís been feeling depressed. A little more than a week ago, we had an argument after a few drinks and she said something in passing about hurting herself. Today I raised that comment with her, and she said she never actually made plans to carry it out or anything like that, its more that at times she been feeling like she just doesnít care.

Drinking has always been a big part of my life Ė Iíve always drank more and more often than her. But I never get angry or abusive, and when I drink, even when I drink heavily, its extremely rare I get sloppy, and my disposition is without exception just happy and chatty. Iíve never really had any bad things happen from alcohol, lost a job or ruined a relationship or anything like that. I enjoy alcohol, and drink 2 or 3 nights a week. Itís rare that I go out drinking these days, but probably once a month will wake up and drink all day long. Its also not really an issue for me to stop, for example, last summer I didnít drink for 3 months while doing a work project.

As Iím trying to process my role in all this, my main question is: to be properly supportive do I need to stop drinking as well? Get all the alcohol out of the apartment (we live together Ė just the 2 of us)? Is it terrible for her to be around someone drinking regularly for enjoyment without any negative consequences? Is that just rubbing it in her face?

Sheís just gone off to work, its Friday at 4pm, Iíve had a long week and would love to sit back, have a beer and watch a movie.

Any advice people have as we start working through all this together would be really great. Thanks so much for hearing me out.
jeremysampson is offline  
Old 02-01-2013, 01:53 PM
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I have heard different opinions on this subject.

Personally if you are trying to help her, I would not keep alcohol in the house or drink around her. She is very new in trying to quit and why do you need to sit around the house drinking by yourself anyway?
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:59 PM
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Well for starters don,t have any alcohol around your home and don,t drink in front of her.

Maybe you could look up some Alanon meetings for yourself and maybe go to an open A.A meeting to see what it,s all about.



Originally Posted by jeremysampson View Post
My girlfriend of 4 years told me a couple of hours ago sheís been going to AA meetings every day for about a week. I would really love some advice on my role in supporting her through this process. Some background about our situation (Iím 29 and sheís 26):

For the first couple of years we were together her drinking was a real issue. I have a close group of friends who grew up together and would binge drink in the weekends. She didnít grow up in that environment (never drank as a teenager) and would often get out of control when we went out - like angry and confrontational and verbally abusive. Over time, we developed a rule that she would only drink beer.

That solved the worst of it, but some issues remained, like sometimes she would have 6 -10 beers at home and get confrontational or emotional, or a couple of days after Christmas just passed, my mum took her aside and said she thought she was too drunk on Christmas day Ė she was being loud and slightly confrontational with kids around (to be honest I didnít even notice at the time). This left her feeling really embarrassed (we were vacationing at my parents and theyíre still getting to know each other).

She told me today that for the last month sheís been feeling depressed. A little more than a week ago, we had an argument after a few drinks and she said something in passing about hurting herself. Today I raised that comment with her, and she said she never actually made plans to carry it out or anything like that, its more that at times she been feeling like she just doesnít care.

Drinking has always been a big part of my life Ė Iíve always drank more and more often than her. But I never get angry or abusive, and when I drink, even when I drink heavily, its extremely rare I get sloppy, and my disposition is without exception just happy and chatty. Iíve never really had any bad things happen from alcohol, lost a job or ruined a relationship or anything like that. I enjoy alcohol, and drink 2 or 3 nights a week. Itís rare that I go out drinking these days, but probably once a month will wake up and drink all day long. Its also not really an issue for me to stop, for example, last summer I didnít drink for 3 months while doing a work project.

As Iím trying to process my role in all this, my main question is: to be properly supportive do I need to stop drinking as well? Get all the alcohol out of the apartment (we live together Ė just the 2 of us)? Is it terrible for her to be around someone drinking regularly for enjoyment without any negative consequences? Is that just rubbing it in her face?

Sheís just gone off to work, its Friday at 4pm, Iíve had a long week and would love to sit back, have a beer and watch a movie.

Any advice people have as we start working through all this together would be really great. Thanks so much for hearing me out.
fluffyflea is offline  
Old 02-01-2013, 02:13 PM
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First, big kudos to your girlfriend for recognizing she has an issue and taking steps to address it.
What can you do? No alcohol in the house. And don't drink in her company. Why take the one thing she is battling and put it in her face? When my ABF went into treatment I stopped drinking. I am not an A, and don't have an issue with alcohol, so it wasn't a big deal for me to stop. I'm expecting him to refrain from alcohol, so I felt it was fair to partner with him in this journey. Not everyone has to do that, but it worked best for me. I learned when he was in treatment that even if I had a drink away from home, it created a trigger for him. Not worth it.

Find an AlAnon meeting, and start attending. She's going to AA, your side of recovery would be AlAnon. You'll learn a lot in those meetings, and will get support for yourself. Also attend an open AA meeting if you can. It will give you perspective from the A's side of things. You may end up re-thinnking your own history with alcohol.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:28 PM
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I have to agree with others here. Keeping alcohol in the house would be way too much temptation for someone in early recovery. Personally, I haven't drank in probably 2 years or so, and I don't miss it. I can barely stand the smell of alcohol anymore.

I say remove the alcohol from the house & don't drink in front of her. It would be a great sign of support & respect for her situation & acknowledgment of the fact that she's working her recovery.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:52 PM
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Brand new in recovery - I wouldn't keep any alcohol in the house. I wouldn't drink around her at all. I wouldn't go out and come home intoxicated or smelling of alcohol.

Its one of many parts that's hard and feels punishing when dealing with someone's else's sobriety.

My husband was already sober when we moved in together. 8 years sober. He said he didn't mind if I had a drink here and there but he was not ok with me going out for drinks after work and coming home buzzed or ever being around him drunk. This was a major change for me as my work was social and at least once to twice a week we all went out for cocktails. I didn't care anything about not drinking at home because I never did. Every once in a while when we went out to dinner or at a social event I would have drinks.

Anyway I changed my drinking habits and found other things to do - like start another business. My husband relapsed last year and since I have not had a drink in front of him. If I ever do it will be a good long while until I feel that he is solid in his sobriety again.

In the meantime sometimes I do feel like having a drink I just don't or I wait for opportunities like when I know one of us will be out of town.

With a history of sobriety I don't think it uncommon for drinking to be acceptable with an SO.

However, I would be surprised to hear of anyone with a newly recovering SO that its not an issue.

You might post on the alcoholic forum and get an answer straight from the source.
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