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Hoping this isn't insanely inappropriate - what do you do about your own drinking?

Old 05-25-2013, 08:26 AM
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Hoping this isn't insanely inappropriate - what do you do about your own drinking?

I'm wondering how other people deal with their own drinking when in a situation where a loved one or partner is in recovery. This is something with which I constantly struggle (and I hope it isn't out of line for me to ask about this).

I personally have never had a drinking problem. My ABF is the first person close to me in my life who has had a problem with alcohol. I used to be much more of a drinker, but I think that was more a product of being in college and law school and being young than anything else. I would certainly go out and party, and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner many nights, but if I went for long stretches of time without drinking, I never found it bothersome.

Now that I'm slightly older and much less fun (hah!), I drink much less often. Because of the ABF, I don't keep alcohol in the house, and that really doesn't bother me. I only go out to bars or parties on special occasions (bachelorette parties and the like), and I find that drinking to excess is something that no longer interests me in the least.

That being said, I still enjoy having a glass of wine or two with a nice dinner, or going out with friends for a beer. Prior to ABF's relapse a couple of weeks ago, if we were out to dinner or at a social event, he usually said it didn't bother him if I had couple of drinks. I never drank to excess in front of him. I also would go out about once a week with some girlfriends for a couple of drinks.

I've always felt (and now even more so) a little bit awkward about my drinking re: ABF. I genuinely enjoy the taste of wine and certain beers, and I like that to be a part of my life. A part of me feels like I shouldn't have to stop drinking entirely just because of ABF as long as I'm not being insensitive about it. Another part of me feels like an unsupportive a-hole because I haven't given up drinking entirely.

How do other people deal with this? I have a dear friend whose wife has been in recovery for about seven years, and she just never drinks in front of her wife (though recently she had a beer in front of her because her wife said it was okay and they're testing those waters). I'm just curious.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:50 AM
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I think it varies. My EXAG used to say it would not bother her, and would often pressure for me to get a beer or bourbon with dinner. She would say it was her problem, and the world will not stop drinking around her, and she needed to learn to deal with it. At first I was uncomfortable and shyed away from it (while in her presence). But she used to encourage it- With a drink or two in me, she has stated that I am more carefree, and not as Type-A. And on MANY occasions I did drink heavily in front of her (if old friends came into town, etc). She was often the designated driver. We did have an understanding that if she did become uncomfortable (squirelly, we called it), I would not argue, and we would leave the situation immediately. To the best of my knowledge I always held up my end of the bargain. While sober, she did not like to be physical with me if I was drinking - primarily because of the smell (bourbon). But I do think she accepted my drinking. At least she said she did.

In hindsight, I probably should have acted differently. Seeing how much damage alcohol has caused, it probably wouldn't be bad if I quit forever.

But sometime I am envious- I watch my sister and her husband, or other couples, share a nice bottle of wine with dinner, etc. They seem to genuinely be having fun, and I do remember dating some girls where it was fun. Heck, it was really fun with my EXAG in the beginning- boating, parties, sporting events, carefree, feeling good, being with each other, sex, etc-

Then addiction and the negative consequences that follow kick in.

... just my 2 cents....
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:57 AM
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I think not drinking at all around a partner in early recovery is the considerate thing to do. If, after a year or more of recovery, it still bothers him or her, then there needs to be more discussion about it.

It would not bother me to see anyone (including a significant other) have a drink. OTOH, I do not think I would like kissing or being intimate with someone who smelled/tasted like alcohol. If such a person had one or two drinks, but later brushed his teeth and no longer smelled/tasted like booze, I don't think it would bother me. I'm single, and I don't currently date, but that is my best guess as to how I would feel after almost five years of sobriety.

I like not having alcohol in my house. (As discussed on another thread, I don't have a problem with non-beverage items containing alcohol.)

It's best to discuss it with the alcoholic. It's just that with someone in very early recovery, they sometimes put on a show of bravado about how it doesn't get to them, even if it does. Thus my advice about laying off it when someone is newly sober.

This is something everyone has to work out him/herself. There is no absolute right answer.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:00 AM
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My mom would always insist she didn't mind when I drank in front of her and she would even buy me a bottle of wine. Her thing was always beer, so she would insist that it wasn't the same. But then as soon as she got caught drinking again, she would blame me for drinking in front of her! After that, if I did decide to drink, I just wouldn't do it in front of her. My dad never drinks in front of her, but he resents not being able to kick back with a beer after a long day.
I have a friend who has a glass of wine every night in front of her husband and she says it truly does not bother him, for he has accepted that he is an alcoholic and knows that it's not the same for him. My mom can't even see a commercial with alcohol because that sets her off.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:07 AM
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I know that I struggle with this issue as well. How I wish I was in a normal relationship with my AH and trust me we tried in the beginning to moderate and monitor our evenings. Vacations were particularly hard and I'd let him have a glass of wine or a beer but the disease always won in the end and he would eventually relapse. He doesn't expect me not to drink in front of him or keep my bottle of wine hidden and out of reach. They can get in the car and buy whatever they want if they want to drink bad enough - that's what happened this last time. I wasn't even in town when the last relapse happened. That's is something that we have to accept if we choose to stay the course with our A's but it doesn't mean that we can't have fun or be happy but it's just a different fun. I know so many couples that are not happy and alcohol is not the issue although I think everybody in the burbs could use some drying out time. I feel for me that as I continue my own recovery that my desire to even have that glass of wine has lessen with my love/hate relationship with the culprit of my marriage suffering so much for it. I ask myself if I did not drink would he not? It might of helped but all I can do is bring new interests and hobbies that we both can enjoy without alcohol being the center of every social event we attend. When we look at our culture everything we do is surrounded by alcohol and having a good time. It's hard not to fall into that belief that's it's all in good fun but man do I know from experience that's it the most painful thing I ever witnessed watching my man fall to its prey...
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:10 AM
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I think it depends on the situation. When my dad stopped drinking I was respectful of that and would never bring wine/beer into HIS house. Going out to dinner in the beginning none of us would order any alcohol but as time passed and he had more sober time that changed.

I live with my BF who is also sober and I again never brought alcohol into our home but if we go out I may have a glass of wine or two and it doesn’t bother him. He’s told me over and over again that if I want to have a glass of wine at night I certainly can have a bottle around but for me I decided It just wasn’t all that important to me and if I am in the mood for a glass of wine I’ll go out for one with a friend or have one at their homes.

There have been times over the years that we’ve attended events where alcohol was served and depending on the crowd, the drinking at times would bother him and we wouldn’t stay all that long. We once attended his brother’s wedding and they were young and all their friends were drinking heavily and getting loud and out of control and he’d had enough and wanted to leave. It wasn’t really the alcohol at it that bothered him it was the behavior of those intoxicated that did. Another wedding we attended he had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed himself….it all depends on the situation.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:25 PM
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I dont drink at all. So thats how I deal with it lol. Im a 3 glass of wine person a yr and its just not on my care to do list so in general I dont....I just dont care too BUT if I as a non alcoholic felt I wanted a glass I would do so elsewhere and wouldnt bring it up to rah and sense it literally would be a glass or two ....its not like hed see me tipsy turvy anyhow. Frankly I think its not a big deal to not tell your recovering loved one even if they say it doesnt bother them ....they are recovering alcoholics and we dont know until we are in their shoes let alone if they did relapse and start the blame game...us drinking in front or telling them we do could add up as an excuse for them when they fall off the wagon.
But in general I just dont but like I said if I was out woth friends abd decided to get a drink...its not something I would share with rah. Its not detrimental to me to say so.
Hope that helps...
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:33 PM
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It is very individual. I have one year into recovery, and weirdly, my ABF's alcohol never bothered me. I think, though, that I mostly drank to self-medicate my extreme issues with anxiety. Once I got my anxiety under control with medication I was ok. (Don't get me wrong, I will never drink again and I identify as an alcoholic, but I think I arrived at alcoholism in a bit of a different way.)

Anyway, I agree with the others who said that you may need to cool it until he is stable in his sobriety - a year in or more. It is a small price to pay for his health. Later on, you may be able to reintroduce it to the home, or maybe not. You may have to reserve your drinking to dinners with friends. It isn't fair, but it may be the price you have to pay to be with him.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:52 PM
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You're question or curiosity is not unusual. You're BF is obviously an alki & u're not so that's a tuf 1 for u to undstd. My suggestion is read the doctor's opinion in the big bk to better get the feel of it. I WISH I could drink again the u or other normal people do ie 2 or maybe 3 drinks @ the most & that's it but we are allergic to alc & u're not so u're able to stop when u had enuf & call it a nite. I wouldn't have alc around him if @ all possible & support him in getting a sponsor, joining an AA group near him & go to as many meetings as he can coz that's what it really about.
My heart goes out to u coz I have an AW & its a war zone when she drinks in this house. But thx to AA & Alanon, I'm doing better than I deserve.
Best wishes
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:41 PM
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I no longer have an A in my life, so my situation is different. But to me, I think I would see it sort of like... One of my kids has severe peanut allergies. I really like peanuts. But I don't like them enough that I'm willing to risk him getting sick by me eating them or having them in the house. When he's out of state in school, I may have them occasionally but I don't keep them around.

I've sort of lost interest in alcohol though. It's like... Seeing the damage it has done, in so many people's lives, I can't really enjoy it if that makes sense. I'm not saying that in some kind of holier-than-thou fashion at all, it's just what it is. And I think seeing AXH go to hell in a hand basket because of drinking, I don't want to risk ending up like him. I don't think I'm probe to addictions. But I bet he didn't either.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:56 AM
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Crazed: I totally understand where you're coming from. My ABF and I have the same agreement - he seemingly didn't care if I had a drink at social gatherings (and sometimes said it made him MORE uncomfortable if I didn't drink), but we've always had an agreement to leave as soon as he gets uncomfortable. I don't really mind, because I hate staying out late. That being said, I also miss the days of being able to casually enjoy a nice bottle of wine at dinner together (though, that longing fails to acknowledge the fact that for him it rarely stopped with a bottle of wine at dinner).

LexieCat: Thanks for your thoughts. I think you're right - this go around, I should just avoid drinking in front of him at all for the first year, regardless of what he says. Looking back, I can definitely remember what you identify as that false bravado of the newly sober. Keeping alcohol in the house is definitely something I would never even consider at this point or in the foreseeable future.

SamerrasMom: Thanks for sharing. It seems like it truly is a different experience for everyone, as you've indicated. I'll try to be sensitive to what my particular situation calls for or doesn't call for.

Honeybean: I agree. I never thought about how much of our social culture revolves around drinking until I became involved with an alcoholic. Being with an alcoholic has definitely caused me to drink much less and cast more of a critical eye toward the role of drinking in our society. A part of me has actually enjoyed finding activities for us to do together that aren't just the regular bar stuff. We see a ton of great movies, hike, and run. Not that we couldn't do that stuff otherwise, I guess.

atalose: Our setup seems similar to yours. I'm glad you brought up weddings - those are always interesting for us. We've only been to one together while ABF was not drinking, and it was one of my friend's weddings, so he didn't really know anyone there. I think he was pretty uncomfortable. He spent a lot of time walking around outside, and I could tell he was getting anxious, but didn't want to say anything because he knew I was having fun with my friends. I'm hopeful that he'll get more comfortable in that setting, and maybe it would help if it were his friends and family.

thislonelygirl: Thanks for sharing. That sounds like a good strategy. I'm thinking myself of just ceasing drinking in front of ABF at all.

SolTraveler: Thanks for your thoughts. I'm okay with never being able to have alcohol in the house (though I wish people would stop BRINGING IT OVER AS GIFTS. I always just bring it directly upstairs to my neighbor friend when they leave). I guess I'll just take it as it comes.

1newcreation: Thanks for your perspective. I definitely can't understand what's going on with him, and right now, I'm grateful that he's been going to AA meetings. I hope that he will continue to progress in his recovery, though I've tried to put that all on him this time. Thanks again for sharing.

lillamy: I think you're spot on with the peanuts analogy. And I think seeing what ABF has gone through has definitely changed my perspective on alcohol also. I was really kind of a party girl before all this, and now I'm like...everyone's mom, if I even go out at all. Sigh. Thanks.
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