Living with an Alcoholic

Old 07-10-2013, 06:54 PM
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Living with an Alcoholic

Hi,
I just posted my story in the new to the site page, but I'll recap here briefly. I'm just looking for some advice and support in dealing with my situation. I currently live with my common-law husband of 4 years, and he is a alcoholic, albeit a very high functioning one. He drinks every day, starting first thing in the morning. He does this to feel normal, and doen't get drunk all the time. Recently, he told me we are on "thin ice" because I'm no longer his friend in life, but just a nagging wife. He tells me all the time that I'm the reason he drinks, and even says he does it to spite me. I've done lot of reading on alcoholism, and I realize that I have been handling this the wrong way. Nagging, yelling and getting upset only makes the drinking worse. But I don't know how else to go about this. We have been talking about getting married and having children, but obviously I cannot do this with him drinking the way he does. He says he will not go to counselling, and I haven't even mentioned the word rehab to him. He thinks that because he's so high functioning, still goes to work and takes care of business, that this is not as big a problem as I'm making it. He knows it's an issue, though I think. He doesn't understand why he needs to stop drinking before we try for kids, and says he'll stop as soon as I get pregnant, but I have obvious doubts and would never risk it. I love him so much and I don't want to leave, but I'm 26 and I don't have that much time in my life to get married, buy a house, have children, etc. So I suppose what I'm asking is for any advice on a different way I can approach the issue with him without nagging or getting mad. I can't rightly just end things without trying another method, and I don't want to lose everything we've built. I suffer from anxiety and all of this uncertainty is really getting into my head. He's started talking about living abroad for a while, and that's not the life we promised each other. Everything is falling apart. Any advice on how I can approach this differently would be so greatly appreciated! Thank you all!
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:37 PM
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Welcome to SR, AllyKat. I am sorry for the situation that brings you here, but educating yourself and talking about your options really helps with the tough choices.

albeit a very high functioning one. He drinks every day, starting first thing in the morning. He does this to feel normal,
This isn't high functioning. Alcoholism is progressive, and if he is drinking first thing in the morning and drinking to feel normal - he's definitely progressing into the latter stages of it.

High functioning is a stage, not a term. He won't be functioning forever.
Recently, he told me we are on "thin ice" because I'm no longer his friend in life, but just a nagging wife. He tells me all the time that I'm the reason he drinks, and even says he does it to spite me.
Remember this. You don't CAUSE him to drink, you can't CONTROL it, and you can't CURE it. Other wise known as the three C's.

He drinks because he's an alcoholic. It is what they do.

I'm 26 and I don't have that much time in my life to get married, buy a house, have children, etc.
Hon, you have plenty of time - at least 15 more years before you are considered "geriatric" in ob/gyn terms. What would you rather have - kids and a house with a drunk? Or kids and a house with an emotionally present and available partner?

So I suppose what I'm asking is for any advice on a different way I can approach the issue with him without nagging or getting mad. I can't rightly just end things without trying another method, and I don't want to lose everything we've built.
Try Al-Anon meetings. Give yourself some time and continue reading about alcoholism. Attend some open AA meetings too. Talk with other recovering alcoholics. And be quiet when he tries to pick a fight with you, especially if he's got a drink in his hand or obviously intoxicated. Leave if you have to. Don't engage with an angry drunk!

And think real hard about your own future. This is your one shot at this life. How do you want it to look from this day forward? Because believe me, you don't want to come back here 10, 15 years from now with a mortgage and a couple kids in tow, saying what the hell happened to my youth and my choices?!

Keep reading, keep posting.
Peace,
~T
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:26 PM
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Hi and welcome.

Please make sure you are protecting yourself from pregnancy. Don't let him argue about it either. You are right to not want to bear the children of an active alcoholic.

I recently had to remind my AH (alcoholic husband) that he does not in fact drink because of me. That he would do it alone, with me, with someone else. That he has been drinking for almost twenty years. Don't for a second buy into that load of crap.


A different way to approach this, you asked? Focus on you. Not him. The longer you stay here and post and read, the more clear that will become to you. It's hard. So hard. So heartbreaking.

But you can't control him.

Please keep visiting. It will help. So many great people here, so welcoming.

I'm learning so much. Even things I already knew are easier to apply now with this support. I didn't say easy, just easier.

I'll take it!

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Old 07-10-2013, 09:22 PM
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Great responses so far.

I'd only add this: Your nagging or getting angry did NOT make his drinking worse. His drinking will get worse (and worse and worse) on its own. You may have made your home life more unpleasant by doing that, but trust me, you didn't do anything to "aggravate" his drinking.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:53 PM
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Thanks everyone. I know I will never find the magic answer, but it helps to know there are other people who understand. I've gone back and forth in my head a thousand times over whether this can work. I don't know if too much damage is already done. He is a truly good person under it all and he does treat me very well overall. He cooks and cleans and helps with the pets, and always goes to work. That's one of the reasons I don't want to give up just yet, I know there is something wonderful inside him. Trust can be rebuilt, and people can come out on the other side. But I'm afraid things will not change and I will waste my life. He's nowhere near ready to admit he needs to quit completely. He still thinks he can go back to responsible drinking, which I don't EVER see happening.

For now I'm just letting things be and watching. He wanted me to get off his back and I'm holding up my end of the bargain. Everyone has a breaking point, and I suppose I'm just waiting to see where mine is. We are going out to dinner tomorrow with some friends of mine and they have all asked me not to let him show up drunk.

Anyways, thanks to everyone for listening, I'm having so much anxiety lately and I needed to hear advice from someone who isn't my father (who, needless to say, is not keen on him after all this). I will definitely be posting and reading more.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:13 PM
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Sounds like you have learned a lot! "I don't ever see happening" bingo.

Many times the reason we stay so hooked in with an alcoholic and are on the merry go round so long is because we don't have a clear reason to break it off things like

He cooks and cleans and helps with the pets, and always goes to work.
That's in your case. We all have our reasons: the physical intimacy, his work ethic, he was there for me 3 years ago when...These reasons unfortunately keep us in an unhealthy relationship that also makes us sick. That ambivalence in itself is damaging.

The fact that your friends have to say things like that says that means it's pretty serious.

There are plenty of guys who go to work, love their pets, do the dishes and don't show up blasted to social functions.

IMO Trust is earned not given. Trust is hard enough without the drinking component.

Given your username on here, if he's also smoking a ton of pot on top of his drinking it can't be a good situation. You seem like a very capable and smart person, you aren't doing him any favors by sticking it out. Sounds like you have a pretty clear picture.

Search the forums, read up and come to your own informed decision whatever that may be.

Welcome!
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:37 PM
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Yeah, trust is what always gets me. I've been jerked around by a lot of men in my past and I truly thought this one was different. I mean, in the way he treats me he is different. He never tells me what to wear, or who I can talk to, or any of the things my ex has done. He truly treats me like a queen. And we partied together when we first got together, because at the time I was 22 and that was my life. But I'm not 22 anymore, and I'm starting to build a successful career and life. I feel like he didn't grow up with me.

As for tomorrow evening dinner, what can I say to "suggest" that he not drink before dinner (and limit drinks with dinner to one), without sounding nagging? I want it to come across as caring, because that's truly what it is, not bitching for no reason.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:42 PM
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someone who starts their day with a drink is not a functioning alcoholic, that's an alcoholic that has to DRINK in order to FUNCTION.

look back over the last four years? has his drinking CHANGED in that time? for better? or for worse? have you ever SEEN him drink responsibly?

he says it's not a problem, but he also says it's your fault. that he can still manage to feed a pet isn't exactly worth throwing a parade over. you say he cooks, cleans, takes care of the pets and goes to work. those should be givens....not highlights. those are minimum skills for your average adult. like bathing regularly. hopefully as you consider a future life mate and co-parent you would expect excellence, honesty, commitment, maturity and strong moral compass as MINIMUM requirements??

what i am saying is, don't settle for less than the full meal deal. don't rationalize, justify or overlook the ginormous elephant in the room. tossing a cloth over it doesn't make it an end table.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:50 PM
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AllyKat,

You can't control his drinking. What you can control is how you handle the situation. If you haven't already, you may start losing friends because of his behavior. What I would do is if he has been drinking that day or you are worried he will drink and then cause a scene, say "I'm going to go to dinner with them by myself". Don't turn it into a fight, just walk away and go to dinner. You may mention "they didn't want you there because of your drinking", not as a way to get him to stop drinking but as a way for you to take off. If he then says "oh you should stay with me then what the hell!", don't give into it, this is how alcoholics alienate us and we lose friends, become weaker and end up spinning on the merry go round. Of course we choose our actions, because we can control what we do.

I once had my XAGF muscle her way into a weekend trip with friends. She had not been in the plans. I should have drawn a boundary and said "nope we all made plans that didn't include you I'm sorry." and gone and had a good time. Because I brought her I wrecked my weekend and my friends weren't at all happy that she was there.

Anvil said it best. Those are minimum requirements that anybody worth your time should have, in addition to all the things you want out of a relationship. From what I have read so far there is a problem, and like many of us, the problem is way bigger and has affected us way more than we would like to admit. Big arse elephant!
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:16 PM
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Dear AllyKat, spend some time reading through posts. Over and over, people struggle because they hang on to the notion that the A is a "good person". The truth is, there are not 2 people here....the drunk and the good person are the same person. This IS a progressive disease, so you will see less and less of that good person over time. It's already bad enough that your boyfriend can't function unless he gets alcohol in his system. And friends are commenting.
He will blame you, he will make empty promises. The A will do whatever they have to do to protect their #1 priority....alcohol. If he feels you're pushing him to stop...then you are in the way of his priority, and it can get ugly.
Find an AlAnon group, and start attending. It's advised you attend 6 meetings before you decide if it's for you or not. You will find tremendous knowledge and support at those meetings.
This is your one and only life. You are still SO young. Don't let yourself be dragged down by this disease. Certainly don't bring children into the situation, you can read the posts from children of alcoholics, they suffer their whole lives from the disease.
You deserve a man who can be there for you, and your children someday, 100%. Anything less, and you sell yourself short.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:27 PM
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Change genders and this story could be mine.

I imagine in my case it's a little easier, not much but a little since I have had my own recovery (28 years clean, 24 years sober) and understand the issue from a different pov, but what the other posters have stated is absolutely true - This Is Not Your Fault - do not allow this man to turn his addiction into your responsibility.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:17 AM
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AllyKat - I wish he could meet my ex.

When we met he was this absolutely brilliant man traveling the world representing big clients. Fast forward 20 years and judges have to explain court proceedings to him and he's a step away from homelessness. He drank everything away - family, friends, career, life. Every. Effing. Thing.

It doesn't get better if they don't get help. It doesn't.
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