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I think my gf is alcohol dependent. Next steps?

Old 01-03-2014, 05:02 PM
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I think my gf is alcohol dependent. Next steps?

My partner of five years has a dependency on alcohol. I'm not 100% sure what the diff is between 'dependent' and 'alcoholic' btw.

We moved in together about a year ago and it was only then I realised how much she uses alcohol at home (rather than on nights out).

Backstory: she was with her former partner for over ten years. After about ten years they married, at which point her husband started cheating on her while denying it and lying to her face for most of a year. Eventually it all fell apart and truth came out and they separated (now divorced). I met her within a year of her separating from ex-H.

So she's had anxiety problems on and off while I've known her since her **** of an ex treated her like that. Not terribly surprising.

Although her drinking isn't nearly as much or as bad as some people I read about, it's still disruptive and making me unhappy, and she for the *most* part seems to think I'm overreacting and it's somehow my problem.

Her pattern is that she'll drink red wine in the evening while watching tv or films. Once she starts, she just seems to go on, up to a point. I think the max she usually drinks is about 2 bottles. The friction between us stems from these things:
  • she'll often fall asleep on the couch (leaving all tv equipment on and guzzling power), then come to bed at like 7am. Meanwhile I'm lying there wondering when/if she'll come to bed. She says "Oh I'm a bad sleeper" but I think this is BS - she's up because she's drinking
  • her regularly getting drunk on her own just really gets to me - I feel it's very antisocial
  • nights out get cut short or a bit spoiled because she doesn't know when to stop drinking and either gets moody with me or legless. We split up for like a day a couple of years ago because at new year celebrations everything was fine and then wham, she was moody and angry with me for no particular reason and the night went down the pan, I left the celebration alone, new year night ruined. I'm wary of going out with her now.
  • she's not doing her health any good

I've tried impressing on her that it's hurting me, making me anxious and unhappy. I've had some limited success. For example, she admits she drinks too much red wine sometimes, and that she's self-medicating to a certain degree.

I persuaded her to speak to her doctor. So she told doc while she was visiting for other reasons (off work with anxiety) that she's drinking too much red wine. The doc apparently said "People sometimes drink too much when they're ill, try and drink less and come back and see me again if it's still a problem". I was disappointed to hear this; why on earth didn't the doctor ask how much she drank, etc?

So anyway, since the doctors a week ago there's not been a huge difference in the drinking. I've told some family members about this and they're being supportive.

At one point I wrote to her and explained that if she didn't seek help it was going to be a serious point of contention in our relationship and might one day be the end of it. Is that horrible? It's the truth. Anyway, saying that was what got her to mention it to the doctor.

So she seems to be alcohol dependent, right? I'm not over-reacting here and imagining stuff?

What's a good plan for trying to persuade her to get serious help? My getting her to speak to doctor fell flat on its face and went nowhere so far.

I'm trying not to build up feelings of resentment here.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:03 PM
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Oh, and I'm considering going to a local Al-Anon meeting. What's the usual protocol with mentioning it to your partner or not? I tend to think it's best to not mention it (yet), otherwise it feels like I'm just using it as a lever against her or something.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by turingTape View Post
Oh, and I'm considering going to a local Al-Anon meeting. What's the usual protocol with mentioning it to your partner or not? I tend to think it's best to not mention it (yet), otherwise it feels like I'm just using it as a lever against her or something.
Let's start here and go backwards.

Alanon is for the friends and family. Sounds like you?

Again for the friends and family. Has NOTHING to do with her.

Really. Has NOTHING to do with her.

Since it is FOR YOU, (and AGAIN, Has NOTHING to do with her), you are free to mention, not mention, whatever pleases you or not. You will learn or discover no secrets in Alanon that will in any way harm her.

As for the rest, sounds like she has a problem which for now means you have a problem.

Alanon will help you work on YOUR problem in all this.

btw, you actually have no REAL idea what the doctor really told her, do you?

I mean she went, maybe something was said, maybe not, and that was supposed to get you off her back, right?
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
Let's start here and go backwards.

Alanon is for the friends and family. Sounds like you?

Again for the friends and family. Has NOTHING to do with her.

Really. Has NOTHING to do with her.

Since it is FOR YOU, (and AGAIN, Has NOTHING to do with her), you are free to mention, not mention, whatever pleases you or not. You will learn or discover no secrets in Alanon that will in any way harm her.

As for the rest, sounds like she has a problem which for now means you have a problem.

Alanon will help you work on YOUR problem in all this.

btw, you actually have no REAL idea what the doctor really told her, do you?

I mean she went, maybe something was said, maybe not, and that was supposed to get you off her back, right?

Hi Hanmer,
Thanks. You're right, Al-Anon is completely up to me. I'm doing it for me so I'll keep it to me.

I know what you mean about the doctor. It had crossed my mind.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:57 PM
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Hello turingTape
Welcome to SR. I'm glad you found us, but sorry you are struggling!

There are many people here that will understand your story and have been right where you are.

First of all I think it would be a GREAT idea for you to attend some Al-Anon meetings for YOUR well being and knowledge.

Whether you tell her or not is up to you, but as Hammer said, those meetings are all for YOU!

Nothing that you do or say will change her decisions around her own drinking. She will continue or she will not, but it'll be on her timeline...

You on the other hand must deal with how it affects YOU!

To put it in perspective for you, A normal bottle of wine holds approximately 5 standard glasses of wine at 5oz each. That means she is consuming approximately 10 drinks on nights she consumes 2 bottles of wine. A 5 oz glass of wine is equivalent to 1 12 oz beer or a 1.5 oz shot of hard liquor....

So, 10 drinks is A LOT!!!

Call it dependent, or alcoholic, doesn't really matter too much though... How it is affecting her and how it is affecting you does matter!

I would definitely get to a meeting and learn all you can...

First and foremost you will likely learn that

A) you didn't Cause it
B) you can't Control it
C) you can't Cure it

Many more will come along with more support, experience and support!!

Hang in there and keep reading through the boards here and posting. There are some great threads under the tab marked "Stickies" that are very informative!!

Again, welcome and glad you have joined us!!!
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:01 PM
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I fully get your post very similar to my story- I cant relate to many on here because mine dosent seem as 'bad' as others.
im going to a meeting next week for first time, I ended up telling my husband - he thinks its good because it may help me sort out me (ie.being a bitch/nagging to him about his drinking). ha he is in deep denial.

goodluck its not the best place to be is it. ive found detaching from him is helping and its opening up my eyes to it all and how its all been. keep reading reading and learning the stickys on here are fab and other threads take care.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:43 PM
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Her story on what the doctor told her could be true. Although AH would lie every which way about his drinking to protect it, there were times he'd approach the subject with a doctor, or they with him. I've been with AH when several different doctors have told him exactly that --- "try to cut back". Didn't even say come back if that doesn't work. wtf? No, they didn't ask him how much. He was finally hitting near the bottom when we found a doctor who approached things differently, but so was AH. Currently in rehab, but it's been a really long journey on the way here (9 years?) and he was finally ready for it.

Al-anon sounds like a great place to start helping yourself. Sending good wishes for you.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:38 PM
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Al-anon would be a great place for you and will help you learn to accept that there is very little YOU can do if she is just not ready to stop. It will help you figure out the direction in life you want to take.

I am a firm believer that history doesn't repeat itself, people repeat history.

I'm betting my bottom dollar that alcohol played a major part in the ending of her other relationship. You met her while she was still all tangled up in a marriage where the ending was all his fault ( alcoholics love to deflect and blame).

She lived in her place while you lived in yours so she was able to drink and probably hide a good portion of it from you until you married.

If she's up drinking all night how is she able to work and support herself and her habit?

Not trying to be negative just real and really knowing how alcoholics operate.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by turingTape View Post
What's a good plan for trying to persuade her to get serious help?
GET OUT! Run Fast! Leave! Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya! Odious Amigos! Buh-bye! Don't call me.... I'll call you!
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:59 PM
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It's very important to follow your instincts when it comes to a serious situation like this. If your instincts tell you that you need support, reach out to a support group. If you are getting the feeling that you need to do more research, start reading and look up material. Don't rule anything out. There are people who specialize in addiction medicine who are willing to help you.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:25 PM
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I was in the room w my ah when he told the dr he thought he had a problem w alcohil. Dr said having a few beers a night would cut back his anxiety...and gave him a rx for xanax. I was floored.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
I was in the room w my ah when he told the dr he thought he had a problem w alcohil. Dr said having a few beers a night would cut back his anxiety...and gave him a rx for xanax. I was floored.
You'd be surprised how many doctors are ignorant about the disease of addiction. It seems more and more doctors are being trained in how to prescribe medication, not necessarily how to treat or cure a disease.

I would start looking for a different doctor...
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:06 PM
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I'm a health care provider, and find that many of my colleagues don't know how to approach or deal with addiction. So 1) the addict minimizes the issue or 2) the health care provider minimizes the issue. Ugh.

2 bottles of wine a night is an addiction. No normal person needs that much alcohol, the brain would tell them at some point that they've had enough. The A brain will never tell them that. I had the same initial reaction reading your post as atalose did. I'd bet the farm that alcohol played a part in her divorce. A's are great at deflecting blame.

Nothing you can do to change her path, that is up to her. But you can change your path. AlAnon is a great idea, you will find a tremendous amount of support and experience there. Learn to set boundaries in your life. Find a relationship that brings you peace, not worry.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Chantal88 View Post
It's very important to follow your instincts when it comes to a serious situation like this. If your instincts tell you that you need support, reach out to a support group. If you are getting the feeling that you need to do more research, start reading and look up material. Don't rule anything out. There are people who specialize in addiction medicine who are willing to help you.
Hi Chantal,
Thanks very much for this and your DM. I tried to reply to your DM to say thanks but the system won't let me until I have made 5 posts!
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:20 PM
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Thanks to everyone who has replied. It's amazing to find such a supportive crowd so quickly.
I am definitely going to Al-Anon next week, I need to find some perspective and more information.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
I was in the room w my ah when he told the dr he thought he had a problem w alcohil. Dr said having a few beers a night would cut back his anxiety...and gave him a rx for xanax. I was floored.
That is absolutely insane. I suppose some doctors really aren't well equipped to advise on alcohol!
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