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Perfume 05-15-2014 04:21 AM

First Post - help!
Hi everyone

I have been lurking around and reading stuff for a few days and finally feel ready to ask for some help.

My 32 year old boyfriend is an alcoholic. We have been together for 2 years and although I previously sometimes thought something was 'off', I didnt realise until very recently. He was hospitalised a few months ago for 2 weeks with a collection of symptoms that were thought to be a virus but now realise were a withdrawal (including DT and seizures). It was truly awful. At the hospital they confirmed he has liver damage and some brain shrinkage, which they said *may* be alcohol related but he denied he drank much. Since he came home I thought he might have been drinking but when I asked he always denied it. I found evidence on Saturday night and confronted him and he did admit then that he is drinking quite heavily (maybe 2 bottles of vodka a week) and that he has a problem. I told him that I would not watch him destroy himself and that if he continued to drink after being so ill in hospital then it was a real big problem. He agreed to stop and get help. I feel so dumb for not knowing before.

He has not drunk since Saturday now. He is very very tired and sometimes his speech is slurred and he has shakes. Mentally/emotionally he is depressed and anxious and irritable and so sad, he keeps crying and saying he has failed.

I guess I dont really know what I am asking! Mostly around the withdrawal, how long will it last? But his usual drinking pattern is to binge every 3 or so days and then not drink in between, so I dont know how that would affect things and what his body 'expects'? And how do I get help? His doctors wont talk to me because of confidentiality but he is too tired to go out if I make an appointment for them to see him. I dont know how to help him while he is at home. And should I stay off work to be with him and how long for?

thank you so much for any help or insight anyone can share.

ladyscribbler 05-15-2014 06:35 AM

Hello and welcome. Sorry you're in this situation.
May I ask, why do you feel responsible for babysitting a grown man? If he needs a medically supervised detox then he should arrange one for himself. Your part in this is to live your life and make sure you are protected. If you take time off work, use it to go to an Alanon meeting instead.

Psalm5110 05-15-2014 07:45 AM

I also did not realize that my husband was drinking in secret for about two years. I had invested a significant amount of time, energy and money in helping him figure out his "mysterious medical condition" but as soon as I discovered it was alcohol, I asked him to leave our house and detached myself from the situation until he stopped denying the problem and sought professional help on his own.

Please don't put your life on hold for him. The more you learn about alcoholism, the more you will see that there is nothing you can do for him until he decides to help himself. Once he takes steps toward recovery, there may be ways for you to support him, but not at the expense of your healing and happiness. Good luck!

biminiblue 05-15-2014 07:54 AM

I see these threads daily. I am always surprised that someone doesn't know their BF is drinking at all.

Can't you smell it?

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I can smell alcohol five feet away.

Mango blast 05-15-2014 08:23 AM

Welcome to SR. :)

My husband often made it through the first week and sometimes two, but needed rehab to stay sober longer than that and start learning about the disease and what it takes to work an active recovery program.

Here's some info on Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Why We Don’t Get Better Immediately: Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) | What…Me Sober?
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms - Relapse Prevention Strategies

Psalm5110 05-15-2014 09:02 AM

Originally Posted by biminiblue (Post 4652187)
I see these threads daily. I am always surprised that someone doesn't know their BF is drinking at all.

Can't you smell it?

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I can smell alcohol five feet away.

I feel really stupid sometimes, not having know that my husband, who lives in the same house as me, was secretly drinking on a regular basis. We both come from happy, Leave-It-To-Beaver childhoods, and expressed the desire to raise our family with those same values. We both work outside the home but had dinner together nearly every night. We read our son stories together every night. We spent almost all of our time together, or at least in close proximity to one another. It seems like I must have been willfully ignoring the problem, right? But:

1. Alcohol abuse had never been part of my life. I didn't recognize the signs as being those of alcohol use, and never even suspected that my stand-up husband could have a drinking problem.

2. I trusted my husband completely. Our relationship was built on honesty. He helped me understand God and His love. I never for a moment thought he could keep anything from me...especially something like a drinking problem.

3. Like most addicts, he's an extremely convincing liar. He attributed his "symptoms" to other medical issues and went to a variety of specialists seeking "treatment." He is high functioning and successful. Even his parents, who were there the day I discovered his stash of empty bottles; his brother, who is a recovered alcoholic; and his sister-in-law, who is a social worker and works with addicts daily, did not believe he had a drinking problem until he got arrested for OWI.

I simply didn't know. It was happening in my basement, in my garage, in my backyard, and I never even saw it. I am intelligent, professionally successful, rational in my decision-making and highly educated. But my trust in him and my naivete combined with his deceit and manipulation made the perfect environment for two years' worth of secret alcohol abuse.

(And yes, I smelled it. He is a competitive athlete and attributed the sweet, fruity body odor to ketosis. Hmph.)

iSPAZ 05-15-2014 09:09 AM

Sorry you are dealing with this but you have found a good place for support. Learn as much as you can about alcoholism and what you are dealing with as well as get as much support you can get for yourself.

CodeJob 05-15-2014 09:29 AM

Welcome Perfume!

SR has been a great outlet and resource for me for a year now. There are lots of threads tagged above with excellent info and there's almost always someone here if you have insomnia like me.

Well it's hard to tell users what to do. I left mine alone when he went cold turkey. It was his decision after seeing his MD and trying to get into a local rehab with no success. I was sort of sick of all the drama though and was emotionally numb and under-reacting just to stay functional.

I hope things go OK.

honeypig 05-15-2014 11:22 AM

Originally Posted by biminiblue (Post 4652187)
I see these threads daily. I am always surprised that someone doesn't know their BF is drinking at all.

Can't you smell it?

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I can smell alcohol five feet away.

I didn't know my A was drinking for years either, and NO, I could NOT smell it. In fact, he secretly smoked cigarettes, too, and I did not smell THAT either. He was incredibly careful, and he was never fall-down, pee-the-bed drunk. He just seemed a tad "off" at times, a bit distant, and there was always some reasonable-sounding excuse if by chance I did ask what was up.

I also felt incredibly stupid when I found out, until the wonderful folks here at SR pointed out to me that there is no reason I should expect the man I married to be lying to me, to be carrying on a secret life of sorts behind my back.

The fault is not that of the person who is lied to, but that of the person who is doing the lying. It's important to remember that!

Welcome, Perfume, and please, don't feel that it is or was in any way your place to monitor him or that you should have somehow known that he was drinking. Addicts are incredibly clever at hiding their addiction if they so choose.

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