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Needing some feedback

Old 11-01-2001, 10:13 AM
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swanky
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Post Needing some feedback

I've been reading thru some of the posts on the board, and I felt like I needed to put my stuff out there. My b/f, who I've been living with for almost 2 years, admits that he is an alcoholic, but refuses to go to AA. He has been saying that he should quit drinking on and off for the whole time I've known him, but when it really comes down to it, he never can. Of course, I know that this is a symptom of his disease.

I'm pissed off at myself because I've been enabling him for quite a long time, going out to bars with him, (I'm what one could call a "social drinker") telling him that he might not need to quit, but to only cut down, blah blah blah. Then, this weekend, I realized just how far his drinking has progressed when we went out of town for a friend's birthday and I asked him not to drink too much as he had to drive, and he said he wouldn't. Well, the club we were at closed, and there he was, in the car, trashed. And I let him drive us home, though I was petrified, because I don't know how to drive his car (stick-shift). This was not the first time that I have gotten into the car with him when he's been drunk, but I swear to god it will be the last.

We had a bad discussion in the car that night, him crying and apologizing, saying that I should leave him now, since he feels that he will always dissappoint me, that he can't quit drinking even though he knows he should. It made me sad, because I love him, and I don't want to give up on him, but I'm not going to sacrifice myself, either.

The next day, he was hung over and sick, and stayed in bed. I went to my mother's to do laundry, like we always do on Sundays, and when she picked me up, I told her about what happened. She said that she was glad that I would finally acknowledge it to her as she's known he was alcoholic for a long time. (Just as a point of reference, both of my parents are recovering alcoholics and have been sober thru AA for most of my life, and I spent many many years in Alateen.)

I told him that I was going to start going to Alanon, and asked him if he wanted to just go to an open speaker meeting sometime, just to listen. He flat-out refused; he thinks he can quit on his own, just because his father (apparently) did. I wish he would see that "d.i.y." will not work for him! It's already not working, as he didn't drink for 2 days, and then he started again. It's like he's *flaunting* it........grrr.

My mother has told me that for the time being, all I can really do is to go to meetings and to talk to people who have been there, which is why I wanted to post here. Sorry if it was long-winded or made no sense. Thanks....
 
Old 11-01-2001, 11:35 AM
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SKEPTICAL
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Hi Swanky,
A lot of things you said reminded me of me so I have to write. My mom has been in AA and sober for 20 years. She left my dad because he wouldn't quit drinking. When I married my husband she was very concerned about his drinking but I wouldn't talk to her about it because I have always felt I have to defend him. In fact, for the past four years I have been making excuses for his drinking and anti-social behavior. Meanwhile, I too can't drive a stick so I have been in the car with him when he shouldn't have been driving but that I felt it was my way home. If you have read my posts, then you also know he refuses to go to AA and he thinks he can quit or cut down and that he said I should leave him if he can't quit. I asked him to quit on Sunday. I have a sneaking suspicion that he is hiding his drinking now. I won't explain why, but I feel pretty sure he is pretending. Anyhow, I finally had a long talk with my mom and admitted that i married an alcoholic. I realized that I had been thinking that because she doesn't drink she was critical of everyone who did. Now I realize that I have my very own veteran in my family and I can talk to her... and she knows what she is talking about! So, my advice (not that I should be giving it, but it is my own advice for me) is listen to your mother and remember to talk to her rather than defending him. Good luck! I am right here with you.
 
Old 11-01-2001, 03:05 PM
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dear swanky,
i think "giving up" on them (the alcoholics in my life) is the saddest thing i have ever had to do. it feels like "letting them die", especially when they put that guilt trip on you like you just described.

grief is a process - remember the 5 steps of DABDA. i am telling you this because i need to hear it again. i have had to "let go" and grieve several times, and it doesn't get easier. i love these people and it hurts to watch them destroy their own lives. but al-anon has taught me that i didn't cause it, i can't control it and i sure can't cure it. i can only take care of me - i have a tendency to be a "dry drunk" and go off on emotional tirades.

let go and let God.... thanks for letting me remind myself (and maybe some others) of this truth. your difficulty helps me and mine helps someone else and so it goes. we stick together and we get well.

peace,
marie
 
Old 11-02-2001, 05:30 AM
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Hi Swanky...
Love your name. Welcome to the forum!
I don't have a lot to add to the two wise responses you just got, except, for pete's sake stick to your guns about not getting in the car with him when he's been drinking! Call a cab.
My addict, Dino, refused to get help for years. He wanted to do it himself, too, but never could. He did eventually get into a counseling program (he couldn't stomach the 12 steps either) and that has made a world of difference. There are all kinds of roads to recovery, and some people do make it on their own. I know some. The bottom line always seems to be that they only clean up when they are losing too much. Then they find their own way. Your b/f hasn't bottomed out yet.

Hey Skeptical!
That's great about your new life-line with your mom. Gee, they get so much smarter as we age, don't they?

Smoke
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Old 11-02-2001, 06:21 AM
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swanky
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Thanks everybody for the great advice. I love my Mom to death, and I know that she has totally been where I am right now, but it's good to hear feedback from others, too.

I'm not quite ready to say that he's never going to get help (it's been less than a week since I brought it up to him), but I'm sure as hell not gonna sit around forever until he realizes that it is necessary.

My mother gave me some literature to read and to leave around for him to check out, and I think he may have been looking at some of it this morning. It's not a big thing, but at least it may plant a seed and answer some of his questions. That's about it for right now.

Skeptical-- man, we sound like long lost sisters........I really identified with your situation when I read your posts. At first I found it really hard to talk to my mother about my b/f's drinking because I was sure that she would be against him and tell me that I was stupid for getting involved with him. We yelled at each other a lot that day, because I didn't trust that she wanted to help me and not tear me and him down. But it really did come to me that as well as being an addiction counselor, she is a recovering alcoholic and a person, plain and simple, and that she wasn't passing judgement on me or him. I'm glad that you've reconnected with your mom, too-- they do have a lot of wisdom.

Smoke, I'm glad you like my name. That's cool.

[This message has been edited by swanky (edited November 02, 2001).]
 
Old 11-02-2001, 07:28 AM
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Hi Swanky,
Just wanted to add that another bonus about having a mom who has been through it is that she wants the best for me. When I see my husband in her eyes I try to imagine if my daughter were dating him and how I would feel. My mom told me that my life has been ravaged by alcoholism and she truly wants me to overcome it rather than continue the next 26 years of my life trying to fix yet another alcoholic in my life. I have determined that I am going to leave my husband. I know he is not good for me and although I love him to death and want to make him happy, I have also learned from people who were and are in my situation, that its a myth. Everyone has told me that we are suckered into believing that if we just try harder and are the perfect loving companion, then we can change our loved ones. We can't! But you have to decide on when to give up. Good Luck.
 
Old 11-03-2001, 05:40 AM
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Swanky,

I am new to this site, and just have to tell you after reading your post that stick shift really isn't that hard to do. I had the same problem and as we are in a very rural area, cabs aren't an option and neither is walking 15 miles down back roads to get home. I thought I could never learn to drive a shift, but after a few nights like the one you described I knew I had to try.

First I tried having my husband teach me--which failed miserably. He got me to where I could move the truck (huge '79 Ford-scared me to death) but he never bothered to explain that you do not have to run back down thru the gears to slow the beast. Then I got smart--found a girlfriend of mine with a small, newer truck and the first thing she showed me was if you need to slow or stop, you just pop the shifter into neutral and brake like you do in a automatic. I was comfortablely driving a standard by the end of that afternoon. It did take me a little longer to catch on to starting and stoppng on hills and the like, but once I could take the vehicle by myself without fear, I just found an infrequently traveled hill in the middle of nowhere and had it down in about a week.

Knowing that you will never be the petrified captive of a drunk driver again is a great relief. You cannot imagine..or maybe you can!

Also, about DIY alcoholism reform and the 'cutting back' method--this actually did work for my husband. Even though everything I ever read or heard about it was that it didn't work, and I firmly believed it wouldn't work, somehow it did. I started going to Al-anon every friday night at 8, since this was the only time choice. It also happened to be approximately when Dan would come home off the road (works away from home during the week) which meant he came home to an empty house every week, so he didn't really like this, of course. I focused on myself--went back to college, ignored his ass as much as I was capable of it, and began to plan how to leave, if I got to "that' point. The few times he really tried to throw one of those alcoholic tempertantrums that others on this board were talking about in front of the family I would just say to my kids something like "Ignore Daddy, he can't help himself, he's an alcoholic and that is the alcohol talking" I did this with his parents, my parents, the neighbors, whoever I used to cover up for him to--I just laid it where it belonged, you know? I even did this to his former boss once, although the reaction I got there was kind of extreem, and I maybe wouldn't do it again, if I got do-overs.

I decided not to leave him, that if leaving was to be done, he would do it, and I stuck to it. I never said my favorite mantra again (If you don't knock it off, I'm outta here) because empty threats are useless.

I focused on ME, and sorta treated him like someone with tourette's syndrome, or severe mental retardation when he was bombed and surly. He got the picture. I DO NOT want to give the false hope that we can change them, cause THEY must decide to get help for themselves, but my mom always said that God helps those who puts feets to their prayers, so I just did the best I could to narrow his path while trying to focus on my own. I don't like feeling helpless, and 'Let go and let God' is a difficult one for me. I can remember being completely insensed at one point, where he had just stormed back to the bar, and I'm vacuuming and muttering LGLG, trying to slam it firmly into my head. I must've done this for an hour. All I got was a headache and VERY clean floors.

Hope this helps--take care--Jen
 
Old 11-03-2001, 07:58 AM
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swanky
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My main issue with the DIY approach is that he has already proven, time and time again that he *can't * stop by himself, that cutting down doesn't work for him. He'll cut down (never fully stopping) for a while, and then he'll go out and get really shitfaced. He has no control over his drinking, but he won't face that. He chooses not to face that.

Today I told him I was going to an Alanon meeting this evening with my Mom, and he said "So, you're really gonna stop drinking, huh? Well, I guess I'll just have to move out since *you* can't be around alcohol." I sooooo wanted to laugh at the incredible idiotic irony of that statement, but I didn't. I had to explain to him the difference between Alanon and AA. He of course said that the whole thing was a crock of **** and proceeded to blame me for his drinking. It's SO true that they do that, ya know? I just told him to keep believing that if he chose to.

So, generally what I wanted to say is that I'm glad that it has worked for your hubby, but it sure as hell ain't gonna work for mine, nor do I think I could live with a bitter dry drunk. (Not saying your husband is, just that I know my b/f would be.) Thanks so much for the feedback, though.
 
Old 11-03-2001, 08:47 AM
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Hi'ya Swanky....
DIY works for some. The problem is when they don't really want to DI at all.

One thing Dino never did was blame me for his drug use. I don't think he would have outlived a statement like that. However, you see posts like that a lot. It's amazing.

I'm suprised you were able to control your laughter. Glad you're going to be able to make it to a meeting. Maybe your boyfriend will come around.

Smoke
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Old 11-05-2001, 07:18 AM
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swanky
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Hey, you never know......

 

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