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Old 03-09-2017, 06:50 PM
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New with Question

Hi everyone,

I am new here with a question or two. I have been seeing someone for about 2.5 years now that is 4 years sober. He goes to meetings weekly and is doing well in that respect.

Recently, I have been thinking about or wanting to understand more about what he goes through. I mean, I always had an interest but did not want to overstep. He suggested awhile ago that I go to an Alanon meeting which I went to my first one the other night. It was ok, I did not share my story. It was more about me than I thought it would be. I know that is the point, I just did not know that beforehand.

Honestly, I felt a little out of place because I have never experienced him drinking. I have only known him as sober. This got me thinking about how and if I have been affected by his behavior up to this point.

My first thought was no and then I got thinking about it. He can be very moody, he gets into these negative head spaces and sleeps a lot when this is happening. He knows he suffers in some way from depression and SADs. He can be hard on himself as well. I do find that it can sometimes feel like he is pushing me away when he is going through these moods. He goes through bouts of buying things (related to different hobbies) and then a few months later totally junks his house out and wants to get rid of everything. I would say this happens almost like clock work from what I can tell. I try to be positive around him and supportive as much as possible and I give him space when I feel one of these cycles coming on.

Honestly, it can feel like I am dealing with 2 diffetent people sometimes. When he isn't being like this he is sweet, kind, supportive and helpful. I do find that sometimes he can be a little selfish or self involved, but nothing crazy.

I guess my question is, is this 'normal' behavior of an alcoholic/recovering alcoholic? (I know everyone will be different). Since I have never experienced him under the influence, I dont know. Is this behavior just his personality in general or is it BECAUSE he is an alcoholic he has these behavioral tendencies?

I hope my question makes sense.

Thank you for helping.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:04 PM
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Hi Valbazin and welcome

My BF is sober for 4.5 years and I am sober for 4 months now. I've never witnessed his active addiction either. What you wrote about your boyfriend reminds me in many aspects of mine and also of myself. So if you want you can label these characteristics as alcoholic behavioural tendencies. But you can also just label them whatever you wish. Would that make a difference for you?

Lots of alcoholics have similar characteristics but I see the same behavioural patterns in others too, that don't suffer from addiction. I mean that's a hen and egg question anyway, do we start to drink because if certain aspects to our personality or does our personality develop a certain way caused by our drinking?

If you feel like Al-Anon is not for you maybe both of you could go to an open AA meeting together. As I understood it, you were mostly interested about understanding his struggle better? You can also read in the Alcoholism forum here or just in the newcomers section, there are a ton of personal stories and some very good insight into addiction and our struggle with it.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:14 PM
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Hi, and welcome. I've been in a marriage to someone with over a decade of sobriety (then--now it's 37 years) and I'm eight years sober, myself.

Most sober alcoholics have some characteristics (and they vary from one person to another) that linger from the days when they drank. Sometimes those characteristics appear in a very different form after sobriety. But people who NEVER drank have their quirks, too, so it's pretty tough to pin everything on the "ism." If your b/f has been working a program all this time, he probably has some insight (nobody has perfect insight) into what stems from the "ism." Ultimately, all 12-Step programs--including AA and Al-Anon--are intended to help the individual reach his/her full potential as a human being. Get right with God (or the Universe), your fellow human beings, and yourself. So if he sticks with it, there will always be room for improvement (as there is with all of us).
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:19 PM
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We all have our own strange little quirks. I know many in the recovery world would like to attribute any strange or bad behavior as an alcoholic behavior. I don't buy into that mode of thinking. I think it just has something to do with being imperfect human beings . I used to drink too much but also have a few other annoying tendencies. Just ask my wife.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:29 PM
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Thanks! I suppose at the end of the day it doesnt really matter where the behavior comes from. That is his personality regardless and I have to accept him as he is which I pretty much have. I guess I am just someone that wants to know things and wants to understand.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:05 PM
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I think that even in recovery and strongly working a program, as it sounds that your SO is, there is a lot going on in the alcoholic brain. My opinion only, but whatever led us to the drink--I am almost 4 years in recovery--is still there. We have just learned to cope with the "stuff still there" without alcohol.
Al-Anon is a great fellowship that can provide a lot of support. You are right. The groups are about the loved ones of alcoholics, not the alcoholics themselves.
I would recommend going to different meetings and try it for a couple of months.
You can also attend open AA meetings. That could be very informative. Peace.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:34 AM
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He goes through bouts of buying things (related to different hobbies) and then a few months later totally junks his house out and wants to get rid of everything.

I do this too and I am not an alcoholic. I get bored of stuff....lol
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:23 AM
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I think you are dealing with a personality and their issues. Whether or not they are a recovering alcoholic is irrelevant other than if they happen to drink because of their issues at some point, it is not going to be pretty. IMHO folks make way to big a deal of some "difference" in recovering alcoholics where the fact is that generally it is just human characteristics with which one is dealing. Once alcohol is removed from the equation it is then just dealing with the human imperfections that everyone has. That is my experience and the way I look at things.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:40 AM
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"He knows he suffers in some way from depression and SADs"

out of everything you typed, this caught my attention.
we who have depression don't have to suffer from depression.

has he talked to his doctor ir a psychologist about this?
there could be an underlying psychological disorder that a psychologist can determine.

saying you feel youre dealing with 2 different people at times and some of the other things you describe has me thinking there could be something deeper than just depression or SAD, which a psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist could help with.

HOWEVER
has he worked the steps of the program?
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
saying you feel youre dealing with 2 different people at times and some of the other things you describe has me thinking there could be something deeper than just depression or SAD, which a psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist could help with.

HOWEVER
has he worked the steps of the program?
This was my first thought too. I had a relative that suffered from alcoholism. He was also an untreated bi-polar. He experienced highs and lows. During his highs, he would spend a lot of money on his interest. Sadly, he never found sobriety and lost his battle with alcoholism.

I'm not saying your RABF is this but that was my first thought without knowing more of your story.
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