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Old 05-11-2007, 06:14 AM   #1 (permalink)

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I love a bipolar alcoholic.

I think this may be the end. He left wednesday, came back thursday and we talked a little, then he left again, in a manic state saying "he just has to go right now". I have been sobbing for days. We have been living together for 2 years AND work together. Although it was an ajdustment, I feel I have been able to handle and be supportive of the the bipolar aspect. The alocohol abuse to "shut his brain off" is not something that I can live with. He is also on Lamictal, Cymbalta, and xanax. They seemed to be working wonders but his dr just raised his levels and it seems to be making him worse.

We have the same conversations over and over about the drinking. He started see an alcoholism counselor. It helps him short term. I have asked him to leave before (when he was drunk). Now it is hard for me to tell if it is alcohol or the pharmacy of medications he is on. That causes conflict, because when I ask him he gets defensive. He was very cold when he left, and I was trying to be calm and rational because it may be for the best. The I couldn't stand it and yelled to him as he was going, "No one could ever love you more than I do." He finally looked up at me and said "I know, & thats why I'm leaving. I love you and I don't want this to be your life." He said he was taking time to be alone, and he would come back today. He hasn't gotten all of his things and he said it was because it was "too final" for him right then.

Anyone have any insight? What do you think about the meds? Without alcohol as a factor, can we have a life together?
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:28 AM   #2 (permalink)

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Did I post this in the correct place? I have posted about the alcohol aspect on the other forums, but I was hoping for some sort of insight from someone who actually has the same affliction
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Old 05-11-2007, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There are no easy answers here, HodoIknow. Judging by my own experience with both bi-polar men and alcoholics, I think you have come at a place where its good to take a deep breath and try to let go and let God.

That doesnt mean Im implying you should leave him. I just think it could be a good idea to create a little distance from him to be able to see with some clarity where the relationship is going. Asking questions such as: What effects does it have on me? What can I do to help myself? Try shifting your focus from him to yourself and see how it goes for a while.

I have a feeling you might be overwhelmed, because obviously he cannot give to you what you need, because of his condition.

Ive been where you are and its never easy. Tread carefully. Are you seeing a therapist? Sometimes an objective person can clarify a lot for us.

Love and light,
Use adversity

Declare Independance

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Old 05-11-2007, 02:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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unfortunately people from some of the forums can't accept that an A can have a diagnosis--they may have caused him to become an A--he needs his meds stabalised--my son is on abilify and it is working wonders---if he can get the bipolar under control he will have a better chance of stopping drinking--PM me if you want...no one will touch this here...
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:05 PM   #5 (permalink)

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Living with a bi-polar A is #@%^T$#

Been there done that got the t-shirt and I have seen the movie. Yes it is not enough that the are bi-polar but then just when you think you can not take much more they start to drink. I know their have been studies that say bi-polars are prone to alcoholisim. Mine did not like lithium so they tried many other drugs that did not seem to help her disposition. My advice would be if you can get out, get out now because it rarely gets any better. People from Priests to Dr.s told me to get out for year but I did not listen and now I am paying the price. Don't do why I did and waste many years waiting for her to get over her problems, its not fair and it is no fun.
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi, howdoIknow;
Welcome to the forum!

First, please know that NO ONE causes another to be an addict or an alcoholic. Oh, sure, addicts will *blame* another for their actions. But, unless we force the dope or the booze into them, we are not ever the cause.

I do think you will find some real help at live Alanon meetings. There, you can get a sponsor who will help you find a way to live that will allow you to find serenity. Right now, it seems as if you are in need of some peace.

Being dual diagnosed is very difficult to deal with. It's rather like a chicken an an egg situation. And only time, committment and effort on his part can sift through the overlapping issues and help him find a way that stabilizes him.

We can be supportive of his positive efforts on that behalf, but, in the end, it's his issue to fix. I know this; my son is dual diagnosed as bipolar and a heroin addict. I've been dealing with it for 13 years. By detaching with love, I am able to keep my own sanity -- that which was once very truely threatened.

The serenity prayer always helps me:

G*D, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, (another person),
the courage to change the things I can, (myself and my situation),
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Remember, we didn't cause the addiction; we can't control it and we cannot cure it. But, we CAN learn to cope with it.

I wish you well on this journey, and hope to see you here often as we both grow in our recovery.


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Old 05-14-2007, 02:43 PM   #7 (permalink)

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Thank you everyone for all of your insight. I know it's not my fault, it's just SOOOO hard. But I know you guys already know that. I really love coming here, for several of the forums. It's nice to have people who can understand and give me hope when it's applicable and the gritty truth otherwise. Thank you all sooo much.
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree to a point....but not completely.....I'm new here, but it seems that there are some ppl here who don't truly believe that 'bipolarism' is an ACTUAL disease....I am bipolar A (OCD and ADHD) and I was an alcoholic before I knew about my other afflictions and bipolar's ARE prone to addiction, that's one of the most difficult aspects of the disease. I take a handful of pills everyday that I hate because it seems that they don't really work...I've gone off of them before and realized that they DO indeed work. What doesn't work is mixing them with alcohol...that's a recipe for disaster and I've gone through it many times....that's why I'm here. I've also put my wonderful husband through alot of BS and I guess I should be thankful that he truly loves me and doesn't feel the same way as some who have posted here! I am a person too - even tho I'm bipolar - it's a true disease. I refer to it as cancer of the brain BUT it can't be cured and you will live with it for the rest of your life - most bipolars realize that and can't stand the thought so they choose to end their lives instead of attempt the alternative. I have 3 wonderful children an amazing, loving and supportive husband who won't leave even when I tell him too. He left his family in England to be with me and misses them horribly - but he won't leave me and our children. He doesn't treat me like a freak that has no right to live a happy normal life. On this last go around I was sober for 95 days - taking my meds regularly but suffered a relapse last month - we've had some rocky times since then...he's listened to my enraged mouth and dealt with my temper like a 'real man' would. I guess what I'm trying to say is that - "yes" you need to decide upon whether or not you are willing to deal with someone who has a disease for the rest of your life....he needs to deal with the alcoholism and get his med's straightened out those things are his afflictions to deal with....I don't, however, feel that loving him is wrong .... you may have to love him from a distance until he is able to straighten himself out. You can have a 'normal' life loving with a bipolar but they have to keep up their end of the deal and do all that they can to better themselves....I would like to know....if he were in a car accident and lost all use of his limbs would you stop caring for him....if he ended up having cancer....would you throw him out just because you didn't want to deal with a few 'problems'? NO ONE is at all perfect, we all have something that we have conflict with I have to deal with my husband's problems and habits too.
I'm sorry but a few of the comments above made me feel very sad....
It is up to you to decide in the end...despite some of the negative ppl that will always exist in this world.

Good Luck and Blessings,
"We create the future with our words, our deeds, and with our beliefs."
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Similar to what H said individuals who have bipolar disorder are at a higher risk to have alcohol/substance abuse. It is usually treatable, however, if the person is willing to recognize the problem and do the work. It can be a long road not only for addiction recovery but also finding the right meds to treat bipolar and keep it under control. It doesn't happen quickly.

The personal experience I can share is that I have bipolar II and I have two close friends who have bipolar I. All three of us are sober alcoholics. I have six months and my friends have 6 and 18 years. All three of us have to be careful to take the meds and follow-up with our doctors to keep the bipolar treated. It hasn't been easy for any of us, however we are all leading very different lives than before (for the better!).

Whether to stick with him is not something I can tell you, it depends on how you feel about it, how long you have been struggling with him, if he is willing to work towards recovery, etc. I wish there were a simpler answer to give you.

All my best, HopeOct31
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:54 AM   #10 (permalink)

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I wonder what the psycology is behind the bi-polar and the addiction? Is it just an escape or is it about self destruction? I do believe bi-polar is a disease but I think Drs through it around as a catch all so they can put you on meds and not have to deal with it. My A left me after she got "sober" and had been in AA for 2 months. She has little or not emotion about the loss of our marriage and seems to be hard as stone. I cried on the phone one night trying to get her to call every thing of and I think I heard a sniff or two towards the end but for the most part she is pretty heartless. Is this typical, she never gets overly happy but the moods did swing, she even slapped me around once? I did not hit her back because I knew she would call the cops. I ended up with a mark below my eye and the shirt torn of my back. I am at the point now where I know it is over but it is pretty lonely. Here is another question, how long does it take for an A on average to do the 12 steps?
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:49 PM   #11 (permalink)

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I'm new to this site, but already I feel at home here, at least with this thread for now. I am reading two different kinds of posts to your question, one from those who "get" 12-step programs, and the other from folks who either havn't been exposed or who don't believe in the program's principles.

I have been living with the addiction and bi-polar conditions of my immediate family for most of my life. On top of that I am a recovering alcoholic.

The best advice I can give is the following: First- take care of yourself, especially if the behavior and actions of your loved one are affecting you negatively. On the one hand there's traditional counseling (psychological or spiritual) that gives you an outlet so you don't isolate or rely on the advice of friends who may or may not be acting in your best interest. On the other there are 12-step programs like AA, NA, CA, Alanon for both you and your loved one, but only if you or he is "willing" to go on his or her own.

Sometimes going to a meeting for the other person is a caring or sympathetic act, but may not work for you in the long run because of the nature of the illnesses or dysfunction (my opinion here) or your own lack of commitment to a particular 12-step program. Second- Do what you can to support your significant other or family member, without doing things for them. By that I mean try not to either enable destructive behavior or take responsibility for the actions of another. Third- set strict limits about what is allowed and what is not. These boundaries can really help behaviors that you may not be equipped to handle. In other words, calling the cops might be a reasonable consequence for threatening or suicidal behavior.

Obviously the bi-polar person needs professional medical help and, probably, a variety of medications, the regular monitoring or them and the ability to make changes in dosage or type when they are not working properly. And obviously if the bi-polar person is also abusing alcohol or drugs simultaneously with the medical regumen, all bets are off, especially if the person is not honest with the physician about substance abuse.

Finally, the whole area of bi-polar conditions and 12-step is only in its infancy, as far as I have heard. Others may be able to weigh in on any fellowships that have begun to understand the complexity of these situations. For example, if the drug addict is on clinically prescribed and dosed methadone, is the person considered "sober". Likewise, are legally obtained prescriptions of addictive substances considered "drugs" in the eyes of various fellowships. My experience tells me that its always a judgment call on the part of 12-step members and sponsors.

I welcome more input in this regard because in our family we continue to struggle with these issues as we try to get enlightened medical help for bi-polarism and also to find effective 12-step support groups for normal family members and those in recovery as well. It isn't easy, either way, but gets better with good communication and a lot of active participation.

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Old 05-27-2010, 10:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I am a bipolar alcoholic, on a similar mix of medicines. First, the medicines do not work when you are drinking. It's a fact, and I have experienced it. Second, I believe he has to give up alcohol in exactly the same way and on the same terms - total abstinence - as any other alcoholic. Somebody could say - "Oh, the poor guy; he has two problems" - this is a trap. He has to deal with the alcohol first. It's hard, but that is no excuse for not doing it. You should look out for yourself. I used to take advantage of my wife's longsuffering sympathy for my problems. That's what alcoholics do: anything to keep drinking. It wasn't until she really was halfway out the door - for real - that I got a clue. Best of luck to you.
Keep it simple.
Tell the truth.
Don't drink today.
That much I think I get.

Addendum: And work the steps
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:16 AM   #13 (permalink)

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i'm in a similar situation although my ABF suffers from unipolar depression not bipolar (although beginning to wonder if there isn't a mild bipolar aspect). It is hard being in a relationship with someone suffering from these problems. I don't know if i'm coming or going from one day to the next.

I personally think the alcohol has to be dealt with first too because meds cannot work when someone is drinking. I can see that it must be a huge and scary situation for them to be in, and one that feels impossible to deal with. I've tried to be supportive and encouraging but when he continues to make things worse by using alcohol I end up getting angry and shouting at him to sort things out. That probably doesn't help, but then it doesn't seem to matter at all how I respond to him - nothign changes. I think he has to go to rehab to tackle it but that isn't happening either.

Personally I have made a decision to stay in the relationship for now and try to help him, but I cant do that forever if nothing changes. I wish you luck and I feel for you. It is hard when someone is saying things like that to you and you dont know where you stand. I have a similar thing most days and it can be so draining.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:31 PM   #14 (permalink)

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Hi, I'm new to this and running out of hope. am in love with a bipolar alcoholic and am reaching for help. My girlfriend of 2 years (off and on) is bipolar according to her family members. I have been told from very reliable sources that she was diagnosed with this many years ago. She will not admit she has a problem, and to top it all off she is also an alcoholic. I have been there with/for her and have tried to talk to her several times about our relationship and possibly seeking help. I think i have become nothing more than a convenience and an enabler. I have always thought I was a strong person (mentally/emotionally). I have finally come to grips with the fact I am weekened to the point of codependency. I love this girl so much I want to stick with her to the end in hopes of someday having a "normal" loving relationship with her. I'm losing hope because she is finally almost pushed me completely out of her life. She says al she wants in her life is to go out and have fun. I'll have to admit she is a very attrctive woman and is always the life of the party....and not always in a good way. We live in a smaller town where she has plenty of people that support her irrational behavior and will be quick to give her bad advice. Please, if anyone has any advice, please share with me..???
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:47 AM   #15 (permalink)

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I'm a Bipolar recovering alcoholic and co-dependent. It starts with honesty and acceptance for me. I have had issues with both for years and they seem to inter-mingle and torment and tease each other. What makes me really irritated is neither the NA book or the Big Book goes into the scope of Bipolar and alcohol. I have to be honest with my Dr. about the meds and whether they are working and if I am actually taking them. Many of us Bipolars go off meds because the side effects are so awful. It takes at least two years for most of us to come up with the meds that will work and the right dosage. Then for me they stop working after 6 months and I have to go through the withdrawal and start up of new meds. Alcohol crushes BP meds...they won't work. What has worked best for me is complete abstinence from alcohol...going to meetings...going to a therapist...going to a pdoc...living as simple a life as free of stress as possible...prayer and meditation...and exercize. O.K. I don't exercize and I smoke cigarrettes...but hey I want to and soon I think I will.

Acceptance for bipolar has been a big one for me too. I have been dxed with it by several different drs. and still question whether it is real. Other people can see it easier than I can. Sometimes I ask my husband what I should tell the Dr. because he can see it easier than I can. He doesn't push me though or control me...just gently notices I may be a bit depressed.

Many alcoholics are treated for depression when it is really the alcohol acting as a central nervous system depressant on their brain. Alcohol always depresses me. That's another reason I have to stay away from it.

I wish there was more info. on dual diagnosis...I think there are even dual diag. meetings like 12 step groups. Oh yeah...I went to one a couple years back and it was weird. Or was I too weird to relate? Hmmm...may look back into that. Interesting post. Thank you.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:49 AM   #16 (permalink)
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You'll get great support in the "Friends and Families of Alcoholics" forum area of this website. It's not about the alcoholic, it's about you being involved with an alcoholic. So many of us have to learn that we're powerless over alcoholics, there is nothing we can do or say that will affect their drinking or mental illness.

I recommend Al-anon, a program designed for people involved with alcoholics.

By the way, according to physicians, the majority of alcoholics also have a mental illness like bipolar and/or depression. We drank to self-medicate and must get help for both diseases. I go to both AA and a psychiatrist (for my depression).
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I have a dear friend detoxing from pot and alcohol who is resisting taking her Lithium-sometimes she lies and says she takes it but doesn't- but has been very manic- several legal issues coming up- but I was wondering for those of you with the dual diagnosis what meds do you find work the best for you- and yes- she has a therapist and psych doc and attends AA. And thanks !
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:28 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Dr. Drew last night on tv said mania can be triggered by drinking/using.....
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:36 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Whatever medication he takes to help his bipolar is NOT going to work if he drinks. In fact his condition will become worse and behavior more moody and violent.

Speaking from experience, my daughter and my brother in law.

It gets worse and worse.

The drinking HAS to stop. Then you will notice a total difference in behaviour with the help of the medication.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:13 PM   #20 (permalink)

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My AW had a severe binge drinking problem for over 20 years. Last August during a binge she became suicidal so I finally got her to agree to go to the hospital for help. Due to the suicide threats she was sent to the mental health unit. While she was there she was diagnosed as Bipolar and put on a treatment program. Her drinking had gotten to the point that I was in the process of filing for divorce when she was diagnosed. At first the Bipolar didn't matter to me I just wanted out and thought it was an excuse. But due to our daughters upcoming wedding I put the divorce on hold. After a while I noticed a major change in her so I kept the divorce on hold and gave her a chance to prove herself. I am happy to report that the meds are working. She is a different person, and it's for the better. She has also not taken a drink in 6 months and our relationship has been repaired. So their is hope. It's all up to him though. My advice to you is to decide what your going to do if he dosen't recover. For myself I have made the decision, if she returns to drinking I am leaving.
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