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Old 11-23-2011, 08:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Two people with issues (mostly venting)


Last night I went over to my boyfriend's after my AA meeting and he was drunk! He said since he doesn't have to work today (we are traveling to another city to meet up with my sister for Thanksgiving), he thought he would have a drink, and that when we get back from the holiday vacation he will start getting serious about eating better, working out, and not drinking. He said he planned not to drink again until my birthday in December, and then he said "Wait, you don't want to drink on your birthday, right?" and I said "right" and he said "Okay then I won't drink until I meet your dad over Christmas and he offers me a beer." Then he said "Actually, I take that back, because I hate flying, and have to get drunk to fly."

I was feeling good after my AA meeting but slightly annoyed that he was drunk, but I tried not to let it bother me. I mentioned, which I probably shouldn't have but I was just thinking out loud, that that's why I can't drink on special occassions, because soon everything (having off work tomorrow, meeting his parents, flying) becomes classified as a "special" occassion, or reason I need to drink. He was like, "Are you saying I shouldn't do that?" and I clarified that no, I was just thinking about myself, because I had told him a few days ago that I was wishing/sometimes thinking I could drink only on special occassions, but I know myself and I would always find reasons to have a special occassion.

Then when we were in bed he got into a really dark, negative mood. I've noticed this happens when he feels down about himself, and I think I accidentally cause it by not approving of his drinking. I think he feels like he let me/himself down and then he just gets totally down on himself. He started talking about how he had messed up and wasted the last 10 years of his life, that it was too late to be anything besides "X" career, and he's not even sure if he could be that. I guess he is afraid of failure and so he stays stuck. I tried to give him tips about changing his thinking and being more positive, and believing in/loving himself, but for quite awhile he kept throwing back excuses or "I just can't think like that." I finally said "I just don't know what to say to help you. I always try to help you get past this but I guess if you can't, you can't." What had annoyed me is that he was making comments like, "What is left for me now? I'm just going to be a good father?" and also saying that he wouldn't want to have kids if we don't make a lot of money... which is really strange because right now he makes very little money and hasn't ever cared about making money. I just don't understand him when he gets like that. He is so all or nothing that he starts to think that because he's not great at everything, or if he can't be some awesome, famous person, he doesn't want to be anything at all, or even try. (He was saying almost exactly these words last night.)

I think I need to just step back and create a bit more distance because I love him and want to help him but I am also dealing with so many of my own issues and emotions that I can only handle so much. If he can't even try to think positively, then I'm not sure how I can help him. By the end of the night (we were up very late talking), he asked me genuinely how he could change his thinking, and I said he just has to practice doing it. To catch himself thinking negatively about himself/his life and then do whatever it takes to turn it around and think positively instead, and to wake up every morning and say "I believe in myself and I'm going to make this a great day." He finally said "I will try." I hope that's a good start. I have recommended counseling and he says he will go but he has no insurance. He says he will apply for state aid or for insurance through his university which he says is crappy, but, it's something. I think he could really benefit from therapy-- I know I have.

I can relate to him so much and feel that in many ways we are the same. That's what works so great about us. But on the other hand I feel that when I try to improve my life, he gets more down about his, and I wish he could try to do what I'm trying to do. I think he has suffered more of a rough childhood than I did and I know he hasn't had the benefit of the years of therapy that I had (and I am finally just starting to try to make everything click and really work honestly on things for myself. I know it is a process and that realizing he has these issues and wanting to change things is a big start).

I guess I just need to vent and to ask for practical tips. Do I avoid him when he's drinking? Last night I just read my recovery book while he and his brother watched TV, and then we went to bed, and things were fine until he got so down on himself and negative. I know I can't "fix" him but I also hurt when he hurts and would like to do something to help, but I don't know what that is. Maybe I am naive to think we will both work out our issues independently and stay close as a couple. But I do see him wanting to work on his issues and just not knowing how. That gives me hope. And I realize that I need to focus on myself and my own recovery no matter what he does or doesn't do. I am just trying to find a balance between supporting him but also not letting it drag me down. It is hard for me to hear him talk so badly about himself, and about the future which usually, when he isn't totally down on himself, includes me/us.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, I can relate to a lot of that, pigtails. I posted on here a month or so back about a time when I came home from an AA meeting and my wife was drunk -- how it made me feel like I wasn't being supported, or that it seemed fundamentally "wrong" somehow for my significant other to be drinking at home when I'm so newly sober -- but the good people of SR set me straight on that, and you seem to already know that your recovery needs to be independent of anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. It still bothers me on some level when she drinks and we more or less just stay in seperate parts of the house when she is. One day, I assume it won't bother me at all, or she'll decide not to drink, but that's not today.

It also seems like the better I get, the more depressive and negative about her life she gets. And while I try to be as supportive, caring, and compassionate as I can be, I really don't know how to help her. I don't even know if the fact that I'm getting better is even remotely tied to her depression, or if it's just a seasonal thing, or whatever (she's always suffered from depression, but it seems worse lately). It's good to know that I'm not the only one going through that, so thank you for posting. I wish I had some advice to give you, but I don't even have any for myself on this one. Maybe someone wiser will come along and help both of us out.

--Fenris.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Wow, I can relate to a lot of that, pigtails. I posted on here a month or so back about a time when I came home from an AA meeting and my wife was drunk -- how it made me feel like I wasn't being supported, or that it seemed fundamentally "wrong" somehow for my significant other to be drinking at home when I'm so newly sober -- but the good people of SR set me straight on that, and you seem to already know that your recovery needs to be independent of anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. It still bothers me on some level when she drinks and we more or less just stay in seperate parts of the house when she is. One day, I assume it won't bother me at all, or she'll decide not to drink, but that's not today.

It also seems like the better I get, the more depressive and negative about her life she gets. And while I try to be as supportive, caring, and compassionate as I can be, I really don't know how to help her. I don't even know if the fact that I'm getting better is even remotely tied to her depression, or if it's just a seasonal thing, or whatever (she's always suffered from depression, but it seems worse lately). It's good to know that I'm not the only one going through that, so thank you for posting. I wish I had some advice to give you, but I don't even have any for myself on this one. Maybe someone wiser will come along and help both of us out.

--Fenris.
Yes I have read a lot on the forums about being independent in sobriety and not counting on/expecting other people to support me or change for me etc. I had a hard time with that at first, I guess I have co-dependency issues, but I finally got it in my head that this is about me, because when it was about other people, I always failed. I have to live according to my own standards and goals no matter what anyone else does.

That being said, I do still harbor hope that my boyfriend will want to give up drinking too. He has made some declarations and attempts at cutting back or controlling it, etc., which have given me hope, but then he doesn't always follow through, which I undertand because in the past I have been the same way. However it seems, like you say, that he gets worse as I get better. Which in a strange way kind of helps me, in that I see what I don't want for myself. The last time I relapsed started at Halloween when I thought I could just go have a fun night out for a special occasion. Nothing bad really happened to me but the next day he stayed drunk all day. He was like a little kid I had to take care of and it rather disgusted me, like, I hope I am never again in this state, and I hope he never is, either. Then the following weekend we were at a work event and we both said we needed a couple drinks to loosen up (he was just meeting my co-workers/bosses for the first time... and I gave myself permission to keep drinking since I had already blown it the previous weekend!), and that turned into going to a dance club with a co-worker who wanted to go out... again nothing bad happened to me but he was still drunk all the next day, in his child-like and very obnoxious, has-to-be-taken-care of state. That really strengthened my resolve to stop drinking even on "special occassions" or when I had an "excuse." I kept wondering how he could be so much drunker so much longer than I was, and then his brother helped me figure out that he was sneaking drinks from the kitchen, even in his falling-down state somehow, and he had drunk the rest of the whole bottle of vodka that next day.

It just disgusted me and I felt like I was making attempts at sobriety and he was going in the reverse direction. I told him that the next time he did that I was going to drop him off with his brother because my whole next day was spent babysitting him and it's no fun for me and brings me down. I also told him that he needs to fix his problem because that is no way for a grown, responsible man to act and he tells me he wants us to get married and have kids etc. So maybe he feels so much pressure from me. He didn't drink for awhile after that but now he is back at it again and he always acts hesitant like he thinks I will be mad at him. I know that what he chooses to do is his decision and at least he isn't getting falling-down drunk but I wonder if that's only because he thinks I'm watching him and ready to criticize him.

I really think his depression would get better if he stopped drinking. He has given up pot, by necessity because of his DWI and the possibility of probation or checks to see if he is following the terms of his bond release without bail, but he's been very resolute about it and I am proud of him. I think, and he agrees, that it has made his dependence on alcohol a lot stronger, because pot was his drug of choice and he pretty much lived a stoned life for like, ten years or so (he also had an addiciton to painkillers after a bad acccident, which he kicked on his own, so he feels he can control alcohol on his own, without AA etc.)

The whole reason I got serious about getting sober was that he got the DUI and I feel it easily could/should have been me. So I am trying to examine my dependence on him and not have my sobriety be determined by what he does or doesn't do. Like you said, I feel that as I improve my life, he sinks further into depression because he feels like a failure. I have admitted that I am powerless and can't do this on my own and I think that helps me so much, whereas he still think he can/should control it and that he doesn't want/need anyone else's help, except for mine and I don't think that's healthy, nor does it seem to really help anyway.

I am glad someone else can relate. Maybe there is no answer. I hope and "pray" (not religious but trying to find my higher power ) that he will change but I also know that my recovery and sobriety cannot depend on it. I only have myself to rely on, and my higher power, and that is what I try to tell him about himself, but I don't think he grasps it yet.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Pigtails

I presume u have a BB as ure in AA
just a suggestion but maybe if u read the chapter Working with others , it may put some things into context for you specifically pg 95, pg97, pg 101 pg 102 & pg 103 .
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey Pigtails

I presume u have a BB as ure in AA
just a suggestion but maybe if u read the chapter Working with others , it may put some things into context for you specifically pg 95, pg97, pg 101 pg 102 & pg 103 .
I do have a BB and will check it out as soon as I get home; I thought I read it all awhile ago but I don't really remember that part. Thanks!
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