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Help needed, struggling with boyfriend with an alcohol problem



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Help needed, struggling with boyfriend with an alcohol problem

Old 09-01-2013, 05:39 AM
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Unhappy Help needed, struggling with boyfriend with an alcohol problem

Hello,

Thank you for this website, I just joined. I have been keeping quiet about this issue for months now, if not longer, but I don't think I can go any further on my own. I really don't know how to handle this.

I'm 26 and I have been with my boyfriend (nearly 30) for nearly a year and a half. I have my own apartment, which he moved into around 6 months ago.

When we started dating, he started out telling me, in a sort of joke way, I do enjoy a drink is that alright? Naively, and with little experience of heavy drinkers, I said sure if it's healthy, which he said of course too.

As time went on, discussions happened more and more about his drinking. He loves it, but feels bad about it. He doesn't want to have a problem. He hates the idea he's a special case or can't do whatever he wants. Those are things he says.

I guess it started getting bad when he'd get really drunk and be verbally offensive. Before that, I'd tell him I was worried about his drinking, and he'd say it was ok, he was handling it, balancing it.

I should maybe say what he drinks. Before me, he says he was in a bad place. 12 beers every night, or a couple of bottles of wine. Sometimes a bottle of gin or whisky in a day but not frequently (he prefers beer). His holidays from work were spent drinking, he told me he felt bad for wasting it. When he moved in with me, he said he was in a better place. It was more like 6 beers most nights, sometimes with more beers, sometimes with whisky, sometimes with wine too, anywhere from half to a full bottle (half if I'd had a glass). A night off was generally rare and he preferred drinking most nights.

So, at some point, he'd have heavier nights, maybe 10 cans, maybe 8, and I'd come in from work (I work evenings). He prefers to drink alone. Somehow the conversation would turn offensive. He'd say something cruel or dismissing of me, I'd try to not act too upset but try to say something along the lines of 'that's upsetting do you mean that', hoping he'd say it was phrased wrong, but he never did. One time I was so upset I couldn't sleep and had to call in to work ill for my 6am start shift. The next day, sober, he wouldn't want to talk about it and would say he was sorry and he was just being a drunken *some curse word*. He'd say he felt really bad.

It got really bad a couple of months ago. He gets motivated to drink by films and tv and following some film watching decided he wanted to drink gin. He bought in beers and gin one night, drank some beers then downed almost all the 35cl bottle of gin. He then went to lie down to sleep/nap. I had been at hospital that day, I am ok but there are some health investigations going on at the moment and I had been quite ill at the time. I came to bed a little after, my coming in woke him (I wasn't being noisy, I was trying to be quiet) and startled him. He started talking to me, and I told him, conversationally, I was feeling quite ill. He sat bolt upright and said he was going to start ringing for medical help. I tried to calm him and say I was fine, just commenting, but he wouldn't listen. I had to put the light on and talk slowly to stop him calling something like emergency services. Then I made the mistake of saying (I didn't know at the time) 'how much gin did you have??' to which he freaked out. He is very sensitive about his freedom to drink. He jumped up, saying something about having as much as he wants, very angry face, grabbed the bottle with a little gin left and started waving it about, looking to smash it. Then, he held his arm above his head, so the bottle looked to be above my face, and stared at me in complete anger. He didn't smash it, he put it down. My legs were shaking so much, I panicked and went to call for help and lock myself in the bathroom. Unfortunately, you can open the bathroom lock from the outside so he said he'd open it if I didn't come out. He started crying, asking why I was doing this to him. It wound up him saying he was leaving and going to do the long walk to his parents to sleep there. I felt bad for them, his mother isn't well and it was the middle of the night. So, I ended up sleeping in front of the front door all night to stop him going out.

I hoped after that he'd want to quit, to my disappointment, the next night he had a planned meetup with friends and asked if I'd be ok with him taking his remaining 4 cans to drink. I said ok. After that, I tried to arrange something fair with him, so he could drink to make him happy but I wouldn't be scared of him getting very drunk again. It was settled on a 4 beer limit. It worked for a while, maybe a month. He would get high percentage beers, 7ish% ones I think. The problems started a couple of weeks ago. First, he was telling me how he really wanted an extra beer when he was drinking. Then he told me he nearly had an extra one. Then he told me he'd had an extra one one night. I was upset he'd broken our agreement. On a trust basis. He was telling me he really was fine with beer, it was spirits that were bad. That he couldn't drink enough beers in a night to get as drunk as he did on gin. He also told me he was drinking his high strength beers fast to get his buzz and he'd rather have several normal strength beers spread over the night. So, I suggested a night where he could have 5. He could have 3 whilst I was at work, then I'd come home and join him, I'd have one with his last 2. I assumed he'd start drinking a little before I came home. Instead, he said out of excitement, he drank all 3 immediately (early afternoon) then got restless. He rang me at work to ask if he could have an extra one then, as well as the 2 later, and saying he had also told a friend of his he could come round ours tonight to hang out. This is someone I barely know and who drinks heavily. I was really sick of it all at that phone call, asking for a 6th after I already extended it, taking over the house without asking me if it was ok after I'd had a long shift and just wanted to relax not having a drinking night with guests, ringing me at work about it when I had a lot to think of work related. The friend didn't come over, he just didn't bother. I told my boyfriend how much that call had annoyed me but he didn't really understand why.

A few days ago I told him I was tired of being his keeper. Him constantly trying to push things, constantly telling me his beer limit was the only bad thing in his life, that it made him feel like someone with a problem. I told him I didn't want to do it anymore, no more limit arrangements. Last night, he bought it a box of 10 cans of normal beer. He got very drunk, seemingly as drunk as the gin night or close to. Again, I came in from work to it, it started ok, but as he got more drunk he got more offensive. He wanted to talk to me but wasn't listening to me when I spoke, he told me he just didn't care. He gets easily wound up and says he can't be bothered with anything when he's drunk. He didn't want me to wake him up today (our only day off together in a long time, maybe a week and a half), even though I would never wake him before 10, usually I would by 11ish. Always with affection and I had been planning to wake him and offer him eggs and bacon on toast. I told him and he got angry, saying he'd set an alarm because if he didn't he'd get bother from me all day. I'm never even mean I just try to talk through bad situations after they happen but calmly. I said no leave the alarm I just won't wake you at all. He told me how he was looking forward to that night again (beer and his music on) but without me. He started saying how he couldn't be arsed talking to me. It wound up me offended, him saying he was sick of me doing 'this', asking me 'why has it got here again?? why does this keep happening?' him crying and with bouts of severe anger on his face, me asking him not to keep raising his voice. I probably shouldn't have at one point shrugged and said 'well...' and gestured to the nearly empty beer box, but then, it's the truth why shouldn't I say it? I didn't feel like just going to sleep next to him, so I went out in the middle of the night for a walk for the first time, it makes me feel better, the fresh air. I came back to him asleep in bed, having downed the final can (plus whatever was left in the one he'd been drinking when I left). So, 10 cans total.

This morning he was hugging me in bed, saying I don't love him anymore, do I? I told him I do but said no more.

He says he worried about everything, stress all day long, he only feels chilled out and relaxed and worry free when he drinks. It's his way of relaxing. He says sober he chooses me over drinking, after drinking he seems to always choose drink. He often, when drinking, says comments about us not working out because of him wanting freedom to drink. I've never even said 'drink or me', ever. I have asked him what's more important to him. I've tried to talk through, make suggestions, counsel him and tell him about health issues from drinking. Last night, he asked when I was going out if I'd be back. I told him yes if I didn't get raped, not that safe a place where I live. He thought about coming but said he was bringing his beers. I said I was going alone if that was the case. He can't, after drinking, easily just stop drinking. It seems too important to him.

I am so sorry this is so long. If it's too long for anyone to read, I'll try to rewrite it later and delete this one. Thank you very much for your time if you read this and if you have any advice for me, that would be very helpful.

When sober, we have so much fun and we get along so well. We see things so similarly, we laugh. Then there's the drinking. Oh, and I haven't spoken to anyone I know about this, I feel like I don't want to sound like we're a mess, I don't want people to think bad of him, I guess I don't know if people will understand why I'm struggling, if they haven't been through something similar.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:57 AM
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Welcome afla,
Alcoholism affects everyone around it I'm sorry you're dealing with this mess. I'm glad you've joined us....you'll find lots of support here.

We also have a thread called Friends and Families....you should take a look at it....lots of good experience with what you're dealing with.

Friends and Family of Alcoholics - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:03 AM
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I am so glad you wrote this, did it help you emotionally to get it all out?
So sorry about your boyfriend.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:18 AM
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Hi, thank you for the welcome. It's really nice there's such a supportive community here, I didn't know such a nice place was out there to help. Yes, it has helped. I feel a bit stronger now I've spoken about it, I feel a bit more ready to deal with it properly, seriously, now it's no longer a secret.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:48 AM
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Hi Afla,

Welcome!

Seems like you'd find a lot of information at the Friends and Family part of the forum--specifically the Friends and Family of Alcoholics. There is lots of reading there as well. It may be very helpful to you right now.

Danae
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:54 PM
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Hi alfa.

Your story hits home for me.

I started dating my girlfriend about a month after I began my three-year relapse. We'd known each other for a few years but had lost touch over time. When we first started seeing each other, she commented that I never drank when we knew each other earlier. I assured her that it wasn't a problem for me, and that I wasn't drinking earlier because we were in grad school then, and that I needed to focus on my work. She drank fairly regularly, but it had never been a problem for her.

We started living together about six months later, and she began picking up on my advanced drinking skills early on. I was also skillful at hiding it at first, though she often wondered about my frequent trips to our bedroom during the night. Because she would have one or two glasses of wine or beer, I could drink in front of her without causing a stir. My two or three beers was just a cover. The quart of vodka I'd been sipping all night was neatly tucked away, and when she took to bed to read, I had a stash of vodka in the living room, so I could drink without her seeing me drink. Whenever we went out, I'd carry at least a pint of vodka in my backpack.

Fast forward. Things got progressively worse, though I was able to continue hiding my drinking for a time. I'm not an argumentative person, so we rarely got into it about her criticizing my drinking, though there were times I said things that I soon regretted. The biggest point of contention was that I didn't show up for things that involved her toddler son. There was never any alcohol available at these activities, and I was often too drunk or hungover to go. She's a very bright, honest and caring person, so she hung in there with me longer than she might have. Once it was clear I had a serious problem, I was told to leave and stay away from our home, little more than a year into our relationship. Because I was only concerned about me and my drinking, I hung on longer than I should have. She settled this by depositing my belongings on the wrong side of the front door, after first changing the locks. We spoke about five or six times following my departure.

The way we lived, the way we were together (or not) and, of course, my drinking...it was all about me. I experienced a measure of relief after she kicked me out, if only because I could now openly drink the way I wanted to, and I didn't have to endure her near-daily criticisms. Losing my relationship and my home was not enough for me. I later could no longer work, and was unable to pay for my new apartment. It took me eighteen months to lose everything, and I had no choice but to enter medical detox because I could no longer function on my own.

After I got sober again, I was horrified at how I had behaved, and found no words to make things right with her. After about six months of sobriety, I sent an email offering my amends. I didn't call her because she didn't want me to call or see her. She didn't answer my calls either, and I wasn't going to block my number in order to have her pick up. That was bout eighteen months ago, and I haven't heard from her since.

My only advice is to take care of yourself in whatever ways you need to do that. The threat of abandonment, loss of employment, homelessness...even the threat of death does not stop us. And, in my experience, the way to get better is to change our entire lives. No amount of care, concern, coaxing, monitoring, threats or indifference will stop your guy from drinking. It's a very old and very sad story that so many people believe that they can get someone else sober. And it always ends in tears.
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:21 PM
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Hi EndGame, I'm sorry to hear you had such a destructive part of your life. You're right, I do need to take care of myself, it is easy for me to make it not about me and my boyfriend has described himself several times as selfish.

Maybe wrongly, I don't believe nothing can help my boyfriend, or anyone else. After all, support groups wouldn't work if that were true and they do amazing things. I don't think I can help him without it falling back on me being resented and blamed but I think professional help might. Alcoholic support services.

As for your girlfriend, I think we all deal with things in our own way and it sounds like she found it easier to work past your issues alone to recover from it, rather that from talking to you about it. I'm sure your sincerity to do the right thing and do things differently will be appreciated by your next girlfriend.
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:47 PM
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Hey alfa.

Yeah, that prolonged episode in my life was not my finest moment. She too is a clinical psychologist and, knowing her as I did, I wasn't at all surprised that she took matters into her own hands to heal. I gave her little choice. Though I've only had good thoughts about her since, it truly broke my heart about how much I hurt her.

One of the reasons I post parts of my story here is to suggest that it's not necessary to go all-in on pain and suffering in order to get sober or to get help while in a relationship with an active alcoholic. So much speeding through every "Stop" sign; so much brutal fantasy that things would work themselves out without putting down the drink; so much unnecessary grief and destruction.
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