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Couple quitting drinking together?

Old 04-07-2015, 11:31 AM
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Couple quitting drinking together?

My boyfriend of a couple of months is trying to quit drinking again. He's the only person in my life who has told me I have a drinking problem. He has a 25-year history of intermittent drug and alcohol abuse and has been to rehab a couple of times. He also spent time in prison for (would you believe) multiple DUIs. He has been sober for years at a time--his longest stretch is 2.5 years without a drink--but he typically relapses over the holidays. His brother is a whiskey distiller of some renown, and even being aware of the folly, he allows himself a treat when his brother comes home for Christmas with a bottle for everyone in the family. Anyway, he has gone the AA route before and likes it, especially the service element among longtime members and sponsors. He's been encouraging me to go with him to a meeting. I'll probably do it both to support him and out of curiosity, but I think something like SMART Recovery is more my speed.

My question: I don't know if trying to quit together is a good thing or a bad thing. What do people think? We both tend to rationalize our slips and give the other permission to drink. We've both slipped this week, he when he was out playing poker at a bar, and I last night at home watching the NCAA basketball final. I had three bottles of beer and feel bad now because I was doing so well...it had been a week since I'd had a drink (good going for me).

He thinks that I'm not truly committed to sobriety at this stage, and he's not wrong. Part of me freaks out at the thought of never having another delicious IPA. I've felt so good during the dry stretches, physically and mentally, and yet I still cave to the desire knowing that the pleasure is fleeting. I imagine this sounds familiar to a lot of people. How do I get a handle on it?

This is a bit all over the place...just wondering if anyone has been there. I know this question is pretty involved and depends on a lot of different things, such as people's personalities, etc.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:41 AM
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There really is no hard and fast rule on this. Both of you getting sober is definitely a great goal to have. You might find that going to meetings together is helpful, but then again you might want to go on your own in case you would like to be truly anonymous with others about it. Or you could do both....there's nothing stopping you from trying it.

Co-dependence can be a big issue though - encouraging/enabling each other to drink on special occasions, etc. In that sense you will honestly need to internalize and commit absolutely to your sobriety as an individual at times...so you can say NO when the other half wants to throw in the towel for the day.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:47 AM
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Wow -

Pigeonhead - Frankly it sound to me like two people who might like some sobriety but really are not serious about it. We both slipped (chose to drink) this week - He thinks you're not committed - His brother brings Whiskey at Xmas??!!


For me it took a long time to get to the point of being truly ready - no more games. Being ready entailed admitted I was an alcoholic and could never again (one day at a time) drink in a "normal" way. Even when I felt better, I cannot drink - my disease is doing push up and waits......patiently for the time when I think - hey, I can have a drink!

Once I was ready I not only accepted the problem but accepted the solution. Whatever that is for you......

Glad you're here - certainly don't mean this to sound harsh, but are you both truly committed or do you think just really supportive of each other relapses?!?!? We each need to take ownership of our own sobriety.....


Good luck to us all on our journeys.....
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Flynbuy View Post
Wow -

Glad you're here - certainly don't mean this to sound harsh, but are you both truly committed or do you think just really supportive of each other relapses?!?!? We each need to take ownership of our own sobriety.....

That's not harsh at all, it's a good question. I almost wish that he were more solid about his own commitment because that would put the pressure on me to follow. He was upset and disappointed with me a couple of weeks ago when I allowed myself a couple of beers when a friend was in town, and I was motivated to abstain for the next week. During that week, he allowed himself a couple of small bottles of whiskey (the kind they have on airplanes) to "treat" a panic attack, for which he already has prescription medication. He declared us "even." Even writing this, I can see how messed up it is! Perhaps I'm answering my own question. We're living together temporarily.

I suppose the simple answer is for me to set the example. Perhaps make it a real challenge..."Who's committed now?" sort of stuff.

Yeah, the brother's whiskey thing is problematic.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pigeonhead View Post
I suppose the simple answer is for me to set the example. Perhaps make it a real challenge..."Who's committed now?" sort of stuff.
It doesn't even need to be a challenge....setting the example and getting sober for yourself is entirely under your control. Challenges, ultimatums, comparisons, etc, are not only beyond your control ( you cannot "makes" someone get sober ) but they can actually cause more problems than they solve.

Certainly encouragement of each other and support is helpful...but at the end of the day only you can get you sober, and only he can get himself sober.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:23 PM
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Yeah, it feels like we're doing everything wrong. I know there are couples out there who have managed to quit together. It almost seems like it would be twice as difficult rather than a source of mutual support because the ways people deal with addiction vary so much from one to another.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:34 PM
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Good luck Pigeonhead
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pigeonhead View Post
It almost seems like it would be twice as difficult rather than a source of mutual support because the ways people deal with addiction vary so much from one to another.
It's not going to be easy no matter how you slice it. The opposite can be just as difficult ( one partner in recovery, one actively drinking and not in recovery ).

However, it IS possible for you to get sober no matter what happens with your husband if you commit to it. If you do some reading around here and on the friends and family forum you'll see that many people get sober with or without the support of their spouse/partner. It's really all about you and what YOU are willing to do. What your partner/spouse does or doesn't do is largely beyond your control anyway.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:49 PM
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I am a double winner in recovery for both codependency and alcoholism.

The thing to remember is to keep your recoveries separate. Yes, it's ok to go to a speaker meeting together once in a while (if you are in AA) but his recovery (or lack of) is his and yours is yours.
A bit like dental hygiene:
You want to kiss someone who has sweet smelling breath but you really don't want to be sharing the same toothbrush.

Another thing which has been hinted on this thread is codependency issues. I have been there myself and it is very tempting to focus on one's partner's issues and how they work their recovery rather than work on ourselves. It gets very tempting to try to help and fix the other rather than deal with our own crap.

Relapses are also something to consider. One partner might drink or use. This is why it is always advised to put your oxygen mask on first. If he drinks, you do not have to drink yourself but you will have to be prepared to step up your own recovery and reach out for support.

It is doable. Ed and I did not make it but there are some couples who do quit together and both stay sober like Anattaboy and his wife here on SR. This is the exception though, not the rule.
Basically you have to make it for you and on you. You cannot make your own sobriety contingent upon someone else's.

It is possible to get clean and sober whether our loved ones are in active addiction or not.
I and many others have done it and so can you
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:52 PM
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My wife and I are both sober. The commitment to do so was like getting re-married. I do SR and the occasional meeting and she just does life sober. I will say that I was willing to do it alone if it came down to that as we were very practiced at supporting each other in drunkenness and all the co-dep that goes with THAT. We ARE doing it but it's no easy task. Best wishes on saving yourself. If your partner is willing to live sober (no matter what) then it's just life stuff.
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Old 04-07-2015, 01:14 PM
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Like Carlotta, you might find yourself a double winner. You should pop over the the Friends and Family of Alcoholics forum and see what may lie ahead for you when you do get sober and he doesn't. You might have to give some thought to the idea that an alcoholic boyfriend of a few months is not the best thing for your recovery...nor the makings of a solid relationship.
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Old 04-07-2015, 01:44 PM
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It can be done, quitting together, but each person has to have their own plan. As was mentioned above, comparisons and competition are detrimental. To me, at least. I have 16 months. My husband relapsed before Christmas. It's been really hard to stay focused on me but I have to. What has been working for me won't work for him and vvice versa. But I get caught in the trap of "I'm doing it? Why aren't you? You know how to do it!!!" Because he does. He's had longer periods of sobriety than I. The risk of one of you relapsing also is a trigger. I've had to work extra hard not to drink at my husband and my anger.

But you can be very supportive of each other. Personally, I don't like attending AA meetings with my husband. I go, but on my own. I always feel that when he shares something he's merely blowing smoke for my benefit and not because he's serious.

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:09 PM
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You can do this Pigeonhead!!
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:29 PM
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How are you doing today?
You should check out the 24 hours recovery connections. It s a fun supportive way to hold ourselves accountable. You just check in on the thread and you commit not to drink or drug for the next 24 hours
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ml#post5308096
I would also recommend that you join the class of April where you can get support and give support to your peers who quit at the same time
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...2015-a-17.html

You can do it.
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:36 PM
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Carlotta's post touched on a lot of things I might have said

Make sure your recovery doesn't depend on one other person, and neither does his.

There's a lot of support around here and elsewhere
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Old 04-15-2015, 02:25 PM
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So...guess what? This [admittedly somewhat] problematic relationship has come to a close. So it looks like we'll each be pursuing sobriety apart. Somehow I think it will be better this way.
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:09 PM
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I'm sorry, but I suspect you're right pigeonhead.

D
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:22 PM
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Thank you. It's for the best. I knew in my gut it probably wasn't going to last. He's a cool guy with many, many problems. I have to help myself first and all that...and I'm not the person to help him get it together.
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:29 PM
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That said, I'm still pretty sad, and it's going to be hard not to console myself with the instant "comfort" of the fanged demon booze.
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:53 PM
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well now............................................... ............

as the old cliche' goes, "Put the mask on yourself before you try to help others."

Sorry to hear of your heavy heart, but you know it's for the best, don't let booze back into your life, it's not your friend.
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