Two alcoholics in a relationship

Old 11-03-2016, 11:41 AM
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Two alcoholics in a relationship

When I met my boyfriend I didn't know about my addiction, in fact I was in such denial I thought I wouldn't drink much at all...

He was very open about being an alcoholic and told me the first time we met. We met at a bar and I asked why he didn't drink, he explained.

When we started going out with each other we would talk a bit more about it, he would tell me how much he struggled with it and I was (and still am) so proud of him. He's sober for over 4 years now.

I told him from the beginning that my drinking used to be problematic in the past to the point where I questioned if I had developed an addiction.

He was okay with that but didn't think about it much more. During summer I noticed more and more how much of a problem my drinking had become and last month I knew it had to stop. I opened up about it to him and he was mad at me first cause I didn't tell him when we first met, how bad it actually was with my drinking. He said my drinking would bring him one step closer to drinking again. But after we talked about it and I explained it a bit more, he understood that I couldn't tell him before cause I hadn't realised it by then. He said he didn't feel any longer like it's bringing him one step closer to drinking again, but may be even helpful to him. Everything seemed alright again.

Now this weeks been really tough for both of us and we were not able to see each other. He knows that I almost slipped last night and that I feel very lonely. So he asked me if I was okay tonight and I said that I don't know and just hope I won't drink tonight.

He said it's the same for him, he feel like he could drink tonight too but just hopes it won't happen.

When he said that I felt so panicky. I felt like maybe it's my fault he feels that way (he didn't say things like that before and he seems to do very well with his sobriety). I thought that it would probably make me drink if he did cause I couldn't deal with it. I know that's bad and it's like I make my sobriety depending on his. But I'm so early on (day 15) and he's my biggest support (besides SR) and inspiration. I told him I was worried and he said he'll be okay as long as I am. That makes me feel pressured. Like I'm no longer just responsible for my sobriety but his, too. When I told him that it would not have anything to do with him if I drink, he said he knows that. Just like it wouldn't have to do with me, if he drank. But somehow it feels like it would have a massive impact on him / me if the other slipped.

I don't know how to handle this situation. Is it bad for two alcoholics to be together? I'm scared we will end up codepended on each other or trigger each other. He's the love of my life and I don't want to undermine his sobriety.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:06 PM
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This is tricky. The general advice from the community support programme, online, books and AA meetings I've been to, tend to recommend avoiding relationships early on in recovery and that it can be especially destructive if both people are addicts. However, I think every relationship is different so you never know.
Thing is, at the moment you're not in a position where you're a good few months in, feeling okay, got a solid plan of recovery and hanging out with the guy you've been dating for ages. At the moment there's a big level of dependence and that's got to be scary for you, thinking that someone else is depending on your recovery for their own recovery. I don't think I could handle it myself.
I'm not going to say you should break up or anything like that, but I do think that you need to get a better recovery plan. He can support you, but relying on one person isn't a good idea when there's a huge recovery community out there (AA, SMART, loads of others!) of people with all different experiences that can help.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:24 PM
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I see your point Yogini. I have the same concerns about it. I don't feel very stable yet. He said he could handle it since he's sober for quite a long time.

I even suggested we go on a break until I went through the hardest part and start seeing again in a year or so. But he didn't like the idea at all and it made him doubt my feelings for him. I don't want to hurt him.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:54 PM
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Not a maze of semantics and sub-plots.

How about a tattoo: "I DON'T NEED POISON BOOZE !"

When you've decided: I'M FREE AND CLEAR . . .

Good things will follow.



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Old 11-03-2016, 12:56 PM
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This alcoholic has been married to her alcoholic for 18 years. Only the last 7 have been in sobriety (5 for him). It CAN be done, but takes a lot of work. We were already married a long time when sobriety came around, and there was a foundation of love present, so we decided to do the work.

We started in individual and couples therapy. That was very helpful for our communications skills.

We also work our OWN programs. He stays on his side of the street and I on mine. He has a different homegroup and if we happen to go to the same meeting, we go our separate ways as soon as we enter the AA room. We have standing rules as to what happens next if there is relapse, etc. Thankfully we haven't had to institute any of our "disaster plans" yet. But at least they are there so that all involved are protected.

I will say that it is so nice to be in a marriage with someone who speaks the same language of recovery as I do. We don't fight anymore, we discuss our perceptions and feelings and try to find our parts. No more power-play games.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:58 PM
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I'm glad you recognize you have a problem with alcohol and you are not alone in the denial aspect. It's a huge part of alcoholism. I don't think it's necessarily bad if two alcoholics get together. But, when you are each basing your sobriety on the status of the other person, it's not good at all. Recovery is very personal and we each need to be accountable to ourselves. If you both feel uneasy around each other, it's going to cause stress in the situation.

I would also add that 'hoping' you don't drink isn't the best approach. What are you doing to make sure you don't drink? Here's a good link:
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:21 PM
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Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice!

I am considering attending an AA meeting but I'm still pretty sceptical. It's just because of personal experiences I strongly dislike the spiritual aspect of it. Unfortunately there's nothing like SMART recovery in my country and all the other groups are run by the church and therefore they are not for me. I know they help a lot of people but I have my very personal problems with them.

I forgot to add that I also see a therapist every week. My boyfriends support is of another nature, he tries to be there and motivate me when I feel down and he sometimes shares some of his experience and tells me what helped him in certain situations. It's not either that I feel like my sobriety relies on his. I just don't know if I could handle it right now, if he relapsed. But then again the list of things that could happen that could cause me to relapse is still quite long. It's my first attempt at sobriety and I'm just starting to really work on my recovery plan. I don't feel very stable the past two days, that's why I said I hope I won't drink tonight. I didn't feel like I could promise it to him today. My moods are a roller coaster and one moment I feel positive and determined, the next I can't think clearly and the reasons why I decided to quit don't make much sense to me.

We don't ever feel uneasy around each other and even though we haven't been dating for long yet, we were always very open and honest with each other, it's a deep understanding and love on both sides which makes me hope we'll find a way to go through this together.
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