loving an alcoholic

Live YOUR Life

It’s been a couple of months since I visited this blog. I was shocked to see how many people had posted messages, most of you in similar desparate situations – living with an active alcoholic. I can relate to you all because I was the same only a few months ago. He has been sober for nearly 3 months now and the desparate times seem a distant memory. He had been sober for 4 years previously and then over the course of a year or two, an odd drink turned into beers every night and then WHAM, it seemed literally in the space of a week he became worse than he ever was. I believe he actually died twice during that week, ie. he chocked on his own vomit and stopped breathing and he took an overdose. What did I do – what is the secret to getting your partner sober? Stop trying to change them. Instead Change yourself. That is the secret.

I left. You can too. All of you have given reasons not to – the kids (I have kids too), financially strapped (I have very little income too – during the worst of it I was on social welfare, he was on social welfare. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have you are probably are all in the same boat –  any spare cash has been spent on booze and debt has built because of booze), the bills won’t get paid (I have a mortgage, utilities too and loans too all have been put on the long finger or renegotiated), they will die without you (I left my hsuband twice, I didn’t threaten to leave I just packed up and as soon as he knew I was serious he threatened suicide I still walked out that door – once with a shotgun in his mouth and once with enough pills beside his bed to kill a small elephant).

I had got to a stage where I decided enough was enough I was not prepared to go on ‘surviving’ this precious thing called life. Your life is your own and is precious. You need to make it what you want it to be. Yes sure it would be perfect if your partner woke up sober, felt great about it and became that person you love again. But why should they change and become that person? As long as life tips along the way it is and you don’t change your ways, what motivation do they have to change? Why would they want to change what they are doing today when there is always tomorrow with you there to pick up the pieces and keep them in their comfort zone.

Stop trying to control what they are doing and start controling what you are doing, what you want to achieve. Talk to people – this is very important. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone haschallenges in their lives and this is yours. If leaving seems too drastic a move for you, start with small steps. Instead of dreading a ground hog day scenario of their drunk behaviour every evening arrange to go out to meet a friend and have a laugh, go to the cinema, join an evening class, do something for yourself. Do not make a big deal about it by telling your partner this is your intention and you are doing it because of them, etc. Just do it and do it for you – not to spite them or show them a lesson. Don’t keep calling them during your time out. It will be hard but you have to let go and let things start to evolve.

I left – I was back within 2-4 days each time – not because of false promises. I knew he was serious – an appointment had been made and kept with a counsellor/doctor or rehab centre which we attended together. He got his act together. He is finding it tougher this time than the last but he knows what he will loose if he goes back there, why? because he knows I am serious about his sobriety and that I am not prepared to go thorugh that again. I love him to bits, but I also love our kids and myself and to live under the same roof, our sanity depends on his sobriety. The alternative is that we don’t live together, it’s his choice to drink or not to drink. If he drinks then it is my choice to live seperately somehow. We are in a good place at the moment and I take one day at a time and am thankful for each sober day. Stay strong and love yourself and your life.

8 thoughts on “Live YOUR Life”

  1. I’ve been sitting here reading the posts and crying. I’ve let this go on WAY too long. I’ll be 62 in Dec and my husband will be 64 in Nov and we’ve been married for 32 years. I make the perfect enabler. I love him and don’t want to leave him…but on another note, we don’t have much money, and if I leave him, we may lose everything. I’ve worked hard for what we have, and he did, too for 34 years…until he got fired. And it was not fair! He was a good worker, but he worked for a large company and they were looking to get rid of any “old” person they could. They got rid of about 40 people, anyway they could, and he got the shaft along with a lot of others. He’s had a lot of heartache in his life. He lost both son’s, one 17 years old, in a car wreck, and the youngest, when he was 26, put a gun in his mouth and played russian roulet while he was talking to his girlfriend. Then his Dad was murdered, then he lost his mom and stepdad less than 6 mo. apart. Then he lost his job. He sat down on the couch and hasn’t moved for the last 9 years, except to go to the liquor store…which is less than a quarter of a mile from the house. I love him but I can’t help him anymore. He’s always drank, since I’ve known him, but it wasn’t out of control like this. He has fallen and hurt himself several times in the last couple of months. I can’t get him to go to rehab,, or AA. We have a daughter (mine from a previous marriage, but who claims him as her dad. She was around 2 when we fell in love) and I don’t tell her the truth about her dad, nor do I tell my little 86 year old mom….or my best friend of 35 years. I feel so islolated. I love him, don’t want to leave him, don’t want to enable him anymore, don’t want to end up on welfare at this age…what do I do?

    1. Dear J,

      I’m late to the party, but read your post and wanted to comment on it.

      My husband’s alcoholism is escalating/getting worse and he is becoming more and more reclusive and belligerent. I am to the point that, I don’t give a whit if we lose everything because maybe, just maybe, hitting rock bottom might spark the change he needs to make. If it saves his life, I really don’t care if we live in a shack. While there was a point in my life that bankruptcy was an abhorrent thought and simply out of the question (I’m always one who pays all of my bills), it just doesn’t scare me anymore. In fact, it might even be a welcomed relief.

      We’ve worked hard too, but none of it matters to me anymore. It’s just stuff and things that can’t love you back. It’s a meaningless existence, really. You can’t take any of it with you when you die.

      Do what you have to do, and best of luck.

      1. Hi J Walker!
        Yes thankfully we got through it. That was nearly 3 years ago – seems like 100 years ago but it would only take one drink to bring it all crashing back to my memory. My husband has been fully sober with no slips for over 2 years now. Our life together is amazing now. I think it is like that because we have experienced such dark places, we know how fragile life and health can be, we know the worst of the worst of how bad life can be so we appreciate and love ‘normal’ everyday living more than most people. You will too when you get there. It’s not easy to take the first steps which is to focus on yourself and what you want. Stay strong and stay in touch. x

  2. You are so precious and I thank you for your blog and the strength it gives people like me. I married my Hubby 2.5 yrs ago knowing he was a ‘recovering’ alcoholic but sad to say because I met him in church thought that his past. Nope. Gosh-dummy me. I thought he could ‘handle’ a drink now and then. Nope. Dummy me. Today-it’s bad and I’m finally taking care of me! I give God the glory for showing me what to do by knowing I can’t buy his alcohol and he can’t drink here with me as we have Adult children. Gosh-my heart aches for us both! My Minsitry focus on the One Year Bible-hence my blog-http://trustinggodforall.blogspot.com/ If you would like one-pls let me know!

    Again-Thank you!

    1. It is great to hear your strength! Well done on facing up to a bad day but still taking care of you! You are not a dummy to think that he could handle a drink – when a loved one is sober for a period of time we all tend to ‘want’ them to be able to have a drink as we know they ‘loved’ having a drink before it got out of hand. I did that too! For two years he could ‘handle’ a drink but quite suddenly it turned chronic. Talk to your adult children, be open and support each other without turning on the drinker. A Higher Power is a great support and one saying always stuck with me; ‘Let Go, Let God.’ It’s hard to do, but easier with practise! Take care of yourself.

  3. These stories are all so different but yet the same… painful. I think for me, the biggest problem is the lying and sneaking. My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been together for over 25 years. We started out young and fun… happy hour was our way of connecting and sharing our long day and hanging out as just friends.

    Please make no mistake, I am talking about 2-3 glasses of wine for me, 3 times a week at the most during those days. For him it was always like 5 beers – 7 light beers a day every single day. At one point we went through a phase of going out on weekends with friends and that was when he started drinking alcohol. When he drink the liquor it was so different than when he drank his normal light 6 pack a day. The thing I noticed and the biggest difference was that he would get to the point where he seem out of it and not as responsive and sharp..so I could tell he had been drinking alcohol instead of beer but he could function and act pretty normal for the most part and then fall asleep that night somewhat deeper sleep than his normal but he never turn over tables, get violent or anything that I could go to him and say, hey you are out of control and need to stop drinking the liquor. It was a difference that I could see in him but he could not see it for himself.

    Some nights I would notice that when he woke up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night that he attempted to go to use the bath tub instead of the toilet!!! Then I say hey what the %^& and its like it wake him up from the zombie and he snap out of it. It was like right out of a deep sleep he could not focus on pretending not to be drunk as well as he does when he is awake. One day he was out with the guys and fell asleep at a bar and he claims that was his wake up call. He could have been more than robbed – it was bizzare because he could not remember anything. So he pledged to himself to stay away from liquor and only 1-2 light beers. He did that for a few years and then slowly although he was drinking the light beers only, he slowly increased the number of beers and has a normal average of 6-8 daily depending on when he gets off.

    I will not make excuses for him, because drinking that much is not healthy bottom line, but he is I guess what they call a functioning alcoholic.

    He starts when he gets home from work with beer and dont stop until he goes to bed. Never had any major issue with the way he acts unless he gets close to the 6plus range then I usually say hey havent you had enough and he will stop. But recently when money got a little tight, and he did hae moeny to buy his beer every other day, he suddenly decided to start sneaking into the liquor cabinet and slowly drinking the liquor again. It was when I recently caught him OUTSIDE in the garage taking a drink from a bottle of rum that he hid behind a shelf. He had told me he was going to take out the garbage but I went to see for myself and as I suspected, he had a bottle hidden out there. Pretending that he had cut back on beer and telling me he was doing good, when he was actually hitting up the stach he had hidden in the garage. I was disgusted, mad and hurt. This now seem to be bigger than I imagined. Yet I struggle, because he is a for the most part harmless alcoholic. Does that make it any better. He say again that he is disgusted with himself and that he is stopping all together this time. He poured out the beer in front of me and brought out another bottle he had hidden and disposed of it too. Now I ask myself how long will this lie last. Its so hard when this is the only problem we have, he works hard has a excellent job and takes care of home… but this is such a painful and concerning thing too.

    1. The good thing is he is recognising that drink is a problem. It would be a good idea for you to gather some information and literature about AA meetings and rehab centres in your area. Don’t push these on him but have them to hand that the next time he says he has a problem you can start pointing in the right direction so he can help himself. Drinking beer instead of hard liqour doesn’t help in the long run as it is still alcohol and he will just need more. My husband used to pour vodka into his beer so that I would think that he was just having a beer.

      You are making excuses for him! The majority of alcoholics are functioning alcoholics with jobs, families and homes – you say his drinking is harmless but you know it is a problem – it will eventually affect his job, it is already causing you anxiety and it sounds like he is anxious about it too, he is feeling guilty and ashamed as he realises he is not in control of his drinking.
      It sounds you have a great foundation relationship so hopefully you can continue to keep the lines of communication open. It is important that you look after your own mind and attending alanon meetings will help you. Your husband will also see you taking action about his drinking and he might do the same, but do it for yourself so you can be strong enough to help him when he seriously wants to give up drinking.

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