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What to do with an alcoholic boyfriend?

Tagged as: Dating, Health, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (6 October 2008) 8 Answers - (Newest, 30 May 2010)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, *ittleL writes:

Hi. I have been dating an alcoholic for the last 8 months. We live together and have the most wonderful relationship – apart from the alcohol. He is an alcoholic but not a drunk. his parents have put him in rehab and given him all sorts of help over the last 3 years, but he keeps relapsing. this can be as simple as having one beer. he doesn't get wasted just has a drink here or there. it makes you wonder if he even is an alcoholic but the lies and deceit that go with it do point in that direction. last night was his birthday and after an amazing weekend he popped to the shops and i found out he'd gone and had a beer. his parents are so tired of helping now, and i'm starting to wonder if i can keep living like this. i feel like a matron, and that trust us now becoming impossible. he says he wants to stop and have the life we are setting up together yet why does he keep lying and doing this? confused. please help x

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A male reader, skydivingone United States +, writes (30 May 2010):

Hello. Let me tell you that living with an alcoholic will tear your soul apart. I'm very, very much in love with an alcoholic. I'm so much in love with her that I let it destroy me. I had a million dollar business and had no drug or alcohol problems whatsoever, until I became involved with an alcoholic that I became obsessed with. I tried everything to help her, but I became so depressed in trying that I eventually became like her. I developed a serious crack problem for 5 years as a result of being in that relationship. She was absolutely terrible, but I still couldn't leave her. In fact, she left me twice and went on to marry for the 5th and 6th time. I'm still having a hard time dealing with my feelinga about her, but I will tell you straight up that the woman is terrible! She's downright cruel. She's also bipolar and I think she has borderline personality disorder. Stay away from an alcoholic! Do not fall in love with one! Do not believe in them unless there is some real reason to believe in them. They will tear your soul apart and send you to hell! Do not ever look back!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2009):

I grew up with an alocholic mother, married a very heavy drinker that i left after 35 years and have a son with a drug and alcohol problem that has taken him to jail. Al-Anon saved my life, I learnt about looking after myself and focusing on changing my life. Unfortuantely I recently hooked up with a guy in recovery, and he is not longer there. Drinking daily and I totally recognise all the alcoholic behavour. It has taken me 9 months after recognizing this to end the relationship. there are no happy endings living with active alcoholism. the only way is if they choose to have sobriety in their lives. they are extremely self centred, selfish and focused on alochol. they know how to manipulate you and get what they want. This last guy was very subtle with it and I got totally hooked in. I believed the lies and you would think I would know better. He is still trying to blame me for the break up. I am totally grateful for sites like this, it confirms I have made the right decision. Addiction is not a choice, but recovery and sobriety are. I am not going down the gurgler with him.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (6 October 2008):

Hi

You understand that you can not change or control him, nobody can. He is an alcoholic and there is a certain way of life that goes hand in hand with it, a very difficult one. Some people do free themselves from the disease many don't and do relapse. Through experience i would suggest that totally banning him from any beer etc is not the right way, it becomes more attractive taboo! if he is the kind of man that can eventually turn the CONTROL around where he controls the beer and not the beer controlling him. ( this IS POSSIBLE)It's been done. You will end up been wrapped up in checking up on him and totally engulfing yourself into his addiction,. So you also need to change and both work together somehow. But do remember it is a disease one that can effect your health and wellbeing. If you are prepared for this and are a strong lady then you may both work through this or learn to live with it at the very least. But life is very very hard living with alcoholism and i would saerch advice for yourself so that you can help both of you, but if you are not up for the challenge then i would seriously think about letting go . Look up co-dependancy, for you. If you stay together and he can not beat the alchoholism then i would suggest that you keep very mentally detached and concentrate on growing in your life plans, and do not waste your time thinking you can control him, you never ever will, as you know if he can not control it, nobody can. It is no joy ride and you may come across the blame and denial and the rest as it gets worse. Often abuse of some sort develops, mental, emotional, phycological, physical. i hope you both can work through this but just be aware of the other side.

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A female reader, hlskitten United Kingdom +, writes (6 October 2008):

hlskitten agony auntIf he's alcohol dependant, the drink will always come before anyone or anything, unless he completely stops. An alcoholic cant have 'just 1' They need to abstain. If he stops for so long, then starts again, you're on a merry go round aren't you.

If you want someone to put you before a substance, he isn't for you is he.

C xxxxx

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A reader, anonymous, writes (6 October 2008):

Leave him!

I had a relationship with an alcoholic; carried him home, undressed him, dragged him across the floor naked to bed, waited and worried, believed his promises. I don't wish this on anyone. Leave him. Start again with someone better.

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A male reader, IRDave United Kingdom +, writes (6 October 2008):

IRDave agony auntThis is going to be painful, but from what you have said I’d leave. Helping a recovering alcoholic can be one thing, suffering whilst the person you love destroys themselves and yourself is another.

Any good relationship is based on trust and communication, if he is lying to you about his drinking then that in itself is enough to end what could turn out to be a very bad relationship.

Don’t feel you should stay in the relationship because you feel any sense of responsibility for his situation or that you should be there for him like his ‘matron’. It’s something he needs to come to terms with himself otherwise he WILL keep relapsing and dragging you down with him.

If you feel you absolutely can’t leave him then tell him straight, if you have been drinking again I am leaving. Is it worth having that one beer and losing what we have?

As I have said, it’s going to be painful but if he carries on like this it will only end in much, much more heartache and remember, you deserve better.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (6 October 2008):

A selection of answers on this site from people with experience of the problem that I've put together for you. I know it's long, but have a really good read of it - for your own good.

There are not many replies from males, here is mine. I've been with my woman for 14 years, married 9, no kids. I've had the greatest time with her and love her from the bottom of my heart, forever, we are soul mates. But, the last 3 or 4 years alcohol has slowly muscled its way into her life. We were never big drinkers, glass of wine with dinner etc. A year an a half ago she told me she had alcohol problems, (I knew this anyway, but she was functional and I was in denial)I was finding empty bottles about the place, she was on a litre of vodka a day by now. She went to a doctors and got medication to come off the drink. From that point life has been a roundabout nightmare with her stopping and starting again so many times I feel like i would just like to end my pain and slit my wrists. I'm watching her waste away now, she has lost so much weight her skin just hangs on her skeleton. She has been in residential rehab twice and also in state funded rehab twice, not to mention countless home detoxes from the doctor. She's had the best help anyone could put in her way, but to no avail. She has no job, and she will be on the streets if I leave her, and I wish I had done it a year ago. Leaving her is the last thing I can do to help her, but it's like a knife in my heart, she has given me all I ever dreamed of, her true undying love but I have to turn my back on her now. In a few short years alcoholism has ruined both out lives. I look at pictures of the way things used to be for us, it's like a dream from the past and more and more I feel it will never return, unless, maybe if I left her. This is what it's like to live with the love of your life, who is an alcoholic. Advice to you, get away before he becomes the love of your life.

***********************

The question: "What is it like to live with an alcoholic?" should be rephrased to say: "WHY would you live with an alcoholic?" There is no true 'living' with a substance abuser. They have an agenda all their own that doesnt include significant others, their children or family. My ex significant other is a binge drinker. I stayed with him many years, but after a short living together situation, I decided that the only thing that an alcoholic thinks and cares about IS alcohol. Dont believe that they somehow care about YOU, their job, family, friends.

My ex was very secretive with his drinking,or so he thought, by hiding huge bottles of vodka. My ex thought he was 'hiding' his drinking, but didnt account for the alcohol on his breath every night or how he would stagger around and be incoherant. After his binge drinking he could become emotionally explosive and unpredictable. Who in their right mind would 'choose' to continue to'live' like this? I think now that I was CRAZY to hang around with this guy. Sure he was a 'great guy' when he was sober, but truly, how often was THAT? I want to be with a great guy all the time, not when the alcohol isnt available. This was a guy who only "got help" when I asked him to, not because he cared about himself to save his own life. And every time, he went right back to drinking. He couldnt stay sober for 3-4 weeks. He was arrested several times, even went to jail, still he drinks and drinks....

They arent invested in getting sober for their own life. I frankly got tired of the drama, I didnt feel safe at times and I refused to be part of the alcoholics partnering of becoming isolated and alone and just in service to helping the alcoholic without regard to myself or my family.

I recently ended this nightmare,thankfully. Has it been easy? Leaving a relationship, good or bad, is never easy. But I now have moments of joy and peace that I could not have while connected to this alcoholic parasite. I am angry that I allowed myself to wait so long to walk away. There is living with an alcoholic, but there certainly isnt any LIFE in living with one.

*****************************

Living with an alcoholic is like living with a time bomb - you never know when it is going to blow up. One minute they are nice - the next they are nasty. It's like walking on egg shells. Although I knew he was a heavy drinker I never thought it would affect me so much. If I had known I would never of married him. It is also very sad to watch as their brain slowly pickles itself. They repeat themselves over and over - they won't go anywhere unless there is plenty of alcohol on hand. Slowly, friends disappear. They never compeltely finish anything they start. They are consumate liars - and the more you react the more they feel justified in drinking - after all - it's all your fault that they have to drink - or at least that's the way they justify it in their own minds.

They are never to blame, always able to think of an excuse.

I've noticed they never empty their glass - always go and top it up - it's as if, if they don't empty the glass then no-one can say how many drinks they have had. When they drain the glass you know they are either going to pass out or go to bed.

They become very sneaky - hiding the alcohol all over the place. They don't drink for the pleasure - they drink to feel nothing - no responsibility, no planning needed.

Alcoholics can't plan ahead - unless it is to make sure there is enough alcohol in the house.

I could go on and on but my advice to you is run away as far and as fast as you can.

Avon Lady

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Don't walk, but RUN away from this guy before you get too involved. I have lived with an alcoholic for 34 years. When I first married him he was just as you described your guy. I stayed with him trying to keep the family together as I had three children. I left him a few times over the years but always went back. Which was the biggest mistake I ever made. My life and my three childre's life were pure hell. He is getting worse every day. Yes, I am looking a place to stay as I write this, and filing for a divorce. I have finally had enough. and am leaving him for good. Please save your life and let this guy go. I speak from experience. Living with an alcoholic is not living. You will suffer more than the alcoholic. I regrett not leaving him 33 years ago.

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My wife is an alcoholic, Im 31 and she is 28. We've been together for 8 years. The worst part is for the most of the time weve been together I have known she is an alcoholic or at least have problems with it.

We seperated two years ago, mainly due to her alcoholism which made me depressed. I never stopped loving her and we got back together. She was still drinking. She used to be a passive drunk and fall asleep. Now she becames emotionally abusive. She continues to belittle me, call me abusive names, and doesnt stop.

I go to work everyday, Im an athlete so I train 5-7 times a week, and I dont tell anyone about it. My parents ask and I lie to them as well. That hurts me.

Ive stopped drinking because of her, but that hasn't helped. Im lying to the outside world. my closest friends dont know what i go through every day with worry and then when I have to come home to her.

I lock myself into our spare room, shut he door, turn the PC on try and forget about her and my life in general. Sometimes I cna feel my life slipping away from me, where I dont want to be with her, but I cant leave her either.

Compulsive liar. everything she says I question, her every move is under scrutiny with me. I check every room, for alcohol, she hides it in water bottles, under the bed, between the mattress, cuts out the lining of our sofa to hide it. This is a nightly ritual.

Unless someone has lived it, its very hard to explain the pressure, depression, emotional lows that I can feel.

I have lived with an alcoholic for 6 years we have now split up and my life has changed i feel free.

My girlfriend is still denying it now that alcaholism killed our relationship.

I lost all self respect did nothing for myself and it got as bad as taking a walk down a train track.

I did nothing, i was so depressed i did had no personal hygeine what so ever.

Please take any help you can and get out,

if you feel that your new partner or you are thinking of dating someone who denies the problem then get out NOW! Do not do what a lot of us do and put up with it, it helps no one...

However strong you are or think you are, the alcoholic will always bring you down. What is the hardest is that they can be the nicest people when they are sober. Life becomes extremes. Embarassment with friends and evetually you are the one who becomes isolated. The alcoholic is fine they just turn to the bottle. I thought love would win through, she would realise what she was doing to our relationship. Well a rational person would but alcoholics are not rational. They are become more and more self centre, self indulgent and what matters is them. Rather than face what they have done and get upset simplier just to have another drink. Yes love will win through with a rational person but not an alocholic. They are simply never themselves but instead under a constant hase, in their own other world. FInd space, find yourself, protect yourself and gain the strengh to leave.

*************************

I have recently seperated from my wife, actually my second wife, she is an alcoholic who is in denial, when we first met we were both going through seperations, so I suppose we had a kindred spirit thing going on! Truth is i loved her from the minute I met her, we have been together 14 years and married for 6, she has 3 kids and I have 1, our drinking in the early days was always together and always when we went out, I did wonder why on the evenings that we didn't see each other she would always drink in the house? Stupid looking back, the answer was obvious! I knew alcoholism, I watched my step father drink himself to death, but Bill was a very happy drunk and the life and soul of all parties, Jo was a time bomb in drink. As the years marched on we would stay in and invariably Jo would drink, quite openly at first, usually a couple of glasses of wine a night, I would join her at the weekends and together we would get drunk. Jo would drink more and more, she would always find a reason, inviting people round to justify that reason, once she had had the first glass it's almost as if her inhibitions regarding drinking had gone, any thoughts of not drinking would go and to hell with the consequences. for the last 2-3 years the drink has taken complete hold, she would hide vodka in orange drinks, start to drink before I got home so she didn't feel the need to justify it to me.

I conciously tried not to be judgemental but it was far from easy. Every now and then she would get extremely violent, usually as a result of something happening in her life that she found hard to deal with, the way to shut these problems out is of course to drink. I knew our time was up when she tried to stab me, I had to call the police to her, in the time it took them to get to the house she overdosed on painkillers, I took this as a cry for help from her and tried to work through it with her, she said she would never touch another drink!!!

She has tried desperately hard, removing herself from all temptations but ultimately the pull of the drink is too much, she knows the affect on her kids and me but the lure is too strong. She moved out a month ago, I now get her youngest ringing me up 2 or 3 times a week asking if she can stay with me, of course I let her, no child should see a parent doing what jo does. She tried her second suicide attempt last weekend, had she not called a friend in her drunken stupor to arrange a get together then she would have succeeded, fortunately her friend knew something was up and went round!! A weekend in hospital was the result, I stayed away from the woman who I love and feel as guilty as hell, I phoned the pshychotherapist and pleaded with him to section her, I explained how manipulative she is, they can do nothing!! Her youngest came to stay with me again last night, she said she felt her mum wanted her out of the way!! I hope and pray it's because she's got a new man and not because she wants to drink but I think I know the answer already!!!!!

As for advice....Run as fast as you can, you can not compete.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (6 October 2008):

how much is he drinking and how often ? i have been in the same boat as your boyfreind but now my life doesnt revolve around drink any more

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