This is a guest post from one of our readers. Please feel free to offer your experience, strength and hope with her in the comments section. I’m sure she will appreciate all of the input we can offer in regards to her relationship with her alcoholic boyfriend. You can share your story here: alcoholism stories.
I met my alcoholic boyfriend over 20 yrs. ago. He had been sober for over a year. Wonderful man! We fell very much in love but relentless life circumstance parted us. We had many encounters over the years, failed marriages, children, financial issues, affairs with each other. He thought he could handle drinking again after being sober for 4yrs but has been off the wagon for about 17 yrs. Last year, we confessed our undying love for each and we decided to make a relationship.
After approximately 6 months, I began to realize the extent of his disease and it started affecting me in a bad way. He was not the man I fell in love with anymore. I was not the naive girl he fell in love with either. I started sensing that he wasn’t fully into the relationship. I found out that he was engaging in “sex text” with another female and realizing how bad his drinking was affecting him. He experiences bed wetting, falling down, passing out, running into walls, poor eating habits, bad sleeping habits, compulsive spending and the list could go on.
At one point, I went to all of our friends and asked for their support in getting him some help but was unsuccessful because they all informed him of what I was doing and he became very angry with me in my attempt. I have separated from our friends because they choose to take his side on our problems and betray me in my confidences in them.
My self-esteem keeps taking hit after hit and has affected my character in some ways even though I tried to be friendly, I often didn’t represent myself that way unknowingly which surmounted in much ridicule without specifics that I still don’t know how to address with these friends. So, I finally sought help from Al-Anon, began a bunch of research in alcoholism and addictive personalities, and trying to be pro-active in pulling myself together, but I am finding that I am having a hard time communicating, setting boundaries and helping him where he needs help rather than trying to fix things for him.
Whenever arrives home drunk and wanting to fight, he is relentless in his verbal attacks that instead of leaving the situation, I counter attack on things I haven’t been able to figure out how to resolve yet, and then I experience temporary feelings of failure for not holding myself together. This all occurred after agreeing to speak without
offending and listening without defending. I suggested that we keep trying till we get it right. We are both tired of the battles.
After spending 2 days in my car and trying to sort things out for myself, I came back home. He admitted that he had no right to impose his issues on me and I agreed. In fact, he admits many things but he says he’s not ready to quit or get help. But, claims he would give it up if his daughter moved in with us. I explained that I don’t think his daughter would come to our home unless he would be willing to take action first.
He seems to want to spend all his time avoiding working on himself and pay more attention to everyone else who has issues. In fact, I think that all of his troubles are stemming from not wanting to deal with and overcome any pain that life dishes out to him.
I have reached the point that I am strictly focusing on my own issues and letting him deal with his but I am sensing that he is gaining frustration over me not wanting to be dependent on him in any way or he on me. He wants to be superman for everyone and expects me to join his efforts. I recognize his good intentions; however, I realize what that could do to me. He claims to understand my position but that seems to put more pressure on him.
I can’t work at the moment due to some medical issues but I do earn my keep by taking care of my responsibilities around the house and trying not to spend his money. He works many hours as an engineer to provide but he experiences frustration for not having the money to provide for his children and grandchildren is a another issue. He’s seems to be caught up in this vicious cycle of self-abuse that I can’t seem to help him with in any way. I still
get this sensation that there is something I can do but I’m not sure what it is. We both know that he’s a “functioning alcoholic” but I think he’s over functioning.
Now that we are co-existing again, it seems that there is still a distance between us. I don’t know if it’s him, me or both of us. All I know is that I love and miss him dearly.
Alcoholic’s Friend Response:
Thanks for sharing your story with us all. I believe there is great power in what you have done here because it reminds us all that our situation is not the only difficult one in the world. We truly are not alone in our battle against alcoholism. Even though your situation with your boyfriend is different than mine, the personality of alcoholics and how they affect us are the same.
I wanted to address a couple of things. It’s great that you are attending Al-anon meetings. You will find friends who understand what you are going through, unlike the ones you talked about in your story. You never have to be alone with this situation ever again. People in Al-anon know exactly what you are going through and how to help you.
Another thought that I had is that we do not have to accept unacceptable behavior from an alcoholic. Things like “sex texting” and “outburst of anger” are not considered to be acceptable behavior in my book. As you continue to participate with your support group, you will learn various ways of protecting yourself from emotional, spiritual and physical harm. In these types of situations it’s good to learn how to set boundaries with an alcoholic.
You said: “In fact, he admits many things but he says he’s not ready to quit or get help.” There are people all over the world who have learned how to live with and still love an active alcoholic. My mother did it for many years and was able to find happiness, through attending support group meetings, even through my step father drank for their entire married life. We can do it, but it requires changing our attitude toward the alcoholic.
Thanks again for sharing about your relationship with your alcoholic boyfriend. Change is difficult, but I believe you can do what is best for you in this situation. I was told to try alcoholism support group meetings for six months before making any major life altering decisions as far as my relationship was concerned with the alcoholic. That’s excellent advice because when we finally reach the place of reaching out for help our mind is clouded with anger and frustration. The six month period allows us time to learn how to love an alcoholic without conditions.