JC:This is a guest post by Laurenn. Please take time to leave your opinion on whether we should give an alcoholic financial help. Does the addict in your life ask you for money? Do you think they might reach a bottom quicker if you don’t help them financially? Has an addict taken advantage of you by borrowing money and never paid you back?
I fell in love with my partner in 2002. I was 49 at the time and divorced for 7 years. When I met him he was employed as a counselor at a rehab and displayed no signs of alcohol or drug addiction. He had been in recovery from cocaine addiction for 4 years. However, after a few months he began to use cigarettes, and not much later he began to abuse alcohol. One year later he was suspended from his job for causing an vehicular accident while DUI but was offered re-instatement to his job on condition that he enroll in the department’s employee assistance program. He refused to participate because he was deep into denial of his dependency on alcohol. We then moved to his small farm where he lived off the meager income it generates. I, however, am gainfully employed.
After 3 years of emotional and financial abuse in the relationship, I moved out and lived on my own for 3 years, during which time I was able to recover from the financial devastation I had fallen into as a result of enabling his drinking and paying his debts(signing security for loans that he never repaid). During this time I acquired a B.S. degree which did a lot for my sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
I still loved him though, and when we met again in 2009 I foolishly agreed to reconcile with him based on his promises to seek professional help. He wanted us to get married but I did not think it wise so early into the reconciliation. In no time the relationship deteriorated to its former roller coaster condition- occasional good days and many bad days of being ignored or verbally abused when I refuse to fund his drinking habit.
I have recently begun to attend Al-anon meetings and read and follow the suggestions in the literature. I am learning to detach from the behavior of my alcoholic but at times it is very difficult to cope with the harshly critical, derogatory remarks he makes. This behavior is most acute when he abstains from alcohol for a few days and then has a drink and wants money to continue his slide into intoxication.
He has never been physically abusive though. I live at his home and am sometimes tempted to sever the relationship once more. However, on his sober days he’s so kind and helpful and loving- a perfect Jekyll and Hyde personality- that I still have not given up hope of being able to live with him despite his active drinking of alcohol most of the time. I have decided to follow Al-Anon’s suggestion and not make any drastic decisions as yet since I am fairly new in the program (4 months). He has seen me studying the literature and has occasionally been browsing through them. The publications are a real source of comfort to me and I pray that God continues to grant me the serenity to live with the present conditions in my life.
I would appreciate any suggestions as to how to cope with his frequent requests for financial help.
Admin: Thanks for your article Laureen. One of my favorite articles on this is site is about Having Tough Love With An Alcoholic. Alcoholics are master manipulators. They know how to play on people’s emotions in order to get the things they need to bail them out of the messes they’ve created. It sounds like you have already set boundaries to protect your finances. Only you can decern if he will ever pay you back money that you loan him. If he will pay you back, perhaps, you should make it a business deal and create a formal document where he agrees to pay interest as well.
I am so glad to hear you are attending Al-anon. Continue to stay connected and you gain a greater understanding of an alcoholics personality.