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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
SharonA BS: Alcoholic advice (53* d) RE: BS: Alcoholic advice 24 Oct 09

"Logged Out": Best wishes from yet another Mudcatter who was once in a somewhat similar situation. In my case it was a long-term live-together situation, and my boyfriend's drinking was out in the open rather than in the "closet".

What WYSIWYG said about co-dependence applies to me: living with that man was killing me. I was a teetotaler before I met him, but was drinking to excess (to put it mildly) while living with him; "teaching" me to drink like a fish certainly enabled his alcoholic habit. While with him, my circle of friends devolved until it consisted mostly of his friends, partly because I didn't want my old pre-him friends to see me plotzed. When I broke up with him and moved away, I broke with that entire circle of his friends, which left me with next-to-nobody to associate with. At age 40 I had to start virtually from scratch to form a new, healthy, supportive circle. So I sympathize with you about having to do that, but I'm here to tell you that it can be done! I am worlds better for having done it.

How does one find the emotional strength to do it? You've got it backwards: you have to do it in order to find the emotional strength. In my case, I left him because I finally woke up to the fact that I was in danger there with him (the wake-up call was a bruise inflicted by him while drunk). The strength to leave wasn't emotional at all; it was practical -- leave and be safe, or stay and be bruised again or worse. After the bruising, I quit drinking cold-turkey -- a one-step program (Step 1: Stop!) -- again for practical reasons (to clear my head so I could make arrangements to leave). The emotional strength came later and, like any sort of strength training, it hurt like hell at first... but as time went on I found it easier to lift my spirits.

I even found it possible to drink alcoholic spirits responsibly, without feeling an urge to drink to excess. I can have a glass of wine with dinner, a beer at band rehearsal, etc. After what I've been through, the last thing I ever want to do is drink to excess again! I guess I'm not an alcoholic but I once had a drinking problem: him!

As for joint finances, my experience was that I had a lot more money when he was no longer begging it from me, borrowing my debit card and disappearing with it, etc., to pay for his alcoholic habit. The same may hold true for you!

You say you "still love the person he is when not drinking". I've got news for you: the person he is when not drinking is the same person he is when drinking. You can't separate them any more than he can separate himself from alcohol. He may be in better control of the darker part of himself when he's (relatively) sober, but that darker self is still there. Worse, he has no desire to exercise that self-control full-time. This means that he doesn't have enough respect or love for you to want to be at his best or to protect you from his darker self.

He's not honoring the traditional marriage vows to honor you, cherish you, and forsake his most significant "other" (booze). In that sense, he has already divorced himself from you. All that's left is to file the paperwork.

You can leave, and you know that you must leave. Frankly, you don't have to be all that strong to do the deed of leaving. The challenge will be to stay away and keep your resolve not to cave in and go back under whatever pressures will be exerted on you. That's when the emotional strength-training will really begin. Just keep reminding yourself of all the things that are better about your life when he's not in it, and all the things that suck about your life when he is in it.

Above all, start loving yourself as much as he ought to be loving you but isn't.

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