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The Functioning Alcoholic Who Wants to Live with You

Readers repeatedly ask me questions about their relationships with the functioning alcoholics in their lives. Today I will look at the case of the woman who is not yet living with her boyfriend, but wants to. She is concerned, however, about his alcohol consumption. It usually goes something like this:

“I’ve been wondering if my boyfriend has a drinking problem. He says he’s a functioning alcoholic, with the stress on “functioning.” I like the odd drink myself, but I can take it or leave it. We love each other and want to live together. Should I move in with him?” Signed, 29 and single

Well, 29 and single, it’s good that you are acknowledging right up front that there could be a problem. You show a healthy level of self esteem and confidence.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can raise some issues for you to think about, starting with the most important one. Ask yourself whether you can accept him exactly as he is without changes. You can’t change him, and you can’t expect him to change, regardless of what he may be promising. This is your primary test question. For the sake of your sanity don’t minimize its importance.

The next question is about him. What does he mean by “functioning?” He is probably a great boyfriend, but is he functioning well in other areas of his life, including his career, his relationships with his family and his social responsibilities like driving only when he hasn’t had a drink? Is he functioning as well as he could in all of these areas, or is he just getting by? And thirdly, can he stay healthy at his level of drinking, or will he die prematurely?

Satisfy yourself as to whether or not he is addicted to alcohol, that is, whether or not he is an alcoholic. Some drinkers overplay the alcoholic card; others underplay it. You could take the Alcoholism Test . The Alcoholism Test is designed for someone who isn’t sure whether someone close to them is an alcoholic, but would like to know.

If all indications are that he has an addiction to alcohol, then recognize that his alcoholism will probably worsen over time. He may or may not become abusive as his alcoholism progresses, but at the very least you will suffer neglect. Another way of saying it is that you will gradually lose the competition with his other mistress, the bottle.

Whether or not he has progressed to alcoholism, he might want to go to a drug and alcohol treatment center for alcohol rehab. Even if he can stop drinking on his own, he will need help with the underlying issues that led to his drinking problem to start with. Otherwise, he remains very vulnerable to relapse. The best time for him to address his lifestyle issues is before you start living together. It’s much harder later.

What happens if he doesn’t clean up his drinking? The hard reality is that whether you know it or not, you are probably choosing between living separately now or living separately later… after a lot of heart ache.

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68 comments to The Functioning Alcoholic Who Wants to Live with You

  • Sherry Chinchic

    I am currently living with a "functioning alcoholic". I can tell you that he is okay most of the time until "NOW". We have been together for 9 months and going.

     I’ve noticed a few alarming changes in the way he relates to me when drunk. He gets more defensive when asked something. He was not like that at the start of our relationship. He has become mean and distant. This is coming from a man that fell in love with me first. I was holding back on the "L word" until we knew each other better.

    Any chance he can get is a reason to celebrate and have a party. He even had a birthday party for his cat! On Thanksgiving he was so drunk he fell down on the floor. It was really a downer because it was my birthday on that day. My Mom was here and it was really embarrasing.

    He has black outs all the time, even though he says he can remember. I know he’s not telling the truth. Both of his parents passed away, but his brothers and sisters have welcomed me into the family and love me. They always say, thats the way he’s always been, he’ll be okay. I have constant worry when he gets this intoxicated. I have health problems and need to keep my stress level down. He was fun at first, now its getting old.

    We were on vacation seeing my Dad fo 10 days over this Christmas and he did not want to drink due to the fact he was meeting my Dad for the first time. He just turned it off like a switch, he was fine. Then once we got home it was back to normal. He at least has a few beers a night, but more when he’s off for a few days.

    I had a lousy New Years eve with him. He was passed out before 6:30 pm that evening. Thank God his family was there to celebrate with me, or I would have been all alone on our first New Years. They told me to let him sleep it off, and he’d wake up later. We tried all night to wake him, then finally about 15 minutes before midnight they woke him. As soon as the ball dropped and he ate something we spent the last few minutes of 2007 together. No ringing in the New Years with me. He had been 4-wheeling all afternoon with his brother and drinking. We had scarce time together that day.

    Lately I’ve expressed my concerns to him about his chronic drinking. He says when its his time, its his time. His nose has been turning blue and he doesn’t care. Almost everyone in his family has drinking problems. I don’t believe in that "heredity crap" everyone talks about. My Mom is an "alcoholic" and I’ve never been a drinker. I think it all comes down to "controlling" your mind, body, and spirit.

    He was not the man I thought he was. I’m glad we didn’t marry and I can walk away. He has 4 divorces under his belt. I know it probably played a large part of his 4 failed marriages. He blamed it all on the ex-wives, of course. I’m so sorry that I let myself fall into his trap. I really cared for this man, but cannot take it anymore. Its all hit the fan the last few days.

    Today I’m looking for an apartment. He knows how I feel. He stays real quiet when I tell him its not working. I’ve payed my own way staying with him, (rent and food). I certainly wasn’t using him. I guess I was the one being played. Well, the game is over. I’d rather be alone than have constant worry about his health. I have cared way too much for him. I should have been alot smarter. I’m a fairly educated woman and 46 years old.

    This is to warn everyone out there living with an "alcoholic". Thank you for reading my comments. The next time I have a love relationship I will definately be with somebody who is not a "functioning alcoholic". That is all a piece of crap. It is "being an alcoholic" just nice words that cover up a serious addiction…..

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Hi Sherry,

    Congratulations on taking care of yourself and not falling into the trap of enabling him like his family has always done.

    You will get through this, but not without tears. And you are not waiting 10 years to do it, like so many have done. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the words, "I should have ended it 10 (or 5, or 20) years ago. "

    There is always hope in life. But sometimes hope lies on a path that leads you apart.

    Neill

  • Grace

    I am really thankful to read this correspondence. It has answered some of my questions and given me fair warning and confirmation of my fear in my own situation. Sherry, you are not alone – unfortunately I can identify and I’m sure, co can countless others! Sad, isn’t it? What a waste of some really potentially good people and a waste of our time and energy!!!

  • Sherrie

    Greetings from another Sherrie. I could have wrote your post almost word for word. Especially the part about “glad I didn’t marry him”. Can you imagine???

    I broke up with my alcoholic boyfriend a couple of weeks ago and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m struggling. But I know in my heart that I did the right thing for ME and MY sanity.

    Best wishes to you!

  • Mary

    I am seriously contemplating ending my 7 year marriage to my alcoholic husband. He knows our marriage is on the “rocks” and wants to make it work. But, he insists all the problems are due to my not being close to him. How can a wife stay close to her husband when he literally is married to a can of beer more than me. His only life is beer and cigarettes and surprisingly, he does keep his good paying job which is really hard to understand. He is arrogant, cocky and verbally abusive when he drinks and I have put up with it way too long. I’m afraid to be alone, but being together is not the answer when drinking is the only thing that will make him happy!

  • Roz

    I wasted 13 years of my life trying to win back the first six months of my relationship with my alcoholic. Obviously I was addicted to something to waste prime years on a warm body that hugged and loved the bottle much more than me. I was very vunerable when I met him and he “charmed the waters” as he likes to say, and “captured me.” I now know that women who stay with alcoholics aren’t staying because they are being loved so well. They are staying because they haven’t gotten back the self esteem that he torn down. Guess what? You will always be depressed, anxious, secretive, jumpy, close to tears and in so many ways unhappy as long as you are with a man and his bottle or can.

  • Sea

    Thank you Sherry for the post. It makes an impossibly hard decision seem like it may be a little easier. I am so deeply in love with my “functioning alcoholic” boyfriend that I have excused his excessive drinking so far but I am about to move into his home & start our lives together. I am having serious grapplings with going through with it & hoping for the best, or walking away completely. He doesn’t seem to care that his drinking may ruin us, & he definitely doesn’t care that it hurts me. The stuff you talked about, the blackout thing, the falling down, the behavior changes, the drunk at social events, etc. It’s all very frequent for my guy. He drinks 90-some proof liquor in large amounts. It sucks because I like to drink beer & wine a few times a week myself but not to get drunk. But because of that I feel as though I can’t really come down on him that hard.

    My guy suffers from real bad social anxiety & admits to it. He cannot function socially at all unless he has a few shots first, then it’s all downhill from there. More times than not, he ends up drinking way too much & becoming unable to even form a sentence. Most of my friends ask me if he’s ever sober because they haven’t witnessed him any other way. I have had so many nightmares about him being hurt and even committing suicide on accident when wasted, it is really stressful and makes me worry about our future. We are both 33 and would like to have a normal family life in the near future with children but there is no way for that to happen unless he stops being a drunk. Is there any way for him to change BESIDES rehab?? I know he would never take it to that extreme because he doesn’t see his drinking as a real problem (which to me seems incomprehensible). He has told me before that he doesn’t get addicted to stuff, which I understand because I am the same way. And he seems to get through most of the work week without drinking heavily. But this makes me wonder, does he drink like this because he has to, or because he wants to. Does he just enjoy being in a blacked out from reality state, or is his body craving the alcohol. Neither are anything good.

    I am supposed to move in this week (our 1 year anniversary) but I don’t know if I can put myself through this another day, let alone the rest of my life. My friends & family all think I am completely happy & we are a great couple. I am & we are. Until Sailor Jerry enters the picture.

  • Hello Sea,

    Do pay attention to Sherry’s post. I’ll add one thing. I can almost guarantee that if you do move in, it won’t be for the “rest of my life.”

    Choose wisely.

  • Cindy P.

    Thank You Dr. Neill. I am in the process of ending a 5 year relationship with a functioning Alcoholic. He always socially drank at the bar 2 or 3 times a week. It was like this at the beginning of our relationship. But at the time, he was making a lot of $$ & he could afford to pay for the drinks & the cab home. He does not drink at home & he can go 3 or 4 days without a drink. Now that his job has gone down hill & we do not have the $$, he still has to go out & drink too much & try to look like a big shot. He used to be a fun drunk & we used to have a good time together. He recently got into a fight with a good friend of ours. He insulted the guy’s wife & family when he was drunk. He does not think he did anything wrong & he refuses to apologize. Now we do very little together & when he comes home drunk, he is often mean. My daughter refuses to have anything to do with him because he is mean to her. I wish I would have read your article 3 years ago before I purchased a house with & also went into business with this drunk. Now, I have to not only find a new place to live but a new job in this economy. So, I am sticking it out until I find a new job.

    Please think twice girls before falling for a guy like this one.

  • "Nurse Ratchet"...

    “Nurse Ratchet”…Is my boyfriend’s nickname for me …he also refers to me as “Whore” occasionally and I can relate to all the aforementioned stories above. He is an alcoholic and I have been an enabler. I have inflicted physical violence on a man I love so dear when his insomnia mixed with alcohol has encountered my PMS and my bedtime.

    I fell in love at first sight two years ago in May. Then I met his personality and Sense of humor and intelligence and I fell head over heels. Remove this disease and he is the most beautiful man I’ve ever met, inside and out. Two weeks into our relationship I witnessed him have a seizure. He drinks about two pints of whiskey and two six packs of beer a day…only because we are on a budget otherwise he would drink infinite pints and bottles. He hasn’t worked a day since I’ve known him. He has contributed a few months rent and has furnished our apartment but I am the head of the household and I feel my reward is the euphoria I feel when he holds me in his arms. I am a junkie for his love. I am 35 years old and I’ve been in love but never like this. I care about him so much. He suffers from anxiety insomnia and depression. I stopped sleeping at home and I’ve refrained from leaving him cash for booze.

    He has mentioned in the past many times that he wants to quit. However, he thinks he can quit cold turkey. I know he should detoxify under medical supervision. I don’t want to continue to be his enabler but I love him so dearly I can’t leave him for dead. He is too fragile and suicidal. Any advice?

  • Hello “Nurse”

    It’s tricky to advise when someone’s life is at stake. With his level of use, quitting cold turkey without medical supervision could kill him. He may be talking that way because he is killing himself anyway…suicide via alcohol.

    However, try to understand that whether or how he kills himself is not your fault. No matter what or whom he blames, it’s his choice and you can’t fix it. (All alcoholics blame, never taking responsibility.)

    Now for the really hard part. With your codependent love and your addiction to his care, he has no incentive to change. It may be that the best chance he has for survival is for you to leave his life. Your grief will be intense, but you could save his life. Alternatively, get appropriate professional help to deal with your codependency so you aren’t merged with him.

  • Confused

    I broke up with my boyfriend because of his drinking habits. We had started dating in school, but then I went on a study abroad program for a semester. I knew when we started dating that he drank, but I didn’t know to what extent he did. We continued our relationship over skype, and I’m fairly certain that I loved him–I probably do even now. He got drunk a few times over skype, and I hated it each time. But I didn’t want to tell him that I hated it and wanted him to stop, because I don’t think it’s right to ask another person to change for you. I thought that maybe it wasn’t such a big deal.
    But it only got worse. It was embarassing. I told him that I couldn’t deal with his drinking, that I couldn’t really trust him–it was like a betrayal every time he got drunk. I don’t know why, but that’s how I felt. I told him that I would break up with him. But I gave him another chance. A week later, he was drunk, and this time it involved another woman. He didn’t cheat on me, but all the same, I was livid. It was the last straw.
    That was a couple months ago, and I’ve since made it clear to him that we’re not getting back together. I’d like to think that if he didn’t drink, that we could get back together. That we could go back to those first months when we were happy–I was so happy then.
    He told me that he’s stopped drinking, and I’m glad for him–I really am. I litereally pray that he stays clean. Even when I don’t pray for anything else. I would rather him live a functional life apart from me than for us to be together and unhappy. And I feel like if I had stayed with him, he wouldn’t have stopped drinking. He thought that it was ok, I guess.
    But I don’t know if I could ever go back to the way it was–we didn’t have enough good times built up before this all came out.
    I keep thinking that, maybe, if I loved him the right way, it wouldn’t even matter to me. “Love keeps no record of faults.” So why can’t I ever see myself happily settled with him again?
    This was longer than I thought it would be! I hope that maybe someone going through the same thing might relate.

  • anne

    i have met a guy on the internet we talk daily in skype so we can see each other – its now been 14 months since we met

    we are saving up to meet each other as we live in different countries

    i am only now fully comprehending that he may be an alcoholic who suffers not only black outs – i keep joking that he is like adam sandler and drew barrymore in their movie 50 first dates !!

    once he didn’t know who he was talking to and got a fright when i said it was me ?

    but he also disappears for long blocks of time without warning

    and he also makes up stories of being in some where else – when i know he is not – one time i saw him at home and then his cam went out but i could still hear him but he swore black and blue that he was somewhere else and had only a little time to talk as he was in the military heading out …his friends say that they have never known him to be in the military

    I have never had experience with alcohol before so not sure of the signs….but i am seeing that he tells lies, whopping big stories – they are coming back to bite him now – and i am only just starting to see them

    i notice that in the time i have known him he has had several jobs

    he gives no real sign of being drunk no slurry words…except twice and both times he said he was drinking so it was understandable

    about 8 months in to it – i started to suspect something was not right and asked a few of his friends that he had introduced me to in skype – they all confirmed to me that he indeed did have a drinking problem

    i confronted him and he lied….and things went on – a few months later he confessed that yes he did drink and yes he was lying to me about it and said that i meant to much to him to keep lying and that he would stop – but he lies about it – just flips me off causally saying he has been sober for a month when i know he hasn’t

    he said he drank to keep his mind from racing and worrying …

    being on the internet its harder to see the consequences of alcohol addiction but i am slowly just now realizing

    but i have a question – what makes him disappear ? and what makes him hallucinate – make up stories that he is fighting in a war when i know he is not – and his friends say he has never been in the military ?

    strangely this has been the most beautiful intense relationship in my life – he has ticked 99% of my boxes – he says all the things any woman wants to hear and yet we cannot reach out and touch

    and now that i have read a lot at this site i am devastated to finally learn the truth – my man is an alcoholic a barley functioning one as it turns out

    it may be easier for me to walk away from this as most would consider it to be ‘not’ real – but emotions have been connected for over a year of consistent contact and a future i.e money being saved for a eventual meeting – is being planned together

    its heartbreaking to suspect or even think that its all been a lie on his part an alcoholic fantasy

    like i said this is all very new to me – and these days i can’t function properly wondering what to do and knowing in my heart that i have to let him go for my own sanity and well being – that we will never get to meet or touch or anything like that

    its crazy sad

    but thank you to all who have written before me – you have made me open my eyes to a lot of things that i didn’t want to admit or see

  • anne

    “Nurse Ratchet”

    i can so relate to you – even though my man is on the other side of the world and we have yet to physically touch – take away the alcohol and he is the man of my dreams – actually i did dream about him before we met but that is another story

    i think i am an also an enabler and i have had the feeling a few times to walk away let him fall – it just may be what he needs – so when Dr Neil says that also please listen

    it will be the hardest thing i have ever had to do myself if i can do it – but its something we have to do for ourselves – if these men really are serious about loving us then it just may be the kick in the gut, the critical moment of loosing the one the love that can help them see the need for change

    if not then …we free ourselves – because being an enabler doesn’t sound like a fun place to me and i already know i am hurting with the realization of all of this

    thank you for sharing your story – you made me think and yes i can relate

  • Could someone give me advice! I am 53 yr old women my boyfriend is 63. When I first met him 15 months ago I drank a couple times a week. We always ended up in a bar and still do. Now I feel myself increasing my alcohol intake just to be with him. He drinks on a daily basis. He says the times he only has 4 beers is when he doesn’t drink. I have lived with him for 7 months, the restaurant he opened in January closed in June due to his mismangement and decisions with finances. His best friend is giving him substantial amount of money to live. He was able to get a small job.
    This morning he met some male friends for breakfast at 7am at 8am is at Traders Joes picking up wine and soup for supper.
    My question is I am not happy with this situation.
    Should I move out?

    Thanks for reading!

  • I think you know the answer to your question.

  • Tobianne

    My husband and I are 28 years old. We have lived together for 9 years, but have only been married for 2. His father died last August, and since then my husband has drank every night.

    He used to just drink on weekends with friends. I don’t know what to do. When he’s sober during the day, sometimes he will say that he needs to stop and doesn’t like doing it. But then will just get drunk again the next night. He accuses me of talking to him like an idiot when I try to explain how it bothers me. I didn’t want an alcoholic husband, but I love him too much to leave, and he doesn’t abuse me.

    But now we are going to have a baby due in January. I worry about if he gets worse what the future will have in store for us…

  • Kelly

    What do I do if I have two kids with an alcoholic and another child on the way, and have no place to go? We aren’t married, but have been living together for 5yrs! I am so stressed, depressed, and obviously his drinking isn’t really getting much better!

  • Lyssa

    Hi, I need some advice. I have been dating my boyfriend, Kevin, for a little over a year. We live together. I suspected that he had a past drinking problem…on the few occasions that I saw him drink, it changed his personality into someone friendlier, more open, more confident. I also found alcoholics anonymous materials hidden with some of his things. I brought it up to him and asked him if he had had a problem with alcohol, he admitted that he had, but he was fine now. He did not say anything else about it. Anyway, yesterday when I was coming home from work I saw him coming out of the liquor store! I confronted him, and he admitted that he was buying the liquor in order to have more confidence because he was facing a social situation at work. We talked about it, and when I pushed him, he finally confessed his deep dark secret…he was a highly functioning alcoholic who has been to rehab three times, been fired from a job. I knew NONE of this before yesterday, and my head is reeling. I have never seen him drunk or out of control in any way due to alcohol. He told me “The only person I’ve ever hurt is myself.” He dumped out the liquor and admitted that he needs help again. I asked him if he was saying this because he knew it was true, or because he got caught. He assured me that this relationship is important to him and he wants to get better. He agreed to go back to AA meetings and discuss the underlying problem with his counselor (social phobia) and take the correct medication for that. Here is my question…should I trust him? Is this characteristic of an alcoholic or do you think he really does want to be better? Any advice appreciated.

  • Grieving

    I have been with my functioning alcoholic boyfriend for only 5 months. I have had concerns about his drinking from the first month. My friends told me I was “over sensitive” to drinking because my dad is an alcoholic. Dad is the life-long, raging alcoholic. I haven’t had anything to do with him at all in a decade and before that our contact was very sporadic and minimal. I am 41 and 18 yrs ago, left a man I had been dating for three yrs because he was a binge drinker who drank and drove every weekend. When I finally left him, I told him I couldn’t marry him and then worry about him wrapping himself around a pole or killing someone else every weekend. His personality never changed when he was drunk. Most people would not even be able to recognize that he was drunk. But that drinking and driving was not something I wanted to worry about the rest of my life.

    I managed to go 18 years without dating another heavy drinker, until the current boyfriend. I am so angry. Why do so many men drink so fricking much??? I wish I knew in the first month, just how bad my boyfriend’s drinking was. I found out about a month ago, that he too is a rager, just like my dad. One night he was raging at me in the street. I just walked away and he followed me back to his place where he continued to rage while he followed me from room to room. When I ignored him, he didn’t stop. They things he was saying, didn’t even make sense. I finally told him to go listen to his music, as he said he wanted too, so I could sleep. He told me, “don’t f—ing tell me what to do”. I cried myself to sleep, in his bed.

    This was the anniversary of his dad’s death. In the morning, which was the anniversary, I left and went home for the day. I had cancelled my plans for that day, the previous week, so I could be with him on such a day. But after the raging and stress, in the morning, I had forgotten what that day was. Of course I got an email from him later saying how hard a day this was for him and who does he have to support him? No one. I wanted to reply, and who’s fault is that??? That evening I did go over to his place and he apologized…of course he did, right.

    The day after that, I told him the things he did and said to me when he was raging. Funny thing is, he recalled one of my replies but he had forgotten what he had said. I had not said anything to him as he raged, “if you’re going to get your b–ch on, pack your s–t and go home” and “we haven’t been together long enough that I want to spend a life time with this s–t the rest of my life”. Meanwhile, I had said nothing. I know better than to argue or try and reason with a drunk. When he told me to pack my s–t and leave, I asked him if that’s really what he wanted “because if I leave, I am not going to be in a hurry to come back”. The next morning, he told me, “your threat almost backfired”. I asked what threat given I had not made any threat. He said, when I said I would go home and not be in a hurry to come back. Ummm hello buddy? That was no threat, he was the one who told me to go and I was clarifying that is what he indeed wanted because I knew it wasn’t and if I left I would not be rushing back. When I told him that, he had nothing to say. What a selective memory. I told him next time he raged at me like that, I was leaving and I meant it.

    New Years Eve, he passed out on the kitchen floor. Just the way I had envisioned spending our first new years eve together…not. Like many others have said he, when he’s sober, he is the sweetest, most romantic, caring man. Why is it so many alcoholics are the “sweetest man ever” when sober??

    On new years morning he was so pleased with himself. He was trying to figure out how he had drank so much and not raged when the time before that he drank so much, he turned into a raging “monster”. I told him he had still drank too much. His reply….”you’re still not happy?” ummm no honey, I’m not. I haven’t spent my life dreaming about spending new years even crying and pissed at my alcoholic boyfriend who is passed out on the floor. the same man who is otherwise the most caring man ever. I told him if it was the other way around and he slept at my place on new years eve and it was me who was passed out cold, leaving him to sleep alone in my bed and worry about if I’d choke on my vomit and die, he’d not be happy either. Of course he had no reply because he knew I was correct.

    Between these two incidents, that happened on Dec 11 and New years eve and since, he has made great strides in that he has chose to avoid visiting his best friend who drinks more than anyone I have ever seen drink. I had not even mentioned to him anything about this. I will not tell him he can’t see his friends. I asked him why he didn’t go visit his friend is that was what he wanted to do. He said his will power is good but not that good. I am glad he realizes how unhealthy their relationship is. He had also not drank every day at home, like he used too. He has still drank most days but not as much as he had been. I fear he is making this change only for a short time to try and impress me. I did tell him I can see he’s making an effort and I appreciate it. He said it’s not just for me but because he doesn’t want to drink that much himself plus he can’t afford too. I told him I am glad it’s not “just for me, because that is the wrong reason and he won’t be successful if that is the case. I told him it has to be for him, if he wants a chance at succeeding. He agreed.

    I am already grieving as I fear it’s not a matter of IF he rages again but WHEN he does it again. I cannot live a lifetime of this. Even if it’s only a couple times a year. I can’t do that to myself forever.

    I know his drinking is a big part of why his wife left a year ago. I am sad that his teenage children have to live with this behaviour. I told him he is negatively effecting his children. I think on some level, he gets it and on another level he is still very much in denial.

    How do I find the strength to walk away when it gets worse again? I am not the enabling type but I also know I love this man so much. But I have to love me and not want a life time of this for myself.

    I am fearful for him as i know he was close to really harming himself only 9 months ago. I will spare you the details but when he told me, I cried. It’s heartbreaking. I fear what he will do to himself if/when it comes time that I leave. I know this isn’t my responsibility and it’s not my fault. But I still fear for his safety. I am heartbroken.

  • M

    My boyfriend and I started going out about 15 months ago. I used to drink back when I was in college but had quit and brought it down to just about 1 glass of wine a month or so. After I met my boyfriend, he encouraged, sometimes even persuaded me to start drinking again. He says he doesn’t even mind if I’m an alcoholic or a druggie because he loves me. He says this because I mind if he drinks too much, which he very often does.

    He’s known right from the start I want to be with someone I feel comfortable starting a family with, not a perpetual drunk. His friends are horrible – mostly useless and jobless, and all of them drink like crazy every single night, sometimes day and night. I think he hangs out with them coz they are losers and make him feel good about himself.

    Our relationship was rocky right from day 1, because he quit his job just a month after, was married and refused to leave his wife until she gave him some of his money back. Add to that his friends and a lot of booze almost everyday.. A few months back, he moved in with me after he assured me he would control his drinking, not hang out with his f***ed up friends, and try to live and act like a normal person. None of this happened. He drank and drank, a minimum of 4 days a week or more. We stopped spending any time together anymore as he’d just sit in a corner with his bottle and food. Things came to a point where I finally cracked up and wanted to leave him. He was physically abusive to me that night and completely unrepentant after that. A few weeks later, I finally cracked up and started calling him names and abusing him. He came home drunk and beat me up badly..

    He has been promising he’ll quit over and over again. Swearing on his dead mother. Anything to convince me to stay. But it’s all lies. He then started saying he won’t come home again when he’s our drinking. Again lies, he came home once at 4 a.m., very often coming in a 1 or 2 a.m. before that. I don’t even think he likes me really – a heavy mirror fell on me today and he just stood a few feet away and was smiling. How creepy is that? When I mentioned it to him after he lay down to sleep, he smiled again and called me crazy.

    I think I really am going crazy and need to get away from him soon. But I’m scared now coz I’m probably pregnant, have invested a lot of money in setting up a business for him, and don’t know how he’ll react if I walk away. What do I do?????

  • I left my husband of 19 years right after Christmas to be with someone who I reconnected with from High School. My husband was verbally and psychologically abusive, my boyfriend is not, even when he’s drinking he treats me well. He just likes to have people over whenever they feel like coming over, no matter what time I need to get up. He drinks heavily about every three days, staying up very late, sometimes not even going to bed at all. Doesn’t matter if he has to work or what he has to do the next day. He’s had bad experiences with programs and the law and doesn’t think he will benefit from them, but I see he can’t do it on his own. What can I do? He’s a good guy and wants help, but what’s out there, he’s not receptive to.

  • I am 61 married to a man who is 22 years younger who has a drinking problem. He drinks 6 to 12 beers a day when he’s upset or when he’s happy at work. Ore sex life went to hell. All he wants to do is sleep, work and drink. I tell him I want intimacy but it goes in one ear then out the other; as many other things in our life. I tell him I am not his maid. I love him but seems I am the one who is doing with out money, companionship and every day things because he drinks. Help

  • He appears to be medicating with alcohol his unhappiness about something. An alcoholic seldom takes action to deal with problems, so, like everything else, it will be up to you. A consultation might be in order. http://neillneill.com/consultations

  • Kimberly

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for over two and a half years. We have a daughter together who will be two next month, so we got pregnant right away. I have known him since we were 12 as he is the cousin of my best friend. He used to drink a 30 pack of Budweiser a day for the first year and a half of our relationship. He spent my daughter’s labor down in my car, sneaking off to buy more beer and I hardly saw him through any of it. He was totally wasted when she arrived and would not stay with me in the hospital afterward. My blood pressure went up so high, they kept me for 5 days. Finally, the 5th night, I had convinced him to stay with me. He didn’t drink anything and slept in the room ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT, miserable. However, my blood pressure went down enough just from the one night of him being there that they finally let me go.

    He started getting physically and verbally abusive and finally, that fall he broke up with me for a week to be with an ex who also drank. I guess he missed his daughter too much because he’d talked to me only 2 days later while his ex was at work and by the end of the week we were back with him as he made empty promises. The next March, he had become physically violent and called the cops. They saw the evidence and arrested him, but 5 months later, because I had went in and said I would like for him to seek help, they didn’t press for him to go to jail. Instead, they gave him evaluation tests and because he lied to them and acted normal, they didn’t see him fit to need treatment. We also had been talking during that time so by then, we were pretty much back together again.

    He went down to drinking a 12 pack of Budweiser a day. The abuse stopped for a while but he was still mean and hateful and we would fight a lot about his drinking, especially when he added a 13th, 14th, or 18th beer… In February of this year, he was fighting with his parents and took it out on me and became physically violent again. I told him I was done fighting for us and I was going to let him go if he wanted to drink. He checked himself into the hospital for help, totally intoxicated, only to check himself back out 5 hours later because he asked me to bring him something to eat and asked me to visit him. When I got there, he was mouthy to the security guard and still tried to blame the fight on me so I left him there. They let him go. After that, he stayed sober until last Friday (or so I thought). Friday, he’d hung out with his best friend like normal but when he came home, he wanted to drive out to our pond and fish for awhile. Here it was 4 am and he hadn’t come back with my car (my 2nd car, he wrecked my other one coming home from a bar that I didn’t know he’d been to but I thought I’d trust him now because I thought he was sober). So it’s 4 am. I call him and tell him to get my car back. He comes back and goes to sleep. I smell alcohol but he said he wasn’t drinking.

    I thought maybe I’m just being paranoid because he’s not wreaked with it like he used to be. Come to find out, he had been drunk like I thought. He had been drinking for several weeks without me knowing but small amounts so I wouldn’t suspect him drunk. So I left. Came back the night because he said he had learned to control it, after all, I didn’t know for the past month or so. So I was thinking Ok I can live with this as long as he’s not drunk. Well, Sunday night, he leaves with his uncle and buys two single beers. He says he’s not going to drink anymore. I leave for school, come back and he’s home, still drinking and already buzzed. I leave again and it is now Tuesday. I have asked him several times if he’s going to go back to how he was doing it or if he’s choosing a drunk lifestyle again. He said “How I’ve been”. So we were planning things when I’d come back home and yada yada but he mentioned he got beer today but not enough to get him drunk. Well, just hours later, he sounds drunk over the phone, leaving me messages about how if he wants to drink, he’ll drink and I need to accept it or stay gone. I call him and it’s the same. He definitely sounds drunk.

    I was afraid of this happening. I even told him that now that I know, it’s going to get worse because he has a problem. He said no it won’t because he’s learned to control it. Obviously, since Friday, all of that control went out the window so I told him tonight that I was very sad he changed his mind and I respect his choice to let my love go so he can feel buzzed or drunk, and I wished him well. He accused me of having someone else which I know is just a tactic to make me feel guilt-ed into forgiving him.

    I said “There is no one else and I have never thought of anyone else but I’m not going back to the way things used to be and I told you that months ago.” He kept saying he loved me and goodnight, which I stopped replying to. I was really hoping to return to that wonderful life I thought we had the last 2 months before last Friday. I was hoping to return to our home tomorrow. But I guess I will be at my sisters for awhile instead, fighting with my heart, trying to ignore him. I do love him and care for him and I can’t see myself with anyone else but it looks like his first love will always be a can. I’m so miserable. He always talked about marriage too but never acted on it or saved for it, yet he wanted and still wants more children.

  • Lulu

    I plan to confront my boyfriend about his alcoholism tonight. It’s only been a few months, but we broke up once because of it, and this weekend he binge drank twice. He’s 36, and I’m 28, and I want a family and can’t depend on his behavior to change. I don’t want to break up with such an otherwise lovely, smart, and successful person, but I know he puts his health and safety at risk very frequently.

    Just heartbroken. But I need to get out now.

  • mary

    I too fell in love with a functioning alcoholic. If there is such a word (functioning). Yea he held a good job, told me he loved me, but he drinks. I fell in love with him before I knew how serious his addiction was. Left him a few times in the 8 months we were together. He left me feeling alone in the relationship; which he wants to say I did that to him. He said hurtful, nasty remarks to me to make me feel bad about myself.

    I tried to get him to go for help; he promised when i did come back. He realized we did have something good. Then he decided he wasn’t going for help. Our sex life was great as long as he wasn’t drinking. His only 2 days off from work, which should have been quality time for us, we would do something nice during the earlier part of the day, then 4:00 he would drink 15 beers on a Thurs. and 15 on Friday. I am beating myself up and don’t know why.

  • Lu

    Dr. Neill is very happy to be able to provide this forum! He cannot give public advice. But, he does have his book “Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide.” Which can be found here: http://www.drneillneill.com. Also, he is available for private consultations via phone: http://www.neillneill.com/consultations.

  • Angel

    Hi there,

    So glad I found this site. Amazing how many of us are in the same boat! I left my boyfriend 3 days ago after I saw the light; 2 years down the road living together past year. He is the most amazing person when he can handle his drink or is sober. He has a successful business, so he is functional. He drinks every day due to stress(his reason). I enjoy my glass of wine too, but come Friday I start stressing, “Is he going to come home?” Tt has happened 3 times in the past year that he just stays away–doesn’t answer my calls to find out if he is ok. I leave for a few days. He begs I go back after promises are made.

    Friday night he fell asleep in the bath (snoring his head off) for two hours! I recorded it (he was to embarrassed to watch). Saturday he got into a fight at a pub after he left me at my moms. Sunday he left in a huff only to come back later! I left him alone removed myself from the situation, as again I’m walking on egg shells, careful not to upset him! He picked fights with me the whole weekend. I ignored him. I booked a place for the long weekend coming up–I have canceled.

    Last night he started texting me how much he loves me and can’t live without me! I feel guilty, but I know for my own sanity, this is the only way. I love him madly, but enough is enough!

  • marija

    Thank you to all the beautiful women for sharing your stories. Today, I have left my boyfriend of six months over his drinking habits. It’s obvious to me that he is in denial. He has a zero alcohol license. As he lost his license for 2 years due to drunk driving; which I detest! He has this unit in his car that he blows into before driving and has managed to work out that light beer won’t be picked up after a few hours.

    Suffice to say he hasn’t learned his lesson. He is going in front of a magistrate this week and I hope they come down so hard on him; as this unit has picked up alcohol twice in the past year. His 10 year old daughter called him an alcoholic on his birthday and he laughed it off. I was floored and shocked. His hangovers and excuses are getting real old. So I too had to leave an otherwise beautiful man who was sweet and kind. I’ll miss him. But after reading all your posts I couldn’t lie to myself for another day. Hopefully this is the wake up call he needs for his daughters and his own sake.

  • Ms. B

    I”m really disappointed… and so very confused why is it the nice sweet guys are crazy alcoholics…? My boyfriend and I have been thinking about moving in together but I am worried about his drinking. When we met he drank A LOT but the longer we are together the less he has drank. Example: he used to drink everyday and on a random day if it was bad after work. He’d get so drunk he would forget we had plans or call so drunk, I could barely understand him, and tell me he was sorry but he had a bad day so he had to unwind. Now he drinks once or twice a week but after a couple of weeks like this he’ll drink til he passes out.

    He’s in the military and when he’s gone for training obviously he doesn’t drink. But, the whole time he’s gone he reminds me that when he gets home he’s gonna get “white girl wasted” or “I’mma gonna drink til I puke and probably by a couple of hookers.” He doesn’t–he just says mean stuff “JOKING” and then says “oh babe I’m just kiddin’ you know that. Don’t be so serious all the time.”

    When he is sober he is the sweetest most awesome person I know and we have talked about his drinking. He has cut back tremendously; compared to when we first started dating. Once I almost left him because he called me drunk accusing me of smoking pot and being in love with someone else and calling me a dictator then passed out on the phone. The next morning he texted good morning my beautiful like nothing had happened. I texted back yeah ok. Of course he was like “What’s a matter babe I love you.” I said that I love you too but we definitely need to talk. So he calls me immediately. I’ll tell him what happened and he promised it would never happen again. So far he has kept his promise but I’m scared to move in with him and he be worse than what he’s been showing … I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO AND WE ARE ENGAGED!! HELP!!! Is there a chance that it’ll be alright or am I wasting time making illusions of things that will never work? I really do LOVE him. But I am also worried what could happen.

  • Elaine

    I also spent 13 years (off and on) with a functioning alcoholic and also trying to reinvent the first wonderful 9 months of our relationship. I recently found the strength and the courage to leave this man after so many wasted years (some of the best years of my life) I was 37 and now 50. I truly loved him and thought that I could help him, but I finally came to realize that only HE can help himself.

    He promised me last year on our 13th anniversary that if I would go back one last time he would get the help he needed. He had never said this to me before, so I thought at last this was it. Instead what happened is that it got worse (especially after he lost his new job of 7 months) and of course blamed me for that and everything else that was wrong in his life. His drinking got worse by the day where he was starting to drink at 9 am and continued throughout the day with him passing out in the afternoon, waking up in the evening to continue the drinking until he passed out again.

    I have never been so miserable in my life. He became belligerent and very mean toward me. I tried talking to him, but it was just no good. I decided to leave and the hardest part was how sad I felt after spending all of these years with this man that I did love, and he couldn’t even acknowledge what his actions had done to our relationship.

    I had to walk away without an apology or even a goodbye. It hurt so much because I had truly always loved him, but I knew I had to love myself more and leave. This was in May and it’s getting easier. It was a lot of hard work leaving someone I loved but I decided that before I wasted any more of my life on this man, I had to do what was right for me. One of the hardest things ever, especially as I had relocated to start our new life together.

    I left with everything I could fit into two suitcases and the rest of my belongings are still in storage half way across the country. It was a tough lesson, but I know in my heart I have done the right thing, I can’t get back all of those years, but I can now start my life afresh, but I am giving myself plenty of time before I even think about getting into another relationship. This man tore me down and took me to a place emotionally that I can barely even describe.

    All I can say to any of you is PLEASE don’t waste the years that I did. If he doesn’t actively seek and get the help he needs, you will never have a peaceful and happy life. You have to do it for YOU.

    Love and peace to you all.

  • Rach227

    I’m kinda glad I read this. I’ve been looking for answers on what to do about my boyfriend of 18 months. We have been looking for flats. Last night he got drunk again. He left the gas hob on with the frying pan on top messed around with my flatmates food and left food in the oven. Not only this but I have had a fair amount of verbal abuse. I had warned him before that I can’t move in with him if he was going to keep being like that yet he didn’t get help and drank again anyway.

    I told him I’m not moving in with him, but want to support him. Now he’s trying everything to get me to move in or he cant have the support he needs. He has a lot going on at home with both his parents really ill and so he’s turned to drink. I had no idea what to do, but this helps me realize there isn’t much I can do. I still want to try and help him from a far but these comments have helped solidify my view that in no way can I move in with this guy anymore

  • Wife needing advice

    I left my marriage of 30 years due to my husband’s alcoholism. He quit three months ago on his own and will not go to AA. Now he wants me to come home. I truly love him and I’ve taken this time apart to take care of me. I don’t want a divorce. All I have ever wanted is for him to quit drinking and become the husband I know he could be. I’m so confused right now. I really need your advice.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Veronica

    I’m 46 years old. My father was an alcoholic. I know the illness and the abuse people the closest to alcoholics have to endure.

    Until 10 days ago, I had a partner. He had asked me to marry him. I had a great relationship with his family. I had never met a man in my life who made me feel so loved and missed when we were separated. But dark clouds came in at the early stage of our relationship. I realized he was an alcoholic and a binge drinker. So as he would disappear for days at a time drinking, not going to work, not only did I get angry about that, but I also found it hard to trust him.

    He would blame me, trying to make me believe I was jealous, he was not an alcoholic, and that I could trust him. I broke up with him twice. The ordeal was too much for me emotionally after my father. Yet, he begged me back and I was a fool. Overnight, out of nowhere, he disappeared drinking, this time switching his phone off most of the time. He did pick up my calls twice. The first time, he was rude and drunk. The second, he was still drunk and said, “You are no one. I don’t care. I’m sleeping with my neighbor. I met her Friday!!” Days later, he mailed me the most surreal psychotic message ever; blaming me for what had happened. At times he said he felt bad, then would tell me we could see what happened later in the month, as I said the last time we chatted. We never had that chat, it’s all in his head. His family is stunned, my friends are stunned, and I’m devastated. 10 days ago..and seemingly he has moved in with the girl who is 23!! No one can believe it. He has just abandoned me, not really saying it’s over, not really having the decency to end it properly, and tells me we can stay friends!!!!!!

    Such abuse and cruelty is what we suffer at the hands of alcoholics. I have no sympathy left. My father destroyed my mother and my childhood.

    My boyfriend has just finished to destroy me by what he did and how cruelly he dumped me. I know why. She’s a young girl he can manipulate and fool and use for a while ’til she too starts to see the flow.

    His family has a terrible relationship with him. Basically, he needs a place to stay. Some may be strong, accept the help, face their demons, and try to cure those demons. But most do what my boyfriend did, to try and heal.

    That’s what you get when you live with an alcoholic. Try to help, but protect yourself. Don’t give 3 chances like I did. Look how he dumped me when a better fool came along. And he played well to show me he loved me. How sick are these people? You can not trust an alcoholic in the same way you can not trust a junkie. They are exactly the same: manipulative, lairs, disloyal, selfish, and cruel. To me that is mental illness. Run! Run away and save yourself the trauma. I’m so angry with myself to have let it happen to me again.

  • Birgit

    Thank you for your post. I too am in the process of ending a relationship with an alcoholic. Unlike many alcoholics, my partner doesn’t get mean or angry when he drinks – he becomes sweet and helpless. He was sober for a year and I really didn’t know he was drinking again. He assured me he was not and I believed him. But, he would disappear for a few hours or forget to call me and finally his mother said, “You know he’s drinking again, don’t you?” Duh. I felt so stupid, like I had been blindsided. When I confronted him and wouldn’t accept his explanations for some of his actions over the past two weeks, he told me he would call me back, and I haven’t heard from him in 3 days.

    I am sure he’s holed up somewhere and completely drunk, but I can’t think of that. I’m sure he feels betrayed by me and I can’t think of that either. I have become very close to his family and they all tip-toe around his problem…”at least if he drinks here, we know he’s safe”…but, I need to remove myself from all of it. It is hard to realize I am not enough, that my love was not enough to keep him sober. It is painful, but your words about the partner of an alcoholic trading pain now to be spared pain later has reaffirmed my decision. Thank you for that.

  • Betty

    I have been with my boyfriend for one and a half years and he has alcohol problems. I honestly don’t know the cause of why. I have come to surmise that it is a chemical addiction, as I do not see that there are any problems in his life that are the cause of it. We live together more or less happily, we have enough money and I am studying at college and he is working. He says he is happy with me and I see that and I feel exactly the same apart from this one big problem: DRINK.

    When we first got together, I saw that sometimes he drank too much, but I just brushed it off. After this time though I see that he has a problem that he needs help with. What upsets me most is that he doesn’t drink heavy spirits like vodka, whiskey or wine, he only drinks beer with a relatively low percentage of alcohol (never more than 5%), and not so much as compared to the other people in this post have mentioned. He drinks maybe 6 beers or less in a day, though I know of course that it is still dangerously exceeding the limit of units you should consume every week. It takes only 2 beers or so to set him on the path to drunkenness if he does not control himself and stop. When he does not control himself, he will go on until he falls asleep or I persuade him to rest. I do not understand why his tolerance is so low. I really think it must be something in his blood. He drinks every day apart from a few times in our relationship. I like to drink beer occasionally, but I have a limit of a few, then I know when to stop. I do not need it or crave it at all like him.

    What also upsets me is that I have seen him drink 1 can in a day and even not drink at all for 2 weeks (it was the longest time). In that time he was completely OK. It was just like normal to be with him. I don’t regret our relationship as we have so much in common and are genuinely in love, but the drink has the greater hold. I see that now. When we did not have much money, at one point none, he hardly drank and did not even mention alcohol. He was fine apart from a slight headache. Then once we get money, he has to go off and have it. I have noticed that he can regulate his drinking for a few weeks then he looses control, binges for a few days then stops. The cycle always repeats itself. For a few weeks, it seems like alcohol is gone or semi-present in our lives, then it comes back again and I hate it.

    I am really starting to have enough. When he is drunk he is either silly (which was easy to deal with) at first and then sometimes is angry, not at me but at something he cannot name. This manifests itself in restlessness and verbal aggression (not at me but just like ranting to himself). Sometimes he has kicked the wall or a billboard (though this has stopped), non-stop talking, his speech becomes unintelligible, he can’t sleep, etc. I am sick of the never ending story. I feel like we have no peace in our house. He just talks and talks and when I ask what is wrong he can’t even explain. I have tired to discuss this problem, he knows he has a problem, but says its due to his mother talking too much in his life. I have met his mother and she talks too much, but it is not that bad. His father drinks too much too at times, so I think it’s in the blood. He does want to stop, but he can’t as the chemical addiction is too strong. He even called to ask for help and they referred him to another service as that was a private service, but has not done anything else so far. I don’t want to be hurt anymore by this. I have cried, threatened to leave then he gets upset and cries. He does love me, but if he cannot help himself (he knows this is affecting me badly), then he is putting his addiction first. I’ve had enough of the lies that he will stop drinking, that this is ‘the last one for today’, of giving him money or he spending too much of our money on alcohol, but getting angry if he thinks I am spending too much, of lying about how much he drunk, or the stupidness and anger that comes out when he’s not sober. I do not even like to go out with him anymore when I see he has had a drink, as I am worried what will happen, what he might say to someone. He even said he was drinking cause I wanted to stay at home and I told him that was because he was drunk! Unless he gets help I might walk. I can be his friend and offer support, but I will have to distance my heart as it’s too painful.

    I am all alone in a new city and I am scared to make new friends in case they see him drunk at one point. I feel so alone at times and wonder what to do. What I had dreamed of in our relationship; our love of books, nature, travel, for example, is not being realized as the alcohol is taking over. He has a good heart, but this alcohol is like a poison that has no antidote. I have had many problems in my personal life that I am still at times finding it hard to psychologically deal with, but I have not turned to drink or drugs as I know that’s not the answer. If he has real problems, I don’t know what they are as he doesn’t want to discuss them. Today is my birthday and he is drunk now and blabbing away in the kitchen. I hoped for a nice meal, a bunch of flowers, just something small and significant, but so far have got nothing but tears and the never ending flow of beer. It feels like I am being psychologically tortured when he doesn’t shut up, talking nonsense and I don’t want to live in worry anymore. It’s not directed at me, but is affecting me anyway. I know I deserve better and I am thinking what to do. I love him, but I know I must respect myself first. It has helped me to write this and if I can offer advice to anyone it’s stay true to yourself first, even if it seems really hard.

  • Jen

    Veronica,

    From my experience, do not move in with him, unless your guy can get in a program for 1 year and stay in it. That’s the only chance for him and the two of you. I dated my boyfriend for 1 year back and forth between CA and CO. After the year, I moved to Colorado and all was well for 8 months. He NEVER drank during this time. Then he started slowly drinking, which became A LOT worse. He hid his drinking from me until now. We’ve been together 4 years. I go to Al-Anon meetings and he continues to drink.

    I suggest going to Al-Anon and listening to other women’s stories. We are at a point of me looking around to move out now. I have 2 horses, a dog, a cat, and 2 pet chinchillas which I need to find homes for (except the dog and cat). This is hard for me as my animals are my children and you always hope you can find your animals a loving home. My point is, you move in with him, it will not be forever… it will be “just for now”.

    Alcoholics are caught in their disease and will lie and tell you what you want to hear. Or he will just push you away. In the last 2 years, I’ve been incredibly lonely living with my boyfriend. He pays more attention to the bottle than me and says he loves me, but we just can’t live together because I won’t accept the drinking (which is a truth). I’m tired of seeing his glazed-over eyes, smelling his breath that reeks of booze, and the insecurities, wondering what he’s doing due to the fact he’s so drunk and his there is no rationalization in his decision-making process. There is much heart ache to come from living with an alcoholic so long. Did I mention he works from home doing his property management business from 8-12, then its outside to do work on the property and cocktail hour, he comes in and works? By the time I get home at 5pm, he’s drunk saying stupid things to me or passed out on the couch. So my question to you is, do you really want this in your life or even having to deal with a moment of this?

    Do I love my alcoholic boyfriend? Yes, its just run its course and I can’t bare the hurt and am very very tired.

    Good luck and get to an Al-Anon meeting, attend a few if you’re not sure still.

    God Bless You! You’ll Need It!!!

  • Amy

    Mary, you described my situation to a “T”!!!!! We aren’t married, but we do own a home together. He is arrogant, insensitive, and says some incredibly rude things to me on a daily basis showing zero appreciation for anything I do. He would be lost without me. He said he’d go to counseling, but I’m at the point where I don’t know if it’s going to help as he is just too selfish. I had to front more money toward the mortgage because he didn’t have his entire half and I was furious. I’m not sure how to recover from this. I’m so angry.

    When we met, he was wonderful. He was well aware of what my wants and needs are; that I want a husband, close family, and another child. He agreed. Now, he “hates” kids, thinks they’re a pain, and he doesn’t want any kids with me. I feel betrayed and blindsided. I’m not shy and I won’t give up my dreams after being tricked.

  • Marie

    I am married to an alcoholic who is very verbally abusive to me and our teenagers. The abuse continues day after day. It will never stop.

    I have made every effort to help all of us through this terrible situation. It is like a battle field. We are always going into different rooms, not coming home, visiting friends and family, just so we can get away from him. We have charged him with abusive, drinking, and driving, and forced him into counseling. Nothing worked for him.

    Years go by with hope. It’s so sad for everyone involved. I thought it would change but the addiction has become worse. The damage is already done to my children and myself. I have courage and hope for the future with my children to heal and be happy with joy.

    I am smiling and feeling very happy that we will start over with a peaceful beginning.

  • Christine

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years, lived with him for four. I knew from the start that he had a drinking problem, but downplayed how bad it was. He also downplays it…he calls himself a functioning alcoholic because he “only” drinks beer and doesn’t get hungover and has never lost a job because of it.

    I enable him. I pay for everything…everything; the rent, the cable, the food, you name it. I almost left him yesterday out of frustration. I told him to quit drinking or leave. I’m still not sure how it happened, but he somehow calmed me down without making any promise to quit drinking. He said he would cut down, but I know that won’t last. I just love him so much. Take away the beer and he’s amazing; he’s sweet, loyal, and he thinks I’m amazing. He even brags about me to his friends and family.

    I’ve had people tell me he’s an alcoholic and has to stop, but when I bring it up, he doesn’t listen. I told him I’m terrified of coming home one day and finding him dead of a stroke. That rattled him, but I don’t think it will change anything. He said he only feels like he can confront me about problems when he’s drunk because I get “emotional”, but I get so emotional because I feel like he’s just being mean because he’s drunk!

    We have plans to move to Georgia next year (5 hours away). He grew up there, I grew up here and I’m terrified. He swears up and down that he will cut way back because he’s a guitarist and joining a band. He says he will rarely drink at all, but I don’t know if I can believe him. I’ll have to work from home and I’ll be stuck in the house 24 hours a day if he’s out with “the boys” and the band and practicing and drinking. I know I could always move home, but I’d rather not go through the craziness…I don’t know. I love him so deeply, but I hate the alcohol.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Linda

    Okay so, I married a man that was madly in love with me six years ago. Within six weeks, I found out he was on cuckoo and hung out with really weird people who were into group sex and cocaine. While we were dating, we could go to dinner, have a bottle or two of wine, then fool around at his apartment, and then I would go home in a taxi. When he moved in after our marriage, it all came out in the wash. I could have a few glasses of wine and he couldn’t stop.

    I am a bartender, so when I was working till 3am, he was out partying. After three weeks of marriage, I wanted to end it and I got NO support from my family. I started going to Al-Anon and started to suspect my mother had done more in her life than drink. I realized it was okay to kick him out – three weeks after beginning Al-Anon. As I stayed with Al-Anon, I began to see others in the same boat.

    I tried to move back to my home town when I dropped my mother off to retire with her mother in another state. These women tried to keep me there to live off my child-support and my career. They beat me up and took away my car. I called the airlines, packed my kids’ clothes, and sent them back to live with their Dad. I finished what I could and left the state with my car and my clothes. They got all my furnishings and material goods. Before I left, I stayed with my aunt and found out my mother had done the whole cocaine/alcohol/group sex thing in the 70s and 80s. My aunt believed she sided with the six week husband to punish me for not being like her.

    It has been a hard road rebuilding my life, especially since this happened in 2007, right before the recession. I still kept attending Al-Anon and sought counseling. I am in a great job. I am in my own place, but not where I want to be. I am a successful person, no matter what I put my endeavors. This recession slowed down my abilities, but it has not stopped them. In 2009, I stopped going to Al-Anon and got my entire dysfunctional/co-dependent/dependent family out of my life. I couldn’t handle hearing the bad stories and people staying stuck with addicted abusers. I would ask them why would they stay. Always the answer, “But we love them”. That kind of love is not enough for me.

    As I have dated around since this divorce, I have found there are a lot of people out there with drinking and drug problems. I recently dated a man who make 200K, but the only time he could tell me he loved me was after he was deep into the bourbon. When having sex, he would compare me to his late wife. (Creepy eh?). He tolerated his friends popping Percocet for sleep and recreation. In six weeks…the boot. I now can see the signs BEFORE I live with someone.

    I got locked out of my house last week and went to a bar where I know the manager. I waited for a friend to get off work and let me spend time at his house until I could reach my land lord. My ex husband was there. I usually run from him rather than talk. I also knew he had been to two months of rehab over the summer. He asked me to not run and to talk. When I kicked him out, he met a woman who has the same lifestyle he does and they have children together. Surprise, surprise they are separated. I told him I am sorry because I know he loves children; he was wonderful to my kids when we were dating. We started to bury hatchets and discuss why we broke up. She came into the bar and instantly got aggressive with me. I calmly explained to her that she was having his children while I was married to him (he refused to divorce me for two years) and if we wanted to talk and bury hatchet, it was our right. I reminded her she was separated longer from him than we were when they met. My ex paid the check and we left and talked all night at his house. His driver’s license is still revoked years after a DUI because of neglecting himself and he has other financial issues. For a man that makes 100K, his life is a mess. And yes, I do still love him deeply and he loves me. I told him I couldn’t go down the path he was headed when I kicked him out and I needed to realize I was already in deep with my own toxic family. We considered dating again.

    I thought about it for four days. NO. I just am getting back on my feet from removing my self from a toxic family and this recession. I am just getting my credit back after giving to my family and paying their bills for so long and not being able to pay mine once the layoffs started. It is hard enough navigating the dating scene and to revitalize my life after a recession and dropping the toxic “support network” that was my family, the last thing I need is for me to get between him and his toxic wife.

    As I told him when he showed me scratches on his arms from their fights (he still goes over there weekends to be with the kids), “I don’t care what you did, how much coke you did, how many times you both cheated on each other, you don’t deserve this.” He went to rehab, but she didn’t. He goes to AA, she doesn’t. She gets so drunk and hungover, she can’t go to work. I said, “You maybe the only one being responsible in this situation, but it takes two to tango. She needs to go too.” He is going to try to make this work for the kids. Unless she goes, I don’t see it working. I will always love him and he will always love me, but I am thankful I am out and I pray for their children.

  • Ben

    My fiancee and I have been together for 5 years now and plan to get married in February next year, all is booked. Over the last 6 months, she has started drinking more and more. I expressed my concern to her about finding it a problem when she is drinking alone all day and intoxicated by the time I am home from work at 6 pm on a Tuesday.

    She is now hiding empty bottles around the house and trying to hide the drink and fact she has been drinking with cover ups (mints, perfumes, etc.). I am now majorly doubting marrying her because of this.

  • Spunky

    It is actually comforting to know I am not alone. My boyfriend is 40 and I just turned 47. We have known each other for 8 years and been together almost 6 years. He is what I call a dis functional alcoholic.

    When he would start drinking, he could drink one or two 16 oz Nattie’s and be able to function, but then he wouldn’t be able to stop there and be content. He would consume more and that’s where the change in behavior and attitude begins, he refers to as “that guy”. His behavior created two DUI’s, therefore he had to take drug and alcohol classes. He didn’t drink a drop during that time so he could pass UA’s. He was doing really good, wrote up papers about his addiction and how it effects his family and a detox plan for class, that I felt were from the heart. Part of the program called for AA meetings and a sponsor, the counselor over looked that part and never asked him for verification and graduated the program. The first thing he did was go have a beer.

    Then came his 40th birthday! We were camping, here I come in as the enabler. I took two beers for him for his birthday. When we got back, he continued to have a couple of beers just about everyday. The past three weeks, I have noticed he has been drinking more and seen him trying hard to not be “that guy”.

    He lives in my home. He has done a lot of restructuring and building to my place. When he has been “that guy”, he has threatened to thrash what he has done to improve my home because he supplied everything and put his time (6 years) into it, which he did before when I told him it was over.

    The stress has been awful and affecting me physically with headaches, depression, weight gain, and mentally as well. Financially, I am being nickled and dimed again for “a six pack” just about every other day. It is taking up the extra money I have for my two teens at home. I have expressed that to him many times, and he always responds, “I love you baby”. I kind of feel that if I didn’t get it for him, I know what would happen. If I were to ever actually end it, my fear is that he would thrash the place, and then my three sons over 21 years of age would end up in prison.

    When he is sober, we can actually communicate and everything is awesome. Now that he is drinking more, our communication has stopped because he gets defensive. We both work, but he is home a couple of hours before me so he has all ready been drinking when I get home. I never know just how much he has been drinking and communicating is out of the question.

    I keep coming up with excuses for everything. Bottom line is, I am scared of his actions and my boys more than anything. Just not sure what to do except get on some anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.

  • Jo

    I need the courage to get my life back. I have been with my husband 26 years, married for 22. He always was a drinker, but I came from a childhood that had a heavy drinking father who was always charming and sweet, funny and loving, but I couldn’t tell you if he were sober or drunk at any time.

    My husband started to drink more in the early years, more beer at BBQs and parties, then discovered rum. In the early 90′s work took him to places where drinking at night was the norm along with drugs. He then started on whiskey. He ditched the drugs and for at least 20 years, serves himself a bottle of whiskey a night (there may be some nights whiskey free, but it’s not many). The next morning, he’s up and ready for work.

    Our kids, now 21, 19, and 16, notice him drunk asleep on the couch at six pm as normal. I don’t want that! My 16 year old hates his drinking and when he starts to get annoying she tells him he’s drunk and to shut up, I have started to do the same, but know that he will get in a huff and be moody for a few days with me and not talk to me. I go to bed early dreading that he is going to stagger up and start a non sentical conversation or get all soppy and sloppy. I don’t fancy making love to him when he’s drunk, he won’t remember it in the morning or if (you know what I’m getting at) the performance is …. I just can’t be arsed to use my energy for this.

    He didn’t drink for a whole month and I fell back in love with him, I had that same giddy feeling from long back.

    We don’t go out, he gets too drunk. We don’t go to family’s, again gets to drunk. When his mum and step dad visit between them they could drink Ireland dry! I have a few drinks with them then leave them to it. I rarely drink too much as I can’t stand feeling like shit in the morning. Only the other night he all of a sudden announced, drunk and most of the bottle gone, that were going out for dinner. He never takes me out! I refused and softly told him that it would be nice, but he had drank to much and no restaurant would let him in, maybe another time.

    We run a business together, but I have now taken on a part time job to get out of the house, also it’s playing at the back of my mind that I will be a widower sooner than later.

    He knows he drinks to much, admits it to anyone who asks, even the doctor. I made him go to the doctor because he was in chronic pain with his foot, arm, and hand gout. His liver is just on the cirrhosis (sp) side.

    I have had enough, I often wondered how most friends have beautiful holidays and lovely homes and gardens, it’s because money is not wasted on booze and spare time is not wasted passed out!

    Do I stay or go? My heart says stay, but then my heart shouts go!

    We had never really argued until the last five years, where I find now that I am lonely. I don’t have a partner or friend now, we co-exist. I have never had another partner ever, we met when I was 16, and I’m scared of not being with him. I like him, but don’t love him. I need to grow some.

  • Hannie

    I went into my relationship with my functioning alcoholic “eyes wide open”. As a child of a functioning alcoholic step-father, I could see the writing on the wall. The guy I fell for was amazing for 4 days, and then 2 days of a bender and 1 day to recuperate. He brags about this lifestyle. I somehow thought “maybe” I could deal with it because I liked him so much.

    Flash forward a year. I never asked him to change because that just never works, but I would say, “This isn’t working for me” and described what wasn’t working. I knew if he wanted us to work he might make adjustments, and if he was going to choose booze over a relationship, that would become clear too. You all know how this story ends… he chose booze and we are now split. It hurts me terribly, but I’m also proud of myself for actually setting my personal boundaries – maybe for once, no matter the pain. It totally sucks and I’m sad and missing him. But…. my advice is: worry about YOU. Set your boundaries. Know what you can/can’t tolerate, and get some advice from experts until you can put yourself #1. Good luck all. There’s nothing easy about any of this.

  • Ann

    Hello,

    I have read most of the comments, and really sorry to hear some of them. Some of the information seems relevant to my situation. However, everyone is talking about a partner…….boyfriend or husband. Mine unfortunately is with my mother. I believe she is a “functioning alcoholic” because she doesn’t “need” a drink when she wakes up in the morning or when she goes to bed, she functions perfectly fine, and is the perfect single mother I could ever ask for………..apart from she binge drinks and gets so drunk she forgets who I am, can’t hold her own head up, stays up all night and develops the “drunk sigh” she does. It’s got so bad now, that I will go to bed, she is fine we cuddled up on the sofa, hasn’t touched a drop, seems so happy and fine, I wake up in the morning and she is out cold, drunk to oblivion, in the space of 8 hours! Then when she wakes up, it’s 50/50 whether she will be extra nice to me and over compensate and pretend that nothing is wrong, or whether she we go off on one and we have a slanging match………never know which way she will blow, like a volcano. But she will always pretend that nothing’s happened, even when I confront it, she tells me I am “just like my father” and then tells me she wants me out the house, move out, and anything I have told her in confidence (about a boyfriend or I securities) she throws them back in my face.

    I know the route of them problems was my dad having an affair and a very messy divorce when I was 9………..I’m now 25 and the alcoholic behavior has not changed. It just got even worse since my dad died 4 years ago. The devastation my father has left in the home is eating away at us, both of us. But her anger and hurt wont go, and she is living in the past for the last 15 odd years!

    I am currently sitting in the car in a park on my iPad, crying, because she got drunk last night and blames me for everything that happened with dad, then hurls abuse at me, as she is still drunk. We are a middle class family, so please don’t think we belong on the Jerry Springer show, just two women who have been betrayed by a man who doesn’t love anyone but himself.

    I just don’t know what to do any more. I can’t keep carrying this burden on my shoulders by myself since I was 10 years old. It’s such an emotional burden……………you all have the option of divorcing and leaving your partners, I do not. My mother is the only family I have, and has brought me up single handed.

    Functioning alcoholics are worse as they convince themselves they don’t have a problem as it’s just occasionally. So they never hit “rock bottom” as normal alcoholics do. She’s very sneaky as a drunk as well. She will not accept that she has a problem or accept help or counseling for her deploying issues.

    I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    A distraught daughter xx

  • lovenlife

    My heart goes out to all the women who have been involved in a alcoholic relationship. Here’s my story.

    In 2000, I was a successful business owner in my community when the bank across the street from my shop hired a new Vice-President. He was so handsome, outgoing and just so much fun to be around. We began dating and I still had two daughters living at home, so I kept my home in the country and he had a house that was his mother’s in town. We saw each other every day at work, but would spend every other weekend when the girls were gone together traveling and having a great time and drinking. I wasn’t much of a drinker before him and there was a time when I made the comment to him I thought he may have a drinking problem because I started noticing it wasn’t just on the weekends; he was indulging and I backed off from the relationship. Two weeks later, he admitted having a problem with it and told me he would get it under control and we became engaged. I thought it was just that simple.

    I loved him with all my heart and was having the best time of my life. We decided to move to Arizona 4 years later after losing his job at the bank. He went out ahead of me while I sold my business and my house. We were married on one of my weekend trips out there and a year later, I moved out. It was the first time we had actually lived together and reality hit me like a ton of bricks. His drinking had actually gotten worse in the time he was out there and he behaved very different towards me. I thought maybe he had found someone else because he became very mean, full of anger and violent; a side I had never seen before.

    I started playing detective and uncovered several affairs with other women and it devastated me. I’ve never had anything to this day drop me to my knees and drain the life right out of me. I had trusted him with my life and my heart.

    I was all alone in a new city 1500 miles away from family and friends, I got checked out by a Dr. who told me cheating is very common for alcoholics since they spend so much time in bars and there is plenty of bar flies to pick up at the end of the night. He lied constantly and went from being the most loving and kind man to being a monster like Scott Peterson. He would go to jail for domestic violence and promise to quit drinking, but it never lasted for very long. The cravings always returned stronger than ever and I finally had no choice but to leave for my own safety.

    I filed for divorce and returned to our home town the end of 2007. He also returned home when he didn’t have my income to support him and his drinking. His truck sits at the bar every single day and he has obtained somewhat of a job that apparently brings in enough to supports his lifestyle choice. If I had it to do all over again, I would have run the other way. I have lost years of my life hoping and praying he would change and the man I fell in love with would return.

    Don’t waste your time or your life ladies.

    Sincerely,

    lovenlife (this was my screen name prior to the alcoholic)

  • msnb

    Hi. I am glad to have found this website. I too am going through a rough relationship with a man that, minus the alcohol (and the effects it has on him), I love wholeheartedly.

    We have been together for 7 years in March. lived together 6. Long story short, his drinking has gradually became so much worse. He drinks daily, 1 – 2 fifths of alcohol. He cant hold a job because of the alcohol. And my family (whom I am very close to) has said they don’t want to be around him and my 13 year old said he will move to my parents if he doesn’t stop.

    Well in September he moved out, he was gone for almost two months. He decided he wanted help, so he went into rehab for 1 week. I let him move right back in (end of Oct). For the past 3-4 weeks, he is sneaking and drinking all over again all the while when he left, he lost the job he had for about a year or so. Now he is once again unemployed.

    My son and him were once very close, he stepped up and was like a father that my son never had. Now there is a lot of distance and anger between them. I have hid from my son that he is drinking again, but it’s so obvious I am almost certain he knows. I keep telling him that if he drinks he has got to go, but he keeps doing it. I just want the strength to stick to my guns and make him go.

  • Kim

    I met my boyfriend about a month after I left my non-alcoholic husband of 8 years. We have been together now almost 2 years. I knew in the beginning that he liked to drink, I do too, usually indulging myself with a glass of wine or two at night, it helps me to wind down and relax, but I do not do so to get drunk or even need it every night, it is just something that I enjoy.

    When I met my boyfriend, he was living with his best friend, so I spent many nights around his friends. In the beginning, I wasn’t worried about his drinking, I knew that he drank every day, but I became concerned when I would wake up to go to work and find he was already awake and already drinking. I then found out that he has drank every day for the last 10 years, he knows he has a problem. He also suffers from admitted anxiety and I believe depression as well. I continued to stay with him because I do love him, he treats me well and is never abusive. His friends are all responsible adults that can take care of their business. My boyfriend and I both have good jobs, which surprisingly he functions well at. I have tried many times to talk to him about his drinking, even at one point telling him I was concerned about how it would affect our future together (we have talked about getting married in the next year or so) to which he said he doesn’t want to be “this way” forever. But, as you guessed it, the drinking has continued.

    Many times I have come home to find him passed out after an afternoon of drinking and have to wake him up so he won’t sleep all evening. We have separate residences, but he is struggling to pay his bills, doesn’t have his own cable or internet, he shares mine (we live close enough that he can share my internet connection). I also put him on my cell phone account. Countless nights, I have watched him with his glass staring off into space at the TV, feeling sorry for himself.

    The last time I tried talking to him about his drinking, he got upset, not yelling, but said that he didn’t see what the problem was because he wasn’t out at the bars, didn’t cheat on me and was with me all the time. I am torn because I do love him, but don’t know what I can do to motivate him to get help. I have a 7 year old daughter from my previous marriage and kept her distant at first, but as our relationship progressed so did the time they spent around each other. I worry constantly about her being around an alcoholic, not that he would hurt her, but with her seeing that kind of behavior, how it will affect her in life.

  • Kate

    Over thirty years ago, I dated an alcoholic for a year and a half. He was a brilliant lawyer, but even though he was sometimes dry for a month or so, he always went back to the bottle. He was angry and unpleasant when drunk, and one night he twisted my arm and pulled my hair. That night I left him and never went back.

    A few years later, I married. Last year, after a long illness, my husband died. Just over two months ago, I met a man on a dating site. At first he seemed very nice, but I noticed right away that he drank every night and got “mushy” drunk. One of my goals in life was to have sex again because during the last fifteen years of his illness, my husband was unable to have sex. At first the sex with this new man was wonderful, but due to his drinking, he quickly began to have erectile problems.

    I gave a lovely party on New Year’s Eve. He got quite drunk; slurred speech, etc., then suddenly got up, seemed quite angry, and left without any explanation. This has become a pattern. My Lab yips once, the man says my dog is out of control, gets angry (he denies any anger), gets up and leaves. It’s happened seven or eight times since New Year’s, and I end up standing in the snow in my driveway wondering what is going on. We talked, and I told him it was the alcohol. He didn’t drink one or two nights and the sex was good again. Then it was a couple of drinks. Last night we went out to a dance class, and he smelled strongly of mint gum and a little of vodka when he picked me up. Of course, he got angry for no reason, I left with him, he dumped me off in the driveway, said he’d call tomorrow (he didn’t) and drove away. I drove my car back to the dance and had a wonderful time. So this is the end.

    I have some things at his house which I’ll ask him to leave on my porch via email. I have many women friends and some men friends to do things with. It’s not the end of my life, and I got out early. Frankly, I’ll miss the sex most of all, since finding a man who can do that at my age (sixties) isn’t easy. But life goes on, I deserve a happy life, and life with an alcoholic is never happy. I hope you find my story useful.

  • Jennifer

    I would say, if you know someone is an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic, run away as fast as you can. I met a man who I knew had a drinking problem. He said he drank only a couple of times during the past five years but otherwise had been completely sober. We moved in together and everything seemed fine for six months. On my birthday I left to take my daughter to school and when I came back, he was gone. He called me to pick him up and said that he had been to a job interview and had been working. He was clearly drunk. We got into a fight and the next day he left and said he was going to work and never came back, called or anything. I found empty vodka bottles hidden all over my apartment and found out he had been lying about virtually everything. This made me feel horrible and completely betrayed. Don’t waste any precious time and don’t ever get involved with an alcoholic no matter how they try to charm you. It’s all just manipulation. I had to learn the hard way.

  • Morgan

    I have been with my boyfriend for 2 years now. We have a great relationship. My boyfriend is what you would call a functioning alcoholic. He has a good job and does not have a problem functioning in his day to day life. As soon as he gets home though, he mixes a drink every night. He drinks anywhere from 1/4 of a handle of vodka to 1/2 a handle. He is not violent or anything like that. He is a really great considerate man.

    We just moved into a house that costs more than we are used to paying and it has been a bit more stress for the both of us. We have been fighting about once a month about money and they have been escalating more and more. He only gets angry about the money issue when he has been drinking. We talked about it the other night and he wants to stop drinking. I am just not sure how to help him. I just want to know how to be supportive of him. He has gone through the first step. He as admitted to having a problem and is wanting to change. Where do we go from here?

  • Manda

    I want to help someone I care a great deal about. I have known him for 3 years. He has had problems with drink for the past 20 years and his 3rd marriage ended last year. This wasn’t due to him drinking, but think it played its part. He has finally hit bottom and admitted his has a problem after a black out and is now seeking help via professionals. He drinks each night, but never during the day. He has work commitments that he never seems to mess up.

    Now he is getting help. Will it work now he had admitted a problem? He knows it will kill him and wants help… Can he change his life with drink? Will help work?

  • Julie

    I came across this site and I am definitely not alone. I spent the last 14 years of of life with an alcoholic who is now non-functioning.

    I have dealt with all the usual lying, manipulation, verbal abuse, etc. that comes with an alcoholic. Do I love him? Yes, when he’s sober. I hate him when he’s drunk.

    He discovered 2 years ago that vodka gave him more bang for his buck (or should I say my buck) than beer and it’s become unbearable. He has no job, I pay for everything and maintain the house. He tried rehab 4 months ago at the tune of $20,000 and that didn’t work. He quit on his own Jan 18th and the DTS were so bad, I took him in to the emergency and he spent 7 days in the hospital detoxing. He managed to stay sober for 3 days after that then I caught him with a bottle of vodka. I have now discovered what a superb enabler I really am.

    I went onto Craigslist tonight and found a small bachelor suite and am moving this weekend. I’m selling the house. This is going to be really messy because he won’t be cooperative, but I need my sanity. When you hear the saying, “You can’t change an alcoholic, they have to change for themselves” it is so true. It is going to be a rough road, but I am so ready for it. All the stories I have read tonight I relate to on so man levels and it ultimately comes down to your personal happiness. We spend so much time and energy trying to fix the alcoholic that we forget we are important. I wish everyone the strength to find the happiness they deserve.

  • Deborah

    What can I say? What is the point of going on and on? We know the truth. Eight years for me without sex or intimacy with my partner! Why Why put up with it and keep complaining. I feel pathetic. Stupid and pathetic.

  • Khris

    To Marie and any others who have forced your children to live with your bad decision to remain with an alcoholic:

    You will ruin their lives. Get off of your selfish soapboxes and get your kids out of there and into a stable home. NO alcohol. No drugs. No abuse. I know. My life was trashed by an alcoholic father. No money for education, couldn’t bring anyone into the house, no friends after it got out of hand, no happy holidays, couldn’t have a NORMAL life of a kid. And YES, it will affect them the rest of their lives. Do you want to be resented as the mother who had the power to leave but wouldn’t?

  • Alene

    I’m in a situation with a man, whom I love with all of my heart, and have known for the last 20 plus years. We have been together 3 years and I stay with him almost every day/night, even though I have my own place. It feels like home when we’re together. At first, he and I would go out and have a few drinks and dinner and come back to his place just to watch t.v. and then he would take me back home. No sex for the first 6 months. As time went by, I finally fell as much in love with him as he claimed to be with me. Looking back now, I realize that every time he said it to me, even though I wouldn’t say it back, he was drunk. Now we argue all the time, because he is constantly drunk, and has no regard for my feelings whatsoever. I am disabled, due to a spinal cord injury, but receive SSI. So I do pay my own way at his place and for my own apartment. I feel like I’m in a depression and I’m wondering if it’s being brought on because of his behavior? He goes out and leaves me here without so much as a phone call or anything. By the time he gets home, he reeks of gin, tries to cook dinner for himself (because I’ve given up on doing it myself anymore), burns his dinner, wakes up in the middle of the night and pees all over the bedroom walls or wherever is convenient. He has constant blackouts and when I tell him about it the next day, he tells me it’s all my fault. I’m disabled and have to wonder if I’m driving him to drink more, because at this time, I can’t work. I told him tonight, before he went to bed, what he did last night and that I felt I was owed an apology. So he apologized. Then I got a small kiss goodnight before he went to bed and I asked him if that was it. He said, “after my attitude that yes it is.” So, I followed him to the bedroom and he said, “Now you’re following me? I’m sick of this shit!” My reply was, “I just wanted to tell you I love you and I feel that after the way you treated me you should at least tell me that much.” I honestly don’t know what to do in this situation. I’ve left 3 times before and every time I have, his drinking has just gotten worse. He openly admits that he is an alcoholic and is proud of it! Who in their right mind is proud of something like this? He’s 50 years old. I am 36. Even his own mom can’t get him under control. I love him so much but he doesn’t even care if he loses me. His own daughters, whom are grown, know he has a problem but continue to drink with him as well. I need help with this situation please! He is NOT physically abusive at all. But, he shows no emotion whatsoever for me or anyone. He doesn’t even seem to care about himself. At this point, I don’t think anyone can help him :’(

  • kate

    I met Dave 16 years ago. He was my neighbor who lived across the street. Our young children played together. I fell in love with the way he did things with his children, as my ex didn’t do anything with our children. He started to ask me and my children to join him in skating outings, movies, etc. I knew he drank but I didn’t have any history of it so I didn’t fully understand the effects of alcoholism.

    The first bad incident was when I was packing up the house as we were moving, he came home really drunk, I was annoyed because I was tired and would have appreciated help with the packing. He went nuts and grabbed me, threw me on the bed and tried to strangle me, he flipped the mattress over on top of me, pinning me between the mattress and box spring. He cried afterwards and was very, very sorry. He bought me flowers and we made up. There were at least another 30 or so other violent instances, always when he was drunk. My self esteem is nil. He beat me up very badly when we were away on holiday with the children and the children had to run out into the night and get neighbors to call police…he was arrested and did 17 weekends in jail. We had reconciled and he blamed me for that. That was 14 years ago. He verbally abuses me and yells at me all the time. He rages and rages at me. I have several hiding spots in my house.

    He drives very aggressively then, pulls right up behind people screaming at them to, “get out of the way.” If I react by gasping out loud then, he yells and screams at me. My children left home to live with their father, as a result of Dave’s anger and drinking. They didn’t speak to me for four years. I have been slapped, hit, strangled, shoved, pushed down into a cat food bowl, screamed at, humiliated in public, scared for my life, lost respect from my children and myself yet, I am still here with him. My father recently died and left me quite a bit of money..that has all been spent now. He has been in rehab (always court ordered). It lasts as long as the time it takes to get out of jail, keep the job etc., then the drinking starts again. He begs me to have a glass of wine, just one, then it’s the full Monty…

    He drinks all the time and, if I say something about it, he gets angry at me. I have been going to Al Anon for 8 months and am just starting to realize that he will never change. My heart always held onto the broken promises, the times he was sorry, and that he will stop. Even when he was violent with me on a vacation in Vegas, when he beat me up in the hotel room because I had shook him roughly to wake him up for the performance we had tickets for, because after a full day poolside with buckets and buckets of beer he passed out on the bed while I was getting dressed to go out. He called me a whore that night. I cannot believe I have wasted 16 years on this horrible man. I am flying out west to visit my girls, now grown up and living in Calgary and Banff, I hope I have the right words to heal their hurt with. Al Anon has made me realize that he is sick, sick, sick…and so am I. I have to work on a plan, my self esteem, and a way to leave him safely. It will go bad for me if he found out. God help me. Please take my story and RUN from a violent man and don’t look back.

  • JoJOe

    Oh, how my heart goes out to all you co-dependents. I have been to Al-Anon and it’s the tops. As is the book “Co-Dependent no More” I read it once every 6 months.

    Before my last relationship, I was happy and able and stable. He was an alcoholic, after a month I pointed it out. He got upset, tried to control it, but ended up trying to control me through verbal and then physical abuse. I bolted. Not what I want in my life ever again.

    You’ve got to watch out for these dependencies in others. Say a prayer for them and yourself and leave the relationship entirely. It’s going to hurt a lot more in the long run. Find someone and ask a lot of questions, observe them. Don’t give your heart away to someone because you feel you can’t get what you want. You can. If you’re a good person you can find a good person. Believe that above all things. It’s a real hurting game when you stay with those who do not know themselves, their dysfunctions or their souls. Oh I plead, beg and pray you good folk run for the hills and laugh and play and live such with greatness. Love yourself. Learn about it, it’s hard to love yourself sometimes, it means you have to behave in ways that you don’t want to. Meaning, knowing when to say “NO” My prayers every night for all.

  • Nico

    I found this forum like so many others did- frantically googling. Looking for answers. Looking for excuses to stay…

    I’ve lived with a High functioning alcoholic for the last year. I love him to pieces when he is sober. He has never been anything but sweet to me, even when drunk. He passes out twice a week and I have never seen him go 24 hours without. He drinks maybe 6 beers a day, smokes pot several times (including in the morning) every day.

    He loves me with all his heart.
    I love him as well. Which is why I can’t spend one sine night more crying in the same room as he is passed out in. As loud as I feel- it never wakes him up.

    My lease is up next month and I’ve told him I am leaving. He is heartbroken. He also said he isn’t going to make promises he knows he can’t keep- in regards to quitting.

    I moved here to San Francisco to be with him. We wanted to have a family. I was pregnant two months ago but terminated it- which I regret. But that time we both realized it would be a horrible mistake. He is a drunk. It was the first time I ever said it out loud.

    I still have no friends here. No support. As my move out date nears I find myself grasping for ‘situations’ that would allow me to stay.
    The thought of not seeing him anymore is so painful.

    Please someone tell me there’s no hope with him. Someone tell me it’s the right thing to leave my friend and my love behind. He is a good man.
    A sick man as well : (

  • danny

    This all seems so familiar and it helps me so much. I have to stay strong. I have been in a relationship for 7 months and the drinking really gets on my nerves. He has to smoke along with his drinks and I just can’t take it anymore. At one time, he said he would get help….but it never happened. If he only could sit back and observe himself. It also is embarrassing for him to fall out drunk if we go somewhere.
    Thanks for listening!

  • Mary

    Hello all,
    After reading all the posts, I have a feeling that I might have been in a relationship with functioning alcoholic and I had no clue. My best friend and I have known each other for 3 years and all that time it was on and off. Before he met me, he had episodes with alcohol and was in AA many times. First two years were rocky, but I felt that maybe since his profession is creative, he was drinking because he wanted to create. I always was finding excuses. Once he kicked me out of his house, two years ago. We didn’t speak for 3 months and somehow I felt it was my fault. Then we again got back together, seeing each other, but not living together. I only saw him when my daughter wasn’t with me. It has now happened again, he got drunk, like drank bottle of whiskey, and since he takes legal drugs such as Klonopin and Zoloft, I think it also gave him anger and he kicked me out. He was drinking everyday at least a bottle. I thought, “it’s okay because he said he is okay.” But I guess it wasn’t. Now all my friends say to stay away and that it’s a good thing he kicked me out because my life would be misery. I love him and wish I could help, but when he doesn’t want to hear or see me again, it makes me feel like it’s my fault. How do I live with that? Will the pain ever go away? Can I help him? We are both 30 and it hurts so much because I really thought he is the one for me and my child…. Guess I was wrong.

  • JoJOe

    The pain is mostly betrayal. You loved what you thought was good, but when the colours came out in the wash or (the bottle) you felt confused. This is the pain and heartbreak. Yes, be confident, I tell you it goes away, it gets better as you get smarter and more aware of the red flags, in life in general. You’ll be able to identify it faster in others in the future, and know not to go down that road again. It seems like a huge, ugly, big, scary deal in the moment, but you must remember that is because you are living or existing near the source. (the drinker)

    When you spend time away from the source, you’ll start to feel better and funny enough, yes, to a point where you’ll say, “Why the hell was I there?”

    It won’t seem like that for a while, that’s okay, just take your time with it. Write, sing, run, do other things, in fact do ANY other thing.

    It does get better when your out of the chaos. I used to laughingly call it, “getting out of the pen.” Only because it feels like I was in some kind of prison, only those bars where bars to drink in. HA.
    I can feel empathy at a great distance now and that is all that is required. Even that is sometimes too much. The hard part is the first 3 months. The No Contact Rule is a hard act to follow, but if you’re really looking for progress, it’s the ticket to freedom. Close your eyes and picture a beautiful place and you get off the plane and you’re in paradise. That’s the same feeling when getting out of Co-Dependency. It’s wow great. Way, way 2 billion times better than staying.

    Living a guilt free life, is a big lesson for co-dependent’s. But you, me, we all can do it. The right information is so. so. so necessary. Al-non is fantastic, it’s the berries. Sooo oh soo many books and help for the things you do not see. Especially the things that you do not see in yourself. Get the info and then it will become a brand new awakening and it’ll amaze you. You’ll be walking around say, “oh.. so that’s why I do and that’s why he does,” it’s a mystery unraveled. It’s very powerful stuff, just like the hidden you. You give your power away and you will loose yourself. Never give your power to someone else to use and abuse against you. NEVER, but you don’t know what I mean, that will take time grasshopper. There is much to learn about yourself.

    Happy New Year and I really mean NEW

  • Jessica

    I’ve lived with my boyfriend for about 7 months now.

    Once I moved (from a different city), I found out that his younger brother also lives with him. This was a surprise, but I thought it could work. It took me about a month of me observing their behavior every weekend to realize his brother is his biggest enabler. On Friday nights, they both start drinking as soon as they get home from work. They use my computer, which I hooked up to the TV to play music videos. Saturday morning, they wake up at 6 a.m. and begin to drink. Around 5 p.m.they’re both passed out. On Sunday morning, they wake up at 6 a.m. and again, pass out around 5 p.m. It’s all at home, they never leave the house unless they’re going to the beer store.

    These brothers are on a budget. They only drink Old English, and have about 3 of those big bottles EACH a night. From what I’ve heard from his family, he used to drink during the week as well. His family has tried to stop him, but they have all given up. At one point, his mom was even pouring out his beer after he had too many and he would run to a bar. During that period, there’s no surprise he got a DUI.

    I’ve gotten into countless arguments with my boyfriend about this. It’s the most exhausting thing and it mentally and emotionally drains me. I’m a calm person, but at the same time, I can’t sit and watch someone waste both of our time EVERY weekend. Once he’s had about one glass of beer, he gets very disrespectful with his words FOR NO REASON. I have never imagined such horrible things to come out of his mouth. I’ve done everything I can think of; I’ve tried being soft and passive, I’ve tried being harsh, I’ve poured out his beer, I’ve stormed out of the house, I’ve broken beer bottles, I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, I’ve begged, I even went and stayed somewhere else for a weekend. NOTHING has swayed him, and every time I get angry, I feel guilty. He’s almost 30 now and I fear that if I give up on him, he will never get control of his problem.

    Living together for 7 months, we’ve only been able to go out for dinner/movies about 5 times. I went home for Christmas, and during the 2 weeks he had off, he couldn’t stay sober for 10 minutes to greet my mother on the phone. I guess I’m just complaining now. I’m alone in this city, and I feel stuck. Having to lock myself in our room when he drinks, not being able to go out and enjoy myself with him, not being able to talk to anyone, it’s destroying my sanity.

    He decided that for the new year, he would only drink Heineken, instead of Old English. His brother is the one that convinced him that he doesn’t misbehave as much with Heineken. The first weekend wasn’t too bad, he drank a 6 bottles each night, which as sad as it sounds, is an improvement. The second weekend, he was on his 5th bottle. He had one more Heineken left to go through, but instead he starts drinking his brother’s Old English. He tried to hide it from me, too. I was livid. I will never understand his actions when it comes to alcohol as I don’t drink at all. I’m only 23 and I really have put a lot of my resources, time, and effort towards him with no hint of improvement.

    Without me, he won’t be able to pay for his rent or insurance. I feel so bad to leave or move out, but I believe it’s the only thing to save my sanity (if I have any left). I would love some advice, is there more I can do? Is there anything else I can try?

    I’m so frustrated.

  • Trapped with my F. Alcoholic Boyfriend...

    Okay, I’m in desperate need of advice. I have read through a few of these posts and don’t dare read more. My boyfriend of now 9 months is in fact an alcoholic. Functioning to say the least. He does not miss work in regards to his drinking, but does go into work hung over often. Everyday after work drinking starts promptly at 6:00 pm and the fighting usually starts by 8:30. It’s become so toxic and is effecting myself, my two children, as well as his own two children. It got to the point tonight that I called their mother and told her what was going on so she could come get the girls. I have bruises around my upper inner arm where he forced me into a room tonight and my bruised lip from two nights ago is still healing. I don’t know what to do…… I’m scared, my girls are scared, along with his two daughters also. My bedroom has a huge hole in the wall. This also is not the man I first fell in love with and allowed to have around my children. He starts with beer and goes into whiskey or vodka. I have been guilty of dumping out the liquor. I won’t even have the occasional glass of wine anymore because I find myself hating alcohol to no end. My life has been turned completely upside down. The worst part is I feel so trapped in, being able to get away from this man who says, “if I ever leave of have another boyfriend that it will never happen because he is too obsessed with me.” I’m scared to leave and I’m scared to stay. I’m trapped. My two beautiful girls are trapped.

    He’s about to loose all rights to his children because of his alcohol abuse. How do I get out? He says a restraining order is just a piece of paper. There are glimpses of good times, but they are just that, glimpses. This has completely taken over my entire life. Daily I’m called the c word, b word, etc. I wanted to go back to work and he lost it. Weekends are even worse because he will start drinking at 9-11 am. The girls have witnessed so much. I’m sure they are traumatized.

    I have never been with someone who’s life is consumed by drinking to the point of never having money and pawning things so he won’t be without money to get alcohol. One day at work, he drank in the bathroom with his co worker. Well, one time that I know of. He says the, “I can stop any time.” He makes the statements, “I need a drink to handle all of the stress.” He says it’s my fault he gets drunk and he will drink to get drunk. Tonight to the point of driving while drunk with the whiskey in the front seat. He says, “I’m going to drink to get drunk,” and does so. Please help.

  • Torn

    I am currently in a relationship…I guess with a functioning alcoholic. We have been together for almost 5 years and he has always drank (and has the same habits as hid dad).

    We were together only 7 months when his brother was killed by a friend, since then he has been drinking heavily and has depression. He drinks every night, more when he has a few days off. Most of the time he goes to work fine, but every now and the, he’s too hungover to go. It’s a difficult position to be in because I feel like he won’t change and create a better life for himself unless I leave. But we have been through so much together and I love him so much. I’m not staying with him out of pity or anything, I feel we do have a connection. We have both had counselling to deal with the tragedy but he won’t have alcohol counselling because he believes it won’t work.

    I can’t stand him when he’s drinking, he gets mad really fast, sometimes he can’t even understand what I am saying and every now and then he smashes things. He basically can’t do anything without having or wanting alcohol and just like others, he wrecks dinners, holidays etc. I hate the way it makes me feel! Like when he’s yelling at me I think that’s it! Get up and pack your stuff and leave! But I never do! In the morning he apologizes (it means nothing, he said it so many times) but I stay. We do have a good life together, I love his family and I feel like he and I could have a really great life together, but I will have to put up with his drinking!

    He talks about marriage, children and our life together, but I tell him I’m not marrying or raising children with some one who is slowly killing themselves! He doesn’t get it! I don’t know if he ever will and I am so confused.

  • Guilty

    I have been living with my functioning alcoholic for 9 months now, although he is barely functioning. Beer comes before everything, food, me, even his child. I want to tell him to leave, but I feel so guilty about it. I knew he drank before, he was a major alcoholic before and has cut down to a six pack a day since, but it’s still too much because it actually means that there are many days that we have little food or I don’t eat at all so the kids can because he had to buy beer. A couple weeks ago I told him I was done, we talked and he said he’d slow down some more, but has actually been drinking more and has drank every single day since. I have had several people tell me that I can’t ask him to quit because I knew what he was like before we got together. Things were getting better and I thought there was hope but now they are getting worse again. It has gotten to the point where I am so lonely even when he’s here because he has beer. I don’t drink at all and often have to deal with pressure to drink just because he does. I don’t know how to get over the guilt here, I just feel that it’s my fault for coming into the relationship knowing what he was already like. Like so many others, he is a great man, never mean or abusive or even really embarrassing even when drunk, but I just can’t starve in order for him to have beer. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to deal with the guilt from this?

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