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Problem drinking in the family

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14 years 6 months ago #47713 by Cabinbuilder
Go to mywayout homepage see if that is some help for you. Linda Garcia is my "mom" and is very committed to this program. Alcohol is a very nasty issue. I grew up all around it and I understand about hating it. I know that some people just have the craving (my whole family) and can't or won't stop. Unfortunately it has to come within them to want to stop. I hope for both your sakes he will make the right choice.

LECOM Class 2006
Osteopathic Family Practice Resdincy 2009
Locum Tenens: Urgent Care/Rural Medicine.

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14 years 6 months ago #47714 by Popcorn
Hi GQ.
This is hard for me to talk about, but since you're dealing with it too, I'll share our story.

My husband is an alcoholic. It started when he was in college, and slowly escalated. He drinks every single day, usually about 3 beers. (He's 27.) Occasionally he binges to far more than that, gets really sick, and misses a lot of work. Then things really get awful, he promises to get help, and the drinking slows up a little. And then the cycle repeats. He binges every couple of months, and it's often when I'm working a lot or out of town.

Last weekend I left to visit my parents and work on my graduation announcements. When I got back Sunday afternoon, I found the remnants (about half) of 2 30 packs in the garage, and he threw up all night. And missed work Monday, and has felt lousy all week.

He's psychologically and physiologically dependent on alcohol. It's a huge strain on our marriage, as he wasn't like this when we were dating. (Of course, we were high school sweethearts...) When he "falls off the wagon," as it were, the emotions I experience are wrenching. He promises to "cut back" and says he feels awful, and he needs my support. Well, it's really fricking hard to support someone who is being self-destructive. He doesn't fit the "pattern" of a skid row alcoholic, although most aren't. He is generally quite functional, holds down a job, and for all outward appearances, appears pretty normal. He normally doesn't get "drunk" per se, and doesn't have blackouts. He also doesn't get violent (or I wouldn't be around anymore.) This is why it's so hard to get through to him that he has a problem, and that he really can't control it. He'll admit that he has a problem after a binge, but normally is under the impression that he can control it. (But he can't.) He even admitted last weekend that his liver is probably suffering. He knows all this, but he can't control the cravings for it. We're looking into using ReVia (naltrexone) to help him once we get moved.

We've been in marriage counseling for 2 years, mostly because of his severe anxiety issues. (The alcohol secondarily). With the drinking combined with mental health issues, it's even trickier. I never know what's going to spiral him into an anxiety attack, and we all know that he's using the alcohol to self-medicate. We don't know if there's alcoholism in the family, but I'd bet money that there is way back. His parents and grandparents are all very religious, and alcohol is strongly looked down on. (My thinking is that it's been their way of coping.) There's a lot of psyc history in the family, too. Lots of depression... almost 100% penetrance on his father's side.

Anyway, that's my rambling on the subject. I'm trying to get him to go to some AA meetings, but he's been resistant. I think I will probably start attending some Al-Anon meetings, though. There was a questionnaire on their website regarding if they might be able to help, and I scored scarily high.

Chances are, it won't go away on it's own.
Good luck to you, it's the demon I live with every day.

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14 years 6 months ago #47715 by Popcorn
This is the link to the Al-Anon questions

Good luck to you. It's very hard for me to not be judgemental, and to remember that the grip it has on him is beyond his control. And yeah, that he's the only one who can decide to change. That's the most frustrating part.

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14 years 6 months ago #47716 by fearlessphoenix
This is hard to write about also. My first love was mentally ill and also a binge drinker that after a number of years turned to alcoholism. The very sad story ends up with him being found swinging from a ceiling light fixture after a particularly bad "bender". :ouch: This behavior isn't something that I would wager on being changed and to that end would not hang my hopes on. I have friends who have married binge drinkers only to end up divorced because it turned worse after marriage because they had someone to help compensate for their "short-comings" ie inability to pay bills on time, getting fired, bailing them out of jail for DUI etc. It is such a pervasive ILLNESS and especially if they don't see anything wrong with it.

It is a problem as long as you are having difficulty with it-regardless of what he says or thinks. I had the privilege of having dinner with Popcorn and her husband about a month and a half ago (she makes an awesome lasagna) and I have no doubt about what she shared above but the love is obvious that she has for her husband and it makes me sad to read her post because they are such a cool couple . . . I wish in my heart of hearts she didn't have that struggle. My best-friend just married a reformed binge drinker but the big difference between her and what you wrote in your original post is he recognized a problem and fixed it before she accepted his proposal. Marriage is work enough, I cannot fathom the difficulty posed when addictions enter into the picture.

Kristi

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14 years 6 months ago #47717 by Gene Queen
Thanks everyone, for sharing your stories and points of view. I really appreciate it!

I spent this weekend, as usual, with my fiance (we live in different cities right now). Friday night we got in a big fight about drinking. He was having a beer, and I simply asked him how many he'd had tonight. He got so angry at me! He said I nag too much about it and there's nothing wrong with having a couple of beer on a Friday night. He wasn't drunk or anything. He said he was just "fed up" with hearing about it. It ended with me going to bed in tears, and him sleeping on the couch. In the morning we just ignored it and got on with things.

I know that I can't make him change or stop. He has to do it himself. I'm afraid that things will need to get worse before they get better though.

Popcorn, your story sounds a lot like mine... although as far as I know my fiance doesn't have any anxiety or depression (not that I can detect, anyway). I'm so glad you shared this with me. I'm going to do some reading on the subject... I think I have to come to accept that this is his problem, and figure out a way to live with it, for better or for worse.

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14 years 6 months ago #47718 by MTaylor

I think I have to come to accept that this is his problem,

(this is true)

and figure out a way to live with it, for better or for worse.

(With this part I disagree.)

No you don't.

You're not married yet. This is a perfect opportunity for you to sort this issue out...and allow it to "get worse" if it needs to, without jeopardizing too much of yourself.

I have a friend who married this guy, with issues. She thought she could "help him change" or at least "stand by him" until he decided to change. Well, that time never came, after 5 years. Thru her medical school process, and part of residency, she was married to this guy. When they divorced, he sued her for alimony - as he could not keep a job, and she supported him throughout the marriage. And to this day, she's still paying him...and he was such a loser the entire time.

I can understand standing by your man if you guys were married, have children, time vested, etc. I mean, after being with someone for years, it's a bit cold to dump them at the first sign of trouble - after you promised before God and everybody "thru sickness and in health." But your boyfriend?! If you were my sister, I wouldn't allow you to say that to me without offering my perspective.

I'm not saying to dump the guy. What I am saying is, you are not stuck...not yet. Marry him after he has resolved his issues...or at least is showing significant progress. Don't sell yourself short, you deserve a man who is going to do his part. How foolish to marry him in this condition. You've worked to hard in an attempt to achieve a certain lifestyle to cut corners in this area. If he doesn't think there's a problem now...what makes you think he's going to realize he has a problem later (when more is at stake?) Be careful, and think clearly.

It's all about you right now. Just my :twocents:

<a href=" www.coilyembrace.com " rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> www.coilyembrace.com </a>

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