Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for me

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Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for me

Postby springc » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:36 am

Hi there,

Long time reader, first time poster here. Pls bear with me!

I was looking for some advice/input/opinions on my domestic situation. I am 13 months sober, attend meetings 2-3 times per week, currently on step 3 tho my sponsor had a very hectic schedule so I am trying to find a new one. I appreciate that I am not yet living 'in the solution' however I have found the program to be extremely powerful and now I can recognise certain damaging behaviours (such as trying to control all players in my world- especially in the workplace), even if I don't yet always have the tools to help deal with these scenarios effectively. I was a daily drinker to blackout for twelve years but have not drunk since my first meeting and no longer have any desire to do so. On the whole this has been an incredible journey and I owe a huge debt to everyone I have met along the way, to this forum, to Covington's 12-step workbook and to the Big Book.

The reason for my posting is that I have been in relationship for five years- tho we separated two years ago for 6 months- it was awful even though I instigated it. He is very supportive and protective of my not drinking and I feel that he is also very proud. He doesn't really drink at home but is a big social drinker. Once or sometimes twice a week he will go out and gets so drunk he can't remember his journey home, raiding the kitchen, annoying me! He just can't stop once he starts and is aware of this, we have spoken about it. This I feel is manageable for us and I don't feel that is will jeopardise the recovery that I have now got. I also acknowledge that in the UK getting very drunk once a week is considered normal. However, sometimes he goes out on his own and drinks to oblivion like this. It happened on Friday and I got very upset. I was out having dinner with my sister and called him on the way to find he was in the pub "having a couple"... For me the difference is he's doing it on those occasions because he is bored and lonely (always thought HALT should include boredom...) and that's an uncomfortable reminder of a big part of my own drinking. I feel that he does have some deep rooted issues and is quite a glass half empty person.

My difficulty here is that whilst I don't want to make excuses for him or tell him how to live his life, these actions are not without negative consequence. We had a tearful conversation (me not him) on Saturday and I let him know I find it upsetting. He tends to absorb things quite hard so I didn't ask for anything, just let him know that drinking like this alone is a tough one for me to really accept. Very different to drinking with mates. The rest of the weekend was great and normal (for us)- cooking curry which took hours and watching films. Planning gardening for this year etc- healthy creative things together.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom or experience of this? I feel that I am still making living amends to him and in no way do I feel that this is revenge but I put him through daily drinking for many years- he was the first and only person who ever really said anything about it (and even then it was many years before my rock bottom emerged).
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby Brock » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:18 am

As you have more or less said yourself, people who may be alcoholics need to find their own rock bottom, telling them we feel they may have a problem hardly works. This happened in your own case, when he spoke to you but it took years for you to make a decision.

I like the idea of including boredom in HALT, and would agree that it’s something that might lead a person to drink. Please don’t take what I say the wrong way, you have every right to be concerned or even hurt, going off and drinking by yourself is not defensible, but he was bored at home while you were out having dinner with your sister. Maybe he was invited and said no thanks, you go along without me, pity he didn’t have his friends lined up for an outing that same night, and it was a Friday night, a drinking night if ever there was one. If I were in your shoes, I would try to plan our outings better, both give fair notice when we may be out doing something the other may not enjoy.

These words caught my eye as well - “...now I can recognise certain damaging behaviours (such as trying to control all players in my world- especially in the workplace), even if I don't yet always have the tools to help deal with these scenarios effectively.” You seem to be coming along fine, and best of luck with a sponsor to go through the often life changing #’s 4 & 5, I wouldn’t delay these. But in my experience, the fact that you recognize when you are going off track, (almost always due to our ego), recognizing it is the biggest part of the solution, well done.

I wish both of you a happy outcome to this hiccup life has thrown your way.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:22 am

Its a very difficult situation. To be fare, I dont have the experience of living with a partner who is still drinking. My wife quit when I entered recovery. She is a normie though. If it does not directly impact your recovery I would suggest you allow some room for both. He has to find the truth on his own. The big book talks about approaching the person after a bad spree. Thats when they are more receptive. We can talk about how bad the drinking gets us to. Perhaps your partner will realize the damages that causes. But thats just the beginning. Then comes the part where, he will have to fail several times to stay stopped before ever considering AA.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby Shoreline » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:32 pm

I have not been in your situation, to me personally I could not be with a partner who drinks more than 1-2 drinks occasionally. I think your feelings are completely understandable. Have you maybe considered telling him that, on nights that he gets drunk, he can not stay at your house. Maybe he can stay at a friends house or hotel/motel. You have to protect your sobriety.
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby springc » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:30 am

Hi and thank you for the responses.

Brock I think you're right about planning this a bit better. It's not like him doing this (getting very drunk alone) is a regular thing. Normally he would have taken the opportunity to go out with mates but no one was free on Friday.
Appreciate your encouragement on steps 4 and 5. I really need to get the sponsorship element sorted!

Avaneesh I don't know if he would ever consider AA although when I met him I found a former girlfriend had bought him a couple of books on 'problem drinking'. I try to allow room for both of us to do what we want because I do want a future with this man and (by and large) don't feel his behavior will hinder/is hindering my progress.

Shoreline, really appreciate your words. I was reminded on Saturday when I felt upset that my sobriety has to come first. When he is out watching football (which involves all day drinking) I tend to ask him to stay out at friend's houses, which works quite well.

I feel calmer now than I did at the weekend and on reflection also realise how much our lives have changed. I used to be happy staying up late and if we didn't get into an argument (ie. I didn't force us into an argument!) I would just pass out at midnight but now I require a 'longer run' at getting to sleep and sit and read from about 10pm. He's had to adjust to quite a lot and I think sometimes I take all the changes he's accommodated a bit for granted. Think I need to maybe cut him a bit of slack for wanting to head out when he got home to an empty house on Friday. But in hindsight I am still glad I brought it up.
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:52 pm

It doesn't really mattter where it happens or how much it pervades society, blackout drinking is not healthy. But that's his problem.

Your problem is with his drinking. I put my sobriety first. I do know some in AA, particularly women, who say "I found sobriety in AA and sanity in Alanon".

Good luck. FWIW I know from personal experience that you're not alone. Many of us are, or have been, in a similar position.
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:22 pm

springc wrote:(snip)He . . . . is a big social drinker. Once or sometimes twice a week he will go out and gets so drunk he can't remember his journey home, raiding the kitchen, annoying me! He just can't stop


Thank you for sharing.

Speaking for myself I absolutely positively could NOT be in a relationship with a person like that. I was a low bottom drunk, have about 18 mos sober. First and foremost living in such a relationship would probably lead me to drink and I HAVE to stop denying that.

Moreover, at the top of the list of my flaws/resentments is that I stay(ed) in hopeless situations think they would somehow fix themselves. (Delusion is a form of denial.)

If I do that again,
I am not healed,
I am not recovered,
I am not truly sober.
I am simply a dry drunk.

If I keep repeating the same flaw 'just not with regard to drinking,' then I have not met God halfway. I would simply be lounging poolside, non-alcoholic cocktail in hand, telling God to wave His wand and remove my defects of character.

To me, it does not matter if my flaw is self-indulgence, denial, fear or self-pity. If I desperately cling to my defects "except with regards to alcohol," then I am doing the same stuff expecting a different result.

God of my understanding will not remove my selfishness denial, fear etc., with regard to drinking, but allow me to keep those flaws in every other aspect of my life.

God is great!
God saved my sorry ass. He got rid of my most immediate, pressing obsession to drink. Now I have to do my part.

God is great!
When I have prayed, earnestly prayed for a boat, He has never failed to send me lumber and some tools. :mrgreen:

It's hard for you now.
**It get's better!**
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Re: Partner is a drinker, some behaviours are an issue for m

Postby springc » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:02 am

Hi again,

I appreciate these responses and they are making me think more about this situation.

I do value this honest exchange of principles and boundaries (for want of a better word). Perhaps at some future point I may look back and think that I was in denial living in this situation. I am tempted to think that I won't- my strategy has been to focus on my own recovery and to put boundaries in place where I can at the moment. For me this has meant no alcohol that I would drink in the house (but we do still stock beer for the very rare times my partner drinks at home), very few drinking social occasions (and always with a reason to maybe leave early if I get uncomfortable) etc. To extend my focus to my partner's drinking and to attempt to force a change of behavior there is not something that I feel I am able to contend with. Though I do understand that I may be putting my recovery at risk here.

Thank you again all for your valued input here and for giving me food for thought
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