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  1.  (9868.1)
    Does anyone have any advice for dealing with a loved one, especially a significant other, who is fighting with alcoholism?

    My girlfriend of the past 3+ years is trying to quit drinking. She had a period of sobriety years ago, before we met, she was sober for about 5 or 6 years, and has told me that going to AA did not help her.

    Over the past couple weeks, things got pretty bad; ultimately she got pretty drunk and fell into a glass-framed painting and got cut up pretty bad. I had to hold her down and remove glass shards from her behind while she was trying to attack me, not understanding that I was helping her. After she sobered up, we had a long talk, and she's decided she has to quit drinking. She let me know some of her secrets, when I'm away at work, she's stumbling drunk by 10am. I know she's having a hard time quitting. It seems like there's two people fighting for dominance in there. One, who knows this has gone on too far, and the other, who just wants to drink and wants everyone else out of her way.

    From what I understand, due to chemical dependency, cold turkey is not an option. I also read that I cannot attempt to control her, stop her from drinking even though it's "trying to help" because I'm removing her responsibility for her own actions and treating her like a child.

    I've considered going to Al-Anon, but I'm not a fan of the twelve-step "not in control of my behavior, begging the higher power for help" program.

    I guess I just want to know if anyone else out here in Whitechapel has been through anything similar, or has any advice (telling her to leave, or me leaving her isn't an option, yet. Not willing to end this relationship over this, yet).
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2011
    The email in your account valid? I can tell you a story I don't care to have recorded for posterity on the site.
  2.  (9868.3)
    Yes it's valid. Anything would be appreciated.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2011

    Wow, mate, that sounds pretty rough.

    Some rough questions (please understand, I mean no disrespect to you, your girlfriend, or what she's going through):
    -Did AA not work because she didn't want it to work? What was her experience with AA (bad support group, shitty sponsor) that made it so that it didn't work? All the support groups in the world won't help if she's serious.
    -Is getting checked into a dry clinic an option for her?
    -Do you keep any booze in the house? If so, you need to dump it; unfortunately, if she's going to get sober, and you're committed to being with her, you need to be sober too.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2011
    AA is a program. You gotta work the program or it doesn't work. It's also not for everyone. I'm not a fan of 12 step things either and I come from a long line of alcoholics. I'm currently trying to decide whether or not to get sober myself (I, uh, don't want to but it might be best for me if I do) and the prosepct of this terrifies me, in a way that the thought of death does not.

    I feel for ya, buddy.
  3.  (9868.6)
    Yeah, it kinda sucks, I drink occasionally, I used to binge quite heavily, and then I just slowed down. We had some pretty serious explosive fights due to both of us drinking, and since I slowed down, at least one of us has been able to keep some amount of control during an argument. I don't really keep booze in the house that much. I had a bottle of whisky, but she searched my room and drank about half of it so I poured it out. That's about the time she said she had to quit. She told me that she had found a bottle of whisky in my office, and drank a bunch, and then she realized that her drinking was so bad I was hiding booze from her, and that was her wake-up.

    I kinda called b.s. on that since there have been several wake-ups before that, and those times she slowed down for a little while and everything is fine until the next big drunken explosion. So yeah, I'm at the "get help or we're done" point, but I can already tell she's going to push that as far as it can go. She's slowed down a considerable amount, but again, that will work until it stops working. I feel bad trying to make an ultimatum, because I hate that. I'm running out of options. I feel like I've been letting her get away with this sort of behavior because I'm afraid to be alone more than I'm afraid of her destroying herself with booze. Plus, I'm becoming a stereotypical enabler. I totally have become parental in this relationship; controlling, I reprimand her behavior, I find myself trying to make her feel guilty, or trying to "catch" her doing something bad; and I don't like what it's doing to me.

    I love this woman, when she's sober; or at least, I thought I did. Now, she's telling me in the past 3 1/2 years or so, that she hasn't been sober more than a day or so in a week, every week, for the entirety of that time. So who am I in love with?
  4.  (9868.7)

    Thanks for the email. Does kind of put things in perspective. Things are sucking right now. She went drinking at her friends all last weekend. Then Thursday she gets paid and goes out drinking again, and comes home with a bottle of wine. We had (what I thought) was a simple conversation about it, but she got defensive, argumentative, and then walked away from our conversation, which led to a fight (which was just as much my fault as hers). Haven't spoken since. This sucks.
  5.  (9868.8)
    We're going to an A.A. meeting tonight. Her idea. *fingers crossed* I'm not expecting change overnight, but its a step in the right direction.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2011

    Good luck, man. It is definitely a step in the right direction.
  6.  (9868.10)
    Christ, why does it get worse?
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
    Some personal experience and the numbers appear to say this: other than expressing your position, and your support, it is and has to be entirely up to her. This is a fight that happens inside. And that's scary as hell. But her odds actually aren't that bad.
  7.  (9868.12)
    I agree with Artenshiur. She is ultimately the only thing that can do this.

    You can talk about it as much as you want. You can see the problem and how it's ruining your life. But ultimately, there is a fundamental reason that keeps you drinking in spite of that, and it's NEVER "I just like to get drunk" or anything so easy. And you have to have a personal epiphany where you realize that reason is bullshit, and want to live your life free of it, because it's controlled you too long. From all my friends and anyone I've ever talked to, it always came down to a very different feeling. You feel it in your bones as different, this time. And then you quit.

    You have to change your lifestyle, of course. Friends, for example. You need support from them. You need to be able to go to dinner without them ordering drinks for a while. If they have a problem with supporting you in the way you need, fuck 'em. They weren't friends, they were drinking buddies, and they need to be gone.

    What YOU can do to help HER is help her find that reason that controls her, not get drunk for a while, and talk positive. And be strong enough to leave if nothing changes.

    Just my opinion based on friends and family.
  8.  (9868.13)
    She's doing great; she's been home almost two weeks, she's been back at work since Monday.

    I found out The PARC at Memorial Herman is one of the best rated addiction treatment facilities in the country, and that's where she spent her rehab.

    So far, she's got a great attitude and she's being kept so busy by work and her programs and meetings that she hasn't "had time to think," as she puts it.

    I've learned a lot, about the disease of addiction, and about how I've enabled. So I'm putting aside my preconceptions, and worrying about how I'm going to get better, etc. and let her and her treatment work on her. I can't make her do a damn thing, and it's been great to see her trying so hard on her own (with her counselor and sponsor of course, but without me doing everything for her).

    As they say, I'm cautiously optimistic, and we're getting better.
  9.  (9868.14)
    That's good news. Keep at it and stay positive.
    • CommentAuthorElsiehulda
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2011
    Chaos Computer Club in Germany this report immediately drew widespread attention. Germany's "World News" critics say, this is really a "bad horse", "stealing is not a anti-theft." There are people in Germany, said in an interview, we seem to back that "everyone has been monitoring East German era." More people accused the German authorities "illegal."
  10.  (9868.16)
  11.  (9868.17)
    Spam attack. Hopefully Ariana or Si will spot it
  12.  (9868.18)
    So it's been 3 months since she went in to rehab, and 90 days sober. She graduated from her outpatient treatment last night, and boy are things great.

    They call this the honeymoon phase, when you're high on good feelings and everything's fresh & still has that new car smell.

    So I've been working on my issues.

    Part of that is looking at why I was dating an addict and why most of my previous serious relationships were also with addicts. Doing that means looking at my family.

    I was raised by my mother and stepfather (Aka Pop); my mother divorced my birth-father (aka Dad) for being lazy and a drunk before I was 2 years old, possibly earlier.

    Pop was a heavy drinker, and Mom n Pop fought like Irish couples tend to. Dad was a drunk, stoner, and eventually a crack-addict.

    When I was 16, my folks searched my room and found a bag of weed. What's funny is that I never even got a chance to smoke it. I bought it thinking it was cool, but I never (up until that point) knew how to smoke it. So there it sat, very cool, and impressing my friends who also had never smoked it and didn't know how to smoke it, but there it sat.

    When my folks found it, they were shocked at how much weed I had. Honestly, I was shocked at how much $20 could buy (in 1996 dollars). The problem was, I was trying very hard to be cool. I was getting into punk rock, being a rebel, being a bad kid; well the only people I convinced were my parents. Within a year, year-and-a-half, they threw me out. I think, at the time, they thought I was a serious drug addict.

    Now that I learn about addiction, I learned all the things you're not supposed to do, like not loaning them money, or bail them out of jail. The idea is to force the addict to deal with the consequences of their actions. If you protect them from the results of their behavior, they have no way to learn that behavior is wrong or bad. By protecting them from negative consequences, you are, in a sense, condoning their behavior.

    My parents must have learned that, because they turned me down every time I asked for help, every time I asked for money, and every time I asked, well, for anything. Unfortunately, they never asked me to go to rehab, or take a drug test. They never involved themselves in my life to find out that I had only smoked pot twice while living with them, and never experimented with any other drugs, period. Instead, they sent me to live on the street, and by winter time, I was living in my Dad's house, with several drug addicts and alcoholics.
  13.  (9868.19)
    Now, I don't blame my parents for my codependency and my constant need to be with an addict. I just acknowledge that I still feel resentment about that time of my life, and their actions and mine. I feel like their perspective of my behavior was skewed by fear. So many parents at that time were constantly suspecting their kids were drug addicts and drug dealers. So many parents were really heavy into surveillance of their children, spying, snooping, etc. And a lot of them were right.

    Regardless of whether I was actually a drug addict or not, sending me to the street with no other options was not the right choice. They may have had no idea my Dad was a crack addict, but I'm pretty sure they knew he was an alcoholic. Why one is regarded as so much worse than the other, I have no idea. But it was not the place for a sober 17 year old, let alone the child of an alcoholic and addict, someone who is supposed to have a genetic predisposition for alcoholism.

    For some reason, as much as I began experimenting at that point, I did not become addicted to drugs or alcohol. I have definitely engaged in some heavy drinking throughout the years, but with all honesty and humility I don't believe I ever crossed that threshold into full-blown alcoholism. I am a codependent person, however, and have plenty of relationship issues, anger management problems, and stress management problems to work on to make up for it.
  14.  (9868.20)
    I don't know if I need to confront my parents with how I feel about this. In my perfect vision, I would see us sitting down and discussing drug addiction and alcoholism in my family, my mother's relationship with my father (and at least how it pertains to me), if my mother could see herself as a codependent person, or enabler, and if they feel guilt over what happened when I was a teen. I would like to know what they believed my level of drug use was at. I would like them to know the truth. I would like to know their side. I would like them to apologize, and I would like to forgive them.

    The problem is, I can't see that happening. I can see my mother feeling under assault, like I'm blaming her for all of my problems. I see her being defensive and refusing to take any of the actual responsibility.

    I want the closure that the conversation would bring, if handled appropriately.

    More than that though, I think I need this lesson. I'm trying to get my soon-to-be-teenage daughter to move in with me sometime next year. This is the lesson I need to remind myself of when dealing with her as she grows older. I can easily keep in mind that drug use is very possible, considering my history, and her mother's history of drug abuse and medication abuse. What my parents did was assume my guilt, and refused to believe anything I said. That, in of itself is understandable. But to kick a teenager to the curb with no other options, is fairly severe. (Part of me thinks that they assumed I'd come running home with my tail between my legs. One piece of advice: never underestimate the power of pride and shame) Options like rehab should be made available, as well as home drug-testing kits, if the kid insists, he/she's not using, ask them to prove it.

    If you think your kid is using, get help. Not just for them, but for yourself. The concept is that addiction just doesn't affect the person using; it affects everyone close to them. The idea that there's nothing wrong with what you're doing when you're kid's an addict, that's just as insane as the addiction. If you don't change, and the kid comes home to the environment that helped start them on their path to addiction, you can't expect them to have any lasting change, can you?