I've been with my partner for almost 3 years now and throughout the course of our relationship his drinking has got steadily worse, to the point where he was drinking to the point of passing out at least once a week and drinking every day. He has emotional issues as a result of traumatic events in his childhood and teenage years and drinks to cope with the memories. Recently he tried to give up, as when he gets very drunk he gets very depressed and self destructive. However it only lasted two weeks with his emotional state rapidly declining in those two weeks, aka dry drunk. He attends sessions to help but doesn't open up to them about what's really going on. He has told me that I make him feel guilty about drinking which in turn makes his mood decline and makes him want to drink more, and that it only got out of hand when we got together. He feels like I'm putting too much pressure on him to be perfect, when the only thing I want is for him to stop hurting himself. This has obviously made me feel terrible, but I can't pretend I'm happy when he's drinking. Any time I see him drink, an alarm goes off in my head that in a few hours he's going to be either passed out or angry with me for no reason. I genuinely don't know how to behave. I feel like acting that everything is okay is enabling him, but trying to dissuade him from drinking pushes him away. Thanks in advance for any advice
Hi panda, and welcome. Sorry for what brings you here. Being the partner of an active alcoholic is a tough road indeed. Things will assuredly continue to get worse as long as your partner continues to drink. Alcoholism is progressive -- it never eases or gets better on its own, it only gets worse.
Your partner doesn't drink because of traumatic events in his childhood. He doesn't drink because you make him feel guilty. He drinks because he is an alcoholic -- his brain has become addicted to alcohol, and if the alcohol is taken away, his brain screams bloody murder. This manifests itself by the behavior you describe.
The only hope for your partner is to decide that he wants -- wants from the deepest part of his being -- to be sober MORE than he wants to get drunk, and then to pursue a program of recovery that will help him "rewire" his brain in order to live a fulfilling life sober.
Until this happens, the only hope for you is to learn how to detach from his drama, how to set boundaries, and how to meet your own needs during this terribly difficult time. I strongly recommend you look into al-anon. It's the companion program to AA for friends and family of alcoholics, and it will teach you valuable skills about how to cope with the alcoholic in your life.
I wish you the best, but I feel bound to tell you that the long-term track record for relationships with alcoholics is pretty dismal. Many in your situation have decided to cut their losses and run. It may seem harsh, but it often works out to be the best course of action for both you and your partner in the long term.
I agree with Mark, Al-Anon is probably your best option and that alcoholism is a progressive potentially fatal disease.
I as an alcoholic have been in relationships with other alcoholics, a tough situation. What I do know is that alcoholics tend to be like hurricanes and tornadoes, they destroy everything around them, that means you will be hurt too. You don't say how committed to the relationship you, but if it is early, it might be advisable to move on. If things are barely tolerable now, they won't be for too long.
Just a thought, and I am not saying this is the case, but often two sick people will get together because they are sick or one will make the other sick too, a normal person will likely move on given the ability to do so.
Know that YOU can't fix him, he can only fix himself with help.
I suggest you keep these things in mind as you move forward.
Thank you for your replies, it has only really been an issue for the past year and we've been together for three. He is aware that it's a problem and has been more under control since he started getting help for it. He is also being referred for antabuse which is a choice he made on his own. What really gets to me is the idea in his mind that I'm making it harder or adding pressure. I think you're right in that I need to detach from it, however it will be hard as we live together and I'm obviously very emotionally invested.
Detaching with love is an Al-Anon thing. Know that the success rate with alcoholics is low. Also know that when a person crosses the line from heavy drinker to alcoholic there is no going back to drinking successfully; I was told that if you have to control it then it is out of control. Further, if moving on is right for you it is easier, not easy, now than in the future.
Still, you have nothing to lose to go to a few Al-Anon meetings at least to talk to others in the same situation as you are in. They can better inform and advise you.
Last Edit: Oct 19, 2018 7:51:55 GMT -5 by soberinmi
I agree with looking into Al-Anon. It will give you some better ways to look at Alcoholic's behavior. Heavy drinker tend to make the sober partner guilty as to shift the blame. It is a very painful thing to deal with and especially if you are emotionally committed.. You will also learn the tricks and lies the drinker will do to hide his or her problem. You will get comfort just knowing you are not alone.