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Supportive Partners

Partners, families, children and friends - they all get affected by your drinking.
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Stephen_A
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Supportive Partners

Post by Stephen_A » 24 Sep 2008 15:41

I thought I'd start this thread after seeing this today from our new member Sonja:
the OH is supportive to a point then doesn't seem to want to know. am i wrong in wanting him to be a bit more pro-active during my recovery??
Having love, support and encouragement does not in any way reduce the amount of energy, courage and commitment necessary to overcome addiction. The support, of the type you get here simply makes it less bleak; the support you get from your partner can also be a huge benefit. If you don't get this backing, then this does not make the situation hopeless, because the fight is essentially a solitary one. It is more about you fighting yourself and I don't really believe enlisting the help of a partner will make or break it.

You didn't make clear what the relationship was between you and your partner regarding drink. When you say he's only supportive 'to a point' suggests that he might have a troubled relationship with the drink himself. If that's so, then your intention to recover might be intimidating for him.

If your partner has no relationship with drink, his lukewarm response may be nothing more than not being initiated into the kind of struggles that nearly everyone on these forums face daily. It would be like asking a non smoker to sympathise with the nicotine withdrawals of someone giving up the weed. In that case, it might be asking too much of him to ask for more support than he can already give.

From my experience, I've always found it advisable never to have expectations of other people in most instances.

For myself, my partner never made a big song and dance about my drinking so it was hardly fair of me to expect her to cheer from the sidelines when I was battling to give it up. This was in no way discouraging. In fact I found it instructive that this this enforced, workaday reality confronted me. It was plain, unadorned and just what was needed.

I wish you all the best in your efforts.

Stephen.

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Mike
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Mike » 24 Sep 2008 18:45

Hi Stephen,

Good talking point. I started to reply to this post as soon as I saw it, but I was distracted, hence my delayed reply.

I wonder how many of us meet our partners in an alcohol rich environment. And if we don't meet in a pub or club, we may well decide to go 'somewhere for a drink' on our first date. How often after that while we are courting, do we meet up at a pub or a restaurant and use alcohol as part of the glue to fix our relationship ? So when we finally decide to settle down or get married or whatever, are we marrying a drinking partner ? Are we entering into a co-dependent relationship from the start ? Maybe.

What happens then when one member of the partnership decides to stop or is constrained by ill health to become sober ? There are several possibilities, some of which may be considered supportive and others not. You are correct Stephen in saying that becoming abstinent is in essence a solitary endeavour. Would it help if your partner decided to join you in sobriety ? Perhaps, but to do so simultaneously might result in two people sharing each others cravings, and both would either go mad, or alternatively they would end up by encouraging each other to 'have just one.'

The psychiatrist who was one of those advising me to stop, suggested that my wife should stop drinking at the same time. I said that my wife stopping wasn't going to happen. He told me it would be very difficult for me to stop on my own. Sometimes I wonder whether people like him live in the real world, or at least in my real world. What has happened is that my sobriety has driven a wedge between us, a problem which has so far been impossible to address. Was I supported when I stopped ? I don't know, I just got on with it.

All the best, Mike

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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Bupster » 24 Sep 2008 19:02

I suspect I'm going to return to this thread and post at length... I found BE in the first place because I'd been trying, alone, to do something about my drinking and had become increasingly aware that my partner's drinking was actually worsening as mine was coming under control. We were absolutely a co-dependent couple. In retrospect, I think we chose each other because of our drinking, because each of us felt safe in the assumption that the other would never be able to criticise our drinking. My choosing to tackle my drinking problem - despite the fact that I originally did so because I knew I treated my partner badly when drunk - was in effect a betrayal of that unspoken partnership and he, I think, felt free to retaliate by drinking more and with other people. In fact when I first told him that with my doctor's help I was going to stop drinking for six weeks he actually said "I hope you don't expect me to stay in with you".

At the time, though I was cross about the lack of support, I didn't see anything particularly wrong with the motivation behind the comment. Now, I feel a bit daft. It should have been fairly obvious back then that my "dealing with my drinking" was going to be firstly a solitary affair, and secondly that it was going to undermine the relationship. Though maybe you need to be sober to think these things through properly? At any rate, it's ended the relationship - he made a conscious decision to choose his freedom to drink when and where he pleased than stay with me and have that freedom constrained. It's the right outcome, but one I didn't expect when I embarked on this path. Whoops, this seems to be the long post I was planning to make later... Why do I keep doing that? :D
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by sonja » 25 Sep 2008 10:31

hi all

WOW. never thought an innocent question would lead to a thread so quickly. this is absolutely fantastic how it all works - still finding my feet on the site.

stephen, thanks for your input and for starting this thread.

mike n bupster, your input was great and it helps to see that there are all kinds of relations out there and that everyone needs to find their own path and what works for them. i guess i'm still trying to find mine.

well, unsuprisingly, husband and i met when we worked for the same pub chain. we not only worked there but also helped to boost their profits substantially. our lives, along with all our friends, revolved around the pub/club scene. we were young, free and had next to no responsibilities. i look back at those times with great fondness. we partied hard but always seemed to manage to keep it together.

after our son came along (he's 11) everything changed - obviously. we got proper jobs, a mortgage and began a new chapter in our lives. our days of the party lifestyle were over and we were growing up. i began drinking in the house at this point as we hardly ever went out anymore. hubby has never drank regularily in the house as he believes that's what the pubs for. our lives quickly became routine, mundane and bloody hard work - what happened to all the fun?? i began by having wine a few times a week after my day was done and although hubby didn't like me drinking indoors - and on my own as he wasn't partaking - he did tolerate it. but the evil drink has a way of getting in there and over time it spirralled out of control. i went from drinking a couple of bottles of wine a week to, at my highest consumption, 10-12 bottles a week. the more i drank the less he did.

one year ago he snapped - he finally had enough and was gonna leave unless things changed. he was absolutely right as i'd become a nasty, nasty drunk and things were very bad. so i began counselling and really wanted to sort myself out. i know then i was doing it for hubby and son and not necessarily for myself so it was never gonna work in the long run. i was aiming for the controlled, moderate, social drinking route and it worked for a bit - but not for long as weekend binge drinking soon became the norm. 5 months ago when hubby wanted to leave again, i finally realised abstinance was THE only option and i began sorting myself out for me. the counselling continues to this day.

the support i want/need/crave from the OH is not much but i do want something from him.

we never talk about my counselling except when i bring it up. he never asks how it went when i've been. he just doesn't wanna know. when i say i've had a really bad day and could murder a glass (or 10) he just kinda shrugs and says keep up the good work (which, for some reason, i find so patronising). i know this is a struggle for me alone but i would like him to try to understand more about what i'm going through and how hard it has been. he can't understand my mood swings, why i have difficulty sleeping sometimes and all the other stuff the comes with giving up. i know this has been so very hard for him and that he has had to live with it all these years but.....am i expecting too much? maybe i am.

ok. enough for now. look forward to hearing from you
sonja

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Mike
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Mike » 25 Sep 2008 12:05

Hi Sonja

I remember reading about George Best's struggle to renounce alcohol after his liver transplant. His friends and family were all drinkers and had no idea how to support him in his sobriety. Football and drinking were all he knew, and unsurprisingly he lost the battle.

It is important to have love and encouragement along the way. If it isn't forthcoming at home, you will find it here in plentiful supplies on Bright Eye, or at meetings of self help groups such as AA. Otherwise it can be too solitary. You need somewhere other than inside your own head to store brownie points. Because each step of the way represents great achievement. As you clock up one day at a time, it does help to be on the receiving end of occasional congratulations. It helps to reinforce your determination to keep going.

Good luck, Mike x

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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Bupster » 25 Sep 2008 12:43

Mike wrote:You need somewhere other than inside your own head to store brownie points.
One of the single biggest truths about giving up drinking, and one of the reasons why, though it's absolutely a solitary decision and struggle, it's inordinately difficult to do on your own. Especially as most people around you will probably be drinkers, and, if they don't know about what you're doing, will try to undermine you.

I feel a thousand times better since getting to grips with my drinking, and I suspect I'll feel even better once Soon-To-Be-ex-Other-Half has moved out in a couple of weeks' time. A small part of me however wonders whether his absence will undermine me a bit, even though he's the opposite of supportive. Just as, when we're drinking heavily, we're grateful for the presence of people who are worse than us, because it makes us seem like we're normal drinkers and there's no problem, I wonder whether I've been using his heavy drinking to bolster my sense of moral superiority - vital in a crumbling relationship :oops: - and I just don't know how much that was an impetus to my (relative) sobriety. When he's gone, will I go back to drinking a bottle of wine a night because I can? I hope not, but it's very, very difficult to untangle a relationship with a partner or with alcohol and see which threads lead to what.

As Anna suggested elsewhere, sometimes you have to look at the big suitcase full of tangled threads and say "bollocks to it". I hope, in two weeks' time, I'll be able to say (with a cup of tea), "bollocks to the old suitcase".
Last edited by Bupster on 25 Sep 2008 15:05, edited 1 time in total.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Liquid Child
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Liquid Child » 25 Sep 2008 14:57

Hi Sonja,

We briefly met when you first joined.
Yes, this is a very interesting subject and I am finding it very hard to put my thoughts on this subject into words.

I am a single guy now and the only way I comment on this so far is by reflecting on my own experience as having two failed marrages down to mainly my alcoholism.

Like Mike says so many of us meet our partners in an alcohol rich enviroment which was the case with both my previous wifes.

They would enjoy drinking small amounts in a very social casual way and so would I but somehow I always knew my motive was never to stop at one or two I always wanted to get totaly pissed.
This habit of course continued after I got married and for all the obvious reasons of this discusion began to cause great problems as my drinking habits continued In both social situations and at home.

As my consumption of alcohol went up and up things became intolerable I would seek suport from my wife/s almost to the point of begging them for help.
I would literally plead with them, "yes I know I've got a problem... please help me... I will try to cut down... I love you so much...".

What could they say to me other than, "THEN STOP DRINKING FOR GOD'S SAKE... I love you too but this is ruining our mariage!"

As time went by I just used to get mad and ignore them as I guzzled down another beer and they went to bed.

Steven said, "From my experience, I've always found it advisable never to have expectations of other people in most instances." and this is so very true especialy from a loved one who has no real understanding of the true nature of the awfal addiction of alcoholism.
I craved so much for the suport of my wifes but what suport could they give me given the selfish nature of my addiction, not much really.

With both my wifes I had a partner but found myself to be more lonely than I had ever felt in my all life.

Bupster hit the nail on the head because she had been trying to tackle the problem on her own until she found BE because thats exactly how you get to feel, "on your own".

All our cicumstances are of course very diferent and being in a relationship where both partners have a drinking problem must be very different again because both will be going through the same cravings as Mike said plus there will more than likely be alcohol lying around the house when one or the other partner is trying their very best to resist the temptation to have a drink.

This is very much also a learning curve for me as Mike knows, I am thinking about attending AA meetings because after finding BE I realise more now than ever that we need the support of others with a shared experience as our own in order to recover.

Sonja, when you mentioned stopping after that 1 shot because you didn't want the OH finding out but you knew you really wanted more... that says it all really doesn't it. You carn't do it alone you need help and your here which is the best place to be right now.

BE is fantastic and unique. Little steps go a long way and everyone here is right behind you!

Lots of love,
Glenn xxx

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themolesmother
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by themolesmother » 25 Sep 2008 19:05

Hubby is extremely supportive but, wisely, he's never tried to do it for me. He worries about me jeopardising my treatment and ruining my health but he's strong enough to stand back and let me get on with it if that's what I'm going to do. On the other hand, when I'm trying to tackle the problem he's right behind me and will do things like cutting down his own consumption to practically nil in order to stop me feeling deprived.

Like all marriages ours has had its low points as well as its highs but I can honestly say I'm lucky to have him at my side right now.

MM
The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step

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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by sobergina » 14 Oct 2008 17:19

I am in a gay relationship of 3 years, the most supportive one I have ever been in.

She is aware of my alcoholic tendencies, she is aware I could crash and burn at any moment and more importantly she listens.

It does not matter about the past or the present, it matters however how you choose you future. Do not stay with someone who is likely to drink in front of you. Do not stay with someone who will encourage you to fall at low times. Have faith in yourself and know that being sober is the best relationship to have with yourself!!!!
If you are trying to understand me, try being me for a day then you will see what makes me click!

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Bela
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Bela » 06 Dec 2008 20:53

K98,

Sounds like a frustrating situation. Might it be that it was just a one off sort of statement?
Perhaps give him a pass for right now and assume he didn't really mean it.
See how things shape up with just a bit of time.
Change is probably hard for him too.

John (1beer2many), I believe it was, spoke a similar situation a few days ago.
I think that was on the SOS thread.

Best wishes, by all means don't drink. You are doing so well.

Bela
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

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Bela
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Bela » 06 Dec 2008 21:14

I would feel the same way, K98.
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

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Stephen_A
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Stephen_A » 07 Dec 2008 02:28

Hi K98,
There's no denying that this is a tough one. We try our best to do everything we can to help our families do the utmost to correct things, and yet things seem to come unstuck. Whenever you make some changes in a family and there has been something that threatened the family order, these things are bound to make things rather sensitive and touchy. That's what seems to be happening. now.
With a bit of careful work and slight adjustments to your routine, I'm sure everything will turn out all right.
You said that your husband is not normally jealous or possessive. If he were then what you described would an example of some of the insecurity some men are apt to experience when a woman takes the initiative to empower herself.
All you are doing is finding help from a peer support group. So it seems to me that this is just a combination of everyone feeling very sensitive, prickly and nervous. I see just a quite understandable lack of communication. What I would suggest is you share some time with him on the computer and show him what kind of people we are here and the kind of help and support people get. Tell him he's welcome to PM or email me and I can assure him that this forum is serious and people who volunteer here are committed to ensure that people get the encouragement they need during this challenging patch.
I'm sure everything will turn out fine eventually.

All the best,
Stephen.

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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by hamster » 07 Dec 2008 09:11

Hi K98

I totally agree with Stephen. My OH knows my user name and password - I gave them to him when I was stopping so he could see at any time what this was about if he felt uncomfortable. He doesnt though but He does know it helped me to stop and thats what he values most of all.

You are right about the mood thing and your analagy with giving up smoking was spot on.

Julie
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Bela
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Bela » 07 Dec 2008 18:24

Sounds like a tough patch, K98.
<:)>
You are good enough, put that bit of negativity behind.
I know I respond to family tension very negatively (that's a throwback to my childhood, I think).
If you are at all like me, don't let that tension be a trigger.
It is just tension, and it will pass.
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

LOL

Re: Supportive Partners

Post by LOL » 10 Dec 2008 16:29

I haven't sat down with my OH yet to open my heart. I will do so though when the time is right.

I've been thinking about this discussion and what you've all said.

We both drink way too much. The usual thing would be that my OH would ask me "shall I nip out for anything we may need tonight?" He doesn't take the decision but puts it on me.

Problem is he never buys one bottle and will take advantage of the 3 for 2 offers. This used to annoy me - as if it was all his fault. Also, I'd get further annoyed if I drank way too much because he didn't stop me. He'd wobble to bed and leave me to finish what was left. I'd say to myself - well that's not showing how much he cares about me is it?

After reading the posts on BE I now realise that actually nothing is his fault - except his own drinking and if he's happy with that then I shouldn't have a problem with him. I know that when I do eventually sit down and tell him how serious I think this whole thing has got he'll be very supportive. But something is certain - he'll never give up drinking and he'll more than likely resent me a little for changing the way we live. We both enjoy having a drink and it's been a huge part of our lives. I've let my drinking get beyond enjoyment, the habit is set but dependency isn't yet. I've proved to myself that I don't need a drink every day. I know that if I have a drink I can no longer judge when I should stop.

My problem is me! I am on Day 3 and starting to take responsibility for myself.

As far as the long-term relationship goes. We are happily married and I know everything will be OK with us. BUT my OH will be fearful of the change and has already started to show a little frustration at me being on BE.

LOL

LOL

Re: Supportive Partners

Post by LOL » 14 Dec 2008 14:05

Feeling angry and weepy and I can't quite work out if it's down to withdrawal or, in fact, a natural reaction to coping with a teenage son!

I think this thread may be for us to discuss/chat about how awful it is for our families and partners coping with our drinking problems. Recognition of the fact that they need to support us and it must be difficult for them.

Actually, what I've found out today is that one of my triggers is me coping with dealing with them (in this instance, my 18 year old son).

I've been doing OK. Had a great week and I'm on Day 8. Woke up and had my first and very short heart to heart with my OH; put a few things to bed so to speak. Felt very calm, in control and happy. Walked around the supermarket, breezed past the knock down offers on Bombay Gin smiling and thinking "I would have bought that if I'd have been a drinker!!". Only to come home, face my son and his bang out of order behaviour. Honestly, it's enough to drive anybody to drink!

I've calmed down now. I called my closest friend (who also has an 18 year old boy) and we had a good old moan together, put a few things into perspective.

I'm lucky that this has happened when I'm feeling so strong and determined. However, I realise that if I'd been feeling low and (particularly on a Sunday afternoon) I'd be uncorking as he closed the door. Time will tell if I am able to create a coping strategy. Thing is I realise that one option would to sit down with my son and explain to him how his behaviour affects me but I'm not comfortable with that. I'm ashamed of my drinking problem but, more importantly, he should not feel responsible for my behaviour/actions (even though he's not). I don't want to dump my problems on him.

Not sure why I'm rambling on but felt I wanted to share it.

LOL

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Bela
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by Bela » 14 Dec 2008 15:00

LOL, you have my complete understanding and symathy about teenagers. Coping with my second of two daughter's teenage years was the most difficult time of my life. If I had leveled with her about drinking she would have turned it against me, without doubt. We did survive and have a great relationship now but it was really really hard. Bela
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

LOL

Re: Supportive Partners

Post by LOL » 14 Dec 2008 15:18

Thanks Bela, teenagers stink. It's almost as if I want to revert back to one myself and say "You don't care about me, I'm leaving!". God, actually that's such a good idea!

Even if I had faith in my son to understand, I know he'd need to speak with his girlfriend about it. She's a complete unknown quantity and I'd been opening up a can of worms. "Mums the word".

I'm logging off for now. Hope to be back later this evening. If not, tomorrow!.

LOL

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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by hamster » 14 Dec 2008 16:20

Teenager totally stink! I have two of them and am constantly in the dog house for God only knows what or when they do decide to speak I clearly dont understand them or life or anything.

I was told I was the sickest women on the planet when, after my son said something about parents having sex and how disgusting that was, I said that all parents have sex and enjoy it and thats how the relationship flourishes - and how children are born. He stormed upstairs saying 'this is what he cannot understand about me - I shouldnt say such things' I should be like other mothers :shock:

so Im thinking other mothers are all still virgins. Which makes me feel a little left out :? Gawd had I known there was another way to have children ............................

In short I know nothing.

ho hum.

Julie
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Re: Supportive Partners

Post by rattyy » 14 Dec 2008 18:12

LOL Julie ,
well its the right time of year for virgin Births --;)
hehe
Rich XX
"everones active alcoholism is a different journey to the same goal-self destruction"
rattyy 12/12/08


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