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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

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Re: 2 alcoholics
Aug 28, 2002
I have heard of people giving up drink or other drugs while their partner was using. I am the girlfriend of an alcoholic who is struggling to stay sober. I believe personally that no-one can live with an alcoholic and manage to live a “detached” life. I don’t live with my boyfriend and have my own place now (having lived with my mother for the past 2 years following a separation). He is constantly “cutting off” from me to go on his now weekly binge and I don’t believe, I could get away “unhurt” if I were living with him. As it is, it is still very hard when we have just had a lovely weekend together, but I think, we both need this space. Would you be able to get help in the form of a live-in programme? This would enable you to have some distance to think and decide what you want for yourself while also giving a clear, fresh start. When you would return home, you can set your own boundaries afresh.
I have found that reading loads of books about addiction has helped me to manage to deal with my boyfriend’s addiction. Though I can never truly feel inside what it feels like for him - what a craving feels like, how he can sacrifice everything to have another drink, how he can be constantly in debt because of it – at least I gain some understanding, as to how powerful the pull to drink is. We both love each other very much and I still believe in him….some day, he will get so angry at what drink has robbed him of that he will do everything to fight it and win. I try to leave him alone without judging his decision to drink (which is terribly hard!) that he is left to make the decisions in his life for himself. I realised recently that he no longer is annoyed at me when he drinks, as I am no longer around or in contact with him during this time. We are slowly coming to an understanding which allows us to have lovely time together in between his bouts of drinking.
I have read from other alcoholics that several (especially females) turn from being an alcoholic to being a recovering alcoholic/co-dependant as they feel for their addicted partner and end up enabling him. From experience, it works best to leave him making his own decisions for his life and not basing yours on what he decides. Don’t wait on your husband to change “I want to get help, but am afraid of failing and returning to my old ways because I know he will not change.” Look at this sentence! You are not getting help for him but for yourself – never mind what he does! He has to look after himself and want help for himself. You do what you need for you. If you want to get sober, perhaps you will fail but you can always try again, can’t you? My boyfriend has tried many times and though others see he is still drinking, I can see a gradual change in him. Everything we learn takes practice so allow yourself some mistakes. You don’t have to be “perfectly sober”! Start somewhere and you will learn what you need over time. Remember, it took time to get where you are now too… I say to my boyfriend - don’t give up on yourself!

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