I have just split from my ex again for the third time! He seems to be able to control his drinking during his working week as his job means a lot to him. Yet he drinks for the entire weekend, except for a few free hours between waking up on a Saturday morning until he feels it time to drink again on a Saturday night, which usually starts around 3 or 4pm.
He consumes a few 6-packs of beer and a bottle of Vodka, but because the effects are not enough he has now started drinking a few bottles of strong wine also. He says he does not have an alcohol problem he just genuinely has a love affair with drinking; he loves it.
He works shifts and I just cannot understand why he can control it on a 6-2 shift, no drinking through the week, yet on a backshift 2-10 he will have a few after work, and then on a night shift he doesn’t drink at all. Then the weekend comes and it’s full-on drinking to the extent that he is plastered and cannot talk properly, yet he continues to drink.
I have taken him back three times as I was starting to think maybe he doesn’t have a problem and maybe it is me because I’m not a big drinker, but it is like Jekyll and Hyde with him. We have been together for 4 years and the last year has been hell! We have stopped living together and he now has his own place.
I have changed my number this time as he always seems to convince me that I’m being overly dramatic and I take him back. The truth is when I’m with him and he’s drinking I don’t want to be in his company, and when he’s sober he is the loveliest guy he can be!
Please, can you help me to understand this addiction?
It seems like you have been through a hard few years with him. It’s clear you love him but have hit that point where you have to save yourself, and the good in the relationship is being overcome by all the bad of the drinking.
It’s good to try to understand addiction, especially when you have a loved one struggling with drinking. It can be baffling that someone can hold down a job and function normally there, but come home and get drunk immediately.
What is more important, however, is that you take this time to understand yourself in this relationship. For over four years you were in a relationship with a man, who was not in a relationship with you. He was in a relationship with alcohol. In other words, his primary companion, his best friend, his partner was alcohol.
From what you said, you made several efforts to leave. I would be willing to bet that you tried to encourage him to get help for his drinking, probably more times than you can count. None of which, I am guessing, helped. It’s good that you tried, but it looks like you have hit that place that you cannot take it anymore and you know you deserve to be the only one in the relationship, and you don’t deserve to share someone with alcohol.
Addiction, and those who are addicted, can be persuasive or manipulative at times. They do not want to change how they live. If they change, they might have to face how much they are using and how out of control their lives are. That means that the often lie, make promises, or try to convince you that you are wrong, mistaken, or the crazy one. It’s awful to recognize, but it happens often in addicted relationships.
For you, it is important to take the time to care for yourself and understand what kept you in this relationship. You have taken some great steps to separate yourself from him, with moving out and changing your number. Now, work on yourself so you don’t have to repeat this with someone else.
Counseling with an addiction focused therapist is a great place to start. You can have the time to heal from your former relationship and to learn to spot the warning signs of addiction, so you don’t ever have to be surprised by it again.
Also, connect with a recovery support group. Support groups like Al-Anon are for people that are the family members and loved ones of people with addictions. They come together, share their stories, and learn from each other. It is a supportive environment where people can hear from those who have already been through that situation and know what works, and what most likely is really going on.
Take this time to learn about yourself, so addiction does not have to take a toll on your relationship, and you can learn how to support a loved with an addiction if you choose to. This is your time to heal and learn about yourself. Please reach out for further support and feel free to ask more questions here if they come up.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.