Help For Those Who Love An Addict
Alcoholism can completely change a loved one's personality and put stress on the entire family as a result.
This is her story.
Life's not fair, I know that. I don't expect fairness from the world at large. But I feel like - and maybe this is me being a spoiled only child - we should try to be fair to those we supposedly love.
He's an alcoholic, I know that too. He tells me so all the time, whenever I complain about his behavior or his attitude. Or whenever he feels bad. He's trying to fight his demons, he says.
But I'm angry. I'm supposed to be the bigger person and I am so fucking angry.
We made a decision about today's schedule last night. Last night when he was perfectly sober, I must add. Today I followed that schedule and it turns out he is mad that I did. He feels like I left him out, even though that's what we decided last night.
But I'm the bitch. I'm starting the fight, because I wanted to know why he'd called me so angry. He is mad that his family wasn't there when he woke up.
The decision wasn't even 12 hours old, but he changed his mind and is resentful that I didn't know that, that I didn't follow his new wishes.
I fucking hate that. I hate not being able to make plans, not even 12 hours in advance, because he doesn't know what kind of mood he'll be in. He might change his mind and he will be a resentful fucking child if he's committed to something and then changed his mind about it. Or he'll be mad at us if we've gone somewhere without him, because he told me he wanted to sleep late.
I don't feel like I have a partner, I feel like I'm being bossed around by a petulant child.
I know that he is hurting. I know that he is trying to get better. I know that in a few hours, he will be my real husband for a while - the one who doesn't act like a petulant child. But then nighttime will come, he will have his five drinks after the kids go to bed - and he will be perfectly nice at that time too - and then in the morning he will be an asshole.
It's like I live with two people and one of them is a total dick. We can't afford counseling, rehab, or to live apart, really. I don't even know what's actually wrong with us. Are other men so resentful if they don't get to wake up whenever they choose? I know he has insomnia, which is his reason for drinking, but it just seems weird for someone in his thirties.
He gets resentful if I'm not available for sex whenever he wakes up, but he's also resentful if I wake him up early to have sex before I have stuff to do. He's resentful whenever I'm on the computer, but that's a big source of our income right now.
It's like he doesn't know how to be a grownup anymore.
Substance abuse claims the lives of thousands of people every year.
This is her story.
Happy Belated Birthday, Mom.
You used to laugh about how we were all February women in our family. You, your younger sister, me, and two of my cousins were all born in the same month. You said it made us special. When I was small, I thought it was true. When I was small, there were still times I wanted to be just like you.
I remember making you birthday cards with clumsy hearts and sunshine drawn on them, folding them so carefully and neatly that my teachers were impressed. I remember handing them to you with excitement, waiting to see your smile and hear your praise. I remember you putting down your bottle of beer, just for a second.
After you died, I found most of the cards I made for you and, later, bought for you. Even in the depths of my numbness, I teared up a little thinking that it meant you were proud of me.
You loved me. I know you did.
No matter how you treated me, no matter how many times you told me I was getting fat, no matter how drunk or high you were, there was a part of me that loved you and wished your love for me took a different shape.
I told you once, after you'd laid the guilt on particularly thick, that when I hugged you I felt nothing. You got mad at me and said I was just lying because I was upset with you, that no one feels that way about their mother.
Still, it was your birthday. You would have been 54 if you just could have kept yourself away from the bottle. Away from the drugs. The little girl inside me wants to know why you couldn't love her enough to even try to overcome your addictions, even if the adult me knows it's not that simple.
It's never that simple.
Neither is love.
Indifference, though, that's a different story.
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser. Letters where actual contact is just not possible for whatever reason.
Do you have a letter you'd like to send but can't? If so, send it to us.
Please, The Band, keep in mind the mission of Band Back Together and the Guidelines for Submissions are very clear in that we are not a rant site - the purpose of our posts and our mission is to be able to share our stories in a safe manner while encouraging healing.
Two years ago I called upon you to save my sister. She told me she was going to drive off a bridge, and yes, that was an exaggeration on her part. But she was mentally ill, and you did not help. In fact, the dispatcher told me that bridges were hard to drive off of, which surprisingly was not a comfort. When one is determined, bridges offer other solutions, do they not?
When you, the police, found her, you believed her. She had been driving drunk. An hour before, she was stumbling through the house. And yet, you believed her when she said that we had argued and I was lying. You believed her, even though she stank of booze. You didn't give her the breathalyzer test that you should have, and she didn't get the help she needed then. Only weeks later she would try to commit suicide.
Yesterday she came home blazing drunk saying her car had been taken by people and they had driven it into a light pole. She wasn't making a lot of sense. I had her call you and report it stolen, but you told her to call back sober.
Only a few hours later, the car was found, totally destroyed. The officer calling impatiently asked me why she hadn't reported it if she thought it was stolen.
Well she did, I said. YOU DIDN'T LISTEN.
Why won't you help us when we need you? Why can't you see the difference between the girl telling the truth and the drunk woman telling the lies? Why can't you see the people behind the story? Are the police not here to help us?
Can't you see that it's painful for a baby sister to call the police on her sister? Even calling for her sucked.
Officers, please have patience. I don't always have the full story, but I'll tell you what I know. Believe me.
I wish my husband and I spent more time together.
It's a Saturday night, and he's playing video games while I sit at the computer. This is our usual schedule.
I've tried talking about it, but frankly it's no use. He tells me he needs his own time; how he needs to unwind. I realize he's got a high-stress job and works more hours than usual, which is why I don't address it anymore.
In fact, I feel selfish for mentioning this. I don't remotely think there is anything wrong with what we're doing. I'm giving him his needs and space within our marriage. I don't feel it's wrong; I understand his situation.
But sometimes, when I'm taking my son to the park, I see couples there together. I see more couples when hanging out at my friends homes. I see those couples at the mall as well. In those moments, there's a pang of hurt.
He's an amazing husband, caring, responsible, loving, sensitive. I can't complain about his personality, but his gaming hobby takes up a lot of time.
I don't think he realizes it. The other day, he mentioned he wants more time with the family. How he's considering separating from his job when his contract is up. I tried addressing the video games, but he said he doesn't want to let those go because they help him unwind.
That is when I feel that pang of hurt and loneliness. I have found ways to fill the time that could be spent with him, with other things.
He does approach me occasionally, away from his game, to small talk, mention something, ask me how I am. And then he goes right back.
Maybe I'm exaggerating, and truthfully it isn't all strictly like this. He's very helpful around the house. He works hard, doesn't slack off.
I have no complaints, the man is perfect.
It would just be nice for us to do something special on a Saturday night here or there.
Away from the games.
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
I first met my husband at work. The company was going under, and we were often the only ones there all hours of the day and night. We were each seeing other people, and those long hours took a toll on our relationships.
I'd just been through a soul-crushing divorce not long before, and I was skeptical when he said he loved me. I told him we would never date.
I'd just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I was learning to deal with that - I felt I wasn't ready to date anyone. But we were best friends who helped each other through all kinds of problems.
We continued to work together at a new company, and later I helped him start his own business.
I started to realize he was always there when I needed him. And furthermore he was the one I wanted to be there when I needed someone. We started dating in August 2003 and were married by October of that year.
We'd discussed my living arrangements before we married - I lived with my parents as they need me to pay their rent. That wouldn't change when we married.
He was living in his own apartment at the time, so for the first few months of our marriage, we lived there. Then we moved into my parents basement.
I didn't even find out that was a problem, until I learned he was complaining about it to other people.
I feel like the man I married has slowly turned into someone else.
He won't express an opinion about anything. Now I've discovered the few things he's said to me were lies.
It's like he can't tell the truth even if he wants to. He lies about things that he is obviously going to get busted on, like what he bought, or conversations he's had.
He's lied so much, that every word out of his mouth is suspect.
Early on in our marriage, I discovered he was having an affair. We had an active sex life while we were dating, but after we were married, our sex life dropped off dramtically.
We once went nearly a year without having sex.
When we did have sex, it didn’t end well. He couldn’t ejaculate. Needless to say, I blamed myself. I tried everything I could think to improve things, and got nowhere.
We started marriage counseling. We got "thrown out" when I discovered he was having another affair, and lying about everything he'd been saying in counseling. He promised things would get better, and they did - briefly.
We renewed our vows, this time in the Catholic Church.
That night, he got too drunk to enjoy the use of the suite the hotel gave us. Thus began another downhill slide.
Things were made worse by both of us having health issues. He had to have emergency hernia surgery - which kept him from having sex for awhile. I developed an illness that was not fibromyalgia, but no one could figure out what it was.
Eventually, we discovered I have degenerative arthritis in my spine, hips, knees and ankles. The pain has gotten much, much worse. I can no longer work. I can no longer do housework. Sometimes, I need help getting dressed.
Still, I tried to work on our relationship - to have some sort of sex life, even if we had to switch positions. But he still has problems performing, though he SWEARS it’s not me.
Once again, I discovered he’s having an affair.
I told him he has to decide what he wants. If he wants to remain married, he needs to tell her good-bye and put me first. Otherwise, he can be divorced and single.
He said all he wants is me; that he loves me more than anything. He told the woman never to call or speak to him again. Then I found text messages telling her he had to say that, because I busted him.
This pattern has been going on for months now. If he’s not having a physical affair, he’s having emotional affairs on-line. When I find the texts or chats or whatever, he’s insulting me; making fun of me. When I confront him, he swears I'm the only one he wants.
He says alcohol is the problem - he wants to quit drinking. He'll goes to AA meetings until he starts sneaking alcohol from my parents liquor cabinet.
I call him out - yet again - about the women and alcohol. Again, he says it’s me he wants, and asks "will I go to counseling?" Of course I will.
We started two weeks ago.
He swore he'd tell the truth; that he would really apply himself. Because otherwise, marriage counseling is pointless. He swore to me - and the counselor - that he was not having any affairs.
We were alone in the house three times in the past two months while my parents traveled - an unheard of event - and he wouldn’t come near me, even though he swears he loves me, is attracted to me, and wants to have sex with me.
I have suffered tremendously for the past couple weeks to do things he wants to do - things he knows cause me pain. When he called me bitchy - from the pain - I choked it back. I did everything I could to be nicer and more affectionate.
What did I find out last night?
Same old thing.
He's talking to some woman online; trashing me. I busted him this morning.
He says maybe he needs to go to rehab. Because he’s drinking again- and that's why he cheats - but he really loves me and I’m the only one he wants and all the other things he always says.
I can’t take this anymore.
How can he possibly love me when his behavior just screams otherwise? Am I supposed to stand by him while he goes through rehab (if he goes), be loving and supportive, when he seems to take great joy in tearing me down every chance he gets?
I am so torn between my heart and my head that I don't know what to do.
Bandmates, I need your opinions on this - what do I do?
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