Would the drinking stop if he or she loved you?

Published by at 10:58 am under Common Concerns

Welcome to First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery. This is a series of podcasts to discuss some common concerns for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members if they ever thought the drinking would stop if the drinker really loved them.

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70 comments on “Would the drinking stop if he or she loved you?”

  1. Kas says:

    I am 8 months pregnant. Advanced maternal age. I have been with my husband for ten years. He just got out of his third trip to rehab in one month. He has been in rehab and/or the hospital more times than I can even remember. He wrecked our truck, turned violent towards our son (he has been violent towards me many times, but never our son) and now we are being evicted weeks before our baby is due.

    He has had numerous run-ins with the law and several dui’s– although not for a while.

    One more and he would probably go to prison.

    He also almost died from a traumatic brain injury he got during a brief sober time when he was being not nice to me (and my son) and I pushed him. I almost killed him just trying to get him to leave us alone.

    He just got out of his last stint in rehab and is staying in a weekly motel (paid for by his mother) while I am at home trying to move everything to storage before I am homeless–and before I go into labor.

    I, too, want my life back.

  2. Andrea says:

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and have two wonderful boys together. At some point right before our first son was born he started casually drinking, which was extremely unusual for him. I have no idea what happened, what changed, where the time has gone, but he is now a moderate to severe alcoholic and I have spent every night for the past 18 months crying myself to sleep from anger. He won’t get help, even though I know he has no control anymore, and mostly because I am so scared.

    I am so so scared I will wake up in the morning and he won’t be alive. I am so scared our son will find him on the couch–he has fallen, passed out drunk every single night, not alive. I’m so scared of losing him, but I know now I have absolutely no control over him. I begged, cried, screamed, wrote letters, sat down calmly with him, saying he needs to get help, he needs to try and change because I will not be around to support someone who is willing to throw his life away. But most importantly I will not have our sons raised in a toxic environment.

    My boyfriend is the warmest, loving, most compassionate, funny, amazing man I know. That man is still inside and it makes my stomach turn that this evil disease has masked the real him. I want my kids to remember the man I know and not see this person I don’t recognize anymore.

    Our arguing turned into fighting, which turned into verbally abusive on both ends, to becoming as frequent as 5 times a day. The most out of control fighting sometimes will last for hours. I just packed my things, got my boys and left. It has been about 6 weeks and I have not gone back.

    He needs help. I have no idea how to help him find help or what I can do. I cannot sit back and watch him kill himself, but I cannot be in that environment so I feel very lost, confused and just emotionally and mentally exhausted.

  3. linda says:

    My son went into recovery on January 2nd. After four days of detox in a hospital setting, he underwent six weeks of intensive outpatient therapy. Then, he was let go in a job he loved with a local diesel mechanic–not because of drinking, but because the owner was not making enough money to pay him, too. So, he’s been looking for a job for a week and a half–and started drinking again yesterday.

    I have gone to seven Al-Anon meetings. Since January second. I was struck by the question at the top of the page because I am trying to separate the action from the person.

    Yes, I have thought that if my son loved me enough he would not drink. I am so trying to calm my anxiety and my hopelessness by breathing deeply and working on accepting the situation as it is.

    I did not cause it, can’t control it and can’t cure it. I know the words. I am not owning them yet, apparently. I am afraid. I wonder how far away the bottom is.

  4. Tami says:

    My boyfriend is an alcoholic. He drinks from the time he gets up till he goes to bed, but tries to hide it. I didn’t know this when we met, he had been sober for a year and relapsed shortly after we got together. I’ve had my own issues with alcohol in the past so can relate to his struggle, but this is beyond anything I have ever seen.

    In the past 7 months he has had 2 OUIs, and been to detox 3 times, just to start drinking immediately when he gets out. The logical part of my brain tells me it hasn’t been long that we’ve been together, but my heart tells me to “stick it out.” I love him, he’s a terrific person, we love all the same things, have the same dreams–if he could just stay sober. I worry about him dying every day. I just don’t know what to do.

  5. Jenny says:

    My husband and I have been together for 17 years. That is 17 years waiting for him to fulfill his promises that always get broken; wanting to be first in his life; wishing that my love was enough to make him happy. 17 years I’ve given this man to realize that the whole time I could have just loved myself enough. I could have made good on promises that I made for me. I could have put my needs first. I could have been happy with myself.

    The next 17 years of my life I am going to do just that and quit waiting for somebody else to be responsible for my happiness. I can find things I enjoy in life that don’t involve hurt, shame or indifference. I can look at the big picture and not wonder if it is broken.

    I am not broken; I am rebuilt with new feelings, new chances to change my ways, and a brand new understanding about what life should be.

  6. neicy says:

    I know I have to leave him. I have pulled my life together, knowing that I am worth more than I have accepted over the years.

    First, it was my mentally and physically abusive husband, whom I had a son with. When I was 6 1/2months pregnant he attempted to set me and my unborn son on fire. Later, so as not to testifiy against him, he started dating my cousin and later had children with her.

    Now I am married again, but this one drinks a lot. I started going to nursing school, but later stopped going because of stress at home, as well as I stopped working. I made a promise in Dec. 2013 I would get back on track and go back to work and school. Well, I am working, but not yet in school.

    The first week of working my now husband was stopped for a DUI at 2:30 am. You can only guess how I felt not to find out until 11 am in the morning that he was in jail. On top of that, they towed my truck. Now I had to borrow money to get my truck out.

    The thing that hurts the most is for over three years I have been telling him he drinks too much, and his reply was I allowed other men to do more harm and treat me bad. And that all he does is drink, but I want to complain now. And the fact that he spends his money on drinking still after the DUI, and I was the one paying people back the money that was borrowed, all while he spent his on cigarettes and beer. I do not want him driving my truck to go buy more.

    He has not accepted that he is an alcoholic and that he should not drink, which makes me say I have to leave him and save my son and myself from any more pain.

  7. Kate says:

    I have fallen in love with a functional alcoholic, and consider myself to be a very strong, non-judgmental person. I can see the beauty in him, though he cannot see it in himself. The deeper we fell for each other, the more he revealed to me, and now there is transparency, and though I don’t like what I see, I cannot abandon him.

    I cling to hope that he will realize his true life is not controlled by anyone or anything. I pray and I stay quiet. But, I am becoming a martyr that I don’t want to be. I want to be authentic and transparent too. I want to tell him how it hurts me to be his second love, though I wear a smile. I want him to know he is killing himself, and I can no longer sleep through the night because of my worry for him. He struggles with so much guilt, that I can’t stand to contribute to any more of it, but I also don’t want to contribute in any way to his alcoholism.

    I feel that sharing with anyone about what I know is a betrayal, but I want life for him. Additionally, I am a mother of two, and I know we have no future because I will always protect my children. I won’t allow them to love him too, just to watch him self-destruct. I feel lost, alone, and scared.

  8. patrick says:

    I can relate to precious wound. My best friend of 31 years has been drinking heavily for 1.5 years and I often feel like there must be something wrong with me. I try to stay detached with love, but it is almost impossible to do without getting stressed about what I am doing.

    I get lied to daily and there are moments of lucidity when he knows he is destroying his life, but yet continues on the same path. I do believe he is suicidal and I fear the day that I find him lifeless. I am almost starting to feel numb to all this now and that scares me. I never thought that our friendship, which has endured for over 30 years, would come to an end. At least not like this.

  9. feelingcrazy says:

    I can really relate to the last post from preciouswound. I also feel crazy and am having a hard time reminding myself that I am not to blame! I have been married to my husband for 38 years and we were drinking buddies at one time, but I stopped over 11 years ago when my life became unmanageable.

    I go to AA. It saved my life. Now I see him doing all the things I did and it’s really hard to accept. I am trying not to enable him. That is hard for me to do. I will take it one day at a time.

  10. PreciousWound says:

    I have been involved with an abusive alcoholic for 4 years. A lot of days are filled with despair. I feel forsaken in my heart. But I still want the best for him. I wish I could rely on him, trust him, depend on him. His lies have gotten almost hourly.

    I used to feel bad for him. Then I stayed because he wanted to kill himself. Now, I don’t know what. I am scared and anxious a lot. I want him to be healthy. I have been rather selfless in this relationship and don’t have much motivation left for myself. I know that it is not too much to ask for someone to simply be respectful, but I keep proving myself wrong.

    I know it is not fair to be lied to and cheated on, but I still can’t seem to walk away bc I know he is not ok. Does that make sense. I am feeling like the crazy one a lot of days. Thanks for the place to breathe life to my needs and to hear my heartache.

  11. maria says:

    I live with a man who drinks every time he has his cash. He won’t think of bills or rent. He drinks it all. When I hide the money, the guy goes crazy, starts breaking everything and gets violent with me just to get to the cash, just to buy alcohol. If I don’t give it to him, he starts insulting me a 100x, and hits me.

    I try and try and try, but I can’t take it anymore. I try to be sweet, nice, so he can just stay with me, no dude has some place to be, with friends, calls me anti-social and all sort of names. I really don’t know what to do. Sometimes I’m like I don’t need this. But he just won’t leave.

  12. Heart broken says:

    I have been trying to help my boyfriend get help to stop drinking for over 2 years now. I have gone to his house and found him passed out, urinated on himself, threats of killing himself, etc. I try to help him, drag him to the shower, dress him, sober him up, get him to hospital, found out all info needed for programs he can attend, but he won’t do it. He says his life has sucked for years and will always suck.

    He tells me I can save his life by letting him move in with me and my kids. That way he can stop living paycheck to paycheck, and his problems that cause him to drink will go away. I love him so much, but I’m scared he will just keep on drinking and the whole “saving his life by moving in” will be just another excuse for why he drinks.

    I don’t know what to do anymore. This last episode of drinking has happened on my birthday. He knew I blocked out time for he and I to celebrate, but he stayed home at his place and drank, just disregarded my birthday.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Tonight sucks. I am so much at a breaking point. I have been trying so hard to work on the Al-Anon Steps. Not today. I am feeling dumb and betrayed. Thought my husband meant what he said again, but again not so much. I just wish I was not feeling like the crazy person. The mad person. I hate the person I am becoming.

  14. Grandma says:

    My husband of 44 years drinks more than ever. He has progressed from a social drinker to sitting in the garage drinking and smoking. He has trouble walking–falls down a lot, wets his pants and isn’t embarrassed or uncomfortable. He is fine mentally and physically each day before he starts his drinking. He golfs every day and is doing extremely good. I am wondering if the falling down is caused by his liver getting worse. He never used to be this bad.

  15. I am lovable says:

    I gained a lot of insight from Melody Beattie’s book. Here are words that made sense to me when I thought if my husband really loved me he would stop drinking. When someone, especially someone we love, behaves inappropriately or treats us badly, we don’t see the behavior connected to a person’s problem or addiction. We don’t understand that it’s their issue. Our only frame of reference is, “It must be me, there must be something wrong with me.” Children do this as well as adults.

    Messages control or generate our behaviors. It’s the destructive messages we want to change, the “I’m not lovable” or “It’s not okay to be who I am” that we want to change. These generate self-destructive behaviors.

    We don’t have to take another person’s behaviors personally. If they have no love or approval to give us, it isn’t our fault. They may not have had any to give to anyone, including themselves. Here’s an example: “Why didn’t ____ love me? You mean it wasn’t me? It’s not my fault, I’m not unlovable?” The doctor said, “No, you weren’t unlovable. You were just deprived of love. Either they weren’t capable of it or they didn’t know how to show love.”

    I want to be sure I am not negotiating with myself when I am discussing conflict resolution. If I ask a person three times to do something and they agree and don’t do it, I am negotiating with myself. They are using the occasion to manipulate, use and sabotage me. And finally, I believe alcoholics are unavailable for relationships because they are already in one. Only if they are in recovery can they be in another relationship.

  16. Ani says:

    I am a widow the past 3 yrs. & I suffered a lot in my first life because of drinks. I hate drinks. Now I had a best friend 2 yrs back. Later we both were very close friends, but now we are lovers. He loves me very much, but the thing is that now he is drinking a lot but I don’t want to leave him. Sometimes I am thinking to leave him, but I can’t. So I don’t know whether to leave him or marry him.

  17. Stone says:

    I’m currently on probation and attending a recovery programme. I would not like to discuss the reasons why, but had something to do with assault on my partner. I would never of done this if I hadn’t of been drinking. I can go weeks if not months without drinking and when I do have a drink I can go on a 3-day binge.

    I am on the verge of losing the love of my life and want to not drink ever again. I want to be able to give my partner a night out and not get drunk and only have a soft drink. I love my partner and daughter with all my heart and could not imagine losing them.

  18. Curtis says:

    The past year and a half my drinking got worse and worse. I was happy during the day and drunk at nite. I have never had this problem before and was always a happy drunk. I will be 28 days sober Thursday and have no withdrawals or desire to drink again. Drinking made me a verbal abuser and it is not who I am.

    My wife and I are separated at this time and I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but I can tell you one thing. I hate drinking now and will never touch it again. I am a happy person, full of love and I pray every day my wife knows this and we can be back together one day.

  19. Aware1 says:

    Working a program of recovery (aka healing) was and is the best decision I ever had the courage to make. I now live a life of contentment with periods of joy interspersed. I want to share that my baby’s colic (which was significant in its severity) has all but vanished. My relationships have improved, with family, coworkers, friends, etc. I am ever grateful for the 12 Steps.

    I was very, very resistant to go to Al-Anon, for several years. I didn’t want to believe in a higher power. I didn’t want to tolerate time, ie have patience. I wanted my life fixed immediately! I heard someone say in Al-Anon, “Give our group a try for six to twelve months; if you haven’t noticed improvements in your life, we can gladly refund your misery.” Ha! A challenge! So, like a good daughter & a good wife of people with addictions/alcoholism, I took my Al-Anon group up on the challenge.

    I found a wonderful woman to be my sponsor–boy, she really told me how it was, which could be tough to hear, but I loved and trusted her and I was willing to go to any length to improve my life. And what she said was often true! Al-Anon works if we work it. My child’s colic seems to have been, at least in part, a response to my own distress, my own wounds, that I was carrying around pretty well hidden, or so I thought. What I couldn’t see at the time was that babies and kids are very sensitive to the emotions of the people they depend on for survival. Especially before they can speak or understand language. And no matter how much I denied my woundedness, my child absorbed it like a sponge in water.

    Today, after a while in Al-Anon, I feel like a capable mom, and my child finally has a healthier role model and no GI disturbances. Some of us know about “gut feelings.” We carry a lot of emotions in our gut. No wonder babies have colic–if they absorb our pain, their guts can be affected, even causing physical findings like inflammation.

    Well, I could go on and on about the wonderful ways in which my life has changed. And to anyone who resists the group because of the higher power thing, what about Love being your higher power? I have a pretty good idea that love is something that most of us want more of, and love can be so healing.

  20. raztazz says:

    After receiving a DUI, my fiance stumbles through our front door and proceeds to tell me that none of it would’ve happened if she never met me. Usually it’s just the normal–her drinking and getting upset at me about my cats. Now it’s gotten bad enough for her to get arrested for driving drunk.

    When I tell her I’m going to leave, she says she’ll just drink even more and then we’ll all have to pay–especially my cats!

    She’s so good at making me feel bad about her drinking. I think she uses my cats as an excuse too!

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