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I'm an alcoholic, and my partner is in denial

Hello friends. For obvious reasons, this is a post I’ve been struggling to write for a long time now, so much so that I am writing this post under an anonymous name. I am a behind-the-scenes team member of HeartSupport, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself for feeling so ashamed about posting this. However, since my story is a little bit personal and mentions some details about my home life, my anonymity is probably for the best.

For almost 3 years now, I have been struggling with alcoholism. My father is a high-functioning alcoholic, and addiction runs in both sides of my family, so unfortunately I managed to inherit this addiction. I, too, seem to be a high-functioning alcoholic and tried working through it with a therapist for a year and a half but no progress ever came of it. So in February of this year, I had decided that I would drop my therapist (WOOPS) and take the entire month of March off from drinking. I also consulted my doctor and would finally begin weaning off of my quetiapine medication for my bipolar disorder this same month. And to my disbelief, I actually freaking did it!!! I went a full 31 days without a single drink, and I was able to wean myself off of my medication completely.

Just as my therapist predicted during my final session with her, I relapsed after my dry month and went right back to my old habits. I do have “rules” set for myself about my drinking, such as the time of day I’ll allow myself to drink. However, if there is alcohol in my house, I will drink it, and keep drinking it, until I feel sick/full or until there is none left in the house, whichever comes first.

Unfortunately, my partner tends to have this same habit, but doesn’t see it as a problem. I tried to go through my dry month with him, but there were 3 different occasions where I would walk downstairs from my home office after getting some work done, and he’d be passed out on our couch, and I’d find that he had poured his beer into a cup so it could be concealed.

When I tell my partner I need help with my alcoholism, he tells me I’m not an alcoholic. And I think he only says this because he knows that if I’M an alcoholic, then he certainly is, too. His parents drink daily too, and they chalk it up to “being Irish” - I have tried so many different ways to ask for his support, even with the help of my therapist, and I can’t seem to get through to him.

Even when I do get back to seeing a therapist again, I worry I will once again become stuck from my lack of progress due to my infuriating lack of support at home.

I’m feeling a little stuck and lost. I’m starting to notice the long-term effects of alcoholism taking a toll on my body both physically and emotionally, and I don’t want this to ruin my life more than it already has. Thank you for reading <3

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Hey there :hrtlegolove: @allinthistogether

I think it’s very brave of you to come and show so much vulnerability and truth. It’s ok if you want to be anonymous, we still love you!

Sometimes we have to let our loved ones figure things out for themselves. You can see the problem, but he can’t right now. You’ve come to terms with yourself and the need to stop drinking, but you can’t make someone else see it in themselves if they aren’t ready.

My advice is to start your recovery and by your example and patience, I think he’ll come to terms with the truth.

It’s really awesome that you’ve recognized your problem, so make sure you put your energy into that. He’ll come around.

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Hello allinthistogether,

It takes a lot of courage to open up about personal things, especially when there is so much stigma around substance use challenges and when we add relationships, and emotions that come with this whole thing, it creates like, a mountain of overwhelm. I am so sorry your partner has said that to you, by invalidating your experience, but your speculations feel intuitive to me, and it is infuriating to have lack of support at home. I will also add that you taking a whole month off of drinking is an amazing achievement.

I live with bipolar disorder too and I experience concurrent disorders around addiction or substance use challenges. I have a feeling that these two do have a correlation for some people. In any case, it is still a difficult situation you are in and a hard one too. I believe in you, I truly do. I believe you will make the choices that will contribute to your well being. I believe too there will be struggles, as it is with addictions, and I say this because I have experience with it, trying to quit a substance can cause so much difficulty for the body, mind, and soul. I found my behavioral challenges to provide lvls of comfort and that was really rewarding to me. It was comfortable, familiar, and yet it devastated everyone in my life, so i knew for myself, i had to quit. It wasn’t easy and I still struggle but I do know every step I take, is a step forward, and every step back, is still a step forward, because my brain is creating connections and new habits and patterns, and those wirings will get stronger over time.

I hope this is supportive to you. I want you to know, you’re not alone, there is a way forward, and I believe deeply in your ability to achieve your goals.

Much warmth, Dot.

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Hello @allinthistogether

Alcoholism is such a difficult addiction to fight. I commend you for continuing to fight this ongoing battle. I wish your partner could support you better, but they seem to be of a different mindset at this time.

Your battle is your own in this instance and you have been sober before. You can continue being sober again, every hour, day, week or month is a victory in and of it’s own.

I do want to share with you that my family had a loss due to alcoholism:

It was right before Christmas 2018. We got a call from my sister in law that her dad was in the hospital. We dropped everything and drove to the ICU. It was ugly, he had fallen drunk in the parking lot in front of his home and had a brain injury. An ICU room surrounded by family who would never see his eyes open again and the wails of his daughter and recently divorced wife. It will haunt me all my life to see his life cut short due to the alcoholism. He had stopped fighting for his life and let the alcohol rule him.

If I could tell you anything else. I would tell you to never give up. You matter, the work you do here matters. You may fail some days, but you can succeed others. There is so much more to life than the end of a bottle. Keep talking with others, find your support where you can. Lead by example and your spouse may follow some day.

I really appreciate you opening up on your struggles and I know you can do better. <3/Mish

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hi @allinthistogether ,

thank you so much for sharing your story and protecting your own identity also. your vulnerability is appreciated and i hope you can feel the love and support coming to you from all points of this world.

it’s most likely so frustrating for you to want to change and grow from this alcoholism and not have the support from your partner. there’s also a reason for partners to be called “partner,” they are meant to support one another in this relationship through the good times and the bad. and when you’re trying every possible way to ask for help from him, he shrugs you off and denies your alcoholism. i’m so sorry that you are in this situation but gosh am i so proud of you for coming to terms with your unhealthy relationship with alcohol. it probably wasn’t an easy realization but i am cheering you on in your future progress.

when it comes to getting the support of your partner though, the biggest element to being clean is not having access to the addiction. if he’s bringing in alcohol still to the home, it will only make things increasingly difficult for you to stop. if the long-term physical and emotional effects alcohol has had on you hasn’t reached him yet in terms of addressing the issue, i’m not sure what will, my friend. all i know is that this is a team effort and you need his support (and having y’all’s home clean of alcohol) to get the winning goal.

please let me know if there’s anything i can do to help further. you will overcome this and i look forward to hearing how things are going in the near future. you are so loved, so valued, and so appreciated, and i believe in you to get through this on the other side.

love,
twix

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@allinthistogether

Hi Firstly can I say how glad I am that you found the courage to write that post. You have absolutely nothing to feel ashamed of at all about using an anonymous name, most people do and its completely understandable.
I am so sorry you are going through so much.
The stress of trying to manage a alcohol problem and a partner with the same problem must be almost unbearable and I am not surprised that you are struggling.
You are trying so hard and yet you don’t seem to have the support you need from your partner so that makes it even more difficult to manage.
I wonder if maybe its time to take a step back from all of that and just focus on yourself? you can only change yourself, you have to allow your partner to do the same and I’m sure in time he will. However you choose to take that step back is yours to make, whether its just not dealing with his drinking or taking a break in the relationship to work on yourself, you owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.
I truly hope that you find a way that works for both you and your partner so that you can both be happy.
Much Love
Lisa :heart:

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I want to say first off how extremely proud of you that I am. It takes a lot for someone to post on here about something with this much weight, and becomes vulnerable for whoever reads this. It also takes a lot to see that something needs improvement and wants to work towards that goal…that is not a small thing either.

Secondly, thank you for allowing this community that you help behind the scenes to come alongside you and support you. We appreciate everything you do for us.

I know that you are strong enough and determined enough to take on the challenge of overcoming this issue. We all have moments have feeling stuck and lost in any given situation, but we are all overcomers and so are you.

It is okay to be selfish and put yourself first. It is okay to put your needs as the number one thing on your list. You are worth it. I know you can overcome this as well.

You are powerful.
You are strong.
You are worthy.

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first of all, I salute your bravery for sharing this with us, and your insight into yourself to identify an issue and then do something about it! Congrats on your successful dry month! That’s a massive victory and such a great first step!

Having the support of your partner is ideal, but really having a house free of alcohol would aid you greatly in tackling this issue. Seems you do have to figure out how best to have a “clean” house to aid your progress, and how your partner fits into that plan. Wishing you best of luck and looking forward to hearing about your journey. Very proud of you for all the steps and efforts you’ve put in already!