Functioning Alcoholic Behavior vrs Extreme Dysfunctional Behavior

woman near a windowGuest Submission From: Debbie

I saw two others like me who question whether alcohol was the only problem–others like me seem to have a more functioning alcoholic they were dealing with and I am still I guess trying for my “what happened” as I did not see the extremes that others have posted. Is there a way to address those with “functioning alcoholics and their behavior” because there seems to be a world of difference from my point of view anyway.

Appreciate any suggestions.
Thank you.
Please feel free to leave a comment below the article.

JC: Thanks for sharing with us Debbie. AA says that alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful. I’ve known several functioning alcoholics, one of which was a close relative.

Functioning Alcoholic #1
He was a successful self-employed businessman. His normal routine was to awaken in the morning, read the newspaper, watch the stock reports while drinking coffee and then off to work he would go around 10:30. At noon he would go to the Elks club and have a few drinks during lunch. He would then return to his business that was less than five minutes away from his favorite drinking hole. He would work for about three to four more hours and then go back to the Elks Lodge for more mixed drinks.
Party Woman
He would then return home, eat dinner alone and watch TV in his recliner as he drifted in and out of sleep (usually with a mixed drink on the coffee table) until it was bedtime. Even though he seemed to be functional, there were times when he was extremely unreasonable and hard to associate with due to drunken behavior. He was not a violent man and had a very tender heart. He was just difficult to associate with when he had a lot of alcohol in his system. In the forty years that I knew him, he never got a DUI. I was sometimes amazed that he was able to actually drive. I suppose he knew all the back roads where the police rarely hung out.

His wife was a regular participant in the AA program and often said that he was a good man in spite of his drinking problem.  She often shared how grateful she was because he was such a wonderful provider. She had never had to work a day in her life. She also said that her family had always been cared for by the functioning alcoholic.  Even though she spent many nights married to a functioning alcoholic she still felt as though she was alone (without an intimate connection)  in the marriage because of his drunken state.

He also had children who he was NEVER very close to. He would spend time with them, but it was never quality time. Their interactions usually surrounded the TV and centered on watching football while he was getting drunk on a Saturday or  Sunday afternoon.

Functioning Alcoholic #2
Now, I also was close friends with a functioning alcoholic who was the extreme opposite. He eventually committed suicide. My friend held down a forty hour a week job. He was the kind of person who would help his friends out without reservation when asked. On the dysfunctional side of his behavior, he suffered from low self-esteem and overindulgence in substance abuse.

When the weekend rolled around, he always partied to the extreme by getting drunk and then needing cocaine to lift him out of his drunken state. Once Sunday was over, he went back to being a hard-working man all week.

Oftentimes, while being intoxicated,  he would get into extreme verbal arguments with people that sometimes would end in physical fights. Usually the people he fought with were either putting him down, treating him as being worthless or cheating on him (as was the case for many years with his user girlfriend). I saw so many of his party friends take advantage of his good nature and use him for his money, and the drugs that he would buy.

The thing is that people he associated with at work had no idea that he was such a party animal because of his wonderful work ethics.

Functioning Alcoholic #3
I also knew  someone who I considered an abusive alcoholic. Only the people closest to her knew how critical, unreasonable and unpredictably mean she could be. She too was a functioning alcoholic with a very dysfunctional personality that was deceitfully hidden underneath the surface.  She had no problem with work ethics at all. In fact,  she appeared to be a workaholic at times. The sad part of her story is that her drinking and drugging created such turmoil in her family relations and friendships outside work.

In all of these stories about functioning alcoholics and their behavior, the one thing they all have in common are dysfunctional relationships. It doesn’t matter if an alcoholic is functional or dysfunctional, their addictive behaviors always have negative affects on the people they are closest to. One may not have issues with anger, but they may be so addicted to the alcohol that they leave their alcoholic spouse longing for intimacy.

What is your relationship like with the person addicted to alcohol?

Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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72 comments to Functioning Alcoholic Behavior vrs Extreme Dysfunctional Behavior

  • stacy

    I am in a relationship with a functioning alcoholic. I posted the story on the criticizing boyfriend. His job involves a lot of out of town work but not on a consistent basis so there are many days where he is at home during the week. He doesn’t go to bars, he just needs his beer every day. He drinks all day and into the night, usually ending with a glass or several of wine. He does have a soft heart but covers it up with his arrogance and critical remarks and the more he drinks, the more critical he becomes and tries to be tough guy. I can’t hardly do anything right. He has to make negative comments consistently and rarely ever does he compliment me. Oh, he likes to brag about me to other people about my barrel racing accomplishments but in a way, I think he just does it because of makes him look good that he is with me because of that. He rarely gets stumbling drunk though. And beer is his mainstay of alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my beer as well but I don’t have the arrogancy that he carries with him. You know, we have a lot of fun but when he starts with his criticism and “teaching”, it makes me feel as though I will never be good enough for him. He could go out there and attract the most beautiful women, I am SURE of that with the looks he has, and he truly is humble about it, but being told your whole life how good looking you are, having girls looking at you all the time, can’t help but go to your head. And that is where the arrogance comes in.

  • L.

    The DENIAL surrounding “functional” alcoholics is HUGE. Imo, best to return the focus back on myself and my own recovery program, (Al-Anon), find some gratitude for the Awareness, Acceptance eventually follows, and I am better able to Act, (in a stand tall manner of which I am proud), rather than re-Act. Heard something like this in the rooms not too long ago: “Once I know alcohol/drugs are part of the equation, I don’t waste too much time trying to make sense out of nonsense.”

  • Mike

    The difference is, one is a better liar.

  • linda

    Denial is their game. Lies also. Merry go round

  • kim jewell

    I was thinking alcoholism is cunning and baffling.. period. they share the same sickness the same illness. But it is progressive in nature and while the functioning alcoholic May remain functioning for maybe even years.everything that comes along with the disease what eventually surface and come tot a turning point. Alcoholism is alcoholism. It is a disease of the body mind and soul it is a spiritual malady period my heart goes out to anyone living with or apart from I love one suffering from alcoholism. I must admit I’d much rather be with my husband sober and working a 12 step program been living with him thinking that he is functioning in society. My husband and I are keeping things simple. I have no expectations from him. He is 2 hours away in a recovery environment and although we are still married we are taking it one day at a time. He never was a functioning alcoholic. He never will be a drink to him equals death. personally I think a person that suffers from the disease of addiction or alcoholism that has fruit and convince themselves functioning is lying to themselves and deceiving the people around them. This disease is ruthless

  • stacy

    Kim is right about not having expectations when dealing with an alcoholic. A functioning alcoholic can be several different levels depending on the people involved with one. Functioning or non functioning, they all have one thing in common, alcohol is the priority in their lives. With mine, it seems to me that it wouldn’t matter to him if I remained in his life or not because the beer will always be his best friend. So sad

  • Albert

    My wife is the angry/abusive type. But only to me. She is actually a very caring and giving person to others. But that balances with being a very demanding and unforgiving person. She has close friends and hated acquaintances. She flips between nice and angry for unknown reasons. Drinks about 50 drinks a week and will not stop for anyone. Her drinking is escalating. Her family knows she is over the edge but they all drink so she won’t listen to them. I am amazed at how she can down 10-12 glasses of wine at night and still get up early in the morning. Well, her sleep is always disrupted by the alcohol burn-off so I guess that gets her up for water and Advil.

    Our marriage exists in the legal sense but has long ago deteriorated. Walls were built to protect against the sudden alcoholic raging and we have become co-existers in our house. Mostly in separate rooms. I have lost track of forbidden conversational topics that trigger her rage, so I pretty much do not communicate other that with direct responses to direct questions. I can honestly say that if she was not an alcoholic we would still be in love. But she says that she still loves me, after the rages and cursing and emotion numbing outbursts and alcoholic paranoia.

    We did counseling with her counselor until the PhD told her that her drinking was the major problem that we faced. She stopped going and I continued for several years. I need to get back into it with a new counselor. Am setting up interviews now. Also I’ll begin al-Anon after putting it off for years.

    And I know that others out there are singing the same song. I liked the comments that I read in other sections here. One related to realizing that this will continue and get worse forever unless I take action to change my life. I am finally ready to do that. I do not want to be writing about this same thing in 5 years.

    My thanks to all of you who have written your thoughts. Even if you read no responses directly to them, be assured that your words are valuable and powerful and that you have made a difference in others’ lives.

    There is nothing good that I can say about alcohol. But I can’t say enough about all of you who have suffered and have shared your stories.

  • Rachel

    Denial & lies . There’s an excuse for everything & it’s never their fault

  • Deb

    I read an article posted on one of these sites by J.C. (by another folk) and my mind isn’t letting it go. It was about the fact that some studies are indicating that a person may have a ‘issue’ which leads them to become alcoholics. On tv they mentioned that when looking at suicides in the military, they are finding that it isn’t due to the experiences while on duty, but a lot of the issues that lead to suicide are due to that individual becoming ‘hooked’ on alcohol. An article based back during prohibition mentioned how ‘this law would cease the Tears.’ The terrible tears and destruction to ‘lives’ that alcohol creates.

    My alcoholic is a hoot. He is functioning. But, I noticed that he ‘functions’ well at his job primarily when its a new job. Once the job becomes ‘stale’, the drinking begins even when he is working. He has lost a number of good jobs this way. I worked at a place he did (how we met) and he was fired for drinking ‘on the job.’ I was there when it happened OK. I was on the other end of the phone years later when he explained how he was ‘at the Emergency room’ for ‘being kicked in the ribs’ and he was sure they were cracked. I asked him how it happened and he said ‘at a bar.’ I was there when he called me, at another emergency room because ‘at a party nearby’ a woman ‘suddenly and without reason (to him)’ grabbed him and threw him over the balcony of the deck and he severely sprained his arm and hurt his back. ETC. A large number of these, in fact and the last time DUDE got drunk, I explained to him how I’ve been good enough not to throw him out, as opposed to the times ‘others have.’

    A close family member he successfully lived with for 6 months ‘unexplained-ly’ put him out in the middle of a snow storm. They threw away all his possessions. I was there listening to him cry about it as he lived in the Motel Room. In the midst of this moment when he was ‘blasted drunk’ (weekends) and I told him ‘I had been nice to him’ he spoke how ‘he never had any issues with being removed from places he lived.’

    When he sobered up I spoke to him again and he repeated that ‘all the above’ I was there to Witnessed ‘Never Happened.’ Its one Heck of a Thing! it really is! See, its not necessarily just the alcohol being the problem, this DUDE has a sincere ‘bizarre’ otherworldly problem of SELF ABSORPTION. It really is extreme. He has only lived with me a little while and suddenly ‘all the furniture he bought, all the dishes he bought..(I think he even thinks he was there when my mom birthed me)’ Seriously, He Lives in a Wierd Mental world. Why I mention it is this. You can be mentally ill and make it in the world, actually. No, you won’t have a Normal relationship with someone who is an Alcholic. Its impossible because where they live is not where ‘you’ live. I think when you find your Love Partner, you have to find someone who ‘exists’ in the same ‘Reality frame’ as you do. If they are too far apart, how do you relate? Even when you compliment the alcoholic or congratulate them, they Bore easily, they Need ‘to be center of attention’ most of the time, and they won’t share your reality, you have to Enter Theirs.

  • Mia

    Oh Deb
    Everything here could be me talking. Even though my boyfriend had to leave work cos of chest pains, spent a week terrified to leave the house alone or my side, admitted to two of my friends, his doctor, his boss and his best friend in London that he had wrecked his body and needed to sort the drinking out. Even though he didn’t want to lose me as well and four weeks later still too scared to get his heart checked and even though he was on a controlled drinking programme , booked into the doctor to prepare for detox . Even though every part of him said it out loud , my drinking has made my life a mess and I need to sort it out . Even after all this , on our way to the clinic for the final appointment before booking in the detox programme he actually said in the car there that he wasn’t working at the moment because he was enjoying the nice rather and having a holiday , well he said he could work right now if he wanted ! He actually believed that even though he’d written down in his diary to show the nurse that he’d had 8 to 114 drinks each day when 8 was the maximum . He felt he could explain why that was ok. Even though he knew he’d lose me if he backed out he tells himself I won’t really go, but I have this time and even now he tells himself I’ve gone cos I don’t know how lucky I am to have him in my life. God forbid it be anything to do with the ciders he can’t spend a day without. Even now when after five weeks he’s still not working but still drinking from 7 am til pass out time , still in denial , even now. A functioning alcaholic or not it doesn’t matter. We don’t need to figure them out , we just need to get it through our thick heads that if someone drinks so much they live in another reality then we have a choice. ….. Get really drunk and join them or decide to stay where we are and say they can join us or leave. It’s like two people speaking different languages and neither of them finding a way to communicate.

    So don’t spend hours trying to label which type of alcaholic they are. What matters is how it affects you and whether that’s ok or not.

    I’m sticking to my reality but I don’t think he will join me , I’m heartbroken but I know I saw it through to where my hopes had to stop. Which was the detox door. I stood on the step with him , he decided to back out of that not me.

    His choice has a consequence but likei say even now he will find a reason why my version isn’t the one he has. He has to have a different version otherwise he wouldn’t be in denial

    Sticking to our boundaries breaks down that denial , if not for them for us

    Doesn’t matter what it’s called it’s still shite !

  • Maggie

    Albert. Can I ask u how u are going to take action to change your life? Like u I co-exist with my AH. I don’t want to be talking about the same daily drudge in the next 5 yrs. Co-existing is living a lie which also affects your family. Do they want to visit as they pussyfoot round the inevitable tension and atmosphere ? To ur own self be true. Shouldn’t we bite the bullet and try to start a fresh life away from the egotistical yet dependant ravings of our caring loving AS. Site is so full of like minded distressed people who need support and positivity in their daily existence

  • linda

    My a shows signs from all three function areas its that jeckal

    Hyde action that they show. Nice guy in public told different in private

  • Albert

    My first step is to retrace my steps from a few years back. I am setting up new counseling and I will look for another counselor who understands alcoholism and its impact on relationships. I will start al-anon next Tuesday. I have delayed that for two years and I am now ready.

    Those are the easy steps now. Sure there will be conflict when she sees me going to both counseling and al-anon but I’ll deal with it. There is absolutely nothing to lose since things can only get worse without help.

    Leaving is still only a thought that I keep in reserve. It surfaces with each binge rage and subsides with each surprisingly calm day. But the thought is getting stronger since her paranoid false accusations are so devastating to what’s left of our relationship.

    All I need now is courage to take action. As I look into the mirror I wonder where my life went and how I let it get to be this conflicted. I know that nobody but me will be able to untangle this mess and if it means leaving then that will have to be my choice. What I know now is that time spent alone is calmer than time spent with her. I need to know that I can do no more before I will be able to leave.

  • Debbi

    To JC & Everyone Who Responded:
    Thank you all for your feedback to my question about functioning alcoholics. The majority of you saw obvious signs of addiction unlike me but most of you admitted to some level of functioning. So, I guess that functioning is just the stage they are in and since it is progressive it is likely to get worse and at some point they stop being so functional. Since the disease is progressive you would think they all eventually leave this stage and advance but in my case after 30-40 years of drinking with absolutely no consequences other than 2 divorces behind him I’m not so sure his is advancing or again whether the alcohol is not his main problem. I just found out during divorce process that my exA started a campaign against me almost from the moment he met me: lying to separate me from my friends & family, lying about me so I always looked like the bad guy. He so ruined my reputation that at one point I almost lost my job & now finding out he was behind it all–plotted & planned for years. And now I seem to have a stalker on my hands following the divorce. So JC’s FA #1 is the closest to mine because he never showed anger or drunkenness but as to the other things he did–I’m wondering once again if I had a sociopath on my hands who drank but never to excess–he had great control over it. It still has me baffled.

  • Deb

    Dear Debbi,

    I have to say this part. I don’t believe you Have to Leave the alcholic. Why do I say that? Because I’ve been alive for a while and honestly, bills are a problem, being safe in a place you live is a problem and having a man around is ‘helpful’ even if they are an alcoholic. Because to live alone, you better have a lot of money and the ability to live for a time without a job because you can get sick, lose the job, etc. Financially, out here in The USA, its not a joke either, your finances. You live and die on that as much as you live and die on ‘the insanity’ of alcoholism. And, its no joke if you are older and married and not in a position to be financially on your own. That’s why I say this. You have to pick your suffering. You have to make a SMART decision and YOU will pay for it. You can’t just be overly emotional and decide the insanity isn’t worth it. If you have kids, it may really damage them to have to leave the Drinker.

    So what do you do? Its a Logic Problem and this is something you must decide upon in a cold and calculated manner. If you want Love, go find it. Keep it a secret, get it all together before you leave. NO guilt needed because the drinker isn’t living a life. NO guilt because he likely won’t ever really be interested in a relationship, if you are, make careful, clever decisions.

    If your older and your finances are tied up with him, your retirement. Honestly, perhaps find a tiny apartment you call your ‘space for your new Art hobby’ and purchase it together and start living there as much as you can. BUY a HUGE KEG and install it in your home. BUY VODKA and put so much in the fridge it’d make him smile. Speed up his demise.

    Be SMART. Don’t be overly emotional. Unless he is dangerous or violent.
    You can use his money to buy counseling, to buy your own ‘art studio’ etc. I don’t know about the rest of you but USA is not easy to live in, no support systems and too much of a RICH v poor divide anymore.

  • Debbi

    Thanks for your thoughts but I am already divorced initiated first by him to yet again pull the health insurance from me–so I got the better part of my radiation done before I lost the insurance but another lump has surfaced and requires followup & removal–not to be, no insurance & no money left. There will never be a place of my own anymore after this place sells. Selling to pay off the remaining of my outstanding medical bills & I refuse to take on any more medical bills. The few friends in my life (that I thought were my friends) have yet to call me after one year to see if I survived my surgery. I am just so lovable! I am tired of fighting a losing battle!

  • Amy

    My ex A when the relationship began was all helpful, even worked. I began noticing he would come home angry, and over react to the smallest of things, which would leaving me actually looking at him as if he was crazy and wondering what the heck was wrong with him. He was drinking thats what was wrong. At first it wasnt so obvious. Then the longer I was there the worse it got. The whole relationship was nothing but a circle over and over of the same chaos. He would get really drunk, do something terrible, promise to get help and this time was the time he was done. At first not knowing much about alcoholism that seemed reasonable to me, so I stayed and I believed him, as time went on things got worse, he would start fights intentionally so he could leave and get drunk, or he would look for reasons to leave, like take the grocery list so he had a reason to go to the store, I got to the point I knew his tactics so well I think I knew he was going to drink before he did.He hid bottles of alcohol everywhere in the woods, in the basement, the amounts I found especially as I was finally packing my things to leave were ridiculous. The last 4 months before I left he literally drank every other day, some days a couple days in a row, he even went in the ambulance as his mother found him drunk and unresponsive on the floor, when he came home he once again said he was done, told us all he was going to get sober this time and he would show everyone. I actually got to the point I wouldnt even respond to anything he said, I knew what was going to happen and a couple days later he was off and drinking again.So as far as I can see he is pretty much non functioning he actually went and took a loan out to get through the summer so he didnt have to work, money for drinking I guess..either way I know one thing Alcoholism is a monster of a disease I could never imagine living one more day the way I was living ,the man I loved is gone and the disease on alcoholism has him, and if I didn’t get out I think it would of had me too.The chaos,selfishness, lying,Dr.Jekyl Mr.Hyde and everything that goes right along with alcoholism its like nothing I have ever seen in my life and I hope and pray I never do again.

  • Brenda

    Hi Debbie,
    I have read up on the personality traits of a sociopath and an alcoholic. They are so similar it’s amazing. From what I’ve read there is not much help that can be given a sociopath however, an alcoholic can be helped but it does takes time.

  • Pez

    Mia said:,”I’m sticking to my reality but I don’t think he will join me , I’m heartbroken but I know I saw it through to where my hopes had to stop. Which was the detox door. I stood on the step with him , he decided to back out of that not me.

    His choice has a consequence but likei say even now he will find a reason why my version isn’t the one he has. He has to have a different version otherwise he wouldn’t be in denial”

    This is it. This F@#%&’ Sucks!!!! Exactly how I felt Mia! God bless your soul and everyone on this site sharing their heart–And that heart is: WE LOVED THEM SOOOO MUCH and they did not see it, it did not matter, and it did not work. We believed in them as human beings, but found out through time the GARGANTUEAN SIZE of this addiction that is just MIND BOGGLING! I know it is over between me and my XAB and that is soooo grieving to handle at times, KNOWING how different it could have been if he just chose LIFE! But we must move on bravely, leaving them behind to there own devices while we hope to find new love to, maybe, wash all the HORROR AWAY. I weep for the destruction of human life that is so precious to GOD. What could they have been without this horrible man eating thing.

    My XAB was functioning in the scense he went to work every day, paid the bills & child support and still is to my knowledge. But how long will that last as his alcoholism and decision making become more erratic? As he looses visitation from his daughter, alienates his family and children, ousts a good woman for a criminal low-life Whore? Destruction can only be in his future. They are bold and take risks and eventually they will get caught, going down to the bottom. Like one blogger said here, they may be functional on the outside making everyone believe they are “NORMAL” But underneith and behind closed doors they are a wreck of a human being.

    Debbie are you not old enough to get Medicare. I know some who get it young for dissablilties. You should be able to get half of all in the divorce including retirement. Cobra should be offered by law to you from you husbands insurance if not this should be addressed in court. He should not be able to abandon you this way by law. There has to be some recouse! I also know there are state programs that work on a sliding scale for low income women.

  • Mike

    It is a choice and even AA refuses to accept that.
    With that thinking, how can anyone ever beat an addiction.
    Alcoholism is more a possession of the mind and soul, than anything.

  • Pez

    The funny thing Mike is that My XABoyfriend believed this! He Would not go to AA because he did not want to say, “He was powerless over alcohol”. He believed in the RATIONAL RECOVERY theory that believed it was a choice and one decision not to drink! He told me it was a “COPOUT”. He was not in denial, especially in the beginning, that he had a problem with alcohol. He never denied it! Yet he still did not make the choice. His denial came in the form of Entitlement. He felt he was entitled to indulge and, “why could I not just turn a blind eye”—ARE YOU KIDDING ME! With all that comes with. So, he downplayed the severity. He quit for 8 years on Dr. Wayne Dyers book MIRACLE. The page he showed me also emphasized the power of one moment, one life changing decision!!!

  • Karens

    Mike, please do not forget that alcoholism in later stages is no longer a choice.
    Like any other narcotic drug, alcohol will control. Logic no longer exists in
    decision making. The alcohol is the only thought for the day for them. Yes, I
    have stayed and watched him destroy himself and the time left is limited. Alcoholic
    addiction is a life long disease. They may be able to quit for a while but most
    eventually go back to drinking. He could have saved his own life at one time,
    now it is to late and the alcohol controls and won. Alcoholism controls the mind
    soul and BODY.

  • linda

    I believe what u post it does control their mind n soul. Not sure here weather it the addition or the third party involvement that keeps him in denial.

  • Bill

    Amy, your experience was a lot like mine. I love what you said:

    “The chaos, selfishness, lying, Dr.Jekyl Mr.Hyde and everything that goes right along with alcoholism its like nothing I have ever seen in my life and I hope and pray I never do again.”

    I think I’ve experienced enough of what it is like to be in a relationship with an alcoholic, functional or not, to never make that mistake again. I can see the signs clearly now in people I meet who have addiction problems.

    Not long ago I started interacting with an acquaintance more frequently. After a couple of very odd behavioral changes on their part…that left my brain spinning out of control, I started thinking that there was some sort of substance abuse going on. Sure enough, I was right! I was hanging out with Dr.Jekyl (the normal one) and Mr.Hyde ( the dysfunctional alcoholic).

    I refuse to ever get sucked back into what I have learned to stay away from.

  • Debbi

    @ Brenda: There is supposedly a whole section of the Alcoholics Big Book addressing the alcoholics behavior of narcissistic & anti social behavior–but the question is which causes which? But you are right–they are very similar.

    @ Pez: You always come through with helpful suggestions but unfortunately for once in my life–too young for Medicare that is & I had an attorney who behind my back changed the grounds of divorce from abandonment to irrecon. differences so no COBRA unless I paid and because of pre existing conditions try $2,500 per month with a $25,000 deductible per year before they lay out a dime!

    @ Bill–I noticed the same thing come out of my relationship with my exA in that I now recognize it in others so I had a woman at work figured out long before they found her passed out on the bathroom floor 2 weeks ago. The only good thing I guess we learn from this.

  • Pez

    Debbie, there’s gotta be some program to help you! you will have to do some research and dig but I’m sure there’s some way to get early medical Medicare just find a loophole and I hate to say it ,lie if you must. you have to survive! for gods sakes research fibromialgia. it’s easy to fake having it and you can’t work with it. this would leave you elgible for Medicare. I don’t promote lying on a normal basis but when it comes to your survival and your health you gotta do what you gotta do!

  • Amy

    I learned today just being around addicts or alcoholics in general makes me feel crazy. I went to the store before work this and a girl I somehwhat know wanted a ride in town..she was still out and about 6 this morning.In just a 5 minute ride with her talking about trying to buy a pill and how she barely ever went out or drank(both I knew to be lies) I felt like a complete basket case by the time I got to work. Full of anxiety.Then someone else comes up and tells me the ex A is having a party for his new girlfriends kid, which made me go into thinking maybe somehow everything was my fault because he seems to be happy now. Then from there another peron tells me he is telling all these outright lies about me. SO I have got to say this hasnt been one of the best days I have had. Feeling sort or depressed tonight. I cant even understand why I lived with this person, I seen with my own two eyes how absolutely sick he is and somehow I am able to convince myself it was all me because he moved on so fast after we left and now he is doing all these things for her kid and her and seems happy. In reality I know an alcoholic doesnt up and change over night. But he certainly seems to be putting on a good show..

  • Pez

    Amy, they move on fast TO HURT YOU! And say see, someone else will love me and accept me–to get you back per se. Plus they are needy and desperate–afraid to be alone so to look at themselves. If you remember my writings here my XAB did this to me twice!!! Give it time. She’s being deceived. It will go the same way.

  • stacy

    I have read all the post on this topic and I must say, there are definately different levels.of alcoholism. Some of the things I read are nearly unbelievable to me. Yes, my boyfriend is an alcoholic but may be I am just more accepting of this problem than others are? I don’t try to stop him and rarely say anything to him about it, so I don’t have the hiding the booze and lying. And for the most part, we have a pretty close relationship. The times we have problems is with the sarcasm, judging, arrogancy and just straight up saying cruel things. There is so many complications in his mix BUT with too many beers, it comes easier for him to be the above. When he reaches that point, I usually just ignore him or smart off something back. May be a lot of my problems have come from loss of respect because I am ALWAYS at his disposal! I just know that without him n my life, my days would be tough to make of through. I too like to drink beer because I like the taste by I rarely ever get a buzz and never get drunk. I don’t like the feeling of being out of control. I have a job, own my own house, car, truck and trailer with horses and I do like to enjoy 2,3,4 beers a night but that’s about all I have. I think it all comes down to acceptance and learning how to deal with an alcoholic. Honestly, if mine was one who drank daily to the point of being slobbering drunk, then that would not be acceptable to me. Or if he became abusive. There are times when he is totally unreasonable and when that happens, I go home. We always seem to work it out though. My heart goes out to those of you battling with the one you love who chooses to let alcohol totally control them

  • Tumi

    My husband is a functional turned dysfunctional alcoholic.When we met five yeras ago he told me he only drank on weekends.Back then he was known as a dedicated worker who was always on time and hardly took sick leave.He’d make sure he’d always be home before sunset and if he needed to drink he’d buy two beers and drink while watching soccer on tv or listening to some music.When he made dysfunctional drinking buddies everything seemed to change.I just don’t know how I didn’t see the signs before;we started having arguments which increasingly turned ugly.He started coming home after ten p.m,then just before midnight, then just after midnight then suddenly at the crack of dawn.I started thinking there was a woman involved.I searched through his pockets ,went through his cellphone messages and even went to the extent of smelling his shirts for a sign of another woman but I found nothing.A friend told me that the only problem with my husband was the person he was hanging out with.She even told me that before he started hanging around the guy he would always talk about me and the kids then suddenly he started only talking about his friend and how much they had been drinking.After a night of drinking my husband would wake up hung over and unable to work.On numerous occassions he was sent back home because he looked sick.I remember two occassions when I had to call his boss and lie that he wasn’t feeling well just to cover up for him.I even accompanied him to the doctor to get a “Sick” certificate which he needed to produce at work and he ‘d lie to the doctors that he was sick just to get the letter.Even then i was too blind to notice that my husband had developed a serious drinking problem.I felt very lonely and just couldn’t understand how things changed so suddenly.He just wasn’t the man I married. Then the worst happened.He told me one morning that he was quitting his job and wasn’t seeking my advice.I was shattered.We had two small kids and although i was working i couldn’t hold everything together alone because I had just started doing a diploma and had to pay my own way.Things went on like that until I noticed the empty beer bottles were quickly piling up and started counting eight to ten empty bottles every night.Talking him out of drinking proved fruitless.I searched for answers in all the wrong places until I stumbled upon this website.Now all i do is pray that God will change my husband because only He can. He now uses our car as a mini taxi to support his drinking habits and rarely contributes to the household.After we had a serious fall out and almost broke off our marriage he realised the distance that had grown between us and now at least tries to come home a little early and has stopped the abuse I’m now more focused on my kids and my own goals.My life has never seemed better.I’ve come to realise that it shouldn’t matter if the alcoholic in my life is funtional or dysfunctional.I’m responsible for making myself and my children happy.

  • Amy

    Thanks Pez, Sometimes I get so full of doubt and begin to feel like it was all my fault even his alcoholism. If feels like a fight between my head and my heart all the time, and logic seems to go right out the window with all these feelings and emotions involved.

  • JC

    Tumi, it sounds like you are doing good for today. I love what you said about being responsible for your own happiness. That one statement says that:

    1-You are able to let go of your husbands drinking problem
    2-You are able to detach from the problem drinker
    3-You are able to love yourself
    4-You are able to love your addict husband without conditions
    5-You understand that you are powerless over the substance abusers choices
    6-You are enjoying your life apart from your husband’s drinking
    7-You are the one who must make changes because the alcoholic isn’t going to

    If I were you, I’d treat myself to something special today. Perhaps I’d buy myself my favorite ice cream cone, expensive flavored coffee or go to a movie or something. You deserve to be kind to yourself today!

  • Pez

    I found with an alcoholic you have to follow your head, NOT your heart! Be like a Vulcan and think logical : ).

  • Debbi

    What Pez says is right & I will add to it:
    This is NOT your fault. You did nothing wrong so do not feel like an idiot for trusting and loving him. This is betrayal by him–using alcohol & trying now to hurt you by starting up another relationship–mine did the exact same thing & I might add while we were still living in the same house. I heard his conversations of “I love you so much” going on with her & he made sure to leave takeouts around where I would see where he took her to dinner–all this while he contributed not a dime towards our expenses & I was recovering from a surgery.

    This hurts you to the core, shaken everything you thought you were and what you thought you had with him. You do not need to “move on” or “get over it”, YOU need to HEAL & it will take a very long time. It is like you got hit with a mack truck but no outside visible injuries that others see but it takes same amount of time to heal as if you had got hit by that truck–because you did. This is YOUR time now–YOU must heal & I am in that same phase. If you must stop those triggers from hurting. . .tell people you don’t right now want to hear what he is doing. You must stop the triggers that start this until your heart catches up with your head and all you feel is indifference–Then you know you’ve healed.

  • Debbi

    To All The Ladies Out There!
    The pain of being in a relationship where you are not treated fairly makes us take on guilt (more of a woman thing–sorry guys) so the following words always reminded me that I deserved better & hope they help you too!

    A Queen Knows Who She Is–knows her own mind & never swayed no matter how much blame she receives–she always returns to center.

    A Queen Does Not Explain Nor Does She Complain-Think of Queen Elizabeth. She keeps a close few true confidants and never complains to strangers and never whines.

    A Queen Does Not Attack, She Magnetizes-The best strategy is not to chase but to compel it to come to her through her sense of richness & dignity.

    A Queen’s Surroundings Are Impeccable-No matter how slovenly you feel on the inside do not let it seep into your environment. Every days focus on freshness, beauty. Bring in flowers, play music & enhance your environment as the queen deserves.

    A Queen is Never Summoned-not even by her ex. Show that if someone wants the queen’s attention they must come to her respectfully never summon her!

    Just remember ladies–you treated him like a king and now it is your turn to be treated like the queen or princess that you all are–you are all strong & wonderful & beautiful & I wanted you all to know that today & every day! Always Think of Yourself As a Queen!

  • Amy

    Thanks Debbi..I need to hear that right now. I need to be able to talk to others who understand how I am feeling. I hate feeling this way, depressed to the very core.If it wasn’t for you and Pez I would probley fall completely apart right now.

  • Debbi

    Me too–very bad day & very depressed but people don’t want to talk about infidelity or having an alcoholic partner. They don’t understand that we need to talk for to hold it in only hurts and then we blow up about something minor which happened a lot in my marriage and then what happens–more guilt–vicious cycle. Very bad day for me also & I’m so glad I finally found a trauma counselor. I could not even get a counselor to see me. People in work avoid me. The pain gets so intense sometimes I quickly take a fast walk around the parking lot or have to run to the restroom. A couple things I need that would help ease it never seem to come. Just keep posting.

  • Caitlyn

    I’m with you. My alcoholic is an intelligent, functioning alcoholic. He has moments of lapses where he misbehaves but not to the point that others here have to deal with. My heart goes out to you all.

    The way I see it an alcoholic like mine is in some ways no different than a person with another `bad habit` such as smoking or sugar addict. Most people have good and bad in them and we just have to make sure we set ground rules with them so we rarely or more favourably, never, get to see the bad side. I married my alcoholic last December fully aware if what he has. I have set up rules about what is acceptable. By rules I don’t necessarily say `rule one blah blah blah`. Its more subtle than that I just show zero tolerance for misbehaviour by calmly walking away even if its just in my mind walking away. I don’t allow him to undermine my day.

  • Karens

    Why did I add body, to mind and soul? My experience with the AH loose feeling
    in his feet, precancerous mouth, both hips replaced because of vascular necrosis
    that happens when alcohol is consumed to the point of the blood having more alcohol
    in it than the nutrients. The blood supply to the body is severly compromised.
    The mind no longer functions as it should and the soul is slowly dying. He knows
    what is going on in his body and now has a fatty liver.

    I did not mean to offend ,if that is what I did, but only wanted all of us to be aware
    of what can and does happen with some alcoholics.

  • Amy

    Debbi, Do you think the counselor is helping? I have been thinking alot tonight and I think I might have to see one. I think I was with not only an alcoholic, but also a narcissist.I have no idea how I will ever get over this and get on with my life, I sit here and wonder if I will ever just be able to be in a normal relationship with someone, it is honestly not helping right now either that I have a couple men bothering me as I see it, asking me out, ,messaging me on facebook etc..right now this is the LAST thing I need it is just adding to my stress.The last thing on my mind is dating, or another relationship I feel lucky to have just survived this nightmare.It is hard too, because it seems no one wants to listen, or they want to talk about their own problems, and I feel I always end up listening to there daily little problems like someone cant find someone to babysit their kids..etc..I feel like saying you want real problems go through what I am going through now and what I just got out of, then you will know what a real problem is. I hate going through this and pray everyday that all these feelings will just go away and I will just wake up one day soon and this will all be behind me, but inside me I know I have been damaged to the very core by all of this and it seems to be getting worse and worse not any better.I am either anxious, depressed,quiet, angry, thinking about everything over and over, wondering what I did wrong, wondering how someone could treat me so terrible, wondering how he could move on so fast, wondering if I mean anything to him at all, I wake up at night thinking about it..over and over and thats just the short list..this is terrible I cant keep living this way, there has got to be a way to make this better.

  • Pez

    Amy and Debbie, Just keep pluggin’!!!! I can’t emphasize that enough! Don’t give up. Amy your in the extremely painful stage, keep researching everything to do with the subject alcoholism, narssisim, Toxic men, Love addiction, anything you can think of because more knowledge, more understanding, will help set you free! We will never completely understand but the more we know about the A and US helps a lot. Amy, counseling or Al-anon or a support group for abused women!
    Debbie your doing great and your being pro-active!! very important! The trauma counseling is great. I believe it will help you. As you can see from my post a few ago I STILL “Wig Out” from time to time and get angry, hurt, etc…. but I am getting better day by day month by month and I will WIN. He will not!! And your above heath issues I meant to say get disability not Medicare.

    All of us probably wish we had manageable alcoholics like the above girls but we didn’t. We had mean, cruel, nasty, hurtful, would not leave us in peace ones. So we must deal with the loss, the un-appreciation, the betrayals!!! But it was them, NOT US that did it. That ruined it all. That would not respect our boundaries constantly–and no one and I mean no one can live with constant violation of our boundaries or we loose ourselves. For gosh sake I tried to walk away from drunk arguments and he would follow me everywhere and would not let it die or leave me alone after I freakn’ worked all day (and run my own business) I’d come home to a drunken angry A-Hole! Today, I thank God he’s GONE!

  • Debbi

    Karens: You have to watch what is going on with your AH slowly deteriorating and this must be torture for you in addition to his behavior. I truly don’t know how you seem to be handling it so well. You are an inspiration.

    Pez: You’re the Best–you’ve been keeping Amy & I propped up during all our down moments & so far all your suggestions have worked for me–keep ’em coming girlfriend! Your words always remind me–I deserved better! No disability for me–still working & saving for next surgical procedure.

    Amy: I had my first visit with a trauma counselor last week & she said I need to come weekly because I definitely suffered a trauma so I would suggest for you also if you can since you are having the same feelings. But Wow! You must be looking good if the guys are trying to date you already but remember they might know your situation and know you are vulnerable so I would just go out with groups of people to protect your heart right now. I too am cycling through all those same feelings so, let’s help each other out, one problem at a time. My biggest right now is anger that turns into sadness & depression–any suggestions? What’s your biggest problem right now?

  • JC

    Pez, I second your motion for moving on!!

    Time heals the wounds. The way to get them to heal quicker is to try and not focus on the insanity of what has happened to much and use the wisdom gained from the experience to help others.

    Accepting the alcoholic’s personality can help. It’s sad but very true, alcoholics will replace us quickly after a break up…that’s just what they do. Trying to figure it out will only drive us insane. If you’ve been replaced, don’t take it personally.

    The smallest things can help sometimes. Putting my chin up, shoulders back and making a decision to enjoy my day can do wonders for me. When I can’t seem to shake off the blues, I kneel for a while and cry out to God for help.

    What I focus on always gets bigger. Making a list of things I am grateful for, in-spite of the wreckage that appears to be in my life, can help.

  • Pez

    Thanx JC, I thank God for my faith! knowing our value
    before God stands for A Lot ! And I thank God for a great
    support system & those who love & care for me & spoke the truth to me in a loving way.

  • Amy

    Pez, that is the same thing I went through the MINUTE I came throught the door , there he was drunk and waiting to fight with me I was so sick of it, so exhausted I couldnt get a minutes peace and quiet my world seemed filled with chaos all the time. Who could live like that, who would want to? I am back to running now, My son and I just got home from renting Kayaks for the day and swimming, Ive been riding my bike, hiking trails with my son. etc..I have always been active and when I was with him that was all gone, I barely had life enough to get through a day at work let alone anything else.
    Debbi,I just feel depression and sadness setting in, I get so worried about all the up coming court dates I dont even know when they are. I know his mother and him will lie, manipulate they will do whatever it takes to bring me and my son down, the night we called the cops because he pushed my son and I was the night I knew I would get out of all that, but I feel like waiting to here from the DA and waiting to here what is going on is just stressing me out so bad somedays I want to go ahead with it, other days I feel like telling the DA we dont want to, though I know its up to the DA at this point..I feel like this is holding me back from moving ahead. It bothers me all the lies he is telling, but like my friend said did you really expect him to walk around and admit he hurt your son and you, and this simple statement is so true. It upsets me he is telling lies about me and it bothers me that he is such a good lie, he gets that gift from his mother that I sit here and wonder if everyone else doesnt think we are the bad guys when I know we are not, I rehash things he said to me, the way he treated me and my son, my head spins all the time, I think in the end I am upset that the relationship didnt turn out the way I wanted it for advice,for me I have to keep moving, doing something, it seems to lessen the pain, but the minute I sit with my own thoughts to load I get so upset I feel like I am going to be sick. The thing that I find the hardest to deal with is I cant understand what I have to be depressed about being with him and living like that was a nightmare I should be throwing a party just to celebrate my survival. I hate feeling like this, it sucks!

  • JC

    Amy, put your trust in your attorney. You have now control over what your ex does or his family. You know the truth and that’s all that matters. You are on a much higher road than they are.

    Tell the truth and do the very best that you can, that’s all you can do.

    You’ve been through a lot. Go easy on yourself. Things will settle down. In the meantime, do the best that you can at letting go, let the attorney handle things and do something that you enjoy.

    Things will get better and I promise you will get through this. The dark clouds will lift and the skies will be radiant with beautiful sunshine.

    There’s a promise of serenity on your life right now that is going to be so incredible once you get through this. Hang in there….DON’T GIVE UP!

  • Amy

    Thanks Jc I really needed to hear that right now.Your right I need to just let it go and stop letting it drive me insane, I hope I never find myself in the middle of another situation/ relationship like this ever again.I am going to be one strong runner by the end of all of it seems as long as I keep busy, keep running and dont sit to long with my thoughts things are a little bit better, then other days it seems no matter what I do. things are just terrible. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming~ there has got to be a light somewhere at the end of this tunnel.

  • Deb

    Dear Debbie,

    You Must aggressively love yourself. You have to find the parts wounded and ‘specifically love those areas’ of your body. You have to send them Love. You must aggressively forgive if you do that you may be able to heal yourself. I would start looking at other options for healing, which includes specialists in wholistic medicine or herbalists. People who hurt us can take our lives away, literally. When they refuse to love you, you must love yourself. If no one on Earth loved you, you can love you. Its untrue that you are unlovable, its just this place. There is something wrong with Earth, its not necessarily something wrong with you. Remember this is a place of lies.

  • Zita

    I have a functioning alcoholic husband in my life as well as a non-functioning alcoholic daughter. Two years ago, I was overweight, anxious, depressed so I knew I had to do something about my situation….I started researching alcoholism and found this website… has helped me tremendously. I started looking after myself…losing weight, losing myself in my hobbies etc and am feeling much better than I did….however, it is a struggle and I must work at it daily. I have been married to this man for 40 years and we now basically co-exist. He is a good provider and has many good qualities. He drinks every night…I can’t stand it. I don’t like talking to him when he is drinking as it only turns into a fight so I do my own thing with my crafts while he watches television and drinks. My daughter is now separated from her husband who has custody of my 8 year old grandson….it is all so very sad. I never pictured my life would turn out this way. If I didn’t have my faith, I am not sure how I would handle it all. I have learned to let go and let God…thank God. I used to hope they would stop drinking but have now accepted the fact that this is NOT going to happen. I am not sure how this will all end….I have often thought of leaving.

  • Ross

    A thought came to my mind.Maybe all that we go through after leaving a hard life with someone who is an alcoholic, is like (an addict)going through withdrawals of not having them and we are actually going through a detox,if you will.Detox is not pleasant, and there are all kinds of things going on at that time.All the unpleasantness is gradually making it’s way out.Eventually, when its gone, you feel somewhat better but still then have to get a gradual clearer head.Still need to heal and it takes time for the body and mind to get adjusted to not having all that crap inside.And learn day by day a healthier more beneficial way to live.
    Which involves many things that were unhealthy being replaced by other things that are healthy.Eventually they are happy and able to cope w/o that which was destroying them.

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