When to Close the Door on Cheating, Romance and Alcoholics

open door bright lightFrom: Jim
Hello everyone. I happened on this site, alcoholicsfriend.com, perchance after viewing several YouTube videos concerning alcoholism and relationships. I must say it is a diamond in a sea of rough.

My name is Jim, I’m a 33yo male, educated, and hold a professional position in the technology field. According to my friends, I’m a contrast of sorts—extremely technically and logically oriented, yet I don’t possess the typical “IT guy” persona as it appears to my feelings, socializing, and getting my own self out there. I love people.

My story begins 13 years ago when I met, who I thought, was my soul mate—a girl that made life worth living. I was young, 20, had never really experienced love or life before, but felt all of the passion and convictions associated with it. It felt real. We fell quickly in love, before ever truly getting to know each other. Engagement quickly came, followed by a breakup, followed up by reuniting… A pattern began to emerge.

Over the years, our personalities developed as we matured through our early to mid 20’s, towards our 30s. Over those same years, as quickly as we fell in love, we fell out of love.

About three years ago, under very extreme circumstances, we were both unfaithful to each other. Both of us cheated. The bond of trust enjoyed for so many years was shattered.

Over the next 2.5 years, our relationship flattened out. We tried moving, buying homes, starting over… all temporary Band-Aids. Trust was gone. From there, we tried therapy a number of times, talking at length about “why” everything happened, things just weren’t the same.

We became roommates. Love was truly gone. Being that this is all I knew, this girl who I met over a decade before, I almost accepted this was my life. Game over.

All of this changed for me last Christmas season at a work function, our annual Christmas party. During the course of the night, I ran into a co-worker I sort of knew… she had worked with us about two years ago, left for another position, and then recently came back and accepted a new position within our organization. By chance, she decided to come to the Christmas party and socialize with her co-workers. Once the function ended, a group of us decided to retire to a local bar across the street for a drink prior to going home. We invited her group of friends to join us… the more the merrier. I fell into a conversation with this girl… a mesmerizing and tantalizing discussion about so many topics. We were spot on in agreement throughout it all. We complemented each other perfectly. During the course of the night, her words echoed inside my heart unlike I had ever heard before. I finally felt the parts of myself dormant for years with the girl I started dating 12 years before, come alive again. It was a truly uplifting experience. She felt the same way.

In short order, over the next couple of weeks, we spoke and hung constantly. There was never any inappropriate behavior or actions between us. She was also in a multi-year relationship with someone, and we had both committed to ending one chapter of our life before beginning another, the right way. . Things were so perfect between us in every conceivable way; we both knew what we had to do. By the time New Years rolled around, we jointly walked away from our lives to be together.

Now the fun, romantic dating times began…. At first, everything was absolutely perfect. We were inseparable. Every discussion was magical; every dinner date was perfect—sharing a single glass of wine, etc. There were no drunken times. About a month into our relationship, I was supposed to meet her for dinner at a steak house. As dinner time rolled around and I sat at the restaurant waiting, I began to worry. Calls and text messages went unanswered, etc. At no point did I assume alcohol was involved, I thought something happened to her! I left. A few hours later, she returned my call… said she needed a ride home and had lost her keys. Upon picking her up (from a bar), it was clear she was extremely intoxicated. I got her home safe and wrote it off to just a bad night, stress, family issues, etc.

The problems began to multiply–more of the same over the next few months. It was not as consistent as many of you experience, purely random, but I began to notice patterns in her behavior changing. She went from being the kind, outgoing, caring girlfriend who loved to just spend time holding my hand as we strolled through a neighborhood park, to someone who would ask me, “can we stop for a drink?” almost every time we would see each other without specific plans. At this point, we were still together 3-4 nights per week. When I began to take notice of this, and comment, “why?”, or ask her “can we have a night where we don’t drink?” she would get very quiet and almost bored with the evening…oddly, never disagreeing or forcing alcohol to enter the evening, but just elsewhere in her mind.

At the same time, several months into our relationship, she would exhibit mysterious behavior. For example, almost every time I would call her, she never answered, and would always call me back. I noticed her begin calling in sick at work randomly. Her availability seems to drastically decrease the more I mentioned she potential problems with alcohol.

The LIES began. She began to lie to me about people she would see, places she would go, and things she would do. In the next month or so, it became almost comical in a sad way just how poorly constructed some of these lies were. Still thinking this was the girl of my life, the girl whom I left everything I had known as a adult for 12 years, I felt horrifically depressed, sad, and I wanted ANSWERS. Being the dedicated and energetic boyfriend I am, I sought those answers out by showing up randomly at her house, (she, like I, had moved back in with our parents after we left our ex’s to be together), checking the local bars for her car, driving around for sometimes hours trying to find out where she is, every time she would just ignore me randomly. In doing so, I figured out a number of things … at one point, she was still hiding the fact she was going out drinking with her ex boyfriend (a guy who has never truly accepted their relationship was over), drinking excessively almost 5-6 nights a week, and calling into work to begin drinking at 10 or 11 in the morning.. At night, she would go out randomly, tell me she was her mother shopping, or some other story, and then call me several hours later while driving, completely intoxicated. This lead to many fights.

About a month ago, I tried to have a heart to heart conversation with her. I laid out my feelings, although admittedly I am capable of saying things that do nothing but make the situations worse, as I have never dealt with alcoholism before. I explained how her lying and drinking are directly related to trust for me, and I’m worried it is all but gone here. What can we do, if anything, to try to resolve this? I spoke about my love for her, about how much we both did in terms of changing our lives to be together, and felt we were getting close to a solution. She admitted she doesn’t know why she drinks, she doesn’t know when to stop, and writes a lot of this off as her having fun in her young years. She is 29. In her mind, as soon as she settles down and gets married, or plans to have children, the drinking will just stop. Again, not knowing how to deal with someone like this, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. As much as struggle with trust from my past relationship and now this one, I want to be in love. I am the type of person who feels the need to take care of their special someone. I think I’m a fixer when I know no one can fix alcoholism until the person with the disease wants to fix themselves.

Over the past month, her drinking has gotten worse. She writes it off to stress, or minimizes it… or flat out denies it. When I would see her, almost every time, I would smell alcohol on her breath… no matter what time of day. Most days I would be too ashamed to mention it and tried to ignore it. This has been a very difficult month for me. Her drinking seems to be accelerating to almost every day now… sometimes 5-6-7 days in a row. I only know about this from when I see her, she will hardly ever drink around me, but is perpetually late when we do have things to do, always showing up 30 minutes behind and smelling like alcohol.

Last weekend, things exploded when we went to a big musical festival together, spent the weekend at a nice hotel to catch the concerts, and I caught myself checking her cell phone and finding proof of her ex still trying to communicate with her, despite her telling me (and him), she wanted nothing to do with him. I want to believe her, but knowing how closely tied alcoholism and lying are together, I just can’t. We fought for a few days, with her always trying to steer the arguments away from her behavior and her drinking to my actions… placing the full blame on me.

She claims she’s afraid as far as this relationship; her biggest fear here is that the fighting will never go away. I try to tell her my attitude and sometimes anger is directly related and in response to her actions… the drinking, the lying, and the mysterious behavior that seems to follow all of this around. Despite that, she claims she wants to be happy in life, and just enjoy things… yet wants to be serious in a love-providing relationship with someone? She said she needs a break from me and my obsessive nature. One month. Prior to storming off, she said I should call her in one month when I figure myself out. ????

I am thoroughly confused. I thought people who try to care for the ones they love and prevent them from hurting themselves were good people, not bad. At this point, several days have gone by where she has flat out ignored me.

A couple of days ago, after finding this site and reading MANY of the articles and your stories, I tried to text her asking her if we can talk, no arguments. I felt I have some new tools available to me to deal with some of this behavior and am eager to try it out.

Long, long, story short, what the heck do I do now? In talking to my closest friends, they are in agreement – they feel this relationship isn’t worth my time, the new $300k house I just bought and want to find someone to share it with, shouldn’t be her. They feel I am wasting my effort, worrying about someone who just wants to have fun, who is self-fish, has substance abuse issues, and sees me as the kind of person who will always be there for them. They advise me to forget about her as soon as possible. I don’t know if I can do that though, I am truly someone who doesn’t invest in someone else like this unless my feelings are real… through thick and thin, I don’t commit to someone lightly, nor can I walk away easy….

Despite the fact we have been together for 7 months, aren’t married, and have no children, it isn’t easy for me to walk away when my heart still belongs to this girl, even with her problems… I want to help. There is a very special person in there who has everything I wanted in a life partner, a wife, but trying to find those elements in a sea of whiskey and beer is not easy. What should I do? As I titled this story, When Is The Right Time to Close the Door?

Thank you all, especially you JC, for this website. Your lessons are already affecting me in a positive way.

Jim from Chicago

176 comments to When to Close the Door on Cheating, Romance and Alcoholics

  • Pez

    Dear Jim, Your post made me sad, It brought back so many memories of the beginning of my relationship with my XBA. I’m sorry Jim, Do your self a favor and break off the relationship now! I would say to still be her friend but you are too emotionally involved. You won’t be able to cut ties and attachments if you stay friends with her. You will be wasting your time. #1. She deceived you by not showing you the debth of her alcoholism in the begging. She wanted to entrap you and she did. Now she knows she has you and you have a big heart, she will take advantage of that. Guarenteed. It’s the opposite of the way it should be with addicts. she’s hoping to entrap you and you can take care of her while she doesn’t work and drinks all the time and goes out to bars. #2. She did not care that you were married or about another womans feelings (your wifes)That says something about her character. #3.If it’s too good in the beginning to be true–it probably isn’t real. I read in the book, “how to spot a dangerous man (or woman) before you get involved” that sociopaths mimic you on dates to try to appear like the perfect partner! Drunks are Sociopatic!
    Let go and let God Jim before you get in too deep. Or you can give “the ultimatum” Check into rehab or I’m out! Bet she doesn’t go.

  • Elisabeth

    It doesn’t sound like you have spent much time as a single adult and maybe you need that time for yourself. This is a good opportunity to discover more about who you are and to get more comfortable with that before you dive into another relationship. Maybe you will discover why you have a tendency to fall for women who are wrong for you.

    And she’s not going to change unless she decides she wants to, and right now she doesn’t want to.

  • Linda

    I have Question. WITH EACH RELASPE does the smart smugness get worse. When does sharing become bashing the A Thanks for any reply. Linda

  • Run Jim Run ….don’t Stop Do not look back … Run from this girl god will take care of her … You are young and this is life – keep moving … Don’t stop

  • Pez

    Linda, Yes it does!! And with each failure they will hate you more because they feel like a failure!! And when they realize they don’t want to quit or can’t quit without help—Watch out!! They will take it out on YOU!!@!(hurt you on purpose) Run linda! Stay away. Don’t say another word to him about his drinking.

  • Suzanne

    Ten years later I’m still in your situation. I started alanon and stopped ‘doing’ for him and now he hardly ever calls. Easy come easy go for him. They mess with ur head, they are experts, and keep you as a slave for as long as they can. My life is slipping away, I feel I’m getting closer to getting out, but I said that after just a few years.
    Get out now my friend while ur still sane. Don’t waste your life. And please join alanon. They saved my life. Keep reading here too it will give you strength x

  • K

    This sounds so much like a past relationship I was in. Like the others are saying, she will take advantage of your good heart. The confusing things you hear from an alcoholic’s mouth are lies-but they believe these lies because the truth about their alcoholism is too painful for them to admit to. Despite their drinking and lifestyle, yes, it is certainly possible that she wants to have a happy life and a family, etc-but they are in such denial of their illness that it will never happen for them-and they don’t see it. Until they see the true destruction of their lifestyle and are able to take accountability for their behaviors, their dreams of being happy will never be compatible with their current lifestyle. It is always easier for them to blame everyone else for the fighting and dischord that their addiction brings to the relationship. As long as your ex is still using alcohol and actively denying that she has a problem (and refusing to seek help), your relationship doesn’t stand a chance in hell. You will give much, get little in return, and constantly be told that you are the problem. One day you will decide you have nothing left to give-but you may be so exhausted at that point that you won’t even feel like you have anything left to give anyone (your family, your friends, any other potential love interests). Until your ex gets into recovery, you will fight an uphill battle that will leave you wounded. Please believe me and others that have been through this already-it sounds like you have a lot to offer to the right person. Wishing you the best

  • L.

    Jim, this is just a suggestion: Before you commit to this woman, commit to 6 Al-Anon meetings to learn more about the dis-ease of alcoholism and, perhaps, your place on this “Merry-Go-round” named denial. I wish you all the best. Light and Love ~

  • Sarah

    Oh, Jim! You break my heart because I am right there with you but four years and one three year old later. I too am an educated, dedicated loving person, who has had her life and her psyche turned upside down by loving a man who is an alcoholic. And it isn’t just the alcohol, it is a whole range of personality traits that come along with it, sober or drinking. If I could go back I would not stay. I lost my career, my self-esteem, my happiness and direction. I am single parent, with an absent alcoholic ex who still calls every day making promises he won’t keep, being unfaithful in strange ways and refusing to admit it, and turning the blame always on me. . . .

    I have found this website, a podcast and now Al-anon meetings to try to heal all the ways that loving this alcoholic have destroyed my spirit. I now see the traits in me that led me to this. I too would stay in long-term relationships long after the love had past. Afraid of being abandoned or unloved. It is like my whole self exists only to be loved by my soul mate. If I don’t have someone to love I feel worthless. That’s just not healthy or even right.

    I too never had much experience with Alcoholics before my current. My father and mother divorced due to his drinking, but he would do it after work and at night and I never noticed. Then there was the hard break up, then he was sober. A few years later my parents reunited. I guess that ideal — a man who got sober out of love for his family and high school sweetheart, tainted my view of what alcoholics can and will do if they love someone. I now know that probably isn’t even the whole story between my parents and it is atypical. This disease is awful, and its darkness will infect the non-drinker. I always thought of myself as fair, honest, loving, giving, empathetic. Now I get in these soul dragging fights where the most awful words come out of my mouth. The rages I fly into in front of my daughter. I see how it has hurt her. I don’t know myself or this rage. It comes out of my sense of injustice and betrayal. I gave my best willingly. Total love, total trust, total financial commitment, my body for a planned child. And it has all left me empty and wondering “why”. I too always want to know the “truth” the “why”. And I still fight that. But something I have been learning is there is no rational answer to why. Alcohol is an illogical disease. It will never make sense. The lies will never make sense, nor the constant need to lie about EVERYTHING. My alcoholic went to treatment and jail four times in as many years, he doesn’t drink around me. But the dysfunction is always there.
    Even if she sobers now, the personality traits that have developed are always there and take a strong, strong commitment and battle to change. And it is her battle. My alcoholic also likes to claim his youth, and he is 27. I feel that is not young. Although, I am older than he, I never acted in such ways when I was 23, 27 or beyond. My alcoholic took a lifetime to develop his good and his dysfunction, just think of how long it would take, and the effort it would take to change those ingrained habits! I can’t even commit to eating healthy!

    But, don’t get me wrong. For all the misery, I have not let go of my alcoholic either. I still love him and the soul mate love he made me feel and convinced me was there. Still does. And I HATE myself for not letting go. He terrorizes me emotionally by telling me who he is with, who he will be with, how I was nothing, how I was ugly, and then two breaths later will beg me to let him come back, pay for his ticket, that he will be sober and work a program.

    I want to see the change FIRST now, because his sugared promises are like so much air. They are beautiful but they are only words. Actions are what I need.

    So, although I read your story and I see a woman who is not committed to you. Even minus the drinking, but with the ex and all. And I would tell my friend to let it go. As someone who is very intelligent and educated and has a career who fell in love with someone like this, I know that it is easier said than done and love is strong, as is the pure desire to be right about your “happily ever after”.

  • La C

    Wow…it is amazing how reading someone else’s story you think how so much is similar in your own experience and your feelings. It is amazing how I read your story and I think you sound amazing. In fact, everything I wish my husband would do, and be. I have kids which is my hard part in walking away from my husband.You don’t and still find it hard. It is amazing how male or female we hold onto these loved ones when they truly push us away. Looking at your story I think, RUN away, get out now…but I know so many people have told me the same thing. It is so hard. It is so hard because of who they Used To Be! The person you fell in love with. I am your age, and I actually posted about 1 yr ago. I found this site and really used so much advice to help me deal and cope with my Alcoholic. It did help me mentally as I felt like I was slowly losing it. It is amazing how they turn things around on you, and then you begin to actually question you…ridiculous. My man thing I learned is to not argue with an alcoholic. It is a bottomless argument that you will never win. When I posted my story, I was a Stay at home Mom, but had just graduated. In the last year I did get a good job, and still plan on leaving my husband. The hardest part for me is being able to afford to leave with my kids, even though I have a job now, it is still scary to leave and walk away. But as I think back to my post 1 yr ago, I am still in the same position I was. Nothing has gotten better. Nor will it ever. I was all for trying to change him, or hope for his change. I kept thinking aren’t you going to get sick of getting drunk and drinking all the time?? But he never has. You sound simply amazing. Don’t let someone bring you down. I know it is hard. I live this nightmare everyday. It is horrible. I was all about sticking it out. I hope and pray for you and that whatever you decide it is what makes you happy. I will promise you that starting a family with her and her not getting help will only make a complete disaster. Don’t do it. It will not fix anything. I do the same thing about checking text messages ect. It seriously will make you crazy…try to stop it. If you don’t trust her, that will create even more problems. You sound so amazing, and I hope you know there are plenty of woman out there who will appreciate you for everything you are and have to offer. Good luck..

  • Suzanne

    I grew up with an alcoholic mother who was sometimes nice sometimes horrid, obsessed with my dad. I always wanted dad to leave her I hated her. There are 5 of us children all now in our 40’s and 50’s.
    One is an alcoholic, 3 are struggling with our own alcoholics, and the other managed to get away but is so angry about everything. Half of the grandchildren of the alcoholics have problems.
    One person can destroy generations.
    You need to get away and save the children.
    Alanon is the start of a better life.
    If I sound bitter it’s cos I am. I’m learning to forget how dysfunctional my upbringing was it still hurts 🙂

  • Kristi

    Please save yourself the torture and heartache that will come from a relationship like this it has taken me so much counseling and tears to learn the hard way and you can avoid a long tragic road now. You asked when to walk away, the answer is NOW. An active alcoholic will not make for a good spouse, parent, or friend. I say this as someone who is left alone, with three kids, all the bills, and left to be mommy and daddy to our three young children. You are at a crossroad now and can still choose another mother for your children. I find I can summon strength when I think about my kids that I cannot summon for myself alone. If you choose to try and stay with this woman you will end up alone even if she is there. You will be “gaslighted”…a term my wonderful counselor has taught me to help me understand the emotional abuse I have suffered. And when you try to leave this bad situation with kids involved later you will feel trapped by fear of what will happen to your kids when she has her allotted time, and even worse, who she will allow to be around your kids as she will move from one bad relationship to the next trying to fill an unfillable void. The only one that can help her is herself. The more you try to help her the more she will escalate and hate you. It’s a mystery I’m still trying to cope with as I am trying to manage a shattered life left from being in an alcoholic relationship with my husband for far too long. The only light I’m left with is our three beautiful children, who now come from a broken home.
    Please reassure yourself that there are beautiful, educated, wonderful women out there that would give anything to find a guy as you have described yourself. Do not allow yourself to be sucked in to the alcoholics Vacuum of all or nothing thinking. Best wishes to you as I urge you to not set yourself up for a lifetime of hurt, misery, and unanswered questions. You are at the crossroad right now to prevent all that by walking away completely now. Don’t walk away, RUN now. Lose her number, and as hard as it is you must break all connection with her NOW. She is drowning and will make you drown also if you choose to try and save her.

  • Brenda

    I know it’s easy for us to say to finish with her as we are not emotionally connected as you are and we, after all, are on the outside looking in. Years ago a very well know lady who wrote an advice column had this to say. She believed that in life there are things we keep from doing because our heart won’t let us. She said we must act and do what our intelligence tells us is the right thing to do. The heart will change later. So basically what she would tell you is, you must stay away from this women. She is not worthy of you. In time your feelings will match the action you have taken and your heart will be free to love again. Please believe it … there is more than one person in this world that can make you happy. You are still young and have so much more ahead of you yet. Wishing you all the best as you go forward.

  • brigitte

    Jim, its still a very ‘young’ relationship and if its abusive and detrimental to you now, what is it going to be like in let’s say, a year down the line if u stay?? She’s showing you her true colours and blatantly pushing you away. Believe what she is saying and walk away. I did the same as you are doing now, I saw all the lies early in the relationship and the disrespect and the mistrust and still I hung on and now six years later and a two year old son, I’m left alone and rejected. It does not matter what you do or what you say, u can love them until the cows come home, nothing or noone will make them stop drinking. You will become angry, bitter, resentful, depressed and as sick as she is if you stay. I did and its taking counselling and plenty of tears to build myself up again. Still have bad days but it takes time. Run, run, run. Ur a great catch and you deserve much much better. She’s doing you a favour, take it and thank her then cut all contact and stay far far away. Good luck and my thoughts are with you

  • Deneen

    Jim, I came to this website and have been searching for answers myself – on Monday, I was physically throw our of someone I cared about very deeply’s home – by him. An Alcoholic. After a first stint in Rehab in January, that only lasted two weeks 🙁 He didn’t commit – didn’t go to but one or two meetings. I tried all kids of support, emotional support, love and understanding…. By this summer he was hitting it pretty hard – they lies got bigger, got bolder and everytime I questioned him I got a “thanks for believeing in me” he kept traveling, disappearing – kept saying it was work related. This past weekend, he told me a lie, I knew it was a lie~~ about having to go away again the weekend. I was tired of the lies, I KNEW something was up – I thought it was just the drinking – I walked in on him having sex with another woman – I screamed :WHO IS THIS!!!???? I was told to get the F out of his house, and physically throw out of the door. With that, he quit his job and within 2 hours was moving halfway across the country with this woman – mind you we had a 6 year relationship – He was on a bender with her all weekend – when I showed up, I was thrown out like a piece of garbage. I have been obsessing over reading websites, trying to understand, its all been helpful – even his family doesn’t know where he is. I have dedicated myself to a clean break – as there was alot of drama over these 6 years with his drinking. I couldn’t love him through it. I sit here today incredibly hurt that he assaulted me, when a week ago he said he loved me. I have no idea where this woman came from, but they rode off into the sunset together, to start a life together – a life filled with alcohol. I’m very sad for the loss of a very special person, who hurt me more than I ever imagined possible 🙁

  • Pj

    Leave now before you get in too deep, your story is similar to mine of almost 30 years ago and I hung around because of the kids and then the business and the whole financial entanglement. Even though my A was sober for 10 years the constant obsessions during this period are almost as bad as the drunks. An A has to have an obsession to take their mind off of their drinking and it is all consuming, whether it is religion, a cause or attending every AA meeting in the neighbourhood. They are great manipulators and will have you thinking you are the crazy one and visiting shrinks etc, even now my A tells me she will change if My attitude is different towards her, yeah right…….
    There are plenty of normal people out there, go find one.

  • Pez

    Deneen, My heart breaks for you. I know that pain, many here do==and it’s fresh for you. Betrayal and non-appreciation for all you have done for them and been through. It’s almost unimaginable the cruelty. As I was betrayed 2wice, I take this as a sign that he may never change. And even if it hurts to heal, I will be better off in the long run. I know it will be hard and you will have your moments of rage, but thank God for FREEDOM!

  • Bill

    Deneen, I can feel the pain, frustration, confusion and disappointment that you have experienced in this break up. It’s insanity at the highest level. I’ve been abused, thrown out and cheated on as well. That was many years ago…From experience, I can truly say that better days are ahead for you now. Even though your heart aches, the longer you are apart from him the clearer you will see how messed up he really is. You may not see it now, but this change in your life is a blessing. You go girl and start off with a clean slate. Take plenty of time to heal before getting into another relationship. This is your time to work on you. If you have Al-anon in your area, get involved. You will find the help and friendship there that you so desperately need right now.

  • Debbi

    Everyone’s strong words telling you to run are probably scaring you reading all the replies. Unfortunately, everyone is right and trying to warn you about the consequences of what staying will bring you. Brenda said something I hope you read again–is that our intelligence tells us this is not normal but it takes awhile for the heart to follow. Our hearts keep getting pulled back in because all it takes is one nice day with the A and our heart tries to convince our brain–no you’re wrong, see how nice she is now & she’s really going to try this time. So until you make that decision, give your heart time to catch up to your head. Put distance between you and her. Stop the encounters until both your heart and head are on the same page and then you decide what is non-negotiable with her, what you will tolerate and what you will not tolerate. You can be kind but strong at the same time setting your boundaries (see other articles here on setting your boundaries). Someone else said to attend 6 Al Anon meetings before you decide, I agree but add set a time limit of at least 6 weeks also of no contact until your emotions settle down. You are in my thoughts!

  • Mike

    Jim, that is my story.
    Unless one wants to test their discipline and has a really big savior complex, stay way from drinking relationships.
    I think that is what this whole site is telling the world.
    It is the same thing, no matter what.
    Does one really have to be told that smoking causes health problems?
    Who does not know that? Here’s the new one to ad:
    “Relationships with alcoholics will ruin your life

  • SusieB

    Thank you for writing. 7 months with the woman. You are blessed. I have been given an ultimatim by my A after 11 years of living together, 6 of which we were (are) married. My ultimatim, “unfixable”: “take your stuff and leave”…”get a job like a normal human-being and support yourself for a change”. Wow, that hurt coming out of the blue one day. But, you know what? After reading all this here….that is VERY GOOD advice for me coming from my A husband. 😉 I have immersed myself in telephone and face-to-face Al-Anon meetings…sometimes 3 a day. Reading Al-Anon literature and Codependency literature and and the AA Big Book, listening to AA and Al-Anon CD’s. The story is always the same. Ephinany yesterday, an 35 year veteran of Al-Anon (and still active in it) reaffirmed what I thought about AA recovery. Those 50 year marriages with 20 year sobriety are still riddled with violence and emotional abuse. It doesn’t stop. Wow!

    Give me your phone # geez, I take you up for a loving mate in a minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Well, not really…I got to heal her and be on my own. You, my friend are a codependent, like me and that is not a good combination. Read up on Codependency…open your eyes!!!! open your ears! open your intelligence and your heart. GO to an “open” AA meeting. I am serious. Don’t grovel, don’t destroy yourself. Trust what you are reading here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • C


    You pretty much get a clear view of the life with an alcoholic from all the comments. I can tell you she will get worse – you only have to go back once more and see how bad it can be. From experience, I found that A’s absolutely cannot help themselves if they are dependent on the next drink. You need to ride a bike or take a long walk and decide what you want for your future. I told m sons that, and today both are happily married 9 and 10 years. A friend of mine told me she had her divorces before she met her husband!! That really stuck with me over the years.

    Clear your head – go on a vacation. Your life has just begun and it can be glorious.

    Trying to get an alcoholic not to drink is degrading for both people.

  • Jim

    All –

    Thank you for taking the time to read my story and comment on it. Thank you as well, JC, for publishing it. All of your words are meaningful, and many of your feelings run through my head as thoughts… I’m still at work — finishing my day — but I will respond to all of your posts & comments this weekend. Thank you all again!!!!

    Jim from Chicago

  • maryann

    Hi Jim,
    I know this is very difficult. I met my A 9 years and we fell in love from the word go. I moved out in 2011, we have seen each other since then but I refused to move back. He had admitted he was mean and that he’s an alcholic that will never happen again, NOPE, nothing changes nothing changes. He has made some change, but he refused to go to counceling and he drinks the same if not more. If I see him and he is drinking I go home. I have created healthy boundaries and I won’t put up with his shit anymore. I told him, you have made no positive change for us, I do love you. So I have my own place with no drama, if he changes fine if not there is nothing I can do. I went to alnon and also an open AA meeting brought home information and he refused to read it. this was all before I moved out. I will not enable him. He came over for diner a month ago he had too much to drink and my son was here, after dinner my son went to the store, I said to him you had too much to drink, he said not I didn’t, I said go home. I don’t want this behavior around my children even though there 22 and 27, he’ not a good role model for them. I was divorced in 2005, I’m not settling anymore life is too short and neither should you. I would listen to all of the comments they only get worst. Move out and move on with your life and get to know who JIm is and what he really wants to create in his life. Journaling is a great healer, after awhile you begin to see a pattern. You deserve a kind, loyal woman, you will find her but you need to look inside of yourself first. Good Luck and my Gods peace be with you.

  • maryann

    one more thing. Once an A stops drinking your problems are not over, they need to seek counceling if they don’t they will be dry drunks, they mimic the same attributes as an A, mean and abusive. they need counceling to treat what caused there self medicating in the first place. That’s another road. Some recovered A’s get addicted to pain meds, as my friend and her husband are both ex-A’ recovered one for 13years and the other for 8, but one of them is now eating pain meds like candy, they have another addiction so here we go again. Its non-stop for them. MOVE OUT!!!! KNOWONE SHOULD LIVE AN UNHAPPY LIFE LIKE THIS.

  • Mike

    Imagine her never changing. The same story you wrote about over and over again. Hoping this will be the time she mean it and things begin to become as before. Forget it. It never will, no matter how much it hurts or how much you want to heal it away.
    That is life with alcoholism. It is a possession of the spirit.
    Jim, I am a man and have been a fireman for 24 years.
    I’d like to think of myself as a no BS type of guy.
    So, I will give it to you in a truthful way.
    You can never have a relationship with that woman and ever be happy.
    You can do anything for her. You will end up as her parent.
    Treasure what you had, but that relationship is dead.
    Don’t marry a zombie.
    Those days of finding your soul-mate were all an act. She was fighting herself so hard, so that you would never see her and how she really is. That front could only lats so long before the real her showed up.
    It’s all the same with alcoholics.
    They are good liars only when you want to be fooled.
    Give that life to a woman out there who is waiting for a good guy.
    Bad things happen and no one can change that.
    Move on. It will hurt so much, but better the hurt for a while, than a for a life of regret.
    I will I was in your shoes before I got married.
    In wish there was a Mike out there who could have grabbed me by the shoulders and could have shaken some sense into me, but I was in love, with feeling in love. It got the better of me.
    It isn’t even a relationship where there is a disease involved where they are trying to sure it.
    Addiction is a chosen hell. There is a reward for the drinking and once that reward is removed, the drinking stops.
    The sad part is, something occurred in their life, to make drinking a necessity.
    Addiction is always the result of trauma. Physical and emotional.
    Take care and God bess you.

  • Tracy


    You’re life is a mirror image of mine, it doesn’t get better I spent 25 years with my AH. I asked him to leave in Dec 2012 after another binge he goes out and I don’t see him for 2-3 weeks he never drank in our home. Since he left I found out he was taking cocaine, a women’s number on his phone which he was using for 18 months. He denies everything he’s sorry etc 7 weeks ago I found out he had a secret phone filled with drinking friends numbers and oh! yes loads of women, mostly bar maids and women that drink and sleep around. If I had my time over I would have left 15 years ago after he walked out for three weeks after the birth of my second child. I hope for change but since me and my kids are no longer with him he is out of control, he had no one to tell him to not drink etc. I saw him 7 weeks ago and he looks terrible and everything he says is a lie, I wish I knew all this 25 years ago I would have run for my life. I did have a lot of good time but the bad times out way the good times. X

  • Pez

    Jim, You don’t have to respond to all of our posts or comments–Just Run~! Take the communal experience wisdom here to heart. This is no spoof, this is what it is like if you get caught up with the alcoholic. Recovery rate is slim at best and relapse is common and Not talking of a short relapse but can be continual. And the more they fail, the more excuse to give up and give in to them. You eventually become the enemy if you try to fix them. In the end after 4 years my XAB called me a “PAIN IN THE ASS” and I was the one who cared about his life and future. You can’t fix them. You can’t love them into sobriety. NOTHING WORKS, they must choose this for themselves. Free Will–it’s a bitch (From Movie THE DEVILS ADVOCATE). Not only this as it gets worse, the alcoholism, you will be shocked at what they will do!

  • C


    Pez is absolutely correct. She spells it out exactly what life with an A is all about. If they do stop drinking, their alcoholic personality will ruin every day you spend with them. And, if you think she has been difficult, stay around and watch what she will do next. They get so much worse.

    There are so many lovely women who are responsible and fun to be with. Try eHarmony – it is an excellent site for meeting quality people. My son met and married a young woman with a Master’s degree – she is a Special ED teacher. They have been married 10 years and have two fabulous children. My son and his wife were working so much when they were single – they tried Match.Com and it was a great match!

    Please give yourself the gift of beginning your life today – celebrate your great health and ability to love – someone is waiting for you if you will give the Universe a chance. Best wishes.

  • Cindy

    Please take the stories you are hearing hear to heart. My story is a lot like yours except I have a couple of years invested. I started seeing the signs a few months in. I didn’t truly understand how bad it was. Then the secrets and the lies. I still don’t know if anything was the truth and it all messes with my mind. Long story short, I ended up being the one to alert his family and they got him to go to detox. He only went to treatment and aa a few times and has quit. He has shut me completely out of his life now. If I try to talk to him he is just very mean and nasty. But basically anything he and I had ended the day he went to detox. I thought I was helping. I wanted to help him. I care so much about him that I couldn’t sit by an do nothing. I have been “rewarded” for caring by being ignored, treated like I don’t matter and like he could care less if I’m alive. I don’t want anything from him but his friendship right now but he won’t give that. He is very angry and bitter but says he is sober. If you continue to try to help you will end up where I am. He doesn’t say it but I know he resents me. I am the evil bitch who cared. You will end up feeling used and questioning whether you did the right thing and feeling like you meant nothing. Please listen to these stories. I don’t have the time invested that others do but I can tell you just a couple of years will destroy your self esteem. I also have friends who say the exact things your friends are saying. I’ve also lost many friends over it. Please don’t get to the point I am as it is the worst feeling ever and it is hard to find happiness in anything now. You can do this. Walk away now and see if the loss is enough for her to get sober. If its not, then you were never her first love. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  • sro

    Jim, I’m sorry but it sounds to me that she is still hung up on the other guy but is using you for the “fall guy”. The guy that “just in case” she can’t get what she wants from the x then she always has you to fall back on. Top that with her drinking problem and you are in a lose lose situation. I totally understand your “not going to give up” determination and wanting to show this gal how much you care and love her, but it sounds like she is past the point of recognizing your love for her and has reached the point of just using you. Only you can determine how much you can deal with. If you are anything like me, I reach a point where I become sick and tired of being treated badly and become callous. It takes me a long time to reach that point but once I do, IM DONE!! Whatever you do, DO NOT LIVE WITH HER! You will be trapped then. Take care. Ill be thinking about you!

  • Linda

    To All,
    Everything you read here is true, I’ve been marry to my A 33 year, left 4 times was done . My mistake was talking to him after leaving. Left the A words drag me back, to be treated badly. Please don’t listen to their words. they are empty! When you leave cut all communication . They will deny and lye. Walk, Run but get away! It will suck the life out of you!

  • Sarah

    Wish I understood why they deny and lie. My Alcoholic ex calls me every night begging me to take him home. He is not working on sobriety or working, or trying to be a constant presence in our child’s life by calling even. He says he will change when he gets home. I want change before then after 4 years. Then it falls into a predictable pattern of him putting me down physically, telling me he has already moved on, etc. Then in a few hours he will text or call like nothing ever happened saying he loves us. I find this disturbingly strange. Why go through the lengths to keep me around when now he has the freedom to drink, womanize and do whatever he wants. I don’t call. I don’t text unless in response to him.

    I guess chasing the why of it all will make us all crazy.

  • Pez

    Sarah, this is how they are. Their emotions are ALL OVER THE PLACE!!! This is how alcohol affects you. You may remember this if you have drunk some in the past. One time you drink and you are happy, the next time you drink, especially if you are depressed, you are crying and suicidal or angry! This happens on a much grandiose scale with the alcoholic because they drink more and more often. It can drive the non-alcoholic absolutely nuts! I love you, I hate you. Get out, no stay. You are the love of my life, on to the next woman etc….
    If they say one good thing to hold on to you, believe me in a week they will go the opposite direction–expect it! I saw a change in my XAB in ONE DAY! Talking positive in the am then after the drinking started its everyone elses fault! This is the nature of alcohol. That’s why you can never believe what they say, cause it will be different tomorrow. It wracks havoc on the emotions.

  • linda

    Do the a know what their doing? Do they act only hate us?

  • linda

    I have also learned of this gaslighting. And believe me it only gets worse if you stay. Run

  • C

    Cindy, you really are right on. I, too, would caution anyone who thought they could help an alcoholic. They will be treated poorly, even verbally abused, and the help will never be appreciated. I watched my A talk on the phone with his daughter and son, his two sisters and a male friend or so. Not one got the treatment I got, and I was the one taking care of everything! Not one would mention his drinking, but they never stopped by to visit!!

    Please, everyone, taking care of yourselves is the most important. This world is full of marvelous people, we do not have to be with an alcoholic who will degrade us and make us feel we are the ones creating chaos.

  • Pez

    Linda, I do believe they know what they have done on a deeper level buried inside them or they would not have guilt, shame, and self-hatred that must be dealt with in rehab. But, they burry it and drown it out with more alcohol, drama, crisis, another partner—ANYTHING to take the focus of them and what they do or have done.

    2nd question Do they hate us? It ends up that way. In the beginning they might admire you glad they have a “good” man or woman. But, as we continue to “help” and try to get them to seek treatment they begin to resent us if they can’t or don’t want to quit. It eventually comes to this, in there denial, of hating us and maybe leaving or betraying us (pushing us away). They will eventually seek there own level. Sick of hearing us “bitch” they will be “Happy” to have a partner, who is also drinks or drugs, so they receive no shit for there addiction. This is why like JC says don’t bother the alcoholic. let then get on with their life as they choose to live it and we get on with ours weather with them or not (leave). I did not understand this concept when I was with my A so I tried to help for 4 years but it ended in betrayal I was, accourding to him, “a pain in the ass”. Now, this was not all my fault, He knew where I stood from the gitgo!
    He also played the game of “I want to quit” “this is not the real me” and on and on. So, I was deceived about his motives. Beware of the games! If they find someone who accepts them as a drunk they will leave you.

  • Linda

    Kristi, Pez
    Thanks so much for your post. They let us know we aren’t the crazy person they what us to think we are. Makes my A Mad when I don’t react to his words or actions. If I’m Nice that makes him mad also. The Gas lighting Has got worse. Need to do what I set out to do 1 year ago. again I LET this a WORDS TRY AGAIN. I SEE NOW they were empty. See lawyer tomorrow…….Lord give me strength.

  • JB

    I stayed with my XABF for about two years long distance. I saw the red flags from the get-go and ignored them because I thought we were in love. He moved in with me and it only took about two weeks for the pattern to start. Things would be fine for a few days and then he would stay out till all hours of the night at the bar with friends on a weeknight when I had to wake u early the next day for work/grad school. He would stumble in drunk, acting like an a**hole and wake me up. The first time it happened, he was all apologetic in the morning, even brought me flowers and said it would not happen again. Gradually it happened more and more and the apologies didn’t come in the morning and eventually it was all my fault. I didn’t “accept him.” Drinking is “who he is” and I “should have known” this before getting involved with him. It drove me crazy, he had me convinced it was all my fault. Some unbiased third parties finally got me to see what was really going on. I was in denial as much as he was. I finally told him I was going to Al-anon and that’s when the sh*t hit the fan. I told him how much I loved him, but i was worried about him. I told him how much I wanted our relationship to work. I let him know I would be attending my first Al-anon meeting that night since he told me I needed to change in order to accept him. I googled alcoholism and started educating myself about how to change. After my first Al-Anon meeting, I was sitting at my desk doing my work for the next day (I’m in grad school). The door flies open and he literally fell inside the apartment. He was not there. Began cornering me, called me every disgusting name he could think of. Told me he was going to beat me. It was horrible. I finally got him to leave the apartment carrying his things walking down the street at 2:30am in the morning. The next day, after he came to get the rest of his things while I was at school, he left an apology letter telling me I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him, he’s sorry, this is the worst day of his life, etc. etc. etc. We eventually reconciled after about two weeks apart and I was told that what happened that night was actually MY fault since I antagonized him by saying I was going to go to Al-anon. Nothing will ever please an alcoholic partner. You will go crazy. I was finally able to leave after discussing my situation with a therapist that specializes in addiction (he is a former alcoholic himself in fact). I just had to follow my logic even thought my mind and heart and spirit were so muddled up. I would switch between feeling guilty, feeling it was all my fault, something was wrong with me. Then sometimes I would question if he was in fact an alcoholic. It took months of working through all the emotions, but I feel I have finally come out on the other side of it and see the relationship for what it was. Alcoholics are sick, sick people and they will convince you that their behavior is all your fault and there is something wrong with you. Your self-esteem will be destroyed and when the relationship is over you will literally be left as a shell of a person. It is important to get out while you can, and I am so fortunate that I only had to live with the disease of alcoholism in my home for three months. I can’t imagine what it is like for others with an alcoholic spouse or other relative. I promise that although it hurts to walk away and you will be so confused and feel crazy, you CAN come out a better person and things will become clear to you once you grieve the relationship and the person that the alcoholic never truly was in the first place. Find a good therapist, go to Al-anon, cut off all contact from the A (if you are not married or related), allow yourself to feel everything and grieve. You can heal but it takes time and better to go through the pain of losing the *potential* of a relationship (that will never come to fruition anyways) than living a life of disappointment and insanity inside the disease of alcoholism. They will get better when the choose to or hit rock bottom. For now, save yourself.

  • C


    Can’t thank you enough for your post. It sounded like me at times. It’s almost like all of the A’s have a pamphlet that makes their behavior seem so similar. You were lucky you were not hurt – it was hard to read. The one thing I do know, the next person gets the same treatment or worse.

  • Pez

    JB said,” I didn’t “accept him.” Drinking is “who he is” and I “should have known” this before getting involved with him.” “I let him know I would be attending my first Al-anon meeting that night since he told me I needed to change in order to accept him.”

    Amazing! I have never heard a story where the alcoholic was so blunt that “you had to accept it”. I wish mine had been so true with his words! No, mine acted like he wanted to quit time and time again only to return to it–lies and deciept just to keep me arround when he really did not want to. Feel fortunate JB he told you how it was for him! Most of us don’t get the truth from them, we have to figure it out on our own by there actions.

  • linda

    Your post is the truth. Action speak louder then words.

  • Debbi

    To JB:
    Your words speak such truth and everyone’s story here is there in your story also. Thank you for sharing your story & your recovery.

    Your Words will stay with me all day–Thank you.
    “”I promise that although it hurts to walk away and you will be so confused and feel crazy, you CAN come out a better person and things will become clear to you once you grieve the relationship and the person that the alcoholic never truly was in the first place.””

  • Pez


    Hope you all can access this link on the book “The Sociopath Next Door” By Martha Stout PhD. I believe some alcoholics are like this and confirmed by other things I have read they exibit this behavior. I believe from this article, the empty hole inside needs to create excitement to confirm their existence in some way–creating chaos. I can absolutely see this in my XAB! They play the game with us and we must exit the game.

  • JB

    Alcoholism can resemble the behavior of anti-social personality disorder (sociopathy) and other personality disorders, but it is important to remember that although alcoholics can display these traits, this does not necessarily mean that alcoholics ARE sociopaths. Especially if they are in active addiction, they will display some symptoms but this does not mean they are diagnosable sociopaths, borderlines, etc. This is why it is so important to seek help for the alcoholic from a therapist experienced in addiction. It is also equally as important for the spouse/partner to get help from a therapist experienced in the addiction as well so that they understand the dynamics of the codependent relationship. I am a clinical psychology PhD student and just thought I’d throw my two cents out there. Because someone displays some traits of psychopathy, does not mean they are a psychopath/sociopath. I did see some sociopathic traits in my ex, but it is hard to pick apart what is simply the addiction doing all it can to survive and actual traits/mental illness of the alcoholic apart from the substance dependence.

  • JB

    I recommend the book, Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp as well as Vernon Johnson’s I’ll Quit Tomorrow: A Practical Guide to Alcoholism Treatment in order to understand the personality/mind of an alcoholic. The Big Blue Book of AA can be helpful as well.

  • Pez

    I know this that all are not. But some are. I know my XBA played “the game” in fact when I said “game over” he acnowleged it and said we’re done. He did things to intentionally hurt me and he ENJOYED it and admitted it! He liked the control over me and my emotions and got a rise out of it. I can see just by observation he is empty inside and had to create chaos to feel alive or any emotions. In the book, “How to avoid a dangerous man before you get involved” it says, upon recovery if not a sociopath these charecterisics will diminish and they can be loving and caring. When a sociopath recovers they remain deceitful, callous, manipulative, all that changes is the excuse. And, I believe some sociopath are drinkers because of this emptiness in there soul and the boredom that is mentioned among them.

  • linda

    Thanks for sharing those post on social paths. I have seen these traits in my a of 33 years. Have also question whether he in narcisst. Seem that is his family traits.do they have the jeckal Hyde behavior?

  • linda

    I can totally relate to you post. After a year from my a husband. I believed his words of trying again. Empty words. Because his action show the total opposite. He just wants to hurt me. Leaves me with anxiety then sends text saying I love you. Tidbits. While he keeps his emotional attachment with her. O the lies and deceit.

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