What I learned from Dating an Alcoholic

Ever relationship we have should teach us something, about life, about others, about ourselves, maybe even a combination. And I don’t think any relationship is a mistake, especially if you fell in love,  Because when we fall in love, no matter how it ends, that means we still have the capacity to love and care for another. And that is what life is all about. That being said, I would not want to repeat this relationship and I would do it very differently if I had the chance – as in I would politely say no if I knew then what I know now.

It started out innocently enough, a Facebook message from from a friend I went to high school with  He was the best looking and most popular guy in high school, but a bit of a bad boy who drank and smoked. He had a bad home life but his good looks and charm made those things easy to overlook.  Soon turned to texting,it  then long phone conversations. And soon he asked me out – flying in just for the night to take me to dinner.

I was flattered to say the least. He was successful, a financial executive, and I always had a crush on him. Soon he showered me with romance – trips to wonderful places, wining and dining, flying in just to see me, or flying me out to see him. There was a weekend in the Cayman Islands, with champagne on the balcony overlooking the ocean and rose petals on the floor, making a heart on the bed. I had never been so romanced. It was fun and fabulous.

But even then I noticed that he dank a lot. Way to much than I was used to or thought was normal. But he was successful, so who was I to judge? He did have a lot of drama with 4 kids and two ex wives, one not completely an ex yet as they were going through a very contentious divorce. But he made it sound like both women were terrible, and with all that charm I was swept up.

He said I love you quickly, as in a couple of weeks of dating – something that scared me.  But friends who were tired of my ever cautious nature told me to just enjoy it and let myself fall for once. I talked to him about it, and he asked my why I was so scared, and assured me I was safe within his love. And so I fell very, very much in love.

And then things took a very sinister turn. I did not know it at the time, but he was drinking 1/2-3/4 of a large bottle of bourbon per day. His personality changed and he became angry, lashing out and acting irrationally,  accusing me of strange things, yelling at me, picking fights then manipulating me to think it was my fault, or that I was just imaging the changes in him. But I knew I wasn’t. He was Mr. Perfect, now he was Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde – I never knew who I was going to get.

This continued until a mutual high school friend stayed with him told me the truth about what was really going on and how much he was really drinking. It all made sense then – the radical mood swings, the high blood pressure, the issues with his heart and thinking he was having a stroke. I immediately made sure he went to counseling, went to several doctors to get his health under control, made sure he got on and took his proper medication. 

He decided to move back to his home state and he wanted to stay with me while he looked for a house and I agreed to help with stability and sobriety. We were back on track, madly in love again and planning to move in together and get married. It was a dream come true. Or so I thought.

My dreams came crashing down when I went to see him a day early for Christmas after he moved and was waiting for me to follow. I caught him drinking bourbon with his college buddies. This wasn’t just a relapse either. He became extremely angry with me, blaming for for having no right be there, even though we were planning to move in together. He went back and forth between blaming me for the relapse, to admitting he had a drinking problem to denying he was an alcoholic at all, then he even talking to his Dad who had been sober for 30 years because of his own drinking problem.

But he never quit drinking. And it only got worse from there. As he continued to drink he became more and more paranoid, accusing me of bizarre plans and actions. He became increasingly difficult insisting I had alternator motives for everything from stealing his things, to extortion of money, faking health issues to get his attention. It was like this man lived in his own Twilight Zone.

At the same time he would get insanely jealous if I mentioned any other men, even crying sometimes, he would call and text me in the middle of the night, he would insist we meet up at odd times for strange reasons, then get mad and lash out refusing to meet, punishing me if I disagreed with him in any way.

What did I learn from this experience? An addict is an addict, is an addict. Other’s warned me about getting involved with an alcoholic, because addicts have certain traits and behaviors. But I was stupid because I had more faith in him that that, because I loved him. How much you love them doesn’t matter. Here are other things I learned:

God did not put me on this earth to take care of a drunk: Hands down the most important lesson I learned.

You can’t save them: I tried. I naively thought that if I stuck by him and loved him enough, I could get him in therapy and treatment, and he would be fine.  And we could go back to how wonderful things were in those first 5 months. That was assuming that he actually admitted he had a problem.  He didn’t. And he was very angry at me because I knew.

It doesn’t matter what you do, the relationship will end: I tried everything and nothing worked, least of all love. I tried tough love, soft love, true love, and everything in between. I tried apologizing, I tried talking, I tired sex even. Nope. He was still drinking. And still angry.

They will blame you and make it your fault: No mater what it it was, he made it my fault so he could be the victim. When he yelled at me, it was my fault. When I caught him drinking with his buddies that night, it was my fault because I showed up early. When he was mean to me in Akron, it was my fault, everything he did was my fault. And heaven forbid if I stood up for myself. Then he called me a bitch.

They will manipulate you: When he was yelling at me an I said he was being an ass, he said “I am not. You are just imaging that I am.”

They will Lie: Many times he told me he wasn’t still drinking. And as it turns out he lied each and every time. He would make me feel guilty when I questioned him accusing me of not trusting him.

They are insecure: He was constantly paranoid and was accusing me of thinking he was stupid, even though he had more education. I had to constantly pump up his self esteem by telling him how great he was every day. And he got very jealous if I mentioned any other guys – even just friends. He would accuse me of sleeping with them or say things like “tell them to call me if they need any tips on pleasing you.”

They will alienate you from your friends: This man contacted my friends causing drama and issues just so he could be in control. If he could alienate me from my friends, then I would have no place to go once I was with him.

There are more lessons, but those are the big ones.  Basically one of the biggest things that I learned is that I did nothing wrong. The relationship would have failed not matter what I did because he was an alcoholic. Whether I was an angel or the devil to him it wouldn’t have mattered, the issues were deep within him, and there was nothing I could do.





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