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    • #4417

      It would be good if all the members would give a SHORT introduction. Who they are, where they are from and main issues faced.

    • #4493
      Cora McKennaCora McKenna

      Hi, I’M Cora. I’m a 60 yr old nurse who gave up work 4 years ago to care for my Mum as she was in the early stages of Alzheimers. She went into a nursing home earlier this year. I was married for 26 years and have 2 sons and a daughter. I left my husband 10 years ago and now live with my partner. He’s the kindest, wonderful, most generous man who is adored by all my family and friends.He has three grown up sons from his first marriage. From the start I could see that he liked his wine but drinking was not an issue. He’s a highly successful CEO of a large company and he works very hard.We’re avid hill walkers and go hiking all over the world.
      His drinking became a problem during the first year of Lock Down when I noticed that he was drinking during the day. I immediately called him out and we’re in the Alcohol dance ever since. He does AA, counselling, mentoring, takes Anti Buse but still he drinks! And He’s moved on to spirits. He works and drinks and he drives and drinks. I have a very good supportive network of friends whom I am completely honest with. This weekend his sons will be told the whole sorry story. I love him and only want to see him regain his sense of fun and joy in lives simple pleasures.

    • #4494
      Jill LauJill Lau

      Hi everyone, this is Jill. I’m originally from Hong Kong where I met my British husband and now we both work and live in Bangkok, Thailand.

      To me drinking is not an issue but my husband started to go out drinking until the next day 5am, 6am, 7am and even mid-day. Always saying he was just out drinking and forgot where he was or whom he is with. The frequency and amount of his drinking also progress to a whole bottle of whiskey, 5 days a week. Every time I bring up anything related to “drinking/ alcohol” he becomes very defensive. I tried many different ways to live with a problem drinker but none of which seems to work. He once agreed to see John for 121 but then changed his mind as he doesn’t believe “talking” to a stranger will help him or our relationship.

      With us both living away from our friends and families, we do not have much social life or friends… I just want us to be happy again like we were before.

    • #4504
      Angela RamsdenAngela Brown

      Hi. I’m Angela and I live in the UK. My husband is the drinker and drinks at home 24/7. We are both retired and I have friends that I see often and activities that I do to keep myself busy. My husband is not aggressive but sleeps a lot and when awake he does nothing but play on his iPad (usually doing jigsaw puzzles all day). He has no interest in anything, even in activities he used to enjoy like cutting the grass. His life seems to revolve around his drinking. My main difficulties are setting boundaries and knowing how to react (or not) when I know he’s been drinking. Should I carry on chatting to him or just take myself off to another room? If I did the latter I would be spending very little time with him! When he’s been drinking a lot I do take myself off but in the mornings, when he has not drunk so much, we tend to chat or do things together – but am I enabling him by ignoring his drinking in the morning?

    • #4515
      Ben ButterworthBen Butterworth

      I’m Ben. I discovered my wife was secretly drinking in mid-2019. It explains why the previous five years (from approx 2014) had seen her behaviour so odd at times in the evenings. I feel so stupid for not noticing it! Now, three years on, after first discovering all the hidden empties, my wife still drinks, mostly secretly – sometimes around me – and always if there is a gathering. I have found tumblers of vodka left behind the toaster, and what we thought was water with dinner was anything but! My wife doesn’t want to talk to me about it. I am not even sure she is talking to anybody about her problem. Her parents certainly don’t know. When drunk, her behaviour can be maudlin, frustrated with me (even my presence), angry, anxious, fuzzy, she has the uncanny knack of hearing the opposite of what you have said and then she will pass out on the sofa. She is slowly becoming a shell of who she was – bright, funny, beautiful, talented in many ways and very kind. More and more she is becoming unpleasant towards me when I think she’s sober. Bullying, abusive comments, gaslighting, criticism, never any encouragement. I see the alcohol eroding her confidence and her personality. When she’s sober, in the mornings, she’s usually a much better person. We have two teenage boys who are starting to notice “Mum being weird”. Sometimes my wife can go a few weeks without drinking – or certainly not much that I notice any behaviour, but then she blows it and regresses. Over time it has obviously progressed (i.e. got worse). I am not sure I want to stay with her for the rest of my life – why would I? But I don’t need to make a decision right now – I am here for my boys, both very confident and have real inner strength. They need the stability whilst there is a high-functioning (most of the time) alcoholic in the house. I have a good network of friends who I talk to about the issues, I also talk to my parents and sister. On occasions I have tried talking to my wife, but her stupid pride and shame make it very difficult. Part of me wants her to hit rock bottom so she can put more effort in to make the change, because I don’t think that, given her “I know best” personality, that she wants or will listen to other people. Personally, at the moment (December 2022) I am actually in a really good place. I don’t have any anxiety whatsoever. I am blessed that I wasn’t born anxious, I have never suffered with anxiety until I discovered the empties, and I am not going to die anxious. I do plenty of exercise, I keep busy with work, friends and hobbies, and it has changed my life immeasurably. I have spoken to John on a few occasions and found him so helpful, his videos with Lou are so helpful. I am here to understand more about how addicts behave and why, to learn about protecting myself (Bottled Up has been great in this regard) and to talk to other people.

    • #4519
      Joanna GeorgeJoanna George

      Hi, my name’s Joanna. I was in a relationship with a drinker until 2014 and am still a good friend now. Although I could no longer go out with him due a change in me spiritually, and his aggressive behaviour when drunk; I did want to continue to support him. He had a car crash, brain injury when he was younger and seizures as a result, so the alcohol makes things worse. It’s been a hard journey for both of us and at times I have wanted a break, or to give up as he has never sought help for his drinking and can become aggressive with it. I decided to join Bottled Up to see if it will help me, and help me to help him. I’m keen to study the SHARE and LOVE ways and to hear others people’s experiences/advice and to find out how I can put my own boundaries in place. Looking forward to the video sessions/mentoring.

    • #4527
      Kathy KaiserKathy Kaiser

      I’m Kathy, I’m 71 years old, my son is the alcoholic, he lives with us since his divorce. He has one 5 year old son, who comes to stay with us at weekends.
      He drinks vodka, and only seems to be able to last 7-10 days without a drink. When not drinking he is lovely,kind and thoughtful and I miss him so much.
      When drinking he’s miserable, argumentative and stroppy.he’s been to rehab twice, one was just under two weeks the second was 28 days he came home in a good place but didn’t last long.
      He’s had 3 seizures and we are all terrified of him having another, which is one of his excuse for drinking..
      I feel very lonely, we seem to spend our days, since lockdown, not daring to go out and leave him on his own.
      He’s lost all interest in anything, not even getting help, he used to enjoy running, and was good at it, but hasn’t been going since rehab.. he’s lost interest in his job, which is worrying as without work he’s no money of his own..
      That’s me, not a happy story or in a happy place.

    • #4554
      Elizabeth DLillyB

      Hi Everyone

      I’m Elizabeth, 48 years old. My husband is an alcoholic. We’ve been together 22 years and his drinking has been a real issue for about 10 years, although looking back, he’s never really had a healthy relationship with alcohol since we got together all those years ago.

      In 2020, during Covid, his drinking escalated to unprecedented levels and to cut a long story short, in 2021 he suffered from a full mental break down and developed Tourettes. Despite desperately trying to get him help, including intervention from his doctor, he just wasn’t ready to. And after enduring a year of him drinking heavily from the morning until he passed out in the early evenings, and his behaviour becoming abusive, I eventually moved out in September. I moved into a wee little wooden one bedroom lodge in the country, on a six months lease with my two dogs.

      He has stopped drinking for 2.5 months now, and is attending online AA and Smart recovery meetings, but he is still refusing to go to any in-person meetings.

      Despite the sobriety, he is still incredibly defensive, angry and difficult to communicate with at times. And he has expressed his resentment about me moving out and not paying for him to go to rehab instead. Myself and his adult son did actually try to get him to go to rehab but he flatly refused at the time.

      It’s so exhausting.

      I’m due to move home in April, but in all honesty, I just don’t know how I feel about it all. I swing from one decision to the next on a daily basis.

      I’ve had one-to-one sessions with John, and he has been utterly amazing. With his help, I was able to look after me first. It took some courage, let me tell you, but I am so glad I have.

      Anyway, it’s so nice knowing there are others out there who will understand what I’ve been going through these past few years and I am very grateful for that, as well as John and Lou.

      • #4555
        Ben ButterworthBen Butterworth

        Elizabeth, I am no expert, but my instinct says seriously consider if there is any merit to your health mental or physical and your own recovery before moving back in with your partner. You must put yourself first. You can’t help your partner if you do not feel confident in your ability to cope with the ups and downs and dashed hopes we all have living with a drinker. I know it is still the area I struggle with most – the hope of change, which is then dashed. You can support somebody by not living with them. You need and deserve a life that you enjoy and you need to feel valued. If that means not living under the same roof, it is not a bad thing. The fact you are having doubts about moving back suggests you’re, understandably, not comfortable. Sending you love, Ben x x x

        • #4556
          Elizabeth DLillyB

          Hi Ben,

          Thank you for your lovely, supportive message and taking the time to respond. It’s so difficult because there are days he presents himself as the kind, caring and loving person I fell in love with. But then there are days he is angry, defensive and challenging to say the least. I just don’t think he is ready yet to self-reflect on just how difficult this has been for me.

          The problem I have is, at present, due to his Tourettes diagnosis, he isn’t working, as the role he had he can no longer do. He is a civil servant and the organisation he works for is trying to redeploy him into a different role. It’s proving to be a long, dragged out process and whilst that is happening, he isn’t earning anywhere near what he did in his old role. Because of this he is struggling to pay the bills and cover his half of the mortgage of our marital home. I know he has accumulated quite a but of debt in the process too, which is an added stress for us both.

          Realistically, I could afford to cover the mortgage and the bills on my own, but he would struggle to find somewhere himself until he is settled into his new role and is earning a full wage again. So financially, I’m a bit stuffed until then.

          The good thing is, the time living by myself has forced me to practice a huge amount of self-compassion, and that in itself proves to be quite empowering. I have more confidence in myself in setting strong boundaries (something I struggled with in close relationships prior to this happening). I do think, if I did return, I would be able to leave again very easily IF things didn’t work out. I am also wondering if couples counselling with Lou would help?

          Anyway, that’s where we are. It’s still almost 2 months before I am due back and a lot can change in that time.

          I hope things are proving a little better for yourself with your own situation. Sending a big hug back, Elizabeth xx

    • #4592
      Christie BiggersChristie Biggers

      Hi all! I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found this site. My name is Christie and I’m a 43 year old wife, mom, accountant, nerd, and plant parent from the Charlotte, NC area of USA. Alcoholism has been a part of my life since the very beginning! Both of my parents are alcoholics/drug addicts. My mother abandoned us pretty early on and my father still battles his alcoholism… I grew up in and out of foster care as my father was in and out of treatment facilities and 28-day rehabilitation programs. Eventually, things got so bad the state declared my father unfit for parenting so I was passed around until I finally set out on my own at 16. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the man I fell in love with and married almost 9 years ago is also an alcoholic. Just as my father was always my favorite human in the entire world… yet, also the one who damaged me beyond belief – I am in a marriage that is constructed almost identically. I was quite literally born and raised to be an alcoholic’s wife – I am a fixer and a secret-keeper because I was raised to be, so it’s made alcoholism all that much easier for my husband.

      Anyway, I’m here to accomplish two tasks… I want to work on my own personal healing. The systemic trauma of growing up the way I did has made me a superior survivor but pretty terrible at living. And I also want to give my marriage every effort that I can to work.

      Truly humbled and honored to meet each and every one of you.


    • #4594
      Elizabeth DLillyB

      Hi Christie

      Welcome to the group and thank you for sharing so openly your story so far. I’m sure John would be able to share far more knowledge on this front (being a clinical Psychologist), but I think we often walk into adulthood seeking out relationships that mirror the ones we grew up with. Even if we do so unintentionally. It’s what we have grown up with, what we have been conditioned to, and I suppose it’s also what our nervous system is used to coping with (or attempting to cope with at least).

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a turbulent life so far. I can’t imagine how that must have been for you. You’ve definitely come to the right place. John and Lou are amazing and everyone here appears to be navigating similar things. Sometimes, it’s just a comfort to read other peoples stories, and know you aren’t alone.

      My biggest bit advice to you is to start looking after YOU. Start putting yourself first. You more than anyone else deserves it. I too kept my husbands drinking issues secret from my friends, family and colleagues and it was only after having one-to-one sessions with John that I found the courage to start to begin to be open about it for the first time in my life. Looking back now, almost two years on from my first session with John, I realise it was only then that my own healing began to happen.

      You can learn to love you. You can begin to heal. It takes courage and determination, and sometimes it isn’t easy, but you can get there.

      Surround yourself with people who can support you. People that bring you joy. Do things that speak to your soul. Even if you do them on your own! Take time out to nurture yourself, to rest and recoup.

      The moment I let go of the need to ‘fix’ or ‘heal’ my husband, was the same moment I started to understand I deserved to be in a relationship that supported my needs as much as it supported my husbands needs. Being married to an alcoholic is very one-sided, as partners we put our needs aside again and again. We feel bad because we know deep down they are good people, or they love us, or we hang on to the hope that ‘someday’ they will sort themselves and everything will work out just fine. Our desire for them to get better is often stronger than the desire for our needs to be met. We may feel financially stuck without them. Or there are kids involved. It can be SO complex.

      But deep down, despite all of that, we know we deserve to be happy.


      Wishing all the courage in the world in order to get to that place Christie.

      Big hugs from across the pond (UK)
      Elizabeth x

    • #4614
      Julie JohnstoneJulie Johnstone

      Hi, I’ve just joined yesterday. I realised that my husband had been drinking secretly around 10 years ago. When he seemed odd or moody he would make an excuse. It didn’t occur to me that he was drunk.
      He was self employed 2 years ago he lost his conteact.It really escalated then and he tried in vain to get work.
      He currently has a delivery job and cleans at a school.
      He is unable to stay sober for more than a day or 2

    • #4615
      Julie JohnstoneJulie Johnstone

      Hi, I’ve just joined yesterday. I realised that my husband had been drinking secretly around 10 years ago. When he seemed odd or moody he would make an excuse. It didn’t occur to me that he was drunk. It was a relief to read in Ben’s intro that he feels silly for not realising. I feel soooo stupid.

      He was self employed 2 years ago he lost his conteact.It really escalated then and he tried in vain to get work.
      He currently has a delivery job and cleans at a school.
      He is unable to stay sober for more than a day or 2. He lies about the drinking. My son’s relationship, or non- relationship really, has been badly affected. He is 15 now and will message me when he gets in from school if ‘dad is being odd’. Neither of us know what the situation will be like when we get home. Home is no longer a comfortable place and I have lost all trust in my husband.

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