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I'm not sure what is expected of me or what I'm supposed to be doing or not doing anymore.

I learned about five months ago, after much suspicion, that my common law wife is an alcoholic.  After numerous weird arguments, irrational behaviour, and her not being present (consciously) after 3:00 pm, she admitted to me what she was hiding.  This all came out September of 2020.   She spoke to her doctor, and started therapy and various AA and support groups.  So many hidden bottles around the house - it was amazing what I found.   

What hurt the most was being lied to - and we talked at length about that.  To avoid a lengthy read here, those lies (and trust breaking) happened three more times over the the months.  I would find bottles stashed, bottles of Vodka that would end up having MORE in them over time (she was filling them back up with water), all sorts of sneaky things.  Each time I would confront her, she would lie to my face only for me to show her the proof and then crying, begging, pleading I don't leave - how much she loves me and hates herself for doing this to me.  

After what she was telling me was over two months sober, two weeks ago I started seeing glimpses of the same old person starting strange arguments and being glossy eyed again.  Swearing to me she wasn't drinking - I discovered a few bottles of wine and rum that she was drinking.  Welcome back to the same conversation again - crying, pleading for me not to leave, how much she loves me.  

She understands that being lied to ruins the relationship for me - that severe damage has been done and I'm done listening to words.  The family has all gotten involved, there are no secrets to anyone anymore - and I have very clearly said that I'm done if there is even one more time I'm lied to.  That she has to learn to stop keeping secrets, stop the games, stop lying - to herself and to me.  

We're slowly working through things, but there have been other behaviours that made me question things over the years.  One of those things is her appetite and how she can eat, easily, three times as much as I do in a sitting.  She sneaks off and eats entire boxes of cereal, entire bags of chips, etc.   She's 37, five foot nine and 110lbs.  How is that even possible - unless....?   And yes, watching her more closely I see her gorge herself and eat a whole box of cereal....then minutes later upstairs, into the bathroom.   I hear the toilet flush three or four times and then she returns to us.   😞

I confronted her about these suspicions I had this morning, and she told me that she had been purging on/off since she was a kid.  It finally explains why she is not putting on weight at all, and NEEDS TO!!!  

Last week we decided that she would take a few months off work and focus on herself.  Attend groups, therapy, concentrate on getting herself sorted out.  I'm trying to be supportive but it's not easy - when I keep being left in the dark with everything and lied to about what's really going on.   

I'm serious when I told her that if there's just one more time, one more time of games and lies and deceit that I will of course not just walk out and desert her - but the relationship, as far as a partnership together will be over.   In the last year and a half, she's come forward with being an alcoholic, bulemic, and become a chain smoker.  I can't help but fear "what next??".  

So here I sit - working my arse off to keep things afloat, support us all and support her as best I can through this.

Yes I love her, and I care about her, but I can't help but feel scared, lost and confused myself.  I honest wonder, and I've told her this a couple times, if my being around is the problem!  Maybe she needs to lose the kids (they go to her Ex full time), lose me, lose her job before she puts a valid effort into fixing things in her life?!?  All I know right now is if I'm lied to one more time, I won't be ble to take it.  Our relationship is on thin ice as it is right now - and I'm hopeful that with her actions (not words) that trust can slowly be repaired and things begin to get better.   

Am I stupid to think that's even possible?  Am I just wasting my time???

Thank you

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1 hour ago, HockeyFan said:

I honest wonder, and I've told her this a couple times, if my being around is the problem!  Maybe she needs to lose the kids (they go to her Ex full time), lose me, lose her job before she puts a valid effort into fixing things in her life?!?  All I know right now is if I'm lied to one more time, I won't be ble to take it

Sorry for you having to experience all of this.. and were not aware..  of even her drinking? 😞 

YOU need help as well , I feel.  Dealing with an alcoholic is one thing.. but she's also bulemic.

Many things can contribute - BUT both are a real issue & struggle to manage - for her.

It is NOT you.  Is alcoholism in her family? ( My first ex was an alcy. most of them drank), and sadly, each marriage fell apart.  Sooo hard to deal with someone like this.

They know what they are doing... so from your end.. you can maybe do some study on this.. read up, talk to friends, etc.. ( maybe even attend an AA meet with her - not sure how this works during pandemic?).

The real battle is within HER.

Only so much you can do... but, if she is a true alcoholic, this will be a forever battle 😞 .

You said her kids live with their father?  How long have you two been involved?

How much do you know of THEIR relationship past/ break up? ( just wondering if it was due to her issue?)

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Sorry to hear this. How long have you been together? Definitely her kids should be with the father. 

Unfortunately she seems like a candidate for in-patient treatment. Her problems are so severe that only a qualified detox/rehab facility can really address this.

The medical consequences and severity of alcoholism combined with a possible eating disorder shouldn't be underestimated. And those are only the things you are seeing.

What You can do is get support for yourself at Al-Anon. https://al-anon.org/newcomers/self-quiz/adult-quiz/

Your theory of "rock bottom" is correct, but you can insist she get into detox/rehab. Before she kills herself or someone on the street or you have major legal problems.

 

 

Edited by Wiseman2
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We've been together for four years now, her boys are from her previous marriage.  Long story short, she left him after she hired an investigator to look into his spending and activity and discovered he had a sex addiction and put them in terrible debt.   They have split custody of the kids.

Yes, there's a genetic factor at play with the alcoholism for sure - and I've had numerous talks with her mom about that.  Her grandfather was an alcoholic, and her mother is against alcohol altogother (now I know why).  She watched her mom/dad fight and how hard it was on her mother.   

I have a contact number with a support centre - which I'll be calling today/tomorrow for guidance.

 

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Thanks Wiseman2.  

I did attend an al-anon meeting last week, but won't be going back.  All 16 people in attendance were there, divorced or separated (having left the alcoholic) - and the overall message I received was that nothing will change, that I have to take care of myself.   

I'm not giving up on her just yet.  If that day was to come then yes, I would seek out Al-Anon if needed.

Right now I need to speak with someone about what I'm supposed to be doing and not doing.  She has already spoken with a few people today, to get help with both disorders.  Of course, the waiting list to get into any treatment centre is six months to a year.  She's on waiting lists.  

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I am the child of alcoholic parents.  Hidden bottles, drunken fights, lies, promises to stop and on and on were common growing up and common with most alcoholics.  She is not that much different than most in her stage of addiction.

  It isn't my job or yours to save her from this, sure you need to be supportive but you CANNOT enable her.  You cannot be her therapist, sponsor, jailer, conscious, coach, doctor, moral compass or savior.  You are in love with an alcoholic and you need to accept that she will always be an alcoholic no matter how long she goes without a drink, she is always at risk.  Her other demons make this even worse and I suspect are all symptoms of a core issue deep inside her and her past.  Until that is unearthed this will continue unfortunately. 

  What can you do?  Like you said letting her hit rock bottom sometimes is the only time some finally accept the real truth and stop kidding themselves.  So far it would appear that she has not accepted anything and is in damage control telling you and anyone else what she thinks you want to hear so you will not leave her.  Then it is back to drinking, smoking and binge eating.  Clearly these are all things to cover or medicate something out of her mind.  Letting someone you love hit rock bottom is tough but sometimes you have to save yourself and it sounds like you are close to that point.  What are the living arrangements?  Your house, renting, her house...

It sounds like she needs an in patient 30 day treatment to have any chance with any of this.  My father entered one and it was the most help he ever received.  Does she have health insurance that would cover that?

I have been where you are but as a child and then as a young man and it was hard to even think you just want to be away from all of it, just to want some peace and normalcy but the thoughts do come no matter how much you love them.  Don't feel like you would be abandoning her when she is down if she will not try and save herself.  This is a sickness, an addiction and it will tear you up without help.  Do what you can to pick her up but don't carry her, she needs to find the strength inside her.

  Keep posting and look into an inpatient facility near you.

  Lost 

Edited by lostandhurt
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Thank you, Lost. 

Yes, she has a lot of work ahead of her - and you're absolutely correct, it's not my job to do any/all of those things.  
Yes, we have insurance/coverage but right now there's a minimum one year waiting list to any rehabilitation centre we've contacted.   There are private ones available, at a price tag of 19k for a 30 day program.   

I've made an appointment with a recovery/support centre in our area - have an intake meeting scheduled for February 8th.  It's to discuss my situation and obtain support and guidance on what I should and should not be doing.  

As for her, she also has appointments set and talking to a few different people/groups.  

All I can do is believe her - again - that she wants to fix herself and get better.   All I can do is promise myself that I put my foot down and made it very clear that there can't be anymore lies and secrets.  If there is - if we revisit this topic again with her having lied to me about things, then our partnership will be over.  She instantly goes into crying mode, telling me she doesn't want to hear that and how it scares her.  I've told her to stop, when she starts into that routine - because we've been there a half dozen times already.  She understood (or so she said).

So I will talk with someone - and will watch and support her going down the recovery she needs to do.  Keep our fingers crossed.  I really have no clue at this point where things will end up.  I hate to think that there will be a 7th time of lies, excuses, changing stories then crying and admitting she made a mistake, and try to justify WHY she lied, deceived, etc.

 

 

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This is hard so take very good care of yourself.  Make sure you do not become her caretaker and ignore your needs.

It is very unfortunate that there are no openings and a wait list of a year.  This means she needs to really step up and go to as many AA meetings as possible, find some way to get into therapy and most importantly hold herself accountable.

 I see you both agreed that she should take time off work.  I would like you to revisit this idea as structure is very important for an addict.  Work becomes a responsibility that many will no shirk.  They will stay clean just because of it and at work many times their lives are in control and they feel like they have a purpose and are doing something worth while.  To much free time is an addicts biggest evil.  Please be aware.

  How is your support system?  Do you have family close by?  Friends?

  I can tell you I have been hopeful and believed more times than I can count because I wanted to believe them.  My father openly admitted eventually that he was an alcoholic and said the words out loud.  This made it real and also made lying and hiding bottles less important because it was now out in the open.  Has she said the words out loud "I am a alcoholic" and if so who was there?  Having her say those words in front of some of her family will make it real for all involved and will relieve her of the burden of all the lies.

  I hate that you have to give an ultimatum that if she lies again that you are gone but sometimes the addict needs to be more afraid of losing something than they are of not taking that drink they think they need so badly.  

  Keep posting, I will check back to this thread and help if I can.  Feel free to send me a private message as well anytime.

  Lost

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Thank you Lost. 

Yes, she has admitted to us all that she has a problem.  We had a facetime talk with her mom (who lives in Florida) and we all talked this out.  Times are tough for everyone right now - and we're struggling with all this, plus my work is quite demanding.  On top of that - we have the boys who are currently doing at home online learning.   Once they get back to school, yes, she will have all that spare time on her hands and we already discussed this at length.  It's one thing to not have the stresses of work on her shoulders while she sorts herself out - but if she spends an hour a day on herself and the other 13 hours watching Netflix, this isnt' going to work.

I honestly don't know what tomorrow will bring - how this will all play out.  She has been vigilant with attending meetings, telling me the changes she's making and laying out her schedule each day.  Today she showed me the list of things she is going to tackle -which is great - but I told her I'm not responsible for her and what she does.  I'm here to support her, because I love her, but I have my job and responsibilities and I'm not here to police that she stays on track.   

I have a solid support structure with friends and family, but it's professional guidance I'll be looking to so that I understand what I'm supposed to do and not do.  What enables her and what should I be doing (and not doing) through this?  Yes it's terrible that if there are more lies and games and deceit that I'm done....but for  my own well being I needed to have that out there once and for all.  

I know she's strong and able to get through this.  I can't say "well, if she does love me she will get through this" because apparently it doesn't work that way.  I don't know - I'm not an alcoholic and I'm not bulimic.  She knows my concerns with her health and well being, not to mention the cost of all the alcohol, cigarettes and food!  That's not the life I signed on for - and she knows that.  So what happens next.....what will things be like tomorrow or next week, I have no clue.  I can only hope for the best.

 

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Oh, phew!

But you know, I was reading through that last thread of yours, and I noticed that that other woman binged out on desserts at some point after an argument that you had.... Thought that was interesting in light of your current wife's bulimia.

Edited by Jibralta
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I forgot about that - but looking back at a lot of women I've met and dated, many had unhealthy ways of dealing with things.  The support groups my partner is attending (she attended one yesterday) - it's so sad seeing how many people there are that have that disorder.  It's something her and I talked a bit more about last night, after her meeting, as I too want to understand it better.   It's something she has done on and off since she was a teenager and for the first time now has admitted it to herself, and her mother and I.  Even just saying the word "bulimic" last night made her cringe but as we talked about - she has to own this and deal with it.  No more hiding from it and protecting it.  

There's a lot I don't undestand - but the main one is how for at least the last six months we've talked about she needs to put on some weight.  When she has put on a few pounds and we both notice, I grab her and kiss her and tell her how amazing she looks now and tell her she needs to put on more.  

 

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Sorry....posted before I finished. 🙂

So if she's hearing and getting nothing but positive feedback for putting on a few pounds - what makes her, the following week, binge and purge.  She binges because it helps her deal with her thoughts/feelings at that moment in time.  Then she feels guilty and shame so she purges.   But if she needs to put on weight still - why purge?  The shame trumps the need to keep that food in her to put on weight I guess. ??

We both have a lot to learn and figure out.  Routines and schedules need to change - for both of us.  For myself, I need to seek advice for these disorders and what I should be doing and not doing.  

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Oh ya, half of my degree is in pyschology and studied a lot about codependecy in abnormal psychology.  If you're suggesting I'm codependent, no - that's not the case.   But thank you for your suggestion.  

For almost four years my partner and I have been fantastic together.  Since Covid started and we're both working from home, around each other every day and all day, you can't hide things from each other anymore.  It was during this time I starting recognizing things and questioning them more.  

These disorders are hers and I'm here to get advice from those who have had experience with these disorders so I can learn more and protect myself.  It's not my responsiblity to fix her.   I'm supporting her the best way I can - but that's all I can do.  

Edited by HockeyFan
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On the one hand, you're aware that you can't 'police' an alcoholic with threats about lies, because an alcoholic can't promise themselves sober. And yet you pick lying as the thing to focus on?

That's like telling someone with a brain tumor that they'd better stay lucid, or else.

Plus she's bulimic.

The combo plate of trying to dry out without medical help, which of itself is really dangerous, plus the weakened state of her whole digestion system sets you up for an ambulance call for a blown out stomach. (Research this, it's common with alcoholism--one of the most dangerous drugs to try to detox yourself.)

So with your psychological training, what have you been taught about getting someone who admits that they need help into a facility that can give them that help?

You can't do this on your own. And neither can she.

Edited by catfeeder
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I have a lot of experience with this. Usually with alcoholism there is mental illness in the mix too. Manic (bi-polar), depression and OCD are common with addictive personalities. She needs more than AA, a sponsor and a loving partner. She needs to get herself into rehab and see a psychologist for the other issues. This is a life long commitment on her part. yes she will fall off the wagon many times...it's just part of the process of getting there.

Edited by smackie9
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7 hours ago, catfeeder said:

The combo plate of trying to dry out without medical help, which of itself is really dangerous, plus the weakened state of her whole digestion system sets you up for an ambulance call for a blown out stomach. (Research this, it's common with alcoholism--one of the most dangerous drugs to try to detox yourself.)

Something else to watch out for with alcohol withdrawal: heart attack. It happened to my friend's husband, who was a "functioning" alcoholic--he was able to hold down a good job and appear normal. He was only about 40 at the time, and in relatively good health. Not overweight. It happened to him while he was at work, about to go on a business trip. He lived, but it was scary for everyone.

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Yikes, okay - firstly:  I spent a few years studying Psychology in University, and as much as I did learn I'm by no means qualified to "fix" anybody.  I was simply responding to Jibralta regarding my understanding of codependence.    Secondly:  "it's like telling someone with a brain tumour to stay lucid..." - statements like that aren't helping anybody.  As much as I understand that my partners disorders are a disease, it's very different from a physical tumour growing in her brain.  Please.....

People will often only change and get the help they really need if and when they hit rock bottom.  Rock bottom for her will be to lose me, her kids, the house, her job - which is what we're all doing our best to avoid.  She's in the process of seeking medical help, and therapy, and support groups - she's doing the work and posting here is one of the many things I'm doing to help myself.  To better understand the things I should be doing, and not be doing, from those of you on here who either have that experience or have gone through it themselves.  

Thank you for your posts/comments - this is a very new learning experience for me and reading your posts is only one of about five things I'm doing currently to just help myself through this.  My partner has her own path to walk - and I'm here to support her the best I can.  She's off now to do groceries - and as I explained to her before she left, I can't police her and watch everything she's doing and buying.   Sure I could have her show me her bank statements, receipts, whatever - but truth is, if she's going to drink she's going to drink.  

Sure I'll probably be lied to again.  Sure she'll most likley relapse.   I've even had her ask me "so what if I drink then come to you after and tell you I drank - will you still leave me?".  I mean, she's already reasoning with herself and planning for what could happen based on her choices.  I know she's sick, I know she's got a rough difficult road ahead.  

I am not her psychologist, doctor, therapist, whatever....so regardless of what I've studied or learned in my life so far, i'm not qualified nor responsible for fixing her.  I'm here to support her, because I love her - and it's tearing me apart inside to be lied to and watching her make the decisions she does.  I would like to believe that the threat of me leaving will help - but it probably won't.  What will happen when she does slip - I have no clue.  These are all things I'm reading about, researching, speaking to professionals about.  

 

 

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One major thing I'm confused regarding what to do is regarding our living situation and finances.  We have separate accounts, I e-transfer he money every two weeks to help pay for bills and groceries....I also look after certain bills, buy groceries and look after house costs.   Part of the reason how these disorders came to light was looking at the money she's making/spending every month on top of the money I'm transferring her.  Her credit cards and credit line were maxed and yet according to the household budget she should have no debt and be sitting pretty.   

Well of course not - between cigarettes, alcohol and the grocery bill of her eating/purging excessive amounts of food - that's where her money has gone.

So I'm trying to figure out what to change, to keep me and my mind at ease.   I keep transferring money to her towards bills and she's using it to buy alcohol and cigarettes.  So do I take control of all house bills and stop transfering her money at all?  I mean, she's now on disability with work and taking time off, so she'll have even less money to work with.  Am I supposed to take control of everything and give her an allowance?  I mean, really, that's just policiing.   

So right now, because I can't control if she's actually out doing groceries right now or sitting int he parking lot drinking somewhere.....and I'm not going to monitor her spending and activities....what do I do, and how do I do it, in order to keep my mind at ease and not worry/stress about enabling her by still giving her money every two weeks.  

 

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59 minutes ago, HockeyFan said:

what do I do, and how do I do it, in order to keep my mind at ease and not worry/stress about enabling her by still giving her money every two weeks.  

I think you should line up your own finances, and draft an exit plan to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Who's going to have to move out if that happens? 

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It would definitely be me moving - I wouldn't uproot her and the boys.  There would be a lot of things to sort out, with her mom (who would be the one looking after a lot of things....who lives far far away from here....) *sigh*.  Situation with her and I, her and the boys, her ex and her (and the boys), etc....

 

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