please explain alcoholism/alcohol dependency

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I'd rather be a Cat.
Hi all.

As you may or may not know my partner is what I class as an alcoholic or alcohol dependant and has been for 30 odd years.

Hes a good man that works hard, he's a builder specialising in stone masonry. He goes to work, then goes to the pub and will drink till he has had his fill, then he goes to his house eats maybe, sleeps and repeats.

He doesn't see a problem with his drinking so I have had to not see a problem with it too, I just let him do it. We don't live together any more so that makes it easier for me to distance myself from the drunk. But I worry about the sober him, his health both mentally and physically, I know why I get hammered and it's not cos I'm happy haha, I also know booze is more addictive than most drugs!
I've been to ala-non meetings and they talk about disassociation ( I think that's the word) but I need more help with that and the meetings arnt the right place for me to get it.

So my question firstly is please could I have first hand explanations of what it's like to be into a drinking pattern, what mind set are you in etc etc.

The second is how do I live with this lovely man in my life who I adore without worrying myself to death.

Please don't say leave him, I'm not here for relationship advice as our relationship is the way we like it, bar the booze hehe. Thanks in advance SF family. ❤


SF Supporter
So my question firstly is please could I have first hand explanations of what it's like to be into a drinking pattern, what mind set are you in etc etc
Well I can do this first one but not sure about the second. I will say this pattern is sooo common and has been for a long time. At least one of my grandfathers was the same and various fathers of my partners.

I started drinking regularly at around 16-17yo. I’m not just talking on weekends at parties (though that’s when it was heaviest), I’m talking at home, alone, at night. I snuck wine from the supply my parents always kept in the fridge. It helped me feel “normal” and get to sleep. Fast forward to my 30s, post-divorce.. I drank white wine every night until I passed-out or close to it. I made sure that cask of wine always had enough in it to get me good and wasted. I managed to hold off until 6pm but from then it was glass after glass (mixed with soda water, just because I liked the mix). At that point in my life it was a bit of a non-stop party because I had several young housemates. So the drinking was a bit of a joke — we used to impersonate Absolutely Fabulous a lot heh.

A few years later I switched to beer. The drinking started happening around the clock and it was to numb the pain I was feeling. I mean it always was, but this was worse. Like the wine casks, my beer supply was a big priority. One of my most shameful memories is waiting for the bottle-shop to open on a Sunday morning with my young daughter in tow. That still upsets me to think about.

For me the mindset was that alcohol was just imperative to getting by. It had to be there to settle the intense anxiety when I woke up, even if it was 6am. Then I ended up back in hospital (yeah, I was drinking heavily after one bout of acute pancreatitis). That episode was worse and I spent a week in ICU knocked out on morphine and who knows what else. Then two more weeks in hospital. I coped pretty well while I was in there and even felt good, but the “work” started when I left. I felt absolutely raw and unable to function. I had to make lists with the most basic tasks.

I went to AA at least a couple nights a week and it helped, but I never got right into it. I used other sedatives to take the edge off but compared to alcohol they didn’t do much. I relapsed a lot because I didn’t have a stable, safe (non-drinking) environment to live in. When I finally got my own place it did get easier to stay sober and gradually I stopped wanting it all the time. Then by some (what felt like) miracle I found myself not thinking about it for days at a time. That was 2010 and I went without a single drink between 2011 and 2013. Now if my anxiety is ok I hardly think about it apart from when I walk past the bottleshop. Even then it’s not much temptation.

So that’s my story with alcohol thus far. I always say the pancreatitis was a blessing-in-disguise because it was a slap in the face relatively early on. There’s a saying at AA that “your worst day sober is better than your best day drunk”.. I’m not sure about that haha, but I really do value my sobriety.

Cheers :rolleyes:

Innocent Forever

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
For me using anything was to escape reality because reality is hard to deal with. But it gets to a point that it's not a choice.
I don't know him at all. I know that surprisingly I never became physically dependent on anything. When a person is physically addicted/dependent they'd need physical help to get off it (or they can try but the withdrawal can kill someone, not saying no one's done it before).
Living with someone using is about accepting them as they are, not helping them, letting them live their own life for you can never ever change them. and what they do isn't your responsibility.
Unfortunately I don't see how you can live with someone and not worry about them... I don't know if what he's doing is risky or not, but caring about someone means worrying about them. So long as your worry doesn't go overboard....
Not sure if I'm making sense....
Sending hugs your way


I'd rather be a Cat.
Thanks for the info :)

I can't try and change him there's no point, nor can I help anyone unless they need help. But how do I disconnect like they say to at alanon? I seem to be doing good then I'm not hehe or maybe I am doing good and don't give myself enough credit, I think maybe it gets to me more when I'm letting my partner do his thing in the pub (he doesn't drink anywhere else) and he says he misses me cos I'm not at the pub which I feel guilty about hehe. Silly me.


Owner Emeritus
I have a different perspective on alcoholism/alcohol dependency. First off, there is a dramatic difference between a "functional alcoholic" which is what you seem to be describing, and somebody that has passed that point into "nothing else matters". I have my sister-in-law as a reference for this, so I am only speaking as the person that is the observer, not the drinker. She spent many years as a very high functioning alcoholic. She had a decent job, made reasonable money, was a good enough mother by all appearances as she cooked/cleaned and took care of house, cared for children, all while working full time job - even took care of herself and her appearance. If you did not know the amount she drank and that it was every day- starting at lunch time at work - nobody would say she had a "problem". They hosted the Christmas party for the family every year and one or 2 big barbecues each summer for lots of friends family, really looked like all was really good with them and her.

Over the years she became slightly less social, the cookouts disappeared, she was not around / available on weekends, would send a card but stopped bringing her kids to the cousins birthday parties and stuff - explained tired, had lots to do - and all seemed understandable given her schedule. Then the place she worked at went out of business, and she did not have a job. She got fired from several jobs in a row in short order, the school called an emergency contact when she showed up to pick up her son visibly intoxicated at 11 am when he was sick at school, she stopped returning calls.

Her husband called my wife out of desperation and said that had been a complete drunk for over a year- tried to get her to quit but found empty vodka bottles all over the house all the time and she was spending all their money drinking and not paying bills, etc. , etc.. it continued downward for 2 years until was divorced, had only supervised visits with kids, she moved in with us when we agreed to that as terms of bail from her 2nd DUI in 7 months. We helped her go to rehab 2 times at very nice good places, paying for the deductibles and co-pays for her, let her live with us for free. Stuff kept coming up missing, jewelry, etc, and would find empty bottles in the bushes around house, in back of cabinets in bathroom, bottom of trash.. it was literally surreal like a lifetime movie.

Every word she said was a lie, and she never stopped drinking. She got hit by a car crossing road while drunk but happened to be a commercial vehicle , and she got an attorney that got her a 200k settlement. She bought a small trailer and moved out. She was on 5 years probation from a 3rd DUI which was no drinking as a rule of probation and she actually hired an attorney to get it changed to jail for 12 months instead of probation, because could not stay sober and literally said would rather go to jail than stop drinking. The day she got out we got a call and had to drive her home from where she had passed out in bar. She died 6 years ago, a week before Christmas , having passed out in front of her porch on a snowy night that the temperature was well below freezing without so much as a jacket on.

I to this day do not know what caused the drinking to that extent or extreme, I do know she had every possible support from family and others. I know that the "functional alcoholic" worked fine for her - until she lost the job, and was explained by many that is the typical pattern- one real setback and functional changes into something else. But that setback, when already drinking that much changed functional alcoholic into something from a lifetime movie, and nothing we did fixed it until she died from drinking. Now, the only real regret is that when she was still the functional alcoholic , still managing to pull off doing it all plus drinking- then, just maybe then, rehab or the other stuff would have worked. It certainly did not after she turned that corner. But she was doing so well on everyday things until that point... So everybody ignored, didn't really say or make an issue of it.

I do not know why she never even wanted to stop drinking after she had lost everything to it. I cannot claim to really understand it t all. I know for a fact she wa snot "happy" the last few years, not ever. That much "depressant" every day makes thta an impossibility all by itself. I guess my only point is , yes, I would be very concerned, and I would suggest getting help - maybe AA doe snot work for you, but even with all the help in the world it dd not work for us, so I am dubious that getting some advice online will be enough to change anything. I hope it does , more than I could ever express. But I would try to get some real help. I do think the most important part- and the part we failed in totally in trying to help- we never were able to help enough to where she ever wanted to stop drinking, Obviously she said she did, claimed she had, etc many many times.

But the real truth is she never once decided for herself she really wanted to stop, or if she did , she never was able to follow through even for a short amount of time. Was completely sober after rehab, and went drinking the next day- spent a year in jail not drinking, and drank the night she got out, went through detox more times than can count at hospital after alcohol poisoning, but even when completely sober always chose to drink the first opportunity and worked hard to get herself that opportunity. I think that is where it has to start- honest desire on their part to stop drinking- otherwise is an impossible battle, and I do not know how to make somebody want to stop. I am sorry. I hope you find some answers and a real solution where we could not.

You said do not say to leave him, I will not. I will say in the end you can save yourself still and maybe that is the best you can hope for. With my sister -in-law words no longer mattered, claiming she cared and loved her children, her family etc- I am sure on some level she did. But never enough to stop- even for a while. In the end alcohol was the only thing that really mattered in her life and the only thing she cared about. I wish my wife would have distanced herself to spare a lot of pain in those last few years, at least then the good memories she had would not have been overshadowed by the nightmare at the end until the end. Your own future has to have some worth too.


SF Supporter
It’s one hell of an addiction. I was seeing a guy for a short time who developed a pancreatic cyst which they had to operate on in one of the big hospitals in the city ie. it was serious business. I picked him up from hospital and guess where he asked me to stop first? Yep, drive-through bottleshop.
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