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how to help an alcoholic
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how to help an alcoholic

I am almost 60 and very content with my life.  However, I have been dating this man who i have fallen in love with.  He is an alcoholic and starts drinking when he wakes up and drinks all day.  He is never abusive but suffers from self-esteem and mistrust.  He has been married 4 times and in the past 20 years has lived alone - drinking.  He knows he has a drinking problem but has not agreed to treatment.  He says he loves me more than anyone in his life and wants to share a home with me.  

I would like to live with him but realize what I am getting into ....please - what should i do.  Is it wrong for me to say - you can come and visit but with no alcohol?  Is it wrong for me not to permit alcohol in the home.  He drinks rum and coke all day - please help.

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455167_tn?1259261471
hi there. from your description, it's safe to say he's an alcoholic. if he is not ready to stop, there's likely nothing you could say or do to convince him to. however, i will tell you of an exception to the rule. my grandfather had a drinking problem from before i was born until my childhood. he and my grandmother had divorced before i came along. but when i was around 7 or 8, he met another woman who was wonderful for him, and they fell in love. they married and to my knowledge he never touched another drop through the day he passed away. so occasionally, it does work out that way, but not often.

with that being said, if you intend to pursue this, you are putting yourself in the middle of what may easily become unpredictable if it isn't already. additionally, chronic, long term alcohol abuse usually doesn't claim fatalities in a neat, concise demise. things like pancreatitis, liver disease, and a multitude of related cancers are the typical outcomes. these are very slow and agonizing ways to die (i watched my father die this way), and there are other conditions such as wernicke-korsakoff syndrome (aka 'wet brain'), that turn the brain into atrophied tissue. you stated that he has been married 4 times---do you have any insight as to why? it is entirely up to you as far as allowing alcohol in your home, but i can about guarantee as long as he's actively drinking, you won't be able to have him around without the booze. when someone drinks for a long time, they go into withdrawal if they stop which can result in seizures, psychosis and even death from cardiac arrest. when an active alcoholic says they 'need' a drink, they are often not being overly dramatic. i've been in that position hundreds of times and there is no worse feeling----the mind body and soul scream for alcohol like a drowning man struggling for air.

one thing you could do to help would be to attend some al-anon meetings yourself. they are for people close to those with chemical dependencies, and they can provide some very good practical suggestions for dealing with such situations. they will also help you to be ready if and when he decides to get some help.

this can be a tough road you have stepped onto, and i really can't give you any more of an opinion than the facts of my experience. i hope some of this helps and keep posting. take care,  gm
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372900_tn?1315515902
Alcoholics are very unpredictable.  Just because he's not abusive now doesn't mean he won't be in the future.  Remember, he's been married 4 times.  There's a reason why.  And I'm betting it wasn't just because he drinks but because of what the drink did to him and others.  You can't help someone who doesn't want to help himself.  Chances are he will continue to be an alcoholic until he dies, wants help or something happens (health issues force him to stop, accident, etc.)

I personally wouldn't move in with him for the simple fact that he may become abusive or he may start to mooch off of you, causing even bigger problems.  If he comes to visit you you have every right to not allow alcohol in your house and that's exactly what I would do.  But please take care of yourself first.  I come from a family of alcoholics and I see what it has done to so many of those I love.  It's not pretty.  Good luck.
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