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Started by GreenFuture on Aug 6, 2018 12:14:48 AM
Living with an alcoholic (other substances count too)

See post 1.

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GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:14:59 (#1 of 61)

In spring I moved out of my old abode while it went up for sale. it’s co owned with my ex. She’ll get most of the money by agreement, but I’ll have more than enough for a fresh start, including renting somewhere.

We have a buyer, but it’s dragging out in the nature of these things. In the meantime I started lodging with a mate. Her partner (some 20 years older) also lives there, it’s not a sexual relationship at this point. There is love between them but it’s strained. He has the sort of cancer that could take him out soon or not for many years. I like the area and I like them, other things being equal, which they aint.

I knew she was a bit of a soak before I moved in but had no idea of the scale. She also turned out to be a smack fiend (not intravenous). She has managed to stop the latter but she is pretty much a perma-drunk. She used to have highly successful careers and is very intelligent (too much so for her own good in the circs really).

She hasn’t worked for many years and is very isolated, has PTSD coming out the ears for a bunch of reasons that’s easy to sympathise with.

But Christ is she indulgent, self-hating, loud, repetitive, melodramatic, risk / attention seeking and a bunch of other things that are just exhausting to be around.

She treats me as some kind of substitute therapist (I have modest training and experience in wellbeing / counselling). Her glorified name-dropping anecdotes about her past and naval gazing about her present are endless. Everything seems to need to be so INTENSE. She’s “talking” to him now about politics (she’s very well up on it and politically sound, used to be a councillor). But she aint talking, she’s shouting and stamping around.

Her surface emotions and thoughts are little to do with what’s going on really, what’s really going on is that she’s pissed.

I’m in recovery from drugs myself (5 year, congrats warmly accepted) and this again is something she looks to me for. I’m quite 12 steppy and she came to meetings for a while, was clean / sober for a few weeks at one point but that was a while back. I dont evangelise to her re 12 steps.

I worry I’m enabling her. I can’ leave for probably at least a couple of months. I feel like I need supervision after talking to her (maybe that’s what this thread is about lol).

It’s become really draining and I’m loathe to direct her, confront her or (from the other side of things) mollycoddle / try to “fix” her. I do “empathically challenge” in a counsellor kinda way but it aint my job.

My boundaries were good for a while but now it’s really starting to wind me up.

I know this folder can’t fix the problem but I’m interested in similar experiences and how people coped. Thanks for reading and thoughts.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 00:22:17 (#2 of 61)

I guess something to decide is between (A) I just want the noise and other behaviours that personally reduce my enjoyment of living in this space to stop and (B) I genuinely want to help.

If you just want A then you could conceivably take a more straightforward parental approach. Along the lines of, probably when she's sober to start, telling her the behaviours that bother you and why and leaving aside the causes of them.

But it would depend on the set-up. For example, if they're letting you stay there for a while broadly as a favour, then you're unlikely to get much traction for obvious reasons. If you're bringing in much needed money then you can assert that as a tenant you have reasonable expectations on what sort of life you can have in the place.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 00:24:21 (#3 of 61)

Also, do you have at least a vague idea of how long you'll be living there?

If you know there's a definite end point on the horizon, you can grit your teeth or maybe even find some humour in it. If it helps, you could keep a kinda "prison diary" for yourself. Aim to make it funny.

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:25:50 (#4 of 61)

Thanks Xbod. I pay modest rent which she finds useful so it's not extreme on either side of that spectrum.

I'm grateful and she is grateful for my presence.

It started out as B, though I knew the potential to help was limited. It's become more like A for sure. I think I've shifted to being more parental and stand offish.

Stellata - 06 Aug 2018 00:26:21 (#5 of 61)

If you want to continue with the friendship I think you have to find alternative lodgings, quite simply. A situation like that just isn’t sustainable.

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:26:45 (#6 of 61)

yes xbod. There is an endpoint (prob autumn) and teeth-grit is a major option. The prison diary might even grace this very parish.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 00:28:20 (#7 of 61)

I can certainly apprehend that putting up with it in this heat might compound the woes.

You may be able to mitigate things by, for example, watching your TV (assuming you have one in your room, rather than the only TV being in the communal space) with headphones on. But perhaps she's in the habit of knocking on your door for chats and the like?

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:28:39 (#8 of 61)

Stella, at this point I aint too arsed about the friendship. We weren't exactly bosom buddies. I was a bit opportunist knowing she had a spare room and that previous lodgers had been a nightmare so she'd be ok with me. I needed somewhere at short notice. I cant afford another move prior to the main move when I get some fairly serious money.

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:29:53 (#9 of 61)

Funnily enough xbod, she's increased the "knocking on door for chat" thing in recent days.

I do keep myself to myself a fair bit but one problem is funnily that her company can be very good in smallish doses.

TRaney - 06 Aug 2018 00:31:49 (#10 of 61)

There's clearly a sexual tension that cannot hold

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 00:33:11 (#11 of 61)

That's a bit difficult then. Because without meaning to or doing anything wrong, she is probably in a "I'm getting mixed signals" state of mind: ie, that you respond positively to her because you like her but then at other times you're exhausted.

To be completely clear: the term "mixed signals" is often associated with nascent romantic involvements and that's absolutely not what I'm meaning here. I'm talking about a situation where it seems boundaries are needed and I guess it's going to be hard to set those with a chaotic person.

Trust TRaney to post that while I'm in mid-post.

kiwizoidberg - 06 Aug 2018 00:38:52 (#12 of 61)

Congrats on 5 years sober, GF. Sounds like you already have an exit plan, I think you should speed it up if possible. You have enough shit of your own to deal with without taking on extra baggage. It's not selfish, it's just taking care of yourself first.

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:39:17 (#13 of 61)

I'm not especially attracted to her. Much less so for her being in active addiction.

She actually propositioned me from Sicily over Easter. She was on a holiday with him, his daughter and her boyfriend.

She was rattling from smack and phoning me every night pissed out of her mind. I didn't always take the call. I was very blunt with her about that.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 00:40:32 (#14 of 61)

You moved in after Easter?

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:41:32 (#15 of 61)

Thanks kiwizoidberg. Once I have the money I can go when I like, but I'll believe it when I see it with flat sales being what they are. Till then I really can't. I certainly have loads of my own shit to deal with but won't get into that here.

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 00:41:46 (#16 of 61)

I moved in around March.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 01:04:44 (#17 of 61)

OK, so you knew how she felt (or is at least capable of feeling when the mood takes her).

I would start to bias my response more towards the "gritted teeth" side then. You knew to a large degree what you were taking on. You didn't realise quite how bad it could get. However, you're getting a partially good deal out of it (I say that because it sounds like any other kind of living arrangement would be too much of a financial burden).

So it seems to me a kind of "rough with the smooth" scenario.

This doesn't mean you can't improve matters, though.

Which comment may make it sound like I'm fizzing with ideas but I'm not. But it's all about boundaries, so maybe something comprehensible like having a "do not disturb sign" you can sometimes put on your door meaning you're not up for a chat and things like that.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 01:06:33 (#18 of 61)

Oh hang on! Sorry, got it arse about tit, didn't I? You moved in before Easter. Ugh.

GreenFuture - 06 Aug 2018 01:56:02 (#19 of 61)

LOL - still good advice though. I am taking the rough with the smooth and need to take more responsibility for staying out of her way when I can't deal with her.

She's taken to being very apologetic round me, but that's kind of permission to re engage when I say she doesn't have to be apologetic (which she doesn't). It's needy as fuck.

Yeah she did proposition me but I think it was "any port in a storm" level really. The last thing she needs is a relationship with me and vice versa, that's before taking addiction issues or her actual partner into account.

xbod72 - 06 Aug 2018 02:06:46 (#20 of 61)

Any repetitive behaviour can be trying, however, consider how you would feel if she was entirely unapologetic :)

Are her apologies mainly centred around the drinking and the associated behaviours, though? Or do you feel her apologies are basically missing the whole point?

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