Friday, March 16, 2007

The alcoholic love relationship

I've heard it said over and over that co-dependents, especially those who had alcoholic parents, are attracted to alcoholics. If I'm any proof of that, then it must be correct because I grew up with a father who drank and I married an alcoholic. I also have a close friendship with an alcoholic. What is it about the alcoholic that is so attractive?

With my father, I tried to please him. I did this in all kinds of ways--getting good grades, graduating at the top of my class, being Phi Beta Kappa, and other things ad nauseum. He criticized me and my resentment would build but I would keep trying to please. When I was a kid, I accepted the criticism with hurt. When I became a teenager I got tired of the orders and the criticism. I would be angry and if pushed enough, would lash out. Otherwise, I tried to avoid him.

When I married, I thought that I had found a person who was troubled but I found that very exciting. I was willing to accept unacceptable behavior. I thought that by loving this person enough, I could make changes occur. Maybe what I was thinking was that I could somehow make it right this time since I was unable to change my dad. Whatever the reason, I married for all the wrong ones. My SO was the life of the party, until the alcoholic personality came to light. Then, the depressed angry drunk emerged. No amount of love ever changed that. In my years of marriage, I've tried just about everything except getting out. I've thought about that but instead I internalized my anger and stifled the love that I had. Gradually over these years, I fell out of love with the alcoholic. I love this person as one would love something that once was shiny and new but now has dulled with age. You remember when it was shiny and new and wish that it could be like that again. But, you know that it's worn out and you can't make it new again no matter how hard you try. That's the way I've felt for a long time. I've craved something that I've missed and used to have.

What I've come to realize is that love doesn't have to be like what I've experienced. If you love someone, then you are willing to be vulnerable but not willing to accept unacceptable behavior. You take care of yourself and speak up about your discomfort or concerns. You keep the communication flowing. You are honest and trusting. No relationship is ever going to be perfect or smooth. Crises will occur because that's the way life is. But it's okay to detach in a loving way if you feel manipulated. Al-Anon is providing me with the tools to better understand the alcoholics in my life. I'm not sure where my marriage is heading but at least we both talk now and admit when we've done something hurtful. We don't go to bed angry. We both are much easier to be around. The irritability with us seems to be lessening. My need to control anyone's behavior has ebbed until it's hardly a trickle.

It's ironic how that things have improved so much, yet I'm not sure that I want to be married anymore. I think about being on a boat by myself and doing the things that I like to do without discussion or consideration of anyone else. Maybe this is what recovery does---it makes you happy being in your own skin. It makes me realize that I've spent a long time making others happy and what I now want to do is make myself happy.


  1. I am an alcoholic, raised by 2 alcoholics, and I really really LOVE alcoholics. But sober ones are the only tolerable ones... and then only barely so!

  2. your post has brought up some thoughts that I'd rather not think about ( ya know what I mean ...) My sponsor says maybe I think too maybe I'll just "feel" today.

    thanks for the guidance in your words

  3. I saw this post on the carnival...I am an alcoholic, my dad was an alcoholic and my mon the CODA- I can relate to the feelings of always wanting to be 'good' enough, and yet I always failed miserably. I too was attracted to alcoholics in the hopes that 'this time would be different'! Today I am clean and sober, I am not a hostage and I don't take them any more either!
    I really appreciate your honesty and insight!

  4. Alcohol has killed many lives.It will even turn their lives to different path,which has happened to you. Peoples can be cured if some rehab programs are conducted.Hence your love towards alcohol is stupid thing.
    Alcohol abuse affects millions. This site has a lot of useful information.
    Alcohol Abuse

  5. Now a days lot of people are addicted to alcohol.This is the best example why they are addicted to alcohol.Here he has a problem in childhood that he saw his father while drinking.and he is at teenage he has a depression about studies or other matters.This time also he want to drink.Alcohol reduces the depression and tension.But it is dangerous to health.



    Alcoholism Treatment

  6. I could have wrote this post..

    We wanted to fix what we had no control to do so as children.

    We feel restless when dating so-called NORMAL people because our first COUPLE that we observed was in this Off-balanced Emotional Relationship.

    I see this clearly now. And I went from one to the next and did not understand why. I do now at 47. I'm being very careful who I date now. I really think all the GOOD ONES on in Solid Marriages; and most of the SINGLE men or Divorce Men have issues they did not concentrate on and fixing. They date when NOT yet that I'm much more WHOLE.. wow, I see the signs; and NO THANKS.

    I'm NOT give up. Maybe I'll meet a Widow who had a great marriage and wants another great marriage.. (lol); but the divorce men are too JADED; or still have ISSUES. (but I did too.. my issues were trying to fix them). NO thanks to that now. :)

    I rather be ALONE Serenely than be in another Codie relationship.

    I am not giving up. I'm exercising each day; (for my health--but yes, to look good for my age too). :). So if I do meet a nice man that takes care of his MIND * SOUL *BODY.. than I'll be in the same state too. Healthy all 3 ways.. and Youthful and HAPPY ..

    But it is actually true.. I'm HAPPY being Single too now. It is so peaceful not being in a relationship where I have to deal with issues..

    Even seeing my daughter at almost 23; she is drinking way less but has so many ISMS. It is just not peaceful around her. I want to live full of Grace now..

    I'm avoiding doing service that involves with members not working the program.. just want to vent and stay stuck. It is a Downer; and I don't feel guilty (codie); like I would have before. I'm learning it is okay to want to be around more healthy people. I'm not a therapist getting paid to deal with their issues. (the ones I do still talk to are working the program.)

  7. i find alcaholics really attractive also, i seem to really find drunk men really sexy and i don't know why i just want to be like everyone else

  8. Thank you. I have been googling, looking for some comfort. I am on my way now, your post hit me in just the spot where there the pain bubbled up. It's my first step in healing.

    much love to you

  9. I have always loved alcoholic men. I love one now. I am best friends With a recovering alcoholic who used to be my boyfriend. Codependent and on a wild roller coaster ride. :/

  10. I'm on the ride too. I didn't understand al-non at first but now I do. The other thing is i'm a recovering alcoholic myself. I too have been the control master of the ride. I guess I'm a double winner.

  11. I ran into my high school sweet heart after 20 started daing and i love him more noe than i ever loved any man in my life but hes an alcoholic. he gets mean and says hurtful things. He keeps asking me to help me but i dont know how!

  12. I love him more than should be humanly possible. This feels true, and we've dated on and off for ten years. He's a drunk, just like my dad. But I feel like subscribing to something such as Alanon is... weak-minded. At the same time, my love for him is killing me. I will never be more important than the bars, which is where he heads every day after work and at noon on weekends. When I have become angry about this, and tried to express it, he accuses me of not loving him and always 'starting shit.' He suggests that I 'think out of the box,' 'live and let live.' He reminds me that we don't want to have a 'normal' life, we are musicians, we see a better way, and I agree. Seeing it this way, I then apologized and hate myself for beings so silly. I feel like I'm loosing my mind, constantly seeing it in two different ways. Love the crazy mad passionate drunk, or see the drinking as a problem that will continue to destroy who I am.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.