Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm from London and I was in a long term relationship for over 17 years, then suddenly I got hurt at work and was put on pain medication, and I became addicted. It turned me into a zombie!!! I did not go out of my home for over five years.
My partner of 17 years eventually left me. I went through a detox from the narcotic. Even though withdrawal was very rough, it brought me back to the land of the living. I started going out, met a wonderful man and have been with him for about two years. Six months into our relationship, I moved into his home. He works hard, comes home right after work, and then cooks, cleans and such.
However, he is an alcoholic! I am as well, but I am 12 years sober. His personality trait is that of a fixer and rescuer. He is a quiet man, and unless you ask him a question, he doesn't say anything. I, on the other hand, say what is on my mind, good, bad, ugly at the time a situation arises. I am not one to stew on things, and I never have been. My attitude is, if you like me, fine; if you don't, fine.
I am a touchy type of person, and always have been. My family means more to me than life. My partner has three children, ranging in age from 12 to 20. The 12 and 16 year old come over every week. Dr. Archer, there is no warm and fuzzy feelings associated with this family. In my family, we can't get enough hugs and kisses from each other, and some I had seen the day before! Also, there is so much disrespect. It drives me crazy, and I get so upset I retreat to my bedroom for the weekend.
As you have previously read, I say what is on my mind. I have to bite my tongue every time they come visit. I'm ignored, but if I am acknowledged, I am shocked! They are lazy, and it takes all my effort through the week to keep the house clean, due to my injury. But it is not my place to say anything to my partner's kids, as I am not their parent. I am not happy about this, and that is an understatement. I have talked to my partner about all of this, and I am now close to leaving. So far, nothing has changed.
Congratulations on your detox and sobriety. Remember, no matter what, sobriety must be first in your life going forward because a relapse is always just an excuse away and if you lose that you may lose everything including your life.
Next, the main problem here is simply that you are sober and he is not! This will NEVER work unless or until he gets sober. The destructive effects of alcoholism on couples in well documented. Here's what you must do. Have a talk with your boyfriend and tell him this. Make and give him a list of what you need in order for your relationship to continue.
Please realize, Willow, the alcoholic's propensity for denial, spreads to personal issues as well. So sobriety alone may solve most of your issues here. If he refuses to work with you on all you have outlined then it's time to move on, quickly. Take care.
LIving with an alcoholic or drug addict can cause many problems in the relationship, especially if one of the partners is sober. As I said, sobriety is a first priority. Share your avice with Willow and with us. Tell us how you have dealt with a similar situation.