Addiction to Alcohol/dysfunctional couple


Hi Clyde,   my question to you is... can a so far functioning alcoholic and a dysfunctional alcoholic have a true relationship? What tends to happen in the near future for both parties?   I know she the functioning has held a job down as a bartender but does not have much to offer.  She is supporting an unmarried daughter and a 3 year old grandson. I think she believes all is good until the money runs out and she will have to pick up the slack.    The dysfunctional alcoholic has only limited resources left and should be out in the next 3 months with the way both are spending.  They are not married just living together.  Also with her being the functioning alcoholic is there limitations within herself that enough is enough or can this cause her to progress down the same path?   I have been doing some reading on line and the chances of this relationship working is slim to none.   I respect your option on this matter.  How do you feel this relationship pans out?  She has nothing to lose but move out.  What is left of him?
thank you

   Thank you for your questions and the explanation of the situation.  My simple answer is no, they can not have a true relationship.  And here is my reasoning:  neither of them are their real selves, but they don't know this.  So they will continue to live out the lives that they have for today, receiving from the other what each of them needs from the relationship with the other.

   All will be well until something upsets the equilibrium between the two.  That disruption is going to be of emotional and mental variety and can not be predicted.  That is why no one can ever know from one day to the next how the alcoholic will act or behave.  The disruptions are of a psychic nature (I do not mean psychic as the modern world has defined it, I mean they come from deep in the person's inner core.)  

   The alcoholic always seeks to regain the equilibrium by going into the addiction to find solace and comfort and balance; or put another way, to re-establish the false sense of self for they can not tolerate looking at the real self.  Most alcoholics will play this game with themselves for their entire lives and many will never be aware that this is not life.

   The recovered (recovering) alcoholic/addict is a special breed.  They miraculously reach a "bottom" in which they begin to see the "real" self and become intrigued with what they see.  No one was ever able to tell them that this real world existed - a world of feeling and depth and wonder of the universe.  It is such a marvelous transformation.

   The intrigue causes them to no longer seek the solace in the addiction because they somehow are transported to a place where they can look at the real self fearlessly.  Many alcoholics reach this place and then plateau because the "presenting" disruption is alleviated and perhaps they stop drinking and life is good and all is well, until the next disruption of psychic dimensions.

   I say all this to hopefully help in your considering that until such time as this transformation occurs there is little hope that any significant changes will be made - at least not consciously.

   Two people locked in denial of their real selves is probably a hopeless situation.

   I hope this may have helped.

Grace and Peace,

Addiction to Alcohol

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I can answer questions on the recovery from alcohol addiction as I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of sobriety. I can also address the spiritual aspects of the 12-Step program as I have a Master of Divinity degree; serve as a pastor in the Quaker church; and, serve as a hospice chaplain. I have also served as a prison chaplain for one year and currently volunteer as a mentor once a week, working with two inmates one-on-one as they work towards reentry into society as free persons.


I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of continuous sobriety.

Master of Divinity awarded in 2000 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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