Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

DP didn't come home - its 7.10am

(67 Posts)
siucra Sun 30-Dec-12 07:17:46

he has a problem with drink. Once he starts he can't stop. It has been so awful living with that - the stress and strain on me has been incredible. He is trying to cut down by promising to stop the all-nighters, ie passing out on sofa. But he has never not come home before. I hate all this drinking.
How do I 'punish' him? By that I mean, how do I let him know this is totally unacceptable?
He is not - I think - with another woman as he really loves me. We have a Dd aged 4.7.
Any advice? Thank you!

Letsmakecookies Sun 30-Dec-12 10:22:00

You've have some sound advice and no one living in the situation cares much whether alcoholism is a disease or thought process. It damages families. Your thinking needs to stop focusing on his needs and onto your own. You have one life. You child has one childhood.

I lived in a marriage like this. And I wish when these situations first started that I had packed my and DCs bags, left and made him face the consequences of his behaviour - because it only got a lot worse, and he knew I would stay. What I would recommend is not keeping it secret (alcoholism thrives on secrecy), think about your own boundaries and decide what you are willing to put up with and set down consequences (you are allowed to do this), Al Anon can help you get your head round that, don't enable him (don't make excuses for him).

Eventually (after therapy - would recommend that too) I was honest with myself about what I could and could not live with. I could not see myself living like that, I felt my self esteem was floor bottom and despised myself and my life, I had met a lot of adults who had grown up in alcoholic households and knew I could not do that to my children. I set down boundaries and eventually left when he ignored them.

It was the hardest thing to do, stopping trying to save the marriage, but the primary relationship in our marriage was my ex and a glass of beer.

Letsmakecookies Sun 30-Dec-12 10:27:13

Clarabell78 I just read your posts. Can I send you unmumsnetty hugs?

I agree with you AA is not claptrap and that statement was uncalled for. AA works for people. It saves lives. And you should be really really proud of yourself, 2 years is amazing! Truly!

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 30-Dec-12 10:40:05

AA 'works' for people who have decided they have had enough of drinking and are ready to stop. Anything will work when an addict/alcoholic is ready to stop. However, AA fails a lot of people as well. It's based on superstition, not science, and some people have had very bad experiences with 12 step programmes.

At the moment, OP, concentrate on getting rid of the man and building a better life for you and DC. No one else can 'fix' an alcoholic, it's up to him to sort himself out and he may decide not to.

porridgelover Sun 30-Dec-12 10:41:38

Thing is, siucra, there is nothing you can do to 'punish him' or 'make him see'.

If he is an alcoholic (and he is showing all the signs) then your biggest responsibility is to you and your DD. Not him.
He is making choices of alcohol over you. So you dont owe him any love or loyalty. Although you may feel it would be wrong to 'abandon' him, or that you have to rescue him or that you are the only one who understands him.
No.
You cannot change him.

You can give him choices:
alcohol or family. Not both.

As others have said, take the lid off so that others can see what you are living with. Contact al-anon. Protect DD so that she knows this is not OK.
If you can get your hands on this, its a helpful guide to why partners stay and how to cope with detaching yourself from the problem.
thanks Good luck.

Clarabell78 Sun 30-Dec-12 10:57:24

Thanks letsmakecookies :-) I don't think anyone has the right to pass comment on AA or the 12 step programme unless they have experienced it personally. It is not based on superstition FFS! It can be interpreted this way if for example you are religious, believe in God etc. I personally do not believe in god in a traditional sense and use AA and the support there as my 'higher power'. I find the programme a practical guide to living as a better person and it is very open to interpretation/tailoring depending on your own beliefs/experiences. I agree it doesn't work for everyone and it does rely on the alcoholic themselves to take responsibility. For me and my family it has been massively healing. I don't think it should be dismissed out of hand especially by people who are not alcoholic and haven't walked in those shoes.

I would urge the OP to get in touch with al anon for support. As someone who is an alcoholic and whose father/relatives are alcoholics I have experience of both AA and al anon and can thoroughly recommend the support and understanding you will find there.

Letsmakecookies Sun 30-Dec-12 11:12:17

No personal offence meant but SGB but that is total bullshit that anything will work when the alcoholic is ready to stop. It is so difficult to treat alcoholism. AA provides a free service that helps many people worldwide. It is no more superstitious nonsense than anything else. If people have had bad experiences, well many people have had bad experiences at the NHS shall we discourage people from going there too? Or school, let's ban that too. And if we don't like 12 step groups, Al Anon etc shouldn't be there either. The reason AA often is ineffective, is because it is really really really hard to stop drinking. It relies on the alcoholic on taking responsibility for themselves, and part of the condition is that many can't or won't. It is more effective than going to your GP, and treatment centres have a pitifully low success rate.

Letsmakecookies Sun 30-Dec-12 11:13:18

But your second paragraph is spot on. smile.

specialsubject Sun 30-Dec-12 11:18:44

he is a drug addict, it just happens to be a legal drug. He did not choose to be ill, but he CAN choose whether he wants to get treated. That is the ultimatum for you, and if he won't get help NOW then you need to get out.

I wish you luck.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 30-Dec-12 11:53:30

There is a great deal of evidence to the effect that 12-step programming is one of the least effective ways of helping alcoholics. Yes, it works for some people and that's good, but it's important to point out that if it doesn't work for a particular person, there are other ways of overcoming alcoholism. If someone tries AA and doesn't get on with their methods, then they might feel that they are 'incurable' when trying a different approach might suit them better.

Clarabell78 Sun 30-Dec-12 12:08:30

SGF what are the 'other' methods you refer to? I'm not denying their existence but curious to know what they are? You can't slate AA then be so vague about the alternatives. That's just not helpful or intelligent

OP, please don't put up with this. Please.

I started with what I thought was the perfect DP. Then one might the got drunk, the drinking continued, it made me a nervous wreck. Then I was the brunt of the anger, the stress, it all be sme me.

7.10 am is a warning sign. Please don't put up rut it any longer.

Clarabell78 Sun 30-Dec-12 12:12:23

Plus I'm not too sure what this 'evidence' is that you speak of. My whole family and hundreds of people that I come into contact with in AA on a regular basis who have achieved sobriety when nothing else worked is evidence for me that it does work for a huge amount of people. You are being really unhelpful.

lolaflores Sun 30-Dec-12 12:26:46

CBT works. SMART. Small, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic Targets. These methods also work with other addictions....if the person wishes to stop. I have had experiences with AA...unpleasant, bullying, clichey judgemental, people hitting on each other when at their most vulnerable, preachy, ...need I continue.
Treatments are wide ranging, from antabuse, in house rehab, community treatment with a range of service, to AA. There is much evidence comparing and contrasting efficacy of the many types...the defining factor is the persons desire to stop.

My XP is an alcoholic, we separated 12 years ago. My DCs have had their childhood marked by his alcoholism, by contact that has involved him taking them to the pub, by him neglecting them through hangovers, vomiting and pissing himself in front of them, despite promises and rehab.

You might love him. He might love you. If he loves alcohol more than he loves you, then he'll choose alcohol. Let him make that choice, because if he is involved with you and your DD while he is still addicted to alcohol, your daughter will have a miserable excuse for a childhood, her friends will laugh at her, she won't be able to bring friends home in case dad is pissed and she will eventually come to the conclusion that he is an awful parent. My DCs are now 17, 14 & 13. They don't like their dad. It's because he has continually let them down, prioritised his drinking over their well-being and will spends the money he has on booze while not financially supporting them.

Tell him once. He has a choice. No second, third, fourth chances. It's you and DD or alcohol.

lolaflores Sun 30-Dec-12 12:28:56

I would also recommend the OP try and contact your local drug and alcohol service for support for yourself and advice on treatments that are out there including a crisis detox, residential rehab and so on.
Rugby House have centres in London, but you will not get someone there without their consent and willingness to participate.

Clarabell78 Sun 30-Dec-12 12:47:07

SGF I'm sorry you had a bad experience of AA but that's not the case for everyone.

Snorbs Sun 30-Dec-12 12:57:49

What SevenSnapes says. I split up with my ex over her drinking. Our DCs live with me after social services got involved due to their mother's drinking. My ex has through detox god knows how many times, rehab, losing her license, losing multiple jobs, various significant injuries that happened from falling down stairs while drunk, hallucinations and seizures while drying out...

She's still drinking, on and off. My DCs are reaching the point where they really don't want to have much to do with her any more.

Snorbs Sun 30-Dec-12 13:04:29

Oh, and fortyplus, I'm not sure I agree with alcoholics needing "love and support" while drinking.

At least, the open AA meetings I've attended are notable by the lack of people saying "I stopped drinking because my family supported me so much" and the volume of people saying things along the lines of "It was only after my third marriage had failed, my children were no longer speaking to me and I'd lost my job that I realised I needed to change."

Al-Anon's message to those in a relationship with an alcoholic is strong on the "leave their drinking, and the effects of their drinking, to them" theme as well.

ErikNorseman Sun 30-Dec-12 13:53:14

You did not cause it
You cannot control it
You cannot cure it
Are they the three Cs of alcoholism?
Bottom line is that you can't punish or teach him to change his behaviour. Only he can.

Erik has indeed written the 3cs of alcoholism.

There is nothing you can do or say to help him. Apart from anything else you are too close to the situation to be of any real use to him, you are both using each other as a crutch and you are now codepedent on him to boot.

Would certainly recommend you read "Codependent No More" written by Melodie Davies and contact Al-anon.

This is no relationship model you want to be imparting to your child; she could well now end up with a complely dysfunctional childhood if you were to remain within this relationship with your alcoholic partner. She is already learning a lot of crap from both of you re relationships and how they are conducted.

What do you want to teach her about relationships?. She won't also thank you for staying with her alcoholic dad if you were to choose to because she will see you as weak for doing so and could well hate you as a result. You really do not want her as an adult for her to ask you why you put her drunkard father before her as a child.

You have a choice re him - your child does not. You and she both deserve far better than what you have now.

You may well love him but he loves alcohol more. Alcohol is truly a cruel mistress.

ilovewoody Sun 30-Dec-12 17:38:57

Sounds just like my exH. No matter how upset I got it would never change him. After every episode I would get the silent treatment for days as if I had done something wrong. Despite almost losing his job twice through his drinking he still didn't stop.
I too felt shame that I had married a man like that. Never told a soul until I had left him and that hurt my family that I couldn't confide in them. So tell someone. If it was your sister or best friend going through that you would want to know.
My father is also an alcoholic so I agree with the poster who warned against bringing up children in a home with an alcoholic. That's what happened to me and I ended up married to one too. So break the cycle now if you can.
Good luck x

siucra Sun 30-Dec-12 19:49:33

Hi all, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to answer my message. It's really kind of you.
I took Dd out for morning and got home at 2.30. He was up - just - and was angry with me for being cool. He said that his friends went for breakfast and he felt disloyal that he didn't go with them!
I know, I know. It's mad.
Anyway, I have taken myself to a hotel for the night as I just couldn't face the whole drama. It's exhausting.
I have read all your advice and will re read it all.
It's ultimatum time. And knowing that I have to leave.
Thank you.

tribpot Sun 30-Dec-12 19:57:47

You've certainly made the right decision, going to a hotel to have some peace and quiet.

Writehand Sun 30-Dec-12 20:05:22

Fortyplus, you wrote: "Alcoholism is an illness. If he's an alcoholic rather that just some twunt who goes out and gets rat-arsed once a week then he needs love and support to deal with it.

I've had several alcoholic friends and inevitably it takes time to face the problem. If you love him then you can't just heap blame at his door and expect him to change overnight."

I am an alcoholic and I couldn't disagree with you more. Sure, alcoholism is an illness, but it is not helped by families loving and supporting the drinker while he or she continues drinking, The support comes in when the alcoholic stops drinking and starts going to meetings. You support them to make that decision, to reach that realisation. Until/unless that happens, what you're doing is called "enabling" and it kills a lot of alcoholics. I know a bit about getting & staying sober. I've been sober since before my first child was born. He's 20.

Fortyplus, I'm sure you mean well, but you seem to have got the AA philosophy rather muddled. If siucra wants things to improve she needs to lay it on the line: tell him "You will lose your family if you don't stop drinking." Then she needs to act as if she means it. She doesn't have to break the family up immediately, but she needs to do enough that he's shocked into taking it seriously.

izzyizin Sun 30-Dec-12 20:10:21

He may 'really love' you, honey, but he loves the bottle more.

Give him a choice. He can enjoy a moderate drink at home now and again, or be free to drown his sorrows visit all the hostelries his little heart desires after you've split up due to his preference for booze over you.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now