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Will me stopping drinking for January help my DH?

(56 Posts)
StuntNun Sat 02-Jan-16 10:12:22

My drinking has crept up lately, not so much in terms of quantity (I'm under 14 units per week) but in terms of frequency to having a drink on most days. I've decided to have a dry January to get back into good habits which I've done before and found useful.

I'm doing it for myself but I'm wondering whether it may have any effect on my DH. He has declined to join me because he says he 'needs to drink to be able to cope with bad days'. I'm not sure how much he drinks but I estimate about 50 units per week as it was over 40 last time I counted and it has crept up lately. I suspect that I may unwittingly be enabling his drinking. He has a tendency to top up my wine glass when I'm not looking so I think I've only had one glass when I've actually had more. I only know when I find myself unexpectedly drunk after 'one glass' or if I catch him at it. He will also make cocktails and bring one to me without asking first whether I want one. It makes me wonder whether he uses that to help excuse his own drinking i.e. it's okay for him to have a drink because I'm having one too.

Does anyone else find that their partner's drinking habits affect their own?

TheHouseOnTheLane Sat 02-Jan-16 11:50:31

Well done. No. It won't help your DH.

Can't you see that he is in fact enabling you?

bunique Sat 02-Jan-16 11:57:40

My partner's habits affect me in the sense that I am less inclined to drink because I want there to always be an adult in the house who is fully compos mentis. He can be a heavy drinker (was certainly once an alcoholic but has things more under control these days) and I have a very low tolerance to alcohol so I tend to avoid it altogether when at home. I'm not sure you stopping would help him but it might highlight to him just how much he gets through on his own?

Duckdeamon Sat 02-Jan-16 12:02:20

Sounds like he has an alcohol problem. If that's the case your actions won't make a difference.

Good info on al anon. There was also a good interview about dry jan on BBC breakfast this week: the man interviewed (adult son of an alcoholic) said that if dry jan seems too difficult it could indicate a problem; and was a good opportunity for families to discuss alcohol problems.

StuntNun Sat 02-Jan-16 15:26:31

TheHouse I don't think that DH is enabling me because I don't have much of a problem, rather that I've fallen into a bad habit. I'm looking forward to a month off alcohol and hoping I'll lose a bit of weight and sleep more soundly for not drinking. I ordered wine with my weekly shop this week as some that I like were reduced over the Christmas period and I'll have no trouble waiting until February to enjoy them.

I wish there was some way to help DH but there's not much I can do until he decides he wants to cut down for himself. I tried not buying any alcohol (I do most of the shopping) but he just went out and bought it himself so that didn't help. I'm hoping that modelling a good attitude towards alcohol will inspire him to moderate his drinking but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Duckdeamon Sat 02-Jan-16 15:40:12

All you can do is take decisions for you (and your DC if you have any), eg whether you're Ok to be in a relationship with someone who drinks that much and everything that entails.

tribpot Sun 03-Jan-16 19:46:36

No. It won't have any effect on him whatsoever. If he thinks about it at all, or doesn't actively sabotage it by giving you what you think is tonic but is actually g&t (or whatever), he will dismiss the fact you can go a month without booze as being because you don't deal with as much daily stress as he does. Even if you were an astronaut, a surgeon in a war zone or planning to tight rope across Niagara Falls, he would somehow find a way to say he was under more stress than you were.

Enjoy your month off but please don't drop any hints like 'ooh I feel SO MUCH BETTER for not drinking' - nothing is guaranteed to make a problem drinker hit the bottle faster than someone playing 'soberer-than-thou' smile

Wolfiefan Sun 03-Jan-16 19:53:00

Over 50 units and has to drink?
That's a serious problem. Do you have kids? Are you happy for them to grow up seeing this?
I'm afraid it would be stop or leave. I couldn't live like this.

caroldecker Sun 03-Jan-16 20:01:40

50 units is less than 5 bottles of wine a week, one on Friday and Saturday, half a bottle each day in the week is not that much. Alternatively a couple of pints a night.

Wolfiefan Sun 03-Jan-16 20:04:40

Drinking every night is not a good idea. Regularly drinking a bottle of wine at a time is not a good idea. It's nearly double current maximum unit recommendations from NHS.
Regardless of all that he "needs" to drink. So dependant. So a major issue.

JassyRadlett Sun 03-Jan-16 20:08:33

50 units is less than 5 bottles of wine a week, one on Friday and Saturday, half a bottle each day in the week is not that much. Alternatively a couple of pints a night.

Seriously? Every night?

That's a lot, even if the person doesn't feel they can do without it.

tribpot Sun 03-Jan-16 20:11:08

I can't work out if you're advocating for the DH to drink more caroldecker. You realise 50 units is way above the recommended level, I assume. Or is your point that it's quite easy to be drinking at that level without realising? In which case, I agree with you.

Maryz Sun 03-Jan-16 20:12:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wolfiefan Sun 03-Jan-16 20:14:12

Maryz talks sense I'm afraid. You can't change what he does. You can only look after yourself.

Maryz Sun 03-Jan-16 20:20:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

caroldecker Sun 03-Jan-16 21:21:44

tripot Not advocating heavy drinking, just suggesting it is easy to get into and does not necessarily involve any drunkeness.

tribpot Sun 03-Jan-16 21:49:43

Agreed on both points, caroldecker. Very easy to slide into heavy drinking.

StuntNun Tue 05-Jan-16 07:41:11

Thanks everyone for your considered replies. No sabotage so far (unless you count a splash of wine in the gravy for Sunday lunch).

To be fair, my DH is a lot more stressed out than me. His job involves a lot of travel, and incidentally a fair bit of social drinking. I honestly can't see him tackling a Japanese karaoke club while sober. He is dealing with the stress by starting ADs which is a good start in my opinion.

50 units and undoubtedly addicted is definitely a problem but at this stage it is more of a health issue for him. He rarely drinks before the kids are in bed, other than wine with Sunday lunch, and he doesn't get drunk, just drinks steadily through the evening, every evening.

He has just slid into habitually drinking. I think the biggest problem is the variety of drinks. He'll have a couple of glasses of wine with Sunday lunch, then a G&T while doing the washing up, then have a beer while watching some telly, then a whisky as a nightcap. If he was just drinking wine then it would be a lot more obvious. The only reason I know how much he drinks is because I went to take our glass recycling to the bottle bank and I realised it had only been a week since I last went and there were bottles corresponding to 40 units of alcohol in there. At the time I was pregnant so I knew DH had had 40 units that week.

I do really sympathise with DH. To be honest I think I would probably be much the same but five pregnancies and years of breastfeeding have stopped me sliding into that. My dad is alcohol dependent and I certainly don't want to end up in that position where I need to drink every day.

Sorry for the long post but it's great to get it all written down somewhere to get my head straight about it all.

Duckdeamon Tue 05-Jan-16 10:26:47

Given your family history with alcohol it makes even more sense for you to get advice from an organisation for families of people with alcohol problems.

His alcohol use WILL affect the DC in lots and lots of ways, even if they're not privy to the actual drinking.

StuntNun Tue 05-Jan-16 18:25:45

Do you think so Duck? I am expecting him to cut down, he can't go on like this. I've taken all the empties to the bottle bank so I'll have a clearer idea of how much he is actually drinking now.

tribpot Tue 05-Jan-16 20:24:54

I am expecting him to cut down, he can't go on like this.

I'm afraid you can expect all you like! If he believes he can go on like this (and men particularly can endure years of alcohol abuse before it finally catches up to them) he will.

I very much doubt he doesn't know that alcohol is useless for helping manage stress. It makes it ten times worse. Most of the world's population live in much more stressful circumstances than your DH without needing to drink.

By all means gather your evidence but this is not a situation where you can win with logic.

StuntNun Tue 05-Jan-16 22:18:12

I do think he understands that he has a problem but he isn't in the right place to tackle it right now. He's been struggling with depression and only recently started seeking help for that but it's already made a huge difference to his mood and stress levels. He never used to drink like this, it's only happened in the last year or two. Before that he would only drink socially.

He's on a health kick at the moment so he's watching what he eats and exercising daily. Maybe vanity will spur him into cutting down on alcohol.

Wolfiefan Tue 05-Jan-16 22:20:12

Stop making excuses.
Stop trying to get him to cut down.

Only an addict can decide to stop.

StuntNun Thu 07-Jan-16 15:00:09

I don't think that I'm making excuses for my DH. He isn't doing anything other than putting his health at risk and overspending by drinking so much. What's wrong with wanting to support him? He has had a lot of stuff going on in the past year: his mum developed hepatitis, he was made redundant, DS4 was born 5 weeks early, we've had money worries, he's working long hours and having to travel extensively. I understand exactly how he has drifted into heavy drinking and I think I would be the same if it wasn't for having to restrict my intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Maryz Thu 07-Jan-16 15:25:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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