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Husband's drinking driving us apart(11 Posts)
Hi...first time posting, but could really do with some advice. Apologies for the essay!
My DH of nearly 10 years drinks heavily in the evenings. We have a 2 lovely infant school aged kids, we both work, and have should plenty to be happy about. Though his drinking hangs over me like a cloud. DH drinks almost every evening until the early hours, often the majority of a bottle of wine but a few days a week much more . For the past 20 months he has made himself sick with drink every 10 days to 2 weeks. He now lies about how much he has to drink. Since lockdown he has on numerous occasions ordered bottles of wine from corner shops and had them delivered at midnight secretly (I found receipts with writing on them saying 'do not ring doorbell, leave in porch' etc). Every week or so I find out he's lying to me over how much he is drinking. I sometimes get angry, sometimes I put on a smile and get on with the day, and always forgive him very quickly. On numerous occasions I have said I would do anything to help and given him options of help from outside services. He refuses, saying I have the problem (and that I put pressure on him not to drink that much so he hides it) and that he will to cut down himself when he is ready.
He has made slight improvements over the last month or so (now having a day where he doesn't drink, and a day where he drink only a glass or two), but he's still lying to me and and hiding bottles.
For context, I know he's sick this often as he awakes me by stumbling to the loo, or as has done before, been sick in the kids rooms, our bed, or landing. Sleeping next to him is not relaxing.
Also for context, I may be slightly sensitive to the drinking as my father was an alcoholic later in life. I drink a few times a week, but can stop when I want.
In the times where he does try to cut down (and admittedly he tries every month or so) he is like a different person, like the person I fell in love with. So i love him when he is like this, I just feel so frustrated most of the time. And angry that my father was an alcoholic, and now my husband is (in my opinion) becoming one.
I am a naturally happy cheery person, but this is effecting me so much. What should I do? We are in stale mate. I don't want a divorce, but also I can't live my life like this. I have mentioned this to him and he takes no notice. I am so worried about the kids well being if we did separate (as they love him lots) and our house which we have just lovingly done up.
Any suggestions, thoughts, ways to go about talking to him?
You can suggest he goes to AA but if he doesn't accept he has a problem then he won't go, but will continue to blame you. My suggestion is that you prepare to leave. Your children will suffer far more living with an alcoholic than they will with one parent. He isn't improving really, he's just getting sneakier. It is terrible for you and I sympathise so much, but you cannot help him if he won't help himself and it will steadily get worse. T
Joining Alanon might be helpful for you. Learning that I didn't cause, and couldn't control or cure my husbands drinking really helped me change my focus from trying to get help for him to saving myself and my kids from going down with him.
Ive worked on detox wards.
I'm afraid talking wont work. Youve tried that already and he tried to put the blame back on you didnt he? You are beyond talking now I'm afraid and youve moved on to ultimatum time. This is the only way this is going to change. You have to impose a behavioural consequence and you have to stick to it. That means- either he goes to rehab, stops drinking OR you'll end it. Please do not get suckered into the "talk" where he promises to change, its all lies. It has to be black and white- either he stops, or you leave. You can still support him in recovery but you have to be a fist of iron in a velvet glove in this scenario. Its also very likely that he is lying to you now, I highly doubt that some nights he only has 1-2 glasses. He is an alcoholic and they are unable to do that. Think about it- if he really WAS able to stick to two, why doesnt he do that regularly?- because he cant. He cant stop. Alcoholics make the best liars and they will lie until they manage to get sober. Its the physical and emotional craving for alcohol combined with deep shame that makes them lie.
I really encourage you to contact al anon and get some help for yourself too, this will be a very hard journey but you need to draw a line and you need to do it now, before it gets any worse. Good luck.
I wasted years of my life on an alcoholic.
The best thing you can do is leave and take your innocent young children with you before any more damage is done.
Thank you very much for comments, they are all so useful.
You are right about the promises, they aren't kept and deep down I can't see how this will resolve without drastic action. However, splitting up terrifies me, so I think an ultimatum is required first. I have looked up Alanon, they seem great and I will check in with them soon.
You have to be prepared to split up before you set your boundaries/make that ultimatum. Otherwise you will be making an empty threat and he will see right through it.
If he doesn't stop, it will get to a point when you need to leave, because his behaviour becomes impossible to live with, or you get so ground down that you begin to accept the unacceptable. Either way, the children suffer. Splitting up might be terrifying but staying with an alcoholic who isn't in recovery will be worse. I'm sorry if that sounds really negative but I'm just sharing my experience and wouldn't wish it on anyone.
OP, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I have two young children and issued an ultimatum to my H earlier this year: get help (as in, I have a rehab bed with your name on and will drive you there right now) or go (now). He chose alcohol.
First of all, it sounds as though you have accepted he is an alcoholic. That’s great, let go of any lingering “what if I’m over exaggerating?” thoughts. You are not. He is an alcoholic. No one without a problem behaves like this. Do not let him convince you that it is you who has the problem.
Have you checked out Alanon? If not, it would be a good idea to. They can help you detach and stop any enabling that you might be doing (you mention you drink a few nights a week. Don’t drink with him, you need to stop that).
You can’t change your husband and no amount of begging or pleading or ultimatums will get him to change unless he wants to (and he might never). Alcoholism is progressive and he will continue to get worse.
It might also be worth checking out Nacoa. It is for children (young and grown up) of alcoholics. I’m sorry to hear that your dad was also an alcoholic. Nacoa may help you to see how that as affected you and also to see the effects your current situation might have on your own children if you stay in the marriage.
This sounds like such a horrible environment to be in and I totally understand you being terrified of Splitting up. It took me a long time to finally go for it. Splitting up is not at all easy but loving with the chaos of an alcoholic is definitely far worse.
If you are going to issue an ultimatum, you absolutely must make sure you must really mean it. That means he has to get really meaningful help, usually residential rehab or fairly intensive counselling to sit alongside AA, if you can afford it. You must also be ready for If he refuses. Talk to a solicitor beforehand to find out what your rights and situations will be (most will offer half an hour’s free advice). Be mentally prepared to boot him out there and then. If you issue a hollow ultimatum and don’t follow through, it is utterly pointless. I hope this helps and doesn’t sound too preachy!
Best of luck and don’t feel alone. Lots of us are/have been in a really similar position.
Pitofvapours and everyone...Thanks again for your advice. It's all enabling me to piece together a plan of action for a ultimatum. Some thing has to change...feel quite geared up for speaking to him tonight. Though I am a bit worried of an empty ultimatum as if he did said he didn't need help I couldn't really stay at parent's house due to lockdown tonight. Nevertheless, I can always frame it as (me or ) him going in the spare room and us 'being a on a break'. I will look at all websites recommended too. Cheerio!
It’s funny how you can go for long periods of avoiding the confrontation and then suddenly reach boiling point and find you just can’t avoid the moment any longer. Remember, you can confront him without issuing the ultimatum for now if you need time to get plans in place. I think an ultimatum is a pretty final thing. If you go with the separate bedrooms thing, that might be a good start but what next? That would mean he had refused to get help (any promises to sort it by himself will be 99% guaranteed to be just to shut you up) and would still be in your house, in your life and drinking around you and your children, even if secretly. What would your next step then be? How long would you be prepared to put up with that? Would you need another ultimatum? You can see that the ultimatums would start to lose their potency.
I hope this doesn’t sound too bossy, but I have been where you are very recently and it is I know it is hard going when you have been in a cycle of broken promises and are struggling to find a way to break out into something different. If you decide issuing an ultimatum now is the right thing for you, then absolutely go for it.
Remember, there is literally nothing you can do or say to him that will stop him drinking. You are completely powerless to control that situation in any way, no matter how much you want it. What you can do is take control of your own destiny. Those are really easy words to write, but much harder to really and truly get your head and heart around.
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