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To think my husband is a borderline alcoholic

(57 Posts)
birdinatent Mon 06-May-13 21:02:25

I have issues with DH drinking, as he cant just have a social drink, he has to drink himself unconcious, not every night and it doesnt affect work, and he doesnt drink during the day usually, but enough to really piss me off.

well we went to a family party yesterday in a posh hotel. We walked there with our 3 kids, and stopped at 2 pubs on the wave for a "flyer" I was paranoid how much he would drink before we even landed as a couple of drinks and you can tell, he starts to slur slightly and his behavour changes. Anyway he only had a pint and a half and was fine when we got to the venue.

first round there however, and we both order gin and tonic, he a double, he flew into a rage after he had handed me mine and then said I had picked the wrong one up and it was the double and I had put too much tonic in and it was ruined. I honestly couldnt see the problem but he was almost panicking that he didnt have the double. He calmed down after a minute, but then spent huge amounts of time away from the table ordering wine for the meal, he got me a glass of red, and himself a bottle of white. They poured his white and then put the bottle in an ice bucket, at the other end of the table from us and he was panicking again, saying it was his bloody wine and they had no right to put it anywhere other than next to his glass. Honestly it was embarrassing. I think he has a problem, he disagrees and says I am controlling and a nag.
what does anyone else think please?

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Mon 06-May-13 21:29:18

*his drinking is affecting his family life and relationships

ergo, he has a problem with drink*

Yep, that gets it said.

Pan Mon 06-May-13 21:31:02

PP and AF are exactly right. Don't even think about trying to 'reason', or listen to 'promises' if he ever makes them. Look what he does rather than what he says. Draw your boundaries nice and thick and high and don't compromise them whatsoever. Your dcs won't thank you for it in the future.

Link for Al Anon for the people who have loved ones with problems with alcohol. You'll need it.

Fairenuff Mon 06-May-13 21:33:48

He calmed down after a minute, but then spent huge amounts of time away from the table ordering wine for the meal

He was probably drinking during this time. Secret drinking is one of the signs of alcoholic/problem drinking behaviour. As is getting anxious that he won't get enough (the mix up over drinks, wine at other end of table).

Summerblaze Mon 06-May-13 21:35:23

My friends DH is like this. He drinks most days although can go without if necessary but when he does drink he can't stop and he gets verbally nasty when he has had a few. He buys it when my friend tells him not to and hides it in his garage, can't go out without having a couple first, is embarrassing and loud when out, the list goes on and on. She was constantly paranoid around him and drink and dreaded going out with him. He went to see a drink counsellor who confirmed that he had issues with drink and friend has tried to help him monitor his drink at the counsellors request. He then decided he didn't have a problem and wasn't going back to the counsellor. About a month ago she gave him a choice, me and 3 dc or the drink. He chose the drink and she is now in the process of a divorce.

He won't change until he is ready but it is too late for him and his family.

AnyFucker Mon 06-May-13 21:39:09

summer, your friend made the classic mistake of thinking she could manage his problem

she could not, and neither can OP

maidmarian2012 Mon 06-May-13 21:41:00

Summer I gave my xp that choice, and he chose booze, as he said I was trying to control him, and "nanny" him.
I also dreaded going anywhere with xp as he was incredibly jealous when in drink and would start fights. I cringe to look back blush shock

Ginformation Mon 06-May-13 21:42:51

OP, you have my sympathies.

Another option as well as AA is to contact your local Community Alcohol Team.

He has to want to get help, you cannot force him but you can help hold a mirror up to him. Help him see the benefit of change and make your feelings clear about the situation. Do not enable his drinking. It will be excpetionally hard, he may have relied on you to keep things together and if you stop making things easier for him he may start to realise what he has become.

He should see his GP, he probably needs a blood test, and maybe B vitamin and thiamine tablets to protect his nerves/brain from alcohol damage. But of course, you cannot force him.

maidmarian2012 Mon 06-May-13 21:43:04

AF yes, I thought I could manage too, I fantasised that he would find work and pack it all in. To no avail sad

AnyFucker Mon 06-May-13 21:43:35


trianglesaregood Mon 06-May-13 21:58:06

I agree with what others have said, he's probably drinking much more than you think. Addicts are very good at covering their tracks. It's such an awful situation for you, ( and him I imagine, when sober) but you can't make him change. Do go to Al Anon if you can. Have you told him how you feel? He probably won't listen or want to hear but he's hurting you and your children and needs to know this so he can make his own decisions about whether to continue drinking or get help. You need to get support for yourself.

sarahseashell Mon 06-May-13 22:02:40

it doesn't sound 'borderline'
Al-anon can help you and provide support for you

birdinatent Mon 06-May-13 22:55:53

have just tried to talk to him about it.....he's stormed off to bed.....he hasn't had a drink tonight

AnyFucker Mon 06-May-13 22:59:42

well, he would, wouldn't he ?

I am sorry, love

Time for you to get real here...he isn't going to

Pan Mon 06-May-13 23:05:40

He will be massively irritated, for a few possible reasons, I think. 1. he knows he has a problem and doesn't like being challenged 2. he is tired and irritable after previous drinking 3. alcohol is a depressant and if he's been drinking to this level a lot he will have trouble being even-handed.4. He is missing a drink and wants a drink, and sees responsibilities, and you, as a barrier?

Overall tho' it is really difficult for you, isn't it? And the dcs will be seeing him behave in ways they shouldn't.

Chandelierforagirl Mon 06-May-13 23:10:41

Don't be so tolerant op, he drinks too much. He might not stop, so as others have said, what are you going to do?

birdinatent Mon 06-May-13 23:14:56

go to bed and cry quietly sad

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 06-May-13 23:25:40

He is an alcoholic.
My mum spent years saying my dad 'liked a drink'. He was/still is a high functioning alcoholic.
You don't have to put up with this - he needs to get help.

Pan Mon 06-May-13 23:36:05

Don't go to bed to cry quietly, though it's totally understandable. Get support tomorrow, call Al Anon, talk to friends/family about the stress ( and a different GP), and be resilient. Do make plans to 'protect' yourself and have those boundaries and decisions stuck to.

auntmargaret Mon 06-May-13 23:44:52

Oh, you poor soul. It's him, not you. Can you LTB?

mummymeister Mon 06-May-13 23:53:37

please Op re read all the posts on this thread and don't be hard on yourself. it is his problem he needs to sort it but you need to sort yourself out. make a plan tonight of places to go to tomorrow for some help and support. very worried that this is having such an effect on you and you feel so hopeless at the moment. others are better at giving practical support so why not pm them.

PenelopePortrait Tue 07-May-13 07:49:17

bird 'talking to him' reasonably or otherwise, will not make him see 'sense'. Alcoholism is a disease, he is I'll. you can't talk someone out of having an illness. You wouldn't talk someone out of Bi-polar would you? YOU can't help him until you have helped yourself.

It is impossible for anyone to understand how an alcoholic feels, only other alcoholics. That's why AA works for them (if they want it to) and why Sl-anon works for us.

By trying to talk to him you just give him a reason to have a drink. Please believe me.

Fairenuff Tue 07-May-13 08:20:34

This could go one of three ways:

1) You talk to him again and again until he agrees that he has a problem and decides to do something about this. This could take years and years and, in fact, he may never agree. Even if he does, he might not be able to stop and you will be back at square one. This could continue for the rest of your life.

2) You talk to him again and he promises to try to change. He will at first suggest that he 'cuts back' the amount he drinks. His secret drinking will become more prevalent and his open drinking will gradually creep back up to previous levels. You will be back at square one - see above.

3) You tell him that he can make his own choices but if he continues to drink like this you will choose a better life for yourself and the children. You will no longer tolerate his drinking, make excuses for it or cover up after it. You will tell family and friends how difficult it is and seek support for yourself from them and organisations like al anon.

Option 3 is the only one guaranteed to effect change.

Snorbs Tue 07-May-13 09:29:45

Deep down he suspects he's got a drink problem. But he doesn't want to admit it to himself because if he did then the only sensible thing to do would be to stop. And he doesn't want to stop. So he lies to himself that it's ok, he can control it, and if he might be drinking a bit too much at the moment it's because of external stressors and it will all settle down once people stop getting on his case about it.

It's all lies he's telling himself to allow him to justify to himself that it's ok to not stop drinking. But that sense of denial is so strong that anything you do to shine a light on it makes him painfully uncomfortable, hence the shouting and storming off. He doesn't want to think about it because to do so would require him to face up to the lies.

But that's all his business. The important thing from your point of view is that, right now, he doesn't want to stop drinking. As a wide and possibly overly broad generalisation, an alcoholic will only stop drinking when the fear of what their drinking will cost them outweighs the fear of a sober life.

His fear of how dull, empty and joyless his life would be without alcohol are very powerful. It will also be being fed by a unhealthily large serving of "Who does she think she is to tell me what to do?" Those feelings are being driven by the power of the addiction and, for some, they're insurmountable and so they never stop and they die an alcoholic's death.

By contrast so far his drinking hasn't cost him anything more than some hefty hangovers and the disapproval of his wife. The cost/benefit analysis is heavily in favour of him continuing to drink.

He doesn't believe you'd leave him over this and, frankly, your behaviour so far supports that view. You got him to go to counselling under the banner of you not being able to continue living like that yet his drinking has continued and you are still choosing to live like that. Empty threats are counter-productive as they just reinforce the belief that while you might be telling him that his behaviour is unacceptable your actions are saying that opposite.

You want him to stop drinking. He doesn't. He knows that his drinking upsets you and damages your relationship but he's willing to continue risking your relationship provided he continues being able to drink. It's that simple.

Ask yourself this question: If you said to him "It's me or the booze" which way do you honestly think he would go? If you think he would choose the booze, what does that say about your marriage?

AnyFucker Tue 07-May-13 10:50:24

Glad to see snorbs on this thread.

Earlybird Tue 07-May-13 19:21:11

Snorbs - wonderfully put. Thank you for taking the time to spell it out in such clear terms.

OP - painful as it is, you'd be wise to listen and act. Ignoring these words will, in the longterm, be more painful. I promise you that.

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