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To ask how to deal with a heavy drinking spouse?

(33 Posts)
CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 02:12:45

As is the case every year, Christmas/new year has been marred by my DH's drinking. He doesn't drink everyday, but he rarely goes a few days without a drink. Festive occasions, parties, etc, he gets paralytic, no matter how much I plead with him not to. He can't go out for a few drinks with a mate, he has to roll in at 1am completely slaughtered.

This isn't new, it's been the case for the whole of our relationship (and it predates me, as I've seen letters his ex sent him which mentioned his extreme drinking) - not so noticeable in our 20s, but now that we (and our friends) are in our forties, have kids, etc, the adolescent drinking till he can't stand/speak is really pathetic.

Next week we have a friend's birthday party and I'm dreading it already.

So what do I do? I've tried reasoning, arguing, being calm, being livid. Five years back I threw him out for a few days, just after Christmas, and told him I wouldn't have my children living in a house with someone who passes out on the sofa with a bottle of JD in their hand and wets themself. It's never been as bad as that since, but I still can't trust him to know when to stop, or to not lie about it (tonight he claimed to have had two G&Ts. I was suspicious as he was slurring and staggering around. I go into the kitchen and there's a quarter of a bottle of gin gone (that's on top of a few beers and half a bottle of champagne - or at least, that's what I've managed to deduce. There might have been more).

I don't know what I'm asking, really, other than what can I do? He can't/won't admit to a problem. I've tried talking to his mum but she seems to think I'm making it up or being overly controlling (even though she's seen the states he gets into and heard it from people other than me).

Any advice? Anyone been in a similar situation and found a solution?

Sorry for the rambling rant. Just at the end of my tether, I suppose. I don't want to still be dealing with this same shit next Christmas.

What can I do?

Cornettoninja Thu 01-Jan-15 02:25:17

Honestly ?

You can't distigush between an 'event ' and overindulge? Catch on to yourselves sweet. It's a celebration and I think your expectations are over reaching.

It's a night to just be thankful, what more do your want?

everynameisbloodytaken Thu 01-Jan-15 02:35:48

I read it as "he rarely goes a few days without drink" meaning throughout the year but more at Christmas and partys.

I've no real advice but didn't want to read and run... my ex was like this and I guess I loved him a little less each day... now he's my ex.

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 02:37:05

I thought from my original post that it was pretty clear that this wasn't an occasional thing. If it was just a new year thing I wouldn't be bothered, but most times that there's alcohol available, he cannot stop until he's wrecked.

But thanks for your comment. I think you missed the point though.

EstRusMum Thu 01-Jan-15 02:37:23

Umm... My father was like that. My mother broke up with him when I was 11 and that was the best decision she ever made for her children.
Unfortunately this will never change. sad

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 02:42:01

That's exactly it, everyname - has a drink fairly regularly throughout the week, to a greeter or lesser extent, but if the opportunity is there to get paralytic he invariably will.

Sorry to hear about your ex. I don't want it to end up that way for us too, but I honestly can see a future in which I'm gone.

Bluestocking Thu 01-Jan-15 02:44:39

Speaking as the daughter of an alcoholic, this situation is already very bad for your children and can only get worse. If he can't stop drinking, then you have no alternative but to leave him.

Topseyt Thu 01-Jan-15 02:45:09

He has a drink problem, whether he admits it or not. My BIL is like this. Always has been and it has cost him everything.

You threw him out once before. Maybe he needs another such wake up call, but more permanent this time. Being with someone like that is no fun as you are always on the lookout for the next disaster. Also, it is a poor example to set for children.

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 02:46:01

Oh, EstRus, that brought tears to my eyes. I guess I have a fantasy where it all gets magically fixed and he can become someone who has a few drinks and gets merry but stops before he becomes a twat.

The children are getting to an age where they'll start noticing, and that scares and depresses me more than anything.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Thu 01-Jan-15 02:48:41

Are you married to my DH too?

I suspect he's an alcoholic, as is your DH, and that it's not so much a case of won't stop, more can't stop.

My DH can go weeks or months without a drink, but he always starts regular heavy drinking again in the end.

Until your DH decides for himself he wants to give up, there's nothing you can say that will make him give up.

I've been tempted in the past to call AA as they offer support to families but I never have. Don't know why.

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 02:52:08

Thanks, Bluestocking and Topseyt.

I guess I've got to have a bloody long hard think about this.

As I said, I've tried asking his mum to help me tackle it, but she can't/won't see the problem (but she's very much one of life's 'ostriches'). I've talked to my mum in the past, but she makes sympathetic but then 'forgets' and buys him a bottle of whiskey for his birthday.

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 02:58:25

I've almost contacted AA myself as well, motheroftwo, as I know they give support to partners of alcoholics, but like you I never have and I don't know why either.

It's horrible. I feel like I'm policing him all the time: if I have a drink, he'll have two. If I get tipsy, he'll be falling over. Every party or social event starts with me begging him not to go overboard, and and with me crying or screaming at him, and then I hate him for making me be that person.

Topseyt Thu 01-Jan-15 03:05:41

My MIL was very much like that with my BIL too. Head buried deep in sand, blinkers firmly on and he could do no wrong.

Very occasionally she would let slip that she was scared of him as he was a horrible, ill-tempered drunk. She died last May and he was awful for months.

Our contact with him is now very limited. He lost access to his child years ago too.

Only you can decide, but I know from what I have seen that I could just never live with it at all.

Don't go to any more parties with him. He shapes up or ships out. It is unsustainable as it is.

bettyboop1970 Thu 01-Jan-15 03:12:46

An ex partner of mine was a heavy drinker. There is an organisation called Al-Anon which you can google, they offer support to family members etc affected by alcoholics. Good luck.

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 03:18:36

The only time MIL did admit there was a problem, she actually had a go at me about if for 'keeping it to myself' - despite her also having been at countless events where she's seen the state of him (and doubtless over the many years before we were together too).

We rarely go out, to be honest - but then his excuse is that he 'got carried away' because we so rarely go out. Though now that I think about it he used the 'carried away' excuse pre-kids, too, when we went out every weekend. Oh, he got carried away because he hadn't seen person x, y or z in so long; oh, he got carried away cos we were all having such a great time ...

We ended up staying in tonight because we'd turned down a few offers from friends for drinks at theirs. We said it was because of the children, but honestly when we get invited to something like that my heart just sinks.

Oh fuck. I suppose that's my 2015 'to do' list sorted then.

SorchaN Thu 01-Jan-15 04:05:45

Getting carried away can be almost a reasonable excuse for someone in their 20s with few responsibilities... it's fairly pathetic for someone in their 40s with a marriage and children. Drinking can be a way of self-medicating (I drank a lot when I was severely depressed), but at some point people need to look at their behaviour and consider whether it's appropriate. Sometimes interventions work, but not always. I used to live with someone who drank heavily but was never 'slaughtered', and even that was a problem. If your partner refuses to acknowledge the problem, you may need to take drastic action.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 01-Jan-15 04:18:28

I'm so sorry OP. It does sound like your DH is an alcoholic.

Please do go to Al-Anon, they will help you. The "three c's" - you didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't cure it - are the fundamentals.

I have an alcoholic in my family and I know how hard it is.

Alligatorpie Thu 01-Jan-15 04:22:30

My dad was an alcoholic and I remember when my mom threw him out - his drinking had become unmanageable. She spent many years in Al-anon (for co dependants of alcoholics) which I know saved her sanity.
My dad did eventually stop drinking and he and his (4th) wife are incredibly happy. He is everything I could wish for in a grandad, maybe he is making up for being a shit parent...
Is your dh really the role model you want for your dcs? He won't get sober until he wants too and unfortunately it sounds like his addiction is stronger than anything right now. I wish you all the best getting through this.

BigglesFliesASleigh Thu 01-Jan-15 08:35:46

I was that alcoholic until just over a year ago sad. so I can see [cit from his point of view. He is obviously in denial (lying about how much he drinks, hiding bottles?) but, honestly, until he sees the problem I'm afraid there is very little you can do.

It took a long time until I [ realised that I really did have a serious problem with drink and then I just stopped. It's only now really that I look back and we the pain I caused my dh and DC, not to mention friends.

Do you think he will be able to stop? the problem wit alcoholics is that even if you leave, that won't always help - he will just be able to justify drinking more because 'you' have made him do it etc.

Such a horrible situation for you. You have to do what it right for you - you can't wait and hope he will stop though. If that means you go, then you must, it will only be him that can make him stop sadly.

NoLongerJustAShopGirl Thu 01-Jan-15 08:37:45

my Uncle is a dead alcoholic, his addiction killed him - and my Aunt, and the man in the flat above. He got so paralytic that he left the grill on and burned the place down.

You cannot do anything, it is not your fault that he is like that, you cannot change him. Do not engage with his behaviour, do not ask him to curb it, to stop, he will make you feel like it IS your fault for nagging etc.

Don't go somewhere you can't leave him when he drinks and as soon as he gets past the point where you like him, leave him to it - he is an adult, he is responsible for his own decisions and he needs to be left to the consequences of those decisions sometime. He is choosing to get drunk whilst KNOWING you detest his behaviour. He is an addict.

CrystalHaze Thu 01-Jan-15 09:00:52

Thank you, everyone. It's very reassuring to see that others see a problem here too and I'm not just being an uptight killjoy.

I was awake half the night thinking about this, and I'm in floods of tears this morning. I've told him that whether he admits or agrees that his drinking is out of hand is irrelevant - it's a problem to me, and I'm not going to let it be my problem or an issue in mine and the children's lives so he needs to look for somewhere else to live. 'Luckily' for him he got away with not responding as one of the children started calling for him to come downstairs, so he got to 'escape'.

Thank you again, everyone.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 01-Jan-15 09:03:25

Well done Crystal, you put it beautifully.

HonestLie Thu 01-Jan-15 09:53:47

Well done Crystal. My ExH is an alcoholic. One who knows he is and will on occasion admit it but who actually doesn't want help. It's absolutely soul destroying being the partner of an alcoholic.

Make sure you let you husband know you think your marriage is worth fighting for but he has to be the one to take the first steps in fixing it by addressing his drinking. I did this, and my ex couldn't/wouldn't do it. He made noises but never followed it through.

Now my DD will walk past him in the street and not even know who he is.

R4roger Thu 01-Jan-15 09:56:14

dont police him op.
leave him to it.

mentally and may be physically to. Get on with your life.

Dapplegrey Thu 01-Jan-15 09:57:08

As other posters have said, go to Al-Anon. It is brilliant.

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