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To tell him he's an alcoholic?

(35 Posts)
Mehfruittea Thu 09-Mar-17 17:26:06

DH and I have been together 12 years. He's always been a heavy drinker. I went through a tough 12 months when I became disabled, used alcohol to control pain until I was diagnosed and correctly medicated. Now I very rarely drink at all, maybe 1 glass of wine every 3 months or so, and generally if we are out somewhere.

DH gave up drinking last year for around 3 months, then started drinking again when we went on AI holiday. He didn't give up for any specific reason, has not hit rock bottom etc. He gave up again at new year and said he would not drink till Easter. 3 weeks ago he had a night out planned for Sat. Decided he would drink, so bought some larger and drank Thu, Fri and Sat that week. He had 4-5 cans each night, a lot less than he used to drink (full bottle of wine 5-6 nights a week).

Last week he did the same, drinking Thu, Fri and Sat. But he had whiskey each night and cans of larger. Always Stella by the way.

Last night he went out but was driving so max 2 pints, then I found 4 empty cans in the bin. He's on his way home now and offered to stop at the shop, asked what we needed. I asked straight out if he was going for beer? Yes. Now is he planning 4 nights of booze?

I really prefer the sober DH. He's not abusive just thoughtless and inconsiderate when he's drunk. And it's a lot of money. I lost my job 3 months ago and we have been living on savings. I'm worried about the money, but more worried for him obviously.

We don't have the kind of relationship where either of us tells the other what to do. If he ever told me to eat less cake, he would be right that I'm overweight, but my shit to sort when I want to.

What do I do? Should I tell him I think he's an alcoholic and has a drink problem?

Penguin27 Thu 09-Mar-17 18:05:16

Sounds like a difficult situation...

The fact he's been able to give up drinking when he wants to makes me question whether labelling him an alcoholic is fair? It sounds like he may have an unhealthy relationship with drink but there's still some control there.

Have you tried speaking to him about it? I'd suggest that you talk to him when he'a sober... explain to him that you're worried about his drinking as you think he may drink too much (but avoid calling him an alcoholic) and tell him how you feel when he's drunk, as well as your concerns about money. Hopefully he'll be open to an honest conversation and you can support him to get through any difficulties he's facing.

Good luck flowers

Mehfruittea Thu 09-Mar-17 18:29:50

Thank so penguin. I suppose I was thinking of saying alcoholic for the shock value.

I have spoken to him only this week about how much better it is when he doesn't drink. We don't argue at all, there is no tension or misunderstandings. It's had a severe affect on our relationship where we both thought we needed to go to counselling. I've long ago learned not to talk to him when he's drunk, he just spouts bollocks and forgets everything. Literally wasting my breath, but I would also get very emotional and upset. So wound up and crying for no real benefit.

He's been depressed for over 12 months. Knows how alcohol makes it worse but carries on. We stopped trying to adopt because of his depression, he couldn't cope as it was and adding another child in to the mix was too much. I've had to come to terms with not having another child because of this, biologically or otherwise, and he isn't doing all he can to help himself.

I want to shake him and make sure he knows his drinking has cost us contributed to us not having another child. Big fucking stuff.

He's home know and opened his first beer within seconds. We have 2 bottles of wine in the fridge (he bought 'for me'). I think I'm going to hide them and re-hide the left over cider from xmas. I've also got some of his leftover beer hidden from last week, when he drank so much he couldn't keep count. Am I wrong to hide it? Is this pointless. As he'll just buy more? <bangs head against wall>.

PurpleDaisies Thu 09-Mar-17 18:38:31

Unless he's ready to accept he's got a drink problem, telling him he's an alcoholic won't make any difference at all. Hiding his booze won't help either.

You need a frank discussion about how unhappy you are and you need to think about the consequences of him not getting it/being unwilling to change. What treatment has he had for his depression? It sounds like he needs to see his doctor again.

Mehfruittea Thu 09-Mar-17 18:49:59

He's on anti depressants and tried CBT but found it too difficult to do the 'homework' that came with it. He stopped and went on the waiting list for counselling which is where he is at now.

I'm more upset now because I've had some time with him not drinking, to know how much better our lives can be. How much better our relationship has been and how much better he is with our DS.

TheCuntess Thu 09-Mar-17 18:55:13

I'm not sure he's an alcoholic, rather that he might have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

I have an 'unhealthy relationship' I must admit. It's a pain in the arse.
One book that's helped me greatly was Allan Cards Easy Way to Control Alcohol.

Mehfruittea Thu 09-Mar-17 19:17:07

Thanks Cuntess I've looked up the book and ordered it.

All booze except what he has bought tonight has been hidden or moved from first hiding place. He won't realise until he's had too much to drive so won't get any more tonight. I don't want to live life like this though. Something has to change but I feel at a loss as to how I can help him.

Bluntness100 Thu 09-Mar-17 19:20:35

I don't think uou should have hidden it. No. can he hide your cake? I don't think he is an alcoholic, he gives us for months, he seems more a moderate binge drinker. I'm sorry just because you don't want him to drink and prefer he doesn't, doesn't mean uou can force that lifestyle on him.

I don't think it's ok what you're doing.

TheCuntess Thu 09-Mar-17 19:21:37

Are you hiding it or is he? If he's hiding it that's huge alarm bells.

ChicRock Thu 09-Mar-17 19:31:42

You used alcohol to medicate for physical pain.

He's doing the same for emotional pain.

If he'd hidden your alcohol when you were using, and felt you needed it, it you'd probably have hit the roof.

Sounds to me like you both have an unhealthy relationship with booze.

Mehfruittea Thu 09-Mar-17 20:09:39

I hid the booze. He already knew I put some away from Christmas because he mentioned it last week. I put it away when he stopped drinking in Jan. He said "thank you for supporting me. Where is it?" As he got to the end of his whiskey bottle.

I've hidden the wine he bought me this week. It's not really for me. A faux present to enable booze in the house, as he knew I wouldn't be drinking it. If I was dieting and he hid cake, I'd be ok. If not then yes I would be annoyed.

Bluntness - I'm a little shocked that you think it is moderate binge drinking. He was drinking 6 days a week for the last 12 years except to spells recently where he was able to stop. He went straight in to drinking 3 nights for 2 weeks, now I'm assuming he's upping to 4 nights this week. Is this really a moderate drinker? Am I just loosing the plot?

Marmitelover55 Thu 09-Mar-17 20:18:51

I think they recommend 3 consecutive days with no booze as being good for your liver. However, I think I have a doificuly relationship with alcohol myself so maybe not helpful.

Mehfruittea Fri 10-Mar-17 09:07:19

Thanks ladies. I'm still seething this morning. He stayed up till 1am-ish drinking string larger. He gets up at 6.45am for work. So breakfast was 2 energy drinks and a bowl of cereal. This is exactly the habit he has been in when his depression was at its worst.

He stays up late drinking and then is tired/grumpy/argumentative over little things. He is very overweight, in the obese category. When he is not drinking he looks after himself better, excercises and in the last 2 months he lost 22lbs. He has a fatty liver but doesn't really understand what that means. His dad and brothers are all heavy drinkers, so it's normal for him.

I'm upset for the short term immediate impact to our relationship but also worried about the future and his health, physical and mental.

Sparklewater Fri 10-Mar-17 09:20:20

I think he is an alcoholic, so do you and so does he. He's a functioning alcoholic so it can be hard to get them to get help.

Can you push from the depression angle rather than the drink angle? I expect if he manages to sort that, the drinking will sort itself out naturally.

You shouldn't hide drink but I do understand why you want to and have done it myself in the past.

Guiltypleasures001 Fri 10-Mar-17 09:26:03

Sorry op he is drink driving if your in the UK two pints is double the limit, maybe he will wake up when he loses his job or kills someoneflowers

Mehfruittea Fri 10-Mar-17 09:41:50

Thank so for your replies. I think 2 pints of 3% larger over a 3 hour period are ok? He's a big guy and the limit is about the blood alcohol level. I'm not defending him obviously, when he got home I couldn't tell he'd been drinking. It was only when I woke in the morning and realised he'd stayed up late that I thought he might have. I checked the recycling bin and saw the cans. I assume he drank while out and know he always sticks to 2.

I don't know what angle to take with this - perhaps the health side of things? Has anyone experience of addressing this?

I also understand hiding the booze isn't helpful. I've hidden bottles of wine and prosecco - they were all gifts for me. I don't want to drink them and don't need them in the fridge. But I know when he drinks all of what he has, he then moves on to mine. He one mixed baileys with milk because he couldn't stand the taste but wanted to keep drinking.

Any advice is really appreciated.

alreadytaken Fri 10-Mar-17 10:08:41

he's not an alcoholic if he can stop for 3 months or have regular 3 days off. However he sunds to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

There are "love your liver" events held around the country, maybe try to get him to one. www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/our-work/love-your-liver/

Concentrate on the positives when you talk to him and try to arrange things to do where he isnt drinking.

Mehfruittea Fri 10-Mar-17 11:42:40

Thanks I will check it out.

We've been together 12 years but I've never before had to deal with anything where I feel unable to support the decisions he's making. I'll see what happens tonight. If he stops off to buy more booze again tonight I will try and grab him before he starts. It's really hard to talk to him when he's already drinking, but starts as soon as he gets through the door. Our DS is still up and we can't speak until after he is asleep. By then, DH is 3 cans in.

Upthead I've said I had a problem with alcohol, using it to deal with physical pain whilst waiting for the right treatment. At no point did he say I was drinking too much, he enabled me as it also enabled him. A full bottle of wine a night is normal for him. I'm in a position now where I know it's not normal or ok, and don't want to be an enabler for him. I suppose that's why I've hidden the booze.

JaneEyre70 Fri 10-Mar-17 11:50:29

My uncle was an alcoholic, and died from liver failure aged 47. My aunty did everything known to man to try and get him to stop - even leaving him in the end, as she got so fed up with having no money and his behaviour when he'd had one too many. The more someone drinks, the more their tolerance grows and if he's already got liver issues, his drinking is causing him harm so it is a problem. I'd phone Al-Anon, they were an amazing support to my friend when she went through this (and her DH wasn't a diagnosed alcoholic). Ultimately, the only person that can stop your DH drinking is himself though and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and the effect they are having on your family.

badger2005 Fri 10-Mar-17 11:53:52

I had/have a similar issue, only my DH normally starts on the lager on the train! I can really pick up on the change in behaviour - brasher, louder, less nuanced, just stupider I guess - even though he is always kind etc. He is the cleverest and best person in the world when sober.
The cans in the recycling are the giveaway. And who stays up drinking alone, except people who need lots of drink?
I have tried a lot of things to change the situation, and now accept that it is not my situation to change. The Al-anon website gave me this good mantra: I did not cause it, I cannot control it, I cannot cure it.

DaisyBD Fri 10-Mar-17 11:54:50

The label 'alcoholic' is, in my view, unhelpful and misleading. What does it even mean? There's no test for it, no-one else can say if you are one or not one. It's not about physical dependency (although that obviously is a bad sign) as you can be psychologically dependent. Being able to give up for weeks or months or years doesn't signify that there isn't a problem. Not drinking during the day doesn't signify there isn't a problem. Not being abusive or negligent doesn't signify there isn't a problem.

If the answer to the question 'has alcohol ever cost you more than money?' is yes, then there could be a problem.

But the real question is what you can do about it. Unfortunately you can't control his behaviour and it's pointless trying to. You can tell him how you feel about his drinking, and you can get help for yourself. Al-Anon has helped a lot of people, and I really like that it's about helping the person who goes, rather than about how to support or help or control the person who is drinking problematically.

And forget hiding the booze, I've never seen that work.

Kikikaakaa Fri 10-Mar-17 12:57:50

My dad is an alcoholic and I have a very unhealthy relationship with it, I'm currently not drinking at all and using an app to kind of track progress/give me little boosts because it is my go to after a bad day or depressed feelings as well. And I don't like relying on it at all and recognise 'whoa, it's becoming a crutch' just like you did. I know it's there so want to learn how to moderate it. I think when all your moderation goes out the window you have a problem with alcohol. Labelling alcoholic isn't going to help.

He's masking what's really going on so the key is always that They have to want to address what's underlying and Recognise that it's an issue at all.

By all means talk to him as a first step, but you can't demand he sees things the way you do, because it just doesn't work like that. Whatever pain/feelings he is hiding he's also now using shameful behaviour with hiding empties. You need help for you, I agree with calling Al-Anon for advice for yourself. Trying to control the situation will end up hurting you more because he will continually let you down.

specialsubject Fri 10-Mar-17 13:07:54

How can you have a moderate binge!?

You say the alcohol makes him unpleasant. And he has depression so the last thing he should be doing is swilling a depressant. You also say he is drinking your savings.

Three good reasons to stop. If he can't accept that, then he is going to take you down with him. If he doesn't care about that - then it is time for a hard choice. I'm so sorry.

Kikikaakaa Fri 10-Mar-17 13:10:20

A moderate binge to me is all your units in one night on a Saturday kind of behaviour.
Drinking 50 units a week isn't a moderate binge it's heavy drinking

Mehfruittea Fri 10-Mar-17 15:02:10

Thanks all. A normal night for him is to start drinking as he gets through the door, sink 6 cans and then have 3-4 large whiskeys. 6 nights a week but some months he won't take a night off. Is that about 25 units a day? Now he is doing this 3 nights a week, creeping up to 4 nights this week. We go on holiday in 4 weeks and will drink all day and night on holiday.

He spends all night drinking, doing housework while he drinks. But spends 2 hours doing a 30 min job and does it badly cos he's drunk. I then get the guilt trip, I'm disabled and his life is so hard as my carer, having to do everything for me. He never gets time for himself. Poor me. So I keep making allowances and doing things to help. I do just as much housework as him. It just doesn't take me as long, even though I'm slower due to my disability. And there are some jobs I need him to do as I can't. My guilt is mine to own, and I'm trying to deal with it. We were making so much progress as a couple and now I just worry it's all swirling away to the bottom of a bottle.

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