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To ask DP to cut down on the amount he drinks because it is having an affect on his health.

(25 Posts)
timidatheart Mon 15-Jun-09 14:20:59

DP has a long term medical condition. He drinks to help him cope with life in particular knowing his condition will affect his health. I have asked him on several occasions to reduce the amount he drinks because I am worried the drink is adding to the health issues. He usually reduces the amount for a while, but it creeps back up and we have the same argument.

Every day I think about the prospects of being on my own with the dc. He knows I worry and yes I wish I didn't and wish I could be more positive for him.

We have reached stalemate now, he thinks I am unsympathetic and unsupportive. I think he knows he has issues that he has too address, but would rather carry on drinking as long as his health allows and does not like the fact I make him feel guilty.

CountessDracula Mon 15-Jun-09 14:22:56

How much does he drink?
Does the drink worsen his specific condition?

He drinks so he doesn't have to think about his worries I should imagine. Is there something else you could encourage him to get involved in other than drinking eg exercise.

MIFLAW Mon 15-Jun-09 14:28:52

No, you are probably not being unreasonable, but if he has a drink problem - which the drinking and behaviour pattern you describe might imply - you are probably wasting your breath. He may well need help to sort himself out and you are unlikely to be able to provide that (though your support will be appreciated, I'm sure.)

If he doesn't want that help, it's probably in everyone's best interests - including his, in the long term - if you start putting number one first.

timidatheart Mon 15-Jun-09 14:28:57

Thankyou for your interest. I am not sure in units, but I know too much drink. I,ve tried to get him to do other things and he does have other interests, but we always seem to end up back in this situation.

timidatheart Mon 15-Jun-09 14:33:48

When I insist he cuts down on the drink, he can go all week without a drink and just have it at the weekend. So I am not sure whether this would imply he has a drink problem. I just worry that this is adding to his health problems and I also worry that I am not supporting him, by infringing on his coping mechanism.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 15-Jun-09 14:39:12

Do you drink, at all, yourself? If you don't then you may not be the best person to be telling your H to stop. I note that you don't suggest his behaviour is negatively affected by the drink ie you mention nothing about him spending money you (as a family) don;t have, or becoming violent/agressive when drunk, merely that you think he is risking his health (and you do not give amounts, either: one can of beer a night is not problematic).
So it is possible (from the information you give) that actually you should back off and allow him to have a few drinks when he wants to. You are not, after all, his owner.

If, however, he is spending more than the household can afford and does become abusive after drinking, then you need to start looking out for your own interests, because a person with a drink problem will npt change unless and until s/he is ready to do so.

timidatheart Mon 15-Jun-09 15:38:32

I don't mind any advice and I am willing to back off if that is for the best. I do enjoy a drink and limit this to weekend only. I haven't put the amount because this isn't really the issue. He drinks more than the recommended allowance and yes it does affect his behaviour, lack of interest, no motivation and yes it is affecting his health.

I know I am not his owner and yes I have thought who am I to interfere I do not have the health issues. But I am finding if very difficult to watch him add to his already existing medical problems and feel like I am adding to them by challanging him.

MIFLAW Mon 15-Jun-09 15:49:18

"When I insist he cuts down on the drink, he can go all week without a drink and just have it at the weekend. So I am not sure whether this would imply he has a drink problem."

This is like the joke about the smoker who finds it so easy to give up he's already done it 20 times. It's not the cutting down (or stopping) that proves you don't have a drink problem, it's the staying cut down or stopped. Someone who cuts down and then increases again - unless he or she cut down for a specific reason which has now passed (eg stopping during pregnancy) has, however you want to dress it up, tried and failed to cut down.

Normally, when people try and fail to cut down - especially when there is a very real need for them to cut down or stop, eg health, like your husband - the best solution for them and others is to abstain completely.

timidatheart Mon 15-Jun-09 16:02:10

Tbh there is a high probability he will end up needing kidney dialysis. I know and he does that this will mean he will have to stop drinking. The amount he drinks will probably not prevent this, but it is probably increasing the time it will happen ie sooner rather than later. This is why it causes me so much of a dilemma.

I know I need to think about me, but thankyou for reminding me. I just want him to make the most of today, look after himself better and for us as a family deal with things as they happen, but easy for me to say.

MIFLAW Mon 15-Jun-09 16:47:29

If he has a drink problem he will probably be the last to know it ...

I do not advocate empty threats but discussions as to whether or not you plan to leave might - and it IS only might - make him realise how much he is jeopardising through his behaviour.

Expect the whole denial, anger sequence before he gets to that point though. Problem drinking is a powerful enemy and has beaten many good, intelligent, kind men and women.

But he can beat this and your family can survive it.

The worst thing he can do is to do nothing.

timidatheart Mon 15-Jun-09 17:40:53

I have reached that point, I don't think I can offer support when part of it has been exasabated through self infliction.

It is not what I want for me or dc, but I don't want this either.

Thankyou MIFLAW for your kind words of wisdom.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 15-Jun-09 23:11:51

I suppose what I am wondering is, given his health problems, will his life actually improve if he stops drinking? If he has a imited life expectancy and is in chronic pain and a couple of beers helps at least temporarily, then I do not necessarily think that making him stop will do more than make him miserable. For instance, if someone had terminal lung cancer but continued to smoke, then really, what would be the point of them giving up smoking for possibly a few more months of illness and suffering.
But you do have to consider yourself and your DC too. Living with someone who has chronic health problems is hard anyway: make sure you are getting some time to yourself each week.

MIFLAW Tue 16-Jun-09 09:33:07


Is this an area you have particular expertise in, or are you just guessing?

If the man has a drink problem, then, yes, his life alomst certainly will improve if he stops drinking - even at a very simple level, just imagine you were going through what he is going through, and then try to imagine doing that with a regular, acute hangover.

But, perhaps more to the point, it will almost certainly get worse if he doesn't, for him and for those around him. It is blatantly clear from the OP that her husband is not drinking "a couple of beers" and, unlike your example, it appears also that he does not (yet) have a terminal illness - he still has plenty to lose, and therefore plenty to keep if he can sort this out now.

Timid - give Al-Anon a go and see if you can persuade him to give AA a go, even if it's just to sit at the back and listen a couple of times. What have either of you got to lose?

SolidGoldBrass Tue 16-Jun-09 10:25:47

MIFLAW. I'm guessing based on limited information. And so are you. We do not know the OP or her DH.

transactionalanalysis Tue 16-Jun-09 10:42:44

I don't think that you asking / telling him to cut down on his drinking will work. I have a drink problem and it just makes me angry when I am asked to cut down by those around me.

MIFLAW Tue 16-Jun-09 10:47:12


That's true enough.

I am, however, drawing on considerable experience of recovering from problem drinking, what that entails, what life is like with it and what life is like without it.

It is also fair to say that, if my advice is followed and it turns out I have guessed wrong, no harm will come to any of the participants.

However, if your advice is followed and it turns out you have guessed wrong, considerable harm could come to some or all of the people involved, not least the drinker himself.

Plonketyplonk Tue 16-Jun-09 10:59:00

I think that when one has a chronic health problem diagnosed, it does affect the way we see life. It's not nice to see someone drinking when you're not. Every little bit seems to make the drinker slur some more.

I think when we have our health, we take it for granted. Until we are that bit older, (hopefully) we don't have to realise that life can be very temporary.

Would your dh open up a bit about his health problems? Dialysis is not the end of the world. Nor is a transplant. It may help to try and talk about these things.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 16-Jun-09 13:04:24

MIFLAW: I appreciate that you have considerable experience in this area. But I am not sure about the 'no harm' that could come from forcing this man to stop drinking: if alcohol is a crutch that he finds beneficial or that has less unpleasant side effects than some of his medications (as cannibis can do in some cases) then depriving him of it may make him miserable to no real benefit.
Though I do think the OP should perhaps seek some expert advice from RL sources.

transactionalanalysis Tue 16-Jun-09 13:13:22

I'm fairly new to Mums Net, but I can already see that SoldGoldBrass's advice about seeking real life sources of information needs to be heeded by a lot of people here.

Rhubarb Tue 16-Jun-09 13:19:07

OP - are you who I think you are?

MIFLAW Tue 16-Jun-09 13:29:36

I would not suggest forcing anyone to stop drinking because it is not possible to do so - people in prison manage to drink (albeit some shocking stuff) so I'm sure this man would find it a doddle unless he himself is convinced of the need to do so.

FWIW my gut feeling is that, based purely on what the OP says, with a bit of reading between the lines, this man does have a problem with drink and the quantities are considerably greater than a couple of beers.

Sadly, there is very little "expert advice" available on drink problems (as opposed to the effects of heavy drinking, where advice is freely available but routinely ignored by the people who need to hear it.)

Most people who cannot cut down end up ignoring the warning signs and returning to previous levels of drinking - this is what the OP appears to be worrying about.

Others stop on their own resources or using chemicals such as Antabuse. They tend to be miserable and vulnerable to relapse.

Some people manage via counselling or hypnosis performed by professionals with no personal experience of addiction.

However, I would suggest that the majority of people who get better feel the need to seek counsellors or mentors who have "been there, done that" - peer example is very powerful in such situations.

The majority of such counsellors have recovered in AA or in an AA-based treatment centre (eg the Priory). Indeed, in many such centres, attendance at AA is compulsory as part of the treatment.

All authorities are in agreement that problem drinking is as much (if not more) a mental problem as a physical one so, certainly, some form of counselling would seem to be essential - IF (and only the OP can answer this) the man in question is unable to stop or control it alone.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 16-Jun-09 20:46:39

MIFLAW: I appreciate that AA-style methods helped you and that they do help a lot of people. But they don't help everyone. The emphasis on guilt, shame and superstition is not always helpful (the use of 12-step programmes for eating disoders is appallingly inappropriate).

MIFLAW Tue 16-Jun-09 22:15:30

There is no mention of guilt or shame in the 12 steps or anywhere in AA literature - at least, not as a necessary or good thing in recovery.

Not sure what you mean by superstition, either - unless you are confusing having a Higher Power with following a religion.

No idea whether it works for eating disorders - I only speak about what I know in this context, which is alcohol.

You are right, too, in that 12-step approaches don't help everyone.

What I was highlighting was the dearth of proven, effective alternatives in the case of alcohol addiction.

mitfordsisters Tue 16-Jun-09 22:47:02

The thing is timid, you can't change another person, even if they are doing something really stooopid. My DH also does things which exacerbate his health problems. I used to advise/ plead etc. but he just ignores it after a while, even though he agrees he should slow down the drinking. I feel happier since I realised that he will do what he likes and ain't a darn thing I can do to stop him.

MIFLAW Tue 16-Jun-09 23:58:02

Fully endorse what mitfordsisters says.

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