Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Just had a Big Talk with dh about his drinking and other issues.(360 Posts)
I told him that if he chooses to continue drinking we will have to split up because I choose to no longer live my life in misery.
We've been here before and he usually makes a token effort to cut down (never stop altogether ) for a short time - a couple of weeks maybe - then reverts to drinking at least a bottle of wine by himself every night. Sometimes more.
Before some of you tell me that it's not that much and what's the problem, I should add that he does this even though we have very little money coming in right now and 2 dc to support. He really struggles to not drink. I don't want to spend time with him when he is drinking and I don't want to have sex with him when he is drinking, so it's a massive barrier to us enjoying our relationship. I no longer go back downstairs after putting the dc to bed but prefer to stay upstairs in 'my' space while he remains downstairs with his wine in front of the telly in 'his' space. That's not a marriage I can bear to be in any longer.
Other issue is his being out of work and doing almost nothing to get work. He has had some freelance stuff this month but he didn't seek it out, it came to him. We desperately need him to be earning money or we may not be able to put food on the table next month (yet he still spends minimum £50 week on booze rather than save for next month).
I suggested to him that the two things (drinking and lack of motivation / direction) might be linked but he doesn't think they are. To be fair, he has been drinking like this for 20 years (I know, I was stupid for marrying him and irresponsible for having children with him - please don't say it, it's never that simple and I can't change that now) but he had plenty of work until 2 years ago. But now the work he does has dwindled to nothing (because of the industry he is in) he just sits and waits for something to happen and complains that he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. In 6 months he has applied for 3 jobs. Not bloody good enough.
So he said tonight he will 'do something about' the drinking and I suggested he needs some kind of help with that or we'll be back at square one very soon and I won't go back to square one again.
He said he wont drink tomorrow night and we'll talk again.
I'm posting this as a record for myself of what's happening because I'm determined that this time, things will get properly and permanently sorted or its the end of the road. Also, I'm posting for hand holding and support, and to ask you to kick me up the arse if I let things slide. I don't want to live like this any more and I don't want my dd's growing up with it either.
If you've read this far, thank you.
fifty quid is a lot of drink money. i dont have any advice though ive never been in this position. have you asked if he can just drink on the weekends? good luck!
I read with interest as I have similar concerns aboutdp's drinking and work.
You are doing the right thing for yourself and your children.
I hope that things change for you and that I can work out what to do in my life.
He has tried just drinking at weekends - that's his ideal scenario. But it always creeps back to every night, usually after a week or two.
He's worried that if he gets help for his drinking he will be told he has to stop completely. He is not willing to do so.
ArthurandGeorge I hope we both work it out. Talk to me some more about your situation if you like.
He's clearly an alcoholic, he needs to stop drinking not cut down to weekends
OP can I suggest the GP or AA for him. The problem is he has to want to quit himself, and for that to happen the addict often has to hit rock bottom. I would say he has not yet hit rock bottom I'm sorry.
Can you build a bigger picture? Do you work?
How long have you been together? What was the line of work he was in before?
do any of your own family drink, historically?
Do you ever feel physically threatened by him?
What income do you have to live on? If he doesn't earn but yet spends £50 per week where does it come from?
Assuming you work but earn less than £25k you would be a whole lot better off if you asked him to go. Can you imagine that? Knowing you have enough money coming in to pay the bills and nobody will be rinsing the food budget for booze? What a nice feeling that would be.
If he is serious about wanting to support his family then once he has sorted himself out and is earning enough to cover the deficit he could come back...
If he is serious about cutting down get him to hand over his credit card & cash card.
Get him to turn the telly off & you stay downstairs of an evening, one of you cook a meal & try and enjoy each others company again.
Your man's primary relationship is with drink and nothing you do or say will change that mindset of his. Everything and everyone else comes a dim and distant second.
Talking to such men about their drinking is about as effective as spitting in the ocean and often the alcoholic is deep in denial. Promises are broken, its actions that matter at the end of the day and he will let you down again. Talk is cheap after all and you've likely heard variations on the same theme before now.
Its no life either for your children to be seeing is it, they pick up on all the unspoken vibes and tension between you and perhaps even blame themselves for their parents marriage falling to bits and their dad's alcoholism. Its not an ideal role model for them to witness is it?. You also need to consider your own role here; often women end up in the role of codependent and or enabler when it comes to their man.
Alcoholism too is a family disease, you're all being affected profoundly by his drinking. Alcohol is a cruel mistress.
What do you want to teach your children about relationships here?. Both of you are currently imparting damaging lessons to them and they won't thank you as their mother for staying with someone like this if you chose to. You have a choice re him at the end of the day, they do not. One day they will leave home, what memories of childhood do you want to leave them?.
I would seek legal advice asap for your own self so you know where you stand in terms of a legal separation. I do not write such things lightly.
The 3cs re alcoholism:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this
I mainly lurk but I wanted to post as I can understand a little of what you are feeling. My DP of 13 years and Dad to our DS has recently stopped drinking after consuming anything from 180 to 250 units a month.
In the beginning, I was partial to a drink so it didn't seem a problem although we did have many discussions,some heated, about cutting down. An effort would be made but it would creep up again. When we decided to try for DS, I cut down (although I wasn't drinking as much as this) and stopped when pregnant. i barely drink now.
My DP has always worked hard in a job on shifts. He would fit the drinking around the shifts so it would seem that every evening he was here, he was drinking, excuses always being that he would be working such a shift so he wouldn't be able to drink on such a day so he would 'get his drinking done now'. Sometimes he would call at the 24 hour petrol station and get a bottle of wine anyway after work, blowing his favourite argument out of the water.
When drinking, he was not physical towards me but he would sit in the same place with the internet and his headphones on and after the first 2 glasses he would barely talk to me, just seemed to retreat into himself. It felt very lonely.
He is in his early 40's and started drinking aged 14. It was more of a habit than anything.
This post is getting really long now, longer than I intended! My point is that the decision to stop came from him after a mix up over what day it was - I was at work, DS at nursery, DP here and thought he wasn't at work till late so started drinking at lunchtime when he should have been getting ready for work. He realized that it was controlling him and cutting down was not going to work so he has sought help and has been off it 6 weeks. That was the first time he has missed work through drink (we managed to cover it up).
The decision to stop can only come from him. I had 'detached' myself from it in the last 2 years,just sort of letting him get on with it, never really saying much once he had decided to drink. I told him sometimes in a calm way when he wasn't drinking that I was worried for his health but i came to the conclusion he had to want to do something about it.
I don't know if this is what you want to hear. I hope things will change for you. Obviously this is very early for my DP and there may well be bumps on the way. He is getting help from GP and a rehabilitation team the doctor put him in touch with.
(typed on phone, excuses mistakes!)
A bottle of wine a night is excessive. £200/month that you haven't got is an unacceptable indulgence. So you're not overreacting and you're right to want something to change. Unfortunately, alcoholism and other addictions are really difficult to knock on the head... usually because the sufferer doesn't accept there's a problem in the first place and therefore doesn't take it seriously. Having been married into a family of alcoholics of varying degrees (and since exited), the most successful strategy I've seen was the ex-BIL who gave up entirely when his DW finally kicked him out and that forced the issue. All the other members of the family were 'tolerated' and they ended up either dead or unchanged.
Just weekends doesn't work, I'm afraid.
Thanks for all your thoughtful replies.
He has admitted to me that in his head there isn't a problem but he can also see logically that there is a problem (when I point it out to him). He even called it a disease last night. He does come from a family of alcoholics and he tends to blame that fact - even hide behind it, as if he has no power over it as he's pre-programmed to be a drinker.
I know that he will have to stop drinking completely if he's going to recover. I haven't said as much to him because I'm afraid that would put him off seeking help. He definitely needs to seek help, he is incapable of doing it alone (been there many times before).
I don't have much hope tbh. I understand that the desire to change has to come from him and that its only me forcing his hand thats driving any attempts to stop drinking - therefore its not going to work. Buy his is my last big effort to save our marriage and keep our family together. And I am going to try very hard. Then I'm going to move on.
Today we're going to spend the day together as a family. Tonight he isn't going to drink and we are going to talk some more. I'll update on here - this thread is going to be a bit like a diary for me.
Thank you all again for taking the time to read and reply.
Alcoholism is sometimes learnt. Was not all that surprised unfortunately to read that he has come from a family that are themselves alcoholics; it all started with him way back in his own childhood.
He has to want to help his own self and unfortunately if he ultimately does not want to help his own self then that is his choice.
Its too deeply rooted and seated, what else can you realistically do or try?. And how long for, where is your own tipping point here?. I don't think your children will want you to keep trying now as this ship sailed a long time ago and they won't thank you for prolonging a dying marriage. Your H has made his choice and that is alcohol. He is mired in denial and is not serious about wanting to address his problems. Alcohol is truly a cruel mistress.
"Alcoholism is sometimes learnt."
I know what you're saying but I don't think it's true. I think some people learn by example that drink is the way to relax, have fun, solve problems or that heavy drinking is 'normal' as they are growing up but I don't think they learn alcoholism per se
I had a boyfriend who was the same, freelance worker but in reality did nothing about getting work, drank constantly - even had the cheek to borrow money from his parents cos mean old fergus wasnt generous enough.....
I left him when he developed a coke habit and he died a year later from liver failure. Harsh lesson for me about not being able to fix anybody. I found it impossible to drag him down to appointments etc and basically could not help him.
You will need to make him want to do it, no lecturing or encouragement worked for me. You have my total sympathy, I know how heartbreaking it is and don´t meant to come across as negative.
He's worried that if he gets help for his drinking he will be told he has to stop completely. He is not willing to do so.
OK. He's not willing to stop drinking, no matter the cost to your relationship or family.
Are you willing to continue living your life in second place to his booze? Or are you worth more than that?
Don't apologise for the negatives. I need to prepare myself for the probable outcome - the end of my marriage. I know it's almost inevitable because I have chosen to not live in the shadow of his alcoholism any longer.
But I also have to give it one last chance.
Atilla, my tipping point will be when he hasn't meaningfully sought any help for his problem and he continues or restarts drinking. I give it a month. During that month I will not be sitting back, detaching myself from the problem as previously. I will be fighting it tooth and nail.
I will start making plans to split at the end of September if it's obvious I'm fighting a losing battle.
I set a private deadline and stuck to it. It was really hard to leave but I was exhausted by that stage and didnt have kids to worry about. Give it your all - do you know if any of his relatives or friends would be concerned enough to help or are they in the dark?
"But I also have to give it one last chance".
I personally think he has more than enough chances not just to say time and what you have tried has not worked. This will just give him another month's drinking time.
In this month you have set aside, establish where you stand legally and prepare for separation.
He's already demonstrated his selfishness today by going back on promises to spend the day together as a family. I suggested a museum (as it's free and we're skint) knowing the kids would enjoy it but he's backed down because it's not his cup of tea. He didn't suggest an alternative. So I am taking the kids out on my own. He is busy on the computer designing a business card for a part time venture he has going - I suppose at least he is doing something potentially constructive although it is avoiding his real work issues as this particular venture can only ever be part time, not a proper income.
But as usual,, me and the dc come a poor second to his more pressing concerns.
I feel let down.
Love, not as a "I give up before the time limit is over" move. But more as a precautionary "prefer to know rather than guess" stratagy. Would it not be a good idea to see a solicitor now, to see how you stand should he not achieve what needs to be achieved ?
That way all your planning will be based on facts as they relate to you and your marriage/assets/incomes rather than just a general idea based on what you have heard secondhand as it pertains to other couples you know who have spilt.
It's not a net loss even if things go well, at least you'll have given yourself a "worst case scenario" factual foundation for the future, if ever needed.
Good luck love, and remember al anon can be useful if you find yourself beingsucked back into accepting his mindset as more "normal" than your own.
Are you really surprised? Wasting time on a business card for some pie in the sky venture when he should be getting a real job? Let down is a pretty standard way of life for partners of heavy/problem drinkers.
So far tonight, no booze. Plus my friend has been here doing a job search for him and found a job he can apply for. Deadline for job was today so he has to send it tonight ... he's looking at it but not sent it yet ...
Join the discussion
Please login first.