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.
DH's friends. Alcohol and drug related.(27 Posts)
Name changing daily regular here.
I feel an idiot posting this, but i don't know what to do. Please be gentle. I'm going to try to keep this brief. Sorry in advance if that results in any 'drip feeding'. I don't mean it to.
My DH has a group of friends right now who are heavily into drugs and alcohol. He knows them through his work. He works with them every day. This drug and alcohol problem seems quite common with people in his area of work.
His work friendships are usually pretty transient due to the nature of the job. Usually work friendships come and go, and it's all very casual. However DH has been promoted recently and he is no longer moving around. Consequently this group is more likely to stay around because of that too.
DH is in his 30's. These friends are in their 30s and 40s. I worry because he has struggled with addiction with both drugs and alcohol in the past. (the drugs bit was before my time with him) He has made massive leaps forward with his drinking in the last 3 or 4 years, and can now have a couple of beers on a Saturday evening with me at home, and leave some untouched, or be designated driver at family meal out, etc. He is proud of this and so am i. I enjoy a few drinks at the weekend - i'm no nun.
DH is open with me about what these friends do. He knows i am worried. He knows why i am worried I think. In other words i haven't actually said i think you're going to start drinking heavily and/or taking drugs again because of these people - because i think he would be hurt, and i think it would be damaging - but i am thinking it
He works with them (and other people) 5 days a week. He spends an hour after work with them in the pub on a Friday. Any socialising with them other than that i am always invited and welcomed to. This would be once every couple of months or so recently. A party at one of their homes, or a weekend away to see an event. They openly take their drugs in front of me. They offer it - but don't pressure. I act friendly with them. I'll have a drink with them. My DH refuses the drugs and sticks to beers. Their DWs and GFs are either equally into it all or don't seem bothered.
I'm going to be honest here. I don't give a shit about these people. I don't even like their company. I wish they'd all fall down a big bloody hole and stay there. I can only really cope with them as i tend to be drinking when i see them and can sort of sail through it. But i want to stay in the loop. I could keep them at arms length if i wanted, but he'd still see them. Then i'd have a them and me thing going on. I want to watch him with them. This isn't right i know.
We've just had a weekend with them and i hated most of it. I was in tears with it yesterday - tired and overwrought.
I can't tell DH who to be friends with, and he doesn't force them on me.
I'm just very and worried about this and i don't know how to handle it. It's come to a head for me this weekend after some of the things i've seen.
Thanks for reading.
I think you're worried with very good reason. People like your DH with past/latent addictions can overcome it with a lot of effort, but it's very unwise to test willpower by deliberately choosing to be in an environment where temptation is so easily at hand.
That aside, I don't think either of you should feel obliged to spend time with anyone you don't like. It's almost immaterial that they are cokeheads and drunks. If they kept vicious dogs and you felt uncomfortable round those, you wouldn't have to accept party invitations etc. They sound horrendously immature for people in their 30's and 40's .... what kind of work does he do?
Do have a talk with him about all this. Not so much that you think he'll fall off the wagon - although that's valid - but simply that these people are arses and you don't want to be around them. He may be waiting for you to say something.
You could start off gently, sound him out about how he feels about them, he may find them a pain at times too but feel like its a necessary evil connected to his job (we hope).
Not good if it is reducing you to tears, tired due to being emotionally drained or because you are expected to keep up with people who are taking drugs to boost their energy? That could be tiring for your DH too. Ask him if he ever gets tempted to avoid inferring that you don't trust his resolve, which he could take more personally. Positive re-enforcement and praise for not going along with it all can help and avoids bad feeling. If you come straight out with saying they are arses and immature (which we know they are really) your DH could get defensive about them.
Thank you cogito and opento.
He's in the building trade cogito. Right now he's in charge of some of the gangs building a massive development of houses, hence the not moving around. The builders themselves tend to get shifted around, but the charge hands and foremen stay put.
I'm sort of glad you think i'm worried with good reason and sort of not! I've been trying to tell myself i'm being silly. I know deep down i'm not. God yes they are behaving like a bunch of teens. I wonder how they're functioning half the time.
I can talk to him about them up to a point. He is the first to point out that one of these people in particular will end up in an early grave if he carries on as he is. He can see the damage the lifestyle does. He's experienced the damage this lifestyle does. He's got ongoing medical problems because of his past. I tread on egg shells with him when we talk about these people though. For the reason you pointed out opento, about speaking too plainly and making him defensive. I think this weekend even he found them all a bit too full on actually. He shies away from admitting it outright though.
I will ask if he feels tempted, yes. I'm afraid that he'd be so angry and hard on himself if he slipped up even once that it'd be hard to help him to pull back from it all again. It's been all positive re:his adiction since i've known him. I've never had to help him through a relapse. I don't want to have to.
It's just all so tricky. He was very friendly with them before he was promoted, so he's struggled a bit with the problems that being promoted over friends in a 'them and us' sort of environment at work can bring. He knows for example that at least one of these blokes is drinking and drug using onsite. It was no secret form my DH before he was promoted, because he was one of the gang. Now he's just stuck in the middle. He's worked so hard physically and mentally to get where he is but he's so loyal to these bloody 'friends'! He doesn't have many friends outside work so he values their friendship. He doesn't judge them like the majority of people might, as he's been there himself i suppose.
Sorry, rambling massively. It's helped to get this out tbh.
That's really misguided loyalty. In any walk of life you meet various people when you're in their circle but, as you move up and on you should make new friends in the process. It's not being disloyal to realise you've outgrown them and have different values and standards. I'm afraid that, as he's their boss now, he's actually paid to judge them and not be one of the lads. Otherwise what happens to DH the day one of them has a fatal accident because he's drunk/coked up on the job? Big fat negligence case and DH out on his ear, that's what.
I think you should speak to your husband more openly and honestly about your fears.
You shouldn't have to tread on eggshells (which you are doing). You shouldn't have to spend your weekends with people you don't even like in order to keep an eye on his behaviour...it is infantilising him.
If an honest conversation from you were to send him more into their company and back into that way of life, then it is patently clear that precisely that was going to happen anyway and it was jst a matter of time
I don't agree that you should have no say whatsoever in who he socialises with. If he has real, documented past problems with that kind of lifestyle, of 6course^ you should have some input. I presume you are reliant as a family on the wage he earns ? If he gets involved again that will be put in jeopardy.
I know for a fact that if anyone is caught using anything on a building site these days, it is instant dismaissal. I think your H is sailing close to the wind in being openly friendly outside of work with people who do that, thus condoning it in management eyes. How will it look if they find out he knew all along ?
The building trade is not dependent on shmoozing and networking to get ahead, so in your shoes I can see no reason for him to choose this bunch of people to spend his leisure time with.
Talk to him, and suggest some other ways for him to relax. Go out as a couple more, with other family-minded (not drugs-minded) people. he is playing with fire, and probably knows it. He may be secretly grateful for you to call a halt on it.
That was to cogito, xposts with happy, but you're right too.
Got to go deal with dinner. Back later.
Do come back. If your husband is not an entitled nobhead, you can sort this between you. It's not too late.
I'm so grateful for your input. I was worried i'd just be told he's not a child, if he fucks up leave him.
On the drink and drugs on-site thing, yes it should be instant dismissal. I wish it was! However, the guy who's above DH turns a blind eye sadly. The ones above him (suits and ties) wouldn't though. So it is dodgy for DH.
He does seem to have this knack of befriending the dodgiest characters around him. He freely admits this. Birds of a feather? I know, i was thinking that too. So does he, so does he. His family are lovely people by the way.
keep[ing] an eye on his behaviour...it is infantilising him. Yes, Happy. I can see that. I confess to finding it hard to step back let people make their own mistakes. I'm a bit of a motherer. I worry too much. I wind myself up and get quite upset and all fired up to talk to him when he gets home - then he'll bounce in all full of his day and tell me what a twat he thinks these blokes are! and i think - 'relax, leave it, he's handling himself ok'. Then we'll have a weekend like this one just gone and i think - 'whooooa these people are bad bloody news! Why on earth does he have anything to do with them ???And why do i ???'
I think the idea about finding alternative ways to relax and spending time with more family minded people is so sensible. But i'm not sure how to do it. We've never done coupley things. I honestly don't have any friends who are coupley either. I don't have very many friends myself. His idea of chilling out is still very related to having a drink and a laugh with friends or alone with me. I'm going to wrack my brains to think of a way to acheive what you suggested though.
I know i shouldn't be treading on eggshells with my own DH. It's a hard one though this. I can talk to him frankly about anything and everything else in the world. I love him dearly and he makes me feel loved and cherished back. But i feel i'm on rocky ground with this.
I think you should have a talk with him and tell him what we have said here
So the guy above your H turns a blind eye too ? Is your H aware that if something does come out with the "men in suits" that bloke will sell your H down the river ? I guarantee it. It will be your H that gets it in the neck.
Currying favour with people he is in charge of shows a lack of confidence. Does he really want to be foreman (or whatever he is)? It can be a kinda lonely place to be...not one of the gang, but not "management" either. He does need to cultivate some distance though...he is making some classic mistakes here. Does the company provide any kind of training ?
If you can be frank with him for anything else, then it seems he is blocking you somehow from raising it. What do you think he would say if you did?
It doesn't sound like he sees them much - 1 hour a week and extra socialising.
I would only ask 2 questions. Why the extra socialising, sounds a bit more questionable that part, whether you are invited or not?
And 2. Does he have other friends?
And P.S. if you start to go out and find your own life, interests, and friends in the way you describe, you will benefit. He may also be inspired by that and you may both benefit.
jane has a point...it doesn't sound like much of a life to be trailing round after your husband to keep an eye on him but making new friends of your own may bring him along with you
you need to be able to trust him, though
I would actually, in your place, knock any further weekends spent in their company on the head. For both of you, and tell him why. The hour in the pub (if it stays just an hour) isn't the problem, I don't think (unless it really interferes with family life of course)
how often does the weekend thing happen ?
Sorry i haven't been more present here. Typically when i have a thread of my own i'm not getting the chance to log on!
You're all so very astute. Thank you again.
happy i get the feeling you have connections with the building trade. It's interesting that you ask if he wanted his promotion. It was out of the blue with no training in fact. He's worked darn hard for this company over the last couple of years and his head is in the right place to handle it for the first time in his life probably. He was worried about taking it on at first - his first week in the new position he was so wound up he was throwing up before leaving for work as they had left him in sole charge. It's a big site and the next layer up of management buggered off on holiday for a month! But he did it, and he did it well - he's dong fine now and he's so chuffed with himself. He deserves it.
This probably all sound so over blown - it's not like he's running the country or anything, i know. But i'm telling this because a few short years ago he wasn't even managing to hold down a job because of his addictions, now he's in charge of people. There's already talk of him going higher still soon. It's a big thing for him, Yes, he is the main earner in the family.
Jane - it doesn't sound like allot of time, i know. But remember he's with them all day long on and off. Tea breaks, lunch breaks ect. It's a constant drip IFKWIM? The weekend get togethers are about every 6 weeks or so. It's connected to a following a particular sporting event, linked to one of the guys on-site. I cant say much because it might out everybody! But that's what dictates how, when and why these weekends happen. It's such a shame about the drugs/drink thing. It could be (and almost is) allot of fun.
DH doesn't have any friends except his work mates. It seems this is usual for him. Also we've relocated recently and have had to start again in respect of friends. I've made a couple of good ones through work.
The pub thing on a Friday is indeed fine. It's a bitter sweet thing though. I'm pleased he's got mates, and so happy to see him being able to go to the pub for an hour and be home before 7pm after having just one or two - trust me this is amazing I just wish it wasn't with them.
happy you asked what he'd say if i was frank with him. I don't even know what i'd say tbh, but i think he'd be pretty angry. And hurt. Equally. Not good, he's got a temper. He remembers stuff that's been said and dwells on it. Not always in a good way. Worst case scenario he'd say something like 'i am what i am and if you don't like it it's your problem. You dont trust me so whats the point' sort of thing. Maybe storm off. Best case scenario? Er ... he'd say 'i know you're worried <hug> but you've got to trust me. I like the blokes, i'm ok'. No progress either way ...
jane i think you're right about me getting out more. I'm just picturing me going a 'macrame' evening and trying to pursued DH to come along and make a plant holder too, lol.
Another ramble - thanks if you're still with me.
We are still with you, and there is no time scale within which to come back to your thread
I do indeed know a few things about the culture within the building trade.
I also know a few things about a man who shuts down your worries and concerns because he thinks he knows best, and that isn't actually a good place to be
He doesn't know best, hence him getting in a right old mess previously. What has he done exactly to ensure that never happens again ? It sounds like he changed his lifestyle for a while, so took away the triggers and now you are worried he is mixing in those sort of circles again. But what else has he future-proofed himself with ? Denial is really not a good way of keeping yourself out of trouble, is it ?
And you can't raise it with him ?
I agree with HHMF and Cognito on the job issue, I've worked in construction and the company I worked for were very keen on H&S by their staff and their contractors. This would be an instant dismissal for the man concerned and repercussions for his managers. He needs to work out how to be that manager, it won't involve being friends with people, a good working relationship yes, but not friends when the 'friends' break the rules.
DH would answer the question - What has he done exactly to ensure that never happens again ? - by saying "I've married hiding". Or something similar.
In other words he'd say i'm his rock and i'm his reason for staying on the straight and narrow. A burden sometimes tbh. Most times i feel it's a special bond. 90% of the time it doesn't affect our lives at all.
I know what you're thinking! But it's not something i sought out. I've no history of 'rescuing' or anything.
This time last year we suffered the most appalling family tragedy and he was my rock. He was everything i needed him to be. It was a tragedy for both of us, and hit us both hard. He did not for even one evening turn back to drink over it though.
He's had no professional counceling. I'm certainly no professional. I never actively did anything to turn him round, and so therefore never felt out of my depth or anything. I love him and he loved me back and got clean under his own steam. Not that it was all plain sailing. I think that's what i am trying to say when by i say i wouldn't know how to cope with a relapse. The thought of it f'ing terrifies me in fact. This is why i'm in a tizz about these guys. It's like a panic attack.
X posts blueberry - yeah - you're right. He knows this as well. He's trying to be two different people at the moment at work
It would terrify me too
But you know what, although you seem to have taken on the role as his mother, protector and keeper rather readily, I don't think it is fair on you. Far, far too much pressure (as evidenced by your panic)
Nor is it fair on him, because it allows him to take no responsibility for himself, so he doesn't heal properly
I am sorry about your family tragedy
You say it was "this time last year". Is the anniversary of the event throwing up some difficulties for both of you ? If you handled it together well at the time, could you reach back to that feeling with him ?
I wish you would/could talk to him. Even if you use the "anniversary" as a way to get back that sense of "together against the world"
if you couch it like that, your concerns for him would surely not be seen negatively by him ?
In tears now trying to eat my sandwiches Happy!
We lost a baby late in pregnancy. We've got anniversaries coming out of our ears. Anniversary of getting pregnant. Anniversary of the loss. Anniversary of the due date. Anniversary of no first birthday. Anniversary of we probably wont get another chance
I think the fact we've had so many tears over the last God knows how long is why i hate the thought of stirring up a drama over this. Because it's not just a case of i dont like yer mates is it. I've got to tell him i dont trust him. That's quite a biggie.
It's ok. I probably needed a howl.
I will try to talk to him. No. I mean i will talk to him. Not 'try'. I need to pick my moment and get on with it.
Thanks again. Peoples lives are so complicated. It's hard help when you don't know all the layers. You can't write your whole life story in an OP. But you had it in a nutshell Happy. You're good <nudge>
He needs to see this is ridiculous with these people. And i need to not mother him.
Join the discussion
Please login first.