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I'm not sure if DH is an alcoholic

(24 Posts)
theresalwayssomething Mon 19-Nov-12 11:21:50

We were at a family event over the weekend, and, as I had expected DH had far too much to drink and ruined my, and a lot of others peoples nights. I knew it was going to happen and had been dreading the occasion. Only 2 weeks ago he ruined my best friends wedding for me by getting too drunk. I cant count the number of times this has happened. He is a horrible man when he is drunk.

Basically over the weekend everyone got to see what he was like when drinking and I think a lot of them now think he is an alcoholic. I dont know.

He is incapable of going out and having a few drinks ; he will always get paralytic and has been vile to me on so many occasions. He doesnt drink every night at home, but if there is drink in the house he has to drink it. He would think nothing of polishing off a bottle of wine, and would drink more but we dont keep it in the house.

He seems genuinely remorseful this time and is saying he has to stop and whats wrong with him etc

I dont know

ShamyFarrahCooper Mon 19-Nov-12 11:31:42

He cannot control himself with alcohol at all so I would say yes he probably is one.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 19-Nov-12 11:32:07

There's a technical distinction between an alcoholic.... someone who is dependent on alcohol... and someone who is a heavy/binge drinker/alcohol abuser. If he can go days without drinking he's more likely to be in the latter category. Doesn't make it healthy, desirable or tolerable to live with however. If you find the behaviour unacceptable and he is genuinely remorseful then he needs to seek help. The solution is going to be abstinence. Are you willing to support him in that or are you saying you've had enough already?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 19-Nov-12 11:32:12

Words from him are cheap, its actions that matter. They always but always show remorse and make promises to change; he's done this before hasn't he?. He does not really mean it though deep down and you still are there playing out your roles (his enabler and codependent) in all this dysfunction too.

Unless he is truly serious about wanting to properly seek help for his problem drinking, there is NOTHING you can do to help him. You can only help your own self as well as any children you have. They probably feel for you a mixture of pity and embarrassment.

Alcoholism is a family disease; its does not just affect the alcoholic. You knew in advance that he would drink to excess on this family event and so it proved.

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

What are you waiting for - do you really want to spend the next year, 3 or 5 waiting for him to have some sort of epiphany that will not likely happen?.
There are no guarantees re alcoholism; he could go onto lose everything and everyone around him and he could still choose to drink afterwards.

Do not keep putting yourself through this - show him properly that there are consequences for his actions and stop covering for him as of now. Please talk to Al-anon and get help for your own self. You are stuck too.

Would also suggest you read Codependent No More written by Melodie Beattie.

The 3cs re alcoholism:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

izzyizin Mon 19-Nov-12 11:35:36

At best he's an undisciplined binge drinker,at worst he's an alcoholic but, either way, he knows full well what's wrong with him and he knows that only he can bring about any change for the better.

Give him an ultimatum - he does it your way and gets himself appropriate help to curb his drinking or he takes the highway.

Men like him are a liability no woman should endure and it's unforgivable his selfishness has ruined events that others will have looked forward to enjoying. In future leave him at home until he's learned how to behave in public or, better still, cut to the chase and leave him.

theresalwayssomething Mon 19-Nov-12 11:45:46

this is the first time that he has said he thinks he needs to stop. but im annoyed that it took an event in which he humiliated himself, rather than me, to make him realise. i have told him so many times how is drinking has upset and affected me but it was never enough to make him stop.

at the moment he is feeling very sorry for himself and wants me to be there for him. but im getting increasingly angry about it. he has made me feel shitty for years and now im supposed to comfort him?

we have a two year old ds

RooneyMara Mon 19-Nov-12 11:49:44

In the broader picture it doesnt really matter what you call it, or what he 'is'.
He's making your social life miserable, upsetting your family and friends and behaving like a complete arse - and now he is expecting sympathy.

I'm sure he feels like he has no control over his behaviour, but that's not your problem, or anyone else's - it's his to sort out, and if he were anything to do with me, he'd be doing it on his own.

It sounds like he's been putting oyu through this rubbish for years. You have every right not to live YOUR life attached to someone who behaves in this ghastly manner.

I'd be leaving, it's up to you what you do but please remember that whether you're there or not won't make any difference to whether he stops acting the clown and drinking too much.

You won't improve his prospects by sticking by him. Only he can do this and it has to be something he wants to do, without your support if need be.

Can you imagine living with your ds, instead of with your H and ds - would you feel less stressed do you think?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 19-Nov-12 11:51:39

"at the moment he is feeling very sorry for himself and wants me to be there for him".

No, you being there for him will not help him or you in the long run. You'll in turn just prop him up and enable him again. Not good for you either doing those roles.

He is having his own pity party. Unless he himself chooses to address his drinking there is nothing you can do to help him. He has to want to do this for his own self and not you or your child. His primary relationship is still with drink.

What do you yourself want to do?.

FateLovesTheFearless Mon 19-Nov-12 11:52:09

My ex was like that. He couldn't go out and socially drink. For example say me and a friend were having a vodka lemonade and he was having a pint...he would down his pint to make sure he finished at the Sam time as us so he wouldn't miss out on the next round. He would always get stupidly drunk and frankly was an embarrassment. He also drank at home every night but maintained he didn't have a drink problem because he could get up for work etc. he did and he is now my ex husband. Best decision I ever made.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 19-Nov-12 11:52:47

In a way it's actually better that he chooses to quit for himself rather than 'for you'. It has been very wrong of him to put you through the wringer but if he sees quitting as a personal, independent decision made for his own motives he's more likely to stick with it than if he sees it as doing a favour for someone else. Having had someone who gave up an addiction 'for me' the danger was the minute they were unhappy with me .... back came the addictive behaviour just to spite me.

So, don't comfort him or listen to the self-pity. Instead take the line that this is something that's long overdue, he's on borrowed time and then take a massive step back & leave him to it. His decision, his effort and, if it all goes horribly wrong, his responsibility for what happens next

theresalwayssomething Mon 19-Nov-12 12:02:11

i cant really believe this is happening to me, to us.

i dont know what to do.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 19-Nov-12 12:04:26

There's not a lot you can do except consider the options. If he's prepared to quite completely and you get on with him when he isn't drunk, that may mean you can take your marriage forward constructively. If he's not really committed to quitting, you have to decide if it's worth splitting up over. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best...

theresalwayssomething Mon 19-Nov-12 13:47:40

we do get on fine withur the drink. apart from the fact that i have withdrawn from him slightly, because of the memories of all the abuse Ive got from him.

its too early to tell if he means it or not; its being driven by self pity and embarrassment at the moment, so we'll see what happens when that wears off.

i guess i need to make my stance clear to him, which is that i will support him, if hes seriouos but i cant spend my life in a cycle of dreading social occasions, being embarrassed by him, being abused by him and then just getting a meaningless apology.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 19-Nov-12 14:02:47

I think that's a great idea. You might also want to put some deadlines on it... nothing focuses the mind like a deadline IME. With the whole Christmas/NYE party season looming you could legitimately propose a target of being alcohol free through to end Jan as a first step. It's effectively just 10 weeks - a good start to a lifetime of abstinence - & his reaction might help you gauge if he's serious or not.

Also like what you say about no being able to spend your life in a cycle of dread etc. It's not a threat to point out that there will be serious consequences if he goes back on the deal. Crystallise those consequences into something very tangible... e.g. first hint of drink & he leaves the family home, you start divorce proceedings.... whatever you think is a reasonable course of action.

izzyizin Mon 19-Nov-12 14:10:02

He doesn't just embarrass you in public, he also abuses you?

Wallowing in self-pity and claiming to feel embarrased by his own behaviour isn't going to cut it. Give it a few more days and it'll be as if nothing happened... until the next time.

You can best support him from a distance - tell him to leave so that he can get his act together without causing you any more hurt and shame and don't let him back into your life until he's proved he's a worthy dp and df.

vintagewarrior Mon 19-Nov-12 14:44:59

My DP was like this, i threw him out.
He now hasn't had a drink in 2.5 years and is a changed man.
We say he had a drink problem, although wasn't dependent on alcohol, (could go months without a drink) drank to excess every single time.
I never thought he could change, he did.
We only got back together 6 months ago, and are now getting married.
You are right to feel hurt it's taken this to make him look at his behaviour, mine didn't listen until he was sat in a grotty flat on his own.
Be strong.

theresalwayssomething Wed 21-Nov-12 10:22:49

so im finding it increasingly hard to get out of bed in the mornings.

we havent really spoken about whats going to happen yet. we both work full time and have 1 ds who isnt in bed until 9pm, by which time im too exhausted to contemplate a discussion.

i did write him an email outlining the hurt he'd caused and saying how angry i am at him. i said i do want to help him but im not ready to join his pity party. he says he wants to stop but at the moment i feel he's just wallowing in self pity.

i cant concentrate at work. im having headaches, feeling sick. i look like shit. i have no-one to talk to about this. i just want to run away but i cant because of ds.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 21-Nov-12 11:15:44

The weekend isn't far off. Have a discussion then perhaps? If you're feeling sick etc it's because you know it'll be a difficult conversation. Use your e-mail as a prompt for what you want to say & be specific about what you want to happen and when it has to happen. If you are specific about an action plan rather than simply saying you're hurt or angry, it puts the ball in his court. He can't help how you feel... he can only change the way he acts. If you are willing to help him, be specific about what that help is going to look like rather than anything vague which can be misinterpreted.

Fuckitthatlldo Wed 21-Nov-12 12:37:57

I am not about to label anyone I've never met an alcoholic - that's for your husband to decide.

But what I can do is give you a definition of alcoholism subscribed to by AA and many leading addiction recovery experts: If a person finds it extremely difficult or impossible to stop drinking once they have started and continues to drink despite awful consequences (such as humiliating themselves and causing their partner to consider leaving them) then they are suffering from the illness that is alcoholism.

It is not about how often you drink, or even how much. It is about the inability to stop once you start, and the return to drinking despite heavy consequences.

Many people live in denial of their alcoholism because they are not living on a park bench drinking whisky at 8.00 in the morning (me included, for a long time).

Theoretically, a person could just drink once every six months. But if every time they did so they could not stop drinking until they became emotional, embarrassing, aggressive, and legless, and despite these consequences they continued to binge on alcohol (however infrequently) then that person could well identify as an alcoholic.

What I'm trying to say is that dependency comes in many shapes and sizes. You don't have to drink all day every day to be physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol. Think about it, why would anyone subject themselves to all that shame and humiliation? Nobody enjoys that. It is the worst feeling on earth to know that you have earned everyones pity and contempt. Why would anyone in that situation continue to drink? Because they're an addict, that's why.

pocketrocket76 Wed 21-Nov-12 17:52:21

Living with alcoholism is terrible and very lonely for all of those affected. My advice would be to find and attend an Al Anon meeting in your area - a support group for friends and families of alcoholics. They provide friendship and support and are a group of people who are living or have lived through the same experiences as you. I couldn't have got through the last 18 months without them - I too felt like you. Google Al Anon and give it a try......

theresalwayssomething Thu 22-Nov-12 10:05:25

so we had a small chat last night. as i thought he is too sunk in self pity to really have a proper discussion.

i asked him what he was going to do; he said he was going to do a course, get stuck in to the gym. did i think he needed to do anything else? i said i thats not going to resolve the issue of why he was drinking.

he said he felt alone a lot of the time; and , as i knew he would, tried to absolve himself of responsibilty and brought out the old chestnut of us not having sex enough. i just cant believe he brought it all back to that (again). just blames me for being 'frigid' (as he has called me) and doesnt think about the myriad of reasons why i find connecting with him difficult ( we have sex plenty, i think, not that even it matters)

so i said this was all such a mess and i wasnt sure if we could make each other happy. he says all he needs is me a and ds to get through this, but we havent been enough to stop him before so why now?

thanks for reading, if you are, i have no one to talk to irl about this, so need a place to release.

theresalwayssomething Thu 22-Nov-12 10:06:30

and thanks for all your support so far. its really helping me know that im not the one to blame here

Polecat2011 Thu 22-Nov-12 12:12:38

One definition I heard of an alcoholic is :

You are an alcoholic when alcohol costs you more than money

Does alcohol cost him friends? the love of his family? his reputation? etc

Of course he will blame you. Why would he want to take responsibility for his behaviour, he might find he has to stop it.

Llareggub Thu 22-Nov-12 12:31:51

I left my alcoholic ex nearly a year ago. This year has transformed my life. Life is so much easier without him. I could have written all your posts over the last 5 years. Truth is, he will not change unless he is ready to. Sadly I don't think mine ever will. He wallows in self-pity. Your child is too young to notice but he will soon. My 5 year old did and I kick myself for staying with my ex so long. It was a mistake.

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