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How do I support my friend whose dh...

(16 Posts)
piratecat Tue 02-Apr-13 22:29:47

is becoming more and more dependent on alcohol, and who is basically getting pissed at the weekends and becoming abusive.

(Didn't want to put the alcohol bit on my title)

I don't live near my friend. She has no family nearby. I guess he's an alcoholic, i know nothing about what an alcoholic is really. What is alcohol dependency, is it the same.

It's a lovely relationship hit the fan due to his disgusting verbally abusive behaviour when he is pissed.

He's all apologetic when sober apparently, it's been going on for a year like this now.
How the heck do I talk to her about without upsetting her too much, by showing my disgust/support. I don't know how to help her and she is a longstanding friend and i am so worried that she's given him so many chances.

She gets times where she feels strong, she certainly says it as it is with him, but as far as i can see her threats to leave don't mean anything to him do they.

She knows this, she knows he expects her to stay, and she is angry with herself. At the same time i know it's so upsetting for her to see the person she loves destroy himself.

She has been through so much, and i know she's strong enough to go, but is there any help for him? He doesn't seem to truly acknowledge the severity of any of it.

Just feel bloody angry with him right now. thanks for listening.

piratecat Tue 02-Apr-13 22:33:54

any info on dealing with alcohol, groups or websites might be a good place to start? so maybe she or i can read a bit about this. I am pretty sure knowing her she's looked herself tho.

She's a clever lovely woman, and I can't seem to reach her and i don't want to upset her. Thats why i am asking how i can support her.

Thistledew Tue 02-Apr-13 22:38:20

How about this article ?

Thistledew Tue 02-Apr-13 22:42:50

Yes, alcoholism is an illness, but if someone had a physical ailment that they were refusing to treat, which impacted upon their family, then it would be clear that they were choosing to cause their family difficulties.

Just keep letting your friend know that her DP is choosing not to address his symptoms, and that she is choosing this life for herself. But be aware that her choice is clouded by her lack of confidence.

piratecat Tue 02-Apr-13 22:46:50

yes its the lack of confidence and she seems to see it all quite well. over time its not getting better and until he does something to help himself it won't change. though i fear she Will keep hoping he will. he is behaving like a petulant bully.

Verbalpunchbag Tue 02-Apr-13 22:49:18

Threats to leave are meaningless, the only thing an alcoholic cares about is drink, the best thing you can do is help her leave, if that's what she wants.

piratecat Tue 02-Apr-13 22:55:05

i asked her today if i didn't live so far away would that change how she would view leaving. ie that it would be easier in a more practical or immediate way when she had the strength. but she said (and this really resonated with me and has prob prompted me to post ) that in a way it was better that i was so far as it means she doesn't give up so easily on him. my dear friend is shall we say all over the fucking shop.

piratecat Tue 02-Apr-13 22:57:06

she has told him today that if he doesn't tell his parents that she will. his kids and hers are all suffering.

Verbalpunchbag Tue 02-Apr-13 23:09:47

Having seen alcoholism up close I know that until he accepts he has a problem and seeks help himself there is little she can do for him. Leaving might actually push him into getting help Or it might be just the excuse he needs to drink himself stupid and would explain her hesitancy. It must be incredibly difficult having to live with him and not something you want children to have to live through.

tribpot Tue 02-Apr-13 23:17:25

I think she would find this useful to read. And she could contact Al-Anon as well.

You need to upset her. She needs to understand that she cannot help him until he wants to be helped. If the children are suffering it is time to move this story forward, not wait in limbo for him to come to his senses.

piratecat Tue 02-Apr-13 23:23:23

thanks will have a look into the book. i got a bit blunt with her today and its new territory so i will see what a bit of research can throw at this. x

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 03-Apr-13 08:52:05

I think the alcoholism is a bit of a red herring. When people talk about it as an illness that kind of guilt trips the partner into sticking around... because it would be uncharitable to walk out on someone who is sick. I wonder what's changed in the last year that he's gone from 'nice guy' to 'nasty drunk'... and my suspicion would be that he's never actually been that nice and is simply using the alcohol as a convenient excuse to behave worse than normal

Your friend is in a bad marriage and doesn't seem to have the confidence to say enough's enough. She sees it as 'giving up on' someone to do so & thinks she was put on the earth to tolerate abuse or bad behaviour or whatever. That's an attitude that is tough to alter. All you can do is try to boost her confidence therefore. Rather than lining up water for her to lead her marital horse to ..... keep reminding her that she is a great person and deserves so much better.

piratecat Wed 03-Apr-13 10:25:37

they are wise words thankyou.

we have discussed what the hell has changed in his life. she thinks pressures of life, but has given him short thrift and pointed out that their life is 100% better than many, to try and give him a boot up the arse.

This is inherently who he is. I gave her the mumsnet 'would he treat his, boss, friends, mother' like this (this is something that has really resonated with me in the past few yrs) and it did make her think, and she has said it to him. He promises change, it lasts a few weeks, then he sneaks drink in the house, and gets pissed in the kitchen, hiding it in coca cola etc.. Then he starts to get nasty.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 03-Apr-13 10:34:54

Point me to someone that has a life free of pressures ... hmm It probably isn't inherently who he is but it is certainly who he is choosing to be. If he can change for a few weeks he could make it permanent if he wished. Whatever the cause and whatever the motivation, there is no excuse for getting nasty with your friend and being deceitful. But only she can decide whether it's something she wants to tolerate.

Having personally wasted a lot of emotion once on someone who self-medicated their self-inflicted woes with booze I know how easy it is to think love/marriage means you should hang in there and give them the space to change. I even recognise the boot up the arse approach. Waste of time.

tribpot Wed 03-Apr-13 12:23:52

Cog, I don't think the description of it as an illness is meant to convey 'oh poor them you shouldn't leave them', it's more to try to explain to the non-addict the profound nature of the addiction, and the multiple additional illnesses it can cause. It can be managed - not beaten - but solely if the addict wishes to. Just as anyone can become ill but stress may exacerbate it, anyone can become an addict, and just removing some of the apparent 'causes' will not solve the problem.

He probably does genuinely want to change. I wanted to stop drinking for a long time before I actually did it. But words are not actions, and she needs to focus on his actions and her reactions to them. Her interest must be in self-preservation, not helping the addict.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 03-Apr-13 12:40:14

I understand completely what 'illness' means in this context. However, that is not how the tag 'illness' is interpreted in society. We regard people who walk out on the sick as vile human beings & the marriage ceremony even binds people 'in sickness and in health'. So if alcoholism is designated an illness, many end up feeling they are obliged to stick around and play nurse. In a recent thread called something like 'would you date someone with depression?'... people were absolutely flamed & called horrible things for being honest and saying 'no'.

Glad you agree that it should be about self-preservation for the partner now.

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