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How do I handle this?

(23 Posts)
soangryandsad Sat 13-Apr-13 21:32:18

My DH has been out with his friend today. He text me at 6 to say see you soon. Two and a half hours later the front door gets knocked - I went through to answer it and by this time DH is letting himself in with his key - hot on his heels is a policeman.

It turns out that he has left the pub at the time he text but started to walk home and sat down for a rest and fell asleep, somebody (thank goodness) saw him and phoned the police who kindly brought him home. Thanked the policeman (who had to take my name, date of birth and place of birth) for bringing him home.

DH starts laughing when I shut the door thinking it's all a big game so I told him to get a grip. I've told him that his drinking is getting out of hand.

I have been doing a good ostrich impression for the last couple of years but can't deny any more that he has a problem with drink. The last time I did a full on count of how much he was drinking I got to 120 units and stopped.

He drinks wine by the box which is lucky to last a night. He just says he enjoys having a drink and needs it to relax and doesn't see it as a problem. He never has a hangover and always makes it to work so I think that hides things.

He has now gone to bed and I am just feeling pissed off, scared (not of him, of sorting this out) and sad.

I feel like I can't talk to him about this but it needs adressed before he drinks himself to death. Do I let him bring it up in the morning or do I leave it til he is ready to talk? We have a wee one and I really don't want her hearing this conversation but have no chance of childcare tomorrow. Aaaarrrgh, thanks for reading x

towicymru Sat 13-Apr-13 22:12:27

No advice but didn't want to leave you unanswered. Hopefully someone with experience will come along soon.

I would guess that if your DH doesn't think he has a problem then he won't until he reaches the bottom. You may have to walk away and eat him fall before he can be helped up.

Thinking of you x

towicymru Sat 13-Apr-13 22:13:12

Let him fall, not eat! Damn auto correct!

Nanny0gg Sat 13-Apr-13 22:14:00

Sorry OP, I have no experience of this, but didn't want to read and run. I know it's said that the alcoholic has to reach rock bottom themselves and then decide to straighten up before they can change.

Have a look at I'm sure there's some good advice on there.

Good luck.

fortyplus Sat 13-Apr-13 22:19:15

What your dh needs to know is that I'm in my early 50s and already seen 4 people drink themselves to death. No he doesn't get drunk easily because his liver is working overtime clearing the poison from his body and has built up a 'tolerance'. However the damage is still happening - one liver transplant surgeon is quoted as saying that about 70% of his patients drink the equivalent of half to one bottle of wine per night and consider themselves moderate drinkers!
Fortuanately the liver is a wonderful organ and can recover from this abuse if given the chance. Another alcoholic friend hasn't drunk for 8 years and is now a fitness freak.

Wake-up call - tell him to take the NHS quiz re: drinking habits.

CastroIsDead Sat 13-Apr-13 22:28:55

he has to realise he has a problem before he can think about getting help and even with the right help and support it will be tough,its an addiction. maybe being brought home by the police will make him realise that he's on a slippery slope and if its causing problems in your relationship and family then it really is a problem
i would insist that he sees a doctor asap. if he tells them he is drinking over 100 units they can get the ball rolling re detox centre or other support.
even if he goes down this route with the best intentions it will be a hard road for both of you
my sympathys op I've been in your situation

soangryandsad Sat 13-Apr-13 22:37:13

Thank you ladies smile

I know the damage he is doing to himself physically, mentally and to us as a family.

He won't take any test - he is well aware of how much he drinks but doesn't think it is a concern.

I am guilty of helping him - if I am at the shops he will ask me to buy wine and I do it. Maybe I don't want to tackle it?????

He knows how this could all end, I don't want to go into great detail as it would make me identifiable but his father was a drinker but died in an accident before the drink killed him.

I feel like a bit of a drama queen now to be honest and kind of regretting posting but I just don't know how to speak to him anymore. sad

soangryandsad Sat 13-Apr-13 22:41:04

bloody hell, that sounds so scary - detox centre, obviously I'm not an expert but would he really need that? He can go days without drinking (not regularly) and doesn't seem to have any ill effects.

I love him so much, he is a good man and he is an excellent daddy so I feel like I am betraying him by posting this.

CastroIsDead Sat 13-Apr-13 22:47:15

he would need to go to a doctor first i think. the detox place my ex went to was a once a week thing, counting units cutting down by 10 %a week if i remember correctly, recognising habits and triggers.
not somewhere he would have to stay although there are places like that and also drugs that van help maybe further down the line
it wasn't a 12 step thing so no commiting to never drinking again just down to a level that is acceptable and more healthy

CastroIsDead Sat 13-Apr-13 22:50:38

he would need to go to a doctor first i think. the detox place my ex went to was a once a week thing, counting units cutting down by 10 %a week if i remember correctly, recognising habits and triggers.
not somewhere he would have to stay although there are places like that and also drugs that van help maybe further down the line
it wasn't a 12 step thing so no commiting to never drinking again just down to a level that is acceptable and more healthy

Snorbs Sat 13-Apr-13 22:54:04

If he's doing 120+ units of alcohol a week then the most likely reason that he doesn't seem to get hangovers is simple. He's never sobering up sufficiently to get the hangover. He veers between a bit drunk when he wakes up to steaming drunk when he goes to bed but it's likely quite a long time since you've seen him properly stone-cold sober. It takes the body about an hour to process a unit of alcohol. A box of wine is 25-odd units of alcohol. You can do the maths yourself. I personally wouldn't step foot in a car that he's driving at any time of the day.

He's got a serious alcohol problem. One of the big issues with dealing with someone with a serious alcohol problem is this: we can look at their life and it's plainly obvious to us that their life would be so much better if they stopped drinking. But they don't have to agree with you. It's his life. You have neither the moral nor legal right to insist that he lives his life the way you think he should. You can't cure his alcohol problem and you can't control his drinking. After all, he can't control his own drinking, what hope do you have?

I do know this. Raising children with a drunk as a co-parent is sodding horrible. And alcohol problems tend to get worse as time goes on.

soangryandsad Sat 13-Apr-13 23:02:07

I don't think the 120 units is every week, it could be in all honesty though. He doesn't drive, he never learned so that isn't a concern.

He is rarely drunk (well falling down kind of thing), my parents can't even tell if he's had a drink.

There is so much more going on and I can't decide if it is because of drink or it is one of the reasons why he drinks.

babyradio Sat 13-Apr-13 23:12:36

My dad is the same, he has been this way for forty years and will not stop.

His father was also a drinker, but if we ever drew comparisons between them he'd be horrified. I can remember occasions where they fell out over his dads drinking and the irony of it is unbelievable.

I understand completely what you mean about feeling like you're betraying them by having such negative thoughts. I feel terrible about it but I'm only realising now the extent to which his drinking has impacted upon my life, and I hate to say this but your children will pick up on it too. If he can't do it for them... I don't know what else to say. I am hoping my dad will finally sort himself out for his soon-to-be-born grandchild. He couldn't or wouldn't do it for us, but I will not allow him to smoke and drink in front of my child the way he did when we were children.

It sounds a similar situation where you don't want to hurt his feelings but are running out of options really. A frank conversation is needed but so hard to approach. Do you have anyone else to back you up?

CastroIsDead Sat 13-Apr-13 23:14:05

if he is rarely drunk that is likely because he has built up a high tolerance.
his drinking is a problem in your relationship which means he has a drink problem and as you have said it is affecting your family and in turn your dd.
you love him alot and that will help both of you i recommend you send him to the doctor asap the longer it goes on the less you will love him. that's how it worked for me i couldn't stand to be around him if he had even had one drink. all the hurt and let downs and the smell of it.
how old was he when his df died if you don't mind me asking? do you think this could be a root cause maybe counselling could help a detox centre could help with it they do lots of talking or refer to the right people

Snorbs Sat 13-Apr-13 23:26:04

Your parents can't tell even if he's had a drink because for the last few years whenever they've seen him he's not been properly sober. They have nothing to compare it against. Every time they see him he's at least a bit pissed. They see that as the "normal" him. Based on that, how could they be expected to know when he's topped himself up a bit more?

When we spend a lot of time around someone with a serious alcohol problem we lose sight of what "normal" is. They can get so drunk, far beyond what any normal person would ever do, that our perception of the effect that alcohol is having on them gets skewed. He is frequently drunk. I'd hazard a guess at most, if not every night. It's just that you're so used to it you can't see the wood from the trees anymore.

Whatever other issues he has I guarantee you that they cannot be successfully dealt with until he sorts out his booze problem first. If he spends some serious time sober then it's entirely possible that a lot of the other issues will vanish, or at least be more easily resolved.

Can I ask how old he is? There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests that a lot of people with significant alcohol problems can more-or-less keep it going until they hit their forties. At that point the cumulative effects of the years of booze combined with their body's gradual decline in ability to deal with it can mean that things can go downhill fast.

IsBella Sat 13-Apr-13 23:28:14

You're not a drama queen.

Your OH is an alcoholic.

Not being drunk as everyone else has already pointed out, is not a sign that he's not an alcoholic, it's a sign that he is one.

Refusing to acknowledge it is bog standard classic alcoholic behaviour.

The first thing to do is to look after yourself. Call Al-Anon and someone will talk to you. You need help and support as much as he does.

The second thing to do is to recognise that you can't control his drinking. He's a grown man, he makes his own choices and he chooses to drink alcoholically instead of normally. You are not responsible for that, he is. You can't do anything to change that and you have to accept that the choice of not doing this, is down to him.

The third thing is to decide what to do about it. Carry on living with it and pretending that he's not an alcoholic, fulfilling the enabling role, carry on living with it but refusing to enable and acknowledging fully that he is an alcoholic (not sure how that's done tbh, but I believe it can be and Al-Anon can give you advice and support on that) or insist that he stops drinking at least until he has stopped being dependent on booze.

This is a horrible situation for you and you need support - please do contact Al-Anon, you're really not a drama queen.

soangryandsad Sat 13-Apr-13 23:30:04

Babyradio - he would be devastated if I said he was like his father, he is very recognisable looks wise to him and HATES if anyone says this, never mind mentioning he has the same habits.

I have my parents and sister for support and they are fab.

Castro is dead - he was 21 when his not so darling father died which was 20 years ago, you could be on to something though he lost his darling mum less than a month prior to this. He has distant family who he hadn't seen for years before having our wee one, I made the effort to get in contact with them and we keep in touch with cards. He only really has us and his best friend (who he was drinking with today)

I am feeling like I have said too much but didn't want to not reply.

I am going to head to bed and hope we can chat in the morning.

Thanks again ladies.


soangryandsad Sun 14-Apr-13 13:57:48

Well, up with the larks - feeling very sorry for himself.

We've spoken about stuff calmly, he doesn't see that he has a problem but is willing to try to cut down, no doubt this is just to appease me. He won't hear of going to a doctor or anyone else.

Time will tell if he will manage but I have a feeling this is going to be the start of a long road sad

Thanks again ladies for all your input, I have had chance for a good cry today which blew away the cobwebs.

QuietNinjaTardis Sun 14-Apr-13 14:26:42

Soangry I can tell you now that he may start off well and cut down but eventually he will slip back into drinking the same amount. He may well promise again to cut down and then slip again. And this might happen over and over and over until one or both of you realises that actually he can't cut down and he needs more help.
You are at the beginning of a long road and I really feel for you cos you will not find it easy. He however won't give a shit because he is already a selfish alcoholic who "hasn't got a problem"

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 14-Apr-13 14:45:36


You need to stop being the ostrich here and see this for what it really is.
You can only help yourself here and by turn that of any children who are also unfortunate enough to be witnessing all this as well. They are learning from the two of you here about relationships and how they are conducted. They are currently learning from you a dysfunctional role model.

He is neither a good dad or H to you if he is an alcoholic; sorry to write that but to him drink comes first and foremost in his life and his primary relationship is with drink. Alcohol is indeed a cruel mistress and like many alcoholics he is in complete denial as to the whole extent of the problem. He is likely also badly underestimating how much he is putting away each day.

Alcoholism as well thrives on secrecy; bet hardly anyone else knows the extent of his drinking problem. Time to start opening up to others.

Time also to be honest with your own self as well as to your role you are playing in this because you are as caught up in his alcoholism as he is. You are playing the enabler role to perfection here and you're buying him alcohol. Its an act that could go on for many years (look up the 3 act play re alcoholism that I wrote of; you will see both him and you within that) until he dies through alcoholism (telling too that his won best friend is his drinking buddy) or you leaving (which is what I would advise now). By then though your child may be an adult with her own set of emotional problems brought on by alcoholism and her mother's reaction to same; she could well accuse you of putting your H before her in her childhood. This is not a legacy you want to be leaving any child.

The 3cs re alcoholism are ones you would do well to remember:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

Would suggest you speak to Al-anon, you need their support badly.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 14-Apr-13 14:47:46

Alcoholism can be learnt behaviour and it can run in families; it does not surprise me at all to read that his late father was also an alcoholic.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 14-Apr-13 14:52:17

I would also suggest you read "Codependent No More" written by Melodie Beattie as there are often elements of co-dependency in such relationships.

What do you get out of this relationship now?. Where's your own tipping point here, at what point will you say enough?.

fortyplus Sun 14-Apr-13 21:57:45

I think you need to take the quiz on this page - you are making excuses for him so you may be an 'enabler' to him.

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