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DH hiding alcohol.

(90 Posts)
MrsPennyapple Wed 28-Aug-13 10:38:46

I am not overly happy with the amount the DH drinks, but he never drinks before 9-10pm, doesn't get drunk, it's not causing financial problems, doesn't normally cause him to avoid his responsibilities in any other areas, and doesn't really impact anything other than his waistline, so I've been of the opinion that he's a grown up and can do what he likes.

However, I've suspected for a while that he has been hiding booze, and have had this confirmed today, and that is what makes this an issue. His booze is normally tucked out of the way, but I wasn't sure if it was deliberately hidden - suspected it was, but couldn't be sure. I don't monitor it in detail, but I do tend to check what's there a couple of times a week, to get a rough idea of how much he's getting through. Today I decided to check, and there was nothing, meaning that the whisky that was there at the weekend has been finished.

So when I saw that the "hiding place" was empty, I wondered where the bottle was. I checked the glass recycling, and it wasn't there, he has put it in the main rubbish and taken the bag out. This is what confirmed to me that he is deliberately hiding it - normally he is terrible at putting rubbish in the bin, and even worse at putting glass in the recycling. Normally it would stay on the worktop for weeks until I put it with the recycling myself. I don't think it's a coincidence that the only time he can remember to clear up after himself is when it's booze bottles. I did wonder why he'd suddenly become capable of taking the rubbish out to the bin, I thought he was just being extra helpful because DC2 has just been born - which is what he will tell me when I ask, I'm sure.

Another important factor is that this has happened before. DC2 is 3 weeks old. When I was pg with DC1, 2 weeks before due date, I suggested that it would be best if he didn't drink, so that he'd be ok to take me to hospital if I went into labour. He agreed, but I found hidden booze, and when I asked him he admitted he'd been drinking it after I went to bed, despite having agreed to stay sober.

I told him in no uncertain terms that his drinking, whilst more than I'd like, wasn't a problem in itself, but when someone starts hiding booze, that is a big problem and needs to be addressed. He apologised, admitted he'd been stupid, and said it wouldn't happen again.

Fast forward to a week or so before DC2's due date. I didn't seriously think we needed to have the same conversation again, but on one particular evening, consumed enough to put him over the limit (although not hiding it). I was upset, and told him I wanted him to stay sober - completely, no booze at all, if he was potentially going to be driving me at speed, at night, to the hospital. (Rural, so not main roads and not well lit, and often very localised weather conditions.)

To reiterate, I don't have a problem with him drinking, just with him hiding it. Our relationship is otherwise good, but the problems in the past have led to a certain amount of distrust when it comes to alcohol. The only reason I have gone looking for evidence, rather than talk to him straight away, was to establish whether or not it was deliberately hidden, and now that I know it is, I will talk to him. I just don't want to approach it in the wrong way, and get his defenses up, or make this into a bigger problem than it needs to be. Anyone been in this position?

arkestra Wed 28-Aug-13 19:04:58

I also suggest Al Anon. I have seen hiding booze degenerate into vodka every morning, and in pretty quick order. Good friends too and it still took me by surprise. The eventual crisis was pretty rough, although they & kids are now ok (booze-free).

The current situation will potentially drive you bonkers since you're in this as a relationship partner, not a member of the constabulary, keeping DH in line. Al Anon will give a lot of coping tools if things do slide out of control. Good luck.

tribpot Wed 28-Aug-13 19:45:27

My aim is to get this sorted out before it gets to that stage, as Bowlersarm did.

The difference is, Bowlersarm was the drinker. She chose to stop. Her DH didn't sort the problem out, he raised a concern and Bowlersarm made a sensible choice based on that concern.

That's all you can do, OP. Raise the concern. You cannot fix this problem.

If his drinking is consistently around the level of a bottle of Bacardi a week, I find it slightly weird that he's hiding it. It's certainly too much but it's not a shocking amount in its own right (disclaimer: I used to drink a great deal more than that - and actually didn't really hide it, but also nearly died so not proposing myself as an example of anything except what not to do where alcohol is concerned).

What is more telling is the fact he drank when you had specifically and with very good reason asked him not to. You shouldn't even have needed to ask. That suggests that whilst he could manage dry days (I could do it, although didn't often) he is not fully in control of his choice to drink.

MrsPennyapple Wed 28-Aug-13 19:46:31

Whoa there Isetan. You've decided from what I've posted that he is drink driving and risking our childrens' lives. I am absolutely certain you are wrong about that. Thanks for the supportive confused though. I don't believe he does drink outside our home, apart from Saturday evenings when he goes to the pub - he walks there and back, btw, is normally home by midnight, and the worst thing he does is fall asleep with the TV on.

I agree he has a problem, and a degree of dependance on alcohol, and I will contact Al-anon, as I'm sure they will offer helpful advice, rather than assuming he's a lost cause already, as some people seem to be suggesting. I have only checked the bins ONCE - today, and I plan to spell it out to him tonight that he is putting his family at risk, as losing us will be the consequence if he doesn't get it under control. I have no intention of being in a relationship with someone who has vodka for breakfast, but I am not prepared to write him off just yet.

It sounds, from what people are posting, that it is not possible for someone with alcohol problems to get a handle on them and get things in order before they get to that stage though.

MrsPennyapple Wed 28-Aug-13 19:52:45

Tribpot I know I can't make him do anything, I just want to get him to think about it, and I am pretty sure he'll come to the same conclusion, that he needs to reduce his drinking drastically.

No, he doesn't always get through a litre a week, I'd say that's the higher end of the scale. In the 3 weeks since DS was born he has consumed that litre of bacardi, half a litre of whiskey, and five or six 500ml bottles of cider, so averaging less than that per week.

He can and does manage dry days, which is why I feel this isn't as huge a problem as some are suggesting.

tribpot Wed 28-Aug-13 20:01:38

I don't think the dry days are a particularly useful indicator of whether or not there is a problem. It is a myth that alcoholics are defined by being unable to go a single day without booze.

This is the book I normally recommend on here to people who want to look at their drinking habits. It is non-judgemental and chooses to avoid the word alcoholic, which comes with a bag of preconceptions, using the term 'problem drinker' which is less loaded and more general. If he responds favourably to your conversation I would definitely suggest he reads it.

I fear, however, he is going to use the line that you are the one with the problem with his drinking, and that's why he's chosen to hide it. In which case you might want to read the companion book.

Boomba Wed 28-Aug-13 20:25:42

If he is to be successful in getting his alcoholism under control, he has to make that decision for himself, not because of some ultimatum from you.

Your frank talk, will do more harm than good. He knows full well that you don't want to live with an alcoholic, of course he knows that

pease, do not attempt to blackmail him into stopping. Get support, you are going to need it x

Bowlersarm Wed 28-Aug-13 20:27:31

Hmmm OP I thought I had better post again as maybe my original post was too simplistic.

What I said was absolutely true, and I did go through an embarrassing stage, looking back of hiding the odd alcoholic drink.

DH, who wasn't a great drinker, pulled me up on the amount I was drinking (not sure he ever knew about the odd extra supplies either), and we spent a horrible, horrible weekend when the whole thing was addressed. I knew I needed to cut back though and almost welcomed it.

If your DH admits that he knows he is drinking too much when you talk to him, i think you're half way there.

I don't think all the cries so far of 'he's definitely an alcoholic. Look after yourself. Al anon' are necessarily appropriate.

You need to gauge his reaction, and go from there.

I now never drink by myself, only when we're out, and at home when DH decides we'll share a bottle of wine-although that s farly frequently. This has been the pattern for about five years now.

I am still capable of drinking a bottle of wine, but a lot less than I used to, and it's more considered rather than any old excuse.

Also I disagree slightly with tribpot. Whilst yes, an alcoholic is capable of not drinking for a day, if a regular drinker can introduce alcohol free days and increase them, I think it is a good start for learning how to moderate drinking.

Ultimately it depends on your DH's reaction, OP, and whether he agrees/is prepared to meet you half way or more.

Good luck.

tribpot Wed 28-Aug-13 20:32:28

Alcohol free days are a good tool for mindful drinking, I agree. What they are not is evidence that the drinker is not a problem drinker.

KittyVonCatsworth Wed 28-Aug-13 20:51:25

Bowlersarm, great post xx

MrsPennyapple Wed 28-Aug-13 20:55:17

We've had the conversation. He agreed that his drinking has been getting heavier recently, and has agreed to restrict it to one of those flat bottles (think it's 75cl?) at the weekend, none through the week.

I didn't blackmail him, nor give ultimatums. I told him that his family love and need him, but we need him healthy and in control of his drinking. He promised he won't let us down. He knows what is at risk.

Obviously a lot more was said too, but at no time did he try to imply that there wasn't a problem, or that it was only me that had a problem with it.

Thanks for the book links, will definitely check those out.

DameEdnasBridesmaid Wed 28-Aug-13 20:57:13

MrsP Alanon will not be offering you helpful advice to control your DH's drinking. They will not be offering any advice at all. You will hear that if DH has a problem will alcohol, then that will be up t him if he chooses to do anything to help him.

You giving ultimatums will it not help him, if he can't control it, it is a fact that you can't. If you have found some booze that he's hidden then there will double that amount that you haven't found. Pour it away, check up on him all you like - it will not make one iota of difference.

Any ultimatums, guilt trips (if you loved me, kids etc.) will make things worse, it will give him an excuse to drink.

You didn't cause his drinking, you can't control it and you certainly can't cure it.

Go to Alanon - with an open mind. You are only in charge of yourself.

Lweji Wed 28-Aug-13 21:01:59

Has he actually admitted he has a problem?

Because he's been lying and hiding all this time.
He made promises before that he didn't keep.

What will happen next time you discover his stash?

Bowlersarm Wed 28-Aug-13 21:04:03

Yay great result OP.

Just two thoughts 1) if you do find he's had the odd drink midweek when he's said he won't, don't panic, it might not signify a relapse, work with him and 2) conversely, do keep an eye out and keep on top of it with him, as he may find it difficult to break the habit especially to start with

Thank you Kitty smile

Boomba Wed 28-Aug-13 21:26:25

That is not a result at all
intentions are all well and good, time will tell if he can follow through

there is a lot of harm in 'staying on top of it' and following bowlers advice

i have to reiterate the importance of AlAnon, as soon as possible

read up about CODEPENDANCY and enabling. This is very important

Bowlersarm Wed 28-Aug-13 21:30:22

I disagree Boomba you cannot possibly speak for everyone.

The OP needs to keep on top of the situation as far as she is concerned certainly. But please don't think you know everyone's situation. You don't.

Boomba Wed 28-Aug-13 21:46:19

I don't claim to know everyone's situation

i do know that the very vast majority of problem drinkers/alcoholics do not stop drinking after a frank chat from their spouse. Well done, if you are and you did. It is rare.

i know that alcoholics habitually lie, to themselves and others

i also know the destructtive rollercoaster that friends and families of alcoholics get on, when they attemt to control or monitor am alcoholic. And i know how important OPs health and serentity is going to be to her dcs, if her DP continues to drink

Bowlersarm Wed 28-Aug-13 21:55:08

But she doesn't want him to stop drinking.

She wants him to accept that he's drinking too much and to cut down.

She has taken the first step, and talked to him, and he has agreed.

I would say, so far so good.

I am not naive enough to think, well that's that and they'll all live happily ever after.

It will take willpower on his part, and a watchful eye on her part. Hopefully he will succeed.

I know several friends who have stopped drinking/cut back because their husbands/wives have had that frank chat.

Please don't think I'm taking op's situation lightly either. I'm not. Alcoholism is a serious problem. But she needs hope and I think at the moment she's entitled to have that hope. She'll know soon enough if it's been misplaced.

HopeClearwater Wed 28-Aug-13 23:04:19

He will almost certainly have been drinking more than you know about, OP. You know about one hiding place. You aren't with him every minute of his life. You cannot know. You can only convince yourself.
No one is 'writing him off' at this stage. I don't know why you think that. What I think some people are saying is that he has a worse problem than either you or your husband are willing to admit.

HopeClearwater Wed 28-Aug-13 23:06:11

Bowlersarm I am interested to know why it 'will take a watchful eye' on the part of the OP?

Bowlersarm Wed 28-Aug-13 23:08:06

Because she will need to watch that he keeps to his side of the bargain. After all, he has been hiding bottles in the past.

CinnabarRed Thu 29-Aug-13 02:18:37

It's not now, and never should be, her job to monitor his drinking. It absolves him of his responsibility.

Isetan Thu 29-Aug-13 05:43:01

"Whoa there Isetan. You've decided from what I've posted that he is drink driving and risking our childrens' lives. I am absolutely certain you are wrong about that".

I'm confused, if you are so sure he wouldn't risk the lives of his children why the need to tell him specifically not to drink during the latter stages of two pregnancies when he would have been the designated driver?

Based on your posts I'm not sure what your "absolute certainty" is based upon, you did post that he is hiding bottles, right? Contacting Alanon doesn't obligate you to accepting your H is alcohol dependant but it will put you into contact with people who have been exactly where you are now and who can support you. Good luck.

toomanyfionas Thu 29-Aug-13 05:58:42

Good luck OP, I hope it works out for you.

Wellwobbly Thu 29-Aug-13 06:54:01

Please go to Al-anon where you will start to learn serenity and leaving him alone to suffer the consequences of his own choices.

Being the alcohol police is about as useful as being the marriage police in affairs. Step back, learn to stop obsessing about him and what he is doing and focus on your own life and happiness...

Loopytiles Thu 29-Aug-13 07:08:37

The hiding drink isn't even the thing that'd worry me most.

He didn't stop drinking both times when you were heavily pregnant and he was the designated driver, even when you talked to him about it. He's boozed heavily in your baby's first few weeks.

Is he generally sober enough to look after your newborn and older DC safely? Can you be sure that when he seems sober he is! With a newborn around there must be lots to do, day and night.

Al anon can be useful. Going along, or reading books (like those suggested here), need not mean labelling your H or taking a certain path in dealing with the issue.

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