Advanced search

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 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?

HopeClearwater Thu 29-Aug-13 19:28:14

Boomba IMO all your posts are spot on.

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 18:52:46

OP asked for advice from people who have been in her position. That is what she got

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 18:46:07

That was in response to lagoonas post

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 18:44:06

No one knows if he will change....what we are saying is, that shouldn't be zOPs focus. We are saying she needs to stop concerning herself with how much he is drinking/when he is drinking/trying to stop him from drinking. That she needs to get support for herself, think about what she will do if he continues to drink. That she should focus on taking care of herself and the kids.

if he sticks to his word, great. If he doesn't, she has a long difficult road ahead. Living with a problem drinker is very damaging. Having one as a father or the father of your children is too. She will need all her mental and emotional energy to keep her and the kids healthy

HopeClearwater Thu 29-Aug-13 18:30:27

Alcohol-free months... my DH was really good at those. Totally alcohol-free for November... then drink-driving to a pub miles from home and being rescued by the police. Alcohol-free for a further 4 or 5 weeks... then loss of job. The thing with alcoholics is that they can control it for a while, but NOT whenever they want to.
OP, no one is consigning your DH to the scrapheap, or saying he's blind drunk all day - why do you keep being so defensive? I truly hope that it is not denial speaking. All people have done on here is offer help. Because lots of us have been in an incredibly similar position, right down to what you are saying. You keep looking for the differences between your DH and your idea of an alcoholic. As they say in AA, look for the similarities instead.

CinnabarRed Thu 29-Aug-13 16:56:27

My (limited) experience of AA is that it doesn't necessarily take a deterministic view - but it does advocate that the problem drinker must take responsibility for his/her problem in order to move forward.

I think the reason that posters on here with experience of alcoholism are taking a deterministic view (and I agree that many are, myself included) is because there is no evidence (yet! Glass half full, if you'll excuse the metaphor) that the DH has taken responsibility.

Lagoonablue Thu 29-Aug-13 16:39:42

I know Al Anon isn't AA. Wasn't speaking about them particularly. What I think is that these kind of posts inevitably lead to people promoting the idea of alcoholism from a fairly deterministic view, one promoted by AA, though not exclusively.

Not saying either that people are saying LTB, used that as a comparison. Relationship threads often end up in LTB, alcohol threads usually end up with ' he won't change, he is an alcoholic.....etc'. Rarely any recognition of the degrees of a problem or recognition that people can and do cut down.

Thin Al Anon is a good organisation FWIW so wasn't discouraging OP from going.

Wellwobbly Thu 29-Aug-13 16:10:41

OP I really need to repeat what Boomba says:

"No one is telling you to scrap your marriage

we are telling you to focus on yourself and not to be involved in 'helping' your dh to control his drinking"

Person after person in Alanon start saying 'I love my alcoholic'. NOBODY tells you to leave. It is a support group for YOU to let go of YOUR obsession with someone else's behaviour, realise that trying to fix them makes YOUR life unmanageable, and is a program based about moving on with that realisation.

it is very calming OP, do go. You will be surrounded by people who understand exactly what you are going through.

Lweji Thu 29-Aug-13 14:50:53

Lagoon, but that is why the OP has to decide what she is prepared to live with.
My main issue is that he lies about it and doesn't seem concerned about the safety of those he drives.

Is the OP prepared to trust him, possibly with her life and that of the LOs, despite his lies and deceit?

If the OP had said that her DH simply drank too much, they had the talk and he had agreed to reduce, fine. I'd be inclined to believe him.
Not with the previous deceit.
And, reading again the OP, that is the main issue for her.

IMO, the LTB line here should not be the amount of drink per se, but whether he lies about it again or not.

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 13:57:02

AlAnon doesn't advocate abstinence. Or LTB. AlAnon doesn't concern themselves with the drinker or their recovery at all, only in supporting friends and family

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 13:54:24

AlAnon is not AA

Lagoonablue Thu 29-Aug-13 13:51:27

You know the AA model of problem drinking/alcoholism is only one model......there are other responses and approaches which don't feel quite so fatalistic and negative. What I am saying OP is that on MN with your situation, the responses as shown below are typical and are essentially LTB in another form. There are no degrees of seriousness with the AA approach.

The AA approach is not the holy grail. Yes it works well for alot of people but others find other ways to manage their drinking.

Not saying don't go to Al Anon but accept you will get the usual alcohol as disease approach with only abstinence as the answer.

Personally I have an open mind. Good luck with it all and don't be down heartened. It is not helpful for your DH to be portrayed as on a fast track to alcohol hell. He might not be.

CinnabarRed Thu 29-Aug-13 13:29:57

Please believe me, I am very well aware of where this could lead - but HE'S NOT AT THAT STAGE RIGHT NOW. Does no one think there are degrees of seriousness?

I feel it only fair to give you a little of my background; it seems only fair when you have been so open with us.

I am the daughter, granddaughter, neice and cousin to alcoholics/problem drinkers. I prefer the term 'problem drinker' to 'alcoholic' because it is generally less emotive and narrowlt defined as physically dependent on alcohol. However, the core definition is the same - someone whose drinking has an adverse impact on other aspects of their lives.

And in answer to your question, yes I absolutely do believe that there are degrees of seriousness. Worst is my aunt, who died of liver failure last Christmas. Her consultant told her that she was a candidate for a liver transplant if she stopped drinking, but she couldn't. My grandfather, by contrast, was a binge drinker. He died falling down stairs and who can ever say to what extent his drinking caused his death? I do know that he had enough alcohol in his blood at the time of death to be over the driving limit, but not enough to be paralytic by any stretch of the imagination.

Then there's my DF and my cousin, both of whom are dry, currently. My DF, at his worst, was the most severe of all of them. He tells awful stories which I won't pass on here because they are so nasty that you probably won't be able to relate to them. I find it hard, and I was there.

My cousin sounds to have been closest to your own DH in her drinking patterns. In fact they sound very similar.

It's worth noting that only my DF fits the image of the typical 'alcoholic' in terms of losing his career, home and family. The other three held down jobs, own their own homes, maintain the outward trappings of success.

But all are still problem drinkers and will be to the day they die.

The one observation I would like you to take away with you, if you are willing, is this: in every single case of problem drinking that I know of (friends and acquaintances as well my family) the people around each problem drinker consistently and signifcantly under-estimated the stage at which their loved one's drinking had reached. Partly because problem drinkers are secretive and partly because they didn't want to see.

Please make sure your eyes are open. Please.

Lweji Thu 29-Aug-13 11:16:25

Honestly, I do hope he gets better and really understands he has a problem, though. smile

Lweji Thu 29-Aug-13 11:15:23

It seems politically incorrect on here to think that someone would be able to reform just because their DW wants them to. It can, and does happen. It depends on the reaction of your DH now.

Well, yes, it depends on the reaction of the husband now.
Because nobody is reformed because their OH wants them to.
They have to want it themselves. Even if just not to lose that OH.

But in all likelihood this man thinks that he, again, can just continue doing it without his partner realising. Because he is a liar.

Bowlersarm Thu 29-Aug-13 11:14:39

I thought I had a problem.
We had a frank discussion over a weekend after it (the drinking) had escalated.

Lweji Thu 29-Aug-13 11:12:53

My DH helped me to control my drinking.

I'm curious.
Did you think you had a problem?
Did he help you or force you to control it?
Did you consistently lie to him about how much you were drinking?

Bowlersarm Thu 29-Aug-13 09:55:38

Just read Tribpot post after cross posting, and that's an excellent idea, one I had forgotten I did.

The abstinence for a month can break the habit if indeed it is a habit, not a deep rooted problem.

Bowlersarm Thu 29-Aug-13 09:53:23

we are telling you to focus on yourself and not to be involved in 'helping' your DH to control his drinking

My DH helped me to control my drinking. I don't see any reason why she shouldn't be involved in this aspect of her marriage.

She knows it may not end the way she wishes. But is prepared to give it a try.

OP, I feel like I'm bashing my head against a brick wall here. Other posters are determined he is an alcoholic, are saying he will moderate his drinking but the minute your back has turned he will be back to his sneaky ways.

This may happen which is why you won't be thinking 'well that's that sorted, I can relax'. And it may be harder for him than he would care to admit.

But I am an example of a success story, if you like. As is our neighbour and friend. And DH's work colleague.

I'm not saying alcoholism doesn't break up families. It clearly does. And yes you should be putting yourself first, and looking after yourself and DC as a number one priority. Your DH is a grown up and should be looking after himself.

But if he is committed to your marriage, he may just be committed to the drinking aspect of it as well, and be able to moderate.

People are laughing at me, or at least dismissing what i say, when I say drinking in moderation is possible even after someone has consumed as much as your DH.

It seems politically incorrect on here to think that someone would be able to reform just because their DW wants them to. It can, and does happen. It depends on the reaction of your DH now.

OP I wish you luck. It might be easy. It might not. It might not work, and your DH is an alcoholic and nothing will change him. In which case you need to reappraise the situation, and fast.

But you need to see if he can stick to the agree limit in the first place. Yes it shouldn't be your responsibility to keep him in line, but marriage is quite often about needing support at times in the relationship.

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 09:37:15

Read back through your posts. You need some clarity

you contradict yourself alot.

you say its not the amount but the secrecy, but there is now a limit on what he will drink

you say you haven't offered bargains/ultimatums/blackmail...but you tell him in no uncertain terms that he is risking his family if his drinking continues

you've had this talk with him twice before and you believe it was successful as he cut back/stopped drinking. But here you are talking to him about his drinking for a third time. Are you happy for the cycle to continue like that?

tribpot Thu 29-Aug-13 09:36:01

Would he consider an alcohol-free month? I often suggest this to people who mention to me they are concerned about their drinking, but are at the stage of looking for good strategies to cut down rather than being blue-lighted into the Priory.

What I like about an alcohol-free month (although in fairness all months are alcohol-free for me now!):
- it's a manageable period of time. Not forever, but not a token gesture either.
- it's long enough for you (or rather the drinker) to examine pretty carefully what the triggers are. I had some weird ones after I stopped drinking, like when I first got off the bus to come home - I wasn't even well enough to be back at work but my brain associated getting off the bus with end of work with wine o'clock. Everyone can benefit from being more mindful about their drinking and this gives you a chance to identify those triggers and ensure you don't act on them without thinking.
- it's long enough to feel the benefits of not drinking at all. Whilst he probably think he feels fine, it's more likely his drinking is creating a steady 'background noise' and he will notice its absence when it's removed.
- it's long enough to look for alternatives to alcohol in the evenings. Again, a lot of drinking at the lower end of the spectrum is habit and routine. Non-sweet alternatives can take a while to find - ginger beer is a good one, and herbal tea.
- it challenges the idea that even moderate drinking all year round is a normal part of life. There are alternatives.

I would still suggest he reads the book I recommended, and you the companion one.

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 09:30:49

X posted

its very important you think about what you will do if his drinking escalates

you are right, alcoholics are always alcoholic. Sobriety is a life long commitment

Boomba Thu 29-Aug-13 09:28:01

No one is telling you to scrap your marriage

we are telling you to focus on yourself and not to be involved in 'helping' your dh to control his drinking

what are you going to do if he drinks more than his allowance?

you'd be surprised at how good people can be at hiding bottles.. Under floorboards, up chimneys, in the loft, buried in the garden, in the car, toilet cistern

waikikamookau Thu 29-Aug-13 09:27:25

not looking for evidence/bottles is Al Anon advice for partners, families btw, not something I made up myself

waikikamookau Thu 29-Aug-13 09:26:10

however much or little he drinks, The one thing you must do, is look after yourself and your children,
Don't look for evidence. it will tear you up. It is Unnecessary to look.

it wont solve anything. it will just make you anxious.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now