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Do we have a problem?

(30 Posts)
LifeisFuckingGreat Wed 26-Feb-14 11:47:25

We've had a really rough time over the last 6 months. I've been seriously ill and am left with a disability. It's a big life change for all of us. We have a DS with a disability too so my DH has suddenly found himself having to be a carer for both of us quite out of the blue.

My DH is dealing with it all by drinking too much. He's always been a fairly heavy drinker but he drinks every night now.
Once a month or more his work place puts on a social event with a free bar. He goes out and gets absolutely plastered. He says he'll be home at a certain time but I know he won't get home until someone puts him in a taxi at the end of the night. I've found him laid out on the floor clothes half off semi conscious several times.
Last night was one of these events and I found him on the hallway floor in a terrible state. He slept in the spare room last night and went off to work this morning in his very responsible job with a stinking hangover. He texted me to say he was ashamed of himself and it wouldn't happen again but I've heard it all before.

He has always had a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol. He has alcoholic parents who are massively in denial of their problems. He went through a period of drink driving a few years ago and only stopped when I told him I'd report him to the police if he ever did it again.

We've both had our fair share of irresponsible and dysfunctional drinking in the past but I've grown out of it whereas he is drinking more.
Perhaps I'm being a bit precious about it all? He's a truly lovely man coping in a difficult situation, why shouldn't he go out out occasionally and let off steam? I'm confused. Does he have a problem?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 12:03:54

I think anyone that drinks to the point of semi-consciousness has a problem. Yes it's OK to kick back, relax and socialise but he clearly doesn't know when to stop. Don't soft-pedal this one just because you feel guilty that he is everyone's carer.

LifeisFuckingGreat Wed 26-Feb-14 12:15:17

Yes you're right, I do feel guilty, I feel ashamed too.
I'm quite happy to discuss his parents alcoholism with friends but I would find it impossible to talk to friends about my DH drinking.
The dysfunction has always been there it's just got noticeably worse. He's nearing 50 and I think he's just too old to be behaving like this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 12:18:32

I don't think anyone should behave that way quite honestly. If the man is struggling or depressed or something like that it would be understandable but, rather as you did about the drink driving, I think it's time for a line in the sand. Either he stops drinking and seeks help or it's the end of the road.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Wed 26-Feb-14 12:24:13

It isn't very kind to be "quite happy" to air your PIL dirty linen in public and rather two faced to hide DH's.

Him driving off to work this morning could have killed someone, maybe a child on their way to school, as he will still be over the limit if he drank enough to knock himself out last night.

It is choice time. For both of you. Your kids currently have no choices.

LifeisFuckingGreat Wed 26-Feb-14 13:00:25

He walked to work.
I'm not being two faced, it's easier to get support and talk about his parents alcoholism than it is to face up to my DH drinking issues.

JackyDanny Wed 26-Feb-14 13:11:01

Try calling al anon?
It sounds like he has a problem with alcohol and needs help. They are best qualified to advise you.

Would he consider an AA meeting do you think?

There is help and a way out, if he wants it.

LifeisFuckingGreat Wed 26-Feb-14 13:21:01

Thanks Jacky I think that's a good idea to ring Al-anon. I'm not sure what the equivalent of AA is here. We are ex-pats living abroad. That's part of the problem, the ex pat lifestyle often revolves around drink. I would say that he drinks the same amount as many ex pats we know here but that doesn't make it OK. Particularly as he's drinking to relieve a stressful situation.

JackyDanny Wed 26-Feb-14 13:31:34

With alcoholism it's not the amount you drink, but the effect that alcohol has on you.

There are AA meetings everywhere, and in many places abroad English speaking ones.
There are also AA meetings on line if you are really stuck.

I have come to believe that alcoholism is an illness, many people in AA, the vast majority, had / have alcoholic parents. Genetic?

Look at AA /al anon stuff on line.
See if you think it could help one or both of you.

Keep posting, there is a wealth of experience on MN.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Wed 26-Feb-14 19:51:43

Why do you need support for the fact your in laws are alcoholics? Does it affect you day to day? I just wonder why you are focussing on that rather than the fact your husband drinks too much too often.

LifeisFuckingGreat Thu 27-Feb-14 07:35:08

Toffee you are the one who is focussing on that.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Thu 27-Feb-14 08:32:59

I'm interested why you will discuss someone else's issues who don't have to affect your life but not your husbands who affects you and the children who can't protect themselves. Both of you are burying your heads in the sand.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 08:39:43

I think Life has realised that, Toffee. She is trying to face now to her DH's drinking.

You need to talk to him, but you will have to realise that you can't make him change, you can't fix him and you have to choose if you want to live with it or not if he won't accept responsibility and act to change.

JemimaJones Thu 27-Feb-14 09:11:07

He sounds like he is most definitely struggling and finding the change in all your lives difficult to deal with. I'm guessing it has been a huge change for him and all of you and this is his not very good way of coping. I don't really see though why you need to discuss his parents drinking habits with people as its not really your problem. He has told you how ashamed he feels about last night. Could you have a serious talk with him to let him talk about how he is coping and if he needs help coming to terms with the new circumstances that you both now find yourselves in. Im sure it is very hard and difficult for you to deal with without having to feel that your OH is going off the rails and you need to be on the same page now more than ever.

LifeisFuckingGreat Thu 27-Feb-14 09:17:31

I may have been burying my head in the sand in the past but that stopped when he came home drunk the other night, hence me posting and asking advice.
Anyway, we sat down and discussed it last night and he was in complete agreement. He was humbled and ashamed. He had frightened himself, he told me that he had wandered around the city for two hours drunk and lost before finding public transport to get home on Tuesday night.

I thought it would be a difficult conversation but it wasn't as it was needed. He agreed that he had a problem and that if it ever happened again he would go to AA.

CarryOnDancing Thu 27-Feb-14 09:37:42

Life, I disagree that you are two faced to discuss your IL's. Anyone with knowledge of alcoholism knows how it can drain the entire family, sometimes just through worry for others who are closer to the drinker. It can be painful seeing those you love being subject to it.
Also, I imagine that when discussing your IL's, you've also been discussing the same feelings or concerns that surround your OH's drinking, even if subconsciously.

Toffee, you are moving the issue by insisting on this point. It's perfectly valid that the OP would be affected by her IL's drinking, whether you agree or not. She's also entitled to discuss any topic she likes with her friends, especially one that is such an emotional burden.

OP, I can understand how you have all found yourself in this situation but I definitely think something needs to be done in light of the family history. There's obviously an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and that's unlikely to improve unless the leading issue behind it is dealt with.
That's always going to be easier the sooner it's done.

It sounds like your DH needs some care himself and I agree with the others suggestions finding an equivalent of AA. I think you both need a lot of hand holding right now and I really hope you can both provide it for each other. Good Luck!!

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:45:43

I wouldn't be too happy about him only contacting AA if it happens again. As it is he is not taking enough responsibility and is still avoiding facing up to the problem.
And what is it that needs to happen again for him to go to AA? Drinking at all? Losing consciousness?

LifeisFuckingGreat Thu 27-Feb-14 10:04:37

Thanks CarryonDancing and Lweji
You're both right. Families of alcoholics have the absolute right to seek support if they need it and of course my ILs alcoholism affects us in a myriad of ways.

My husband has been a rock since I've been ill, it's been a huge worry for him plus he hasn't had any support from anyone. My illness isn't over and we are waiting to find out if it will be life limiting.
We both need to spend time getting and giving gentle support to each other and our DS. We are fragile at the moment but incredibly close as a family unit.
I don't believe that my DH is an alcoholic yet but I think he is on the slippery slope. We need to talk more about whether he goes to AA now.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 10:08:10

It doesn't matter if you call it being alcoholic or whatever.
He has an alcohol problem and it should be addressed now.
If he lacks support in supporting you, then you should both seek that he gets that support now.

LifeisFuckingGreat Thu 27-Feb-14 10:13:13

I agree

JemimaJones Thu 27-Feb-14 13:45:52

Do his parents believe they are alcoholics or does your DH believe they are?

LifeisFuckingGreat Thu 27-Feb-14 15:55:28

Everyone except the parents themselves.

JackyDanny Thu 27-Feb-14 19:09:06

I suggested al anon for the OP to support her in coping with her husbands drinking.

If you have alcoholism in the family I believe it is relevant, that you (ime) are more likely to be alcoholic.

If he is alcoholic this will happen again sooner or later, but the denial is strong with this illness and many people have to hit 'rock bottom' before seeking help.

OP, have a look on line at the Alcoholics Anonymous website.
You can read the Big Book ( of AA) on there for free.
Try reading chapter 3 'more about alcoholism' or the chapter 'to wives'.

My best to you

LifeisFuckingGreat Thu 27-Feb-14 19:19:54

Thanks Jacky

JemimaJones Thu 27-Feb-14 21:35:50

So who says they are alcoholics....how do you come to this conclusion if you don't mind me asking. Are they always drinking then and not just six oclockers.

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