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Think my Husband is an Alcoholic - What do I Do?

(23 Posts)
palmolive Mon 11-Sep-06 13:33:56

My DH has always 'enjoyed' a drink, but very gradually over the last few years his drinking habits have slowly increased. He does not drink at all from Mon to Wed, but Thursday is his night out, and with the pubs now opening until later, he rarely gets in until around 1.30am, and is normally in a bit of a state!
He goes out for a couple of hours Fri teatime and has 'a few pints' and also goes over the pub on Saturday afternoon for about the same time. Quite often on a Sunday we will go out for lunch, but during this time he manages to have around about 6 pints, possibly more.
However, he always gets up for work fine the next day, and does not seem to suffer any bad effects. He runs his own business, which is doing very well at the moment, and the money side of it is not a problem. He is never abusive or an angry drunk, normally quite the opposite.
However, I am now getting really fed up with it. He admits he does have a drinking problem, but says he is not an alcoholic as he does not drink everyday? He is not willing to try and stop as he says he enjoys it too much, he loves being in the pub and enjoys the company of those around him. There are quite a few heavy drinkers that go down there, so he does not really stand out as such.
I am now starting to despise him for it, and see him as a weak person. We have 2 young children also, and I do not think it is fair to them, although theys seem unaware of it.
We had a huge row/discussion the other night when he got drunk at a family occasion, and I felt embarrased to be with him. He admitted he often spent ?100 on his Thursday nights out. He basically said, if I wanted him to go, he would go and that would be it. (We have been married 14 years). I do not want the marriage to end, but can only see things getting worse. He refuses to get help as he does not think his drinking problem is that bad. I think if we split up, he would hit rock bottom and spend all his time at the pub so obviously do not want this either. I know I should give him an ultimatum, but really do not know which he would choose. I cannot really imagine being a single mum, and would feel so bad about our children, but I think I would do it if it came to it, although the thought scares the hell out of me! I would appreciate any advice.

hoolagirl Mon 11-Sep-06 13:37:23

His drinking problem is very bad if its potentially going to cause his marriage to break up.
I don't know what else you can do, hopefully someone can come along with some decent advice !

Earlybird Mon 11-Sep-06 13:38:48

If he thinks his drinking "isn't that bad", could you get on of those "how many units do you drink a week" tests? Have him take it, answer honestly, and see what the score is. It might help him realise his consumption is excessive. And it'd be the test telling him - instead of you.

Don't know if that would help, but it does seem that denial is a big part of being an alcoholic.

KTeepee Mon 11-Sep-06 13:46:41

The only advice I can give you is to perhaps think about contacting Al-Anon (they give support to families of alcoholics). Almost word for word your post could have been written by a very good friend of mine. Her dh also does not recognise that he is an alcoholic (even though it has affected his health). I doubt that giving your dh an ultimatum would stop him drinking. He has to want to do it himself. My friend is currently trying to decide what to do regarding her marriage but is starting to recognise that she has a choice about what to do - either accept that this how he is and how her life is or end her marriage (and like you she doesn't want to hurt her children). I think she still really loves her dh too which perhaps makes it harder - she desperately wants him to want to spend more time with her rather than with his "buddies" in the pub.

jofeb04 Mon 11-Sep-06 13:49:52

I have also completed my Drug and Alcohol Counselling course, and if you need any information about what you can do as a partner for him, or how a professional can help, either cat me or email me on

welshdoula_therapist at yahoo dot co dot uk

Uwila Mon 11-Sep-06 15:05:39

Contact al anon and get help for yourself. You can not change him. He has to get his own help. Get help for yourself. Do it for you, and do it for your kids.

My name is Uwila and am the daughter, grandaughter and twice over neice of an alcoholic. I've been there and al-anon is a lovely place. "Take what you like and leave the rest" (or something like that).

Feel free to CAT me if you like.

Uwila Mon 11-Sep-06 15:07:33

Also, he does ever so clearly have a problem. He genuinely does not not see that. But, please remember that it is his problem and you are not obligated in any way to make it your problem.

palmolive Tue 12-Sep-06 13:11:08

Many thanks for all your quick replies, it is really helpful and nice to know I am not the only one. I see now that I do have a choice and do not have to accept this. I have found the Al-Anon website and am going to have a good look at it shortly. Since the weekend he has been acting like the perfect husband/dad but obviously we will probably be back to square one come Thursday evening. Also,I feel like I have now accepted myself that he definitely does has a problem and is not just a heavy drinker. Thanks also jofeb04, I will email you shortly if thats ok. I will keep you posted of my progess - thanks again for your help.

Uwila Wed 13-Sep-06 06:03:13

Well done.

I used to go to alanon (in the states) when I was a teen/early twenties. And I used to find peace and calm at the alanon meeting, quite unlike my home at the time (with my parents).

nursingstudent Thu 02-Aug-07 12:44:55

I know its hard, but what about your kids? They dont have the option of choosing their lives, you do. I am a single mom, it hard as hell I am in school full time, work full time, rarely see my kids, but in the long run, it is better. They thank me for taking them away from the constant fighting and bickering his drinking caused. I have two years left of school, then will be able to stay with my kids more, as nurses work 3 12 hr shifts a week. I left my husband @ christmas time, told the kids that it would be a slim year and they were fine with it because it meant that they could sleep at night without the fighting. You are their only hope. Your husband sounds alot like mine. He would say, "if you dont like it leave". He was well off financially, and I let that be the reason I stayed, for a while. You wouldnt believe how many sites I found when planning on leaving that had posts from kids of alcoholics that said they resented their moms almost as much as their alcoholic fatheres for not taking them out of the situation. That is what finally made my decision for me. God Bless in whatever you choose.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-Aug-07 16:45:35

Re your comment:-

"I think if we split up, he would hit rock bottom and spend all his time at the pub so obviously do not want this either. I know I should give him an ultimatum, but really do not know which he would choose. I cannot really imagine being a single mum, and would feel so bad about our children, but I think I would do it if it came to it, although the thought scares the hell out of me! I would appreciate any advice"

You are ultimately not responsible for his drinking - he is. He made a conscious choice to start drinking.

A person does not as well have to be an alcoholic to drink every day. Alcoholics are also very good at denial.

If you were to give him an ultimatum you would have to stick to it to the letter - no ifs or buts there.

There are no guarantees here - he could lose everything dear to him and he could still decide to continue drinking. You cannot rescue or save him no matter how much you perhaps want to try. He has to want to do this for his own self.

Alcohol dependency is a slippery slope - what is also telling that despite you telling him of your worries he brushes them aside.

Would talk with Al-anon as they can help families of problem drinkers. There is a helpline number that can be phoned.

Growing up in a household where one parent has problems with alcohol is no fun at all for the children. Do not think that the children are unaware - they know something is amiss and likely cannot express it. Such children as well often go on to choose partners who are themselves alcoholic or seek complex people out who need rescuing. They deserve better frankly and so do you.

You may ultimately have to leave him in order to save yourselves.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-Aug-07 16:46:45

Al-Anon Family Groups UK & Eire
61 Great Dover Street
Tel: 020 7403 0888 (Helpline 10am - 10pm, 365 days a year)

physmum Sat 11-Aug-07 18:19:03

Get out now!!! I ave been divorced from my alcoholic ex for 3 years and still suffer at his hands. Even worse is that he chose drink over our two ds . Those kids should be his pride and joy but he finds more pleasure from being pissed. He pays money to his children when he sees fit, he sees them when he can be arsed (Often he is pissed out of his skull). His last bender saw him turn up at my new home and he managed to charm his way in I got inprisoned in my own home, threatened with a knife and raped. If this man loves you he could put down that drink today and never look back, if you stay be careful your children should never be part of what my kids have been put through

oyu Sat 11-Aug-07 18:40:25


My husband is an alcoholic and has been an AA member since January. He has done really well not to drink in that time. This is just a quick post to let you know that there are others in the same boat and it isn't easy.

If you want to chat, CAT me. We are further down the road and there is hope. Our lives are so much happier now that he has stopped drinking but an earlier poster is right: he has to recognise he has a problem in order to seek help.

My husband was never abusive but the drinking did cause problems.

springherb Wed 29-Aug-07 14:40:55

I am glad it is working out for you. It gives others hope. I told my husband last night that he either gives up the beer or leaves. He has said that he will give it up, but he has promised so many times that I do not know how to belive him even though I want too.

We are just on the first steps of trying to sort this mess out.

loopylane Fri 29-Aug-08 16:36:49

Hi, It's really strange hearing ppl in my situation. I am 36 yrs old and am married to a man i have been with for 6 yrs. He is lovely and caring until he drinks. When i met him he was off the drink and had been for around 18 months. He told me his past relationship was hard and both him and his ex were big drinkers where he has 1 child and was the father to another child she had previously. He knew he had to get out of the situation for both there sakes and he left. Thats when he came off the drink. During our relationship he said he felt the time was right to socialise again have a few drinks with mates etc, but this soon showed me what it was like to be with an alcoholic. I grew up with neither parents drinking and i rarely used to drink but did have a great social life. As time went on there was the odd time he would get drunk and become very aggressive. He apologised and after a while together proposed to me. I thought everything would be ok as i was such a strong person, i already had managed to pull through a failed relationship with 2 children where my ex left me for my best mate of 17 yrs. I got throu that and then 2 yrs later met my husband. Things were not great but managable well so i thought, he didnt feel settled in the house i was in so we decided to move house and start a fresh somewhere together. The house we took ended up being right opposite his mum and dad's. Then the nightmare began, the night we were moving house my husband went for a couple of drinks nothing heavy as it was late as leaving a local takeaway he was stabbed, i had police etc here taking me to the hospital where he had left. There was a police search out for him as he was losing alot of blood. He had stab wounds to the arms which went right through his arm on one side also stabbed in the other arm. He hads a large stab wound to his neck. No one could find him, i went home to see if he came home and after a while i heard a thud outside the front door, i was petrified. I opened the door and found my financee back then, in a pool of blood i dragged him to the front room but as we were moving there was no furniture so i sat him against the wall and dialled for a ambulance. Things then took a turn for the worse. After being in hospital over night i had to go home and complete the house move with lots of help from good friends. The next day my husband came home to the new house he was stitched up, the injuries were not life threatening but were also not very nice. The day he came home was awful there were police everywhere my husband was suffering shock and i was trying to cope with all that was going on. That night as the house was upside down and my children at my mums we had to store goods in our shed. The back garden was a mess and we had not much securtiy. Overnight our shed was broken into. My husbands dad came and worked on making a fenced gate to put up out the back to add some security to the house. It was very cold it was October. Suddenly my father in law suffered a heart attack, the ambulance was called and we made our way to the hospital where we were told he didnt make it. That weekend was the start of things to come. My husband blamed himself and drank. I have been threatened, had my house smashed to pieces my husband disappearing for days at a time. I put it all down to grief and swore i would never leave. Months went on he tried to take his own life i found him at his mothers. She had done nothing but left him to sleep. I went in he was grey i called for help where i then spent weeks in the hospital and at a mental health unit with him. That was 4 yrs ago. My husbands mother is very controlling, she encourages my husband to drink by keeping his bedroom nicely decorated for him with nice new pillows, feeding his drink habbit by supplying the money for him to go to the pub or buy drink to hang round parks. I now after battling with her for 6 years, can not cope much more. When he goes on his drinking benders i can not have him in the house as i fear what he might do next. I suffer with 2 medical conditions the one i worry about is that i dont have any clotting in my blood where i am an patient of my local hospital, this means i bleed internally, a knock or a bang can be quite dangerous for someone in my situation. As he goes to his mothers which is litterally 5 steps from my house, i get totally ignored like i dont exist. My mother in law shuts him away, gives him money to go out and buy alcohol, the family dont speak to me. I take him back everytime because i love him. This happens lots of times. My husband has now been back with me for 2 weeks, he came back on the eve of my birthday, i had enough i didnt want to live anymore i was so low watching him destroynig our lives. I know i could do what it took for him to hit the point where he would have to take control for himself but i was fighting so hard but with his mother taking over and letting him continue i was fighting and getting nowhere. 2 weeks now and he has booked himself into AA, is attending between 3 - 5 meetings a week. I went along to Al-anon myself to see what i could get from there programme. I have been once and am willing to go back next week and try again. Im at the lowest point in my life right now, i have fallen out with all my family im trying hard to handle the situation with my children, i dont see my friends anymore. I have no self worth and do not like to go out anywhere anymore. I have been told by AA that through the last 4 years of living here next to his mother she has prolonged his recovery. I took all the nessecery steps but his mother was going against it. I am still living in the same house and i hate it every day here and im trying so hard to move but its just not happening. My husband is positive he is going to succeed. I can see for once he is determined to do this as he can see now what this is doing to me, its destoying me. But how can i help him when is mother takes control of every situation everytime. My husband feels guilty of his dads death so wont upset her. I feel im in a no win situation. If there is anyone else like me out there or anyone who can advise me of anything to help i would appreciate any feedback. Thank you.

BlaDeBla Fri 29-Aug-08 16:58:15

0808 2000 247 Free phone 24 hr National Domestic Violence Helpline.
They are brilliant, loopylane and they have outreach support too. You do not have to call them when you are in the middle of a fight. Phone them ASAP and tell them what you have written here.

I'm sorry I'm not much good about knowing what to do about living with an alcoholic. The relationship with the alcohol will probably win, and it is categorically not your fault.

loopylane Fri 29-Aug-08 18:19:46

Thank you bladebla, i will look them up. This is first step i have taken to talk or tell anyone how i feel, i have no friends or family to talk with. Thank you very much for your reply. I'm very grateful. Loopylane

lou33 Fri 29-Aug-08 18:33:29

i couldnt cope with my h and his alcoholism any longer so ended the marriage after 17.5 yrs together and 4 kids

unless he admits he has a problem and actively does something about it, there is nothing you can do, sadly, except think of yourself and your kids

his life is a mess now, and he still wont admit to his problem, because to do that would mean he would have to face the fact his actions have caused all kinds of damage, and should start taking responsibility for them

instead he prefers to blame everyone else, but mostly me, though i keep reminding him that all i did was end the marriage, and how his life is now has been of his own making

ElenorRigby Fri 29-Aug-08 18:50:49

Buy him this book, Allen Carr's Easy Way to Control Alcohol nter-2&pf_rd_r=0J85SSH6ZJVS5DDXZ9TN&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=210507991&pf_rd_i=468294
Just leave it lying around, it might help

ElenorRigby Fri 29-Aug-08 19:02:02

Sorry just realised the original thread was started a couple of years back.

Loopylane your DH sounds like an end stage alcoholic not merely someone who is drinking heavily. When alcoholics get as dangerous as your DH, you need to look after yourself and children.
My mother was a violent alcoholic so I know the hell it can be trying to deal with one.

loopylane Sat 30-Aug-08 12:13:51

Well just been to an open AA meeting with my husband. Not sure how i feel right now which is strange dont seem to be feeling anything. Like i'm totally numb!!!

CommutingMumfromKent Mon 01-Sep-08 14:55:09

Loopylane - really feel for you. So sorry to hear your experiences. Don't think that the numbness is unusual. It's how I felt after realising that my DH was an alcoholic. Initially raged and cried until I thought i couldn't bear it, but then felt utterly numb.

The thing that gave me strength, though still struggling, was to know that i wasn't alone. Although initially felt that I was. Especially since alcoholic seemed to be getting all the support and help, with the assumption that I'd stand by and support him, when i didn't really want to.

I know it's hard to admit but i've come to realise that only he can sort his life out. I like to help people and so was constantly trying to support, but in fact was not allowing him to sort things out for himself. I didn't mean to be controlling, just loving, but everytime he cocked up i sorted things out, so there were no negative consequences for him of all his awful behaviour. For us it was the negativity, endless criticism, sarcasm, verbal cruelty, etc that were hardest to bear.

I found some useful literature at Al-Anon - was initially very suspicious of them - but went in with an open mind to see if i could find some support for me - and although haven't been regularly some of the literature makes a lot of sense and helps to put stuff in perspective.

It's an incredibly brave step you've made in reaching out and talking here. It's so important to look after yourself.

My DH hasn't drunk alcohol (i don't think, not 100% sure) for three months, but i'm still anxious and distrustful. It takes a long time for things to change, and of course there's the constant fear that if you let your guard down and hope for good things you'll only be disappointed. Turning point for me was when I said to him that i couldn't force him not to drink but i would never stay in a room or in a social situation with him when he had a drink (even one) in his hand. He was so angry with me. Didn't speak to me for weeks except for cutting remarks. But at least i felt i wasn't colluding any more, so felt more honest to myself. Now i'm focussing on me and the kids, and trying to do the best i can, rather than trying to live his life or solve his problems. Not sure if we'll stay together, but just "taking one day at a time"!

Will be thinking of you, and hoping all going well for you today.

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