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DH with drink problem - what should I do?

(11 Posts)
ThisIsMeReally Fri 02-Jan-15 23:24:06

I have been with DH for 13 years, married for four with a toddler DS. We met as students and a lot of our social life revolved around the pub which was all good fun. However, over time his drinking has caused us many arguments, with me leaving the relationship at one point because I couldn't cope. However, we've always got on really well (when he wasn't drinking) and he always promised to change (which I always believed), so we married and had our DS.

His drinking has been a problem throughout DS's life meaning that he did very little to help with him or support me, but since we returned from our summer holidays at the end of August last year, he started drinking heavily every night and lying in bed all weekend (with a hangover although he denies he suffers from them), refusing to help with our DS. He was also coming home just after I'd put our DS to bed and then insisting that I sit up with him so he could go on at me about how much he hated his job. Any comments I made were automatically wrong so I would have to sit in silence until he had finished and wanted to go to bed. On a couple of occasions I begged him to go and sit elsewhere as I didn't want to talk to him and each time it ended with him shouting at me about getting a divorce (he wanted me to say yes, let's get a divorce). On those occasions I had to physically restrain myself from running upstairs, grabbing our DS and running to my mum's.

It came to a head when I had a job interview in November. I was unable to properly prepare for the interview as I was either at work, caring for our DS or dealing with DH's drinking so I booked the day before the interview off work and DH promised he would come home early to help me prepare for interview questions. He turned up two hours late, having sat drinking whisky in his office with a colleague. He then sat on the sofa and rambled on at me so I was unable to do any prep. It was a terrible interview and although I got the job my feedback was that I needed to prepare better for interviews. Despite this, DH continued drinking every night and when I finally had it out with him the following week, he couldn't understand why I was so angry and hurt. I told him that I'd reached a point where I felt my life would be easier if I was a single parent, I didn't love him anymore and would have walked out if it wasn't for DS, which really shocked and upset him.

Since then, he's cut down radically how much he drinks (a couple of glasses of wine over Christmas, none at home, but then I've seen this all before), has taken DS out several times by himself and is bending over backwards to make sure I am happy because he apparently loves me and doesn't want me to leave.

We've both agreed to go to relationship counselling but I really don't think I feel anything for him anymore. The main thing keeping me here is not wanting to cause massive disruption to DS as we'd have to move into my mum's, which won't be easy (my mum has been in several abusive relationships, including with my father, so she thinks I'm silly for even considering leaving DH as he's 'cute looking and earns a good wage' although she has also said she thinks he has been emotional abusive towards me).

Could counselling help us or am I better off just calling it a day?

Roseformeplease Fri 02-Jan-15 23:28:56

As the child of an alcoholic mother, with one alcoholic sister, one anorexic and one married to an alcoholic, I advise you to get out fast to minimise the damage to your DS, never mind to you.

Nothing matters to them but the drink, nothing at all. My mother refuses medical treatment for severe issues as hospital will mean no alcohol. She ruined every family occasion she ever came to and the effects of her behaviour are now being visited on yet another generation.

Sorry to be blunt but get out while you still can.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 02-Jan-15 23:35:27

I'm not sure counselling is appropriate when you've got something like alcoholism in the mix. You might benefit more from talking to Al Anon. .

havemercy Fri 02-Jan-15 23:38:39


havemercy Fri 02-Jan-15 23:39:25

Al anon is excellent.

Coyoacan Fri 02-Jan-15 23:47:19

Another vote for Al Anon. However if you don't love him anymore, I can't see the point of staying with him anymore.

Are you certain that your mum's is your only alternative? You would get child support and might be entitled to some tax credits and other benefits.

RubbishMantra Sat 03-Jan-15 05:53:34

I think counselling could help you see things more clearly - ie. what you want. AA could help him with his drink problem. But the two things are separate issues.

Couple's counselling is for relationship issues - the issue here is his drinking. Something that is his responsibility to address.

YvyB Sat 03-Jan-15 09:29:03

I recently left a man with a drink problem (slightly less complex than for you, op, as he was not the biological father of my dc, although it was a very normal family life with him taking on the father role 100% - and really well, as long as he was sober). It was hard as there were many things I loved about him but ultimately I couldn't live with the uncertainty and dread of him opening another bottle. I also did not want my dc to grow up thinking that drinking is what you do whenever you find yourself in a situation that is not to your liking.

The first 6 months after were gruelling - horrible rented house, new job without any support etc. BUT every evening I came home in the knowledge that the house would be calm, I would know what was going to happen and that I was going to be in control of my future.

I now own my own house and we live a calm, quiet, contented life. I do get lonely, I still feel sad and I am always aware that the financial responibility for everything rests entirely with me but we are secure and no longer live with that nagging dread. I am in no doubt whatsoever that I gave the right message to my dc - the only way I could demonstrate that drinking in a relationship is unacceptable was by leaving. That was me being the best mother I could be.

As for relationship counselling, I'm sorry but it would be a total waste of time and money. His primary relationship is with alcohol, not you. Please put your role as mother first: your children need you to put their wellbeing before anything else and they need to see you standing up for them by demonstrating that his behaviour is totally incompatible with family responsibilities.

Be brave: I'm so glad I made the break and it really wasn't as hard as living day to day with an alcoholic is.

LittleLionMansMummy Sat 03-Jan-15 10:08:41

Hi OP I recently posted on here about my dh - but the difference was I did still love him, he never behaved in the way you describe and he's a good father. Tbh if you genuinely feel nothing for him any more and you have some financial independence then it sounds like you could/ should call it a day.

I told dh that although I love him deeply I could not continue with his level of drinking (he had terrible memory blackouts and mood swings but was not violent either physically or verbally). He finally admitted he had a problem and, of his own volition, sought help from a local organisation and has been seeing a counsellor. He's gone several months without a drink and we are much happier for it. We also have a 4yo ds. If you love him and he loves you more than alcohol then he will actively seek help. Even if you separate, you should encourage him in that respect, otherwise how can you ever have peace of mind when leaving your ds in his care?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 03-Jan-15 11:24:30

I would get out fast too before your DS is further harmed by the effects of his dads excessive drinking. You are already deeply affected by his drinking and are likely also to be codependent. I would read up on alcoholism and co-dependency and address those issues yourself.

Forget relationship counselling as well primarily because you yourself do not feel anything for him any more. Such men like this man actually never change, your mistake here was to think that he was ever going to alter.

Do you really have to move into your mother's; if anything you need a completely fresh start.

Your mother's advice is particularly useless and should be roundly ignored; look at what she taught you about relationships. You've ended up with an alcoholic.

Do not stay within this purely for your DS's sake; he will not thank you going forward for doing so. He will instead wonder of you why you were so weak and put his drunkard father before him. Do not do that to your child.

wherethewildthingis Sat 03-Jan-15 18:20:45

Echo what everyone else has said, it also jumped out at me that he is suddenly taking your son out on his own. He is almost certainly doing this so that he can drink in secret.

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