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DH been 'dry' for 3 months - how do I know he is not still secretly drinking?

(25 Posts)
loooopo Tue 15-Dec-15 16:11:47

He used to binge drink ay weekends when I was in bed asleep so I never saw him drunk - just "tired" (ie hungover) the next day.

He promises me that his is not drinking now and has lost a lot of weight so probably true - I have not had any reason to doubt him - apart from the fact that he was hiding his drinking before... he is having counselling.

Just want to know if there are obvious things that alcoholics do that I could rumble - if there is anything to rumble.

Or should I just trust him...?

keely79 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:13:29

Is he showing any signs of a hangover? Is there something which is making you wary/suspicious (even if not an overt sign) or are you just finding it hard to trust him after the lies before.

Have you considered having counselling too?

Did he give up voluntarily or after an ultimatum from you?

DreamingOfThruxtons Tue 15-Dec-15 16:18:28

Tough one, OP. Christmas will be stressful, I'm sure. I think Al-Anon may be your best resource: problem is, if someone wants to deceive you about their addiction, they probably will. My ex was an addict, and he could never understand that it was the destruction of trust that split us up more than his addiction. On the other hand, it does sound like your husband is working hard at it- I wish you both the best of luck.

loooopo Tue 15-Dec-15 17:10:52

Yes his secret drinking was rumbled by me - although I was angry, I didnt give an ultimatum for him to stop - not sure if that counts as voluntary or not? We have been here before ..... he has given up for years and then drunk sensibly and then started to get out of hand which was when he started hiding it from me.

Yes I am finding it hard to trust after the deception - but I suppose that only comes (is earned?) over time

He is 'knackered" all the time - might be the time of year - we have a very busy life - could be a hangover possibly?

His eyes are always bloodshot.

RaspberrySwitchblade Tue 15-Dec-15 17:14:08

i'm so sorry you're going through this, living with a drinker is horrible

getting support yourself is a really good idea

has your DH shown any positive changes to his lifestyle since saying he's been dry? if you could find anything there, that might help you?

ImperialBlether Tue 15-Dec-15 17:14:44

Is he secretive at all? Does he mind if you go into his car when he's not there? Does he have a shed or a study? Where was he leaving bottles before? Would you notice if he was spending money on alcohol?

loooopo Tue 15-Dec-15 17:33:35

I am rubbish with money so would not notice anything there....not aware that he is secretive - he was hiding his stash in the boot of his car before - I have not done a random inspection yet - could do that easily.

But I suppose I am uneasy feeling that I have to do that -- and maybe what I might find - I know he would also feel miffed if I snooped.

I asked him the other night of he was drinking again - he was quite agitated that I would have to ask - he says it has all been a breeze - giving up has been easy. This unsettles me - when I am on a diet - I dont say - "yes its a piece of piss - have never looked back...'

No I have not noticed anything different or positive except the weight loss - but he is slim anyway.

keely79 Tue 15-Dec-15 18:42:51

The agitation does raise eyebrows - if everything was proceeding as hoped, then I would expect him to understand why you have doubts and try to reassure you - rather than claiming it is all "a breeze" - that seems like he is trying to minimise the issue that he has with alcohol - i.e. that he is in control of it and he didn't really have a problem in the first place.

loooopo Tue 15-Dec-15 18:56:49

Keely - that is exactly how I feel.

I know more about alcoholism than he does - I have done Al anon - he never has. Both of his parents are raging alcoholics (one dead from it now - other v nearly)

I dont think it is sustainable. We have been here before. I have asked him to read up on it - get informed - he says he will.

But I have had to ask, I had to rumble him - which means it has not come from him from within to deal with it...

ImperialBlether Tue 15-Dec-15 19:06:34

I imagine Christmas is a particularly difficult time of year for anyone who has a problem with alcohol.

Why does your husband stay up so much later than you? That seems to be something that has to change if he's serious about giving up, even if he's in bed with a Kindle or iPad.

snowvelvet Tue 15-Dec-15 19:07:27

I'm not sure if what I post will be helpful or not. I don't know if he is drinking or not, but I can certainly give you a list of things that I used to do. Please be aware I was an a very active alcoholic trying to hide it. Apologies in advance if this isn't useful.

I used to decant booze into soft drink bottle. Less obvious.
Lots of mints and brushing teeth.
Secret stashes - if caught I would give one of them up and swear that was all I had, knowing I had back up.
Escaping to go to another shop when out and downing alcohol quickly and being back before anyone could notice.

When actively drinking I was very sneaky.

I am now sober.

snowvelvet Tue 15-Dec-15 19:10:53

Oh and being tired in the morning. I'm not suggesting he has done this, but I have, so will add it on. I used to wake with crippling anxiety from too much drink or withdrawal and would drink in the middle of the night when my partner was asleep. I would then get back into bed and be up normal time, but very tired, aka hangover kicking in.

A very grateful recovering girl.

ImperialBlether Tue 15-Dec-15 19:14:27

Good for you for taking control of your life, snowvelvet. Congratulations - it must have been really tough.


loooopo Tue 15-Dec-15 19:45:17

Thank-you snowvelvet that is exactly the sort of stuff I need to hear. Congratulations to you. I found loads of indigestion, pain killers, mouth wash and stuff in his car -- this might be left over from the drinking days though.

I am not sure that I have the energy (or inclination) to watch him like a hawk tho. It feels like it would be a game of cat and mouse with him always one step ahead of me. just wondered if there were some obvious quick wins where I could find him out (or not) - also it is early days but cant live like this for the rest of my life.

Imperial he stays up later than me waiting for the teenagers to come in - but in reality there is no need to do that.

AwfulCuntForTheButter Tue 15-Dec-15 19:50:57

Has he lost a significant amount of weight, OP? Does it look like a healthy weight loss, or does he look TOO thin? Because a lot of weight loss, combined with being exhausted all the time, can be a sign of liver problems.

The bloodshot eyes and agitation ring alarm bells with me though, and his breezy attitude to how 'easy' it's been to quit - I'm a recovering alcoholic myself, I recognise all this. Chances are, he's just got even better at concealing his drinking.

loooopo Tue 15-Dec-15 20:08:46

Awful - a fair bit of weight loss but not drastic - but he should have a health screen anyway. I have no evidence that he is drinking again - just that to me I don't understand how it could be soooo easy - like I said I am pulling my hair out trying to cut down on biscuits...

AwfulCuntForTheButter Tue 15-Dec-15 20:22:09

He should definitely ask his GP for liver function tests - they don't always show up major problems, but if they do show up some abnormalities it may be enough to shock him into quitting. If he refuses to go for LFTs, that could be another indicator he's drinking again.

I've watched 2 people die of cirrhosis and believe me, it's a shitty way to go.

The first time I quit drinking, I managed it for 3 months. I found it relatively easy, mainly because social services had scared the shit out of me about what would happen if I didn't stop - I wanted to get better for my DC. Then one day, I fancied a drink. I thought it'd be okay. It wasn't. I became sneakier than ever.

It took a significant health scare to get me to quit for good. I'm a much better wife and mother these days, but I won't deny it's bloody hard to resist a drink sometimes! I'd stay vigilant, if I was you x

tribpot Tue 15-Dec-15 21:42:30

he says it has all been a breeze - giving up has been easy

Yeah, this is bullshit. Now, it could just be bluster "stop going on at me, I've done it and furthermore it was easy so there". Or it could just be a plain lie. How long has he been having counselling? How is he coping with social occasions where booze is present?

Who has he told about his drinking problem? If he's still trying to keep it a secret I'm afraid I think that's either a sign he is drinking or he will drink. It needs to become acknowledged, that's what makes it real.

I think you're sensing that his (alleged) sobriety is not making enough of a difference to how you feel about the relationship. You aren't obliged to stay because you don't know that he is drinking. 'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' as they say.

He needs to accept he can't ever drink again. There is no safe amount for him. The staying up late, the bloodshot eyes and the permanently knackered all sound like someone who's still drinking to me. I can understand why you don't want to be the alcohol police but I think you need to find out the truth so you can make a proper decision about what next. It isn't enough just to believe him - and if he was really committed to his sobriety I think he would know that.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 16-Dec-15 02:32:48

He hasn't stopped and he has no intention of stopping.

The rest of it is merely lipservice designed to lull you into believing that he is capable of giving up his crutch, his prop, his reason for living, at the drop of your hat.

Of course he hasn't 'given up' alcohol and his reasoning will be that he needs it more than ever now that you're on his case. Look for the clear water that is vodka. No smell on the breath, no obvious indication of reliance on the demon drink.

He may not be a bad man, but you deserve a lot more than an alkie round your neck.

Squeegle Wed 16-Dec-15 05:42:10

In my experience if you suspect it they probably are.

With my ex though I knew the signs when he was drinking. The eyes were a big giveaway. I cNt of course tell whether he is or he isn't.
The important think is that you can't torture yourself like this.

It is the trust that is most important. You cannot live your life like Sherlock Holmes, looking for clues every where.

In your shoes, I would have that conversation . Put your cards on the table, Ask him for his Absolute honesty, and then hand the problem to him. If you find out he is lying, later, follow through. In other words you have to live separately if he can't be honest about this. You cannot be responsible for policing him. It won't work and it will destroy you as well as him.

HopeClearwater Wed 16-Dec-15 17:11:21

I agree with what Squeegle said. Please remember that there is NO guarantee that asking for absolute honesty will get you an honest answer! This guy will probably lie and lie and lie! Alcoholics will lie in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are drinking. They will say they aren't drinking while the drink is in their hand!!

OP I think your DH is almost certainly still drinking - and like Squeegle can I just sound a note of warning about you trying to find out whether he is? You will drive yourself crazy looking and checking and wondering. Please don't consign yourself to a life of this. Don't look for the booze, don't constantly ask for honesty. If he's still drinking then you'll find out soon enough. Have you got children? Please think carefully about not leaving them in his sole care, especially if he will be driving them anywhere.

HopeClearwater Wed 16-Dec-15 17:15:15

Sorry, I see you have teenagers.

All of what you've said rings alarm bells for me.

Good luck x

loooopo Wed 16-Dec-15 19:13:37

Tripot, he has not opened up to anyone else or said he is not drinking. He has been to two big work events in the last week - where he said he was proud of himself for not drinking in a v heavy drinking environment.....he also came home early from one of them.

I suppose I posted because I don't trust him to tell the truth - but also because I really also can't live with the worry and constant snooping - as said above I will discover it if it is happening - and he knows that I will walk - it will not be immediately as there are lots of significant milestones for 3 of the kids this school year and we have debts to clear. But if at any point he relapses it will be over.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 16-Dec-15 19:25:25

Their forthcoming exams are the very least of their concerns. I am certain too that your teens are all too aware of the crap atmosphere at home. This is no environment for them, really it is not. Your teens could probably now do with talking to Al-ateen as well.

You're carrying on the usual roles of enabler and provoker; you never forget and you need to start your own recovery With him at all around that will be impossible. You're both still stuck on the merry go around that is alcoholism.

Would you consider talking to Al-anon again?.

I am not surprised to read at all that both his parents are alcoholics themselves; this behaviour can be learnt.

Alcoholism does not just affect the alcoholic, it is truly a family disease.

tribpot Wed 16-Dec-15 20:22:36

I would interpret what he'd said as meaning he hasn't been drinking (was that the same occasion he came home early?) but I'm afraid getting through two work events either by pretending to be on antibiotics or drinking tonic and pretending it's G&T is just not a sustainable way to be sober. If he was really trying to address the addiction and the behaviour associated with it, if he was doing any reading or showed any evidence that he accepted he had a lifelong problem, I think he would know this by now.

i think the addiction and the secrecy have killed your relationship, regardless of whether he is now sober. Just as he should be coming to terms with the fact that he will always have a problem that will need active management, if you want to stay with him you need to be coming to terms with that too (but you can't unless he does, it's pointless). You're not obliged to do that - I would say he's not even encouraging you to want to stay by the way he is behaving.

You say you haven't delivered him an ultimatum but you are very clear you will leave if he relapses again, even though he has already relapsed (by deciding he could drink moderately, which he quite clearly can't). You need to make your decisions independently of what you expect him to achieve in terms of sobriety.

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