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Depressed, alcoholic husband

(26 Posts)
chalky3 Tue 17-May-16 23:53:39

My DH is suffering from depression.
It first came to light around 7 months ago when he got very drunk one night and took an overdose of painkillers, I was at work at the time and only found out the next morning, prompting a trip to A&E (he was physically fine).
The next couple of months were sheer hell. After that incident I wouldn't leave him alone with our 3 year old DS, for both their sakes, as DH was very fragile. He was off work for a while and I missed work on several occasions when he was not in a fit state to be left alone. For several weeks I had to work different shifts to be able to arrange childcare for DS, which made me feel guilty for putting such a strain on my colleagues and my childminder.
He became violent towards me also. He had developed an obsession that I had cheated on him, which I have never done, and would accuse me over and over, and resorting to hitting me to get the 'truth'.
I had reason to call the Police on two occasions; the first he disappeared and sent me texts suggesting he was going to kill himself, the second he was threatening me, and I believed was about to become violent (though he didn't actually hit me on that occasion). When he realised I'd called the Police, he attempted to hang himself from the bannister. He was arrested after the second incident and spent two nights locked up, after which the violence stopped.
Both suicide attempts resulted in treatment by mental Heath services. However, the support was withdrawn after a couple of weeks when he was deemed to no longer be a danger to himself. I think he would really have benefitted from long term councilling, but instead he just has antidepressants to help him recover.

DH is also an alcoholic. He has always liked a drink but his drinking reached new levels when the depression took hold, which of course didn't help his state of mind or recovery. He regularly drinks to excess, and freely admits it makes him feel good and helps him 'escape' the bad feelings. However, he doesn't see the damage it's doing to his wellbeing, mental and physical health, and relationship with his family.

On top of all this he recently left his job because he had admitted receiving a drugs caution to his employer. They gave him the choice of resigning of facing disciplinary action, which would most likely result in him getting the sack, so he left.
He has terrible money problems too and had recently made an individual voluntary arrangement to pay some of the debt off. Now he has no income so he can't make the payments.

While he is better than he was 6 months ago, he has a long way to go. He's a good Dad, and when he tries to be, a loving husband. His moods are erratic; he might be a happy family man one day, but a drunken mess the next. He helps with childcare due to my shifts, but DS still goes to a childminder for a few hours whenever I'm working. He doesn't help out with DS if I'm around though. He's still paranoid that I'm cheating. He disappears to the pub, or just starts drinking whenever the mood takes him. He rarely does any housework or walks the dogs, and he sleeps a ridiculous amount of time every day, except when he's drinking.
Last week I though he'd turned a corner. He did lots of work improving our garden over a couple of days and spent some time doing things with us, he seemed happy and we were too. After a hard morning's work he started drinking cans of lager, got drunk, spent the next day in bed and has gone back to being withdrawn and exhausted. Ironically he was discharged from mental health services last week (after only two appointments, months apart).

I'm finding it all very difficult to cope with. I know I have to be understanding and supportive, but it's so difficult to be caring when I resent the way he behaves, how he treats me, and how his drinking affects our family life. Where do I draw the line between his illness and his bad behaviour? I feel as if I'm on my own, caring for DS, running the household, paying the bills, working, and of course, caring for him. I'm so unhappy and we argue a lot as a result, which is very unhelpful, I know. I often feel like I want to 'leave' him, but I can't abandon him when I'm his only support. He would never leave of his own accord either. If only he would try to help himself and see what really matters to him, he could be on the road to recovery.

How can I help him to help himself? Or is he a lost cause? Should I end things with him as I really can't see how the situation will improve? Or is this just part of married life (in sickness and health)? Is there anywhere I can get practical advice and support that helps our particular situation? We can't continue like this

BreakfastLunchPasta Wed 18-May-16 00:04:17

No, this is not part of married life, and no - you do not have to be supportive and understanding to a man who has been violent to you.
The only person who can help him is himself, and maybe Alcoholics Anonymous.
You need to think of your son (and your own safety of course), don't you agree he deserves better? My dh grew up with an alcoholic father, and it ruined his childhood.

BreakfastLunchPasta Wed 18-May-16 00:05:14

Sorry if I sound harsh. I just want you to be safe.

cestlavielife Wed 18-May-16 00:05:48

Go to ypur gp tell them everything you said here and get some counselling for you.
You are not responsible for his mental health. You can't cure his drinking.
It maybe that separation and settING boundaries is the way to go. You don't have to live with someone who hits you has been violent . That makes any vows invalid. His paranoia may or may not be treatable.

The small amounts of time he is a "good dad" he can be that while you live separately.
You are not obliged to stay with him because "some" of this may be due to " illness ." ..

chalky3 Wed 18-May-16 00:43:57

Thanks for your responses. I think I've been kidding myself on that we're 'better together', but I don't want DS to grow up with this going on around him. He deserves a stable, happy home life, and I am depriving him of that right now. I will speak to a doctor about it all too, see if they can help in any way.

If I do decide we should separate, I don't know how to do it. If I were to suggest DH leave, even temporarily, he'd refuse (no where to go, no money, etc) and start acting up. I can't leave as I have to be here for DS, the pets, work, childcare, etc. I think his Mum would take him in, but would be very reluctant to do so; she hates what she knows of his drinking, and knows he has depression.

I can't believe we're in this situation sad

cestlavielife Wed 18-May-16 08:04:20

Speak to al anon about options.
Call police if he needs removing because he us drunk or agressive. Might be wake up call he needs.
If his mum won't have him because of his behaviour why should you ? It is his choice to get help or not. Start being harsh fir a better life fir your ds.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 18-May-16 08:16:03

The 3cs re alcoholism:-

You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

Alcoholism is a family disease that does not just affect the alcoholic. Your own recovery from this will only begin when you are completely separated from him. You need to get off the merry go around that is alcoholism.

Indeed you cannot carry on like this. Your life as well as your son's is being harmed by your DHs actions towards you. The only person who can help your DH here is him; its not you and with all due respect you are the last person who can help him. He does not want your help and support and besides which you are overinvested, an enabler, a provoker (you never forget) and co-dependent. You are not helping him or your own self for that matter by remaining within this situation. Your family unit has basically lurched from one crisis to another these past few years.
Your son deserves far better, this is not the childhood he should have at all.

Alcohol is also a depressant and he is likely to be self medicating as well as badly underestimating how much he is drinking.

Where is your own line in the sand here?.

He is really a lost cause.

Seek legal advice and legal means to get him out; no man is above the law here. He is not your responsibility at the end of the day. That is why I also mention co-dependency; the fact that you feel responsible somehow for him and your writings about "abandoning him".

I would also suggest you talk to Al-anon and properly now address your co-dependency issues. Co-dependency issues are commonly seen in such dysfunctional relationships and you cannot afford to put this man first anymore. Read "Co-dependent No More" written by Melodie Beattie. Someone (most likely one or even both of your parents) taught you to be co-dependent and that set of lessons needs to be unlearnt.

blueskyinmarch Wed 18-May-16 08:18:54

I agree, you need to prioritise your DS and make sure that his memories of growing up are not tainted by his alcoholic mentally ill DF. That is not to say they shouldn’t have a relationship, just that he need to be protected from witnessing his DF drunk, his DF being violent, arguments between the two of you etc. These things will be having a profound effect on your DS even now.

It is likely that things will escalate with your DH and you really need to be making plans so this cannot happen. I wonder if maybe you need to get some legal advice about how you could manage a separation. I can see it will be very difficult to make him leave your family home, especially as you are married. Maybe talk to his DM and get her on board first?

Bobby2013 Wed 18-May-16 08:23:52

I can utterly understand how you feel. I have a similar situation, although no drinking or violence. My husband's business has failed, and he's depressed with the added problem that his ego is severely battered by it all. He equates his self worth with his career, and as that's taken a nose dive he's just wallowing in self pity. He too has no money and no where to go, so I'm getting it in the neck as he lashes out verbally. I would reiterate the other comments that your dh's situation is not of your making - he needs long term therapy to sort out the root cause of his drinking and depression. Where has the depression come from, is there a family history that he needs to deal with? I think it would be better for all of you if he went to his mum, just even for a couple of weeks to give you and your ds some space from what is a very stressful situation. Your priority has to be ds. I'd also back the suggestion that you get some support too. This is a hard road you're on, and you need help to keep going and not fall apart yourself.

cestlavielife Wed 18-May-16 09:29:21

no money and no where to go -

same as for the op - if needs be he can present as homeless at the council and claim hb for a room.
if he has Mh needs they may prioritise him for temp accomodation.
he could ask for help with his addiciton.

let him sort it out.

your DC deserve to live a better life

Andante58 Wed 18-May-16 15:07:21

Al Anon will help you a lot, op.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 19-May-16 08:45:07

His refusal to leave will be meaningless noise. Your DH has a history of violence towards you that is known to the police and MH services. It will be quite easy to get an order to have him kept away from you and the house.

DC could be seen in a supervised contact centre (who won't let him near them while drunk or high) So you can relax a bit about how contact will work.

They'll help him find somewhere to live, you don't need to get involved in that at all (and shouldn't).

There is a huge amount of help and support available for people trying to overcome addiction, if they want to access it. Similarly, there are laws and structures in places to help their victims (you and DS and MIL), if you are willing to use them.

See a lawyer. Contact the MH team to let them know you will be getting occupation and non-molestation orders soon and they'll be ready for him hitting rock bottom. Hopefully for his sake he will then start to turn himself around.

Your "support" is stopping him from getting better and is potentially condemning your DS to a future like his dad's.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 19-May-16 08:50:05

Your DH isn't suffering from depression.

He is suffering from being an alcoholic.

You and DS are suffering from him being an alcoholic too.

Depression, anxiety, work problems etc are mere side effects of the alcoholism. In both you and him.

timelytess Thu 19-May-16 08:55:46

He's a good Dad
No he isn't. He's behaving abominably. The reasons don't matter.
Pick up your child and run.
Or more sensibly, follow Rabbit's advice above.
Good luck.

LobsterQuadrille Thu 19-May-16 09:08:26

*Your DH isn't suffering from depression.

He is suffering from being an alcoholic*

I could not agree with this more and I speak as a recovering alcoholic. It's amazing that you have been so understanding and supportive but you are feeling guilty and shouldering enormous burdens which you simply have not caused, cannot control and cannot sure. As PPs have said, the only person who can help himself is your DH. The repercussions on your own mental health and that of your DS will be immense. You absolutely have to remove both of you from this horrible and intolerable situation which you do not deserve.

Alcohol is a massive depressant and plenty of alcoholics who believe that they drink because they are depressed actually come to realise that their depression is caused by their drinking and that this becomes a vicious circle (and I do appreciate that this is emphatically not the case for those with depression itself).

Please, please get out of this cycle. You deserve so, so much better and a happy life. Al-Anon for you and AA for your DH would be a starting point. Good luck. flowers

ScarletForYa Thu 19-May-16 09:14:51

I know I have to be understanding and supportive


No you don't.

He's making the choice to drink and take drugs and be violent. He's probably depressed as a result of his drinking.

Throw him out. He's not your problem.

chalky3 Sat 21-May-16 11:49:28

Thanks for your replies. There are good days and bad. Yesterday was a decent day, DH was hangover free and spent time with us, we had fun. However last night a mate came round to the house while I was at work and stayed over. DH was drunk texting me at 3.30am. I finished work this morning and didn't know whether to stay up with DS or go to sleep (knackered and night shift again tonight). I went to bed as I'm here if they need me, but I feel so bad for DS lumbered with hungover Daddy and sleeping Mummy. Wide awake now as DH was encouraging DS to make as much noise as possible it seemed, he does that if I'm night shifts and he's hungover tired so I get up and take over.

So I know you're all right, but it's a huge thing to do. I see it would be for the best in the long run, but I love him and I don't feel strong enough to cope with the effect it will have on our lives if I end it with him (DS, work, family, DH himself, etc)

LobsterQuadrille Sat 21-May-16 12:06:09

Hi OP, I really appreciate your dilemma but you should also consider the effect on all your lives if the situation continues. I am aware that there are plenty of detractors of AA, but I'm just back from my (only once a week now) meeting where so many people's lives have been turned around by putting down the bottle.

Asprilla11 Sat 21-May-16 12:12:38

OP - I suffer from long-term chronic depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts (partly because of my dad's suicide when I was 9 years old).

I have never ever been aggresive to a woman and never will be, mental health issues is never an excuse to be violent (unless it's something like untreated piss-taking schizophrenia).

Obviously your DH is going through a very tough time, but it can never be the excuse to be violent.

I hope everything works out the way you want it to, good luck.

Asprilla11 Sat 21-May-16 12:14:35

oops ignore the 'piss-taking' bit before schizophrenia, that was from a comment on another thread! blush

springydaffs Sat 21-May-16 12:19:58

You may want to stay in the hell hole but your child has no choice. And it's fucking him up BIG time.

You need to get out - or get him out, rather - for the sake of your son. Or put your son up for fostering. Anything but get your son away from this hellish dynamic.

Get in touch with Women's Aid and al-anon. Go to al-anon meetings. Take a look at CoDA - you are enabling your alcoholic husband, do you have a history of supporting damaged people?

He has been violent to you. Aside from all the other shit going on, he needed to be removed from your home the moment he was violent. For the sake of your boy. If you want to stay there and get beaten then I guess that's your choice. It's not your child's choice and you need to protect him.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 21-May-16 12:32:23

"So I know you're all right, but it's a huge thing to do. I see it would be for the best in the long run, but I love him and I don't feel strong enough to cope with the effect it will have on our lives if I end it with him (DS, work, family, DH himself, etc)"


What do you get out of this relationship now?. What needs of yours is this drunk still meeting within you?.

You are not powerless here and are infact stronger than you think. You need to access further support in real life and the likes of Al-anon, Womens Aid and CODA can also help you.

I would also think that your man is permanently drunk, he is never really completely sober at all these days. His main thoughts still centre on where the next drink is going to come from and his primary relationship is still with drink.

What is there to love about such a man?. This is all part of your overall co-dependency; your wanting to rescue and or save him because you think you can do this. Well you are wrong on all counts there because the only person who can help your alcoholic DH is your DH. Not you. You are way under equipped and co-dependent; you are the last person who can help him and besides which he does not want your help anyway.

I would argue that you are co-dependent when it comes to relationships and co-dependency is also a common feature of such dysfunctional relationships where alcohol is ever present.

You and in turn your son are really living from crisis to crisis; its not stable at home is it?. You have a choice re this man, your son does not. He deserves far better than to grow up within such a household. You are putting this man now first above your child and that is wrong on all levels. By staying with him you put your long term relationship with your own son at risk because he is not going to say thank you. Your son will likely disown you instead and call you stupid for putting his drunkard father before him because you described yourself as too weak to leave.
It is NOT easier to stay.

You are not responsible for your H and his actions even though you erroneously think you are (co-dependency rearing its ugly head again).

2ManySweets Sat 21-May-16 12:38:44


My heart breaks for you but you know you need to terminate the relationship.

If he should consequently harm/kill himself please know that there will be nothing that you could have done to prevent that action.

For the sake of your life, and that of your family this situation must end.

I could say more but I won't. Having been in an extremely similar situation to you, trust me on this one.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 21-May-16 17:31:23

What would get worse if he didn't live with that you any more?

I am struggling to see any downsides.

chalky3 Tue 26-Jul-16 21:25:17

I have asked for this thread, and another thread I started about problems with DH, to be deleted.
I am very grateful for the genuine advice that has been offered while I'm going through a difficult time with DH, but I really don't want our relationship issues to be raked over on MN, as happened when someone posted a link to this thread on my other thread in 'relationships', it felt like I was the being gossiped about while in the room!

So thanks again to those who have tried to help 
I'll be more careful in future about what I share and name changing 

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