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Was my Dm hinting that my dp may be an alcoholic?

(18 Posts)
Jezabella1 Tue 09-Aug-16 10:46:59

We had a lovely weekend at my mum's house but as usual my Dp spent much of the 'social hours' drinking. He is dealing badly with grief at the moment and I've noticed his alcohol consumption has increased steadily (as has his use of cannabis but she isn't aware of that). This is not the first time family, friends or colleagues have mentioned his drinking to me.

He left the dinner table to meet friends in the pub , me and dm got chatting about alcoholism and how Al anon meetings have helped her over the years (we have a few alcoholics in the family). She kept reiterating that it is a family disease and talking through the 3 C's with me. She's a quietly strong and intuitive women and it just wouldn't be her style to steam in and say 'I think your Dp is drinking too much'
I don't know where to go from here.

Was I just reading too much into a conversation?
Should I confide in her that I do have concerns? I've already suggested Dp has some bereavement therapy and tentatively worried allowed to him that his heavy daily drinking and smoking pot are negatively affecting him but he dismissed both suggestions.

Iamthinking Tue 09-Aug-16 11:10:35

I think that you probably weren't reading too much into the conversation. She was speaking (wisely and obviously with experience) a lot of sense but in the only way she really can to get you to take it on board. You have your concerns already and several people have mentioned it, so I think that tells you all you need to know. I am sorry.

Confide in her, it will help you sort out your own head instead of just focussing on his needs and feelings. You need support as it is all very difficult for you and she sounds like a very good person to have around and on your side.

Jezabella1 Tue 09-Aug-16 11:41:52

I'm really hoping that it's just a temporary way for him to cope. He always downplays his drinking and smoking to the point where he can be falling about the place vomiting and passing out but then wakes up and denies having a hangover despite stinking of drink and is able to get on with the day.
I'm really going to struggle facing up to this if he is developing a dependency.

Iamthinking Tue 09-Aug-16 12:37:46

You are, it is going to be very sad and very difficult.
I don't think you can rely on his version of how much of a problem it is - the addict is the last person to ask really. I am sure they must all say they are in control and it isn't a problem until they are way too far down the line.
And falling about the place vomiting and passing out seems massively excessive to me. Depending on drink to deal with anything is a red flag too.

How long has it been going on? And how much/often did he drink when you didn't consider it a problem amount?

Jezabella1 Tue 09-Aug-16 13:40:05

I wouldn't consider a few drinks, as in 2-3 a day a problem although I wouldn't exactly see it as healthy either. That's what it was before a few major life events happened this year to him. That's crept up to a lot more at home I imagine about 5-6 drinks a night but if I ask what he's had I feel like I'm accusing him. When out at their pub or a party God knows how much. I went out with him for the first time in ages at the weekend and drank far too much as I was trying to keep up with him. I felt awful the next day where he seemed completely unaffected. He always drinks to ridiculous excess when he goes out.

I don't feel like I can face this. He's not a nasty drunk which makes it harder to admit he's got a problem.

smilingeyes11 Tue 09-Aug-16 13:46:42

He does sound like he drinks too much. Nasty or not he can still be a drunk. You seem to be excusing it due to life events - I wonder why you are so complacent about it.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 09-Aug-16 13:49:40

Yes, I think you should talk to your DM about your concerns. She sounds lovely, sensible and knowledgeable.

Joining Al-Anon can't do any harm either, can it?

HermioneJeanGranger Tue 09-Aug-16 13:50:59

2-3 drinks a day is still a lot. If he has that every night, he's well over the weekly recommended amounts and it can't be doing much good for his liver.

The fact that he feels fine the next day is even more worrying - his tolerance must be pretty high.

PotteringAlong Tue 09-Aug-16 13:56:23

2-3 drinks a day, every day is definitely problem drinking. 5-6 a day is worrying levels. How long has he been drinking like that?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Tue 09-Aug-16 14:16:17

Oh dear, sorry, but this is a train wreck in slow motion.
He is dealing badly with grief at the moment Imho, he is not dealing with grief at all; he is hiding from it by self-medicating.

Listen to your mum. She was very kind and diplomatic about it. The message is pretty clear-take the clue as a truth. Especially since other people have commented on the subject. If it quacks like a duck and all of that.

Do you have children? You say he is dp and not dh, so you are not married, correct? Don't marry him. Don't have dc with him. Hmm, is there a future with him? Only if you are ok with coming second to his substance abuse/addictions and the associated financial implications, and legal ones as well. Has he any DUI arrests, ...yet?

Please don't fall into the trap of feeling obligated to drink to be good company to him. Don't do that to yourself.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Aug-16 15:46:53


You are in a co-dependent relationship with a man who abuses alcohol and smokes pot. What do you get out of this relationship exactly, what keeps you to this man?. I have to look at you here as well, what is in this for you?.

He is self medicating his problems with alcohol and that in itself is a problem. Heavy daily drinking and pot are also massive issues as well. He has likely done this preceding you as well, this is not a temporary thing at all. This is his wrong way of dealing with problems.

This is not something you can yourself solve. I would walk away from him before you get even more hurt and or over invested in this relationship.

The drink and drugs will always come first; this is what his primary relationship is now with. Its not with you and it is not your fault he is like this. His own family of origin may well have substance dependency problems as well, sometimes all this can be learnt.

You were not reading too much into that conversation with your mother at all. If you love him and your own self for that matter you will let him go.
He will only drag you down with him otherwise.

Jezabella1 Tue 09-Aug-16 16:39:05

Thanks for taking the time to reply. There are lots of questions there that I don't know how to answer and some I'm a bit apprehensive about delving deep to find out the answer.

So, the facts: we are not married and have one child aged 3. We've no intention of marrying as I don't see the point. He's been ramping up the drinking and pot for about 2-3 months. It's only since the weather got warmer I'd notice how much he's smoking it because I'd join him in the garden to enjoy the evening (I'm not a smoker) and I realised he'd be chain smoking it whilst drinking.

I agree with everyone that 2-3 drinks is not healthy but it didn't seem to take its toll on him so I'd be fine with it. As I said in the op, there are a few alcoholics in my family so it's hard to see regular 'small' amounts of alcohol as cause for concern. I work in health care so do understand and worry about his liver.

whats in it for you
I'm finding that a hard question to answer. I don't know. Familiarity and a family unit maybe. Co dependency possibly. I don't want to give up on him as he's a decent man who hasn't done anything wrong as such. He has always self medicated in this way but to a lesser extent. Bad day at work, skin up, feeling stressed, off to the pub etc....
I've definitely normalised that behaviour as far as drinking goes as I grew up seeing both the alcoholics and 'normal' drinkers in my family using alcohol as a tool for relaxing.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Aug-16 17:38:24


whats in it for you
"I'm finding that a hard question to answer. I don't know. Familiarity and a family unit maybe. Co dependency possibly. I don't want to give up on him as he's a decent man who hasn't done anything wrong as such. He has always self medicated in this way but to a lesser extent. Bad day at work, skin up, feeling stressed, off to the pub etc....
I've definitely normalised that behaviour as far as drinking goes as I grew up seeing both the alcoholics and 'normal' drinkers in my family using alcohol as a tool for relaxing".

I commend you for actually trying to answer that question because a lot of people do not answer it. If nothing else it has hopefully made you think some more.

What you describe is co-dependency; there is no probably about it and I would suggest you are co-dependent when it comes to relationships. You learnt how to become co-dependent from seeing examples of it at home; many relationships where alcoholism features heavily has co-dependency alongside.

I can see where the familiarity comes in; you've seen similar from childhood. The family set up you now have is probably not too dissimilar to what you knew from your own childhood as well.

Is this really what you want for your son though, to have a similar childhood to the one you had?. It does not sound like yours was a fab childhood in all honesty. No-one protected you from all that and you have been profoundly affected by same as a result; you have chosen a person with alcohol and drug issues for a partner. This is all cause and effect.

You are not married to him by choice but your legal position is extremely poor as a result if you were to separate from this man. You likely know this already.

What about your son in all this because as he gets older he will become more and more aware of his dad's problematic drinking and cannabis usage. He will also see how you react to this as well, he will and is learning about relationships from you two. Is this really the sort of man you want around your child?. Is this the sort of person you want to be around now?. It could be argued that your man is now dragging you and in turn your son down with him. You and your son will always come a dim and distance second in his priority list. If his primary relationship is now with drink his thoughts will centre on where the next drink is going to come from.

You saw an awful lot, too much, and you cannot unsee that. He is mentally and physically dependent on these substances like those relatives of yours were and still are.

His liver is not the only thing you need to worry about in terms of his health; alcohol and cannabis will damage his whole body here.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Aug-16 17:43:10

"I don't want to give up on him as he's a decent man who hasn't done anything wrong as such".

Other people have noticed his increased levels of drinking and they have been right to raise their concerns with you.

I would also argue that he has given up on his own self and uses you as an emotional crutch. You wanting to be so loved and so needed allow him to do that, you keep on putting his needs above yours.

The above thought in your posting is the "sunken costs fallacy" to boot. That simply enables people to keep on making poor relationship decisions.

Jezabella1 Tue 09-Aug-16 20:59:24

Your posts have definitely got me thinking.
I grew up seeing the non alcoholics running around creating a respectable cover for those with drinking issues. I also learnt it was never acceptable to raise the issues of drinking and those doing the running around seemed to shoulder the burden and the shame of the situation. My dm joined al anon and made some huge life changes but not till I was an adult.

Oddly I also got used to those without drinking issues still drinking daily and around the alcoholics. I did this myself the other night and got smashed with Dp, after having had the conversation I outlined in the op. It left me completely unable to think clearly about her words without feeling hypocritical. Dp loves it when I drink with him as it's quite rare for us to go out and we had a fun night but I think it slightly undermined the concerns I'd raised in the past with him.

Our son is growing up fast and I want to learn from my family's past mistakes. I'm someone who goes out of their way to make sure everyone around me is happy (I don't mean to sound arrogant I see that as a personality flaw) and I don't want him thinking that's a woman's/mothers job nor do I want him growing up emulating my behaviour. Or his for that matter.

YouAreMyRain Tue 09-Aug-16 21:59:21

I'm someone who goes out of their way to make sure everyone around me is happy

This is typical of a codependent ^

I recommend the book "women who love too much" by Robin Norwood as a good starting point. It helps you to see the behaviour patterns.

People advised me not to marry my ExH. I ignored them because I was scared of a life without him and I thought he wasn't too bad. He robbed me of my happiness and sanity. I wish I'd left him much earlier. He was only ever going to get worse

Jezabella1 Wed 10-Aug-16 07:45:08

It's almost equally uncomfortable facing up to the prospect that I may be co dependent as I think I misguidedly had more resentment towards the co dependents in my family than the ones with various stages of alcohol dependency. A few weeks back I attended al anon for the first time and I haven't been back partly due to finding the 'higher power' concept hard to swallow but also because of the blame element.

Iamthinking Wed 10-Aug-16 08:09:23

I read on here a short while ago about something called Addaction. The person who mentioned it said about it being a better alternative for them than Al-Anon... this is just from memory, but it might be something you could try instead?

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