Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Alcoholic DP(11 Posts)
I've been with my DP for eight years, he's 40 and I'm 27. His drinking has gotten gradually worse. This year's been a nightmare and he's become more unpredictable and difficult while drunk.
We've had a few breakthroughs where he acknowledged it's a problem, and said he would cut down on his drinking. For a while it worked but one drink is never just one dribnk and so things quickly went back to the way they were.
Last night, he cracked and said he can't drink at all, and that he needs my support to quit. I'm 100% behind him and so relieved he's admitted he has a problem - but worried how we'll both be able to handle it if he falls off the wagon. I worry about whether he has the right tools mentally to deal with quitting alcohol after 25 years of (pretty heavy) drinking. He wouldnt dream of going to AA and didnt sound keen to speak to GP or try CBT.
Has anyone else been in a similar situation? How are you coping? Do you have any advice?
He really has to get support, if he is serious, and not just stringing you along.
He'll need support. Would he be eligible for residential rehab? Probably the highest success rate.
You should definitely go to Al- Anon meetings whether he stops for good or not.
He needs some support, whether it be local alcohol services, SMART recovery(Google it, different philosophy to AA), AA, church or CAP group, etc. I am an alcoholic in recovery - I've had a couple of 24 hr relapses but have great support and DH does too. There's a reason why people become addicted to alcohol and all those issues can't be fixed alone.
Have a chat to people on the DRY thread - there's a wide range of recovery strategies there.
There are lots of support groups online that will help him to quit if he genuinely can't see himself going to his GP or to meetings. My mum was a nightly drinker, it got pretty bad - 2/3 bottles of wine or 8-10 cans for years - and one day, after many years of disruption and depression caused by her drinking, she read a novel about a woman who drank too much that really resonated with her, and she quit. She hasn't had a drink since and that was 7 or 8 years ago I think. She will always be an alcoholic, but she has achieved so much since then and she did it without AA, without medical intervention, without talking much about it to anyone.
Big caveat: if your husband is drinking at very heavy levels, there are medical reasons why he needs to see his GP. You and he will need to be judges of that.
Thank you all for your advice. He's convinced he can just nip it in the bud, as the problem isn't so much abstaining from drink, it's whenever he drinks that he can't stop.
He's a "functioning alcoholic" - as much as I hate that word and find it problematic - and doesn't get physical symptoms when not drinking. It's just that as soon as he has even a bit, it turns to loads.
I'll look into going to Al-Anon and the Dry thread on MN. But I really don't think I can convince him to get support...
You are not the support he needs.
He needs to find the help he needs, bot within himself and with those trained to do so. You will be linked to his success or failure.
If he's not considering AA etc, then you need to leave him, at least until he does.
Yeah, that blunt.
He wouldnt dream of going to AA and didnt sound keen to speak to GP or try CBT.
Then he's not serious about stopping.
I'm not an AA zealot, I'm not particularly banging that drum, but the fact he is unwilling to admit the problem to any third party, that he essentially wants to make this something you and he have to achieve together is setting you up for failure. And particularly setting you (personally) up for failure. So he has an excuse when he falls off the wagon, and it's you.
He could start by reading this book, which was immensely helpful to me when I stopped drinking. Among other things, it goes through the various types of treatment that are available.
But he truly needs to understand this: addiction thrives on secrecy. You and he have been keeping this secret for years, and the drinking has only got worse. If he truly wants to tackle this problem he has to make it immeasurably harder to go back to his drinking ways. And that comes by admitting, out loud and to other people, that he has a drinking problem.
Some alcoholics can go months or even years without a drink as a sort of endurance test, trying to prove to themselves they aren't alcoholics. But that's sort of like crash dieting - unsustainable because it doesn't develop any decent habits, and very likely to rebound once you stop.
He needs help, and not from you. You cannot stop him drinking and this can't become your responsibility, that's just increasing the amount of codependency that may already exist in your relationship.
He needs to understand this is the most important thing he will ever do. And it has to be 100% his responsibility.
My ex husband was a functioning alcoholic, until he lost his job and became a full blown alcoholic.
We had lots of heart breaking break downs and promises and ultimately it broke me and us and now it is still hurting our children.
It has to be all him.
Like practically all posts of this type its mainly about the alcoholic. It also needs to be about you as well and your roles being played out in his alcoholism.
Alcoholism thrives on secrecy and is truly a family disease, he is not the only one here affected by it. You are also deeply affected by his alcoholism and you are playing out the usual roles (enabler and provoker) associated with same. Life with an alcoholic basically consists of lurching from one crisis to another.
You need to get off the merry go around that is alcoholism.
The 3cs re alcoholism:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this
You were 19 when you met this alcoholic and you have spent 8 years with him. What sort of a life do you have with him now. Do you want marriage and or children, he will not be able to give you either.
He started drinking at 15 and likely had alcohol dependency issues from the early days as well. What do you know about his own family background?. I ask that as alcoholism can also be learnt from family members.
What do you get out of this relationship, what is keeping you with this drunkard?. Your own co-dependency issues?. Did your parents drink too much?.
The only person who can help him is him and he is showing no signs of wanting to give up alcohol. He wants you to help him quit and no you cannot do that because he will bargain and blame you for his failures. You need to detach from him. His primary relationship is with drink, its not with you and you will waste many more years on him if you stay.
You are way too close and over invested to be of any help to him, not that he wants your help anyway. He will also find it almost impossible to quit drinking without professional support. Like many alcoholics he is in denial and thinks he can stop on his own. He is also likely to be badly underestimating just how much he is drinking. You can only help your own self and one step in that process is to go to Al-anon meetings. They are very helpful to family members or people affected by another's drinking problem.
You are also co-dependent, many such dysfunctional relationships often have co-dependency as well in it. You use each other as a crutch and he blames you for his failures.
If you really do love this man you would now walk away from him for his sake as well as your own.
Do read "Codependent No More" written by Melodie Beattie and contact Al-anon. At the very least read their literature.
Your own recovery from his alcoholism will only properly start when you and he are not together any more. Am sorry to be that blunt but that is the way it is.
As in many other threads of this type, I agree with all Attila says.
I too was a functioning alcoholic for many years, managing a highly paid job and being a 100% sole parent. I was arrogant about being able to function and thought that I had it under control. Until you reach a point of wanting to quite alcohol more than you want anything else you do not change. You mistakenly think that you are in control - when in reality the drink is controlling you. I could be alcohol free for weeks, months and in one case two years - but ass a PP said, in the end one drink is too many and a thousand is not enough. Without recognising that you can never drink again, and surrendering, you set yourself up to fail.
I attend AA meetings regularly. There are many people there from all walks of life. It's not something I envisaged doing some years ago but it keeps me safe and sane.
Good luck OP. Remember the three C's as quoted above.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.