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.
Relationship and alcohol(16 Posts)
Hi ladies. I'm in a bit of a pickle. My relationship has been up and down for a couple of years, and the main thing we argue over is my husband's drinking. He goes to the local pub maybe twice a week (by himself or with his family- he doesn't have many friends, just chats to other men in the bar). Sometimes (about once every three weeks) he gets really drunk. He might stay out much later than intended, fall asleep on the couch with his coat still on, get sick etc. He has lately started sleep walking when drunk, and climbing into strange places to sleep, it was the bath last time. This weekend he got into a wicker chest I keep my work clothes in, urinated on them, and fell asleep in it. I took a photo of him, or he wouldn't have believed me.
He says I make him feel uncomfortable about his drinking as I judge him.
I maintain he has a drink problem, and I've tried being angry, being upset, now I'm just being straight. I'm worried about him and looking over our rows over the last number of years, it is all down to drink. I get anxious when he goes out as I don't know will it be a couple of quiet beers or a black out episode.
I love him. I don't want our marriage to end. But I cannot stand by much longer- we have a 20 month old son, whom I need to protect.
He goes days without a drink sometimes and never misses work, and is a great Dad, and husband in most other ways.
I don't know what to do, he's extremely defensive, hates talking about it and doesn't think he has a problem. He has said he will reduce the amount he is drinking in light of the weekend's events and wants no more said about it.
This must be horrible for you, OP. I think the bottom line is very clear: you are uncomfortable with the frequency and nature of his drinking, and you have a very sensible basis for this view. Falling asleep in the bath or on a pile of washing, incontinent, is not the behaviour of someone who likes a few drinks. It is the behaviour of someone who binges in a dependent fashion. With a 20 month old, you are still in a position where you can stop your son from being exposed to and remembering your husband's condition when he gets like this. I think you need to speak to him again and put the options in front of him.
Hmm this is a really difficult one I think. Tbh I don't think he sounds that bad apart from the benders where he seems to act like a student but he's not drinking every day and I don't think there's anything unusual about going to the pub a couple of times a week. Is everything else in the relationship ok? If so would this be a deal breaker for you?
For comparison I'm in a slightly similar situation in that if I had to pick something I would change about my dp it would be his drinking. He's very rarely drunk but will have a couple of beers most days which just annoys me. My judgment is slightly skewed though as my ex was an alcoholic so to me any drinking annoys me so I'm wary of overreacting!
I'm a long term sober alcoholic and what you describe are the beginnings of alcoholic drinking. People think alcoholics are street drunks or that only daily drinkers can be alcoholics but this isn't true. It's not just quantity, it's also how it affects you. Blackouts and incontinence are red flags. Also I bet he can't predict when he goes to the pub whether he has a couple of pints or gets so pissed he wets himself, i.e. he's lost control over his drinking.
This is never an easy situation. Ideally you want him to recognize that he's heading towards the level of drinking where your marriage will be at risk. He needs encouragement to see how serious this is, so you need evidence. Take photos every time he sleeps in his clothes or in odd places. Maybe you could keep a fairly detailed diary of his trips to the pub and their outcomes over a few months so that you can sit him down and show him a pattern. If he's a good husband and dad he may well be prepared to change if he can see the damage. He needs to appreciate that his drinking will harm your DS because there are bound to be rows and tension, and because children learn their attitudes to alcohol from their parents. I'd guess most alcoholics have at least one alcoholic relative. Alcoholism isn't known as a family disease for nothing.
He wants no more said about it. Yeah, alcoholics hate when you mention the drinking. It isn't a problem you see. It's you that's making him drink. Somehow. Probably. According to the alcoholic looking for a reason to continue drinking.
Join Al-Anon yourself.
Thanks for the replies. It is horrible. I feel sick to my stomach thinking of it. I knew over the years there were lots of 'isolated incidents' now it's hit me like a steam roller, that this is a real problem that's been building for a long time.
I will keep taking photos etc, and I think a diary is probably a good idea too.
I am so worried that this could end our marriage, it seems so unfair, as it's good in so many other ways. We are going on an activity orientated family holiday this weekend, which should not involve any excessive drinking, so this will be telling to see how he copes.
Very sad, it is an awful position to be in. It's the not being able to rely on someone which is so hard. I would be very firm about your boundaries -and visit al Anon online or in person. This is definitely alcoholic behaviour, and its insidious. Only he can change it, but you can be firm with what you want from a husband. To be honest it's not up to him to decide that " no more will be said about it"! Denial is very strong in those who have drinking problems. Of course they don't want to talk about it. It's uncomfortable'
Don't despair. You can't make him stop, people only stop because they want to stop, but I stopped drinking because I knew my marriage wasn't going to survive. It was selfish, sure, but if I hadn't loved him so much I wouldn't have done it.
You love each other, you have a tiny son: he's got a lot to lose. We can hope he may see reason. I recommend you don't let things slide, that you communicate kindly but bluntly. The aim must be to convince him change is vital and you aren't going to ignore or enable his drunkenness any longer.
Should not involve excessive drinking?
Why does an activity related family holiday have to involve any alcohol?
How many units do you think a week? You mention him going to the pub twice a week. Is he sober the other five days?
Wolfie: the OP isn't saying her holiday does have to involve alcohol, just that any alcohol consumption shouldn't be excessive. Adults do sometimes like to drink and that is okay. In the case of her partner, possibly it isn't okay anymore, but that doesn't mean a couple of beers on a family holiday is in any way strange, does it?
Yes, he is sober the other days. It's the fact sometimes when he starts he can't stop. To me a family holiday isn't about drinking, but I might enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. However, I am becoming increasingly nervous drinking anything with DH as he seems to see it as a go ahead to begin a nights drinking.
Which of course isn't acceptable on a family holiday, that was my point.
Since I posted we've spoken more, I still don't think he believes it's a problem but he has promised to cut down and stop the binges.
It remains to be seen if he can follow through but I am hoping he can, as I'm scared of the alternative. Thanks for the supportive answers, alot of them confirmed what I was thinking.
I'm surprised by the level of minimisation in this thread. Getting blackout drunk every three weeks, sleepwalking under the influence and being incontinent in weird places is a long way down the path towards a very serious drinking problem. I would be absolutely ropable if my OH was regularly staying out getting drunk or crawling into the bathtub to sleep after a binge. That's the sort of thing child-free 20-somethings do (and should feel embarrassed about afterwards). It's not normal for a grown man with family responsibilities at all.
It's good that he's promised to cut out the binges, but I think you should be extremely hardline about that. One, in a few months time, could be an acceptable stumble. If he's back to blackout drinking in a couple of months and doing it regularly again, I would be looking at leaving.
re your comment:-
"I still don't think he believes it's a problem but he has promised to cut down and stop the binges".
He has done that before hasn't he and it did not work. He will not manage to cut out the binges; he is himself doing nothing apart from telling you what you want to hear.
Many alcoholics do not admit that they themselves have a problem with alcohol and denial is commonplace. He thinks you have a problem with it though and accuses you of controlling him and or otherwise being a bully. You are not either of those but he really does not like you pointing out the obvious to him; he thinks you are punishing him and denying him his pleasure. All he hears from you really is white noise.
Do not minimise what he has done here; not just to your property now but to you and your son. You are at your parents now because of him.
What is the longest period of time to your direct knowledge has he gone without alcohol?. Three weeks is nothing in the great scheme of things. Alcohol still controls him rather than the other way around.
What is your definition of an alcoholic?. They do not all live on park benches nor drink every day. He may well still work but his overall functioning will decrease over time and people will start to notice. How often is he actually sober or is he really on a constant comedown following alcohol consumption?.
If you really do want to protect your son then you need to completely separate from your alcoholic husband. It will not do you or your son any favours at all to remain caught up in this.
Do talk to Al-anon as they can also support you.
Go on this holiday without him, why should he go now anyway?. He will just continue to drag you and your child down with him otherwise.
It sounds like he might be a binge drinker - which is a type of alcoholic illness.
Please check out the Al-anon website - it will give you more information to assess your situation.
Going to a family meeting is very scary (and often a last resort as things have got so bad there doesnt feel to be any alternative) but so worthwhile to get the support you might need.
How do people find these old threads??
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.