Advanced search

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.

I am worried about DH's drinking

(9 Posts)
demondrink Tue 18-Apr-17 14:24:56

My DH has been drinking a lot more than he used to for the last couple of years. I have tried everything I can think of to get him to cut down / accept it is a problem. I think he is using it to manage his work stress - he is self employed and works v hard. He is v tall and big build and so can easily drink more than me. It's a problem because it changes his mood. It makes him really grumpy with me and the kids (teenagers) and sometimes he gets really bad and gets depressed - then he is unbearable. An angry, aggressive depressive rather than a quiet withdrawn one. However, he has not been depressed for over a year. He regularly drinks a bottle of wine a night, every night. Sometimes he starts off with a V&T or two. Or he might finish off with whisky. Recently I have noticed our bedroom smells of booze in the night and the following morning and he smells of drink also the next day, which I have told him. I have tried talking to him about his health, about our relationship and the impact on the family - he gets angry and accuses me of nagging and pushes me away. I then don't bring it up again for ages. Then I lose it and start screaming my head off about it when we have a row. I think he thinks he is superhuman and that the usual 'rules' don't apply to him. I have wondered about dobbing him in to our GP. His work seems unaffected and he is never physically sick from drinking too much and doesn't seem to get hangovers. We have had successful couples counselling in the past for unrelated things and it was hugely helpful but the counsellor retired - we tried another but she was rubbish and we have not been for ages. A close friend of mine thinks he is just a functioning heavy drinker and that I should just accept it. I think other people might call him an alcoholic and would take much harder line. I don't know what to do. Anyone had similar experience or got any thoughts?

TimelessReality Tue 18-Apr-17 14:33:18

That stale booze smell first of all. Just ugh. That means a serious drinker to me. Personally, I couldn't tolerate it, but maybe thats just me.

Self-employed, works hard, uses alcohol to de-stress and relax. One thing that jumped out at me is - does he not have any other interests? Work/booze, work/booze can be a pattern to fall into for some of us at times in life. I think to change involves some life changes. But is he interested in doing that is the question?

demondrink Tue 18-Apr-17 14:37:56

Yes good point, timeless. He likes gardening and now that the weather is better maybe I can boot him out into the garden. He used to cycle, swim etc but all that has stopped. Your description of the work-booze-work-booze pattern is helpful - I may out it to him like that. I think he is interested in sorting it out on same days when he talks about getting healthier generally but god forbid I should bring it up. I had got into a pattern of waiting for him to mention it thinking I cannot force him to do anything but I am now worrying so much and it is impacting the rest of us & I think I need to do something.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 18-Apr-17 15:04:47

You could contact Al-anon for support for yourself.
See what they say and take it from there.

If the alcohol didn't really affect him then it wouldn't be such an issue.
But it does affect him and his mood which in turn affects you and your DC.
So that is NOT OK!

EasyToEatTiger Tue 18-Apr-17 15:25:39

Alcohol is a well known depressant. I can well understand that your husband doesn't recognise the effects of booze on his mood. It's quite a taboo subject. It has taken years for my husband to realise that he is actually depressed and an effing nasty man with it, and he HAD to do something about it. It has taken me years to realise that wine really isn't my friend and I am far better off without it.
You won't be breaking your husband's confidence by speaking about your concerns to your gp. They are your concerns, and it's not a snitch.
Another thing about alcohol is that it can sort of creep up. Your husband still has a relationship (of sorts) with you and the family, so perhaps he thinks all is well. If he chooses the bottle over you there is very little you can do. If you can find relationship councelling again, it may help. These really hairy issues have taken a loooong time to surface in my own experience.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 18-Apr-17 17:36:28

Like many posts of this type its mainly about him rather than you. What about you, you and your children matter here. You state that you've tried everything. Unsurprisingly nothing has worked and it will not work either.

Your H's primary relationship is with drink and his drinking is affecting all the family unit markedly. Your children cannot grow up thinking that all this is at all normal from their dad because it is not. His work may be unaffected currently but there are no guarantees here whatsoever. He could well end up losing everything and everyone around him and still choose to drink afterwards.

The 3cs re alcoholism:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

I disagree with your friend that you should accept this, she after all is not living with this on a day to day basis. What is happening here really is chaos and you are all lurching from crisis to crisis.

What are they learning about relationships from the two of you here, what are you both teaching them?. Did you grow up yourself seeing a parent drink too much?. I was wondering what you get out of this relationship now, what is and has kept you with him?

Hard as it is to read I would urge you to read the 3 act play that is alcoholism because you are playing out the usual roles associated with this; namely enabler, his codependent partner and his provoker. Co-dependency is often seen in such relationships and that in itself is a problem.

GP may well not be able to help when it comes to his drink problem because you are the one addressing this rather than your H. If your H cannot and equally will not address his drink problem (and that looks highly likely to be the case, many alcoholics are after all in deep denial of their drinking and badly underestimate how much is being drunk) then there is NOTHING you can do to help him. You can only help you and in turn your own children ultimately.

I would seek legal advice going forward and contact Al-anon, if possible attend their meetings in person. At the very least read their literature. Your children dependent on age may well benefit from talking to Al-ateen.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 18-Apr-17 17:38:03

demondrink Wed 19-Apr-17 18:22:33

Thank you all for your time in responding.

Atilla - your post was very hard to read. I didn't ask for counselling I suppose, but I experienced your response as almost brutal to be honest. Maybe that was your intention. I will read the stuff you have linked to and I am very grateful for the time you have taken to put together such a comprehensive response. It's helpful. I did grow up with a heavy drinking parent and cannot somehow believe I am now married to one - there were no signs of it when we met. I don't know much about co-dependency and will read up. I think what prompted me to post in the first place was the knowledge that it was affecting me and the kids and that I need to do something about that. There are many wonderful aspects of our relationship though and we love each other very much. I'm not choosing to walk away at the moment.

I have had a conversation with him today and he has admitted it is a problem. Time will tell whether he decides to do something about it.

Many thanks all again.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 19-Apr-17 18:50:28


I would urge you to seek support for your own self and contact Al-anon. You and in turn your children matter.

My guess is that he will talk and talk at you as well but not do anything about it. Infact he could have done something today to address his drink problem but has presumably chosen not to. This is because he cannot and more importantly will not do so. You are still there you see to pick it all up after him.

You grew up with a heavily drinking parent and its affected you markedly. You cannot fully protect your children from his alcoholism and its effects on your whole life and family unit. Your other parent did not manage to do that and you are not doing so now with your own children. They are already being affected by their dad's alcoholism and they know that their friend's dads do not drink like their dad does. They see the empties and your reactions both spoken and unspoken to their dad.

You may well love your H but his primary relationship is with alcohol rather than you. Its a cruel mistress as you have already seen. Your experiences growing up with a heavily drinking parent led you into the arms of the man you are now with; that person mapped out that particular relationship template for you. That's a huge part of what you learnt about relationships when growing up.

Its not actually up to you to do something about this; he is not yours to rescue and or save. He does not want your support or help and you are too close to the situation to be of any real use anyway (I know that sounds very harsh but ultimately you can only help you). He has to want to take ownership and he is not doing that. Your own recovery from his alcoholism will only properly start when you are away from him. Not choosing to walk away at the moment is your prerogative but its something you may have to look at again in the not too distant and dim future. This does not go away of its own accord; it will rear its ugly head again soon enough.

Does he drive?. If so would you want to get into a car with him now?.

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: