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DH an alcoholic?

(37 Posts)
DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 12:11:24

Some of you may recognise me from a post the other week about our dying pet and my Dh's mental health. Everything has taken a bit of turn and I am just reeling. He started vomiting on Tuesday night, I thought was gastro/norovirus. By 6am he called NHS Direct who sent him to the GP because of the pain and because his stomach was hard and tender. The GP sent him to hospital where he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. He told me it could be caused by gallstones or binge drinking. I was shocked because he never drinks around me. I took my DD to nursery and my mum came over. I remembered that a couple of weeks ago I'd seen him take a swig from a bottle of whiskey I didn't know he had and he had, at first, claimed it was coke. He then said he;d been drinking a bit much to help with his mental health but he would stop right now. Like a fucking idiot, I believed him. THis came back to me yesterday. my DM and I found seven empty bottles of whiskey in the house, one hidden under the couch in this home office, one in the desk and five in the back of kitchen cupboard, including some hidden inside an empty box of soft drink. I'm devastated. My whole view of who he is and our relationship feels like it's collapsed. And I feel so bloody stupid. We've had 'a conversation'. I can;t visit him in hospital because of corona. He claims that he drank this 'over a long time' when I was either busy with our toddler or in bed. That it's not as bad as it looks, that he is now completely repulsed by alcohol and will not touch it again and all he wants is rebuild my 'image of him'. He also claims he's not actually dependent. He didn't actually say sorry at any point I now realise writing this and when I said I felt betrayed said he needed to focus on being in a positive place. This is a pack of lies, isn't it? He believes it now cos he's scared but that's no guarantee he won't do this again next time he gets a set back or stressed - like maybe when I give birth in three months? What the fuck do I do now? I love him, we've been together for so many years, we have beautiful daughter and baby on the way. I've told him he HAS to access support because I don't believe he can stick to it but where do I go from here? How do I trust him again? Can I? I'm just beyond devastated and trying to keep everything normal for DD until I know what to do so just holding it together until she goes to nursery. I've told my best friend and parents so I have some support but I am just bewildered.

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AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Jul-20 12:31:11

The 3cs re alcoholism are:-
You did not cause this
you cannot control this
you cannot cure this. These are all hard truisms to accept.

If there is now now trust there is really no relationship either.

His binge drinking to excess has really now caught up with him. This does not sound like a short term issue either; he has been hiding this from you in plain sight for quite some considerable time. I would think there are more bottles hidden in and around your home i.e garage/cupboard/shed too and indeed you have found more. What he has done and is doing here is indicative of someone with a long standing drink problem, indeed alcoholism. Many alcoholics do self medicate depression with alcohol too, this does not work because alcohol is itself a depressant. He is in complete denial and is also badly underestimating how much he is actually drinking. He is alcohol dependent and its controlling him rather than the other way around, alcohol is a cruel mistress. His primary relationship is really with drink; its not with your or your children and its never been with you people either.

You cannot help him and asking him to seek help/access support merely on your saying so is about as effective an action as peeing in the ocean i.e non effective. Unless HE wants help of his own accord then there is nothing anyone else can do to help him. There are no guarantees when it comes to alcoholism; he could well leave hospital soon and choose to drink afterwards.

You need support urgently for your own self and in this respect I would urge you to contact Al-anon as they are very helpful to people affected by someone else's drinking. Their link is

Life with an alcoholic is a life fighting one crisis after another; its never a stable existence and your children will over time pick up on dad's drinking. You have done so already.

I would also seek legal advice going forward asap with regards to ending the marriage. He is really neither a good husband to you nor a good father to his children, the alcohol comes first and I would think too his thoughts have centered on where the next drink is going to come from. That is his priority here; not you people.

Hard as this is to read as well, I would also urge you to read this article:-

You cannot help him but you can certainly help your own self and your children. They do not need to see a drunkard dad in their childhood either along with your reactions both spoken and unspoken to same. If you did choose to stay you will all become ever more profoundly affected by his alcoholism. It is not called the family disease for nothing.

BritInAus Thu 23-Jul-20 12:34:41

Totally agree with all said above. I’m so sorry OP. I have just left a 12 year relationship with an alcoholic. I had no idea how happy life could be!!

BritInAus Thu 23-Jul-20 12:38:44

And yes you are correct, it is a pack of lies. Normal level drinking does not involve hiding empty bottles around the house. Sadly you have probably only found a small percentage of empties.

Also please know that him entering treatment is no guarantee of recovery or long term abstinence, relapse happens frequently even to those who really try and claim to want to change.

I would be very wary of leaving your newborn in his care, eg overnight rocking the baby back to sleep. The risk of him passing out and baby potentially being in an unsafe sleep environment is high. I don’t mean to scare you.

Eesha Thu 23-Jul-20 12:52:16

My ex was the same, empty bottles everywhere but hidden. We split but 2 years later he's still drinking though trying to hide it. I'm sad for my kids but it's better like this than living with a full time mess. Agree with PP, I never knew I could be this happy now.

DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 13:04:04

Not doing amazing reading all of this. I'm not sure quite what I was looking for but I'm just sitting here crying. He's been my rock for so long. I've always trusted him so much and been an open book to him. I don't think this has been going on before this year. I mean how would I know? But it's from this year that I can think of things that rang a faint alarm bell. Especially in hindsight. Maybe I should have been more switched on. I've never been much of a drinker. I've probably drunk alcohol less than five times since my DD was born and I was never a big drinker after an incident at uni when being drunk made me vulnerable to a guy who really took advantage of my drunkenness to try and force consent. He hurt me enough that I sobered up and left and I've been really wary of alcohol ever since. DH and his friends were massively drinkers when I first met him but I always trusted him. He was always kind and it stopped when we got into our late twenties and well before we got married and had our daughter. I just feel very lost and unable to know what to do. I promise I am reading your comments and trying to take it in

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Sofasogood1 Thu 23-Jul-20 13:14:20

Oh gosh good luck.
Just to add another perspective - a friend discovered her DH was an alcoholic in similar circumstances. Bottles hidden everywhere etc. She had no idea and is a smart woman. Her DH went into AA and they're still together, very happy. People can get over it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Jul-20 13:17:00

"DH and his friends were massively drinkers when I first met him but I always trusted him".

That was a big red flag with DG right there and particularly with regards to his friends, also big drinkers too. Such people tend to stick together too. I am so sorry that your trust here in him has been so ultimately misplaced.

Am sorry you feel lost too but being in a relationship like this will not do you or your children any favours in the long run.

You have a choice here re this man, they do not and they will have to follow your lead. Help your own self and your children here by giving them and you a life without his alcoholism in it. He should not be in their day to day lives now nor in yours. At the very least when he does leave hospital he should go and live somewhere other than the marital home.

I presume his parents/siblings are aware he is in hospital?.

What does your mother think?.

DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 13:20:29

I don;t know if he's told his family. They are in the southern hemisphere and we're in the UK. I've not felt up to telling them. I think my mum and dad are furious but they have been great. Helping me be normal when DD is around and telling me I need to look after myself and my kids and be happy. He's largely out of touch with the friendship group, in part because he got sick of their drunken antics. The only one he is still in touch with gave up drinking a few years ago.

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DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 13:21:30

@Sofasogood1 Thanks for your story. I don't want to get my hopes up too much but also he's my love. We've been together 15 years. It;s very hard to imagine a life without him.

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AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Jul-20 13:36:42

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?.

A life with him will be a chaotic life like you describe now punctuated by the occasional emergency hospital visit. That is also no life for your children either to be witness to.

Only HE can help his own self here and if he chooses not to do that there is nothing you can do yourself to reverse his decision. Your DH met fellow drinkers but they stopped drinking over time; your DH does not have that off switch.

Who is going to help you give birth in three months time; can you have a doula on hand?. Where is your support at this time with your pregnancy?.

Re being with him now 15 years do not let the sunken costs fallacy further blind you into making poor relationship decisions. You may well love him but his primary relationship is with drink and he certainly has an unhealthy dependent relationship with it. It truly is a cruel mistress. His parents too may not be ultimately all that surprised either.

BritInAus Thu 23-Jul-20 13:51:40

It’s a rocky road but I promise it can be ok. Don’t blame yourself. Nobody but the alcoholic made the choice to drink. Help is out there IF he seeks to engage. You have choices about if you want to stick around or not.

DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 13:55:54

As I said the last few months have not been great but he has supported me through depression in my early 20s. until recently I'd say he was just the best person for me. I trusted him completely, he always has my back and he was a loving partner and dad. He's been like two people the last few months. That guy and this angry person. I thought that was all depression but it's looking a lot more complex now. I think part of why I am struggling is my whole understanding of what was going on, including how I was trying to support him has come crashing down in 24 hours. I feel like I went out to the shops and came home to a bombed house.

He is swearing blind right now that he won't drink again. Unprompted, after his hospital admissions and before he knew I had found anything. But I'm not totally naive. How many people swear they will never drink again when hung over but it doesn't stick? My fear is this is a very extreme version of that. Especially if he plans to do this on his will power alone.

In terms of support I happened to have a midwife appointment yesterday so I did confide in her. I don;t have a doula but I have my parents very close by and I also confided in my best friend who lives close by.

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pointythings Thu 23-Jul-20 13:55:57

Please listen to Attila - she knows her stuff. Her wisdom gave me the strength to deal with my alcoholic H.

Pancreatitis can come from other sources - but given the bottles, it isn't at all likely. And it takes a lot of long term heavy drinking to reach that state. It's likely that your OH has been drinking and hiding it for a very long time.

It's for you to decide what to do now, but you have to accept that you cannot make him stop drinking. Only he can do that. And be very wary - addicts lie and manipulate. They are brilliant at it.

Please get yourself some support from Al-Anon or a similar group - it's all available online now. Talking to people who have been where you are now is enormously powerful. And think seriously about what you want for your DC. My DDs are still in therapy because of what their dad did and I let it go on for far too long.

BritInAus Thu 23-Jul-20 14:02:45

Agree with all above. It’s not a lost cause, but you need to have your eyes wide open. Only he and he alone can make a decision to change. If he is already compromising his health, it is unlikely this is a recent problem.

DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 14:41:04

thank you again every one and I am trying to take this in. I'm sorry to be 'one of those OPs'. It's been a very shocking couple of days and I feel all over the place. I am going to bookmark this thread and your comments and keep coming back.

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Seriouslynotagain Thu 23-Jul-20 14:58:55

My partner of 15 yrs and father to our two children moved out last night. I have known of issues for some time but he has long periods without drink so I just didn’t make the link. However, recent months have been bad (lying about drinking, hiding bottles, drinking in secret etc etc). Two weeks before I asked him to leave he asked for my help with his ‘alcoholism’ - he was particularly hungover and I had heard this before. Days later the usual anger had returned and I’m the nag - more days later he returns drunk and keeps sneaking off to drink more. Next day I found a couple of hidden bottles. I asked him to leave.

I am broken and dealing with the pain of seeing things very clearly for the first time. I am also panicking as we have an 11 yo and a 3 yo and I need to find the £ to take over the mortgage. It is awful. But I believe I am doing the right thing for my children and for my own mental health. He could quite easily convince me I was wearing red when in fact I was wearing green.

This must be such a horrible shock for you. I have had some amazing advice from this forum.

DrowsyDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 15:00:35

Oh @Seriouslynotagain my heart breaks for you. You are so strong. And it is a lot to think about x

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pointythings Thu 23-Jul-20 15:31:35

DrowsyDragon it is a huge shock, and in your case it has all come crashing down very suddenly, which makes it harder. I head (too many) years to come to terms before acting.

But I will say that life without an addict in it is infinitely better,

DrowsyDragon Thu 30-Jul-20 12:04:23

Revisiting this thread just to get my thoughts out. He came home on Monday. I got my parents to take DD for the day so we could talk. So far he seems to be being very honest. He fucked up, her deceived me and he has a problem. He’s contacted a support service near us. Apparently he didn’t really have withdrawal symptoms. He’s being religious with his anti depressants and seems to be holding to just taking better care of himself - daily showers, three meals a day with me!, helping a lot more. All of which has been going away since Christmas when he got depressed. He’s also contacted the one close friend who went sober at year ago and they have be discussing how he did it. It’s all very good but also incredibly short term. If he keeps this up past the birth of our second child in the Autumn and Christmas, I’ll give him more credit.

DD is very pleased to have him back but still seems unsettled with the various changes, our cat had to be PTS the week before DH ended up in hospital so she is very worried about people leaving her. Helping her and taking care of myself through the rest of my pregnancy is my main priority right now. I’ve also told DH that he’s had his one chance. If something like this happens again I will not be sticking around and I will go to court to ask for supervised access to our children to protect them. He said that is fair.

I am sure several of you will be despairing that I am not just leaving right now and I am sorry but I hope we have both set clear boundaries for the future. I’ve also confided the situation and my choice re staying and the futiure to my parents and my closest friends to help strengthen my backbone should it be needed. I can choose to make myself miserably with him if I really want but not my children. They deserve better. Thank you all

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SortingItOut Thu 30-Jul-20 12:25:59

There was a really good thread on here recently from a lady who was planning to leave her alcoholic husband, I'll see if i can find it as it is good reading.

Her husband drunk drove and got arrested, he promised not to do it again and would stop drinking, he did stop for about 7 days and then decided he wasnt an alcoholic and as most people have a drink or 2 a day he would so he started 'controlled drinking' only of course its not controlled and it was just an excuse to keep drinking.

Alcoholics will say what you want to hear, they may think they can change but its an addiction and without serious support very difficult to overcome and the need to drink is paramount and will always come before you and the children.

Please watch out for him having just 1 drink 'because he can handle one drink and everyone has 1 drink a day' and then before you know it, its 2 and then 3 drinks.

I had a client who was alcohol dependent, she was in her early 40s, had 2 children aged 16 and 18 and a grandchild who lived with her. Every time she was hospitalised with pancreatitis she promised to stop as she didnt want to die but the addiction had her in its grip and she couldnt stop. She died from complications of pancreatitis leaving behind her children who were barely adults and a grandchild, that was never her plan but she couldnt stop drinking.

SortingItOut Thu 30-Jul-20 12:32:05

This is part 2 of her journey -

I'll see if i can find Part 1

SortingItOut Thu 30-Jul-20 12:34:19

Part 1 -

AFitOfTheVapours Thu 30-Jul-20 12:42:51

Oh OP, I’m so sorry you’re going through this and particularly whilst you are pregnant. You have to do what is right for you and none of us can judge that. Unfortunately, lots of us have been in your position, though, and can try and give you advice from the perspective of being further down the road.

The lies that go with alcoholism are really really corrosive to a marriage and I would say were a very big factor in ending mine. I heartily recommend getting yourself some counselling for this, particularly with a counsellor who understands alcoholism.

My best advice is to try and get some super charged boundaries around what “dealing with the problem” looks like to you. You won’t want to hear this but I can’t tell you how many times I heard the this is it, I’m getting sorted speech. Usually it was accompanied by a huge effort of will power to genuinely try. Unfortunately, will power has no effect with alcoholism and those efforts are doomed to failure. It is very normal for an alcoholic to tell you everything you want to hear but they are driven by compulsion that talks a lot louder than you can.

You say your h has accessed some support services. Has he been really open with you about what this is? Is he attending aa meetings (people are often recommended to try and attend almost daily in the early stages)? Getting an a sponsor? Etc etc. An alcoholic who is truly desperate to change will throw themselves into this. A half hearted effort won’t do anything- it’s a sure sign he’s going through the motions to get everyone off his back.

Even with lots of support, you should be aware that the statistics for people successfully getting long term sober are really depressing. I’m not saying that to put you off giving him this chance but to be eyes wide open that you may find yourself back here repeatedly (sorry). You need to think about where your “enough is enough“ point is because it is easy for this to become a (warped) version of normal without you really realising it.

Re your children. You cannot trust him to do childcare or drive them until he has proven his continued abstinence for a good long time. There will be a very high chance of relapse, particularly during the first year.

Gosh, this probably sounds really preachy amd I’m sorry if it does. Above all, make sure you keep your boundaries really strong and do get specific help for yourself (counselling/Alanon) as well as from your family and friends (they sound great).

I ended up back where you are now so many times before I ended it. I should have done it sooner and I think you’ll find a lot of others with the same experience would say that too.

Really good luck and look after yourself.

AFitOfTheVapours Thu 30-Jul-20 12:46:59

Also, your h is already a very secretive drinker (mine was too). Don’t let yourself fall into second guessing if he’s drinking or not. It’s a horrible way to live. Trust your gut- it is always right.

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