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Help me find some joy living with husband who drinks too much

(48 Posts)
trying606 Wed 29-Jul-20 08:11:02

I’ve been coming to terms with my poor relationship with my husband. He drinks anywhere between 10-15 units every night, sometimes more on a bad night. He doesn’t see this as a problem because he drinks less than he has done in the past. But this has been going on for many years. We have 2 young dc. Last year I gave him an ultimatum which I don’t think he has taken seriously. He has even blamed me for his drinking.

On top of this, last year he wasn’t very nice at all even when not drinking. He bit picked at me about everything, I even quit my job to try and make our relationship better. Things are a bit better but I was so low at the end of last year I just don’t think I can forgive how he ground me down. I had counselling and feel much better now.

I’m building up the courage to leave and have been getting some plans in place. But I’m the meantime how do I find a bit of joy, to enjoy the everyday without constantly thinking about how to leave etc. I’m also always thinking - are things that bad, maybe they will work etc - but just writing this makes me realise how flawed the relationship is!

OP’s posts: |
TigerDater Wed 29-Jul-20 08:18:27

Until you leave I’m sorry the only joy in your life will be your DC. Focus on them

purpleboy Wed 29-Jul-20 08:21:57

Look to the future, think of all the plans you will make with DS, think about your life without an alcoholic in it. Imagine your new home, how strong and independent you will feel when you finally leave.
Well done you for realising you and your DS are worth more than this. Best of luck for the future.

CodenameVillanelle Wed 29-Jul-20 08:24:27

You can have joy when you leave. I'm not going to give you advice on how to cope with staying. You will find no joy that way.

AFitOfTheVapours Wed 29-Jul-20 08:41:42

I really feel for you OP and have been in a similar situation. I ended my marriage to an alcoholic a few months ago after a long time working up to it. As it sounds like you have already made the basic decision to leave, I would say just head down and get it over with. It is a tough thing to do but your happiness will come when you are away from the chaos that surrounds an alcoholic.

I also have young children and really worried about the effect of the alcoholism on them but also the effect of ending the marriage. They have been amazing! I’ll bet your H does very little of the day to day stuff, spends most of his time not quite present (through alcohol) or irritable and grumpy because he needs alcohol? Your dc won’t be missing much, horrible though it is to say.

Does he admit the problem? One thing I would say is it would be useful to gather a bit of evidence before you leave. Photos of empties, a log of what you know he’s drinking etc etc. It would help you if he denies the drink problem, which you will want to prove to protect the children after you leave- no driving them, no overnight/unsupervised contact etc.

I know I’m not answering the question you asked but I hope it helps a bit. Good luck

Bananalanacake Wed 29-Jul-20 08:42:03

Is he able to hold down a job. A good idea to focus on your DC and spending time with them.

totallyyesno Wed 29-Jul-20 08:44:45

I never tell other people what to do on these threads but friends I have in similar situations have said their biggest regret is not leaving sooner.

SapatSea Wed 29-Jul-20 09:06:01

Try to emotionally detach and carve out space for yourself. Watch a boxset on a laptop with headphones on, remove yourself to the bedroom in the evenings so you don't have to engage with him. Think about 3 nice things that happen each day, something that made you smile, enjoying a cup of coffee etc.

JustBeingMoi Wed 29-Jul-20 09:12:44

Get out now. As the child of an alcoholic home, you will never be happy. Leave him or gets him to leave. Only return or allow him to return if he has actively engaged with alcoholic programme for a long period of time. Alcoholism is a damaging family disease, particularly for children of alcoholics.

SixesAndEights Wed 29-Jul-20 09:13:58

What was your ultimatum OP?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 29-Jul-20 09:52:50

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?. Did you see similar at home?.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what are they learning from you two here?.

Alcoholism is not called the family disease for nothing and you're all very much affected by his alcoholism too. Its never stable in your house is it?.

I would make plans to leave him asap and keep building on those in the meantime; give yourself a way out here. You cannot help, rescue or save him but you can and should certainly help your own self and your children here. There is NO joy for you and your children whatsoever in staying with him. Is this really what you want them to remember about their childhoods; their dad drunk and verbally abusive with their mother permanently preoccupied about their dad's drinking?. That is what they see.

Giving an alcoholic an ultimatum was a waste of time because you did not follow that through. Such things too can only be issued once. Asking an alcoholic to at all change their behaviour is about as effective too as peeing in the ocean.

Elieza Wed 29-Jul-20 09:57:50

Get time away from him. If you have a garden get a gazebo so you can relax outside and hopefully your WiFi will stretch that far so you can watch a film in your phone or tablet etc if you feel like it. Take up an outdoor hobby like gardening or walking to keep you away from him at weekends etc. Dc can join in.

Live separate lives. Expect nothing from him. That way you won’t be disappointed. And when it seems bearable remind yourself that it’s not and you MUST go for your own mental health and for dc.

Get a job that gives you security ready for moving out. Keep in touch with your friends.

Good luck with it all.

trying606 Wed 29-Jul-20 09:59:41

Thanks for your answers.

@AFitOfTheVapours yes he does little to help me with the day to day running of things and looking after dc, quite often is grumpy if he’s not getting his own way etc.

The ultimatum was that I would leave if he didn’t seek some support for his drinking, he did for a bit but as far as I know he isn’t anymore.

I am worried about how organising contact with the dc will go. No one really knows about his drinking and obviously he will deny it when it comes out.

OP’s posts: |
Perfectstorm12 Wed 29-Jul-20 10:17:58

Stop giving him ultimatums and leave. Just get out. He needs a wake up call and he won't find it while you enable his behaviour. Your kids are learning codependent behaviours from you so the greatest, most loving act you can achieve for your kids right now is to walk away and heal yourself. Good luck.

TimelyManor Wed 29-Jul-20 10:56:02

He has even blamed me for his drinking.
He doesn’t see this as a problem because he drinks less than he has done in the past
Doesn't take responsibility.

he wasn’t very nice at all even when not drinking. He bit picked at me about everything, I even quit my job to try and make our relationship better.
You were the one who had to make changes to improve things. What did he do?

he ground me down
And he'll keep on grinding as long as you're with him.

are things that bad, maybe they will work
They are that bad, it won't get any better.

He sounds not unlike my ex in some respects, he is a narcissist and also drank too much. I dreaded when the cork popped every day, I was on tenterhooks ... actually I was going to say until the next time but I was constantly walking on eggshells because of the narcissism. The alcohol just made it worse.

I'm glad you're planning to end the relationship. Are you getting help with that? Try and find the joy in planning things you will be able to do once you are free of him. Make it happen all the sooner flowers

Topseyt Wed 29-Jul-20 11:00:38

Your joy will come when you have left him. Keep planning that and looking forward.

SoulofanAggron Wed 29-Jul-20 11:19:17

So he's not 'just' an alcoholic, there's other emotional abuse, too. sad

IDK if it'd help you but I enjoy the game Pokemon Go. It could be a bit of an escape for you.

But yes it is that bad, so you don't need to keep going round in circles asking yourself if it's that bad or not. When you need confirmation you can look back at this thread.

Perhaps it'd help if you wrote some of the nasty things he's said/done here, or the impact his drinking has? So you have something to look over if/when you need it.

This is not ok.

We will all support you. flowers

Muppetry76 Wed 29-Jul-20 11:25:47

My ultimatum was stop drinking so I didn't have to drive myself to hospital in labour.

It took 2 years after that for me to leave (because he didn't prioritise anything over the booze) and my joy was chinks of brightness in the plans I was making for my future without him.

It's a long slog op but you'll get there.

Notcoolmum Wed 29-Jul-20 11:31:46

You have given him an ultimatum and not seen it through so there now literally no impact on him. I assume you are financially dependent on him as you have given up your job? I left my alcoholic husband and have never looked back. When he left the family home I realised the extent of his drinking as there were spirit bottles hidden all over the house. I really didn't suspect he was drinking more than what I saw him drink. It made me wonder if he had been drunk when in charge of the children. When driving etc.

I had to work full time to support the children. Which was tough. But better than being stuck in my previous situation. I was also drinking too much as he would be angry with me every night if I didn't have a drink with him. So I was concerned whether I might have a dependency and I went for a few months of not drinking myself.

Dozycuntlaters Wed 29-Jul-20 11:38:14

You won't find any joy I'm afraid until you leave him. Any nice moments you share will be erased as soon as he has his next drink. Don't give him an ultimatum unless you really mean it otherwise it's just empty words but really, I'd be making plans to go if I were you, this will never get any better. Addiction makes people selfish.

namechange12a Wed 29-Jul-20 12:18:49

OP you have to get out for the sake of those young children. They are also walking on eggshells, they don't have the capacity to understand why their dad is the way he is.

Living with an alcoholic is a thoroughly miserable existence and you're by yourself anyway as their primary relationship is with drink. Everything else, even their own children, come second place to drink.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease, which means it only gets worse. He's drinking around a hundred units a week, that you know of. Alcoholics tend to be secretive about their habit, for example putting vodka in drinking water bottles.

OP, you never give ultimatums you aren't prepared to follow up on because the other person knows you're not serious and won't follow through. You can't force the alcoholic to give up drinking, it simply doesn't work.

Put all that energy spent on him, on yourself and your children. Co dependent's (that's what you are) tend to expend all their energy on the alcoholic. It can feel really strange to centre yourself and not him. You need to emotionally disengage and get to the point where you're no longer concerned about him.

Useful organisations: Al Anon or CoDA
Reading: Co Dependent no More by Melodie Beattie and Co Dependency for Dummies by Darlene Lancer

Keep a gratitude journal. Get yourself a cheap notebook or pad and every day write three things in your life you are grateful for: 'Today I'm grateful for my health, for my beautiful children and for my dog'. You can also use the journal to write thoughts and feelings, (you probably feel a lot of resentment and anger) and future plans. I love lists and ticking things off lists.

Other things you can do until you're ready to leave is try something like Headspace which is Mindful Mediation. It's very powerful but it's hard, you have to keep at it, make it a habit like brushing your teeth.

trying606 Wed 29-Jul-20 12:20:34

@Notcoolmum how did you organise leaving the family home? My family are telling me not to because it’s my house too, but I don’t want to live under the same roof (as I feel I have put up with enough) and I don’t know if he would leave if I asked him. I don’t want to be at his mercy in that sense and I want have the resources to be able to just leave. I gave up my job but am working on getting another one at the moment. With Covid there aren’t loads of rentals near me, but I did look on air bnb at long term rents - does anyone have any experience with using these as a long term rental option?

OP’s posts: |
Notcoolmum Wed 29-Jul-20 12:53:50

I got him to leave. But it was a very long drawn out affair. In the end his dad came to pick him up as I rang him daily to say we couldn't cope with ex's behaviour anymore. It created a lot of animosity between me and my ex FIL and we never reconciled. I could afford to pay the mortgage by myself though. Childcare was a stretch but I got some practical help from my family.

I would advise you to talk to people in real life about it. It was a friend of mine telling me I didn't have to live like that that was my breakthrough. Someone else seeing how bad things were.

Another friend took a different approach and went down the al anon route. I feel so sorry for her as she is half the woman she used to be. Her husband continues to drink. She has to parent him as well as the children. She doesn't come on nights out, weekends away as she can't leave him with the kids etc. He's not a bad bloke in all ways but the alcohol is ruining their family and he refuses to see it.

Andante57 Wed 29-Jul-20 12:56:25

Please go to AlAnon op - you will find help and support there from people who have/are experiencing exactly what you are going through.

Fanthorpe Wed 29-Jul-20 13:01:29

Good luck trying you can’t have a relationship with someone who’s main relationship is with alcohol.
I hope you can get him to leave.

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