Alcoholic husband - where do I go from here?

(91 Posts)
Ruthietuthie Tue 27-Oct-20 02:15:08

First time posting about this. I don't know what I am asking, really. Perhaps if anyone has been in the same situation and what they decided? What helped?

My husband's drinking had been ramping up for years. I knew he drank too much in the evening (every night since our son was born three years ago) and hated that he was either monosyllabic and stupid or mean every single night.
In August, he collapsed while out walking the dog and ended up in hospital. He told me then that he had been drinking heavily during the day too, since lock-down (2 or 3 litre bottles of vodka each day). This explained why he had been acting so strange (distant, slurring his words, odd) during the day.
Since then, he has gone weeks without drinking. He will then drink one night, and then the next day I will come home to find he is drunk again. This past weekend, he drunk on Saturday night (he had been talking about nothing else but his one drinking night all week). I took our son to the park on Sunday morning, came home at 11 am to find him slurring and staggering around.
I just can't take it anymore. The lying is the worst (I asked him so many times, when I found him slurring his words during the day, "Did you drink?" He denied it each time, saying that I was crazy and making trouble. The following day he will admit it). But I love him. I just don't know how to move forward with this.
Is there any hope? He won't admit he has a problem, was furious that the doctor at the hospital described him as having alcohol dependence, and says he will just cut down.
I can't go on living like this. But I just don't know what to do from here?
Has anyone been here? What did you decide?

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Mable1 Tue 27-Oct-20 02:49:32

I think I would be more worried as to why he's doing it?

Eekay Tue 27-Oct-20 02:50:55

Not me, but a close friend. It won't get better IME. My friend was a nervous wreck by the time she started the divorce, poor woman.
I'd be making exit plans for the sake of your own sanity and for your DC. The kids pick up on so much even when they're little.

Mintjulia Tue 27-Oct-20 02:51:12

Sorry op, if he won't admit he has a problem, The only thing you can do is leave. You don't say how old your ds is but you cannot let him grow up thinking that is normal.

I stuck it out until my dc was three, but it's only a matter of time before your dh takes your ds in the car when drunk or does something else dangerous.

You Leaving might get through to him but if he won't go to AA, he'll need to hit rock bottom & scare himself. flowers

My ex had to have a small operation and when asked how many units a week he drank, he put 10 when it's more like 90. As a result he was given the wrong anaesthetic and he nearly died. He still denies there was a problem. I couldn't take anymore so I left. The relief was huge.

Aquamarine1029 Tue 27-Oct-20 02:53:07

Is there any hope? He won't admit he has a problem, was furious that the doctor at the hospital described him as having alcohol dependence, and says he will just cut down.

There is zero hope unless he admits he has a problem and takes massive steps to help himself. He is an alcoholic, end of story, and you need to protect yourself and protect your child from growing up in such a dysfunctional home.

Your husband needs to leave, immediately.

Coffeecak3 Tue 27-Oct-20 03:25:06

My dgf was an alcoholic. He died when I was 2. But it still affects my life because my now elderly dm had an horrendous childhood and consequently her parenting has been pretty hit and miss.
You need to protect your child. And your future dgc.

Ruthietuthie Tue 27-Oct-20 03:28:34

Thank you to all those who replied. I appreciate it.
You are writing what I know, deep down, that there isn't any hope while he does not admit there is a problem, and that he has to stop.

@Eekay, your comment that your friend was a nervous wreck before she eventually left really hit home. Today, I spent the day in tears, and totally questioning my own judgment. Today, he was fine first thing, then "off" after I had told him how serious this was, and that I was thinking that our marriage needed to end if he did not stop drinking and seek treatment. This "offness" was not the slurring, but still monosyllabic, not speaking properly, burnt the rice he made for lunch. Again I was left asking him, "Did you drink?" and then feeling I was going crazy when he said no.
That almost feels the cruelest thing. The way I had questioned my sanity for months, knowing something was wrong, but with him always saying that he wasn't drinking, that I was imagining it, when I asked.

@Aquamarine1029 and @Mintjulia, my father was an alcoholic. I know all too well the pain and long-term damage this caused me and my siblings. There is no way I would let this happen to my son. It just breaks my heart that we are at this stage when, as a family, we have had such happiness and have, on paper, everything going for us (love, good jobs, a nice home). It is just so hard. I am sorry this happened to you too, Mintjulia.

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Ruthietuthie Tue 27-Oct-20 03:32:49

@Mable1, I've tried to talk to him about why, but haven't really got anywhere. I think he finds the receptiveness and demands of having a baby, now a toddler, hard. It certainly ramped up after our son was born. I think he might be depressed. He doesn't love his job, but also doesn't make any moves to change anything for the better. He wastes away his days sitting on the sofa reading the newspaper (we have jobs where our time is our own, so it hasn't mattered that much, but he is definitely drifting).

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BritInAus Tue 27-Oct-20 04:26:50

My partner and I separated in Feb because of their alcoholism. I am very happy to PM if you want to chat.

I will say: you can't cure someone else's alcoholism. They have to want to a) admit they have a probably and b) desparately want to change for them to be any chance at all of it getting better.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease -as you are now well aware.

I left my alcoholic ex and whilst life is still very tricky, it is a million times less anxiety-provoking than living with them.

Please be strong and ask them to leave or leave yourself. Your wellbeing and your child's wellbeing is so much more important. x

IronNeonClasp Tue 27-Oct-20 05:22:33

You don't have to go through it alone. He's not your problem and you must prioritise yourself and your child and your safety. Al-anon might help:


NoImNotEntertained Tue 27-Oct-20 05:25:24

So sorry you're going through this. Our therapist once told me "Addicts lie constantly. They lie to everyone and they lie to themselves."
As PPs have said, until he comes out from under his blanket of denial his behaviour will continue and probably get worse. It's a horrendous decision to be facing but having an exit plan is a sensible option right now if you can. He may be shocked into dealing with his alcoholism but if he doesn't you can't let him take you and your dc down with him. Sending you thanks

footprintsintheslow Tue 27-Oct-20 05:38:12

On a practical level how do you think separating will work. Presumably he will leave the family home. Does he have anywhere he can go? Start making a plan.

TwilightSkies Tue 27-Oct-20 06:41:56

You need to end it for the sake of your mental health and well-being, and of course for your son as well.
Do you think he would leave if you asked him to? Whose name is on the house?

You have become so used to his behaviour and living this strange, damaging life that it will take you a while to recover. You won’t realise how bad it was until you are free from it and will look back and wonder why you stayed so long.

You aren’t responsible for him, you can’t control what he does. All you have control over is what YOU do and how you handle the next steps.

Good luck xx

Shiverywinterbottom Tue 27-Oct-20 07:04:13

As the child of an alcoholic who would spend 3/4 days out of 7 drunk at all hours of the day, my advice is to leave.
I would never put my child through what we went through.

My dad would work shifts and we would come home from school to find our mother out cold on the floor of the hallway, she would be brought home by police or ambulance because she’d fallen or collapsed drunk.
She’d get angry when we’d find her bottles and pour it away down the sink. Chase us around the house and batter us for pouring it away. She’s go to my parents evenings drunk, when my brother was in hospital at 16 having an operation, she was drunk for the duration of his stay.
I was 25 when my mother finally started getting her act together. She ruined our childhood, we could never have friends over, have parties, we learned to hide it from everyone from a very young. I’m nearly 40 now and still affected by it.
He’s not going to get better until he wants to, you can’t fix him xxx

joystir59 Tue 27-Oct-20 07:08:43

Please make plans to leave him. You have to put your child first and leave before he starts to understand and be affected by living with an alcoholic father. That aside from the actual phydical danger he is in.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 27-Oct-20 07:16:26

You grew up seeing an alcoholic parent and you not all that surprisingly went onto marry an alcoholic yourself.

You may well love him but I suggest to you that you are confusing that with codependency, this state and alcoholism go hand in hand.

There are no guarantees when it comes to alcoholism. Your current husband (and I certainly concur with the advice to leave him) could well go onto lose everything and everyone around him and he could still choose to drink afterwards. The only person who can help your husband is him and he does not want your help or support. Like many alcoholics as well he is self medicating with alcohol (alcohol is a depressant) and is mired in denial. Unless he himself decides that he wants help there is nothing you can do.

Leaving him is really the only option now and for further support I would advise you to attend al-anon meetings. You will find ordinary people just like you there.

You can only help your own self and your child by not further raising him within such a toxic environment. Sadly no-one thought it necessary to protect you from all this as a child but you do not have to repeat those mistakes.

BillyMurphy Tue 27-Oct-20 08:12:39

I was in the same situation OP but no children. I put up with it for years. It only got worse. I would leave work and be anxious not knowing what I was coming home to. He would be so drunk he would urinate in the bedroom. He struggled to remember what he had done. He would try and cook while drunk and I was constantly anxious. He would go to bed and I worried he would vomit and choke. He started drinking in secret and would be slurring his words and deny drinking. I thought I was loosing the plot.
He wouldn't talk probably because I would know how much he'd had.
The final straw for me was when he started driving while drunk. I couldn't be responsible for him driving drunk and hurting someone.
I offered support, love, to go to counselling, everything and he wouldn't engage.
In the end I left. I packed up my car and went to live with a relative. I was a mess. I had been crying for months. My family were worried about me. That was eight years ago. I've managed to get myself sorted and bought my own place, have a new parter and life is good.
My ex husband is still drinking. Did well for a while after he got counselling but the last I heard was back drinking.
I can't describe to you the relief of not being responsible anymore. How you are coping with all that and your wee one I don't know.
I suppose what I'm trying to say after telling you what happened to me is that it's doubtful he will change. Please don't leave it as long as I did hoping things will get better. Things did get better for me but I had to leave to feel peace.

pointythings Tue 27-Oct-20 08:32:00

You are powerless to change his addiction to alcohol. The only thing you have power over is your own reaction to his choices.

The first thing I would suggest you do is get support for yourself. A PP has suggested Al-Anon; other organisations are available.

Talking to other people who have been where you are will help you detach from him.

You have a child. Protecting your child from life with an addict has to be your absolute top priority and so I agree with everyone who is saying you need to end the marriage. I stayed with my husband for far too long and it had a heavy impact on my DDs - the oldest is still in therapy.

Lastly, life without an addict in it is so much better.

Whydidimarryhim Tue 27-Oct-20 08:43:41

Please contact Al anon - they will be a great source of support to you.
You didn’t case it, you cannot change it and you cannot cure it.
He needs to address his own dependency issues.
Please save you energy and put the focus on yourself and your child.
I’m sorry you are dealing with this - love sadly will not be enough for him - he has deep rooted issues -
There are 12 step groups for Adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families also for anyone brought up in this disturbing environment. It shows the damage caused living in these abusive environments and how we can recover.💐

pointythings Tue 27-Oct-20 09:07:25

The problem I have with Al-Anon, and the reason why the group I attend is not run according to their principles, is that at the core of it their 12 steps are based in religion. That isn't for me. So if it isn't for you either, look at other organisations and groups. They exist. A lot of the time your local branch of Mind will know who they are and will be able to provide contact info.

Clementine183 Tue 27-Oct-20 09:16:14

I'm married to an alcoholic and struggling with similar issues, only my husband isn't in denial - he fully accepts he has a problem and has been going to AA for five years. That's probably the only reason why I'm still here to be honest, but in reality it doesn't make a huge amount of difference as he still hasn't been able to stop for any meaningful amount of time. So even if they accept they have a problem, it still isn't always a magic bullet. Pretty depressing, I know. I've told my husband that I'll wait until the end of the year to see if things improve, but deep down I know they probably won't and then I'm going to have to make a decision about what to do, which is something I've been putting off for a long time. The procrastination has helped no one really, but equally I understand how hard it is to make this leap. Hope you get some clarity soon.

Windmillwhirl Tue 27-Oct-20 09:19:11

So sorry you are going through this. You have had some very good advice on here. I once dated an alcoholic. Well, he was functioning and held down a good job but I was always walking on eggshells. It is no way to live.

You need to leave. You cannot trust him and this is likely taking far more of a toll on you than you realise.

It is not your job to save him. He has to be open to helping himself.

Mumisnotmyonlyname Tue 27-Oct-20 09:40:57

Truthfully, he has been gaslighting you, snd that's a whole other problem. Crazy and making trouble? I wouldn't forget that in a hurry. It will really mess with your head long term. I'd be out.

AFitOfTheVapours Tue 27-Oct-20 09:46:06

Hi OP. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m another who recognised your description all too well. The lies are hideous and leave you questioning your own sanity. suddenly, you look back and realise how many times you have reset and downgraded “normal” and are horrified about how far away from something truly “normal” you now are.

You sound as though you are at that point and realising, quite rightly, that nothing is likely to change and certainly not because you want it to. The statistics are grim. Very few alcoholics seek help and only a small proportion of those that do win the battle, but they have to REALLY want it. The more likely outcome is his drinking deteriorating. That is no life for you and no life for your dc.

You CAN, though, change things for you and your dc. Have you heard of Alanon? Sister org to AA but supports family members. You would be surprised how incredibly helpful it can be to talk to people who deeply understand what you have been going through. Have you explained what is going on to friends and family?

Second thing is, are you ready to think about leaving? It would be worth a conversation with a family law solicitor to get an idea of where you stand.

It is also worth preparing evidence you will need to prove he is not capable of looking after your Dc. I know this is hard but it’s necessary and best to start before you need it. If you haven’t already, you should never leave him in charge and never let him drive dc. Keep a diary of how often he’s drunk, photos of empties etc. The hospitalisation will help. The courts will take his drinking seriously.

Really good luck to you.

Ruthietuthie Tue 27-Oct-20 22:25:25

Thank you for your kind and detailed reply, @AFitOfTheVapours. I attended an Al-anon meeting yesterday, and cried all the way through it. I am not sure I understand it yet, quite how it works, but I am going to give it a good try.
I am fortunate in that I have a well-paid job and can manage alone. We couldn't afford to keep this house, so how this is going to happen and what next are still up in the air. I just need a bit of time to work out what next steps will be.
I just feel so sad and so so tired. I hate this.

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