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So what would you do if you think your DH is an alcoholic but high functioning and it doesn't affect your day to day lives?

(97 Posts)
aleene Sun 10-Aug-08 00:47:53

I have posted before about DH hiding his drinking. Tonight I found 2 wine bottles he had hidden. He had drunk one of them between 4.30 pm and 7pm and then went to work at 8.
He is never drunk, abusive or violent. we are okay for money. He is a good dad. He is a good husband although I think he could pay me more attention. It is his long term health I am worried about and the lies about how much he is drinking. Any advice please?

Tortington Sun 10-Aug-08 02:02:38

is he driving?

anorak Sun 10-Aug-08 02:12:07

Have you discussed your concerns with him? Surely that would be the best starting point?

aleene Sun 10-Aug-08 02:13:36

No he doesn't drive.
I have tried discussing with him but he thinks there is no problem.

aleene Sun 10-Aug-08 02:17:09

Going to bed now, will bump this tomorrow.

Desiderata Sun 10-Aug-08 02:27:57

If he doesn't drive, there's no problem.

It's a metabolism thing. If he's working shifts, the alcohol may actually make him feel more alert.

Most people get sleepy with alchol. Some people, like me, go the opposite. They function better, within limits.

I'd let it go, for now. He isn't displaying any worrying signs from what you've posted.

Kif Sun 10-Aug-08 03:34:55

hmm not sure i agree

PurpleOne Sun 10-Aug-08 03:48:06

I don't agree either Kif.
As a functioning alcohlic myself I'd be very concerned about the hidden bottles for one.
He is never drunk now because his tolerance is too high....

Glad he doesn't drive, but being issed on the job would concern me some....

noddyholder Sun 10-Aug-08 08:16:00

If he is hiding them there is a problem.Because apart from the health issues this deceipt is mentally damaging over time and is one of the worst aspects of this disease.He is drunk just has a high tolerance which is a worry in itself.Why does he drink like this? it is to anaesthetise some aspect of his life,and the lies put a barrier up in your relationship.Have you talked to him?

noddyholder Sun 10-Aug-08 08:17:23

Desiderata do you really think that drinking 2 bottles of wine and hiding them is ok?

georgimama Sun 10-Aug-08 08:19:10

If he's hiding it then he knows it's a problem. I think there an organisation for families of alcoholics, is it Al-Anon? They may be able to make some suggestions as to how you approach tackling this with him.

posieflump Sun 10-Aug-08 08:20:55

where does he work?
where I work going to work after a bottle of wine would be a sackable offence.

posieflump Sun 10-Aug-08 08:21:26

Desiderata do you often go to work after a bottle of wine?!!

youcannotbeserious Sun 10-Aug-08 08:25:00

I agree with Georgimama - The fact he's hiding the bottles means he knows there is a problem.

I think that's a good place to start.

The first step (IMO, and I'm no expert) is to actually acknowledge the amount of alcohol being consumed and then see if you really think that's reasonable.

Being fully functioning / capable after a full bottle of wine isn't a good thing, IMHO

LittleBella Sun 10-Aug-08 09:17:44

It's not a question of metabolism, that is absolute nonsense as any doctor would tell you. It is affecting your day to day life, because he is being dishonest and deceitful with you.

Currently he may be high-functioning, but alcohol has a cumulutive effect and if he carries on drinking in this way, his body will eventually be less able to tolerate the alcohol and it will start to control him rather than the other way round. My XP was a very high functioning alcoholic for at least 10 or 15 years, to the extent where I didn't even realise he was one. It was only in the last year or so of our relationship, after years of secretly abusing alcohol, that he began to lose control of it and started to display the symptoms of alcoholism.

If you ignore it and he carries on drinking in this way, your DH will eventually start to display the classic symptoms of alcoholism. Maybe not this year or next, but eventually, in the future, some time. And by then, his liver may have deteriorated to the extent that it can't be regenerated. Too big a risk imo, better to tackle it now while it's curable.

LittleBella Sun 10-Aug-08 09:28:30

I meant to say, a lot of alcoholics in the UK don't think they have a problem until they get the symptoms of incurable liver disease, by which time it's too late to do anything about it. There was an excellent documentary made about this subject a couple of years ago, Rain in my Heart, it's well worth a watch if you can get hold of it.

beanieb Sun 10-Aug-08 10:15:44

He's hiding alcohol and so I would say it's a problem. Have you confronted him prevously about his drinking and has that led to him starting to hide it?

LostinOz Sun 10-Aug-08 12:11:36

Just read the tread and agree with all the postings, however would like to add one thoguht. How happy is your relashionship, really??? What is he doing hiding the booze?Maybe getting through the family time. Is he really that happy, heart on heart???

Good dad etc, but is he covering up some inner conflict?


moondog Sun 10-Aug-08 12:14:48

Ican't accept that you can drink that much and not be affected.

moondog Sun 10-Aug-08 12:15:00

Bad breath?
Weight problem?
Crap sex?
Does any one of above apply?

SlartyBartFast Sun 10-Aug-08 12:15:39

does he work in a pub?
drinking before he goes?
is he otherwise shy?

i dont like the secrecy - he obviously knows it is wrong - i dont know what i would do - ultimately it is his problem isnt it - but i wouldnt be happy

Janni Sun 10-Aug-08 12:20:11

I think this thing can really creep up on people and almost without them noticing they are not able to get through the day without a drink.

I think your DH will deny there's any problem, will say he only hid the bottles because he knew you'd fuss and will say he's absolutely fine. Until the day when HE realises it's getting out of control.

So I would tell him, for the record, that you are very concerned and that you trust he will keep an eye on it and get help if it's becoming a problem. That's all you can do for now.

llareggub Sun 10-Aug-08 12:30:53

It's great that you've noticed that there may be a problem. My DH fell into the same category of being high-functioning. In fact, I hadn't really noticed that he was drinking because he hid it so well and never appeared to be drunk.

He finally admitted he had a problem to a friend of ours. In hindsight, all of the signs were there but I thought he was over-exagerating the problem. As a result, we decided to tackle it together without help, and he went cold turkey. We now know that this was an incredibly dangerous and stupid thing to do, as it can be fatal.

Luckily, DH sought medical help and also went to the AA. He is now on the 12 step programme and has been sober for over 18 months. I mention all this because my DH was also "high functioning" but since he stopped drinking the change in him is remarkable. He is a different person. So I suspect now that he wasn't high functioning at all, but "barely managing to keep it together" and not the brink of breaking down entirely.

The first step of course is for your DH to admit that he has a problem. Until he does, there is very little you can do. Like others, I found Al-anon very helpful. There is also a thread on here for the partners of addicts.

I quite often post on these sorts of threads because I think my DH is evidence that alcoholism can be tamed. He'll always be an alcoholic, but he no longer drinks. It can be done. Good luck.

moondog Sun 10-Aug-08 12:32:28

How did he change llareggub?

llareggub Sun 10-Aug-08 12:43:47

He has gained a lot of confidence, and is far more positive about things. For example, he is quite creative and talented at a certain activity and since stopping drinking, he has been able to channel this creativity and confidence into setting up a business. He would never have done it before.

He is also more concerned with his appearance, which did deteriorate during the peak of his drinking. Not in a tramp sitting on a park bench way, but more that he stopped buying and ironing his clothes. The change during his drinking was very gradual, and it is only in hindsight that I see these things.

He has also lost weight, not that he was particularly overweight, but his face has lost that puffiness ordinarily associated with drinkers. He has lost his beer belly (hurrah!) an is eating far better generally, so his skin looks a lot better.

Generally the positive change has been in his attitude. His AA meetings have allowed him to discuss things that he would not have done previously. He now feels he can do anything. I'm very proud of him.

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