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Alcoholic dh fell off the wagon this weekend, V sad

(22 Posts)
Pushingonthrough Tue 14-Jul-09 10:33:27

My dh is a "recovering" alcoholic. We've been together for 8 years, married for 1 and have been through hell and high water to get to where we are now.

Over the years his drunken behaviour hsd a huge impact on our lives (obv.). Hs has been occasionally violent (very occasionally, but it has occured a couple of times). Very verbally abusive and very frightening. He is a very jealous person and problems often arise when I've been talking to other men. He seems to "pick" particular men that he sees as a treat and just gets a bee in his bonnet about something "going on" between us. This happened regardless of whether I even talk to them or not. All this happens only when he has been drinking excessively.

Around 3 months ago he hit a real rock bottom and finally recognised that he had to give up the drinking if it meant keeping his family. However he recently decided that rather than being teetotal he would now modify his drinking to 3 beers on a night out. It did concern me as I knew it would spiral back eventually, but he wouldn't hear any of it. So I just crossed my fingers.

We went to a wedding on Saturday and he fucked up big time. It ended with his refusing to leave while people tryed to physically throw him out. When we were outside he threw me against a wall and held his arm up to my throat cholking me until I couldn't breath. I could see it coming a mile off but was powerless to prevent it happening. I had to hide from him and a friend picked me up, where I stayed that night. The children were at his Mum's thank goodness.

It's only the drink that makes him do all of this and I've been living in hope that things will change over the years. It has become less frequent but Saturday proves that it does still happen.

Can this ever change? Can my husband become the loving father and partner I see 95% of the time? I feel so sad that it's all fucked up again after a long good spell. I don't know how much longer I can go on hoping for a normal life. I'm pretty trapped as it is as have no job or qualifications.

Sorry it's so long. I just wonder if anyone who has been through something similar can give me some advice on how to deal with this.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 14-Jul-09 10:36:35

Sorry you are having to go through this. What help is he getting, is he going to AA? You do need to accept that every single day for the rest of his life he makes a choice whether to drink or not and it will always be a challenge for him.

I suggest you contact Al-Anon and get some advice and support. You need to choose whether you want to stick in there.

Alcoholics cannot drink 'just a few', it doesn't work like that. Personally I would refuse to see him until he starts going to AA.

Don't stay because of money or prospects btw, it is better to be poor and living in a hovel and be safe than stay in a comfortable existence where you are not safe.

allaboutme Tue 14-Jul-09 10:38:38

3 months is not really a long spell though is it? its relatively short compared to how long you've been together and how long this has been affecting you all.
I think it shows that he really cant cope with stopping in his own way.
What has he said about the incident on Saturday? Has he agreed that his '3 beers' strategy is not workable and that he must give up completely? Is he looking for professional help to do this?
To help yourself, your DCs and most of all him I think you need to be telling him that any further support from you is contingent on him getting the proper help to stop completely.

noddyholder Tue 14-Jul-09 10:38:40

he needs to give up completely.Unfortunately he cannot moderate as you have found.No alcoholics can.My dp tried that route for years before finally stopping altogether 18 yrs ago.he has never looked back

BottySpottom Tue 14-Jul-09 10:42:23

How dreadful for you.
I don't know anything about this subject, but it sounds like he has issues that need dealing with, rather than just 'not drinking'. Would he get professional help (involve a psychologist) to save your marriage?

Pushingonthrough Tue 14-Jul-09 10:55:37

Thnak you all for your quick replies.
Youre right allabout, 3 months isn't a long time. In fact he seems to go in 3 month cycles so he was due another binge. I think that's part of why I fell so totally let down again. He made big steps to change after the last huge blowout, they haven't worked.

He no longer drinks everyday which is a massive change and I very proud of him for this. I just need to crack it in to him that these major incidents are just not accaptable and I can't live my live in fear of this happening.

He doesn't remember mush ofd the night so he's not dealing with it at all. In fact I think he thinks I'm making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill.

It chips away at me each time something like this happens and I'm not sure how much longer I can hang on in there. I want to be this amazing, strong wife who can help him through this, but I'm not sure I can do it. I can't bear the thought of our 2 dd's seeing him in one of his drunken rages.

GypsyMoth Tue 14-Jul-09 11:03:23

To be amazing and strong you might just have to walk away. It's domestic violence. Drink problem or not, and he's not dealing with it. You can't really expect your kids to thrive in the situation you describe , can you?!

And what about you?

lou33 Tue 14-Jul-09 11:08:54

this all sounds very very familiar, and i wish i could say things worked out in the end but they didnt

i left my h in the end for pretty much exactly the same kind of behaviour
mine used to behave the same way, drink too much get abusive, aggressive etc, then say he was sorry and would change, give upd rinking

excpet he couldnt, and didnt want to, so the giving up drinking would change to just one drink, then two, then at weekends only, then he would be right back to where he started

he actually stopped drinking for a year once (which was the time we got married), but was drinking a year and a day later

in his mind the fact he could stop drinking for any period of time was proof he wasnt an alcoholic , and did not have a drink problem

what he would accept is that alcoholics often give up for periods of time like that to convince themselves and others everything is fine, but they are always counting down to the time they can drink again

unless they stop totally, things wont change

i'm very sorry for you, i spent 17.5 yrs in a situation like yours, with him getting progressively worse and worse

i hope you find a way through this

ReallyReally Tue 14-Jul-09 11:11:18

"In fact I think he thinks I'm making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill."

I think the lack of remorse is pretty damn shoddy here

unavailable Tue 14-Jul-09 11:59:11

Yes, your husband can change, but only when he wants to, and it doesnt sound as if he is anywhere near accepting how bad things are.

You describe him as a "recovering" alcoholic, but this is wildly optomistic.
In fact, he does not accept that he needs to abstain totally from alcohol, and is continuing with his previous periodic binge drinking behaviour. He is violent and abusive and thinks you are "making a mountain out of a molehill".

You cant make him change, but you can choose if you stay. If you do stay, your daughters will inevitably be affected by living with a drunken violent father, no matter how hard you try to hide the reality from them.

Pushingonthrough Tue 14-Jul-09 14:21:32

Lou33 - Yep, my dh sounds so similar to yours. His head is very much in the sand about his ability to moderate the amount he drinks. His whole friendship culture is one of drinking and drug taking (this is another addiction he HAS managed to kick). I think he is scared that he will be boring and no one will like him if he isn't the life and soul of the party. Ironic that, seeing as people dread inviting us to events in case he makes a drunken scene. Many a wedding has been ruined by dh. Tbh I look into the future and at the moment I don't see one with him. Well done for having the strength to walk away.

Really - Shoddy is the word. Usually he is so full of shame that he doesn't know what to do with himself. This time it's almost as if it didn't happen.

Unavailable - recovering in his mind - not mine. I can't force him to take the final step he needs to and stop drinking completely. I wish I could do something for him without leaving, but it may be the only way in the long run.

I didn't mention that he has been to AA and found it so horrendous it made him want to drink even more. He has CBT at the moment, but I'm not sure what good it's doing. Our local services were shit and could only offer daytime sessions. His has a fledgling business and cannot take anymore time off - his partner has told him anymore drink related time off and he's out.

Youre all so right about the dc's. I grew up with a violent alcohlic dad (textbook eh!) and I simply won't allow that to happen to our girls. However, I can't help but hold on to that small strand of hope that all will be OK. Naive?

tennisaddict Tue 14-Jul-09 15:13:29

yes, very naive

you are allowing it to happen to your girls, just like it happened to you

you are enabling him to carry on, how fucking humiliating for you to dread family/friends occasions

there is no hope if he will not admit to a problem

trying to ignore the latest bout of murderous (I don't use the term lightly, one day he will probably kill you, or one of the children) rage just shows he is remorseless and in deep denial and a very long way from "recovery"

what will it take for you to leave him ? He presses your throat just that bit longer ? He attacks the children ?

For Gods sake, get your children out of there

Your own denial will be your downfall, do not let him ruin your family's life any longer

lou33 Tue 14-Jul-09 15:57:57

my exh is still in denial about it, even tho he makes faux attempts to "give up"

he thinks by saying he has a problem and stopping for a week or so means he doesnt and can then carry on as before

the 3month thing is not a recovering alcoholic, it's just him trying to convince everyone including himself that he isnt

i decided i had to get him to go for my sake and my kids

i couldnt have them growing up thinking it was a normal way to be

TheLibrarianIsNotAMonkey Tue 14-Jul-09 16:05:52

I agree with Tennis. You are putting yourself and your family at risk.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 14-Jul-09 16:12:06


You are not responsible for him; only your own self and your daughters. And currently you are failing them as well as your own self.

Re alcoholism you cannot cure this, you cannot control it and you did not cause it. I would apply that to what you saw in childhood too with your alcoholic Dad (you perhaps blame yourself for what went on). Did your Mum leave him or did she stay?.

You've had eight years of this and he is unwilling and or unable to change; how much more will or can you stand, honestly?. He has been violent towards you and not just physically either. I would also argue that he is also not a loving partner 95% of the time; you are in as much denial of the realities of the situation as he is. You're certainly enabling him by being around and covering up for him. Where are the consequences for his actions?.

You grew up with an alcoholic parent and now you're letting this happen to your girls via their Dad. You've been damaged by what you saw in childhood, did you know that children of alcoholic parents often go onto choose alcoholic partners themselves?. You've just proved that theory. And your daughters will themselves become damaged by their Dad's alcoholism; take a look at Nacoa's website.

Promis (a well respected detox unit) write this:-

"The first and foremost responsibility of someone living with an alcoholic must be to protect any children who may be in the household or otherwise possibly affected. Do not trust an alcoholic to have care of children, particularly not if the alcoholic is likely to drive a car. However, although children must be one’s first responsibility, one should not neglect oneself. Why should one’s own life be destroyed by the alcoholic or dedicated primarily to supporting and protecting him or her? There are better lives to be led than that. In fact, anything that is done to help the alcoholic can simply be "enabling" him or her to continue his or her path towards destruction. Other families have learnt this to their cost and some fortunate families have learnt (primarily through A1 Anon, the sister Fellowship to Alcoholics Anonymous or through Helpers Anonymous) how to detach themselves from the illness while still loving and respecting the suffering individual. They also learn to look after themselves and their families by not protecting the alcoholic from the consequences of his or her behaviour. Letting someone you love get the painful consequences of his or her actions may seem cruel but it is in fact kind because it is more likely to bring the condition to a satisfactory end (though Alcoholics Anonymous) before everything is lost".

Pushingonthrough Tue 14-Jul-09 17:58:25

I know you are all right. My head knows where to go from here although I don't really know how to do it, if I'm honest.

I need to have a frank discussion with dh now he's sober - I've been too exhausted with it until now. I'll show him the website Atilla, thank you for that. Sadly though, he is a loving partner the other 95% of the time. He's a great Dad who adores his girls. He's thoughtful, helpful affectionate and loving. He just has these demons. A true Jekall and Hyde - it really is all down to the alcohol. He's very calm when he's not drinking - unfortunately he bottles things up and I bear the brunt of it when he's had a few.

My Dad actually left my mum for another woman. Best thing he ever did for us all - he was a real tyrant. I certainly don't blame myself, but I do see how the pattern had repeated itself. I almost can't believe I allowed myself to do it - I always promised myself I wouldn't end up in the same situation as my mum. I know it's make or break this time - I can't allow my girls to follow the same pattern.

lou33 Tue 14-Jul-09 20:54:50

i am sure when sober he will agree with you, but it doesnt sound like he wants to do anything about it in reality

believe me i had 17.5 yrs of it, going round and round in circles before i realised nothing would ever change, and there really was no reasoning with an alcoholic in denial

mummytowillow Tue 14-Jul-09 21:19:07


I work with alcohol and drug users and to be honest with you he doesn't sound as if he is ready to stop?

He can get better though, only if he completely abstains for alcohol and seeks professional help? Maybe an alcohol counsellor or AA meetings, which encourage you to remain abstinent.

It has to come from him and only him, I know it must be very painful for you to have to go through this and all you can do is try to support him, but he has to do the work. If you look in your area for the Drug Intervention Programme there is one that covers most areas in the UK, they can help or refer him on if needs be.

Good luck

Pushingonthrough Wed 15-Jul-09 16:04:41

I do that, thank you very much MTW. Our local services have been crap so far, so maybe he'll have more luck with the DIP.

He is having councelling but it's not alcohol specific, therefore not ideal.

I've contacted my local AlAnon and hopefully I'll find some support there too. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and advice. I'll keep you posted.

MIFLAW Wed 15-Jul-09 16:33:22

I am a (male) recovering alcoholic myself.

PLEASE get away from this man, and stay away, until he:

1) accepts he has a problem AND
2) stops drinking AND
3) seeks ongoing help with living his life drink-free.

Apologies, pledges, good intentions are all great - but until he ticks all three boxes, keep him at arm's length, for everyone's sake.

For me, (3) was AA and I have yet to find anything else which I imagine working for me, but all power to him if he does - the point being, though, that whatever he chooses, stopping drinking is the beginning, not the end. All the problems he drinks to "deal with" will still be there, unanaesthetised, when he stops.

On the plus side, I can confirm that my life is now fantastic as a non-drinker and, although not drinking is not something I am complacent about, it is NOT, as someone cautions above, a "challenge." My life is SO much easier and more pleasant these days!

Pushingonthrough Thu 16-Jul-09 17:30:57

Thank you all - you've given me much to think about. I know so much of what you say is true. I have a councelling session tonight which I've been looking forward to - and an alanon meeting the wednesday we get back from holiday.

MIFLAW Thu 16-Jul-09 23:27:02

Pushing - if your husband does decide that he wants to sort this out, or even just to discuss this issue, feel free to put him in touch with me if he thinks it will help.

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