Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Alcoholic DP just came back from his first AA meeting...

(61 Posts)
disappointeddrinker Sun 11-Oct-09 14:48:57

.... But was a disaster. He was upset, and said he will not go back.

He said there was about 15 people but they were all much older than him (26). Once he calmed down he said it was uncomfortable because they all had very serious drinking problems and he felt he could not relate to them. He said some men had no teeth etc and all seemed from a very low SE background.

I don't want to come across judgey because I certainly am not, but I can understand not wanting to sit in that environment either. I think mainly it's because they were all a lot older than him - and their drinking had obviously going on a lot longer / seemed more serious (debilitating).

I guess it's hard enough going to begin with but he is also very shy and said he couldn't imagine feeling comfortable speaking in front of that particular group.

The meeting he went to was in our local hospital's mental health unit - I thought perhaps one in a school / hall might be better / less used by 'serious' drinkers. And maybe there might be some younger people there?

Gosh - reading back this I feel it sounds as if I / he thinks he is better than all these people - but I really do think he has a point about the circumstances.

Can anyone here understand what I mean? Or offer any suggestions?

What other options are there?

I feel so confused and sad I was excited as this was a new start but it's over before it began.

hercules1 Sun 11-Oct-09 14:50:15

What about ringing the organisers and explaining how he felt. Surely they can suggest a more appropriate group.

disappointeddrinker Sun 11-Oct-09 14:53:01

That's a good idea - thank you.

I don't want to come across ungrateful / ignorant because I know it's a great free service and I should be pleased it is there at all...

I was just feeling so hopeful and now it's such an anti-climax sad

carriedababi Sun 11-Oct-09 14:55:59

perhaps hes had an insight into what he will face if he doesn't change his ways?
and its harder to bury his head in the sandsad

diddl Sun 11-Oct-09 14:59:38

You´re not coming across as ungrateful, but your partner is.

If my husband said this I´d feel like slapping him & telling him he is like the others-an alcoholic.

It sounds as if he´s making excuses.

If he wants to quit badly enough, wouldn´t he put up with it?

disappointeddrinker Sun 11-Oct-09 15:05:54

I'm not sure. I guess he was hoping he may be able to relate to the others there - and he didn't feel he could.

I don't think he denies causing difficulties through drinking - nor that he WOULD end up in the same circumstances if he didn't address it now.

But it was just too unpleasant / not comparable to his current situation....

I guess my question is; do younger people use AA also? These men were all in their 50s/60s

RubysReturn Sun 11-Oct-09 15:15:33

I wonder if your DH felt so uncomfortable becuase these men were quite possibly just like him when they were 26? Must have been very scary.

Maybe he would feel more comfortbale with another group, but I did not think AA was about 'comfortable'.

I guess he does need to connect at some level, but I don't imagine anyone feels good at first meeting.

diddl Sun 11-Oct-09 15:24:33

It´s not about being comfortable or even making friends, is it?

It´s about sorting out a problem.

bodycolder Sun 11-Oct-09 15:26:36

There is no text book alcoholic and AA is a great leveller.he is just like them but younger.My dp gave up drinking with the help of AA about 18 yrs ago.It is daunting at first but if he really wants sobriety he'll stick it out.26 is a difficult age to give up but also great as he still has his whole life ahead.Forget judging the other clients and just get on with it!

nellie12 Sun 11-Oct-09 15:32:09

I o think he has had a shock and could well come back from any meeting and claim that he wasn't like them. But they are experiencing the same physical addiction that he is even if the circumstances are different. Often alcoholics start off by not being of a low se class but the alcoholism then robs them of everything that they had.

However if he is really adamant that this is not for him and I can understand the age gap issue then what about this

swampthing Sun 11-Oct-09 15:33:46

No he doesn't have a point.

If he doesn't stop and listen to them he will end up just like them or else he will end up dead in his thirties or forties surrounded by his own bloody vomit and bottles of piss.

mamalovesmojitos Sun 11-Oct-09 15:39:39

xp is also an alcoholic. i disagree with posts that suggest op's partner is simply ungrateful - xp spoke a lot of how he couln't relate to others at his meetings because of their ages and background. he did not think that others were 'worse' alcoholics, just that they had little in common.

he attended NA a few times and found the average age much younger, and this for him was a positive.

when you are facing something that big, in your twenties, it is only natural to want to surround yourself with those who understand you. xp was not under the illusion that he would never end up like those in their forties, fifities, sixties, but longed to share his journey with somebody closer in age to him.

people who understand the pressure somebody that age will feel when they first stop drinking. most of xps friends were big party animals and suspicions were aroused immediately when he turned down a drink. in addition there was a lot of peer pressure from his friends to continue drinking 'you're too young to be an alcoholic, etc'.

i will say that xp stuck with it and has completed over a year of sobriety. while i understand your dp's feelings i don't think he should use it as an excuse to give up sobriety.

its difficult but it can be done - you sound so supportive and i wish you both luck.

ADifferentMe Sun 11-Oct-09 16:23:25

I agree with Mama - I accidentally sat in at the beginning of an AA meeting thinking it was AlAnon.

Whilst my DH has an alcohol problem, he is in nowhere near the physical state of most of the people in that room (although he is much older) and I know he would have felt the same. I don't think he would have been comfortable enough to be at ease. Surely the priority has to be getting him some help so do ring round (if he won't) and try to find a group with more young people.

Have you been to AlAnon? I'd recommend it.

Best of luck

cousinsandra Sun 11-Oct-09 16:29:28

You and he are not ungrateful - Dh and I went through this exact thing about 2 years ago. DH went to his first AA meeting and found the same thing - lots of older, hardened drinkers who he really could not relate to. I know that this represents the spectrum and possible outcome for drinkers, but unfortunately it scared DH off and he would not go again. It just helped him convince himself that he was not like that and did not have the same sort of problem. If your DP is willing to give it another go, try other meetintgs - evening ones will have more 'professional' people who work in the day, etc. I know this sounds judgey, but it's a massive step for them to get there in the first place without feeling alienated. AA themselves recommend 'shopping around' until you find one you're comfortable. It's fantastic that he's taken the step to go and I really hope for you and him that he can find a suitable meeting. Good luck,

RainRainGoAway Sun 11-Oct-09 16:35:50

Your DP is very brave to approach AA in the first place.

I can understand why this is so difficult with a group which is not 'him'.

I went to an Al-anon group for help with my DM (a functioning alcoholic). Most people had problems which were off the scale and were so different in circumstances that it was bewildering. I found it of no help.

After all, you can understand that a middle age woman with anorexia would not want to be in a clinic with teenage anorexics? or vice versa?

Although alcoholics are similar in many ways, surely it is also about context for helping?

I hope you can find a group that fits his needs.

diddl Sun 11-Oct-09 16:54:05

I agree with finding another group,if possible.

If not, he´s going to have to put upwith the group he´s found.

OP, you know him and if he´s likely to be trying to just get out going.

DarrellRivers Sun 11-Oct-09 17:00:27

Alcohol is alcohol
An alcoholic is an alcoholic
My brother said the same thing about AA, and he was never able to attend as he felt awkward attending.
It was yet another excuse not to attend, and he was kidding himself.
Alcohol is a cruel master and this is one of the many ways in which your brain thinks of to avoid facing the brutal truth.
My DB died 2 years ago, drinking binge related. Only your DH can do this, I second the Alanon suggestion

bodycolder Sun 11-Oct-09 17:10:52

If he gives it a chance he will eventually hear something that will ignite his recovery.Out of the mouth of one of these men will come something that your dh recognises as his own strange alcoholic behaviour that he has never been able to get across to a 'normal' drinker.Then he won't care if the speaker is 15 or 50 he will feel in the right place. My db is a recovering addict and didn't do NA as he said he had nothing in common with them but he is still in a terrible place and although doesn't take drugs he is emotionally no further down the road than 10 yrs ago

Snorbs Sun 11-Oct-09 17:43:10

I think he could get a lot out of that meeting as alcoholism is alcoholism but if he's adamant that it's not for him then let it go. There are lots more AA meetings out there and he may find one that suits him better. Or he may decide that AA isn't for him at all. Turning Point is a very good resource for finding help with alcohol issues that don't necessarily include AA. Your GP would also be another excellent starting point.

The important thing for you to remember, however, is that this is not your battle to fight. Your battle is to find ways to minimise how much his alcohol problems affect your life. I'm not talking about you leaving him, more that how he decides to tackle his alcohol abuse - or whether he decides to tackle it at all - is his choice to make. If he's committed to dealing with his alcohol abuse then he will be leading the way in finding different AA meetings and/or different sources of help that suit him best. If he's fully not committed to dealing with it, then whatever help he (or you) finds, he'll come up with some reason why it isn't good enough or appropriate for him.

One final thing - an alcoholic who's going to AA but still drinking is just an active alcoholic. An alcoholic who's talking about seeing the doctor while still drinking is, again, just an active alcoholic. I'd suggest you pay a lot less attention to what he says he's going to do, and pay a lot more to what he is actually doing.

skihorse Sun 11-Oct-09 17:50:30

Your husband is being a PITA and is in complete denial. Those toothless old men who've pissed their lives away would once have been 26 year old men with dreams and aspirations... as one of the other people suggested, perhaps it's been a shock. If he doesn't go to these meetings now, that will be his future.

It sounds as though you're bending over backwards - are you getting support yourself?

skihorse Sun 11-Oct-09 17:51:50

Oh and for the record, I think the last thing he needs to do is "connect" and get "matey". It's not uncommon for AA mates to go for a drink after the meeting... No, for real! shock

llaregguBOO Sun 11-Oct-09 17:57:04

I haven't got time to read the other posts as my children are climbing all over me, but wanted to post quickly.

My DH is in AA and has been sober for nearly 3 years. To me, it sounds like he is looking for excuses not to attend AA. However, if we cast aside our cynicism for a moment, it could just be that he needs a different group. My DH tried a few different groups before he found one that suited him, and now he has a few groups that he finds helpful now. He does move around quite a bit and whenever we go on holidays he tries a different group.

DH has asked me to share with you that some of those older men will be useful for your DP as what he may become if he carries on drinking.

My DH is 33 so a bit older but he is willing to take him to a meeting if you live close to us. I'll come back later to this thread if you want to chat. I never went to Al Anon but others have found it helpful. I've read a bit of AA literature because I wanted to understand more.

DarrellRivers Sun 11-Oct-09 17:58:54

llaregg-what a great offer from your DH, it is a lonely world out there amongst normal drinkers

llaregguBOO Sun 11-Oct-09 18:00:25

Skihorse, I think the best thing he can do is get "matey" when the AA crowd. My DH has found the AA to be a lifesaver and he has friends from all walks of life. They help each other out and regularly call on each other if they haven't been seen around the meetings for a while.

They do go for "drinks" after the meeting but this consists of watery tea in draughty church halls!

The support of each member is crucial to recovery and the stories that are shared are a vital component in continuous recovery. Now that my DH is a bit further in he finds strength is meeting new members who are still drinking as it serves to remind him what he stands to lose and how far he has come.

skihorse Sun 11-Oct-09 18:01:46

llareggu I'm so happy to hear your husband is doing so well.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now