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Is My DH an alcoholic, or am i horrible control freak???

(22 Posts)
oliandjoesmum Tue 10-Nov-09 21:55:52

DH has always liked a drink, but recently he seems drunk when we haven't had a drink IYKWIM. He is starting to be extremely unreasonable and argumentative. There have been a few occasions when I have found empty wine bottles left in the fridge, and also wine that has been watered down to make it look like there is some left. When confronted about this in a 'joky' way when I offered a friend a glass of the water wine one Friday he went utterly loopy. This evening he seemed really wired, and dissapeared off to the pub for a 'first' drink. I had a nose around and found a cocktail shaker full of bacardi, obv there secretly. In the past I have found hidden bottles of finished spirits in the garage. It is beginning to get me down, he is so moody and tempremental. However, I have to admit I do love a drink, but only drink Fri and Sat, and never when in charge of DC. Am I just being a harridan old control freak, or is this something to worry about. I have 3 little boys, and already hate the way his smoking may impact them, now worried about the drinking too, partic as DS1 has aspergers and v impressionable.

SilverSixpence Tue 10-Nov-09 21:59:02

I think this is very worrying, he needs to get some help and to confront this. sorry for you sad

MakemineaGandT Tue 10-Nov-09 21:59:24

hmmm.......I'd say his hiding of alcohol is seriously worrying. I'd ask him to discuss this properly with you

SerendipitousHarlot Tue 10-Nov-09 22:21:31

Oh I am sorry for you sad

I do think he has an issue with alcohol, tbh. Can you try to talk to him about it, when you're sure he's not been drinking?

motherlovebone Tue 10-Nov-09 23:13:53

I would contact Al Anon for some guidance.

He obviously has a problem, and they can guide you through it / advise.

Good luck.

ginnny Wed 11-Nov-09 09:48:26

Hiding alcohol is serious imo as there is no way you can know how much he is drinking. The fact that he is appearing drunk when you haven't seen him drink anything means that he is drinking a lot of booze on the quiet.
Thing is that you can't stop him doing it, he's hiding it because deep down he knows it is wrong BUT until he is ready to face up to this himself there is absolutely nothing you can do.
Put yourself and your dc first - make sure he isn't left in charge of them (or god forbid allowed to drive them anywhere) and have a think about what you want to do.
Contact AlAnon - they are really helpful.

SueMunch Wed 11-Nov-09 11:15:51

I'd pick a quiet time when he hasn't been drinking. Try not to be too accusatory.

It is important to allow him to be open. From experience I think men often turn to drink because of the pressures of fatherhood, but also because it represents a real change in their social life.

You will probably get a lot of responses on here saying that he is an alcoholic. This is a complex issue.

But you may get somewhere if you can talk about why he is drinking so much and why he feels the need to hide it. It could be that a change your lifestyle may help - ie allowing each other freedom to go out for a drink as long as it is talked about.

I'm not condonig his actions but I think there may be an easier way for him to tackle this that you accusing him of being an alcoholic.

autumnlight Wed 11-Nov-09 12:35:43

Being an alcoholic is not just about how much someone drinks,it is whether it is having a negative effect on the person drinking and on the relationships around them and causing problems - eg at home.

NanaNina Wed 11-Nov-09 16:57:23

I think that talking about whether someone is an "alcoholic" or not is not particularly helpful. If a behaviour becomes excessive and secretive (be it over drinking/eating/smoking whatever)then that in itself is not healthy (emotionally or physically) and if it is a problem for a partner (as in this case) then it IS a problem and needs to be addressed really.

I would imagine that your H is feeling very guilty about his excessive drinking as he is being secretive. When people are guilty they often cover that feeling with anger, and this becomes difficult because then rational discussion goes out of the window.

There are usually reasons for behaviour that becomes excessive/unhealthy and it may be that you need to try to find out what is behind this excessive secretive drinking. However in order to do that you will need to be able to engage H in a rational discussion, so not sure if he will be capable/willing to do this.

FWIW I don't think you are being a control freak or anything similar, but I think you have reasonable cause for concern. You mention bringing this up with your H in a "jokey" way - are you not able to be frank and assertive with him. You say he is moody and temperamental and this could be because of his drinking or the causes of it, or more likely both if you see what I mean.

Others are talking of AL Anon and I don't have any experience of this organisation but others speak very highly of it. I think however that firstly you need to discuss your concerns with your H in a calm and rational manner and see where you get.

Do you feel emtionally strong enough to ope with raising this issue with your H at this point in time?

wasashamed Wed 11-Nov-09 16:58:58

I have name changed for this.

I am ashamed to say that I used to behave very like your husband.

My poor, deceived, bewildered partner did not know what was going on. I would hide drink in places where it would not be obvious. I'd fill empty bottles with water and put them back in the rack until the next time I could replace them (only works with screw-tops!).

I'd drink red wine out of a mug so that it looked like fruit tea. I'd have several sneaky drinks before going out so that I only drank at the same pace as others.

I think I was more deceitful than your husband because my partner only once found an empty bottle, and never found out about my other tricks.

I am ashamed, not because of my drinking, but because of the impact and consequences on my partner. He did not understand why sometimes I was so tired and had to go to bed early. He was confused as to how I got so drunk on 2 glasses of wine at my friend's party.

Based on my own personal experience, I would say that your husband probably has a drink problem. But what to do about it? I don't know.

If I had been found out and confronted at the time, I think I would have felt angry, resentful, and would have become more sly and deceitful.

I only sorted it out when I was ready to confront my problem.

So sorry this is happening to you.

SerendipitousHarlot Wed 11-Nov-09 17:03:09

Very honest post wasashamed

Good on ya!

llareggub Wed 11-Nov-09 17:09:52

My DH was like this but luckily he admitted he had a problem and took himself off to AA. He's been sober now for nearly 3 years.

Look, you can't DO anything to make him stop. I tried everything: nagging, cajoling, threatening, all sorts. It'll only happen when he sees that there is a problem. It is isn't a cliche that things have to reach rock bottom, either.

I agree that it isn't particularly helpful to use labels, but it is certainly clear to me that your DH has a problem with alcohol dependency. It is also causing problems in his relationship with you. The AA advocates total abstinence from alcohol: other programmes advocate learning how to drink moderately. I personally believe that someone who drinks like your DH and my DH cannot learn this.

Just a note of caution. If your DH does admit that he has a problem and wants to stop, get him to seek medical advice first. It can be very dangerous to just stop. Fatal even. He'll need a withdrawal programme.

Good luck. There's a thread somewhere on here for the partners of addict, and I'm happy to chat if you want, having been where you are now.

SueMunch Wed 11-Nov-09 17:25:00

wasashamed Very honest post. I was wondering, did you manage to overcome your problem and how did you go about it?

It could be useful for the OP to know there is a hope for change in her DH

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 11-Nov-09 17:34:52

In your situation I would be very worried indeed and you must seek support for your own self. Al-anon are well worth contacting in your position.

You are NOT responsible for him, you must realise that. His drink problem is not yours to own. Sometimes such behaviour is learnt behaviour, sometimes alcoholics themselves come from families of heavy drinkers. You are only responsible for yourself and your three boys.

Do not drink alcohol with him any longer if you are doing so. This is enabling behaviour. You must let him fully take the consequences of his actions and not cover up for him. How many times have you covered up for him?. How many of your real life circle know of his drinking problem?. Not many I daresay. The perceived shame and embarrassment on your part also play their roles here. You're also on the merry go around as he is - you also play a role in the problem of alcoholism. You all do and everyone around him is affected.

Talking with a person with an alcohol dependency problem can cause more problems. He will find any excuse to drink. They often underestimate how much they are actually drinking and are often in denial they have a drink problem in the first place. You will not get a favourable response at all if you tackle him on this subject. I am very concerned that he is hiding alcohol too; this is a bad sign.

If this man is an alcoholic then he will not be able to drink at all. He has to want to seek help for his own self, you cannot make him seek help if he does not want it.

The 3c's re alcoholism:-

You did NOT cause it
You CANNOT control it
You CANNOT cure it

There are no guarantees here; he could lose everything and still continue drinking. Again though you are not responsible for him.

It is your choice ultimately; you cannot save and or rescue him here but you can save your own selves. Growing up in a household where one parent has a drink problem is no fun at all for the children involved and brings them their own set of issues. Think very carefully about what you want to do, you have a choice re him, your children do not.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 11-Nov-09 17:38:46


Re your comment:-

"I only sorted it out when I was ready to confront my problem"

That is extremely telling and emphasises the point that people with alcohol dependency issues will only accept help when they are themselves ready to confront the problem.

I congratulate you for properly tackling the issues head on. Not everyone in these situations does so.

wasashamed Wed 11-Nov-09 18:09:12

suemunch have I overcome my problem? Well I know I have a problem, and I acknowledge it. So that's a good start.

I am mostly in control of my life. So that is good too.

I tried many things. I read Allen Carr's book Easy Way to Control Alcohol (several times). I went to some AA meetings (not really for me, but I would go again if I got into troublesome habits again). I used a couple of online alcohol dependency forums (I liked those, but about 10x more argumentative than Mumsnet). I used hypnotherapy (helped a lot). I tried EFT (hated it). I spoke with a counsellor.

Now I drink occasionally. e.g. recently I went to friend's house for Sunday lunch and I had a glass of Bucks Fizz, but declined a second glass. We don't keep wine in the house, but occasionally will have some if my dp buys a bottle. We do have several bottles of whiskey in the house (dp's tipple), but I don't drink that.

Maybe once a year, or so, I will buy alcohol and drink it.

So cured no, but in control for the time being.

I think that I am responsible for controlling my drinking, and I have identified ways in which my dp can help me. I usually drive if we are going out in the evening. Once I had started getting help and was not drunk every day, I felt able to enlist dp's help. I told him I thought I was drinking too much and that I though we should have less wine in the house. He was fine with that. I have never disclosed to him the extent of my problem, or the level at which I used to drink.

I do not recommend what I do and I know that there are some who would say that total abstinence is the only way.

HerBeatitude Wed 11-Nov-09 18:32:18

I disagree with people who say that labels aren't helpful, they are, they're a useful shorthand.

Your DH is an alcoholic. He can stagger on like this for years but it usually gets worse, not better, if the alcoholic doesn't face up to it. What you do about it is up to you. I agree with Attila's post.

oliandjoesmum Wed 11-Nov-09 19:42:13

Thanks so much for all of your replies, apologies for using the term alcoholic, it is rather emotive, should have said problem. The thing is, it is affecting us, all the things you said below - why can he be drunk on 2 glasses of wine, falling asleep at 9, being abusive and irrational are all happening. PLUS, he is def drink driving, and I can't guarentee without the children in the car because he is so secretive. Great tip about having a sort of 'designated' night out might take away the secrecy,and therefore the resentment.Don't know, maybe worth a try.
I feel really sad for my children, maybe I am not giving them a chance even to see what a normal life is because I am so used to this now I almost feel like it is normal IYKWIM. Thanks again

HerBeatitude Wed 11-Nov-09 22:03:56

IMO "drink problem" is just a polite way of saying alcoholic. It's like "he likes a drink" - it means "he has a drink problem". "He has a drink problem" means "he's an alcoholic".

However, don't take my word for it. Al Anon have a helpline where you can phone and describe your DH's drinking behaviour and they will tell you if he just has a "drink problem" or if it's nothing to worry about or if the strategy of being open about it is a good one (I predict it's not, because alcoholics can't be open about their drinking and you sound like you are in denial about it so this won't work because when he's not open with you, you will close your eyes to it). Please phone al-anon, they can help you see where you are and how to deal with it and unlike lots of here on t'interweb, they are experts on this, so you can trust them. Here's the link:

MIFLAW Wed 11-Nov-09 23:06:17

I'm an alcoholic and it sounds like your husband is too.

I did the water trick once or twice too - on one occasion so that I could then pour it away for my mother's benefit!

AA helped me - perhaps it can help him?

BTW, you don't sound like a control freak, but problem drinkers, when confronted, can get very manipulative, so it is in your interests not to do anything that can even be perceived as controlling.

For this reason, I would leave mentioning the smoking well alone for the time being or else he has an "out" - all you want to do is remove his pleasures, if it's not drinking, it's smoking, it's his money, what exactly IS he allowed to do to have a good time, etc etc - you have probably already had very similar "discussions" ...

Good luck. Happy to talk more, to you or him, if it can help.

PS I am male, PPS I was a daily drinker (and 40-a-day smoker, though that's by the by) and PPPS I have not had a drink, one day at a time, for nearly 7 years.

Portofino Wed 11-Nov-09 23:19:20

My dad is currently in the hospital. To date has had 6 l of fluid pumped from his belly. Ascites due to alcoholism, as some dr kindly informed me on mn.

A year ago he was a company director. A successful businessman. His life is fucked. All through alcohol. My dad is a good bloke, though drink turned him into a monster.

MIFLAW Thu 12-Nov-09 00:40:54

Very sorry to hear that, Porto.

Alcoholism is a horrible, horrible illness.

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