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what is an alcoholic?

(16 Posts)
Mytwopenceworth Thu 21-Jul-05 18:35:41

i am not slagging off dh at all, hes a wonderful man! but i really think he's got a drink problem. he however, gets defensive if i try to discuss it. he says he is not because he doesnt drink every day, doesnt get up in the morning and brush his teeth with gin (ok im joking on that, but its to ilustrate his thinking)

but the thing is, he CANNOT go out and have A pint. when he has a drink, he drinks until he is insensible or the pubs and clubs have all closed or he has run out of money. he says he's going for a quick pint, promises to be back by, say, 8 then phones me at 8 to say hes still in the pub and will be back at 9, at 9 he phones to say hes still in the pub then he will roll in after 2am! i few times i have tried saying, finish this pint and come straight home - can you do that? he says yes, but doesnt come home, rolls in 2am!

he even goes to clubs and sits among teenagers cos the teenybopper clubs are open the latest - a 41 yr old man - he must look a prat! (or else they think hes a pervert trying to pull a teenager!!)

now, i dont care if he wants to go for a drink, but he spends over a third of our total weekly income (at least) on beer, if we had more money, that wouldnt be a problem - although i suspect the more we had the more he would spend!
the point is he says things like he NEEDS a drink. he admits he cant stop once hes started but doesnt see this as alcoholism cos he doesnt drink every day, doesnt get the dts etc!
when we cant take the kids out cos hes spent our last £20 down the pub - surely he has a problem?

so, does an alcoholic HAVE to drink all day every day? or can you be an alcoholic if you cant stop once youve started and you break promises about coming home cos you cant leave the pub till they throw you out?

and the biggie, how to help him? he cut out alcohol a couple of years ago, didnt drink for 6 months and now when i raise the issue of his drinking, he says but i didnt drink at all for 6 months and it wasnt a problem etc etc

am i being unreasonable or does this sound like someone with a problem? when we talk, he ties me up in knots and i never 'win' an argument with him - is there ANYTHING i can say that will get thru to him? (i left AA leaflets lying around and Al-anon card in my purse for him to 'find' and had no comment from him on either!)

hercules Thu 21-Jul-05 18:38:04

From someone living with an alcoholic, sorry but he sounds like one. Different alcoholics have different drinking patterns and my bil can go several days without a drink and often only drinks 2 cans a day.

I would advise speaking to al-anon. They are great and also run meetings for families without the actual alcoholic there.

aloha Thu 21-Jul-05 18:40:42

He sounds like an alcoholic to me. You are addicted if you can't stop drinking once you start, and your drinking is causing you practical and emotional problems. All that sounds true of your dh. His six months off the drink is what addiction counsellors call a period of being a 'dry drunk' - ie he is just as addicted despite not drinking. Was he irritable and angry while not drinking? That's typical. Alcoholics do not have to drink during the day nor do they have to drink in the morning.
can you show him some websites - would he look at those? trouble is, unless he recognises that there is a problem, he won't want to change.

WigWamBam Thu 21-Jul-05 18:50:38

There's a ticklist here which he can have a look at, where he can perhaps see that he does have a problem with alcohol. It's not necessarily a case of him being an alcoholic, but if the booze is causing problems within your relationship, or if he is having problems controlling the amount he drinks, then he has an alcohol problem.

Caligula Thu 21-Jul-05 18:53:59

Yep, he's an alcoholic. No doubt whatsoever.

Call al-anon - they'll give you some advice. They have a website with their advice line number. Will find the link for you.

serenity Thu 21-Jul-05 18:55:15

Both my dad and my FIL were what I would class as alcoholics, and no, neither of them were drinking all day everyday.

My FIL held down a job, and most people not close to him would never realise he had a problem at all. When he came home he would start drinking, if someone opened a bottle of whiskey he would have to finish it. Having just one drink was impossible.

My Dad drank everyday, but because it was at lunch and after work and therefor social, he never saw it as a problem. He had to do it though, if he missed a session his mood would really change. Every couple of months he would go on a bender and disappear for a day or two. We'd get a call from a police station/friend/cab company asking for my mum to collect him. He'd be insensible, and would have often soiled himself

Neither my Dad or my FIL would have said they had a drinking problem, and until they realised that they did there is nothing anyone could do to help them. Your Dh does sound like he has a problem to me, but I think you need to stop telling him that. All it will accomplish is to make him defensive. I'm sorry, but there's nothing you can do until he realises he needs help. AlAnon has a section for relatives of alcoholics, they are a good shoulder to lean on.

This post is very down, I do apologise!

Caligula Thu 21-Jul-05 18:55:55

here it is.

Mytwopenceworth Thu 21-Jul-05 18:57:26

thanks guys! when hes stressed he needs a drink, when something has gone wrong he needs a drink etc etc! he doesnt get angry when hes not drinking (in fact, he NEVER gets angry about anything!!), its like he gets restless though and then he'll come up with a reason why he has to go out! thats as well as the days when he just flat out says im off to the pub!

but i dont know, its the fact that he is incapable of coming out of the pub after one pint that makes me worry. he also cant sit in a pub and have a coke, he is incapable of turning down alcohol if someone offers it to him. i think he is, but i cant seem to get thru to him at all.

Mytwopenceworth Thu 21-Jul-05 18:58:53

meant to add - its not causing problems in our relationship, other than im worried about him and i wish we had more money!

Caligula Thu 21-Jul-05 19:00:38

If you're worried about him, isn't that a problem?

Tortington Thu 21-Jul-05 19:02:02

i think the definition of an alchoholic is when its problem to the people around them

Mytwopenceworth Thu 21-Jul-05 19:04:03

i dont know. i think of all the terrible things people post about - real relationship problems, in crisis, on the verge of splitting up, abuse and i think we're happy together, we love each other. i dont have the right to claim a relationship problem when i read what some people are going thru. more like a health problem and a financial problem.

Caligula Thu 21-Jul-05 19:07:53

Useful definitions I've heard:

1. Someone who regularly prioritises drinking alcohol over other things in their life

2. Someone whose drinking causes them problems with either their finances, relationships or work.

3. Someone who cannot control their drinking.

Does your DH fit into any of those? If you call al-anon and talk to them, they'll tell you if he's an alcoholic or not.

Mytwopenceworth Thu 21-Jul-05 19:16:48

caligula - yes to all three! will phone al anon i think, but you guys are right i know, keep saying it to him isnt helping, i have to find another way to help him. i am opening another bank account in my name only to keep the money for bills and food and stuff and he has our old joint account for his fuel and whatever (booze i bet!!!) to ensure we dont miss the rent cos he's spent it down the pub! weve always shared all money and never accounted for it, i feel like i am treating him like a child giving him pocket money. i wouldnt do this if our finances werent in such a bad way. do you think im out of order for taking the money away?

hercules Thu 21-Jul-05 19:23:52

Mytwopenceworth - alcoholism is a truly horrible thing for the alcoholic and the people around them. You cannot help them and even if you told him a hundred times a day he had a problem it would make no difference.
He will always found an excuse to drink no matter what and will be able to justify it to himself.
We were told that the only way an alcohilic will be able to recover is to admit it to themselves and seek help. This however will probably not be the end of it. He might have to go through this lots of times and hit lots of lows. Even then there are no guarantees.

I would serioulsy think about what you want for yourself and your kids long term. You cant change him no matter how much you love him and he loves you.
We were told to give bil no money whatsoever and to tell him to leave our house. We were told to tell him we love him but cannot help him until he has helped himself.
(He moved out for a while but has come back for a few days.)

The purpose of alanon is not to help you cure him or to helo him in any way. It is to support you, not to support you helping him.

Mytwopenceworth Thu 21-Jul-05 19:28:32

thank you. bit of an old bugger of a situation, really. going to log off now and have a think about all ive read here. dh was on his way home 2 hours ago (13 whole miles!) so i bet i can guess where he is!

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