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I think my husband's an alcoholic. What do I do?

(38 Posts)
churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 09:36:26

That's it.

He drinks about 2 bottles of wine on a Friday plus two bottles on a Saturday. Sometimes spirits too.

It's not so much how much he drinks but how he drinks. It's often alone after I've gone to bed. I can't remember him going a weekend without drinking.

He's started smoking again too.

My main worry is he insists on driving the next day and refuses to acknowledge how much he drinks.

If I talk to him about it he gets very angry and defensive.

What do I do?

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 09:44:46

You can’t change him or his attitude; you can only set your own boundaries. It’s making you unhappy. So tell him that you don’t want to live like this. You don’t want to live with someone who drinks like this. It’s up to him then if he chooses to drink or to live with you.
Sounds harsh but I got there after years of doing the wrong thing with my partner. I used to think I could help / to cure him etc etc. None of that is possible, it has to come from him.
Al-anon could be very helpful to you. You need support. Have you shared your concerns with your friends and family? I think it’s really good to share your concerns with trusted people. Shame and secrecy feed alcoholism, and make you feel like it’s your shame. And of course it’s not. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.

churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 09:46:32

I've just told his Dad.

His Mum was exactly the same and died at 59.

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 09:46:50

So... if he won’t talk to you about it, then make sure you educate yourself about alcoholism. It was an eye opener to me to see how much my behaviour was enabling, and what I could do to change things

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 09:48:05

It’s so hard. I do sympathise. My ex was a massive drinker. Things only changed when I (after a long long time), said that’s it I can’t live like this any more and we split up.

SongforSal Sun 07-Oct-18 09:48:38

Bloody heck. If heavy drinking over the weekend is alcoholism, then I am to. Generally have a bottle of wine Friday with friends or dp. Same again Saturday night, and often on Sunday, a few stubby beers after putting food delivery away and whist cooking a roast.

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 09:50:50

Songforsak, do you drink two bottles of wine on your own, and are your loved ones worried about you and your consumption? I guess that’s the key. The secretive behaviour and refusing to talk about it is when drinking becomes problem drinking.

SongforSal Sun 07-Oct-18 09:51:14

Sorry, reread op, 2 bottles in one go would probs render me in hospital. Or very ill for a couple of days.

Wolfiefan Sun 07-Oct-18 09:52:47

He’s defensive and angry because he has a problem with alcohol. He’s drinking far too much and clearly has a problem.
You can’t stop him. Only he can choose to change.
Get some support for you. Al Anon? And decide what you will do. Obviously never get in the car with him after he’s drunk that amount the night before.

picklepost Sun 07-Oct-18 09:54:45

You told his mum? What are you hoping to achieve? To shame him into action?

I was happily surprised to see the first answer in this thread and think it's all you need to know; you can't change him and actually, whether he's technically alcoholic or not is not the point, the point is that you are unhappy about how much he drinks and you are the one who needs to make the change. Will you stick with him or will you leave? Because you cannot change him.

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 10:05:16

My point about telling family and friends was really sharing the strain and getting their support. Many of us with an alcoholic loved one often try and cover it up and that is stressful and ultimately not useful. I would have thought that sharing what is going on with the father is a good thing to do; he is likely to understand if his wife died young and was a heavy drinker. He will want to help and support.

churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 10:17:28

Please read my post properly.

I didn't tell his Mum. She is dead, largely due to her drinking.

I told his Dad. The reason I told his Dad is that he is going out with DH and DS1 today and I didn't want DH driving so asked FIL to come and pick him up.

picklepost Sun 07-Oct-18 10:20:28

Sorry for getting that wrong OP. You told his Dad.

I think I have read about forty thousand stories like you and I with to God people would wake up to the fact you can't change others.

But I wish you the best in your efforts!

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 10:25:54

I guess it takes all of us time to realise that just having a rational conversation about the dangers of drinking is not going to do it. With my ex we had many conversations about him stopping drinking. I stopped drinking myself to “help”. If he drank again I would be so upset and feel he’d let me down. When really I just had to leave it to him. And change my expectations (ie expect that he probably would as I couldn’t trust what he said). It is such a hard path OP- however al anon is a real help in terms of changing your own attitude. Also there is a good website called sober recovery - it has a forum for friends and family - very useful indeed

churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 10:45:52

So did you just have to leave Squeegle?

churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 10:54:07

He's under a lot of pressure at work but somehow he blames me for that, despite me also working and earning about the same as him.

He thinks I'm being unsupportive by challenging his drinking and smoking as he 'needs to' because of the pressure he's under.

What he needs is sleep.

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 11:17:58

In the end he left. It took a while for us to get to that stage. My ex also used to blame me for being unsupportive. There is a lot of twisted thinking that goes with heavy drinking. We had two small children, I realised in the end the environment was so damaging for them. He left, drank himself stupid for a few days, felt free , then realised there was no one there any more to care if he died, and then went back to AA and actually stopped. We are now split up but he is still sober and we have a (reasonably) supportive relationship.

Squeegle Sun 07-Oct-18 11:19:24

The thing that changed for me was when I realised that all I thought about was how to help him. Somewhere I had forgotten about who was helping me.

Temporaryanonymity Sun 07-Oct-18 11:28:51

I had an alcoholic DH. he is now an exDH. I spent ages prior to the split (and after tbf) trying to help and be supportive but frankly it was a waste of time. He wasn't going to change and you can't force someone.

I'm happily a single parent now and it's great. We have been on our own for years. The turning point came for me when I realised that I only hugged or kissed him to see if I could smell alcohol and he always avoided affection because he was always drinking.

vivariumvivariumsvivaria Sun 07-Oct-18 11:36:05

Familiar - am at a similar stage as you, OP.

Will find Al-anon.

Thanks for the prompt, things are out of hand here and its not good for the kids to see him drinking like that.

Apileofballyhoo Sun 07-Oct-18 11:40:26

You have to think about what you need, not what he needs. Take your focus off him and put it on yourself. He isn't your problem, he's his own problem. Arrange your life in a such a way that his behaviour affects you as little as possible. Withdraw emotionally. He's not drinking to hurt you, don't take it personally.

Model responsible adult behaviour - eat healthily, exercise, spend time with friends and family. Be honest with friends and family that you can't leave DC alone with him at night because he drinks too much to be responsible for them.

Don't waste your time trying to persuade him not to drink. Point out facts if you like. Say what you mean, but don't say it mean... e.g. you can't drive DC anywhere, you're not safe to do so. Stick to what you say.

Do your own thing.

Wolfiefan Sun 07-Oct-18 12:24:50

He doesn’t need to. He is choosing to. He has chosen to drink to excess so many time that he can’t stop. He’s seeking to justify this.
Everyone needs to find a way to manage stress. But drinking to excess is not a good solution.
Focus on what you need.

churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 12:35:43

You are right.

I'm working really hard on that. I'm having therapy at the moment for long term anxiety.

It is making me stronger but also making me call him out more for his behaviour.

Wolfiefan Sun 07-Oct-18 12:39:14

Calling him out won’t make him change though.

churchmouse84 Sun 07-Oct-18 12:46:07

No I know.

I need to concentrate on myself and the rest is up to him.

But not taking the kids in the car is a line i can't let him cross.

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