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Alcohol support

Stoptober - total farce that DH uses to justify drinking the rest of the year

19 replies

vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 01/10/2019 13:06

DH has gradually increased his level of drinking during the course of our 17 year marriage.

It is my belief that he is a functioning alcoholic. He's never missed a day's work, never appeared to have a hangover, never disgraced himself publicly. However, he's drinking at least 60 units of wine a week, usually 80. He drinks most days after work, usually a bottle, and he's recently discovered drinkly...

Now it's October he'll give up. Not have a single drop. He'll do it again in January. This is how he justifies his behaviour - that he can't possibly be dependent because he can give it up.

It's infectious, the drinking at home. I started having a glass or two most nights, certainly at the weekend which starts on a Thursday. I have stopped doing that, and I have stopped buying him alcohol, unless there is a family occasion that we are going to.

He drinks when he is in charge of the kids, who are all teenagers. He is a terrible example - never seemingly drunk, always polite, but, distant and always with his glass crutch in his hand. He has an office where he spends his time, and does things like not organise dinner "you can sort that, kids" which, they CAN, but, I don't think they should have to.

We don't share a bedroom, there have been many challenges in our marriage (I hate to do the MN default, but, I think he's on the aspergers spectrum, honestly) and we've been trying hard to restore closeness and build our relationship. To be fair to him, he's been making quite an effort on that score --after I threatened him with divorce over the neglect of me and the kids unrelated to alcohol, though, actually, probably symptomatic of it.

I think he drinks as self medication because his suspected aspergers makes dealing with family life really challenging. He's knackered after work, and so he uses drink to manage his mood and relax.

However, in the last year when we've tried to have sex he either doesn't orgasm and pretends that it's not an issue, he once faked it (badly, I might add). I didn't say anything, assumed he was stressed with work, getting older (mid 50s) and probably worried because our relationship has been rocky. However, this weekend he lost his erection, and I realised that has been going on for a while. I suspect he's becoming unwell from the drink.

I know I can't make him go to the GP. I know I can't make him stop. He knows perfectly well that he's drinking at harmful levels.

Am just posting to vent, really. He's going to leave me widowed, it's going to be gruesome and slow, and he's exactly the sort of person people will say "gosh, I'd never have thought THAT of him"

But, it's going to kill him. And, there is nothing I can do.

OP posts:
Coffeeandchocolate9 · 04/10/2019 21:54

I don't know what to say but didn't want to read and run.

He obviously does have an alcohol problem and is in denial. I wonder if an alcohol support charity would have some reading material or something?

Can you threaten him with something so he will go to GP?

Thisgirlcanrun · 27/10/2019 11:48

But, it's going to kill him. And, there is nothing I can do.

Wow that is exactly my thoughts about my own husband too sometimes
He too is currently functioning - drinking approx 30 units a night every night of week - possibly more (I believe he hides more bottles/buys more throughout evening)
He has been drinking heavily for the past 10 or so years - he is 33 and sometimes I honestly wonder if he will make it to 43

You are not alone x

HopeClearwater · 27/10/2019 22:37

My husband died as a result of his drinking. For many years he gave up drinking for one month of the year to prove to himself that he could. He made it look easy, but he always knew the alcohol was waiting there for him when the month was over.

At least you aren’t kidding yourself that you can do anything about it. There is indeed nothing you can do to stop him drinking. However, you can choose not to live with it, for yourself and your children.

RandomMess · 27/10/2019 22:44
vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 02/01/2020 10:19

I dropped off the topic, didn't see the replies, thank you for them.

It's now Dry January, which seems to start once all the alcohol in the house has been drunk, including the stuff he just doesn't like.

It takes time to leave, doesn't it? It takes time to realise he's drinking to excess, to recognise the extent of his neglect of the kids and me (and himself), to realise that there is no hope of change and now - to make the choice of putting up with it forever or leaving.

We have kids doing exams. I am self employed. We'd likely need to move area and leave him here. One of our kids is chronically sick and one is anxious.

Leaving creates a huge amount of admin and I am maxed out already.

So, I am sticking my head in the sand for a bit more. I'm planning a proper holiday with me and the kids in the summer. Not sure whether he is invited or not, am planning on not.

He really believes he doesn't have a problem with alcohol. It's genuinely pathetic. He's never going to seek help because he doesn't think he is abusing alcohol - so, the litre of baileys, 2.5l of port, bottle of gin, my really nice wine I'd been saving for Christmas and who knows how much beer must have evaporated?

Genuinely don't know how he manages to stay upright.

Anyway, am only posting for another vent. I'm sad and lonely and am looking forward to next Christmas being a simpler affair. Not sure what that will look like, but, it won't look like this.

OP posts:
vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 02/01/2020 10:24

To answer your questions,

yes, I've threatened him with GP. His profession has an alcohol support line, I've spoken with them, coffee. He won't follow it through. There's always a sudden important work issue preventing him from engaging.

How is your husband now, this girl? It's wearing, so wearing.

Hope, You make a really important point that giving up for a period of time knowing that the drink is waiting for you is not the same thing as going sober. Hope your husband was well cared for and I'm sorry for your loss.

Random thank you for the flowers. They are lasting beautifully.

OP posts:
Elieza · 02/01/2020 10:41

If alcoholics won’t seek help there is nothing you can do but leave. That may be a wake up call. But it gets you out of that environment. You’ve been supportive but there comes a time when you have to put yourself and your children first. He’s not going to change. In his head he’s fine because he can stop. We know he’s not but he refuses to see it. My ex was like that. His justification for continuing to drink was that alcoholics have cans lying around the house but he put his empties in the bin so he couldn’t be an alcoholic. I left after he became violent but I should have left before.

You and the children should think about your own needs and wants and start putting them first. He’s not going to change. I would leave rather than watch the slow decline. Perhaps that may be a wake up call. But I don’t honestly think it will. He needs to want to change.

Does he not really suffer going dry? Shakes, vomiting etc? That should be enough to tell him he has a problem. If he chooses to look. Likely he’ll close his eyes though. Sad.

vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 02/01/2020 10:57

You are, of course, right, Elieza.

It's weird, I never see him hungover at all. It's very hard to tell if he's drunk, he doesn't slur or get aggressive or stumble. He just isolates himself wth his music or x box, and gets very resentful if I try to engage with him.

When he's sober he's nice. Not perfect, but, not a total dickhead.

But, he's not sober enough.

OP posts:
DickAmbush · 02/01/2020 12:26

Drinking at those levels, I'm surprised he doesn't go into withdrawal, which can be deadly (it nearly killed me several times).

I hate to be a downer, but he may not be sober at all during his dry spells - he's very likely just extra careful to hide it, and stay at a maintenance level of intoxication. You've already said he doesn't act drunk when you KNOW he's been drinking, so chances are he's just keeping himself topped up to stave off the obvious symptoms of withdrawal.

Elieza · 02/01/2020 14:21

Does he drive a vehicle for work or just your car?
He’s probably constantly over the limit.

vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 03/01/2020 13:03

I'm surprised too, Dick. Seems not to - I don't see any shaking, he never misses or is late for work, seems to manage at work perfectly well. He's not had a drink (that I know of) for 2 days, so, I'm supposing if he was going to get the DTs it'd be showing now. Hope you are doing ok just now yourself.

He walks to work, Elieza. He's never drunk a drop if driving in the 18 years we've been together, I'm confident of that. Drunk in charge of an x box is the worst of it.

We had a long chat. I told him that I thought he should seek some help for cutting down/giving up. He denies that it is a problem, denies that he can't do without it, denies that it's impacting on family and accuses me of spoiling his relaxation time. If I wasn't jealous of him relaxing then there wouldn't be a problem.


I'm away with the kids all day on Saturday. There's a bottle of prosecco left in the cupboard. I could get rid of it, but I will leave it and see what he does. No way will it be there when I'm back. Unless he does a drinkly order.

Drinkly - there's a thing which should be against the law.

OP posts:
Elieza · 03/01/2020 15:03

I was thinking that if he drinks a lot at night OP, that it will be still in his system the following day if he drove to work. But at least he walks so that’s a relief.

Frenchw1fe · 03/01/2020 16:39

What do your children think of his drinking.
My dm is 84, her father was an alcoholic. It has affected her all her life and subsequently affected me and my siblings.
I once looked up adult child of an alcoholic and my dm ticked nearly every box.
My advice is do what's best for your dc.

vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 04/01/2020 10:59

They know he drinks too much, that it makes him lazy and selfish, that he'd rather sit and drink wine than do things with us. They know it makes me lecture him. They know he'll be dry this month and not next month. They know we have more glass recycling than the neighbours. That if there's booze in the house he'll drink it. That alcohol damages relationships, I guess.

He's not scary, they aren't neglected (because they have me), he doesn't shout at them or any of the stuff you'd scoop them out of the situation in order to protect them.

He's really just distracted and under involved with them.

I can see that is damaging, but, it's how my dad was with me. If he was a dad in the 70s or earlier, this wouldn't be a problem because society would have me down as a nag trying to spoil a hard working man's fun.

Which is what he says I am.

It's so subtle. We are that family which look fine from the outside and are barely functioning within. Suspect that is most families, but, then, I long since lost my objectivity.

OP posts:
vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 04/01/2020 10:59

I meant that my dad was under involved, he wasn't a drinker. Just selfish and indulged!

OP posts:
milliefiori · 04/01/2020 11:09

If he does Dry Jan and Stoptober, would he contemplate doing lent as well? That way he'd be dry for 100days of the year, at least or more (depending on how you count Lent.) During these times, canm you introduce soem marker rituals to relax at the end of the day, which might help psychologically disconnect the drink from that function. Maybe a short walk together for 10-15 mins, or sit on a garden swing together - something that demarcates home life from work life.

Mocktails are good for that psychological transition from work to home - V8 with tabasco, worcestershire sauce and celery or cloudy apple juice with ginger cordial, sparkling water and fresh mint. There are lots of good alcohol free beers too which taste satisfyingly of the real thing.

These might all be sticking plasters over real alcoholism but if he can stop twice a year that's a good start, and showing subtle interest, enthusiasm and support for these periods of the year might make it more likely he'll add another dry spell.

In your shoes, I'd also join Al-anon - the support group for family of alcoholics, which helps you not enable or take on the emotional weight of his decisions.

LackaDAISYcal · 04/01/2020 14:55

Just want to say that I am the wifey equivalent of your husband.
Everything you have said could have been written by my husband.
It has taken me years, but I have hit my bottom and am now on Day 4 of sobriety.
Not just dry January, dry forever.
Like your husband I have had several dry periods, but was gradually sucked back in and escalating.
It's tough for the observer and family. I totally get that, but alcoholism, unlike other forms of addiction is a tricky beast. In a society where not drinking alcohol is seen as the exception rather than the norm, it is even harder to accept that your actions, your drinking are abnormal.
Not trying to defend him in anyway though. My own actions recently have been indefensible due to my dependence on alcohol.
But, he truly has to reach "his" bottom of the pit before he can see that the only way is up and out.
As someone who only made that realisation on my own, it has taken me almost a four years from admitting I had a problem, to actually realising that I cannot do moderation where alcohol is concerned. At least not on a permanent basis.

I wish I had something more constructive to say, some glimmer of what you can do to speed up.his acceptance of what his drinking is doing, but I'm not sure there is. I suspect that even if you were to leave him, it would not help, but would rather just give him further permission to carry on.
I'm not saying don't leave him. I am sitting here wondering how my husband put up with me for so long and supports me unconditionally and am incredibly grateful that he did and struggling currently with why I deserve him.

I utterly get you though. And am.sorry you are going through this.

Wilding · 04/01/2020 15:03

When you say that's how your dad was with you... do you think that might be an element of why you ended up with your DH?

And do you not worry that your children will do the same?

HopeClearwater · 19/01/2020 23:22

Hi OP. Just saw your replies. Yes, it’s incredibly hard leaving, and it sounds as if you have a lot on your plate.

I do think Wilding makes a good point. Two good points in fact. I was scared of normalising my DH’s drinking for my children as my family had done around my dad’s (until it got too bad to normalise!) so I made a point of telling my children that their Dad was not like most other people, that he had a big problem with alcohol and that he was in a bad way. That’s why I made him leave, so they weren’t exposed to any more of it. I eventually realised that by putting up with it (albeit with a lot of arguing) I was showing them that it was acceptable to expect us all to live with that. Going to Al-Anon helped me see that I needed to change the situation.

I hope you are coping.

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