Post # 1
Im writing here because i am not allowed to talk to anyone IRL about it and I find the alcoholics forums a little extreme. So, my husband is, i believe, an alcoholic…i would call him a functional alcoholic. Very smart and accomplished which helps him stay in denial. He has always had issues with drugs and drinking as a teen, got clean but has always enjoyed a drink. However, within the last 14 months it got really bad, lots of vodka every night, and unpredictable all the time. We have been fighting alot (only married in june!!) and i think he finally realized that he cant live like this.
He got very upset monday morning, with a hangover for work, and apologized, cried, had to leave work..said he feels like he’s holding himself back, tired of feeling rough etc etc. So, he has quit cold turkey. Ive told him how proud of him i am that hes finally admitted having a problem….but im finding it really difficult to let him do it on his own. He wants me just to leave him to it on his own willpower but i have serious doubts as to how long he can keep it up. I have concerns that he is not seeking help from a doctor for the physical side of things and a counselor to talk through the reasons behind his drinking. He is very high strung and i dont believe unless he treats that, he will be able to control his drinking. He also refuses to tell any friends or family (i want him to that they dont offer him a drink and to encourage him to feel more accountable).
So really my dilemma is keeping my mouth shut to allow him to do it his way without hurting his pride or putting more pressure on him…but at the same time I want his attempts to be successful and i really want to
help. I dont think he realises hhow much his drinking hurts me too. I am so worried for his health and stressed at the threat to our marriage. An alcoholic husband is alot for me to take on too and will change my life…im young and i wantto be happy. So i guess what i want to ask is, does anybody have experience with the recovery journey? How can i make myself feel reassured without putting extra pressure on him? Any stories in general are welcome. This is very confusing, hard, but exciting time. I just want us both to be happyand healthy.
Please dont tell me to leave. I love him very much and i cant wait to see him conquer his demons.
Ps. Sorry for horrible layout, android is notcooperating today!
Post # 3
First off don’t ever mention “alcoholic” to him.
He needs to see a therapist or psychologist, because generally there is a reason alcoholics become alcoholics. And just stopping the drinking doesn’t stop the problem. It either relapses, or another problem appears (drugs, promiscuity, smoking, etc). Somehow, at some point, he needs to realize that unless he deals with the cause and reason of his drinking, that he will eventually either relapse or find another crutch, because the stress/strain/anxiety/depression/whatever is going to keep building because there is no longer anything to lean on.
Maybe you need to ask him why/how he started drinking and how it started to escalate, when can he first remember it causing a problem? Maybe it’ll force him to consider the cause and go from there.
I would ask him what his “plan” is. I wouldn’t try to impose new solutions yet. I’d praise him for his efforts and realizing he has a problem, and then ask him what he plans to do next and go from there. If he’s a rational guy you can probably get him to see that if he doesn’t fix the original cause for drinking, he will either relapse, find another crutch, or simply have a “mental breakdown.” You can’t just stop cold turkey forever. It’ll be much easier (and safer) on him if he deals with the original cause.
Post # 4
Thanks for your response. I agree, which is why i am so worried. He has built a wall and is very defensive about talking to me about his issues and when i suggest a counselor he doesnt take it well..even though i am gentle about it. I think its a huge concern for him to be seen as, or feel, defective. I would never call him an alcoholic, we both just agree he has a problem. Alcoholism runs in his family (his uncle died in his early thirties) and if hes going to conquer it he needs to attack it from all angles. You are right about asking him his plan. I guess ill just wait for the right moment..
Post # 5
There isn’t really a way for you to change his behavior. But what you can do is go to Al Anon. It’s for families of alcoholics. You will get support and guidance there.
Post # 6
@206: I’d find out his plan, and ask about his family. What did they do vs what did he wish they would do? (Not sure if any of them affected him, but if so, that could be a powerful point)
You might consider asking him to make an end-all-be-all deadline. A time frame that you both can agree on. Like if he can’t get a sensible plan and make some decent progress in say, 6 weeks (or whatever you both feel is reasonable), then he will agree to at least go to 8 sessions with a therapist (or AA, whatever you guys want… I think a psych or therapist would be much more productive and address his specific issues personally, but AA is, well… much cheaper), and get his liver checked by a doctor.
Some kind of compromise that gives him the freedom to do whatever he wants, but also a final deadline. It may motivate him as well as save him without a lot of arguments, because he’ll feel he’s still in control.
It gives him time to work it out is own way, but he should realize that if he can’t do it in a reasonable amount of time, that he will probably need help because it will continue to worry you and put a strain on your relationship and damage his health.
Post # 7
go to al-anon and find a therapist for yourself. Even having one person to talk to in real life can be comforting. just remember that you’re not alone and you’re not the first person to have an alcoholic spouse. Recovery is long and difficult, but so worth it in the end.
this is the “sickness and health,” part of your marriage. It’s rough, but you two can get through this together.
Post # 8
it’s a great first step that he has realized it and wants to change. I don’t thikn he can do it on his own but I think it’s normal for him to think he can. I don’t think it’s your thing to tell others, so I’d respect him there. Be his trusting, supportive partner through this. I absolutely think you should try and get him into counseling though – maybe you could suggest couples counseling first? You definitely should be getting help through this process.
Depending how much he drank before, the physical withdrawal period can be very very dangerous – fatal even. It’s the most dangerous drug to withdraw from.
Good luck to you both!
Post # 9
*HUGS* like other bees said, support is really important for you, so any counseling you can do by yourself (or better yet, together) will be of tremendous help to you. Every marriage has problems, it just depends on if you can work through it as a team.
My Fiance used to have terrible spending issues (not quite the same, but still) and would hide bills from me. I finally caught him enough times and he broke down, saying that he didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to ask for help because he thought I’d leave him. I think you need to stress to your husband that you two are on the same side. He probably doesn’t want to show you how bad the problem is because he thinks you’ll leave him, think less of him, etc. Best case scenario is you two get help together. There’s nothing shameful about admitting you have a problem and need help. Good luck!
Post # 10
Yeah I agree with PPs. I’m sure if you go to Al Anon or another support group for families of alcoholics, they will have ideas for what your role should be in his treatment. Good luck!
ETA: That’s great that he admitted he has a problem and decided to do something about it. Really, that usually seems like the biggest hurdle to overcome.
Post # 11
I would seriously reconsider your relationship with him. If he has had relapses again and again, then that may be a sign of what your life with him will be.
I’ve seen too many lives ruined by this, this is way beyond ” in sickness and in health”, especially if this has been ongoing, prior to the marriage.
And too many people just don’t recover. They may replace the drinking with other addictive habits.
Sorry, but just have seen more people go around in a vicious circle than get out of it.
Post # 12
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Al-anon for you, asap. You can’t control his behavior, but hopefully you can get tools to deal with it. As you’re not a therapist/doctor, he needs to get to one asap. This is a big “demon” for him to try to fight, and it’s not fair for you to be the only one helping him through this.
Best of Luck to you and your husband.
Post # 13
Would he feel comfortable eventually going to an alcoholics anonymous group? I had to go to a few 12 step meetings for nursing school, and they are not what people typically image. The meetings are often comprised of doctors, accountants, and lawyers. I was shocked at how many respected individuals went to those meetings. A lot of people get great help there, and don’t feel like they are being judged at the meetings.
Also, many addicts refuse to see therapists because they do not believe they understand them. It sounds like your husband might have these reservations as well. Perhaps an AA group might be easier for your husband to attend.
Post # 14
Your husband needs to speak with a doctor, sooner rather than later. Some alchoholics experience symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations when they stop drinking; granted, this is generally in only the extreme cases where someone’s body cannot function without alcohol, but regardless, cold turkey quitting might be best done under a doctor’s supervision.
Post # 15
I just wanted to tell you that, despite what others are saying, there is hope and don’t give up on your husband. My father is a recovering alcoholic (sober ten years) and I thank God everyday that my mother never gave up on him. There were rough patches in the past, but he is now ten times the father and husband that he ever was. Every family has their struggles, that just happens to be ours.
It is a great step that your husband realizes he has to change. In my experience, he will struggle to do it on his own without AA, but that is part of the journey to sobriety. It is a sickness that needs treatment. There has always been a strong correlation between my dad’s attendance at AA meetings and his success. AA quite literally changed our lives for the better. Plus, it is a great way for him to connect with sober friends, which help with the loneliness and isolation. You should check out Al Anon, as well. They are amazing.
Where there is love, there is hope! It gets better. I will say a prayer for you and your husband. Good luck!
Post # 16
Thankyou so so much for all your advice and support, ladies!
@SouthernLawBride: That is just what I needed to hear, thankyou!!
But, i have heard some bad things about AA being kind of a cult in some instances…does anyone have experience with this? Im not sure he would go anyway, its kind of a blow to his self esteem to admit it in public..which is half of the problem for me trying to help his recovery. I am really hoping i can at least get him to a psychologist to try to treat the underlying issues that cause his addiction.
For those who have experienced a recovering alcoholic indetox, is he likely to be really difficult to live with because of withdrawal side effects?