(Closed) Cancelled wedding – FI has substance issues

posted 4 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
836 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2015 - Family Farm

Very sorry you are going through this.

I was with a man with substance abuse problems for 5 years. I wish I had been as strong, level headed and constant in my expectations as you are. I don’t have any aadvice accept that living with substance abuse is horrible. I think you made the 100% correct decision to postpone or even call the wedding off completely. You need to do not only what is best for the moment but also for the future.

Stick to your guns. If he does decided to walk after issuing his married or over ultimatium, just know that life with out someone who wasn’t will to work on making themselves better is wonderful. It hurts a lot at first but it is amazing

Post # 3
3340 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

I have been through this.  I am so so sorry that you’re going through it too.

My husband is a recovering alcoholic (spoiler alert, we did end up getting married).  He had a problem for years and wouldn’t admit it.  I was partly in denial about it too.  We went about it the same way as you: having him try to moderate his consumption on his own.  This DOES NOT work.  Addiction is a disease.  He cannot control himself.  So please do not think that everything is okay because he’s cut back.  He won’t be able to keep it up.  The situation will get worse.

Props to you for calling off the wedding, but I’m honestly surprised that you didn’t break up entirely.  You gave him the ultimatum first.  You said stop or we won’t get married.  Do you want to marry someone who has this problem?  It will be in your lives forever.  There is no cure for addiction.  There is only an ongoing recovery (or the obvious onging active addiction).  Even if he gets clean, chances are high he will relapse.  The only thing that will truly help him is rehab.

My husband wouldn’t get help for a long time.  His last incident occurred 8 weeks before the wedding and that was the worst.  That was when I realized I couldn’t marry someone like this and bring children into this environment.  I was about to call off our wedding when he finally admitted he had a problem and got help.  He had been seeing a therapist, but that wasn’t enough any more.  He checked himself into an out-patient clinic and stopped drinking completely.  He has now been sober for over a year, goes to AA every week, and we’re happily married and expecting a baby in January.

So things can work out.  But I’m not naive.  They could have just as easily gone the other way and I am thankful every single second of every single day that this worked out this way.  I’ve asked him how he’s doing so well and he said that it was all about realizing that he never could have a single drop of alcohol ever again.  Once he made that decision, he never looked back.  He’s had no relapses and I think he’ll be that rare percentage that never does.

But back to your situation, you SO is still in denial.  He’ll admit he has a problem with alcohol but not drugs.  Addiction is addiction.  People are often abusing more than one substance at a time.  This is very very common.  If he’s not at the point where he will admit it and seek help, then there’s nothing you can do.  Let me repeat that, there is nothing you can do to make him change.  You didn’t cause it.  You can’t cure it.  And you can’t control it.  If you know that you won’t marry him like this, then why stay in the relationship if he’s not actively seeking help?  I think you’ve given an ultimatum and now don’t want to follow through on it.  If you stay with him, you’re only enabling him.  Think of yourself, your future, your kids (if you want to have them).  I know it’s an incredibly hard decision to make when all other aspects of your life/relationship is perfect.  Trust me, I’ve been there.  But addiction is a progressive disease.  It will only get worse.  Good luck and I’m here for you if you need anything.  If you want to seek help for yourself during this, check out Al Anon.  You can go to meetings for free and share your story and hear other peoples’.

Post # 4
2167 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


gettin_marrid:  My husband and I are recovering alcoholics, sober 2.5 years. In short, your relationship will never work unless he has acheived lasting sobriety and is seriously committed to living that lifestyle in perpetutity. For a person with substance abuse issues, there is no such thing as drinking or using in moderation. Moderation is not possible…there is no off button. Him trying to get a medical certificate to continue using is a terrible idea and it will backfire tremendously.

Unfortnately it is not at all surprising that he is resistant to sobering up because the alcohol and drugs are the most important things in his universe, and yes, that also means they are more important to him than you are. A lot more important. He loves getting drunk and high more than he loves you. Even if he did make an honest effort to change when you laid out your ultimatum it would not have worked in the long run since he would have been doing it for you. The only way one achieves true sobriety is to do it for oneself and nobody else. He has to want to stop drinking more than he has ever wanted anything in his entire life, and even when that desire exists it is incredibly difficult to succeed and many fail.

Calling off the wedding was the smartest choice you could make and if he would like to break up over this I think you should welcome that as well. Putting aside the five years you have spent with him, the odds of him being able to change and be the stable, commited and loving partner you deserve are pretty slim. This is the biggest issue in his life right now and the hardest thing he will ever have to deal with, whether he realises that or not.

When I went to rehab it was explained to us that alcoholics and addicts are incredibly sick people, and the ones who love them anyway are also sick themselves in some way, or else they would never put up with it. As sad as it seems, I think you need to let go and move on.

Post # 5
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Oh girl. I have all the feels for you. This is a common theme in my marriage as well. My husband and I met at a bar, he was bartending I was cocktailing. I got into the relationship just to have fun, not intending anything serious. It became very apparent to me quickly that our relationship revolved around partying and using. We were on again off again for a little bit, and he completely caught me off guard and proposed even though we were still going through a rocky period. <br /><br />After we got engaged, I expected him to change some how. The expectations were different for the both of us, but for some reason I thought that getting engaged would make him more serious about growing up in the face of becoming the head of the household. I attempted to stop drinking so heavily as well. When things did not change, a lot of resentment started poisioning our relationship. I felt disrespected and I know he felt like I had no respect for him either. Every time I tried to talk to him about substance abuse, he would get super defensive and say that alcohol was not the root of our problems and that I acted like we drank more than we actually did. <br /><br />We started couples counseling, and honestly for the first 6 to 8 months it didnt help, but we kept going. We got married in April on a whim, and again, I thought things would shape up..and they did, for about a week. <br /><br />After a month of being married, and after 3 big blow outs all related to alcohol, I finally had an “ah-ha” moment. My SO was never going to change for me. No matter how many times his parents and I tried to bring up his drinking problem, he denied it adamently. I told him that I did not want to be married to a guy who brought alcohol into my life so frequently. I couldnt imaging raising a child in that sort of enviornment, and that even though he felt my demands were unreasonable, they were NOT impossible. I told him that there were many girls out there who wouldnt have such “high standards” in terms of his drinking and behaviour, and that his behaviours now didnt make him a bad person, but they did make him a person that I was no longer interested in starting a life with. <br /><br />I’ve been doing crossfit since the start of this year, and my husband was doing it with me for a short amount of time. Once he fell off, he was back to his 5 am partying nights and I was back to feeling like I was the only one fighting for our relationship. I confided in my coach, and my coach told me that he would have a talk with my SO. He challenged both him and I to not drink at all for 30 days.  I was straight up with the both of them and said that I was not going to go thirty days with no alcohol, because I was not the one who was screwing up. Every time my SO has said that he was goin to go 30 days without drinking, it has somehow become my responsibility to keep him sober, and I become the enemy if I go out and have a drink or two because that some how manys him unaccountable for keeping himself sober. I also did not want to go 30 days without drinking (and I mean, having a glass or two, NOT getting drunk) because I felt the resentment building up again, and I didnt want to “punish” myself for his mistakes. <br /><br />That being said, my significant other actually took this 30 day period seriously. After 2 weeks of not drinking, he admitted to me that he didnt realize how much alcohol was affecting us. He said that he was feeling good, and clear, and was enjoying working out w me again and seeing the positive effects on his body. Its obviously still very early on on this lifestyle changing quest of ours, but things are going well for once.<br /><br />I’m not saying that addiction is a deal breaker, but you need to decide what you can and cant put up with, knowing full well that the addiction issue is NEVER going to go away. It can be controlled, but it will always be there. It makes relationships really, really, really tough, and sometimes the heartache feels like more than you can bear, but if you can see the good in him, and think that hes worth fighting for, then go for it. <br /><br />That being said, you also need to know that hes trying to make long-term, permanent changes and not just satisfy those around you. I would highly suggest going to a family therapist.<br /><br />And as for the weed part, youre being lienient with him about him getting a medicinal marijuana card. That is not an unreasonable demand of you at all, and he should stop dragging his feet. People tend to forget than weed is still illegal for recreational use. It doesnt matter that its “natural” or that its better than alchohol or whatever whatever. It is illegal. End of story. It can screw up someones career and make the rest of their life unnecessarily difficult. If he is unwilling to do this for you, then it somes the amount of respect that he has for your career, your future and your well being. <br /><br />Good luck. <br /><br />

Post # 7
2442 posts
Buzzing bee

gettin_marrid:  such a tough situation, but i think you are keeping a very level head about it. I agree with your decision to cancel the wedding at this time.

Since he openly admitted that alcohol is his problem, is he up for going to rehab? Or at least AA meetings? A therapist who specializes in addictions? These would be the first steps to recovery. If he has no desire to go to any one of these, you are in for a long, painful ride.

Alcoholics cannot recover on their own by using moderation. “One is too many and a thousand is never enough”

This is coming from a smoker, i think it would be best if he didn’t smoke for a while. I would reccomend going to rehab which is not about just sobering up, it is also for teaching them how to deal with the emotions of temptation and helping to figure out the root of their problem. If he cant take time off work, the therapist would be the next best option. Then when he has a clear level head, if he would like to get his medical card then so be it, but it is still a slippery slope.

My SO is a recovering alcoholic (almost 5 years sober 🙂 ) before i met him he went to rehab several times. By the time we got together he just attended AA meetings almost daily. Now he goes when he feels like he needs some extra support which is not very often. (maybe once a month -6 weeks?) but it has been a long road for him. HE wants it and is willing to always better himself. 

I would discuss these options with him and go from there. 

Post # 8
2167 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


gettin_marrid:  Well my dear it sounds like you are very level headed and have a solid understanding of what you’re facing here. Boy is it ever tough. I shudder to think about what I put my loved ones through when I was actively drinking. It’s great that he admits he has a problem. That really is the first step, but it is a long way off from sincerely wanting to do anything about. I knew in my heart and admitted out loud that I was an alcoholic a long time before I ever had any intention of facing it. I spent YEARS trying to figure my way out of the shitty deal I found myself in, all the while driking to oblivion daily. I thought I was so smart that I alone could do what no other alcoholic had ever done…find a way to continue drinking without ruining every single area of my life and devastating my family. I thought for sure I could figure it out. Boy was I wrong. As they say, there really is no easier, softer way. Even when I gave sobriety my first true and honest effort, I relapsed after 4 months and within hours of picking up a drink my life was falling apart again. It’s a tricky disease because it tells you you’re not sick…that you can handle a couple. But we never, ever can. I’m glad you realise that it could take a long time for him to hit bottom. A lot of alcoholics carry on with their drinking for an entire lifetime in denial and fear of facing it. And then they die young and usually alone.

My uncle drank a 40 ouncer of Rye every single day of his life for 25 years and never once accepted anyone’s concern about his lifestyle or make any effort to change. As a result he systematically estranged himself from the family over the years so that he could carry on drinking in peace. He was found on the banks of a river with a butcher knife through his chest on January 2nd of this year. He couldn’t bear his life any longer and so he ended it. Could not imagine carrying on living drinking the way he did, yet could not imagine a life without alcohol either. When that realisation hits you, boy is it ever frightening…I have been there and I would not wish that terror or loneliness on my worst enemy. He was just 51 years old.

I don’t mean to thread jack. Just wanted to relate some of my experiences with addiction. I really think you should check out some Al-Anon meetings. You’ll be amazed by how many people find themselves in your exact situation and how much better you’ll feel just to talk to others who understand.

leisha606:  Sounds like your SO has found lasting sobriety which is awesome!!!

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  sillysillybee.
Post # 9
2442 posts
Buzzing bee

sillysillybee:  Thank you! I am very proud of him. 5 years in Sept! 

It sounds like you have made great progress in your journey, as well! Congrats to you! I am sorry about your loss of your uncle, i hope he has found the peace he could not find here on earth.


Post # 10
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

You wrote that you were relieved when you called off the wedding.  That is a big sign that you felt relief instead of guilt!!!  There is a reason you feel relieved.  Follow that feeling. 

Post # 11
1002 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015 - City Hall!

I can’t speak for myself, but my grandfather was an alcoholic (now recovering over 25 years! God bless him..and her!) and my grandmother stayed, and married him, and helped him get sober. She has said it was the hardest but most rewarding experience of her life. 

His alcoholism was so bad that he would light things on fire while he was passed out (a steak actually) and he planned on a really awful crime because he couldn’t see ‘straight’. 

My grandmother stayed, dragged him to AA meetings, sat with him, went to church. And here they are and it’s 100% better. The first 2 years were the hardest she said. They made plans on holidays to be out, so he couldn’t drink, and didn’t go around things that would trigger him (friend parties.)  He now runs AA meetings, is a big part in his church, and their marriage is as strong as ever. 



Post # 12
289 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

My sister married a man that sounds a lot like yours. He was a decent guy, but enjoyed a 6 pack and a few bowls of weed after work. Even though these were issues before they married, she figured he would clean up as he got older and would become the type of man she could have kids with. No such luck. He continued to smoke himself into oblivion daily until she left him. Now she’s wondering why she ever thought it would be any different.

I would be very careful with this man. I hope that he can grow into the man you need him to be but he has shown you he cannot keep his commitments.

Post # 13
114 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Sorry for what you are going through. I can relate. I dated someone for four years. After two years, I suspected something was up. He would fall asleep randomly (sometimes sitting in a restaurant, sometimes driving!) After three years I found out for sure. He came clean because he had spent our $7,000 savings on pills. He was addicted to painkillers. I made the difficult decision to stay. For the next year he promised he was sobering up, hadn’t taken any pills, etc. Twice in that year I found empty pill bottles in his room. He always managed to lie his way out of it. At around the four year mark (a year after I knew FOR SURE that he was addicted) we broke up. To this day I believe he is still addicted and taking pIlls. Bottom line…you can’t make someone change. I learned that the hard way. If he really has a will and desire to change his behavior, he will most likely do just that. 

This is just my story though. I am sure many women have stuck by someone and have had a positive ending. 

Whatever you decide to do, be strong!

Post # 14
289 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Has your fiance ever been tested for ADHD? 

Post # 15
7406 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Our family is stuggling with this now with our BIL. At Christmas it all came spilling out about his alcoholism which he hid and his wife helped hide- for like the last 8 years. But now his liver is failing and the 28 days in rehab didn’t do a lot. He is a wonderful man, love him dearly- but what he has put his wife and kids through is awful. He is only 39.

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