Post # 91
Oh I am so sorry you’re going through this. You are DEFINITELY not over-reacting. It sounds to me like a) he does have a drinking problem and b) he is possibly having an affair? Do you know for sure who he is out with all night? The drinking could definitely cause him to be cold toward you but I would also suspect if he is involved with someone else. I’m sorry to put that in your mind if it is untrue, but you definitely need to have a serious conversation with him at the very least.
Post # 92
feelingalone901 : That’s rough. It is very easy to trick yourself into believing that your harmful behaviors are normal when the people you spend so many hours of your life with are all engaging in the same behaviors. Perhaps something you can ask the therapist about are specific strategies your husband can use to maintain comradery and good spirits with his employees/coworkers without falling down the rabbit hole. There are no easy answers with this stuff, but he needs to 1. understand that his behavior is not normal, 2. understand how hurtful and damaging it is to others (especially you, his wife!!!), 2.5 not to mention dangerous–DUI is just completely 1000% unacceptable under any circumstance, and 3. commit himself to concrete strategies that get to the root of the problem, not just nebulous and easy-to-break declarations like “I’ll just never drink again.”
The hardest thing to accept about addicts/substance abusers is that it’s possible to be both a victim and an asshole. Addiction is a real disease, and I have known some very dear people who are like Jekyll and Hyde with their substance of choice–sweet and loving and responsible when they’re sober, and cold and cruel and impulsive when they’re not–but ultimately, their choices have very real consequences for the people around them, who do not under any circumstances deserve to be treated to that kind of grief. Even with all the love and support in the world, it is ultimately up to the addict to own both their lack of control and the actions they committed while out of control, and to make the conscious choice to do better for themselves and their loved ones. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him (not) drink.
While you’re helping him, please remember to protect yourself and your heart, too. You have NOTHING to feel guilty or responsible for, and your fear, hurt, and anger over his behavior are fully justified. It’s super important that you remember that.
Post # 93
feelingalone901 : “ “I’m not going to drink at all. Not even socially unless we decide together that it’s appropriate and you are there to help me.” — This is a bad plan. It’s great that he’s willing to stop drinking, but he needs to own that 100%. It’s not fair and it’s not effective to turn you into a parental figure, trying to determine when it’s ok for him to drink or not. Yes, you need to be supportive and “on the same team” but that does not mean you help him decide if it’s ok to drink or not. If you say “sure, go ahead honey” and something bad happens, now it’s your fault. And what if you say “that’s enough” and he orders another anyway, what then? No. That’s not how adult relationships work and that’s not how alcoholics successfully manage their problem. I have 30 years of experience with alcoholics and other addicts, and I would absolutely not agree to this. Hopefully your therapist will give you some better ideas and techniques for how you can be supportive while HE learns to control himself.
Post # 94
Daisy_Mae : so much this!
Hon, you CANNOT be held liable/responsible for his drinking or lack thereof. Ever. You are NOT the emergency brake. Either he learns how to do it himself (cuz he’s an autonomous adult) or he doesn’t. As long as he does it for you and with you (instead of because if he doesn’t HIS life will continue to unravel and fall apart) he doesn’t have to own up to HiS problem at all. No bueno.
I second a PP’s suggestion to find an addictions counselor or someone who specializes in addictions for him, and I’d urge you to go to Al-Anon. Ideally he’d also go to AA. I hope to God his counselor makes it a mandatory requirement to be in therapy somehow. Hmmm. Anyway, you need help gathering coping skills to deal with an alcoholic spouse, but he needs help dealing with his addiction. As to whether or not he’ll ever be able to be a social drinker…well, have you ever known a heroin addict who can do heroin occasionally? Cocaine?
And…I’ll add my voice to the multiple ones on this thread saying I’m the daughter of an alcoholic. My only advice to you in this regard is to put off even thinking about having children with this man until he has been sober (and doesn’t just abstain, but actively works a program, therapy or whatever) for a couple of years. ONE meeting at an Al-Anon, an ACHOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) or Alateen (teenage children of alcoholics) group might be an eye opening experience as to why I say any of this. ONE meeting.
Post # 95
Daisy_Mae : Exactly this. You, OP, cannot take on the role of being his “overseer” for all the reasons Daisy Mae pointed out. It is such an unhealthy dynamic to create in a marriage.
I will also add that him putting the job on YOU to decide when he can or cannot drink is still suggesting the problem in his view is YOUR view on his drinking, rather than him accepting and acknowledging he has a significant problem with alcohol.
He is doing what is not uncommon – thinking if he just “stops” for a bit he can prove (to you, to himself, etc) he does not have an issue and he can start up again. That is not how it works.
I have witnessed the effects of alcoholism in my paternal family for almost 40 years. It can never be “just one drink”. My father in law is an alcoholic who has been in recovery for over 25 years. He has not in 25 years, and knows he can’t ever have “just one drink”.
Post # 96
Most of my family are a bunch of alcohlics. My brother is one. Alcoholics won’t change unless they want to, and your hubby doesnt sound like he wants to. he’s blaming you…and isn’t taking action. I’m not saying getting on the wagon is easy….most of my family have fallen off, gotten on and fallen off again.
You seriously need to think about what you want in your life. You can’t be someone’s savior. They have to want to save themselves. If it were me, and for my sanity, I’d pack up and leave.
Post # 97
feelingalone901 : My ex-H was also a thoughtless dick when drunk. It’s not the entire reason he’s my ex…but it helped. He would binge drink and stay out late without communicating, and would then be rude to me in front of his friends when I asked when he’d be home or took issue with his drinking. I found it really selfish and made me question whether he was the sort of person I could have children with or build a future with.
If your husband won’t seek help or even admit he has a problem, then you might have to think about an exit plan.
Post # 98
He’s not going to change until he realizes he has a problem. What you say or do has little to do with that, so don’t feel bad. Just because heavy drinking is common in his social circle doesn’t mean that it’s ok. It’s a tough spot for you. I’m sorry.
Post # 99
Daisy_Mae : 100% agree. My ex said this too – “I’ll stop drinking, and when I drink, you just let me know when I’ve had enough”. So we go to a wedding, he starts drinking very quickly, I suggest he might want to slow down and guess what? He calls me a bitch and gets drunk anyway. Then it became “my wife can’t handle my drinking”, not “I have a drinking problem”.
Post # 100
feelingalone901 : You are not overreacting. You handled it really well in my opinion. I think you guys need to go to therapy; but you seem to comment in your OP like this isn’t the first, nor is it going to be the last time this has happened. He doesn’t seem to give a fly rat about you, or you’re feelings for that matter.
I personally would leave if this was a reoccuring action. I know you want to try and save you’re marriage but if he’s going to close himself off and not care about you; what marriage are you trying to save?
Post # 101
I would suggest you attend an AL- Anon meeting to at least learn the behaviors of alcoholics – he’s pretty classic. al-Anon is for people who have alcoholics in their lives and the co-dependent behavior alcoholism create.
Post # 102
Well, I have a few updates.
He admitted to me that he doesn’t actually enjoy the taste of most alcohol (except a few red wines), and when he drinks the only purpose is to get drunk. He says he never thought about it before, but is realizing that it isn’t “normal”. He said the word alcoholic seems really scary, but he feels he meets the requirements.
He agreed that it wasn’t appropriate or fair to make me the “overseer” of his drinking, and that to make things easier he will just not drink, period. He also asked if we could talk to the therapist about strategies for different situations: family dinners, outings with friends, pressure from his coworkers/employees. I think that’s a good idea. We had a family dinner on Sunday, and he drank Pepsi instead of his usual beer and wine.
I underestimated the effect it would have on me to have a partner that isn’t drinking. As I think about it, I realize how much of our culture involves alcohol. Celebrating? Champagne. Nice dinner? Bottle of wine. Have friends over for a BBQ? Cold beer. I know none of those things are necessary… but it still isn’t something I’ve had to think about.
For those with alcoholic partners – do you still drink? Or if you ARE the alcoholic partner, does your partner drink?
We can’t get into the nearest therapist who does couples and addiction work until January at the earliest. That’s a bit scary… so I’m going to find an Al-Anon meeting to go to and hopefully get some support.
Post # 103
feelingalone901 : I’m very glad that he has decided to stop drinking entirely. However I see that you can’t get into a therapist until January. Glad that you’re going to go to an Al-Anon meeting, but what about your husband? He needs help with this, especially in the beginning, and should not just wait around until the therapist is available. Have you talked to him about AA?
Post # 104
llevinso : I’m currently reaching out to therapists further away, so hopefully someone can start seeing us sooner. If not… I’m torn. I have heard from so many sources that he has to want to get help. He has said that the idea of talking to one stranger about his emotions is terrifying and anxiety-producing, nevermind the idea of talking to several strangers. I know you don’t HAVE to talk at the meetings, but still… any suggestions?
Post # 105
feelingalone901 : If he really wants to quit drinking, he’s going to need to get some sort of help/support and just leaning on you for that isn’t going to work and it isn’t fair to you. Has he researched AA at all? Because it is true that you don’t need to share anything if you don’t want to. It might be helpful for him to just be surrounded by people struggling with the same sort of issues. No, you can’t force him to go, that’s true. He has to make that decision on his own. But I’d definitely bring it up as a very good option. Does he know you’re going to go to Al-Anon?