My husband is a drunk... - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-05-2010, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...and I need a place to vent. I post/lurk a lot here, so this is not my ''real'' screenname, just one for the sake of privacy, while I get this off my chest.

 

So yeah, he drinks, not tons, but enough to really, really make me resent him. He generally has 1-2 binge sessions a week, usually 10-ish beers each time, plus some hard liquor some times. Enough to make him pass out and be quite hungover the next day. He almost always drinks at home, after we've gone to bed. I co-sleep with our two kids, 4 and 11 months. Sometimes, like yesterday, he goes out and doesn't get back home until 6 or 7 am. Yesterday, he walked in at 8 am, said good morning like this was any other Saturday. The 4 y-o was quite upset when he woke up and daddy wasn't home. I told him he had been called in to work (yes, I lied, and that's why I'm soooooo angry at him right now). He then said he was sorry to our son (not to me, I didn't get any apologies or even an explanation as to where he had been...) and said they would have the best day ever together. He then proceeded to fall asleep on the couch and didn't wake up until 4 pm. I took the kids out, and we all went to bed early. This morning, he still pretended everything was fine. I usually steam for a few hour and get over it, but his drinking has never affected our kids before (at least not this directly), so I told him to go to hell when he asked why I was so grumpy. Now he's acting like I'm the one with the problem. And that's how he'll act until I apologize, and then he'll say something stupid like ''well next time just tell me what's bothering you instead of getting so mad.''

 

I've been through therapy because of his drinking. I'm a textbook enabler - I've even left before only to crawl back to him begging for forgiveness. In the end, I am ALWAYS the one who seems to have the problem. I am fed up, and I do not want our kids to suffer. He is an amazing dad, and never, ever drinks in front of them. But this cannot be healthy, or normal, right?

 

He refuses to even acknowledge that he has a problem, and is quick to remind me that I used to like to party too. I did, and I could drink anyone under the table when I was a silly student. I'm a parent now, and I stopped drinking the day I decided to try to conceive. I hardly drink at all now, except for 1-2 drinks a year (I had a glass of really good wine on my 30th, and that was 8 months ago).

 

He doesn't seem to understand why his drinking bothers me. He says he's home (mostly true), that it doesn't impact his work (true), or our family life (even hungover, he rarely acts it), and that he never gets abusive (true; he's a happy drunk). But I hate knowing that he's getting sloshed, that he has this love affair with booze. I wish I could leave, I really do. Thanks if you've read my rant.

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Old 12-05-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I don't have much advice but I have been there and it really is a horrible situation. What is keeping you from leaving?

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Old 12-05-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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hug2.gif

 

I am so so sorry. Its a hard line to walk, because it really has the ring of 'whats the harm'

 

Growing up three of my closest friends had alcoholic parents....No advice other than that he needs to see it, nothing you can do will change things it has to be his will.

 

 

Oh and of the three, two were able to eventually turn around.

 

I am so sorry.


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Old 12-05-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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OP, have you tried going to any Al-Anon meetings?

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Old 12-05-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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My husband is an alcoholic. Not the terrorize-the-family kind of drunk, but an alcoholic nonetheless. In fact he's sleeping now because he had too much, too early. He struggles with it. He knows he has a problem but he's in a what-to-do-about-it kind of place. I love my husband, but that makes the situation even tougher. I have a lot of anger because I lived with a very-not-nice-alcoholic for nearly 6 years. The last person I wanted to marry was an alcoholic. We had a long-distance relationship so some things did not appear until I moved here. Also, he doesn't drink every day. His troubles go in spurts and can have several months without a drop.

 

Many people tell me to leave but I don't think that is always the answer. I think that's the easiest thing for a third-party to say. My husband is a good man. He works extremely hard so we can have a good life. We (He) farms and it's not a profit-making enterprise right now. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and is terrible at expressing it or letting other people "help". So he drinks to blow-off-steam or whatever. Usually he just goes to bed. Sometimes there is a big scene because he pesters everyone in ways he thinks are funny and no one agrees. A few times he has been very depressed and he says weird things that really don't make sense. That's when I take him to his brother's house and leave him there with no keys or transportation. 

 

I don't really have any answers for you. It would be easier if they were bad people. My DH is all about work. He came in early today and went to bed. I told him if he was going to waste all this time due to alcohol, then he could have spent it with me and the kids decorating for Christmas and other fun stuff.

 

I don't buy any alcohol unless I know we have company coming. I hide my leftovers. I don't even buy pop any more so there is no mix. I don't tolerate and ignore the behavior (I mean like pretend nothing is going on). I don't make scenes in front of my kids but I do give him loads of heck in private. He's been to AA and I have been to Al-anon. I like Al-anon but because we are rural, it is very difficult for me to get to meetings.

 

I will probably get flamed for what I am going to say.

For me, I realized that I had to decide if I loved him enough (and for the right reasons) to stay. Not just stay because I "can't live without him". I decided that I married "for better or worse." But I have some friends who I can talk to, I know when and where the Al-anon meetings are, and I make my kids lives as normal as can be. You need some reliable support who can help you in very specific ways. I know people judge me, and will especially when they find out #4 is coming, but this is my life and my choice to stay in my marriage. As far as I know, every marriage has problems. People work through them differently. People have different tolerance levels. Believe me, if my DH raised a hand to my kids (drunk or sober) we would be gone with no second chance. I have zero tolerance. Same with infidelity. But my husband is a good man with a bad habit. Do you divorce someone for that? I don't know.


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Old 12-05-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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Quote:

He doesn't seem to understand why his drinking bothers me. He says he's home (mostly true), that it doesn't impact his work (true), or our family life (even hungover, he rarely acts it), and that he never gets abusive (true; he's a happy drunk). But I hate knowing that he's getting sloshed, that he has this love affair with booze. I wish I could leave, I really do. Thanks if you've read my rant.


I was married to a guy who used to tell me all these things.  He was actually a happy drunk but a sober jerk, and I eventually left him. 

 

I sympathize with not feeling you can leave, especially since you have children together.  My mom was in a bad relationship with my dad too (who is also a pretty nice guy aside from his bad parts).  She tried to leave him numerous times.  She finally succeeded when I was in high school (and she did it mostly for my sake and my brother;s - the same reason she stayed with him for so many years) and it was very significant for me.  I believe it was the reason I was able to move on from my ex.

 

I am wondering some things based on your post.

 

What kind of relationship do you think will be modeled for your kids in the future?  Like the thing with him not apologizing to you for instance.  How do you feel about that being a model for how to be in a relationship?   What kind of relationship would you like modeled for them?  Do you expect that his drinking will decrease or that he will continue to be able to hide it from the kids?  Is it okay for him to drink like that at all?  Ok if he can hide it from the kids?  If he can't hide it from the kids, will you be okay with that?   If one of your kids ended up in your position, what would you hope they would do?


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Old 12-06-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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Hugs, mama. It sounds like an awful situation all around. His refusal to take responsibility for the consequences of his drinking would be unacceptable to me.

I think you should resolve to stop lying for him. Just taking that small step toward honesty--with yourself, with him, with your children--could do you a world of good. You can't make him stop drinking. But you can choose to stop covering for him when his drinking has a negative effect on his life. Lying for him is doing no favors to you or your little ones, and it's degrading and damaging to you. Don't tell them he had to work; tell them, in an age-appropriate way, that he chose to drink and it made him too tired/sick/whatever to do what he said he would do. They have a right to know who their father really is, and they should be able to trust you to tell them the truth no matter how inconvenient it is for your husband.

My mother is an alcoholic and my stepmother was an alcoholic and drug addict. My father, also a textbook enabler, lied for them both and we knew he was lying and I think, in many ways, that that was worse than the addictions themselves. It was awful to know that our father would lie to us. He probably told himself he was protecting us but it only made things much, much worse.

Just my $0.02 as someone who comes from a family wrought with substance abuse and addiction.

Whatever you decide to do, realize that you cannot change him. There's no magic formula to make him suddenly choose you and your children over his addiction. He has to want it enough to do it, and that will probably never happen until he's allowed to suffer the consequences of his behavior.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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Old 12-06-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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It sounds like he is not being honest with himself or with you, and that would drive me batty.  I mean to stay out all night drinking, and then try and act like nothing is wrong even to the point of asking you why you are grumpy when he himself has just lied to his child--that would really upset me. Does he really not understand why his drinking would be a problem?  I think you just have to start being very clear and up front every time something happens, so that he is left with no illusions.  You and your child have needs and desires in this situation that are going to conflict with your husband's, but I think you should state some very basic things, like you don't want him to lie about what he is doing & the affect it has on the family, that you want to express your feelings about when his behavior is negatively affecting you, and you want him to treat those feelings seriously.  Even if he's not willing or able to change his current behavior regarding the use of alcohol, you don't have to be put into a place where you have to pretend like nothing is wrong.  

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:08 AM
 
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When I read your post, the thing that first came to mind for me is that you were posting it in order to hear from others that this was not ok, like a confirmation to yourself. I can't judge whether it is ok or not, I don't know your situation. It sounds not ok, but you praise him as a good dad in many ways. What is not ok comes down to you! Your take on it is the most important, not ours, but if you want a second opinion, then my opinion is yes you are right!  So now are you going to leave him? No, most likely not. Are you going to do anything about it? Probably not. So you got our vote, he is in the wrong, and you are victorious. So now do something! However scary or pointless it seems. ACT. MY husband rebels when I lay down my law to the point that I wish I hadn't bothered. BUT, when I do this, I feel good. Eventually I know it will pan out. Just keep doing the right thing. You cannot go wrong if you are doing the right thing for yourself and your kids, period. This doesn't have to exclude him, but you might have to be the strong one. When you practice this, things change, even if they get more heated in the meantime. And if it comes to the point that you really have to leave him, you have practised being strong, and done your best and known it, you'd have given him fair warning, and you will be more prepared to go your own way than if you'd sat there doing nothing. That is the worst scenario to be faced with. I quote yogi bear " if you don't know where you are going, you might just end up there". So ask yourself is this what I want, and if not work to change it, and if that doesn't work change that. Do not give up, and think bigger than you can imagine, cos you can be more than you thought you could be, and that's just your raw seed potential. Feed off that!

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Old 12-06-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post



Quote:

He doesn't seem to understand why his drinking bothers me. He says he's home (mostly true), that it doesn't impact his work (true), or our family life (even hungover, he rarely acts it), and that he never gets abusive (true; he's a happy drunk). But I hate knowing that he's getting sloshed, that he has this love affair with booze. I wish I could leave, I really do. Thanks if you've read my rant.


I was married to a guy who used to tell me all these things.  He was actually a happy drunk but a sober jerk, and I eventually left him. 

 

I sympathize with not feeling you can leave, especially since you have children together.  My mom was in a bad relationship with my dad too (who is also a pretty nice guy aside from his bad parts).  She tried to leave him numerous times.  She finally succeeded when I was in high school (and she did it mostly for my sake and my brother;s - the same reason she stayed with him for so many years) and it was very significant for me.  I believe it was the reason I was able to move on from my ex.

 

I am wondering some things based on your post.

 

What kind of relationship do you think will be modeled for your kids in the future?  Like the thing with him not apologizing to you for instance.  How do you feel about that being a model for how to be in a relationship?   What kind of relationship would you like modeled for them?  Do you expect that his drinking will decrease or that he will continue to be able to hide it from the kids?  Is it okay for him to drink like that at all?  Ok if he can hide it from the kids?  If he can't hide it from the kids, will you be okay with that?   If one of your kids ended up in your position, what would you hope they would do?


Yes, I heard all these things too from my ex who I left over a year ago. It took me years to finally get the guts and certainty to leave, but in the end I have never regretted it once. Not even with the massive financial problems I had for a time afterwards. Al Anon helped me enormously, I highly recommend it. Also a website called SOberrecovery.com - there's a section on there for spouses of alcoholics. Hugs to you... I know how hard it is, and how you can doubt yourself when the alcoholic is 'functional'. But my experience is that things dont improve as long as the person is still in denial, and so there really is no point waiting for better days.

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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I recommend Al-Anon.  It was enormously helpful to me.  And they won't tell you to leave or stay - you'll learn how to figure it out and deal with it yourself.


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Old 12-06-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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OP I have a question - aside from the fact that he's drinking to the point he's missing out on quality time with his family, why is it ok in his eyes for him to go out all night at all???  Even if he wasn't drinking, why in a marriage is it ok to go out and stay out til the next morning?


That all by itself would be completely unacceptable to me and I don't understand why he thinks it's ok.  How would he react if you did the same, just said "I'm going out, not sure when I'll be home..." and then you came back the next day, would that be acceptable?

 

As other posters have said, it's not for us to tell you to leave or stay, but for me, from what little you told us of your situation, I can't imagine why you think it's better to stay?  No matter how good/nice/sweet he is when he's home and sober, I would be terrified about what my kids are currently learning from his behavior (and my acceptance of it) as well as what may happen in the future and how it will affect the kids.  And, if you're not happy with the situation, that affects your kids and you too.

 

AlAnon sounds like a great idea, and I hope (whether in Alanon or elsewhere) that you'll also spend some time asking yourself why you think this is the best you can do?  Because there is nothing to indicate that this situation will get better by itself, and a million threads here and stories out there to indicate it's likely to get worse.

 

You can't change him, all you can do is decide for yourself what you need for you and for your kids and seek it... I think AlAnon will help you both identify what you need and how best to try to make it a reality, whether it includes staying with him or not.

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Old 12-06-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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It's interesting how expectations have changed over the generations. Both of my grandfathers were heavy drinkers, as were many men of their generation. No one would have labelled them alcoholics, though very likely they were. They both held very good jobs in fields which required them to have high levels of education. They provided well for their families. They weren't abusive in any way. They weren't sloppy. I'm sure my grandmothers never thought of leaving them for the amount of alcohol they consumed. It was just life. I think it's an improvement, holding your husband to a higher standard. I don't know what you can do, I don't have any great suggestions. He'll need to see the need to stop drinking on his own before anything changes...but I don't know, maybe you could approach it from a health standpoint? As in "I don't want to lose you, I want you to live a long, happy life & see your children grow up, and we both know that excessive drinking is unhealthy." That might have more of a resonance than, "you selfish jerk!" I hope it gets better. 

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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hug.gif The father of the child I am currently pregnant with is also an alcoholic (a lot of his behaviour was/is similar to what you describe). I know the pain.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elppa View Post

I've been through therapy because of his drinking. I'm a textbook enabler - I've even left before only to crawl back to him begging for forgiveness. In the end, I am ALWAYS the one who seems to have the problem. I am fed up, and I do not want our kids to suffer. He is an amazing dad, and never, ever drinks in front of them. But this cannot be healthy, or normal, right?


No, it is not healthy or normal. Period. It is not healthy for you, him, or your children. It clearly affects you, affects him and it is now affecting your children and, unless he fixes it, will likely start to affect them more and more as time goes on. I do understand the enabling part, though. I ignored the signs myself. It really was a big red flag when I told him I was pregnant and he came over so we could talk and brought in a bottle of liquor and got so drunk he got sick. But I ignored the red flag and went on. Fortunately he became outright abusive and neglectful within a few weeks and decided to kick me out and do terrible things to me, so I was forced to get out...but, had he not, I would probably still be there. I didn't want to see the signs, I didn't want to see what it was doing (before his feelings about me in general changed, he was still occasionally neglectful but only when he drank). Yes, you know it's not right and you don't want to go through it anymore, but it's easier said than done. I do hope you get the strength and the mindset to change it soon.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by elppa View Post

He refuses to even acknowledge that he has a problem, and is quick to remind me that I used to like to party too. I did, and I could drink anyone under the table when I was a silly student. I'm a parent now, and I stopped drinking the day I decided to try to conceive. I hardly drink at all now, except for 1-2 drinks a year (I had a glass of really good wine on my 30th, and that was 8 months ago).


This is key. I, too, have a "partying" past and could (and probably still could) drink anyone under the table. I have even had periods of alcohol dependency in the past. But when I got pregnant, that stopped. Period. That is what matters. He can say it all he wants, but you stopped. Sure, we can all have the occasional drinks and the occasional drunk nights (so long as little ones aren't around it). But occasional is a few times a year. One could even say occasional is once a month. Occasional is NOT once or twice a week. As someone who has lived with an alcoholic and who has also had alcoholic tendencies, I can most definitely say that. I knew I had a problem when I was drinking 2-3 times a week (getting drunk - not just the one glass of wine or one beer 3-5 nights a week with dinner). I stopped when I got pregnant. Done, overwith. Well, except for a single sip of an interesting sounding beer. orngtongue.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by elppa View Post

He doesn't seem to understand why his drinking bothers me. He says he's home (mostly true), that it doesn't impact his work (true), or our family life (even hungover, he rarely acts it), and that he never gets abusive (true; he's a happy drunk). But I hate knowing that he's getting sloshed, that he has this love affair with booze. I wish I could leave, I really do.


Home makes no difference. It still affects you the same. It's the drinking, not the place in which he's doing it. Sure, it probably doesn't impact his work...but that doesn't mean it's not a problem. It affects your family life if it affects you. Happy drunk doesn't excuse it. My ex was a happy drunk (except the one time in which he kicked me out of the car, but he was also on xanax as well)...it didn't make me feel any better. In fact, he was so happy that he often forgot I existed. Happy or abusive, it doesn't matter. It's still a problem.

 

You can leave. You can. It may take time, but you can do it. hug.gif again. I wish you the best of luck and I hope that you find the strength soon so you can do what you know you need to do.


- Emy . Single mom to DS nut.gif Ezra (15.12.05), angel2.gif Thames (reincarnated 18.04.08) and DD rainbow1284.gif babyf.gif Allora (11.02.11) and dog2.gif Hoppylactivist.gif  novaxnocirc.gif  waterbirth.jpg fambedsingle2.gif bfinfant.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

I recommend Al-Anon.  It was enormously helpful to me.  And they won't tell you to leave or stay - you'll learn how to figure it out and deal with it yourself.



My ex actually recommends this a lot. His mother was an alcoholic and has been sober for many years but, even after she sobered up, he went to the Al-Anon meetings regularly as the child of an alcoholic. Last I knew (I haven't seen him in over a year) he was still going to the meetings occasionally.


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