My dh is an alcoholic w/ serious mood swings and I don't know what to do... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 05-03-2012, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ladies, I hope this is the right forum to place this thread in... I'm sorry it's so long, this is weighing heavily on me...

 

My husband is an alcoholic. We have been together for six years and married for four. We have two wonderful toddlers. When we dated, both of us drank and partied a bit with some recreational drug use. As time passed, I slowly became aware that he was far more into the drugs (he used much larger quantities no matter what it was and, in his recent past, he used "hard" drugs that I never did) and way WAY more into drinking than I was. I didn't really understand what I was getting into. He is very very functional, even in his worst years (which are behind him, thank God).

 

He no longer uses drugs and hasn't for years. I don't worry about him using drugs currently, he seems to know that this would destroy his life and he doesn't want that.  BUT, he has never been able to stop drinking. He at one point would drink 16 beers in a night and still be walking around, talking to people, NO ONE knew how wasted he would get. Other times it's binge drinking to the point of throwing up. Currently, he drinks either a few high gravity beers or a whole bottler of liquor and then becomes hateful and belligerent towards me. This happens while the kids are sleeping. They have not witnessed his behavior since they were infants. I protect them from it deliberately. Then he's throwing up or passing out on the couch.

 

Money is tight for us, we are on food stamps and struggle with a (small, but huge for us) credit card debt. Yet he spends anywhere from 100 to 300 a month on alcohol. He recently charged the card right back up with about $100 of alcohol purchases, effectively negating the large payment I had just paid to it.) It's difficult to track because he seems to possibly hide it. This is causing us huge problems. I came one day and one tax return away from not being able to pay rent. 

 

The longest he's been without drinking in six years was about nine months. He inflates this time period to something much longer when he's shouting at me about what a good husband he is. He lies all.the.time. I've never met someone who could lie like that besides his mother and I believe she has some sort of genuine behavioral disorder. I think growing up with her is part of why he lies without conscience now. He had to survive. He recently got back into drinking in January and we are already up to the bingeing/throwing up level again. He has thrown up on our front porch at night which is humiliating.

 

Tells me he can beat it, I just have to give him time. I tell him I love him but this will destroy our marriage if it continues. I fear it will continue.

 

If it's not alcohol then it's caffeine which makes him incredibly aggressive. He's never hit me but there have been times when I've thought he was close to it. I try not to aggravate him but small things make him blow up. Tonight I forgot to tell him that his sister would be stopping by to drop off some mail. When she got here he verbally tore into me, acted like I was conspiring against him, like I had invited a super villain or an ax-murderer into our house. He started going off about how I don't respect him because I forgot to tell him. He had spent all evening chewing my out about petty things, of course I forgot to tell him, I just wanted to run away! I leave the room and he follows me! Apparently he had consumed a huge amount of caffeine just prior to this.. He was threatening me that I should stop spending HIS MONEY (I am a sahm, a mutual choice we made right when we got married. What a cruel knife for him to twist...) and that I should go try living on my own for a while.

 

He has said these things before and it makes me feel so hurt, I don't even want to live with him. Correction, I do want to live with him, just not when he's been around anything even remotely mind altering.

 

I think it's more than just alcoholism, I think he has serious mental abuses from his childhood (which he denies but I see the signs) and I think he has general substance abuse problems, just now his substances are legal.

 

I could go stay with my parents for a night but I don't think it would really accomplish anything. I don't want them to know that we are having problems, my husband will give me hell if he suspects that they know about him ("Oh so you went to your MOMMY huh, yeah and you're dad is soo perfect and I'm just some worthless piece of shit" that sort of thing. Rants that don't make a lot of sense and are very one sided. He's not interested in talking like adults when he gets that way). Plus, even if he has a "wake up call" (yeah right, those are a myth) he will be back to his bullcrap within a week or two, tops.

 

So, I don't know what to do. I'm in a bad position. On the one hand I love this man so much. We have a mostly good life together and I consider our marriage to be mostly a good one. When substances aren't in the equation, life is very positive and normal. He is a pretty good dad and makes conscious efforts to improve. He is trying to bring himself and our family up in the world.

 

On the other hand, he has deep mental issues that I can't begin to understand. He scorns professional help and acts as though no one could possibly be qualified help him. I don't think he can progress without being genuinely committed to professional help relationship. He does not admit to suffering from alcoholism. 

 

I have no doubt that if we were to separate he would decline sharply. I think he would blame me. He is either blaming me for what happens or he is going into absolute histrionics about what a bad person and piece of shit he is (none of which is true, he's actually a pretty stand up guy who just has addiction and abuse problems. He can't seem to separate his actions from who he is as a person), to the point where I wonder if he would benefit from an anti depressant. Except then he would abuse it too.

 

If I have to, I will leave him. But I don't want to. I just don't know what to do. He is so resistant to outside help, I think his pride and scorn are going to sink us all.

 

I just had to talk, I can't sleep until this is off my chest. I don't know anyone irl who I can talk about these things with. 

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#2 of 21 Old 05-04-2012, 06:21 AM
 
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I do not have any advice. You are really in a difficult situation. I wish your husband would agree to see some one and seek help. It sounds like he wants to kick the habit but that takes an incredible amount of will power to do after addiction gets to this point. Will be thinking of you.  hug2.gif

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#3 of 21 Old 05-04-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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That sounds horrible. I am sorry you are dealing with this.

Why don't you want to leave? What are the things about him and your family life that make it feel worth it to you to stay. And what scares you about leaving?

 

There are many  good reasons in that post as to why you should leave- he is abusive and addicted to drinking.

So what is it that makes you want to stay?

What type of household were you raised in? what is your frame of reference for how you should be treated?

Have you been to al anon meetings or some kind of support group for spouses of alchoholics? That would be a good start. Also, finding someone in real life who can talk you through some of this- a therapist for you perhaps. To help you see that this situation from an outside perspective.

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#4 of 21 Old 05-04-2012, 09:37 AM
 
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http://www.al-anon.org/
 

 

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#5 of 21 Old 05-05-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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Your post is so close to home it's not even funny.  I wish I could give you some magic words of advice.  My H is currently not living in the home for two months now, after he made some ridiculous accusations towards me and threatened to leave for the umpteenth time.  I let him.  I didn't beg and cry for him to stay.  It took about four weeks for him to change his mind but the thought of living with him again makes me very anxious.  He knows he's an alcoholic and he recently received news that he has beginning stages of liver failure.  Did that stop him from having drinks last weekend?  Nope.  I really am numb to the drama now.  He also lies about money and things that he thinks I'll get mad about.  I've also had him power-trip me over money since I've been a SAHM for the past seven years.  The morning after he left I was so relieved.  It seems wrong to say that but I was. 

 

I hope you can find some peace.


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Mom to Elijah (6/05) and Moses (6/08) and baby Joshua, UBAC February 18, 2011!

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#6 of 21 Old 05-05-2012, 03:24 PM
 
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It looks like you don't want to leave this man because you love him, and you wish there was something you could say that would make him change and be with you. But there isn't.

 

He is a danger to you and the children. You say you could go to your parents for the night. But that's not what you need to do. You must immediately pack up your children and go stay with your parents... indefinitely. Will they be willing to help you out, even financially, if they knew the situation? If so, let them.

 

Call him FROM your parents' house and say that you really love him, but that he is dangerous to the family. Tell him that you really want him to get help and you really want him to be your husband again. Tell him that you will consider coming back... in a few months or a year.

 

This sucks.

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#7 of 21 Old 05-05-2012, 08:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

It looks like you don't want to leave this man because you love him, and you wish there was something you could say that would make him change and be with you. But there isn't.

 

He is a danger to you and the children. You say you could go to your parents for the night. But that's not what you need to do. You must immediately pack up your children and go stay with your parents... indefinitely. Will they be willing to help you out, even financially, if they knew the situation? If so, let them.

 

Call him FROM your parents' house and say that you really love him, but that he is dangerous to the family. Tell him that you really want him to get help and you really want him to be your husband again. Tell him that you will consider coming back... in a few months or a year.

 

This sucks.

It's easy to tell someone what to do.  VERY Easy when you're on the otherside of the computer. 

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#8 of 21 Old 05-06-2012, 01:07 PM
 
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Your kids are young enough that you can hide all of this from them, but it's only a matter of time before they find out.  At the very least, you need to go talk to a professional who can give you feedback about what is normal and abnormal behavior from your DH.  It sounds like you might lack a frame of reference. 

 

You should be concerned with what your children are going to think of you for putting up with DH.  I grew up knowing that both of my parents were incompetent -- my dad for being a violent alcoholic, and my mom for cleaning up after him and pretending everything was fine. 


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#9 of 21 Old 05-07-2012, 08:52 AM
 
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Wow, it sounds like you are in such a hard situation. Not only are you in a relationship with an alcoholic, which is hard enough, your partner is also abusive. I wanted to recommend that you call a women's hotline. 1-800-779-SAFE is a good national one, or if you call one in your area they could have more advice as far as resources available near where you live. We can give you advice here on MDC but we might not always know what we're talking about, people on a hot-line do, they are trained to help, or just listen of you want, and to do so without judgment. Remember that you are STRONG, and you are the expert on your situation, if you look inside yourself, I think you will know in your heart what is best for you and your children. 

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#10 of 21 Old 05-07-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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I want to second the alanon suggestion that Amandamarie made. I think you will find tremendous support there and people who can relate to your situation. Since your DH refuses to get help, please get help/support for yourself mama! You're dealing with tremendous stress and pain, which you don't deserve (nobody does!) Seeing a therapist might also be helpful in sorting out these issues.

 

From your post aurora_skys, it sounds like you know that you need to get out of this situation. Without help, your DH probably will not be able to kick his substance abuse problem (not to mention any mental help issues he has.) And since he's refused to get help......

 

Could you stay with your parents for more than a night? A week or two perhaps? Space often helps us gain a clear perspective. And Imakcerka-I realize it's easier said than done, but sometimes just hearing someone tell you to leave can give you the courage to do so. 

 

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I've been there. It's gut-wrenchingly painful on so many levels. Please take care of yourself mama. 


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#11 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 01:49 AM
 
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This sounds like a real problem. Alcohol abuse and abusive behaviour can not be ignored. For the Alcohol, I would suggest a talk with him when he is sober and in the right frame of mind. You can not be accusing or angry, you have to be kind and let him know you are talking about this because you care. Also come with good hard evidence of his problem and the trouble it has caused. This makes it impossible to deny or dismiss your claims. Here is an article that explains how to have this talk in more detail. If he does not listen and refuses treatment, there are programs out there for the families of alcoholics and I would suggest you seek one out and get more advice there. As for the abuse, A counsellor is a good first step. Give them a call and get some advice. This does two things; it gives you a source of advice and comfort, and begins to document the abuse. This is essential as it documents the problem should your husband ever become physically abusive and you need to take action. Other than that all I can say is good luck and I hope it all works out for the best.

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#12 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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I grew up in this kind of home. I wish my mom had had someone to talk to about it. It was such a stigma then and now. Do you have anyone, could you find someone to talk to about your situation, be a support for you? Doesn't sound like there's money for something like this, but I'll bet there are services in your community. I hope there is one person you can talk to and ask for help. It's too much to handle alone. I'm glad you came here to talk to us.

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#13 of 21 Old 05-09-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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I don't agree that this can be hidden from very small children. It has an impact. They don't always remember much if anything and certainly won't remember everything. Even if they remember nothing, there is an impact.

 

I recently learned that while I didn't remember how much my father drank when I was young (my younger brother filled me in on this) I certainly remember the tension and the rage.

 

I third the al-anon suggestion. I have gotten a lot from it even being very unstructured about it (i.e. not really working the steps, just attending meetings off and on for several years). Part of my former husband's "stuff" was problem drinking and other substance use.

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#14 of 21 Old 09-27-2012, 09:52 PM
 
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 Hello, I have only ever responded to a forum like this once but reading this felt I had to talk.  I married an alcoholic and when he drank it was hell on earth.  Sober he is kind, loving, gentle but drunk not so much-verbal abuse, mean, depressing, repressive so the personality change was real. I need to say I did not ever see my husband take a drink until the end of his drinking career he hid and drank and never drank in front of me- I saw him once out back of the house downing a bottle of vodka straight-it did not come into my home. 

 

I needed to talk somedays and I needed to vent at times.  People had some good advice and some not so much at least for me.  It is easy to say leave -it is easy to question why people stay- it is easy but what isn't easy is living in the confusion.  Some told me to leave or go to Alanon or a variety of other suggestions.  For me Alanon was not a good place.  I did get some good help at a few AA meetings but Alanon was not it for me....and I gave it a good try.  I was more frustrated and confused.

 

Friends and family even his had differing opinions and concerns and some had given up.  However, one day my girlfriend picked me up and we went to her mom's in the country and I went.  I had lost hope.  I had prayed, bargained with God -lost hope found hope lost hope. I had faith tried tested and true. I had yelled, I had cried, I had fought back, I had threatened to leave I had left at times -several to be correct but this time I packed quietly for a very long weekend.  I kissed him and told him he was loved and I needed a rest.  I walked away not knowing if I was ever coming back or if I just needed a rest.

 

We talked once that weekend and it was strained and ugly at times.  I resigned myself that I needed to just give up and let go.  Three days later he called and he had checked himself into a rehab - first time ever in his alcoholic career.  He essentially came to the end of his rope.  He was bitter, angry, afraid and tired.  He asked for help.  He didn't think I would believe him and I didn't...it was true and it was his road to recovery and sobriety.

 

It did help him for me to leave.  He came to himself and realized the alcohol was hurting him and when it came to it he made the call.  He is now sober.  We are well- still a few rough edges.  He slipped twice - once for a weekend and one for a a week and a half and each time he got back into help.  For him he didn't get AA and it was not a good match but he went to alcohol counselling and he found his way to sober living. 

 

My point is this is a nasty illness -no one asks for it -no one signs up for it and it affects everyone and it hurts.  I never found it helpful for people to ask me if I thought I needed his abuse or why I stayed or what was my upbringing....I did not come from alcoholism.  My father was a man of faith and helped many friends who had been alcoholics and he never gave up on people or family.  My parents believed in helping others and I was raised that way.  They did not tolerate abuse and I ended up being a domestic violence counsellor so no it is rare that asking people why they stay is helpful.  It is a process and it is personal and it is complicated and it is never black and white.  There is a lot of grey. Just as in domestic abuse the victims are real and blaming them is rarely the answer they feel bad enough as it is..people need empowering. Thanks for listening. 

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#15 of 21 Old 09-27-2012, 09:58 PM
 
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Even though it is easier said than done, I couldn't read your post and not implore you to leave the situation. That doesn't mean it's forever. It might be the wake-up call he needs. Please protect yourself and your children and follow your gut.


Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)

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#16 of 21 Old 09-27-2012, 10:12 PM
 
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This is abuse. Anything can be considered a substance and the fact that caffine is one of his anger inducing ones is a red flag.
 

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#17 of 21 Old 09-30-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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I think this sounds scary. That kind of behavior escalates. http://www.drirene.com/cyclesof.htm

I grew up with alcoholics and drug addicts. I don't believe anything anyone says to me. I carefully watch behavior and go from that. His behavior is not that of a loving husband. Loving husbands don't do things like that to their wives.

I'm ripe to be the abusive spouse. I was severely abused. I am very angry. I want to scream and hit and kick and whatever else. I want to. I don't. I told my husband he was an asshole for not doing anything at all for my birthday and other than that I won't call him names. (it may be hypocritical but I would be ok with him telling me I was a bitch if I ignored his birthday too. You are allowed to get upset about that.)

I am a pot head. I have a medical card. I avoid alcohol and caffeine because they trigger problematic behavior I can't control as well. Have you ever heard of Harm Reduction Therapy? http://www.harmreductioncounseling.com/therapy.html AA has a 5% success rate. I actually recommend avoiding the program. I have learned how to track which problematic behaviors are linked to specific things and I've done a lot to learn how to manage that. Even my relationship with food is better.

It sounds like you are in a hard spot. I'm not going to tell you to leave. I don't know you. I will say that children learn from what is modeled in front of them. You might be able to really keep this away from kids under four years old. By six I doubt it will be possible to hide. I'm sorry.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#18 of 21 Old 10-28-2012, 06:13 PM
 
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Sending hugs

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#19 of 21 Old 11-18-2012, 11:44 PM
 
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He sounds like a typical alcoholic. I don't believe his behavior has anything to do with caffeine. It's the booze. If alcoholics aren't drunk they're anxious or pissed off because they want to be drunk. And sometimes they're upset about the fact that they want to be drunk when they wish they didn't. It's likely that his angry behavior is due to his addiction, even when he's not drunk. And it's also likely that his dysfunctional childhood contributes to his addiction. It's a vicious daily cycle for an addict. The only people who have it worse are their spouses and children. Your children will find out very soon that their dad is an alcoholic. I'm not going to say tell him to go to rehab or you will leave him because, like a pp stated, that is so easy to do from over here on the other other side of a computer screen.
 


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#20 of 21 Old 11-21-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

It's easy to tell someone what to do.  VERY Easy when you're on the otherside of the computer. 

 

Several someones told me similar things, in person and from their side of the computer. I finally listened. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

 

I'll bet she doesn't know just how large that black cloud is until she gets out from under it. I'll bet she isn't completely aware of what its like to live life without walking on eggshells.  I'll bet she won't see until afterwards that it was, actually, affecting her children quite a bit, because it was affecting HER.

 

He probably does have some underlying mental/behavioral health issues. But they can't really be addressed until he's sober. And he's probably not going to get sober in the current environment.

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#21 of 21 Old 03-21-2013, 12:27 PM
 
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I just kicked my husband out of my house about two months ago.  We've been married over 10 years and I've been feeling like you have for at least 8 of those years.  My husband was thrown into detox when my oldest was 3 months old.  In the past 2-3 years he started punching me and choking me in my sleep.  My kids, even my 3 year old always ask (even now) before they take a sip of water from a glass that's out because we've all had times when what we *thought* was water was really vodka.  He once told my oldest (who is only 9) to come into the bedroom to tell him that "he sucked."  Finally about 3 days before I told him I wanted him to leave, I came home from a girls night out w/ some work friends and he was all but passed out on the couch - he was "watching" the kids.  It was 7:00pm.  When he got into bed he was yelling at me from the other room and ended up saying that he wished I would die. 

 

Mama, I know it's really hard.  I thought I could hang on until my kids were out of high school, but those little souls absorb so much more than you think they do.  My daughter told me that it was okay if he got like that because "all dads do that."  I haven't had to sleep on the couch once since he's been gone and I think we all feel at peace.  I would urge you to start planning.  I thought this would be the low point my H needed to straighten up.  I think he stopped drinking for two weeks and now I know he's back at the bar.  He'll probably keep it under control for a few months and then go back to his normal pattern.  My friends and family say that I look happier than I have in years.

 

People everywhere, on this forum even, had been telling me for years to leave him, and I hung on.  I realize now that I have just been enabling him for the entire time we've been together.  He's really upset with me and keeps asking me if I'm going to throw away the past ten years.  My response to that is that I gained the rest of my life.

 

I don't really have any advice, but if you ever need to talk, I definitely understand.  You can always pm, even if you just need to vent.

 

Hang in there and hugs to you.


In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." Buddha

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