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new...need support for husband

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I am newly married, even though we had lived together for 4 years prior. I have been aware of my husbands drinking, and I think I was in denial. I love the sober man. He is my hearts desire, my love forever, but when I see him drunk, it makes me nearly ill. He occasionally tries to hide his drinking (the cans, etc) but it is just so obvious when he drinks. He is irritable, irrational, and I (stupidly) try to talk to him. When he is sober in the morning, he will apologize and say he needs to knock it off, and get himself right. Of course that doesn't happen. He has gone for nearly a week without drinking. So now he thinks he has no problem. He also tells me...he isn't hurting anyone. He doesn't start arguments most of the time now, so in his mind, there is no problem that he has started drinking by one pm, and will continue till he puts himself to bed at 7.

Where do I start? What can I do? I know the whole co-dependency stuff, and enabling. I just don't want to move my children out and make their lives a scary mess. The older two are aware of his drinking. The youngest is not, and I don't know how to address this.

please please whatever you can share....Linda

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Hi Linda,

Most of the posts here are from people with drinking or addiction problems--and I have had my share of those many years ago. But, in addition to my own problem, I met and married a man who just could not stay sober. By then I no longer drank so we were not drinking buddies.

There is help in the Alanon program, but, I did not identify well with it. That said, many women and some men do find answers there. Some mental health clinics have counselors that address the issues you are facing. There is an Alanon meeting in most towns and they are free. They generally have hotlines as well. My problem was different from yours as my husband knew he had a problem with alcohol, but he truly loved drinking.

I, personally, don't know how I feel about co-dependency and enabling. My husband drank for years before I met him and continued after I left him. I refuse to accept responsibility for another adult's action, so what I had to look at was why I was there. I, also, do not believe it was my responsibility to get him sober. And, yes, I sometimes called into work when he was drinking, etc, but it was for the continued financial support that was needed---not to enable him. I have worked as drug and alcohol counselor and as a counselor at a shelter for abused women and I still have no idea why we get ourselves into such situations. There was no physical abuse in my situation. I have met many others in the same situation and really have found no answers. Mostly, we stay and hope it stops or we leave because we lose hope or the situation becomes intolerable.

The only thing that I can say is that you need to do whatever is best for you and your children. And if you can find support for yourself in therapy, Alanon, friends, wherever, it makes it easier. And what is best is different for each of us--some stay, some leave and sometimes the drunk gets sober and still we stay or leave. I will try to find a booklet that I read from Hazelden that was a help to me and let you know where to get it.

The best I can give you is that I have been there, I know your pain, and I will answer you when you write.


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What a smart, thought out reply. Thank you! I guess I almost expected to get bashed for not just leaving, or being silly enough to not see it all before we married.

He obviously drank before he met me. And I have no doubt he will continue after we leave. It is so hard for me to consider that. I am not afraid to be alone, (actually look forward to the possibility), financially I have been through lots worse. There are two stupid things holding me here. One, the biggest, being my children, who have been through my divorce to their father (who had an affair) and although we are all really managing well together now, I see and still feel the pain they have from that. While the two oldest are aware and often disusted by his drinking behavior, I don't think either of them like the idea of me moving and going through all that. The youngest (she's only eight, the other two are 21 and 18), love's my husband, her stepdad. They have bonded, and it would be truly hard for me to do that to her.

He has kept this problem a secret from all his family, although I know they are somewhat aware, and often suspicious. He fears his mother finding out. Literally. I have told him, that if it comes down to him continueing to drink, and I have to leave, I will then tell his mother, family, etc, for him. Am I being awful? I truly hope he can figure this out. I HOPE he could do it now, but not sure if he can.

Your sincere thoughts and opinions are very welcomed...thanks so much for the time. Linda

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Linda and welcome to our community,

I agree with everything SuziQ pointed out to you. Great going Suzi. :D

Clealy, your husband has a very serious drinking problem. Anyone who starts drinking at 1 PM and keeps going until bed time is consuming huge amounts of alcohol. He is also in denial about the impact this is having on you and on the children.

I have worked with and have also know in my private life a number of people who were caught up with spouses who had serious alcohol problems similar to your situation. Many of them tried to stay with their spouse, believing they could get them to stop. I know of only one case, a friend, who told her husband that he either goes to AA and stops or the marriage is over. He heard her, stopped and they have been together 20 years with him never taking another drink. I know him and he told me that he is just so stubborn that the was not going to let alcohol ruin his marriage.

In most of the cases I have known, the marriages ended because the alcoholic partner could not, would not and did not stop drinking.

I agree with SuziQ that you must decide what is right for you. Of course, you have three children to protect. If he refuses to stop drinking you may have to make a very hard choice as others have made before you.

What to others think?


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Morning Linda,

Yes, I heard many of "those" comments and they were not helpful. I couldn't go back and change what I did. And really resented being told I was enabling him. Having had a drug/alcohol problem myself, I knew that I did what I wanted about my drinking until I decided to stop. And I knew that I, and I alone, was responsible for my behavior. That is why I don't like the co-dependant/enabling stuff. Threats don't work ---just like with kids. You have to be ready to carry through with any threat and sometimes you are not ready yet. We both knew that one day I would leave if the drinking continued. People used to say "Why do you stay?" I told them the truth. My clothes are there, I live there and until I am totally ready, I will go home each day. One day I was ready and I left. He wanted a lifestyle that included drinking (a lot) and I did not. I was very ignorant about what a drinking lifestyle was because no one in my family ever drank much. I stayed eight years before I was ready to leave. I was lucky. We remained friends for a number of years (no physical relationship) and I did not have to live in his lifestyle--nor he in mine.

Has he tried any kind of recovery program? My husband had tried recovery programs so I felt no obligation to try to make him go. They work well for some, ok for some and not at all for some. I think I had problems with Alanon because I did not want to fashion my life around his drinking and what to do about "him".

No reasons for staying are stupid, unless it is to change him. And it is not being "awful" to inform people of the truth. You may find that they know and are simply not wanting to say anything either. You might try Alanon and see how it is for you. At least, you can voice some of your concerns and see how others have dealt with them. You might try a group for abused women, which would not be based on a 12 step program. Alcohol is often associated with abuse--and abuse is not necessarily physical. I, personally, like groups because I get a variety of views. I did better when I went seeking information rather than help. I liked a "have you thought about this" approach rather than a "you need to do this" approach. I have always been wary of people who think they know what I need to do.

I hope that he comes to some realization of what alcohol is doing to him and to your relationship. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and your children.

With much empathy, SuziQ

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  • 1 month later...

Hey see my story under the post..."My husband is in rehab". You have got to take contol. You need to take care of yourself and your kids. Your children are learning that it is okay for a man to treat a woman poorly. They are learning that they are second to alcohol. I don't know the exact siuatuation but I hate that you are going through this. He won't change until he is ready. Alcoholics are notoriously charming and manipulative. I'm sure you love him, but I know that he makes you and your kids feel bad for him and about themselves. If you are not happy walk away. If the relationship is going to work he needs to make some effort. Right now you are doing all of the work. You are enabling his behavior.

My husband has had everything handed to him. He expects it. If he doesn't get his way he pouts. His mentality is that of a fifteen year old, that's when he started drinking. Everyone handing him everything his entire life isthe reason why.

You and your kids deserve happiness!!! Your marriage might last, it might but you need to do this for yourself.

Good luck

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  • 4 months later...

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