Help -- Is my husband an alcoholic???

Old 05-04-2003, 01:47 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Effie H.
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Unhappy Help -- Is my husband an alcoholic???

Hello! I'm new to this forum -- I just found it while surfing the net looking for help and information and thought I would leave a query here . . . I need to know how to tell if my husband is an alcoholic and what, if anything, I should do? I just feel so helpless and sometimes frustrated and sometimes guilty that it is all my fault -- but my husband of ten years seems to live for his next drink! He's a WONDERFUL husband, never abusive, and he's a very responsible, hard working person, he's never gotten stopped for drunk driving to my knowledge (except once before we met -- at least, it's the only one I found out about), he doesn't miss work with hangovers (he never misses work, actually), but every day after work he rushes around and does just what he has to around the house and then begins drinking. On the weekends it is the same scenario -- rush around and do what he has to do and begins drinking in the early afternoon. It's almost as if he sets himself tasks he has to do which once they are accomplished, he can justify rewarding himself by drinking. Then he usually drinks until he passes out (falls asleep) in his chair watching T.V. around 7:00 p.m. A few years after we married (ten years ago) his drinking became EXTREMELY heavy, so bad that he was having black-outs by the time I arrived home from work at 6:00 p.m. -- he would repeat the same stories over and over and over and then the next morning repeat the same stories totally not remembering he told me the night before. At that time I called him on his drinking and he did stop drinking for about three months, during which time he was totally & absolutely miserable . . . he finally just started drinking again one day and told me that he didn't HAVE to, he just WANTED to and he became a little beligerant and hinted around that it was my fault he drank so I just dropped the subject. After that he went "underground" as I call it, he hides his beer in the shed and behind the shed and maybe under the shed and in his truck -- I don't really care to go around looking for hiding places but I accidentally run across them occasionally. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons he pretends to be working in the shed. . . sometimes when I come home from work I can tell he's had some harder liquor than beer because his breath gets really strong and he gets really stupid . . .but it varies, sometimes it's not real apparent, sometimes he's really drunk. When I drive his truck, sometimes I find empties and one time when I stepped on the brakes, a half-empty bottle of vodka rolled out from under the seat.

I just really am at a total loss as to what to do -- he's very responsible and as of yet, his drinking has not affected his ability to work and doesn't seem to have affected him adversely in any way. I worry a lot about his health as this quantity of alcohol consumption will have to take a toll eventually -- I love my husband and giving him the ultimatum of "quit or I'll leave" is really not an option -- I don't want to disrupt our lives and make a huge issue out of this. Sometimes I think -- well, it's his life, and his liver, and as long as I'm happy with the life we have together, then there really is no problem! But then when, like this afternoon, I see him sneaking out from behind the shed with two cold beers dripping in his hands from where he hid them somewhere in a bucket of ice and I think about all he had to do to arrange for that cold beer without my knowledge and I have to wonder what the heck is going on here? I don't EVER nag him anymore -- I never say anything about his drinking, but he sneaks around all the time.

After the failed attempt at talking to him about it, where he just went "underground" I gave up talking to him about it for several years -- then I became worried again and about a year ago I started leaving printouts from the Internet on his bathroom mirror in the morning regarding how much is too much and what it could do to you -- he never said anything to me about those and apparently it didn't make a difference. He just continued sneaking his beers.

Anyway - I'm not sure what kind of help I'm looking for. I waiver between fear and acceptance -- it seems to me that MY choices are either acceptance or if it bothers me bad enough, I'll just have to leave him. Most of the time I think that there's really not a problem here, that I'm just over-reacting. Then other times I think maybe I'm really under-reacting? When I was looking for the printouts to leave on his bathroom mirror I ran across sites that said if you do nothing you're an "enabler" and then I ran across sites that said if you nag and preach and harp and cry then YOU are the one with the problem, not the drinker. Finding such conflicting information sure didn't help . . . so I've just backed off and say and do nothing . . .

Anyway -- thanks a lot for letting me get this off my chest! Any advice anyone has for me will be gratefully taken into consideration!

Last edited by Effie H.; 05-04-2003 at 01:58 PM.
Old 05-04-2003, 02:14 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
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Hi Effie,
I have to say that whther we label the "Alcoholics" or not, the stone cold truth is that his drinking is a problem for YOU. You have already expressed how you worry about him, and how you are emotionally effected; you have also come searching for help... all of this is certainly reason enough to begin your OWN recovery process. Have you ever been to an Alanon meeting? They are really nothing to be scared or ashamed of... it is a group of people with similar stories to share - you'd be amazed at how well you'll fit in if you give it a chance .
With my speech out of the way ... I will try to answer your question as best as I can; and I can only tell you what little I know :p , especially since I have never met you ar your husband. It sounds like your husbands drinking has definatly had a progression to it, or perhaps it has just become more of an "issue"; from the few beers here and there, to a drink or more every day, to beer and hard liquor etc. Alcoholism has a definate "progression"... and often it has to get very extreme before it gets better. It sounds like he is also hiding the amount he consumes? Only if we are ashamed of our behavior do we have to hide it from others... Alcoholism is a shame-based disease. And of course, HE knows how much is too much... He probably has begun to feel that it is a problem as well, or he wouldn't be hiding. The thing that was a clue for me (my husband is an alcoholic / crack addict), is that there began to be no real enjoyment in the drinking / using... It was obvious to me that he was using because he HAD to; his body craved it.
I wanted to be of help to you, but I didn't want to make you sad... so now for the GOOD news! YOU are not responsible for him... you don't have to DO anything for him, to help, to hinder - nothing! The gift in finding a path of recovery for you, is that you'll discover a peaceful happy life even if he is still using! We are already equipped with the tools to take care of ourselves... and STOP taking care of them.
My thoughts are with you, because I KNOW exactly what you are feeling. I was right there in your shoes no more than 2 years ago.
Keep coming back here... and I am sure others will be along to help you more than I can.
With hugs,
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Old 05-04-2003, 02:35 PM
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Effie H.
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Thanks, Meg! Your advice was very helpful!! I like the part where you said: HE knows how much is too much... He probably has begun to feel that it is a problem as well, or he wouldn't be hiding. The thing that was a clue for me (my husband is an alcoholic / crack addict), is that there began to be no real enjoyment in the drinking / using... It was obvious to me that he was using because he HAD to; his body craved it. I hadn't really thought of it that way -- he IS an intelligent man and I have the utmost respect for his beliefs and opinions and his outlook on life in our normal everday life (actually, I mean - when he's sober) and it made me feel better to think that deep inside he DOES know even if he can't admit it to himself or me yet. It was also very helpful to hear that I don't need to DO anything . . . I tell myself that quite frequently when I worry too much and it never fails to make me feel better! I do want to try an Al-Anon meeting, I know where the nearest one is and when it is and I have actually driven by and looked at the cars parked outside thinking I could be there, too, but I've never gotten enough courage to go. I also worry that someone might be there who knows us and I wouldn't want them to know that I feel my husband is an alcoholic. Before I read your post I was browsing around the Al-Anon forum and read other posts with helpful advice -- I guess I have to admit to myself that if I'm having a problem with this then I should go to Al-Anon. But in the meantime, I think I'll read some more!!
thanks! Effie
Old 05-04-2003, 02:37 PM
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Hi Effie, glad you stopped by

Let me start out by saying that labels don't matter to me. Call him an "alcoholic" him a "problem drinker" him a "heavy drinker" me it doesn't matter. What DOES matter is how his drinking is affecting you, and that is what you should focus on. I think anytime drinking takes precedence over everything and everyone else it's a problem.
I think all you can do is to take steps to make this situation better for you. Alanon meetings would be helpful. This board is a great source of comfort and support as well. He may never admit to having a problem. You just need to recognize what is a problem for you and deal with it.
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Old 05-05-2003, 08:30 AM
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My husband's career was the last to be affected by alcoholism. He smart, well-educated, charming, attractive and well-respected in our community. We've been married for 20 years, and I knew it was a problem early on. I began to attend Al-Anon, and started to take care of myself before we had children. A couple of excellent books I would recommend to you are "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie and a book called "Boundaries"...don't have authors names, but it helped me greatly.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:02 AM
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But what if Effie H. was a mother?

My story is so similar to Effie's; but my husband and I have a son. I am the grandchild of alcoholics on both sides of my family. My parents did their very best to make a better life for my sister and I then they had. While my sister and I were alive, neither one of them had an issue with alcohol or any other drug. But I have become increasingly aware that the dysfunctional family system that is created when there is an alcoholic in the family still manifested in my family of origin even if there was no actual alcoholic in the family. I identify with so much from the books written for Adult Children of Alcoholics. Since I had a very dark time, around the age of 18 I have been in therapy always with the determination not to repeat the cycle; and for a while I thought that meant I shouldn't have children. I did not see myself as capable of not repeating what I experienced as a child. Through therapy and some soul searching, I eventually came to the conclusion that yes, I could be a mother. and yes I could do it differently than the parenting I received. Part of what allowed me to come to this realization is the unconditional love I have received from my husband. He is a beautiful, creative, gentle, loving, talented, funny, and supportive husband and father. It is amazing how functional he is, considering he consistently numbs himself with alcohol or marijuana, or both. He hardly ever misses a day of work, and he actually does the dishes and laundry more after it has been using. When we first got together (about 10 years ago), he used marijuana ALOT; I eventually was able to tell him how much that bothered me and he stopped doing it as much. His drinking did not make it onto my radar until the end of my pregnancy.
Our son is 14 months old now, and I can't help but feel I have failed him. All the work I have done to try to prevent myself from passing on the dysfunction feels like it's pointless because, no matter how much I have been able to heal and give my son the healthiest parenting I can; my husband has been struggling with this all along and I just could not let myself see it. I know my husband loves our son. Yesterday my son and I came home from visiting with my family of origin to my drunk husband and I for some reason was able to "tell" him and not "ask" him as I have done for many years to do something to get help. For some time now, he has had the phone number to a place that does chemical dependency evaluations in his wallet. As I am sitting here writing this, I am hoping that he has called that number. I am resisting texting him to ask if has called yet. I know I can't do this for him, and I think that's why I'm writing here. To get support from people who have been through this. To get advice about what to do while I wait. How do I protect my son? I do not want to leave my husband, I hope I will not have to. I just need to know what to do while I wait. I've looked up Al-Anon meetings around where I live, but I'm afraid to go and hear the messages that will tell me the only way my husband will realize he needs help is consequences that he will feel. It would be a huge consequence for my son and I to move out, or to ask my husband to move out until he has taken steps to recover. Are there other consequences? I do think he knows he has a problem, I do think he knows how he could damage his son if he doesn't get help. Please help me know what to do while I wait. It is important to note here that my husband is not physically abusive to me or my son. He has and does destroy physical property, and do things like punch holes in the wall when he is angry (not drunk, but angry) while holding my son. But he has not actually hit a person. It would help me so much to hear any wisdom you may have. Bless you.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:56 AM
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