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A very unproductive "the talk"

Old 06-26-2010, 06:19 PM
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A very unproductive "the talk"

I have been nervous for the approaching weekend because my husband has agreed to only drink on the weekend (this was his idea, not mine, in response to my telling him that I had a problem with his excessive drinking). Last weekend he had 16 drinks, which is just the same problem with a different configuration, so I don't feel that the weekends-only is really a solution.

Last night (Friday), husband didn't drink anything, which was a relief. I have not said anything further about his drinking, but had planned a boundary of simply not being around him when he's drinking. So tonight (Saturday) we sat down to play a game, and he asked me why we never have wine together anymore. Since he brought it up and was not drinking, I told him very simply that I believe he drinks too much and that I do not want to be around the drinking or participate in it. I did not yell, cry, or get angry.

He, on the other hand, was very defensive. He wanted to know why I wasn't happy that he hasn't been drinking during the week. I explained that, while I do appreciate his cutting back, that I think drinking excessively is a problem regardless of what day of the week it is. He argued with me about how many drinks he really had last weekend (he flat out doesn't believe me), and how I'm being unreasonable, inflexible and unforgiving. I told him that it is his choice what he drinks, and that I am not telling him what to do or issuing any ultimatum. He said that I am trying to guilt him and to control him. I told him that he does not have to agree with me, but that his drinking is a problem for me, and that it is causing a problem in our relationship. He asked if he should take up smoking cigarettes or pot as a replacement. I told him that was non-sense and that we shouldn't invent new problems. He said that he needs to have some way to relax. He also said that he is not addicted (as evidenced by his not drinking during the week), he does not have a problem, and that he is not going to stop drinking.

He tried to get me to agree to a specific number of drinks, and to help tell him when he's had too much. I told him that his drinking causes me stress, and that I am uncomfortable with all drinking for now, and I do not want to be in the position of policing him. I told him again that I was not telling him what he can or can't do, but that I am uncomfortable with his drinking, period. I also told him that I am making the choice to not be around him drinking, but that again, it's his choice whether to drink, but it's my choice whether to be around it.

He said that he will keep drinking (not drinking is unequivocally not an option), but that he will be mindful of his drinking. Whatever that means. He also said that he thinks that I upset with him for some other reason and that I am using this as an excuse to be upset with him.

I think the next step for me is to follow through with not being around him when he drinks. I am really disappointed, but not surprised, by his reaction. He kept challenging me to convince him as to why his drinking is a problem. I answered as best as I could, but apparently the fact that it is causing problems in our relationship is not a compelling reason in his mind. He compared my issue with his drinking to if he suddenly decided that he had an issue with me exercising too much. He was not impressed with a mind-altering chemical substance as the distinction between the 2 activities.

So, I'm bummed and just wanted to vent a little bit. It's looking like this is going to be a long road. Thanks for reading.

Sasha
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:36 PM
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Sasha - You sound like you are in a very healthy place and I'm really impressed!! I don't know how you could have handled your end of that situation any better than you did. Now, the hard part -- sticking firm in your boundaries.

I was in a similar situation when I was younger with an AH stuck firmly in denial, too. I posted about it earlier if you care to read how it all turned out!

I'm so glad you're here at SR! It will be interesting to see how things unfold with you. I'm praying for the best possible outcome. ((((Hugs))))
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:26 PM
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That sounded just fine to me! I think you did really well.
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:39 PM
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Sasha

You stated your concerns very clearly. You stated your boundaries clearly too. I think you did a great job of calmly expressing yourself.

In response, you got quacking. Trying to reason with an active alcoholic is like going to the hardware store and asking for fresh bread.

You did good!

(((Hugs)))
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:10 PM
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said that he thinks that I upset with him for some other reason and that I am using this as an excuse to be upset with him.
My AH pulled this too, at a marriage counseling session. Our last one to be exact.

I was making up things to be upset about, none of it existed, it was all me.

Whatever.

Stick to your guns honey - thank God our ears are glued on tight, cause they'd talk them off with their justifications.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:03 AM
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Wow! I am in awe of how self-assured you sound in the post. Like the others who have posted here, I agree that you did an excellent job calmly expressing your concerns and boundaries. Yay! I'm really impressed that you refused to police his drinking. (I fell into that trap with my STBXAH. When it didn't work, it was just one more reason he had to point the blame for his drinking elsewhere.)

I'm sorry that you're bummed about the conversation. I always wished the conversations with my STBXAH went differently too. I find it so hard not to expect rational thinking from him....

You did great! Hang in there!
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for the encouragement everyone, I appreciate it. I feel really hollow right now, but I also believe I did the right thing. After our conversation last night, AH did not speak to me for the rest of the night, and has not said a word to me this morning. I really hate this tension. I am prepared to absent myself if he starts drinking today, but I'm just kind of holding my breath right now.
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:34 AM
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Holding your breath is no way to live, I know all about it.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:49 AM
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Sasha...I thought you handled the talk beautifully. As I read your post, I was struck by how unoriginal your AH's responses were..."quack, misdirect, quack, blame shift, quack, accuse, quack, self-victimize, quack, pout".

It was spot on what my XAH would say (though mine used to add his own little delusions to the mix). I'm sure you've read this already, but I thought I'd post it again as a reminder of how unoriginal those arguments he pulled out were:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...lics-make.html

Still Waters is right...holding your breath waiting for the next bout of drunkeness is no way to live. How long do you want to keep doing this?
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:10 AM
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So, follow up to Saturday's talk has been the silent treatment. Husband did not speak to me the rest of Saturday or all day Sunday. Yesterday, when I got home, husband was home and had not gone to work. He was not drinking, and in fact didn't drink all weekend. But it was awful. On Sunday, I went to the store just to get out of the house. When I got home, he asked me what took me so long, and I told him I went to the store and I talked on the phone with my mom (who lives in another state). He wanted to know what we talked about, and I told him that I had asked her advice. He then continued not speaking to me for the rest of the night.

When I got home yesterday (Monday), he was very angry with me. He didn't yell or name-call (he's more like quiet and smoldering when he's mad, he's not a yeller), but he told me that the way that I brought up my problem with his alcoholism was horrible and that I am hiding things from him. He told me that he's going to do what he's going to do, and that he isn't going to stop drinking because he doesn't want to.

He then told me that I should give up drinking coffee because then he'd be taking away something that I like. I told him that it wasn't the same because coffee isn't causing a problem, but the alcohol is causing a problem. Then he said that from now on he will have a problem if he sees me drinking coffee. I told him that I thought that was very manipulative, and he said, "good, I want to be manipulative."

He said that if I really wanted to be a team with him, then I should have told him when to stop drinking last weekend and not waited to talk about it. I told him that I am not going to have a serious conversation with him when he's been drinking, and that I am not going to take responsibility over how much he drinks. He continued saying that he doesn't see where drinking has caused any problem, and that by talking about my feelings, I am being self-centered. And besides, I make him feel bad most of the time, so who cares if he makes me feel bad. I continued to say that he did not have to agree with me, but that my concerns are what they are.

He then told me that he was incredibly angry with me for talking to my mom. Now, I actually can understand why that would be upsetting, as I wouldn't want him talking about me to his mom. The reason I called my mom on Sunday was that I was feeling very overwhelmed and over my head, and I wanted to ask her for advice. He was refusing to talk to me, and I don't really have any close friends that live here, so I felt really alone. I tried to explain this to him, but he just continued to be angry, and I finally lost it and started crying. I told him that I felt all alone, like I don't have anyone, and I needed someone to talk to. I then left the conversation.

Later, we picked up the conversation again, and I asked him what he thought about us going to counseling. He said that he doesn't think we need that. He then said that he wanted to drop the conversation and that the problem is "taken care of." I asked him what he meant by that, and he said that it was his problem, so I should not be involved and not overstep my bounds. I asked him if he had a specific goal. He said no. He said he's working on the next step, and to trust him. I asked what the next step is, and he said that he doesn't know and to not push him. But the problem is "taken care of." He also said that he won't ever see my parents again because of what I did in "tattling" so my mom. I apologized.

Interestingly, he is actually not drinking, and hasn't for the past week. But since his goal is not to quit drinking, I have no idea what to expect next. At least he's talking to me now, which is better than the silent treatment

I am so frustrated that after all of this, I'm the one who ended up apologizing!!! Now, I really do feel bad that he feels that my mom will now see him as the bad guy, so I get that. I think that I really did owe an apology, and the fact of the alcohol problem does not give me license to not take responsibility for my own behavior and mistakes. But he succeeded in making the issue about something I DID!!!!

ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so frustrated!!! I am proud of myself for refusing to take responsibility for his drinking and for being (mostly) calm. I am not proud of myself for crying and leaving the conversation. I am still prepared to enforce my boundary of not being around him when he drinks, but I have not had to that yet. I agree that this holding your breath business is no way to live. I have only brought this issue out in the last few weeks, so I feel like I do need to give the situation some patience before making any big decisions. I'm not so good with patience.

Thanks for reading, it feels better to get this out....
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:32 AM
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Hi Sasha,

Here's my version of the Super Duper Al-Anon Translater (i.e. the SDAAT):

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
He told me that he's going to do what he's going to do, and that he isn't going to stop drinking because he doesn't want to.
Nobody is going to tell ME what to do! (insert pouting lip here).

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
Then he said that from now on he will have a problem if he sees me drinking coffee.
You're not so pure yourself!

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
I told him that I thought that was very manipulative, and he said, "good, I want to be manipulative."
I'm going to act like I'm 4 and make you pay for this.

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
he doesn't see where drinking has caused any problem
Problem? WHAT problem? It's all in your mind!

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
I make him feel bad most of the time, so who cares if he makes me feel bad.
You treat me bad anyhow so this is all your fault.

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
He then told me that he was incredibly angry with me for talking to my mom.
I want you to help keep up the facade that I'm the good guy.

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
I asked him what he thought about us going to counseling. He said that he doesn't think we need that. He then said that he wanted to drop the conversation and that the problem is "taken care of."
I don't need help. I'll handle it myself!

All his statements and responses are so typical, it's rather boring. Redirect, blameshift, accuse, self-victimize, etc.

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
Interestingly, he is actually not drinking, and hasn't for the past week.
He's just a dry drunk right now, but still a drunk.

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
But since his goal is not to quit drinking, I have no idea what to expect next.
It doesn't matter what his "goal" is. It's his problem. Expect the usual from him.

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
I am so frustrated that after all of this, I'm the one who ended up apologizing!!!
Yep, he successfully turned it around on you, which I know is sooo frustrating. My XAH did this to me all the time...I thought I was nuts to even DARING to think that there was a problem...As for what your mom will think, please try not worry about it. I also tried to hide XAH's drinking from my parents, and I kept trying to smoothe over the relationship between them and XAH, but to be honest, they already knew something was up and wanted nothing more than to offer me their support. Had I opened up to them sooner, I might not have suffered for so long in my marriage.

I think that you are right in your assessment that you need to talk to somebody. You cannot carry this burden alone. Perhaps counselling would also help?

Originally Posted by SashaMB View Post
I have only brought this issue out in the last few weeks, so I feel like I do need to give the situation some patience before making any big decisions.
Why do you need to wait? To "give him a chance"? To "be fair"? And what exactly are you waiting for?
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:00 AM
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Hi Sasha,

I think you are doing great. Really. In fact, nearly textbook as far as taking care of YOUR needs being the only thing you truly do have control over. Good work. Keep strong. Do not engage him at all unnecessarily. The more he goes off like that, it should be getting clearer to you (and eventually to him) that he DOES truly have a drinking problem, he truly is alcoholic, and that there is really only one direction to go in order to save your marriage -- abstinence on his part from alcohol. Period. Stand your ground now, Sasha. Remove yourself when he drinks. That truly is very liberating (I remember when I decided to do just that in my marriage to my now exAH) and you can tell yourself from this day forward you never have to put up with that crap again, from him or anyone. You are a strong, wonderful, independent, grown-up woman who gets to choose how she wants to live EVERY day of her life from this day forward. I'm so proud of you for recognizing that and for being able to be calm and firm with him when he is obviously trying to goad you into a fight.

You probably can see that this is not going to have a happily-ever-after ending, that whatever decision he makes is going to be very stressful and difficult to weather. And that you very well could wind up divorced in the end because you no longer are willing to be second to his alcohol. So good luck, sister. I know how hard this is, how difficult this decision was for you to finally make, how much you have agonized and suffered. We have all walked in your shoes, Sasha, have all heard your A's excuses and stories and felt his anger with our own A's. This is a very supportive place for you to use as your sounding board. Please stay close and get what you need from SR. But also, please trust in yourself that you are really walking the best course possible right now for everyone involved, including your AH. Saying a prayer for you today

P.S. - You call your mama whenever you want and talk to her about whatever you want. That's what moms are for. He can just lump it. You didn't do anything wrong, so don't let him make you doubt yourself on that, or really, on anything at this point!
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:03 AM
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It sounds like you are going through a lot of what I went through recently. My AH refused counseling because we didn't have any problems. My AH tried to say his drinking is no big deal & doesn't cause any problems. My AH tried to compare his drinking to my taking prescription asthma medication & told me I needed to quit taking those. My AH has said he will never speak to my parents again since I have made them aware of the situation.

My response - I am allowed to seek out support for my problems, including support from my parents. If he is going to be upset, embarrassed about what I tell them, then perhaps he needs to look at the behavior that is the source of his embarrassment & stop expecting me to cover up his behavior & lie for him. Especially when all the hiding & lying is taking a toll on my own well-being.

I also stopped trying to get him or us into counseling & started going myself, which has helped immensly.

I like you, also set up boundaries as far as not being around him when he is not sober. Since then, when he has accused me of being difficult & said his drinking is not a problem or compared it to something I do (like taking medication) I have provided him a list of times where his drinking has caused problems for me & examples of how the alcohol has altered his behavior & affected his thinking.

You need to stop letting him manipulate the conversation so that you end up feeling guilty & apologizing when you haven't done anything wrong. My AH used to be great at that, I would leave every conversation questioning myself & feeling horrible.

Nothing I have done has actually made AH quit or want to quit, but I feel more in control & less miserable, which has helped a lot. I hope you get there too, or surpass me because my life is still a wreck, just slightly better than it was just 2-3 months ago when I had stories similar to yours.

You have to learn to ignore his anger, because he will be angry. For the first time you are taking a stand & his is losing control over you & it will upset him, at least it did with my AH. He will try to manipulate & intimidate to get that control back. Don't let him succeed - take control of your life, stick with your boundaries, & don't be afraid to seek out support even if it upsets him.
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