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Did I cause my husband to become an Alcoholic??

Old 07-10-2010, 02:26 PM
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Did I cause my husband to become an Alcoholic??

Hello, I am new to the forum and I have a situation with my husband (whom I believe is an alcoholic). He is blaming me for causing him to drink and I am not sure what to do. Things are out of control and I kicked him out of the house yesterday/today. I'm lost and not sure I'm doing the right thing. I'm looking for any advice or helpful words of wisdom. This is my story:

My husband (H) and I (both in our late 30's) have been married 3 yrs, no kids. I've known him for 10 yrs, & he's always been a heavy drinker. While we were dating, I became concerned about his drinking. Looking back, I suppose I was in denial. He'd been pulled over once on a suspected DUI (though he deserved a ticket he didn't get one), & he'd had 2 bed wetting accidents because he was so drunk he couldn't wake up when he had to go. It wasn't until I nearly broke up with him that he took my concerns seriously. He then promised he'd cut back/not drink at all, or else monitor himself & stop before he became drunk. Because this was the only "red flag" in our relationship and it was otherwise great & we loved each other I believed things would be fine.

For a long time, things DID improve. Then we got married. Right before the wedding I was diagnosed with a serious chronic illness. That, along with some family drama, both our stressful careers, and general life responsibilities, and it seemed we never had a "honeymoon phase". I was tired and felt unwell much of the time, which caused me great irritability. I admit, sometimes I took things out on him when I shouldn't have. He was stressed out and began drinking...mostly in secret. Then, we began CONSTANTLY fighting. The topic was always the same: no sex life due to my illness, my irritability, his drinking.

It eventually turned violent during our fighting (shoving, smacking) & when we were both bruised I knew we needed professional help. We've been going to counseling now for 5 months. Seemed to be helping, getting us reconnected & back on track. Counselor addressed H's drinking by asking him to think about if it's good for our marriage. He's suggested H could attempt monitoring his alcohol use & learn to stop before he becomes drunk, or that the possibility may exist that he just shouldn't drink. H has repeatedly gotten drunk at social events or in secret. Certain stressors seem to set him off -- I have had a complication with my illness, his Mom was in hospital, etc. He is always remorseful afterwards.

Then, 2 weekends ago I awoke from a nap on an otherwise normal afternoon to find H totally wasted. Things escalated to the point I feared for my safety and thought I might have to involve the Police. Instead, I called my brother, who made H pack a bag & leave for the night. That night I discovered that there were 16 empty or near empty bottles of booze and wine in our house! H was totally remorseful the next day, said he would do whatever he needed to do to save our relationship, that I was the most important thing to him in the world. I told him he had a problem and that although I loved him we could only stay together if he sought help (alcohol counseling & AA) and that I would also seek self therapy. He agreed, asked for a little time to "just be normal" before doing this. Well, that never happened. This past Thursday, he came to bed completely drunk after working in his workshop after dinner. I moved to the guest room after trying to ignore his verbal abuse that I "am no wife to him". In the morning, I told him he could not live at home anymore until he got help and asked him for his house key, which he handed over. That night I came home after work to find that he'd somehow gotten into the house through an unlocked window. He hadn't taken me seriously that morning. I told him he had to leave -- he'd been lying to me (there were other times I suspected he'd been drinking but he'd denied it). After becoming angry he left. After a night of drinking with friends he unbelievably stayed in his car in a park! He'd left his wallet at home, so he couldn't pay for a hotel and he came back for it this morning. He asked if he could just stay in the guest room, that he wouldn't talk to me. I told him he couldn't live at home until he got some help. He became angry, threw his wedding ring across the room, told me "I need a wife" and that I have "destroyed him". Said that it's obvious I want to be single, that I don't love him or support him.

Have I caused H to become an alcoholic? I feel like I've destroyed my marriage somehow...or am in the process of destroying it and I am not sure what to do next. While I did kick him out (hoping this may be his bottom dropping out and he gets help) I am worried about him, can't eat or sleep. While I love H, I don't want to look back in 25 years thinking "what have I done" staying with someone who won't get help. Our relationship was so good to start out, it makes me sick about where we are now.

Thanks for any help you can provide. I am so lost right now.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:38 PM
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YellowBirdy, welcome to SR.

If we were powerful enough to make someone an alcoholic, we'd have the power to cure them too.

Shifting the blame is a common theme in active alcoholism.

I would suggest you start educating yourself as much as possible on alcoholism. There are several 'sticky' topics at the top of this forum with good reading material.

Look for Alanon meetings in your area and start attending. There you will find others who have been where you are, and can offer face-to-face support and understanding. Alanon has been a lifesaver for me. I was married to an alcoholic/addict, and I have a 32 year old daughter who is active.

Get your hands on a copy of the book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie. It's an excellent starter book.

There are 3 C's to remember:
You didn't cause his alcoholism.
You can't control his alcoholism.
You can't cure his alcoholism.

Please take good care of yourself, and I'm glad you have reached out for help!
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:38 PM
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Did I cause my husband to become an Alcoholic??
Absolutely not.

You did not cause it, you cannot control it, and you cannot cure it.

Yes, I agree that you have done the right thing.

I don't want to look back in 25 years thinking "what have I done" staying with someone who won't get help.
This sounds like a very intelligent decision to me.

If it were me, I wouldn't let him back in the house, no matter what he says. NEVER EVER EVER allow ANYone who has or would hit you or otherwise physically harm you, be them drunk, sober, stoned, whatever, to be in your presence EVER.

Anyway, they will talk and talk and talk and do NOTHING about getting and staying sober. The man has a problem and without the alcoholism, the history you told in your post likely would have been very different.

I suggest you go to Al-Anon and stick with your Mom. She sounds like a pretty intelligent woman too.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:55 PM
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Welcome to SR. I found friendship, support, understanding, and wisdom here, and I believe you will, too!

You have asked a question I think anyone who has ever loved an alcoholic has asked. Is what they say true? Is it really because of me? The answer is a resounding "NO."

I really had to dig back to the beginning of my relationship with my EX Alcoholic Boyfriend (XABF) to accept that truth. He drank before he met me, but he abstained from drinking heavily when we first go together so I saw little in the way of binging. Unfortunately, as soon as any struggles came up he would drink to cope. I accepted blame for years and when I refuted his accusation that I was the cause of his abusing alcohol, he would beg my help to stop drinking and I continued to stay.

You are living the roller coaster of an alcoholic's active addiction. It sounds like you are ready for a change.

Great suggestions for meetings and readings already given.

Keep posting!!

Alice
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:03 PM
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How is him choosing to cope with his problems by indulging in a toxic substance that will kill him, your fault?

There are people who have worse problems than you all did, who don't turn to getting high or wasted as an escape...

Everyone has problems in life-we all choose how we deal with them. Nobody MAKES us do anything. The only time someone can make you do something is when they hold a gun to your head.

Embarrassment, shame and guilt is what leads alcoholics to blame others in their lives for their problems. That, and denial of their true problem. It's the disease talking when he says those things.

In al-anon circles, we call it "quacking". Also, the empty promises that "I'll cut down" or "I'll stop drinking...tomorrow"...quack quack. (BTW al-anon has helped me tremendously.)

It's all meaningless words, and you learn to look at their actions instead. No one deserves the kind of insane life you have been thrust into.

Someone once said on this forum, "alcoholics don't have relationships. They take hostages." How long do you want to be a hostage?
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:08 PM
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Alcoholics and addicts will ALWAYS find someone or something else to blame for their actions, because that way they can keep playing the victim card and not answer for their behavior.

The good news is it sounds like you already have a pretty firm handle on what you need to do. Stand your ground- don't let him back in the house until he can show you he is sober and seeking treatment. Keep coming back here and posting as often as you need to.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:51 PM
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The three Cs say it all to me. People only influence us to the extent we let them. We also have the ability to control the environment we function in to a large extent.
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:04 PM
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He's in deniel, just as you admit you were in deniel over his alcohol dependency. Difference is, you're no longer in deniel...brave lady.

Welcome and glad to have you on board.
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by YellowBirdy View Post

I've known him for 10 yrs, & he's always been a heavy drinker. While we were dating, I became concerned about his drinking. Looking back, I suppose I was in denial.
Here's the answer to your question...it's in your own words. By NO MEANS did you cause your husband to be an alcoholic. It started way back when you met him. The signs were always there. If he's blaming you...that's a load of crap. He wants to shift blame to continue in his disease.
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:07 PM
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Welcome to the forum. You did NOT cause his alcoholism. Alcoholics blame others to make themselves feel better and make others feel guilty. The more guilt you feel the more crud you put up with and the cycle continues. It is not your fault - you can't control alcoholism any more than you can control the weather ! Glad you have removed yourself from the situation. Keep safe and stick around the board - there is an abundance of good information and loving people here who know exactly how you feel.
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:56 PM
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Hey Yellow Birdy!

Welcome to SR.

You are coming to a realization, and his addiction is aware of it and it ain't happy. His addiction is going to get worse (if you can imagine it worse).

The hardest thing to do is to jump off the train while it is moving, but you can land safely here in SR, along with the stickies and all of us who know where you are.

You can further help yourself along by looking at the Al Anon sticky and go from there.

Believe me I saw a lot of trainwrecks in my relationship with my XAGF, I believe I could submit two or more for publication. Now is the time to jump off when it is safe, you do not want to see results of this going off the tracks.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:14 PM
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Welcome Yellowbirdy.

You are now on the road to recovery and have taken the first step by finding this site and starting to educate yourself. Keep reading and try some of those stickies above, there is a great source of information about the disease. Do try to find an Al-Anon meeting nearby you too, for support and as a great help in getting your 'lightbulb' moment and finding out exactly what you are dealing with and how him being an alcoholic was certainly not caused by you.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:45 PM
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Not trying to hog your thread, YellowBirdy, but have to ask the Forum; Why do therapists sit there and tell alcoholics to "monitor and control their drinking"? Had one say the same thing to my first XAH. Guess how long THAT worked? That was nearly 10 years ago. Yup, he's still drinking.

YellowBirdy... You've gotten some wonderful feedback here. The answer to the question in your post title, to reiterate is that you didn't cause his drinking! Period. End of sentence. You didn't cause it, and you can't cure it, as others' have said. Believe it. Many have tried. Myself included.

Keep coming back here. This forum and the amazing people who frequent it has saved my life. More than once. These are treasured, wise friends who are here to be helped and to be helpful. Welcome!
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:28 PM
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The blame game is the one played by virtually every addicted soul, and too often believed by the SO or spouse. I got it from my late AH, but as he had been drinking heavily since serving in the army some 20 years prior to meeting me, I could not fall for it.....trust me, he tried hard.

He did say he could stop anytime he wanted to, and "proved" it, by no wine for 6 months, just drank soda water. Hmmmmm! Funny thing how a few "soda waters" had the same effect on him as a few beers or a few glasses of wine had.

He resumed his wine drinking when we moved house, and then I found out that those soda waters had been laced with vodka.....as neighbour found the stash hidden behind her shed. A year later I walked away from him after 27 years, as it was a nightmare.

I felt all the emotional trauma of it, depression, guilt, self blame, and physical ills like asthma, uticaria and shot nerves til it seemed he had what he wanted, to do as he liked and drink himself into oblivion day in and day out, and no nagging wife to bother him.

Educate yourself on alcoholism and don't let him back until you know all you can on what you are letting yourself in for. It isn't a crime to love an A, but you can be sentenced to a long, hard time of servitude for doing so. Worth that? No way.

God bless
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:31 PM
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wow...my x's therapist said the same thing. Told him to try moderation management (cuz that's what my ex was determined to do.) Yknow, I knew in the back of my mind what would happen. He'd go back to getting drunk, but would NEVER admit moderation management didn't work.

Sure enough, that's what happened.

Originally Posted by tigger11 View Post
Not trying to hog your thread, YellowBirdy, but have to ask the Forum; Why do therapists sit there and tell alcoholics to "monitor and control their drinking"? Had one say the same thing to my first XAH. Guess how long THAT worked? That was nearly 10 years ago. Yup, he's still drinking.

YellowBirdy... You've gotten some wonderful feedback here. The answer to the question in your post title, to reiterate is that you didn't cause his drinking! Period. End of sentence. You didn't cause it, and you can't cure it, as others' have said. Believe it. Many have tried. Myself included.

Keep coming back here. This forum and the amazing people who frequent it has saved my life. More than once. These are treasured, wise friends who are here to be helped and to be helpful. Welcome!
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:19 AM
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Hey Yellow Birdy

Noone ever made me drink - but I blamed a lot of folks cos it was easier for me that way...especially if they bought my BS and backed off...

Addiction can show us at our worst. I said and did some atrocious things to people.
None of them were true - I just was that deep into it, all I wanted to do, whether I admitted it or not, was drink....that came first....

I'd go on the attack, and then later be overcome with remorse and begging for forgiveness....but I'd start all over again.

I hope you'll take care of you in all this.
Your husband sounds as ill as I was.

I hope he reaches the point soon where he realises he needs to get himself help.
It's not your fault.

D
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:32 PM
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Wow...THANKS!!!

THANKS TO EVERYONE for all the outstanding words of wisdom. I feel better having read all the responses to my post. I certainly came to the right place! I am staying strong, most certainly because of the powerful information you all have shared. Husband has been texting me from his hotel and would like to come back home. I've let him know that until he has sought some help and is able to stay sober we cannot live under the same roof, and that at this point timing is obviously undetermined. I am going to go to an Al-Anon meeting ASAP, read the recommended Codependency book, as well as familiarize myself with the info on the Stickies here. I also realize I too need to have some independent therapy to figure out what I want, and whether or not we need to formally separate. Thanks again.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:38 AM
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Hello and Welcome.

Wow, your story could be mine, just add two kids. Adding the two kids makes it so much harder to walk away.

It sounds like your husband is right where mine was. Unfortunately, I can say w/much clarity that the drinking cannot just be modified. He has an addiction, (my husband too had bottles all over the house). Unless he decides to STOP drinking, he never will. The thing is that they hide it and then blame you b/c your actions are forcing them to make the decision to have to curb that behavior, and it is out of their comfort zone. Never mind your comfort zone. An addiction like that takes professional help to kick, and it is HIS responsibility to do it, not yours.

You are not forcing him to drink. He is trying to guilt you and you are accepting that guilt. Typical behavior from an addict and from a codependent, I know because I was there for years myself. I wish I could say my threats or my actions forced my husband into rehab, or that losing his family would have been enough. O no, it was having a full blown blackout, doing some pretty awful things and spending the night in jail for them. Becoming a felon. Probation(luckily for him). Losing his job and nearly losing his family.

What I am trying to say is that he is in control of him, you are in control of you. Only you can decide what you will put up with from another human being. Just make wise decisions before you have children with an alcoholic, as then it is not just you, but children you are responsible for. I stayed w/my husband because he did go to rehab and today is actually 100 days that he has been clean. It's a huge accomplishment, but I cannot explain the damage he has caused to myself and our children. I have made no promises that it will work even now as I don't know if I can ever get back to where we need to be in our marriage, even with him clean as a whistle.

Good luck no matter what you decide and God Bless. Make sure you have a support system. Come here often, it does help. Have people beside you that you tell the entire truth, care about you and your situation and can be there for you.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:57 AM
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About the therapist question.

I used to ask that too. Why did his shrinks tell him to moderate? Why didn't they offer some sort of solution?

One day it dawned on me, they canot control the A's drinking either. They know this and do not attempt to control the A's behavior, like many of us did. There role is to be there to emotionallly support the patient in whatever state they come to them in. Trying to help them along the journey. They are not AA. They tell the patient the consequences of drinking or maybe just ask does the patient like their life the way it is.

I had a therapist tell me once when I said something blatent to my father (not an A, but has issues) that my father needed to figure things out for himself. He did not need me to point anything out to him. Maybe he would see it, maybe not, but my attempt to control would not go over well and ultimately backfire.

The bigger issue I see in MANY of us here is that we try to control people, outcomes and situations without accepting them as they are. For me I always thought that if I wanted to do anything, I could, I just needed to be determined. I was strong, so it was up to me to care for weaker people. How ARROGANT I was. Who did I think I was to assume that I knew what was best for soemone or that they should behave as I wanted or needed them to. I am not God. I am not in charge of others. It took me 3 decades to learn that.

Accepting this allows your life to be a bit more peaceful. However, it is a continuous struggle to remember that my opinions are not the end all be all. I choose to have people in my life or not. If they are jackasses, then it is MY fautlt for allowing them there in the forst place and keeping them there.

Our power lies in our choices about what we allow in our lives. For me it is a process to remember that and try to love myself enough to not have sickos in my life.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:15 AM
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you have to take care of yourself right now. you said you were ill. all this stress is going to make that worse. you didnt cause him to do anything. you need to worry about yourself. take a nice hot bath and forget about everything for a few hours. stress is hard on a body when we are healthy. so be careful and take care.
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