Feeling Crazy

Old 09-05-2010, 01:03 PM
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Feeling Crazy

I just joined this forum because I am feeling lost in my life right now. This is going to be a bit long (sorry), but I need to get my story out there and off my chest so I hope you will bare with me. I am 26 year old stay at home mom. I have two kids and I have been with my husband for 10 years (married 5). I am in the process of getting into school and will begin working on my bachelors of nursing in January, but have been relying on my husbands income for five years now and that is beginning to my make feel anxious. My husband is a heavy drinker and I have recently come to terms with the fact that there are things in my life that need to change and that I cannot accept the direction things are going in anymore. Up until a recently I thought everything was going well. My husband has always drank some since I knew him. When we were younger he would overdo it sometimes, but I never worried about it because he would take big breaks in between periods of binging. Over the last two years, however, it seems he doesn't take breaks from his drinking anymore and instead has made drinking a daily part of his life. The first indication for me that something had to change was six months ago when I discovered he was drinking in the parking lot at work before driving home. I got upset and asked him to stop and he did for a couple months and then it started right back up (he was leaving bottles and cans in the car--so it was quite obvious). I also found out he was spending more money then I thought on beer and over the course of a couple months left our family with so little in the bank we had to completely re-think our budget and are now surviving on very little. Yet he still seems to come home with beer everyday and I don't understand where he is getting the money. He always has some story about how someone bought it for him because of... or how he did a great job at work and they gave him a gift card, but I don't believe that he is finding people that generous EVERYDAY. I'm not sure how he gets the money, but I suspect he just takes it from money that should be for gas or groceries It makes me so angry that not only do I feel he is lying to me, but he is also using money that could help our family out on himself. As I began to pay attention I also began to see just how much he was drinking and how a lot of the things in my life that were frustrating related to that (my loneliness, my aggrevation with his loud behavior, his occasional episodes of verbal abuse). I wasn't sure what to do, but I was starting to recognize that there was a least for me. The last straw was when my family went camping and he got angry and behaved childish because we couldn't afford beer while on vacation. Finally, my mom appeased him and bought some beer and he got so tanked he fell off the boat that night. He then caused a huge scene the next morning (hungover) about me forgetting to pack a belt because my reaction to him asking for a belt on the third time since the night before was rude. It got so out of control he was chasing me around the campground screaming at me and my mom got involved and he then got verbally aggressive with her as well. It was humiliating being treated that way in public and I knew something had to change. I approached him about his verbal abuse and drinking a few days later when things had cooled down a bit. He wasn't receptive at all and ever since then (it's been over a month) we have been arguing about his drinking and it's effects on our family almost daily. He refuses to really even talk to me about it and instead just tells me I am crazy, I have an unrealistic view of drinking as an american, I am being a b####, and that it is my problem so I shouldn't bother him with it because it isn't fair to him (he even told me bringing up issues all the time is abusive). I have tried to approach it from my perspective and explain to him how I feel about it and why I need it to change and have tried not to put it all on him. I have told him my concerns about taking care of the family and told him his consistant drinking leaves me feeling alone and ignored. I feel so alone now in my marriage because as I have been addressing these issues I am finding that he won't talk to me about them and it is really sad. It has been really tough for me as well because my father is a drug addict and I lost my best friendship due to a drug-related theft back in november and because of my history and my fear of being in back where I was (trapped living in the inconsistant world of drug addict--having no control or security in my own life) I have suffered incredible anxiety going on five weeks now. Sometimes I feel so anxious I can't even eat. A couple weeks ago I decided that what I was doing in trying to talk to him and seek his empathy wasn't working and that he had done nothing to acknowledge me about the drinking as a problem for me. He had been behaving somewhat nicer to me, but only about everything else. I needed to try a new approach. I was tired of feeling anxious all the time. So I gave him an ultimatum. I told him that I needed a break from the drinking so that I could lower my anxiety level and find peace in my life. I told him I needed to feel more secure in my home environment. I told him I wanted him to cut down to three beers a day or less for at least thrity days and I gave him until september 1st to do it and if he didn't I was going to find my peace by staying with my mom. He was very angry at the suggestion and offered me the "compromise" of drinking 9 beers a day or less, but I didn't budge. Finally at the last minute he agreed to my demands. I felt a sense of control for the first time in a while and I was glad to know he was willing to try. We still couldn't have a dialogue about it without fighting and that bothers me because we used to be able to talk about EVERYTHING, but he was at least giving me something. The first day of his limited drinking he came home and drank three beers in less than a half tanked momentarily and then passed out. I was annoyed, but I confronted him to explain that my limits were about me not wanting to be around a drunk and that if he was going to drink like that then I would have to just say no drinking all together or leave. He got upset, but agreed to slow it down and he did pretty good for a few days. Then last night he had some story about needed to run around a friend after work and that he would be late. He come home two and a half hours late and walked through the door with his three beers. I then sat down next to him and I could smell beer. I asked him about it and he said he started his beer outside the house while he was finishing his cigarette. I didn't know what to say because I really didn't believe him. I could swear he was behaving more intoxicated then just a sip and when he walked in the three beers were in a pack and I really don't think any of them were open. I couldn't really deal with it so I just went to bed. When he came to bed hours later he smelled really strongly of alcohol. Now today I am feeling crazy. I worry that with my past and with all the anger I have recently discovered I had about is drinking that maybe I am just looking too hard from him to make a mistake. I don't want to accuse him of wrongdoing when he is working on cutting down for me, but I also don't believe he was telling me the truth yesterday and after so many lies I feel there isn't really a whole lot of trust left in me. I told him this morning that even a sip of beer before he walks in that door and I will head to my mom's. I feel lost about what to do..I am trying to be reasonable and to give him a chance to show me that he can change and I feel I owe that chance to him as I have turned a blind eye to the drinking for many years, but I also sometimes feel like I just want to leave and start over. I have suffered at the expense of addiction for too much of my life and since I lost my bestfriend to drugs as well I have made it a goal not to put up with addiction anymore, but I worry that I am not being fair to my husband or my children who deserve a father. I don't know that I'm quite ready to give up, but I'm not really sure I have the strength to try for much longer...the anxiety is killing me and I am so, so tired. How do you know when to say when?
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:19 PM
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Welcome to SR! Please stick around and read a lot. You will find that there are many people here who understand what you are dealing with.

Unfortunately, this scenario is quite common. It doesn't sound like your husband is interested in quitting drinking and asking an alcoholic to limit themselves to 3 or 4 beers just isn't going to work. As an adult, he has the right to drink if that's what he wants to do. But then, as an adult, you also have the right to decide what you will and will not tolerate. Continuing to threaten him with leaving and then not doing so just says to him that you are all talk and no walk. Only you can decide when you have had enough.
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:43 PM
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I am sorry that you are having such a tough time hon. I can just imagine how tired and worried and disappointed you are, that he cant slow down, or even be honest. It looks like he is getting more than three beers, one way or another. As Suki mentioned, you cant expect someone who most likely has a drinking problem to slow down. He may be an alcoholic, and needs to want to stop, if he is gonna.

What you can do, and it will help you more than you know, is to find an al-anon meeting. for family of alcoholics. it will help you to survive,and to figure out just what you can do for you. As you probably know, no one can make an alcoholic stop drinking. and you need to take care of yourself. you will find the way to live your life, in the best way possible, while you decide what you must do for you. Sometimes, it helps us to deal with the drinker, in a way that has the most success, in allowing them to see their need to quit.
you need some peace, you are going to school, and you have children. you have many things that you need to be able to focus on. take the focus off of him and put it on yourself. stay here, and learn good things. find a meeting, it will be a life line for you.

It will bring you peace. you need to take care of you. to eat, to rest, to laugh with your children. if you stop fighting with the drinker,they cant blame you. but you can have your boundaries, of what you will accept in your life. when you pull away from trying to control the drinker, it gives you peace.

you found a great place. there is much experience here, and you will get help here.

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LexieCat (09-05-2010)
Old 09-05-2010, 05:48 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

You will find support and information here. We understand what it is like living with and loving an alcoholic. Some of our stories are in the sticky (permanent) posts at the top of this forum. There is also lots of wisdom in those posts.

I felt crazy in my marriage to my AH. I'm pretty sure now that I was crazy! I was always trying to anticipate the next binge, the next outburst, the next financial disaster. It was exhausting because everytime I made a new "house rule" concerning finances and/or drinking - my active alcoholic husband (AH) would find the loophole and I would scramble around trying to regroup.

I finally got off the crazy train when I joined Alanon. Have you checked in your community for local meetings? They are face-to-face support group meetings for friends and family of alcoholics. Meetings are free. They last one hour, and you are among peers that understand.

Something else that helped me was learning more about my own behavior. My own attempts at controlling another adult. I was codependent. Letting someone else's behavior affect me and trying deperately to control that other person. I found help here at SR concerning codependency and by reading Melodie Beatty's book: Codependent No More.

I am going to give you a few links to helpful posts in our stickies. One is a self-test to see if Alanon is for you, and the other is a link to steps that help when dealing with an active alcoholic.

Keep coming back, we're here to support you!
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:01 PM
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Welcome, Crystal,

I think we can all relate to your anger and frustration. We've been there.

One thing you will learn about your husband's alcoholism at an Al-Anon meeting is:
You didn't CAUSE it, you can't CONTROL it, and you can't CURE it. Only he has the power to recover IF he chooses to do so. As the others have noted, it doesn't sound like he has that on the agenda.

I'm going to give you one more sticky to read, and that is from the Alcohol forum: Excerpts from "Under the Influence". It explains quite a bit about how alcoholism "works"--good, general information that you need in order to understand what is going on with your husband.

It is a virtual certainty that he cannot successfully "cut down" for you. Alcoholics tend to drink to their normal level (normal for them, that is) and feel sick, upset, depressed, panicky, etc., if they cannot. So it isn't just him being insensitive to your feelings. And to justify his continuing to drink, he has to make it about your "unreasonable" demands--it's just too threatening to him to face the reality of his disease.

Al-Anon will help you to calm down and to get rational (dealing with an alcoholic makes anyone a bit loony) so you can make good decisions for yourself and your kids.

Glad you're here--you will learn a lot here.
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:18 PM
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Great suggestion Lexie. Under the Influence is an awesome book. It taught me so much about the disease and its affect on the drinker. And I felt far less crazy.
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