I think my husband has a problem with alcohol

Old 09-09-2010, 07:14 AM
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I think my husband has a problem with alcohol

My husband started drinking when he was 15 or so. He's 31 now. We have been married nearly 10 years and have 4 children, ages ranging from 8 months to 8 years. The drinking didn't really become a problem until the past few years. A few years ago he slipped a disk in his back and has been under a lot of pain and stress (a few job changes) in the time since. He has begun to use alcohol to deal with these things. A few months ago, I found out he was using pills as well. He got some pain pills from his sister and stole some from my Dad's house (my Dad recently passed away from cancer and some of his pain medication was left over and stored in their bathroom.) I was ready to leave him over this and gave him an ultimatum. I told him that I have an obligation to keep our children safe, and if that means removing them from his house, then that's what I'll do. I told him that if I find out he is using, selling, stealing or in any kind of possession of ANY drug or medicine that was not prescribed to him I will leave. Period.

Basically, if I let him, he'll drink at least a 6-pack a night on week days and more than that on the weekends. He has a hard time leaving beer in the fridge. If it's there, he'll drink it. He will lie to me to get beer or money to buy it. The cycle we are in is he will drink and drink and drink and when I've had enough, I blow up. He'll quit for a little while, any where from a few days to a few weeks and then start drinking again. Last week he mentioned going to AA meetings. He says that he thinks he has a problem, but I don't know if he's just saying that to get me off his back.

The last straw happened this weekend, on Saturday. We went to a family gathering (my family, my grandmother's 84th birthday). I didn't buy any alcohol for him to bring with us. There was plenty there, though, and during the time we were there (about 4 hours or so) he drank 9 beers. Yes, I was counting! I was very upset because toward the end of the afternoon he got in the lake with the 3 older kids. This was after he had drank 6 or 7 beers and he had the last 2 or 3 while in the lake. This was especially dangerous because 2 of the kids in the water can't swim and the water was very rough from all the boats on the water (Holiday weekend). I sat on the shore with the baby and watched very carefully and thankfully nobody got hurt.

I insisted on driving home. After we left, we had to go to my uncle's house to pick up some stuff he gave us. While we were there, my husband got his 10th beer out of the ice chest and started drinking it. Turned out, he had taken 7 beers from other people's ice chests and put them in ours! When we were ready to leave, he got in the car with his beer. I just looked at him and calmly said "I'm not going to drive with that in the car." He put the cap back on and put it in the back of the truck. On the way home, I guess he could tell that I was upset. He wanted to know why - he thought I was mad that he took the kids swimming. I didn't want to tell him why I was mad, but he wouldn't stop asking. I was mad because the week before he had told me that he wanted to slow down his drinking but he had already had 9.5 drinks that afternoon. I told him this. He got so mad. He started practically yelling at me, telling me I was full of it. He said that he hadn't had that many beers. He tried to say that he had left some half empty beers on the table, which isn't true. I know this because I was the one who cleaned up our table, and I really was keeping a close eye on his drinks, taking note of when they were empty and then he had a new full one! Anyway, he was cussing and being really ugly. He told me I was more full of *it* than the cow on the side of the road. This was all in front of our 3 youngest children. When he drinks too much and gets mad at me, I would say his behavior borders on verbally abusive. He's never physically abusive but has been known to put a fist through the wall or a foot through a door. That day he also told me that he's sick and tired of me, sick and tired of me controlling everything he does and being up his behind. He was rubbing it in my face that I stay at home with the kids and said lots of women would kill to be in my shoes. I told him that I'm sick and tired of him and his drinking.

We didn't talk for the rest of the day. When he got home, he drank another 4.5 beers. He left 2. He didn't come to bed that night even though I asked him to repeatedly.

Sunday morning, I wasn't speaking to him. I had done a lot of thinking the night before because I couldn't sleep. I have a website that makes extra money for us, but not much. I haven't been working on it very much in the last year or so. Saturday night, I made the decision that I'm going to start working harder to make more money - an income so that if I have to leave I can. Sunday morning my husband finally sat me down to talk. I told him I didn't want to talk and he kept asking me what was wrong etc etc. I looked him straight in the eye and said "What part of I don't want to talk about it do you not understand? I heard you nice and clear yesterday - you're sick of me. Well, as soon as I can get my income up, I'm outta here. Just give me some time." First, he was mean, saying "Oh, you'll make extra money to leave, but not to help us out financially." He was really upset, though and said he didn't want me to leave, blah blah blah. He said he'll quit drinking and go to AA meetings. He did something on his phone so that he would know when he'd been sober for a month. I basically said, well we'll see. I'm not happy in our marriage and I'm not happy with you. We can try to work on it.

I went to an antique shop with my aunt who was visiting that evening. When I came home, he had cleaned the house. I noticed those 2 beers were gone so I asked him about them. He said that he dumped them out. I don't believe him. I have no reason to believe him. I pretended to believe him, though.

He didn't drink Monday or Tuesday. Yesterday, he came home and asked if I had any money because he wanted to go buy 2 beers. (He buys 24 oz beers, so this is actually 4 drinks.) I told him I had money in my purse. He went and got it and came to give me a kiss. I refused to kiss him. He said "I can't just quit all at once. It's only 2 beers." I didn't say anything. He left and came back with no beer. I was happy about that but it still ruined the mood for the whole day. He still took the money with him when he went to work this morning. He said that he's going to buy a soda today. Again, I don't believe that, but I just said OK.

There is something else he does, and I'm assuming this is normal. Let's say he tells me that he's not going to buy any beer that day and I say something like "Yeah, right", he will buy it anyway just because I said that. Then he acts like it's my fault he drank that day. I know I shouldn't act like that, so I try not to. Is this normal behavior for an alcoholic?

Also, when he tried to kiss me yesterday after getting the money for the beer, was refusing the kiss OK for me? I refuse to act like the drinking is ok anymore, and when I'm mad at him for betraying my trust and going back on his word, I don't want to kiss him.

Finally, I've made the decision that I will no longer buy beer for him. I can't keep his money from him, obviously. He makes the money and if he asks for a few bucks, I'm going to give it to him. (I'm the one who pays the bills and manages the checkbook.) However, if he asks me to go to the store and pick up a few, I'm not going to do it. I feel like this would be enabling. Am I right?

Do you have any other comments or advice for me? I'm sorry this is so long - I had a lot to say! Oh, and we don't have insurance, so medical help isn't really possible.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:18 AM
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Oh, and another question. My AH keeps saying he wants to try AA meetings. He knows which church they are held at, but not which day or what time. I have looked up this information. I also have found that there are online AA meetings/chats. Should I tell him all of this info, or should he find it for himself?
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:31 AM
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Hi anonyme and to SR! I'm so glad you found this place. The people here are wonderfully supportive.

First off, let me post for you the 3 C's of addiction:
You didn't CAUSE it
You can't CURE it
You can't CONTROL it.

All the talking, convincing, manipulating, begging, raging, crying, pleading, ignoring in the world won't make an alcoholic change his ways. He or she has to decide when it's time to quit. In the meantime all you can do is focus on YOURSELF.

To answer a few of your questions:
Yes, you can refuse to kiss him. You can refuse to have sex with him. You can refuse anything you damn well please.
YES you can refuse to give him money for booze or to go buy booze for him. This was my first boundary and it felt SO good to enforce it.

"helping" = doing something for someone that he is unable to do for himself
"enabling" = doing something for someone he's PERFECTLY CAPABLE of doing for himself.

So, yah, let your AH (alcoholic husband) find his own AA meetings. If he's serious about recovery, he'll find his own way to AA.

As for the conversations you have with your AH, I urge you to read this post from the "Classic reading" stickies. It's eye-opening:

Keep reading here and keep posting as much as you like. SR is always open (and fat-free!).
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:40 AM
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We all do what we have to do to survive, but please don't fool yourself into thinking that a passive-aggressive approach to dealing with your husband's drinking is ever going to change him. You have every right to refuse to kiss him when he's hurting you, emotionally or otherwise. But don't expect that refusing to kiss him or go to the store for beer is ever going to have any kind of impact on his drinking. When he asks for money to buy beer, tell him the truth. Tell him that there is no money in the budget for beer. If you don't have health insurance, that money needs to be put aside for an emergency. If you think he'll take it anyway, then don't keep the extra cash in your purse. Put most of it a savings account until you need it.

btw---that hypothetical "emergency" fund may be used someday to take your kids away from this insanity.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:56 AM
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I think you two are right. I will just stop keeping cash in my purse. This will mean that I will also have to hide the credit and debit cards because he has taken them in the past, so I have no reason to believe he wouldn't do it again.

There have been days when there was no bread to make sandwiches for him to pack his lunch. I gave him money. He skipped lunch and brought home beer. I need to make sure there is always food for him to take so that he can't use that as an excuse either.

You're right about saving the money and what I could possibly have to use it for in the future. Good idea.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:25 AM
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At some point, you may simply stop caring whether he takes lunch or not, or whether there's food available so that there's no excuse for him, etc, because in the end, he will ALWAYS just drink. He's an alcoholic. That's what he's going to do.

If I were you, I'd consult a lawyer about your options...
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:30 AM
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I'm so sorry you are dealing with this, but glad you found SR! You will find a lot of support here. Unfortunately, your story is all to familiar. It would be most helpful for you to find an al-anon meeting in your area and get some face-to-face support.

It sounds like you may have fallen into the trap of trying to control your husband's drinking. That just won't work. As an adult, he has the right to drink if that's what he wants to do, but you also have just as much right to decide what you will and will not live with. Learning to detach from his actions and setting boundaries for yourself is a first step. Al-anon can help you with that. You don't have to go through this alone.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:33 AM
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Unfortunately, I've been where you are (minus the kids). I was with XAH for 18 years and I turned into the beer police at one point. It didn't make a damn bit of difference to him - me, I became exhausted with it!

I'd recommend reading the sticky posts at the top of the forum - there is a huge amount of advice and experience there. Its scary just how often our experiences with A's are mirrored around the world. Its like there is a manual or something...

I'd also recommend reading 'Co Dependent No More' by Melody Beattie. It really opened my eyes. Another book I'd recommend is 'Under the Influence' - it describes alcoholism in all it's stages. Very informative.

Stick around and keep posting. This site really helped and supported me. I hope it will do the same for you too!
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:04 AM
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Hi anonyme-- welcome!

All great responses so far - I just wanted to add that not only does the job of beer police make me crazy, but all the talk about drinking, the arguing, the listening to excuses and promises is also a form of enabling.

Every time I chose to engage with one of my Abros about alcohol I was enabling them by giving them an opportunity to argue with me about their problem instead of having to look in the mirror and come to some kind of self-realization. Every time I pointed out to them that they had drank 20 beers at Grandma's party and embarrassed themselves, it was an opportunity for them to pick a fight with me, point out what a b*tch I am, build a grudge etc.

None of it ever made a damn bit of difference to whether they drank or not! Just made me nutso, and start to become someone I did not want to be. What a waste of my good energy and math skills!!

The scope of enabling was a hard thing for me to get my head around. AlAnon helped me a lot with that, maybe instead of researching his AA meeting times you could research AlAnon meeting times for yourself. Getting help for yourself and your own peace of mind is the way to bring about healthy change for you and your children.

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Old 09-10-2010, 08:08 AM
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Oh and I think you can give him the number or web address to local AA - once. And then I wouldn't ask about it I'd just let it go. If he chooses to change it will be obvious and take time, so you can put your focus to more positive things & plans, and leave his recovery to him.

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Old 09-10-2010, 10:05 PM
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Welcome to the forums, anonyme! It sounds like an overwhelming situation for you. I encourage you to seek help from your community - all the readings and forums are wonderful, but there's nothing quite like a real human looking at you and saying "I've been there and been through it; you'll see it through too."

Being aware of your enabling is a healthy start - I found that from there, it was easier to define what my boundaries were. Then I had to ask for help about how to express them!

I learned to say 'I will take the children and leave the party if you drink at all.' and then do it. The repercussions were at least all mine - I was responsible for them, not forced into circumstances by his decisions. Tsk! his family thinks I'm rude! Big deal.

The more I was able to disengage, the easier it got. I stopped handing anybody alcohol - he's the only one who's ever noticed. At first he would rant at me, now he just gives me one disgusted look.

Good luck, and hang in there!

- Sylvie
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:01 PM
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You're getting really great advice on here anonyme Welcome to SR. I'm going/have gone through some of what you're going through. I currently live with an AH and have two small children. I, like you, used to count beers (and sometimes still do...). He says he thinks he has a problem, might go to AA, but doesn't go or backtracks and says he doesn't have a problem and never said that. Keep making an emergency fund, and start reading up on your boundaries and what you find acceptable and not acceptable. PP's are correct in that whatever you decide, it really won't change his drinking (but if you're like many of us, we learn the hard way....). Hugs mama, it's hard to acknowledge this problem and know what to do, but you've found a very supportive place. Read, learn, and grow and know that we'll do our best here to support you!
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:33 AM
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There is something else he does, and I'm assuming this is normal. Let's say he tells me that he's not going to buy any beer that day and I say something like "Yeah, right", he will buy it anyway just because I said that. Then he acts like it's my fault he drank that day. I know I shouldn't act like that, so I try not to. Is this normal behavior for an alcoholic?
Oh yeah. All of it is. I could have written it.

Beer Police. Love it.
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:17 AM
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Hi and wellcome.
The only advice I will offer at this point is stick around here and read as much as you can. This place has been a lifesaver for me, and many others I'm sure.
Also, many of us have been in the same situation you're in now. It can get better, but only if you make it better, for yourself and your kids, and your AH is the only one that can decide what does he want for himself. It took me almost forever to get that, I hope your pace will be faster than mine.
Stick around, you'll find great wisdom here, you just need to open yourself up to it. It is a slow process, but it is a process of your own recovery and healing, so it is very much worth it.
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