Problem Drinker Husband Says I Shouldn't Drink Either

Old 01-25-2011, 10:10 PM
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Problem Drinker Husband Says I Shouldn't Drink Either

My husband gave up drinking about a year and a half ago (or so I thought). He began drinking again (without my knowledge) several months ago. He just admitted to me tonight (after I became suspicious and asked him, he didn't offer the information) that he has been drinking again, but that he decided he really needed to quit and stay sober this time and that he has already been to one AA meeting. Needless to say, I wasn't happy about that. I'm of the opinion that withholding such information is tantamount to lying, while he disagrees.
My husband says that he really can't stand going to parties with our friends any more because they are your typical parties (fundraisers, auctions, birthday parties, etc.) with alcohol, and sometimes people drink a little too much.
Further, my husband said he thinks that I should quit drinking as well. I don't think this is a fair condition to his quitting drinking. However, I desperately want him to quit so I agreed I would quit, too.
My husband has a very good job, has never had any issues at work and has never failed in his parenting duties due to his drinking. However, he uses alcohol as a form of relaxation after work, and often once he starts using alcohol this way, it becomes a nightly habit. He says he can't relax without alcohol.
I'm not sure what I should do about this "deal" we made. Should I quit drinking in solidarity or point out that I don't need to quit because I am not the one with the problem?
Should I turn down all party invites so he does not have to go and be uncomfortable? I have a very active social life and adore my friends.
I love him dearly. He is a good man and a wonderful father and I don't want to be the reason he chooses not to quit for good this time.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:16 PM
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If you want him to stop, why is it hard for you to stop? You state that you want him to quit, but your not willing to do it too? If you have no drinking problem, then just dont drink and be supportive.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:24 PM
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It isn't hard for me to stop. In fact, I don't drink much as it is. It's just nice to share a glass of wine with friends sometimes.

Maybe this forum isn't where I need to be. I was hoping to get a little more insight and support, not get bashed on my first post. : ( I'm just trying to understand what others in my situation have experienced.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:31 PM
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I by no means meant to bash. What I meant was stop. Be supportive. In time you could probably go back to having the occasional drink. Obviously he cant. Some of us just cant deal with it early on. I had to avoid all alch for a few weeks till the cravings got better. That was all I was trying to say.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:37 PM
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OK, that was a little more gentle. Thanks!

I want to be supportive. My husband is a very good man. I just wasn't sure if that was a typical request or not.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:38 PM
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You'll find various answers and attitudes on this one - it really is a subjective thing, and only you know your relationship.

Some people think it should be no big deal to give up something to support your spouse.

I can see that, but I tend to think, as the alcoholic, I'm the one with the problem - unless you're going on 3 days benders and trashing the place with riotous parties every night, it really shouldn't worry me what you or anyone else is doing...the focus should be on me and what I need to be doing.

I don't know you or your husband but I really screwed up - by the time I quit I'd been single a long time, but even if I wasn't, I was the last person to be in any position to be making deals...with anyone.

I'll admit it's taken me a long time to get this reasonable tho LOL - if you feel like you want to try this deal thing....perhaps you can work out a compromise where you don't drink at doesn't sound that that would be a big deal for you?

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:58 PM
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Welcome to SR JLT,
Well firstly I'll say the three C's from Al-Anon... You didn't cause it
You can't control it
You can't cure it

The three C's mean we are didn't cause the alcoholism. We can't control the alcoholic's behaviour and we can't cure them.

In saying that, in AA, people new to sobriety are taught to stay away from people, places and things that may trigger a drink. With enough sobriety/recovery under their belts, some people with alcoholism are able to be around people who drink and not feel tempted to pick up themselves.

It sounds like your husband realises he cannot continue socialising with the same people because they drink and this may make it difficult to hang on to his sobriety.

I would say this is the reason he's asked you to stop drinking too.

In saying that, and what you'll learn from this site, is that it's important you live your own life. It also sounds as though you have a great circle of friends/social life you don't want to part with and I also don't think it would be fair that you should have to turn down all party invitations. In saying that, are you okay with attending these parties without your husband because if he's serious about his recovery, he won't put himself in risky situations.

It sounds from your post that you are starting to feel the seeds of resentment building regarding this 'deal' and you're not comfortable sacrificing your social needs. Is this deal up for re-negotiating so that both you and your husband feel comfortable and supported? For example, no alcohol in the home or around your husband but the way you choose to socialise outside the home is your choice?
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:08 PM
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I already don't drink in the house (really never have, just when out with friends), and I have no problem going to parties by myself or tagging along with couple friends. I'm very independent. My husband isn't a fan of being left at home alone while I go out, though.

It's just such tough line to walk. I want to be supportive and respectful but really don't want to give up my entire social life. I'm happy to turn down, say, half the parties, but would like to attend some of them (for instance, my best friend's 40th birthday party and my children's school fundraising dinner).

Of course, my marriage and the health of my husband and children are absolutely my first priority, but I don't want to grow to resent my husband for my not being able to spend time with my dear friends or have an occasional glass of wine while I'm out. I'm extremely social, and my husband would rather he and I do things on our own. He was OK going to parties when he drank because that eased his discomfort, but now he'd prefer to never go to a party. I am trying to find a balance, but it isn't easy.

Oh, this is so difficult!
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:25 PM
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I see your predicament JLT. It seems to me that you're already being supportive in the home by not drinking. Your husband used to be happy partying whilst he was drinking. Now he wants to stay at home and wants you there with him. I may be wrong, yet this seems more like your husband wanting control over what you do and who you see, than wanting support. He no longer attends these gatherings, so he wants you to stop too.

I agree, turning down all the parties would not be healthy for you. And you have every right to celebrate your best friend's 40th and attend your childrens school fund raiser.

You have the right to a life too...
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JLT View Post
My husband isn't a fan of being left at home alone while I go out, though.
This raised a red flag for me. My XAH was the same. Over time, I couldn't go out without him or I would have to arrange someone for him to go out with at the same time. I hated going out with him because he would get so drunk he couldn't walk properly. I ended up completely isolated and never went out (didn't stop him from going out though). I lost a lot of my friends and lost a lot of my confidence in social settings as a result.

I forgot that XAH was a grown up. He didn't need me to babysit him! He was old enough to be able to look after himself for a night without me. This was just another way for him to control and manipulate me. It made it easier to gaslight me if I didn't have any friends who could give me a reality check.

Please avoid the mistakes I made. Don't give up your social life. Don't become isolated. Don't make your AH the focus of your life. It is your life for a reason.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:44 PM
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I agree with bookwrm...I too have been isolated by an exAH. My exADFH (defacto) tried this controlling tactic too. I lost a lot of my life, especially with exAH, not even being 'allowed' to attend my sister's wedding. And, bookwrm is right, he's a grown man, he doesn't need babysitting.

Maybe he can spend some of his time away from you in the AA fellowship if recovey is what he's truly seeking.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:33 AM
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My A and I did drink together before he became a mess of a person.
I drank socially, and I liked it. My job was one that was involved with a lot of social drinking.
While he was in rehab, he called me and asked if I was going to continue to drink. He did not tell me I could not, but he implied that he may make other choices if I chose to.

Now, that was 4 months ago.
I have not had a drink since BEFORE he went in. He has not had a drink, either (supposedly). I do avoid some friends.
It was not a difficult choice for me, since alcohol isnt that great for me, either...
I also put myself in his shoes, and asked myself, "If I was addicted to heroin, and it was going to ruin me if I touched would I feel if he went to a party and used heroin, with or without me there?"

I would be nuts over it. I would not feel supported.

Now, here it is, 4 months out, and he is now hanging out in his old dive bar hangouts...allegedly without drinking...hmmmm..I am beginning to feel a little funny about our "deal"..
If I went to a bar and spent time 4-5 times a week, he would surely have a problem with that. We have a son, so, obviously I cant do that, and wouldnt anyway, but..It feels a little out of kilter.

I dont blame you for feeling weird about your deal right now, consodering he has been hiding drinking from you.
I would keep my eyes open. Why should you refrain from normal social drinking if he is drinking secretly?
If he continues on with that, and you find out, I would reassess your "deal".
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Floss View Post
I lost a lot of my life, especially with exAH, not even being 'allowed' to attend my sister's wedding.
Oh gosh! I "couldn't go" to my best friend's wedding because XABF scheduled some giant prepaid activity every single weekend. He also blew up when I mentioned that I wanted to go to the wedding (I did phrase it as if he wasn't coming with me, but it was less than a year into our relationship, and he'd made it clear he didn't want to be around any of my relatives no matter what, so of course I didn't think he'd want to go), and he made it impossible to go try on the bridesmaids dresses within the timeframe she needed to pick them. (Yes, that's right, I was going to be in the wedding.)

I guess the answer here depends. If he is expecting you to put your entire life on hold while he works on his "recovery," I would say no. You need to work on your recovery, too, and part of that involves taking care of yourself, not isolating yourself.
If his request is simply that you not drink at home, or even that you don't drink in social settings (but has no issue with you going - you could always have a soda or something), and he's working diligently on his recovery, I'd consider his proposal.

Ultimately, the decision is yours.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:52 AM
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I didn't give up what little social life I had for my XAH. I also stopped drinking at home, but why shouldn't I be able to go out with girlfriends or coworkers occasionally? I just left him at home. But I resented him anyway.

He never left the house. Just sat and drank like a bump on a log. Didn't work, didn't do anything productive (towards the end), and I was already avoiding him. So me not being home wasn't that big a deal. Stressful, yes. Very isolating. Don't give up your social life for him.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:57 AM
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When my exabf was not fully committed to recovery, and also was very early into it...he was very uncomfortable being around people in a social situation who were drinking.

The longer he has been sober and working really hard to stay this way, the more relaxed he is about it. He looks at it all very differently now. He used to feel that he was "missing" something, and that it was awful that he had to give up drinking. He was afraid he wouldn't be the same funny, personable guy. He doesn't see it that way anymore.

We have just seen one another after 6 months of no contact, and I think if we were to go out to dinner, I would not order a glass of wine because it would be on my breath, and I would just rather be respectful of what he is trying to accomplish at this point. It is still very early in his recovery.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:58 AM
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I agree she shouldnt give up her life to fix his. But helping him the first few weeks, is not a lot to ask, IMO. I do feel it is not realistic to ask her to give up going out and seeing her friends on a long term basis. Sounds like she doesnt come home sloshed.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:19 AM
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This was one of the first questions I asked on SR when I joined three years ago. I realized that it was a great big huge QUACK in my case (not to say it is in all cases). I DID quit drinking for three months at his request and he continued to sneak drink. When I realized he was drinking, I stopped abstaining. Like you, I would have a glass of wine occasionally when out but never had alcohol in the house. Then when his drinking escalated (as it always does) and I called him on it, it was suddenly MY fault.

It made me realize that being sober wasn't really a DECISION he had made. It was still something that he felt he was doing because I was making him do it. Therefore, he was still looking outside of himself for reasons that he drank. QUACK! I didn't drink to punish him, but it became very clear to me how mistaken I was to think that my actions would somehow dictate HIS actions.

That being said, I don't drink now. I have become so disgusted with alcohol and its poisonous effects that I don't want it to be a part of my life. I do have to admit that I've had some angry and stressful moments where all I could think of was having a drink, but then I'd recognize the thought, stop it and remind myself WHY I am choosing not to drink.

Last edited by vujade; 01-26-2011 at 11:20 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:35 PM
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When I was with partners in early recovery (two times--different men), I didn't keep alcohol in the house, and for awhile at least I didn't drink in front of them. Later, when my first husband was feeling on more solid ground, he didn't mind if I drank at a party or when we were out, socially, but I tried not to overdo it.

I'm in recovery now, myself, but I live alone. When I first got sober I would not have appreciated having booze in the house, or having to be intimate with someone who had alcohol on his breath. While I don't particularly enjoy drinking occasions, it doesn't bother me to watch others drink. (I mostly find it boring.)

My suggestion is that you try in the beginning not to do anything that will make him terribly uncomfortable so far as alcohol is concerned. Don't push him to go to parties if he doesn't want to go, and if it bothers him to smell it on you, try to avoid that as well. Apart from that, go out with your friends as you like.

This sensitivity on his part is most likely temporary. You say you love him and want to support his recovery, so a little consideration on your part here will go a long way.
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