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Pretty sure my husband is an alcoholic

Old 02-16-2011, 07:48 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Thanks everyone for all the advice. We have been married for almost 9 years and we do have a son. I can't see myself leaving at this point, but I have already started the separating of finances. I will check into the meetings and keep reading the other posts.

I've thought about giving him ultimatums, getting rid of all the alcohol I could find, telling his parents for support, but I haven't done any of these things yet. I'm just not sure what my next step should be.

Thanks everyone for listening.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:05 AM
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ultimatums, telling others, dumping alcohol are all things we have done. They don't work and can make things worse.

First we issue ultimatums in an attempt to control another adult..which is not within our rights and isnt fair and then we often don't hold to them so we lose our credibility and it becomes making threats. empty threats, at that.

dumping alcohol is a waste. It is another attempt at control. He will get more and you will just be pouring your money down the drain. and maybe there will be an argument..because he really does have the right to drink if he wants. Even if it is destructive, and I completely believe you that it is.

Telling others, again, is often an attempt at control. We may humiliate them and try to involve others to put pressure on them. This may cause resentment and then more hiding and lying. usually counter productive.

Detaching and going "hands off the addict" and getting help managing our own lives and dilemna usually prove far more constructive!

If I could think of one single thing to get the alcoholic to stop drinking, I would tell you! I just have never seen or heard it!

Do take some time to read the stickies at the top of this forum, there is a world of wisdom up there.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:15 AM
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I gave an ultimatum. It still pisses him off sometimes, but I don't care. Because for me - it was me firmly setting my boundaries, and I will not be married to an active alcoholic or a dry drunk anymore. Period.

I've read Debra Jay's books and agree with her - it is our responsibility to raise the bottom as spouses and family members. The one book in particular is "No More Letting Go". It also covers the process of interventions, which may be another step to consider for your situation.

She calls alcoholism a "family affair" and I agree. My RAH's behavior and choices directly affected me and my kids. That gives me a big investment in his disease! Therefore, giving that ultimatum for me was of utmost importance!

I did choose to separate, but I am also choosing at this point to remain married with the hope to be able to put this back together again, this time in a healthy way. I felt it was necessary to his recovery and mine to put some space between us right now. Its been difficult and painful but at least for me, a great learning process that I probably wouldn't have had with it right in my face. He's struggled, and I realized I wasn't helping because I wasn't working on myself yet.

You'll know when the time is right to make the next step. Until then, keep reading and learning about what you are dealing with. And take good care!
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:15 AM
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When you are about to take action, always take the time to examine your true motivation for doing what you plan on doing. Invariably, you'll find that you are trying, through an ultimatum, through a booze dump, through telling friends/family, to AFFECT the alcoholic in your life, in some way or another. Even talking to the alcoholic has a goal: you hope that you will change him with your words, that he will suddenly come to a realization and do a 180.

Sadly, that isn't going to happen.

You CAN'T control or cure the alcoholism, nor can you change the alcoholic with your words. Only HE can decide that he's had enough, and believe me, when he *truly* decides to recover, nothing will stand in his way.

Until then, take care of the one important person in your life: YOU. Your son needs a healthy, happy and sane mama.

I would also suggest that by continuing to live with an alcoholic, you are modelling for your son what types of relationships and behaviours are acceptable. Perhaps it would be wise to check out the Adult Children of Alcoholics forum on this board and read about the experiences of those who grew up in an alcoholic home...it is eye-opening.

Keep posting! SR is always open
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:30 AM
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Sounds to me like his drinking is a problem/solution for him, but MORE IMPORTANTLY its a problem for you.
I really understand the anger and frustration of bringing home money and scrimping and that huge monkey on his back sucking a large chunk of money away every week, everyday.

I am not in a rural area, but my alanon sponsor and I run in distant social circles. We run into each other, and no one even knows we know each other or why, if they do.

Like Thumper said, People in alanon meetings are there for all different reasons.
People in my home group are there for husbands, wives, grown children, and some for parents who are long passed.

NO one needs to know who you are there to gain support over. I do not know who many people in my home group are dealing with, because many people share without that revelation. The point being, everyone there is being affected by the alcoholism of someone in their life, even if it was a parent long passed.

I cannot explain the peace that comes when you go into those meetings and just feel or realize that you are not alone.

Good Luck
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:30 AM
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I have to post again - mainly because I am beginning to find the word "ultimatum" is the dirty word and I don't see it that way. The definition of the word is: A final statement of terms made by one party to another. Relationships are a negotiation between two people. He told me he couldn't be married to a crazy nag. Ultimatum. I told him I couldn't be married to an active alcoholic. Ultimatum. I told him I couldn't be married to an abuser of any kind. He said he couldn't be married to a cheater. These are the terms we set for each other through out the marriage - they tend to be fluid rather than static.

Alcoholics are very touchy to being controlled. No wonder - they are already out of control. But I don't think ultimatums are "controlling" as much as I think they are the final terms of accepting a relationship. The issue really is - is this person ready to accept your terms? And are you ready to follow through if those terms are not met? My husband is working recovery pretty hard - he's been successful so far. But I can honestly say my terms have changed just over the last 90 days. I know now that I must accept this will always be an issue and relapse is always just around the corner. So the ultimatum of not living with an active alcoholic also means accepting there may be times when he relapses and my ultimatum gets a little more forgiving.

I don't see anything wrong with setting boundaries of what you will and won't accept in your life and around your children. If that means ultimatums, well, so be it. Mine given to my RAH was not in meanness nor was it in a controlling fashion - it simply is what it is. And I also have to accept his and learn how to stop being a crazy nag! I am accepting his terms, as well. I think that's fair.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Live View Post
Telling others, again, is often an attempt at control. We may humiliate them and try to involve others to put pressure on them. This may cause resentment and then more hiding and lying. usually counter productive.

Detaching and going "hands off the addict" and getting help managing our own lives and dilemna usually prove far more constructive!
I'd just like to add that while this is true in most cases, in cases where abuse is involved, it is a very good thing to tell people about the abuse.
It doesn't sound like that's the case in this situation, but I did want to say something for anyone else reading.

Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
I have to post again - mainly because I am beginning to find the word "ultimatum" is the dirty word and I don't see it that way. The definition of the word is: A final statement of terms made by one party to another.
I think sometimes setting boundaries can be seen as ultimatums, depending upon the boundary.

"Quit drinking or I'll leave" is an ultimatum.
"I can't live with an active alcoholic, so if you keep drinking, I'm leaving" is an ultimatum, but also a boundary.

At the end of the day they both result in the same thing, but looking at the way it's worded, the first is trying to force someone to change their behavior (NOT a boundary), while the second is admitting there is no control over the drinking but there is control over the speaker's reaction to the drinking.
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