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Can you help me understand if my husband is beginning to have a drinking problem?

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Can you help me understand if my husband is beginning to have a drinking problem?

Old 03-25-2011, 10:38 PM
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Can you help me understand if my husband is beginning to have a drinking problem?

I don't know if I should even be here, I hope not, but I'm just not sure anymore. I am here to find out if my husband has a drinking problem, if I should be worried. I've researched what alcoholic is supposed to mean and I know he's not alcohol dependent- yet, but it affects me so I'm here. This is going to be long because I don't want to make something seem what it is not.

My husband is 21 years old. He never drank anything until I turned 21 (I am 22). He asked me to buy him a drink or two when I turned 21 and so I did. I have never seen anyone fall in love with anything so fast. He did not drink a lot then, but he really had a passion for alcohol, loved the taste, the smell, wanted to make it, wanted to know all about it and try every kind. I thought, "OK no big deal- I can control how much he drinks since he can't legally buy any." But he asked me to get some just about every weekend (I rarely ever did unless he begged incessantly) and he didn't drink often but when he did drink anything besides beer, he would get drunk (we chalked it up to his small frame of 120 lbs-he can drink quite a bit more now but hasn't gained much weight). Whenever he got drunk, I would hate it- he didn't become abusive, but he became needy and often embarrassing. I was scared what would happen when he became 21 since the males in his family have a history of alcohol abuse.

Fast forward to him turning 21. Things didn't change a whole lot except that he would go out and buy alcohol every weekend himself and usually got at least minimally drunk (I mean not smashed, but enough where he couldn't be trusted to do much for himself) Fast forward a half year, he is starting to get pretty smashed whenever there is social events, as usual embarrassing me and scaring me seeing him so helpless. It is now only when he is offered drinks in social events and on weekends. Sometimes we buy beer too but he doesn't drink often, but when he does, it is more than one usually.

Fast forward another few months. He bought some vodka last weekend and drunk most of it in 1-2 days (I had a little too). We bought a 24 pack also last weekend. I had 3, he had the rest. After one week, it is gone. He says it's normal. Is it? Tonight he went out and got a 40 oz of some kind of drink, and promptly passed out, delirious, leaving me as usual with our child to look after. It's funny, he was talking to one of his friends about something they did together tonight and he said "was I drunk?" and his friend said "when aren't you?" and he laughed. (He only sees this friend on weekends) I'm worried this is the beginning of alcoholism. Should I be?

P.S.

Sometimes when he is drunk, he says "I think I have a problem, but you're looking out for me right?" and then I confront him when he's sober and he says "Look up the definition of an alcoholic, I don't hide things, I am not dependent, so I'm fine. I'm just a young guy." Is it true? Should I worry? Is this normal?

Thank you for reading this, I hope you can put my mind at ease, but I just really need to hear from someone else that I'm not wrong, or that I am because I feel very alone in this, like I am watching a trainwreck I could stop. Or am I??

P.P.S. He also turns to alcohol when he is depressed and always says if I left him or something happened to me, the first thing he would do is drink until he passed out, which is not reassuring.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:42 PM
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I suggest you attend a few Alanon meetings. Also, and I say this gently, what you described in your post is in fact an alcoholic (which means alcohol dependent).

Take care,

Cyranoak
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
I suggest you attend a few Alanon meetings. Also, and I say this gently, what you described in your post is in fact an alcoholic (which means alcohol dependent).

Take care,

Cyranoak
Thanks for your response. Can I ask what makes it seem like he is alcohol dependent? I don't know a lot about alcoholism- it's not the sort of thing I ever imagined I would have to know

Some other stuff I wanted to add...

I love him and we have a pretty good relationship but lately at dinner he just has this glazed look in his eyes, and I know tomorrow he won't remember any of it. When I ask if he's drunk he always says "No I'm not" and offers to recite ABCs backward, walk a line, do a math problem and I feel like I'm just being silly to even ask.

While I was waiting for a response I started to read some of the older posts around here. I really hate to admit it, and can't believe it but he fits well under a functioning alcoholic.

The only thing is, he doesn't drink often, but when he does he doesn't seem to know when to stop. He says he isn't an alcoholic, that he knows what he is doing and doesn't "HAVE" to drink, he always cites that his father was so bad he had to drink in the shower and he doesn't so that means he's fine. I mean can you really be an alcoholic when you only down 1-2 beers every other night and maybe a shot of vodka or some other hard liquor? (on weekdays anyway- weekends he doesn't have a limit once it's nightime) He also offers to not drink that particular moment if I ask him not to, suggesting he can control himself.

What is "normal" for alcohol usage?
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:14 AM
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What is "normal" for alcohol usage?

To me is sounds like your BF is becoming an ABF. You have every right to be concerned. As far as "normal" drinking goes...your alcohol consumption seem about right..IMHO
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Midwestman View Post
To me is sounds like your BF is becoming an ABF. You have every right to be concerned. As far as "normal" drinking goes...your alcohol consumption seem about right..IMHO
I am not familiar with all the terminology, if someone could define, I would be thankful I have seen ABF, XABAF...I can only guess at what it means, I can't find definitions anywhere

I personally only have a beer 1-2 times a week, maybe 2 times a month, maybe 4. I rarely if ever drink anything else besides wine or wine coolers. But I'm probably very conservative so I didn't consider myself normal.

I assumed normal was my husband.
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:08 AM
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Welcome to the forum Xelestial!

Have a read through the Sticky posts at the top of the forum - these are threads that have been put in the stickies because of the collective wisdom found there. When I first read through them I realised I wasn't alone and my story was not unique! Real eye opening stuff.

To find out more about alcoholism, I read a book called Under the Influence. It really helped me understand what was going on.

To find out how to could regain my own sanity, I read Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie. If you only do one thing from my list, get yourself a copy of this and read it!!
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:29 AM
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Hi and welcome to SR!

Please take Bookwyrm's suggestion and buy (and read) a copy of "Under the Influence" -- leave it laying around and I hope your husband will pick it up and read it too. It sounds as if you can both use a good education about alcohol use/abuse, and this is a great read.

To answer your question, "Should I worry?" Well, you could worry...but it won't change the outcome. I suggest you take that particular energy and save it for your child.

Glad you're here -- it shows some real maturity.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:55 AM
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I've been in two alcoholic marriages and am a recovering alcoholic, myself (two and a half years sober) and, yes, your husband appears to be an alcoholic. I know many people who swear they were alcoholics from the first drink. It isn't how often you drink, or how much, but how you feel about it. "In love" is a good way to put it.

I suggest you take a look at "Under the Influence," as well as AA's "Big Book" (here is an online version), just so you have a better understanding of what it is you are dealing with.

I also strongly suggest you check out some Al-Anon meetings. It sounds like your husband has a long way to go before he will think that he needs to quit drinking (and quitting is the only viable solution for a real alcoholic), so it's essential that you get your own head screwed on straight. There is very little we can do to "help" an alcoholic, but there is a lot we can do for ourselves to minimize the impact on our lives.
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:15 AM
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lately at dinner he just has this glazed look in his eyes, and I know tomorrow he won't remember any of it. When I ask if he's drunk he always says "No I'm not" and offers to recite ABCs backward, walk a line, do a math problem and I feel like I'm just being silly to even ask.
In my eyes, if he's glazed over and won't remember it the next day, he is drunk and he's trying to convince you he's not, which means he is trying to hide it. My A would do this to me. If you asked him he was never drunk. What I found out was that he was carrying a .2 BAL just to get through the day like a normal person.

While I was waiting for a response I started to read some of the older posts around here. I really hate to admit it, and can't believe it but he fits well under a functioning alcoholic.

The only thing is, he doesn't drink often, but when he does he doesn't seem to know when to stop. He says he isn't an alcoholic, that he knows what he is doing and doesn't "HAVE" to drink, he always cites that his father was so bad he had to drink in the shower and he doesn't so that means he's fine. I mean can you really be an alcoholic when you only down 1-2 beers every other night and maybe a shot of vodka or some other hard liquor? (on weekdays anyway- weekends he doesn't have a limit once it's nightime) He also offers to not drink that particular moment if I ask him not to, suggesting he can control himself.
One of the things that I have really learned here is that alcoholism is a progressive disease. It starts off relatively manageable and descends into chaos over time as the alcoholic continues to drink, deny, and delude him or herself. Your BF is looking at his father and other alcoholic family members as "real" alcoholics, but your BF's inability to control his intake and level of sobriety, his unwillingness to honor your feelings about his drunken behavior, and his willingness to smudge your boundaries, indicate that there could be an issue here that you are wise to acknowledge.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:43 AM
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Thanks for all the responses and welcomes and advice- I will truly do my best to take it to heart.

I had a conversation with him about it this morning. He was largely dismissive of where I got my info but said he was willing to admit he may have a problem, that he may be an alcoholic. But he was very opinionated about whether you could control it or not.

Since I do not know if he is an alcoholic or someone with a drinking problem, I accepted his suggestion that he simply moderate monthly and daily to an agreed upon amount- this means rarely if ever getting drunk, and very little alcohol in the house in general. I have read that if you aren't alcoholic, you will be able to control it with willpower, but that if you are, you simply cannot since it is a disease.

If he succeeds in his moderation plan, then hopefully we will have avoided the inevitable descent. But if he fails or has a hard time over the next few months, I am sure he will be convinced that he is an alcoholic and needs to get help.

The main problem I have with him is that he doesn't believe it will get worse and believes that even if he is an alcoholic, it isn't an issue.

Unfortunately, he will have to fail to understand whether or not he is, and then he can get help. So time will tell for us. Again thank you for all your help, and I hope I will not have to be back here in a few months, but it is very reassuring to know where to go for help if I do.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:03 PM
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Welcome to SR. Yes, based on what you've posted I'd say your husband has a problem with alcohol.

I agree with what others have already posted. They know what they are talking about. Glad you are here. Do take the time to learn all you can about alcoholism.

The only thing I have to add is that as a mother. It is your responsibility to protect your child. There is no way a child can be raised with in a home with an actively drinking alcoholic and grow up without emotional damage. This is something you really need to think about.
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