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Not drinking too much, but it is driving me crazy.

Old 10-14-2011, 08:15 AM
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Not drinking too much, but it is driving me crazy.

I have never posted on this site (or any site before), but need some advice. Over the summer I realized that my husband was drinking much more than I had thought. In addition to the beer and wine at dinner, he was sneaking vodka when I was upstairs or doing various things. I found the empty (6 of them!) bottles in our closet and confronted him. He agreed to stop drinking, cold turkey. I couldn't believe it. Things were amazing. He made it 6 weeks.

Then, he said it was too drastic and he could drink an occasional beer on the weekends. He says all of our friends go out and drink and he isn't that bad, he can control it. Fast forward...there were 2 nights on vacation with "2 beers" at dinner and now there is sneaky behavior happening again. The difference this time is that he is not drinking every day and he is not coming home drunk, but he is sneaking drinks. Last night I found in his gym bag (yes, I was looking), 3 empty beer cans, crushed in a zip lock bag.

I have been all over him, nagging him, threatening him telling him I am going to leave. My question is really what to do? He isn't drinking very much, but I honestly can't handle him drinking at all. I am definitely trying to control him. My fear is that it is a slippery slope...and eventually we will be back at that point where he is "running errands" also known as stopping at the bars to have a drink. A couple of weeks ago he promised to stop drinking completely (again), but he is lying and has continued to drink (even if not very much). I know that I am being a total nag and it is literally driving me crazy. Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:28 AM
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I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. I know it's not easy.

Have you looked into Alanon in your area?


Here are a couple of things that jumped out at me.

I have been all over him, nagging him, threatening him telling him I am going to leave.
How's that working out for you?

I honestly can't handle him drinking at all.
If you can't handle it, may be it's time to make a change.



You'll be getting more responses from others who have been through or are going through very similar situations. They'll probably have some better things to offer up.


Glad you found SR! Welcome!!
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:31 AM
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I believe that when someone is hiding drinking vodka they are doing it because they think it doesn't have a smell and they are doing it because they know they are drinking too much and that they don't want others to know just how much. It is a worry for them, even if they don't admit it. My closet drinking AH husband started out just like yours.

Regardless, it has become a problem for you.

Get comfortable and read lots here. I also attend Alanon. It is for the families and friends of alcoholics. It's really great to have face to face support and you learn lots on how to help you. It can get better whether or not the alcoholic continues to drink.

You might as well stop snooping or nagging. In my case it just made him better at sneaking and acting sober. (Although mine drinks daily, I haven't actually seen him drink for YEARS.) You did not cause his drinking and more importantly YOU can't control it and YOU cannot cure it. And you might as well accept that if he is going to continue to drink, he will lie. They have to lie to protect the drinking. This sounds cold, but I think you might as well put your energies into YOU.

Thinking of you.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:33 AM
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[QUOTE=Wonderingwife;3136699]I have never posted on this site (or any site before), but need some advice. Over the summer I realized that my husband was drinking much more than I had thought. In addition to the beer and wine at dinner, he was sneaking vodka when I was upstairs or doing various things. I found the empty (6 of them!) bottles in our closet and confronted him. He agreed to stop drinking, cold turkey. I couldn't believe it. Things were amazing. He made it 6 weeks.

I guess you have to ask yourself how normal is it to hide bottles of vodka in your closet. I've come to find that people who don't think they have a problem with anything (including alcohol) usually don't feel they have to hide it.

Have you read up on Alcoholism? Read the stickies on the top of this site and look into Al-Anon where you will get support.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for your replies! So many quick responses

When I realized how bad the drinking at become in the summer, I was shocked and obviously concerned. I thought he would have a million excuses for the empty vodka bottles in the (downstairs) closet (..left over from a party, years old etc.). Instead, he chose to stop drinking and admit the problem.

My issue now is that he isn't drinking every day. I can spend every second with him over the weekend and know when he is sober. But then, one or 2 nights during the week, there is an excuse for why he is a bit late. He isn't drunk when he comes home, but I know that he is sneaking drinks (beer, I think). I guess the issue that I am having is with the lying. If he only drinks a few days a week (and he isn't coming home drunk), should I be making such a huge deal about it? To me it is like just waiting for it to get out of control- I cannot handle the uncertainty.

I would like to go to Al-Anon but I live in a small town and really want to be anonymous...
Thanks for all of your advice!
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:56 AM
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If it is a problem for you, then it is a big deal for you. In my limited experience, the lies continue, the drinking increases, and things don't get any better.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Wonderingwife View Post
I guess the issue that I am having is with the lying. If he only drinks a few days a week (and he isn't coming home drunk), should I be making such a huge deal about it? To me it is like just waiting for it to get out of control- I cannot handle the uncertainty.

I would like to go to Al-Anon but I live in a small town and really want to be anonymous...
Hi Wonderingwife...welcome to SR. I'm glad you found us.

I would really recommend reconsidering Al-Anon, despite being in a small town. You'd be surprised how many people struggle with their loved ones' addiction...There are also online Al-Anon meetings, and I believe the F&F forum here has an online meeting on Saturdays...

I applaud you for being so honest with yourself. You can clearly admit that you have an issue both with the drinking and the lack of honesty. As for the "should I be" sentence...there's no right or wrong here. If you feel that the drinking is a problem for you, then it's a problem. I'm with you on the lying...how can you trust a person who cannot be honest with you?

And finally, you are right about waiting for it to get out of control. Alcoholism is a progressive disease that, if left untreated, will result in death. It's that simple. IMO functional alcoholism is just a stage in the disease; it will eventually worsen and spiral out of control. Ask yourself if you want to be around during that destructive period. The 3 C's of addiction tell us that:

You didn't CAUSE the drinking
You can't CURE the drinking
you can't CONTROL the drinking

All you can do is focus on yourself, decide on what your boundaries are (i.e. what you are willing or not willing to accept in a relationship) and enforce them with your partner.

Good luck to you and keep posting. SR is always open.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by fedup3 View Post
I guess you have to ask yourself how normal is it to hide bottles of vodka in your closet. I've come to find that people who don't think they have a problem with anything (including alcohol) usually don't feel they have to hide it
Calm down. Breathe. Try not to drive yourself crazy. Accept that you cannot control your husband. You will make your best decisions when you are at peace with those decisions. Tell him you love him and that you know he's secretly drinking then drop it. Really, what else can you do? He's never going to quit until its his decision which may never happen. Are you going to wait to leave until he gets a DUI or loses his job? He's an alcoholic. That's his problem. What are yours and how can you work on them?
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:08 AM
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By the time my husband was hiding the bottles, he was well progressed in the disease, the lying and the manipulation. His drunk behavior meshed so well with his sober behavior that I honestly could not tell when he was buzzed at times. I refused to ride in the car with him at that point and he was not allowed to drive any family member. I thought he was only having a few beers and only a few days of the week. I was wrong and it was shocking at how much he was drinking once the truth came out.

What I am trying to say is that once I found the bottles and despite me thinking it was now and again, it was already out of control for him.

It gets worse, the lying gets worse, the uncertainy gets worse. Every thought, every action, everything my AH did was to protect the disease. I was powerless.

BUT I was not powerless over my own decisions and the environment my kids grow up in. Peace to you, I remember well those early days of discovery and fear. You are in my thoughts -
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:31 AM
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My issue now is that he isn't drinking every day. I can spend every second with him over the weekend and know when he is sober.

I used to believe this, too. I now know of how he holds his jaw just slightly different after he starts drinking, the knee against the cupboard to steady himself, the slow, purposeful way he speaks and walks, the hand resting on anything near to steady it, the "too long" stares before he speaks, and how he talks less and less as he gets more drunk to eliminate a chance for a slur.

I now know he drank when he fed or walked the dog, when he showered or went to the washroom (NO ONE goes that often), when he switched the laundry, when he headed to the kitchen for any reason, when he went outside for cigarette, etc.

I've found bottles in the mostly unlikely places, so much so there is almost begrudging admiration for his creativity. Not to mention the making sure to never buy alcohol with debit card or credit card, discarding of evidence, bringing in the alcohol, switching it to other bottles, getting the empties out (but not in our recycle bin), etc. Sometimes I think I am just too lazy to be alcoholic when I think of all the effort he put into not being detected.

Your husband drank at least 6 bottles of vodka over the summer that you didn't know of or suspect. It's probably only the tip of the secret drinking iceberg! You can't be with him every second, and who wants to live that way anyway.

It might be helpful to assume, based on his past behaviour of hidden vodka drinking, that he is drinking as bad as you feared. If you can accept that, then you can move forward with "what am I going to do?" It is not unkind to assume the worst of him, he's showing he's capable of it, and it allows you to plan and establish boundries and to begin to heal.

I spent way too long in the "is he or isn't he" stage and felt so guilty about thinking he might be!
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:02 AM
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My ABF (baby's father) who is more like a roommate now than my sig other has only progressed into this disease of addiction and become more and more of a person I can't even say I like or know anymore. In my experience, and this is my first sig other experience w/ an addict, you can not do anything to change these people. Trying to change and nag only starts more arguments. I used to do that and found that I would become so upset and tangled up in his bad behavior that I started to go nuts as you have stated.

I am still accused almost on a daily basis of being a cheating, lying (fill in the blank). My time is micro-managed. I used to give him excuses as to why I would never do that, blah blah blah. Like my mom told me before, You CAN'T reason with a drunk (her father was an A). It is very true. I started taking the advice of some people from this site as well as my mom's advice and I try my hardest to ignore him now. Now, I have a plan in my head that will take a little bit of time to prepare for an escape route. Mainly, I need to save up some money, get my head back about me and work on my own recovery from the abuse I have put up with for years in so many different forms.

IF, and it's a big IF, he can get sober for himself and realize he has a problem, things may be able to work out. But, I think beating an addiction is such a hard thing to do and the person first HAS TO WANT TO DO IT. They have to realize THEY have to do it and they shouldn't expect support from anyone but themselves. That's my opinion. Because all my support has meant to my ABF at this point, is that I have supported his lies up to this point by just threatening to do things because of HIS problems.

I deal with the effects of an A on a daily basis. Some days are tolerable and some are just becoming downright unbearable. I just try to take myself out of the equation on the unbearable days and have been doing things that I like to do which I haven't done for myself in a while. I don't care what he thinks about me actually doing something for myself. He doesn't care about what he is doing to the relationship due to the alcohol.

I think as well as many others do that if your husband's drinking is affecting the relationship there is a problem. How you address that issue is up to you! Sage words of advice from my mom that were heeded WAY TOO LATE in my own relationship are, "Do you want to live like this for the rest of your life?" Of course, I know the answer to that question for my own self. I guess for you, you need to figure that out for you.

Keep coming back here. I get so much strength from reading other people's stories and realizing that all of these A stories seem so much the same. It is obvious that it is a problem in many homes from all different walks of life.

Good luck. We will all make the right decision for ourselves when the time comes!
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:00 PM
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If it's a problem for you and he's hiding it, it's a problem.

My husband never looked drunk, never staggered, did not fit the 'typical' picture of an alcoholic. Nevertheless, I learned that he is. It was a problem for me, and he was hiding it very well.

Educating yourself will help you sort things out in your head. Read the stickies at the top of this forum. Two good books are "Under The Influence" by James Milan and "Codependent No More" by Beatty. You can get them at the library. Also look at attending an Al Anon meeting. Once I got more info about alcoholism, I could see how typical my own husband's patterns were. Good luck, and keep posting! Reading here on SR has been such a help for me. I came here feeling so alone and then realized that my story is typical. My experience is very similar to yours --- it all just sneaks up on you, and you feel like you might be going crazy! You are not. Hang in there!
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:23 PM
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You aren't being a wife, you are being a babysitter or a mom, and being massively controlling along with the deal.

This will make you crazy, and over time will likely affect your health.

You've received a lot of great responses here to consider, and I'd really like you to try an Alanon meeting or six to see if it can help you. In the meantime I'd like to ask you one question: is it your intention to be your husband's mommy and have a son, or is it your intention to be your husband's wife, and have a husband?

If it's the latter please consider Alanon for yourself, and let your husband find his own way without your interference (help). It may seem like it is going to take too long that way, but in my experience it is, in fact, the best and quickest way for things to improve (if they are going to improve).

Either way, if you go to Alanon your life will improve whether he quits drinking or not. I went through this for years with my alcoholic wife, and did most of what you described in your post. Then I found Alanon and it saved my life-- literally. And I truly believe it is only because of Alanon and AA for her (of her own volition) that I am back with my wife today (we divorced).

Take care, take what you like and leave the rest,

Cyranoak

P.s. Threats and ultimatums don't work. True boundaries do (but not in the sense of making them stop drinking), but remember they are for you, not him, and they don't exist at all unless you follow through on them.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:40 PM
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There is definitely a real problem because it's a problem for you. I would suggest that you pick up the book Codependent No More. I've read it cover to cover several times. There are also books called, "Getting Him Sober." I've also found this site to be a lot of help. The number one thing is that you cannot control him. You are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. You can't see everything he is doing. Addicts become master liers and manipulaters.

The only thing you can do is take care of yourself and protect yourself from the consequences of his drinking. You'll drive yourself crazy worrying about whether or not hs is drinking and trying to control his actions. That is what happened to me with my RABF. I got to the point where I hit rock-bottom. I was so involved in whether or not he was using, trying to control who he was with, how much he used, nagging, arguing, yelling, etc. None of it did any good. All it did was for me to become depressed because I wasn't doing what I needed to do for myself.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:28 PM
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You have already gotten some great advice. Alanon was a huge help for me in dealing with my husband's drinking. If a meeting seems scary or it feels too soon, you could always start by reading some alanon books at home (many libraries have them). Live meetings are awesome and I love going, but I remember how chicken I was at the start.

The main thing is TAKE CARE OF YOU! I know this sounds so foreign and so hard. We are so used to looking after our alcoholic/drinker that we feel way too busy, responsible, stressed, whatever...to do what feels good to us. I know I always thought, "if I do not fix this problem, who will?" or "if I do not fix this and make our marriage better, who will?" And the answer is, I don't know. Maybe it will get fixed, maybe it won't. God has a plan and I do not know what it is.

But I have learned (and I really hope you do too) that it is not my job or duty as a wife to FIX my husband. I spent years taking on tremendous responsibility for the success (or failure) of our marriage. If you feel like the drinking is a problem, it is. Take care of you. Looking through gym bags is a sad sad way to live your life. Did you ever think you would wake up one morning and think "how do I want to spend my day? Oh I know, snooping through my husband's bags and things to see if he has been drinking". It says a lot about your husband. But it also says a lot about you. that you are choosing to spend your precious days in this way. I am so sorry if I sound harsh. But I wasted a lot of my own precious days doing the snooping, nagging, arguing, convincing, talking. I hate to think of others joining the grips of the disease by losing themselves. Please start spending your time in ways that bring you peace - not anxiety, stress, anger. Everything will work out as it should - your only job is to take care of you in the best way you can.

One more thing about DENIAL: You mentioned your husband admitted he had a problem, quit, then tried the "a few beers" thing. Mine did the same thing, a few times. It sounds like its not a true admission and, obviously, not a real recovery. The Alcoholics often believe what they say at the time, but it is really their disease lying/manipulating you to get off their back. Unless you see a commitment to recovery, he is still drinking. Do not be surprised. Do not snoop. You can assume he is drinking.

Now, what are you going to do with your time and your days. Once your eyes have been opened to the problem, the best thing you can do is look to yourself. Stop looking at the alcoholic and his drinking habits. Look at yourself and what makes you happy, joyful, peaceful, calm. The ONLY thing you can attempt to change is yourself. Believe me, I wasted so much time trying to change my husband, to get him to see the light, to convince him to fix his problem, fix our family. I changed me, started spending my days seeking out peace, and I am happy now.

God Bless and good luck to you! Welcome Welcome Welcome. You will find support here. I am thinking of you and wishing you all the best.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:18 PM
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i agree

Originally Posted by Wonderingwife View Post
Thanks for your replies! So many quick responses

When I realized how bad the drinking at become in the summer, I was shocked and obviously concerned. I thought he would have a million excuses for the empty vodka bottles in the (downstairs) closet (..left over from a party, years old etc.). Instead, he chose to stop drinking and admit the problem.

My issue now is that he isn't drinking every day. I can spend every second with him over the weekend and know when he is sober. But then, one or 2 nights during the week, there is an excuse for why he is a bit late. He isn't drunk when he comes home, but I know that he is sneaking drinks (beer, I think). I guess the issue that I am having is with the lying. If he only drinks a few days a week (and he isn't coming home drunk), should I be making such a huge deal about it? To me it is like just waiting for it to get out of control- I cannot handle the uncertainty.

I would like to go to Al-Anon but I live in a small town and really want to be anonymous...
Thanks for all of your advice!
Hi there.so sorry you are having to live this way. It is awful when alcoholics hide and you feel helpless as to what to do. But as was already said you didn't cause it..can't control it and can't cure it. He might need help to stop. If you do the work on you and get support you can get through it all much better. God bless
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:57 AM
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Thanks, everybody. I appreciate the support.
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