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'moderating' drinking - advice please

Old 12-19-2011, 01:27 PM
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'moderating' drinking - advice please

hi there, not been on here for a few months, but hoped to get some advice from anyone who has been in the same/going through the same situation.
My other half is a problem drinker, and after i left him, with our 2 yr old child, and intervention from his family, he went to a rehab clinic, only for 2 weeks, about 3/4 months ago. He came out and agreed to attend AA/counselling etc. Since then he hasnt really had a 'sober' period. Maybe a day or so. But a couple of weeks after leaving the clinic i was finding bottles hidden in the house/in his car/smelling alcohol on his breath after he'd popped into the pub for a drink on the way home from work. He struggled to stay sober, and said if he could have one or two now and again he would be happy, and would try moderation drinking. He is not drinking every day (as far as i know) but now at home a couple of times a week having a bottle of wine and when we've had a couple of birthdays etc he has got drunk but not been aggressive or abusive verbally as he was before. Im unhappy about this, as i had said if there was any drinking apart from odd occasion, id leave again. Perhaps my fault to agreeing to the moderated drinking, i dont know. He thinks its ok because he isnt drinking every night, or being aggressive etc anymore, but i just feel uncomfortable with it. When i see a glass of wine in his hand it makes me feel sick and nervous, and i feel that he's not respecting what we agreed. I cant have a physical relationship with him, dont want to kiss him cuddle him and so on. We argue all of the time, as i just feel that he is very critical of me, and also that everything he put me through before means nothing. He has suggested we go to couples counselling, but i dont know if im holding onto resentment/being too harsh and expecting too much?
I just wondered if anyone else had been through this situation. Feeling very confused about what to do, im not happy, but guess worried that im not giving the relationship or our family a chance, and i worry about making the wrong decision for my daughters sake too. When i say maybe we should be apart, he lays on the guilt about how im taking his daughter away, and how awful women are that do that etc etc. And when i left before i got so much verbal abuse and hassle i dont know if im strong enough to do it again.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:38 PM
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Wanting happiness is not selfish. Wanting a partner who cares about your feelings is not selfish. It's your life, the only one you get. How do you want to spend it?

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Old 12-19-2011, 01:42 PM
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wanttobehappy,

So sorry for all you are going through, I would suggest individual and couples counseling which helped me alot, the couples counselor could keep our disagreements "in focus" and we got to the root of alot of our problems, also when one of us was out of line she called us on it.

I would also suggest al-anon and reading the stickies at the top of the page as well as the threads, these things may give you some coping skills and some clarity.

Hope it works out for you, please come back often to vent, talk, or get a hug, best of luck.

Bill
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:43 PM
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No, a week before christmas, his moderating drinking isnt the most important......whats most important is making the best, and right decision for my daughter. She is the most important person here, and i just want to make sure that im doing the right thing by her. At the moment i am confused, perhaps because of what my heads been filled with, of what the right thing to do is, by him and his family. Because theres no abusive aggressive behaviour, because he isnt drinking and becoming unruly......he thinks the problem has gone. We argue because im not happy about any alcohol consumption because im scared that it may end up being a real problem again. I feel i know that the right thing to do is leave, because drinking or no drinking, its not a happy house when both of us are in it. But doubt myself for whatever reason, maybe a confidence thing. Hoping that some people have been in this situation and understand where im coming from
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:45 PM
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Thanks willybluedog, can i ask, are you still with your OH? We did have couples counselling but didnt keep it up....He said all the right things in the meetings but didnt stick to at home. Ive been to one al-anon, think i will go back again
thank you again
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:46 PM
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Thanks willybluedog, can i ask, are you still with your OH? We did have couples counselling but didnt keep it up....He said all the right things in the meetings but didnt stick to at home. Ive been to one al-anon, think i will go back again
thank you again
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:48 PM
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LaTeeDa, thanks for your reply....just want a happy peacful life for me and my daughter. a partner who appreciates his family and their feelings, for someone to respect my feelings and care for us. To me it seems so simple, but with him its not.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:50 PM
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I'm so sorry.

I would not be happy with the moderation drinking either. IME, it is simply a bluster before the big storm.

I also remember well the other feelings you mention about guilt and confusion and then having to deal with all the emotionally abusive and manipulative stuff. The things that helped me during this time were a counselor that specialized in addictions. Initially xah and I saw her together - to assist us with separating and co parenting. That didn't work real well by the way because xah was still very actively drinking so didn't have a lick of sense at that time. I continued to see her on my own and it was really really helpful.

I read the stickies at the top over and over. I got so much from them. I posted a lot. So much support and EHS here. They talked me through some of my biggest fears.

Mostly I discovered that I didn't have to map out the rest of my life I just had to do the next right thing. In order to figure out what that was I had to stop listening to other people. I had to stop living my life by what I thought I 'should' do. I had to turn away from the what ifs and look at what I had today. Then I had to listen to what my gut was telling me -and believe and honor it.

Hang in there. You have time. You can make choices and then change your mind. You do the best you can every day and pay attention to the present and you'll figure out your own truths. I was sooooo worked up about my kids and separating. What I discovered is that one healthy and happy parent is better then two miserable and dysfunctional parents. While I thought I was living for my kids (and that is partially true) I was not fully present for them. I was consumed by an alcoholic relationship and all that entails. It took up so much of my head space, mental energy, and focus. There was very little left over and I was on edge all.the.time. How do you get yourself to happy, healthy, peaceful, and functional so that you can be fully present for your children? There is more then one answer to that question but only you can know yours.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:57 PM
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If he will, have him google the story of Moderation Management and their founder Audrey Kishline. This may not go over well but I have had several people that wanted to moderate read that story, with mixed results.

The rest of the advice on this thread is spot on.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:01 PM
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Children first and foremost. Your child has already inherited the gene that predisposes him/her to addiction. She/he will carry her childhood into adulthood. Adult children of parents with addiction issues have a 50% chance of either becoming an addict themselves or marrying an addict. Living in a toxic enviorment is not healthy for a child, I know first hand what the ramifications are, I lived it.

IMHO the only wrong decision that could be made for your child is to stay where you are.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:04 PM
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Thumper, thank you so much for your reply....everything you say makes so much sense to me. I try to be the best mum i can be to my daughter, but i try to support him too, and i feel like i cant do both. With worrying about all of our futures, the right thing to do and so on, im probably am only half present. When im with friends, or somewhere else with her, i feel like a different person, i dont have to worry about keeping him happy, or what he is upto. I dont know why but i have huge issues with feeling guilty, about everything, and doing the right thing. I used to be such an outgoing and strong person who wouldnt take any rubbish from anyone, and now i feel weak and cant make decisions for myself because im scared im in the wrong. He tells me i dont support him enough, that he works hard to provide a nice life for me and my daughter, as in secure future nice home etc, but to me its material stuff. Id rather have health, happiness, laughter in my life than any of that. But he lays on the guilt that im taking my daughter to a life of living in a council flat, going to a bad school etc etc rather than the life he gives us/her. I know also that im getting run down with it all, im constantly tired, have stomach problems, nausea most days, and an old health problem i had has returned.
Somehow he manages to convince me im the one with the problem and that im ungrateful.
im glad everything worked out for you, you sound so strong
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehappy View Post
LaTeeDa, thanks for your reply....just want a happy peacful life for me and my daughter. a partner who appreciates his family and their feelings, for someone to respect my feelings and care for us. To me it seems so simple, but with him its not.
I understand the conflict you feel. My AH also tried to moderate. He quit completely for short periods of time, too, but he never really "got sober," if you know what I mean.

I didn't just want to be happy, I wanted to be happy with him. That's what made it complicated. Once I let go of the with him part, it got a lot simpler. (NOTE: just because it's simple does not make it easy)

Best wishes and happy holidays to you,
L
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehappy View Post
Thumper, thank you so much for your reply....everything you say makes so much sense to me. I try to be the best mum i can be to my daughter, but i try to support him too, and i feel like i cant do both. With worrying about all of our futures, the right thing to do and so on, im probably am only half present. When im with friends, or somewhere else with her, i feel like a different person, i dont have to worry about keeping him happy, or what he is upto. I dont know why but i have huge issues with feeling guilty, about everything, and doing the right thing. I used to be such an outgoing and strong person who wouldnt take any rubbish from anyone, and now i feel weak and cant make decisions for myself because im scared im in the wrong. He tells me i dont support him enough, that he works hard to provide a nice life for me and my daughter, as in secure future nice home etc, but to me its material stuff. Id rather have health, happiness, laughter in my life than any of that. But he lays on the guilt that im taking my daughter to a life of living in a council flat, going to a bad school etc etc rather than the life he gives us/her. I know also that im getting run down with it all, im constantly tired, have stomach problems, nausea most days, and an old health problem i had has returned.
Somehow he manages to convince me im the one with the problem and that im ungrateful.
im glad everything worked out for you, you sound so strong
Sick people will make you sick.

You are completely justified, IMO, in the feelings you are having about him and his "moderated" drinking (which I feel is total BS by the way). I have found that every moment I spent trying to discuss someone else's alcoholism or addiction and how it was affecting me would just build on my guilt, self-doubt, low self-esteem, etc etc, all the negatives. It turned me into a person I simply was not. I hear the same in what you are saying.

It does not sound like he wants to stop drinking. I REFUSE to live with ANYONE who drinks alcohol or does drugs. Period.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:43 PM
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You know I was in the exact same spot you were - only a few years further down the pike. I totally get it.

We went on an epically bad vacation where even I couldn't live in quite as much denial as it would have taken to not see how bad things were getting with the drinking (and there was no abuse with my husband ever). I was so unhappy every minute of that trip. My children were acting out. I still didn't really get it. By then I was so far down in that hole I was just numb and terribly terribly unhappy and SO TIRED. I had painted myself into a box that the only way a good mother could raise children was to be married to their father and for some reason I stayed in that box and just accepted that is where I would live until my kids were 18yo and I could be free. I was just to tired, overwhelmed, and lost to think any differently. I've never been so tired in my life. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, just completely drained. My body was falling apart from all the stress. At the end of that trip my cousin leaned over and gave me a hug and said 'my heart is breaking for you.' It was like a little light. How did I - the smart, fun, independent, self-sufficient, together, 'can do anything' woman become a person so lost and miserable that it was heartbreaking. And it was heartbreaking - and very frightening. I have so much more understanding of how I got to that place but even in hindsight I can't quite wrap my brain around it. Later that day she sent me a text that she would help me with anything I needed. That was all she said. That began my journey out of that dark and confused time and into a better one. One person that could see, and validate, and remind me that I wasn't always in this space. It was not an easy or straight forward journey. I joined SR shortly after that so some of it is documented here in my early posts.

I did it though - and so can you if that is what you need to do. "I used to be such an outgoing and strong person who wouldnt take any rubbish from anyone," You ARE that person. Living with alcoholism has things a little murky but you are still you. When your husband is saying all those things meant to tear you down and keep you confused and enabling his world - that is not truth. That is alcoholism waging a war to take another one down. Don't let alcohol win.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
what is the BEST thing to do for the small child involved in all of this? one of her parents REFUSES to BE a sober parent.....will bargain, lie and threaten to get his way. both of her parents, her sole protectors on the planet, argue ALL the time - she lives in a very unhappy world. a world where somehow alcohol and the right direct have become in a way more important than SHE is.......that's where all the attention goes.

create a safe happy life for that child. do WHATEVER it takes. remove her from the angst, the abuse, the addiction. fill her life instead with joy and laughter.

it's a week before christmas......is THIS really what is most important? whether HE can moderate or not?
First of all, I nominate Anvilhead as Master of the Universe. This is pure wisdom. As family members struggling with an alcoholic...we can often completely lose sight of higher priorities. SR is so helpful for this because as we struggle to reclaim our own peace and sanity, we can borrow a little bit of sanity from someone else who may be just a bit further down the road.

Bottom line: Anvil is totally right: NOTHING is more important than protecting that child from the damage in that household. NOTHING.
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Old 12-19-2011, 03:35 PM
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While he's still drinking, IMHO, efforts of any kind to "save" the relationship are an epic waste of time and being done by him only to manipulate you, and by you only to manipulate him.

You can't face other problems while alcohol is still a problem. It's like yelling at somebody who doesn't speak your language hoping the loudness will magically make them understand. Drinking alcoholics don't speak the language, and sober alcoholics not in recovery don't either (again, IMHO).

Sorry,

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Old 12-19-2011, 03:45 PM
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Insanity= doing the same thing and expecting different results....in my situation XAH would go to treatment/come out early/ start sneaking substances and be back full blown soon and all heck would break loose again......a true addict/alcoholic cannot moderate 1 is too many and 50 is not enough....I was sicker than him- my self esteem was so bad I could not see he was bad for me....a friend said I was like a lost puppy....another friend looked at me and said he's just a jerk...another said- he's just a drunk !....I eventually accepted I did not want to live like that anymore....and I read on SR- let go or be dr:day6agged.....I did.....I am fine....
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:54 PM
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Dear wanttobehappy,

No I am no longer with my first wife, we attended couples counseling about five years into our marriage when we hit a very rough patch, it helped us refocus and get on the same page (at least for a couple of years). We divorced about three years later after she started having an affair with a co-worker.

Glad you are thinking about attending al-anon again, please read some of the threads where people have discussed finding your "fit" or finding the right group.

Best of luck,

Bill
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehappy View Post
Thumper, thank you so much for your reply....everything you say makes so much sense to me. I try to be the best mum i can be to my daughter, but i try to support him too, and i feel like i cant do both. With worrying about all of our futures, the right thing to do and so on, im probably am only half present. When im with friends, or somewhere else with her, i feel like a different person, i dont have to worry about keeping him happy, or what he is upto. I dont know why but i have huge issues with feeling guilty, about everything, and doing the right thing. I used to be such an outgoing and strong person who wouldnt take any rubbish from anyone, and now i feel weak and cant make decisions for myself because im scared im in the wrong. He tells me i dont support him enough, that he works hard to provide a nice life for me and my daughter, as in secure future nice home etc, but to me its material stuff. Id rather have health, happiness, laughter in my life than any of that. But he lays on the guilt that im taking my daughter to a life of living in a council flat, going to a bad school etc etc rather than the life he gives us/her. I know also that im getting run down with it all, im constantly tired, have stomach problems, nausea most days, and an old health problem i had has returned.
Somehow he manages to convince me im the one with the problem and that im ungrateful.
im glad everything worked out for you, you sound so strong
If someone lays the guilt on you and accuses you of not supporting them, then this is a big red flag for you. Someone who loves and respects you doesn't 'throw' things in your face like that. IT IS the alcohol talking - when you doubt yourself then you back down and he gets to keep everything - you, your child, the house, the status quo.

Mine could not moderate. It would hold for awhile after we'd argue or after I'd threaten, but it's a slippery slope. He didn't drink on weekdays and one evening I came home with the baby and my best friend who was visiting, and he was drunk as a skunk on a Tuesday before 8pm (usually it was just party drunk on weekends). That night I'd had enough and went to an Al Anon meeting next day. My daughter is now 4. Over the years he's gotten help; he still struggles but he is recovering and there is peace in my home. When I found al anon it was because of my daughter, and I made my boundaries - the moment there is active drinking in our house is the moment that me and my daughter are no longer there. Point finale. Find the strength to walk back through the doors of al anon; there you will strip away the alcoholic layers and find that person again. And that person will be able to do what needs to be done to protect that little girl. As much as I love him, she will always come first.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:38 AM
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I quit drinking between 1987 - 1990. In late 1990, I ended up in a social circle that were very much into the party scene. I figured I could "moderate" my drinking. In 1992 I went cold turkey again, but figured I could have one "on special occasions". In 1997, I went on my last bender. Admittedly, I could got for many months without drinking, but when I did drink, it was always to the point of drunkenness. I couldn't control it.

The realization that I couldn't control it scared me into stopping entirely. Both of my parents are alcoholics. I knew full well where that path led, and I didn't want to go down it.

I have never known anyone who managed to "moderate" their drinking once they'd fallen into the pit of alcoholism. It was difficult for me to believe that I didn't control the alcohol, the alcohol controlled me. But eventually I saw it. Then again, I am not a "normal" person in the statistical sense. If I was, I should be in jail or a prostitute or homeless or dead by now.

I wanted to give you the perspective from someone else who initially thought moderation was possible. Maybe there are people who can do it, but none that I know. They all backslide to right where they started again.
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