Financial Problems in MarriageWhen financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.
This is my first time posting here, but I had a look through some of the threads and you seem to offer alot of constructive advice here.
I'm looking for advice on how to get my husband to wake up to the finiancial reality of our lives. I noticed a very similar thread recently, this is basically very similar but a male-female reversal with a touch of drinking thrown in.
I am in my mid-thirties and have been married for a year and a half to a lovely, but frustrating man. We live in rural england and I feel as if I have to do, organise and plan everything. Any financial decision is pretty much taken by me. I have taken out loans and put things on my credit card that I am constantly paying them back. After a few years us moving back to the UK, re-training in a new profession, moving location and getting married, I am only just beginning to see the light financially. As he is foreign he can't get a loan or credit card here, so it all falls to me. I pay all the bills, except one which he feels he is a saint for paying. I have a very stressful job, but am still having to work part-time job to help with the finances. I am so sick of working so hard that I rarely have a guilt-free day off. Everything falls to me: rent, presents, holidays, travel, etc. Despite having reasonably good jobs, we can't afford new clothes, books, music, etc.The odd weekend trips to see old friends and family are our only indulgence. My husband recently came up with the idea of moving to australia, which I do like the idea of as our 'life' in the UK pretty much revolves around work, the tv and the pub. But of course there have been many various costs and time-consuming admin. Again, despite it being his idea, I have ended up doing everything. A year later and several hundred pounds and we are still not even close.
Things have gotten worse recently as he is now drinking in the pub every day, often getting hammered or sometimes 'only for a couple of pints', which of course in his mind doesn't count.
I am not a doormat (as I type this he is over in the pub after an argument because I have been working non-stop all day on a sunday and am very grumpy as a result). I have explained, asked for help, demanded help and then lose my temper through tiredness and stress.
We are very happy most of the time (well in our relationship we are, very long hours and mediocre pay notwithstanding). But I am so frustrated by his refusal to help or see how much stress all this brings me.
I need to get him to see that he can't carry on drinking all the time. We want to start a family. I want to pay off all our debt. I (we) can't afford the 'luxury' of constant drinking. But he just gets very defensive and angry.
We have the same arguement all the time. I feel so alone and helpless. I have a new job starting in august and am beginning to think about going alone. My husband is brilliant fun, but I need more than fun at the moment. I need a partner not a child.
Do you have any ideas of how I can cope, or to get him to stop sticking his head in the sand and expect everything to magically work out around him?
Sorry forgot to mention the obvious health concerns I have about him drinking so much. But as he has just stopped smoking (yay!) I feel it is one step at a time when it comes to nagging about health issues. He is so defensive that I have to be a little tactical.
But to be honest, I am so angry with him at the moment, that I am thinking sod his liver, I more care about the £200 a week (nearly his whole wages) that he spends on booze.
I did this for 6 years was married for what will be 2yrs in may. Eventually, When I expressed that I needed to see that the two of us would be able to work together to get out of the hole we were in it was turned into "IF you can't love me over money, its not worth it."
Ive gone about it every way in the book, and the ones not in the book. If he doesn't want to he won't. If he doesn't think you'll actually do anything about it, what's the need for him to comply?
I love my husband we can have the best time together, But when it comes down to it..it is not worth it to him, to "try" for anything or "help" our situation in any way. You either accept it, or do what you need to for yourself.
“Santé!” “Salute!” “Za vashe zdorovye!” “Chuc suc khoe!” Whether in France, Italy, Russia, or Vietnam, similar salutations ring out before friends take a drink together: “Good health!” Yet, paradoxically, millions of people worldwide are drinking themselves into the grave.
ALCOHOL misuse is a multifaceted problem that includes hazardous use, harmful use, and dependence. Hazardous use, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “a pattern of alcohol consumption carrying with it a risk of harmful consequences,” physical, mental, or social. It includes drinking more than the limits recommended by health authorities or imposed by the law. Harmful use, also called alcohol abuse, involves drinking that is already provoking either physical or mental damage but has not yet led to dependence. Dependence has been described as “the loss of control to abstain from drinking.” An alcohol-dependent person craves alcohol, continues to drink despite various alcohol-induced problems, and suffers from withdrawal in its absence.
No matter what your age, gender, or nationality, you are not free from the risks of hazardous drinking. Just what does alcohol do to the body? What are the health dangers of overdrinking? And what is generally considered a safe level of alcohol consumption?
Dangerous for the Mind
Ethanol, the chemical compound present in most alcoholic drinks, is a neurotoxin—that is, a substance that can damage or destroy the nervous system. Someone who is drunk is, in fact, suffering from a form of poisoning. In large quantities ethanol causes coma and death. For instance, among students in Japan, the practice of ikkinomi, or alcohol chugging, causes deaths every year. The body is able to convert ethanol into harmless substances, but this is not accomplished immediately. If alcohol is consumed at a faster rate than the body can handle it, ethanol builds up in the system and begins to interfere noticeably with brain function. In what way?
Speech, vision, coordination, thought, and behavior are all connected with an incredibly complex series of chemical reactions in the brain’s neurons, or key cells. The presence of ethanol modifies those reactions, suppressing or enhancing the role of certain neurotransmitters—chemicals that relay signals from neuron to neuron. The stream of information in the brain is thus altered, preventing the brain from functioning normally. That is why when a person drinks too much, he or she develops slurred speech, blurred vision, sluggish movement, and weakened behavioral restraints and inhibitions—all common symptoms of intoxication.
HOW ALCOHOL CAN DAMAGE YOU
Cell loss, memory loss, depression, aggressive behavior
* Vision, speech, coordination impairment
* Cancer of throat, mouth, breast, liver
Muscle weakness, potential heart failure
Fatty, then enlarged, then scarred (cirrhosis)
* Other risks
Poor immune system, ulcers, inflammation of pancreas
* Pregnant women
Risk of deformed or retarded babies
With prolonged exposure to alcohol, brain chemistry adapts to counter the poisonous effect of ethanol and to maintain normal nerve function. This leads to tolerance, whereby the same amount of alcohol has less of an effect than it would have had previously. Dependence occurs when the brain has adapted so much to the presence of alcohol that it cannot operate properly without it. The body craves alcohol to maintain the chemical balance. When a person is deprived of alcohol, his brain chemistry is totally destabilized and withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, trembling, or even seizures, set in.
Besides causing modifications of brain chemistry, alcohol abuse can lead to cell atrophy and destruction, altering the brain’s very structure. While partial recovery is possible with abstinence, some of this damage seems to be irreversible, further affecting memory and other cognitive functions. Damage to the brain is not just the result of long-term exposure to alcohol. Research seems to indicate that even relatively short periods of alcohol abuse can be harmful.
Liver Disease and Cancer
The liver plays a vital role in metabolizing food, combating infection, regulating blood flow, and removing toxic substances, including alcohol, from the body. Prolonged exposure to alcohol damages the liver in three stages. During the first stage, the breaking down of ethanol slows the digestion of fats, causing them to build up in the liver. This is called steatohepatitis, or fatty liver. In time, chronic inflammation of the liver, or hepatitis, sets in. While alcohol can cause hepatitis directly, it also appears to lower the body’s resistance to hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses.* If unchecked, inflammation causes cells to burst and die. Compounding this damage, alcohol seems to trigger the natural system of programmed cell death called apoptosis.
The final stage is cirrhosis. The vicious cycle of continuous inflammation and cell destruction causes irreversible scarring. Eventually, the liver becomes lumpy, instead of remaining spongy. Finally, scar tissue prevents blood from flowing normally, leading to liver failure and death.
Alcohol’s effect on the liver has another insidious side effect—the liver is less capable of playing its defensive role in counteracting the effect of cancer-forming agents. In addition to favoring the development of cancer of the liver, alcohol greatly increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, the pharynx, the larynx, and the esophagus. What is more, alcohol makes the mucous membranes in the mouth more easily penetrated by cancerous substances in tobacco, elevating the risk for smokers. Women who drink daily are at greater risk of breast cancer. According to one study, the risk for those who drank three or more alcoholic beverages per day was 69 percent higher than that of nondrinkers.
A pregnant woman drinking
“Alcohol is far worse for the developing fetus than any other abused drug”
A particularly tragic outcome of alcohol abuse is its effect on the unborn. “Alcohol is far worse for the developing fetus than any other abused drug,” reports the International Herald Tribune. When a pregnant woman drinks, her developing child also drinks, and the toxic effect of alcohol is especially devastating at this formative stage of the fetus. Alcohol causes irreversible damage to its central nervous system. Neurons do not form properly. Cells are killed off. Other cells end up located in the wrong place.
The result, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is the foremost cause of mental retardation in newborns. Difficulties encountered by FAS children include intellectual impairment, language problems, developmental delay, behavioral dysfunction or deficit, slow growth, hyperactivity, and hearing and sight disorders. Many FAS babies are also born with characteristic facial deformities.
In addition, children whose mothers drank even moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can suffer from certain disabilities, including behavioral problems and learning deficits. “You don’t have to be an alcoholic to hurt your baby,” remarks Professor Ann Streissguth, of the fetal alcohol and drug unit at the University of Washington, “you just have to be drinking enough and pregnant.” The report of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research Alcool—Effets sur la santé notes: “The absorption of alcohol is deleterious during the whole gestational period, and no minimal dose has ever been established below which there are no risks.” Consequently, the wisest course for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy may be not to drink any alcohol at all.#
The list of health risks mentioned above is by no means exhaustive. In 2004 an article in Nature magazine pointed out that “even small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of injury and boost the chances of developing about 60 diseases.” In view of this, what constitutes safe drinking? Today millions of people worldwide safely enjoy having an occasional drink. The key to good health is moderation. But just what is moderation? Most people would consider their personal consumption to be moderate, perhaps reasoning that as long as they do not get drunk or are not alcohol dependent, there is no problem. Nevertheless, in Europe 1 man out of 4 has an alcohol consumption rate that is considered hazardous.
Various sources define moderate drinking as 0.70 ounce [20 g] of pure alcohol per day, or two standard drinks for men, and 0.35 ounce [10 g], or one drink, for women. French and British health authorities suggest “sensible limits” of three drinks per day for men and two for women. The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism further recommends that “people aged 65 and older limit their consumption of alcohol to one drink per day.”% However, we all react differently to alcohol. In some cases, even these lower limits may be too high. For example, “moderate amounts of alcohol can be harmful to people with mood and anxiety disorders,” notes the 10th Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health. Age, medical history, and physique are factors to be taken into consideration.—See the box “Limiting the Risk.”
LIMITING THE RISK
The following definitions of low-risk limits were published by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence of the World Health Organization. Low risk does not mean no risk. Individual reactions to alcohol vary.
* No more than two standard drinks a day*
* On at least two days of the week, do not drink
In the following circumstances, even one or two drinks can be too much:
* When driving or operating machinery
* When pregnant or breast-feeding
* When taking certain medications
* When you have certain medical conditions
* If you cannot control your drinking
Source: Brief Intervention for Hazardous and Harmful Drinking
* One standard drink equals 0.35 ounce [10g] of alcohol per unit or per glass.
ONE FOR THE ROAD?
Restrictions on driving under the influence of alcohol have existed nearly as long as cars have. The first country to introduce such legislation was Denmark in 1903.
When you drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol in your blood reaches its highest level within about half an hour after it is ingested. Contrary to popular opinion, drinking coffee, taking in fresh air, and doing physical exercise will not help you to sober up. The only thing that will reduce the effect of alcohol on your body is the passing of time. Don’t forget, too, that “a drink is a drink is a drink.” That is, if you have a standard drink of wine, beer, or spirits, the alcohol content is the same.*
Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your driving ability. Alcohol affects your eyesight. Road signs appear to be smaller. Peripheral vision as well as your ability to judge distances and to focus on distant objects is reduced. Information processing, reflexes, and coordination are slowed down.
If you have an accident after having imbibed alcohol, your injuries are likely to be more serious than if you had been sober. Moreover, your chances of surviving any emergency surgery diminish because of the effect of alcohol on the heart and the circulation. “Thus, contrary to generally accepted ideas, the majority of alcohol-related deaths are of drunk drivers themselves,” notes a report by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. In view of the dangers, the report gives the following recommendations:
* Don’t drink and drive.
* Don’t get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.
* Don’t let friends or parents drive under the influence of alcohol.
* Generally speaking, about seven grams [0.25 ounce] of alcohol are eliminated per hour. A standard drink varies from country to country. The World Health Organization defines a standard drink as containing 10 grams (0.35 ounce) of pure alcohol. This is the approximate equivalent of 250 milliliters of beer [8 ounces], 100 milliliters of wine [3.4 ounces], or 30 milliliters [1 ounce] of spirits.
These drinks contain roughly
the same amount of alcohol
1. A bottle of beer; 2. A shot glass of spirits; 3. A glass of wine; 4. A small glass of liqueur
A bottle of regular beer (330 ml [11 ounces] at 5% alcohol)
A single shot of spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka) (40 ml [1.4 ounces] at 40% alcohol)
A glass of wine (140 ml [5 ounces] at 12% alcohol)
A small glass of liqueur (70 ml [2.4 ounces] at 25% alcohol)
ALCOHOL—GOOD FOR THE HEART?
Scientists suspect that chemicals in red wine (polyphenols) inhibit a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict.
Furthermore, alcohol in general has been linked to increased levels of so-called good cholesterol. It also reduces substances that can cause blood clots.
Any benefits from alcohol seem to involve drinking small amounts spread throughout the week, rather than the total amount all at once on a night out. Exceeding two drinks per day is linked to increases in blood pressure, and heavy drinking raises the risk of stroke and can cause swelling of the heart as well as irregular heartbeat. Immoderate drinking causes these and other health risks to outweigh any positive effects of alcohol on the cardiovascular system. Too much of a good thing is precisely that—too much.
What help is available for those who misuse alcohol? The following article will answer this question.
* According to a study in France, the risk of developing cirrhosis is twice as high in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who are heavy drinkers as it is in HCV patients who are moderate drinkers. It is recommended that HCV-positive individuals drink very little alcohol or none at all.
# Women who are breast-feeding should be aware that after they drink, alcohol builds up in their breast milk. In fact, the concentration of alcohol in breast milk is often higher than in blood, since there is more water in the milk to absorb the alcohol than there is in blood.
% Since what is termed a “drink” varies from place to place, the amount of alcohol in a glass will reflect local standard servings and should be considered before consumption.
“My father was an alcoholic, and I followed in his footsteps. At 12 years of age, I was already drinking. By the time I married, I was getting drunk every day. I became violent; often the police came to my family’s aid. My health deteriorated. Alcohol caused a gastric hemorrhage, which I barely survived. I then developed cirrhosis and anemia. I joined self-help groups in an attempt to quit, but to no avail. I felt as if I were caught in a spiderweb and could not break free.”—VÍCTOR,* ARGENTINA.
AGAIN and again stories such as this one are told by people ensnared by alcohol. Like Víctor, they feel trapped with no way out. Can alcohol-induced problems be overcome or even avoided? If so, how?
Recognizing the Problem
First, it is imperative that the person who drinks alcohol and those close to him or her recognize it when a problem exists. Dependence is only the tip of the iceberg. It develops over a length of time from a pattern of drinking that was perhaps once moderate. Surprisingly, the majority of accidents, violence, and social difficulties caused by alcohol are not provoked by people who are compulsive alcohol drinkers. Note what the World Health Organization (WHO) says: “The best way to reduce the total of alcohol-related problems in a society is to focus on curtailing the drinking of moderate rather than heavy drinkers.” (Italics ours.) Does your drinking exceed the limits recommended by health authorities? Do you drink in situations requiring your full attention and quick reflexes? Are your drinking habits causing problems in your family or at work? Acknowledging that one’s level of consumption is potentially dangerous and reducing it accordingly is indeed “the best way” to avoid serious problems later. Once a person is dependent, it is far harder to make changes.
A common reaction among those who abuse alcohol is denial. “I drink like everyone else” or “I can stop whenever I want to,” they claim. “Even though alcohol nearly killed me, I never considered myself an addict, so I never took steps to quit,” states Konstantin, in Russia. “I tried many times to break free,” recalls Marek, in Poland, “but I did not really admit to myself that I was an alcoholic. I minimized alcohol-related problems.”
How can a person be helped to recognize his drinking problem and then to take positive action? First, he has to admit that his difficulties arise from abuse of alcohol and that abstinence will improve his quality of life. As stated in La Revue du Praticien—Médecine Générale, his reasoning needs to change from “I drink because my wife left me and I lost my job,” to “my wife left me and I lost my job because I drink.”
If you want to help an alcohol-dependent person achieve this transformation in his thinking, you may want to follow these suggestions: Listen attentively, use open questions that allow the person to express his emotions and feelings freely, display an empathetic attitude that helps him feel that he is understood, give encouragement even for slight progress, avoid being judgmental or having an attitude that could block him from open expression and from seeking help. Having him write down two lists based on the questions What will happen if I continue to drink? and What will happen if I stop? may also be useful.
ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE—IS IT IN THE GENES?
In a bid to find a treatment for alcoholism, scientists have striven to understand the role that genes play in its genesis and evolution. Scientists have since discovered several genes that seem to influence one’s reaction to alcohol. However, genetic factors are not the only ones in alcoholism. Even if some people do have a certain genetic predisposition, dependence is not inevitable. Environmental components are involved. Poor parenting, alcohol abuse in the home or by peers, situations involving conflict, emotional difficulties, depression, aggressiveness, thrill seeking, high resistance to alcohol’s effects, or addiction to another substance have all been cited as risk factors. These and other elements open the way for dependence.
When someone begins to abuse alcohol, he or she is not worthless or beyond hope. Some even manage to break free on their own. However, individuals who are alcohol dependent may need professional help to become abstinent.# For some people outpatient treatment works, but when withdrawal symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be necessary. Once the initial physical withdrawal symptoms have passed—between two and five days—medication may be prescribed to reduce craving and to continue abstinence.
A man speaking with a doctor
Many need professional help to break free
Detoxification programs, however, are no guarantee of success. Medication is only a temporary measure, not a cure. Alain, in France, undertook several detoxification treatments. “As soon as I left the hospital, I started drinking again because I associated with the same drinking partners. Basically, I did not have the proper motivation to stop,” he says.
Filling the Void
In effect, many fail because the absence of alcohol leaves a void, somewhat like losing the companionship of a close friend. “I constantly thought of drinking,” says Vasiliy, in Russia. “If a day went by without a drink, it was pointless.” To one dependent on alcohol, all other activities are subordinate to satisfying the craving to drink. “My sole purpose in life was to drink and to find money to drink,” recalls Jerzy, in Poland. Evidently, it is vital for the recovering alcoholic to find a new purpose in life if he is to stay abstinent.
A manual published by WHO with advice for those trying to change their drinking habits highlights the importance of purposeful activities in avoiding a relapse. One idea given as an example is engaging in religious activities.
Being occupied with spiritual activities can help a person to break the hold that alcohol has on him. For example, after his third stay in prison for alcohol-related reasons, Alain began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He says: “Studying the Bible gave me a purpose in life and enabled me to hold out. My motivation was not just to stop drinking but to please Jehovah.”
Coping With a Relapse
Counselors on alcohol abuse point out the importance of support and encouragement for the recovering alcoholic. Many have lost family and friends because of their deplorable condition. The resulting isolation can lead to depression and even suicide. The manual mentioned above gives the following advice for those assisting someone with a drinking problem: “Try not to criticize the person you are helping, even if you get annoyed and frustrated with his or her behaviour. Remember that changing habits is never easy. There are bound to be good weeks and bad weeks. Your encouragement, support of low-risk drinking or abstinence, and creative ideas are needed.”
“What helped me,” relates Hilario, who drank for nearly 30 years, “was the love and care of friends in the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had many relapses, but they were always by my side to give me encouragement and timely Bible counsel.”
A man praying
Prayer can help
If you are struggling to break free of alcohol, remember that relapses are likely to occur and that you should consider them as part of the road to recovery. Do not give up! Analyze what led to the relapse, and use that knowledge to prevent future slips. Identify specific situations that arouse in you the desire to drink. Could it be boredom, depression, loneliness, arguments, stress, or events or places where others drink? Then avoid them! “I learned to understand and identify the emotions that could lead to drinking,” states Jerzy, who took two years to become totally abstinent. “I now avoid any trigger situations. I stay away from places where people drink alcohol. I do not eat anything with alcohol in it, and I even avoid body care products or medicines that are alcohol based. I also don’t look at any advertising for alcohol.” Many have found that praying to God for “the power beyond what is normal” has been fundamental in mastering their urge to drink.
While it can be an ongoing challenge, escape from the shackles of alcohol dependence is possible. All the individuals mentioned in this article have succeeded. They are healthier and are reaping benefits on a family and a professional level. States Alain, “I now have the freedom not to drink.” Konstantin observes: “Getting to know Jehovah preserved my family. I now have a purpose in life. My happiness does not depend on alcohol.” Víctor comments: “I feel like a free person. I have recovered my dignity and my identity.”
A person can make changes whether he is at risk of an accident through misuse of alcohol, is suffering problems because of abusing alcohol, or is alcohol dependent. If your drinking poses a threat to your well-being, do not hesitate to make the necessary changes. It can be for your own good and for the good of those who love you.
* Some names have been changed.
# There are many treatment centers, hospitals, and recovery programs that can provide help. Care must be exercised so that one does not become involved in activities that would compromise Scriptural principles. In the final analysis, however, each will have to decide for himself what type of treatment is needed.
I hate to break it to you, but if you are carrying him now and it's only been a year, you will always have to carry him. No grown man should be a free-loader. Don't expect things to change, hon. Once people close to you get used to you doing all the work it is VERY hard to get them to help out.
Cut your losses on this one is my advice. Dead weight is exactly that; cut him loose, before you go down with him.
Whenever a college age slacker starts preaching to me about Henry David Thoreau and freedom and being yourself and all that, I have to remind them that he came from a wealthy family and he went home on weekends so him mom could do his laundry.
They really never change, I finally just cut off the umbilical cord from mine but it took me 18yrs to realise that change isnt possible when they've been "enabled" by people like you and me. Why should he do it when you are already doing it. Mine is making attempts now but unfortunately its too late, ten times beaten, twenty times shy.