Does my husband have the problem or do I?
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Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Focused Topics »Relationships and Addiction » Does my husband have the problem or do I?

Relationships and Addiction Whether it's drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, pornography, or anything else, addictions can be detrimental to the health of a relationship.

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Old 10-01-2010, 10:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Does my husband have the problem or do I?

My husband and I have been married for 20 years and have 3 daughters (11-15 yrs old). We were both quite young when we started dating an never thought twice about how much he drank at that time. We were young and that was what being in your late teens early 20s was all about. However, after 3 kids and 20+ years later one would assume he would grow up. Don't get me wrong, he is a wonderful man. Everyone loves him. He is very helpful, funny, loving, a hard worker, amazing sense of humor, smart, athletic, level headed. However, he has in the last 16 years received 3 drunk driving tickets (the last one about 6 years ago), always the result of drinking to get drunk where sporting events are involved. Honestly, he should of been pulled over dozens of times for drunk driving because those three times were not his only times he has gotten behind the wheel after many drinks. The one thing he has learned from all the dwi's is not be the one driving if they are going to a baseball/football game or attending a golf tournament. However, the person that is driving, has also been drinking. He tells me that they are using 'designated drivers' yet I do not fully believe these people he hangs out with have it in them NOT to drink.

A little background on me...I am not a big drinker, never have been. I can make a bottle of wine last 3 months. If I am out socially and people are having drinks, if I have more then 1 drink, as soon as I start to feel any affects from the alcohol, I stop. My grandmother was an alcoholic and I feared ever living the life around someone with alcohol problems. Yet here I find myself with one. My husband has made great strides in how he used to drink and for that I am thankful. However, I still have big issues with how he is unable to control his drinking around specific friends of his. these 'friends' are all (in my mind) loosers. They are in their 40's, no responsibilities outside of work, no wife, children, girlfriends, only work and beer. After my husbands 3rd dwi we talked about how the only way he was going to stay on track is to loose those friendships. I even emailed those two guys and said if they were real friends to him, they would leave him alone. I told them that they all have alcohol problems and that they really need to leave my husband alone because their involvment is ruining our marriage. My husband can be a very responsible drinker. He is able to stop at 2 beers around other people. However, he has been continually bringing beer into our house (2 cases as a time of which I do not have any). He is not getting drunk at our home but I do not see how it is ok to be going through 2-4 cases of beer in a month.
so my question is, am I holding on to paranoia of things turning to straight up alcoholism and putting too much pressure on my husband to be different, or does my husband have an abuse problem? I have tried so many tactics to get it through to him about how I feel. I have cried, yelled, talked calmly, written letters. I have told him how I fear getting a knock on the door to find a cop say he is in critical condition or dead. I tell him I need to know where the life insurance policies are. I suggested to my girls that they write him letters about how his drinking affects them.
i should probably say that just this last Saturday, he went to a football game, tailgated beforehand, saw the game which got over at 3pm, the partied until 7pm. He came home obviously drunk. Not mean drunk, just dancing and being stupid. My 15year old was digusted. She told me how he couldnt turn on the radio (i was avoiding him by staying in my bedroom), couldnt focus on a cheesespread container to open it up, couldnt remember what she had just told him etc. Thats not the worst. I had put his pillow in the hallway and locked my bedroom door because I refused to sleep next to a drunk person. He spent over 1 hour trying to unlock our door!! This is the easy kind of lock too...the kind you just pop a straight pin in and it unlocks. He ended up banging on the door, saying he was sleeping in there. I told him no. He said he was trying to unlock the door. I told him I knew that. He said I couldnt unlock it either if I tried. So I showed him, wham bam, it was open.He stood in shock. I told him 'that is how drunk you are!!!'. He grabbed his pillow and shouted 'f*** You!! F**** YOu!!!
Ok...advice please. What can I do to make him see that the amount he is drinking is not ok.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

Hmm.. He shouldn't drink so much but you should not make him hate you, either. Hate can't solve problems because it only grows more difficulties and distance between you and your husband. Since you said he's a nice person, there's a way to help him control the assumption of alcohol. You know your husband very well. You tried letters, yell, cries not working, why? Some women spent their whole life trying to change their men but men refused to change. Why? He will change only if you know how to speak to his heart instead of listening to your commands. Although your commands are perfectly right and good for him. The ugly truth tells you a man simply refuses to listen commands from a woman because that makes him look smaller and stupider that he needs a woman to teach him about life. Of course he would do his best to go against you to save his face as a man. You've insisted in changing him for 20 years, but you didn't make it. You'll make it if you protect his pride with care and you're a loving and supportive wife. You're his best friend who understands him the most and speaks to his heart. By the time you are not his boss and teacher, he will listen to you.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

If he were my husband, he would have controlled his drinking by himself since many years. My husband before we married he drank a lot with friends. Slowly he became able to control by himself not because I gave him lectures. I never gave him lecture again after I tried one time and he refused to listen. I took care of him when he was drunk. I video taped him and showed it to him for fun. He laughed at himself being a drunk idiot.
No pressure and no pushing. Men are not stupid. When you take care of his face, he would feel very grateful and he won't disappoint you. You will see how well he's able to control himself. Of course every time he tried to control. You should praise him for doing a good work. My husband has become a social drinker from heavy drinker without my crying, yelling or long communicating talk.
I wish you try!
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

MsLonely...so what do you suggest I do? Nothing? Say nothing? Just let what happens and happens and then wait until it gets so bad that he is also getting drunk at home? The last thing I want to be is his 'mother' It is just so hard to sit by and say nothing because to the person without a substance problem, it just seems logical that a person would want nothing to do with the thing in their life that causes such family problems.
We are having huge problems right now because I have been trying a new tactic, one I have never ever tried before, and that is the avoidance and cold shoulder. I know this is never the answer, but talking about it only makes him defensive. It truly bothers me that he does not care enough about 'us' to actually start the conversation and possibly take some responsibility over what happened. It seems like I am the only one fighting for normalcy in our life. I know to him, he has no problem and therefore I shouldnt have a problem. Although, when it affects my kids and they see their dad drunk, it becomes all of our problems.
Do you have a suggestion on what I should be doing?
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

Sorry about your hard situation, I will write you a message soon. I will do my best to help you deal with your husband. Meanwhile can you do 2 things? Don't get mad at him in these days. When he goes to drink, sms him, "I already miss you, I love you! Wish you don't come home too late." if he comes home drunk, take care of him with love, bring him to shower and change his clothing and let him sleep and rest. Don't speak to him. If you want to speak, you can say, I love you and I miss you.
Can you do that? Never mention a word about his drinking.
If you can do what I suggest, you will surprise your husband! If i'm not wrong, next time when you sms him I already miss you... He would try to come home early.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

Remember, avoid any topic about his drinking. Only talk about how much you love and miss him. No anger. If you have done what exactly I suggested more than 3 times and your husband still comes home late and drunk. You can come to scold me. Trust me, you can make a difference on your husband. You'll be surprised. He's not stupid.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

As a father he must know where the limit is. When he came home drunk and showed a bad example in front of kids, it's obviously gone over the limit. In the other hand, what do you want him to do? You want not to drink at all, or drinking few cans of beer is allowed? If he drinks no more than 2 cans of beer will be ok for you? Actually the problem is not the sport event or his friends. He can have a good time as long as he drinks within the limit. If he takes 2 cans of beer and he can stay sober to come home, you want to focus on that limit because taking one more can will make him drunk; therefore, you want to help him focus on 2 cans and he must follow or he must give up sport events and friendship. So...
He's defensive now because he doesn't really know what exactly you want him to do. Try to talk about the limit softly when he's in a good mood, you want to start a happier topic first before talking about sport. You don't want to fight or get mad. You want to respect and make him see you understand his interests but there's a limit for doing everything.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

You can give him freedom only when freedom is respected, which is the point you want to work on later. Now you need to know the fact is your husband isn't not a heavy drinker. You already know a heavy drinker is totally addicted to alcohol and must drink a lot until drunk almost everyday. So enjoy peace in your mind, for your husband will be fine. At this moment, let peace love and joy come in between. Show him as much love as you can. Knowing that his drunk issue last time, the distance has grown wider between you and your husband. Being hot works better than being cold. Avoid any topic that makes both of you nervous and mad for some days. You only want to love him and pull the his distance closer to you. That's something very important because you can make things easier for him and make a difference. Wait for a good timing to talk. Make it clear, quick and short. Simply let him know your limit for the kids with your respect in his interests and friends. He won't disappoint you instead, he will feel grateful to you. Have faith in your husband. He's far from an alcoholist. He's a good man who you deeply in love with. You will be fine.
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Does my husband have the problem or do I?

Try alanon? In my opinion, there is not a great deal you CAN do if he does not want to see. You have to understand that stopping alcohol is not like stopping ... say biting your nails. There are a lot of facets to the addiction, including a STRONG physical component.

What does he say to you when you bring it up when he is sober? My guess is no big deal... whatever.

Being an alcoholic myself, I can relate to what he might be feeling. If he admits he has a problem, he has to DO something about it. The only thing that can be done is stop drinking. The only way most people know about to get help is through 12 step. This Is Scary Stuff to an alcoholic. Never drinking again is scary stuff.

If I were you, I would:

-check out AlAnon, see what they know.
- check out different types of recovery; AA, rational recovery...
- because AA is considered the defacto solution, it can be hard to find other information. There are books on amazon about quitting drinking without AA which will give more information.
- Google The Sinclair Method. This is what I am currently doing and quite hopeful for me. The thing that is attractive is the treatment is aimed at ending the DESIRE and CRAVING for alcohol. Rather than white knuckling through the cravings the hope is not needing alcohol anymore.

So I guess I am recommending learning everything there is to learn. I would do it right out in the open in front of him (if not in front of your daughter I think). If he comments I might say I love you. Your drinking is causing problems. Since you are not learning about it, I am learning about it to see if there is anything I can do to help.

Best of luck to you. This is hard stuff. Some people DO wait to hit rock bottom before trying to change. And if he is a binger that can take forever. He is not the first person to lose his family to booze.
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