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Married Life
At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 2)
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 04:00 AM

I am at a crossroads, and it's not as easy at many think.

I am too down, right now, to go into details, so I will give a small synopsis.

Married 37 years. Husband drinks beer, been doing more and more, especially since my son died.

He can get really mean, when drunk, is a pretty good guy, when not, but not perfect.

Has many issues.

Been to counseling, worked for a while.

Caught him doing something, on line, with a friend of my daughter's, mostly when he has been drinking.

We confronted him, his brother came up from another state to help.

I banned it in my home, it was just two days ago.

My daughter is disgusted with him, and will not see him, nor allow my granddaughter, who is five, and loves him to death, to see him, either.

If he gets help (rehab), she will.

If he does not, I can't stay, but I cannot afford to leave. I don't have a huge income, no savings of my own, and we don't have much savings.

Most of my income is from his retirement and social security.

I love my home, where I live.

We are trying to get him to get help and I just joined Al Anon and will start going.

So sad, so frustrated.

Anyone been there, before? I need hope.

66 Replies to At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband

re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 1)
By colleeflower28 Comments: 236, member since Sat Feb 21, 2004
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 04:17 AM
I don't have any advice as I have never been in a situation like yours before but giving you karma for being brave and posting when this could have easily been anonymous.
I am sure there are other DDN members who have been in similar situations and will share their story or are in similar situations and will now realize they are not alone.
Sending hugs!
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 2)
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 05:37 AM
Please feel free to PM me. I'm married to an alcoholic as well. I mean he's literally drinking himself into an early grave. Just last month he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure brought on by alcohol abuse. At 56 years old. I don't care to go into more details publicly, but I could fill pages with stories.

Hugs, kk~
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 3)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6815, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 06:13 AM
I do not dare to offer any advice as I know how complicated marriage, family, alcoholism, and reality, can be.

I just want to post this as a general reminder to all of us who weigh difficult circumstances.
Image hotlink - 'http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/556504_417845511610476_375742353_n.jpg'

Please know that whatever you decide, it will be right if you are true to yourself. You are an amazing woman and I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. You have my very best wishes.

Keep On Dancing*
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 2)
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 06:30 AM
Hugs, hugs, hugs~
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 2)
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:48 PM
One thing I will say publicly, it took me a very long time to understand that you can't change people. You can't make him quit drinking. His daughter can't make him quit, his grand daughter can't make quit. Sometimes, the loss of everything he holds can't make an addict quit. You can't force him to get help. He has to do it for himself. He has to want to quit.

My husband is on the wagon right now, about seven weeks, but he's running on fear of dying, he hasn't gotten any help. When his health improves, I am concerned he will go right back to drinking. Other crises in his life were not enough to convince him to give it up, so I just don't have much faith that this time will go any longer than a few months.

kk~
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 01:54 PM
Thank you all, and kandy, I will pm you.

I am praying daily and though it will be a hardship for me, if I have to leave him, I will.

I already started formulating a plan in my mind and my daughter said that if we have to get a place together, we will.

Since our house is in both of our names, we would sell it, or my other idea would be a reverse mortgage, where one of us can stay and the other can take money from it to live elsewhere.

I have put blood sweat and tears into this house, personally, with building things decorating, and it tears me apart that I may have to leave, I love it, but I do love me more.

I also know that I cannot make him to it but I sure has Hell can try to make him want to do it.

His entire family is on the side of getting him help, and I mean cousins, siblings, etc.

I also believe that he suffers from depression, but with the drinking, it's hard to really tell.

Prayers will be a huge help, and your kind words, thanks.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 3)
By Dances4LifePremium member Comments: 849, member since Thu Sep 22, 2011
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 02:21 PM
I am so sorry you are going through this hard time. I wish I could do something to help. :(

I recently went through a divorce where when I left him I had to leave immediately during a time he wasn't home to do anything about it.. I took my small dog, a bag of clothes, my hope chest (it was too sentimental to leave behind) and I left. It was very hard. I had to start my life completely over.

Lessons I learned from my experience:

1) You are much stronger than you think you are.
2) Things are just "things". Once they are gone you do not miss them. Especially if those "things" are gone because you needed to make a step for yourself in the right direction.
3) If your significant other is more "married" to their ideals, philosophy, alcohol, drugs, friends or just to themselves then it will never work out.
4) You have to take care of yourself. Sometimes that means starting over.

In the end all I can say is that I will be praying for you. You have a difficult road either way.

1) If he does go to counseling and rehab you will still have trust issues there that will need to be addressed. Especially with whatever he was doing online. Drunk or not, I would leave just because of that one issue. You will have to be married to a man that may go in and out of staying sober.
2) If you leave you start over. Things will change. Some for the better and some for the worse. You will lose the responsibility of having this man that has a problem. BUT you will also lose this man that you do care about and that cares for you. However, that may be what it takes for him to go to rehab. Each individual is different.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6815, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 07:30 AM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2012-11-20 07:43:34 posting at same time as d4L... added more
Don't get too far ahead of yourself with things like housing. Right now, you are at a crossroad of crisis. It is hard to look at the immediate situation without considering the big picture, but when dealing with alcoholism, the road map often has a scale of 1"=1". Impossible to fold up, read, or get a sense of reality.

I've know far too many people who have been in these circumstances and the one thing I know for sure, is no one ever said, "I'm so sorry I left the insanity that my life had become. I miss all that tension, I miss the obnoxious remarks, the disrespect, and the heartache. I also miss the days of working my butt off to make nice family holidays only to have them turned into booze fests."

Sometimes just taking charge of your own life without the co-dependent habits of "don't set him off" is life changing freedom and very therapeutic. It is hard to see how damaging this is to the people who don't drink. Well, it's hard at the time, but once you make the decision to put your own health and the health of your daughter and granddaughter before his comfort, you will be better able to feel better about doing what you know you have to do.

Your granddaughter is more likely to enter relationships mired in alcoholic lifestyles if she grows up in an environment where learning this "dance" is part of her programing. She can love her grandfather, but not have to be part of his enabling sub-structure.

Dances4Life wrote:

You will lose the responsibility of having this man that has a problem. BUT you will also lose this man that you do care about and that cares for you. However, that may be what it takes for him to go to rehab. Each individual is different.


The man you married 37 years ago will not be lost to you. You will always have the good memories, the affection, and the life you built together. You will still share your daughter and granddaughter. However, if he refuses to change, you will also have a man you grow to hate. The compassion you feel will disappear. Your own resentment of the selfishness of his choices will eat at you every day and ruin every good thing you have left. You deserve to be happy and your daughter and granddaughter deserve to fill their days with happy memories, not grief and regret.

There is something else to consider about rehab. The entire focus of your life will revolve around his sobriety. Think very hard and if possible, please explore counseling for yourself to assist in giving you the tools you need to do what is best for your own health and that of your girls.

Dances 4 life....congratulations on your bravery. Life is never easy. However, integrity to our selves is not selfish. We are all entitled to live a good, happy life which is not dependent on the choices of others.


Again, I wish you, and kk, the very, very, best. Please PM me if either of you need to vent, rant, cry, plan, or escape.

Hugs
xoxo

Keep On Dancing*
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 1)
By J1ll Comments: 2344, member since Wed Oct 14, 2009
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:41 PM
Such a difficult situation. But things are just things. And no matter how special your home is you will re create that feeling anywhere. The special memories that you have of your home will always be with you.
I hope this is the wake up call he needs to get help rather than just another reason to drink.
I grew up with an alcoholic father and I still carry the weight of that. I haven't had a relationship with him since 1993.
You are stronger than you think. After 37 years of marriage you will be entitled to spousal support and often a settlement from his retirement as well. If you hadn't contributed to the household he wouldn't have been able to earn it so you will be entitled to some. In the end if you choose to leave the logistics will not be the most difficult part. It will be the emotional roller coaster. Even those who find relief in divorce are pummeled by feelings of guilt and fear.
Thinking of your family and wishing you all the best.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:03 PM
Very good advice. Even IF he gets help, it may not be enough to keep me here. I am starting to be less scared of that possibility. God has gotten me through the loss of my son, cancer and more, so I know that I can survive. It's like when I look at all of the recent tragedies around the world and how those people have to rebuild and/or deal with great loss, so in the grand scheme of things, mine is not as bad.

Thank you. All of your shared experiences and advice means a lot.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 1)
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6414, member since Sat May 15, 2004
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 01:00 AM
I will name you in prayer.

I'm not sure what your situation is, but have you looked to your church for help and guidance too? If I recall correctly, both AA and Al-Anon have spiritual components, but your church may be able to help you out practically (money, furniture etc.) and spiritually as well. My mom works for our church and she and a colleague went to training to become Stephen's Ministers. www.stephenministries.org . . .

Your church may have something similar. Your pastor may have books, workshops s/he recommends to people in a similar situation. Of course, if you are not comfortable relaying these hurts to them, that is fine. Just making you sure that churches are there at all times for you!
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 01:43 AM
I am not a church-goer, but I pray and have a strong belief system, but thank you for the advice. I am open to all things. Your support is wonderful.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 1)
By maureensiobhan Comments: 4726, member since Wed Dec 24, 2003
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 04:59 PM
Hugs, Dream_chaser.

I'm sure you are well aware that an alcholic has to hit rock bottom for him/her to be willing to get help. It's good that you are formulating a plan on what to if you do make a final plan to leave your alcoholic husband. Your leaving your husband may be what will make him hit rock bottom at this point and will give him the swift kick up the seat of his pants that he needs to fully understand how his alcoholism is affecting you and the rest of family, and for him to be willing to go and get the help he needs.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 05:52 PM
Thank you.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 3)
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 08:48 PM
I'm sure you are well aware that an alcholic has to hit rock bottom for him/her to be willing to get help.


The problem with this is that no one, not even the alcoholic hm/herself, knows exactly what "rock bottom" actually is. It has different meanings for different people. For one it could be the loss of a job or perhaps the loss of health or the loss of family or their home. For some, it takes all that and even more. Certain crises can bring on a period of abstinence just for the alcoholic to fall back into bad habits once the crisis has passed. (I have lived through several of these periodic crises.)

Alcoholics are also well known for placing blame on others. If only... this... or that... then he/she wouldn't drink so much. If only they hadn't experienced a tragedy or if only the spouse was more understanding or if only they were happier in their job or their marriage they wouldn't drink so much. This is the biggest lie that alcoholics tell themselves and others. They drink because they are addicted. They drink to hide. They drink to avoid reality rather than face their problems and failings.

It is NOT my problem that my husband is an alcoholic. It is HIS problem. HE must be the one to take control of the monster and quit. But alcoholism/addiction affects everyone in the family. Everyone.

kk~
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 09:04 PM
It is scary... put my name in place of yours and it could be my reply.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By funkiejmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1490, member since Mon Sep 09, 2002
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:14 PM
I can't help with the situation, but please know that you are strong enough and smart enough to make the right decision for YOU. :)
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 3)
By Tansey Comments: 2367, member since Fri Mar 27, 2009
On Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:38 PM
Edited by Tansey (209516) on 2012-11-23 12:48:55
I was in a somewhat similar situation and had to decide whether to stay or to go. My fears about how the kids and I could survive financially kept me in my marriage for years longer than I should have stayed. I see the effect of that on my kids now. They're okay but they will always be marked by it. Finally I consulted an attorney and it made all the difference. I still didn't leave right away but I had a better understanding of how things were likely to play out legally and financially, and I saw that while it wouldn't be easy, I could make a life for the kids and me if I needed to.

Once I had a handle on this, it made it easier for me to sleep at night. I stayed in the marriage a few years longer, tried to make it work, but he refused to change his behaviors. No longer influenced by fear of what would happen to us, I eventually made him leave. Life has been so much better since then, so much more peaceful and happy. I'm not sure I even realized what a black cloud he was until he was gone.

I am not advocating for the breakup of your marriage; everybody has to make that decision for themselves. If you are anything like me however you might find that looking into your options with a good family law attorney could give you a clearer picture of your rights and the likely outcome if you left/made him leave. It's such a difficult decision, and my heart goes out to you.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Fri Nov 23, 2012 07:54 PM
Today, I have some hope. After we confronted him, he has not had a drink. I contacted some key, family members, on his side, who have dealt with alcoholism, either as a family member, or they had the problem.

We were at a Thanksgiving event, yesterday, with many of his cousins. He announced to them that he is giving up drinking. I think the pressure of my daughter saying he could not be with his granddaughter, was helpful, plus his family speaking with him.

Not that it's solved, because just giving it up, is not enough, but it's a start. My daughter and I joined Al Anon. We have not been to a meeting yet but are on a support group on FB.

His one cousin, who has been sober for a fews, sat down with him, last night, after all the daytime events. We all stayed at a hotel, Wed and last night (Thanksgiving night). She had a heart to heart and is going to keep in close contact.

When I said that my daughter and I joined Al Anon, because this is a family problem, not just his, and said that I hoped he would join AA, this time he did not say, "No". He did not say anything but before, he was quite adamant.

So, there is hope and the days since he did not drink (Sat up until today), it was so much more pleasant. Even when we disagree, it's not mean and nasty.

He MUST have some sort of counseling, though, as he will not succeed without better support, as the key elements behind it, are still there.

I thank you all for your help and pray for all of you who are, or have been, there. Hugs.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By imadanseurPremium member Comments: 16604, member since Thu Dec 04, 2003
On Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:35 PM
In my opinion, AA is the best support system to keep someone sober. I really really hope he chooses to go to some meetings, gets a sponsor, and realizes the life he could have without drinking.
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband (karma: 2)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6815, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sat Nov 24, 2012 01:13 AM
So, there is hope and the days since he did not drink (Sat up until today), it was so much more pleasant. Even when we disagree, it's not mean and nasty.


You might find it helpful to keep a daily journal for yourself, including a simple "calendar code". When the merry go round ride is at full speed, you know when you are about to spin out and hurl. When it is going slowly, for whatever reason the brakes are on... intervention, sickness, or lack of opportunity (having to work a lot of overtime, as just an example), you have time to recover and be stronger for the next relapse. This can actually cause you to doubt your own judgement and sense of time. Doing something as simple as putting a check mark on the calendar when he drinks,a star when he is drinking and mean, and two stars when he goes overboard, will really speak to you when you start to believe you are making too much of any relapse. Mark Saturday with a check or as many stars as appropriate (and sadly, it may be possible to "earn" more than two per episode) When you examine a whole month or two at a single glance, you may have a sense of pattern, and also, see how many days of YOUR life you will never get back that were squandered by someone else's choices. Times of high emotions can be reduced to science. Chart it!

Of course, I do hope he gets into AA and addiction counseling as well as family counseling to help repair the damage the alcoholic behavior has causes your family. It would be wonderful if he is successful at fighting this demon, and I hope he is. This is all a tremendous amount of work, and it isn't always successful. But as Tansey so wisely pointed out, many people stay years longer than they should, either out of fear, hope, or even genuine love and respect for a long marriage...in good times and bad, sickness and health, and all that jazz, but they continue to sustain damage to their own psyche with each relapse.

I am always shocked by how many non alcoholics accept the selfishness of alcoholic lifestyles, drunk or sober. I do believe it is from years of damage. I hope you and your daughter get what you need from Al-Anon. I also hope you ask yourselves just how much more of your own happiness you are willing to sacrifice to this illness the first time he relapses. This is why I suggest the journal. It will help you document your own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

My heart is just breaking for your family. I hope this all works out, but if it doesn't, please reach out whenever you need to.

xoxo

Keep On Dancing*
re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By Dream_chaserPremium member Comments: 25854, member since Thu Jul 26, 2001
On Sat Nov 24, 2012 01:20 AM
Feeling the love... thanks.

I think he will eventually get to AA. His boss, who he friends with, goes. With what Al Anon is tecahing me and with me talking, without qanger, and the fact that I am talking to a sober man, I think he will.

I also know that you are never cured, but each day like this, is a gift.

Comment #10042958 deleted
Removed by imadanseur (79325) on 2012-11-23 21:10:45 double post

re: At odds at what to do with alcoholic husband
By J1ll Comments: 2344, member since Wed Oct 14, 2009
On Sat Nov 24, 2012 04:28 PM
Just remember that the road to sobriety is never a straight path- there will be twists and turns and it will be a roller coaster. I'm so glad though that he was receptive to listening without lashing out. That is an amazing achievement and a positive sign.
Also- AA is not for everyone. It requires a belief in a higher being and the ability to draw from the power that God (or whoever) has a larger plan for us. For some putting that kind of faith in a higher power isn't possible. And that's ok as long as they see an addiction specialist or counselor who can hell them draw their own path to sobriety and provide them a network for support through group therapy etc.
Wishing your entire family strength, courage and love as you work through this in whatever way you see best.
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