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so confused as to what to do...

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My dh is a functioning alcoholic. Hindsight is 20/20. I should never have married him. We just passed our 5th anniversary with two children under age 3.


He stopped, for a short time, drinking during the week only to think it was ok to get really obliterated every weekend.


So now, every weekend we have our big blow outs. He thinks his drinking is strictly MY problem. We even went to counseling. That, obviously, didn't help. Every weekend it's the same. He gets drunk, and sometimes verbally abusive. Then the next day, I'm steaming and he doesn't understand why I'm such a b*tch to him.


This weekend I put my foot down and said I wanted a divorce. He got mad and accused me of 'tearing the family apart', and said I would have that on my shoulders for the rest of my life. He doesn't understand why his drinking bothers me so much.


I'm so confused. I'm a SAHM, so no $$ to get an attorney to even talk to. I know I, personally, need counseling to help with all of this anger I've developed towards him. I see my anger being directed at my children at this point.


Has anyone been through something like this and can offer up ANY advice??


Thanks in advance.

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well, he doesn't feel it's a problem. he feels he has a firm grip on his drinking. I mean, total denial.


Example, last Friday he drank 2 bottles of champagne and a 6 pack of beer. He tells me that it doesn't matter how much he drinks because it's Friday night.


See what I mean? All of his friends and family drink a lot as well, but they know when to say when. He keeps going into the wee hours (3am)

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Yes i understand what you are saying. But often people like your husband will not listen to counsellors or spouses. Often, if there is someone in their family or a friend they look up to they will take notice.


Maybe you can think of such a person and encourage that person to talk to your husband.


Because frankly, if he is in denial and you have already attempted to get him to address this problem then it is unlikely you are going to get much further with him.


The alternative is to leave him as you have considered. This obviously presents you with lots of logistical problems. If this is the way you decide to go you really need to plan it out thoroughly. Tell you family what you are thinking, work out alternative accommodation, work out how you are going to get some immediate access to some assets to allow you to live day to day and finally work out how you will achieve financial settlement.


If you tackle this like a project, list everything you have to do and consider, the task will become a lot more manageable and doable. But don't just leave without having contingencies and plans in place.


I am sure if you research in your area there would also be local help opportunities that are government provided for people in your situation. Research those as well.

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aah. I understand the 'getting a friend or family member' now, thank you. I have seriously thought of talking to his best friend about this, and now I just may.


Luckily, I have been squireling (sp?) some $$ here and there to get me through a certain amount of time, if I live with family.


*sigh* it breaks my heart to see our marriage heading in this path. I really love him so much. He keeps thinking I don't like him, and I try to reiterate it's the alcohol I don't like.


Thank you for your input.

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Well you never know, drastic action may also shock him into admitting his problem.


I agree with this.


He's taking your marriage for granted, and you need to force him to choose to either deal with his problem, or deal with not having you and possibly his kids in his life.


Have you thought about a seperation? It's a calculated risk, but it can work.

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Well, there is no doubt you are in a touch situation, but if he is an alcholic he will need your support. I know my ex would get really mad at my drinking and my brother's girlfriend gives him grief when he has a couple of glasses of wine. There is no doubt that this is a problem in your relationship, but maybe you can find a way to make it better. Maybe when he drinks you can just ignore him and not say anythinga and maybe he will figure out that staying sober is better.

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You might want to check for an Al-Anon meeting in your area. They are free (although they usually ask for donations for soda/coffee) and they are for family members of alcoholics. There you wll meet other people who have gone through and/or are going through the same thing as you. He does not have to go to AA meetings in order for you to attend Al-Anon.


You can find out more about Al-Anon & find meetings in your area at their website:

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but if he is an alcholic he will need your support


I tried supporting, but being an alcoholic, he doesn't think I am unless I just allow him to drink as much as he wants.


We have two children, and they see him stumbling into things, passing out, etc. Then the next day, as he nurses a hangover, he wants nothing to do with them.


I DID tell him last night that I was going to find a therapist for myself, if nothing else, to help me with my anger in all of this. His reply was, 'you're going by yourself?' I told him I would love for him to be with me, but if not I had to go for myself. His reply was, 'we can't afford it.'


He doesn't want a wife, he wants his mommy.


I DO think I will be finding an al-anon meeting to attend as well. Thank you.

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He doesn't want a wife, he wants his mommy.


I DO think I will be finding an al-anon meeting to attend as well. Thank you.


That part about he wants a mommy....you've hit the nail on the head. I dated/lived with an alcoholic for several years quite some time ago, and I felt the same way. He didn't want a gf, he wanted a mommy...toward the end I referred to him as "my 6'4" ten-year-old" because that's how he acted.


Good luck with Al-Anon. You might want to attend several groups (if that's an option in your area) so you can meet a variety of people and find a group that fits you best. Once you're there, they can probably point you to counselors/lawyers they found helpful....and steer you away from professionals who don't have the understanding/background in addictions.

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If he is an alcoholic (and he sounds like one by the level of drinking you're describing) really the only thing that will make him stop drinking is when things get so bad in his life as a result of his drinking that he decides to stop. Alcoholics are very, very resistant to others (including spouses, friends, family) telling them what to do ... they pretty much don't listen, because in the end it's about satisfying their craving for alcohol and to be drunk.


I hate to say it, but the prognosis for having a functioning marriage with an alcoholic is pretty low. Counseling for yourself is a good idea. Al-anon is also a good idea because it's focused on people who are impacted by the behaviors of alcoholics in their lives. But to be honest, you're not going to be able to help him or change him unless and until he realizes he wants to change himself.

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I guess that's the thing I need to realize. I keep telling myself over and over that he needs to change himself, but keep looking for things to help him recognize that he needs help.


I keep waiting for him to hit the bottom of his barrel, but, honestly, the only thing that seems to make him realize I'm serious is the fact that I asked for a divorce the other night. Then he tells me if I divorce him I'll be tearing the family up and it will be MY decision.


We did try counseling at the beginning of the year, and he was doing ok, until the Dr. suggested he either go to an out patient clinic or think about taking an anti-depressant while he was sobering up. My husband shut down after that and insisted the Dr. was a quack.


I guess because I'm not an addict, I don't understand why he just won't put his family first.

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Well it's a tricky thing. He may not be physically addicted to alcohol (if he can go for days without drinking, he probably isn't), but the psychological profile of an addict who is not physically addicted but psychologically dependent is curious: they are essentially avoidant, and want to avoid reality. They prefer the pseudo-reality of their brain on alcohol to the actual reality when they are sober, and they need their "fix", their "escape" from reality regularly in order to deal with actual reality. In effect, it's a dysfunctional coping mechanism ... and as a result, for alcoholics to come out of their dependence on alcohol, they need to learn new life coping skills, so that they can deal with the ups and downs and the rest of reality without needing the alcohol-induced "breaks" from reality on a regular basis. It's a deep psychological issue akin to mental illness, really, and it requires real therapy in order to succeed (which is why the relapse rates among recovering alcoholics are so high ... it's easy enough to quit drinking for a while, but it's really hard to not go back to drinking when something adverse happens in life and you haven't learned other coping skills to deal with that).


The thing is that you need to avoid being in a codependent relationship. It's typical for an alcoholic to blame everything and everyone else other than alcohol for the problems in their lives ... but you don't need that. It's very damaging to your own mental health, to be honest.


I hate to say it, but some people really do need to hit a "hard" bottom with their drinking before they realise what has happened and wake up. Something really bad ... often involving physical injury to themselves or others, going to jail, something like that. I've seen myself numerous marriages ruined by alcohol dependency, and it's a very sad thing, but to be honest it's just not mentally healthy to stay in a codependent relationship with an alcoholic.

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That's some interesting info. It's exactly my husband. He has backed off from drinking during the week, but usually gets really sauced on the weekends. It is full on my husband. He sucks at life coping skills.


I've definitely been in a co-dependent relationship with him, without even realizing it. I've always heard the word co-dependent but always thought it as psycho-babble. I still don't understand it completely, however, I'm beginning to realize that my role in this relationship is severely unhealthy for myself and especially for my children.


He, on the other hand, encourages me to drink by buying me my favorite kinds of wine and such. Obviously, I've stopped condoning his behavior by not drinking at all. One of us needs to be sober.


Great info, thank you everyone.

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Some good information about codependency can be found here: link removed.


Essentially, what happens is that in order to deal with a problematic person (the stereotypical case is someone who is an alcoholic, but that's not the only context), you develop behaviors and ways of relating that are self-defeating: in other words, you tend to become controlling, avoidant, take a caretaker approach, act as the 'responsible one', and so forth, and focus less on having your own needs met in a real, mutual relationship. It's a pattern that develops over time, but it can be very damaging to the codependent person in the long run.


I don't think you are based on what you've written. But in the medium term, it could happen to you if you live with an alcoholic for a long period of time, and that's something you should be aware of.

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This sounds all too familiar to me. First, you need to consider the two young children. Though young, arguing can affect them greatly at this stage of their life and the longer you wait to take some sort of action, the longer they are subjected to his behavior.

I think that you know that should you decide to leave, it's because of his behavior not because you want to deliberately tear apart your family. Is he drinking because he has a stressful occupation and it's his way of relieving stress? Sometimes people do need a kick in the butt to get it together and your mentioning a divorce seemed to rattle him but it didn't rattle him enough to change, he just turned it back on you. Think long and hard about what you want because you don't want his verbal abuse to one day get physical.

Maybe you should try a seperation, that way, you are showing him that you mean business and maybe it'll give him time to see things clearly and it will give you some time to get your ducks in a row in case he never gets himself together. Whatever happens, I will advise that being an at home mom, you should have a personal stash of just in case money and a just in case plan. No one ever wants to think the worse about a marriage but things do go wrong and there are a lot of women out there that are stay at home moms and they get the bad end of the stick should their marriage fail because they are left with no real plan to start over without being dependent.

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Hmm, you are right in the sense that I'm not co-dependent. I mean, I definitely have some of they symptoms however, I don't have the rules regulating our household. Interestingly enough, it sounds like the rules played at my husband's house as a minor.


My husband's job isn't terribly stressful in the traditional sense, he just doesn't like it, which I can accept, and have encouraged him to search out another job. However, even with his favorite job he was a heavy drinker.


I'm the fool because I thought for SURE he would grow out of this. I could kick myself bringing my children into the world within a relationship that has a drinker involved. He has a habit of telling me, 'you knew I was like this when you married me, so what's the problem now?'


Piscesone, as young as my children are, I noticed a change the other night after his dad and I had a big blow out. My husband yelled at me, causing my 2 1/2 year old AND 6 mo. old to start crying. The following day, the 2 1/2 year old kept yelling at everyone and everything.


I have also been stashing money away. My mom, after telling about all of this recent thinking, said, 'stash money away. every woman does it. If you don't leave, use it towards the children's education. If you do leave, it can be a life saver. Luckily, I've got a college degree and am still desirable as an employee within a company.


I've also been concerned about his verbal abuse, wondering if it would ever turn into physical. He is a very passive/aggresive kind of guy, which tends to make me a bit nervous sometimes, especially after he drinks.

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Gee, that hurts me to hear about the kids. They pick up on so much as soon as they are born. Their well-being should always come first. So many people stay together "for the sake of the kids" not realizing the harm that they are actually doing to the kids. I know that you probably know both of your children's personalities very well and they will both have different reactions to all situations in life. If you should decide to stay together and there is never a change, one child may grow to secretly resent their fathers behavior and the other may still love their father unconditionally or they both may be resentful or both may over look things but you don't want to play a wait and see game and have their personalities be shaped by his actions over the years.

I say this because though I'm an adult, I wish that my mother would have said that enough was enough early enough before I had to witness physical abuse upon her from my father. At a young age, I'd already grown to dislike my father because of his alcoholism and verbal abuse but it one day turned physical and thats the day she left. They divorced and he sought help after years of continuing with his drinking and now that I am an adult with a child of my own, my mother and father are really good friends but I still can't be in the same room with that man because I remember EVERYTHING all too well!

Every avenue should be explored as to making a decision, but should you part ways, at least your kids have a chance of looking at their parents as being two happy people apart instead of angry people together. And you don't want your kids to hear from their father's mouth that anything is your fault because by them being so young, it could stick and they could grow up remembering their fathers behavior and thinking that "it's your fault" that things were bad.

I'm glad to hear that there are many possibilities for you for "just in case". And continue to gain support from your family; there's nothing like family when things get rough. Also, I agree that it would be a good idea to speak with one of his close friends to maybe gain some insight.

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It's sad to read. It matches what I have seen in other relationships with friends and so forth who were married to problem drinkers. Often the idea of "I was always like this" is thrown out there -- again an indicator of a failure to take responsibility and a lack of a desire to change. Often there are big verbal blow-outs, often in front of children as well, because the drinker doesn't want to stop drinking and when they are drunk they are less inhibited and more prone to lash out. That can include physical abuse at some point ... it's tricky. Not every drunk is a violent drunk, but because alcohol generally removes inhibitions and psychological controls on behavior, it's quite possible that at some point solme physical contact could occur.


I'm so sorry you're going through this. Please be strong and take care of yourself and your kids. If he doesn't get his act together soon, he's going to drag the rest of you down. I agree that you need to explore all options, but you also need to take care of yourself and the kids.

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Absolutely. Trust me, i don't take leaving him lightly, that's for sure. Maybe not enough. Maybe I should have been out of here a while ago.


I guess I just have to feel that I have tried everything I possibly can before I walk out that front door. Because I don't want to be three y ears down the road saying to myself, 'if I only had tried this or that'.


We spoke briefly last night (before he walked away). I told him I was going to get counseling to help me with my anger. Again he said we couldn't afford it. I told him I will just have to sacrifice something else in order to have the finances to go. I asked if he was willing to go with me. He finally said, 'fine'. Last time we went, I found a Ph.D., and had to be a man, just so HE would feel comfortable. THIS time, I'm going with my gut.


Unfortunately, if this doesn't work out, then it's time to go.


Luckily, I DO have a strong support system that is ready with open arms in the event that I do leave. I'm very lucky in that way.


Again, thanks.

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Just a quick update, we spoke with each other civily tonight and decided that we would actually go BACK to the Psychiatrist that we went to at the beginning of this year.


I'm glad, because I actually thought the guy was really good and felt he gave my husband a lot of food for thought. Plus, I won't feel like I have to explain everything over to someone new.

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