A.S. asks from Fayetteville, AR on November 12, 2006
I am wondering how many of you have an alcoholic husband or have had one in the past. My husband is an alcoholic. He is a great father but lacks in the spouse department. We have recently separated but we talk and still spend some time together. We both still love each other but he has problems, obviously being an alcoholic. He doesn't drink everyday but that doesn't matter. His drinking really bothers me and I know that it is a disease. A physiological biological disease. I don't think it's as easy as he can stop if he really wants to. I do miss him though. It's better living apart because I don't have to deal with his mood swings but i miss our good times and I wish we could spend more (sober) time together. I just don't know if there's no hope for alcoholics and to just try to force myself to let him go. I don't really want to find someone else but I want a good relationship. Has anyone had experience with these kind of issues? It's such a deep subject and I know alcoholism pervades a lot of peoples lives in someway through some relative or something. I'd really appreciate your responses. I feel like I can't win either way. Either I try to let go of the man I really love (and the father of my daughter) because of his disease and how it affects our relationship or I try to be close to a man that needs help but isn't ready to seek it. And either way he is in my life daily because we share time with our daughter equally. I do know about Al-anon and have been to meetings in the past but i guess I didn't really like them..The interesting thing is that if he's around me and my daughter he won't drink but when I am gone or if he's alone (at his apartment since he moved out) he will drink. I guess it's more of a lonely thing for him. It has been pretty rare that he would drink around our daughter but it has happened. He still seemed able to take decent care of her and would never be abusive or mean to our little girl. It's just so confusing because when he is sober we can have a nice time together, he is a great father and can be a nice husband when he wants to. Even when he drinks he's not terrible. It's just that we both know it's a problem (he will admit that) and he really shouldn't drink at all. He might want to quit but not enough to go to AA. But I still love him and don't want to give him the divorce ultimatum.
W.P. answers from Houston on November 12, 2006
First of all, you did the right thing for two reasons: You extracted yourself (and your daughter I hope) from a bad situation, and you have made it clear to him how important this is, giving him an incentive and a timeframe to get his act together.
Secondly, although most call it a disease, I beg to differ. A disease is something you contract or develop without a fault of your own. You may have a predisposition to becoming addicted, but to actually succumb to your addiction is a voluntary - if gradual - step you choose. Once you realize you are addicted, you can come clean, even if it is hard. You can quit drinking, but you cannot quit cancer, psoriasis or any other REAL disease. Calling it a 'disease' is a PC term that does more harm than good.
American Heritage Dictionary for 'disease':
"A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms."
Unlike smoking, obesity from overeating, or drinking too much coffee, an addiction to alcohol is personality-altering in the long run and incapacitating/intoxicating in the short run, making it a lot more difficult and dangerous to deal with. By calling it a disease, the 'victim' may say or think: "See, a disease, nothing I can do about it, not my fault." Wrong. There's only one 'cure'. Absolutely no alcohol, be it AA, a strong will or total isolation from the substance. After the worst symptoms are over, he can NEVER IN HIS LIFE touch another drop, not even inside a chocolate praline.
Dealing with society is easy. If you say you are an alcoholic (and he always will be, even after being 'clean' for decades), nobody will hold it against you, if you drink coke, coffee, ice tea, water, OJ or milk instead. As a spouse you may choose to do the same to help him.
But since you asked for advice and not a regurgitation of medical definitions, here's my 2 cents:
- Tell him that he has a choice: Either down the drain with alcohol or a good life with you and his daughter.
- Tell him the choice has to be made by next weekend (give him some time to think it through during sober moments), not in the vague future. Put a date on it.
- Tell him that you will support him, but you will leave for good, if he ever has another drop (whether he is drunk or not). Of course, you need to make an exception for medicines that only come in that form, but the doctor needs to know of the danger.
The good news is that I met a couple of clean alcoholics, so it is possible. They all had to face a wake-up call, and they have to really want it. The alternative to go back to drinking should not be a viable option.
From your perspective, look at alcohol as 'the other woman'. Would you be OK to share him for a night per week? Per month? No, it is EITHER/OR.
I wish you luck. Be firm! It is his fight and his choice, you can only lead the horse to water, but if it doesn't drink you shoot it (make that 'leave it behind').
1 mom found this helpful
C.S. answers from Houston on November 13, 2006
I have been where you're at at where your husband is. My husband and I used to party together and we knew we needed to quit. I was able to do it be he wasn't. I had to kick him out to protect myself and to not enable him. It is a long story but we are both sober now (without AA). You are very right about him needing to be ready. It's hard to understand that if he loves you and your daughter, than why can't he do it for you? He will have to hit his own personal bottom. I'm sure that you are lonely but you are doing the right thing by not letting him live with you. Just try and keep yourself busy and work on you and your daughters well being. Of course you should be supportive of him but only things related to him being sober(without nagging him). Alcoholics will use any excuse to get drunk including you bugging him about it. Trust me, I know what type of stress you are feeling...let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
1 mom found this helpful
T.W. answers from Little Rock on November 17, 2006
i don't know much about alcoholism but if you could get him to try going to the celebrate recovery meetings, I hear it is the absolute best. I can't think of the name of the church that does them but it is the big brick one right off the freeway, just before you get in Jacksonville, coming from Cabot. i hope this helps some.
T.B. answers from Houston on November 13, 2006
Whatever you do, DONT' GIVE UP ON HIM!!! You need the book, The Power of a Praying Wife. Read it from cover to cover and it will give you plenty of insight. The Lord has a mysterious way of getting our attention, rather it is through our spouses, children, relatives and friends, however we must know that it is him calling us to a deeper relationship with him.
I will pray for you:
LORD I PRAY, THAT YOU WILL GIVE THIS MY SISTER PEACE IN THE MIST OF HER STORM. LORD HAVE YOUR WAY IN THIS SITUATION AND LET YOUR WILL BE DONE IN HER LIFE. SATAN THE BLOOD OF JESUS IS AGAIN YOU AND I COMMAND YOU TO FLEE. YOU WILL NOT HAVE HER MARRIAGE AND WILL NOT CAUSE HER TO LOOSE HER MIND. IN THE MATCHLESS NAME OF JESUS I PRAY AMEN.
Now walk in the victory!!!
Co-Pastor T. S W B.
M.S. answers from Lafayette on November 13, 2006
I have been excatly where you are. i understand your delima totally. my ex-husband had a serious drinking problem but kept reassuring me after we married he would mature and stop all the drinking. i believed him because i loved him. unfortunately he didn't hold up to his part of the deal. so i scheduled marriage counseling for us. at our second session the counselor suggested he go to AA, we walked out of our session and he told me he wasn't going back because he didn't have a drinking problem. she also suggested i read the book the Powers of the Praying Wife, which I did and adopted in my everyday life, unfortunately he wasn't ready for the change. we had a daughter, during my pregnancy he again reassured me he would give up drinking and be a good father, he didn't have his dad around when he was growing up. so he knew how important it is to have a father and what it feels like to grow up without one. but unfortunately he again didn't stop. when our daughter turned 2, i asked him to leave because he was drinking and started yelling and throwing things while she sat in her high chair watching him. and i knew i didn't want that life for her. so what was i to do? i tried counseling, praying, all i could do. i thought a separation might show him, but it didn't. now 3 years later, he has become addicted to pills and still drinks heavily. i recently won sole custody of our daughter after he attempted an overdose twice on pills and alcohol and ended up in ICU. every situation is different. your husband doesn't drink everyday, mine did. have you tried marriage counseling? what about his family? can they help you in getting him some help. thankfully my ex-in-laws are on my side, they tried to help him many times, and finally they had to say well there is nothing more they could do. they actually helped me get sole custody of the child. maybe get him more involved in family activities with the child let him see what he would be missing out on if you file for divorce. tell him how you feel most importantly. and how important family is to you. i hope this helps. good luck.
B.S. answers from Baton Rouge on November 14, 2006
Its so funny that you posted this because i am going through the same thing except i have been doing this with my husband for 5 years now. We seperated a couple time but the last time he did change but after i gave birth to our third child he has started back up full force. i am losing my mind cause i don't want to be without him yet i fall alil more out of love everyday he drinks and chooses that bottle over me and our children i am trying to get out of my marriage but its very very tough. i wish you all the luck in the world :)
C.A. answers from New Orleans on November 13, 2006
From C. A.
I know where your comming from. I have 3 kids and I have
been married for 8 years. We have been together for 12 years.
My husband usually only drinks on weekends and says it's a
man thing, whatever that means. When every he opens a beer
bottle it makes my skin crawl. He is not a violent drunk. Is
your husband? My advice is that if you feel as strongly as
you do than if you are already seperated than more than likely
you have a whole nother issue because he is probably feeling
like he is free to drink as much as he wants and with drinking
comes infedelity, and there usually goes the trust issue even
if you aren't together right now. The best thing I can say to
you is that time heals the hurt of leaving someone and I'm
sure you will find someone to love you and your daughter like
you know in your heart of hearts a marriage should be.
Best of luck
C.J. answers from Beaumont on November 13, 2006
I really hope this helps BUT my father growing up was an alchoholic!!! My parents did divorce when I was only 2yrs old, BUT my father was a bad drunk!! NOW he has had sobriety for about 14yrs now!!! The really sad part is now I'm 25yrs old, my father has talked about how much he still loves my mother and visa versa!!! SOOOO, I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you really still love him AND he isn't physically harming you OR your daughter, try to help him out!! Get to the source of the drinking!! My father finanlly went into a rehab program at a local hospital!!! He STILL goes to AA, not only for himself BUT to support others having this problem!!! Believe me, this WILL be hard, BUT divorce is truly hard when both parties are still so much in love!!! AND your daughter will adjust if you guys had to divorce, BUT is sure is hard!!
Good Luck, hopefully with you guys being apart, he sees how SERIOUS you are about the drinking problem!!