separation due to husbands alcoholism

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-17-2007
separation due to husbands alcoholism
32
Mon, 08-20-2007 - 8:44am
Hi there,
I am writing this post because I am going through a really hard time and it is nice to hear about other peoples stories that I could relate to. I am hoping if I post I could hear some more stories and get some information.
I am married to a wonderful charismatic man who has a drinking problem. We have 2 children a 4 year old and a 1 year old. I never really notice his problem till I became pregnant with our first child and it was a rude awakening that my husband could not be any support for me because he was always going out with his friends drinking. My husband doesn't have a problem where he is hiding it or waking up in the morning and drinking so it was sort of hard for me to refer to him as alcoholic till now. He doesn't drink everyday, but when he drinks he can't stop. There have been so many nights when my husband sits in our living room listening to music and stareing at the walls because he would rather drink till he passes out then go to sleep. My husband will find every excuse he can to meet one of his friends at the local bars. If I don't get a babysitter on the weekend I can just assume at some point in the night he is going to tell me he has to go meet someone at the bar. When I was pregnant with our second child he was out all the time till 3 or 4 am and I would just lie in bed and cry. When I had our second child it was on a friday so my husband was never at the hospital with me, he was out with friends both nights and and recovering during the day. months after I had the baby we tried to go out to one of our favorite bars when he let me know he wasn't allowed back in because he and his friends got kicked out while I was in the hospital and our first child was with my mother. It has been the craziest life when he tells me he is going to do an errand anytime after 7 I always have to worry about when he will really be home, because there is always someone he has to meet for a drink. This has been going on for so long. My final breaking point was last thursday. I was in bed very sick and my husband was out picking up take out (at a place that is walking distance from our house and has a bar) He was gone for 2 hours while I had to deal with my kids. Then the following night he went to one of our couple friends houses and passed out so he never made it home. The wife of the couple is my good friend so she called me to tell me, if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have known where my husband was all night. It is all just so hurtful, I spend too many nights laying in bed crying wondering where my husband is. We had a family vacation planned to leave yesterday sunday and I backed out. I have had enough. I did not go and also told him I want to seperate. He then just went nuts telling me it is all my fault because I don't do anything. And I am breaking up my family and it is my fault because of my incompetence.. which just doesn't make sense. Anyway, in his eyes he thinks it is all my fault. I have decided that I have to do this now before the kids are even older because it is only getting worse. I love my husband so much and he is a wonderful dad and a very loving husband when he is in his right mind but right now with this problem it just isn't working. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I think I have to. I am hoping that he will decide to stop drinking and if that is the case I will support him however I can. Anyway, I read in a couple of post people saying that there spouses or family members blamed them, is this a normal reaction. Is anyone else going through a similiar situation. I am having such a hard time right now, part of me wants to just forget it and live with this because I don't want to break up my family. Although I know I have to do this! I would love to hear your stories. Sorry this is so long! :-)



Lilypie Baby Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2004
Tue, 08-21-2007 - 9:50pm

Glad you are here!!!

Well I probably already sound like a broken record on this board..., but I could have written a great deal of your post myself several years ago. You are absolutely not alone, pretty much anyone who loves an alcoholic/addict has experienced what you have on the same scale, some more severe, some less - just depends on what level in the progression of the disease your loved one falls. That being said, I do not know that I would formally separate from him at this time.

If you are arriving at a point of hopelessness/despair, you may be ready for Alanon. If you are not there yet, you will not be ready to hear or receive the help fellow alanons can offer you. The reason I wrote to consider waiting on the separation is merely because you have just arrived at your "breaking point"...its generally not a good idea to make decisions when you are in such a state. You are just at the beginning of what is hopefully a tremendous life changing experience (for the good). They often say to wait a year (it sounds long, but it goes by in a flash) before making any "big" decisions...what you are proposing is a "big" decision - for you and your family.

Consider taking some time to educate yourself on what you are dealing with, go to alanon at least six consecutive times and see what happens (a good alanon meeting sticks to discussion and application of the steps, traditions, and other related subjects - not on the alcoholic or outside issues) If you end up at a meeting that doesn't feel right, try another - they each have their own personality. In the beginning, I had strategically located meetings in various parts of our city, near home, school, and work - each slightly different, but all stuck to the basics without drifting to banter.

As for whether his conduct of turning it around to some how be your fault - textbook alcoholic/addict! That is what they tend to use to justify (in their sick head) an excuse to drink. The truth is it has absolutely nothing to do with you at all. When he spews this nonsense do not listen, its merely the disease of alcoholism speaking and feeling threatened. Alcoholism is a progressive disease... There is no checklist "definition" of an alcoholic, like the various stereotypes: gutter crawling drunk, or drinking everyday, or drinking before noon, drinking hard liquor v. beer, etc.
Its the not having control that is usually the defining "nail in the coffin" The bottom line is only the alcoholic themselves can decide if they are an alcoholic or not, and it usually doesn't happen until they hit their bottom.

After reading some of the previous posts, I thought it might be worthwhile to add emphasis on the fact that what your DH has is a disease. Playing devil's advocate here... some of the posts have parts that sound like action based on feelings. A really difficult concept to get (one I still struggle with) is that feelings are not facts. "Showing" or modeling what not to put up with for your children could really be construed a number of ways... would you say that about someone who has cancer? IMHO its important for your children to understand (as early as possible) that their father has a disease (regardless of whether you stay together or not - and whether he continues to drink or not). This does not mean it is an excuse for his behavior - only he is accountable for his conduct/behavior. But separating the feelings from the facts and associating the behavior as originating from the disease may go a long way in helping your children to understand their father as they grow up. I know what I am proposing is difficult, especially when there is so much hurt and anger involved for you.

Take what you like, leave the rest...

Edited 8/21/2007 9:51 pm ET by mercyblu




Edited 8/21/2007 10:21 pm ET by mercyblu
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-21-2006
Tue, 08-21-2007 - 10:13pm

Hi Barb,

Thanks for posting! My husband was like yours. Sometimes once a week, sometimes more and sometimes none. The problem with that is that you are chronically angry just thinking about the last time and worrying about the next. YUCK! Just thinking about it gives me hives. It was interesting for me to hear you talking about how mellow he has been upon moving out. My husband has been the exact same way but I am not buying it because I am sure that it is just a matter of time. Wow...I sound a lot more bitter than I feel! He keeps talking about getting "back to his family", but like you, I have no intention of that happening. I think that maybe too many things happen and it is just really hard to get past that. I started telling him 2 years ago that my feelings were changing and it didn't make any difference then. I think that if you are even a moderately self aware woman you just cannot get comfortable with that kind of life and turn it into anything satisfying because I think that it eats at your self-esteem. Isn't it great being so much more calm around your kids? How are they handling things? I am always curious to hear about the paths of others and since you have a month of "singleness" on me I am even more curious to see how your situation has unfolded. The first week I was elated, the second week I was wondering what the h@#l I was doing and now, in my 3rd week, I am just feeling alot stronger. Phew...it has been a long road.

-Molly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 7:43am

Hi there,

I am a lurker from the now ( i guess defunct..??) Dealing with Addictions board and just came over here..your post jumped right out at me because I am in a very similiar spot.. my husband and I have been married for 15 years and have four kids ages 6-13/ My h drinks in secret and alone. He has lost two jobs in the past six years ( the second time he was out of work for a year and a half) and has been to rehab twice. He just got his first dui a month ago and then a week later his MOm died suddenly so he is just a mess. I have made a decision that we need to separate, but getting him out and dealing with the financial pieces are my biggest obstacles. Also, I have a lot of guilt that he is going through so much and I know his sisters will be very angry with me..I was away visting my parents for two weeks ( which was heaven because I work all the time now and just getting time with my kids is a luxury!)I came back and he was putting pressure on me to be intimate and loving..that I am breaking up our family..all that same stuff. At the end of the day. he is sick and he isn;t committing to any recovery at this point. My kids have been subjected to so much negligence. He is not violent or abusive, but he is completely absent-like a ghost who lives in our house and lies on the couch all day. It breaks my heart too because in an ironic twist-he actually sees the kids more than I do. He's a good person and a gentle guy, but I con not live like this any more, or have my kids live this way any more either..
I have been going to alanon and that helps me tremendously. I have found some good friends there who I can be completely honest with and that is a relief for me. In fact I didn;t go to a meeting for a month with everything we had going on and when I went back this past Sunday, I was like a new person-so much stronger..( sounds strange, I know, but it has worked for me.)

Please take care of yourself-that is the most important thing. Hang in there,
MB

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2003
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 8:52am

Hi MB,


Welcome to this board.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-17-2007
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 11:01am
Thanks you,
Everyone's post is helpful in its own way. I am cautious about what I am doing as it will change everyone's life and although I am so done with him not giving me the respect I deserve, I also contemplate the fact that if I cut him off completely I can't help him and I still love him and I want to help him get help and for my children who are so little I don't want them living with this. I fear if I leave him, he will really fall apart and have no reason not to drink. So my thoughts have gone crazy. I thought I would ask him to stop drinking completely and if he thought that was something he could do I would be here for him and stand by him and see no reason to separate from him, since I would feel he would need us most right then. I don't want to give him and ultimatium, but I have to say that if he doesn't want to do this, than I will have to follow through with the separation. I am very interested in what you say about waiting a year to make any decisions. This is actually the first time that I can honestly say that I definitly started considering him an alcoholic, as I said it was hard to classify because he is not some viloent drunk, or hiding it or drinking in the morning. When he gets drunk many people don't even know he is.. I just do alot of the time and he is a fun drunk. Everyone loves to be around him... anyway, by no means am I selling him on this.. but it took me a while to classify him till now because it really is ruining our lives. For at least the last 2 years I have had enough of having to worry about when he is going to get home from going to do anything like having to run out to home depot for something at 8 o'clock at night... it is just known by that he will go to home depot, but he will definitly need to go meet someone at our local bar on the way home and not get home till 11 and he rationalizes it all because the kids are in bed, what do I need him for. This obviously is just one example, but it sucks living your life with a pit in your stomache always have to wonder when he going to spring it on you that he has to go out. So I do wonder is this the point that you wait 1 year because I finally am realizing he is an alcoholic or do I go back to when I knew it was a problem, but never asked him to stop? I completely fear that he can't stop and I will be down this rode 2 more years from now? Thank you very much for your input. It is so nice to have such caring wonderful people hear really trying to help me make the best decision. You all are just wonderful. I am trying an alanon meeting tonight, but I keep thinking why bother, I am getting such wonderful help here! :-)



Lilypie Baby Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2003
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 11:23am
Please, please keep using us as a great support....but also go to Alanon.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-17-2007
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 11:58am


I am going to go for sure tonight. Its a bit scary, but it sounds like it would be so helpful to me.

Can I ask you what finally made you get yourself healthy? Is it something that really the Alcoholic can do on there own? Did you hit rock bottom? Was your family there for you helping you through it or did they have to finally give up on you for you to help yourself? I would love to know your story, if you would be willing to share your thoughts?




Lilypie Baby Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2003
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 12:27pm

MY STORY.....not a pretty read....but the world already knew I was a drunk and everyone in my family, extended family,5

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2004
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 1:28pm

"it sucks living your life with a pit in your stomache always have to wonder when he going to spring it on you that he has to go out. So I do wonder is this the point that you wait 1 year because I finally am realizing he is an alcoholic"

The first part of your sentence is indicative of why you should consider alanon - for you. You will learn tools that will help you to reduce and/or eliminate the "insanity" and co-dependency. There is really nothing that can replace the face-to-face support you receive from going to a live meeting (per my sponsor)- but do keep coming back here for support as well. The other thing I would strongly suggest is that you get a temporary sponsor as soon as you can. Generally, it is said to look for someone who has what you want and ask them to be your temporary sponsor and see where it goes. I believe, based on my experience, and that of countless others, that is the best way to work a good program and benefit the most - using someone who knows it to help you through.

As for the second sentence...I would argue it appears you are arriving at a "point of transition" or a realization in your life. IMHO this would be the time to start a "one-year period". You may be amazed at where you are at the end of this rather short period of time (again, it does sound long because of what you are dealing with, but it really isn't). It will take you that much time at a minimum to start to get yourself healthy enough to make a good decision for you and your family (alcoholism make us sick too, its just different).

Just a snapshot of my story for you (one of these days I may spill it all out here)... DH had a drunk affair, suicide attempt, I discovered all of this when I was half way around the world - I was told he was dead and flew home under this belief, finding out the true depth of his drinking/using issues, a stay in a psych ward, treatment, half-way house, sober house (so living apart for more than a year; all of this no one who knows my DH could believe any of it...he was the poster boy of perfect son/husband/employee, etc.) and our first child amidst it all. I was in such despair, I became suicidal myself. I NEVER thought my life would ever be ok again. I was SOOOOOOOO wrong. Prior to all of the above, I was living a near identical life to what you describe.

I am happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

Take what you like, leave the rest...

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2007
Wed, 08-22-2007 - 1:32pm

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I so identify with those words! I have spent so many days in a rut or a rage because of DH's drinking - and those are all days that I could have been enjoying life with my beautiful children, instead of withdrawing or snapping at them.

You need to realize that you are probably doing a better job than you think. Deep down I know that I am still a great mother, and the fact that I feel guilt about not being good enough just reinforces that.

-Sarah