husband is a functioning alcoholic

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2012
husband is a functioning alcoholic
3
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 11:29am

I have no one to talk to about this, so I'm throwing it out there into the world wide web in hopes it will help me sort things out in my brain. My husband and I have known each other for 20 years. We married three years ago. At that time I was a single parent in professional school. My child's father was very abusive and I was"broken" in the relationship department. I wanted nothing to do with being in a relationship ever again. I reunited with my husband after several years of not seeing or speaking with one another. He is so kind and caring. He is a fantastic parent to my child and someone I could picture myself having more children with in the future. We did not live together until shortly before we got married, after dating for 3 years. We would see each other on the weekends, and he would only spend the night when my ex had parenting time.

As soon as we moved in together we began to grow more distant. We did not spend time together anymore, despite me making an effort to arrange date nights on the weekends. He would stay in the basement and not come up until bedtime.  He would act hurt if I did not want to have sex with him after not even speaking with him for several days...even though we lived under the same roof. That's when I started to find hidden alcohol bottles all over the basement. I was shocked. I had only witnessed him drinking on a couple occasions while we were dating, and never to excess. I grew up in an alcoholic household and recognized what was going on. Despite the fact that I loved him dearly, I began to feel very betrayed. I confronted him about it, and he always had an excuse as to why there were alcohol bottles all over the basement. I knew better. I had reservations about going through with the marriage, but I did it anyway. Now I am deeply regretting that decision. I love him dearly, but have absolutely no desire to be with him anymore. I feel so betrayed and embarrassed. All our friends and family think he walks on water. I can't even look him in the eye. 

It has gotten to the point where he doesn't even work anymore. I work 16+ hours daily. He is a "stay-at-home" parent. I am worried sick everytime I have to work a 24 hour shift because it means he is the only adult at home. He doesn't cook, clean, or do any of the things the stay-at-home parent would be doing in any other family. My family keeps telling me to cut him some slack. They think it must be hard for a man to be a stay-at-home parent. The thing is, I never asked him to do this. He just decided he didn't want to work anymore. When he was working, he was calling in sick all the time so he could stay home and watch video games. 

I am just so tired. I know we need to go to counseling, but I am so busy working my butt off to support this family that I have no energy left to work on this.  I have a very close male friend at work. This has probably gotten to the point of being an emotional affair. I would never let it get to the point of being a physical relationship, but the companionship is so nice. I just don't feel like I'm getting anything out of my marriage. I feel like I am just enabling him, which isn't healthy for him. I can't imagine having to explain to our families what happened if I divorce him.  He really is an amazing parent, but so was my dad who is an alcoholic. I just feel sick that I am about to put my own child through the crazy life that I grew up with as a child with an alcoholic parent. But he will absolutely not acknowledge the fact that he has a problem.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-30-2000
Sun, 05-19-2013 - 7:09am

Well hello WMT...my hubby to was functional alcoholic .....he is love of my life ..always been there and great with my kids... He was a after work drinker.over past year his panic got worse started drinking more at night...I go to ala non and its a nice support ...I chose to not threaten him cause he is so good and I love him...after all he never let it alter his nice personality....well on 4/ 28 while napping he cardiac arrested do to aspiration ...I was like o god please no I need him with me...and lucky he survived...he went thru DT,s while in hospital and so far not drinking...after all he put the kids and myself thru if he ever drinks again he will lose us my heart couldn't take that again..as much as I love him.....but we really still hoping he will keep his word..so far so good.....just Sharing ..Amy 

Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 2:54pm
Hugs to you both. Check out AlAnon literature, even if you can't get to meetings. Also get Melodie Beatty's book CoDependent No More

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 1:43pm

  I feel for you.  You will get better responses than mine on here.  See MY posting of "A Family of Addicts".  I can't remember the posters username, but she gave me the best advice...that I cannot control what my dh does, that I did not cause this, etc...Please read it.  It helped me immensely.  She also recommended a book which I plan on reading.

My dh is also a functioning alcoholic, but is different from your dh in that he does not hide his alcoholism and has always held down a good job and been successful.  We are 52 and 50 years old, have been together 4 years and married for one.  I knew when I married him that he was an alcoholic, but he had quit for several years before we met, so had faith he could do it again.  I lowered the boom in January (after only 9 months of marriage) and told him that if he didn't stop drinking that our marriage would certainly fail.  I was already reaching the end of my sanity rope.  I, like you, had said after my divorce in 2007 (after 25 years of marriage) that I would NEVER marry again...yet I was in love and it made sense to do so since we were buying a condo together.  Dh was the one who kept bringing it up and I finally gave in.  On February 27th, with the help of his doctor, he did it. We still drink a bit once or twice on the weekends, but he sticks to a 6 pack of beer.  When that's gone, it's gone.  What I'm struggling with now is fear. Will he slip and go back to drinking daily again as he used to as all alcholics can?  I need to get over that because, like YOUR dh, he is a wonderful caring man who has shown me love like I've never known. 

It does sound like your dh definitely needs help, but you can't MAKE him change.  My dh also smokes heavily which hurts me daily, but knows he needs to quit (health reasons).  I pray daily he will because at our age, I fear I won't have him around as long as I'd like.  Anyway, it sounds like you could benefit from Alanon and marriage counseling.  If things don't change, it sounds like you have a big decision to make. 

{{{HUGS}}}