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My husband drinks...

Posted by nofaves (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 29, 07 at 2:05

It's never in excess around family or friend type functions, but he has this 'buddy' who is also having marital issues, and they will go out and drink in the bar for hours on end. This may occur only once every 3 weeks, or sometimes 2 months can go by between their sessions. The time between these sessions can be good or bad, the last one was good, in that we got along better as husband and wife, and parents. Then it seems something sets him off (we just received a rent increase) or maybe I've made him mad, then he doesn't show up for supper and stays out late. I just finished reading another poster asking for help in how to decide when to call it quits, and I think I am there, yet so scared. This type of behavior has gone on for the duration of our marriage, you'd think we'd have worked this out or I'd have gotten used to it or something. In the beginning I'd voice my displeasure, both in that I felt he was being inconsiderate to me by not letting me know he wasn't going to come home on a particular night, and that I thought when he did go out the alcohol consumption was too much. I can tell by his condition when he'd get home that he'd had too much to drive, and he usually drives.

When talking/arguing didn't work, I tried (how stupid I know) ignoring it like I didn't care. I think all that did was make him think I accepted it. Now I am back to voicing displeasure, letting him know it hurts me (and our family-we have kids). I feel I've been 'putting' up with this and other negative behavior from him because I don't want to hurt our kids with a divorce. Yet I feel my self esteem is slowly being whittled away, along with my ability to look at this objectively and with perspective. I watch the news and there's lots of people out there who've got life way worse than this, so then I talk myself into the fact I've got such positives elsewhere in my life, I should be more tolerant of this. My earning power is 1/4 where his is, I know through divorce life would be fairly meager for me and the kids, I probably couldn't afford to have the kids, and this makes me want to cry.
Would the fact that he drinks in excess with mainly the one buddy (who in earlier conversations with my husband my husband revealed his buddy's wife has a problem with buddy's drinking) mean he is an alcoholic? This is something he doesn't do on a regular weekly basis, going back from tonight it's probably been near 8 weeks since his last outing (and our big fight). Then 2 weeks before that, and say 4 weeks before that. I know a guy needs to spend time with his pals, and I've asked him to try to see his friends weekly for a couple of hours (manipulative thinking on my part, because I figure if it's only a couple of hours then he can't over drink like he does when he's out for 6 or eight, plus if he spends time with his friends on a regular basis then he won't need to stay out so late).

I find this hard trying to write out and keep condensed. I'm having trouble making this seem justified, I almost wish he'd have an affair, that seems to be an acceptable excuse for divorce that people accept. This problem I am presenting, there's always the room to say 'have you tried this, maybe try that, you're not trying hard enough' (directed to me to try to make marriage work), since I know both our sets of parents and inlaws and would have a hard time accepting. He won't go to counselling since there is nothing wrong with him, he's a workaholic and good earner for the family, everyone fawns over him and all his accomplishments. I'll be regarded as the demanding wife, intolerant of him needing a bit of fun, unable to overlook that he sometimes 'forgets' to call.
Thanks for taking the time to read, sounds like gibberish I know, I feel super muddled tonight.
Thanks.
Oh yeah, his take on my 'beefs' is that I am a SAHM with not enough to do, I need to go out and work full time and then I'll be so busy with life that these things wouldn't bother me. Hmm.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My husband drinks...

I can see why you'd be upset with his behavior, but as you point out, a divorce isn't looking so rosy either. Getting really specific, there are several little pieces to this behavior that would bother me, and others that wouldn't. If you could identify the particular aspects that bother you the most, and leave the others alone, would that be enough of an improvement? For example:

- Going out with a male buddy to a bar every so often isn't a problem for me. Guys need some unwinding time just the way we do. Do you have an issue with the frequency? Or the hours? And if so, maybe you could agree on how often would be acceptable to both of you, or what types of 'blowing off steam' activities you find acceptable and which you object to. (For example, restaurant bar is OK; seedy or topless bars aren't.)

- While there may not be a problem with having a few drinks every so often, *driving* home afterward is. He could get killed, injured, kill or maim someone else, get a DUI with associated legal ramifications, etc. Would he agree to take a cab home if you agree to never criticize that he 'had to'?

- Personally, I'd have a big problem if he went straight to the bar without calling me first to let me know he wouldn't be home for dinner. But at the same time, many guys seem to think calling home makes them look 'whipped' and are reluctant to do it. (Even my DH, who is the most considerate person I've ever met, has this particular little hang-up.) But it's common courtesy to let someone who is expecting you know that you won't be there. Again, if you agree not to pitch a hissy fit that he's going, would he agree to call you to let you know he's not coming home?

- As to the issue of whether or not he's an alcoholic -- I don't think that's a simple black and white issue between 'no problem' and 'alcoholic'. I think it's possible for a person to have a problem with alcohol yet not be a full-fledged alcoholic. If he can go weeks at a time without drinking, there doesn't appear to be a physical dependance. But if he's repeatedly driving drunk and your marriage is shaky, it's certainly not accurate to say he doesn't have a problem.

Your post also implies that it's financial considerations and fear of disapproval that are keeping you together. While those are valid considerations, it's not much to base a marriage on. If you think your marriage may not make it, take steps now so that you will be able to stand on your own two feet and support your children if the need arises. This is far too important to leave to fate, faith or hope.


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RE: My husband drinks...

I think once alcohol consumption affects relationships - personal or business - you're dealing with issues of alcoholism. You should do more research on the topic. I think most professionals will tell you that occasional binge drinking episodes, poor decision making and negative impact on family means there's a problem.

Is anyone else in the family concerned about his drinking? In-laws, his parents, siblings, etc? Have any of them talked to him about it?

He sounds like he's probably "self medicating" because something is bugging him at home. His first priority should be to his family and their safety. Not to say that he shouldn't go out with his friends, but he needs to be smart about it, not drive home and not drink to the point where his family members harbor concern about his safety.

Sounds like divorce might not be a wise financial decision, but if you're witnessing a steady progression of things getting worse - do you really want to wait until he hits bottom or brings the family with him before you make a smart move? If he is unwilling to acknowledge your concerns and modify his behavior and is unwilling to see the potential injuries he's causing to his family, it's time for you to start figuring out how to protect yourself and your kids. Can you work more hours, find a new job, start networking with friends who would lend you a hand in the event you decide to call it quits?

Just don't be blinded and *hopeful* that things will change, when there's no indication from him that he either sees a need to change or is willing to change.


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RE: My husband drinks...

I think my last post was maybe a little overly dramatic, but what would concern me most, if I were you, is his inability to discuss it and the fact that he blames the problem on you (it's your "beef" and he has no problem other than your complaints).

If red flags are going off in your head and your gut is telling you that this is a serious problem brewing, listen to your insticts and start finding ways to protect yourself. If you never leave and everything works out, you're no worse off. But at least you're not trying to figure out what to do on the night he gets pulled over for DUI or the night the fight moves from yelling to hitting. Just be smart, and don't hope this is going to go away. You have a right to say what's right for your family and if he's not willing to acknowledge that his behavior is damaging to his family, you should find a way to protect yourself.


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RE: My husband drinks...

Ditto hlmhr.

Maybe it'll abate; maybe it won't. Maybe doesn't need action right now....but know what to do when/if it does.


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RE: My husband drinks...

I don't see the problem seeing his friend or even the drinking once in awhile. It is a long time between get togethers so I can't see how you could call him an alcoholic. I don't think he should be driving though if he drinks in that excess. Also I think he should call and let you know of your plans. Maybe they could get together at one of the others houses and hang out in the backyard. They could drink all they wanted, shoot the breeze, and not have to drive. Have you suggested this. Make sure that you leave them alone so they feel like they have time to themselves like they would at the bar. It's worth a try.


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RE: My husband drinks...

THANK you all for responding so quickly and with such concern. The reason I finally posted this was to see all the different styles of responses I would get, because I feel sometimes I am living in this little bubble, with very little outside influence, and start to get lost with my own thought processes.

Sweeby: I also don't have an issue with him going out periodically, and made that suggestion to him, to go out once a week after work and meet with his friends, maybe 3 or 4 hours would do the trick and then he's home at a reasonable hour (and not such a driving risk?). He has a couple other friends that he'll go out with, but it's almost like friend #1 doesn't want to go home so they stay out late (and drink). In the past it was until after 3 am. This is way too late for me, and that is what I am struggling with, I want to keep my demands reasonable, but I am also aware what may be a problem for me may not be for another spouse. It was hard to make him listen to me, but I felt he did listen to the fact I hated him out that late, and I stated to him I had no intention to be married to someone who had to be out that late, and let's face it, if there wasn't the beer involved, they'd have been done their chat session long before that. Part of the problem is one beer leads to another and so on, and he doesn't seem to know when to quit (well, until closing time). Other thing that hurts me is the not phoning to let me know he's not coming home. I simply don't get it, he has a cell phone on him at all times, good reception in the area we're at. Here's an example: he tells me he's working late (we are in the process of building a house), he's done this in the past and by dusk he is home. This particular night (not known to me) he's not home by the kids' bedtime, I am tucking the kids in and they're asking me to send in dad when he gets home. I tell the kids that dad should be home soon since it's now getting dark. Dad rolls in 11:45 (way past kid's bedtime), by this time I am worried, since I had called him on his cell to check on him, there was no answer so I leave him a message that I am wondering if he fell off a scaffold or something. I find myself thinking about driving off in the night to go check for myself, since if he did fall and is unconcious, he wouldn't be answering his phone. But no, he'd received a call from a friend to pay that friend a visit, so he goes. I tell him this (visiting) is fine by me, but why isn't he calling me to let me know this? He says because he left his phone in the vehicle before going into the friend's house. Me: well, when you were on the phone getting the invite, did it not occur to you when you hung up to give me a quick call? Him: no, I'm too busy. Besides, what does it matter what I do with my time when I'm away from the home? Sweeby, we had another talk today, since something similar happened last night, and he doesn't think he needs to let me know what he's up to when he's gone from the house. I tell him I don't need a minute by minute update, but I should have a general idea. He makes me feel like I expect too much, he feels I'm controlling by wanting to know where he is. As for the taxi, he did use it for a while when I really pressed him about it 'so your life isn't worth $20?', but has stopped a long time ago, claiming he's driven like this all his life and never had an accident, so what does that say (lucky and risky?).

Hlmhr: the idea of self medicating sounds plausible. I've suspected he's suffering from depression (he hates his job and told me he wants me to work in a job I hate so I know what that feels like). Quite a few years ago when kids were very little I told him I am willing to work in the local grocery store to make grocery and utility money, he could quit and go back to school to change careers (he's very intelligent business wise), but he refused since he couldn't bear to give up his pension. Yet he blames me for being in a job he hates, since he's very resentful that I get to rest on my laurels and do nothing (and I don't-my days are busy so I have time at night with kids and I know I am fortunate in this respect). I suspect he's one of those that places his self worth solely by the money he can earn, which is self defeating since the cost of everything continually goes up, so losing money to increasing living expenses seems to take a toll on him personally. I think that he's very unhappy in his job, and I'm the easy target to place the blame on. I feel (and this is just an assumption but I feel I can second guess him pretty good), that should I work full time (and most likely only earn 1/4 his wage with my present skills), then I still wouldn't be an equal in this relationship, since I'm not earning what he is and he'll claim his job is more stressful. I say this in the sense that I told him I can work full time but would now expect him to start pitching in around the home & kids (this was before we started building a house) and gave him an example of a neighbor where both worked, and I'd asked her how she juggled it all and she'd told me her DH cooked the meals when he wasn't on night shift, vacuumed the house and kept the bathrooms clean. My H was choked and said something like "She makes him cook supper on the day he's already worked?". He might be old fashioned, but he's asked me a couple of times why I can't be like all those other women out there that work full time, take care of the kids and run the household. I asked him to give me names, so I could interview them and ask how it's done. He just walked off in a huff, never gave me names of these superwomen. Oh dear, now I've gone off on a tangent, but that is the other big issue here, me not making $ for the household, but I am the one home for the kids 7days/week, 52 weeks/year. And I know I am half of this mess, I allowed myself to be treated as a doormat for a long time, and now that I am challenging things we are having lots of disagreements (or in other words I am being a b*tch), and then he does these late night outings to get back (it works, it hurts me) and other passive aggressive things. I feel if I could have it that he never took a sip of alcohol, I might stand a better chance at working this out. He wouldn't be staying out late, he wouldn't be driving while impaired, he wouldn't be harming his health by this binge drinking, then all I'd have to be mad about is his inconsideration about not phoning when he's staying out, and perhaps that would be overlooked, but for now it's all so intertwined I have trouble separating it.

My inner gut has been screaming at me from the first year of marriage, but I kept telling myself I was the problem, I needed to be more tolerant and flexible, now I am listening and it is saying this is not how I can live my life (stomach in knots and icicles in my chest - hard to fall asleep at night), I believe we are wrong for each other, he needs a woman who apparently isn't going to question his whereabouts, or care if he doesn't show up as scheduled, or he needs to be with someone he would want to leave his friend at the bar to come home to?

Spicyshotglass: I agree, it hasn't been a long time between the last few sessions, but going back a few years it could be every other week, and I need to interject that if I would suggest me and him going out (with or without kids) the stock answer would be 'no, I'm too tired', so it also seems to me that he's willing to make time for friend(s) but not for me. There was a point in time where I gently tried to impress upon him that a lot of couples spend a minimum of 15 minutes/day just to chat and catch up with their busy lives, and at that time he had a full time job and was doing a part time one, AND making time to go out drinking with his buddy until wee hours BUT not having conversation with me, and he turned to me and said "you mean I am busting my butt with 2 jobs and then I have to come home to you and have a g*dd*mned conversation every day! You're nuts!" Seems to me he is thinking providing for his family's financial needs is the most he should give, and I shouldn't expect more. I was burping our 6 month old baby at the time (and still sleep deprived chasing after a toddler during the day) and I think I just went upstairs and cried. Now I look back and wonder, my goodness, if he doesn't even have an inkling of desire to have idle chatter with me, what is he doing with me - and why am I accepting this?

Additionally, I am so jealous of friend #1. If #2 or #3 stop in (without wives) I feel fine, but I feel so threatened with #1. #1 snaps his fingers and H jumps. #2 & #3 don't seem inclined to hang around for hours on end, they stop in for a 2 or 3 beer visit, then mention they've got things to do and go. As for evening visits, #2 & #3 usually bring their spouse with them, then it's like a friendly gathering. With friend #1, it's like a party for 2 and I'm not invited, and quite frankly I don't want to sit in for guy talk all night. Therefore, I banned #1 from coming over, since it always seemed about the beer, and it seemed endless, like him dropping in at 2pm, and it's midnight before heading home, and I'm trying to have a normal night with the kids, and then the rest of the week H doesn't want to do much of anything with us anyways, just lay on the couch or 'he's got work' to do. I feel I'm not important enough for him to make time for, I get whatever time he's got left over, and for a workaholic, that ain't much. Not much for our marriage.

Thanks again everyone for reading through this, have a good day please.


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RE: My husband drinks...

Hi-

You mention that DH can have very long periods of time inbetween. He seems to be a binge drinker. He is "dry" during the inbetween times. Is that correct?

"Dry DrunkSyndrome " is a term often applied to this. An Alanon site has an article about it and attached is the page:

http://www.minnesotarecovery.info/literature/drydrunk.htm

The following is an excerpt from the article:

ANALYSIS OF DRY DRUNK BEHAVIOR The alcoholic who rationalizes their own irresponsible behavior are also likely to find fault in the attitudes and behavior of others. Although not denying their own shortcomings, they attempt to escape notice by cataloging in great detail the transgressions of others.

The classic maneuver of the dry drunk is over-reaction. The alcoholic may attach a seemingly disproportionate intensity of feeling to an ordinary insignificant event or mishap.

The article sets forth the traits of these individuals in depth and the measures that can be undertaken to correct it.

There are probably other ways to approach this. It is from the point of view of alanon.

I hope this helps.


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RE: My husband drinks...

Thank-you Tenderchichi. I've not heard that term before. I went and read the article straight away, and he's got a lot of matches, but it could be that I'm seeing things from inside and am biased, but I've got a close confidante that I can vent and speak with, I will ask her to have a read and give her opinion, since she knows H pretty good also. He will have the occasional night during our 'good' spells where he will have 3 or 4 beers while we watch a movie together-but I don't call that drinking. That seems normal. Some of the traits that are described, like the disproportionate intensity of feeling to an ordinary insignificant mishap can happen a fair bit, I thought he was just immature and needed better anger management skills. The thing about grandiosity sounds like him too.

In our relationship we go through these 'bad' periods, then a period of quietness where we both back off from each other (but certainly aren't behaving like tender loving couple in front of children, more like polite roommates) and then I extend the olive branch and make like everything's alright (I do this to try and get things back on track), then it seems we're in a better groove until the next bump occurs that he can't handle, then the world is full of idiots again except for him, and it's as if he's lost all sense of reason. I will spend more time on reading up on the Dry Drunk term, and have been entertaining the idea of checking out the local Al Anon to see what I can learn there, be it coping skills, or alternate ways to react/deal with him since obviously my present ways don't seem to be accomplishing anything positive. We just keep repeating a pattern, never to be discussed at length since when I try to discuss when he's calmer, his take is "there's no point, I (meaning me) won't change, so why talk about it?" Poor guy, I sense he has so much bottled up, and for release he vents the anger on me, even though I may not be the one at fault.


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RE: My husband drinks...

Hi nofaves-

I'm glad the article helped in some way. I am attaching a link to Alanon's web site:

http://www.alanon.org.za/

Why not take a look at it? It can't hurt.

The hardest part is trying to control them. There are lots of personal stories and helpful hints from people who have been there.

Whatever changes that have to be undertaken will first have to begin with you.

You can't change a person from the outside in.

DH has to want to. He may never. In the meantime, you have to realize that you did not Cause it, you cannot Control it and you are not to Blame for it.

You let go of it. No matter what DH does, he and only he can take responsibility for it.

When we try to control a person anticipating negative results in the future, we waist all of our energy.

We weaken ourselves. We have children, jobs, responsiblities and issues of our own.

If, (G_d forbid), something serious comes out of Dh's boozing, you need to be strong. Strong enough to stay afloat in the event you are needed. Your kids need to be able to feel confident in, at least, one parent.

I wish you Peace with this situation.


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RE: My husband drinks...

You can't change a person from the outside in.

DH has to want to. He may never. In the meantime, you have to realize that you did not Cause it, you cannot Control it and you are not to Blame for it.

You let go of it. No matter what DH does, he and only he can take responsibility for it.

When we try to control a person anticipating negative results in the future, we waist all of our energy.

We weaken ourselves. We have children, jobs, responsiblities and issues of our own.

These are wise words---no matter what your siutuation. Difficult to follow at first, but necessary for your own sanity.


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