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When loved ones drink and you don't

Partners, families, children and friends - they all get affected by your drinking.
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littletower
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by littletower » 25 Sep 2014 17:37

Hi Shelia. The way my husband and I see (saw) it is that as a team we struggled through the bad times and we both vowed to work together to ensure our happiness, and part of that is supporting my recovery...it's in both our best interests that I stay well; financially, for our happiness and for the sake of our desire to have children. When he drinks, he makes sobriety more of a challenge and given the consequences of a relapse, it's in both our interests to minimise risk.

I have always maintained that I am fine for him to drink when out or with his dad (he doesn't really have friends to drink with). Whenever we have gone out I have never mentioned alcohol...I accept it as I accept that outside of my home alcohol is everywhere. In my own home though I feel that I am entitled to be safe from the continual reminder of the very temptation that nearly killed me. It is a drug and behaviour that nearly destroyed me and us and his drinking risks that again. I feel within my rights to ask that we have an alcohol free home and he continue to drink anywhere else. I'm not asking him to quit, I'm asking to remove the temptation and threat from my home. I think that given the importance of sobriety for both parties in a marriage, it has to take priority. Putting it on the other foot, if he had been told by a GP that he had to lose weight or he'd die I wouldn't keep eating chocolate and crisps...I would instead support him and eat a healthy diet with him. I see the drinking as the same thing.

The first time I relapsed I never asked him to stop. I didn't feel it was fair as (as you say) it was my problem, not his. But then when I relapsed again and we went through hell...jeopardising both our futures, I realised that if he and I want a life together, I have to put my sobriety first. At the end of the day, what's more important...that he has a drink at home or that I stay well?

I would love to be ok with him drinking...I really would. But given the severity of my alcohol problem and what I (we) have to lose, I have to do what's right by my sobriety. And his drinking is creating a problem for me that despite a year of trying to accept it, I can't.

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Sheila
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Sheila » 25 Sep 2014 17:51

LT <:)>
Having a drinking partner is a very hard problem to solve, and it does sound as though you've both talked this all through at length.
I suppose I'm lucky in that I'd already had my family before my drinking became a problem, so it's difficult for me to imagine how hard it must be for you wanting to start a family under your circumstances, please accept my apologies if I spoke out of turn <:)>

Hopefully someone in a more similar situation as yourself will be able to offer more suitable advice, I really hope things work out for you <:)>
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littletower
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by littletower » 25 Sep 2014 19:36

Sheila wrote:LT <:)>
Having a drinking partner is a very hard problem to solve, and it does sound as though you've both talked this all through at length.
I suppose I'm lucky in that I'd already had my family before my drinking became a problem, so it's difficult for me to imagine how hard it must be for you wanting to start a family under your circumstances, please accept my apologies if I spoke out of turn <:)>

Hopefully someone in a more similar situation as yourself will be able to offer more suitable advice, I really hope things work out for you <:)>
Hi Shelia

No need to apologise...we all have different relationships and circumstances.

For me personally, relapse is a case of life or death and it is in both my husbands and my best interests to ensure as best we can that I stay well. Weighing up the pros and cons of his glasses of wine, to me it seems obvious that my sobriety far outweighs a few glasses of wine.

My husband has made it very clear that what I can offer him is what he wants in a marriage...I know that he wants our future and children together and so it baffles me that he insists on continuing a little habit when it risks the future he wants. It hurts me that he would choose to do this. I would never continue consuming a food or drink if I knew that it threatened his life and my own future. Or even it simply caused him distress.

I do feel I've done my end of the deal...I got sober and have stayed sober...which is of course no small feat and is a daily challenge. I've been out many times with him while he drinks and I am continually presented with alcohol by his family who continue to discuss and share various wines in front of me. And I say nothing...I accept this. All I ask is that I be free of this situation at home...my place to feel safe.

He and I have discussed it at length, you are right. And his reaction on this topic is very different to any other. He becomes instantly defensive and tries to turn it around on me which makes me think that he's a little too attached to his wine.

I'm at a loss.

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littletower
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by littletower » 25 Sep 2014 19:41

redeyes wrote:It's not entirely the same thing, but when we were dating my husband told me that if I continued to smoke he could never marry me. It took me a while but I did stop. I appreciated that he had a boundary he wasn't willing to compromise on and that he lay his cards on the table for the choice to be in my hands.

Of course how one person reacts to this strategy may be very different to the next person......

Have you ever made the issue this black and white for him in the past? How would he most likely react? I have to be honest and say I'm not sure my husband could do this for me. But then we are tied in with two kids already so he would probably know I wouldn't walk away.
Thank you for your reply :) I'm so happy that people have taken the time to read my post and share their thoughts...I've been feeling really alone!

I haven't made an ultimatum/black and white approach before because I wouldn't want him to feel emotionally blackmailed. However, it wouldn't be blackmail now...it would be the truth. I have to look after myself and if he can't support that and instead jeopardise that, then perhaps I have to do it on my own without him. I know that rationally, our future isn't worth losing over a few glasses of wine but in truth....it's my sobriety at stake here, which is worth losing a relationship over.

I don't know how he'd react to such a comment though. I've hinted that I've been seriously debating our future but nothing changed. I honestly don't know if he'd choose his wine over me....so far he's chosen the wine.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by DoingBetter » 26 Sep 2014 01:06

I struggled for many years with my husband's drinking. I knew he would never give it up because he told me so when we first started dating, and many times over the years. No matter how many bad things happened due to the drinking, he had to have it.

Eventually my previously only social drinking became much more dangerous, and I was matching him drink for drink. Like many of us, I turned into someone I didn't recognise and had no respect for. I tried many times to quit drinking, but with my husband there swilling away, even if he hid out in his home office, I couldn't do it. I resented him tremendously for not only drinking, but for wasting all the time soused that we could have spent together in other activities.

Finally his drinking escalated to no job, anger problems, slovenly behaviour and little hygiene. I couldn't take it any more, and it was starting to affect my career as I was going into work hungover. My husband wouldn't work at all. I tried several times to get him to quit, many ultimatums about "it's over if you don't quit". These never worked, because it's not an ultimatum if you don't follow through.

Three months ago after a particularly bad argument, I told him it was over, and asked him to move out. At first he was belligerent, and then pleading, but I'd had enough. He claimed that he would quit, but I knew that would never last. And he hasn't, he drinks less (according to the kids when they go to visit) because of lack of funds, but still consistently.

Although I've had some stumbles, three months on I am happier than I have been in years, and my drinking is dwindling away rapidly. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you know yourself by now about whether you can stop with alcohol in the house and/or with your husband drinking his glass or two of wine daily.

I guess I would ask you to have a think about whether it really is only two glasses that he is having. This seems a quite small amount to be so demanding on. It would make me wonder if he was really having more than that at other times, and this is just the "official amount" that he claims.

You are correct that if the shoe was on the other foot that you would change your lifestyle to support his health. He is not willing to do so for you. That would be the bigger deal-breaker for me, and a sign that my needs were not that important. However, you need to decide what is right for you.

I can tell you that having kids and alcohol should not mix. My kids are nearly grown and they spent their high school years not being able to depend on getting a ride from us at odd times, because we would most likely have been drinking. You don't want to put kids through that.

I hope this helps and hasn't just muddied the issue.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Scout » 26 Sep 2014 02:37

Like Doingbetter, I'm wondering if he really is just having one or two. I think if be was, it wouldn't be such a big deal to stop having it at home. After all you've been through I think it is really wrong of him to still drink at home. It just really sounds like he is dependent and can't stop and isn't being honest about it. I just don't think you're wrong I really don't. I hope he'll try counseling with you and that you can sort this out. But you're not wrong.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by littletower » 26 Sep 2014 09:38

DoingBetter wrote:
I guess I would ask you to have a think about whether it really is only two glasses that he is having. This seems a quite small amount to be so demanding on. It would make me wonder if he was really having more than that at other times, and this is just the "official amount" that he claims.

You are correct that if the shoe was on the other foot that you would change your lifestyle to support his health. He is not willing to do so for you. That would be the bigger deal-breaker for me, and a sign that my needs were not that important. However, you need to decide what is right for you.

I can tell you that having kids and alcohol should not mix. My kids are nearly grown and they spent their high school years not being able to depend on getting a ride from us at odd times, because we would most likely have been drinking. You don't want to put kids through that.

I hope this helps and hasn't just muddied the issue.
Hi DB. Thank you for your post and for sharing your own experience.

He definitely is only having 1-2 glasses. Before I became sober that was all he had and he dislikes being drunk. I've only ever seem him drunk twice. I think his dependency is an emotional and psychological one as opposed to a physical need. He definitely turns to it when stressed...it's his crutch. And he uses this as an excuse which doesn't wash with me...as I cope fine and can't turn to alcohol. I'm living proof that there are alternative ways to de-stress. He also seems to have integrated wine as part of his identity. Since I became sober and was no longer someone he could share wine with he's actually been buying books on alcohol (about the history, health benefits etc) and I can only assume that this is a quite sad attempt at holding on to his wine in the absence of a drinking partner. It did take him quite a while to accept that I couldn't just have one glass with him. He did have to grieve over that.

When I put forward the idea that I would never keep something in the house that threatened him he says 'well that's the difference. I would never ask you quit something for me'. And this is where he draws the line...the fact that if it were on the other foot, he wouldn't ask of me what I am asking of him. How he can know this though I don't know...he's never been in a position of having to quit something that could kill him.

I am determined to be a good mum and I know that this issue aside, my husband will be an amazing father, but as many others have reiterated...it has to be a team effort in all respects, and that includes my sobriety.

It's wonderful to read that you made a decision that was far better for you and that you are happier :)

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by littletower » 26 Sep 2014 09:49

Scout wrote:Like Doingbetter, I'm wondering if he really is just having one or two. I think if be was, it wouldn't be such a big deal to stop having it at home. After all you've been through I think it is really wrong of him to still drink at home. It just really sounds like he is dependent and can't stop and isn't being honest about it. I just don't think you're wrong I really don't. I hope he'll try counseling with you and that you can sort this out. But you're not wrong.

Hi Scout. Thank you for your reply. It genuinely made me smile to read that you don't think I'm wrong :) When at home with just my husband I don't have anyone to share my experience with who understands and sometimes I question if I'm being reasonable or not. Especially when I have a husband making me out to be the bad guy...when from my perspective, all I've done is the right thing by both of us...and I continue to.

We had a big talk last night and we've agreed on another compromise. He has 3 months to try his method of having alcohol but not letting me know about it. He absolutely refuses to quit drinking at home but he does accept that it isn't fair to keep reminding me of it when I'm working so hard to move away from it. If, by December, he's failed to keep it out of my world, we'll reassess. He could not however agree that if he fails, we try it my way, with him not drinking at home. At this point I cried because he couldn't even entertain the possibility of agreeing to stop drinking at home...not even if it was a last resort. I have told him that his defensive attitude, and his desperate scrabble to hold on to his wine is a sign to me that he has a problem. But I know from my own experience of denial that he can't see it.

It was a really tough talk last night because he keeps turning it around on me...he's fighting me on it as though we're on opposing teams. But we're not...we're supposed to be working towards the same goal. He definitely has a problem...he becomes so defensive on the subject. But, my consolation is that he does understand that if he wants to keep drinking he has to remove it from my awareness. And he knows now that if he can't ever achieve this I have to make a tough decision.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by littletower » 26 Sep 2014 09:53

redeyes, thank you for truly supportive post. I agree with everything you've written, especially with regards to a marriage and raising children. It's reassuring to read that someone else i.e. you, can see it from my perspective. It has been a very reaffirming experience to find that others with experience of sobriety see it the way I do...that I'm 'normal' in what I feel I need for a sober life and a happy family.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by CJ » 26 Sep 2014 10:28

Gosh what a difficult situation for you Littletower.
My husband also drinks regularly. I have not drank for over 3 years. He would not quit, nor would I ask him to. I feel strongly like Sheila, that this is my problem not his. However, for the first two years ( at least) I felt very bitter that he would carry on drinking in front of me and have a house full of wine. At weekends he goes out and gets gloriously drunk. I hate the change in him when he drinks, the slurry voice, the false passion...the smell of stale booze...
But then I realised how much worse I used to be and felt hypocritical.
Than I would feel simply jealous that he was able to drink. And jealous of his friends who he was drinking with - after all it used to be me! There was a void between us.
I .never asked him not to have drink in the house. I always felt it should be my decision not to drink and not a question of whether drink was available. I argued that I could have gone to the local shop at any time anyway.
The situation was a huge strain on my marriage for a long time. Then somewhere along the line I realised I had lost that anger, that jealousy, that bitterness about him drinking. I don't know when it happened, maybe after a couple of years. And after a lot of heart to hearts with him.
Not sure where I'm going with this really, I just remember someone saying that after quitting drinking it is not a good idea to make big life changes for at least a year. I never really understood the significance of that until two years!
We are now happy. I can tease him about his drinking and his hangovers , and he can tease me about having a teetotall wife. We have found a happy ground in the middle. But it took a long long time.
It doesn't sound as if your OH drinks very much. Perhaps take a bit longer in deciding if it really is something you cannot tolerate, or if it is really putting your sobriety at risk after 11 months then perhaps you need to act sooner. Do you have times when you wobble more than others? Is it worth asking him for more support at these times when you are feeling weak?
Difficult situation.
I wish you all the best. Keep going xxx

Edit sorry didn't read your last post properly. Hope your talk last night helped you both assess the situation. Being honest with each other is so important. I felt for a long time that there was this huge gap between us and I felt guilty as it was me that had put it there. He on the other hand, although supportive of me would have felt angry if I had tried to change him. Men can be stubborn ;)
Last edited by CJ on 26 Sep 2014 11:27, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by paradox » 28 Sep 2014 09:49

Hi LT

Just been reading your posts, and I'm another one thats in your (slightly) same situation. I wast wanted to say, keep on being strong, you've survived and got through everything that life has thrown at you so far. Your brilliant, stop beating yourself up so hard.
I too have a partner that drinks in front of me and although it annoys me and i can feel myself seething with anger when his slurry voice starts i just have to constantly remind myself that this is my problem not his, and if i don't like my choice then its simple - drink again. My other half is a wine freak and we have enough wine and spirits in the house at present to probably keep a small bar running for a week. Even the spare fridge in the garage is full of lager and bitter - incase anyone comes round and wants one (nobody ever comes over and wants bitter or lager). I mentioned keeping less and was too met with pouty looks and snidey statements and i had to just accept that its half his house too and again, its my problem.
Don't let the whole sobriety issue become a big monster between you two in its own right, you can't force other people to stop drinking no more than anyone could stop me drinking over the past 15 years. The more people mentioned it, the more i drank, as i wouldn't be told what to do by anybody.
The fact that your both able to have a good discussion about it is brilliant, the fact that he is never drunk and only had 1-2 glasses a night is brilliant. I know its hard, but try as hard as you can to focus on the positives in the situation.
Have you had any talking therapy to help compliment your sobriety? It helped for me, one really good thing i was told when i couldn't understand things was :
Its like your both at a dance and doing a waltz, suddenly you choose to stop doing a waltz and start a tango, your partner doesn't understand and tries even harder to do a waltz. I know that all sounds a bit odd but i guess the sentiment behind it is that when people become scared and don't understand they cling on even harder to things, anything, even if that thing is bad for them. He can probably see you are changing and could be scared that the next thing you give up is him, so is clinging to old behaviours rather than being open to embracing new ones.
Ive now noticed that my other half drinks a lot less as I'm no longer the drinking buddy, so thats a positive. Slow but sure and you WILL get there.

M


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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Shadowlad » 28 Nov 2015 12:18

Serend <:)>

Noone need ever apologise for talking about their feelings here. That is how you solve your problems and start to feel better ;)?

I understand how lonely you must feel right now, and though you can't really change other people, you have all the power to make some little changes for yourself. And you deserve that <:)>

I felt quite lonely in my marriage the last few years even though he is not a drinker. He irritated me though. You have made such a positive step for yourself participating in this forum and tackling your own drinking Serend. I hope it helps break the isolation like it did for me.

It takes time to change but it all starts with little steps. This is how we start to find ourselves and discover new pleasures. I understand you are a busy lady and are studying , working, family, etc, but it is important to rediscover relaxation and be true to ourselves. You are so right to be wary of making big changes until those sober muscles are well oiled, because after a good period sober, we certainly realize that we can deal with anything without drinking to deal with it.

You are a lovely person and have a lot to offer. Keep moving forward and working towards what makes you happy ;)?

Much love xx

Regarding eating out and seeing movies ? Well i went on my own for a while just to make a point ! ;) (and still had fun)
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Shadowlad » 28 Nov 2015 20:04

Great goal Serend ;)?

Things didn't work out in the end for our marriage. Its interesting really as some relationships get stronger in recovery, but for us it just highlighted how apart as a couple we were. I have known him 30 years, married for 25 but now we are separated and divorcing. Thankfully it hasn't been an acrimonious split, just a sad one as these things are.

Anyway, enjoy your relaxing time. One thing i love this time of the year is visiting the local garden centre, for seasonal food and a hot drink, and marveling at the decorations :)
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Resolution » 09 Mar 2016 00:05

Interesting reading through posts to get other perspective on things. I've cut down massively over the past year or two and suspect will stop completely. Just not quite ready to make that leap. My problem now is the inner turmoil I have when I stay at my partners house. I now have no booze in my house but he has loads. He has an alcohol problem too. I have the shall I drink shan't I turmoil which I generally lose because I associate his place and him with drinking. At home I feel much more in control. I want to make sure I sort myself out but feel selfish about the fact that I more and more believe I need to be on my own to make that final decision about my long term goal. He is lovely in all ways but the drinking. I'm also scared that he will end up like my dad (who was an alcoholic) and I can't watch him go that way. I need to look after me first. Am I being selfish? Unreasonable? I keep thinking about the film kung foo panda and 'inner peace'. I need to find it or understand if this is all to do with my lack of drinking and the weird bits that happen along the path of sobriety. Hope I make some kind of sense. Would be good to have others perspectives and advice. Thanks for reading to the end!!
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Topcat » 09 Mar 2016 08:11

Resolution wrote: I need to look after me first. Am I being selfish? Unreasonable? I keep thinking about the film kung foo panda and 'inner peace'. I need to find it or understand if this is all to do with my lack of drinking and the weird bits that happen along the path of sobriety. Hope I make some kind of sense.
I agree that you need to look after yourself first Resolution and, no, you are not being selfish. While you are deciding what is the best route for you regards alcohol, you really need to keep a clear head in my humble opinion. You've realised that your partner's drinking is having an adverse affect on you and you really do need to put yourself and your needs before all others at this time.

Stopping drinking/moderating or whatever you decide, is a major decision. If you feel you need time alone then take it. If your partner really cares then they will understand <:)>
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Resolution » 09 Mar 2016 19:23

Topcat wrote:
Stopping drinking/moderating or whatever you decide, is a major decision. If you feel you need time alone then take it. If your partner really cares then they will understand <:)>
[/quote]

Thanks Topcat, appreciate your words. Yes he should understand. So I need to reassure him that's it's not him I'm trying to leave behind. It's the alcohol. If however he gets worse and drinks more because of his insecurities I will have to learn to deal with that too. And move on. I've come too far to jeopardise me.
Sobriety is an exercise in dealing with difficult stuff and not using anything on it

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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Lush4life » 10 Mar 2016 15:51

It's really helpful reading about other peoples struggles with this,does make u realize u not so alone,my husband of 39yrs, still drinks heavily we have always drank at home so there is no escape!!! I did read somewhere that the power is in you and not the booze, that made sence to me, but i have to admit how i miss the times we were drinking together before it all went wrong, so i make sure to keep strong and realise it can never b that way again, just in closing would say thanks for chance to air veiws on this forum, it takes me a while to post as am borderline wrinkly at 57!!!
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Lush4life » 16 Apr 2016 20:12

Well I know hardly anyone posts on this one as now am posting to meself! But sandy did say it's OK to vent me spleen, so consider it vented! My husband is on piss yet again he was in filthy mood for he even started , so am in for yet another crap evening, this makes my sobriety difficult as I don't have alcohol to smooth the corners off a rough evening and it tends to make me feel very stressed, tearful although am fighting that . one thing I have realised these drunken rows we had in latter years were not always my fault ( was told in no uncertain terms , they were) I don't miss saying sorry a million times next day either, especially when I couldn't remember what I was sorry for? I wonder how other people deal with this, sorry to b so negative but can't help it tonight, take care, kim
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Re: When loved ones drink and you don't

Post by Shadowlad » 16 Apr 2016 20:45

Hiya Kim <:)>

Just wanted you to know i empathise with your situation, though i haven't experienced an over drinking partner. It must be stressful and i must say, you have been very strong and committed to have stayed abstinent in the face of such stress and temptation. I suppose whether we have a partner who drinks or not, it is so easy for any of us to think f*ck it ! I'm going to the offy and buying some drink. We could if we wanted to. This highlights that you have accepted your own need for abstinence like many of us have on the forum, so like us other non drinkers you are looking for ways to deal with the stress you feel. Writing here is the best thing and i hope it helps you Kim. There are so many others (who may not be online right now) who have experienced your situation. I admire you joining the forum and continuing to fight for your hard earned sobriety. <:)> xx
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