My husband is back drinking for the past 3 weeks. So I need to heed some of my own ‘great’ advice on how to live with an alcoholic! It’s very easy to preach when they are sober about what to do in hindsight but the practical is always more difficult! I got my Al Anon book out last night called Courage to Change and dipped into it. If you don’t have a copy get one – it can offer words of advice in the darkest of hours. My husband gets severly depressed when he drinks – this time is worse than ever. Every day I am dealing with suicide threats. He took an overdose last week when I went to stay with family with the kids. He has a shotgun which doesn’t help – I hide it and then he kicks up a storm about me controlling him. So I read my book and talked to support and really I have to realise ‘I cannot change other people places or things’ and I have to stop trying to control situations. So I am no no longer hiding the shotgun, I am no longer pleading with him not to do it. My barrier has gone up which isn’t a good thing but it is 8am and he is already staggering. He says it is up to him to give up drink and he is right, there is no point in me searching the hide spots and throwing out drink, he is an adult and if he chooses to drink then that is his choice.
I haven’t written since August and it seems a world away. We went through areally tough time, he was suicidal. I spent several days and nights on suicide watch. The thing is when an alcoholic sobers up for a day or few hours they feel so guilty about everything they have said or done they get extremely low, they hate themselves and then they drink to deaden the pain they feel inside.
We went to the counsellor again at the Rehab centre he had been to 4 years previous. I had held it together until I walked through the door. i suppose I felt safe there, I felt ‘Thank God we are here now where people understand and I can share the burden’, so I broke down and couldn’t stop crying. Not big emmotional whailing or anything just quiet sobing! I know I felt like doing this for days so it was just a release in a place I felt I could do it without making him feel more guilty and low. Anyway they felt he needed to go in somewhere to detox safely and once he came to terms with what had to be done to hold us together as a family (ie. stop drinking again) we were refered to a psychiatric hospital. We went and he quickly sobered up with the reality of what was happening. After an hour of waiting the doctor on duty came out and said to him. ‘Do you feel you are a risk to yourself?’ He ofcourse said ‘no’ and she said they couldn’t take him because he didn’t have a mental health record and they were not a detox clinic – there isn’t one int he region! So I was on my own again! I said if given the medication I would control it and detox him at home and then go back to hte rehab centre and see what plan we could come up with. So that’s what we did. I took a few days off work and detoxed him at home. To do this, the aocoholilc has to be committed to giving up – they have to have reached rock bottom. Chicken soup/broth is good – easy on the stomach, warm and filling. The medication stops the drink cravings, helps sleep patterns. Once he was off the drink a week we went back to the rehab centre and he was placed in a recovery group. This is a one night a week meeting for 8 weeks. He didn’t really want to go at first but said he would just to stick to the programme. Next week is his final week. I have my lovely husband back again, it is hard to believe about 10 weeks ago he was a trembiling, suicidal drunken wreck. There is hope guys, the important thing is to stay strong give them support when they are genuinely trying but look after only yourself and your dependents when they are not. And in or out of sobriety, take one day at a time.
We went to see the counsellor in the rehab centre and had a good heart to heart talk. It can really help to bring in a third person who knows what they are talking about in these situations. Yesterday was his first day without drink again and he is going to see the counsellor on a weekly basis. Fingers crossed!
It’s strange that you wrote this today of all days. I haven’t tended to this blog which I set up for months. The reason being that my husband has started drinking again and I feel I can’t give advice and optimisim to others when I am finding it hard myself. Like your husband mine started to have a non alcho beer, then shandies then just ordinary beer. Then it was an occassional glass of wine with dinner. now he’s drinking two bottles of port a day plus wine and beer.
He has panic attacks when drink is leaving his system so a doctor has put on xanex again which was part of his addiction when he went into rehab 4 years ago. These with the drink make him spaced and I hate it. he recognises that its back and says he will do something ‘he has a plan’. So far the plan as I see it is to increase the amount of drinking!!
I knew this morning the next step is the depression setting in and sure enough he spent 10 minutes weeping down the phone at me while I was in work. Anyway last night I said no more I took our bank cards as it’s bill time of the month and there isn’t enough to cover everything because he is spending it on drink (it was probably this that made him cry!) but I also called the rehab centre he attended 4 years ago and made an appointment for Friday to go and talk to one of the counsellors who he had a lot of respect for – sometimes bringing in a third element or person can help solve the situation.
My husband too is a wonderful man when not drinking. Is there a counsellor or organisation you can maybe get a meeting with to help point out what’s happening and what action needs to be taken. He’s been through it before so he knows the steps and it seems to have worked for him then.
When you have an alcoholic, Christmas or any other occasion can fill you with dread rather than joy. You dread being invited to work parties that you ‘must’ attend as you fear your partner will get drunk and then behave badly – co workers laugh it off as once off behaviour but little do they know that you are cringing inside as this is the behaviour you put up with on a regular basis. Or else you turn down invitations when you’d prefer to be socializing and celebrating the season and all because of that risk of the embarrassment or behaviour you expect your alcoholic partner to cause. My alcoholic husband wasn’t much into socializing, he was a home drinker. He liked to drink alone and not have his drinking interrupted by visitors. Even so Christmas gave him licence to fill shopping trollies full of booze because ‘it’s Christmas and people will be calling in’. My husband didn’t like to go to parties, friend’s houses or anywhere away from the home in the evening – he would much rather ‘relax’ at home. Why? Because he couldn’t drink the same amount elsewhere, the measures were too small or he would say he couldn’t enjoy a drink because he had to drive. This excuse wouldn’t stop him drinking at home and driving afterwards but it was a good excuse not to go socializing with me. The few times he did go out with me, he would have a soft drink and then would start hinting that we needed to go – it was getting late and who ever was minding our children would be tired, or he forgot to feed the dog or whatever – it wasn’t because he had a bottle of vodka or whiskey waiting to be drunk on the kitchen counter.
How did I cope? I usually went to parties, weddings, etc. alone. Though it wouldn’t have been my first choice to attend alone and I often longed to have my husband with me when other couples would be laughing or dancing together. When I had first envisioned what my life with this man would be like, I hadn’t suspected I’d be dreading Christmas and attending parties on my own. But then, I had never suspected my life would one day be so changed and sculpted by my husband’s alcoholism.