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.
If the alcoholic you are living with is phsyically abusive, get out. Put the kids and your essential belongings in the car, and go. Violence always gets worse and you should not tolerate any adult being violent towards you or your children. Violence never subsides. Once you’re on the roller coaster of physical abuse, it is very tough to get off. Fortunately my husband was never physically violent towards me. My sister was towards me and my mother and that is when I drew the line with her – I would no longer visit her when she was drunk. However deciding not to visit is a lot easier than deciding to leave your home but you must. Saying that you are staying for your children’s sake is a load of rubbish. Watching a parent being beaten or living in fear of being beaten is a lot more damaging to a child than living in temporary accommodation with one loving parent.
You may have come to believe there is nothing out there for you; that you are undesirable and unworthy, and deserving of the abuse. you may feel to blame for the person’s drinking – you are not. They are the adult and it is them who decides to put the bottle to their lips.
If the alcoholic raises his or her hand to you, they will do it again, and harder the next time. Don’t kid yourself. Forget your pride or forget believing in empty promises made when sober that it won’t happen again. GET OUT NOW. It will be hard at first but better in the long run.
The constant disappointments are hard when living with an alcoholic. You can never make plans because you don’t know if he will decide to drink. Sometimes they invent a row so that they have an excuse to opt out of the plans and drink instead. One thing I did while I was dealing with active addiction was to always have a Plan B, plan C and sometimes even a plan D! That way if his drinking interfered with our plans, I always had a back up plan. His drinking made me very independent as I had my own circle of friends who I went out with. For years I lived with him but very rarely socialised with him. Why did I stay? We had great times together in the past and I knew that under the alcoholic mask lay the beautiful man I fell in love with. I tried to control him and his drinking but it didn’t work, as the saying goes – you can not control other people, places or things, you can only control your own life. I’ve applied this to every situation in life I come up against and it takes alot of burden from your shoulders when you stop trying to control things outside your control!
One thing that helped me was to get involved with Al-Anon meetings. You get to meet people who understand what you’re struggling with to call on. They can recommend books to read that can guide you through tough situations and help you grow as a person. You get to learn to take care of you, and not suffer the results of the alcoholics choices. To locate a meeting http://www.al-anon-alateen.org click on “Find a Meeting.”
It will take you to local sites that list meeting schedules.