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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Alcoholic husband - how do I get through to him?

Topic: Alcoholic husband - how do I get through to him?

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. Kiwigal
    Kiwigal  avatar
    3 posts
    10 November 2021

    Hello,

    Hubby and I have been together for 18 years and married for 11 with two kids (9 & 7). He has always been a heavy drinker and I’ve always had a problem with it, and he was diagnosed with depression soon after our first child was born (this also coincided with us moving from NZ to Aus)

    He drinks every night (I can count on 1 hand the number of nights he hasn’t drunk since Feb this year after we did a 6 week challenge which he managed to abstain for, it was lovely!), usually at least 6 during the week then a dozen every night over the weekend.
    He is high functioning, has a busy, stressful job and goes to the gym most mornings. He finishes work at 4pm, heads to the couch and drinks and watches tv. He’s not interacting with me or the kids and is often cranky, moody and short tempered.

    Recently he told me he’s not happy with our communication and intimacy, I’ve tried telling him for years that I don’t want to do those things with him when he’s always drunk but now I feel like I’m being gaslighted and that it’s my fault there’s problems in the relationship.
    I’ve had counselling over the years myself for anxiety, and we’ve done couples counselling in the past too.

    I hate that the kids think this is normal behaviour but I just don’t know what to do about it anymore. I never drink as someone has to look after the kids, if an activity is after 4pm he’s unlikely to want to attend and I feel like the kids are missing out. Not to mention the expense.
    He doesn’t have a good support network here, it’s mainly my family and a few mates at the gym, so this all falls on my shoulders.

    I guess I’m looking for ideas on how to help him and stay sane myself.
    Thank you

    1 person found this helpful
  2. smallwolf
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    smallwolf avatar
    6280 posts
    12 November 2021 in reply to Kiwigal

    Hello and welcome to the forums.

    I am sorry it has taken this long for someone to respond.

    I think you know that unless someone wants to make a change in their life it is difficult. But now that puts you into difficult place yourself. I also do not think you are to blame for any of the issues - either communication or intimacy. And you are also concerned about the kids as well.

    You said you had gone to counseling before as well as couple therapy. How did that go? Do you feel you made progress? Is there anything from then that might help you now? Perhaps talking to someone again in relation to your thought and how to move forward.

    Can I ask what advice your family has given you?

    You could try a support group like Al-Anon, if there is one in your area. One other thing is self-care and making sure you have time to yourself (and perhaps the kids).

    Finally, is he aware of the effect his behaviour has on you and the kids? And using "I" communication rather than "You need to ...".

    The reality is that I don't really have any answers! Just possibilities that may or not work. If you want to chat some more I am listening.

    Tim

    2 people found this helpful
  3. jaz28
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    jaz28 avatar
    514 posts
    15 November 2021 in reply to Kiwigal

    Hi Kiwigal,

    This situation sounds really familiar in terms of my own dad. He was also high functioning and worked regularly, but drank almost every night - by himself. No, it's not normal behaviour, but as a kid, I thought it was strange when my friend's dads didn't...My mum on the other hand - the same as you, always looking after us and doing everything. That put a lot of strain on their relationship, and they are no longer together. They also did counselling and tried to make it work.

    I would suggest talking to him about it and trying to get him to see a professional. It is hard because sometimes they deny there is a problem :( rock and a hard place...

    I hope things get better but just know you're not alone,

    Jaz.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
    14704 posts
    15 November 2021 in reply to Kiwigal

    Kiwigal

    welcome and thanks for your honest post. Small wolf and jazz have given you supportive suggestions.

    I think the fact your husband could abstain from drink fir 6 weeks is quite hopeful.

    I lived with a heavy drinker for 9 years and he never went without a drink for more than 12 hrs.I learnt no amount of my suggesting he cut down helped rather he drank more.

    I was told I caused him to drink .

    Does he suffer from depression and does he use alcohol to self medicate.?

    we are listening if you want to write more.

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Kiwigal
    Kiwigal  avatar
    3 posts
    25 November 2021 in reply to jaz28

    Thanks for your response, can I ask if your dad ever gave up drinking?

    im sick of being the only reliable parent in our relationship.

    I confronted him again about it and he finally admitted he does have a problem and has agreed to speak with a psychologist. Our GP is on board too so hoping he’ll go see her at some point soon.

    Baby steps I guess!

  6. Kiwigal
    Kiwigal  avatar
    3 posts
    25 November 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    Thank you for your response, to answer your questions, we did make good progress in couples therapy, but I feel like all that good ground has gone as he’s continued drinking so much and just isn’t hearing me.

    My family have been supportive of both of us, and really want what’s best. His family is unaware of the situation, and I often wonder if I should let his mum know, maybe she could step in and talk with him, but I think he’d get upset at me for doing that.

  7. jaz28
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    jaz28 avatar
    514 posts
    29 November 2021 in reply to Kiwigal

    Well, he is not as bad as he used to be, but still drinks. He works FIFO, and at his work camp they only have 1/2 strength beers and he works 12 hour days, so he tends not to drink when he works, but compensates when he gets back...there can be some big nights then...but not often, he can say no to a drink but when he starts, he can't really stop at times. He is definitely better though.

    That is great he is seeing a psychologist, the hardest part is getting them to admit their problem. I hope things get better soon!

    Jaz.

  8. Meggsy123
    Meggsy123 avatar
    5 posts
    5 December 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello!

    How did you cope for 9 years? My partner has been an alcoholic for three years (goes on benders for days on end) - and I am now falling apart.

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