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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Depression and Alcoholism - how do we get through this?

Topic: Depression and Alcoholism - how do we get through this?

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Pixie83
    Pixie83 avatar
    5 posts
    18 November 2017

    Hi all, my partner of nearly 10 years and father of our 2 girls (5 & 3) has suffered with depression his whole life, he is medicated, but the last 20 years or so he's had ups and downs with alcohol. The last few years in particular have been really bad. He's currently in hospital after having had a complete flip out at me on Thursday night, not the first time this has happened....but the first time he's been in this long and the last time I can deal with it. He admitted to the doc on Friday morning that he was drinking more than 15 standard drinks a day, more than even I thought....and yet talking to him today - he still doesn't want to stop drinking (he's telling the docs what they want to hear and saying something different to me, I had a long chat with the doc tonight about this). He's trying to equate his 'vice' of drinking to my 'vice' of eating chocolate...... He seems to think he just needs to cut back and he'll still be able to drink and everything will be hunky dory. We've tried that, it doesn't work, he has no self control whatsoever (even with things like chocolate or ice cream if they're in the house). The doc was going to send him home on Friday, I said no and argued for him to stay in. The doc ended up agreeing if he was ok with that, thankfully he was because it took me all day to retrieve the car from where he'd got it stuck (and then walked over 12km to the hospital). This morning he said he didn't think he should come home (big relief for me), and thankfully they still had a bed for him. After the chat with the doc (different one to the Friday one) tonight, she and I agreed he couldn't come home tomorrow - partly because we don't think he'd cope with the girls as they're very full on, partly because he's already started detoxing from the alcohol now and can't continue doing that at home, partly because I said I wouldn't cope.

    I'm feeling stretched thin, our eldest has additional needs as well (it's nearly a full time job just organising all of her appointments etc), and I'm stressed about finances - with him not working we have no income....and at the moment I honestly can't see when he'll be able to get back to work, never mind get back home....

    I hope all of that makes some sort of sense. Thank you for having me here.

  2. thesedaysarenotfun
    thesedaysarenotfun avatar
    13 posts
    18 November 2017 in reply to Pixie83

    Hi Pixie83,

    I’m so sorry to read what you’re going through. Alcoholism is a disease sure enough, and adding medication for depression into the mix is a recipe for disaster. I can only speak from my own experience, but the sooner your husband realises that he just cannot drink anymore the better off everyone involved will be. When you’re at the point of consuming 15 standard drinks a day and watching everything crumble around you then it’s pretty obvious that the drinking has to stop. And stop completely. A life of sobriety is the only option for your partner and I hope that he can step up to the plate and take it on. You’re a strong person and millions of people parent alone and do it well, but the ideal situation is for your kids to have both of their parents functioning in a healthy relationship. The time has come for your husband to understand that his family has to come first and I hope that he can do that. If he can do that, then this will all be a bad spell that he can look back on with wisdom and learn from. But the drinking has to stop. Some people just can’t drink and that’s something those people have to come to terms with on their own before it destroys them completely. I wish you all the best, and most important of all look after yourself. You can’t look after your kids if you don’t look after you first and I hope that your husband can do that as well.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Pixie83
    Pixie83 avatar
    5 posts
    19 November 2017 in reply to thesedaysarenotfun
    Thank you. I just hope he can come to the realisation that he has to stop drinking completely, there is no halfway....
    1 person found this helpful
  4. geoff
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    19 November 2017 in reply to Pixie83
    hi Pixie83, I'm sorry that you and your kids have to go through this and experience the turmoil it has created, and when he says he is detoxing in hospital is only a way he can be released and come home, but as soon as he's home, back to the grog he'll go in defiance, and possibly increase his intake, sorry not what you wanted to hear.
    He will need to stop drinking, he isn't capable of having a drink socially, simply because he's an alcoholic and his ploy to stay in hospital is only to stop you from leaving him, he's trying to pull the covers over your head, but he knows what he's doing, pretend to stop drinking, get out and then back to the grog, it's a continual revolving door.
    You've got two young children who at an age that wouldn't understand what's going on unless you have told them, they can see him while he's intoxicated and watch his behaviour, not particularly what you would want.
    If for any reason he is admitted into rehab so he can dry out, that's good, however, again it's a ploy to pretend that he doesn't drink anymore, but as soon as his time is up and comes home, then it will start once again.
    You and your children are a great concern to us, when he has been abusive, physically and/or mentally, so I would suggest that the nurses tell him that he can't move back home, and if need be you might want to take out an AVO order, and if he breaks this then he will be taken to court and spend some time in gaol.
    Can I just warn you that if he goes to court his lawyer is able to defer it several times, but more importantly this is going to effect you financially with him not working, so I'd like to hear a bit more about this. Geoff.
  5. Pixie83
    Pixie83 avatar
    5 posts
    20 November 2017 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff

    Well today has been full of ups and downs, mainly downs...picked him up from hospital for his doc appointment at midday, and he made a deal with the doc to taper off his drinking to only 2 nights a week (I thought at the the time it was the wrong move but figured this was last chance), he seemed positive about it. Got home after picking the girls up and he started doing some gardening and started on his one big bottle of beer he was "allowed" to have, within 5 min our youngest had fallen over and was crying and he couldn't deal. He then asked for the beers he thought were still here and got upset when I said they were gone. I then had to talk him into having medication (if he'd still been at the hospital he would have had one at lunchtime), he was just staring into space unable to function. He finally came inside and took it and then went straight to bed. All he's said since then is that I should just take the girls and go.... I don't know what to do...if we make it as far as morning I'm going to be calling the docs and asking to talk to them.... This is too hard....
    And I'm soooo unhappy with the docs for not taking the hardline and backing me up.

    For now I've hidden the car keys and the medication and am just hoping he stays asleep until morning....

    I'm not worried so much about him doing something to me and the girls, it's more that he's just checked out... And I don't know where to from here....

  6. Pixie83
    Pixie83 avatar
    5 posts
    20 November 2017 in reply to geoff

    And he's gone again....this time on foot - he asked for the car keys when he couldn't find them and I said no. No phone or wallet. I've called the hospital to give them the heads up in the hope he might turn up there again.... Not a lot else I can do except wait now.

    I am so angry with the doc today for not drawing a hard line for him... :(

  7. geoff
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    20 November 2017 in reply to Pixie83
    hi Pixie83, even if the doctor kept him in the hospital the same situation could have happened, never the less, it's still a worry for you and the children. Geoff.
  8. Pixie83
    Pixie83 avatar
    5 posts
    21 November 2017 in reply to geoff

    Been a big day. After dropping the girls off I went and sat in the docs office until I could talk to the good doc this morning....she was brilliant. Came out with a plan of action. I came home and pretty much gave him an ultimatum- get help or that's it we're done....lots of tears, but he packed his bag. We went and saw the idiot doc (as that's who we could get into) as they needed the go ahead directly from him. Then I drove him over to the regional hospital (not our smaller local one) and they've admitted him to the mental health ward.... They'll detox him, probably be in for 5-7 days and we'll take it from there.... Feeling of relief as I drove away....so many tears today 😭

    I just hope it's a step in the right direction.....

  9. geoff
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    21 November 2017 in reply to Pixie83
    hi Pixie, and thanks for keeping me in touch with what's going on.
    An alcoholic won't get anywhere until they accept the fact that they have to do something about their drinking and then decide that they have to stop, this is what your husband must make before anything will improve.
    It's good that he's back in hospital and for him to taper off to 2 drinks a week, I don't think will happen, and what he may do is start to become a 'cupboard drinker', where he hides alcohol so that no one knows, that's what I did in depression, and if my family found where it was then they would dispose of it out, throw it away, that's why I had grog hidden in several spots.
    He goes to the hospital just to appear as though he's making the effort and an alcoholic is able to do this, making all the promises he can so he can be released.
    I'm very sorry that you have to go through all of this, but at the moment it's a losing battle, so yes I would give him an ultimatum, because it's destroying you and also your children, at the moment you can't get settled and that's very disturbing for you as well as for me, I don't want you to suffer and if only I had done this then the marriage may still be going.
    Please get back to me. Geoff.

  10. geoff
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    22 November 2017 in reply to geoff
    hi Pixie, just wondering how you are going. Geoff.
  11. thesedaysarenotfun
    thesedaysarenotfun avatar
    13 posts
    22 November 2017 in reply to Pixie83

    Hi pixie83,

    I’m just dropping in to see how things are going at this stage. I’m so sorry to see what has been going on these past few days. Geoff is speaking volumes of wisdom in his replies to you. He is 100% correct in regard to the resulting behaviour of alcoholics who are living in denial. For some odd reason I’ve been surrounded by alcoholics my whole life, and I think that when it stems from childhood like it has with me, we also subconsciously gravitate toward them in our adult years. My father, uncle and older cousins had huge problems with alcohol. I’ve seen it destroy the lives of many, and I’m no saint myself. I grew up in a binge drinking culture, which blurs the lines between social drinking and dependence. My late teens, 20s and early 30s were the worst years for me. I destroyed friendships and never seeked proper help until I lost someone I loved deeply through my behaviour on alcohol. My point is, and it’s a really sad one, sometimes it does take leaving someone with a problem for them to finally understand what they are doing to themselves and their loved ones. After all other avenues are exhausted, it’s often the only thing left to truly help them. It’s not a betrayal, it’s showing them that it isn’t acceptable anymore. What they do next is up to them because as Geoff has pointed out they need to come to the realisation on their own to make the steps necessary to get their life back. No one can do it for them. Having children involved makes it all so much harder and my heart really goes out to you. I think the ultimatum you have given your husband, while being a hard thing to do, was absolutely the correct thing to do. Stay strong because you are doing great, no matter how bad it feels right now. You are smack bang in the middle of it which can make things confusing, but it’s clear to me that you’re making progress. No matter what happens next never doubt your decision to make that ultimatum. Keep us updated on what is going on, we are all here for support and advice.

  12. geoff
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    23 November 2017 in reply to thesedaysarenotfun

    hi Thesedaysarenotfun, thanks for your supportive words and what you have also added has also been terrific advice.

    It's really great that those of us who have been through this ourselves reply to each other for support and guidance. Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. thesedaysarenotfun
    thesedaysarenotfun avatar
    13 posts
    25 November 2017 in reply to geoff

    No problem Geoff, thankyou also for your own experiences and I completely agree with you.

    By telling our own stories and offering advice and support for those in need we not only provide support for each other but also hopefully shine as examples of proof to others that there is in fact life after drinking. There is life after all addiction. Getting help is the first step. No matter how desperate it can feel it is never the end of the world, only the beginning.

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