This patient support community is for loved ones of people who drink and are trying to quit for discussions relating to abuse, behavioral issues, caring for yourself, counseling, divorce and separation, enabling, guilt, and when to get medical help.
I've got probably a dumb and rather obvious question. My husband has had a problem with alcohol since before we married. He did quit for a long time, went to AA for awhile, then slowly drifted back to drinking off and on. Things kind of came to a head almost 6 months ago and I asked him to leave for awhile. He was not happy about that and really resisted but did leave for a couple of weeks. During that time he said he went to AA, quit drinking and called a counselor. Encouraged that he seemed to be trying, I let him back home. I think I did it too soon but he ran out of money and had been staying in a hotel.
Shortly after coming back I thought I smelled alcohol and would ask him and he'd deny but finally said he did have a few drinks. We talked and I told him he had to take this seriously. Since then he's promised that he did not touch alcohol since that talk. A few times I would wonder and ask him and he'd swear up and down that he did not drink and would say things weren't going to work if I couldn't move past this. I'm trying and don't want to suspect him all the time but I feel like I do.
He seemed more than willing to go to counseling and we went and I felt like it was good but I still don't think he's taken the drinking seriously. Unfortunately, the counselor had said something to the effect that it wasn't the alcohol or drinking that was the problem, that it was something behind that. Of course the counselor was trying to go deeper and it was good for my husband, I think, but he's brought that up more than once now what the counselor said, that the drinking wasn't the problem. I've tried telling him how much damage it's caused and he says we've both hurt each other and that I need to move forward and stop dragging things back up. He won't go to AA, saying it's boring. He acts like he can control this and that it's not a real problem.
I just don't know what to think because I want to take him at his word. He has sworn to me he has not drank. He seems to act fine so I'm unsure. He's certainly not getting drunk so I guess in a way he IS controlling it if he is indeed still drinking. I'm just not sure.
But...once in awhile I will catch a wiff of his breath when he walks past or something and I've commented on it. He has sworn he's not drinking and that maybe he just has bad breath. One time he said maybe it was the onions on his burger. He would ask me what it smelled like and I told him it was a sweet smell. He would just shrug and say he didn't know what it could be.
Guys, I just don't know what to think. If he is drinking and lying again then I'm just discouraged because that trust is never going to be fixed if he's still hiding this from me. If he's drinking occasionally then I can't figure out where he's hiding it because I've searched the house from top to bottom more than once, even his car once. He told me once a long time ago that he was only buying individual bottles, so that would probably make things harder to trace. I just don't know what to do or think! He doesn't go to bars. He goes straight home from work and usually stays around the house working on the yard, etc.
Here's my question, he has this sweet smell on his breath quite often. What could that smell be from if it's not alcohol? Is it probably alcohol? Could there really be another explanation? Could it really just be bad breath? He does smoke but it doesn't smell like cigarette smoke, I don't think. It's a very distinct, sweet smell.
I just don't know what to think or do. I've been really praying but wish God would hurry up and answer my prayers.
He's a good father, he plays with our 6 year old every day and provides for us. He's not a terrible person, but I don't know how I can move forward or move past the broken trust. Will I always suspect him? I hate feeling this way.
Your counselor didnt mean that drinking wasnt the problem but didnt explain it real good for you both. With any addiction using is just a symptom of what is going on. We try to bury our emotions both past and present with either alcohol or drugs instead of facing a painful past or the turmoils of day to day living. We think it is easier this way but in all reality it is very painful to do what we do. We are scared of feeling anything and emotions are something foreign to us, therefore using is just a symptom. I hope i explained that so you understand a bit more.
At some point you are going to have to move forward April whether he is drinking or not. You will drive yourself nuts. It's okay to not trust him. What we destroy by our actions doesnt come back overnight. Slow your brain down. Remember to take it one day at a time. Right now he is coming home right after work, he is working around the house and he is spending time with your son. Hopefully the counseling will help and he will realize that he will never be able to control his drinking. Recovery is a slow process and it has to be or it gets to overwhelming. When you say your prayers ask God to grant you patience with this. I cant stress enough right now about you taking care of you during this. As a family member of an addict you are the ones who get the brunt of our addiction. You all learn survivor skills and those arent always healthy. When i was early into my recovery my sponsor told me to sit and write a list of everything i am grateful for. That made a huge difference to me and i still find myself adding to it. Write down the Serenity Prayer and put it where you can see it. Really feel that one as it will help.
As for the sweet breath...has he had a check up recently? This can be caused by a medical condition like diabetes.
As i said before, it is okay to feel the way you do with the trust, just dont make it an obsession.
You know i am always here for you my friend~~~~~~sara
I just don't know what to do. It's the lying that gets to me more than anything else. He will lie right to my face and even swear he's not drinking when I know he is. I cannot understand that. I would never do that to him. I could understand better if he admitted he had a problem and told me he was struggling but that he was trying. I've told him over and over, even recently, just don't lie to me. Yet it continues.
Maybe things will never change. Maybe he will never quit drinking. I guess I just have to decide if I can live with that and settle or if I cannot live with that. Right now, I don't feel like I can live with someone who has no problems lying and doesn't seem to care and does nothing to try to regain the trust. Yet, I have kids depending on me too.
I almost feel like telling him to just bring it out in the open then if he's going to insist on drinking. It's better than the lies and hiding. I'm beginning to think he really can't or won't change. I just have to decide what I'm going to do about that.
We are masters at deceit while we are using. We lie, cheat and steal to continue to feed our addiction and we dont care who we do this too. It is wrong on every level.
There is NOTHING you can do or say to him that will change him until he is ready to change himself. The only thing you can do is change the way you react to the situation. Have you gone to Alanon? You need this for you. This is eating you alive and it isnt healthy for you. Being face to face with people who have gone thru this same thing is very helpful and comforting. They understand your struggles. Walking thru those doors is scary the first time but you need to do that. You need help with this. Focus on you and the answers will come~~~~~hugs my friend sara
I'm actually on the phone right now with my friend, BP, lol. You know her. She's reminding me that I need to totally give this to God and I know I haven't done that, sigh. I keep trying to take this all on in my own strength, I guess.
You both are actually telling me pretty much the same thing. I'm trying to take this on to much myself, aren't I? Guess I need to pray some more and try and let it go again.
Lol, exactly! I'm just so blessed God has put so many good friends in my life. :)
Thank you, Sarah. You've helped me so much over the years. You've helped keep me grounded. You've helped me see things from the addict's perspective so I can better understand.
BP has helped me because she's been where I am. God is really using you all. See how blessed I am?
There is a lady on the SA forum who says Support their recovery, not their addiction. The worst thing you can do for an addict is enable them or make excuses. We have to be held accountable for our actions.
I think that's why things got worse these last few years. I did used to enable him and make excuses for him. I tried to protect him from family members. But I was so lonely because I had no one to talk to. I didn't want anyone to think there could possibly be anything wrong. I was always supposed to be the strong one in my family.
My only hope is he will finally get real about everything, the drinking, why he's drinking, etc., and stop pretending and living in his own little world. He doesn't fool anyone. Everyone sees what's going on and my (our) friends are more than willing to support us and be there for us but he hasn't let go of that pride yet. If and when he does, he will finally see the wonderful healing the Lord can give him. That's all I can really hope for.
April2 I know this post was made a while ago but I just wanted to check in with you and kind of add to what everyone else was saying. I remember going to a counselor when I was having issues with my alcoholic. I was appalled that they did not acknowledge the alcohol abuse that was going on. I was appalled that they were making excuses and just essentially just telling me to "work it out."
I never went back to them. Instead I went to people that were going through the same thing I was. I went to an Al-anon group and I was able to get my head on. I was able to get some basic tools that would help me cope with my relationship and build up my strength until I could make a better decision for myself.
I was so wrapped up in giving my "alcoholic" support that I failed to realize I needed support of my own. I do hope you come back and update us. The healthiest thing you can do right now is keep talking about it.
I think I'm too weary to talk about it anymore. I've stopped fighting with him about it. I smell the alcohol on his breath and my stomach will tighten up but I'm not arguing anymore. I still feel hurt and betrayed that he broke a promise to me that he'd quit and go to AA. He's going to drink because he wants to drink. There's nothing I can do about it and there's nothing I can say anymore about it.
At some point I hope he can give it to God, maybe even the cigarettes, but it has to be his decision and something he wants. Right now, he's not there.
But thanks for asking, Seatlemom, and thanks for caring enough to check in on me. I appreciate it. God bless you.
Thanks so much for coming back and updating us. I definitely can relate to the battle so well. And yes there is nothing you can do until they are ready and they hit their bottom... for me though I found there was a lot I was doing personally that always kept them from their bottom. I didn't realize how much enabling on my part kept them right at that happy medium to where they didn't have to go get help.
I was paying the bills, I was paying the rent and managing our money. I had our vehicle in my name. I had the car insurance in my name (they had a DUI under their belt). I was doing what I thought was helping them get their life together... and what I was really doing is keeping them from suffering the consequence of their own actions.
I really clammed up during this time too...as long as I was sweeping my own stuff under the carpet, I swept his baggage under it too. Nobody had any idea what was really going on in our house. I do hope that you don't give up on talking with others with a similar experience. It really can help just to give you an outlet. I got my self real sick physically from not talking and just keeping everything in. I even developed anxiety attacks which I never had in my life.
Thanks again though for the update, ugh I know that feeling so well, just by the smell of their breath you could predict the night or the day. Hang in there, keep talking :D
I am in the same boat. I can ask my husband repeatedly if he's drinking and he'll deny it...always. Now I don't have to ask, I just know. And you can't talk to them about it. They always have control over it and its disgusting. My husband drinks rum, always, and its potent and makes him a horrible person to be around. Our kids hate him when he's drinking and I end up mad for days because of the lies that accompany drinking. I've told him that I;ve lost all trust and faith in him in our ten years together but he only cares for a day or 2. My only reprieve is that he works 2nd shift 2 weeks a month so I don't have to deal with it. Its beyond frustrating and as I sit here watching him stumble around the house it makes me sick...I wish I could give you mroe advice but I'm seeking some for myself. Just keep your head up and talk to us!!
Thanks, momwith3kids. I'm sorry you're going through this.
To be honest, sometimes I wonder if he really has gained better control over this. He hasn't gotten drunk in years (pretty sure). I can't tell how much he's drinking, what or how often, but I'm not seeing him stumble around drunk, at least. I just notice the smell and feel disappointed all over again that he broke his promise to me and he doesn't seem to care about that at all. He's going to do it because he wants to. Yes, it's selfish but there's not much I can do or say about it.
He does work hard at his job and for the most part does pretty well with our youngest son, playing with him, etc. I do worry a little, though, when he's home alone with him and supposed to be watching him and is drinking. Again, I don't think he's drinking to the point of becoming drunk, but he is drinking regularly, I can tell.
I don't know what compells him so much to drink. His parents were alcoholics and he's kind of following in their footsteps. I just wish he could get to the point of being able to give it to God but he's not willing at this point. So all I can do is pray, I guess.
The nature of addiction is very sad indeed. Unless you are monitoring them 24 hours a day its really hard to know exactly how much they are drinking. They hide it, they drink in their car, some even drink at work on their breaks. The really hard thing for me with my 2nd alcoholic was that he was not a sloppy drunk like my mother. He didn't slur his words, but he would literally have blackout moments.
Thanks for posting, I think it helps everyone all around :)
He hasnt gained any better control. When you have an alcohol problem there is no control. Promises mean nothing to an alcoholic. The only thing that matters is feeding our addiction. We say what you want to hear. It gets you off our back for the time being and we get even sneakier about using. There is nothing that can be done for him until he is ready. All you can do is take care of you~~sara
dominosarah is right, the amount of lies only seem to increase. And believe it or not some alcoholics even continue this habit in their sobriety :( I had this crazy misconception because I'm a very honest person----and I always try to give someone the benefit of the doubt, which in any alcoholic/co-dependent relationship, that's not the best of traits to have lol
Even with my biological mother who has had a few years under her belt, the lies just never stopped, they only continued, perhaps that became her new addiction? I'm not sure, but like sara said the only thing we have control over is taking care of ourselves.
For me after a great period of time and not seeing changes, that meant to walk away and start myself over on a new phase of life.
April, he probably CAN'T get drunk anymore. It's a tolerance issue just like any other addiction. I doubt he has slowed down his drinking at all and suspect he's actually increased it trying to get the same feeling he used to get. There always comes a point that the feeling they're looking for can't be achieved because they're already pickled. You'll know he's not drinking when he gets the shakes and worse.
Everyone else is right: an active alcoholic cannot keep promises. Period. It has nothing to do with whether or not they love their spouses and children. It has nothing to do with how much or how little they believe in God. His world revolves around himself and a bottle and that's about the end of it. Those other annoying little sattelites like you and the kids exist only to be batted away when their orbits come too close to that bottle.
Anytime you put any expectations on an active alcoholic you will be disappointed.
April, dont pray for him, pray for yourself. You need some sort of recovery program in your life. We use this quite often in the SA forum....The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Even if he would put the bottle down this very minute the problems dont go away. sara
Yes Sara is right, and I love the Einstein quote, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"--- I would get so frustrated when I went to meeting sometimes, because I wanted to learn how to make the relationship work and yes I thought that getting the alcoholic to stop drinking would be over half my battle but it was not. I was with someone mentally tormented by themselves and there was absolutely nothing I could do but get help for me. Change begins with you.
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