Alcohol to numb or Alcoholic?? Survivor thoughts?

HISWIFE317

Registrant
So I just recently posted "Here again, never should have left".

I'm pretty sure my husband just hit his bottom since my last post. Second DUI in two years and this one cost him his job at 47yo. Over 100mph on his motorcycle. He is a mess over this and he's moving back home. I feel better that he is going to be with me but he's really in a bad spot right now. It's scary at times. I'm not pushing him, I'm being supportive and encouraging. I understand he's dealing with a lot on his own right now and doesn't need me badgering him about things. I'm being patient and letting him figure out his way and hoping he knows I'm here to help where I can and if he needs it.

But my question is this. We were sitting on the couch and he asked if I wanted to have a drink. I said no. (I'm not and never have been a big drinker) And it's never just a drink. This one consisted of 2 beers and half a bottle of old champagne he found in the fridge. I asked him if he thought he was an alcoholic and he said I'm not an alcoholic. He got a little defensive, which I overlooked as he tried to explain by saying, that sometimes he just needs a drink to basically make the thoughts go away. Which I somewhat understand from reading books about CSA, that survivors drink to "numb the pain". But essentially, isn't this still a form of alcoholism?

Next question? Does he deal with the use of alcohol with his CSA therapist because that's why he's drinking or is it something that needs to be dealt with separately? His attorney would like him to get a drug and alcohol assessment which he believes will help with leniency when he goes to court but he doesn't seem to be on board with that. I can't really tell.

I'm not pushing him to stop drinking or to go get the assessment because I know it's something he has to do on his own. If he's going to drink, I can't stop him. But I know there are things I can do. For example, not being an enabler.

In case you're wondering, I'm okay. Just really worried.

As always, appreciate your input.

Thank you,
HISWIFE317

"Leaving is easy; loving is hard."
~Meridith Grey
 

Ceremony

Greeter
But essentially, isn't this still a form of alcoholism?
Two DUIs for those times he was caught(not judging, I did it too), and from what I know about my use and the reason I did it, I became an alcoholic/pot abuser. The weed was harder for me, it was my go to, and beer or something light would be my backup or just something to drink. But, if beer were all I could get, I would drink it to get drunk. I didn't do black-out drunk, I would have puked. But, I knew to stop at 6 and if I had that many, don't smoke because it would make me puke. So, I just knew the limit for me. They call/ed guys like me a "light weight". Pissed me off too, but there was nothing I could do.

I can't speak for him, but I know after 15 years of trying to stop thinking, and all I did to accomplish that, I am an alcoholic, etc... To stop both took about 4 months and I had to go to two meetings a week for about 3 years to keep me sober. It's accountability to the group and some become friends. I had trouble making friends, I am so co-dependent that my needs don't matter and seeking to make someone else happy put me open to those who would take advantage of that. Meetings are a place that can happen. I don't mean sex, I mean being asked to help move a lot. That's the big one. Most people will feed yuh something, but it's never sure what's going on.

To go to meetings is something you can check into online, and see what's in your area, and if in a discussion you've been to Al-anon, that's an opening to mention the location of a meeting someone at that Al-anon meeting can describe. The make-up of people is sometimes an issue. And, a not ideal mix of people for your husband is up to him, but if you knew and mention if quickly and not even that he go, but specifically, a meeting you go to and describe the other one, and note there's an AA meeting like that. Of course it's got to be truth, that's a must in AA, just be honest. I hope the meetings you can describe are similar enough that you like yours and he could like his? They can be weighted heavily female or male, young and old, and blue collar or business types. That's important for feeling comfortable.

The next big issue for most is how the meeting is done. Some are round-table and a topic is noted at the beginning and the hope is a five minute share of how that works in your recovery. It's important to note how the meeting is done, because some are speaker's meetings where someone is designated to speak. Then there are Big Book where a passage is read and usually in those, not everyone gets to speak, and sometimes that not good. I know..... So, also some are very religious and others know not to be. It depends on what method the group chose to function like. There are AA guidelines, so there should be similar structure. Opening statement, introduction and it's here you say either "I"m an alcoholic, or just the word alcoholic" or some choose to say "Just visiting" and you can be a visitor for a year if you want to. But, if the meeting is closed, it's intended that that person has a serious desire to quit. There might be a committee that will wonder why you're visiting so long, yet you keep coming back every week?

I've 18+ years and I stopped going to meetings about 6ish years ago?? I have no idea to be honest. I can't point to a date? My guess is it's more like 7-8, but the point is I stopped going. That's not a good thing, because I isolate, have no social life and I could relapse if things got horribly wrong. I've thought about it a few times.

I do go to therapy, but not for Alcoholism or drugs. That is just for my CSA. I think the topic can be combined, especially as it was a serious chosen method for me to forget. The point of my use was to shut off thinking. It had to be shut off. Being wasted accomplished that. I would venture that's the same for your husband. This was to make a point to your second question, I hope you caught that?

Best wishes.
 

Elad1

Active Registrant
Please take what I write as suggestions, take what you like and leave the rest....The questions you present are not important to answer because they will be revealed in time. There are serious challenges ahead for your husband and you. Alcoholism is a family disease. Saying this is with 100% compassion and empathy, there is no shame nor judgement here. If you or your husband don't like the word "alcoholic" or at a loss how to framed the problem that is okay, yet recognized that the problem your husband is in is the result of unhealthy choices and alcohol. I would also recommend you attend an Al anon meeting to gain knowledge and understanding what YOU need to do and not do. I feel your pain and honor your courage and strength in opening up to speak the truth. My heart is with you and your husband.
 

HISWIFE317

Registrant
Well he went to his first court hearing yesterday and drove himself on a suspended license. Then he went and paid his divorce lawyer to divorce me and then he moved back out of our house yet again. THEN, as if it can't get any better. He drove himself to a bar to drink with his Marine buddies until who knows when and then drove himself home.

You're right he doesn't have to call himself an alcoholic but his choices say otherwise.
 

WG

Active Registrant
HISWIFE - It's been a while since you posted, and I had wanted to to say something. My work in the past 15 years - I've since retired - was with Superior court in the Drug Court program. My side was the chemical dependency/mental health side, not legal. Although we had to have a modicum of legal education to do the work.
Has he done much work since your post of November? If he has, good. Somehow I am thinking the answer is either "Not much" or "not at all".
One day, and I hope it isn't long, he sees where he is in life and gets the help he needs. That's a hope. The reality lies somewhere in the middle. Things aren't bad enough yet. Life hasn't come down to the back alleys and sleeping in a dumpster with the lid closed so he can stay dry through his alcohol-induced sleep, which by the way isn't too productive since it is drug-induced not naturally-induced.
With a DUI, depending on where you are, he probably was told he cannot drive - which many will ignore since it's all about them. Where I am, the license gets a hole punched in it and the vehicle is impounded. Now the license re-instatement fee is in place and the impound fees are racking up daily. Then there are the court fees and fines. He might get a public defender for free since his drinking took all the money he could have used for an attorney. Then there is rehab. He might get to go to outpatient which means he can leave the premises when his group time is done. Inpatient is a different ballgame. Rules, regulations, group times and classes. If his rehab is court-ordered then he must complete everything that is required. The court knows he did what he's supposed to do since there are weekly reports sent to both the judge and his caseworker. If that is satisfactory, then he can start the process of getting his license back. There's a program for that. It's part of rehab where he signs a release to the department of licensing so his counselor/caseworker can report to them about his progress and completion date. He will have to pay the re-instatement fee. Then he will be given a temporary license that is called an 'occupational license' or 'daylight license', meaning he can only use it to go to work (in his case apparently not) or only during daylight hours. If he's caught doing otherwise, it will result in it being revoked again. Then the process starts all over.
I trust you have changed the locks on the house. I trust you are setting, or have set, boundaries with him. If so, keep them solid as steel. No compromise, no negotiating. That's how they get what they want and to hell with you.
Naturally, he will want to continue to associate with the ones who support his behavior.
He's an alcoholic - it has cost him his marriage, his profession, his license and worst of all - and he doesn't yet know it - his dignity as a man. Sad, really, when it could have been so much different.
Any questions about what I just wrote, please ask. I'll do what I can to give you information.
Stand strong, stand tough. Get safe women around you who can talk with you. Go to Al-Anon, not AA. Al-anon is for the family members dealing with the alcoholic. Even if no one else goes. GO! It's for your well-being. You're worth it.
 

Chase Eric

Moderator
Staff member
[quote:WG]I trust you have changed the locks on the house. I trust you are setting, or have set, boundaries with him. If so, keep them solid as steel. No compromise, no negotiating. That's how they get what they want and to hell with you.

Naturally, he will want to continue to associate with the ones who support his behavior.

He's an alcoholic - it has cost him his marriage, his profession, his license and worst of all - and he doesn't yet know it - his dignity as a man. Sad, really, when it could have been so much different.[/quote]
I cannot emphasize enough how true this is based upon the information you shared, HISWIFE317. I've known many people who have had similar problems and this is precisely the route their lives take - the multiple DUI's, the "never just a drink" drink, the flash of anger if you even dare say that word alcoholic. You may have tried to define his responsibilities to himself and to you, but in fact he has defined your role instead - as an enabler. I had a friend who drank (I'll call him Murphy to protect his identity) - and he told me that the solution to any given problem he had was at the bottom of the next drink. And nothing - NOTHING - was getting in the way of that.

The truth is that you will never say or do anything that will change him. If he cannot look in the mirror and realize what he is - if alcohol "numbs" him to the point where he doesn't have to deal with his past - but in the process cannot even see himself in the present - then he will need to hit some rock bottom somewhere if he is ever going to change. That rock bottom for alcoholics can take many forms, some which they will not survive. I lost a cousin who drank. She wasn't feeling well and went to the hospital, where they admitted her after diagnosing almost complete liver failure. She was fighting to get on the transplant list when she died - but her history of constant recidivist abuse made her a poor candidate. To me, her short life is best honored by the thought that the liver she might otherwise have gotten is being respected in the person who received it. And there are other rock bottoms. God forbid he plows over a child on a bike - resulting in the tragedy of a lost life and the wreckage of that child's family - and your own. Legal reparations can mean losing your house and everything with it.

Or maybe that rock bottom will occur as it did with my friend. Like your husband did with you, he also got angry with me when I dared to mention he had a problem with alcohol. I couldn't tell him anything. And so our lives grew apart. He was what is called a functional alcoholic - driving a truck all day and running his own business while racking up DUI's (at one point he needed to hire a driver to take him on his delivery rounds.) I had not seen him in months when I noticed him sitting in the freezing cold on our front steps at 5 in the morning wearing nothing but a hoodie and filthy jeans. Shocked, I opened the door and asked him if he was okay. With tears in his eyes, he was barely able to say through strained emotion what sounded like a plea for help - a plea for his life. Because it literally was.

"If I have one more drink... I'll die." That was my friend Murphy's rock bottom. This boisterous, incalcitrant person who was not amenable to being told anything was suddenly this fragile bird that fell out of his nest and onto my steps. This person who once angrily barked at me for daring to tell him he had an alcohol problem was suddenly admitting to a problem deeper than even I imagined.

So not having a clue how to help him, I called a friend who suggested this group called Alcoholics Anonymous. And they had meetings everywhere. So I walked him into a local afternoon AA meeting - and while the group told me the meeting was closed to only alcoholics, they invited me to stay since I had literally walked my friend through the door (I realized that to be a trust - an honor.) When he stood up and said, "My name is Murphy and I am an alcoholic," tears welled in my eyes and rolled down my face. When we left the meeting, he wanted to find another. He went to two meetings that day, and two the next. And kept going. That was 23 years ago. He has not touched a drink since. And it was only by the grace of God that his rock bottom was on my front steps - and not on a hospital death bed. Or a hairpin turn on the highway. Or a school crosswalk. Or in a prison serving life for vehicular homicide.

When I was in Scouts (thankfully not my abuse venue), I learned in water safety and life saving that a drowning man will pull you under in a panic - and that sometimes you must tread water until he is exhausted enough. You cannot save a drowning man until he is ready to be saved. And if you try, he may just pull you down with him. That informs me when I say that you, HISWIFE317, need to distance yourself from this man. If you cannot save him, then you are enabling him. And I know I am saying this about a brother that I would go to the wall for. But you cannot turn his life around. Nobody can but he himself. The best you can do is to be there when he is ready to be saved. In the meantime, please, PLEASE follow WG's advice. Al-Anon. Other women as support. Friends. Family. If you have children, their safety is paramount. And at the very least, their future - as is yours - is on the chopping block in a very litigious world that can take so much away from the family whose husband has taken even more from another family in a single drunken moment.
 

WG

Active Registrant
So very well stated. Please, HISWIFE, allow those words to sink deep. Think on them. It will save your life.
 

HISWIFE317

Registrant
Since I've last posted, he's gotten another job. He has an interlock device on his truck so he can drive anywhere he wants. But he can still drink and ride his bike when it's warm or drive the car of the girl he's living with because she doesn't care. Last I spoke to him he made the statement that he's not drinking like he was. I just shook my head and said that's good, I hope so. I'm confident he will get away with it again or it will be reduced. He has a really good lawyer.

He's got a whole new separate life now and I'm trying to just leave him alone because I've realized he doesn't care what I have to say anymore. He doesn't care that I care.

But "I" know what he's doing. This is where he pretends everything is okay and he's "normal' and has everything under control. And the girl he's living with now has no idea what she's in for when he can't sustain the pretending to be the person he truly wants to be. But that's not him. He lies and says he's going to get help, but he won't do it on his own. I think it's too hard for him. And as long as he surrounds himself with people that treat him like everything is okay....that's where he'll stay until it's time to move on.

Lately, I don't think he's a alcoholic as much as he is a survivor. He's surviving. That's what he knows how to do. If that means slowing down on the drinking to present the image that he has it under control....he will do it.

Our divorce will be final next month. I'm not worried about him coming back for anything from me because he doesn't need anyone, not me, not his family, not his friends.

But if he did come back....I'd help him get help if that's what he was ready to do. I love him and always will.
 

Esterio

Member
Hi HISWIFE

I hope you are able to think about you more than him for awhile. You sound to me to be a loving and caring person. You deserve a good life and partner. I hope when your divorce becomes final you can move forward and find someone that cares for you. I have been sorry to read your post as yours and his lives spiral down. I admire your will to help your husband. I am also sorry for the out come.

Take Care
Esterio
 

WG

Active Registrant
It's so unfortunate what the drink will do to humans. Not just the drinker, either. Look at what all has happened because of the actions of one individual. When I led group time I would explain to my clients that their using whatever drug it was (alcohol is considered a drug since it is a mind/mood altering substance) they created a tornado. Category 5. Everything is taken up and thrown in a thousand directions - and the objects that are thrown had nothing to do with the storm. They just had to deal with what the storm did. I explained that they were the storm and the people in their lives were the objects that were caught up whether they liked it or not and had to deal with the aftermath. Pick up the pieces and move on.
That's you. A life shattered in a thousand pieces on the floor. And you're the one picking them up. Pick up the ones that belong to you and get on with your life. Yes, you love him, but don't let that love blind you to it all. Never allow him in the house (you stated there was probably nothing he wants anyway, then let that be the marker.Don't allow him in.) Of course the new girlfriend lets him do whatever. If she doesn't care he certainly won't. Yes, it seems things are going well for him and not you. He seems to be at Disneyland and you got left in the parking lot in a hot car in August. Well, guess who has the keys to that car? You. Start up and drive away. His time at Disneyland will come to a crashing end and he will need to deal with it. The new girlfriend will be traded in on another model and it will start all over again. However, it will end somewhere. You just make sure you get what you need and keep moving forward. Never give him cash, a credit/debit card or access to a bank account. He will use it all up and blame you for there not being more. Get up. One step in front of the other. Get to Al-Anon as I said, find supportive women around you. Get on with your life. Again, yes, you love him but do not by any means enable him or his drinking.
Sorry it has come to this and I've seen it too many times in many people's lives for my liking. It's always the same
Move on!
 

HISWIFE317

Registrant
Thank you all for all the kind words.
WG I love the analogy of the storm because that’s exactly how I feel.
ESTERIO I’m trying to take care of myself but it’s so hard when you love and worry for someone so much to just stop. This is my first divorce and his third and I’m really having a hard time with this. I see a counselor once a week and have been for the last year since this all started but I still find myself crying everyday. It’s hard to think that someone that claimed they loved you so much has moved on so easily like you never existed.

I haven’t seen or heard from him for a few weeks now but it’s not making it easier.
 

Esterio

Member
Hi HISWIFE

Life is a hard reality at times. When you have loved someone deeply of course you are going to have a hard time. I understand you crying everyday for this loss it is huge. Sounds like he is experienced with this before and has not made much effort to change it or treat you with the respect you deserve.

I encourage you to take care of yourself, you are the one that is most important to you right now and you are in control. You can't do anything for him. It is up to him to reach out for help and he does not seem to be there yet. I am glad you have not heard from him in a few weeks now it may get easier with time. I can only hope it well.

Go to your counsellor and be kind to yourself, you are worth all the good that can come your way. I also would like to say that continuing to come here can be helpful for you as well. We are here to listen and support you through this. You are not alone in this even if it feels that way.

Take care
Esterio
 

WG

Active Registrant
I agree with Esterio - it's a good thing you haven't heard from your now-ex. It would only start the tornado all over again. Let it pass. Easier said than done, I know, however very necessary for your growth as you move out of this and into a new life, whatever that looks like for you. I'm glad to see that you are in counseling. Stay with it. If that individual is meeting the need in you to get through this, good. If not, you can look for another therapist. It took me a couple of attempts to find my present therapist.
He's had practice leaving. He's done this, apparently, most of his adult life. Possibly he doesn't know what being an adult means. There are large gaps in there somewhere that he's making attempts to fill with all the wrong things. He knows he's failed at being married. He knows he's made a huge mess of his life, isn't certain how to deal with it all so he doesn't and that's where he refuses to meet the challenge of what life has given him to face - so he runs. To alcohol, to sex with numerous women, possessions and on and on. He's fearful and more than likely does not want to deal with the shame that causes the fear. He's made it known he isn't worthy of your trust, he's made it abundantly clear he values running and hiding, like the adolescent brain he has is telling him to do, and it is causing havoc in so many lives. He refuses to see it and may one day wake up.
Make certain you are far away from it all. Time to remain in counseling and make a different life for yourself. As I said, get safe women around you. Get safe people around you. Join an organization, attend the place of faith of your choice. You'll find there are so many people out there who are willing to build into your life and be friends. I have noticed that the friends I have kept for the longest are the ones who have said to me, "You, too? I thought I was the only one."
 

HISWIFE317

Registrant
Wow! I have missed this group.

So update: Our divorce is final. I’ve changed my name. He has one more court date for his dui which I’m sure he’ll get out of and then he and his new girlfriend are moving across the country so they can be where her two children are currently living with their father, both under 7 years of age. I know that he’s no longer my problem anymore but I feel for those children when he does this again.

I am still trying to figure out my next move. Feeling stuck. Still going to my counselor but I think living in ‘our’ house isn’t going well so I’m trying to find some place new that I can make my own.

I’m still feeling devastated. I cry. I yell. All my plans for my future have been turned upside down and I’m trying to figure out what my new plan is and how to execute it. And he’s making a new life with another woman and we’ve only been separated 9 months, Its baffling to me when I sit and wonder how the hell did I get here and how did I let this happen to me.

I’ve had no contact with him since our divorce was finalized.

Hope to hear from you all soon.
HISWIFE317
 

Esterio

Member
Hi HISWIFE

While I am so sorry for the out come of your marriage I am happy you are making a break for you. Go ahead and change what you need to, start again many have it is hard but we do move it is up to us were we go from here.

This is a good place to come for support with this as some of us have been where your husband and you have been and you can and I hope you have learned from us and it has made this a little lighter load for you. Life can really be difficult to navigate at times it is good to know there are others willing to help.

Good luck in your new beginning
Take care
Esterio
 
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