Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

For recovery discussion
welmeres
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:21 pm

Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by welmeres » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:58 pm

Hello all,

This is my first time on this forum and I was hoping to find some guidance. I have also discussed with my sponsor, but I wanted to put it out into Cyber-world for any experience.

I just celebrated 8 years sober this past week. I have not been going to meetings regularly... I can count on two hands the number of meetings I have been to in the last year. My life is very full as a result of getting sober in AA, I have a baby girl who just turned 1, an amazing job, and the promises have come true in my life in every way. Even though my meeting attendance is very low, I have not had a desire to drink and I still practice the principles to the best of my ability. Please don't judge the fact that I have not been attending meetings, as that is not why I have come here.

As the title of this topic indicates, my husband who was sober 5 years, drank on my 8 year anniversary. I was traveling for work so I was not home when it happened. He drank 4 beers, his parents realized what was happening when they talked on the phone, and his Dad stayed with him for the rest of the night. His parents were concerned about him being alone with our daughter, as was I. He has not had a drink since that night (as far as I know). Note that he loves our baby girl more than anything and he is a wonderful dad.

We both got sober young, so is it possible that he might not be alcoholic? He went through hard stuff in his early 20s and drank a lot as a result. I have friends who got sober in AA young, and are now normal drinkers. Maybe he falls into this category? Maybe he doesn't? I am of the idea that AA works for 'real' alcoholics, so maybe he isn't one or just is not there yet.

So, what do I do? I have natural fears since I don't know what will happen from here. My gut tells me to just support him in whatever decision he makes. He has many avenues he can take: he can go back to AA, he can not drink and not go to AA, he may drink occasionally, or he may be an alcoholic. If things get out of control, consequences will happen. He knows that the consequences now are much more severe than his early 20s. I have no problem removing myself from situations which jeopardize my sobriety or my daughter's well-being. I have the family support to back that up. I have stated the boundary that if he chooses to drink, I ask that he not be alone with our daughter - Bottom line. He agreed. Also, no alcohol in the house. He agreed to that too.

Any thoughts or experiences out there? I have been a member of forums before, so I just ask that the response be constructive.

Thank you!

Pat82
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:43 am
Location: Prescott AZ area

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Pat82 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:23 pm

welmeres wrote:Hello all,

This is my first time on this forum and I was hoping to find some guidance. I have also discussed with my sponsor, but I wanted to put it out into Cyber-world for any experience.

I just celebrated 8 years sober this past week. I have not been going to meetings regularly... I can count on two hands the number of meetings I have been to in the last year. My life is very full as a result of getting sober in AA, I have a baby girl who just turned 1, an amazing job, and the promises have come true in my life in every way. Even though my meeting attendance is very low, I have not had a desire to drink and I still practice the principles to the best of my ability. Please don't judge the fact that I have not been attending meetings, as that is not why I have come here.

As the title of this topic indicates, my husband who was sober 5 years, drank on my 8 year anniversary. I was traveling for work so I was not home when it happened. He drank 4 beers, his parents realized what was happening when they talked on the phone, and his Dad stayed with him for the rest of the night. His parents were concerned about him being alone with our daughter, as was I. He has not had a drink since that night (as far as I know). Note that he loves our baby girl more than anything and he is a wonderful dad.

We both got sober young, so is it possible that he might not be alcoholic? He went through hard stuff in his early 20s and drank a lot as a result. I have friends who got sober in AA young, and are now normal drinkers. Maybe he falls into this category? Maybe he doesn't? I am of the idea that AA works for 'real' alcoholics, so maybe he isn't one or just is not there yet.

So, what do I do? I have natural fears since I don't know what will happen from here. My gut tells me to just support him in whatever decision he makes. He has many avenues he can take: he can go back to AA, he can not drink and not go to AA, he may drink occasionally, or he may be an alcoholic. If things get out of control, consequences will happen. He knows that the consequences now are much more severe than his early 20s. I have no problem removing myself from situations which jeopardize my sobriety or my daughter's well-being. I have the family support to back that up. I have stated the boundary that if he chooses to drink, I ask that he not be alone with our daughter - Bottom line. He agreed. Also, no alcohol in the house. He agreed to that too.

Any thoughts or experiences out there? I have been a member of forums before, so I just ask that the response be constructive.

Thank you!
Hi welmeres and welcome to the group! I'm an old gal with a short memory so I had to quote your post to reply... sorry. I know how scared you must be. Truth is, I can't answer your questions about him or his possible future choices and neither can you. That's not meant to be harsh in any way... just a fact. Were I in your shoes I would be looking at why he made the choice of four "real" beers when NA beer is available. Right? It sure wasn't just for the taste... so why? What's going on in his, and your and your child's as a consequence, lives? That's where I would direct my focus. Maybe a sit-down talk between the two of you is in order? It sure sounds like he's medicating something. And, as always, I could be wrong but it sure wouldn't hurt to look at it. You can't do anything about what's in the future nor the unknown. Worrying about it is going to affect your own sobriety. You can only do something about the present but you have to know what that is fully. Focusing on and taking care of the present will help you to feel less helpless in the situation though, yes, facing whatever is going on may be kind of scarey in itself. Men tend to hate the words "We need to talk" so pick your time wisely is about all I can say. I wish you well, peace, and hope to hear from you again. You will be in my thoughts.

User avatar
PaigeB
Trusted Servant
Posts: 8468
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by PaigeB » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:40 pm

Only your husband will be able to say if he is an alcoholic.

I have kids who drink and it does not bother me that much - but the don't live with me. It would be different if they were coming home at all hours intoxicated. Maybe you want to hit an Alanon meeting? Those folks will be able to give you some support whether he chooses to drink or not.

You are right to be protective of your sobriety and your daughter's safety. Trust your instincts there.

We are here everyday, all day - Congrats on 8 years & Keep coming back!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

2granddaughters

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by 2granddaughters » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:03 pm

Big Book pg 85 : We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

Lali
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 4296
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:13 am

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Lali » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:12 pm

Welcome, welmeres! I feel like it is more than just a coincidence that your husband chose your 8th anniversary to drink. Or perhaps it was just a "crime of opportunity" since you happened to be out of town at the time. Is it the norm for you to travel alone for your job? I ask this because I wonder if this is the first time he has drank in your absence. Maybe he just hasn't been caught before this.

I have heard that it is not unusual for a husband to feel left out when a first child arrives. He has probably become used to getting a lot more attention and now things have changed. Alkies don't tend to like change a whole lot. Anyway, I haven't offered any advice so far. It sounds like you and he need to sit down and have a serious conversation. If he were my husband, I would want - no, NEED - to know why he suddenly made this decision to drink. Did he suddenly decide that he is not an alcoholic? Or has he always doubted that he is an alcoholic? There really isn't enough information here for those of us here to have any answers. Your husband is the only one that has the answers. He is the one that you should be talking to about this. Good luck. And congrats on 8 years and having a new baby!
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

Layne
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1718
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Layne » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:09 pm

Go about your life on a daily basis doing what you need to do on a daily basis. Don't worry or stress about potential problems down the road... that may... or may not... happen. Worrying about them won't make them not happen. Deal with situations as they arise, not before. Do what is in front of you. Take comfort and find strength in the fact that you have the tools to deal with life as it comes your way.

amont
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:26 am

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by amont » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:47 pm

Congratulation to your 8 years of sobriety. Maybe you should stay with him for a while, you have that experience I know you can guide him to avoid relapse

User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 7938
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by ann2 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:31 am

Great responses mostly but I take issue with the idea that I could guide anyone to sobriety. Even as a sponsor I'm just part of the whole package which has as its base the group.

Amont, you're not an AA member and you are not attending Al-Anon and as a guest here you really ought not to be offering advice. Why not visit an online group for Al-Anon members to get some knowledge about the recovery method AA offers?

You can search for listings of Al-Anon online meetings. Find out what AA and Al-Anon considers the best help for alcoholics and their loved ones. In my understanding, it doesn't mean sacrificing my own peace of mind.


Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

welmeres
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by welmeres » Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:00 am

I appreciate everyone's responses. My husband and I talked and he can't really answer questions as to the 'why'. All he knows is that he did. Strange mental blank spot.

I do believe this is the first time he drank. In the last couple months we have both travelled for work a lot. He also is feeling stuck in his job. And to top it off a close family member of his just recently passed. These could all be factors, but ultimately he chose to have a drink. We have been through harder stuff in our lives so I just think he wanted a beer. He didn't get drunk necessarily; he just wanted a few drinks.

I guess what I want to know, as I know I can't diagnose him as an alcoholic, is if it is possible for him to do the right about face and drank like a gentleman? I can't take that first step for him, but is it possible he is not a real alcoholic? Not to bring up controversy, but a lot of people join AA young, including myself, so maybe he was just a hard drinker?

Also, I love AA, but the gossip circle will start. When our mutual AA friends ask about him, how do I respond in a loving manner to help avoid the 'looks' and the comments? In our book it says that if someone does not know the nature of their condition to step over to the bar and do some controlled drinking. I believe that this will be the route that he takes.

I have relapsed before (came in at 16, relapsed at 21, came back at 23). It is such a hard situation and the guilt will eat you alive. I have empathy for him in this regard. He still has not had a drink since.

I just want to be supportive wife and be a good AA member. And keep my side of the street clean.

Love to you all.

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5241
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by avaneesh912 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:28 am

Strange mental blank spot.
Exactly. My mentor would always take people to page 24 of the big book.
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.
People let their gaurd down and they are shut off from the sunlight of the spirit and people consume alcohol for that sense of ease and comfort, though fleeting, thats all they look for. And then the drama, the physical craving and the vicious cycle of guilt, shame and remorse. Restlessness, irritability creeps back in and we are lost once more. Hope your husband awakens to this fact. Wish you the best. Talk to him gently after a bender when he is remorseful not while drinking.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

chefchip
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:28 am
Location: Northern Kentucky

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by chefchip » Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:32 am

First, I have to say that you sound like an intelligent, well grounded person. Your husband is lucky to have you, especially now. Layne brought up a point that I think bears repeating, especially combined with Ann's point that no one is going to be able to guide your husband to the correct choices.

Here are the facts. Your husband had a good stretch of sobriety. For whatever reason(s) he willfully decided to drink again. Thankfully, that episode was controlled and did not have disastrous results. It seems that you both realize the potential for disaster, and that you are talking about it. He has s support system, including his parents. For the moment it is my opinion that both of you are doing the right things. Relationships are important, and ending one -- especially when children are involved -- is something that requires careful consideration. So, kudos.

My thoughts... First, take care of yourself and your child. Rely on your recovery and your program to help you through this. If you don't feel comfortable in your local groups, you have found a group here, one with a whole lot of great recovery. What happens next is truly up to your husband. It sounds like he has some serious soul searching to do, and hopefully he does that instead of just shrugging this off as an anomaly. IF he is an alcoholic, like me, then he can't ignore this. The beers aren't the important thing here. What led up to him deciding to throw caution to the wind is the important thing. Sure, he may have just been a problem drinker. But, to my way of thinking, why take that chance? Is alcohol that important considering where it COULD lead him? Those are the questions he must ask, and answer. All you can do is be there when he needs you, and otherwise let him figure this out in a safe environment.

In any case, DO NOT succumb to the temptation to try to fix your husband. No matter how strong you may be, he can not rely on you now. If he does, even if you did succeed in fixing him now, it would not be a lasting fix. AlAnon can help. You know what it is like to be an alcoholic. THEY know what it is like to be married to an alcoholic. The skill sets are not the same, by any stretch.

Be well, and please keep posting. Remember, your sobriety and program take priority. Without those, nothing else matters.
Chip
The only constant in life is change.

User avatar
Duke
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1480
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:35 pm
Location: Kansas, USA

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Duke » Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:53 am

My wife and I have thirty eight years of marriage. I've been sober over thirty of those. She drinks regularly.

I've gone through every possible thought you can imagine during our lives together about her drinking including attending alanon for quite a while because I was convinced she was an alcoholic.

What I've learned beyond a shadow of a doubt is that her driving is none of my business. What I need to do for my sobriety is none of hers.

Sounds a little stark when I say it, but it's really not. We have a solid marriage and a reasonably contented relationship. We each bring qualities to the mix that the other lacks. I'm grateful for her presence in my life all these years.

I suppose what I'm saying is that no one here knows whether your husband really needs this program or not. Patience and support without enabling is your only real choice. Be clear about what you will do and won't do with him and then do what you said you would. He'll figure it out.

I wish you the best.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 4033
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Brock » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:07 am

After the section in Chapter 3 where it speaks about doing the right about face, and drinking like a gentleman, it goes on to say that if a person can do this “our hats are off to him.” My experience in AA unfortunately is that many of us, myself included, like to thump the book and quote passages which suit us, then when something like this comes up conveniently ignore what it says, or say something like the writers didn’t really mean that. Perhaps that is why you indicated your concern about the gossip circle; sometimes folks ask questions about the wellbeing of other members, under the guise of being concerned about their welfare, when in reality they are looking for gossip fodder.

In reading what you say about your husband, he sounds like an upstanding responsible fellow, not the type that would let drink get in the way of his family relationship, especially not while he knows that he may well be an alcoholic, and that AA has the answer for that. If I were in his shoes, I would appreciate my wife allowing me to find my own way, as you have done, and if I intended to quit going to meetings for a while to “experiment” with my alcoholism, then I wouldn’t mind her telling other members just that. And if those members roll their eyes or say that I am a fool then to hell with them, and I expect my wife to feel the same way.

In your first post you mentioned former members who now drink normally, those who came in young and perhaps were just abusing but not addicted, I have seen this and agree that it may be a possibility with him, there is one way to find out as you said, fortunately I found the answer comes pretty swiftly. I tried this and know others who have also, of course we start out slow the first week or two, kind of try to convince ourselves there is no problem, but then wham we find we have no control. In one of our books it says it may be worth a case of the shakes to do this experiment.

I wish your husband and yourself the best of luck.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Db1105
Forums Contributor
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:32 am

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Db1105 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:04 am

I got sober at 17 and will be celebrating my 37th year sober later this month. Yes, I've seen a few people return to "Normal" drinking (though normal drinking is getting smashed to me), but they are more the exception than the rule. Back when I got sober the adjective 'real' did have the cachet it does today. You were either an alcoholic or not. The only observation I can give is that after our first child was born, drinking was the last thing I wanted to do. The only thing I do know is that i can't fix anyone else but me.

Pat82
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:43 am
Location: Prescott AZ area

Re: Husband started Drinking; I am still sober

Post by Pat82 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:42 am

Reading your follow-up (thank you), you've done all you can do... this being the most important:

" I have no problem removing myself from situations which jeopardize my sobriety or my daughter's well-being. I have the family support to back that up. I have stated the boundary that if he chooses to drink, I ask that he not be alone with our daughter - Bottom line. He agreed. Also, no alcohol in the house. He agreed to that too."

If at any point the boundary is violated then he's not just a social drinker as I understand the term. Actually, to me, social drinkers don't need boundaries concerning alcohol laid down. Alcohol is just not an issue. If it was never around or they never drank it would be no loss to them. I'm married to one and he nurses one beer all night at social gatherings more to be polite when it was forced on him and usually leaves with it unfinished. I've seen him drunk once and that was my fault for mixing a screw driver too strong for him not having eaten. That was at a party at his Aunt's house. He doesn't require booze in our home. I do have a bottle of vodka I use for cleaning vaping atomizers so it is in the house be we never think of it or drink it. Its viewed as part of household cleaning supplies. Neither of us like the feeling of alcohol in our bodies... mine is only from memory of course... disgusting stuff. ;-) We do have the occasional NA beer out with Mexican or pizza or an NA glass of wine with steak or spaghetti. Social drinkers aren't looking for a buzz but are looking for the taste sometimes. All JMHO of course.

Post Reply