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When Daddy’s Been Drinking

Jan23

by

Hi Amy -

I love love love your column and your blog and all the sound advice you’ve dispensed over the years.

I have a heavy situation here: I am two weeks from my due date with my first baby.  My husband tried to quit drinking when we got pregnant, so nine months ago.  We’ve been together nearly ten years and his drinking has been something we’ve talked about and worked on the whole time, but he never actually took the leap to quit outright until the baby.  It has… not gone well.  He has relapsed half a dozen times or more.  He has anxiety and depression on top of the alcoholism.  He was suicidal and spent a week in a mental hospital where they recommended an outpatient rehab program.  He has been attending that and sporadic AA meetings, but still has been struggling mightily with suicidal thoughts and relapsing.  He has started hiding vodka bottles everywhere and lying constantly about whether or not he’s been drinking.  He calls in sick to work more often then not.  He doesn’t answer his phone.

I just can’t do it any more.  I spent last night with family because I just can’t be around him if he is like this.

He mentioned that he might want to try a residential (inpatient) recovery program, but when I tried to discuss it further he said he didn’t want to go because he doesn’t want to miss the birth of his baby girl.  However, I don’t really feel comfortable with him being there – certainly not if he’s drunk, and if he doesn’t answer his phone how will he know I’m in labor anyway? And we have this huge chasm between us now of distrust and hurt feelings and I don’t think I can be vulnerable and in labor and trying to deal with him too.  I feel so bad about taking this experience away from him, but then I remind myself that he made these choices and this major consequence of missing his daughter’s birth may be what he needs to get his head on straight.

I guess my question is: do  you (or commenters) have advice for me? I know that only I can know how much I can put up with, or where to draw the line, but I just don’t know what to do.  I do not want to leave him, I really really believe he can get better, and I know that when he does he will be the most loving, caring, devoted spouse and father.  I know he can do it.  I just don’t know when or how or what I can do to make that happen. 

I keep reminding myself that I need to take care of myself and the baby and make sure I create a loving, safe home environment and if that means he can’t be there that is just the way it has to be.  I’m just scared to death of being a single mom with a newborn and where he is going to go and what might happen to him.  I only have enough paid-time-off to cover about half of my maternity leave and I was counting on his financial contribution to make this all work, and by the looks of things he won’t be able to keep his job much longer.  My family has helped out a lot already with medical bills and other support, but I don’t know how much more I can ask of them.

I’ve been going to Al-Anon meetings and the family therapy nights at the outpatient program he is in, so there is support there.  I just wish someone could say “do x” and he’ll get better.  Even if people just have stories that they have been here before, that they survived, that being a single mom of a newborn is somehow a survivable experience, that would be much appreciated.

Stranded Between Hopeful and Hopeless

Every once in awhile I get a letter like yours in the Smackdown queue — not this exact circumstance, or anything — but a letter that I realize I need to publish even though I have absolutely no advice or insight or words of knowing experience/camaraderie/whatever. Even though I’ll be lucky if I’m able to string together two or three coherent paragraphs of filler. Even though it makes me feel so wildly helpless and out of my depth because I want to HELP and FIX and ALL THAT.

But I need to publish it anyway because someone out there, in the wilds of the Internet commenting system, might have the words that I do not.

I don’t know what you should do. I have no idea what the right call is, here. His drinking is not your problem to “fix,” obviously, and there are no guarantees for either course of action: Let him witness his daughter’s birth and hope that he’ll come to his moment of crystal-clear clarity and responsibility on his own…or stick to your guns and bar him from the birth and hope that the tough-love look-what-alcohol-cost-you approach is what does it. (Can you videoconference a birth from rehab? Or would that basically undo the Whole Putting-Your-Foot-Down Point of it all? GAH I DON’T KNOW.)

He clearly needs that inpatient rehab, and I hate to think of him using his child’s birth as an “excuse” to delay going when in reality it’s possible he’ll simply spend the next two weeks (and your labor and her birth) in a last-hurrah-style bender. But success at inpatient rehab STILL requires a great deal of effort and motivation on his part, and I feel your hair-pulling frustration that he is still dragging his feet after almost nine full months of chances and relapses and come-to-Jesus-moments between the two of you. At this point it sounds like his drinking is so officially out of control that he could miss the birth anyway because he’s stuck in the drunk tank at the police station.

I don’t think anyone would blame you at all for putting your foot down and not wanting to risk him showing up drunk (or not at all) at the hospital. You are absolutely correct that he’s made his choices (or as much “choice” as addiction, dependency and mental illness allow) and it’s time for you to protect yourself and your own sanity and focus on giving your daughter as peaceful of an entry as possible. I don’t think anyone would think you are terrible for “denying” him the chance to let you both down, again. Or for going at this alone, at least for the next 28 days or so, at which point you can introduce him to his daughter and take it one day at a time, together.

But I also completely understand how terrifying that is. Even if I may suspect you have more than a little Superwoman blood in your veins, for remaining upright and level-headed and strong — YES YOU ARE STRONG — to be dealing with all of this while pregnant for the first time. I was prone to falling to pieces over missing baby swing parts and stolen recycle bins at 38 weeks pregnant. An alcoholic, absent husband would probably have broken me, and your letter is Exhibit A in the case that you are not broken, or anything close to it. I’m glad you have support, both from Al-Anon and your family. Please lean into that support with no guilt and as little worrying about the future as possible, for now.

One last virtual back-pat before I hand things over to our lovely community of commenters, for THIS:

I do not want to leave him, I really really believe he can get better, and I know that when he does he will be the most loving, caring, devoted spouse and father.  I know he can do it. 

I hope one day, no matter what happens over the next couple weeks, your husband will look back and read those sentences with a clear and sober head, and realize what a wonderful and amazing woman he’s married to, and that you and your daughter were more than worth getting help for.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Here’s an update (from 6/11/2012) from the original poster.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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44 Responses to “When Daddy’s Been Drinking”

  1. Kathy Jan 23 at 11:44 am Reply Reply

    I have no comment on the drinking, but when I was pregnant with my daughter I had that same feeling – I can’t be a single parent, there’s no way I can do this. That lasted until my daughter was about 4 months old and then her father left. I discovered I was able to do it, I was a much better parent when I only had to concentrate on my daughter and myself and not worry all the time about what he was doing or where he was. I had a very supportive family, which obviously helped, but the important point is that you can do it. The most important person right now is your daughter, not your husband. He’s made his choices. She deserves the best possible start in life, and if he’s not able to help with that then, unfortunately, it falls to you. I wish you all the best.

  2. Holly Jan 23 at 11:51 am Reply Reply

    Honestly, you can only take care of 1 baby at a time in this situation – and your daughter needs to come first. As harsh as it sounds, send him to rehab. If/when he comes out reformed, the reward of seeing his daughter for the first time is about as good as it gets. Financially, I know you are counting on him, but whether or not he’s in rehab – that monetary contribution seems shaky at best. The long-term is what is in your best interest – and better he takes care of this now, rather then when your daughter is 2 or 3 or 6 and you’ve basically been a ‘single mom’ the whole time with the additional responsibility of an alcoholic depressed husband and – your daughter is old enough to be asking “where’s daddy?” or “why does daddy sleep all day?” or “daddy threw up again.” etc etc etc.

  3. JB Jan 23 at 12:01 pm Reply Reply

    I could be completely off-base, but am just throwing this out there. What if you call the rehab center, and try to work out an arrangement wherein he enters the center, but ONLY gets to leave, supervised, to witness the birth of your child? Then he goes back right afterwards? Maybe the place could be understanding or you could pay extra for someone to accompany/drive him to the hospital and back, etc?

    I apologize if that’s too simplistic or if I missed something, but that’s just what popped into my head. Then he will not have the “excuse” of not attending for that reason, and he gets the help he needs, and he will be able to witness the birth….somewhat win-win?

    But I wish you all the best, in any case. I don’t have any advice, otherwise, but maybe other commenters can help.

  4. Julie Jan 23 at 12:01 pm Reply Reply

    Hi. You could be my mom. My dad had a pretty severe drinking problem. When I was in 1st grade Mom picked my sister and I up at school and we slept over a friends house ON A SCHOOL NIGHT! We thought it was weird But hey. Whatever. Turns out mom had had enough with the drinking and had drawn up divorce papers and told dad detox or divorce. Dad went to councelling (with an without mom) and was gone for 27 days in inpatient detox. Over Christmas. With two little girls at home. It sucked. Sucked hard. But I wouldnt change it for anything. Dad showed me how to have the strength to know when you are over your head and to ask for help. I loved my dad very much. He died 15 years ago from ALS. I miss him every day, and am so glad he chose the path he did.

  5. Brianna Jan 23 at 12:18 pm Reply Reply

    After a night where my husband came home, blacked out AGAIN and got “mad” at me for asking him to sleep on the couch he got violent and destroyed a bunch of stuff in our kitchen. Threw my coffee maker, etc. It was  a mess. I was terrified/sad with my 3 month old upstairs.
    Thankfully that was his wake up call and he has since quit drinking around me and our son. I am a recovering alcoholic as well and it was awful watching him go through everything. He does drink when he visits an out of state friend, but that’s all really. 
    I know it’s a different situation, but just wanted to tell you that there is hope. It’s amazing what that little person does to you, it really makes you want to be a better person. And the idea that it’s not all about you anymore….it hits pretty hard once they are born. I wish you all the best. No matter what happens, you can handle it and you can do it. ::hugs::

  6. LH Jan 23 at 12:32 pm Reply Reply

    I know that at least some treatment centers do let you leave for certain things as long as you’re in the company of other people that are part of the program and you’re not in the detox stage.  As long as you tell the people in charge what’s going on beforehand, I feel like he would be able to come see your daughter’s birth and then go back.  I would’t let that excuse fly- his drinking may only get worse once she’s born.  

  7. Kate Jan 23 at 12:40 pm Reply Reply

    My husband is what some would call an alcoholic, what others would call a normal drinker who sometimes gets out of control and what still others would say is no problem at all. Either way, his drinking (and the resultant legal problems, explosive, violent and erratic behavior) have been the cause of a lot of problems in our relationship. When our second son died suddenly, his drinking became more severe and frequent with a lot of negative consequences for our relationship. I have no prescription for how to “get better” because what worked for him (and I still have no idea quite what that was) and what works for someone else is likely to be totally different. I just wanted to reach out and tell you that I am so sorry for this challenge at such a crucial moment of your lives, and with the right commitment, it CAN get better. And if you need to leave, do so knowing you did the right thing. And if you need to stay (with the caveat that he face this head on and with conviction) DO SO knowing you did the right thing. So long as you’re not sweeping anything under the carpet or allowing yourself or your daughter to be endangered, there is no “wrong” path here. I was made to feel like a doormat by many of my friends for staying with my husband, and sometimes I really, really felt like one. But I loved him and believed in the person he was when he wasn’t abusing alcohol, and he is that person 100% of the time now. It can work, whichever path you take. Best of luck.

  8. Lesley Jan 23 at 12:50 pm Reply Reply

    This has been my family. I know you want to fix him. I know you want to “send him a message.” I know you might think love and, my God, a tiny, innocent baby might be just the ticket. The odds are not in favor of this. I’m so sorry. They are heavily not in favor of this.

    Here is the reason: Your husband is not your husband when he’s using. So that doesn’t mean that he won’t have the parental feelings, it doesn’t mean he won’t love you, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to provide for his family. It means he cannot. And I know you must be hearing this in Al-Anon, but the cloud that addiction puts around a person is void of any other priority. You are not a priority to an alcoholic. Their words, both when drunk and the next morning, may say you are. You may see their heart and the person you know even when they are at their worst, but he is INCAPABLE of taking the actions of a responsible husband and father. He cannot do it, not without help and a lot of time.

    Being that you have been together so long, you know you have participated in this, too. You know that now is also the time for a change for you, too, right? You know you cannot live with this, like things are. I feel like you really, really know this.

    When you have that baby, all those feelings you’re having now of worry and stress and concern are going to multiply and explode into a fire so strong that I am certain it will make every thing crystal clear for you. You will know that you have to make a life for this little person that does not contain worry or stress over the unpredictability of an addict. 

    Because I feel so strongly that you must already know all of this, I think you should prepare yourself now. Mentally, emotionally, etc. Yes, it is going to be tight. Money and living situations and how to feed you and the baby, that will all be okay. I promise. There are worse things than debt to family and friends and credit card companies and I promise you, life will continue to go on. It will be hard, you will be angry, bitter, and sad. But you will be a mother. Your focus on what really matters for your child will be like a laser. There will be no question.

    Prepare yourself now. You can do it. You cannot predict the future of your husband or your marriage, I know, but you can handle being a mother and creating a life for your child. You are stronger and more resourceful than you might feel. Continue with support groups, therapy, and leaning on those who love you. You can move forward. I promise. 

  9. Phillipa Jan 23 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    I must admit I am in the tough love camp on this one too. Maybe not being able to attend the birth of his child is the wake up call he needs. If he complained, you could very easily point out that he could have started the rehab program anytime in the last 9 months leading up to your due date. With any disease, you have the choice to accept treatment or not.

  10. SarahB Jan 23 at 1:29 pm Reply Reply

    It sounds like you are already doing so many right things: going to the counseling sessions, attending al-anon, leaning on your family…before I say anything else, I want to commend your dedication and thoughtfulness to your family.  Truly.

    I can’t advise you on the alcohol issue, but I am a new mother, and I can say this: Make lists now.  I would start a big list of what ifs and matching resources…what if he can’t be there in labor?  Have someone else ready as your backup–and for when you get home from the hospital too.  What if he loses his job? Figure out how much emergency money you have to spare. Have the number of the local WIC office handy. Even if you don’t qualify, they would know about other resources for moms in your position.

    And, here’s a big question: Could your husband use FMLA to go to rehab?  Such that he would be entitled to get his job back afterwards–or could he use it for paternity leave but spend that time in rehab?  Because getting him out of his job for treatment rather than letting himself get fired seems one of the biggest steps for your family’s financial stability.

    The first few weeks after birth are rough.  You will be emotional and exhausted no matter which way this goes…please be kind to yourself, and realize that it will be much harder to make decisions with a clear head then than it is now.  If your husband can get into treatment but be able to come for the birth (or to visit you at the hospital afterwards), that might be the best option.  It will be very hard for you to care for him and you and the baby.  If he can’t be sober and helpful, it may be far better for all of you to have him in the care of professionals during this volatile time.

  11. liz Jan 23 at 1:31 pm Reply Reply

    (Rolling my eyes at Chris, above)…

    Anyway, I think you should encourage him to go to inpatient rehab. Use whatever help you can get, and don’t feel guilty. Just remember to repay that help later when things are stable or to pay it forward when you can. And to let those who help you know how much you appreciate it.

    Take care of the baby, and take care of yourself.

  12. Emily Jan 23 at 1:32 pm Reply Reply

    Chris, you’re right…that was cruel and unhelpful. The baby is coming in two weeks. She needs to look at the future, not regret decisions made 9 months ago that can’t be undone now.

    Stranded, I think you are completely on the right path. My boyfriend is in AA and has 5 years clean-and-sober. I have only known him sober, but he often shares insights from meetings and from conversations with his sponsor.

    There’s one piece of advice that seems especially profound/relevant here. “Whatever you put before your sobriety, you will lose.” If he does not get sober, he will lose his relationship with you and your child, regardless of whether or not he was there for the birth. This will happen whether you leave him or not–you cannot have a functional relationship with an active alcoholic.

    I don’t know what your husband’s religious life is like. However, my boyfriend is atheist (Jewish background) and always tries to reach out to new members who are nervous about the religious aspects. The “higher power” can just be the AA group itself, not Jesus as so many claim.

    Good luck to you. There is hope. AA gave my boyfriend so much–not just getting sober, but helping him empathize and communicate and just all-around be amazing.

  13. missy Jan 23 at 1:36 pm Reply Reply

    Daughter of an alcoholic weighing in. I know my Dad loves me, I used to wish he would love me enough to quit drinking. As an adult I understand that is not quite how it works. I wish my Mom would have pushed rehab before I was born. He has to want to quit for himself, not the baby, not you, for him. He will be a more present Dad if he can do that. If he can not- you just be the most present Mom you can be, and raise your daughter to understand her father’s problems have nothing to do with her importance, or his love for her. I wish you the best.

  14. Emily Jan 23 at 1:37 pm Reply Reply

    I realize my comment above doesn’t exactly have a thesis statement. Here goes: do not worry about him seeing the birth. He needs to go to rehab ASAP. Missing the birth is nothing compared to missing out on a real relationship with his child.

    He may still refuse to go, but he doesn’t get to use the birth as an excuse.

  15. Amanda Jan 23 at 1:52 pm Reply Reply

    This hits pretty close to home, as my ex suffers from a combo deal of depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. We have two children, and having those children escalated all of his problems. We had a pretty normal life for years prior to having kids, then with the first baby the cracks became more apparent – depression. He got counselling, and things got better. We felt confident enough in his recovery for me to get pregnant with our second child. Within a month of her birth, he got progressively more anxious, depressed (I say this in retrospect, as this second round of depression looked more like anger), and then at some point turned to alcohol. I was in no shape to help him, with a baby and young child, and he was in no shape to help me. We ended up splitting up when the baby was about three.

    If I could go back and give myself some advice, back in that situation, it would be to leave sooner rather than later. Everything is harder to deal with when you have kids in the mix. When you are living with someone in an altered mental state (for whatever reason, depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, or a mix of all three), you CANNOT make everything OK for the children on the sidelines. In the end, what he does is out of your control.

    He may get better, or he may not. If he gets better, he may not be the person you remember any more. My ex is on the road to recovery now, but has undergone a personality change, and is no longer the person I lived with for so many years. This may be for the better, but it’s a hard thing to come to terms with.

    I felt like the frog in the pot of water being brought to a boil – the water kept getting hotter, but there were enough breaks along the way where I felt like we’d made a breakthrough that I didn’t jump out as soon as I should have. It’s hard to know when to go, but you do have a baby coming, and one of the commenters above is right – you can’t take care of him and your baby at the same time. The baby has to be the priority. I hope this is his wake-up call, but there’s no way you can MAKE that happen.

  16. Erin Jan 23 at 2:09 pm Reply Reply

    This is almost exactly my story about 3 years ago but replace husband with dad.

     We begged and pleaded – he continued to drink.  He was on house arrest (two DUI’s) – he continued to drink.  Tried some out patient programs (court ordered) – he continued to drink.  He lost his job – he continued to drink.  You get the idea… He even went to one in-patient center and dropped out after a week due to needing his appendix out (apparently he had been drinking so much that it numbed the pain of an appendix that had become so infected it was necrotic).  He tried outpatient – he continued to drink.  All while lying to everyone about what he was doing (addicts are incredible liars).

    It seems selfish but you do really need to do what is best for you.  I remember my dad visiting the hospital after my daughter was born and I was incredibly stressed about it.  He didn’t have a license at the time so we had to figure out a way for him to get there (one state away) and when he showed up he was clearly hungover and/or drunk.  Which was awful.  That was sort of the breaking point for me.

    One thing you cannot do is force someone into rehab – they really do have to do it on their own terms.  My sister, mom and I took the hard line with him and told him he couldn’t be a part of our lives if he continued to drink.  After missing several family events due to drinking (a baptism, large family gatherings, etc.) he tried another inpatient program and somehow that clicked.  Not sure where you are located but the inpatient program at Hazelden really helped him if that’s a possibility for you.  It’s been roughly 2 years (maybe more) that he has been sober and about 6 months sober he told me that during his treatment he realized he’s not someone who can drink – that he isn’t able to “just have one” (which is what he thought for so long – and then one would turn to two, to three, to more and more and more).  

    Strangely enough – over Christmas we found another spot where he had stashed a bottle (I’m sure you hear it in Al-Anon but an addict really will find a way to hide alcohol anywhere – apparently bottles in the toilet tank are a big thing for alcoholics).

  17. lh Jan 23 at 2:56 pm Reply Reply

    I am the oldest child of an alcoholic. My mom left my dad when I was five years old. It was the only thing that got him to stop drinking. And when I say she left my dad, she LEFT. No phone calls. No contact except through divorce attorneys. No “concerned intervention” from “friends.” She LEFT. He got sober and has stayed that way till today, 29 years later. They’re also still married, though it took a good decade of couples’ and individual therapy to keep it that way.

    Better that your man miss the birth of your baby, which she will never remember, than that he give her a childhood full of memories of the kind of agony, indecision, guilt, and helplessness that you are feeling now. Trust me, the first five years of my life were no fun, and I have an excellent memory.

  18. Lindsey Jan 23 at 3:22 pm Reply Reply

    I’m not sure this will help but thought it might. My mother is bipolar and went undiagnosed for years. Manic episodes of bipolar disorder are characterized by erratic and reckless behavior and, often, chemical dependency. Then, the depressive episodes were very similar to someone with clinical depression with suicidal thoughts, loss of appetite, inability to face day-to-day life. She was absolutely horrible when she was manic, particularly to my sister (thankfully we were grown at the time). I won’t go into how horrible it was but she burned many bridges along the way. We were all enabling her in one way or another: financially, giving her a place to stay, etc. We finally (after 10+ years) decided that we would no longer enable her. It was the most difficult time of my life and put the pain of the manic phases to shame. Long story short, she ended up homeless and living out of her car and came down from the mania to a horrible depression. Before we would agree to go get her, she had to admit that there was something wrong and agree to get treatment. We still have ups and downs as it is very difficult to find the right combo of prescriptions that work, but she has not had a manic episode since then. It has been over three years now. The whole “tough love” thing is so very hard to implement and stick to but it was the only thing that worked for us after trying absolutely everything we could think of. My mom is a wonderful person and was a wonderful mother when she was not manic or depressed. If you believe that your husband can be the husband and father you all deserve, do anything you can to get him into treatment. He will only be able to be the man you need him to be if he is sober. Sometimes it takes losing it all (maybe missing the birth of his baby) to come around to the conclusion that you need help. Good luck to you all. I hope that it all works out for the best and that he gets his life together.

  19. J Jan 23 at 5:36 pm Reply Reply

    Oh how I wish I could give you a hug. What a scary experience.

    A few thoughts I have.

    - you’re going to be a single mom, whether or not you ditch your husband. He isn’t capable of caring for a baby, it sounds like. You leave him with the baby while you take a shower, he closes his eyes while he’s on the sofa with her and she suffocates? He forgets to feed her? If he’s at home, not only will you have the stress of a newborn, you’ll have the stress of having to supervise your husband.

    - meet up has groups for single parents, try and find one in your area. The other moms could be a great resource, even while you’re pregnant. I bet there are moms in such groups who have survived single parenting newborns and could share tips or maybe even bring you dinner.

    - I don’t know whether you should divorce him or not, one idea which springs to mind is to seperate… Not divorce but live seperately, allow him supervised contact with the baby if he isn’t drunk, and explain that there’s a chance you can get back together so long as he completes rehab and stays sober for X amount of time. If the baby is an incentive to be sober, I think she’ll be one regardless of whether he witnesses her birth or lives with her. And if you seperate for a while at least youll be making some forward progress towards a life without him, if he can’t overcome the addiction.

    Good luck, and please update us when you can!

  20. Debi Jan 23 at 6:11 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve read all of the comments and I hope that these words of wisdom help and encourage you. My husband is an alcoholic and I know I felt better after reading them.
    As I was reading your letter, this thought kept running through my head “the sick person is running the show” It makes complete sense that you would want to bar your husband from the delivery room completely. This does not make you a bad person or a selfish person. You are a sane person taking back the reigns to your life. I am sure you have learned in Al-anon that you can’t fix him, you can’t control him and you can’t change him.
    The most important thing you can do is take care of yourself and it sounds like taking care of yourself means barring him from the delivery room no matter what his condition is. Be selfish with your sanity.
    Best of luck sweetie. I know this sucks right now but I can just tell from your letter that you are strong, you are going to come out the other side of this and you will be ok.

  21. Stephanie M Jan 23 at 7:14 pm Reply Reply

    IF he doesn’t miss the birth because he’s in rehab…and I’m not saying he should or shouldn’t, I’m just saying if…

    Use your hospital, use your nurses. Let them know that your husband is only welcome there if sober. If he tries to show up, and isn’t sober…they can, and will if you tell them, refuse to let him in the room, refuse to tell him where you are, etc. I hope it doesn’t come to that…but don’t hesitate to use that resource to help screen.

  22. Ash Jan 23 at 11:13 pm Reply Reply

    I think you have done the best you can, but it might be time to put your baby first. You say he has been struggling with this for TEN years, and has not seeked help. That’s an awful long time, and a lot of excuses in his part. Like the others say, you really only need to be looking after 1 baby right now. And caring for yourself postpartum is important too!

    He has had 10 years, and more importantly the last 9 months to prepare for his child’s birth, yet he still makes up excuses to keep drinking.

  23. Kimm Jan 24 at 12:00 am Reply Reply

    I agree with the above. And PLEASE try to go to an Al Anon meeting sometime. It’s for families of alcoholics. It can help you, whether he stops or not. http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

  24. meg Jan 24 at 12:10 am Reply Reply

    If he is in rehab while you give birth, whether the outcome is what you hoped for or not… You will be happier in the long run, thinking back.

    You do not want him in the delivery room drunk or going through withdrawls. I’ve been there and wish I had been stronger and told him to leave. Now my memories are mixed between good and bad.

    He will make it about him and it is supposed to be about you and your baby.

  25. A Jan 24 at 9:02 am Reply Reply

    First, let me say YOU ARE AMAZINGLY STRONG. You have faced all this with a strength you probably didn’t know you had. And you’re going to have to keep doing that no matter what you decide. It sounds funny because I don’t even know you, but I’m proud of you.
    My advice is to get him to rehab ASAP. Do whatever you have to do for your baby, and I’ll tell you why. My husband and his brother were abused by their stepfather because he had mental health issues and refused to get help. Their mom knew things were bad but didn’t know how much they were being screamed at, thrown up against walls, had their toys burned in the fireplace because “they made the kool-aid wrong.” What she saw is that he was this amazing person, really wonderful, when he wasn’t having an episode. She supported him at the expense of her children and they still have major issues because of it. Your husband may not be violent but you cannot trust an alcoholic to care for a baby (or child), no matter how good their intentions are. They are simply incapable.

    You will discover once your baby is born that this tiny person is worth anything you might have to do to keep it safe. Please get him help and give him serious consequences for drinking, possibly including not allowing him to see the birth of the baby. Most people need to hit bottom before they change their behavior. Maybe that would be his.

    I wish you the best possible outcome and will be thinking about you. Stay strong for you and your baby, you are stronger than you know.

  26. MR Jan 24 at 11:30 am Reply Reply

    You wanted someone to tell you what to do, so here goes: do NOT let him attend the birth. He is using that as an excuse to avoid rehab. It sounds like he will still avoid going, but you should still bar him from visiting during labor. The fact is that you are vulnerable while laboring. And it is proven that women who are stressed or confronted with a stressful person during labor can stall while laboring. You don’t need to be worrying about whether he is sober or whether he will barge in or anything about him while you are in the midst of labor. You need to be relaxed and in a stress free zone. You are not horrible for NEEDING that. All women need that.
    As for leaning too much on your family – please don’t worry about that. My brother just ended a 14 year marriage because his wife was an alcoholic, gambling addict, and unmedicated bipolar. We all GLADLY were there to support him. We watched for all that time and helped when we could, but too often he didn’t ask and we respected his right to choose. We would have gladly offered him more support during that time if he had let us. Go to your family and say that you are still hopeful that your husband can get sober and be a part of your lives again, but that you have decided you cannot let him be around you and the baby until he is sober. Your family will probably jump at the opportunity to help you. Please talk to them. I am sending prayers for you and your family. May your husband have the strength to get and stay sober, may you have a wonderful and happy and healthy birth and baby, and may you continue to have phenomenal strength you have been exhibiting. You are going to be a wonderful mother.

  27. Grace Jan 24 at 12:58 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, my dear. I hope these comments help you. for what it’s worth, I’m not going to be a “positive” person because my own experience isn’t, but I can tell you a few things that are real base on my brother (who has been married and divorced 4 times and is the most charming, best looking guy areoud when he’s sober):
    -the birth thing is an excuse to stay out of inpatient rehab.
    -even if he goes in, it takes a LOT to stay sober. Bro has been in 4 times and failed 4 times.
    -”enabling” a person may be as “little” as giving them a place to eat and sleep, so he can continue his drinking. Bro’s been kicked out of more of his friends’ homes than I can recall (aside from the 4 wives kicking him out) and he still always finds another friend who “wants to help.”

    I pray for you and all others in this or similar situations. Please know that you are strong and you can deal with whatever cards you are dealt, for you and your little one.

  28. Samantha Jan 24 at 3:35 pm Reply Reply

    So I have lots of alcoholism in my family, and my ex husband, and my current boyfriend. My dad never got sober, my mom has been off and on. Ex husband was sober before and after me, and current boyfriend got sober before I came around. The difference between my SO’s and parents was AA and working the steps. I learned as a kid, through trial and error, that I have no control over the alcoholic, as they have no control over the alcohol. So, when it came time to take myself out of their craziness, because it was best for my mental health, that’s what I did.

    That being said, your husband will only quit drinking when he’s had enough, period. There isn’t anything you can say or do to convince him he needs to stop. So think about what you and your baby need to be safe and happy, no matter what that ‘does’ to him. If you can’t handle him at the delivery, so be it. If you need him to live somewhere else so you can be a mother, you CAN do that. It will be hard, and certainly not the way you want it to work out, but you CAN do it and you will be a DAMN good mother.

    My experience with family, friends and SO’s getting sober, is that inpatient or intensive outpatient has ONLY worked separating them from the drink. If it’s not followed up by AA meetings and working the steps it’s just a ‘break’ from the drinking, and relapse has been inevitable. Of course everyone is different and rehab without AA has worked for people, I’m sure, just none than I know. My dad was in and out of rehab a bunch, never went to AA and died because of it. My mom piddled around with AA but never worked her steps and continues to drink. My ex husband worked his steps, got sober, went through marriage and divorce, damn near bankruptcy and many deaths in the family and stayed sober through it all. He’s been sober 15 years at this point. My boyfriend went through inpatient rehab, then AA worked his step and has been sober ever since.

    Anyway, super long comment. I’m sorry you have to go through this, but you need to make decisions that are best for you and your baby. If you try to make things easier on him, you will make them harder for yourself. He’s going to have to hit his bottom, and that bottom is different for everyone. For some, it’s being kicked out of their home, or not being the parent they think they should be, for others, losing their family, their home, and their jobs isn’t enough.

  29. Diane Jan 24 at 5:01 pm Reply Reply

    I am very familiar with all of your husband’s issues (my own hub suffered from major depression when our first child was born (indeed that was the catalyst to get help).

    First I agree with the other comments which tell you to stand firm  I like JB’s suggestion and I would investigate this possibility.

    He needs help for the alcohol abuse AND the mental illness (which commonly go hand in hand sadly).  Find a residential facility that can deal with both (I suspect most can).  Talk to him and lay it all out for him- if he wants a future with his wife and child, he needs to step up and get help.  It won’t be easy, and he may relapse, but those issues are not important right now.

    Its not easy taking care of a newborn solo (which I did as hubs was often awol or asleep during those first few months).  But it can be done, and you are strong enough to et through it. Lay things out for family and friends (difficult but necessary) and make it clear that you need their help (whether money, help with the baby or providing a kind ear to listen) will be best in the long run.

    Finally, his job situation.  Find out if he has disability insurance and if so apply NOW!  If not, contact his employer (with his knowledge) and explain that he is ill and requires a leave of absence to seek and obtain treatment.  It saved us i the short term.  I fully believe in being forthright and up front about his illness, but ultimately you will have to make that choice with his input (some employers are better than others understanding the illness and supporting the employee_ my hubs was fired on the day he returned to work from his disability leave-granted that was 16 years ago, but there are still many people who are ignorant about the illnesses from which your husband suffers).

    Good luck and be strong! I hope you will check back in with Amy to let us know how it goes! My heart goes out to you.

    Finally, 

  30. Genevieve Jan 24 at 5:23 pm Reply Reply

    I am sure you have heard in Al-anon that for many alcoholics, they have to hit bottom before recovery can begin. It would be great if he could be there for the birth of your child but maybe missing the birth will be his bottom. It is so painful to watch someone in a state such as this, hurting themselves and others. Your priority (as others have mentioned) is you and your baby. As for your husband, get him to rehab. And just draw that firm line. “you want to be a daddy? You need to get help.” Have someone film the birth and take lots of pictures.

  31. Laura Jan 24 at 6:32 pm Reply Reply

    Having your husband around with a newborn sounds much more stressful (and potentially dangerous) than being on your own. I agree with everyone saying that you can’t make him change…and a new baby is wonderful, but stressful, especially a first child. I’m not sure it’s your responsibility anymore to get him into an inpatient program but whether you help him with that or not, I think you need to be separated from him. My experience is with a sister that had mental issues and alcohol abuse and nothing our family did could help her. Please, only take him back once (if) he has proven he can be sober for an extended period, and is actively getting treatment for him mental issues.

  32. anon Jan 24 at 7:55 pm Reply Reply

    Stop enabling your husband.

    He is using the birth of your daughter as an excuse to stay out of rehab. If he is serious he will go to inpatient rehab no matter what he is missing.

    Continue to attend al-anon meetings. Seek out a therapist of your own. Focus on yourself and your daughter. You spent TEN years of your life “helping” this man, now is the time to focus on the most important thing: Your child. Don’t let your baby grow up in a volatile household with an alcoholic father, that is damage that hurts for a lifetime.

    Be brave.

    Be strong.

    Put your foot down, once and for all, and focus on you and your baby and getting the support you need. Your husband is NOT your child, nor your responsibility, but your daughter is, and she needs you.

  33. Molly Jan 24 at 9:52 pm Reply Reply

    I think other commenters have spoken more beautifully than I could about your relationship with your husband, and his relationship with alcohol. I just wanted to chime in to tell you that reading your story, I actually feel a huge amount of hope and happiness — I really believe your life is about to improve so, so much.

    Yes, this is a moment of enormous change in your life. And I hear you when you say that the idea of being a single mom with a newborn terrifies you. But this paradigm shift you’re about to experience — I think you, perhaps more than most first-time mothers, are going to LOVE how motherhood changes your life. For so long, your family has been a man who disappoints you, who you cannot rely on or help. I know you love him. He is a lucky man that you love him so much, and when he is 100% sober, he will thank you every day for your faith in him. But I also know that your love for him now is all twisted up in knots. Does he really love me? Should I leave him? Am I enabling him? Is he worthy of the sacrifices I’m making for him?

    But that’s all about to change! You’re getting this amazing, wonderful gift — a new definition of family, a daughter to love more than your own life who is going to love you right back. As other commenters have said, the person you DO have power over, who you DO have responsibility for, who you CAN change and protect and improve with your love, is your amazing baby girl. You can pour into her all your desire to love, to help, to protect. She will soak it up and make you proud.

    And girl — there is no such thing as enabling an infant. ESPECIALLY while she’s so little, the more involved in her life you are, the happier and healthier she will be. She will always be worthy of your sacrifice. You will always love her. She will always love you. You will never, ever leave her. You will never even begin to think that leaving her is the “right” thing to do, because you.are.her.mama. Whoever she turns out to be, she will be perfect.

    Raising a child is hard, and doing it alone is harder than doing it with a committed partner. But the love you feel for your daughter, and that she will feel for you, is not hard. It is not complicated. The past ten years, I bet your capacity for love has been thwarted and tangled and complicated. For the next ten, it will be so clear to you — your daughter will need you, and you will be there for her. She will be your everything and that is exactly how it is supposed to be. I think motherlove will be a cool glass of water for you. I am so happy for you and your daughter that you have each other.

  34. Kaelak Jan 25 at 12:27 am Reply Reply

    At this moment, your daughter has two futures that you can give her. One that will limit her, create memories for her of loss, of heartache and of pain that she will never fully recover from. And another future where she will be loved completely and absolutely, by a parent (or parents), with no higher priority than that she grows up in a healthy and selflessly loving home. You know which one she deserves, and you need to fight for that – for her.

  35. Claire Jan 25 at 6:45 am Reply Reply

    I have been through this as an outsider to the family unit. My former mother in law and father in law were both alcoholics, and had been for years, and this influenced their son and daughter heavily. Both suffered with issues with their own mental health, anger and agression and neither one was done any favours by living in that sitaution all their lives. I will say though, that their mother did become sober, but it was her decision to decide to stop drinking, and accept she was an alcoholic that caused their father to spiral massively out of control – into a situation that sounds very similar to the one you describe here. I lived through this with them (mother quit drinking when the children were 21/19 respectively). He was previously a functioning alcoholic – he worked etc etc, but as soon as the option of drinking in what was considered to be a normal situation at home stopped he became unpredictable. We had hospital visits, inpatient programmes, arrests (one for attempting to drive home while drunk and it was the Christmas lights display in that town – there were children everywhere – I hate to think what might have hapened if he had actually driven). It sounds exactly like how you were describing, but you don’t realise how not ‘normal’ it is until you step out of it. In the end he wound up divorce and died alone – as a result of his alcoholism. My former mother in law is still sober and has a relationship with her children.
    My point is this, some people are incapable of change, it has been gonig on for too long and they do not want to, so see a reason to. Some people, like my former mother in law, see their point and do something about it. Whichever way your husband goes though is no reflection on you – he will make his choices and you have to be ready to accept that maybe those choices don’t include you and your daughter. I hope so very very much that not allowing him at the birth (which I think is what you need to do) will be the wake up call he needs to realise he is screwing up. My son (my first child) is a month old, and he’s hard work, but the desire to keep him safe and protected is unbelievable. But taking your daughter away from an awful sitatuation is the best thing you can do for her. She may never say thank you for it, because she wont know the different life she could have had – but that is far better than blaming you for a life that was difficult.
    I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, I’m not meaning it to, I think you are an amazing person, and will be an amazing mother – you already care so much. But put the two of you first, before him. I wsh yoiu all the luck in the owrld and I really really hope treatment works for him xxx

  36. Tracy Jan 25 at 9:09 am Reply Reply

    I haven’t lived through any of this, but everything I’ve learned about alcoholism indicates (a) he won’t/can’t stop drinking until he has no other options, and (b) he has to hit rock bottom or have some kind of major event in his life to actually force him to see that. Missing the birth of his child might be the best thing you could do for him. Arranging things so he gets to continue drinking and not miss out on anything might be the worst.

  37. Carolyn Jan 25 at 12:39 pm Reply Reply

    Said with a lot of love and an “I’ve been there” (but with a parent, not a spouse) – he wants to go to residential rehab, maybe? Oh, SEND HIM! 
    The great thing about residential rehab is that dealing with him becomes their problem for the length of his stay. He will have people *who deal with addicts for a living* dealing with him and they will do the worrying about him. You, on the other hand, will finally get some time to focus on yourself and the baby. It isn’t just residential rehab, honestly, it’s like respite care. Imagine how much space in your head can be freed up if you just didn’t have to worry about him for a little while…sure, you’ll still worry, but he’ll be in good hands. And – awful as it may sound – he will be away from the big stress of the new baby. I know that sounds awful but if he’s really fragile right now, it might be more than he could do at the moment, and he’d be more trouble than it’s worth.
    But you know what? No matter what he decides, you’ll be okay. He’s a big boy and will have to deal with the fallout of his actions

  38. Amy Jan 25 at 1:29 pm Reply Reply

    I am in nearly the same situation you are now with my husband. Although my husband’s addiction is gambling I can relate to being lied to, the unanswered phone calls, the list goes on and we both know it by heart. My husband and I have two kids, a girl who’s 3 and a boy who’s 1. He’s the best father he can be but I find it sad that they favor me so much due to the fact that he’s emotionally unavailable to them much of the time. I know that Lesley’s comments above may be hard to hear but I think she offers the best advice of the comments I’ve read. Your husband’s first priorty in life is his addiction and he’s just not capable of more until he receives treatment and can overcome them. My husband is the same. I recently started speaking to a professional interventionist and am now organizing an intervention for my husband. I realized that although this point in my husband’s struggle may not be his “bottom”…. it’s my bottom. I simply cannot endure or support his behavior anymore because it’s too painful. Like you, I love my husband dearly and I don’t want to leave him. I believe he can heal and that he can enjoy life again. An intervention is not about putting your loved one in a corner but about bringing them into an environment of love and confirming that you will only support healthy behavior. The intervention I plan with my husband will end with him choosing INPATIENT treatment or divorce. It pains me to think of a divorce because I don’t want one but living with his addicition is just too painful for me and unhealthy for the kids to observe. I don’t want my daughter to learn that it’s ok for me to endure this behavior and I don’t want my son to learn unhealthy habits for dealing with life. I also deserve a better relationship with the man I love. Don’t believe those who say that the addicted person has to hit rock bottom before accepting help; that’s just not true. Rock bottom for and alcholic could be fatal and just seems cruel to not at least try to let him choose a better path. I wish you the best in your journey!

  39. ruby Jan 26 at 1:12 am Reply Reply

    I’m writing this from my perspective as a daughter of a recovered functional alcoholic. My father never missed work or acted like a “typical” drunk (slurred speech, falling down, etc. He certainly yelled a lot though). His drinking profoundly affected my whole family. Although I have learned to love him deeply, it has taken years, and I will never have storybook “daddy” feelings about him. My mom never left him, although they contemplated divorce. Sometimes I think she should have, sometimes not. It’s complicated. I tell you this so you can know a little where I’m coming from in my comment.

    SO here it is. I am so so so sorry you are going through this, and wish I could give you a huge hug. This is NOT something your H is likely to recover from in 9 months. It has taken my dad YEARS (like, 15) to get where he is, and he still has a long road to go. Yes, when he began recovery it did get better, but it was gradual. It sounds like your H is in a really really dark place, and it is going to take time for him to get out, if he chooses to get out. While that time is passing, you have to worry about your baby and yourself, as you know. I think you could benefit from individual counseling. My mom has her own issues that contributed to her staying with my dad and accepting the situation. Why have you accepted the situation you’re in? You deserve better.

    Although it’s easy to focus only on the baby’s welfare, and that absolutely should come first, you also need to think about yourself, long term. Your daughter is going to learn a lot from the way you treat yourself. What do you want her to learn? A single mom who knows in her heart she is doing the right thing is a much better role model than a parent who makes choices based on fear.

    Now I’m going to say something that might seem harsh, but I don’t know how else to say it. You said “I know that only I can know how much I can put up with, or where to draw the line”… but what about your daughter?!?!?!? Where to draw the line for her should be crystal clear. She should not have to have such sadness in her life just because YOU can put up with it. I can not believe that it is a good idea to raise a baby in the same household with someone who is dangerously out of control. I honestly do not think you’re daughter should live in the same house as your H until he has gotten some control. 

    You say YOU know he can be a loving, devoted father. What about your daughter? What will she know? She won’t know him like you do. I am now seeing my father be a loving, devoted grandfather, and it is… painful for me at times, as happy as I am about it. Why was he not that person with me? He wasn’t capable of it. My mother may have know in her heart the person he could be, but as a child, all I knew was that he was unpredictable, scary, selfish. As someone who needed love from me rather than someone who gave me love. Now I know him as someone who gives love freely, openly, who knows his mistakes and tries to forgive himself. But it has taken a long, long time to get here, for both of us. The idea of one parent sticking around through hell because they know it could be better at some point makes me angry. My 7 year old self wants to stomp her foot and say, Yes, but what about Right Now? What about the pain I am living right now?

    I know this is just a grainy snap shot of an incredibly complex life (believe me). You are a amazingly strong woman. Use that strength now to be the strong, amazing parent you can be, and don’t put up with anything. Who is in the room at birth is really a small detail in what will be your daughter’s whole life. If you can’t stand up for what you need (aka having him not there) right at the beginning of her life, it will be harder and harder to stand up for what you both need at every turn. Single parenthood is not easy, but you can kick ass at it. Hopefully your H will start on the road to recovery and it will be temporary.

    I really hope I am the doom and gloom one and that the situation isn’t so dire. Even if it is maybe this comment is not helpful, I don’t know. I do know that all of my personal issues are coloring it, so take it with a gallon of salt. As the child of an alcoholic, some of the things you said really stung. I think part of me wishes that by giving you this “advice” I could go back and undo some of the pain of my childhood. 

    Good luck, and stay strong. If you need someone to talk to, I’d be happy to be there.

  40. Carla Jan 26 at 2:39 pm Reply Reply

    I am an alcoholic and so is my x husband.  I gave birth 4 1/2 years ago and went to treatment almost 3 years ago, after she was born.  By that time, my marriage had ended and I had hit my rock bottom.  The day I surrendered and got help was the day my life began.  I have been sober ever since and I cannot tell u how proud I am of myself and my child.  It was the best thing I could have done for both of us.  He needs to go NOW, hopefully he will succeed and look back at this time as the best thing he ever did for his child and himself.  Those 28 days seemed like a lifetime then but think about the years he is saving if he does the right thing.  It is hard for someone who is not an alcoholic to understand.  I made every excuse in the book to hold off on treatment but fact of the matter is, there is no better time like the present to gain control and begin living.   As long as u have family and support to get u thru this, u will be fine.  I still say that the best day of my life was walking out of rehab and knowing I was going to be ok, it was not the day my daughter was born.  I say that because without sobriety, there is no life, no child, no good memories, and no happiness.
    Be strong and do the right thing.

  41. x Feb 06 at 10:06 pm Reply Reply

    When I was six months pregnant, my husband was arrested after he was found passed out, drunk, on railroad tracks by railroad employees. For 24 hours I had no idea where he was. When he finally came home, I had a choice to make. I could either leave or trust that rehab and probation would give us a chance at a future together. I chose the later. After treatment, my husband has been sober and present in our relationship. Nearly two years later, he is an excellent father to our child. If missing the first few weeks of his daughter’s life, by being in inpatient rehab, means that he will be able to enjoy a lifetime with his family, I say it’s worth a shot. Do not use him being present at the birth delay this treatment. He either does it now or never. Just being married to him does not mean that you won’t be a single mom. If he’s drunk and jobless, despite a support network offering him help, he will be completely useless to you or your daughter. You may as well be single and in a SAFE environment. Al-Anon friends should be able to point you to the resources you’ll need. Your daughter’s birth will NOT get his head on straight. Rehab might. You have more strength in you than you can ever imagine and it will carry you through this. Please continue going to Al-Anon no matter what. We can all use a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold, no matter how strong we are. 

  42. KFHHi Feb 10 at 12:14 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. From the sounds of your letter you sound like you are already taking all the right steps, by participating in Al-anon and using the support of your family. Al-anon is so important for you right now, and will help you process the grief and pain that you are experiencing. I am a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for 4 years, and I do know that his sobriety needs to be his top priority right now, if there is any chance for him to be the man you and your child deserve. If he can’t do this on his own by attending daily meetings, getting a sponsor and doing service work, then an in patient rehab is the best option for him, if he wants it, his sobriety is dependent on his own willingness. Anxiety and depression are common in alcoholics and he most likely needs rehab and a good therapist (some rehabs have staff psychiatrists) I am pregnant and don’t have the father present in my life and finances are slim, and I know it is a very, very scary thing. I use the support of the people in the program to get me through. You will figure this out, I know it seems hard to believe but don’t be afraid to ask for help, and look into local assistance programs. I have found tons of friends and community members to hand me down things so I don’t need to buy anything.

  43. Jackie Feb 13 at 9:50 am Reply Reply

    Stranded – you are me two years ago. My husband was always a drinker, and it wasn’t a big deal until it was a BIG DEAL. He lost his job in December 2009 and the drinking/depression/anxiety spiralled out of control. I didn’t realize how bad things were until I was on maternity leave in May 2010. While on maternity leave, I realized that he couldn’t physically get off the couch. I found out that he hadn’t paid bills in four months (not our mortgage, credit cards, insurance). At first, I thought it was the depression (no job), but I quickly realized that it was more than that. My husband was drinking, lying about it, hiding it. I convinced him to go to rehab – he was kicked out after two outpatient meetings because he was drunk. I made him go to AA – he went to two meetings and thought “those people” had problems but he did not. I took him to the ER five times in 18 months – all drinking related: falls, unconsciousness, etc. – and he was 3.5 times to 5 times the legal limit every time. Through it all, I had a baby and a five year old son (my son saw things during this time that would make you cry – I’ve heard him tell counselors and teachers that he would sit by his dad on the couch because he was afraid his dad would die.) It reached the end when I lost my job in the summer of 2011. I begged him not to drink until one of us found work and we were getting our lives back on track. He promised – “I wouldn’t do that to you. I love you too much.” That lasted two weeks before he went on the largest bender of his life. It was so bad I called his parents (who live 6 hours away). I begged the inlaws to take him, to help him. there was nothing more I could do and it was becoming a bad situation for the kids. They refused and I went to court. I got an emergency order of protection to get him out of the house, but before it could be served, my husband was admitted to the hospital with a BAL four times the legal limit. I filed for divorce a few weeks later and he went to live with his parents. The divorce was moving along, the kids were in a good place (as good as can be expected when they didn’t see their dad), and I was moving on with our lives. Then, on January 25, my mother in law called. MY HUSBAND DIED IN HIS SLEEP. HE WAS 38 Y EARS OLD. Cause of death: liver failure. The coroner said his liver was larger than any she had ever seen. Here’s what I learned through this: he is not yours to fix. You CAN’T fix him, you can’t fix anyone. HE has to want to get better and you need to do what’s best for you and your kids, no matter how hard that is for you. I understand that you’re hoping, wishing, praying that he’ll get better, but you can’t do anything to make that happen – nothing. Living with an alcoholic is the lonliest thing in the world: you can’t go out without him (god only knows what he’ll do, but it probably won’t be good;) and you can’t take him with you (he’ll be an asshole if he’s drinking and he’ll be an asshole if he’s “forced” to be sober). Stranded, this is his battle to fight, and no matter how badly you want to “make” him better, you can’t. I tried it all: guilt, super nice, super bitchy, logic – nothing would “make” him stop drinking. All you can do is take care of YOU and your CHILDREN. After my husband died, I received a note from one of our college friends. He didn’t know we were divorcing until the funeral, and he wrote that he admired me for making that hard decision to leave my husband, this friend knew that it wasn’t something I entered into lightly and he said that my husband’s death reinforced that I did the right thing for the kids. That might seem harsh, but it was oddly comforting. My husband was never going to get better, he didn’t WANT to get better. I’m sad that my kids will never know their dad, the version of the man I fell in love with 15 years ago, but if his story/our story helps just one person, it’s worth it. Stranded, you can’t save him. You can only save yourself and your kids. I wish you luck in whatever you decide. It’s hard, but the right thing to do in life is sometimes the hardest thing. ((hugs))

  44. Caroline Jun 06 at 10:45 pm Reply Reply

    Its like its there for ever and its eating me inside , I take day by day , smile , laugh , have fun. But at the end of the day , I go to bed turn off the lights , my darks thoughts come back, im so sick of living on my past , I wanna move on. But I can’t. My fear ? Aha I scare my self , I have bad thoughts , about people and other stuff/things.
    I wanna feel loved.
    I would want my dad too stop drinking , I close my eyes all I see is my mom crying herself to bed. It kills me inside seeing her going day by day makeing her self believe she’s happy , when she’s not and she knows it herself. Thinking about it just brings tears to my eyes.
    I just wanna feel apreciated , does god hear my prayers ?

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