Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Secret Drinking


Most evenings I greet my husband at the door when he returns home from work, hug and kiss him hello, smell it on his breath, and just continue to pretend I don't notice.  Quite a few times I've caught myself sniffing, and he noticed ("What?") and still I said nothing.  The times he comes home and there doesn't happen to be an odor, sooner or later throughout the evening it will usually appear.

Sometimes it feels like I am playing a little game called "I Know You Secretly Drink But I'll Pretend I Don't Know So We Can Try To Be Happy Together", and even though I am playing by the made-up rules (and the rules I made up myself, mind you!) I'm still losing.  Part of being in Al Anon is understanding that we don't talk about the alcoholic's drinking with the alcoholic.  Actually, I'm pretty sure this hasn't even been suggested but it's what I gather from the program.  Indeed, the times I have discussed my husband's drinking with him, things did not go well.

Part of being a "functioning alcoholic" is that my husband is able to keep up his professional life and remain successful in his field while being a good provider to us.  The "alcoholic" part is that he drinks, he hides his drinking and also, he is drinking alone.  And, I suspect, everyday.  So he drinks everyday, alone, sometimes in his car before coming in the door so I can't see it (I prefer to think it's this instead of drinking while he drives home), and sometimes upstairs in our side room where I also can't see it.  He hides the bottles so that if and when I go inside, I'm none the wiser.

From what I have learned, there are a few reasons alcoholics hide their drinking:

1. To increase their intake unnoticed.

To clarify, though most of my husband's drinking is in secret, not all of it is - on weekends he puts on the show for me called "See, I Bought This Six Pack And Only Drank One And Didn't Even Finish It."  (I hate that show, it's always reruns).  In his mind, he's showing me he can control himself.  And for a while I believed it was true.

But one night, reality smacked me across the face.  He had a glass of red wine downstairs that he was nursing.  He took a sip and went upstairs.  I needed something from our bedroom and when I went up, our dog followed me - when he saw her (but not me) he told her to go downtairs.  Turning around, I saw his mini-wine bottle up in the air as he downed the last drops of the white wine inside.  When he came down from his sip he saw me seeing him; I said nothing and walked back downstairs.

My first thought was "But - he has his...glass of red...wine...downstairs...?"  Well gee golly gosh.


2. The alcoholic knows their relationship with alcohol has become unhealthy.

At some point last year, my husband mentioned to me that he was working later and later at work because he figured the less time he was at home, the less time he had to drink.  He has made other comments to me that leads me to believe he may be grappling with the idea that he has a problem:

"I know I do, and I don't care.  And if you don't like my drinking you can leave."
"Well, I know I have, you know - whatever - but it's not a problem until it becomes a problem."

When I caught my husband making a drink upstairs in another room:  "You moved the bar upstairs?"  I couldn't help myself.  "Yeah well I know it bothers you so I don't do it around you."

Recently my husband told me some facts about how alcohol affects dopamine in addicts.  "How do you know this?" I asked him.

"I looked it up online."  Genuinely, I gave him a quizzical look.  "Because I thought I might be an alcoholic!" he said.


3.  Denial (They're hiding it from themselves).

I would imagine that drinking out in the open - and in front of me, especially - causes my husband to feel judged and ashamed.  He knows very well how I feel about his drinking, especially because I find it so damn hard not to make my little comments to let him know that I don't approve.  This in turn probably has a few effects, one of which is to really look at his drinking and at himself.  And seeing as he is still trying to control his drinking and further the idea that he doesn't have a problem, any introspective place probably isn't a very comfortable place for him to be.

So, let's just hide the drinking and I can pretend my wife doesn't know - because if she doesn't have proof I can say I'm not drinking as much as she thinks I am, or anything at all even.  And then I can also pretend that this isn't a huge problem, and I'm just hiding it because my wife is a controlling, judgmental wench of a woman who hates me and doesn't see that after all my hard work and providing for her, I deserve some booze right?  This last part is something he has told me in his own words - "I mean, I don't have kids, I don't have a house - can't I at least have this?"

Also regarding denial - after my husband let me know that he had searched online for information on alcoholism after thinking he possibly is one, he proceeded to tell me the difference between himself and an addict.  "Addicts say that they have no control over it, they can't control it.  But for me, every time I drink I'm choosing to drink, it's a choice."


Like discovering squirrel plantings out in the garden,  I've found bottles buried in the nooks and crannies of our home.

Hiding places are found by me accidentally, typically during cleaning up (and in my early recovery, during remedial Step 1 moments of searching).  Pushing a chair out of the way to vaccuum and I find empty pints underneath.  Looking for the cat under the bed in our other room and there are empty tall cans and mini wine bottles.  Checking the side closet for moving boxes I see that on the top shelf was his top shelf Seagrams VO, mostly empty.  Also:

In between the mattress and box spring of a spare bed.
In his work bag.
Stuffed in the couch between cushions.
In his jacket after a road trip.
In the trash he takes out.
Behind his computer monitor where I couldn't see.
On our bar, but behind a bottle of a kind of liquor he doesn't or won't drink.
Under the front seat.
In his luggage.
In the trunk.

Sometimes the bottles never surface, and the scent is just lingering in the air, on his breath, or in an empty can of soda.

The times I've ever delicately mentioned finding bottles (definitely in the context of a drinking discussion, and not a random topic of conversation) my husband maintains that the found bottles are old and have been there for "who knows how long."

Before we moved some of our things this past weekend, we got the oil changed on my husband's car.  It had been a nice weekend for the most part, and a nice day in particular.  But wouldn't you know, when I got in and saw some empty mini-wine bottles on the floor of the passenger side and coming out from under the seat, my husband's mood shifted pretty quickly.  He clammed up, his eyes were wide, and before I knew it he was driving, nay, speeding to the oil change place.  A little too roughly I may add - taking turns fast and flying into driveways.  Surely, he was pissed.  But why?  I hadn't even said anything and did my best to pretend I didn't even notice - which was probably ridiculous considering how obvious the bottles were.

A friend of mine who is a "double winner" (in both Al Anon and AA recovery programs) explained to me that he wasn't angry at me - he's angry that I had found one of his hiding places.  He had been "found out."  That alcoholics are filled with shame and that that shame is exacerbated by someone who discovers their secrets, whether through discovering hiding places or anything else that supports or is related to their addiction.  "His way of life is threatened."

His way of life.  Drinking alone, drinking in secret, drinking period.

So how am I getting through this?  It is a struggle, but I have accepted that my husband is an adult - he has the right to drink.  I also have a right to not accept his drinking or the consequences to our relationship, and I recognize that unacceptable behavior is unacceptable.  To that end one of my options would be to tell him my concerns and be prepared to take any following steps for me and make my choices - this is not my strong suit.  Though it's taken me a while, I have learned that I can control the message but not the outcome (typically my past behavior was to tell him my message over and over again, for hours, essentially begging or pleading him to stop doing x and please do y, etc. until we were both exhausted.  Never worked).

Lastly, as ever I try to keep the focus on myself.  His drinking habits can easily become an obsession of my own, and so I tell myself to stop thinking of where he may be hiding his bottles tonight, to stop calculating how much I think he's had, and so on.  The only way to get through something like this isn't to ignore it, but to accept it, and to also accept that I'm powerless over the alcoholism.  I am powerless over my husband's own opinion of whether or not he has a problem, and I am powerless over his decision or lack thereof to enter recovery.

And so I continue attending meetings, talking to my sponsor and program friends, reading the literature, working on my business, and posting here.  This may be my secret from my husband, but it is a secret that I hope is maybe helping someone out there gain some perspective and realize that they aren't alone.

34 comments:

  1. Hello,
    I've just read your entire blog... its a pretty sad story and I don't know how you put up with it. I'm a functioning alcoholic. I stopped drinking 2 days ago and I've been reading what ever I can find to keep me feeling positive about my decision to quit (for a while). After reading your post on secret drinking i felt like you were talking about me, my eyes opened wide and I said to myself WOW I really am an alcoholic.
    I'm alot like your husband in that regard although my wife and I still have a good relationship. Of course it could be better in the intimacy department.
    My wife is a non drinker due to her previous experience with alcoholics in the family and she hates to see me drink ( I can feel her glare and know she is counting) which started me drinking in secret before getting home from work and then having just a couple of drinks when I got home.
    Pretty soon my drinking before getting home started at midday and I'd finish a bottle of wine before 3 pm and sometimes even start another. Its been this way for about 2 years now.
    So now I'm stopping without my wife knowing how bad it had become (Or at least that's what I want to believe). She'll now notice that I'm not drinking when I get home but the big test is on the weekends and functions. I know she'll be happy once I've stopped drinking but she'll never really appreciate what I've done... hence my connection to your secret drinking post.
    It would have been nice if I could lean on her for support but she'd never understand.
    Congratulations on your persistence I wish you the best of luck and I hope your husband wakes up one day soon.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

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  2. Let me first say that your comment really moved me, and I thank you so much for your honesty and for you reaching out. You are so brave and kind to do so. And if anything I wrote helped you for that day I am truly humbled and grateful. I wish you the best in your own recovery and hope that you keep finding the motivation, both internal and external, to keep pushing forward one day at a time.

    In regards to your wife...you mention that it would be nice to lean on her for support. I'm not sure I can completely understand what my husband is going through, and if he decided to become sober as you have, I would certainly support him but I am not sure how far that could (or should) take me into his own journey. My perception and experience is as his wife, and both are colored by that fact, as much as I try to remain objective.

    What I will say is that there are surely lots of others out there who *will* understand your experience, other alcoholics, and this could be where you will find your fellowship. Al Anon may help your wife tremendously, if she chose to learn more about the program, and it may help her be able to support you in a healthy way that honors both of your experiences, and allows for a shared language of recovery.

    Thank you again so much!

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  3. I too am married to a functioning alcoholic. I can relate to nearly everything you have said. At first, I didn't see it as too much of a problem. Then, as our 30s passed by, it became worse. I believed my husband would change. With all my heart. My husband loves me, but the fact is, he loves alcohol more. And now I'm in my early 40s raising two kids. My kids are under 10, and I feel terrible because they don't understand why I am upset with their father or angry. My husband will come to a little league game with a sports bottle filled with beer. And it will be the middle of the week. He thinks nothing of it, and it's getting worse. I'm at the point now where I have to get my ducks in a row, and for my kids' sake, leave. Thank you so much for posting the exact experience I go through (sniffing breath and more), I know I'm not alone.

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    1. Hi Marriedtoafa, I'm the other seceret drinker. Thank you so much for your reply and kind words. Its not my wifes fault that she cant understand what I'm going through because I have never admitted that I was an alcoholic! I'm too ashamed to admit it to her or anybody else for that matter. Therefore I have to go through all of this pretty much on my own (My fault). Having said that it is now 14 days since I last had a drink and although there have been a couple of times where I would have cut off my own arm (not my drinking one) to have a bottle of wine I have not given in... Thanks largely to you and people like you that share your experinces. I cannot begin to tell you how much you have helped and I thank you for that from Australia.
      It is getting easier now. Since stopping drinking I have been sleeping through the night and waking up fresh, happy and energised. I have not had to take painkillers to get me through the day and I'm still happy when I get home. I used to be uptight, stressed and thought my only way to wind down was with alcohol.
      My wife has always told me that she was concerned about my drinking and I always argued that I was just like every other normal drinker and she was just being a nag, but she was right ( I'm still not going to tell her).
      This is the second time that I have tried to stop drinking but its the first time that I'm doing it because I want to and not because someone else says I should and I think that is the big difference. I hope one day soon your husband decides he has had enough poisoning himself and your relationship.
      Thank you again for sharing your experince.
      D

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    2. Hello again D! My apologies for my late responses. Thank you again so much to *you* for sharing *your* experience here. Again I can only say how incredibly humbled I am and grateful that anything I have said here has helped you (all the way to Australia! It is truly something, this internet thing).

      You must be so proud of yourself for sticking to your goal. As I've learned in Al Anon and a recovery center, it is not a matter of simple "willpower" (after all, so many things in life take willpower, including things that alcoholics do daily), but just as you put it *you* had to want to become sober. And you're doing it! You, my friend, rock. Thank you for reading my little posts and for sharing! I know your honesty and truth is reaching someone out there who is in your shoes, and you are helping them with your story.

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    3. Waa aa y dont u wifes getta job that's why I drink cause my stupid fucking wife won't get a fucking job and then I am the bread winner of the household so yeah I want to fucking drink and I'm going to keep fucking drinking

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  4. Wow. I have just read a couple of your blog posts and I am thankful I have found you. I am moved by everyone's stories I read. I signed up for e-mail alerts and I have learned so much in just this last hour of reading. So heartfelt. So honest. I am not alone. Thank you
    I struggle with the not saying anything about the drinking. I know it makes it worse. How do you have an intimate relationship when their behavior hurts you and they don't acknowledge the problem? Do you just decide to be roommates unless they make a change? How do you make love to someone who loves the alcohol more? As I type this, it feels so sad, that at this moment, this is the reality I have to accept. I have no control over it. I accept it. But, how do you stay married to someone and not have the physical part of the relationship because of the walls I have put up because I'm tired of being hurt by his words when he is under the influence. What to do? Focus on myself, I know. But continuing to hold him accountable and not give in to this part of the relationship is causing much stress. This is so not the way I envisioned our lives to turn out to look like.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment...You are definitely not alone. What you're talking about is the concept of "loving detachment" (and a post I need to write!). "Love them where they are", "Separate the person from the disease." This is something I still struggle with every day. Every day.

      When you say "continuing to hold him accountable" - what does that mean? What does that look like? Do you mean withholding sex?

      One of the things I try to do is continue to be in my good mood (or sometimes try to get into a good mood), and continue to be myself and go along with what I was doing despite what is going on with him. Note the qualifying word "try." Progress, not perfection.

      Intimacy...is tough in an alcoholic marriage (understatement). Physical intimacy can sometimes be prevented by their inability to "show up", and by our inability, as you put it, to take those walls down. So, what do we do? We *could* just decide to be intimate with our spouses even when they're drunk, obnoxious, rude, or distant. We could - but we don't want to.

      There's another "into-me-see" post that's forthcoming where I discuss this. I will say that Al Anon has helped me love my husband where he is, but not *love* my husband where he is. Savvy? That's up to me. Sure there are times when I feel comfortable, but it depends on his drinking schedule. And back when he was drinking more there were fewer windows that I felt ok to jump through, to take my chance. Though I will admit, there were times when my drive was so strong (not common for me) that I just had to do it for me.

      My heart goes out to you. This definitely isn't how I envisioned my life, either. "How do you stay married to someone..." Sometimes that's the question, isn't it? And there are different answers for everyone. I know women who would say "Al Anon", who've stayed with their husbands (some got sober, some didn't). I know women who would say "I don't know." And I know women who would say "I didn't."

      And I know women who would say all three.

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  5. Funny, my husband follows the "I won't drink in front of your family so there's no problem" rule! And yes, I too follow the "don't notice you just walked in with an 18 pack that will be gone by Sunday" rule. Sometimes I will actually WANT a beer, one beer, now and then but there never seem to be any. In that case, he evokes the "oh I'm such a nice husband, do you want me to go to the store and get you some beer" rule. Funny all these rules we play be without realizing fully.

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  6. I just found your blog; and I have read so many stories that are just like my life. My wife is a serious (functioning) alcoholic (has a job, friends, etc), and I'm just amazed at the similarities. She's really gotten pretty bad in the last 2-3 years, and I've been to a few Al-Anon meetings. I've been educating myself as much as I can, but reading these personal, real (albeit anonymous) stories are a real help. Thanks.

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  7. When I ready your story I sobbed. So much of it sounds so familiar. My husband doesn't drink every day (I don't think) but when he does he drinks secretively and doesn't know when to stop. It has gradually become more of a problem over the years. Everyone but him recognises he has a problem. Often I notice him slurring when I haven't seen him drinking but he always lies about how much he has had to drink. He doesn't know when to stop and he doesn't take responsibility for it. He thinks I'm just neurotic about him drinking and uses this as an excuse to hide it. When he is drunk he thinks he is funny and clever but he just behaves like an idiot and when I see him like this part of me, as much as I love him, hates him. I find empty beer cans hidden all over the place. It came to a head a couple of weeks ago when I walked in on him as he stood drinking in the dark corner of our garage - his third beer in less than an hour and later found 7 empty beer cans hidden where he'd been standing! He said it was my fault because I had accused him of being drunk over the previous weekend when he wasn't - he later confessed he'd lied and had drank more than than he had told me. We've been to counselling but he isn't being honest with himself and accepting he has a problem. I have 2 teenage boys who also love their dad but it is having a major effect on all of our lives and I just can't take it any more. He thinks I am looking for an excuse to leave him but really I am looking for an excuse to stay. I love him so much but I can't keep letting him do this to us. I don't understand how a man who would wouldn't think twice about giving his life to save mine, can't stop drinking to save our marriage. I love him so much but I can't cope with the lies and waiting for the next drunken episode. I think the only way we can have a future together is if he stops drinking completely.

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  8. Again, yet another me story. :( My husband hides his mini bottles and sachets (I live in W. Africa and tiny ounce sized sachets are available nearly everywhere) in his suit pockets or beneath his clothes or in the well of his car or in his overnight case or briefcase. Or larger bottles are hidden in the closet in the guest house -- I knew it was weird that he kept going in there every little while and spent only about 20 seconds there at a time. I like wine every now and again and that's about the only thing he wouldn't drink (unless he is truly, truly desperate), but everything else I even consider having for an occasional mixed drink (which I don't do often but am now considering giving up entirely for this very reason) disappears quickly -- sometimes I'm lucky if I got a single bloody mary out of it! One year, he even drank the gift bottle of sambuca someone had given me and which I kept in the kitchen. BLZ

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  9. These stories have all brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sad to see so much of myself in all of them. My husband is a secret drinker. To this day I've never seen him drink but on Thursday he came home drunk. Never falling down drunk... just off. I knew. I'm so sad and angry. I don't understand and I never will. I hate him for throwing away all the good. He knew this was my last go with him. I tried to support him. I went to Al-Anon, AA meetings with him, marriage counselling, personal counselling, church and prayed with him every day... I've yelled at him, cried, pleaded, supported, nagged, stopped nagging, cajoled, literally begged him through sobs on my hands and knees- everything I could think of. I don't understand how someone who didn't start drinking until his 30s (he is 35 now) could be so far gone already. I've been with him since I was 17. I can't imagine life without him but have come to terms with the fact that this is the only way to find peace. Even as I type this the hope that things could be different is crushing. I want him to burst through the door and tell me that he's done with drinking and truly mean it. I went back to our house today to get some more of my things and he did say he thought he could get better but I know that it's not true. He will always choose the bottle before our marriage. I have 'caught' him so many times in the last 3 years and each time things are the same. He cries, I cry, he says he's sorry and that he'll get help and I stand by him as the supportive but suspicious wife. I'll be afraid just waiting for my world to crash down around me again as I find him drunk. And usually he does well for a while... long enough to lift my spirits and get me hopeful again. Then it happens. He's off but insists he hasn't had anything to drink but I know better. Last year for Xmas he even purchased an expensive breathylizer so I could test him if I felt suspicious. The last two or three times it's with this very breathylizer that I have caught him in his lies. And every time I'm shocked at how much I wanted to believe him and how much it hurts when he fails me again. I keep thinking that if I had just been enough.... I know that this is irrational. I did not cause, I cannot cure, and I cannot control his addiction. However, it's one thing to know this in your head and another to feel it in your heart. We were supposed to be the couple that loved eachother enough to make it despite any odds.
    I'm fortunate that we don't have any children, although that was once what we both wanted most. I already miss and mourn all the beautiful things between us. How he held me every night, how we laughed at all the same things, his jokes, his kindness, his kisses, and his family. My whole family will miss him too. I'm stuck wondering now how I move forward. How will I ever love any one again as much as I loved and trusted him? My whole life's joy and happiness wrapped up in the kindest, sweetest person I've ever known gone because of a bottle. I have to leave behind every hope, every dream, my home, my dogs, my inlaws, and my very best friend. The worst so far have been the nights that I've woken up in tears still hoping that none of this is happening- that it was all a bad dream. It's so disheartening. However, I know there is no life being the wife of an alcoholic. I know that it's better to be alone than miserable together. Life will go on and the heartbreak will lessen with each passing day. My only advice to anyone looking at this is to trust yourself and be kind to yourself. Do what that inner voice asks of you and have the courage to move forward. Everyone deserves happiness. I will pray for all of you on this site and hope you will send some of your best wishes and prayers my way too.

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  10. I have been married to a good man for 28 years, half of them happy. He only drank a few beers a few times a week when we were first married. After moving to a new neighborhood 15 years ago and being encouraged by neighbors seeking drinking buddies, the drinking escalated to a 6 on weeknights and a 24-pack over the weekend.

    Fast forward to today: we moved, and the drinking slowed down for about a year. Life was good. Then the genetic predisposition to alcoholism reared its ugly head for our young adult children. One ended up in rehab after a four-day drunk, the other got a second DUI. I was always a moderate drinker and became a non-drinker when hubby started heavily consuming. I worked hard to make us a normal family. He wouldn’t drive after drinking, so I was always the one to transport the kids to games, sleepovers, etc. He was "checked out" most of the time, so I operated like a single parent.

    When the bottom dropped out for our kids recently, I figured he would stop drinking so he could provide a positive example and be available to support them. No, he chose to start drinking in secret. At first I thought he had managed to moderate to just an occasional beer at social functions. Then I started finding hidden cans, one or two "tall boys" stashed in the garage, then entire six packs consumed in just an hour or two while I was out or he was working in the basement or garage. He went to great pains to conceal them, but with the advantage of sobriety, I found them. With the secret drinking came the occasional errand in the car. I confronted him about the sneak drinking and driving recently and said how much it hurt me and that I was worried enough about the kids’ situations without having to worry about his drinking and health, too. His initial response was "I'll stop. No more drinking." Later that same week he asked for permission for just one or two on social occasions. I guess I’m the drinking Gestapo. That worked for a about a month, then he was back to 4-6 and thought he could drive.

    He has never missed a day of work due to drinking. But he pops OTC pain killers daily and has been for years. He still works around the house in spurts, but most days he falls asleep and snores loudly on the couch after secret drinking. We went to family counseling once for my son’s first DUI, and we were both asked about our drinking habits. My husband reluctantly admitted to drinking beer, and I said it was often to excess. The counselor asked what kind of drunk he was, and both my son and I said “annoying.” He slurs, makes stupid remarks, and doesn't remember anything I say, so I just don't talk to him when he has been drinking, which is more frequent these days.

    In the last few years, he has stopped initiating intimacy except on rare occasions when I imagine he is afraid of losing me. I am so angry and sad about the drinking that I am not pursuing him either. There is so much more I could write, 15 years worth, but I am now trying to take care of myself instead of worrying about him and searching for hidden cans. There are some signs of early liver disease, and I want him to get to a doctor, but he is procrastinating. He was a fitness nut most of his adult life, but he rarely runs or works out these days. The red flush he gets from drinking and spider veins on his nose and cheeks tell me something is up. He lost quite a bit of weight this past year, and he was thin to start with.

    Instead of looking forward to retirement, I’m not sure I even want to be around him when he stops working and has more time to drink. Luckily, I have a good job and am a few years younger, so I can keep working if need be. I don't even care that my dreams for enjoying retirement with him are waning, but I do care that our adult children are still dealing with hardships caused by alcohol, as well as suffering from the effects of having an absentee father during the tumultuous teen years. If you are in a similar situation and have young children, take action now for their sake.

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  11. All of this is so inspiring, I thank you!
    I am also a functioning alcoholic, I have no idea why it started. Well that is not true, My husband has always told me that I am not happy. It seemed like the only emotion he accepted was happiness. So one day I drank a little and I was "happy" and he was happy. So I kept doing it more and more often. Hiding my bottles in my keepsake box, one that he would never go into because it is private. Always buying half bottles because they were flat and fit in my purse perfectly for smuggling. This has carried on for almost a year now. I will "secretly" drink half a bottle everyday. Sometimes going over that limit (more often now than it used to be), trying not to slur my speech or stumble, hoping to hell that I don't get a call asking me to drive somewhere.
    I am so embarrassed and sad. I know that my husband knows something is up, but he is a bit of a carpet sweeper. I would love to talk to him about it and get his support, but he will judge and not understand.
    Today I started reading blogs, articles and success stories. This has made me a much strong and much weaker person with denial and pure shame.
    Today will be my first day of sobriety.

    Thank you all!

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  12. My marriage has broken down, and I think I was married to an FA without really knowing. There were a lot of mini wine bottles showing up in the rubbish outside (normally after shopping trips), and one visit to the Emergency Room when I though she'd had a stroke after she became incredibly slurred and ill after just a couple of small glasses (she'd been secretly drinking all day and the non-secret pushed her over the edge). I gave up drinking completely for several months, this meant that I had a better chance of detecting it, and in social circumstances she could see that she'd drunk a whole bottle on her own, where she would think I had half of it (even if she had far more). There were mood swings, occasional violence towards me, aggression towards me and my children, and all kinds of volatile inexplicable behaviour.
    Thinking about it in retrospect, I realise that there was little I could do to hold things together and her denial of any kind of problem, and that if she didn't see it there was nothing much I could do.
    There is a little, but not much, comfort in that.

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  13. These stories are my story. Everyone says that we shouldn't enable them. What are we supposed to say when they blame us for hiding the alcohol because we "judge" them? What are we supposed to do when they are drunk and passed out on the couch on a random Tuesday night and they haven't been "drinking?" I want to set boundaries but don't know how.

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  14. Hi there, thank you so much for posting your experience here. I think a lot of us have been there, wondering what we're supposed to do. Though I never hid my husband's alcohol or poured it out (I think a few times I would put different non-alcoholic beverages in front of the alcohol in the fridge, as if he would reach for those instead - ha!), I would keep track of what he was drinking. But even if I had hidden something it wouldn't have mattered - alcohol is available most everywhere and he would have just gotten better at hiding it.

    Thankfully, one of the things we learn in Al Anon are the Do's & Don'ts, and one of these is "Don't hide liquor or pour it out." Alcoholics drink, that's what they do. The three C's tell us that we didn't Cause it, can't Control it, and can't Cure it. The reason we're advised against hiding liquor or pouring it out is because they are ways in which we are trying to control the alcoholic's behavior, and getting caught up in trying to stop them from drinking makes us sicker, and it really doesn't help them. If anything it can make it worse. If getting a spouse sober was as simple as hiding liquor, yelling, complaining, making threats, alcoholism would be an extinct disease because SO many loved ones have tried that route, to no avail (that's why all this is in the literature of Al Anon - it's so common!).

    As to your question about what we're supposed to do when they're passed out on a random Tuesday and they haven't been "drinking"...like I said above in my post, it's also easy for me to become obsessed with my husband's drinking (secret or not). It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I could detach from it, whether he's passed out on the couch or not (there's actually something in the literature that I've been meaning to post on this, that has remained unpublished for too long). So I guess what I'm getting at is, I think it's part of our nature, for those of us who search about questions like this, to ask ourselves "What am I supposed to do about this?" And for me, after a lot of Al Anon meetings and talking to people in the program and learning about addiction, I realized I didn't have to wonder what *I* was supposed to do - not about his drinking anyway, but just about me and my own business. It was really frustrating to say the least at first, and even still sometimes, but I'm not in control of my husband's drinking, or his passing out, or anything he does really. He's an adult.

    As for boundaries, if you don't want to be around his drinking, so be it. You can only control your side of the street, so to speak. But there's a difference between boundaries and ultimatums (another don't: don't make threats you won't carry out).

    What I chose to do was get help for myself - if there's anything I'm "supposed" to do, it's take care of me, focus on my own business. When we help ourselves get better, the situation really can improve, and we free our minds from the obsession of them and start to live our own lives.

    Hope this was of some help to you and anyone else reading. Take care.

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  15. it's the same for me except its my wife who is drinking it realy is killing me and pushing me away from her.im tierd of finding bottles .i carnt even argue with her anymore..i dont no what todo.

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  16. After finding some of my dear hubbies empty cans im too mad to sleep right now. I dont know what to feel. He thinks he has no problem as he still gets up for work in the morning and holds down a responsible job, we argue about his daily drinking and he says its just me nagging him so I make him worse. I appreciate that his work is stressful but come on...

    this Christmas he announced out of the blue that he wanted to see someone about his drinking, which shocked me as we were not talking/arguing about alcohol. However he never did. Ive tried to talk to him about getting help but he now says its not a problem and should leave it alone.

    This is the 1st time ive come across the term functioning alcoholic and I feel a bit better in myself. Ive written so many notes so I can try to talk to him without starting a fight, or him thinking im ripping into him.

    I fear this is not the same man I married, part of me says run as fast as I can but I feel like that would be giving up on my marriage. He says when I nag about it, he feels like finding another woman and part of me wishes he would cos then I would be blameless.

    Thank you for sharing your stories here, I dont feel so alone.

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  17. Thank you so much for writing this, as it's helped me get a few things in perspective. I'm dealing with being married to a man who was addicted to pain pills and has switched his drug of choice to alcohol having not addressed the fundamental issue of addiction. I have been to enough Al Anon meetings to know I didn't cause this and nor can I control it. He's definitely in denial, hiding not just the alcohol but hiding from me in general (physical and emotional hiding). I've recently discovered bottles and cans in the car, when they've rolled out from under the front seat. I'm heavily pregnant and due to give birth any day, and I wonder what our child will make of their father, especially as he's gong to be a stay-at-home dad while I go out to work. It's hard not to feel very, very alone, but your blog and the other stories are a big help.

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  18. This blog does help, because as you said you feel very alone and isolated. I would say its over the last 6 years my husbands drinking has increased and become a problem. i can honestly say there have been so many weekends when on a friday at work i have not wanted the weekend to come, because i know he will start about 7am in the morning and then carry on for the rest of the day, then the same on sundays and then oh the joy if its a bank holiday. he would at least every month have a couple of days off work because of a bad stomach caused by the drinking. Holidays were hell as even at disneyland paris we would have to go to the shop every day so he can buy enough cans or bottles just to drink from first thing till night time. He is not happy just to stop at a bar every now and then. My son now starts to ask why we have to go to the shop on holiday all the time for beer!
    We now seem to have gone to a new level, i spoke to my husband about drinking so early at weekends and about our son seeing him (who he adores) so he seemed to really be trying but he still seemed agitated at weekends especially by the end of the evening. this resulted in a massive argument which killed me because my son heard it and was so upset all he wants is for his mum and dad to be together.
    After the argument he said he was sorry but was still going to drink because he could not be expected to stop. Now I am sure he is having a beer before work, he does not sleep well which I am 100% sure is the beer and he sweats loads in bed and then today i found 4 empty beer cans in the bin which must have been last night and possibly this morning. So this is a new thing the drinking during the week but he is doing it all secretively because he knows that I hate it. He does not think he has a problem its just that i am unreasonable (there seems to be a similar theme here). In the summer he even tried to blame me for not having a drink with him!!
    as the person further up said its hard to understand how someone who you know loves you and your son more than anything would risk it all for a can of beer.

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  19. 35 years of marriage to an active alcoholic and many years of al-anon I am now facing into older age with a man in complete denial of his drinking, mostly alone and in secret. His health is failing ,he is old before his time ,smells of drink and cigarettes every night and I am beginning to be repulsed and annoyed by him. At this stage I am sorry I stuck with him and did not leave years ago .It is a progressive disease and gets worse with age as by then the LOVE is long buried.

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  20. I have been married to an active alcoholic for 35 years and it gets no easier .It is a progressive condition and in my case my Husband is even more secretive in his drinking. he has a few in the house every night and more in secret outside when he goes for a cigarette. most nights its drinking falling asleep in front of telly ,heavy snoring in bed and always the wall of denial if I dare say anything. His health is compromised ,he smells of drink and cigarettes every night and wonders why our sex life is so poor etc. etc. To live with an alcoholic the whole family must go along with the great pretence in spite of the misery, the stress, anger, the broken promises, emotional and financial losses , lack of honesty intimacy and everyday communication I COULD GO ON AND ON. After years of AL-ANON I

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  21. Im crying, laughing gut renching tears, as I read your blogg, IM RELIEVED, Im old school, you know you don't talk out!. I am angry, I am very very dissappointed, that my "rock" my soul mate, a wonderful man (single ladies that have told me,they want my husband, he is the husband that every woman wants. he is a wonderful father and provider, I have been living this "secret" for the first 20 years of marriage, we raised two beautiful well grounded children, I was a stay at home mom, did not need to work. I knew when I married my husband that his family had a drink when they got together. In our 15th year of marriage my husband had a lot of stress at work, the economy was bad then, he started to drink openly at home and very drunk often, he then had the stamina to verbally abuse me. He made me swear that I dear not tell his family, (They are all professional people) my husband is the little brother, the "after thought baby" It got so bad, that he landed up in hospital, had complications, it was a month drama in hospital, emergency two operations, as he then almost died) Specialists managed to pull him through. Then his secrets had to come out as his brother wanted to speak to my husbands physician (one physician to another) It was found that my husband had liver damage, pancreatitis, (its a miracle he made it most people die) The doctor put the fear of God in my husband, and told him like it is, that he is not allowed to even sip any alcohol as he will drop dead. That shook my husband sober for 10 years. It was wonderful years, the best of our 36 years sad to say. SO UNDERSTAND WHY THIS IS SO SAD TO ME...IM STRUGGLING TO COME TO TERMS with this new turn, I AM SHOCKED!!! This time I told him, I am telling his family the children, and carrying no secrets. .Why Now! TODAY I Thank you God, for my sons talk with me today, (its mothers day), he is concerned for my health, Im 56 married for 36 years. Our only son age 30 (he still lives with us, he and I are playing this "game of disbelieve" our daughter 35 married, could not believe us, but since she, and other family members have witnessed, at family gatherings her dad dissapearing and mood changing as the visit stretches to the afternoon, her dad becomes the "Bell of the Ball" now she has accepted and is on our side very concerned, sent him a sms the other day 'DADDY PLEASE STOP DRINKING" we love you). AGAIN after 10 years NOT A DROP, NOT EVEN A PIECE OF FRUIT CAKE WITH BRANDY IN. Our son caught his dad in the garage, and found his "stash" red wine is his "poison", said to his dad 60, dad I feel like the adult with a teenage rebellious child. Dad what the Hell!! The last two years my son and I have noticed a change in my husband, (Almost word for word your story, secret drinking, I discovered the first mini red wine in the car. Then I felt my bottom drop! chewing of gum like a flippen teenager!) Now he has no energy to scream, now he passes out, slurrs talks gobbeldygoop! - Two years ago he.BOUGHT A HARLEY DAVIDSON, I thought OK were in a serious MID LIFE CRISIS... but his restless sleeping, he snores badly, choking of acid reflux, (sleep apnea) kicks, punches me in the ribs, hit me in the face, next day - he knows nothing, has become a pattern - he actually thinks its funny, (when he is sober I have heart to heart with him) I CAN'T SPEAK TO A DRUNK, then he feels, very bad, he loves me soo much, Im the best women in the world, no one else would have lasted so many years with him) Thank you so much for listening, I feel alot better.THIS TIME ROUND, HE HAS PROSTATE PROBLEMS, Im living in fear wondering when am I going to get that call, when his on his bike???? THANK GOD FOR MY CHILDREN AND TWO BEAUTIFUL GRANDCHILDREN, they are my band aid.... Cheers.

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  22. I'm a newlywed. My husband and I married just over 2 months ago. We dated 2 years before we married. He had received a DWI that he told me about before we got married. Because of the DWI case, he received a felony and went to prison for 8 months. That was 5 years ago. My husband is a very loving, gentle, kind, hard working man. I don't drink. I've had a few different things but I saw my best friend's father die because he was an alcoholic and forgot to take his medicine. I won't drink now or buy alcohol for anyone. We did not have alcohol at our wedding. At our honeymoon. Our honeymoon. My husband got completely wasted. He knows how I feel about alcohol. He never hesitates to drive when he is drinking. SO much of what you are saying I have experienced. The "hiding spots", the fake "Look! I can control my drinking" when he has just 1-2 beers.

    He doesn't drink often but when he does... he wants to drive out to get more. I feel like I have to babysit him. Hide his keys. Help him to bed. I feel like I have to take care of him. Everything you say, I feel like I've already experienced. I love my husband like crazy. I don't get that crazy romantic newlywed phase because everytime things start to get good, he decides it's safe for him to drink. And drink more. Everyone we know loves him and thinks he is fantastic and he is! My sober husband is wonderful! But, no one knows.

    Thank you so very much for posting this blog. I searched online for so long to find anything about how to deal with being married to an alcoholic. This blog gives me the strength to say that I'm not responsible for his actions. I can't babysit him. I have to take care of myself.

    Thank you.

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  23. Im sad my husband is this person

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  24. Thank you. I'm not alone. Thank you.

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  25. When I read everyone's post, I truly feel that I'm reading about my life. My husband blames me for his drinking b/c I'm judging him. I've found empties all over the house. Inside jacket pockets, tucked away in the corners of closets etc... He came home from work tonight (a Tuesday) and fell asleep on the couch within 30 minutes. I knew he had been drinking.

    My husband is a functioning alcoholic. He has been for over a decade. I've denied it for years. Turned a blind eye. Confronted him at times. We have 2 kids. I'm falling out of love with him b/c his drinking has turned him into a different person. He's not mean. He's not abusive. But he prefers to drink than to be intimate and work on our relationship.

    I don't to break up the family b/c he loves his kids and is there to support them. I fear the day my youngest moves out. We wont have anything in common to keep us together.

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  26. I don't even know what to say. ... I'm plain crying right now. We've been married for almost two years. Then, it was just social drinking, but I have noticed then that he does not know when to stop once he starts. I try to avoid going out with friends with him since I feel embarrassed when he's had more than a few beers. He's a very sweet man but reading about alcoholism makes me feel really afraid of what can happen eventually. He currently drinks about 6 beers daily. I don't know what to do, think or feel. I'm afraid of what our future holds.

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  27. Hide your can of beer in a Coke can. Or just pour the beer into the Coke can!This is probably the best way to get drunk secretly .

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  28. I am very angry and hurt that my husband is like this and I just realized that I can not help him if he not going to help himself. I was brought up around nothing but alcoholics, I don't drink and I definitely didn't want to marry a person who has this disease but I have and I need to make the right decision for me and the kids. The hiding or the drinking don't know what hurt more the fact that I can't trust him or the fact he is drinking. Well it's both. He come home and I can tell the difference in him and said something and he denied it talking about he just tired from work but I know he is lying. I'm not alone in this and that's good to know and I'm going to try al-anon for help to try to deal or understand this but I don't know if I can put up with being around him drunk. I feel as if the love I had has turned into hate. I can't just run out on my marriage so continue to pray and find a way to cope. Thanks for sharing your stories helped me a lot.

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  29. So relieved to find this blog! Thank you so much for putting your story out there. I can relate to all of this. The secret drinking was meant for me to read. My husband hit rock bottom and I said no more. He has been sober now for 4 months. But everyday is still very hard because I've been damaged/ traumatized if you will because of his years of drinking. Again, thank you!!!!! And best of luck to you !!!

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  30. Wow! Thank you!

    I just found this post from a Google search. I've been desperately trying to find someone who is going through the same thing as me. I'm not sure why it's so important for me to know that someone is out there who understands what I'm going through, but it is.

    I think my wife isn't drinking quite as much as your husband, but the hiding, denial, resentment, lies, and self-deception are incredibly similar. There is something unique about this "functioning" alcoholic, that my year in Al Anon hasn't yet addressed for me. Your post has helped tremendously. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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