Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Marriage or Relationship With a Functioning Alcoholic - To Stay or To Go?

There have been quite a few comments on my first post, I'm Married to A Functioning Alcoholic, to me and to others regarding the decision of whether to stay or go.  So though I have several other posts waiting to be edited and published, and as I consider this myself, I thought I should address the issue of staying vs. leaving.

Oh, the stories I have heard in Al Anon.  I have heard stories of heartache, triumph, abuse, recovery, catastrophes and miracles.

I have friends who left their actively-drinking husbands, I have friends whose actively-drinking husbands left them.  I have friends whose husbands got into recovery and their marriage was saved (though as marriages do, they still have their challenges), and friends whose husbands got into recovery and decided to walk away.  Husbands who stopped drinking but were never sober (abstinence is different than sobriety).  Husbands who were never unfaithful, some that were.  Husbands who were never physically abusive, but emotionally abusive.  Husbands who were never abusive but were controlling or distant.  Husbands who sleep in and have a mostly-functioning job but can't make it to work on time or husbands who are totally on it, make it to work and never skip a day like the Corporate Superhero they may think themselves to be.  The list of the trade-offs and comparisons goes on, and on, and on...

A dear program friend of mine, for example - her husband actually talks to her about his drinking.  He talks to her ABOUT his DRINKING!  He admits to her that he has a problem, though he's not at the point where he can do something about the drinking as the main issue.  And sometimes I think - why can't my husband talk to me about his drinking?  (Never thought I'd be jealous of something like that).  Why can't he at least recognize it's a problem to me?

What makes some spouses "get it"?  What makes some of them hit some kind of bottom, get sober, and get into recovery?  What's the "secret"?  I'm not sure there is one but I wish I knew - first of all I'd be, like, a bazillionaire (you all would get blog-follower discounts, just FYI) but also for my own marriage's sake.  But I don't know it.

I think it is truly amazing, and such a great surprise, that we have a growing community of support here on my humble little blog.  It is completely unexpected but great to know that we are out there, and we are not alone.  Though we all share the common experience of being in relationships or marriages to an alcoholic, circumstances can be different.  Also, you are not me.  I am not you.  I see how many people are struggling with whether to stay or leave, and subsequent comments with advice on whether to do so or not. I also see comments urging me to leave my husband, and others suggest I need to honor my sacred wedding vows and be here for better or worse, in sickness (hello) or in health.  But my goal here is to share my experience and also to provide insight, information and tools for you to understand alcoholism and assist you in making whatever decision you feel is right for you - whether that is to stay or leave.  And though many people may tell you what they think they should do, no one knows what you want to do, what you should do or how to do it better than you.

One of the main traits of people like some of us?  We know it all.  Phew, lemme tell ya, we sure know how to be right and how to tell you how you're wrong.  If you did things my way, you see, it would be easier, you would be happier.

And maybe sometimes we are right about some things.  Maybe even what you should do regarding your marriage.  But a lot of us ignore one simple contribution to our marriages and relationships - ourselves.  Us.  We think the alcoholic has the disease, they're the one who is wrong, they're the one who needs treatment.  They're the crazy ones, not us.

But we have a disease too.  I would venture to say that most of us if not close to all of us are codependent.  Whether we've stayed with our significant others or stayed a while and left eventually, there is a reason we were with them, a reason we "chose" them.  And until I fix that about myself, the cycle only continues.  How many people have I heard about who marry one alcoholic after another?  Both in recovery and out.  Sure, it's easy to say we're just victims of circumstance, but pretty soon it's clear what the common denominator is - me.

It is not our fault, but once we become aware of our own challenges and traits it is up to us to take care of ourselves, and stop worrying about fixing our alcoholic spouse.

"You need to get him some help", I've heard people say, to me and to others.

That is incorrect.  My husband is an adult, and his sobriety and recovery is his responsibility and his property.  My recovery is my responsibility.  For those of you who think it is your responsibility to to fix your husband or try to get him to see the light, smack some sense into him - that is the crux of the disease of codependency.  I understand that we love them, we want what's best for them.  But enmeshment (the engulfment of codependent relationships) can push us to put our alcoholic's needs above our own.  Because if we didn't take care of them and tell them what was healthy or unhealthy, right or wrong, they won't ever know, because they just don't get it, right?

Thinking this way, though, means that we still don't get it.  Everyone has the freedom to make their own decisions.  I'm not in control of my husbands drinking or disease or decision to become sober anymore than he's in control of how long I walk our dogs at night, or how much gelato I portion myself.

Some of us aren't in Al Anon, and that's totally fine.  Some of us are, and still tell people what they should do.  But all I can do here is provide you with my experience and say, "Here's how it was for me then, here's how it is for me now.  Here's how it could be if I stay, here's how it could be if I left."  I don't know you, and I certainly won't tell you what to do.  I can't judge you for making a decision I don't like (oh how judgmental I can be!).   Also, as much as I would like to be for my own sake, unfortunately I'm not psychic - I can't tell you exactly how it will be for you if you stay with your alcoholic spouse (whether they'll cheat on you or lose their job or you'll end up divorced) or if you leave your alcoholic spouse (whether they'll stay in active drinking or hit bottom).

Sure, there are specific commonalities to relationships with alcoholics, but they're not guarantees - if they were then some of the people I know need to get their money back.  It seems most of the almost-guarantees are the more general feelings of distance, trust issues, intimacy concerns, etc.  But I'm certainly not an expert.

For those of you just discovering that your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse is an alcoholic, and are wondering what you could be in for, I would urge you to learn more about the disease.  Whether it's research online, visiting a recovery or rehabilitation center and speaking to a counselor, or visiting Al Anon or open AA meetings, knowing how the disease works will help you no matter what decision you end up making.  I know for me, I was so baffled by why my husband behaved the way he did - it just didn't make any sense.  But thanks to open AA meetings I've learned that alcoholism is a "cunning, baffling and powerful" disease.

"Alcoholics aren't bad people, they're sick people" - that's what we learn from recovery centers and in Al Anon.

It has helped me to remember that my husband is a person, first and foremost, and a person whom I love who has a disease, and that I can separate him from it.  It has helped to relieve my guilt of feeling that I kept doing something wrong to upset him, to make him angry or sad or anxious, that this was somehow my fault.  It has made me more compassionate for him, even though his behavior is at times completely unacceptable.  It has helped me to be internally shielded from his attempts at blaming me for his drinking, for seeing through what the disease throws at me.  It has also helped me in almost every other aspect of my life, every other relationship.

Has it made me invincible, completely protected from anything he may say or do to me?  No.  After all, I'm human.  But I cannot tell you how much it has helped.  Even if I do decide to leave, all of these things will assist me in the end.  If I continue to stay, they will help me be near him without feeling his anger, and help me to continue my life without my focus completely on him.

The reason I started this blog was because there didn't seem to be a lot out there for people like me, who are married to an alcoholic who can hold down a successful job, doesn't miss work, hasn't been arrested and doesn't suffer the normal consequences alcoholism usually bestows upon the afflicted.  I thought it could help maybe just one person to recognize what was going on in their own marriage; that this indeed is a problem even though their spouse seems to "function".  I think most of us know it's a problem, we just didn't really know how to explain how it was a problem. It's a problem that we see because of proximity.  And when the disease is that close, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees.

Would I have married my husband had I known he was an alcoholic?  Most of the unacceptable behaviors were there at that point, just not as progressed or to the frequency they are now.  I personally am not sure it would have made a difference having a word for what was going on, but it's hard to say, as I still struggle with the feelings that "maybe things could change if..."  Maybe it would have depended on how much I was able to really understand what alcoholism is.

I do know that with the stonewalling that is going on right now (similar but not identical to earlier this year) that has again cropped up against me after an argument but without any rational reason, I am not happy.  And even when things are calm, without stonewalling and everything is "normal", there is not a lot of talking, reaching out, or affection for a lot of the time.  It is probably the isolation of the disease displaying itself even to me, but it is as if my husband keeps himself to himself, and I in turn sometimes keep myself to myself.  Yes, we go on nice trips and he does sweet things for me here and there, because deep down I have to think he is a good person who is kind, generous and thoughtful - but those times become farther and farther apart.

The progression of the disease is invisible, but the force remains all the same.  It feels as though my husband is on the ocean, slipping away from me, and I am on the shore watching, helpless, because though I could and want to call out to him he cannot hear me where he is; and in his struggle he cannot call out at all, and is unable to row himself back.  So we watch each other from the growing divide, over the bounding waves, silent.

I have my concerns of what I feel I may need to do.  But I'm not ready.  I don't know when I will be, and even despite the turmoil of the last week, the feeling that something hasn't happened yet that is supposed to, hasn't come.  My husband himself said a few days ago, during an argument, "If it's so bad then why don't you just leave?"  What I could have said, and what I've been thinking about since then is, "Is that my only option here?"

To say it isn't easy being married to an alcoholic - high-functioning or not - is an understatement.  Things were not always this way.  And left untreated, I only have evidence to suggest that things will continue to progressively get worse, and I could be looking back to now thinking "Oh, when he used to bring me roses and then become upset and ignore me.  But at least he brought me roses."  Here's your flowers, enjoy your weekend without me.

Please remember that even while you learn about alcoholism to take care of yourself.  If I spent half the time on my business that I do discussing my husband's latest behaviors with my program and non-program friends I could have a lot more work done.  It's up to me to take my hands, pick up my focus and direct it to where it belongs.  I don't mean put my head in the sand, but acknowledge what is going on around me, accept it, and act on my own behalf - not his.  The more we leave their disease to them, the more they are forced to look at themselves and we are forced to look at ourselves and OUR disease.  Our energies are free to be put toward our passions, our kids, the responsibilities of life.

I'll be posting soon on the "Do" of "Learn the facts about alcoholism", which makes a nice follow-up to this post.  Until then I hope you all keep your mind where your feet are, and do something special for yourself today, no matter how small or trivial it may seem.


  1. Hi- thank you for this post and thank you for reminding me to do something for myself today. I am going to eat brownies and enjoy pictures of the new royal baby. :)

  2. I love my husband and at this time, have no intention of leaving. Despite what everyone's opinion is. Do I hate him sometimes? Yes, absolutely. I thank you for helping me to see that it's ok to do both. :-) Because he is good too, but he has a horribly bad disease.
    If and when you leave, you and you alone will know when the time comes. Until then, do you...and hope. That's all we can do. :-)

  3. I am loving your blog! What a great entry! Everything you said is right on. It took me years to overcome my denial and be sure I was making he best decision and Al-Anon helped in so many ways.

  4. I happened upon your blog several weeks ago and so appreciate your posts. Thanks for your thoughtful and candid words. I have been thinking a lot about checking out Al Anon - after 21 years of marriage to a high functioning alcoholic, maybe it's time. I struggle with "to leave or not to leave" for many reasons - spiritual, most-like some co dependency, kids, etc. I don't know the answer either, but your perspective is thought-provoking. I decided years ago that I can't "save" my husband, but just recently it hit me that I can't "cure" him either. As a 45 year old man, he must be responsible for himself. What that means for me in an everyday way, I'm not sure, but I am seeking to figure it out. Hope you will too.

  5. I happened on your blog several weeks and so appreciate your posts. After 21 years of marriage to a quite-functional alcholic, think I'm ready to check out Al Anon and seek some direction. I decided years ago that I can't "save" my husband but I'm realizing lately that I can't cure him either. At 45, he's had some health problems spring up that are totally treatable, but he is resistant to making the changes necessary. I have to make myself step back and make him be responsible for his health...and live with the consequences of ignoring it and his addiction (he would say there's no problem). We were both drinkers prior to marriage but, upon seeing a problem pattern early on, I quit altogether. Our two kids (19 and 15) know it's an issue and are adverse to alcohol because of it. We're not in the same place spiritually/faith-wise, which has been a problem over the years, too. Because of my religious beliefs, I struggle greatly with whether to leave or stay - he has not been unfaithful in the typical sense, but I wonder if the deception and unfaithfulness in his promises of quitting is justification. Also, I feel "comfortable" that I could leave and not divorce. I'm just not there yet. I am seeking direction and counsel from friends - and maybe Al Anon- as I know something must change. I hope your picture gets clear too.

  6. I LOVE your posts and this is one of the best yet. Your description of the ocean made me cry because you get it--you just described the feelings that I struggle with constantly and am unable to express. My marriage is young (2.5 years) and seeing it deteriorated by this disease is painful and confusing. But just this morning I had a "George Bailey" moment and thought about how my life would look if we were not married. I did not like it. I don't want my marriage to fail, for so many reasons. So my hope gets a little more revived at moments like this (and I often think of your little bird, which is another of my fave posts). Just know that your blog is a blessing to many of us. Thank you. And I really feel for you and your marriage.

  7. Beautifully expressed. My favorite quote: "here's your flowers, now enjoy your weekend without me."
    Rings so true to many of us in the sam situation.

    1. I have been married for 30 years to a functioning alcoholic. I can't count the number of times he has handed me money so he could be relieved of the guilt to drink. In a nut shell it is called "hush money". The worst part of this is I would take the money, go shopping or something telling myself I am ok with this arrangement. But I am not ok with this arrangement. It is a bitterly lonely existence. I've gotten to the place I don't really even reach out to my friends because I don't feel like good company for others. It is a very isolating situation. I don't even want to be around other couples we use to spend time with because our marriage is such a fraud. I am thankful for this blog to be able to share with others and also to learn from others. I think a lot about life without him, life on my own. The thought terrifies me, fear of being alone, fear of financial failure.

  8. When my husband asks qustions like "why dont you just leave?", I started asking the same question back at him. And if he said he would, he had his excuse to leave and drink but had to face even more the next day when he was back. It took all the blaming me away. And freed me inside of stress. It almost became comical because I could look from a different point of view, how he behaved...I love reading your blogs and im praying for you.

  9. In 2007, I was ready to leave my husband because of problems in our marriage due solely to his drinking. At the time, my son was 7/12. When I said I was done, my husband joined AA and went consistently for MONTHS. Things improved. He told all of our family and friends that he was an alcoholic. He confessed to me and to them all of his alcoholic behaviors: having a glass of wine with me and waiting until I went to bed to finish the bottle and then buying a replacement bottle the next day (and drinking it down to the same level so I would not notice); stopping at the liquor store as soon as he got off the interstate and then heanding to daycare to pick up our son; taking me to an event, telling me he would be our designated driver, buying me drinks and then excusing himself to go to the bathroom and stopping at the bar on the way to pound a drink. Our family actively celebrated his one year of sobriety. At a year and a half into his sobriety, I had a major health scare and was hospitalized. My husband does NOT deal well with stress, I made him promise me he would not drink after our son went to be while I was hospitalized. Whether or not he did, I do not know. I do know that two months later, I was certain he was drinking again, asking about it and being told I was crazy. Eventually, he confessed but told me he was not an alcoholic and could drink on occcaision I told him I could not go back to living like I had. This set in motion the past 5 years. We have had numerous conversations about him wanting to have a glass of wine with me. I tell him I have no interest in that -- too many painful memories. He tells me he can handle it. We take our son and a friend to an amusement park for the day, my husband takes a bathroom break, which turned out to be long. We went looking for him and caught him buying a beer. I suspect it was not the first that day. He was up all night with a horrible "stomach bug" that no one else caught from him. Two weeks ago, I saw his car turning into the local liquor store as I was headed home after work (he should have been headed to school to pick up our son from football practice). I confronted him (calmly and quietly) in the parking lot. He told me he was buying O'Doul's. I asked to see it. He then said he bought ONE beer. I asked to see it. After some fumbing around in his front seat, I finally walked to his car where he eventually showed me a 12 pack of 24 oz. Miller Lite's. Needless to say, I went to the school to collect our son. I am now in counselling, trying to figure out how I can live in this situation happily. I have become a bitter and angry person, I don't want to be this person or have my son only remember me as this person. I don't dare leave - I do not trust him alone with our son (now almost 14). Our son is failing 3 classes at school, it's the third week of school!None of my friends or family know he's had anything to drink since 2007. I am horribly ashamed to tell them, but why? I have not done anything wrong. I know I have to fix this for my son and myself, one way or another. My son has BEGGED me not to divorce his dad. Either way, I feel I am damaging my family beyond repair.

  10. I came upon your blog today, and to me it seemed like you are a shadow in my life. We have been married 17 years but the last 2 years have been a roller coaster of emotions. In 2011, he went away for a year for a job. I went to visit him after about 3.5 months, everything was great and we had a wonderful time together. Even at that time, I was concerned with his daily drinking and especially his weekends. When the job was over, he came home and continued to drink on a daily basis. His drinking lead to my drinking with him, so he was not alone.

    But then the arguments started, him blaming me, me being confused, and him threatening a divorce. At first, I thought it was his retiring from his job or a mid life crisis, whatever "flavor of day" excuse it was. But of course as a co-dependent, I went to counseling because this was my fault. At the same time, our youngest daughter and I were diagnosed with ADHD. That diagnosis has become "the new excuse" for the problems in our marriage, not him, not both of us, but the ADHD. It is just recently, when he told me that I was enabling my daughter, that I realized that I was enabling him too.

    I truly love my husband, and I can't see my life without him. He is my best friend. I too can read when the spiral begins, my kids can see it, and I try to fix it. But what happens is I become the target for everything.

  11. I'm in a new-ish relationship with a man I love deeply. He drinks probably a minimum of the equivalent of a six-pack a day, and smokes pot daily. He says it's not a problem. He's totally functional and never mean or abusive. We went on vacation for 6 days and we only drank one night and he seemed fine. He thought that should prove to me that he's not an alcoholic -- I'm not sure what it proves, but it certainly hasn't changed his regular life back at home. And it doesn't mean that I don't think what he's doing is terribly bad for him, whatever you call it. I just can't figure out what I'm supposed to do -- there's the go/stay question, but also, how much do I talk to him about it? I know it's not my job to "nag" or tell him what he should do. But I can tell him what it means to me, can't I? Is it appropriate for me to share what I know with others close to him (who probably have no idea) and ask for their help/support? That would be seen as traitorous though.....
    Anyway, This blog was an amazing find. Thank you and all those who are participating.

  12. I was just wondering, does anyone know exactly why we stay with these men? My boyfriend is very high functioning, but i feel like i am constantly being torn apart by indecision. he is a lovely guy mostly, but i hate the person he becomes when he drinks. he embarasses me. he irritates me. he wants to do whatever he wants to do and gets pissy if we don't. usually he makes me listen to music and gives me a running comentary and gets annoyed if i don't want to listen. i do the right thing. i wait til the next day when he is sober and i explain to him that i am upset and why. but on saturday i came home at 5.30pm and he was passed out drunk on the couch and the next day i calmly told him that his drinking was causing me a great deal of stress. but last night he started drinking again and was up til 3am. i couldn't sleep because all i could think was 'did he not listen at all to what i said today?' even though i know he can't help it.
    he doesn't drink every day. he drinks about 4 or 5 days a week. i thought i was imagining it all. but i am torn now. we are like room mates. the last time we had sex was april 2013 and i hated it. i dont' know what to do. i thought about alanon but i am an athiest. is there an alanon for people who don't believe in a higher power?

    1. Alanon works for atheists too. I'm an atheist, and have just started going to Alanon. You just interpret "Higher Power" however works for you, or ignore it. To me the main idea is just that there are things that are out of our control, and we have to learn to know and accept that -- and somehow believing in a higher power helps with that, I guess. As to the bigger question -- why stay? I'm struggling with that myself. And I don't think I will if it doesn't improve drastically. My BF is super high functioning, always nice, so my complaint really is that he's "absent" -- he hides out in his room and drinks and smokes pot and occasionally cocaine and who knows what else. And he sometimes passes out and sleeps on the couch in his room. I'm tired of worrying about it, and I've told him very clearly that it's a problem for me. I've been reading all these books about high functioning alcoholics and it's all about detachment. Which makes a lot of sense, but I still don't see how you can detach and still maintain affection and intimacy. Anyway, we've come close to splitting up several times, and the most serious was just recently. Again, if it doesn't get better, I'm out. We deserve better. We can love them, but can't control or change them. And if they don't love themselves enough to deal with it, they certainly can't love us as we should be loved, so leaving seems to me the way out for me......

  13. You don't have to believe in anything in particular to benefit from Alanon. I'm an atheist too, and I've just started going. You just have to figure out how you want to interpret "higher power" in a way that's useful for you. It can just be the universe or nature or whatever. Or you can ignore it. There's still a lot to be gained from Alanon. It's very similar to a lot of the meditation teachings. I also found some really good books on living with/loving high functioning alcoholics and found them really helpful. As for myself, I'm leaning towards leaving if things don't drastically improve. We deserve to be loved and treated well, and we aren't getting that, why stay? If these men don't love themselves enough to take care of themselves, they certainly can't give us real love.

  14. I'm on the verge of divorce myself, my husband has been a functional alcoholic since we met 6 years ago, we've been married for 3 yrs. He has always blamed me for every argument, I get embarrassed when we go out or try to go anywhere, he always has to drink. He's been verbally abusive to my daughter who is 12 now. We have a 4 yr old daughter together. I found out on new years eve that he's been having an affair for 6 months. Of course it's my fault because our sex life has been awful, I never show affection and always tell him how bad he is. Now he's trying to convince me he can change and he loves me and can't live without me. And still after all the hurt he has caused I feel sorry for him and I don't want him to drink even more because he feels so bad. It's sick! I quit my job last December to finish nursing school, now I feel trapped, still in school, no job! Ugh, he blames it all on all the long hours he's had to work to provide for us.

  15. I just found this blog and appreciate the community and words here. That said, if I'm being perfectly honest I feel a bit emasculated by it. It seems EVERYONE here is a woman dealing with an alcoholic husband, but I'm a man dealing with a highly functioning alcoholic wife. I know it seems silly, but I feel like I'm "the woman" in this situation. I truly value the thoughts here but I wished there was more out there for husbands dealing with this.

    1. Hello there, thank you for your perspective and for sharing your experience!

      I have seen many men in meetings whose qualifiers are their wives (or their fathers, mothers...). It's a shame that any man would feel emasculated and think they're "the woman" in the situation (um - ouch, btw); addiction is not solely a male problem. And for whatever reasons (social stigma, differences in dealing with marital problems?) maybe there is less of a male presence in the recovery community on the Al Anon side of the street. But it seems that the consequences for the spouse of the alcoholic - whether that spouse is female or male - can be similar, due to the general and basic traits of the disease of alcoholism. Likewise, anyone who is codependent may be like another codependent. This is my opinion based on what I've learned in recovery and from my own experience - I am no expert.

      But please know that you are NOT alone - there are so many men in your situation. In fact, there are sometimes "Men Only" Al Anon meetings.

      Lastly, if it makes you feel any better about this teeny tiny miniscule corner of the web here - due to keyword functionality in search results, because I reference "alcoholic" and "husband" my blog is bound to draw more wives than husbands. But if you read the comments, there are men who post here.

      Good luck in your recovery and please keep us posted if you like/are able to! I hope you find the resources that are helpful to you, online or in person.

  16. I have been married to my functioning, or somewhat functioning alcoholic for almost 26 yrs. His drinking really became a problem in 2004. The man I married no longer exists. He is no longer kind, considerate or loving, he's quite the opposite. I am staying with him until I am able to become financially independent. Although he refuses to admit it, his drinking has cost him 3 very good paying jobs jobs. I moved 2 different states with him to take a better paying job, I always went along with whatever he wanted. I was so in love with him. We have a 23 yr old son who moved back home with us some yrs ago. Just like me, he has no respect for his father. About a year and a half after he lost his 3rd job I put a plan in place to move back to my home state where I have family. Once I stopped doing whatever he wanted and started making decisions he became very resentful as he did not want to come back to where we used to live. Since he was no longer calling all the shots he became resentful. I made arrangements with my employer to work from home and decided I was moving back with or without him. He had no job so he had no options. Before we moved back I had to borrow from family members for us to survive. He is now selfish. He is not physically abusive but can be very confrontational when drinking. He is not doing very well at work and he is on a work performance plan and he has no idea I'm aware of it. If he decides to "work from home" he does very little work, he gets drunk. His income is almost double of what mine is yet he expects me to pay 50% of everything and also thinks I should buy all the groceries. The man I married 26 yrs ago was nothing like that. He is now cold, selfish and uncaring. I am no longer in love with him and am only living in the same household for financial reasons...survival. I also forgot to mention the 1 DUI from 2004. He fared quite well, got his DL back, no AA, just lawyer fees. He still drinks and drives although he never drinks in my prescence. He will go out for awhile and come back drunk. Not sure how he manages to drink while working but he does...... glad to know i'm not alone

    1. You're not alone. I have called on the leaders of my church, his family & his employer, to no avail. Family is his biggest enabler; employer (Christian-based co.) says they are praying for our marriage, and church says until he wants help there isn't much they can do. It is loney. He is not physically abusive, yet, but he is very mouthy and grits his teeth and me talks down to me, and just reprimands me like I am dirt. I have moved with him twice for jobs. A sunny weather person, living in a freezing cold state is not what I call fun; and with a drunk is even less fun. For 8 months of the year you can't go outside (easily) so it is like a prison. I don't know how he manages an upper level managment job in a very presigious Chrisian organization by day and alcoholic by night and weekend. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. I keep waiting, but he keeps surviving.

  17. I just found your blog and it's like looking in a mirror. My husband has had a drinking problem for a long, long time. The secret drinking only started a few years ago & it has completely thrown me into an almost surreal realm of blame, anger, sadness, self-pity, more anger, helplessness, resentment, and yes, secrecy on my end too.

    So thank you for taking the time to post and share. For the first time in 20+ years I feel like I am not alone. And thank you to all of your readers who have also made thoughtful and valuable comments.

    I do try to be as positive as possible & keep myself active and healthy -- mostly because we have three incredible kids. As they get older, the situation seems to be getting more complicated. Would it be easier if I could just shout at him when I'm angry, slam doors or just walk out for awhile without worrying that the children will be upset? Would I be more inclined to leave if they were not in the picture? Maybe, maybe not. But I feel he is a better father than many sober men. And since my own dad died when I was a baby, I am very reluctant to put my children in the position of growing up without a full-time dad (although he technically isn't "here" for them the 4 or 5 nights a week that he is drinking anyway).

    I have only been to one Al Anon meeting, many years ago, and it just wasn't for me. I couldn't relate to anyone there. Maybe I just wasn't ready. Everyone always says that if you aren't religious you can just interpret "higher power" to be a tree, or the universe, or whatever. That has always been my husband's biggest blockto AA (or excuse), and maybe it has been mine too. Maybe I need to try again.

    Sometimes I think this is not a normal life. Other times I feel like just about everyone has challenges in their lives and marriages, and this is simply our challenge. I feel lucky to have him in so many ways - he is bright, funny, shares my social and political values. I know he loves me deeply, and would do anything for the kids and me. So it must not be in his power to stop drinking, right?

  18. Thank you for your blog. My marriage has been hell for almost all four years and only now have I truly been able to put my finger on the fact that it is alcoholism. The amount of alcohol my husband drinks, the verbal and emotional abuse he sends my direction, all have finally come together in understanding his functional alcoholism. I am going to take your advice tonight and eat a yummy treat. It has been a long road and I don't see it changing any time in the near future.

  19. Wow, this is amazing. just realised I"m repeating history and living my mothers life again.

  20. This blog has hit home for me I cant wait to read more. My husband is a functioning alcoholic he is and ACA. In the beginning of our relationship I told myself that his drinking is what young people do because I only thought alcoholics were people who were bumbling drunks who couldn't keep a job. Boy was I wrong. After his second dui (first one was before we met) he was put in a program were if he followed the program charges would drop and he could get his DL back. I supported him through it and thought that would be the end to obsessive drinking. I didn't expect him to completely stop drinking because like I said before we are in our 20's that's the norm. I also told him if he got another one I would leave because I didn't want to live with a alcoholic, both my grandfathers are alcoholics and my father (who I didn't live with) was one and had just recently died of live failure. Well in 2011 I found out I was preg and not even a couple of months later he gets a dui AGAIN! I seriously was about to leave and move back home across country, but he begged me not to take his child away. Well the months waiting for his court date he began to drink all the time we live right around the corner from a bar. He began to spend all day at the bar come home pass out and do it all over again. The first few months of my sons life I felt like a single parent :( Now he's in a court program and has been sober for 1 1/2 years my biggest fear is when the program is over will this cycle start over again. Some days he says no because of our son but then some days he say he doesn't know. I mean I guess I can understand no one can predict the future but he acts as if he's not even going to try after its done. so I guess my biggest fear will be should I stay if he does head back down that path? I know I took vows for sickness and through health but is it fair to raise my son with an alcoholic father? Will it cause him to be bitter towards him? Thanks for reading my long rant!

  21. oh god, this could be me.

    but at least it is starting to make sense.