My husband of almost three years is a marijuana addict and has in the past year or so developed what I believe is an alcohol addiction. He went through an out-patient treatment program for the marijuana addiction about a year ago, but did not take all the necessary steps to stay clean. (He kept the same group of using friends, continued to go to the bar, didn't go to many meetings or finish his 12 step program.) At this point, I am not anywhere near ready to divorce him and I'm looking for some ways that I can deal with this and keep my sanity! Here are my basic concerns: I make quite a bit more money than he does. I pay all the bills, buy the groceries, gas in the car, etc. He gives me $40.00-$50.00 every once in a while when he has extra, but pretty much spends all his money on buying marijuana and at the bar. He will also ask me for money when he runs out. (About $50.00 a month from me, minimum.) He goes to the bar about from 3-7 nights a week. Most nights he depends on me for a ride home. So I have to get out of bed and get our toddler out of bed as well and go pick him up. I'm getting quite sick of picking him up in the middle of the night, drunk. I'm also sick of seeing him spend all his money on using when I pay for everthing!
He will use any excuse he can come up with to get out and go to the bar. He doesn't spend nearly enough time with our family. I have told him many times that he is turning into an alcoholic and that I do not want to be married to an alcoholic. If I get crabby when I pick him up and he's drunk then he just says "I'm a grown man and I'll drink if I want to. Go ahead and divorce me if you want to."
So here's my question...is it logical of me to tell him I will not pick him up after he's been drinking anymore? (He does not drive right now, so him driving home drunk is not a concern.) Also, should I tell him that I will not give him money anymore and ask him to start contributing more to the family finances? I know I can not force him to give me money but I don't know what to do to get the point across that what he's doing is just not ok! I know I am enabeling him by giving him money/paying all the bills and by picking him up. I just don't know if cutting him off from those things would be the best way to move towards a happier marriage. I guess I'm crazy to think that I can have a happy marriage under these circumstances. I think I just need some affirmation from others in the situation, either addicts or loved ones of addicts as far as what steps I can take to stop my cycle of supporting and enabeling his addiction. Any advise that you can give would be great!
Welcome and glad to see you posting here. There are many members here who deal with an addicted spouse or other family member. You will be in good company here. Smiles.
So here's my question...is it logical of me to tell him I will not pick him up after he's been drinking anymore? (He does not drive right now, so him driving home drunk is not a concern.) Also, should I tell him that I will not give him money anymore and ask him to start contributing more to the family finances? I know I can not force him to give me money but I don't know what to do to get the point across that what he's doing is just not ok! I know I am enabeling him by giving him money/paying all the bills and by picking him up. I just don't know if cutting him off from those things would be the best way to move towards a happier marriage
Thank you for writing out much of exactly what I would have written to you had you not answered much of your own questions yourself!! You have reached the point of setting boundaries. That is exactly what you would learn about in an Ala-non meeting, which I so strongly encourage you to start going to without delay. If you are ready to tackle this issue, then use all the best resources at hand. Al-anon is a fantastic resource whose memberes have, or are, walking in your shoes. Let these great people, real live people, be your support because you surly are going to need a lot.
You have set out some good beginning boundaries which I think you need to put into action immediately. One missing piece, however, is that you have not set out the consequences if the boundaries are not met, with the exception that you will no longer pick hubby up drunk at a bar. It's a start, but he can just hitch a ride from someone else.. maybe a drunk buddy, you know? So your consequence there better be one you can deal with!
Little Mama.. there is a LOT at stake here. I know you already know this. I would never suggest a divorce until all things have been tried. HOWEVER, in a kind and understanding, if blunt, manner... I do sincerely believe you are not confronting this head on more honestly because you have fear of where it might lead. An example of why I believe this is because no where in your boundaries have you set a boundary and consequence that addresses hubby's addiction and alcoholism. Where is the boundary that says "no more.. our relationship can not survive a lifetime of your addictive behaviour. Either you seek help immediately, or the consequence is going to be that there will be no more relationhip for us in any way, shape or form."
Of course, a boundary without sincere committment on your part is not worth the effort of even thinkig about. We must have the fortitude and committment to put an end to our enabling behaviour the same as we want the addicted partner to have the fortitude and committment to stopping his addictive behaviour.Enabling is no les serious an issue than addiction, young friend, and needs to be recognized and accepted to move forward. If not, hubby will continue to be an alcoholic addict and end up a miserable mess in life, you will continue to be his enabler and end up more miserable than you are now, and, sadly, Thadeus will end up enduring for the rest of his life the aftermath of a dysfunctional family.
Come back and stay with us here. Please do not get your dander up and get defensive. We, I, DO want to help you. Truly. Many have gone before you and can share their knowledge with you here. Even more knowledge will be found live and in person at a local Al-Anon meeting. This is your family's lives and your life at stake. Get proactive immediately!
It sounds like your husband is extremely immature. He doesn't take on any of the responsibilities to keep up the house. What kind of help is $50 here or there. Not much with today's prices. And then he threatens you when you talk about his drinking. Do you threaten him? It sounds like you love and care for the guy a lot by putting up with all of that nonsense. I wonder what he would do if you accepted his offer for a divorce?
My father had a drinking problem, and my mom had to put up with similar issues. He would come home at night, drunk on his a**, and she was taking care of 4 kids, working, and doing home chores. Finally, when she got fed up, she packed us up and went to our grandmothers to stay. He called every day begging her to come back. One day he showed up at grandmas with flowers and promised my mom that he would never do it again. So, she went back home. From that point on, if he drank, he did it at home, which was good enough for my mom.
I'll bet that if you didn't pick him up and changed the keys to all the doors, that would wake him up! Make him sleep on his buddy's couch for a couple nights.
Good luck finding answers. Your story reminded me of the problem that my my mom had with my dad. I'm not sure if it will be helpful in your situation.
Thanks so much for the quick, sincere and caring response. Don't worry, I will not get defensive! I came here seeking exactly what you have given me knowing that I do not have the answers I need to hear and there are many, many people that have the experience and knowlege to guide me. As far as the consequences, I feel like I have to take baby steps here, because exactly as you pointed out, I am not ready for what will come if I tackled this head on. I am not ready to tell him that either we have a marriage free of addiction and addictive behaviors or we have no relationship at all. At this point, I would honestly rather get what I have than nothing at all. Even as I write this I know that I am basically asking for things to get worse, because it is a progressive disease and in general the only direction alcoholism takes a person is down. I get all that! hahaha I just feel like I went into this marriage knowing of the addiction and now I want to do all I can to work through it. So right now, where I am in the working through it, is setting boundaries. I feel that if I set up the two boundaries I stated 1. I will no longer pick him up and 2. I will no longer give him money, the consequences are pretty clear. If he goes to the bar anyway, he'll have to get himself home. And if he runs out of money because he spends it foolishly then he won't be able to feed his addiction. Is this a good start for me?
I have gone to Al-Anon, but the particular group I went to was so structured that I did not have the opportunity to discuss my situation in a way that addressed my immediate concerns. I will try a different group soon and look for one that better suits my needs.
Yes, he is most definitely immature! I have indead threatened him before. I have pointed out to him that he is choosing things over his family and that someday he'll turn around and realize that we're not there anymore. I have also kicked him out a few times. The problem is that he has a lot more will power than I do and can wait it out until I let him give me the song and dance of "I'll change" and let him back in. That would be because I'm not ready to call it quits. So he knows he can threaten divorce and not come home for a few days all he wants because at this point I won't carry through. I don't know what I am capable of committing to myself that will help him see the light. Probably nothing at this point.
I think that Reach made all the important points. And yes I support all the things she said.
Al-Anon is a great thing and like Reach said get there ASAP
In my opinion when you put the boundries in place and the consequenses they must and I mean MUST be stuck to. Just like Reach said.
If you give in one tiny tiny bit on any consequence he is going to try anything and everything under the sun to get you to cave in again and again.
You must be strong and stick to what you set out.
Those people in Al-Anon are going to help you learn how to do that. When you feel like your boing to break you will have a bunch of folks there ready to encourage you in the right direction.
Keeep talking and reading in here because we are here to support you on this journey....Chrissy
I know there is nothing I can say to change the way you are seeing this. I have been where you are. But, you are not at the point of having dealt with it enough YET. You will get there, I promise. Until then, and Im sure Im going against the grain here(I just skimmed the other replies) If you dont pick him up, and he dies on the way home YOU will NEVER be able to forgive yourself. Also, just because he is not driving right now, doesnt mean he wont. He has to want to quit. He probabley will never make that desicion as long as your still with him. As you continue to play the role of mother, which is what you are doing, your not helping him. LOve does not fix anybody, no matter how much you love someone it cannot fix them. Or change them. Im sorry if this sounds harsh, but like Ive said Ive been there, you can click on my other posts/replies to get the full story.
Well, a second welcome to the board to you. Chuckles. Figure you might be sitting st your computer in shellshock right about now after we all flew in here with our replies!
My advice to you stands overall. However, as with any plan at all on this board, there must always be some wiggle room of flexibility. I am writing about your plan, not hubby's at all. Whenever we begin to execute a plan, we begin in baby steps. We measure progress in baby steps and then eventually toddler steps and so on. As long as the baby steps keep occuring on a regular basis and keep heading forward, we can eventually reach our goal. So, having written that, let's address part of a post by you:
I feel that if I set up the two boundaries I stated 1. I will no longer pick him up and 2. I will no longer give him money, the consequences are pretty clear. If he goes to the bar anyway, he'll have to get himself home. And if he runs out of money because he spends it foolishly then he won't be able to feed his addiction. Is this a good start for me?
Yes, Little Mama, I do think that is a good start for you! I know it is unrealistic to tackle either an addict's behaviour or an enabler's behaviour and expect to have it all change overnight in a heartbeat. So those boundaries, in my opinion, are good ones to start with. Perhaps as you are able to guage hubby's reactions to these new boundaries, you will be better able to evaluate what new boundaries you may or may have to set.
I think you need to be prepared that hubby might well try and stick some boundaries of his own in your path. " Don't pick me up and if you find me dead on the street you will have to live with it." "Don't pick me up and I will find a house where a woman wants me there." I really hope this does not occur, but there is a strong possibility that something along these lines might. Brace yourself and do not let him grab control in this. You are a woman, baby, and you have strength within you that you haven't even tapped yet. Like, I bet you worried about delivering a big baby boy, but when the time came, you met the challenge, didn't you? And I bet you worry and wonder like most moms do about your ability to be the best possible mom to Thadeus. But you just look at that boy and you will understand that you are doing a great job with him and I know you would lay down your life for him. Now if that isn't strength, what in the world is? Smiles. And now you are gathering the courage to fight for your marriage and love relationship. And as you fight to save it, you will, indeed, find the needed strength to do what you need to do.
I am pulling for you... every man and woman on this board will be sharing your hope that this can be righted in your marriage.
You guys are amazing. Thanks so much. Well I haven't told him what I have decided yet about my new boundaries. But this morning he did ask me for $5.00 and I just said, no, I need it and left it at that. He knows exactly how I feel about things so I think he'll just deal with it but I don't believe it will do much towards him dealing with the addictions. But that's not why I'm doing this right?! Its for my own sanity and having peace with myself. We'll see how far this takes me.