H & his sobriety

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    H has been sober over a year now and I'm proud of him and very happy. Not having to deal with him actively drinking has been such a relief. I know that he's proud of his efforts as well and says he doesn't miss the alcohol at all. He also conversely says that he doesn't feel any healthier either.

    I know that there are many of you here who have openly discussed and stated that you have or do struggle with your own sobriety and I just wanted to throw out a few thoughts and if possible, get some feedback.

    What I've noticed is that H no longer socializes. He avoids social situations, does not attend parties or come along with me when I stop in on friends very often at all. He has isolated himself basically and claims that he's very happy not to be hanging out with other men. He claims that I am his only friend and that he's content to just be with me when he's not working or sleeping.

    I don't mind being that person to H, as he's my friend as well. But I don't want to be the sole person that H speaks with, unloads to, vents to, confides in. I DO have girlfriends that I speak with all the time. I confide in my girlfriend's and I share my days with them and my woes, we talk about our kids, jobs, spouses, troubles, happiness, joys, everything. I share most of that with my H as well, but it's nice to be able to meet a girlfriend for coffee and just chat. I have three main girlfriend's that I occasionally meet for either coffee, lunch or dinner at Panera Bread. H doesn't do any of that. He has a friend who used to invite him to play poker with him on Weds. H always gave him excuses and eventually the friend stopped asking. He had another friend who invited him to go boating once in a while but H always had a reason he couldn't go and the friend stopped asking.

    I have come to realize that H doesn't want to hang out with these guys perhaps because there is some level of drinking involved - not complete wastedness or binge drinking, but definitely drinking nonetheless. H has never been involved in any form of program for his recovery and I think that may be part of the problem. Also, he may feel that he has nothing in common with those guys anymore. Additionally, he may be afraid to put himself in that situation and since he has no recovery program perhaps he doesn't trust himself.

    I have encouraged him to join a gym or local tennis team (he's a great tennis player) as a means to meet men with whom he'd have more in common and perhaps form some healthier relationships with. I really believe that he needs to have a friend or two besides me. For instance, when he went holiday shopping he couldn't bring himself to go alone and took easy child with him and then difficult child and then easy child again. He went with me, but never bought anything. He seems to have severe anxiety upon entering a crowded store and then shuts down. I think all this aloneness and lack of socialization has finally caused a real problem for him.

    We stopped at some friend's house on Christmas eve so I could drop something off for my friend. H and her H were yakking away and afterwards I commented that it was nice that he had a chance to catch up with my friend's H (who used to be H's closer friend) and H said, "meh, I don't know, that guy's..." and then went on a tangent, which then led him back to his work and the people he contracts with and then it's like I just tune out - I've heard it all before. The same stories, just different days. H is digruntled about everyone it seems. Or, sometimes he goes on and one about how he's the only one with any brains on the job! He can't seem to find one thing nice to say about anyone he works with or comes in contact with. Even people he used to admire now turn him off completely and he has become hyper critical.

    I will be honest, he's driving me nuts. I can't listen to him anymore go on about work. I'm tired of being the only person he talks to. I'm tired of his negativity. When I comment and suggest anything, I'm wrong, even if I'm agreeing with him! If I suggest that perhaps he shouldn't work for those people, he goes into a rage about his bills, etc. If I suggest that he go see someone he accuses me of trying to find something wrong with him. If I suggest that we go out with some friends, he will find a reason not to. When I tell him about a lunch I had with my friend he says, "Wow, well lucky you" real sarcasticly. It's unnerving.

    I can't seem to help him and at the same time, I don't want to help him because I know he's go to help himself. With my dds' growing and easy child out of the house basically and difficult child on her way, I'm looking into the crystal ball at my future with H and it is not looking fun at all. I am at a loss.

    Are his attitudes and behaviors trypical of a dry drunk? Because my brother who's been in AA and sober for over 25 years says that's what he is. I am familiar with the term and definition, but even I have to agree with H, it could apply to almost anyone.

    Can I get some feedback please? Thanks~I want to start this coming year off right.
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    Boy can I relate.

    My husband was in recovery for about 8 years and for the past two has been drinking again and it's gotten pretty ugly.

    Your husband definitely needs some sort of program or at the very least activity outside of you. It's not healthy for your relationship and it sounds like you're crumbling under the pressure. Unfortunately, only he can do this for himself. I would encourage you to establish boundaries to protect yourself from his negativity. For instance give him 20 minutes to rant about work and then you're done. Keep your friendships going strong. They are soo important.

    I pray for your husband to find something to nourish his spirit in 2008.


  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Jo, you are a wise woman to be so in tune to what is going on in your relationship and with your husband himself.

    I think some of what you describe is just 'men' in general. The lack of friends and social outings as they age seems to be fairly common. I am sure not being able to have a social drink has caused him to go to an extreme with it though. The venting to you alone and talking about work - I just think it is how men process their lives.

    The constant talking and venting to you alone is part of a marriage I would guess. I think at times it is more draining than other times. That is a small gift to give your husband - listening. Even if it takes effort. I have found participating in the conversation makes it much easier to listen to the same story over and over. This is a partnership.

    As far as you having girlfriends to talk with as well - TOTALLY NECESSARY! It is one of the differences between men and women, I believe. We NEED the other people in our lives, especially the women friends.

    Now, the thing that really strikes me as being a problem is that husband used to be social with you and your friends and he is no longer. That is a problem. It is a change. You married husband as a person that supported you and accompanied you to these social outings. That probably added to the love you have for him. This one is worth talking about. You both need to understand the others point of view on this topic. This is the one thing in your post that I can see being a long term issue.

    The other annoyances, I tend to think are normal and part of getting older. Even him being a grump or as boyfriend says it, "I am becoming an old curmudgeon (sp)." or "I am becoming my dad."
    It is important for him to be aware of this as well and to want to not be a grump.

    Do you think husband was a self-medicator with alcohol? Do you think he could have some anxiety or depression lurking?
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: busywend</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Do you think husband was a self-medicator with alcohol? Do you think he could have some anxiety or depression lurking? </div></div>

    Yes!! Definitely!! He has had depression for as long as I've known him and he definitely used alcohol as a form of self medicating. He does not feel that he has used alcohol as self medicating - he feels that his alcohol abuse was simply a product of the home he grew up in and the way our generation was about drinking except that while others learned how to temper their drinking, he can't stop once he's gotten started.

    When my H is lubed up on alcohol he is the most social, friendliest, happiest, most outgoing, nicest, lovey-dovey guy in the world. He sings, serenades me, dances with me, hugs me, tells me why he loves me and just wants to have a good ol' time.

    When H is not drinking, he's cranky, tends to shy away from the center of attention and social situations in general, never holds my hand or hugs me and if he does it's almost in like a secret way, as if he doesn't want anyone to see or he's embarrassed by his show of affection. He doesn't listen to music or dance, etc.

    I want the guy who's more open, friendly, lovey-dovey, affectionate - all those things, without the alcohol.

    Everything else you said is true and makes sense. I know that it's mostly H and me and I should be expected to be the good listener and I am. I do interject my thoughts and I actually listen very well and am very patient considering I listen to the SAME exact story each and every night. It's just getting difficult to always listen to H complain constantly about everything and everyone everyday and never do anything to change anything. Know what I mean??? H does joke that he's turning into his dad. Most of the time he reminds me of his mom to be honest - the woman is an absolute downer and drifts in and out of reality. Some scary stuff going on there. It freaks me out thought that H has no other outlets for himself. He works, eats and sleeps. When he's off from work, like this week, he is climbing the walls, creating reasons to go to a job or check up on a worker. He was angry that his helper went to Delaware for the holiday week! He kept saying, "I don't know why Jim had to go to Delaware? I mean, why couldn't he do that in the summer or some other time. I hate Christmastime and I hate when it falls in the middle of the week like this...." blah blah blah.
    It's just getting old, that's all. And I feel at a loss as to what I can do to help H feel better.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    So, he knows he is crabby since not drinking? Does he want that to be different?
  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I respectfully disagree with busywend. This has nothing to do with gender.

    The man is on a dry drunk. Your brother hit the nail on the head.

    OK, you have an alcoholic. The alcoholic has issues, and drinking is a symptom of those issues. If you take away the drink, all you have left is a person who still has issues.

    When he drank, the alcohol helped him cope. That is why he did not go on tangents about Delaware. You take away the alcohol, you have to fill it with something. That is where AA comes in.

    AA helps you deal with life on life's terms. IT is not only a social outlet, it helps you so that you can go be in OTHER social situations without feeling vulnerable. Alcohol is not going to disappear off the face of the earth. It is going to be everywhere you go. AA helps you to cope with day to day run-ins with alcohol or people who drink without feeling like you have to as well.

    He can hold this dry drunk together for a month or a year or 2 years, but eventually he will drink again if he does not get into AA. When I first got clean (20 years ago) I stayed clean for five years with no program. I did not think I needed it. And then I went back out for 10.

    Guess what? I needed it.

    The thing is, you will never convince him that he needs it. He has to want it. But I would strongly STRONGLY urge you to hit an Al-Anon meeting. He does not have to work a program for you to.

  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks BBK. I think what keeps him from going to AA is that he can't figure out how to squeeze it into his time and he's also afraid of making a committment and he's also afraid of the shame and embarrassment and also of being stereoptyped as "one of THOSE kinds of drunks". He thinks that because he was able to maintain his jobs and pay all his bills, etc., that he wasn't a REAL alcoholic - he "just has a problem with drinking", Know what I mean??

    He says the same thing about his father and his father's parents - "they were just partiers, that's how it was in those days; my dad just has a drinking problem, he's not an alcoholic. How could he be an alcoholic if he supported his family his whole life, has millions and maintained such a stressful job?" and I just say, "Hon, I know it's hard to believe, but your dad is an alcoholic. He travels with his own gin for God's sake. He drinks 3/4 gin martinis each evening and sometimes at noon. He follows that up with a couple of glasses of wine. Your mother doesn't speak with him, she barks at him. She's angry for good reason. He flirts with waitresses while out to a nice family dinner, leers at them and asks them to marry him - all in front of his wife, daughter in law, and granddaughters. That's not normal behavior, hon." And then H will say, "Yeah, huh?"

    I will hit up Al-Anon again. I need a refresher.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    There are parts of your post that remind me of myself except that I have no substance abuse issues. I simply dont like party situations. I gave up all the drinking and smoking pot long long ago so I have nothing in common with those who still want to go out and get totally wasted. Now having a glass of wine or a mixed drink socially doesnt phase me but a kegger isnt my cup of tea.

    I have tended to isolate myself at home completely. There are several reasons for this: physical, mental and location wise. I really dont have any friends here and dont know how to make any. Im not comfortable with the aforementioned parties which leaves me out of most of the get togethers locally. Even a pig roast involves large quantities of beer flowing.

    I also find myself relying on my husband for all my interactions. I know this isnt good. He cant be my everything. Its not fair that I expect him to be. He has his own hobbies like hunting and fishing but I havent managed to find my own niche in this area. We are trying to work on figuring out just who I am and what I like. Somewhere I lost myself. That may be what your H's problem is. He covered everything up with alcohol and he really doesnt know who he is without it. He has to find out.

    This is hard. We have had many loud discussions about this matter...lol.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hey Jo,

    Do you think you could get him some type of art or craft kit to do at home? Something he could get interested in? Like a hobby?

    I don't think we ever give up an addiction - we just trade it for another - maybe you could get DF interested in a hobby of some sort that would take up his time and yours? Have you ever tried ballroom dancing? - You can't be drunk and dance an Argentine Tango very well, most of the dancers are non smokers, non drinkers because their passion or rather addiction - is dancing and you don't do it well drunk.

    Just a thought - and there are TONS of people dancing, going on cruises - meeting other dancers - and men are VERY popular as the women usually outnumber them 2:1

    Just a thought.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks Janet for your comments. I totally get what you're saying, but I'm not talking about keggers or anything of the sort. I'm talking about dinner parties or going out to eat once in a while with friends. I can understand why H would pass on poker night because to me, that just screams "get drunk!". Your comment about finding your niche made me laugh because I have been thinking about that for a long time. I need to figure out what I like, because I've been focused for so long on getting through each day instead! I think H is at the same point in many ways. He needs to figure out how to cope or entertain himself without simply getting buzzed.

    Thanks Star, I've been suggesting everything I can think of. H is a bit of a workaholic and so, he can never commit to anything. We tried counseling and I ended up going alone most of the time. We tried signing up for Spanish classes and H could never make it home on time. He is self employed - there is nothing stopping him from leaving the job earlier one day a week and getting home by 5:30PM...if he truly wanted to. Know what I mean??

    H hates cruises and he hates dance classes. We went on a cruise and I loved it, want to do it again and again. H hated it...never wants to do it again in his life. haha - irony? I would LOVE to take ballroom dance lessons. I asked H and he said he'd rather have a root canal. Haha - there is no pleasing this man right now unless I want to run with him to Home Depot or talk about the people he works with day and night. He wants to be with me 24/7 when we're off from work but he is driving me crazy. I love him, I do, but My God.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Can he think of anything he does like to do?

    I cant! Or I cant think of anything that I like to do that I can do that is feasible healthwise and local. I would love to go see Broadway musicals but that just isnt something that one can really do when you live in the boonies of NC and you arent rich...lol. I dont have a private jet to zip me off for weekend jaunts.

    I used to love wandering around flea markets but I cant do that anymore because I cant walk that much.

    I dont enjoy going fishing with Tony because its too hot for me. I do it once or twice a year but he now gets me a room so I can retreat.

    I need to find something just for me. Something that would find me local friends or an outlet for me.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yes Janet, I think we all need an outlet and something that affords us some human contact (we can choose to what extent or how involved).

    My H enjoys riding his bike and playing tennis. He has become a workaholic and so he never carves out the time to do either of those things. We have a tennis/racquet club in town where he could join a men's group to play singles or doubles and he wants to but he doesn't. In the warmer months he sometimes will take off on his bike for an hour and ride 30 miles or so and he comes back and you can visibly see that he feels GREAT. I encourage him to do more of these activities, but I can't drag him there.

    I am an avid reader, mostly in the colder months. In the warmer months, I love gardening and I enjoy walking/hiking. H enjoys walking and hiking as well, so we sometimes do that together. I am interested in taking some yoga and knitting classes after the new year. I've always been interested in both. I'd love to pick up piano again, but I do not have one at home and the last time I took piano all I had available outside of lessons was a stupid little electric piano and it just wasn't the same. That, I will put on hold until I can buy myself a piano.

    I don't know, H seems to enjoy working best of all even though it seems to frustrate him to no end.

    Thanks for all this sharing and feedback - it's helped to sort out a few things.
  13. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    Hi Jo, my husband is also a recovering alkie - 8 years now. I am so proud of him. We even split up and got divorced because of it. He finally came to the conclusion that his family meant more to him than his drinking.

    We don't go to parties and he has no close friends. He use to fish but hasn't done that in a long time. I feel your pain. I am proud of him but at the same time he can drive me nuts. I have a few friends, mostly we chat on the phone. They are all working moms with little extra time on there hands but if I wanted I know I could go to there house and at least have a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze for a while. husband has none of that.

    We have started going back to church and I am hoping he can find a couple of good buddies there. He works, comes home and sleeps. Thats it, unless he is tinkering around in his shed. I am fortunate on the side of his moods. Most of the time he is o.k. He is a very laid back kinda guy. The only time he gets totally opposite is when he is behind the wheel of a car. You know he is the only one that knows how to drive. lol

    We did have some neighbors move in. A mom, dad and 2 kids. He hangs with the dad a little. The dad has also started working with my husband some. husband can only take so much of him tho. I am hoping once finances get a little better that them two will start doing some fishing a couple of times a month.

    He also tells me that he needs no one else. I am his best friend. While that is a compliment and very sweet - he needs some friends!!

    Just wanted you to know you are not alone. Feel free to pm me anytime. I know things are rough right now but almost anything is better than drinking. It kills people and destroys families.

    Hang in there.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Jo -

    I asked DF about this - all seems sort of anonymous so I figured it couldn't hurt - DF said (not kidding)


    I thought - OH now I know what is bugging YOU -

    in an odd way - thanks

    ps...I have several bandanas, biker leathers, chaps, boots for you should you decide you want to get him on the open road and clear his web head. (biker term for haven't gone riding and the spiders have been working hard in the old attic)

    You could get a Sportster - vrrrrrooooom.

    Git yer motor runnin'
    Head out on the higway
    Looking for adventure....
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    husband has been the same since his rehab this past August; slowly he's been expanding hobbies & such around the house. However, he has no need for people other than me.

    Well, I have a need for people - husband understands that. I spent a great deal of time golfing, visiting family & such & let husband sit at home or join me as the mood moved him.

    It's now to the point where he's being "forced" to do more & visit more as I'm not able to drive as much. It's really forcing husband out of his shell & he's learning that people aren't so very bad.

    My husband will never be the social butterfly; I expect he'll make friends or he won't. However, he's more involved with tdocs, psychiatrists & such for the children. He's had to take a front seat with other things about the house.

    I'm sorry that you're struggling so with this - I know it's not unusual.

    My father (no drinking/substance abuse issues) never made friends either. Mom was his nearest & dearest. He's lonely right now with-o my mother. Now, he's being forced to communicate - talk with others; like his children.
  16. KateM

    KateM Member

    BBK is definitely on the money.

    My husband is several years sober, with the help of AA. He was never "one of those drunks",never missed work, was always a successful business man. But he was an alcoholic.

    AA has 1 hour mtgs virtually around the clock in every community. Although he needs to be committed to sobriety , there is no other "commitment" he needs in order to attend mtgs. There is alot of stereotypes about alcoholics and about AA, but I sincerely hope your husband will give AA a chance. It would be great if he attended a couple mtgs to see where he is most comfortable.It's a fantastic organization that has saved so many.Good luck to you both!
  17. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Thank you for backing me up, Kate.

    Alcoholics get bad raps and bad reps. Nobody wants to hear about a functioning alcoholic or a nice alcoholic because then they are just a nice functioning person who happens to drink. When the media feeds us news stories about alcoholics, it is the extreme cases, or the heroine addicts, or the crackheads, or the kids high on X. Functioning alcoholics are so boring.

    But, they (we) have just as hard a time getting and staying sober as a reeling drunk. They need the program as much as that reeling drunk too. And you never ever know just what they could learn from that reeling drunk...

    Kate, congrats on your husband's extended sobriety :smile:
  18. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    All of the alcoholics in my family with the exception of 1 (my maternal grandmother) were/are functioning alcoholics. And then there's one of my uncles who was functioning some of the time, bailed out of trouble a lot of the time and now seems to be functioning well.

    My paternal grandmother is the only one who quit drinking and to my knowledge she has never stepped one foot inside an AA meeting. She was in the hospital with pancreatitis and then severe DT's when I was 12 and hasn't drank since. However, she's still a very unhappy person. She still blames her in-laws for driving her to drink. :rolleyes: She's what I would call a dry drunk.

    Unfortunately, H isn't going to do anything to change unless he wants to.

  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My brother has been sober over 27 years with the help of AA. He was the Friday - Sunday bottle a night of Johnny Walker kind of drunk. He'd become so loud and obnoxious, his moods ranging from lovey dovey, to inappropriate to mean & nasty to passing out. Things happened that I don't want to revisit here. My father was the shy, sneaky kind of drunk. We'd clean out the garage each spring and find small hidden bottles of port every where. When he worked triple shifts, my mom would reward him with a giant gallon bottle of Gallo Rose. One of my sisters was sober for 16 years with the help of AA, but then one day decided that she wasn't really an alcoholic. She claims she was 'forced' into AA by others and that she's fine. She's now a raging alcoholic again and it's incredibly sad to watch.

    I think that because of the alcoholism I was raised with, I am bit more sensitive to it when it's going on around me. With a couple of years in my early 20's as the only exception, I never really lost control over my alcohol consumption. I am very wary about the power it can have over people.

    My H grew up with raging alcoholics as well, his father is bad, and both his fraternal grandparents.

    I've always discussed alcoholism with my daugters so they are aware of not only the predispostion they have but also just the simple dangers of too much alcohol - the havoc it can wreak in your life. It's recently come to my attention, from difficult child and easy child, that when they are visiting with their dad's family, they're all getting wasted non-stop. I knew that my ex-sister in law was a drinker, but now her H and their kids are all big alcoholics! They apparently drink the hard stuff and go all night. easy child told me that when she visited her cousin for dinner, the cousin was already in the bag and they were going out!! So, easy child drove, thank God. She said they are always getting wasted and it upsets her. difficult child thinks it's funny. &lt;eye roll&gt;
  20. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I really don't have much to add to what the others have already said. I just want you to know I also understand what it is like to live with an alcoholic who doesn't want to get help. It is heartbreaking!!!

    I hope your H decides to get the help he needs. As I know you know, the decision is totally out of your hands. I'm glad that you are so insightful and realize the importance of maintaining your relationships outside of H and continuing to grow by exploring new interests.

    I hope your H realizes how lucky he is to have your support and love. However, if your H refuses to help himself, don't let him drag you down with him. WFEN