When it's your spouse...


Good morning, everyone. I usually post in P.E. because my difficult child is at a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but I think this is more suited to being in here.

My husband is an alcoholic. Has been for a long time, but things are getting worse. I could write for days about dysfunctional extended family dynamics with my inlaws, etc, but I won't for now.

Anyway, like I said, things are getting worse, and it seems that things are coming to a head. I think that my inlaws are going to issue an ultimatum: either husband goes to rehab, or he loses his job (he works in the family business).

I am a family black sheep, and my mother in law has been adamant that I not be involved or even told anything. My sister in law thinks this is horribly wrong and has been my informant. I am just trying to keep my :censored2: together and take care of my boys.

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone, privately if preferred, who has dealt with anything like this.


Well-Known Member
I do not have experience with a spouse with substance abuse but my dad was a mean alcoholic. We did go through an intervention years ago when my mom was ill and needed home health care and the doctors would not allow it unless he went through rehab. I know much of what my mom went through all those years because I lived it as a child. I tried many times as an adult to get her to leave him but she could never do it, was afraid she could not make it on her own and that he would never let her rest.

What a shame that your in laws will not include you in such an important issue. There are some things bigger than family feuds and I believe this is one of them. Everyone wants the best for your husband and they should give up their resentments and work together with you.

Do you think your husband will agree to treatment?


No personal experience. Just wanted to express some support. This kind of family dynamic must be maddening at times. I agree with Nancy that some things are much bigger than disagreements between family members, and this is a situation when the family should put their disagreements aside and work together. All the best.


The inlaw dynamic is so messed up that even I don't understand all of it. They are very enmeshed and dysfunctional, but they're also very wealthy and have been able to create this illusion of this beautiful, happy family that is pretty on the outside but crumbling on the outside.

For a long time husband was able to shift the blame for everything onto me and let his alcoholism fly under the radar. I was even blamed for difficult child's issues. He had his little act down pat - denial and blame, denial and blame. Claiming to be "miserable" to his mother while acting like everything was hunky dory to me at home. I was blissfully unaware of all this until it all hit the fan a couple of years ago with difficult child's behavior, and something had to give.

My sister in law (husband's sister) bought into it all until she really got to know me and realized the true scope of the situation. Since then she has been my biggest ally, fighting to get the real situation out in the open, which is not easy after years and years of lies and denial by so many.

husband's true colors have started showing lately after choices he's made and various situations have come about which have brought the truth closer to the surface. I have told him that his house of cards is about to come crashing down. I think part of him is tired of the farce, but beer still rules his life.

He's not a "mean" drunk, but he's basically abandoned me and the kids. He drinks every day, and he drinks while he drives. Even when he's home, he's not really "here."

difficult child was here visiting for a week recently, and he did not do ONE thing with her despite everyone telling him that he needed to spend time with her.

No ultimatums have been issued, yet. But I think it's coming. These next couple of weeks could get messy.

Thank goodness I have an excellent therapist who is just a phone call or text away.


Roll With It
I am really sorry that you are dealing with this. As the sibling of an alcoholic, I know what games they play and how the denial, blame and triangulation can truly ruin lives. I hope that at some point he can get sober and into some type of recovery because it truly can lead to a great life.

Please, please please spend some time reading and researching adult children of alcoholics to learn what your kids will likely have to cope with as adults. I am an adult grandchild on both sides (not that one side will acknowledge it openly - I have relatives who even now after the addicted one has been gone for decades will not admit it!) and it did serious damage to my parents and some damage to my bro and I. Learning about those issues can help you protect your children and get them help to deal with them.

I am sorry you have to deal with all of this. It is difficult to deal with an alcoholic on a daily basis or even a semi-regular basis. Having the rest of the games on top of it all is more than anyone should have to handle. (((((hugs)))))


Active Member
I have some experience. My ex's drug of choice was fentanyl. It started with other things and went on for a couple years before I knew about it. Of course, hindsight being 20/20, I realized after it hit the fan what had been going on. He lost his job, I was a stay-at-home mom and we ended up losing everything. He was arrested and while out on bail awaiting trial, he got a DUI.

The night of the DUI, he called me to pick him up from the police station and then tried to attack me when I got there. I refused to take him so I called a friend who came to get him. He threatened suicide and then ditched out of the friend's car - twice. The friend called the cops, told him which direction ex was headed and said he was done chasing him.

Cops found ex, arrested him again, took him to the hospital where he attacked the cop, broke the hospital bed, etc. He was then taken to detox. He was there for 3 days and then released. The doctor at the ER and the cops told me to stay away from him, so I did.

Ex's family had always told me how wonderful I was..I was a saint to be married to him, etc. Until I got a PFA against him...then I became the whole reason for his substance abuse and depression, I was an awful person to abandon him, and as his dad put it, I was "no better than a pimple on his a++."

In-laws can be very mean. I get it. They want to protect their Difficult Child, as we all do. 10 years later they still hate me and enable him. Hopefully your in-laws will "see the light" and realize this is all HIS fault and not yours. I hope they give him the ultimatum and he goes to rehab.

And hopefully after he gets sober, he will tell his family the truth. You deserve no less.

I feel your pain. Sending you hugs and strength.


one day at a time
Greenrene, my ex-husband was a very high functioning alcoholic. Nobody understood at first when we separated. I had taken it as long a I could.

It was subtle and insidious from the outside looking in, but from my perspective I was lonely, he was irritable and unreasonable all the time about just about everything, and I completely lost respect and finally love for him.

I struggled against separation and divorce for years, but I also struggled in my own sick way as an enabler, and then as a person who tried to make him stop any way I could, from yelling and screaming to cold anger to crying to trying to reason with him. All the things we did and do with our difficult children I tried with him...and of course none of it worked.

It was crazy-making and we were both nuts.

I went to Al-Anon for about 18 months and "got it" somewhat, but not completely. I wasn't ready.

That is my best recommendation to you. Go to Al-Anon and keep on going no matter what. It can literally not only save your life but give you the best life you could ever want.

You can't stop him from drinking, and his in-laws can't either, unless he is ready and wants to do the hard work of change.

HE has to want it, not just everybody else.

It's tough stuff, losing a long-time marriage. It takes a toll on every part of your life.

Hang in there and keep posting. We are here for you.


Shooting from the Hip
No one really understands unless they've been there. However, we can all send you lots of support and hugs! We are here for you.