Progressive alcohol addiction

by Janice
(Los Angeles, CA)

His alcohol addiction got progressively worse after the birth of each child. We have been together for the last 16 years and didn’t have our first child until four years after we’d been together. During that time, we were the couple who had lots of friends, disposable income, traveled a lot, and partied a lot. We were in our late '20s. We bought a house together at age 30 and soon I became pregnant. The first child brought us joy and happiness! He was completely into our family life. The social partying was kept to BBQ's with friends and family at our house. I stopped after I found out I was pregnant. I told him we BOTH should at that time… but he never did.

Our first born is now 12 years old! Our 2nd and 3rd came along 2 years apart (3 kids 2 years apart). He started to drink more. With each child came additional responsibilities, expectations, juggling toddlers and babies… very overwhelming! He traveled quite a bit for work so I had a strong support system to rely on (my parents, neighbors, friends, preschool moms). I still do. I have to mention I became a stay at home mom after the 2nd child, which was fine at that time because he was promoted and the economy was not like it is today.

However, his addiction to alcohol used to be on weekends only, then slowly over time went to 2, 3, 4 weekdays and soon EVERY DAY! And that's not counting when he was away on business and I didn't have to see him drunk or wasted! I'm talking when he came home. He would drink at the airport lobby, then on the plane, then go to a local bar, then come home! By then, I knew I had to TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING. I stopped relying on him for dinner, bath, and bed time routines. Sometimes I just directed him out to our enclosed deck where he had Flat screen TV's and patio furniture to sleep on.

I became his enabler. I tried to get him to go to AA. He was also very emotional and verbally abusive to me. I did get verbal abuse counseling for myself for 2 years because he almost destroyed my soul. It is different than regular marital counseling (which we tried several times) but worth the effort. Those counselors know very well what an abuser is and are very supportive of the non-abuser. I also want to mention at some point he did ask me to go back to work, but I had 3 young children and child care was expensive.

I believe it was the financial stress that caused him to excessively drink, but he has an
addictive personality anyway (gambling, impulsive shopping). I believe he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder as well because HE is always first, not me or the kids. But yet we continued with life and went on many family trips and adventures. Alcohol was always with us too.

I endured it for so long because I was in love with our family and family life in general. My own parents have been married for over 50 years and are still very loving. He is a high-functioning alcoholic because he is very successful in his career. I helped him through the years giving him advice. We are both college educated. Today, we live in separate states, having sold our house before the foreclosures. We continued to live separately for 4 years and I traveled every summer and winter so we could be a family. This is a 10 hour drive one-way. I still live with my folks.

Eventually, it was clear to me we were just toxic together. He will die with the bottle. I am ready to file the final judgment papers which he agreed on. The only thing he is upset about is that I won't move up to where he lives so he can co-raise the kids with me. He has adapted very well to being single and has had several affairs. He used to fly down for business for a few days and the kids would see him and stay with him. Now he has a different position and has to stay in one office. He really wants me to move.

Our kids are very much grounded and in a stable home with my parents. I kept them in the same schools and they have lots of friends and cousins nearby. His family still embraces me with open arms. I want to move out of my parents' house and get my own place. I am job hunting too. The alimony and child support will be substantial (I hope). I feel I tried my best. The 2 biggest beefs he has with me are 1) I did not go back to work 2) I will not live out of state and move away from expensive Calif. and my parents. We still have these same disagreements.

Today I can directly link the progressive drinking to our downfall. I'm not a saint but I have no vice that changes my behavior. He drinks as much today as he did years ago. Like college. His parents are alcoholics and his siblings struggle with it; he is from South Florida and all his friends there party like in high school. The best thing for him is rehab because I still care as he is the father of our 3 children. Sorry for this book.

Comments for Progressive alcohol addiction

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Life After Divorce
by: Janice


I have been divorced for 3 full years now and my ex-husband is still drinking although less than before. Recently he went to detox and rehab but not voluntarily. I had to take him - he moved back here about 1 1/2 years ago. I had to save him from himself, and his family asked me to get involved since they felt helpless and I still have access to him.

So he went and learned a few things. However, he only remained sober for 2 days when he got out of the program. Not all men will be like this but he was. Relapse is very common I found out unless they go into a supportive environment like an inpatient or outpatient program. Plus AA groups. He declined it all.

I am happier bring single and independent than be burdened with his issues and put me in a bad mood. I deserve a much better, mature & responsible man because I am the same. Our 3 teenagers are unique and great kids to boot! I am using my ex as a living example of drinking and addiction in general. Sadly, it’s better than a textbook or health video from school.

He's in a court-ordered program for his alcohol addiction
by: Chrissy

I am in the same situation. But he cannot drink because he is still in a court for Domestic violence (6 months after his arrest we are back together). I have two kids 4 and 2. He suffers from post-traumatic disorder, some depression, and alcohol abuse which he is still in a program for from court. That is the reason why he cannot drink. But I know he will eventually go back to the old addiction. Our financial situation is not good. I stay at home taking care of my kids. I ask God to guide me this year, because I am so afraid to get out of this relationship.

He is not a bad person. He has a good heart, but alcohol will never be away from his life. His family drinks too. That’s why I feel responsible for him. If I file for a divorce, he will be so depressed that he will be suicidal. I know I cannot help him, but I feel responsible. At the same time I know my marriage will never work. Plus I have to get a job first to fight for the child custody... Please help me with any advice.

Similar Situation....
by: Michaela

Janice, thank you for sharing your story. It helps to see that others experience the same. Mine too has escalated since we got married. The closest family is 10 hours away. Friends stopped inviting us over and declined invitations due to his alcoholic behavior. It got to the point where I've been taken aside and asked if I were in a safe situation, needed assistance, place to stay, heard of ALANON.... I just loved him so much and couldn't give up on him.

Well, after 1 1/2 years of counseling, the final outcome was if he had a choice, it was the bottle. I can't describe what that felt like - a 17 year marriage - worthless! So, here I am, stronger and smarter, going through a loss of job, but filed for divorce! It took me years to wake up. I sure feel stupid for all the years of abuse, caring, trying etc. that I've gone through. No looking back..... Looking forward to finding a job and getting my life before marriage back!

Not just women
by: Dan

This story parallels mine. And I'm the dad.

Addictions are so destructive!!!!
by: Sherry H

Wow, it sounds like you and I were married to the same man. Why is it we (the women) always have to be the strong ones and the men in our lives retreat like they are infants? With my ex, his progressive alcohol addiction happened so gradually I didn't see it coming. Alcohol is a very temporary fix to a much bigger problem. Good luck to you!!!

Why am I afraid to end it?
by: Elle

I am married to a man who smokes pot every day, and also drinks every day. My kids know he does it, but it's not a very good example to set. I want out but am afraid too. He has already had an affair and had me arrested for DV, because I slapped him. So why am I afraid to finally end things????

by: Tracey M

Hi Janice..

I hope that you get out of this problem whole. Alcoholism is really a bad thing and even worse if there are children in your household.

Feeling sorry
by: JustMe

Hi Janice!

Feeling sorry for you Janice. :(

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