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  • When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    For friends and family of people with substance problems. Connect with others here to share support and advice today.
    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 14
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:43 pm

    I know my husband has a drinking problem, my (teenage) kids know it - they’ve raised concerns with me many times. But because he’s in denial and won’t seek help so hasn’t been “diagnosed” I struggle to be sure and am on this roller coaster of emotions. I feel so much pressure that I’m ruining our marriage and family as I’m taking steps to be prepared in the event things will end when it’s just my word that he’s got a problem.
    I’ve also got a moral dilemma as it’s affecting his health that I need to let his boss know as he could be a risk to himself and potentially others if he were to cause an accident. I would never forgive myself if something happened and I hadn’t spoken up. This means losing his job and possibly financial ruin for us. But again it’s such a HUGE impact on everyone involved and what if I’m wrong? What if he doesn’t drink so much this time? And I’ve ruined everything. It would be much easier if someone could validate that YES he has a problem, but no one else sees it 😔
    4 x
    Bamboo [facilitator]
    Community Manager
    Posts: 72
    Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:46 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:38 am

    Hi @Starlee welcome to the forum and thanks so much for sharing your story. It sounds like an incredibly difficult situation to be in, particularly when one person sees a problem and the other doesn't, good on you for reaching out. Your concerns regarding safety are definitely valid and I can hear the dilemma of wanting to speak up and at the same time concerned of the risk of your husband losing his job and financial ruin. I can see your distress and the impact it is having on you. I'm wondering if you have considered speaking to a Counsellor for some support on managing this situation? We have Counsellors available 24/7 via webchat and phone see here. Self-care is really important during this time also, how are you looking after yourself today? We're here for you.
    1 x
    wiltedflower
    Community Builder
    Posts: 10
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:18 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:50 pm

    Hi @Starlee ,
    Welcome to the forum. Thank you for bravely sharing your experience with us, it sounds like you are going through a really difficult time.
    Regardless of knowing anything for sure, what you are going through sounds really tough and your feelings of frustration and stress are valid.
    You should be kind to yourself during this time.
    Do you have any self care strategies you could share with the forum?
    And do any other members have stories or advice for @Starlee ?
    We are here for you.
    2 x
    Ally22
    Junior Member
    Posts: 12
    Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 7:26 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:24 pm

    Hi @Starlee
    That sounds really tough.
    You mentioned not knowing for sure if it’s a problem. It sounds like it’s a problem enough that it’s impacting your relationship, your kids have raised it and it’s affecting how you feel! It doesn’t matter that others don’t see it, or if it’s not all the time it is having a negative impact. I write this with hope to validate you and your experience. Sending you strength and support. I know how tough this can be 💞
    2 x
    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 14
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:28 pm

    Thank you everyone for your support. Things have moved pretty quick this week, I’ve spoken to his boss who was amazingly understanding and will support any way he can. His brother is planning an intervention so we can hopefully get him to see he needs help. I feel like a weight has been lifted with everyone’s support. I know it may be a long and hard journey ahead and I’m feeling so anxious about the intervention part of how he may react. Everyone keeps telling me he’s gotta hit rock bottom and I’m scared of what that might be 😰
    1 x
    Ally22
    Junior Member
    Posts: 12
    Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 7:26 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:03 pm

    @Starlee
    Good luck! Keep us posted on how it all goes. Remember to have some time for you also. I’ve been listening to the love over addiction podcast and it’s really given me some good tips and comfort to hear from someone who understands
    3 x
    AnnAnn
    Community Builder
    Posts: 8
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:41 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:12 pm

    First of all, welcome @Starlee to our community, it's great seeing that you are reaching out, and I'm sure you will find great helps here. Many others are going through similar situations and we're all here for you. Denial is common for a person with alcohol use disorder, and it's definitely distressing when you and your husband are not seeing eyes to eyes.
    But at the same time, you're seeking out for supports and that's amazing! The journey to recovery is a long and tough, and can be emotionally-draining. So be sure to take care of yourself and practice self-care strategies as well.

    Keep us updated with how things are going. We are looking forward to hearing about you and your husband' journey!
    1 x
    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 14
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:54 pm

    So I was hopeful for change, that an intervention from family would work. It’s like a wall has been put up and he is so defensive about it all. Our approaches have been gentle in that we want to help, support etc.
    I’ve told him the effects it has the on the family. Nope nothing can get through. No problem, our fault for his drinking, then will apologise and say he won’t do it again... only I’ve heard this far too many times. It’s like clockwork - 5 days max and we’re back on the roller coaster again. It’s so damn hard!!! Family are feeling helpless we don’t know what to do next.
    0 x
    wiltedflower
    Community Builder
    Posts: 10
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:18 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:37 pm

    Hi @Starlee ,
    I'm sorry to hear the intervention did not go as planned. That must have been incredibly difficult on you and the family.
    When you build up to something and it finally happens, it is heartbreaking when it doesn't go the way you wanted.
    How are you coping when things get bad?
    Do any other members have any similar stories or advice they could share?

    Thinking of you!
    1 x
    Applepie
    Junior Member
    Posts: 4
    Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:16 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:53 pm

    Starlee wrote:
    Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:54 pm
    So I was hopeful for change, that an intervention from family would work. It’s like a wall has been put up and he is so defensive about it all. Our approaches have been gentle in that we want to help, support etc.
    I’ve told him the effects it has the on the family. Nope nothing can get through. No problem, our fault for his drinking, then will apologise and say he won’t do it again... only I’ve heard this far too many times. It’s like clockwork - 5 days max and we’re back on the roller coaster again. It’s so damn hard!!! Family are feeling helpless we don’t know what to do next.
    I can relate to feeling helpless. I'm constantly asking to be talked to to let me know when emotions hit. To let me know before they decide to drink and we can talk it through. But it goes nowhere. Same thing repeated over and over.

    Asked why they had the urge to drink this moment. And told its all because of certain events that caused trauma and then I'm asked have I been through it. Do I know what it's like. I'm Never trying to minimise the situation just ask the questions to try relate. I'm at the same stage of not knowing what to do? How to help?

    Just feel so helpless. Watching the person you love destroying themselves. And not able to do a thing.
    1 x
    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 14
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:59 pm

    @Applepie yes it’s devastating watching them destroy their health and relationships. I’ve tried to understand, I’ve tried to be nice, and I’ve been super mad at times too but nothing gets through! He just hides it better. I’m at a loss and losing hope of not being able to save my husband before it’s too late 😔
    0 x
    Ally22
    Junior Member
    Posts: 12
    Joined: Wed May 13, 2020 7:26 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:37 pm

    I am in the same boat. It’s so incredibly hard watching the person you love do this and not feeling like you’re enough. I am coming to accept this year that there is nothing I can do, and nothing I can say to make my love choose to be sober. If there was, I would have done it years ago. It’s so hard loving someone, and feeling so responsible for them at the same time. Sending strength and support.
    0 x
    Lady Bug
    Community Builder
    Posts: 123
    Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:49 am

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:08 pm

    Hi @Applepie @Starlee @Ally22

    I'm sorry to hear you are all going through something similar with your partners and sobriety :( It is truly heartbreaking reading that you are feeling so helpless and exhausted with trying to support your partners.

    Sometimes people choose to cope via substances if they have experienced trauma, or even if they are dealing with current stress or mental health issues. They find that substances work for them- it blocks out all the pain and negative emotions associated. However, what they can't see is that it isn't a healthy coping strategy. They cannot see what it does to partner, family, friends. They cannot see that it in fact makes their mental health much worse (esp alcohol being a depressant, its going to make someones depression and anxiety much worse).

    Generally people will want to stop using substances when the negatives out weight the positives of using. Not sure if you are familiar with the cycle of change, but people go through different stages of this cycle, where over time the negatives build up and they start to think about stopping and test the waters a bit, then some more time might pass and they could then even make the decision to want to stop. Or it could go the other way where they do not see any other way of coping and will continue to drink (or use) for a long long time.

    In that time, family and partners will exhaust themselves to their breaking point in trying to help their partner and get them to stop. Sometimes family unknowingly can enable a person's drinking too, in many ways like brushing it under the rug and ignoring it, buying their alcohol, drinking with them.
    I think its really important to understand that as hard as it is, family and partners cannot fix their loved ones. The motivation to quit has to come from inside the user themselves. Partners and family however can set boundaries with the user (which is a very important thing to do for your own well being, mental health and life). This is a really great resource on boundary setting: https://www.fds.org.au/setting-boundaries

    It may also come to a point where you have to say to yourself, when is enough enough? How much more of this can I go through? Can the kids go through?
    If someone doesn't want to help themselves, how much more time do you want to spend exhausting yourself?

    Sending you all love

    Lady Bug
    2 x
    Starlee
    Junior Member
    Posts: 14
    Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:52 pm

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:50 pm

    @Lady Bug
    Thank you that all makes so much sense! I know I’ve definitely enabled it over the years by keeping the peace, not speaking up as it would cause arguments and living with it as a huge secret as I was unsure if it really was an addiction so too scared to call it as it was in case I was wrong. I then told a close friend and some family which was such a relief to have support. I refuse to buy any alcohol and sleep in the spare room when he drinks. It still such a hidden problem and I’m so grateful for this forum as it’s great having family and friends support but it’s not the same as having someone else who is living the same thing and being able to share experiences and offer advice. Thanks to you all 🙏
    2 x
    Lady Bug
    Community Builder
    Posts: 123
    Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:49 am

    Re: When do you know for sure theres a problem?

    Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:22 pm

    Hi @Starlee

    Absolutely! I'm so glad you have that support around you to help you vent and deal with it. You are also setting some really good boundaries by sleeping in their spare bedroom when he drinks. It shows you do not support his drinking.
    I'm sure after reading this thread, other people in your position will feel more comfortable in sharing their stories and what they did. Thanks for being here <3
    2 x

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