Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Should your partner stop drinking alcohol to support you, when you quit?

I realise that the subject heading of my post is a tricky and emotive one, but it's something that I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks now.  In fact, I've been overthinking about it and I really, really need to get it off my chest!

Firstly, I would like to say that I have absolutely no experience in the subject - just my feelings and thoughts which are based on the fact that, when I stopped drinking booze, Mr W did too.

I never asked him to stop and I never expected him too either.  He just did.  When we were on holiday (in the days after I quit) he had one pint of lager.  He didn't enjoy it and didn't even finish it ..... but then he was a 'normal' drinker.

Consequently, I have never had to deal with the emotions of watching him with envy enjoying a glass of wine or a pint of lager.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my friend's husband who has severe liver disease.  I posted about us finding him lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom.

He had what is called a split, bleeding varices (again - he's had one on an earlier occasion).  Apparently, his liver is so damaged and scarred that his blood is having a really hard time moving through it.  Blood needs to find a new easier way to get to the heart, so it has done this by opening up new blood vessles (varices).  These vessels are usually formed along the lining of the stomach - so when one splits and bleeds massively, you vomit and shit blood.  Sounds fun, doesn't it?

He needed an operation to seal the split vessel.  He has been told he must never drink alcohol again (again).  Next time, he may not be so lucky.

I met my friend on Friday night to go to a cheap and cheerful Italian restaurant for a pizza and a catch up.  She's been pretty desperate to have a break from her family.  She promptly ordered a bottle of white wine and when I reminded her that I was drinking cola, she said that was fine she would drink it.  And drink it she did.

Naturally, talk turned to her husband's health.  It appears that they are both in denial about various things.  He denies drinking that day .... apparently the vodka filled water bottle was from a time before - when he was "over doing the drinking".  I reminded her that the top was off the bottle.  Why would that be?  She doesn't know that I KNOW all of the tricks!  I've been there and done that!  I was very tempted to tell her all and it was only my pride that stopped me.

I pointed to her glass of wine and asked her if she was still drinking at home in front of her husband.  "Oh, yes - of course I am.  He doesn't mind." was the response "I buy the boxes of wine that hold about three bottles, so I know roughly how long they should last me."  To be honest, I was a little stuck for words, so just initially said "are you sure that's a good idea?"

There is one massive red flag right there for me:  She is buying boxes of wine when her husband has alcohol related liver damage and is possibly struggling with remaining sober.

A little while later I did pluck up the courage to suggest that she not purchase boxes of wine and instead buys a bottle at a time - at least then she can gauge what it left -  if any is left.  I know how easy it is just to sneak that extra glass with out anyone knowing.  I also tried to suggest that it may be better if she didn't drink wine in front of him for a little while but she just retorted that he doesn't mind - he hasn't got a problem with alcohol - he was just over doing it..... (See - denial?)

I get that what they choose to do in their own lives is nothing to do with me, but on the other hand I know that giving up and staying off booze is bloody hard work.  I don't want to sound pious, but you need all of the support you can get when you decide to quit the booze.

I'm pretty sure that it can't be 'no problem' for her husband when she is quaffing wine around him.

I can quite happily socialise now around people who are drinking alcohol, but I do think my sobriety would have been much, much harder if Mr W had continued to drink alcohol.  Who knows if I would have even been able to continue with it?

I suppose that all I can do at this stage is hang back and be there if I am ever needed.



15 comments:

  1. My apologies if this is redundant. This situation is a shit show. So sad for both your friend and her husband. Protect yourself and your sobriety. Be afraid, and act accordingly.

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  2. Your poor friend, such turmoil to be in. Good on you for supporting her gently through this situation. And good on Mr W for supporting you!

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  3. How many cats are living with you?

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    1. Me to - although I would say that we live with the cats rather than them living with us. We are the cats' slaves!

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    2. too, meaning also:)

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    3. Thanks for the correction Anon :-). I'm usually pretty good with spelling, grammar and punctuation .

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    4. Goodness, don't visit my blog then, I'm dreadful at all of those types of things! LOL

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  4. Your hubs was like mine. I never asked him to quit, but he did, and it does make it easier for me.
    I am sorry about your friend and her husband.
    xo
    Wendy
    PS - Here is an article written by Dan Maurer on getting sober as a couple.
    https://www.workithealth.com/blog/getting-sober-together?utm_campaign=family&utm_term=getting-sober-together&utm_content=70957411&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

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    1. Thanks for that link Wendy. I'll give it a read.

      My own personal thought is that my friend should at least try to be sober ... but, at the end of the day it's their lives and their decision.

      Our husbands are truly remarkable and I love mine all the more for being so supportive in this way. xx

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  5. Should they? In a perfect world, yes. This isn't a perfect world. My husband is one who hasn't stopped drinking. He drinks more than is recommended, but no where near the way I did. He also doesn't act badly and/or blackout like I did too. We've talked many times about my struggle, and how his drinking has made it hard for me to stay sober. But ultimately, I have to do this sober thing for me, and I can't blame others and/or situations for my issues with alcohol. It is harder to quit when you do have a partner is drinks, but it is not impossible.

    All you can do is be there for your friend, and if what you see is something you cannot condone, then stay away.

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    1. Hi Lia. You certainly do have a valid point - why should our partners suffer because we abuse alcohol? As I said, I have only my point of view using my situation. I guess I don't understand how extra specially hard it is to stop drinking when your partners haven't.... like yourself. You need a huge pat on the back and a hug! xx

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  6. My position was, "I'm getting sober and there will be no alcohol in my house or drinking in my space." And there wasn't. Nuf said.

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    1. You are fortunate, however, it's not my house it's "ours"; however, I do have some concession, in that he will not drink in front of me most times. It's been hard at times, but I'm moving forward regardless.

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