JC: Thanks Danni for your story. I hope your husband can stay sober. You have placed a serious demand on yourself, your husband and marriage. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Although you have set an ultimatum in place, you have the right to change your mind.
- Getting involved in Al-anon will be helpful in many areas of your life other than just coping with your alcoholic spouse.
- Learning how to love an alcoholic without conditions will help in every situation you find yourself up against.
Submitted By: Danni
My story is somewhat different from those I have read. My husband is an alcoholic and I suppose he has always been, however we are retired and he has all the time in the world to drink now. Through the Grace of God we have never suffered from financial difficulties since we were newly weds 35 years ago. Even though he gets falling down drunk most days, he has never paid a bill late nor borrowed money. He is not a mean drunk unless I provoke an argument and then he gets pretty foul. He is not violent.
I have learned to follow JC’s advice of keeping my distance and keeping calm. The situation has become more difficult because we are Americans living in Europe. We live in beautiful Croatia where we own two beautiful homes, one on the sea and one in the mountains with panoramic sea views.
We have luxury cars and everything we have is paid for. Sounds like a charmed life? I would rather do without all this in order for this sweet-when-sober man to stop the madness. Unfortunately we live in a country that really doesn’t know how to deal with alcoholics. He has been in a treatment facility, we have attend what passes for AA meetings for years. There the drinkers and spouses are encouraged to chastise the drinker instead of giving support.
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Friends, knowing his problem, insist he have a drink at their homes. “Danni, it’s just a beer.” He just celebrated his 60th birthday and all his gifts were bottles of wine. So you see that this situation is pretty impossible. He is in therapy now with a good psychiatrist who has been of immense help for me as well. Everything was better when he started and then I guess some old wounds surfaced and then he was worse. The doctor will not see him again unless he stays sober for several days.
Yesterday he was sober because I had him arrested for domestic violence. He was really drunk and he was in bed and when I neared the bed he kicked me on the cheek. This was some sort of reflex, but I took the opportunity to get the police here. The do not come just for a drunken man…he must be a danger to himself and others. That same day he scraped his Mercedes against a wall so I knew it was time. He has driven drunk more often lately. I hide the keys most of the time. I contacted the Dr. and he spoke to the police and asked them to take him to the hospital instead of jail because he had also taken too many muscle relaxers on top of the booze.
As I said, the policy here is not really to help the alcoholic so off to jail he went to spend the night. Sunday morning we both had to go before the judge and he was released with a significant fine and charged an extra $40 for his stay in Casa Clink which had no toilet or sink. So after we returned home I told him that if he has one more drink I will get an attorney to file for divorce and force him to sell our property so I can return home to America. I cannot sell anything with out his approval. This is the first real threat I have made and I am deadly serious.
To make matters worse we are expecting our 16 year old grandson in a couple weeks, visiting from California. I cannot have him witness his grandfather in this state. We were in America for 3 weeks last Christmas and my husband didn’t have one drink and we and the kids and grands had the best time. Our summer this year is filed with visiting friends and family…So today he is sober and said he is frightened now with the jail experience and knowing that I am serious about leaving. As you all know, promises are empty. He absolutely means it when he says it, but the allure of alcohol is stronger than he or I. I don’t want to be forced to leave this beautiful country which I love so much. I am totally cut off from family back home and without a partner there is no point.