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How do I tell my husband that I know?

I've just discovered that my husband has a secret alcohol dependency problem, and has ordered 137 bottles of malt whisky through amazon costing 3k since the pandemic hit. That's over 65 units a week. He isn't aware I know at the moment - the orders were hidden in his account but I searched through them following suspicions I had after I answered the door to a number of age restricted deliveries for him.

We have a 4 year and and a 2 year old who wakes every 1-2 hours still, so for the past 2 years I've been bedsharing with the youngest and my husband has been sleeping in the spare room. He stays up late in his own and has always struggled with sleep, often getting only a few hours a night.

He was made redundant from a department head role 18 months ago and is still out work. He has been struggling with depression since our eldest was born, when he realised how screwed up his childhood was and how much his parents pushed his needs aside while he was growing up. He's had to be a stay at home dad to our children while I returned to work part time (but still at home) following mat leave this time last year. Due to my health we've pretty much shielded for a year, and nursery has been mostly off the cards due to the cost (and risk). My salary doesn't quite cover our mortgage and bills, so we've been living off my inheritance I received when my dad died 4 years ago. It's been stressful and relentless.

My world has been ripped apart - we've been together for more than 20 years and I've always trusted him. He's been lying to me for a long time, and I suspect this has been going on pre pandemic, there is just no evidence as he was buying stuff from the shops instead. I'm terrified that he's doing so much damage to his body, and also what it will do to our marriage and even more importantly to our children.

He tried an antidepressant a few months ago but agreed with the GP it wasn't working and that he should try something else but he's not followed up. He was seeing a therapist 3 years ago, but stopped when we lost his health insurance cover when he changed jobs. He's had one private session again with the same person recently when a spot opened up from their waitlist. I have a strong suspicion that no one knows about his drinking at all.

What do I do now? I don't make things worse, but I can't sit in silence and need to talk to him about it. I can't stop crying and am barely holding myself together, I can't even bear to be around him as I'm so hurt and just want it in the open.

1 reply

replying to Rockhopper365

Hiya, I'll try to make this short as it's late but I feel also I want to comment on this and I hope you understand where I'm coming from. I'll start by saying I'm not making excuses for your husband or justifying his actions but I do feel that (and understandably so) when a partner finds something like this out they may be so hurt by their partners actions and feel betrayed that it's easy to not try to understand the other person's point of view.

Again I apologise if I'm out of line here but.......

Your husband is obviously buying he alcohol secretly so he is clearly aware that he is drinking too much. In some ways you could assume he is ashamed. I imagine he hasn't always drank like this so there must be a reason why it's got to this point.

A few things you mentioned may be worth looking into and discussing with him.

He had a good job and a I assume a loving relationship. He would of felt a level of pride. You say you have 2 children and its common knowledge that when couples have children a level of intimacy will always suffer. The mother is now focused on being a mum and has responsibilities with the children it's easy for a man to feel neglected as a male doesn't go through the same hormonal charges a woman does so desire to feel loved and have physical contact is still very much there for a man when for a woman that need is much less due to the need to be a mother and the hormonal side of things. Couple that with the fact he lost his job. He know may feel like he isn't providing especially when he has young children he may feel 'useless' there's also that you haven't shared a bed so he again may be excluded from the family in some way like at bed time he's sent off to his room. Theres also the lockdown element that has had huge effects on people's mental health.

Imagine a man who is now sleeping in a bed in a room alone, who is feeling less affection from his partner than usual, who feels ashamed that he is no longer contributing financially to the household. That may of been a very bad place for him mentally and he found alcohol as his thing to take those feelings away.

I'm by no means saying any of this is your fault and please believe me I really do sympathise with what you're going through but I hope that maybe trying to understand by asking him his root causes for the drinking it may help you to come back together as a family. It would be easy to push each other further anyway due to something like this but being honest and talking about both of your feelings may be able to find a way to bring you back togehter and help him with his drinking.

I hope nothing I said was out of line and wish you and your husband all the best x

replying to Rockhopper365

Hi,

Thank you for sharing on the forum. I can see how difficult you are finding your husband's secret drinking and how damaging it is for you as well. I wonder if you would like to contact us at Icarus Trust. We are a charity that supports people who are having to deal with an addiction in their family like you. If you would like someone to talk with one of our Family friends would listen to you. they are trained and experienced and talking might help you deal withy what you do next. They can also let you know what other help is available.

You can contact Icarus Trust on help@icarustrust.org or visit our website www.icarustrust.org

Good luck with everything.

replying to Jamesb

Thank you so much for your reply. I know that our family situation has left him feeling pushed out and sidelined a lot of the time, and also that he feels he has lost his sense of purpose since becoming unemployed. He finds it hard to talk about his feelings (his parents brought him up with a 'just get on with it' attitude so he often doesn't understand what he is feeling) which makes it hard for him too.

Your post really helped though, as it was a timely reminder of all of those things and therefore how to carefully bring up the issue with him.

I approached him about it from the perspective that I was worried about him, and that I felt he had been drinking quite a bit. At first he denied it, and then diminished it, but I kept gently saying I felt it was more than that. That I wasn't angry or judging in any way, I just wanted him to know I wanted to provide whatever support I can, and help him find the right support for the rest. Eventually he started to admit it, and also how ashamed he had been feeling.

The next day he said he'd started to look at support options, and in the meantime he said he would tell me if he wanted to drink.

I don't know what path we will take from here, but I am relieved that he felt able to talk to me, which is a big step.

It still hurts so much. The only times I have felt like this before was when my dad died, when I had a miscarriage, and when he told me 7 years into our relationship that he wasn't sure that we should stay together (which I still have no real understanding of, except for the supposed '7 year itch'). I guess that is my issue that I will need to find a way to work through.

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