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DIL thinks my husband has a alcohol problem

(117 Posts)
DillytheGardener Tue 21-May-19 00:01:18

My Dil let slip she thinks my husband has an alcohol problem.

I was catching up with her the other day and asked how things were going, she said she was exhausted as along with a big commission she is working on, my son was keeping her up late coming home drunk.
She mentioned she was worried as she has had this issue with him in the past, and as his dad has a problem she was worried it was genetic. I looked rather cross, and she said 'oh goodness sorry, must be a culture thing then". She is from the other side of the world from a country that drinks like the Irish, so I think she was fibbing to save face.
She is normally very diplomatic and quiet so it's rather out of character to say something this harsh.
I don't think there is a problem though. My husband worked in the city (now retired) and it has a culture of boozy lunches and late nights. He goes out 3-4 times a week now with old colleagues and does come back rather drunk, but he never drinks at dinner like others do. When we go out together he normally just has a soda water or a coke. So I don't think he has an issue, but feeling quite cross at Dil.
I haven't been a perfect Mil, so not sure if I should leave it or not as I've already been told off by son for speaking my mind to her.

crazyH Tue 21-May-19 00:15:01

She's just trying to blame genetics for his alcohol problems. I come from a family of alcohol lovers brothers loved their drink but held very responsible jobs which they held successfully. One of my sons has taken after them, I think. His wife can't complain, because she likes a drink too , but they only drink at weekends.
No Dilly, don't start an argument with her - not worth it - but you could have a quick word with your son. Wish you luck xx

leyla Tue 21-May-19 00:15:23

I think 3 or 4 times a week 'rather drunk' is quite a lot. Maybe you should work out roughly how many units he is drinking? That should put your mind at rest, or not.

maryeliza54 Tue 21-May-19 00:16:54

If my dh was coming home rather drunk 3-4 times a week I’d think he had an alcohol problem tbh.

janeainsworth Tue 21-May-19 01:58:42

I agree with leyla and maryeliza

I also don’t see that your DiL was lying.
You didn’t like her saying what she thought - so perhaps it might be better if you kept your own thoughts to yourself.

Lyndiloo Tue 21-May-19 02:50:59

I agree with others - to get drunk that often, every week, is way over the top, and I would suggest that your husband does have a problem with alcohol. If that doesn't impact on you at all, and you are happy with that - fine.

Three people in my family also worked in the city, where the culture of over-drinking is rife. They have stressful (very well-paid) jobs. One of these, my sister (who, I'm so proud to say, was the first woman, ever, to go into the HSBC dealing room) had to take many clients out to lunch. These would be boozy affairs, and she would contact the restaurant first and instruct them that when she ordered a gin and tonic, they were to bring her only a tonic water. (It wouldn't have looked good for her clients to know that she wasn't drinking!) Sadly, the other two family members became alcoholics, and lost everything!

It sounds to me, that your daughter-in-law was asking for some sort of help - or maybe just wanting to share her concerns. Could you speak to your son about his behaviour? Maybe he does have a problem with drink. But whatever it is, he's upsetting his wife, and it needs sorting. (Not your job, of course, but maybe a quiet word ...?)

My daughter married an alcoholic and he put her through two years of hell. It nearly ruined her - luckily she got out before it did!

agnurse Tue 21-May-19 03:02:45

There's a common misconception that you have to drink every day to have an alcohol problem. That isn't true. The Canadian standard is no more than 15 drinks a week for a man and I would imagine the UK standard is similar. If he's coming home drunk 3-4 times a week it's quite possible he is drinking more than that. Not to mention that about 90% of people are "functional alcoholics" - they are able to hold down jobs and raise families while having an alcohol problem. That was told to me by someone in AA. (I'm not in AA. This person visited my nursing class.)

It may be helpful for him to ask himself the CAGE questionnaire:

Have you ever felt the need to Cut down on your drinking?
Have you ever been Angry about someone criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt Guilty about how much you drink?
Have you ever had a drink as an Eye-opener or to get rid of a hangover?

Answering yes to about 2 or 3 of these questions is usually a pretty good indication that someone has an alcohol problem.

stella1949 Tue 21-May-19 03:41:47

I'd be concerned if he was my husband. The fact that he still feels the need to socialise with his old work colleagues, long after he has retired, AND that he needs to get drunk with them several times each week, would raise a very large red flag for me.

Greta8 Tue 21-May-19 07:01:09

How worrying for your daughter-in-law, it must have taken a lot of courage for her to raise the issue with you. The worst thing about alcoholic families is the secrecy, collusion and lies that accompany it. So good for her for trying to bring the issue out in the open. Whatever you choose to believe about your husband is up to you, but it does sound as if your son needs help before it will affect his marriage, job and health. Maybe you need to do a bit of soul searching, and reconsider your response to your daughter-in-law. It sounds as if she needs some moral support here. Sorry, I know this is probably not want to hear, but as a person who has been affected by these issues both in my family and my marriage I speak from hard experience here.

BlueBelle Tue 21-May-19 07:05:05

Sorry my friend but you sound in denial yes your daughter in law is correct your husband does sound as if he has an alcohol abuse problem
If you are happy with him coming home drunk three or four times then you are in denial of his problem it would not be normal practice for a retired or even a working man to drink that much that regularly He d better watch his liver and I m pretty sure alcohol abuse can have genetic links
Your daughter in law is right to be concerned and you should be too

BradfordLass72 Tue 21-May-19 07:53:47

Your dil has enough on her plate with very responsible commissions to fulfil without your son driving her into exhaustion by coming home drunk - and obviously not occasionally - or quietly.

Maybe you and she could attend the families support arm of AA?
They will tell you though, "you can't help an alcoholic, they have to do that for themselves" but they can offer support to families of alcoholics.

She was asking for some support and you rejected her but I firmly believe you're going to need one another in the future, so a little bridge-building wouldn't go amiss.

Sara65 Tue 21-May-19 07:58:06

I agree with previous posts, I think coming home drunk two or three times a week is too much

wildswan16 Tue 21-May-19 08:32:16

Your poor DIL - dealing with a heavy workload, a husband getting drunk, a FIL getting drunk, and a MIL who thinks everything is absolutely fine. Maybe she was just trying to ask for some help, and instead you got offended making her feel even more isolated.

harrigran Tue 21-May-19 08:37:50

I am afraid I have to agree with the majority, it does sound as if your DH has a problem with alcohol.

DillytheGardener Tue 21-May-19 08:55:34

Thank you for all of your posts. It is quite a shock really to think he may have an issue because this has been ongoing since we first started dating nearly 31 years ago.
He still fancies himself as a bit of a football lad and with out group of friends, he is probably one of the ones that drinks the most, but it’s not that much out of step with our friend group.
My son, my DILS husband, used to drink quite a lot before he met dil. He used to party a lot, occasionally getting into fights etc but this mostly stopped when he met DIL. Now he’s doing very well, although DIL is the driving factor behind this, she is very ambitious and pushes him hard. My son drinks when he is stressed or upset so I’ve always thought it’s a different ball game to his father who is a bit awkward and drinks to loosen up socially.
My husbands drinking mostly affects me by annoying me he isn’t doing his share of housework/yardwork.
Not really sure what to do from here.
My DILS father was a high functioning alcoholic, which is why I thought she was perhaps being over sensitive. She also doesn’t really drink at all bar a glass of something at Birthdays / Christmas l.

sodapop Tue 21-May-19 08:59:08

Yes sorry Dilly I have to agree, your husband does seem to have a problem with alcohol.
I would be very concerned if a member of my family drank to that extent. Try mending fences with your daughter in law and see if the two of you can help your partners.

Luckygirl Tue 21-May-19 09:09:47

I would be concerned if my OH drank that much. He needs to go for liver function tests.

Tweedle24 Tue 21-May-19 09:10:23

My daughter, a recovering alcoholic, has taught me a lot about alcoholism, not least that it is possible to be a ‘functioning alcoholic’.
Is there an Alanon group near you!? There you would learn about alcoholism and get support with living with someone with an alcohol problem.

Eglantine21 Tue 21-May-19 09:21:02

I’m afraid Dilly that alcoholics seek friendship groups that will make their drinking appear normal.

Humbertbear Tue 21-May-19 10:01:38

It took me several years to finally realise and admit that my husband had an alcohol proble. It really affected his behaviour and personality and I honestly wished I had addressed it years ago. Anyway, after 50 years of marriage I told him (when he was sober) that it was alcohol or me. This may sound harsh but I decided the time had come to look after myself. He went to the doctor, was referred to a support group and is now sober and helping to run the group. They say that an alcoholic has to reach rock bottom before they seek help (and I know from a family member how low that can be). In this case, I had reached rock bottom and he knows that further drinking will be the end of our marriage.

Humbertbear Tue 21-May-19 10:03:39

Sorry - by not addressing this issue earlier with him I feel I was giving him permission to drink and colluding with him. The final straw was when he fell through the front door, drunk, with wet trousers and having gouged a lump out of his arm when he fell on the drive.

notanan2 Tue 21-May-19 10:06:42

Just because someone does well at work and "functions" doesnt mean they dont have an alcohol problem.

Sounds like a very high level of alcohol consumption is "normalised" and rationalised in your sons family and social circle so it may taks a relative outsider like DIL to notice if there is a problem

Dillonsgranma Tue 21-May-19 10:58:48

Oh dear! I would say he has an alcohol problem too. Father and son

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