The Problem with Ultimatums
anonymous Asks ...
My husband started drinking again last night. He had been sober for 11 months. His family are all big drinkers and the holidays are the biggest drinking time of the year over at his parents house. He swears to me that he is just going to drink until after new years day and then stop again. He is drunk right now and I expect that unless I try to do something he is going to make the most of this week and stay loaded the whole time. I am really disappointed because he was a much better person recently than he was when he was a drinker. I made him get sober by threatening to leave him and take our daughter away. Now I am not sure what to do. Should I try to force him to stop now which will be very hard or should I just let him do his plan? The problem I have is that I have no support. Everyone in his family thinks he should drink and that I am a hysterical person that is overexagerating the problem. They do not even believe the alcoholic hepatitis diagnosis that he got. The problem is they are all alcoholics too so they do not want to admit that he is in case anyone starts accussing them of the same thing. So if I try to make him stop it is me alone that is ruining the holidays.
Jim LaPierre Says ...
Hi there. Thank you for your question and apologies for my slow response as the holidays were upon us. The holidays with your husband and his family sound very draining. I have heard from a lot of good people that they "made" their spouse or partner stop drinking and I cringe each time.
I'm sorry no, you didn't. You gave him an ultimatum. He complied for a time, then he chose to return to drinking. Being around his family in early sobriety would be an enormous stress and the temptation to drink would be incredible. If he chooses to remain sober, he would likely need to distance himself from them for an extended time. His family is not willing to look at themselves, you're right and so they will encourage him to minimize his alcoholism and continue to drink
Piecing together what you've told me...I'm wondering what your husband has done to achieve 11 months of sobriety? Is he in AA? Is he in treatment? I urge you to work together to make long term plans. Continued exceptions to the rule like the holidays just means that at best you get to have disappointing holidays and at worst he returns to drinking with a vengeance.
I'm sure you've heard it before - he must quit for himself and he must go to any lengths to stay sober. Please get help and support for yourself. Please look yourself in the mirror and be honest about what you're willing an not willing to tolerate. To thine own self be true.