What is Binge Drinking?
My husband and I have been together for ten years and married for three. We have been together since we were 15, (now 26) and are still very much in love. Last year we had a baby, and nothing has been the same since.
I guess it all started when I became pregnant; my whole life came to a halt and his did not. It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I started to notice how much he drank. He is not your typical alcoholic, he doesn’t get up in the morning and start his day off with a drink, in fact, he doesn’t even drink every day.
It is when he is out with his buddies that his drinking gets out of control. He will start by having a few beers which then turns to liquor, and then to shot after shot after shot. Most of the time (if he decides to come home), he is so drunk that he is in a black out stage. This is not an occasional situation, but something that is happening about ten times a month.
He is tearing our family apart and I just can’t stand it any longer! He makes me feel as though it is all my fault and I cause him to drink. He says I am controlling and I try to keep him from hanging out with the guys because I am jealous, but I know that is not true. If anything, I am trying to keep things from spinning out of control.
I hate the lonely nights and all of his drunken related fights. On some occasions, he is so drunk that when we fight he gets violent. He will throw things across our house and punch walls etc. There are several times when I have had to lock my son and me in the bedroom because I was afraid of what he might do. Then when we wake up in the morning, he is so incredibly sorry. He promises that he will never do it again.
I can feel the sincerity and I can see the shame in his eyes. Deep in my heart I know that he feels bad and I know he wants to stop, but he's just too weak to tell his friends no. As soon as he gets a text to hit up one of the favorite hangouts, it starts all over again. At this point, he is starting to lie to me because he knows that what he is doing is wrong and is hurting his family.
His mother, who is a recovering alcoholic, has been so helpful and understanding on my behalf, but it’s not enough. I am so scared that one of his nights of parting and heavy drinking is going to lead to a DWI (where he would then lose his job), jail time, or even death. He does not think that he has a drinking problem, but I on the other hand do. Please let me know if I am wrong.
Binge drinking is exactly what your husband is doing - drinking to excess on a regular basis, but not necessarily every day. Some people go through phases where they binge drink a lot, but can then let it go, and go without or drink 'normally' as well.
Binge drinking is obviously high risk because of the consequences you describe - potential to get a DUI, cause an accident, alcohol poisoning, getting into fights etc. - but it can also be the sign of a more serious drinking problem, i.e. alcoholism.
The difference between a binge drinker who does have a serious alcohol problem and a binge drinker who doesn't - is that the binge drinker who does, loses total control whenever they drink, and despite their drinking starting to cause major problems in their lives (like with your husband), they can't moderate or control their drinking in a way a 'normal' drinker can.
Alcoholism also tends to run in families because it's genetic so the fact that your husband's mother previously suffered from alcoholism is another major warning sign. The problem you face however is that if your husband doesn't see his drinking habits as enough of an issue to want to do anything about it, things aren't likely to change.
So the only way to handle this is head on and to draw a line in the sand with your husband: 'Things change or there will be consequences from your side.' It's not something you can dance around because as you've already seen, your husband is always remorseful the next day, but that hasn't led in any way to him trying to change his behavior.
There are no guarantees confronting your husband and giving him an ultimatum will work either - because he has to ultimately want to change himself if he's going to turn things around. But if he sees how serious you are and realises what he stands to lose if he doesn't, it might serve as sufficient motivation for him to make an effort.
Unfortunately you can't control your husband or the decisions he makes with his life, but you can decide you are no longer prepared to accept his binge drinking and related behaviour. There is no easy way around this. Total honesty and the decision from your side 'enough is enough' are the only things that may lead to positive change. Best of Luck and Take Care.