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Do alcoholics think they look normal to others when they are drunk?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by LindaSuzanne, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. LindaSuzanne

    LindaSuzanne Active Contributor

    I am having such a horrible time with my son. He used to be a Heroin addict and although he seems to be sticking to Subutex to control this he has turned to alcohol. He visits his daughter weekly, who I have custody of, but turns up drunk nearly all the time now. She is only 8 but even she has noticed how unpleasant he is when he has been drinking.

    I can tell as soon as he comes through the door by his manner, even before I smell it, that he has been drinking but he will deny it to the end and say I am imagining it. He promised me faithfully that he would take a week off visiting us and straighten himself out but if anything he is worse. Last night I had to call the police because little one went to bed to get away from him and he kept trying to wake her up when she had school in the morning. He was very verbally aggressive to me too and to the police when they arrived. I am at a loss to know what I should do. Any suggestions would be welcome as I'm exhausted with trying to deal with it week after week.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  2. henry

    henry Community Champion

    Yes, drunks think they look very normal to other people. If you've talked to him about this too many times already and he still doesn't listen, my advise to you would be to get a restraining order. I know it sounds harsh, but, hey, if the guy won't listen to reason, what else is there to do? I know he's your son, and that makes it very hard. But I think the little one should be your number one priority right now. Who knows, maybe this decision will make him get some help and sober up just so he can visit his little one.
    LindaSuzanne likes this.
  3. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    My partner is always thinking that he is fooling me. I will come home from work and he will be drunk and then he will try to act like he isn't. If I asked him if he was drinking he would lie to me. It is obvious when he is drinking. I can't see how he thinks he is fooling me.
    LindaSuzanne likes this.
  4. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    I am sorry to hear about this predicament you are going through right now. And I know it is really painful for you to see your son getting worse each day. I think the best thing for you to do is to seek help from the experts and encourage him to go to rehab. He's already prone to violence anyway. You don't want to risk the lives of your other family members, right?
  5. LindaSuzanne

    LindaSuzanne Active Contributor

    No he isn't violent, he's verbally aggressive towards me. He came round last night as if nothing had happened. He seemed sober and a completely different person but still denied he had been drinking. It's really hard to get through to him because it's as if he doesn't remember how bad he was. Surely he remembers the police taking him off! He says he had to get himself arrested so he would have a place to stay! I really don't understand the way he thinks.
  6. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    I'm sorry about your son, I know how much grief he's causing you and I hope you know that I have you in my prayers. To respond to your question: Yes, alcoholics (addicts in general) don't realise what they're doing at the moment, they think they're looking normal, and after the hangover they don't remember a lot of things.
  7. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    That is such a difficult situation! I agree that his daughter is definitely old enough to notice what's going on.

    I must admit that personally, it seems that I look less drunk than I am. It isn't helpful for me at all because there are many, many times where I should have stopped being served alcohol at bars, or when my friends should have suggested a water instead of pouring me another cocktail. Of course it's all entirely my fault for being in that state, but it seems it's not obvious how large my alcohol intake is sometimes.

    Regarding your situation, do you know if he had any issues with alcohol prior to his recovery from heroin? It sounds like he might have replaced one addiction with another. It does seem like he is very resistant but do you think he would humor you and attend an AA meeting with you as a one-off? That might be a good start in the direction of healing.
  8. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Hello Linda! The best option for you would be to mobilize your relatives, friends and other people you can trust. You discuss your problem with your son with them. If you already have a solution in mind, talk to them for a second opinion and make some adjustments. Your son must be rehabilitated physiologically, emotionally and spiritually, so he'll stop being a threat to you and your granddaughter. He may be a good person before his addiction. However, the way he is now, you, as much as your son, need all the help you can get.
  9. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    There a a big difference between a drunk and a alcoholic in my opinion. When a person is just drunk they won't care what they look and act like, they'll even probably like the attention.

    An alcoholic will try to hide their drinking and try and act normal. It's not purely because they are being deceitful but because they are ashamed of their own behaviour.
  10. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Community Champion

    Linda, this is a potentially very serious situation, however, I think that you can act in time to help your son before he does something he will regret later. As an ex-alcoholic, it doesn't sound entirely like alcoholism to me. You've mentioned nothing about your sons previous drinking habits in the past. Did he drink a lot before the heroin addicition, or during it ? When I was a compulsive drinker I could go to work after 3 or 4 beers, quite strong ones. I had a fairly good job, in an office and plenty of interaction with others. Even though I was slightly drunk, I could still function at my job efficiently and with certain precautions, I'm absolutely certain that no-one ever knew I was drinking at lunchtimes, and even sometimes in the mornings. I was a typical sneaky, lying alcoholic, covering up my drinking, whereas your son isn't doing that. Your son sounds as if he may have transferred the addiction from heroin to alcohol. The great danger of this is that if the addiction has not been cured, particularly from his perspective, then he may revert back to heroin at a future stage. I would recommend encouraging him to see his Dr. He may well be resistant to the idea, but encourage him by explaining how proud you are of him for getting off heroin in the first place. I presume he's always been a good father to his little girl, remind him that the stage of life she is at is very important in terms of character development and emotional stability, use a little gentle emotional blackmail to get him to seek additional help if you think It will sway his decision
    missbishi likes this.
  11. lalabee21

    lalabee21 Active Contributor

    I think that many people change one addiction for another, so it’s no surprise your son is drinking now. But, anytime he could go back to heroin, so please be careful. I believe this is a very uncomfortable situation, especially now that he’s becoming aggressive. I would try to encourage him to go to rehab or a support group as soon as possible, and meanwhile even if it’s hard I wouldn’t allow him to see his daughter. This could sound mean, but your son needs some tough love.
  12. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    Most people think they look pretty normal when they are drunk, as they can't think straight anymore. I, however, realized when I was drunk and never thought I looked normal, in fact, I was trying to hide it as much as possible.

    And about your situation... I don't think you can do anything anymore. The only person who can change this is his daughter, maybe it will be a wake up call. Let her talk to him while he's sober and explain him how awful she feels. That's the only way things may change.
  13. bsthebenster

    bsthebenster Community Champion

    When someone is drunk their normal brain activity is impaired. That's why he thinks he can get away with you not knowing. I personally think you should do what you can to shelter his daughter from him when he's drinking. It's not healthy for her to be subjected to that amout of instability. His daughter needs to focus on friends and school and what she wants to do with her life. She shouldn't be worrying about him and his alcoholism. I would be furm and tell your son he is not aloud to see her if he is drunk, no negotiations. If he says he's not drunk make him do a sobriety test. Can he walk in a straight line? Can he follow things with his eyes without moving his head? Is he being inappropriate? You need to do whatever you can to protect his little girl!
  14. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Many alcoholics, especially those who deny that their drinking is a problem always believe that no matter how much they drink no one will notice they've been drinking. When I was younger my brother [he was a teenager back then] would come home drunk and when confronted about it would, as the custom was, say he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol . . .

    @OP you ought to give your son an ultimatum. He either comes to visit your granddaughter when he's sober or you get either a restraining order or an order of protection.
  15. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Maybe the tough love approach might be needed in this situation. Next time he says you're imagining try telling him he must be joking, tell him he stinks, he looks a mess and he can't even walk straight. If you have custody of his daughter tell him straight, if he wants to keep seeing her and he really cares about her then he needs to sort himself out. Tell him he's not welcome until he's sober and that if he causes any trouble you won't hesitate to phone the police again.
  16. doatk22

    doatk22 Community Champion

    I'm sure they think they look normal to other people, but deep down inside they know better than to think that. They just don't care that much.
  17. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I think it can be hard at times to see if a person is drunk and they may even be able to drive a car which is not a good choice, but have seen some people I know do it and also it has been in the news quite a bit. It is sad when a person can think they are sober when they are not and also, they need to get the help which is needed to help them out from this addiction. I reckon that it is important to help the person who is suffering otherwise they will lose a lot in their life, and not move on which can cause them mental stress and sadness at times.
  18. karmaskeeper

    karmaskeeper Community Champion

    Trust me one thing about alcohol it makes you not care what others think about in that moment. It's after you have sobered up, and think about the ass you made of yourself while drunk. Then to hear it from others as well that's when the shame sets in. How to handle shame oh I know I'll just get drunk again so I won't have to think about it. That is the cycle of a drunk I know I did it for years.
  19. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    It must be hard for you as well as the child. Though your priority needs to be the child. The father's priority needs to be on getting clean. Tell him, when he's sober, on what needs to take place. The daughter shouldn't be worrying about her dad being a drunk all the time.
  20. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    I feel like they do believe they appear normal. I know I used to, but my friends would know I was really drunk. I'd swear I could walk in a straight line, etc. but everyone would know. Alchohol does impair your brain so you think things which aren't true.