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You can't make anyone stop drinking or using (sad reality)

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by aimeep80, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    Hi everyone,
    I am a fairly new poster here. I am also the wife of a recovering addict/alcoholic who has recently relapsed on alcohol. I guess it would be called relapse. He only drinks on the weekends thus far. I know alcoholism is progressive so that worries me a lot. But there isn't a thing that I can do. He has to do this himself if he wants to, but he doesn't want to.
    He was at a very bad place 5 years ago or so. He started off taking prescription pain pills, which I would say was his drug of choice. He then tried crack and became addicted to that. All the while he was drinking bottles upon bottles of vodka and beer every day. He was very sneaky, which I assume most addicts are. He hid his addiction from me very well for a while.
    Anyway, he did many stints in rehab and the first few times were due to me. I threatened divorce, I begged him, I cried, I convinced him he could do it. I am the one who more or less "made" him go to rehab the first few times. Each time he would call me within days, to tell me he was going to do it on his own and would be just fine. So I would go get him only to smell the familiar smell of alcohol or crack, or see white "snot" running out of his nose.
    I then found an online forum. It was for addicts and alcoholics and also had a section for their families. It was an eye opener. I learned loads and learned that I could not, nor could anyone else, force the addicted into treatment. There is no amount of begging or pleading or threatening that will make a person want to get clean and sober. The forum taught me to focus on ME and my well being. Once I let go of that and acted like I didn't care one way or the other, my husband decided enough was enough and he was sick and tired of being that way.
    He entered treatment after a month or so of me changing my ways. He successfully completed treatment and once he got out, found a job, and was on the path to being the amazing man that he is minus the addiction. He had his days where he was majorly depressed, but he did very well and remained clean and sober for 3 and a half years.
    Thankfully he got and still has a wonderful job. He loves what he does and makes decent money. He is loving and kind and a excellent partner. He always has been but was very sick with the addiction so did many things out of the norm. Well, about 6 months ago we were at a friends house. He asked if I thought a beer would bother him. I told him I had no idea and all he could do was "try". Stupid on my part. Now he is drinking every weekend. Thankfully he is not drinking every day but I feel that is coming and it scares me. He stays away from liquor and only drinks beer, but still, I am afraid he will decide to give that a whirl next.
    All the fears I have has caused me to lash out and become the begging, crying, and pleading wife again. I go from that to even drinking with him at times, and I had given up drinking to support him prior.
    But I then remembered that I can NOT force him to quit again. I can NOT beg, or plead, or threaten him because he is an alcoholic and he is the one responsible for his addiction.
    He will either decide to work toward sobriety again, or he will not. I have to do the same thing I learned from that forum years ago and that is to let go and not badger him about it. Anyway, I just felt compelled to post this. I just want others going through this to know that things will be much better once they decide to take care of THEMSELVES. You can not make an addict stop. It just doesn't work that way.
  2. Stella

    Stella Member

    Yes, you're right. You CAN'T force him to stop, which is actually a good thing. Someone is always turning to drinking or drugs because they have something else bothering them in their lives at the moment. If you were able to force him to stop, you wouldn't be fixing the actual problem. You'd be fixing the aftermath, so you should avoid saying things like "You need to stop drinking" or "Please don't!" You have to talk to him to make sure that he would be comfortable with going to a counselor or psychologist. That way, the reason why he's drinking would get better, and he wouldn't feel the need to channel his energy into drinking. Good Luck! :) Please keep me updated!
    aimeep80 likes this.
  3. DCMY

    DCMY Member

    If your husband is sensitive on the topic you need to approach him carefully. Establishing an honest, safe and understanding communication would be the best thing. Perhaps there might be some influence that is causing him to drink again. Stay strong. There are a lot of great people on this forum and they will gladly help you in any way they can, myself included.
    On a side topic, purely for informative purposes, there are method of making a person to stop using substances. Some rehab centers use them with heavy substance abusers but of course refuse to admit it. What they basically do is a complete breakdown of the person and recreation without any wish for substance abuse. That process is very complex and takes a lot of time. I am not sure what's the exact name of the method but it has proven to be efficient. As a side note it can make severe changes to the persons personality. After a person breaks down, he/she isn't the same again. That can be in a good or bad way.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  4. gracer

    gracer Community Champion

    I guess reverse psychology worked on your husband. When you showed him that you didn't care anymore he managed to think things out because he thought he would really lose you. Sometimes forcing people to stop their addiction without any strong reason wouldn't budge them. But once they realize things on their own, that's the time they finally decide to choose the path to change. You are an admirable woman for being able to put up with your husband after all these years. Just don't lose hope and patience on him and maybe one day he will come to realize the better things in life.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  5. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    You are right, I learnt this the hard way: with myself and now with someone I deeply care about. It's so unfair, but I've come to the conclusion that no matter what you do or say, if the addict isn't ready to quit he/she just won't. All you can do is talk to them about the problem, and hoping some of what you say sticks in their mind. That's all we can do! We can just offer them our support and love.

    It's sad, because most of the times when you are trying to convince them what they are doing is destroying them, they won't listen. They will ignore it. The rest of the time you must be so careful how you deal with the different situations you have to deal with thanks to their addiction though... it's such a tough and demanding task.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  6. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    Thank you for your reply. The method you are speaking of sounds really unethical and I've never heard of it but appreciate you sharing that with me. I'm going to search it on google just to see what it is all about. It may be hope for the severely addicted, even if it changes their personality. Very interesting indeed.
  7. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    I believe it really did make him see that the "ball was in his court" from that point forward. I think he realized that and I feel that he may realize it again soon. I love him with all my heart and all my being. If he were to get back to the way he was, I would do the same exact thing and just choose to ignore it. I pretty much do that now but before I feel I was a bit stronger. Thank you for your reply and kind words. I appreciate it very much!
    gracer likes this.
  8. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    It is very sad, I totally agree. They choose to ignore it because they do not want to hear that they have a problem, even though they know they do. I guess it's part of the denial. It is definitely unfair.
  9. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Yeah, I really think it is denial. I think their denial definitely defies any kind of logic, but I really think there are people out there that actually have no idea they have an issue. But of course there are others who suspect they do, yet they don't do nothing until they hit rock bottom :(

    I was told my biological father had a serious accident when he was 40, he tried to get on the back of a truck, he was so drunk. Well, he failed and was dragged around for a couple seconds (they must have felt like hours to him!). Long story short, he ended up in the hospital, they thought he'd not make it, but he did. Right after that he stopped smoking, went cold turkey!

    So, this showed me the strength to quit is most likely in all of us, but the motivation? That one is hard to catch...
  10. gracer

    gracer Community Champion

    Your husband is a very lucky man to have found a wife as loving and accepting as you. Women like you are rare these days and I'm sure your husband knows that. I believe all your efforts will pay off one day, just keep on hanging on. :)
    aimeep80 likes this.
  11. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    I agree. You can't force it down their throat, but what you can do is if they won't decide to quit or won't decide to try quit, then you can influence them inwardly because words are much more powerful and you can get them one day to hate it.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  12. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    I have been through the arguing, dumping bottles down the drain, watering the liquor down and hiding the liquor with a grandparent. None of it seemed to help her stop. It seemed to accelerate the progression of the alcoholism. All I could do is state how I felt about the behavior honestly and refuse to participate in or support the addiction. I was fortunate enough that I could remove myself from the situation and offer support if she decided to get help. She eventually did get sober but it was very late in her life and it was her own decision.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  13. I am also married to an addict. His drug of choice is pot. He will get clean, only to return to it again. This last year he has been completely clean and I thought maybe this was the beginning of a good future for us and recently I found out he is using again. I just can't allow myself and my children to go through that again. I am filing for divorce and it is breaking my heart. I just don't have the strength to try and trust someone who has lied to me so much. My children and I deserve better.
  14. chanelskii

    chanelskii Member

    You are right, you can't convince them. You have to show them that you can stand on your own without them. Maybe one of their reasons is that they can do this because you're dependent on them. You just show them that you are a tough woman, you have your kids, they'll be your source of strength now. And whatever happens, you are doing the right thing for them.
    aimeep80 and momof4blessingz like this.
  15. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    I have a family member that started drinking again a couple years ago. It was just a beer here and there. Now is is up to several beers and a fifth of whiskey every 2 to 3 days. He tries to rationalize it by saying at least he doesn't do hard drugs anymore. It's ridiculous. I cant do anything to make him stop though. It is frustrating to watch somebody self destruct.
  16. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    Didn't see before a tweet from this site in the front page of this forum, that leads to this article

    Interesting reading, and while certainly it's impossible to help an alcoholic that is not asking for help and does not want to be helped, perhaps commenting on this article with someone else but next to the person as if the conversation would be casual and not intended to him, this could raise a stop flag, or at least made him stop to reflect on it.

    Of course, to make it an effective reading he would have to be slightly sober to catch a suggestion, if any could sound appealing precisely for being unconventional.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  17. I am having a rough time. I know that divorcing my husband is the right choice for me but it is so hard. We have been married 10 years and the prospect of being a single mom to 4 children is really freaking me out. He is doing NOTHING to try to save our family. NOthing. our kids are to the point they can not stand him. I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders but I feel a peace that God is going to see us through. Such an emotional time.
  18. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    Thank you so much. I love him and believe in him so it's something that comes naturally to me. Not always easy of course, but definitely worth it. I'm sure he will get better..I just have faith that he will.
    gracer likes this.
  19. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    Yes, I've done all that as well in the past. This time around I do not. I just focus on myself and my well being as best as I can. He knows he's relapsed and accepts it but is saying he enjoys drinking. I firmly believe he will see that it's toxic and get sober again...I'm glad your grandmother eventually found sobriety.
  20. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    Hi there. I am so sorry that you are going through this. Trust is very important in a relationship and once it is broken it is very hard to build back up. My husband did pretty well every single drug there is, and became an alcoholic as well. I lost all trust in him when he did that...but have since gained it back. It never was actually him that I didn't trust, it is the addiction that I don't trust and that caused him to do the things he did. I am really up in the air with marijuana. I feel that marijuana is very beneficial to some people.

    I also feel that it is more "safe" than any other drug. This doesn't excuse anyone that abuses it, but for medicinal purposes I am all for it. I suffer with anxiety disorder and marijuana is legal in our state now, so I've thought about asking for medical marijuana. I would much rather take that than the anti anxiety medication that I take for the anxiety that has all the harsh unknown chemicals in it. But I do know that people can abuse it and become dependent on it. I'm so sorry this has happened to your husband and I know divorce is a drastic thing, but I am confident that you have tried everything there is. Lots of warm wishes to you and I hope things improve for your husband as well.