Q&A: Drunk Daddy

This is the post that's been stopping me from posting this week. I couldn't get past it, but still don't know exactly what to say.

Amy writes:

"I have been searching your siteand could not find advice or feedback on how to deal with Alcoholism in the
home. My spouse is an alcoholic. I, as a first time mom, am finding the stress
of juggling the sucking vortex of sleep disturbances/teething while watching the
clock from 4:30 till 5:00pm(is he coming home from work or is he stopping
for a "quickie" at the usual watering hole?) with the vigilance of a death
row inmate wating for a stay/phone call from the governor before the lethal
injection to be altogether too much for me. I am attending a weekly Al-anon
meeting, and thank God I can bring the baby along. I stay at home and have been
unable to get a sitter, let alone pay for one. We are living on one income
and it is just not making it.  Also, I have a weekly family therapy
session, and I have been taking the baby there too. It's a blessing that
our insurance for mental heath care does not require a co-pay! And I can go up
to 52 sessions a year! Whoo-hoo, cause I need 'em, I really do. Not only is
motherhood kicking my ass, but feeling something like a single parent was
something I hadn't bargained for.

    I say SOMETHING LIKE, because I
am not faced with leaving my baby with a childcare provider or family member
while going to work/school. Ugh. Hats off to you ladies and gents who are
doing this alone! My mom did it with five kids and when I ask her for advice,
she simply states, "honey, I can't even remember the Vietnam War. How am I
supposed to remember how I fed/dressed/diapered 5 kids on a police cadet's
salary in the sixities?

    So what to do, what to do. I
feel like I cannot leave the baby in his care and get out of the house alone for
a spell, which I need to do DESPARATELY-even if it is running errands on
the Mommy Clock. That's if he even makes it home at a reasonable hour. By
reasonable, I mean 7:30pm, for the whole bedtime routine. If he does make it
home, he usually is pretty buzzed or completely innebriated, so much so that I
cringe when he picks up the baby and walks around the house with him. Not like
he's ever dropped him, but it still makes me nervous. So husband might spend 1/2
hour with baby a day, sometimes, and then he generally passes out in front of
the TV. Husbands says he fell asleep, but I know better. Anyway, he's gonna do
what he's gonna do, while I am concentrating on everything else that needs to be
done, with safety first on my mind.

    I sent a few questions your way
this week regarding sleep and routine, etc., etc., and I feel my husband's
behavior (not spending time with our child, walking funny, talking funny when he
is home) is contributing to Grumpy's overall development, bar none the
loosey-gooseyness of our ever deteriorating schedule.

I am trying to get husband involved, with bath time
and feeding (we are in our first week of cereal 2x a day) but he can't be here
at any given time after work hours.

Should I give up, or will pressing the importance
of the routine issue become a routine in itself? He won't change diapers sober,
but he dotes on the baby after a few beers, let me tell you. Help! I feel like I
am searching for the tv remote in the bedcovers at night without waking the baby
in bed with me, and all I have to search with is a single foot and a dim
light at the end of the hall.

    How can a girl find a free
sitter? What are sitters charging nowadays? Who can you trust? My son, 6 months
old, is going through that clingy,teething,no-sleep stage; so in a way, I
feel the idea of handing him over to someone else is an impossible
dream, and therefore a moot point.What options do I have? My sanity is
involved here. I am nursing him round the clock, and daddy won't give a the
baby a bottle, unless he's been drinking, and even that
takes timing. Shit. This truely sucks.  

    If you choose to consider
posting this, please, you have my thanks. However, once I send this email, I
will delete it from my sent messages. I just don't want any more confrontation
from husband. It's hard enough getting to a weekly meeting; he's so defensive
and in denial."

Oh, girl. I'm just so sorry. This email is sucking the fight out of me just reading it, so I can't imagine how it must be to be living it.

First, get a free web-based email address from gmail.com or yahoo.com or hotmail.com that's just yours. Don't let him know  you have it, and clear the browsing history of your browser before he comes home. Then email me back.

Now, here's what I want you to know, even if you can't do anything about it right now: This is not your fault, and you are built for something better than living in fear of someone in the throes of a disease he can't control and is denying. You are meant for something more, Something far better, and something that makes use of who you are and what you can be. And your son deserves far better than he's getting right now, too. You're going to have to leave. Even if you can't do it now, you know it. When you're ready to, you will. Thousands of women have done it and are doing it, so you can, too. And we'll be right here to help you.

And it's not safe for him to be in charge of your baby. When he's sober he might be a wonderful guy. But alcoholism changes people and makes them behave in ways that are not rational. Until he gets into recovery, you cannot trust him with your son. And there is nothing you can do to get him out of denial and into recovery. Your job is to protect your son and yourself. You are the family unit at this point, because your husband is allowing himself to be absent and dangerous. Asking for or trying to get help and responsibility from him is simply not an option, because he's deep into this illness and just can't be trusted.

It sounds like what you need right now is a friend with a child who can trade some babysitting with you. You can leave your child with her for a few hours and then she can leave her child with you for a few hours. (But please please don't take her child while your husband is home–his active alcoholism makes it an unsafe situation.)

I don't have personal experience with Al-Anon or AA, but from my outsider's perspective I wonder if you could approach anyone in your group to ask for some help. It sounds like the alcoholism is making *you* feel ashamed and is limiting your social contacts, and that's tragic. You need all the support you can get right now. Can someone who's been (or is in) either Al-Anon or AA comment about whether she could approach other people in the group, or if that's not something that's done? It just seems to me like those are people with whom Amy wouldn't have to pretend that everything is OK.

This post is dedicated to the memory of D.E., who died yesterday at the age of 37 from complications of alcoholism.

Does anyone have any words of support or advice for Amy? Any women who've gotten out of alcoholic situations? Any people who grew up in alcoholic homes? Any women who are crying reading this like I'm crying typing it?

0 thoughts on “Q&A: Drunk Daddy”

  1. I am certainly tearing up reading this situation, but I don’t know what I can contribute besides sympathy and support. I agree with Moxie here: You must leave this man at some point in the future, and you must understand that you are worth more than suffering in his shadow. There is a lot of alcoholism in my and my husband’s family, and he has frightning tendencies towards such behavior. I told him before we had children, and when his behavior has moved towards irresponsibility since, that I WILL LEAVE HIM and will not live like his mother did with his father if he goes too far. It scares me and I’m not anywhere close to living in the situation you’re in.Sadly, you are far from alone here. And I cannot imagine the rage and exhaustion you must be facing every day. Please take care of yourself. I hope other commenters have more concrete suggestions for how you can handle your specific problems.

  2. Al Anon, Al Anon, Al Anon. They’re in the phone book. Call, find a meeting and go. You can take your baby. If you don’t like the first meeting, go to a different one – they have different flavors, different tones depending on who the regulars are, but you will find people there who understand what you’re going through, people who have been there themselves in the past, and people who are still there. Talk to people, find someone who seems approachable, or someone whose words you relate to, or just whoever you’re sitting next to, and after the meeting say hi, tell them one thing about your day or your week or whatever you feel like. Just open the door.You’re welcome to email me, maria at davidgrover dot com.

  3. Totally crying here. Grew up with alcoholic father. Never knew whether it was a “happy drunk day” or an “angry drunk day”. I was always on edge. Always tense. Always scared. Even when he was happy drunk, because I the line is fine and easily crossed. And, I am sorry to say, I carry a lot of resentment towards my mum for tolerating his behaviour. Even now, she is angry at me for not choosing them as guardians in our will. I would aboslutely choose my mum, if it was just her. But…. having grown up in an alcoholic house I will never EVER tolerate the same for my son.Amy, I’m sorry that’s not really helpful. But I agree with what Moxie has to say. Not dropping the baby does not mean your DH is not harming the baby. And it won’t be long before baby is going to be old enough to pick up on the tension of the 5 p.m. “when is he coming home” question.
    So, practical suggestion. Are there any gyms in your area that have childcare? There are some here that you can drop baby off for, say, an hour for $2.00 while you go work out. I have been known to NOT work out, but simply plant myself in the gym concession and read a book. It’s not much, but it would be a break.

  4. This is going to be short because I don’t have much time, but I have a few ideas. I’m not sure how large a community Amy lives in, but definitely check out the following if they exist where she is:1. Local YM/YWCA: both often have really great programs for mothers and children. Some even offer free daycare. Even if it for when you are supposed to be working out or swimming, make use of it. Even for half an hour might help. But they might also have bigger programs or the resources to tell you where you can find what you need.
    2. La Leche Group: Also will have mother-centred connections to help right now. Even if it is a support group. Go!
    3. Local library: Many will have programs for the kids. Go, meet some mothers. Find someone (librarian, other mother) who you can trust. They might know of something in the community that can help.
    Amy, I’m not in your situation, but I do remember growing up with a father who often wouldn’t come home for dinner. My mother would often have to call various bars to find where my dad was and she’d have to pick him up. She never left him and our family seems to have no remembrance or acknowledgement of that period. But I remember. I still wish my mother had left him.
    I live in a community that offers ‘respite daycare’ for free for two half-days a week. It’s amazing. My older son is in it now and my younger is on the waitlist. I don’t know how common these programs are, but for your sake, I hope they are in your community. Search it out with the help of those I suggested above.
    You are doing an amazing job. Your son is very lucky to have you. He will get through the teething (my youngest is at this stage right now and this alone is putting me on the verge) and you will survive this. It’s hard, but I can tell you are strong and loving. You will make it.

  5. A million hugs, Amy. This is so sad, and must feel so overwhelming.It sounds like you’re putting forth an heroic effort to keeping it all together and going to Al Annon and all those good things.
    I’m not going to say you should leave your husband. But I am going to advise you to become independant, now, rather than getting backed into a more desperate corner. I think you need your own economic security. And going back to work, harsh as it may seem to leave your child, will provide you with the means to secure his future if things deteriorate further with your husband.
    I hope Al Anon can help you come up with ways to ensure limits that will help keep your son safe around his father. And I hope so much that your husband is able to turn his life around and get back on track.

  6. Ok, REALLY sorry, don’t know how I could have missed the part about how you’re already going to a weekly Al Anon meeting! Sorry sorry sorry.One more thing though, having read Anon’s post after mine went up… I would gently say no one knows whether you must or must not leave your husband. That is entirely your decision and not one that you need to make at any specific time. He may or may not find help, you may or may not decide to leave for a whole constellation of reasons, and your decision may or may not be the one someone else would make in your shoes.
    You can still email me, if you don’t mind the fact that I’m a bit of a ditz…

  7. My heart goes out to you as a mother and mental health provider. You need this man away from your child before he starts to have memories of this toxic situation. What you describe (husband carrying child around after drinking) is or can be considered child abuse or neglect in every state in this country. You need to protect your child. I am not trying to scare you, but want you to understand the direness of this situation. Children’s Services would investigate a report like this. As for getting help with daycare – I think it was already posted, but many counties have respite child care available, or definitely as someone at Al-Anon for help. You need a break! I remember those hard days alone – get some support, and get out.

  8. Oh my. I am here crying with you as I read. Boy.I have to agree with Moxie. I think you need to leave. To protect yourself, to protect your baby and hopefully to give your husband the wake-up call he needs to get into a treatment program. Or at least, like Enu says, get some economic independence in case things deteriorate further and you HAVE to leave immediately but can’t.
    I don’t have first hand experience, but my mom grew up with an alcoholic father. My grandmother worked to support four children because my grandfather didn’t always bring home his paycheck. My mom has told me several times that they would have been better off without their father.
    You deserve so much better. Your son deserves a healthy dad. And he needs a good role model for the kind of husband/father he will grow up to be. Oh, my heart is breaking for you.

  9. I am thinking that if you can’t find child care, you probably don’t have any options either for some place to go live if you did consider leaving. That said, I wanted to remind us that leaving a marriage isn’t the same as ending a marriage. It’s a really important distinction for those of us who for whatever reason feel strongly about marriage being a forever choice. Leaving the bad just means making space for you and your children to grow away from something harmful and opening the door for a toxic partner to understand how deeply the need for change runs. As long as things remain the same, I think it’s almost impossible for the other person to get how serious things are. This can be done while still maintaining a commitment to the marriage as almost a third party – there is no infidelity, no cleaving, just space-making.Not sure that is the issue, but I wanted it out there.
    As for practical options, I didn’t catch where your mom or 4 siblings are but are any of them options for a short- to mid-term stay?
    We have an 11 year old neighbour who is a perfect mothers’ helper. Cheap and eager to play with baby and gives me an hour or two to nap or clean the bathroom – any kids out there in your ‘hood who could do the 4 – 6 shift with you after school?
    May you be given clear vision for your next steps…

  10. I grew up with an alcoholic mother. Part of me feels that Amy should make a plan to leave. All of me feels like she should become financially independent. But part of me also knows that alcoholism, like all else in the world, isn’t black and white; I loved my mother then and do now but simultaneously hate her and the things she did. I would not have been better off without her, but with different choices – she needed to make different choices about treatment, my father needed to make difference choices about holding the family together.So I’m not saying that Amy shouldn’t leave – from this little piece of the story it sounds to me like leaving should be a serious consideration. I guess I just wanted to say that I can understand and relate to the huge gray area of alcoholism.

  11. I have a hard time reading this one. My dad is an alcoholic, currently dying from the disease, and I have almost no relationship with him whatsoever. His behavior has wrecked my mother, made her a shell of her former self, I am a recovering alcoholic, my brother has emotional problems… on and on and on. My entire life has been defined by my father’s disease. I moved 2000 miles away from my hometown when I was old enough to do so and it saved my life.To the question poser, please get out. It will ruin you over time, ruin your child in ways you can’t imagine. My mother is still with my father and she continues to suffer. We all continue to suffer because of it.
    Alanon is an awesome place. I guarantee that if you share your story at a meeting there will be a million grandmas more than happy to help you out with whatever you need. Not only will it help you, but it will help them. Doing service for others is one of the cornerstones of Alanon/AA and people who are in recovery (whether it is recovery from alcohol or recovery from the emotional mess of dealing with an alcoholic) need to help others to maintain their own sanity and recovery. Please give those ladies the opportunity to do something good for another person. It will probably make a huge difference in their life. Not to mention yours.
    @Anonforthisone I grew up with the same type of dad. I used to think he had several different personalities. He still does. It puts a shiver down my spine even thinking about it.
    I have 7 years sober as of this November.

  12. Oh, Amy, big hugs to you. I have no practical advice that hasn’t already been given. I will say that if anyone I had ever been friendly with called me and said she needed a break, and could I watch her (no doubt adorable) little baby for a few hours, I would do it. Even if I hadn’t heard from her for years.I will also say that if you WANT to leave your husband, and what you need to do to leave is to get a job, and the thing that is stopping you is leaving your son in day care, please know that it is not as hard as it probably seems to you now, at least not after the initial adjustment period. My daughter went into day care at 5 months old. The first week or two was really hard. But then she and I settled into the new routine, and we are both thriving now. (She is almost 18 months old.)
    Good luck. You will find your way out of this!

  13. I am crying reading it. I am so sorry. It is so hard being a new mother and I can’t imagine the added stress of what you are going through. I am sorry, but I do believe like Moxie said that for both you and your son you need to leave. I was thinking of inspiring stories of new mothers making it without the help of a partner and Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions came to mind. It’s such a wonderful book. It might help to lift your spirits a tiny book and give you a picture of how wonderful it can be to be a single mother if you can surround yourself with the right supports. Do you have drop in centres in your areas for parents? I am in Canada and we have ‘early years centres’ where you can leave your baby/tot for a couple hours at a time with qualified people, for free. It is a God-send for many. Can you look into resources like that in your community? Call on a friend? A trusted neighbour? I wish you strength and eventual peace. You do deserve so much better than this, and your son most definitely deserves better, and it is up to you to ensure that he is protected and safe and secure and not surrounded by the fear and insecurity that must be permeating your household. My thoughts and prayers are most definitely with you and your son.

  14. I am so sad for the OP.Here’s the thing: your child is 6 months old right now. What I’m going to say may be overwhelming because, of course, you are just trying to make it through the day.
    But. What happens when your child is 2.5 and does something normal around your husband when he’s drunk? Leaves cars out that are trippy? What happens when he’s 4 and says “you’re WEIRD daddy” to him?
    How long do you think you can survive if you try to throw yourself in the middle as your child gets older and in many ways more complicated (if a better sleeper :))
    You cannot wait for your husband to come around. You need to make a life that is secure without him right now. Those steps include seeing what social assistance is available to you now. Could you get a housing subsidy, welfare, food stamps? It includes getting ready to be the full single mom – job training or getting a job, finding childcare, getting backup childcare in line.
    You do not have to do this alone. Get your therapist to get you in touch with community agencies, whatever. But you need to start today, just baby steps, but today.
    Your current life is not sustainable and you cannot depend on your spouse to change it.
    Please update us if you can; you will be in my thoughts.

  15. :(Although your son may be too young to realise now, it won’t be long at all before he picks up on what’s going on. Even though the words “drunk” are never used, or even if the father was never around the son while drunk, this sort of a tense family environment *will* impact the child.
    I grew up in an alcoholic home without knowing it for years and years. Eventually my mom left my dad, but looking back, I see all those signs and all those things that mean that my parents were too busy trying to survive their own life in order to be able to pay enough attention to their kids. Something should have been done LONG before.
    I agree with other posters, you need to get some economic security so that you can have some choices. The situation may be tolerable now, it may even improve, but chances are it’s going to get worse, and you may find yourself being ready to leave – you need to have somewhere to go. Your husband might then finally get the wake-up call that he needs, or he might not. In either case, you are not responsible for his recovery, only for your own and your child’s health and wellbeing. And if that doesn’t involve his father at this point in time… then that’s what it is.

  16. Can’t write much now but just wanted to say is it all possible for you to go stay with your mom for awhile (I’m gathering from your question that that isn’t a local option for you) just you and your son? It wouldn’t solve your long term issues (i.e., husband’s alcoholism, whether to leave him, etc.) but it could give you a short term break and get you some help with your son and the ability to take a couple breaks while your mom watches your son (even if your mom still works, she could give you a break in the evenings). Also, might give you a chance to research options (albeit in a different community but that might make sense if you wind up leaving your husband) for daycare, jobs, etc. plus give you plenty of time to go to a bunch of Al-Anon meetings.I really do feel for you. Sounds like such a rough situation. I know that sometimes I view my husband as one more thing that needs me and just another responsibility and he isn’t an alcoholic. I am sure the added worries and responsibilities related to your husband’s behavior is very overwhleming when you are also a new mom taking care of her 6 month old.
    My heart goes out to you.

  17. You need free babysitting? I know many people are anti-religion/anti-church but so many churches have Mommy’s Day out, etc. Also, a church may have a great support system for you and I know that many would be happy to help you with child-care. Many teens involved in churches are incredibly generous as are some of the older people who would be happy to help you out occasionally. Just a thought, please don’t take it as I’m trying to force religion down your throat, just giving a suggestion.

  18. It seems that the missing key to leaving this toxic situation is, of course, money. (Perhaps I’m biased; I’m in a similarly untenable situation that does not, thankfully, involve substance abuse, but I’m learning how hard it is to even contemplate leaving when you’re economically dependent on your partner.) So, how can you get some? And how long will it take you to accumulate enough to leave?I wonder if you feel safe enough to permit yourself, say, a year to get some money together. If you have family or friends who are willing/able to loan you some money, don’t feel shy about asking. Those conversations might mean you have to reveal your husband’s alcoholism, and maybe that idea causes you some shame — but remember that you’ve done nothing wrong, that none of this is your fault, and that it’s your child’s well-being that you’re defending.
    Is it possible to take on even part-time work as well? Perhaps not, if a sitter is unaffordable at this point. It sounds like your baby is going through a particularly needy stage, too, but that won’t last forever. (I have a ten-month-old, and he is so much easier to manage now than he was at six months.)
    In the meantime you can talk to a Legal Services lawyer and find out about child support rules in your state. It sounds as if your husband is managing to keep his job despite his drinking, and remember that he’s legally obliged to provide financial help if you do divorce — and you can use some of that financial help to buy childcare so you can work. It won’t be just you on your own.
    You know, you sound really strong and clear-headed despite the horrible stress of this situation. That strength will see you through in the end. Please re-visit this site at some point and let all of us know how you’re doing.

  19. Another product of an alcoholic home here. Growing up with an alcoholic father is not good. The tension, the guilt, all the horrible feelings, you pick up on it at a very young age. There are a pretty specific set of ‘issues’ that a child of an alcoholic home has to deal with as a grown-up, and they are not very fun. As others have encouraged, please make plans for an escape. Financial independence, an emergency place for you and the baby to go, a packed bag, and a tank full of gas at all times. With an alcoholic, you never know when things are going to get violent. I’m glad you’re going to Al-Anon and therapy, that is a great first step. Maybe someone at those meetings would have ideas about how to get you some help with the baby? If you are in a large enough town the Y / gym suggestion sounds like a great one. Good luck. We are pulling for you. Please email if you would like.

  20. I grew up with an alcoholic father who sounds EXACTLY like your husband. He came home every single night drunk. We never knew if he would be happy or angry or sad. We never knew if he would tell us he loved us or if he would tell us he hated us and we were worthless.I can not tell you the damage it did to me as a child living in fear like that. I developed an eating disorder and had to be hospitalized at under 90 lbs. Later I tried to kill myself.
    I have been in thousands of hours of therapy and am now “normal.” But I will never have a normal relationship with my father for all the ways he hurt me. And I’m still not sure I could have a normal relationship with my mom because she allowed this to happen. I know she was afraid and doing the best she could do, but I still don’t have it in my heart to completely forgive her.
    I know some people are saying “don’t leave” but I have to say with my entire heart – LEAVE if he won’t stop drinking. Moxie is right. You deserve more. Your child deserves more.

  21. Amy, I am so so sorry. My heart just goes out to you. You sound so brave and strong.One foot in front of the other, right? One thing at a time. You’re doing a great job.
    However your relationship plays out with your husband–I most strongly agree that steps toward financial independence should be taken, so that you can have options.
    There’s no easy answer here. And at first I bet whatever money you make will largely go toward childcare… but one step at a time.
    I’m thinking of you and rooting for you.

  22. My heart goes out to you. My DH grew up with alcoholic parents, and they’re still the same today. They have never, and will never babysit our son, simply because they can’t be trusted after 4 pm. I’ve seen the effect it’s had on my husband and his siblings…they’ve all suffered for it.I’m hoping that you can reach out to someone in your life as you did to Moxie…someone who can give you concrete help so you can find the space to become financially independent.
    I think a single parent who’s responsible, loving and present is worth far more to a child than living with this stress.
    Your husband won’t change on his own…why would he? In his eyes, everything probably seems fine. You’re still there, his baby’s still there. If you can find the strength to leave him, it will be a blessing for him as well. He’ll be able to step back and see the consequences of his actions, and just maybe, save his own life.

  23. What a very hard situation. It sounds from your email that while there are many troubles right now, arranging some respite care for yourself is at the top of your list.Why is respite care a priority for you now? There are a lot of possible answers to that. Will it give you time to take of yourself? Will it allow you to catch up on sleep? Will it give you space and time to be able to step back from the rest of your circumstances to sort out what needs to happen next for the best outcome for your baby, yourself, your family? Does it refocus your attention away from the addiction? Or all of those things?
    Knowing why you need it, will help you figure out what do to next and where to turn for the respite care you need.
    anonforthisone gives some good starting points for identifying the resources that could help you find respite care services. YWCA/YMCA is often an especially good place to start.
    You make reference to family therapy, is that for you and your husband? How is that going? Does your need for respite care come up there? How about his addiction? You probably know that when addiction is part of the matrix of problems, the best chance for other problems getting worked out is for the addiction to be addressed first. Addiction distorts the addict, distorts the addict’s ability to participate fully and honestly in solving other problems. Addiction distorts the family too, distorts your ability to attend to other important issues of concern to your family, distorts how you see the addict, how you see yourself.
    Many people are suggesting you leave now or later. It’s not really that simple, though, is it? There are some good reasons you haven’t left yet. Some are practical, some are emotional, no? As important as knowing why the current situation is bad is knowing what’s good about it.
    You don’t say where your husband is at in the behavior change process. Is he aware he has an addiction problem? Is he aware but ambivalent about changing his drinking behavior? Is he aware and wanting to stop drinking now making plans for treatment? Is he post-treatment but relapsed?
    You have found Al-anon and that is an important resource for you in all this right now. Do what you can to stay connected to people/places outside your family. And do not be afraid to look at the truth of your situation right now. Your situation may be quite painful. Seeing that pain for what it is won’t make it worse, it will free you to see more clearly, to listen more deeply, and to find your way. Keep going, keep thinking, keep listening, keep talking.

  24. Amy – You are doing the best you can, and I want to let you know that I believe you are strong enough to survive this. You’re making some very good choices right now by going to weekly Al-Anon, by going to weekly family therapy, and by RECOGNIZING that the dynamic is terribly hurtful in your home, and that you can never leave your baby alone with his dad. I admire you for loving your little baby so much and for being such a good mama to him. Oh, Amy. I can feel from your words how emotionally drained you feel, how overwhelmed you are, and how uncertain you are about tomorrow.Your immediate question is how to find a sitter. Anonforthisone (@11:19am) listed some options that I think could work well for you. As for the much larger question of “Where do we go from here?,” what I want to offer you is a couple of things I know to be true: 1) Your child won’t be damaged if you leave now, while your son is still an infant. 2) Your child won’t be damaged if you entrust him to the care of a recommended babysitter you feel comfortable about while you work to economically support your family. I can understand how scary the idea of leaving must be, because it would seem to mean you could no longer stay home, and you’d have to spend less time with your son. I know how much you’re craving some predictability, and to make the choice to get out could mean a lack of a routine for awhile, and that has to feel a little scary, too.
    But you can do it. Think about how much LIGHTER you could feel someday. And how your son would THRIVE, enjoying a mom who looks forward to her tomorrows, with a calm certainty about her that they’ll be good days. You are never alone, Amy, and I know you’ll get through whatever you decide.

  25. This is only tangential, but since Moxie brought up how to get anonymous email, I’d like to mention a potential problem for those who might be (justifiably?) paranoid.If you think that your spouse, or from anyone in your home, is spying on your email, you should consider using a public, or a friend’s, computer.
    There are coming to light cases where spouses are spying on each other using spyware that takes photos of your desktop, which means images of what you’re typing as you’re typing it, then secretly transmitting the data off of the computer. You can have passwords and/or anonymous accounts, but it won’t make a difference if he/she sees images of the computer screen as you type.
    Here’s a link to a Florida case that addresses the software program “Spector”:
    http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin2005/020705/5D03-3484.pdf

  26. One more thing I wanted to share, from the viewpoint of a child of an alcoholic. I would recommend reading the book “It Will Never Happen to Me: Growing up with Addiction” by Claudia Black. An excellent resource in addition to the other Al-Anon resources.I realize my previous post may have been negative. I know it’s not a simple change to just leave. I just wish every spouse to an alcoholic had an understanding of what it does to children. I can’t recommend that book enough.

  27. I read this site all the time, but this is my first time commenting, I could have written a very similar email to Moxie myself.Like Anon on Thursday commented, I believe that money is very important here, as is your gaining independence from your husband. I don’t think you should tackle this as ‘ok, I’m going to set out to leave my husband’, as many posters today are suggesting, because quite simply, in this situation, I think that is an incredibly overwhelming task and is not likely to be easy to achieve.
    I think it’s more realistic to start taking little steps in the direction of independence, so that if in the future you should want/need to separate from your husband, you can do so rather easily. You’re on the right track with Al-Anon and counseling, other things I would suggest include contacting a lawyer about your rights (there are many free legal resources in many communities, check with Legal Aid), looking into getting a job and daycare, and while in counseling, work on trying to gain more emotional independence from your husband (i.e., don’t worry about having him involved in the routine, if he helps, that’s great, but be prepared to do it yourself). I think that one of the tricky things about living with an alcoholic is learning to have no expectations of them at all; they have a disease, and until they are willing to do something about it themselves, there isn’t much you can do about that, no matter how frustrating it is.
    Take things one step at a time, working only on the things that you have the ability to change (not your husband’s behavior, unfortunately), and hopefully you’ll find your way on a better path with your son in the near future. It may be a long journey.
    Good luck and please keep us updated.

  28. Oh Amy, I LIVED this under different scenarios (my father was an alcoholic, my grandfather was an alcoholic, my stepfather was an alcoholic)…How do you stay sane? You sound so together…My God. You are asking about routines and sitters…I take my hat off to you. I remember my father stumbling around, I remember my grandfather throwing up on the street while taking me for a walk, I remember the monthly ambulances showing up at our house for my stepfather….The fights, the resentment, the shame, the depression, the deterioration of “normal”.My mother left my father when I was little, but somehow ended up with another alcoholic 10 years later. However, during those 10 years, I NEVER once missed my father. He was out of my life completely (he still is). My stepfather drank himself to death by age 52, but I still ended up spending about 6 years under the same roof with him. It was miserable.
    Please, if you have any way of getting out of this situation, do it now. No one deserves to be living like this.

  29. I have no experience with alcoholism, but my husband is in a 12 step program for rage so I feel some kinship to Amy. In my case, he was a great husband and dad except every couple of months something would set him off and he would get nasty, really mean. It was like he had just exploded. The last time it happened we got into a physical fight. I know that 99% of people would tell me to leave immediately, that if he hit me once he’d hit me again. (So far, he has not hit me again and I believe he won’t.) I made it very clear that he needed to seek immediate help with anger management and prove that he was dead serious about it, or I would leave him. The secondary part of that “threat” (I use quotes because it was not an empty threat at all) was that if I left I would have to move 3000 miles away because of our financial situation. The next day he called Rage-aholics (there really is such a thing) and started going to meetings.I don’t know if an ultimatum would help here, I really don’t, because everyone is different. But I do feel that leaving isn’t always the right choice, and I suspect Amy does too since she hasn’t mentioned that as an option.
    I’m writing this anonymously because I haven’t talked about our problems on the internet, but I used my real email address. If Moxie or Amy wants to talk to me, please use it.

  30. Oh Amy, I LIVED this under different scenarios (my father was an alcoholic, my grandfather was an alcoholic, my stepfather was an alcoholic)…How do you stay sane? You sound so together…My God. You are asking about routines and sitters…I take my hat off to you. I remember my father stumbling around, I remember my grandfather throwing up on the street while taking me for a walk, I remember the monthly ambulances showing up at our house for my stepfather….The fights, the resentment, the shame, the depression, the deterioration of “normal”.My mother left my father when I was little, but somehow ended up with another alcoholic 10 years later. However, during those 10 years, I NEVER once missed my father. He was out of my life completely (he still is). My stepfather drank himself to death by age 52, but I still ended up spending about 6 years under the same roof with him. It was miserable.
    Please, if you have any way of getting out of this situation, do it now. No one deserves to be living like this.

  31. Shanda makes a very good point. What works to muddle through the days and nights with a baby isn’t the same as life with a toddler. There’s more noise, more limit-testing, more stuff in little pieces on the floor… and the humbling realization that they’re carefully watching to learn about what your family considers appropriate behavior. Start thinking about what sort of man you want your son to grow up to be. And then think about what steps you can put together to help him realize your dreams — and his.One other thing: quality childcare can be a very valuable experience for both mom and child. The kiddo gets to form trusting relationships with people other than you, and to learn that you will always come back, no matter what. In the very big picture, you get one more person on the planet who loves your son. That’s a great thing to have in your pocket when the going gets tough.

  32. Hoo. I’ve had to delete two replies so far. Both long ones, by the way. You know me.Some thoughts:
    1) I don’t know how to get the help per-se, but ask: a) at alanon, b) at counseling, c) at churches, even if they’re not your church, d) county help-line, e) any help line, f) women’s shelters.
    2) Do you have an exit strategy? You sound defeated and trapped, and that to me usually means ‘no exit strategy’. Use the counselor to work one out – conditions for exit (exact ones, not vague – my mom’s exit conditions were ‘touches me or the child in a harmful way’ – and she held to that, though I really wish she’d moved *before* my brother was thrown against a wall).
    3) Do you have a life-after-this plan? What’s the possible job options? What skills do you need to get NOW, should you need to get the job in six months? Writing out a plan may seem dreary, but take one step on the plan and you’ll probably feel better. That’s the security/independence need thing. You have to be in a place where you CAN survive on your own, because that’s the place where you can do the most good for everyone – even if you stay.
    4) Have you considered the lessons your son is learning now? Because cognition is sufficient at 6 months to understand if-then. If it is dark and daddy comes home, mommy sounds scared. If it is dark, and daddy hasn’t come home, mommy sounds scared and angry. They read emotions very well at this age, so he is reading yours. And his dad’s. And he’s picking up those lessons – this is what it means to be a man, this is how women are treated in my family, this is what life is about, these are the feelings that we avoid because they’re too dangerous, those are the feelings we allow. These lessons go through clearly starting now (and some may already be well developed) – for my family, yours, anyone’s – they learn what we model. take a good look at your model and your husband’s, and decide if this is what you want to teach.
    And good luck. My dad stayed too long with my step-mom. His mom stayed until his dad left, before that – he was 3 or so, but he still learned that you suck it up and stay with the one who makes you hurt the most.

  33. Amy,I hope you are gleaning what you need from these comments. I think it’s very easy to tell you to leave your husband. I am in a similar place, and it’s completely overwhelming to think about leaving.
    My kids are 6 and 3. His drinking has gotten MUCH worse in the last 2 years. I am still trying to formulate a plan. But in the meantime, you need to take care of yourself. It sounds like you understand that.
    I would almost advocate to try living your life (until you decide things should change) knowing you cannot rely on him at all. Don’t worry about when he will come home. You will go about your day anyway. You will take care of your son and yourself anyway.
    I might try to set some boundaries with your husband. It is a disease that he cannot deal with without recovery. I told my husband there were two rules: don’t drink and drive, do not drink in front of the kids.
    Then set up the consequences and follow through.
    For me it was, if you break the rules you go to recovery. If you choose not to go to recovery, we leave.
    It doesn’t mean you have to leave right now. It means you are taking back control of your life and protecting your son.
    write me at tisdale at gmail dot com

  34. Amy, I’m so sorry.My dad was an alcoholic. He’s almost 20 years sober now, and I’m proud and happy to say that he and I have an amazing relationship now. It’s not really a parent/child relationship, but it’s a great friendship, and we can speak the language of recovery together thanks to his AA and my Al-Anon. It’s incredible.
    My dad left my mom when I was five. My mom was completely blindsided. She knew he was drinking, but had no idea he’d leave.
    Obviously, my personal experience colors my perspective, but if there’s one universal truth to alcoholics, it’s that they are totally unpredictable. Were I you, I’d work on creating a routine with your son that does not involve your husband. If he’s home and is in a condition to help, fine, but get a routine established that works for you and your son, just the two of you. Believe me–I know how much is sucks to do it all alone, as my husband died when my twins were 9 months old–but you can’t count on your husband to be there. If you start thinking like a single parent now, you can stop being disappointed every time he’s *not* there since you won’t be expecting him to be there at all.
    I hope that if you want to leave him, you can–that you have the financial and emotional stability to do so. Talk to people and get phone numbers at Al-Anon. People there can and will help you. Lots of people care about you and your son.
    Know that there is a whole community of people out there pulling for you right now. Know that you are a woman of dignity and grace. Hold that baby tight.

  35. Another thought: you might consider using Google’s new Chrome browser, which allows you to open an “Incognito” browser window which does not record your history or web usage. That way you can have some privacy to deal with this without having to make it obvious that you’re wiping out your web history ever 2 days.Also, you could sell it that it’s a cool new technology you heard from a friend, and that it will help you use google apps like Google Maps.

  36. This made me cry and my heart just goes out to you, Amy. I’m so glad that you realize that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child and that you’re doing that in a few ways.I just skimmed the comments, so I apologize for any overlap. I’m not sure where you live, but in some areas there’s a strong parent network and in my area they have informal baby playgroups. I started going when my son was around 4 weeks old, so you know it’s more for the moms than the babies. I was still with my son, but it was so good to get out and talk to other moms and commiserate and laugh. The other thing I did was send out a post on a local parent listserv to see if any other new moms wanted to meet up for coffee somewhere. That was also really good for my head.
    If you don’t know of any local list servs, try googling, or your local La Leche League would probably also know of some.
    I hope that you keep in touch with Moxie because I know that I’ll be thinking of you often and sending you positive thoughts, and I’d love to know how you’re doing.

  37. I didn’t read through all the suggestions so I don’t know if this has been covered, but many churches offer free or very low cost Mothers Day Out even if you aren’t a member of their congregation.Also, you might check with a few churches Women’s groups or youth groups to see if any of the women or young ladies need to fulfill any volunteering goals or compassionate service goals. You may find free babysitters this way. As a former Mormon I know that the youth groups are always looking for “service” projects to donate time and energy to. You may also find several stay at home moms that wouldn’t mind swapping time with you, where you could watch the kids at their house.

  38. This is why I left “Mike”. He was a great guy. Really great. Except after drinking. You never knew what would set him off. I’d try to do everything just right like I thought he’d like and one little thing would upset him. I couldn’t dream of a future with children who can be messy and loud under the best of circumstances. Anyway….Is your husband driving home from the bar to your house? If you want to push him a little closer to realizing he has a problem and getting help, you can tip off the police and get him a DUI. I know this would not help your financial situation and might also feel a little unethical to some, but sometimes people need help realizing that they are thisclose to rock bottom. Or, the added burden of him losing his license might be enough to drive you over the edge. You have options.

  39. Just wanted to comment on something I inferred from the OP. It seems like she has sort of dismissed the husband’s alcoholism as not being as much of an issue because he is a nice drunk and actually “better” with the child when he’s had a couple of beers. I’m guessing it will take a number of Al Anon meetings to help her through that. I am not saying that to be cruel – I see the OP as being a great mom and trying her best and I understand first hand how Alcoholism is a disease of sorts for the whole family.My mom is an alcoholic but if you were to ask her, she’d say she isn’t. When I was a child she had a period of more obvious alcoholism. Now it is just that she HAS to have a glass of wine (or two or three) each night and becomes visibly worried if that isn’t available. I detest seeing her with any alcohol as I just know how she’ll become. Not a mean drunk but still in my opinion a drunk (and in denial).
    Last thing to add, if OP has not asked for help in her community because she’s worried about letting anyone know her husband’s addictions. I’m going to guess that anyone close to her already knows and just doesn’t talk about it and is waiting for her to bring it up if she’s want.

  40. Whew, this is making me realize I should really get back to some Al Anon meetings! I am in no way in a dire situation, but I could definitely use a tune-up.

  41. This is a very small piece of advice but I’m sure if you reached out to the postpartum doulas in your community they would be happy to volunteer some time to give you a break so you can get out of the house, breathe, and get your bearings. There is no shame in asking for help – whenever we’ve been asked we’ve been honored to be able to make a difference for somebody who needs it. They also should be very well connected and might help you network to additional resources, groups, individuals who could support you while you figure out how to proceed.Best of luck to you.

  42. Wow, I can’t imagine dealing with all of that and a young baby, too. I think Amy is doing an amazing job keeping everything together.I agree with the previous posters who mentioned that she should start working on an exit strategy. I think an exit strategy will make her more empowered. And then she’ll be able to make the decisions she needs to.
    My father was an alcoholic, but I seem to have had a very different experience than some other posters. My dad was a very high functioning alcoholic and as children we were unaware. In my case, I feel if my mom had left, it would have made everything worse for our family. It sounds as if Amy’s husband is more erratic. And that his behavior negatively impacts the family more.
    I know this was probably not terribly helpful, but I thought I should add a different perspective. Amy, good luck with your decisions. I will be thinking of you and your family.

  43. Not only do you need to get some financial independance in case you want/need to leave your husband in the future, you need to get some in case he loses his job. That is a very real possibility with an alcoholic. He may be highly-functioning now, but that doesn’t mean he will always be. He may already be close to losing his job, you have no way of knowing.You can do this. You don’t need to be ashamed.

  44. I don’t have time to read through all the comments, but if it hasn’t been suggested, have you looked into MOPS groups? Do a search through google. Basically you go and it’s a bunch of moms bringing their kids. And there are times when you get to leave to go do whatever you want, and then times when you stay to watch other people’s kids. It’s like a babysitting exchange, but with a lot of kids. It’s nice b/c you also get to meet other moms and your child will get to socialize. They also do classes that are informational. Just a thought. Good luck to you.

  45. My experience is more like Yet Another Anon.My father was very high-functioning and although he was very quiet and moved slowly…I didn’t know until I was older and began finding empties all through the house. Shortly after that he quit drinking, and then, boy, what a difference. Now it is clear that he was so subdued because of the drinking.
    In my case (just as a story…this is not advice) I believe my life is better the way it unfolded than if it had resulted in divorce. I am glad it didn’t get to that point. But it could have. He drove drunk many times. Who knows how that could have turned out.
    It is possible that my mother, a very successful professional who owns a company, was able to weather the storm because she was not financially at his mercy. If he lost his job…she would have been worried but not adrift. If he had been in the role of sole support for all of us, well, it sure would have been a more pressing issue. She probably had a lot of fears (she didn’t share nor would she) but financially, she was more independent. So I can see how that might lighten the load.
    I sure wish he’d never had that problem…he’s so smart and funny and interesting now, what would that have been like when I was 7 or 8? But for him, there was a good outcome in the end. No one made him stop drinking except himself, though. I fully believe that you just can’t do that for someone. (which sucks, I know…)

  46. Also one of OP main concerns seems to be getting her life on a schedule – totally understandable with the emotional chaos of living with an alcoholic. It really sounds like the mom has a good routine – it just falls apart when she tries to incorporate the dad. Trying to find a routine that her husband can be part of – that has more to do with her trying to deal with his alcoholism than the baby, imo. If you are reading, I totally understand the need for routine and normalcy. My mother is an alcoholic and she is completely unreliable and completely in denial and I spend way too much time trying to keep everything just so – so I can keep at bay that “the walls are crashing in” feeling that comes with too much disorder in my life. I think you are doing an amazing job of keeping it together and you sound like a wonderful mom!! I don’t have any better suggestions for resources except that unless you are in a small community and trying to keep things a secret (even then people in Alanon will keep what you say private if you approach someone there for help), there will definitely be other moms/women out there willing to help you, esp. with giving you a short break here and there watching the baby. Even without the added stress of an alcoholic partner, I remember the hopeless/overwhelmed feeling of too many days and nights of taking care of the crying, not sleeping, must be held round the clock boy. Everyone needs help through that and I really hope the OP gets some and knows she is doing the best she can with where she is.

  47. I agree with the theme that taking the attitude that you’re the only reliable parent in the family – and acting as such. Maybe not packing up and leaving tomorrow, but knowing that you are the one. And that you can do it. :^) (You may not want to, but you can.)I was also thinking as I read the post that it sounds like you need an IRL friend – maybe not starting off with a sitter, but having someone who can take a turn holding the baby or playing with him while you’re there. Or keeping you company while you go shopping, etc. It could be a neighbor kid who wants to get started running a babysitting business or someone you meet at a meeting.
    The other thing I was thinking is that in Orlando we have 4-C, which stands for Community Coordiated Care for Children, which offers financial aid for child care. When my SIL was figuring out how to leave her crummy marriage, this is what she looked into. Perhaps there is a similar organization your area?
    I also really liked the idea of the library as a place to meet other moms – look for story hours geared toward really little kids – ours has one geared toward kids who are < 1. Also, if you're still not quite feeling like yourself yet from being post-partum, it makes it extra tough to make a big move. But it really does sound like you're working hard to take care of yourself.

  48. I think it’s beyond how to get support so you can get some space…the problem isn’t you, it isn’t your baby, it’s the dangerous situation that you are trying to navigate every day. I cannot even imagine how stressed out you must be every day.I agree with previous posters, you need to decide if you are going to stay or leave. I’m not going to advocate either one, but maybe try to sort out the best choice for you…..think about IF you decide to leave, what your life will be like 5 minutes after having made that decision, 5 months after having made that decision, and 5 years after having made that decision.
    Then think about deciding NOT to leave. What will your life be like 5 minutes after deciding to stick around…5 months after deciding to stick around, and 5 years after deciding to stick around?
    I think no matter what, I agree with everyone who has said that you must find some financial independence, and figure out a way to get a job. You have a tough road ahead of you, and I am thinking about you all day today….and am hoping to get some updates from you via Moxie about how you are doing. I’m praying for you and your family.

  49. I’ll say what others have said in that you’re doing an amazing job coping, hon, and your baby is so lucky to have you for a mom. Even if you’re down about yourself and your situation, don’t doubt that you’re doing your best for him and you two will make it through.

  50. I dont have any advice, but I do have this:My dad was/is an alchoholic (I guess he still is, but I dont like to admit that, and he doesnt drink much anymore..plus I mostly ignore it).
    growing up, both my sister and I were terrified of him. We have good memories, too, and on balance now as a 23 year old with years and years of therapy and analysis I have a more balanced picture of him. But. For a child, living with an alcoholic is utterly terrifying. And later, both my sister and I were furious with our mom for failing to protect us.
    What I have learned is that you can do NOTHING to fix your husband. I have literally stood in front of my father and told him I would cut myself every time he drank. I have moved away from home as a threat (as a young teen). Nothing works.
    It is also not your fault. Everyone in my family has blamed themselves at some point for my dads drinking, but it wasnt on any of us.
    I would not trust your husband with the baby. Alcoholics change. They become utterly different people after even one drink. They are never reliable.
    I guess my only tangible advice would be to try and get some money of your own, and also build a support system of friends and people who love you, so that if you ever have to leave–even if it is just for a night, or a week–you can.
    And maybe try to find other models for your baby, too. I dont mean to sound judgmental, and I certainly dont think you are a bad person or mother in any way, but I do think that in the long run one of the things that is most harmful for kids is not having models of healthy relationships to use later in life. That’s a much more abstract thing, and something that will be a bigger issue as he gets older, but I guess since I feel like as the child of an alcoholic (which, true, wasnt my parents only issue butwas a huge one) that is one of the single biggest problems.
    Please let Moxie know how you are doing so we can know too. I am so sorry.

  51. I wonder what city Amy lives in? It could be that she is right around the corner (literally!) from another Ask Moxie reader who could provide the kind of babysitting help and support she needs right now. I was just sitting here wondering if she was nearby so that I could help her. Amy, I live in Greenville, SC and if you live anywhere near me, e-mail me at redhead081 at aol dot com and I’ll help you. Others might be willing to do the same if they know where you are (but I know you don’t want to post all your contact info. on Ask Moxie, which I understand). Maybe you would be willing to give a general location and people could e-mail you if nearby? Just a thought.

  52. Oh, gee whiz. @Amy, I can’t add a lot to what’s already been suggested, but here’s to you for what you’re doing. What a strong woman you must be. One question — if your husband is working and you are home with your son, why does your hubby (always) need to know where you are? You write, “It’s hard enough getting to a weekly meeting;” but can you get to (more) without telling him? I realize if you and he share transportation that might make this impossible, but I certainly don’t tell my husband where I am every minute of every day, and can be vague without dissembling (“Out with friends,” “Running some errands,” “At a playgroup”) if it suits my purposes.You do mention being in counseling; could your counselor help you identify community resources?
    I grew up with an alcoholic mom, and she was my good parent (no, really — obviously this reflects badly on my father; also, she got sober when I was a teenager), so I know these things can be complicated and I’m not going to say you should leave him, though it sounds to me like it would be worth thinking about. But you may need to get some more “space” (private adult time) in your day before you can even think about, much less plan for, that, even if it is the right choice).
    I’d second, or third, the suggestion about faith communities. Indeed, going to church might be a good way to get some private time and maybe find another support network (I’m a Quaker, and heaven knows if there’s one thing we’re always looking for it’s folks who need a helping hand, so if there’s a Quaker meeting in your community you could always start there…worship in an unprogrammed, or silent, meeting is, I’m told, not unlike Al-Anon, and, hey, it’s an hour of mostly quiet reflection. There’s worse stuff out there. Of course if you’re from a different faith background that suggestion may be woefully inappropriate; you need to figure out what’s right for you — and it may be nothing. But there are resources available within religious organizations that might be of use.).
    Good luck to you.
    @Moxie, I’ve realized that a main reason I love this site is you’re willing to post questions about the hard stuff. Thank you.

  53. yay, more Quakers. :)UU’s are also open to even the a-religious and non-religious folks. If you just need a community who want to talk, support, and take action to help others, they’re good as well. You don’t have to believe in anything other than community to be welcome. (More discussion groups than most Quaker Meetings, but not that far off otherwise!)

  54. Oh, this just hurt my heart so much to read. I feel for you and am very sorry that you have all of this to deal with.I don’t think that I have any suggestions or advice to add on top of what others have mentioned. It did strike me when I was reading your post that you didn’t mention leaving your marriage, just dealing with the current situation, but as others have said it might all be just one step at a time? It’s all so complicated emotionally to be involved in.
    My dad is an alcoholic, a very abusive one, and my mom left him when I was just under a year old. She took my older brother and I and stayed at a shelter until she could get housing assistance. Her family was no help and she had no money. She worked after we left, and we were definitely a welfare family for a while, but she attended counseling and worked on getting us up and out of the situation that we were in. Much of that work was on herself (she also had to get counseling for my brother and later, me). Once she removed herself from the situation there was a lot to be done to keep her going. I have so much respect for my mother I can’t even begin to describe how proud of her I am for taking care of herself and her little family. I have many, many issues related to my relationship with my father but overall I am so glad that I didn’t have to be raised in his home and could deal with him from a distance when I needed to. My very first memory takes place in my crib, in the tiny apartment that we had after she left him. Not only did my mom save me and my brother from living with the unpredictability of a raging alcoholic, but she taught me by example how to be a strong person.
    I wish you the best in keeping yourself and your family safe and happy.

  55. I have nothing to add but major hugs {{{{{amy}}}}. I’m the child of drug users who were themselves the children of alcoholics. There is a lot of gray area.Just adding my support, especially to the suggestion that you try to increase your independence. Its so hard when living away from your family–I really sympathize.

  56. Coming back in with an idea of a way to find the resources in your community: go to the United Way website. Anytime I donate to them at work, they have a long list of local charities and what each charity does. There are always a few that help “families in crisis”. I’m sure they would help a mother trying to avert a crisis, too. The people at these organizations know what resources are out there in your community. Also, if you decide that you want to go back to work, most states have free employment assistance services- it is in their interest to get you working and paying taxes, right?I agree with all the PPs- you sound like a strong woman who is in a difficult place. I remember the newborn fog, which was only sort of lifting at 6 months. Kudos to you for holding it together so well, and for reaching out for help. If you happen to live anywhere near San Diego, send me an email at wandsci at gmail dot com. Drop me a comment on my blog saying that I have an email waiting, though- I am not always on top of that email account!

  57. @Amy, many, many hugs. You are doing a great job. and you’ve got some great suggestions here. My DH grew up in an alcoholic home. Al Anon can be very helpful. Listen to the sharing and choose someone to talk to. Focus on what you CAN control, your actions, your choices, keeping your son & you safe. To leave or not to leave, you’ll get to a point where you’ll know what to do, even if you don’t know exactly how to do it. I met people in Al Anon who never left, and while I never understood their decision, I never walked in their shoes.There is help, you are not alone. All the best, and if you can, let Moxie know how it’s going.

  58. I’m crying as I read this post. It is such a horrible place to be and one that I have never personally experienced. My mother, however? She was right there in the thick of it. She thought she couldn’t leave because it would be bad for the kids, but as one of those kids I am telling you LEAVE! Don’t stay for the sake of the kids. It is a miserable upbringing (and that’s without violence. I have no idea what it would be like to live with an abusive alcoholic). You deserve a lot more than this.As for affordable child care–try looking into the gyms in your area. It is not ideal since your alone time will have to be spent in the gym, but it will give you an hour or two every single day when someone else will take care of the baby. The gym was my only source of sanity the first couple of years of motherhood.

  59. My dad is an alcoholic. My earliest–and they are very, very early–memories of him are of going to beer joints and hanging out in the afternoons, and of opening cans of beer for him while riding around in his truck (sans seatbelts and all, since this was the seventies).I could say a lot more, but short version is that growing up with a drunk dad fucking sucks, and I didn’t even have the variety of drunk dad that was violent–just highly unreliable, moody, and maudlin. Drunk daddying is a dealbreaker for me as a result. I love my dad, but I don’t want my own kid to go through what I went through.
    Amy, see if you can find a babysitting co-op in your area (check Yahoo groups, there are a lot of local parenting groups in that system). Moxie is right – you have to do the babysitting trade when you’re by yourself, and if you don’t think you can handle two kids at once, it might not be a good option. You could ask around at Al-Anon and see if someone could help, but I wouldn’t ask at AA unless you have gotten to know the folks and their histories. Al-Anon is probably a little bit of a safer resource from which you could try to draw.
    I think that it might be best for you to treat your husband, at least in regards to your son, as a visiting relative. YOU establish the routine, YOU make the rules – if he gets home too late or too drunk to see his kid, well, it’s on him. It’s the drink or his kid. He’ll probably choose the drink if things are as bad as they sound, and then you will ultimately have to decide if it’s worth it to live like you’re living.
    If you have a car of your own, keep a getaway bag with copies of important documents in it along with a few days’ worth of any medicine you or your son might need, a phone list and/or spare mobile phone charger, changes of clothes, and some snacks for both of you that will keep indefinitely. Stash some cash there, too, even if you just add $3-4 a week for a few weeks so that the money isn’t noticed as missing. If you have a mobile phone, add the number to the closest women’s shelter to your phone – make it an alternate number to someone that you call often if you need to be sneaky. If you don’t have a phone, memorize it or put it in your address book (again, you can hide it as someone’s work number if you need to).
    If you don’t have a car of your own, hide this bag somewhere close to the front or back door, somewhere it won’t likely be found but that you can get to it in a hurry. Even if you can hide it in your son’s room and then push it out of a window to be collected once you’re outside, if that seems like the safest place to hide such a thing.
    This might sound extreme, but right now your husband and his addiction are holding a lot of the power in your relationship. If you know that you could leave him at a moment’s notice if things got too bad, it might help you stay a little more sane.
    Good luck. Please keep in touch with Moxie so that she can update us on the situation. And Moxie, if Amy is in my area, feel free to give her my contact info for some strings-free respite babysitting.

  60. OK, three things jumped out at me that I can speak to, even though I have no experience with alcoholism.Wondering When He’ll Be Home — This is my husband, who has a crazy-unpredictable work schedule with a lot of evening hours (even though he has a “normal” corporate-type job.) Yes, it’s tough not knowing. After a time of unemployment I always focus on the fact that he has a good job, even if I don’t love the hours. I cope by still taking the time to fix something nice to eat for myself, planning fun little things to look forward to for those lonely evenings — a favorite TV show, a good magazine, a visit to that cool thrift store, a craft project, a run with the jogging stroller, etc. Flexibility is key. I like your attitude about going it alone — think of the women with husbands who are in Iraq!
    Free babysitting — I also have a six month old. I regularly (as in 1-2X nearly every week) trade childcare with our SAHD neighbor, a part-time WOHM or any of several SAHMs I met at church or through a playgroup. People want to do this. They want to help you and they want a break themselves. You need to network. Can you reach back to a childbirth class roster, old co-workers, the church down the street to find some other SAH parents? Even try throwing an ad out on Craig’s List and see what you get back. Don’t be a afraid to seek out sources for single moms.
    Finally, frugality — there are a TON of websites out there that can teach you about freebies, couponing, gaming CVS and Walgreens, picking up some extra income… MoneySavingMom is a good start — follow her links. This is all stuff you can do without your husband’s involvement and gives you the opportunity to work some treats for yourself into your coupouning/thrifting routine. (Hello, free chocolate samples….)

  61. Just want to be another voice saying we support you. You’re in one of the toughest situations! I also agree with the main thrust of the previous comments, some respite care, then financial independence are the first steps. You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

  62. My husband is not an alcoholic, but he does go for a monthly ‘gathering’ with the guys, and often has too many.The first time he came home, took our baby girl from my arms to snuggle her, and then stumbled and staggered into a wall (he merely ran into it with his elbow, she never touched the wall, but still…NO.), I put my foot down. He now knows and respects that if he’s been drinking, he is not prepared to care for our baby. It’s helped me, actually, since he adores her and therefore is less likely nowadays to come home smashed.
    My point is simply to be SO careful about letting him be near the baby if he’s been drinking. I know it seems he dotes and is uber caring, but he’s also impaired, and your son is going to be a wigglepants very soon if he’s not already. It’s not a good mix. If at all possible, as stressed and in need of a break as you are, I’d take back that 1/2 hour he spends with baby before passing out. It’s just too dangerous. 🙁
    I’m so sorry, and I feel for you tremendously. I wish I had advice to offer to help solve your issue.

  63. Oh ugh, Amy, you poor thing… Here’s my input, for whatever it’s worth:The two most pressing issues for you are 1. how to finagle some alone time for yourself so you can figure out what the hell to do and 2. how to keep your kid safe. I’m not going to berate you about how your kid is going to be emotionally traumatized for life, because I have a feeling that will just make you feel like shit, and because I don’t necessarily believe it’s true; obviously this isn’t a great situation, but kids survive all kinds of awful stuff (just read Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club or Jeanette Walls’s The Glass Castle if you ever want to feel better about your own parenting situation), and in any case, worrying about it isn’t going to solve anything. Like I said, focus on your immediate needs: alone time and safety. You can figure out the long-term stuff once you’ve got those taken care of.
    Other posters have given great suggestions for babycare options, so I don’t have much to add. I am a single mother myself, and I’ve done it with virtually no money, no help from the rest of my family (my mother’s deceased, and the rest refuse to help) and basically no friends in the area. And it’s been really, really hard. You do have to force yourself to ask for help (and be prepared to have some people refuse or flake out). One thing I want to add: you’re taking your son to therapy now, but there will come a time when you won’t be comfortable talking about this stuff in front of him, so please do try to get something sorted out (for the record, I haven’t sorted this out for myself, and thus haven’t been in therapy for over 2 years).
    As for your son’s safety, you gotta do what you gotta do. Regardless of any emotional component, safety has to be priority numero uno, and if dad might drop him, well, dad can’t hold him.
    I have no idea if you should leave him or not, but I will say this, just as food for thought: single motherhood can really, really suck, but sometimes it’s better than the alternative. Huge hugs to you, and you’re in my thoughts…

  64. Amy,I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine…
    Since you’re a SAHM, have you checked out your local MOMS Club? (momsclub.org) I am a member of my local chapter, and I can tell you, of the 30 or so women in my club, most ANY one of them would bend over backward to help me if I were in your situation. For one thing, we trade babysitting. But also it’s a great way to share experiences and provide resources.
    Are you in MN? If you are, e-mail me–I’d be happy to do what I can to help out. (simon0554 “at” msn.com)

  65. I don’t have time to read through all the comments, but have you tried to apply for a job at a daycare? the place my son goes offer free childcare for their teachers. I am sure they don’t pay whole a lot, (minimal wage for inexperienced, maybe?) and you have 2 hours lunch break for yourself.your story broke my heart …
    and Best of luck to you.

  66. Wow! OK- one commenter suggested secretly calling the police to tip off a DUI? I think that is absolutely horrible advice. Call the police if you think he is going to hurt someone (driving, drunken rage, etc.)…but the police are not going to solve your problem. And if you think they will just let him sleep it off in the “drunk tank” and then give him a ride home in the morning, you are mistaken.You did the right thing by emailing Moxie because you are honoring your own feelings. You are scared. You have reason to be scared for your son, yourself and even your husband. So, it is time to be brave and even if it can’t happen today or tomorrow…you need to think hard about what behavior you can or can’t tolerate and plan an exit strategy. Just thinking about it may be hard. But accept that it is not your decision if he is going to continue drinking!

  67. ouch. I’m so sorry. I think your husband is possibly even more scared than you at this point. It is absolutely true that you cannot force an alcoholic to stop drinking just because you want them to. He has to want it. But sometimes a kick in the ass from those closest to you really does work. I got sober before I became a mother but I did have a husband who said “get help or get out.” so. you need to have a plan in place in case his decision is to get out. I would suggest gathering names of local clinics that offer outpatient treatment. this is the route I took and they had a fantastic family program . AA is not for everyone, though you can of course suggest and encourage it, but come up with some options for him. I think that finding some space for yourself right now is really important – do you have a close friend or two who can take the baby for an hour or two? any babysitting co-ops in your vicinity where you trade off with other parents? I think you need a two part plan at the moment – the immediate getting some time out for yourself and the long term – either helping your husband navigate sobriety or learning to manage on your own. no matter how much your husband loves your baby, you are inarguably better off alone than raising a child in an alcoholic household. the best case scenario is your husband accepting that he needs to get sober. the rewards are endless but so hard to see when you are in the throes of addiction. I feel for all of you and I wish you a happy resoultion. it’s not going to be easy finding it but it is possible. I will tell you the thought of living without drinking scared the shit out of me. but the alternative scared me even more. you clearly love your husband and he’s lucky to have you. I really hope it all works out.

  68. Your son is so lucky that he has mom that’s reaching out and looking for help. That is an amazing lesson he will learn from you. I can’t give any advice, I haven’t been there, but I want you to know that there’s one more person out there cheering you on. I think the advice from others to get some financial independence is great. It’s hard, so hard, to leave your baby and go to work. But you’re obviously strong and a good daycare is fun for kids. I used to want to stay later and keep playing. So if that’s a worry for you, try to let it go.

  69. As an adult child of an alcoholic, I’ll confirm that your child will be impacted by his dad’s alcoholism.Your husband’s alcoholism has skewed his thinking to maintain the denial. He doesn’t SEE a problem, because he defines “problem” drinking as necessarily different from what he’s doing. If you stay, you buy into this thinking, and reinforce it.
    Leaving won’t make him change. But it will influence the definition of “problem” that he’s working with – and gives him a chance to change his life, as well as yours.
    Even if your husband gets sober, he’ll need to do a LOT of personal growth work not to pass on his diseased worldview to your child. (I say this as someone fighting that worldview myself.)
    You are already doing HEROIC things taking care of yourself and your child in this situation. You clearly have the smarts, the persistence, and the willpower to do anything you decide you need to do. I’m rooting for you, your child, and your husband.

  70. Grew up in an alcoholic home, married an alcoholic. Sought therapy thinking I could somehow do something to make it tolerable. Rejected the advice I was given when I went to Al-Anon before I ever got married.I spent eight years of my life trying to make the best of a bad situation, and then, finally, I was fed up enough and strong enough to get out. I moved out, took a new job 400 miles away, got a divorce and restarted my life. Granted, it was only after all that that I met and married the RIGHT guy and then had my babies. I can’t imagine having to deal with that horror of a life with a baby (or babies).
    I haven’t read all the replies here, and I know that Moxie readers will offer thoughtful and helpful advice. Mine is to leave though, and go home. Go to your mom’s or an aunt’s or whoever will take you and baby in. You cannot have a healthy life with an alcoholic who doesn’t acknowledge a problem and seek help. Your baby deserves better than this, and you do too. Good luck!

  71. Oh, Amy. My mother is an alcoholic, and not being able to trust her with my child is heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine if the problem was my husband instead.The first year is SO tough even under the best of circumstances, and you’re fighting the alcohol battle on top of it. You’re one strong, strong woman.
    I’ve found some good mommy groups, including babysitting co-ops, through meetup.com.
    If by any chance you live in Northern Virginia, email me anytime: miscellany78 at yahoo dot com.

  72. Definitely try a Le Leche meeting. I have never met a better group of women. Be honest, ask for help, and I would bet you could get babysitting help or meals without reciprocating until you are in a better place.My dad is an alcoholic and he started in recovery before I was 5. He was a great dad, he is a great dad. He is an awesome grandfather. He is a mentor to hundreds of alcoholics. I am very proud of him. One thing I understand though, is that a person must find their own way into recovery.

  73. Nothing but sympathy and whatever support I can give. If, on the off chance you’re in Orlando/Windermere, Florida, I’d be happy to watch the baby while you get some time for yourself. I know it’s a long shot, but I remember just how hard those days were for us. dani_be_good(at)yahoo.comYou can check craigslist for babysitters, some of whom are Mom’s looking to trade services/sitting with other Moms. Also check out your church (if you have one).
    Al-anon is a great group – I have wonderful memories of the children’s program. My mother attended as an adult child of an alcoholic and my sister and I had a great time playing with the other kids there.

  74. I have been wrestling with how to write this comment since yesterday… I’m the daughter of a wonderful man who struggled with drug and alcohol problems for much of my life. I was lucky to *not* have a particularly traumatic childhood, in terms of witnessing violence. But the pattern that was set up then, and that continues to this (much healthier) day is that my family of origin completely revolves around my dad – how is he feeling today? Is he getting enough exercise? Is he in a bad mood? etc. All of which is to say, yes, my father’s addictions have shaped me & my family, but I don’t feel horribly scarred by them. (Of course, I say this after years of therapy…)My mom was – and is – a very firm believer in the sanctity of marriage. But she did leave – with two small children – twice. Once we moved in with nearby friends for a few weeks, and another time we moved 1,000 miles away to be with her parents for what turned out to be a year. It was always very clear that we loved Daddy, and she loved Daddy, but that his behavior was at times unacceptable. Her approach – of calm, steadfast action when needed – always made me feel very safe.
    This is all a lengthy way of reiterating what others have said about the difference between leaving and getting a divorce. Only you – and perhaps a wise friend or two – can determine whether you and your son are physically and emotionally safe in the home with your husband.
    Best of luck, Amy. And please do go ahead and contact some of the resources PPs have mentioned… they’re out there for a reason.

  75. I skimmed the comments but I can provide real life experience on this. My husband is an alcoholic and has relapsed several times in the past several years and we have a three year old, the second time he relapsed I was pregnant, he went to a halfway house and got help and moved back in just as the baby was born. He relapsed about 6 months ago and I did not feel it was safe to have him around so I asked him to leave (I’m fortunate he did and didn’t have to move out myself.) He’s sober now a few months but we are still separated. I can’t say if we’ll get divorced or not. I was already working full time and our child was already in full time daycare but I didn’t bargain on being a single mom either.I’m just sharing my story so you know I know what you are going through. It’s great you’re going to Alanon but please go to more than one meeting a week. Do you just go to the meeting or do you work the program – do you have a sponsor you talk to everyday, are you reading the Alanon literature daily, are you working the 12 steps? A sponsor can help you walk through this. It’s such a big step to even go to Alanon and you are doing great with that, but I would encourage you to take the next step and commit yourself to Alanon by going at least two or three times a week and getting a sponsor. I know that sounds overwhelming but by doing all those things you will find help.
    I remember nursing my baby during Alanon meetings! I think the people in the meeting should understand that, so for now just bring him along. Now I go to 2 meetings a week, one has child care and for the other my best friend watches my child.
    I will pass along what’s been told to me – do not make ultimatums unless you are definitely going to carry them out, otherwise the alcoholic just learns that he can walk all over you. If you still need time to decide to leave or not, then take that time to think about it and formulate a plan. Before I told my husband to leave, I told him he was not to drive our daughter anywhere or be alone with her. That made my life very difficult, but I put her safety first. Then I came to the realization that he needed to leave. You will know what the right thing to do is. And again I’ll just emphasize that I couldn’t have survived this without the support of my sponsor and other friends in Alanon. I have a friend that I met through Alanon who also has a 3 year and is separated from her husband so we can babysit for each other. You will make friends in the same situation as well!
    Sorry this is so long. I will be praying for you. Please update us on what’s going on!!

  76. Amy,What is it that you want? I hear that you want a safe home for you son to develop in and a reasonable amount of alone- or leisure-time for yourself. Am I right?
    If so, how are you going to do that? Do you need someone to help you brainstorm ideas? If so, ask your family therapist to help you with ideas, resources, etc.
    The only part of your story I feel uncomfortable with is the fact that you let dad be in the house while under the influence… I feel like you ought to be able to issue an ultimatum there. That’s my gut reaction, anyhow.
    I am curious as to what social supports you have: parents, siblings, other relatives, or friends?
    I hope you find AskMoxie a supportive place to think through your needs/wants and brainstorm your solutions.

  77. What made me saddest reading this is that you don’t even have the help of your husband when he’s sober. He won’t change diapers or give a bottle? So you have no help at all drunk or sober.I echo everyone’s suggestions to find a support system w.in alanon and to forge your way toward independence. What is there to lose at this point?

  78. Yes Moxie, yes! I had tears well up right from the start of the e-mail sent. And Amy, I agree with just about everything that Moxie had to say to you. Good and sage advice.I am now 14 years out of a relationship with a drug addict/alcoholic. I am also the child of an alcoholic. Neither of those two circumstances lead to a healthy emotional life. One thing I feel a lot in my life is that I am not good enough for who or whatever. Not surprising, when alcohol was always my rival.
    Your son needs a good environment where he can feel safe. And at 6 months, he probably already is getting a feeling for the situation. Kids are the smartest ever. You and your son deserve so much better.
    I am glad you are going to Al-Anon. It’s a wonderful support system, isn’t it. When I started there, I wanted to say: “Who has been following me around and who has been writing my book?” I felt so much more normal when I got to connect with folks there.
    My fella was very loving, kind and thought I was the best woman ever.The problem was that he had a mistress called drugs and alcohol. And she always was more important than I was. After a while I was getting tired of feeling like nothing I ever did would make him want to stay at home with me, not with his user buddies. When he finally got arrested, I refused to bail him out. That was my bottom. I didn’t ever think I was going to be with someone, who is in jail. This I couldn’t take.
    You will find your own bottom. I hope, for your sake and for your son’s that it is soon, with a lot of your suffering minimized.
    Keep us updated!

  79. Oh, damn. I’m so sorry this is happening to your family. Make a plan for getting out. Your safety — and baby’s — are too important to depend on your husband. Even if he sobers up and you never have to use the plan, you’ll be glad to have it. Make sure you have some power.Here in Portland OR we have a relief nursery that helps families who have all sorts of trouble, including just being overwhelmed. Having a baby isn’t always what you thought it would be, and they help people adjust to their new reality. Perhaps there is something similar where you live?-

  80. I see two categories of issues here: surviving motherhood with no help and a marriage in crisis.For the first, you’ve gotten a few good ideas. I’d add maybe a mother’s helper — an 11 or 12 year old who would take a few bucks an hour to play with/feed/change the baby while you take a shower or a nap. Also, I’m with whoever said a Moxite might be available to help — I’m in the Seattle area. Moxie’s got my email, and my permission to pass it on if you’re local to me.
    The marriage issue is (in my opinion) trickier. You don’t say whether you’re ready to be out of the relationship or not. If you’re still wanting to get it to a healthy place, I can recommend James Dobson’s book Love Must Be Tough: New Hope For Marriages in Crisis. I’m not, in general, any particular fan of Dobson’s, but this book is (again, in my opinion) spot on. He talks very specifically about the idea that being completely committed to a marriage (his bias being “as God says we are to be”) is NOT the same as accepting any and all behavior. His was the first book I really connected with about setting and enforcing boundaries as different from simply issuing ultimatums. And I agree that leaving the home doesn’t necessarily mean ending the relationship forever.
    You know, of course, that you can’t control or change your husband — he has to do that if it’s going to happen. You can choose to stay, but it is your job as his mother to do that in a safe way. That means, tempting as it may be, you set and enforce boundaries with respect to drinking + baby time. And it probably means you have to single-mom it for all but the finances.
    Without knowing you, I don’t know what motivates you, but know that you deserve better and so does your baby. That may feel like a burden or a gift, but it’s true either way.
    Even if you think it’ll never come to that, I encourage you to have an exit strategy. You never know if you might need it, and just having it will empower you. DSHS may be able to help you with that.
    Please take care of yourself. Now would be a good time to be brave and ask for help (here, at Al-Anon, in the neighborhood, from family) where you need it.

  81. My father was an alcoholic. I loved him desperately as a child and even more desperately as an adult. It was only in the final year of his life, a year during which he did not drink (he was 82 and essentially too sick to drink) that I came to some peace in my relationship with him. I’m 37 now and being the child of an alcoholic still effects my life in profound and damaging ways.Yet.
    I don’t think my life as a child would have been better if my mom had left my dad – not during the years I can remember anyway. My mom, though she was not an active drinker, was much more sick than my dad during my childhood. When she wasn’t paralyzed with depression, self-loathing, and self-doubt, she hurt us with bouts of violent rage.
    Life in our house was indescribably frightening. My brothers and I never knew if my dad would be falling down drunk or whether mom would throw a frying pan at the wall. Or whether she’d get out of bed at all for weeks. My dad was drunk nearly every night, but functional every day, so he always went to work, did the shopping, cooked our dinners. We at least had some consistency with knowing he’d be working.
    I wonder, though, what may have happened if my mom had left my dad when my oldest brother was your son’s age, four years before I was born. If she had gotten help then, maybe she wouldn’t have been so far gone by the time I was around. If she had left then, maybe it would have been the “bottom” that would have motivated my dad to get help.
    I so relate to the daughter above who threatened to cut herself to her dad to try to motivate him to stop drinking. I tried SO much to fix my parents — my whole childhood was an exercise in trying to be the person that would make my mom get out of bed (or not be mad at us) or make my dad stop drinking. If I only got straight A’s, if I only was thinner, if I only kept the house more clean, if I only was prettier or smarter or funnier or more useful to them…if only I could be a better communicator and help them understand how much I needed them to stop.
    And nothing, NOTHING was ever good enough. I can’t tell you how much that still fucks me up, decades later.
    So my plea to you, I guess, would be to get help for yourself now before even more damage is done — not just to your son, but primarily to the strong and wonderful woman YOU ARE. I thank you, as a proxy for your son, that you are asking for help here. You are a wonderful mother and I’m sure that your husband has very good qualities or you would never have married him. The hardest part about loving an alcoholic is that so many of them are so worthy of our love —- but trying to negotiate our lives to make them stop drinking makes us as ill as they are.
    Your son, and potentially your future children, need you to get help now. And take heart in what a poster above said: leaving your marriage does not have to be the same as ending it. You have lots of options, even the option to do nothing. But with each passing day you try to accommodate him, your husband’s illness is making you ill, too. And your son needs a healthy mom — and you deserve to be healthy.
    Some practical thoughts:
    1) If you live in a large enough town, there are usually Al-Anon women-only groups, too. If you share your story, I bet there will be women who will offer to help share childcare duties or help you with respite care for your son. You need time for you. Service to others is a part of recovery, and many of your fellow Al Anon friends will be happy to serve you.
    2) My local YMCA offers babysitting for $5/hr if you’re using the facilities in the building. You can’t leave to run errands or anything, but you could spend an hour swimming laps or even just reading a book. Try your local Y to see if they have options.
    3) Try online Al Anon groups to supplement the recovery work you do in person.
    4) Get a sponsor STAT if you don’t already have one.
    5) To the extent that it is possible for you, please try to create a routine that isn’t dependent on whether your husband drinks. Let bedtime be the same time every night regardless of when he comes home. Your husband will inject enough chaos into your lives – if you can keep some things consistent, it will help both of you.
    It is okay to love your husband — no alcoholic is ALL bad, and I’m sure you have good reasons for staying with him. But you must love yourself more.
    Please know that many of us are rooting for you and want to help. And the more you ask for help, the more you will get it. Please keep asking.
    Sending love, strength, and hope your way.

  82. Back in the day, my aunt left my alcoholic uncle and took her three small children to her mother’s house. She didn’t divorce him, she just left. My uncle finally realized what he stood to lose, went to Al-Anon, quit drinking, got his life back in order, and pretty much became the poster child of AA. My aunt came back to him and 20-odd years later they’re still happily married.Obviously, that’s pretty much the best possible outcome that could be dreamed of in that sort of situation, but I just wanted to throw it out there as a note of hope.

  83. Adding: if by any chance you are in the DC metro area, I will watch your baby sometimes free…I am an excellent babysitter:)Good luck.

  84. Crying here.Amy, you are an awesome Mom. You’re dealing with a whole big messy mess, but you’re dealing. Your little boy is lucky to have you, because you are doing an amazing job.
    My ex is an alcoholic. I have a six month old baby. Your situation could so easily have been mine, and because of that my heart is breaking as it goes out to you. I don’t presume to know what’s best for you, but I will say that I am deeply deeply thankful that I left my ex. I deserved far better, and so do you.
    As others have said, I do think need to work on getting independent, on having a exit strategy. Economic security, support from family and friends, legal information.
    In the short-term, you need some childcare. Ideas on that:
    Would family and friends be able to care for your son for an hour or two? I find that even two hours’ break from my child makes a huge difference for me.
    Can you ask your doctor and/or counsellor about community resources? Indoor playground, family support networks?
    Ask at Al-Anon if anyone is willing to help. Even if someone came to your house and played with the baby while you sat in another room and had a cup of coffee, that might feel good, you know?
    Get your own email address and google “moms’ groups” in your area. Then erase your browser histories.
    My point is, find that village wherever you can.
    I’ll be thinking of you, Amy. Please take good care.

  85. I am not going to suggest leave or not leave – only you can make that decision, and you will be able to make that decision once you are less stressed, alone, and frantic.So let’s get there first.
    You need some help. The best thing I ever did after my son was born was to contact the local high school and a magnet school near by, and spoke with the “career” office and guidance counselors. They put up a little notice on the board asking for a student who would be willing to stop by every day after school to see if there was anything I needed done. Did I need someone to run out and get me milk? The kid would come by, take my list, and go. Did I need someone to just sit in the house while the baby napped (for 30 minutes) while I went outside and sat on a bench in the park? The kid did it. At most, I took up an hour of that kid’s day, and I paid her a flat rate a week. Minimum wage. Since there were days I didn’t need anything, it worked out a little higher than minimum wage if you looked at the actual hours. But it saved my sanity.
    It doesn’t sound like you want to or can leave the baby alone with the father, so don’t. Take advantage of this high school student to get the time alone you need.
    My undergraduate college in NY also trained students as part of the Baby Sitting Service. Parents would call in, put up requests, and the students would pick up jobs based on their availability. super-reliable. If you are in NYC, email me, and I will get you in touch with them. Or look around and see if there’s something like that in your area.
    The library is a good idea. I look at the community flyers the library has to find people that can help. Have you looked on Craigs List? I’ve seen postings for mother’s helpers there before.

  86. Also grew up with an alcoholic father and wanted to ditto all the posts about how terrifying that was. This is probably not what you wanted to hear and not why you emailed Moxie in the first place and I’m really sorry I am not offering a supportive comment, but please know there is a pretty good chance your son will never forgive you for staying.

  87. It sounds like you’re doing all that you can – but there are other people and agencies out there that could probably also help you.Check your phone book – is there a local United Way office? They can often help you out by pointing you to the right direction – for all of the issues you mention. Many communities have the 211 line available (similar to 911) – call, and they will let you know who to talk to.
    Your local public library can probably provide you with help, too.
    good luck. We’re all thinking strong, positive thoughts for you.

  88. If I were the poster, I probably would’ve stopped reading by now, but just in case you haven’t–hear are my 2 cents!First off, I’m really sorry that things are so, so hard right now. Secondly, wow! what a survivor you are to be doing as well as you are! Third, I have total faith that things are going to change as a result of you reaching out.
    As someone who has been to several different recovery programs over the years, including Codependents Anonymous (which kind of overlaps with Al-Anon), Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, I wanted to offer a couple of ideas about getting the most out of recovery meetings.
    **In meetings, they say “recovery meetings aren’t an employment agency, a dating service, etc” but the truth is I met my husband in recovery and my husband got one of his recovery friends his old job when he got promoted, so meetings can actually be a good place to connect with resources. It might not be kosher to say in a meeting that you need someone from there to babysit for you, but if you talk about the needs you have, and say that you’re looking for resources that’s acceptable.
    **Whether you find a babysitter or not, you might be able to find some friends in meetings…people who can understand what you’re going through, who you can call when you’re freaking out (really, DO get phone numbers!), who can go for walks or out for tea with you, so you don’t end up feeling isolated.
    **If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to look for a sponsor. Look for someone who has what you’re looking for in their life and who shares things in meetings that are meaningful to you. Any sponsor worth their salt is going to support you while you’re in survival mode and help you to “work the steps,” so you can find ways to go through hard times with grace, and find your own answers about what you want to do with your life.
    **Ultimately, recovery can help you answer your own questions about what to do about your marriage situation, but more importantly it can help you address how it got to be okay with you to settle down with and have a baby with a man who is an alcoholic. I’m not saying this in judgement, I’m saying it from personal experience. My first marriage was to a man with alcohol and violence issues, and for years I wondered how to make it better. Then recovery helped me ask the question Do I even WANT to be in a relationship like this, and if so, why?
    Good luck with everything. I am holding you, your baby and your husband in my heart, trusting that things will get better for all of you. Bless you all.

  89. As the child of an alchoholic father who has been in recovery for at least 20 years now, I just want to encourage you to keep going to Al-Anon and really work the program as previous posters have mentioned above. My father’s alchoholism was never overtly visible to us kids, but obviously, it affected my mother deeply. She never left him (for which I am grateful – my dad rocks), but would have never survived staying with him without Al-Anon. More importantly, without the support and perspective that she got from Al-Anon, she would have been a horrible mother to us (her words, not mine). Understandably, you are concerned with the well-being of your son, but don’t underestimate the damage that is being done to you, and the importance that you also address your own mental health in this situation. Hugs and best of luck …

  90. I am crying reading this, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. You are brave for writing to Moxie and for being such a good mom and for everyday that you survive in that situation. Please update Moxie if you can so she can let us know that you are safe. If I lived near you, I would absolutely help in any possible way, there must be someone in your community who would help too, especially another mom, someone who knows what it is to love and care for a child. At least your baby has you, remember that, and hopefully you will be in a safe, happy siutation soon.

  91. Thank you all for your feedback! I just wanted to clarify a few things:I have my own car.
    I live in Michigan.
    My mom & siblings are cast off in pretty much ever direction,at least an hour drive for each. they all work full time. My dad is a non-functioning alcoholic. My husband’s family is ever decreasing in number. He lost a 24yr old brother to a heroine overdose and lost his 54yr old mom to a heart-attack four years ago. He has no aunties, that he speaks with. He has a grndma, but she is aging and needs help getting up from the sofa, so she gets supervised time with the baby. His father lives out of state and is a functioning alcoholic. His older sister is a drinking buddy of his, so she’s off the list.
    I agree about the exit strategy. And I know all about co-dependancy issues and the alcoholic brain. The money is the key. I was a successful career person before the baby. I succeed in everything I put my mind too. I try to remember that while dealing with this marriage. For those of you who just haven’t been here, please don’t judge us. When you judge, you are really revealing your own ignorance and insecurities. I try to take it all in stride, not take it personally, but a few comments I felt were meant to shame me. Shame on mefor hooking up with this person, for having a baby with him. I am 40 and when we found out we were having this child, we were stunned,then jubilant. His compulsive drinking increased through the pregnancy and now here we are, 15 months later. He knows he has a problem. It sucks that his problem is our problem. It’s so unfair. My beautiful baby. I feel so robbed of the most precious time as I deal with this. I might leave, I might not. But I could never forgive myself if I didn’t try everything, try my absolute best to take care of myself and my baby, and maybe be a good friend to my husband. He is sick and in so much pain. So am I. Thanks to everyone for their sugesstions!

  92. Amy — you deserve many hugs today and everyday. I was in a disfunctional marriage (alcohol and anger management issues – not to mention some drug use here and there.) I got out but I wish I had done so earlier. Only you can tell what is right and when is the right time to do it.Are you involved with a church? If you are so-inclined, I will say that I found a great deal of strength within my church community.
    Protect yourself; protect your baby. You are an amazing woman and your baby is lucky that you are his/her mom!!

  93. I grew up with an alcoholic father and I married an abusive “dry” alcoholic (thankfully divorced). My mother left my father when I was three because he decided to sober up all at once and went through DT’s blacked out and beat me. He didn’t sober up for real permanently until I was 13. They say that an alcoholic won’t sober up until they hit rock bottom. Dearest, I am afraid that rock bottom will include losing you and his son in one way or another. What I learned with my abusive husband: You feel like there is no way out, you have no money. You haven’t talked to your family or friends in months or years because he (and the baby) just make that impossible. You know what? When you hit rock bottom you will call a friend or family member and you will actually tell them what is going on for real. They will say “When can I pick you up?” and you will have more support than you think is out there! My mother and friend drover over 3 hours, snuck to the house when he was at work and moved me out before he ever got home… all I had to do was ask and I could have SWORN it just would never happen

  94. Yikes, I can totally see how my previous comment could come across as judgemental, as far as having a family with someone who is an alcoholic goes. I truly didn’t mean it that way, though. And I certainly didn’t mean that you should be ashamed of yourself…I would never use that word, its such a painful, hurtful concept, and I don’t believe anyone deserves to feel shame, including the alcoholic himself, and certainly not you!I was trying to relate to your situation, not judge it. For better or for worse, I didn’t have a child with my alcoholic husband, but otherwise my situation was fairly similar…I was well-educated, I had a successful career, and there I was dealing with a situation I never thought I’d be in…married to a rage-aholic, alcoholic man…who me? It really took me by surprise, especially since in so many ways he was a really great guy. To this day, I stay in touch with him (by e-mail only), and can totally remember all the reasons I wanted to have a family with him.
    My comment about asking yourself why you ended up with him was meant to share the benefit of my own painful experience, not to shame you. However, I can see that right now what you need is support and encouragement, not someone questioning your decisions, so I’m very sorry for any stress that my comment may have caused you.

  95. For the sake of your child, and for the sake of yourself,GET. OUT. NOW.
    You will find a way to make it possible to leave. I grew up in an alcoholic household, and then had relationships with a series of alcoholic men. I have started over with nothing more than a duffle bag of my belongings. I recall all too well the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach of never really knowing what to expect. The feeling of powerlessness. The feeling of walking on eggshells. The feeling of watching my mother sob while she was doing dishes. Please, please, please–that programming is so hard to override once it’s there, please don’t stay there. Don’t do that to your child. You don’t want this to be your child’s idea of “normal” someday. You will be amazed at how much lighter you will feel and how much more energy you will have if you get away from the situation. Make a plan, and just do it. He may not be abusive now, but chances are, he will be eventually. And then your child will be older and it will be so much harder. Make a plan and go. You sound like a smart woman–you will find a way to work it out. Really. You can and you will.

  96. If you are in the Ann Arbor area, look up Dawn Farm. They are a really excellent inpatient treatment program. I’m sure they have knowledge of other resources as well.

  97. Thanks for filling us in a little more, Amy. I hope all the thoughts and prayers for your situation are somehow easing your burden a little this week (judgmental/uninformed/whatever or not – I feel sure that the Moxie commenters’ hearts are in the right place whatever their advice). Again, please feel free to email me if you want to connect more personally (maria at davidgrover dot com), and in any case, have faith that you will get through it, you will make the decisions that are right for YOUR family, YOUR baby, YOURself, and there are lots of people out here pulling for you.

  98. I’m delurking because while the topics here are normally so far above my socioeconomic scale as to be laughable this is one that I’ve lived through and IMO that is a whole lot of horrible advice Moxie.You don’t know this woman from Adam. You assume that because someone you love has the disease of alcoholism that makes them no longer the person that you love. You don’t know her situation because you aren’t living it. It sucks. I’ve been there. There with serious PPD along with my drunk during both of my pregnancies, and the following toddlerhoods. It has to be her choice on what to do about her situation. Since she is going to Al-Anon then she already knows that the rules in there include not giving advice to others because you don’t know the full situation. Ears, shoulders to cry on, anything else is freely given by those members . . . but not advice on the relationship.
    I do agree with the advice to not leave the child unsupervised with the alcoholic. I had to quit my job because my alkie got drunk while watching our first child and didn’t feed him for 8 hours. Talk about a double dose of guilt and rage.
    Right on also with the advice on finding a friend to trade sitting services for the kids. I did this for years and it worked wonderfully.
    I’m sorry if I came off too strong. I’m bad in this medium and I have strong feelings about telling anyone in an alcoholic relationship what they should do. It’s so complicated and difficult that just surviving becomes a full-time job some days.
    FWIW, I did kick mine out when the situation became dangerous to my kids. But that was a personal decision that no one but myself could have made. It also turned out to be the rock bottom that my drunk needed and they are now a sober parent to our kids, but still not capable of full-time care of them.

  99. RE: leaving vs divorce – I honestly respect what the earlier poster said that leaving the marriage isn’t the same as divorce and doesn’t have to be a precursor to divorce. For better or worse, and all that.If the poster considers that tack, I’d like to really, really, suggest that she still try to find some legal advice before hand. I don’t want to scare anyone, but when a friend of our family left his wife (but didn’t divorce her) with kids, because of abuse situations (other friends and family members saw red flags, before it came to a head) – and wanted to get custody or restraining orders or something like that… he basically couldn’t and it seemed to keep falling down to the idea that if she was so bad, why hadn’t he divorced her. Well, he didn’t want to divorce her (least not at first), he wanted them all to get the help they needed and maybe be a family again.
    So… anyway… just want to reiterate getting your plans checked out.

  100. @Amy, I hear your love and need to be a true friend to your DH. I know you haven’t decided whether to leave or not. All I can offer in reference is that my dad decided that the kindest thing he could do with my step-mom was to make it possible for her to have decent relationships with her kids. To do that, he had to leave, so that she could lose that last leg to stand on that wasn’t her own two feet. She was standing using his legs on one side, and alcohol on the other. He stepped away.She does have decent relationships with her kids, now. Imperfect, but imperfect the way healthy normal relationships are imperfect. She’s also a counselor, and I think a couple decades sober, now.
    It was, IMHO, one of the most loving things he ever did for her. Wrenching, but ultimately, he knew that what she needed most in the world was to love her kids and be loved by them. His leaving made that possible.
    You will do what you will do. I just wanted to include that option in the list of ‘things that can be done out of the greatest love and friendship’. (And I’m not even assuming that you MUST do this in order to succeed. There are as many paths to sobriety as there are people. I hope the one you guys find is gentler than most.)

  101. A positive experience, in the hopes that it might make you feel stronger about leaving — my father was an alcoholic, who luckily (for me) didn’t start drinking seriously till after my parents had already divorced (I was around 10). The fact that we didn’t live with him gave me the ability to both avoid the worst of his drinking and to, like one of the posters above, help leverage his recovery. At 14 I told him I wouldn’t see him till he stopped drinking. That got him into AA. It took a while, but by the time I was 20, he had sorted himself out, and for the last 10 years of his life, we were very close.You don’t say this in your message, but I know one of the reasons it can be hard to leave a relationship like this is feeling you are separating your child from his father. As other posters make so clear, leaving (tomorrow, or next month) is not only necessary for your child’s safety, but it may give him the best chance to eventually have a healthy relationship with his father, rather than just memories of a bad one.

  102. I am married to a recovering alcoholic, and am the daughter, granddaughter and niece of recovering and functional alcoholics. I really think that calls to walk out on the marriage are a little excessive. What worked for me, when my husband was drinking or having relapses, was setting my personal limits, making them very clear to my husband and sticking to them. It sounds like the husband is in a lot of pain, probably really excited about being a dad, but really afraid of being a horrible dad, and that is pushing him to drink. If he knows he has a problem, and has admitted it, but hasn’t yet made efforts to curtail the drinking, Amy may want to make it clear to him that he is on a deadline to take some action. In the meantime, she can secure resources to make herself a little more financially independent. (All women should read Women and Money by Suze Orman.)I think everyone who is pushing leaving, should consider this: it really sucks to grow up without a dad. A recovering alcoholic dad is better than no dad at all. I think that Amy obviously loves her husband, and has educated herself about alcoholic relationships and for the time being, is putting a little faith in her husband’s eventual ability to recover, and her ability to cope. Please don’t judge that. There are alcoholics that go into recovery and manage to live wonderful productive lives and be great parents.
    On the parenting side, keeping up with your routines is important, and I would not rely on the husband right now. Once he starts recovery, adding parenting roles can be a part of the process for him. In the meantime, I am sure you can find resources to help you get a break. if you want to talk, moxie can give you my email address. I have some connections in Mich, so maybe I can help you out if you’re looking for something.

  103. I’ve been coming back to this post and thread for a couple of days now, compelled by what seem to be the usual reasons: alcohol in my own family and concern/sympathy/desire to boost Amy’s moral. But I haven’t even known where to start with comments. After a couple days, here’s what I’ve got:1)Managing the alcoholic situation is not really on the table; Amy wants to, needs to, and has decided to make her own choices about leaving, staying, working, and so on.
    2)What’s left are two questions and a surprisingly small amount of kvetching (something which I feel strongly all people need to do and are entitled to sometimes). The questions are A) how do I get some babysitting when I can’t ask my husband to step in, and B) Should I press the whole routine thing? Implied in B is a sort of “how much should I manage my husband’s involvement with the baby?”
    Here’s what I’ve got on B: I’m going to say that Amy shouldn’t try to get her husband involved in the routine. The husband will have a relationship with the baby in one way or another, eventually, even if that relationship is one of absence — but even if it’s a very positive relationship, he really doesn’t have to be the routine parent. That said, I think routine is especially important in this situation, as the lack of dependability is one of the main problems children in alcoholic families suffer from. (I, for instance, never knew when dinner was, or if I was supposed to fend for myself — so food issues are part of it for me. But that’s just me: countless other ACOAs have stories about the lack of dependability being a problem, and Amy should check out the literature on this if she hasn’t already, starting with Al-Anon sources like _From Survival to Recovery_.) In short, it’s hard enough to get a routine going with a baby; trying to get an alcoholic like the one Amy describes in on a routine sounds like trying to wrestle an octopus into a box. I think the goal here is not to get the father involved, but to establish a routine. Look for other ways to encourage the father’s involvement, and know that as babies gets older, most dads naturally become more interested anyway.
    I also think Amy’s going to have to cultivate her mother’s instinct here. Clearly, she needs to be the responsible parent, since her husband won’t be doing that anytime soon, which sucks. But she also feels the need to keep dad and it sounds like extended family involved, too. That’s a tough line, and will require a thick skin and a lot of confidence. Alcoholic situations naturally tend to erode both, as can al-anon itself in my experience. (I had to leave al-anon because for me, the “focus on yourself” aspect became a way for me to find fault with myself — it encouraged me to take too much responsibility, take part in denial, and just generally become neurotic. I have never heard of other al-anoners experiencing that, but it seems like such a natural fit that I wanted to throw it out there as a cautionary tale for Amy.) She’s going to have to be the authority here, the one to keep her son safe and nurtured as best as possible, and she’s going to have to make unpopular choices. Stay strong, Amy, and keep the cultivation of your Mommy-expertise strong.
    And just so you know, my husband totally dropped the baby once, and he was sober. (It wasn’t a far fall, and the baby’s fine, but still . . .)

  104. I will add to what Brooke said. “He may be highly-functioning now, but that doesn’t mean he will always be.” My husband was my soulmate and best friend. We loved each other so much. He was always good to me. He was also a highly functioning alcoholic. He ended up getting sick and not being able to work, then he couldn’t drive, then he ended up in a wheelchair after one too many falls, fractures, and painful peripheral neuropathy in his feet and legs. He was in a coma for 2 weeks and died of cirrhosis – he was in his late thirties. Addiction is a horrible and insidious disease. My husband went to AA but kept drinking. The powerlessness, worry and stress of being in a relationship with an addict is miserable. I coped mainly by working long hours.I adopted a baby as a single working mom 4 years after he died. I know how hard it is to be alone and have a needy baby (now toddler). I am exhausted all the time. At the same time, I know it would have been much, much harder taking care of a child and an alcoholic husband. You can do it on your own.
    My suggestions for finding a good daycare and/or babysitter, is ask every parent you know if they know of someone they would recommend. When you meet the provider, check references, ask a lot of questions, and trust your gut. Having some support, even once a week to start, is really important for your own sanity and well being.
    You sound like a strong, intelligent woman and a great mother. You have to put yourself and your child first and plan for the future now. Please let us know what happens and stay strong. We are all pulling for you. God bless.

  105. @Amy, thanks for coming back and posting again and providing us with some more information about your situation. I for one will sleep better at night knowing you have a car and have had a career — not that either is essential to your success, here, but both seem like things that should work in your favor and give you more options than you might otherwise have.I will repeat what someone else already said, that a household where one parent is an alcoholic may be vastly more difficult with a toddler than a baby. I thought of you as I watched my toddler repeatedly dismantle and reorganize stuff in our household this weekend and just wondered how you will cope.
    And I don’t think I said this before, but even if I’m repeating myself, congratulations on becoming a mom, and I hope the joy and wonder that can entail is part of your life in spite of the problems you are dealing with right now.

  106. Would it be unreasonable to ask where you live, Amy? That way, if any of us live anywhere near you, we could offer free childcare to help. I would love to sit for you if you live anywhere near Boise, ID!

  107. Firsttimemom wrote: (I think that one of the tricky things about living with an alcoholic is learning to have no expectations of them at all)My heart goes out to the OP, and I was glad to see the good suggestions and advice offered. No experience with that, but I just wanted to comment that it isn’t just alcoholic dads who don’t (ever!) help with the dinner/bedtime routine. So as far as any perceived embarrassment, getting a mother’s helper so you can make dinner just means you don’t have enough hands.
    DH often works late, and is randomly out of town on business. Baby likes to do the bedtime “i-need-mommy-to-cluster-feed-me-nothing-else-will-do” while I try to get the big ones in bed, and dinner is often far too haphazard.
    A friend’s DH works a shifted schedule, never home before 8, sometimes 9 or 10 if there’s a deadline or food shopping to deal with. So needing help does NOT necessarily correlate with the alcoholism.
    {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  108. Does your area have respite care or a safe nursery? I don’t know what they are called exactly but they are places that offer childcare to families in crisis and often offer counseling and other services.I do not deal with alcoholism in my immediate family but I do have/have had family members battle the disease and it is tough.

  109. Wow, I’m shocked. I am in the exact same position as you except you are quite a few steps ahead of me. You are in counseling and I am not. I know I need it but I also don’t want him using it against me and saying that I’m mentally unstable because I am in counseling. I however work full time and am financially independent. I am very close to leaving and he knows this. He said last night. “Hey, I don’t know if you noticed but I haven’t drank any beer the past couple of nights.” I just looked at him and said “Pat on the back”. There is so much more that I want to say but I’m just tired. He does this all the time. Stops drinking for a bit when he knows that I’m completely fed up but then he’ll end up right back at it. I think about moving out a lot and I could but… I also come from a broken home and always said that I would try at all costs to keep my family together if I ever had one. Plus, my father was a drunk, imagine that, and when my parents split I had to go and stay with a drunk every other weekend and watch out for my little brother. This was very stressful at 12 years old. So one of my main reasons for staying is that he will get visitation rights, it is the law and I certainly do not want her to be alone in the house when he is “sleeping”.I know that little A, she will be 2 on Thursday, picks up on this tension. I try my hardest to not let her see it and am getting very good at acting like everything is just hunky dorey when she is around. However, I also don’t want her to grow up thinking that this is what love between a man and a woman should be. I think about that a lot too. I actually grew up not knowing this love because my parents divorced which I believe is what led me to this jerk off. I am text book Psych101 with the Daddy issues and marrying someone just like him.
    Work is my break but in turn I miss her so much during the day. I would give anything to not have to work but I am grateful that I do when I am thinking about moving out. I don’t leave her alone with him during the evening anymore either. I tried it a couple of times and each time I came home, at around 9 or 10 at the latest, and he was “sleeping” in the recliner. “I’m exhausted” is what he says. I don’t go anywhere anymore. I can’t. What if there is a fire or something. He certainly couldn’t handle it. He would probably save the damn dog before he would remember that there is a two year old upstairs.
    The hardest thing I have to deal with is anger. I feel some pretty amazing anger especially around PMS time. I do realize that I have it and when it comes on I just start cleaning, go for a walk, anything to move my body and stay away from him as much as possible. But never the less he always seem to show up and spout some insane, abusive comment about how I don’t do enough around the house when at that moment I’ll be cleaning something. In my mind’s eye I’m giving him a swift slap right across the face. Hopefully, that image doesn’t progress and this is also why I know that I need to get counseling. I’m so angry at him. He’s broken so many promises and the thought of him breaking promises to little A just makes me even angrier.
    Now I know that everybody says don’t blame yourself you are not at all responsible or at fault. I hear that and I know when he says that he drinks because of me that he is full of crap. But what I blame myself for constantly is marrying him. That was my choice and you bet I knew about his drinking. But the biggest promise that he ever broke was promising me that once he had a wife and kids he would be different. He wouldn’t drink or smoke ‘it’ anymore and I was the biggest fool for believing that. I blame myself for being a fool really.
    My strongest piece of advice for you right now is to try to become financially stable. Try to find ways to make money. If I didn’t have a desk job I would start a blog and put ads on them. My writing isn’t the greatest but I sure would try. If you have access to a computer I recommend doing that. Especially if you can’t get someone to watch your baby. This is something to do while home. Then read some of the bigger blogs out there and make sure you link to your blog in the comments. I often follow some of those links just to check them out. I love to read and love when I find good writing.
    Another thing I suggest is documenting his behavior. Pictures, videos, write episodes down so that when you do try to leave him you have some sort of footing for battling the mandatory visitation. I’ve been doing this too. That visitation scares the crap out of me. I’d rather be going through this myself than leave her to go through it on her own during visitation. The only solution would be for him to be denied visitation or have to have supervised visits.
    I am lucky too that he isn’t physically abusive so I do have time to get everything worked out. He is fine with our daughter and I am there at all times. I also get a break when he goes up north to our cottage without me when the weather has turned cold. The last two weekends of just me and little A have really helped a lot. It was a much needed break from him and I get one more weekend until that is closed up for the winter but hunting is right around the corner and he’ll be gone a lot for that too. Life is so much easier when he isn’t around and luckily for me that is often.
    I wish you luck with everything! My email address is attached to this comment but it doesn’t display. I don’t know if Moxie can give it to you or not but you are welcome to have it if she can.

  110. I didn’t read through all of the comments before I posted this but I just skimmed them and saw that you had replied at one point.One thing that might be misleading about my post is my own self blame. Please know that I am in no way projecting that to you and thinking that you should also blame yourself. That’s not how it works. We all have our issues, our reasons and our self loathing. This is just mine.
    The relationships that we are in are very complicated. You do love this person but at the same time you hate them too. It can’t get anymore complicated than that really!
    There are reasons for staying and there are reasons for leaving. I personally am staying for now. My daughter is not in harms way I’m always there looking out for her. I also should mention too that while I am working she is with my in-laws for three days and at an in home sitter for two. I’m lucky to have that support base.
    My husband is very high functioning. He does not drink during the day on weekdays. He works. But once he gets home I’ve seen him drink 3-4 beers in 1/2 hour to 45 min. Pssssst, I know the sound of a can cracking well.
    The hardest time for me with him was when she was a new born. He’d get home, drink, drink, drink and like you said want to spend “quality” time with the baby. There were many times when I wouldn’t let him pick her up escpecially if he was having trouble standing up himself but there were also times when I stood and cringed like you said. The first seven weeks of her life literally traumitized me. Being a firt time mother, up all night, dealing with someone peeing all over the bathroom stumbling around the house. It was bad.
    Now lately he has been bugging for another child. Sometimes I think yes we should I would like her to have a sibling. Other times I think no way can I ever go through that again and then I get angry at him again because I have that feeling in the first place. I’m 38 and the window is shutting. I also don’t know if I have time to wait around for him to straighten up.
    You’ve gotten a lot of suggestions about finding childcare but I really do think that you should blog and drop in here to let us know the link.

  111. With all due respect to many of the other comments, I think it is a different dynamic to be married to an alcoholic that to have grown up in an alcoholic home. It’s not quite so easy to leave.My husband is an alcoholic, and we also have a young baby. I struggled with whether to leave him even before we got pregnant, and thankfully I found Al-Anon and started working on my own recovery. With all the other comments about Al-Anon, I’m surprised there isn’t mention of two key principles: not to give advice but to speak from experience, strength and hope; and the fact that alcoholism is a disease — cunning, baffling, and powerful. No one can say whether you should leave your husband but you. He’s sick, and it isn’t anyone’s fault.
    I’ve been in the program for four years, and while there are still many ups and downs, I have steadily worked my way toward serenity whether or not my husband drinks — and I had adamantly disbelieved the people who said this was possible.
    The three C’s (didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it) have also been a saving grace for me. I want to blame my husband constantly for what I perceive as his irresponsible behavior, but I have to remind myself that he is suffering, too. Alcoholism has a terrible stigma — many people see it as a moral failing — but actually a little compassion goes a long way. I wouldn’t be saying this if I hadn’t personally seen it work in my life.
    I thought I was crazy to willingly have a baby with a drunk, but again, I try to see it as the disease that it is — he didn’t cause it, either. So we have to make special considerations, like anyone who is sick or has a handicap.
    The most important thing is for me to take care of myself, since my own life becomes unmanageable if my basic needs aren’t being met. I can’t depend on my husband to provide those things for me, I have to do it myself. Al-Anon has worked miracles in my life because of its simple and profound message: grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (his drinking), the courage to change the things I can (my own behavior), and the wisdom to know the difference.
    I hope you keep going back to Al-Anon, Amy, and all others living with the affects of alcoholism. You will find your own solutions, I promise.

  112. Ah yes the can is opened. I was born an acllhooic, addicted to drugs and I smoked long before I ever took my first breath. There are things that really irk me, one being making lite of the damage these people cause. How I ever lived will never be known, but I did, and oh how I live. I am prone to addictive personality disorder, but being a type A personality, I have it well under control, really I do, just ask the million people that run from me. I should have died from all the second hand smoke I inhaled, but that is a different rant.Alcoholics have no choice, you may not understand that, but it is true, I know firsthand. On the deathbed after almost 20 years of being in an institution, one of the last things asked for was a drink, and no not water. It destroyed a family and sadly one child has also allowed it to destroy herself and her family, me, I am smart I knew the cycle had to stop somewhere, so with me it stops. I harbor no ill thoughts, they did the best they could with what and how they knew. Never the less, a true acllhooic has no control, as easy as it is to say they just need to stop, do this for me, stop breathing, go ahead try. You cannot, neither can an acllhooic stop. I do not understand why, every time I get worried, I stop, and wait till I feel the little voice in my head go away. I have rules, I do not drink outside my home, I do not drink and drive, I do not have bottles of alcohol in my home, I do have a few beers in the fridge and no that is not an open invitation. Before the sale, I even owned stock in Budweiser. I never allow someone to drink and drive, I also never preach about the amount of damage that it does, not even about the damage the children of acllhooics have to endure. Myself I have walked away from relationships because someone drank too much and could not alter the consumption knowing it could never change.I do not normally speak about this, those that truly know me, understand, and I have even had to help others in helping get their loved ones help. But I am rather cold and callus about it and at all costs will avoid those situations unless it is destroying a family, and at my size, when I tell you something and you laugh at me, the damage I can do is scary, I even have references.I say these things to make it clear that I know what I speak about, when someone asks about a situation involving acllhooics, advise them to get professional help, no arm chair psychobabble needed, real help is, and that is if truly help is wanted. I am not a fan of AA I am not saying that it does not work, it has for some, but Al-Anon I understand from people it has helped is good, and NA is also a good program for resources, no nonsense approach.

  113. A quimica entre o Ron e April e9 remtaenle algo sem igual. Parecem pai e filha, e9 mto bacana!Ri mto do beijo entre a Leslie e o Tom. A cara dele estava f3tima! hahaJerry’s Painting foi um dos melhores episf3dios de Parks. Sem mais!Se9rio que vocea ne3o riu da zona daquela casa? Eles dividindo um garfo pra comer foi hile1e1e1e1rio!O Ron estava completamente desesperado em Eagleton! Rachei mto.Eu ri demais da diferene7a entre as prisf5es e das gift bags ( tem um ipod touch aqui dentro )! hahahaAniverse1rio perfeito pro Ron! Acho que tinha um porco inteiro ali, nunca vi tanto bacon no mesmo lugar! hehe

  114. I think there are a lot of anti-alcoholism organizations today. In fact, there is an itiniative by spouses of American governors called Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free which was founded in order to to prevent childhood drinking. There are also available websites with information about such topics like the Stop Underage Drinking portal. I really hope your son grows up to be a great man and hopefully sober.

  115. Desespero total aquela bagune7a da April e do Andy.Veja Eagleton, sungedo melhor da temporada, sf3 perde pra Ron and Tammy II.Pra mim a fune7e3o da Rashida Jones e9 pegar os caras na se9rie e ser amiga da Leslie, acabou. Queria ver se ela dava algo mais, gostei dela interagindo com a Donna queria ver isso mais.

  116. Know that we are all here anytime at the loss of Hope. If you were inuordtced to Sue Hoopengardner, she is an amazing woman whom kept in contact with us for the first year and did more for me emotionally than I ever could have imagined. The other person was Rachel Porter. Sadly because of her loss of Gracie she has become my rock from the momens we were in the hospital before birth! God sent me these wonderful women an I am forever thankful. Know that Hope is in the best company in Heaven with God and many other children who only knew their parents for moments but will love them a lifetime.

  117. Denita Clark – Amy & Archie’s pictures are ablueotlsy gorgeous! I especially like the photos that we took near the lake. Both the guys and girls pictures looked like they were clipped straight from a magazine photo shoot We had lots of fun taking the pictures too! Everything seemed so organized and well put togehter. The finished product proves that true.

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