A brief conversation with Lovely Husband

Who is at a business conference in a winery region. We like winery regions. We do tastings, we belong to a wine club, that sort of thing. I’ve mentioned that I never get drunk in public, or during the day, right?

Anyway. General chit chat. “I’m drinking a lovely bottle of red. You’d like it…err. If you were drinking.”
“Sounds good. I’m glad you get to have a nice time.”
(General chit chat, me mock-complaining that the technology in the house hates me tonight)
“You can have a gin and tonic if it gets too bad, you know!”
“Right, thanks. But no”
“But. Okay, but you are going to have a glass of champagne on our first night in the new house, right?”
“I don’t know. I’ll see. I don’t want to have a glass of champagne and decide that it’s okay to drink again. And I don’t want to go through giving up again”
“No pressure. But we’ve got all these nice bottles saved [ed: this is about 20 bottles that forms our special collection, nice ones we’ve splurged on over the years, some are 10-15 years old] , it’d be a shame if you could never share them”
“Sure. But if I start drinking again, I’ll start drinking again. And I don’t like where I am and I don’t want to go back there and I have probably gone past the point of being able to moderate”
“Well, sure, with alcohol in the house. But we won’t keep as much around. I’ll help!”
Me: excuses to get off the phone.

Fucks sake, frankly. I don’t want, I really don’t want to pull out the A word. And I know that it’s just him feeling expansive and replete with the good life; expensive bottle of red, two glasses, wishing I was there to share the good time with him.

And oh, would you look at that, there’s the voice. Well maybe you could moderate, if it was you and him both, and the temptation to drink more simply wasn’t an option (it is ALWAYS an option). One glass of champagne doesn’t count as a relapse surely, if it was one, with the understanding that I went back to sobriety afterwards…I mean not ‘one so therefore I can have one just one tomorrow, and two the next day because it’s Friday and oops I slipped and fell into a bottle, but just one, as a special occasion…

No. Fuck off fuck off fuck off. I can’t have alcohol, it’s just a thing. Some people can’t eat gluten, some people risk death if they have a nut, my best friend can never touch caffeine because of a heart condition. Another friend lost a baby and lives with that loss. Everyone lives with something they can never have. Mine is only alcohol. And nobody needs alcohol. So I’m very lucky.

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9 thoughts on “A brief conversation with Lovely Husband

  1. Ok, so I completely understand not wanting to pull out the A word. However, at the same time, if you really, truly want to quit totally I think you’re going to have to get hubby more on board with understanding that you are really serious, if not just yet then eventually. Could it be you are still leaving the door open to drinking again without questioning? (And believe me, if you are, I totally get this.) It’s great you can see that your husband means no harm – and he doesn’t, he just isn’t getting it. But, to me, it seems like you are setting yourself up for drinking again if this continues. He’ll keep pressing and one night that glass of champagne/red wine will suddenly seem too tempting and harmless.

    If it’s too hard to have the big “I really can’t drink anymore EVER” conversation could you perhaps delay it by making it clear you’re not drinking for 100 days (or however long) and say that you don’t want to discuss drinking at all til thereafter? That might make him back off a bit with the comments and give you some time. Also, he might just be struggling himself with the idea of you changing. Maybe you both need to defer those thoughts for awhile?

    • Thanks. No, I really don’t think I am leaving that door open (weirdly!) although I may well be setting myself up for temptation.

      I think it’s that I just don’t want to tell him the things that will get him to listen. I don’t want him to know that I’ve been hiding wine bottles from him, or that I was replacing the box of wine when it was nearly empty, with a full one, so that he didn’t know I was going through one every week on my own.

      That’s also where the hiding-treats comes from. I kind of don’t want him to know that this is a proper hard thing that I am doing, because I don’t want to be his poor addicted wife who struggles with something other people find easy.

      I’m terribly, terribly proud. Which is going to get me through, but makes it hard to say that I need support. He’s genuinely, wonderfully, Lovely. This is not about him. This is about me wanting him to admire me not pity me.

      And yes, he’s definitely having adjustment issues. He’s been trying – very successfully – to moderate his own intake this year due to a heart issue, so because he has radically reduced the amount he drinks, he can’t work out why I can’t do the same. Because, you know, from his perspective it’s the first time “we’ve really tried to cut down” and so how do I know it won’t work?

      And also, because we’re food-and-wine people. We live in a winery district. We’re the people in our social group who know about wine. I used to have a job working as a wine demonstrator, I’ve done courses and everything. So a teetotal wife is a big shift in the relationship, or so he fears.

      Sorry, this reply is more of a novel than the original post. But it’s helpful to me!

      • I understand, I really do. I mentioned the “out” because I know for myself that’s why I didn’t want to tell friends for a long time – still haven’t been as open as I could/should be – because some part of me didn’t want them to look askance at me if I drank again. And, yes, a proud part of me didn’t want to be Lilly with “A Problem”. Ugh. But I have been surprised by some of the positive reactions I’ve had – of admiration not pity – from some.

        If your husband is wonderful and lovely and loves you, has it occurred to you that he will admire you, not pity you, if you can be honest with him? I don’t mean to sound flip. I can totally relate to what you’re saying, but sometimes we are so much harsher judges of ourselves than others ever are, particularly those that love us. This is far likely more to be your own shame talking than a reflection of what he will really think/feel when it comes down to brass tacks.

        But again, you don’t need to confront all of that yet if you’re not ready. You just need his full support… for now. Maybe if it sounds like 100 days, rather than forever, you can both cross that bridge when you come to it?

  2. I relate and gin and tonic was one of my go-to cocktails. We use to live just south of Napa and we have an entire cellar full of amazing bottles that I accept I will not get to enjoy. I have my favorite champagne that I failed to drink prior to the last beating I took from my boyfriend, Alcohol, and now he won it in the breakup. I won’t get to wake with a headache, a punch in the gut, or a stupid little argument over some dumb ass thing that happened when just a little too much was consumed and there’s not a sober one in the house to diffuse the situation.

    We have spent many holidays over in Napa with winemakers and the like. Last visit I noticed a friend from a prominent winery family not drinking. When I mentioned it to another friend, it was “under doctor orders”. He’s always been a drinker and a big one at that! Looking around the group I noticed a lot of not normal drinking, although acceptable drinking in wine country. It’s as if somehow being an educated drinker consuming fine bottles of wine in the valley where it’s made makes it different. Similar to a scotch connoisseur and the like. Alcohol is alcohol no matter how special or how educated we are. I have started to think sommeliers and the like take to their job as a reason to drink. Once it’s your job, how do you stop? And dammit, why didn’t I choose that profession?

    With my husband who is looking at spending the rest of his life without his drinking partner, I told him this was about me. I don’t enjoy his drinking, but haven’t asked him to do anything but cut back. He struggles with it and quit for 9 months to get himself together. But the cellar was too tempting for him to stop forever. What I said to was that this was a decision long in coming, I didn’t make it hastily, and I asked for his support. I gave him one request for support. I asked him to just say to me “Give it one more day” if I say I want to drink. Forever is a long time but if I can white knuckle it when a craving takes over just one more day, I can make it.

    Now off to pick up my son in a sober state of mind. I didn’t have to wait until after practice to have my first drink, I don’t have to worry about driving after drinking!

    • I just found this post, which really hits home, and your response with the perfect line for me to ask my husband to give to me: “just give it one more day.” God, I’ve been looking for a specific way to suggest he can support me, and this might just do it. Thank you.

      • Oh that’s great! FWIW, two-months-and-change down the track, it’s not really an issue at all. He has his one glass of wine per night, if he occasionally has a second one he sort of justifies it defensively, every now and then I offer to make him a G&T which is nice, and my not-drinking isn’t talked about at all. He asked how it was going last week, just as a casual check-in, I said getting easier, thanks, and we moved on. It’s obvious to both of us that it hasn’t ruined anything, I guess.

  3. Dear AA, hello to you and thanks to Lilly for the introduction to your great blog! I’ve been reading back through your posts and both laughing and nodding a lot in recognition. Loved the Jason Vale rant! Jason makes some good points but does always remind me of a slightly chubby and not very good male yoga teacher I once had. For me he talks the talk but doesn’t really have the brains or charisma to be a true guru šŸ˜‰

    Re this last post and your husband: I agree that it sucks that as well as NOT BLOODY DRINKING we also have to deal with everyone else’s expectations of us, at a time when we are exceedingly fragile. My (also highly lovely) husband is a moderate drinker and has never ‘got’ that is not a natural state for me. And as you say, part of the reason he doesn’t get it is because I hid the worst of my drinking from him. Because I was ashamed. Isn’t it a killer that hiding our drinking keeps biting us on the arse even after we have stopped doing it? It sounds from your above precis of the conversation that you ARE saying ‘no more, I’m not doing this anymore’ – it’s just that he doesn’t want to hear it. That was a litany of him questioning you – “okay, but?…no pressure, but?….. well sure, but?” – and to his every ‘but’ you kept saying “butt out’ šŸ™‚ Keep that up!

    I remember being massively helped by reading somewhere (Belle, probably) that it takes time for our non-sober partners to catch up with us, in part because they are not reading sober blogs for x hours a day, and we just have to be patient and consistent. I have certainly found the longer my sobriety has continued, the more understanding my husband has become. Like training a puppy šŸ˜‰ He now ‘gets’ that he doesn’t get it, which for me is enough.

    Reading your blog posts you sound incredibly determined and sure of what you want, which is lovely to read. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more about how you are getting on !

    • Primrose I love so many things about this comment I can’t possibly pull them all out. But especially that hiding drinking continues to bite us on the arse! And there I was thinking that all my problems would magically resolve…

      Lovely to have you on board.

  4. Welcome to the sometimes insane world of the grogblog, “after-a”!
    Nice to see you and I’ll be tuning in!
    Strength and all the best :o)
    G x

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