I’m 63 I have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. I take care of everyone whenever they need something from money to help with kids. I have no life anymore due to my husband of 39 years and his alcoholism. He’s had liver failure 3 years ago, apparently resolved. He has been working from home since COVID-19 about March 22, 2020 or so. Which enables him to drink 24/7.

He has fallen multiple times, doesn’t bathe but once every 2 weeks or so. He stayed in our basement on his bed couch all day and night. When he had to come up two flights of stairs he’s barely able to hold on without falling. I’ve considered divorce but don’t think I can bear to do that to him at this point. I want to sell our house in Kansas and go back to Florida where we could finally have him retire. He works still receives a nice social security benefit monthly. So financially we are ok. I am taking prescription Xanax and clonopin for anxiety and sleep and also Paxil 37.5 but I’m not able to sustain my weight at a healthy level I have lost 30 lbs in a year I am 5’2” and just weighed at my pcp at 88. Doctor is concerned it’s depression and anxiety over this situation with my husband. Also, my oldest son (former addict) lives with us but creates havoc here with his former addict friends. I also allowed a friend to stay here while she finds a place to stay and it’s created a lot of anxiety for me because she is not a tidy person and her two dogs and cat are also here. I had talk therapy many times and I can’t get a grip on my life and my own goals with the husband issue.

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Well--your Dh sounds like a loss-sorry to say.

Do you stay with out of love, guilt, or financial reasons?

You remind me of a dear friend who's DH is also an alcoholic of 50+ years. He just retired, she is still working (at age 75!!) just to get out of the house. She also takes in her kids and grandkids all the time and the stress this woman endures!

One day, after listening to her talk about the same exact thing she's been on about for 42 years, I said "Linda, why are you STAYING? You are absolutely miserable and your family is not there for you...except for her oldest daughter who would take her in in a hot second". She looked at me like I was crazy. "I can't LEAVE, who would take care of everybody?"

She honestly had NEVER thought about leaving. I gave up even trying to talk to her. She's on FB every day complaining about her life, her family, her rotten kids--and most of us just kind of sigh and send her a little virtual hug. She doesn't WANT to be better. Her hubby is a waste of time and space. (He has hit her, many times--so it's more than just emotional abuse).

Until YOU pack up and walk, nothing will change. Your alcoholic hubby will not change, there's no impetus to do so. He KNOWS you won't leave.

I'd suggest Al-Anon and hopefully some counseling, w/o DH at this point.

BTW, your dr is spot on. Stress these days is the 'normal' dynamic. We're all a mess. Having a hard family life makes it much worse.

I'm learning to say no and to take care of myself. Ok, DH has had to figure out to run the washer and vacuum, but it hasn't killed him.

Don't mean to sound uncaring--but your DH is ruining your life and you're worried that a divorce would be something you couldn't bear to do to HIM.

Yet he abuses you like there's no tomorrow.

My heart breaks for you, but only you can change this.

Come back--others will have more specific and better ideas than I do.

((Hugs)) b/c you NEED them!
Helpful Answer (13)
katiekat2009 Jul 2020
Agree. And, since the son is there, let him take care of dad.
In addition to your other problems, may I suggest you are co-dependent in your husband's and son's substance abuse. You are enabling their behavior to continue and it is obviously hurting you. Please visit Al-Anon or any other group therapy for family of substance abusers. You need to get the other "needy" people out of your life and focus on regaining your health. The friend who needs a place needs to crash needs to go somewhere else - with another friend or family member, perhaps. The son needs to find a new place to live and gather with his friends. You need to decide - most likely with the help of a counsellor - what you want to do about you relationship with your husband. Please do not wait! Your weight is dangerously and life-threateningly low.
Helpful Answer (9)

If your husband hasn’t quit drinking by now, he isn’t going to. Stop enabling him. If you don’t want to divorce him then go out and do what makes you happy. You really need to get out of that house and stop taking care of everyone. Your best bet is a divorce, but if that is not an option, try volunteering, go to Alanon, see a therapist, but stop taking care of everything and everyone!! Your health is deteriorating because of it. Believe me when I say that if something happened to you, they would be fine and carry on without you. I suggest you carry on without them while you are here and alive and have so much life left. Don’t be stuck in a no win situation. Your life literally depends on it. Big hugs to you!!
Helpful Answer (8)

If husband will not take ownership of his addiction you cannot force him to be healthy. It sounds like he has had this issue for a long time.
I am more concerned about you. Get some therapy and is there somewhere you can go even for a short while? Start making plans to move somewhere if you can afford it because this life is going to kill you. You are the enabler here.
Helpful Answer (7)

This is serious! Get the addict son out of the house. Get the untidy friend out. Take a stand for your own good. My nephew just died in circumstances similar to this, thinking he was "helping" a bunch of addicts by letting them live in and destroy his home. When he needed emergency medical help himself, they just watched him die. Your husband either makes a try at staying sober or he is out too. Or you leave. I mean it. Get moving. Therapy can come later if you still need it, but you should act now.
Helpful Answer (7)

It is all too easy for a giving person to get sucked down into the mire, making it difficult, BUT not impossible to get out. When others start more or less taking advantage of that giving side of you, it is time to back off. There might be some begging and pleading, it will be hard to go against your natural giving spirit, but if you don't put a stop to all of this, you will end up just a spirit! Don't fall for the empty promises either... Everyone is counting on you to fold up and give in. DON'T!

88 pounds at your height is VERY underweight. It's roughly my height and other than a hospital stay (their TPN was NOT enough calories and I had to argue with them!), my HS weight and after 1st child was 99 pounds. You are killing yourself, between doing for everyone, medication, anxiety, etc. You NEED to focus on YOU. The others can fend for themselves - they did before, they can do it again. They are all adults and should be doing this themselves. They've gotten too used to your giving/doing.

The friend:
As others have said, you've been more than kind to your friend. Your plan is to sell and move (more on that later), so tell her she NEEDS to find a place asap, perhaps setting a deadline for that. Your reason is you need to clear out, clean up and prep it for sale. That's all she needs to know.

The son:
It isn't clear why he lives with you at this point. If he has cleaned up his act, hopefully he has a job (if not he needs one - bad timing, but there are still places hiring) and needs to find a place of his own. He should steer clear of his addict friends, but that's his choice. You can recommend it, but that's about it.

The other children:
Why are they needing money from you? They are grown and on their own. They should be able to manage their lives without pan-handling from you. Yes, I have helped my kids when they were in a tough spot, but always with a plan that they pay me back and they DID. Times are hard, but there are ways THEY can cut their expenses. I have had to do that, as a single mom, MANY times over the years.

There are only 2 kinds of alcoholics: a drinking one and a non-drinking one. Alcoholism doesn't go away, but with strength of will some can get off the booze and stay off. All too often, most can't. Two of my uncles were drinkers, one more social than the other, but it was liquor, not beer. I think he died of cirrhosis. The other lived longer, but had more and more issues. His bones softened due to the alcohol. He fell and hit his head, causing major problems. The last fall he had was the final one. He is not likely to change and you can't make him change. Your choice is to either put up with this, wherever you are living, or move on without him. You have to make that decision.

This is for YOU. This is what YOU want. This is YOUR goal. Start planning. Instead of "helping" everyone else, your focus and activity should be on what YOU want. This isn't you being selfish - everyone else already can claim that! On paper, make the headline MOVE. Under that, list the steps needed to achieve this. Don't lump things together - separate items, so you can check them off when done.

The above suggestions need to be put in place. One step at a time. You CAN do this. Start by getting the friend and your son actively looking/moving - set a deadline date. Meanwhile, stop DOING things for everyone. Start weeding through things you don't need/want, give stuff away, throw it away, whatever, start downsizing. Start looking for rentals in FL at least. Buying may have to wait for your house sale and getting all the others off the freedom boat. When the "dust" in FL settles a bit, GO THERE ALONE for a week or 2. Stay in a hotel and pamper yourself. Get out and BREATHE! You might find you can unwind and actually sleep without taking anything! This may be what you need to make a firm break from it all. You might also find they all survive without you.
Helpful Answer (7)
disgustedtoo Jul 2020
In addition to making the list and working on it, get out of that house as much as you can. Don't stand around waiting for the others to walk all over you. Go out. Sit in a park and enjoy nature. Go for a leisurely walk (not too brisk, this isn't for exercise as you don't need to lose any more weight!)

If you are there to cater to everyone's needs, perhaps they might figure out they need to do for themselves. None of these are children, who need your care. They are all adults and should start acting like one.

Consult with an atty could be on your list as well. You don't have to make the decision to split, but at least know what your options are. If you did decide to at least separate and sell the place, you should get half the sale proceeds and depending on your source of income, you would likely get a share of his income too (alimony, as far as I recall, is taxable to you, tax deductible to him.) Having to split finances will make it a bit harder for you, but should allow you to at least rent a place in FL if not buy.

Stop handouts to the others. You will need it at some point for your own care in the future. Also, if your friend isn't paying to stay, then either friend starts paying up or set that deadline sooner. What friend pays should cover increase in expenses to the household - son should be paying as well. NO free-loaders.
You have money to help everyone else. Take that money, move to florida, ALONE. You deserve your retirement too.
Helpful Answer (6)

Marntson: Imho, I implore you to cease being "the nice gal." OMG - you are a VERY tiny individual and are at a dangerously low weight for your height. You must remedy that STAT, e.g. take care of YOURSELF by seeking out a dietician. I'm surprised that your PCP wouldn't have recommended that immediately.
Your husband - Only he can amend his alcohol abuse. Unsure of how his liver failure got resolved. Perhaps he had a liver transplant, but you didn't mention that. I don't understand how he's working, but remains in the basement bed all day and night unless he somehow has a burst of energy.
Your son - Why is he staying with you? His addict friends will only bring him down and are no good to a recovered addict. He must learn to get some new friends as his old ones are dangerous business!
The friend - Sorry, but that person must leave as they are using you.
Your financials - "Sorry, kids, but mom's bank is closed for business. The wellspring has run dry!"

The moral of your story is that nice people like yourself get taken advantage of all the time. It's time to take care of YOU!
Helpful Answer (6)

Your former addict son and his friends create havoc in your home. Your messy friend, her two dogs and her cat have for some reason been made welcome in your home. And you think your husband's non-compliance is the issue?

What work does your husband do?

Liver failure doesn't usually resolve itself, or not in a good way anyway. What has gone on between his health crisis three years ago and the situation as it is now?

You take prescription drugs. He drinks, and hides at work down in the basement. While I fully agree - could not agree more strongly - that "there is no situation, however bad, that cannot be made worse by alcohol" I suspect that the real problem is a complete absence of control exercised by the TWO of you over what use is made of your home, your resources, yourselves.

Perhaps you and your husband need to make a new agreement about how you will protect one another?
Helpful Answer (5)

Sounds like you have "no life any more" because you let everyone treat you like a door mat, from your husband, your son and his friends and also your friend and her pets. I mean REALLY??? Can you not see that after you read what you wrote? And the toll it's taking on your health. When is enough enough? You obviously don't think very highly of yourself to allow all this going on in your household.

You need to get some help for yourself, whether that's Al-Anon, or some other type of therapy/counseling. And really a divorce shouldn't be out of the question either. You can't change your husband. You can only change yourself, and if you really want it bad enough you will do whatever it takes. Will it be hard? Of course it will. Change usually is. But the rewards will far outweigh any bad.

Your family will have to learn to stand on their own 2 feet, and not be so dependent on you, if you really want to have a stress less life. You obviously get something out of feeling needed, that you allow all these people to take advantage of you. There's only one Savior, and it's not you. His name is Jesus. Quit trying to save everyone else and try saving yourself. You're worth it.
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