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Pregnant - partner suffers depression, anxiety and alcoholism

Community Member

Hello all,

Firstly I am so grateful to have this community even though it's been a while since I engaged. So thank you in advance for any support offered.

I am 20 weeks pregnant, planned pregnancy that we were/are both very excited about. My partner is an alcoholic and has suffered from severe depression and anxiety for years. He has got help on and off but discontinued counselling a couple of months ago and stopped taking anti-depressants prior to that. I love him incredibly deeply and see the beautiful person he is every day, but the substance use definitely masks that and he becomes very hostile and also just doesn't like being around me when he drinks because he knows he's "letting me down" even if I don't say anything. So I am feeling incredibly isolated as he has been drinking every night lately.

He also works in a very stressful environment supporting homeless youth in crisis. He's fantastic at his work but it leaves him very burnt out at the end of the day so emotional support is not really something I can lean on him for. He's aware of all of this too, like he says he feels trapped in alcoholism, that he feels he isn't supporting me enough, but hearing that when nothing changes doesn't really make it any easier.

He is really struggling with a lot of stress, worrying about the state of the world with COVID, with home invasions happening in our neighbourhood and not feeling safe, feeling he has to work to get promoted at work so he can financially support me and the baby. And then I am on the other side of things just worrying about how to get through labour and childbirth, where to buy a car seat etc. and all these decisions I want him to be part of. But when I try to talk about anything to do with the pregnancy he acknowledges it but doesn't really contribute or build on it.

Then to compound things there's the fact that I worry a lot about his drinking. I worry about the fact that I am most likely only able to have one support person with me during labour due to COVID and my family may not even be able to get to the same city as they live interstate so might be just him to support me through childbirth and the early weeks of raising a newborn. I keep thinking "what if he's drinking when I go into labour? How will I get through labour calmly like i want to?" I had a pretty bad panic attack tonight, I had to get him to help me calm down because I really couldn't breathe and I've never been like that before. Just feel very alone and no direction..

12 Replies 12

Hi learn to Fly,

Thank you for touching base, I know this is a slow reply but I don't get notified about posts on here. So... after I gave him that letter he went on a bender, which is to be expected I guess. It was a hard week and I felt very out of touch with him. He was very hurt and distressed. It took some time but he started coming around a few days later. He spoke to me calmly about feeling so sad that I felt I needed to write something like that, that he understands where I'm coming from, but that ultimately me putting pressure on him like that doesn't help him and just makes him want to give up and give into drinking. Since then he also said that he recognises that his behaviour after I gave him the letter was completely inappropriate and that he was essentially lashing out in a fight/flight state.

He re-connected with his therapist and saw her earlier this week and discussed his drinking openly and the issues we were having in our relationship. She has referred him on for medical support and he'll be going to that appointment soon. He's still drinking but I'm coming to understand that it doesn't really matter if he's physically drinking one day or not - even if he's sober one day he's still an alcoholic and what's important is whether he's accessing support or not. By that I guess I mean... I need to stop counting drinks or counting days without drink and trying to get meaning from that and actually look at what help he is getting, what help he is asking for and let him journey on that path.

I also chatted to a friend who is a recovering alcoholic about their experiences with AA and shared a little bit of that with him as well as passing on their copy of the 'Big Book' and saying "You don't have to read this but it's there if you want it". That was a helpful but hard conversation and it was good to just talk with someone about it all who knows it inside out and can help me be empathetic to his side of things while also being really realistic about the disease.

I know it's a hugely difficult situation for me but I can see now that I have had very unhealthy habits of monitoring and trying to control his drinking. I've realised I have to make peace with the choices available to me... and the reality is I am not ready to even contemplate leaving him, so what I need to do is get support for myself and allow him to get support without trying to control things I can't control. I've reached out to family as well to let them know what's been going on

Hi Capybara,

Thank you so much for coming back to us and letting us know how the things currently are.

Some might name your behaviour as unhealthy habits but after living for so long with a loved one who is an alcoholic it is difficult not to engage in behaviours that you hope will improve the situation. Good on you, though, for trying to take a step back and be less worried about the things that can’t be changed. As you said yourself, some things you will never be able to control or change. They will eat up your energy and drain you emotionally, yet, making little to no impression on your partner.
It’s great to hear that he has started visiting places that might help him. Hope he will stick to this resolution.

Take care there lovely Lady.

Also, it is so good to hear that you do have a steady support from your family. So important in this situation. For your own and baby’s sake.