Safety of children / drinking & driving

I'm beyond frustrated tonight.  For many years I've tried to quietly get the keys when leaving a restaurant when my husband has been drinking.  I've tried to hide it from my child.  My spouse often argues & minimizes what he's had to drink.  We had a big blowout on the same topic 4 yrs ago.  I've been very clear that I don't want him drinking while driving or driving us home after several mixed drinks or beers -  especially not with our son in the vehicle. It's silly when I'm sober to take the risk.  Tonight while he was in the bathroom I told my son to come ride with me so he could get to bed & dad had another vehicle to take home. My son also has ADHD & began to argue that dad already said he could ride with him.  I tried making a cover excuse by saying he has to stop on the way home.  My son continued to argue & I finally said it'd be better to ride with me since I drank water & dad had a few alcoholic drinks (martinis). The arguing went on.  I told him to follow me out.  He proceeded to hide & wait for his dad to try teaming up against me.  He told my spouse my concern which elicited looks that could kill.  He proceeded to tell him to go get in his car, came & chewed me out for "throwing him under the bus" in front of our pre-teen son & told me to quit acting all "high & mighty."  I am SO tired of not being backed up, his risk taking/arguing behavior that I am beside myself.  I'm scared to move fwd with this man if he can't take responsibility & take my concerns seriously.  We have done the couple's seminar, but he's only gotten through 2 sessions.  I'm desperate for some kind of break through. Any advice?  I'm sure my son will have a lot of questions.  

I know

Hi missy, I am so sorry...

This must be really painful. I grew up with a dad who would drink and drive. He also would insist that he was ok and that my mom was making a big deal out of nothing. He drank more over the years and it finally caught up with him. Once a state trooper followed him home and my sister at age 12 had to answer the door, another time he backed his car out and rammed my date's new car, and he finally got a DUI at a traffic stop. I thank God he didn't hurt or kill anyone. He would get angry and make scenes and could rationalize what he was doing because he was in denial and because he was drinking and it impaired his judgment and he didn't like anyone telling him he was doing something wrong.

I hope I am not stepping over the line, because I don't mean to. You sound like a thoughtful, caring person and you don't deserve to have to deal with this. Your husband needs to know that this is dangerous and illegal, and he could kill someone. And he is setting an example for your son. An accident could take everything you have: house, savings, and your future. A DUI could lose him his license and you could be stuck driving him around for a year or two. It doesn't sound like you are going to be able to reason with him but you could try. Zero tolerance. He does not get behind the wheel after any alcohol, period. Probably ahead of time rather than on the spot. And ask yourself, what are you prepared to do if he doesn't listen?

He may not come around or agree with you. Too bad--I think you need to stop quietly intervening and hoping you can get him to let you drive or at least take your child home and deal with him head on about this. I'd tell him calmly that he must let you or someone sober give him a ride if he has been drinking. And if he does this again with your child in the car you are going to call 911 and he should know ahead of time what to expect. You might even be legally liable if you do not stop him. And it will be horrible if he and your son are mad, but it would a whole lot more horrible to let it go and then spend forever wishing you didn't. Plus, you are right and there are no shades of gray here and he is very much in the wrong. Be strong. You can't control him but you can let him know what the consequences will be if he won't be reasoned with. He doesn't get to be the only one deciding this--you are being a good mother and there are a lot of innocent folks out on the road.  Maybe he can think about what he is willing to lose if he keeps this up. Hang in there and be strong for your kid. You can do this.



Missy, I have been thinking about what I wrote here, and again hope it is not too harsh or too much about myself. I grew up with an alcoholic father and that was my own thing. We come on this forum for support as well as advice: 

It is so painful when your spouse puts you in a position like this. You are tough and brave to try to deal with it while shielding your child and being loyal to your husband. Just trying to protect everyone and do the right thing. I have sons, too, and have experienced that "us men against Mom" sort of thing when I say no and can't explain why without telling them something hard about their dad. Sucks when you have no backup:-)

Do you think your DH is mad that you are trying to control him but also that you are telling him he is wrong (making a wrong decision)?--I found that the defensiveness of ADHD would not let my spouse hear that he was wrong, even when it was a pretty clear situation like this one. I also know that if I waited until the situation reached a head and I was upset to confront him or deal with it, that was the worst possible time. So your spouse thinks you "threw him under the bus," when you were trying to protect him and your child? Maybe it is time to stop trying to cover for him (bravo to you for trying to shield your child) and try to have a heart to heart with your spouse when he is sober and not in the midst of the situation. Because he is "throwing you under the bus" by putting you in this situation.

Maybe you could talk him into taking one car and just quietly handing you the keys as you walk into a restaurant if he wants to enjoy some drinks. 

Best of luck to you. Hang in there. I truly hope he listens to you, because you are right. 


There needs to be a change in what's cool

I wonder WHY people - both ADD and non - fall into this belief that they can drive a car while drunk, and will argue for days and days when claiming that they were 'fine.' You may be able to have a conversation with him and explain that you are not trying to embarass him; just trying to keepyour family safe, your cars intact and him out of jail. Meanwhile, find out if your son's school has any plans for drunk driving awareness events. I have seen high school communities transformed by some very harsh but extremely effective progrms which drive home the message that drunk driving is NOT cool. when I was 12 my brother's best friend was killed the day before thankgiving because he got into a car with his bother who was home from college partying with friends. My mother began sort of a crusade to make us - and our friends - fully understand the utter stupidity of drunk driving and established an atmosphere where it was no big deal to ditch your car for the night and get a ride home. We were not supposed to be drinking, of course, but if we did drink at a party SHE would come get us. No questions. No punishment. She would even bring my friends home. At first, the other kids would panic, but soon they would just say, "oh, hi Mrs. Ellamenno! Happy Halloween/Merry Xmastc...." and, "hey, could you drop us home, too?" my parents didn't condone underaged drinking and never provided us with any, but by silently keeping us safe it really made us see how serious the issue is. Also, each year we drank noticably less.