Teen, Spouse and Substances

My spouse works long hours, is physically active and in good health. He enjoys drinking and smoking weed on occasion. I do not enjoy weed and I have a health condition that is exacerbated by alcohol so I don't drink except very rarely and very moderately because otherwise, I will have painful symptoms. Because of this if my husband is having beer or wine or drinks after work he is drinking alone. Also, I grew up around a lot of stoned hippies and an alcoholic stepfather so being around stoned or drunk people when I'm not is unpleasant and frightening to me. My husband drinks a beer or two after work and I don't mind that. However, periodically he will get stoned or drink too much and I really hate it. He will also do this when he is hanging out with our teen and that just sends me through the roof. Last night, I was doing some chores in one area of our home for a few hours and when I returned they were looking at old photos on the computer. After a few minutes I could tell my husband was high by his exaggerated laughter and responses. He denied it at first but then admitted it. He was also drinking a vodka based drink. I didn't say anything at the time but I was furious.  This morning I confronted him on it and reminded him that we had agreed that he would not drink or be high around our teen. He gave me a bunch of excuses and basically said that I am being unreasonable. What do you think? Is it ok to be buzzed around your teen if you're at home and it's late at night and there is another responsible adult around? I hate it but maybe I'm overreacting due to my past experiences? Thanks for your input. 

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RE: Teen, Spouse and Substances ()

I would not want my teenage son to be around when my spouse is high or drunk (if that ever happened). I would be as angry as you. To me, this is not being unreasonable---it is being a good parent.

I do understand that these are personal opinions. But, in your case, at the very least I feel that your spouse should respect your strong feelings on the matter. I do not think that you are overreacting in any way.

RE: Teen, Spouse and Substances ()

I think people draw the line in different places but for me I would find it unacceptable. Also this is the type of thing that can really hurt relationships so it is important to really hear each other and find an acceptable middle ground. 

RE: Teen, Spouse and Substances ()

If you husband made an overt agreement with you not to be "buzzed" or "high" around your kid, then, to me, the breaking of that agreement is the problem, and you are NOT over-reacting about that. How can there be trust and integrity in your partnership, if agreements are not respected and adhered to? Don't get me wrong, there are times when agreements may need to be renegotiated, but that means there is a straightforward, respectful conversation about doing so. Renegotiating does not mean one person does whatever they feel like, regardless of whatever they agreed to in the past. Perhaps mediation with you and your partner would be helpful? The breaking of agreements is definitely something that I would take extremely seriously. Especially when the well-being of one's child is involved.

RE: Teen, Spouse and Substances ()

I absolutely think it’s inappropriate to get high around a teen whether there is another sober parent or not. Pot is not good for teens and smoking it around them just sends the wrong message. It’s not the same as having a beer or glass of wine in front of them at dinner. 

RE: Teen, Spouse and Substances ()

This is a difficult situation. I'm sorry you are experiencing it.  I highly recommend the book "Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change." Please don't take this recommendation to infer I am saying your spouse has a problem with alcohol or substances - I can't know that. However, you are concerned with his use, and your concern deserves to be taken seriously. The book provides information on how to understand / put into perspective alcohol and substance use, how to cope with other's use, and how to influence change through an evidence based process of goal setting, positive communication, and reinforcement. Every couple and family is different, with different values and levels of tolerance. It's important to find what is right for you and your family. You might also consider the support of a marriage and/or family therapist.

Personally, I would not want my spouse under the influence of alcohol or substances around my teens. I'm not a teetotaler; my spouse and I both enjoy alcohol responsibly in social situations. You have described a situation which is causing strain on your marriage and family life. That deserves to be examined without judgement.  

I wish I would have read the book when my now young adult child was experimenting with alcohol and weed. He's well beyond experimentation and into dependence now, which is very difficult to turn around. The book is more geared toward the situation you have described.

RE: Teen, Spouse and Substances ()

It's not okay. Trust your gut. Daily drinking is alcohol abuse. Drinking and smoking in front of your kid is setting your kid up to abuse alcohol and drugs.