Aiding and Abetting if The Alcoholic Has An Accident

Post by: Maggie
Please clarify my alcoholic husband for years has drank super strength lager often hiding them in his van and then driving drunk. I am occasionally a passenger and am unable to know whether he has had a can or not. To date he hasn’t had an accident, but am I putting my own life at risk and exhibiting the height of stupidity and irresponsibility?

Furthermore, could I be prosecuted for aiding and abetting if he did have an accident possibly killing a person as I am fully aware of his history? Advice please…

Also, my daughter in-law has just slated me for traveling in his van. Rightly so, she refuses to ever put herself and child in that position. However, I now feel like the criminal who has been put in my place. Daily life living with an addict is hell on earth without the insinuations of my lack of self-respect.

JC: Thanks for your article Maggie. I don’t have any experience in the area of aiding and abetting. Perhaps some of our readers will be able to chime in and offer their experience, strength and hope in regard to your situation. I do think it is very important to communicate with the alcoholic about your concerns though. We had a great discussion recently on this site about what happens when someone’s alcoholism gets purposely revealed to others in matters where safety is important. You can read it here: Exposing Someone’s Alcoholism .


23 comments to Aiding and Abetting if The Alcoholic Has An Accident

  • Mia

    It truly baffles me not why we love the alcoholic but why we enable their drinking and consequences never being addressed

    I have to admit I find it hard to understand the self sorry comments as though we have no option but to enable or do anything

    If nothing changes nothing changes

    Alcoholics will only continue to drink and gradually drink more until they have to change

    I can only say that every time I have laid a boundary or endured consequences as a result of their behavior it has led to change

    That change is one or both of these

    I did something to protect myself and others

    The alcoholic had to face consequences

    Constantly laying boundaries down

    Makes the alcoholic have to face problems they are causing and the consequences

    Boundaries I’m setting is an intervention that breaks down his denial

    Breaking pattern

    This is new so scarey as I don’t know outcome like I did before

    I have to break down his denial which will bring him to reality of hurt he caused and decisions he’s made

    You don’t have to get in the car, you can say I’m not going as you’ve been drinking

    You can report him

    You have the choice to stop this. Your discomfort is that you know what you should do but you are afraid to do it for your own discomfort you are risking the life of yourself and others so you don’t have to face the consequences of what he might do if you report him

    I would say I understand your position so don’t take this the wrong way but I would say to him

    I won’t come in the car if you’ve been drinking. If you drive with drink I will report you

    That way he has a choice

    If you truly want change change can happen

    If you just want sympathy and to be told this is ok then there is a fair chance one day he will hurt someone

    It’s very tough but would you report a stranger for drunk driving , probably

    If you stop enabling him one of two things will happen

    He will realize and change

    You will be alone without him but free of the chaotic and draining life you are leading

    Often we are asking for permission to accept or act , you just need to decide which one you are asking for

    If your child was killed by a drunk driver and knew his wife did nothing would you pity her or beg her to explain why she did nothing

    You are bit responsible to protect him or got his behavior but you are responsible for the safety of yourself and other innocents

    It’s harsh my message but I don’t see the point of soft soaping a question if asked when young lives could be at risk

  • Julie

    Maggie: I finally broke down and divorced “my alcoholic” after many years of hand ringing and damage control. Yes, he, too, drove under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana. My adult children would not let their alcoholic father drive their kids around either. I am glad they made that decision. Although he hasn’t hurt anybody yet, he had several DUIs and traffic accidents and mishaps. He would clean up his act for a while but would relapse back into alcohol use. He hid his marijuana use from me. He may have also been using other drugs that I am not aware of. He was incapable of telling the truth. So you see, Maggie, you never really know what you are dealing with when you deal with an addict.

    In answer to your question, Maggie, I felt that as long as I knew that he drove under the influence and if there would be a major accident or loss of life, you ARE going to go down the tubes with him, whether you condone his behavior or not. His legal and financial obligations are YOUR obligations until you free yourself by divorce. You are the one who will be suffering the most for his behavior, believe me, because most alcoholics/addicts will not take responsibility for their behavior. I’ll bet you take care of everything the way it is. Freeing myself from him has given me a peace of mind that I never knew existed, even though I did care for him years ago and he is the father of my children. He did NOT respect my feelings and DID NOT CARE how his behavior effected me. You decide how far you want to go before it’s too late. Although I got taken to the cleaners financially and had to file bankruptcy to get out from under his debt which he defaulted on immediately, I know that I don’t have to worry any more about that “phone call from the police” that something terrible happened while he was driving under the influence. That freedom is priceless.

    After a final failed intervention attempt, it was necessary for me to leave the house because he became very, very abusive. The divorce and aftermath were horrendous because he let it all out on me, no longer having to keep up the veneer of civility. He only did that because he did not want the children to know how bad he was. He is a self-centered addict who cares about nothing but himself and feeding his addictions. No fairy tale happy ending here. Good luck, Maggie.

  • Maggie,

    Julie and Mia are so right. I do not own a car and just have a driver’s license, do not drive. I know my ex alcoholic boyfriend drank and drove, thus he had 2 DWI’s by the time I met him. We met in a bar and he had a drink in his hand but unable to drive. His friend had to drive him to meet me for our first date and drive me back with him. I look back now and I had no background in alcoholism and of course, he would give excuses that he was arrested falsely. Through the 24 yrs. I have known him, I too got in his truck after he drank and drove with him. I didn’t want to learn to drive his stick shift, in part because I wasn’t about to give him permission to drink as much as he wanted to with me driving his drunk ass around. I can’t remember back if he drove with more than a couple of drinks in his system with me in the car, but I’m sure at some point he did. If something happens to you, with his driving drunk and he may not appear drunk, due to tolerance, how do you think your children would feel ? You have the right to say you won’t get in the car with him drinking and driving. You have to love yourself and your family enough not to get in. Even if it means missing an event. If you go somewhere with him, either you can tell him you will drive, but are not driving so he can drink as much as he wants to and depend on you as his sober driver. Or, you can even take your own car and meet him wherever you two are going. I know if I had a car, I would have gotten out of dodge so many times over weekends where I felt trapped with him. Where he chooses to live, there is no public transportation outside of a cab to a train. I did that once. I miss him so very much, and I wish with all my heart that he would hit bottom, care enough about his own health to stop denying he is an alcoholic. I think to him, my complaining about his drinking was just picking at him. I ended up going back to him so many times. But this time, I finally set my first boundary. He had asked me to dinner a few months after we broke up and I told him I would go if he wouldn’t drink during dinner. He sarcastically said, he guessed he could have lemonade. We never met for dinner. Please put yourself first Maggie, because his addiction is putting him first, not your safety, his or anyone else on the road. Good luck.

  • Mike

    Don’t worry.
    It is IMPOSSIBLE for you to suffer any bodily injury whatsoever or death when an alcoholic crashes while DUI.
    I have been a fireman 24 years and will tell you that DUI makes you immune to any harm.
    They actually drive better, because they’re more focused, right?
    More cautious? You know, the countless other BS excuses that the driver and passenger make.
    “At least I can be there with him, to make sure he’s safe.”
    LOL.
    Go ahead and be a patient, I mean, passenger.
    Ever seen the Hurst Tool? (Jaw-Of-Life).
    Soon you will, but from the inside out

  • Mike

    I agree with everyone else,I think you havea moral obligation to not ride with him when he’s drinking .My ex was drinking one night ,getting mean and nasty as usual so I left my house to let her drink ,smoke and play her load music in the house .i went to see a movie and hope she would calm down.i came home she was gone .one hour later the police came to my house and said she crashed into a tree.The police officer told me she’s at the clinic and had been drinking and for me to go easy on her ,that it wasn’t the time to be upset.This confused me ,being a mild mannered person I don’t know where he came up with that ,anyway no charges were brought against her .She blacked out and crashed into a huge stump that was a tree the year before .the way. The stump was in the ground it saved her life ,it ripped the moter out of the front of the car and actually flew behind the car .IIf this was a tree she would be dead .i showed up at the clinic to her and tryedtojust be neutral and ask how she was .she didn’t think I was is simpithetic
    enough so started to insulte me while she was there .the docter knew us from time and scolded me saying his daughter runs on our road and she could have killed someone running .I thought I did the right thing by giving her space for the night .i totally understood his point but also realized I’m powerless over this and have tryed to control the situations many times .I still think about what the docter said about how she could have killed someone .i really don’t think my ex thinks of it but I realized but I don’t want to live my life with a person who risks peoples lives. ,I really in my unhealthy mind thought she would then wake up Was I WRONG a month later did a slight hit and run while drinking the police actually let her go .although it was no damage to the cars she said that the driver was yelling at her so she got scarred and left the scene .Thenwhen I had to called the police to my home the second time that year for her being violent and throwing stuff and me the same police guy showed up I was so mad I asked him why he didn’t arrest her for crashing into a stump drunk,I told him he didn’t do her any favors and should protect the public.he really didn’t like that ,i believe they drank together at the local bar .my advise don’t ever ride. With him in the car .ever .few months after being separate my thoughts are clearer and help from few awesome people I look back at my actions and don’t understand what I was thinking for staying .

  • Maggie

    Thank u all for ur responses which I have summarised and will take on board My major problem has been that he drinks his strong lager completely in secret and I have no idea at what time-am or pm- how many and his tolerance in high after 50yrs plus of abuse Boundaries now have to be set.

  • C

    If a member of my family were killed or hurt by someone who was driving drunk, I would make sure the spouse was in Court. I would take their house, car and anything of value to care for my loved one. I believe anyone else would do the same.

    You place yourself in harm’s way – what kind of life does he offer? Aren’t you worthy of peace and happiness

  • Maggie

    Thank you all again for ur responses Can I elaborate a little on my situation. I am about to turn 65 and my husband 68 married for 35yrs We have 2sons I was Teacher for 35yrs whist he is a self employed builder. Life was busy and yes I knew he liked alcohol and that he drank socially indeed he has been a Freemason for 34yrs Regular church goer willing to help anyone Occasionally I would find evidence of strong lager hidden away. Now It seems that I have failed to do nothing honestly this is not the case It is only in the last 6 yrs when I retired that I realised the full implications of his addiction As well as social drinking he had been wheeling and dealing through his unhampered work patterns purchasing concealing and secretly drinking large amounts of of Tennents strong 9 percent lager on a daily basis The last 6yrs have been hell on earth for the whole family. 5yrs ago he had many sessions of cognitive behavior. 3yrs ago he went to rehab followed by half yr of counselling—-all privately funding. 2yrs of going to AA—all to no avail. I’m not irresponsible 3 times I have involved police with his drink driving but they have failed to test him in time His van number is on their system and today I’m going down the police station to reinforce my concerns No I shall no longer go into the van with him–all ur advice has helped so much. But I’m scared stiff to make the break at 65 emotionally psychologically and financially. Thank u all for allowing me to vent my unhappy sorrowful tale. Strong lager has won the day and my AH continues to deny that he even drinks it!

  • Lois

    i like the fireman’s response…..read it and head it. I am! I am telling my husband, during the time i have left living there this month, i am not driving w/ him and an open beer and not if he’s been drinking! The end. I will follow him because i won’t be his DD either. The end. We’ll see how it goes but for me at least it won’t be w/ a drunk down any roads. fyi, my mom was killed by a drunk driver and she turned out to be a habitual offender, over and over. Its been 31 years and i’ll never recover. His drinking makes me sick. I don’t feel sorry for him AT ALL and you would not either once your killed someone you loved and needed i can promise you.

  • Maggie

    Went to police station today They took all relevant details and his van number can be flagged up at any time by traffic control He can be stopped and breatherlysed if alcohol is detected. If I suspect he is drink driving I have a log number and emergency number to call. Again I know this will not be easy as all drinking is done in secret so I don’t know the amount he will have drunk in order for him to fail the test and have his licence removed At least I think I have made one positive step to keep people safe and get him off the road However the police told me not to tell him what I have so domestic problems will not arise!!!!

  • Pez

    Well, you police dept. is better than mine. I went and tried to report my XAB drinks and drives. They basicly said there was nothing they could do about it unless he gave them a reason to pull him over. Took no info except his address. That was months ago and nothing has happened. I don’t think they care.

  • Tamara

    Good for you Maggie! I have been contemplating on doing the same thing, but am afraid I will get caught doing it. I have friends and family in law enforcement in the area and am afraid somebody will tell my husband or a friend of his that he is under the radar because of me. I contacted MADD and they in turn contacted the Minnesota MADD. However – they (like Pez said) can’t do anything until they have a reason to pull him over. Wow! If they only knew how severe his problem is. My husband drinks and drives ALL OF THE TIME and literally! One night we left a restaurant in which he was so drunk at – he ordered a beer and couldn’t finish cuz he was so full. We left the restaurant and I had no idea that he smuggled the full beer out with him to my car! The only way I found out was when I took a curve and he dropped the damn beer on my floor! What was the point in even taking it with when he just spilled the whole damn thing all over my floor anyway. I looked over and told him I did not approve of him having an open bottle in my car. He didn’t care. He has never had a DWI – somehow…..

  • Debbi

    Be careful Tamara–an open beer bottle in a car you are driving can land you in jail with a DUI. At the end of my marriage I refused to ride with my exAH either in my car or his and made him drive himself even if we were going to the same place because his behavior could have landed me in jail even though I was the only one not drinking.

    To Maggie: That is great your police force is helping to keep yours off the road. I, like Pez, encountered a completely different reaction. After the judge ordered my exAH out of the house he came back 2 weeks later, tried to break in, called the police on me because I changed the locks–guess what the police did? They said for us to contact our attorney’s and started to leave with him at the house, obvious that he had been drinking. I told the 2 officers to leave a body bag with me–because what did they think he was going to do to me after they left. That got their attention and they finally convinced him to leave. So, I like Pez, got absolutely no support from police. I stopped calling them. He later tried to set fire to my shed, my barn and broke into the house once. I never called the police again–what’s the point. Now I protect myself. It is legal in all states to carry pepper spray (the kind the postal carriers use to ward off dogs). It stays on my person to this day along with my car keys & cell. Even today, one year later I don’t even go into a shower without my items with me. Always realize that help may not be there for you & always have a plan to protect yourself. Just like they tell you have a plan for a fire or natural disaster–it is very important to those of us who face this.

  • Pez

    What a shame. Some one might have to die in a drunk driving incident for them to take action. Sometimes I think they don’t take women seriously. told his probation officer he was violating it, told the police he drives drunk in his work van. A year later or more he’s still getting away with it.

  • Debbi

    Pez:
    Seems to always be that way with them–like they live a charmed life even if we let them suffer their consequences.

  • Maggie

    So right–don’t they live a charmed life. 45 yrs of drink driving and only 1accident in which we were both nearly killed. Elected to have a private blood test 3 hrs after incident and 1unit below being banned. Total denial that they have a problem with drink driving and convince others their spouses have the problem Guess what? They are so convincing many believe every word they say. Grant us all the strength to keep our mental health strong and believe we are not in the wrong

  • Pez

    I don’t believe this is true. They do suffer consequences already in their body, in a damaged brain, in regrets from time to time that eat them up, in self-hatred. The others are on their way if they continue. How long till the brain is so damaged they get “sloppy”.? I have heard of A’s Loosing their jobs, wives, children, everything. Just give it time. It’s not always our time. When that happens to my XAB it will be bittersweet because I know he could have chosen to get help but he didn’t.

  • Bevy

    I agree with you Pez, the body can only take so much. Alcohol physically ages you lookswise as well as what it does to your organs and the brain is one of your organs. The more they drink, the higher their tolerance, but the more damage to the body longterm. I wish my boyfriend had meant what he said about controlling or quitting. I also know that the odds of someone who is an alcoholic doing either on their own is next to impossible and they would have to come out of denial about being an alcoholic. Will he meet someone new and feel she is worth his making these changes in himself, for himself and her, when he wouldn’t do them while he was with me….burns to think about it. Monday is the night I was going to an Alanon meeting, but I still have doubts about how much it is helping me. Is it me, I almost feel like some of the members remind me of people who are programmed, walking around with smiles saying how grateful they are to the program and how they feel saved. I do believe that some of the steps help, but I don’t feel that my life has changed to such a great degree that I am “healed”. I think the bereavement process still is going on within me over the loss of my long relationship and the loss of my boyfriend to the disease.

  • Pez

    Bevy, Alanon was never for me. I did my own research and read my heart out about alcoholism. Some feel it’s “cult like” and some people love it. It depends on the person. Do what is right for you! You may do better with counseling 1 on 1? If they say they are totally healed they are not human–sorry. Even though I am moving on cause I can’t handle this disease/addiction, I think I will always feel sad at my XAB destruction. It’s AWFUL and no one can take away AWFUL. Some things just are awful like the holocaust and the survivors are hero’s to me, but do you think they ever forget the horror. NO, they just find the strength to go on and have happiness and those type of stories are an inspiration to me.
    If he meets someone new Bevy, if he quits, it won’t be for her I assure you. It will be for himself.

  • Bevy

    Thank you Pez for your words again. I have been thinking about going back to counseling. It has been years, but I do think it may help me. My therapist had met my boyfriend years ago, so she was aware of my situation. My mother was so strong, suffered the death of a brother when he was 24 from leukemia, her dad the night of her H.S. graduation and her mom before she was 30. I used to ask her how did she get through it and she would say, you have to be strong. Maybe I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. I have had 4 major losses in my life in the past 3 yrs. My parents, aunt and my ex boyfriend. Tomorrow, my dad would have been 100 yrs. old. We were blessed to have him for 97 yrs. He had no idea what I was going through with the alcoholic boyfriend in my life. The difference in religion was enough for him not to like him. In my prayers at night I say, Dear G_d thank you for the food I eat and the clothes I wear. Help me to be good and kind and strong, words learned from my mom.

  • Debbi

    Maggie: I’m like you–more often then not they do not suffer the consequences of their actions because they keep many people around to help them–telling them the “poor poor me” stories when it is actually them causing all the problems. many times I see the A outlive his spouse by many years. The spouse dies early because of the stress and diseases they get because of the stress & the A just goes on his merry way. Here’s my latest story that has me just fuming right now that this time he may cause me to have a heart attack–I am getting ready to move and to turn in my notice at work but my exAH was one step ahead of me as usual. He notified his creditors that his new address was my work address. He has caused me so many problems at my job (him & his Alcoholic sister) that when his bills started coming to the office and they knew about my health I was just fired from my job of 16 years–consequences for his actions–None, as usual he just goes on his merry way after he just destroyed my life yet again–now having a firing on my record to make it difficult to get another job after my move. What do I tell prospective employers–well, you see I was married to an A & he caused this–like anyone will ever believe me–the A wins again in my life & I divorced him a year ago–I can’t take much more of this–the consequences of his drinking will probably be my death & that’s finally when I will have some much deserved peace. He will never get consequences for his actions–very few of them do, so don’t deceive yourself–instead protect yourself.

  • maggie

    Debbie I feel so sorry for you All I can say is that we must find the mental and emotional strength to stay strong But it is so difficult This morning I wasted time and energy trying to have a conversation with my AH begging him to seek help—-alredy been to rehab counselling months of AA asking him if he wanted to die an addict His response was to tell me to stop lecturing him and that one day hed find the guts to jump off a cliff He then went happily back to his work Iwake up each morning not wanting to face the days reality—-him topping up with strong lager secretly and then acting the big I am and having the intellect of a 4 yr old My 5 yrs old grand daughter loses patience with him YEARS OF ABUSE TAKEN TOLL ON HIS BRAIN We live in a very big house and building a smaller half completed house in the garden DO I at 65 yrs move into a flat leaving an addict behind to sort out all the finances?

  • Deb

    I would like to explain my whole story but I’m typing this on my smartphone and it would take me forever. Basically, I’m needing help with making sure my husband is not under the influence when my son is in the vehicle. I brought up the drinking problem months ago and he feels he doesn’t have a problem. He is a functioning alcoholic and 9 times of out 10 u cant tell that he’s been drinking. He feels that if he isn’t all over the road then he’s fine. Sometimes he picks my son up from school or takes him to a friend’s house after he has already started drinking. I need to put my foot down but can’t seem to find a sober time to talk to him. His friend lives less than a mile away and so he thinks it’s ok to drive our son home even though he has been drinking. If my son wants to get in the truck with him, os it ok to say in front of him,”Daddy has been drinking, so u can’t get in the truck with hi.”? I have read in mulitple places that I’m supposed to say,”Daddy is sick or has a disease” but I’m not sure how i feel about that. Why can’t I call it like it is? I would appreciate anyone and everyone’s help. I have tried to go to Al-non meetings but they are offered at difficult times for me.

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