kiwilee, it was very sad to read that you and your family are being put through hell because of this man's addiction and mental health issues!
What you describe reads soooo much like my parents' marriage the years before my mother left, and also very similar to my 2 brothers' marriages, both of whom took up drinking in their teens (with a role model like their father, no surprise there.) As our family broke down, each of us 4 children made early marriages; the boys dropped out of high school early to work, got women pregnant and each married at age 18. By age 35 all 4 of us had divorced our cheating spouses! So I've watched how my family has been doing for the last 50 years since our mother bailed out of what appeared to her a hopeless situation with her heavy drinking, mean drunk, unemployed husband. And then he had to change, and he did, but sadly it was too little, too late in many ways.
Perhaps like most alcoholics, my father was so self-absorbed he never anticipated a divorce coming. By 2 years after our mother left and cut off all contact with him, he had drunk himself almost to death and his body "hit bottom." He was told at a hospital he would die if he didn't stop drinking and miraculously, he made the decision to quit booze. He quit drinking to save his own life; however, we realize that he never would have made that decision for my mother or for us. He was too self-focused, even after he quit drinking, through 40 more years of life with good physical health. Despite that gift of extra time, our father was never able to restore the family harmony he had spurned, as our mother had remarried and he chose to play the victimized BS who never got over her leaving him. The legacy of our father's choices had a sad but powerful ripple effect on all of us.
Example: my younger, hard working, hard drinking brother. In 2000, his wife and mother of his 3 children replicated our mother's decision to leave our father. Like our mother, his wife had hung in for 24 years as my brother subjected her to his nasty mouth and alcohol abuse. Last week, at age 67, my brother took himself to hospital to get help with alcohol withdrawal, after he yet again realized he could not stop his drinking. He was admitted but sadly died of a failed liver after a lifetime of drinking too much alcohol. His 3 adult children arrived and cried but we knew why he was on his deathbed. It was with a sense of inevitability they agreed to withdraw life support from their father. I hate that his life ended this way! Unlike them, my memories of this man hark back to a time before he ever touched booze. Years when he was a sweet, earnest and happy kid who worked hard in school - until he started a party lifestyle during his parents' difficult years. It is clear to all of us that the course of his life was directed by his early addiction to alcohol, which I believe was fueled by the pain he carried from losing his family and home as a teen.
So from my perch, I would implore you WH to seek out whatever help might be available that could spark an alcoholic intervention for him, number 1 priority. He is clearly going down a road that will inevitably lead to self-destruction. I know this sounds grim, but his obstinate resistance to getting that kind of addiction help will pull that happy family legacy he helped you build right down the hell hole he is digging. He wouldn't know this now, of course. He will need to see himself sinking and choose to change before it is too late. I pray that isn't the outcome for your family! Is there any organization where he can find such help? Alcoholics Anonymous? He'd have to want to change. Medical? Social services? Psychiatric? Religious? Does he have any friends who could show him some tough love?
Meanwhile, of course you need to take care of your physical and emotional health! You cannot save the family all alone but if you once had a good life together, seems like there is something still worth fighting for? IF he were to quit drinking and IF he were to get his issues sorted out, would it make a difference to you at this stage? As I can so relate, Infidelity is the hardest hurdle to healing marriage, but you can't even work on that rock in the road while his brain is pickled with alcohol.