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Am I Expecting Too Much Wanting Alcoholic Husband To Stop Drinking?

by Eileen
(NY)

I have been married for 5 years and have 2 young children (1 & 4 years). My husband drinks daily, combining beer with approximately 2 "jugs" of wine per week (gallons). He is not physically abusive, but on numerous occasions I have been emotionally abused.


I have begged many a time for him to stop. First vodka was his poison, he downgraded then to the wine and beer. Once I threatened to leave and get a divorce and bought a breathalizer (on the 1st use it registered a .14), he has stopped drinking in front of me. Now, I realize that he sneaks alcohol behind my back.

Last week I thought he smelled like booze, asked him to take the breathalizer, he refused, said I was crazy. Tonight he reaked of hard alcohol, same scenario .... refused. I want him to stop drinking period. Am I asking too much?

I am glad that he stopped drinking openly in front of my kids (possible future alcoholics with seeing that behavior, but I want more.

Alcoholism-and-Drug-Addiction-Help.com Answer



Hi Eileen

Having your husband take breathaliser tests may be a useful short-term measure, but in the long run does nothing to make him want to quit drinking. The only time it seemed you were making any headway, was when you threatened divorce, and unfortunately that is the kind of extreme measure required that has any effect. Except if you do threaten it, you have to be prepared to follow through, otherwise it becomes meaningless.

Empty threats, begging and pleading ... while the instinctive reaction to use when addressing an alcoholic we love ... are ultimately futile simply because they don't work. The way to handle your husband is to remain calm and controlled ... and put firm boundaries with clearly defined consequences in place if he doesn't address his alcoholism.

He needs to know exactly what you will do if he's doesn't quit drinking, turn his life around and become an example to your children. No empty threats, simply clear and precise consequences. And that's where you need to be strong ... if you say something, you have to mean it and be prepared to follow through.

Because this isn't just about you - you have two young children to consider, so you need to take into account the long-term effects having an alcoholic father will have on them. Your husband should be getting professional help for his alcoholism, like going to rehab for example, and you need to make it clear what will happen if he doesn't.

Of course nothing you do has any guarantees, and it may be that your husband doesn't want to do anything about his drinking problem, even if he stands to lose his family. But by no longer enabling his behavior and drawing a line in the sand that you're no longer prepared to accept what's going on ... it may motivate him to get serious about turning his life around.

Try and also get yourself Help Me! I'm In Love With an Addict: How To Survive a Relationship With an Alcoholic or Drug Addict because it teaches in a lot more depth how to deal with the situation you're faced ... and how best to help both you and your husband. While dealing with an alcoholic spouse is incredibly difficult, never stop believing you can get through this.

Best of Luck

Comments for Am I Expecting Too Much Wanting Alcoholic Husband To Stop Drinking?

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HOLLOW, EMPTY SADNESS
by: Lu

This is the single, hardest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life.... supporting my alcoholic husband. It's SO hard to understand that someone simply can't just 'rein it in a bit'. I drink, and so does practically everyone I/we know... We got together at Christmas - everyone was drinking a lot... not a problem I thought, cos once the festivities are over we go back to normality (glass of wine after work, maybe one big night out a week, but sometimes no drink at all...) unfortunately my husband can't do that - and when someone drinks simply to be normal its actually really hard to know for sure if they've had some...(I know that sounds stupid - I genuinely didn't know how severe his situation is..) I feel SO stupid now... We decided to get married - 3 months into our relationship - and it all went so fast I felt I couldn't get out. We married and 6 months later here I still am. He has at least contacted a place to help him give up (he has done this once before but never followed it through). Hopefully he will this time - but who knows.... The LIES!! Wow - they're the hardest to handle... And when do you know what to believe? My whole life is 'black & white' - it's really hard to see someone who cannot make life changing decisions on their own behalf without alcohol tainting them... I have filled out and printed my divorce petition.. I have 6 months until I can submit it - he has 6 months to show some effort... He has seen it - he knows I'm not joking. I love him - I hope I don't have to put that in an envelope.....

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Thanks!
by: Eileen

Thank you for your speedy response....I am weighing my options.

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