How Do You Know if Your Husband is an Alcoholic??
(Beech Grove, IN)
I have posed this question to myself several times. My brother died of alcoholism so I wonder if I am too sensitive to alcohol and anyone that drinks.
My husband hides his alcohol because he knows that it bothers me. His eyes always become glossy so I always know when he's been drinking. He usually becomes argumentative and says that without me and the kids, he's all alone. He has no friends.
He's in the military and suffers from PTSD when he retired from Iraq. I don't always believe it because I think he uses that as a ploy for my compassion. The kids have lost respect for him since all he does is yell and is unhappy.
He openly admits that he hates himself. Do I force him out until he gets help or do I stay with him and push him to get help?
I'm really sorry to hear about your brother.
You don't describe your husband's drinking in much detail, but the fact that he hides his alcohol can be quite a telling sign of alcoholism.
Alcoholism is usually defined as dependence and loss of control. In other words, you need alcohol to help you function because you've become mentally and/or physically dependent on it - and loss of control means you can't stop once you've started drinking at just a couple of drinks like most 'normal' drinkers can, and so usually end up drinking yourself into oblivion.
The big thing though that I like to look out for is how is the drinking affecting you and your life in general? So in your husband's case - has his drinking reached the point where it's affecting his sense of well-being as well as his ability to do his usual daily activities? If it is then there is a problem.
For more specific details of what to look out for, I suggest you spend time reading the various articles on the alcoholism symptoms
page - specifically the one describing the signs of alcoholism
and the the one that gives you an excellent test for alcoholism
. By reading these you should be pretty clear as to whether your husband is an alcoholic.
As to what you should do - I think start off by encouraging him to get help and be as supportive as you can. If that approach doesn't work ... then yes you may want to start adopting a more tough love type approach.
The fact that your husband has PTSD does no doubt play a role - so it seems like he needs help on a number of levels. It doesn't justify his drinking by any means, but it does probably play a major contributing factor. I think you should try and get your husband to go through an alcohol treatment program, which will help him with his drinking, and start addressing the psychological effects of the PTSD with the intensive counseling he would get.
With the proper kind of professional help and treatment, hopefully your husband can get through this. Whether he wants to though is another matter, at which point you may have no choice but to adopt a more tough love approach. Because ultimately the only person who can help an alcoholic is themselves - if they truly are going to recover successfully.
Take Care and I hope everything works out for the best.