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How Does One Define An Alcoholic or Someone Who is Alcohol Dependent?

My husband of nearly 11 years drinks every night. In the whole time I've known him he's only ever gone 3 days without a drink and that was when he was in hospital. He drinks lager and he's gone from 4 a night to 'help him sleep' to drinking 8+.


I've told him to leave and get some help as we have young children that I need to be looking after, not him. I can't deal with it anymore, he's always bad tempered, shouts at the children most of the time and is just downright awful with my daughter from my first marriage. He doesn't recognise that he has a problem and doesn't want to leave but I've had enough. Am I right to be concerned about him?

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



You're absolutely right to be concerned. Drinking consistently at the levels your husband has for 11 years means he definitely has a problem - and saying he needs it for sleep is simply his way of justifying his drinking. There are many healthier and more effective ways to deal with sleep disorders than alcohol.

Alcoholism is defined as dependence and loss of control. Dependence refers to physical and/or emotional dependence. Whether your husband is physically dependent on alcohol is difficult to say, but he's definitely emotionally dependent because he's using alcohol to fulfil an emotional need ... his reasoning to help him sleep is simply a manifestation of that.

Loss of control is that once you start drinking you can't really stop. He can't just have one beer - it has to be 8. So it's fairly safe to say that your husband is an alcoholic - and so you've done the right thing by putting your foot down and saying enough is enough.

He needs help and it usually takes an ultimatum before an alcoholic will consider receiving it. There are still no guarantees because he has to reach the point where he actually wants to do something about his alcoholism - but at least you've set the wheels in motion for that hopefully happening.

The well-being of your children has to be your priority so while you may not be able to control what your husband decides to do/not to do - you can make decisions that will be in you and your children's best interests. And that's the most important thing a Mother can do. Good Luck

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