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Life With a Binge Drinker

by Linda
(hattiesburg , Ms)

For 17 years I have watched my husband's disease get worse and worse. I have tried and failed of course based on all the things that I have recently learned. All I ever have really ever did is give him more reasons to drink because of my nagging.

He binge drinks for 14 days when he comes home from his job (which I worry about all the time) - off-shore boat captain in the Gulf of Mexico. He works 28 days and then comes home for 14 days and drinks everyday until he passes out.

I am currently on meds for anxiety and depression and I have also been gaining weight again and losing control of myself. I asked him to come with me to a marriage counselor when he comes home this week, which I hope helps us. In the meantime, he comes home tomorrow and I want to avoid the the normal fights that we have about this.

What do I do? How do I stop the nagging? If anyone can answer this for me to prepare for this week please send me your thoughts and ideas. Answer

Hi Linda

There is no secret formula to stop nagging your husband to quit drinking. You force yourself to stop doing so because you know it doesn't help and all it does is make things worse. It's not that you shouldn't say anything, it's just a question of how you say it. And never apologise for your husband's drinking - it has nothing to do with you, and you're in no way to blame.

So what you want to learn to be is assertive. Being assertive means you clearly state your feelings about your husband's drinking, what action you want him to take (e.g. go with you to marriage counseling, go for treatment for his drinking problem) ... and then what the consequences are for not doing so.

You also need to learn how to reclaim your own power and inner-strength again, so going for therapy by yourself would also be beneficial for you. Because if your husband's drinking is causing you to be depressed and anxious, it means you're giving his drinking unwanted power of you.

So you need to learn to let go and make peace with the fact that you are powerless to control what your husband does, but that you still have power over your own thoughts and emotions, and can therefore choose to pursue a life of happiness irrespective of what your husband does. It's the kind of thing therapy can help you with.

Don't go into the week your husband gets home with trepidation and fear of what to say/what not to say. Simply make the decision you're no longer going to nag him, but that it won't stop you from being assertive and giving a voice to your real needs and emotions.

I know it's not easy, but spend time on yourself and learn how to start doing these things. It's never too late to start making changes and become a happier, healthier, more full-filled human being. Good Luck.

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