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My Husband Is a Dry Alcoholic Who Refuses To Get Help

by Lyn
(New Jersey)

We have two young daughters and I am contemplating divorce because I don't know that he'll ever want to change, but I don't know which is worse for our children.

He has been sober for 4 years but has all of the symptoms of a dry drunk. In addition he is very insecure, accuses me of wanting other men, meanwhile he has had many female relationships that he would never allow me to have were the shoe on the other foot.

He says we need marriage counseling, I say he needs to work on himself through support groups, etc. but he refuses. My friend who is an alanon sponsor says he will not change and I need to move on but I just don't know if that's the right thing to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Answer

Hi Lyn, the only thing you have any control over is you and the choices you make. If your husband doesn't want to change, there is very little you can do that will improve your situation.

So you then either have to accept that he's simply going to remain a dry drunk and continue to behave the way he does - or you're going to have to change how you respond to him, which may mean deciding you're not getting what you need from your marriage anymore and that it's time to move on.

Children are done more harm by parents who stay in unhappy marriages, because the negative and toxic energy filters through to them. So staying in the marriage for the sake of your children is misguided.

Your friend is right. But maybe it is worth trying marriage counseling and see if that leads to any improvement, if you really want to try and make your marriage work still. But deep down only you know the answer to that, so you have to get honest with yourself first and foremost and decide what you want.

And if you really don't want to be in this marriage anymore, rather be honest about it and move on because it's not fair on either of you if your heart isn't really in it.

On the other hand, if you really want to make it work, once you're clear on what it is you need and want from your husband (like taking his recovery more seriously and dealing with his 'stuff') - those are the kinds of things you can voice in marriage counseling - and then see if that leads to any improvement.

So maybe a bit of time for quiet reflection is what you need, but deep down you probably know the answer already. Good luck whatever you decide.

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Thank you for the advice
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much for your advice. I ended up going to marriage counseling by myself and the councelor feels my husband has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which commonly accompanies self medication with drugs and/or alcohol. I looked it up and it fits him to a "T". She basically told me if I felt he has cheated on me, then he probably has because it is also a trait of this disorder, and that with his condition I am fighting a losing battle and its best to move on with my life, which is what I have decided to do. I am starting over with nothing but my job and my kids, but I feel in the end I will be better off. I wish the best to all of you out there going through similar situations, and thank you again for your support.

Been in similar situation
by: Anonymous

Hi Lyn
Your story sounds a lot like mine so I can relate. No one can tell you what to do but if you can relate to what I have been through maybe it will help you. Like you my husband drank and we had many arguments whiich my children overheard. It did affect all 3 of my children who are now grown and all have been affected by their dad drinking. At the beginning when the children were young I was very scared to get a divorce and I now regret it. I regret it because now he has no family and I am a softy and worry that he will do something to hurt himself also he has made some bad business decisions that put us in a tremendous amount of debt. He found excuses every time I wanted to get a job and now that he has not collected a salary for three yrs and I am working to try to pay some bills. At my age we should have been getting ready to plan retirement. My husband was considered a functioning alcoholic, but as he ages he cannot control his drinking at all. Ever time problems arise he checks out. Sadly he owns his own business and our eldest son was working for him and is out of work and cannot pay all his bills on unemployment. He has even ruined his business. As I look back I and I stress I would have gone the divorce route. I realize I would have at least been financially sound and my children would not be messes up especially my 2 boys. Good luck I hope this helps you make your mind up. I did not listen to people when they told me to divorce him and you do need to decide for yourself. If he is willing to go to counseling go my husband would not. My husband ran from AA meetings and the one family session we had because it was not what he wanted to hear. If you find at he is not receptive to counseling then move on. You and your children will be better off. Good luck

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