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My Husband Is a Severe Alcoholic

by Alyce

I have been married to my husband for 5 years. He has been an alcoholic since I have known him. He kept it under wraps and under control until about 2 weeks after we moved in together.

We have two young sons 3 and 4 who love him unconditionally. He also owns his own automotive repair shop, where he can start drinking at 9am. I am a homemaker and take care of our children. I also have a daughter from a previous marriage who is 14. She takes the brunt of his emotional abuse. Never is there anything positive said to her.

I have given him ultimatums of leaving him if he doesn't get help. I have told him I would go to meetings with him or marriage counseling. We are constantly arguing about his drinking since he manages to come home drunk every night. But because he has control of all of our finances I feel like I have no place to go. Where can I go with no money and no family that lives within a 100 miles with 3 children?

I have gone to his family on separate occasions and asked them to help me get him to get help. Immediately I am to blame and they are not willing to help me. I have had comments made to me by them, "If you would get a job and take some of the financial stress off of him, he wouldn't drink so much!" Or, and this is a good one, "You're such a bitch, I'd drink too!" I have had jobs and my husband throws a fit about how much daycare costs and it's just cheaper for me to stay home!

I do love him and I wish he could see that. I wish that he would also realize what affects it has on our boys, my teenager daughter, and his business. If he ends up in jail, we will lose everything, but I'm so afraid that is what it will take before he will sober up. Is there anything that I can do?

I feel very alone, depressed and trapped at times. I pray so hard every night and every day that God will get him to see what an amazing life he could have without the alcohol. No he is not abusive other than verbally at times. Our pastor has told me that I need to help him through it. But I don't know how. Any suggestions? Answer

Hi Alyce, instead of thinking about what you should be doing to help your husband ... you need to start thinking about what you can do to help yourself and your children.

He isn't just going to miraculously change ... and everything his family and your pastor have said is downright mean, wrong and based on ignorance.

So you need to start by educating yourself, understand what alcoholism is and how it works, especially in relation to someone you love. And the key fundamental principles that apply are 1) You didn't cause his alcoholism, 2) You can't control his drinking/alcoholism, 3) Neither can you cure him of his problem.

The only way your husband will change is when he's ready and willing - but you can't put your life on hold waiting for that to happen because the emotional well-being of you and your children is at stake. So you have to put your own needs and the needs of your children first.

It's critical that you surround yourself with people who understand what you're going through and can offer you support. That's why a group like Al-Anon can really help you. And once you gain that additional support, you'll gain in strength and confidence to make decisions that don't seem possible to you right now - like moving out and starting over.

As scary and impossible as things seem right now, don't lose hope that things can change - because you have the power to change them. You may not be able to change your husband, but you can choose to take control of your own life again and do what's best for you and your children.

Best of Luck

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