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My Husband is an Alcoholic. Seems Like Everyone But Me Is OK With It and Enable Him. What to do?

by Robin

I have been married for 22 yrs. My husband and his brother own their own company. His best friend is a cop for the county we live in and our children think that it is normal for their dad to drink. My husband goes to work fine but as soon as he gets off he starts drinking.

He always seems to get other people to drive him or even be so desperate as to get our 14 yr. old son to drive him as I have recently found out. So all the hopes I have of him getting a DUI seem to never happen and if by chance it did his best friend would be there to bail him out.

I have stopped going or doing anything with him because I know he will start drinking (even though he told me before we left that he was not going to drink) and I will be the one to make sure we get home safely. He is never at home except to shower and go to sleep (pass out) because he has to be with others who drink. I guess so in his mind if they are doing it is okay for him to do it.

I feel like I am married to two men (the sober one and the drunk one). What he doesn't understand is that 80% to 85% of the time it is to the drunk one. I worry every time he leaves with our son because I never know if he will make it back home safe or not.

The selfishness of an alcoholic is so much more than I can comprehend. Why would someone want to risk innocent peoples lives for their own selfishness? Answer

Hi Robin

Unfortunately you're right - alcoholism is an incredibly selfish illness because with an alcoholic it's all about them and their needs. And that isn't something you can change.

Your husband will only ever do something about his drinking if and when he really wants to. So while you have to accept you can't change him or control his drinking, it doesn't mean you just have to stand around and do nothing.

You need to voice your feelings open and honestly, and then try and put boundaries in place whereby your husband continuing to drink carries consequences. Because only if the consequences of his drinking start to hit home, will he ever consider trying to change.

Unfortunately for many heavy drinking is a cultural thing and so nothing inherently wrong is seen with it, until the alcoholism becomes really severe and it's almost too late. People still don't understand alcoholism properly and don't realise you don't have to be living on the streets and drinking out a paper bag to be alcoholic.

So while you have to accept you can't change or control your husband and his drinking, hopefully by creating consequences he'll start to reconsider what he's doing. There are no guarantees though, so you have to focus on what you can control - i.e. you and your own well-being and happiness.

And eventually that may mean having to reconsider what is really best for you and your children if he doesn't come to realise he has a problem and is prepared to do something about it. But that's a decision only you can make.

If you're looking for more specific advice that space constraints here don't allow, consider getting a copy of Help Me! I'm In Love With An Alcoholic. It goes into more details of how best to help both yourself and your husband.

Whatever you decide though, good luck, and back yourself to make the right decision in the long run.

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