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My Husband Wants to Stop Drinking "Again". He Doesn't want Alcohol in our House Even when Family Comes to Visit, but it is a Big Part of Who They Are. Is What He is Asking Fair?

by Sandra L.

I only drink when family comes to visit and it is a big part of our family gathering. We enjoy getting together once every couple of months and having a few glasses of wine or a couple of beers while cooking together.

My husband has asked me to stop drinking to support him in his quest for sobriety and of course I agreed, but now he doesn't even want my family to drink when they come to visit us from out-of-state.

I don't think it's fair to make them change who they are because of our situation. It's not as though they are going to get sloppy drunk and have a party, it's just a bottle of wine and a few beers ... shouldn't my not drinking be enough?


Hi Sandra

At some point your husband is going to have to make peace with the fact that most people, including family and loved one's drink - and that he can't isolate himself forever to avoid alcohol.

Alcohol is his 'problem' and something he has to overcome for himself, but in doing so he can't expect the rest of the world to tip toe around him and change their behaviors to suit him.

Having said that though, the fact that your husband seems serious about quitting drinking means that you should support him (as you have done) where you can, especially initially when he feels most vulnerable.

It can take being in recovery from alcoholism for a while before before you feel comfortable being in situations where others are drinking and there is alcohol available. I know it did me.

So can you not compromise initially? If you ask your family, for the first couple of visits at least, not to drink, will it really be that big a deal? It gives your husband a chance to embed his new lifestyle and get comfortable hopefully in his sobriety. And then after that, things can go back to 'normal' when they visit.

But your husband needs to understand that this arrangement is only temporary - and that he needs to work hard at his recovery, to ensure a life of sobriety becomes enjoyable and fulfilling for both of you - not a burden because everyone has to walk on eggshells around him.

That's why there is a lot more to succeeding in sobriety than simply no longer drinking. Major emotional, mental and behavioural changes need to take place - and that's why your husband having a recovery program in place that he commits to working at is so essential. Whether that's AA or something else - if he doesn't commit to personal change, him quitting drinking isn't really going to change the quality of either of your lives.

The bottom line is that you'd be fully within your 'rights' to say that what he's asking isn't fair. But if your husband really is committed to changing and turning his life around and feels that this family gathering may be too much too soon in terms of him being able to cope - then compromising this time won't be that big a deal will it?

Hope that helps.

Comments for My Husband Wants to Stop Drinking "Again". He Doesn't want Alcohol in our House Even when Family Comes to Visit, but it is a Big Part of Who They Are. Is What He is Asking Fair?

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Oct 17, 2010
count your blessing
by: Anonymous

I would keep all alcohol out of your home. He knows his own trigger points and I feel it is very unfair to make him feel uncomfortable or vulnerable in his own home.
I have never had issues with drugs or alcohal and as a personal ( mostly spiritual decision) my husband and I both do not drink. When I did drink if someone said my son,daughter, wife husband is in recovery and we do not have drinking in our home I would have said "not a problem" How about coffee,lemonade ,soda,spring water. Now my feeling on this is if someone seriously has a problem with going without alcohal for 1 evening. Really!? They need to reevaluate themselves and maybe just maybe they have a little drinking problem going on......Menawhil congratulations to you both. I hope he remains sober. I have a son who is not and it hurts me so so much. I cannot wait till he gets back in recovery. God bless you both.

Jul 10, 2010
Our solution
by: Anonymous

This is such a tricky question. I am not an alcoholic nor have I ever had a problem with drinking. I do enjoy the social aspect of having a couple of drinks from time to time though.

I know in my situation I went through such hell with my husband's alcoholism (suicide attempts, delusions, etc.) that I was more than willing to make one important concession. What is present and available in his (our) home should only be what he is comfortable with. Home should be a sanctuary. So if I wanted to get together with family or friends who enjoyed having a few drinks, we would do it at their house or sometimes go out. If he wanted to come he could and that left it easy for him to leave if it was uncomfortable for him. It has worked for us.

We have a sober home, but I don't hold fast to never ever drinking. I do this out of respect for the very difficult choice he made to take back his life and recreate himself... and because I came so very close to losing him to this disease.


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