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My Husband's an Alcoholic. How Do I Keep My Family from Trying to Control Him?

by Lorraine
(New Jersey)

After three bouts with drinking himself into a stupor the last time he agreed to go to detox and addiction. While there he had a seizure and had a good scare. He came home and went to his AA meetings.

Recently he only goes to a meeting occasionally. Recently he has started having a drink on the week end - Yes just one drink for now at least. My three adult children are fed up but I explained to them that no one can control another person especially an alcoholic.

I just ignore him and have decided to let him bury himself. He will get no more help from me. My children are punishing me by not wanting to come around for holidays. My only sibling I have ... a brother has been very interfering.

He comes over and last Sunday my husband had a drink in front of him. He began mumbling under his breath and watched TV all day without saying a word to anyone. He also proceeded to inform my eldest son that his dad had a drink. I don't want to confront him right now because of the holiday coming up and our mom is 87 yrs old.

She is very family oriented and gets upset if my brother and I don't get along. My mom and my brother are the only family beside my children that I have. I cannot help any of them understand that getting angry and not coming around at least to be with me is one way they are trying to control their father's drinking which no one can do except the person who is drinking. Any suggestions?


Hi Lorraine

You're totally correct in saying that no one can control your husband and his drinking. But that doesn't mean the rest of your family can't show their unhappiness by his drinking again, by not wanting to come around etc.

In effect they are creating consequences for your husband, which can be a good thing. They're basically saying they're not prepared to watch your husband effectively kill himself any longer.

The problem unfortunately here is that you are caught in the middle of all this and it's causing strain on your relationships with the rest of your family.

You may then have to arrange to see your children and brother in places away from your home, so that you can still maintain your relationship with them. And in doing so you should make it clear to your husband why you're doing that. That's not controlling - simply making him aware of the effects his continued drinking is having on family relations.

If you're suddenly out spending time with your family members, your husband might start noticing things at home are awfully quiet and lonely, which might then motivate him to take his recovery more seriously.

Your children and brother are free to choose with whom and where they spend their time, so respect that. The main thing is however not to let what your husband does effect your relationship with them, so you need to communicate that to them and then arrange to spend time with them away from your home if need be.

And if your husband starts seeing no one wants to be around him anymore if he drinks, it might help him view his attempt at alcoholism recovery with greater importance.

Best of Luck

Comments for My Husband's an Alcoholic. How Do I Keep My Family from Trying to Control Him?

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Nov 03, 2011
by: Anonymous

August came and my husband started to drink again. He told me he can control it HA HA HA HA. I let him drink and when he asked me to buy his booze I told him to go***** himself. My daughter had just got a good job in the public school and move out she said she cannot take it any more ( don't blame her )It got to the point that he grabbed my arm and I reported it to the police at my daughters urging. Big mistake because now because he is in trouble he is going to AA and seeing an addiction specialist. He is on probation until Jan 6th so I really don't trust him. Will he continue to go to AA meetings & see his doctor or will he think he is cured. He is still blaming us for reporting this incident to the police. He said we should have just left him alone and he would have stopped drinking. Mean while I moved many of my things out of the house because the last time he destroyed the house when I moved out. I am tired and don't know if I want to give him yet another chance. I am also hurt that my daughter won't come to see me because she does not want to see her dad. I understand she is right but don't understand why she won't come over for the holidays and just be civil. The only family we have are the 3 children my mom and brother. Financially I cannot afford a divorce, my husband is a hi rise builder and has had no work in 2 years. I am frustrated and exhausted. Any advice.

Apr 05, 2010
Back to drinking
by: Anonymous

Well my husband is back to drinking. But instead of crying, trying to get him to stop and getting myself upset I'm sitting her thinking about my job that I enjoy and laughing at him. What a fool. Sadly I need to hang around for financial reasons but any love I had for him is gone. So for all you addicts out there read this and think about what you are doing to your lives. My husband has no family other than myself and our three adult children and he is not willig to stay away from alcohol to keep his family. His bottle is more important than us. HOW SAD! He drowned our love in his alcohol. If I can help one addict out there than what my family has been throug is worth something. Those of you who have a chance save yourselves

Mar 30, 2010
Communicate Your Feelings
by: C-P

If you're still effectively supporting some of your children and they're living at home, then don't be afraid to lay down some boundaries about what you expect from them. It's your house, so you can make the 'rules' - and if you want courtesy and a harmonious environment to be one of those, even if your husband drinks, make that clear. And if you're showing your brother kindness by inviting him to spend time with you because he has no one else, the same applies to him, so don't be afraid to voice that. It's good you're going to therapy because you need to discover how you can still find a sense of peace and happiness, irrespective of what the rest of your family do. I know it's hard, but don't let them take that away from you, life is too precious for that. God Bless and Take Care.

Mar 29, 2010
Controling husband
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your comments. Yes I do know all this and yes my children and brother do have a right to do what they want. Sadly two of my adult children are living home. One has a job the other has a part time job. My husband's business (construction) is dead right now and our oldest son works with him. A bad investment was made and now money is tight and debt is high. I went back to work but sadly my oldest son is still drawing a salary and my husband is not. My other two children who live at home do not contribute at all. So my husband is far from right because he uses this as ameans of control but my point is if you are going to live off us then at least play the game until you are on your own. My brother on the other hand has multiple problems himself and I welcome him into our home because other than our 87 yr old mother and myself he has no family. Two failed marriages and no children. He comes into my home barely talks and watches TV all day. All I ask for is a little courtesy.Say hello and good by. I have him over because he has no one and it makes my mom happy to see us together.I am getting tired and everyone might be surprised if I can't take the pressure any more. I see my therapist once a week and I have my job. I am trying to help myself. I don't feel anyone else is including my husband.

Mar 29, 2010
It's not control
by: Anonymous

Your family aren't trying to control your husband, merely exercising their choice as to where they spend their time. Don't hold it against them. Make sure it doesn't ruin your relationship with them though. They've obviously had enough and that's okay. So make sure your relationships and sense of well-being are compromised due to your husband. His fate rests in his hands. Go well.

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