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I need help to control his binge drinking

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Question - (8 December 2017) 5 Answers - (Newest, 14 December 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I need some advice. My husband has a problem with binge drinking. He can't stop at a couple and will just keep on drinking to he passes out. We don't really drink at home so it's only a problem if he goes out for drinks with friends. He normally comes home at around 6am completely wasted and covered in his own vomit.

The last couple of times he's been out he's been picked up by the police for being drunk and disorderly. It's his work Christmas party tomorrow and I really don't want him to go. I don't want to be the controlling wife that doesn't let her husband out, but I don't want to spend another night worry about if he's going come back alive!

I've tried talking to him before and he has admitted he needs help, but he's adamant he wants to go and says he will only stay for a couple (heard that before!)

Any advice would be great, thanks

View related questions: christmas, drunk

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (14 December 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntThis story is very close to my heart. If he has admitted that he needs help then yes he is not going to stop at a few. He is not going to stop because he cannot control it. Believe me if it was that simply we wouldn't have such a big issue with alcohol. If he is willing to go to his staff night out and not drink that would be ideal, but am guessing he is not. Nobody is asking you to be the controlling wife, but you need to tell him how this is making you feel and how much it is going to damage your relationship if he doesn't get the help that he needs. He needs to have a good reason to give up, if he sees how much it worries you and it is not enough for him to try and give up then you might need to live with the fact he is an alcoholic and decide what is best for your own future.

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A male reader, Garbo United States +, writes (9 December 2017):

Garbo agony auntYour husband is a drunk. Perhaps functioning but still a drunk. I've had experience with such drunks. They would refrain from alcohol for days than weekend comes and they start downing until a blackout. Then they deny they have an alcohol problem and claim only an inability to resist. The inability to resist alcohol is the definition of a drunk.

Your man will not stop getting stoned until he decides to stop himself. Everything in his life is ordered such that on certain days he can go stoned drunk. His whole relationship with you revolves around getting stoned on certain days. Perhaps you don't notice it now but by your 40s you will be miserable, ignored and neglected.

Drunks like him stop only after they face some catastrophic loss - perhaps loosing you or loosing parts of their body. But none that I've seen ever decided to quit drinking while good with everything.

You talking to him about this problem means nothing. After drinking he may feel guilty, apologize and feel bad. Drunks do that but after some days he goes blacked out.

Given your age, you are in for a long disappointment unless he proactively decides to stop drinking, absolutely. He needs to go completely dry. To do that you should look to restructure his entire life's routine, especially on weekends, such that he has too many responsibilities and activities so that he won't afford to drink.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (9 December 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntSadly you can't force him to do anything. You can't force him not to go to the party. You can't force him not to drink to excess. You can't force him to get help for his problem.

How long are you prepared to stay and watch him do this - to himself and to you? You need to make a decision and, for your own sake and for his, give him an ultimatum - and mean it. I doubt he will seek help until he reaches rock bottom and suspect it will take something drastic - like you leaving - to make him realize he has to do something.

I feel for you. I really do.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (9 December 2017):

Personally, I don't think he should go to the Christmas party; because he does have a drinking problem and he knows it. He shouldn't go for many reasons; but the most important reasons are as follows:

#1) He knows and acknowledges he has a drinking problem. No amount of pressure or discouragement from you will make him control himself. There is no question if he might get drunk. Time after time has proven that he will get drunk.

#2) He will become publicly-intoxicated and his behavior will become uncontrollable. He will humiliate you and himself. He will demonstrate to his bosses that he has a uncontrolled drinking problem; which will prove him a liability on his job. They will know it is possible he is drunk or nursing a hangover during work hours. It will cost him his job.

#3) I don't really recommend discussing his drinking problem with his boss or co-workers. That could justify immediate dismissal; if he isn't in a program. By your own admission, you are telling them he is a potential risk and legal liability. If he is dismissed, he cannot fight or protest an unfair firing; because his own wife told them he is a risk to himself, their clients, and their businesses.

I'm not second-guessing the advice of anyone else; but as a high-level manager, I know how I would be forced to handle such a situation. His bosses think more of what is best for the business, the bottom-line. Not your husband. Relieving him of his work responsibilities is also inadvertently helping him. He has to lose something of value to know how serious his problem is. I'm surprised, after dealing with police, he still has a job!

Even if he is everyone's friend and everybody loves your husband; you really have no right to ask anyone else to give-up their holiday cheer to babysit your drunken-husband. Whom you yourself can't handle when he's drinking.

Tell him squarely that you don't feel comfortable about how he will behave at the Christmas party. Firmly tell him you do not trust him; because he can't control his drinking. Tell him that you are adamantly against him going, strictly because you know he will drink too much. Explain with no uncertainty that you don't believe him when he says he won't drink too much. Then give him the choice. If he insists on going and comes home drunk; you will be forced to ask him to leave. You don't have a choice.

I notice you carefully avoided mentioning whether you have children or not. I suspect you do. It's a significant fact; if this man is a father and a breadwinner. He shouldn't be displaying this behavior around children of any age. Nor around you! Children being in this situation is quite relevant. They are even more reason his alcoholism shouldn't be tolerated; as if you don't have enough reasons already!

If he insists on going, leave him to humiliate himself. You don't ask other people to control him; they're there to celebrate the holidays with their co-workers and spouses. Not to deal with your husband's drinking problem.

If you want to save your marriage and his job. Insist he goes to rehab and go into alcoholic counseling. He won't as long as you are passive and dismissive of the fact he can't control his drinking. It's a sickness and he needs treatment. You're in denial and surrendering to his stubbornness about getting help. You also let him bypass your wishes when asking him to stop or not to go drinking publicly. He does it all regardless of how it hurts you, possibly his family, or how it hurts himself.

It now comes down to ultimatums. You must first accept your husband has a serious drinking problem. You must also be prepared to leave him if he doesn't get help. How can you love someone who is not always themselves? How can he fully love you and continue to hurt you? Getting help is proof how much he loves you (and his kid/s) over alcohol.

Addicts and alcoholics don't submit to help until they hit rock-bottom and lose the people they love. They don't listen to reason and can't help themselves. They need professional-help.

Just pleading with him to get help is not enough. He has to know his drinking will cost him his marriage. If that doesn't persuade him; then you will know how unimportant your marriage is to him, and how much more important drinking is! Your feeling sorry for him and wanting to hang-onto your husband no matter what, is enabling his behavior.

Now is the time to act. He will lose his job. The police will arrest him for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Once he has enough violations on record, a judge will order him to serve a longer sentence. This isn't conjecture, this is a fact. If he operates equipment or drives while intoxicated; he might kill himself and/or somebody else. Imagine someone with a car full of children.

It is time for family intervention. He must get help, or you must remove him from your household. Or, he can save you the trouble by serving time in jail, or killing himself. Yes, it's just that serious.

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom +, writes (9 December 2017):

Denizen agony auntThis needs a two pronged approach. Long term he needs professional help. You might have to decide together what that will be. It could be your GP, AA, counselling etc.

On the immediate front get hold of his friends or workmates and tell them to look after him at the works do, because he can't take drink. If they need more convincing tell them if he is picked up by police again it may mean a court appearance.

You should also talk privately to his boss if you fear the Christmas party will be his downfall. His workmates and friends need to know he has a problem and that they must step in to prevent him getting plastered.

If you husband protests remind him of his past mistakes. Now he is married he cannot behave like he used to when he wasn't old enough to know better. He has to recognise and admit that he has a problem with drink. And that is he can't stop.

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