My husband goes to the pub every afternoon after work and eventually makes it home drunk, usually after closing. He is obnoxious and often so drunk that he falls over before even making it into the house. What can I do?
Your husband may have a drinking problem. The signs are there for all to see and perhaps he is the only one at this time that cannot see it. You do have options even though it doesn’t necessarily feel as though you do. There are a lot of things you haven’t said such as how long have you been married? Do you have children and if so, how old are they? Do you love your husband and do you think the marriage can work – do you want it to work if he stops drinking? Do you like his drinking? Does his drinking make you feel like you have some control or the moral high ground? Has he tried to stop drinking before and/or did he have any period of staying sober? Does he get violent or is he just obnoxious?
With all these questions and more in mind. If your husband continues to drink this way he will create more and more problems for you and your family. It is inevitable. Alcoholism is a chronic progressive 3-fold disease. The only guaranteed outcomes if he continues to drink are death, insanity or incarceration. If he chooses to stop drinking and gets some help, be it from Alcoholics Anonymous or professional help then things will start to change.
What can you do right now? Rather than support his drinking by enabling him you can do some fairly simple things – they may not feel ok when you first do them but taking simple actions may help your husband look at his drinking behaviours and will help you feel, like you don’t have to pick up the pieces after him all the time. For example: When your husband comes home drunk and passes out on the front lawn, leave him there. The only caveat on that advice is if you live around wild animals that will feed on him overnight or if he will freeze to death (people who freeze to death are called snowdrops in St Petersburg!). If he is not in danger from freezing or other injury that might cause death and he passes out before making it to bed, leave him there. If he hasn’t eaten, and wants food when he gets home that’s actually not your problem. If he wants a hot meal, then tell him to be home at dinnertime. If he is late for work in the morning and wants you to ring and cover for him, don’t. There are many things that you can do – essentially – let him take responsibility for his drinking behaviours. You don’t have to cover for him – you may realise that most people that know him, will already see his drinking as a problem.
I would recommend that after he wakes up in the morning, grumpy, because he realises he’s been left on the floor overnight, you give him perhaps a meetings list for Alcoholics Anonymous and perhaps a phone number for him to ring. AA has central offices that always have a member available to speak to people. This could raise his denial and some hostility – he may state “I am not an alcoholic” and it may take your consistent refusal to accept his bad behaviour and your refusal to cover up his drinking for him before he will think about changing. Leave the meeting list on the fridge but don’t harp on about it. This is a disease and you can’t stop his disease. Possibly the best you can do is; recognise and understand the disease, take care of yourself, take responsibility for yourself and your own feelings.
If he continues to drink and behave badly, then it may be time for you to consider other options.
I would also suggest that you attend some community self-help meetings called Al Anon. For the Family and Friends of Alcoholics.
It is recommended that you attend 5 – 10 meetings before you decide whether Al Anon can help you. Just go to the meetings, listen with an open mind, be willing to learn and above all else, be Honest with yourself.