(Closed) Help! Husband just admitted he is an alcoholic. Advice?

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
966 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016


First off don’t ever mention “alcoholic” to him. 

He needs to see a therapist or psychologist, because generally there is a reason alcoholics become alcoholics. And just stopping the drinking doesn’t stop the problem. It either relapses, or another problem appears (drugs, promiscuity, smoking, etc). Somehow, at some point, he needs to realize that unless he deals with the cause and reason of his drinking, that he will eventually either relapse or find another crutch, because the stress/strain/anxiety/depression/whatever is going to keep building because there is no longer anything to lean on.

Maybe you need to ask him why/how he started drinking and how it started to escalate, when can he first remember it causing a problem? Maybe it’ll force him to consider the cause and go from there. 

I would ask him what his “plan” is. I wouldn’t try to impose new solutions yet. I’d praise him for his efforts and realizing he has a problem, and then ask him what he plans to do next and go from there. If he’s a rational guy you can probably get him to see that if he doesn’t fix the original cause for drinking, he will either relapse, find another crutch, or simply have a “mental breakdown.” You can’t just stop cold turkey forever. It’ll be much easier (and safer) on him if he deals with the original cause.

Post # 5
11134 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

There isn’t really a way for you to change his behavior.  But what you can do is go to Al Anon.  It’s for families of alcoholics.  You will get support and guidance there.

Post # 6
966 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

View original reply
@206:  I’d find out his plan, and ask about his family. What did they do vs what did he wish they would do? (Not sure if any of them affected him, but if so, that could be a powerful point)

You might consider asking him to make an end-all-be-all deadline. A time frame that you both can agree on. Like if he can’t get a sensible plan and make some decent progress in say, 6 weeks (or whatever you both feel is reasonable), then he will agree to at least go to 8 sessions with a therapist (or AA, whatever you guys want… I think a psych or therapist would be much more productive and address his specific issues personally, but AA is, well… much cheaper), and get his liver checked by a doctor.

Some kind of compromise that gives him the freedom to do whatever he wants, but also a final deadline. It may motivate him as well as save him without a lot of arguments, because he’ll feel he’s still in control.

It gives him time to work it out is own way, but he should realize that if he can’t do it in a reasonable amount of time, that he will probably need help because it will continue to worry you and put a strain on your relationship and damage his health. 

Post # 7
1853 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

go to al-anon and find a therapist for yourself. Even having one person to talk to in real life can be comforting. just remember that you’re not alone and you’re not the first person to have an alcoholic spouse. Recovery is long and difficult, but so worth it in the end.

this is the “sickness and health,” part of your marriage. It’s rough, but you two can get through this together.

good luck!

Post # 8
11735 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

it’s a great first step that he has realized it and wants to change. I don’t thikn he can do it on his own but I think it’s normal for him to think he can.  I don’t think it’s your thing to tell others, so I’d respect him there. Be his trusting, supportive partner through this.  I absolutely think you should try and get him into counseling though – maybe you could suggest couples counseling first? You definitely should be getting help through this process.

Depending how much he drank before, the physical withdrawal period can be very very dangerous – fatal even.  It’s the most dangerous drug to withdraw from.  

Good luck to you both!

Post # 9
8434 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

*HUGS* like other bees said, support is really important for you, so any counseling you can do by yourself (or better yet, together) will be of tremendous help to you.  Every marriage has problems, it just depends on if you can work through it as a team.

My Fiance used to have terrible spending issues (not quite the same, but still) and would hide bills from me.  I finally caught him enough times and he broke down, saying that he didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to ask for help because he thought I’d leave him.  I think you need to stress to your husband that you two are on the same side.  He probably doesn’t want to show you how bad the problem is because he thinks you’ll leave him, think less of him, etc.  Best case scenario is you two get help together.  There’s nothing shameful about admitting you have a problem and need help.  Good luck!

Post # 10
3622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Yeah I agree with PPs. I’m sure if you go to Al Anon or another support group for families of alcoholics, they will have ideas for what your role should be in his treatment. Good luck!

ETA: That’s great that he admitted he has a problem and decided to do something about it. Really, that usually seems like the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Post # 11
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I would seriously reconsider your relationship with him.  If he has had relapses again and again, then that may be a sign of what your life with him will be.

I’ve seen too many lives ruined by this, this is way beyond ” in sickness and in health”, especially if this has been ongoing, prior to the marriage.

And too many people just don’t recover.  They may replace the drinking with other addictive habits.

Sorry, but just have seen more people go around in a vicious circle than get out of it.




Post # 12
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

Al-anon for you, asap. You can’t control his behavior, but hopefully you can get tools to deal with it. As you’re not a therapist/doctor, he needs to get to one asap. This is a big “demon” for him to try to fight, and it’s not fair for you to be the only one helping him through this.

Best of Luck to you and your husband.

Post # 13
1041 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Would he feel comfortable eventually going to an alcoholics anonymous group? I had to go to a few 12 step meetings for nursing school, and they are not what people typically image. The meetings are often comprised of doctors, accountants, and lawyers. I was shocked at how many respected individuals went to those meetings. A lot of people get great help there, and don’t feel like they are being judged at the meetings.

Also, many addicts refuse to see therapists because they do not believe they understand them. It sounds like your husband might have these reservations as well. Perhaps an AA group might be easier for your husband to attend.

Post # 14
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Your husband needs to speak with a doctor, sooner rather than later.  Some alchoholics experience symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations when they stop drinking; granted, this is generally in only the extreme cases where someone’s body cannot function without alcohol, but regardless, cold turkey quitting might be best done under a doctor’s supervision.

Post # 15
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I just wanted to tell you that, despite what others are saying, there is hope and don’t give up on your husband. My father is a recovering alcoholic (sober ten years) and I thank God everyday that my mother never gave up on him. There were rough patches in the past, but he is now ten times the father and husband that he ever was. Every family has their struggles, that just happens to be ours. 

It is a great step that your husband realizes he has to change. In my experience, he will struggle to do it on his own without AA, but that is part of the journey to sobriety. It is a sickness that needs treatment. There has always been a strong correlation between my dad’s attendance at AA meetings and his success. AA quite literally changed our lives for the better. Plus, it is a great way for him to connect with sober friends, which help with the loneliness and isolation. You should check out Al Anon, as well. They are amazing. 


Where there is love, there is hope! It gets better. I will say a prayer for you and your husband.  Good luck!

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