what to do if your spouse is a problem drinker who doesn't care to quit

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2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #13860


    I started the program yesterday. It says to get rid of all alcohol,but my problem is my husband drinks, he doesn’t care to quit. I love him and not going to banish him from my life because I am ready for a change, a seriously needed change. Anyone else struggle with a loved one who drinks in the home. Maybe a little co-dependency on both of our parts, I am hoping my changes will help him. we started out drinking together and it just progressed. I am 8 years older and am starting to see the physical effects on my health and appearance. This can be hard being with a younger man, so yeah, time to to call it quits. I am worried we will not have a s much in common. like I said I love him but I do not want to continue on that path. It has been maybe 12 yrs of excessive drinking and everything we do down to cleaning and yard work involve drinking and it is an every single day thing. I am worried for him as well he can drink 15 beers a night give or take. i am hoping I can be the change that we both need to get the ball rolling in a new direction.

  • #13887


    Hey Mappel35! Congratulations on starting your 30 DSS journey! You’ll get out of it exactly what you put into it, and the harder you work at it, the better it gets.

    My wife and I drank together for quite a few years, and when one of us would start, the other would follow. I was usually the one who had more, though. Inevitably, when we drank, we’d end up arguing about something pointless, and yet it would seem so important at the time. I started the 30 DSS 38 days ago, and haven’t had a drink since. My wife has continued to drink, but she’s cut way back. While I’ve shared with her what I was doing with each Day’s Solution because she was interested to hear about it, I haven’t pushed or suggested that she try it too. For me, it was important to know that my journey was my own, and that regardless of what she did, I was still going to stick to my 100% commitment.

    No longer participating in drinking together may be a reason for your husband to cut back too, but that’s going to be up to him. Take it one day at a time, one Solution at a time, one success at a time, and let it be enough that you’ve started and you’re making the effort to affect real, lasting, positive changes for yourself.

    • #13927


      Thank you so much. I will definitely be prepared to give ultimatumsome if thingsM aren’t going in the right direction. It is so hard, we have been together 14 yrs and have a child and we got into it together so I hope we can make it out together.

  • #13920


    Quitting just on your own is hard enough without a drunk spouse in the house that may choose to undermine your efforts.

    Make it clear to him that you have decided to quit drinking and that if he acts in any way to sabotage or undermine your efforts tell him ahead of time that if he can not drink responsibly that you are going to give him an ultimatum to either abstain completely or that you 2 will not be able to live under the same roof anymore.

    If it comes to that point than give him an Ultimatum to choose between you or the bottle. If he chooses the bottle I would cut him loose. Its no different than a man that chooses to have an affair with another woman.

    Many of us find when he get sober that we have friends or love partners that we had absolutely nothing in common with other than the fact that we drank or drugged together. And sometimes when you remove the alcohol you will find that you have no other points of commonality.

    You can do as you wish but I tell you that you are doing him no favor by remaining with him and going down the drain along his side if his ambition is just to drink himself to death.

    There is more honor and love by you becoming a compelling reason for him to quit the irresponsible drinking than there is by you bringing the booze for him and being his drinking buddy. If all he is looking for is a drinking buddy he will find plenty of them at the local bar. No sense in you going down the drain. Sounds maybe you are too good and decent to be with this guy.

    When I was 25 I was in a relationship with a woman in her late forties. All we did was drink and get high together. I moved into her apartment. Eventually my drinking got so out of control that I got fired from my job and she really hassled me about it, about how I would not be able to pay my share of the rent and so forth. A couple of days later we where both really drunk and a fight escalated to the point that she smashed me in the head with a cordless phone and I responded by punching her in the face. Then I left. She called the cops on me and had me arrested for domestic violence.

    Anyways just some food for thought. I can tell you this, if I was not on the booze and drugs at the time no way would I have ever stayed in a relationship with an old lady like that. I was just using her for a free ride and a partner in crime to drink and drug with. We had nothing in common other than that and if either of us had sobered up the relationship would have ended very abruptly. (Which it did after she had me arrested and restraining order).

  • #13999


    Hi mappel35, I hope you are still hanging in there. Give this program a chance and maybe you find the answer by working through the solutions here. I don’t have an answer, but I do feel for you because it is very hard to stop if someone is drinking around you. I’ve been there. My husband still drinks but not around me and we don’t keep alcohol in the house, not that we really ever did because we’d just drink it all… I used to really want him to stop too, but now I’m only focused on myself and it’s way easier and somehow more peaceful in my head.

    @ mrd — I think that’s great that you can share your journey. I leave my book and notes the dining room table as a way to keep things open, and maybe one day share more.

    • #14040


      Wow, I love and relate to all of this. I am going to just work on. his myself. I am day 9 of the program and day 5 of no drinking. I have found that I am doing more things whether or not my husband is willing to do them with me. I feel much better about myself and have much more motivation. I’ll take that and maybe he can see how much better life can be without excessive alcohol

  • #14015


    My therapist you told me to only take care of me and let my husband take care of himself. She said that I had a right to say if you’ve been drinking don’t sleep in the bed tonight because you snore so bad but other than that I need to live my own life and let him live his life. I find myself angry a lot of the time because every night he’s drinking too much and I hate listening to him talk after he’s had too much to drink that I want to scream at him. I do really want to get sober and stick with this program and I feel like he’s drinking undermines my sobriety. Slowly I’ve come to realize that he sounds so stupid when he’s drinking that I don’t want to be that person. My main obstacle is struggling with alcohol in the house and my relationship with my husband. We now just don’t communicate.

  • #14016



    I really applaud your strength and courage. In the end we all need to take care of OURSELVES first and foremost or else we will be in no position to help anybody else.

    After all, a man drowning in the ocean is not able to save another man that is drowning in the same ocean.

    After you clean up and fix your drinking problem you will be in the best situation to either help your husbands to free themselves from the alcoholic prison or to walk away from them (if it comes down to that).

  • #14314


    I am in the same boat~ multiple relapses & living with a husband who drinks heavily. I am so excited, scared & nervous about the 30 day challenge as I really want this to work! I have had enough of what & who I’ve become drinking all these years. I love my husband & worried we will grow apart but I cannot live like this anymore, its not me. So to echo the comments above, I need to take care of me. … & hopefully my husband will join me soon & remember how fun life was before drinking ruined everything.

  • #14593


    I am actually here because I use food like others use alcohol, compulsively and to dull the pain. My husband is a heavy drinker and very obnoxious when drunk. This is why I eat. Alcohol and drugs don’t do what food does for me. I am hoping I can abstain from sugar and junk when he is his annoying self. Since it’s only Day 2 maybe as the days go on I will find more tools that will be beneficial.

    • #14594



      I am really sorry that you have to go thru that. I myself would turn very obnoxious when drunk and I would act like a total snob and treat other people like crap and look down on them.

      Of course in my situation the girlfriend and my buddies all deserted me when they got fed up with my bad personality (And I only acted that way when drunk).

      It sounds to me like your husbands drinking is really harming the marriage. Is he interested at all in reducing his intake or in abstaining all together? I dont think its fair for you to become overweight and develop an eating disorder because of the emotional abuse from your drunk husbands mean attitude while drunk.

      In the final analysis we all choose our own fate in life thru the decisions we make and by who we surround ourself by. Of course we have no power really to change anyone or anything other than ourself. Sometimes we can only change a situation by removing ourself from it.

      My personal opinion with your husband is that if he is unwilling to acknowledge that his drinking is causing a problem in the marriage and if he has no ambitions whatsoever to stop drinking or to control his drinking (which never works anyway with real alcoholics). If he has no goals to stop drinking at all then I think you should give him an ultimatum.

      Tell him he has to choose between you or the alcohol. Because the obnoxious behavior, insults, put-downs, disrespect and so forth will only get WORSE and WORSE as time goes by. Believe me

  • #14597


    Thank you so much and good luck on your journey. I have always thought of the ultimatum possibility but I must work on my issues and hope it inspires him as he sees my progress. He is a wonderful husband when sober and I believe you can only quit something when you are ready not when someone demands it. Hopefully he will wake up before it’s too late.

    • #14601


      I am doing amazing! I am working the program and feeling the best I’ve felt in years. I think just the fact that I’m able to do this has made me feel like I am succeeding. Which I have not felt and a very long time. My husband is doing what he does and I am learning to do the right thing for myself. It has been good all around.

  • #14598


    @bushy71591 My opinion is that giving someone an ultimatum will add a huge amount of stress into your life. I’ve seen things get better in my relationship as I’ve progressed through the book, I’m much happier and I laugh a lot more, and it’s catchy. We certainly don’t know the whole picture from your note here and it’s easy to read things into your story. Do you have someone close you could talk to, or maybe a counselor? I hope you keep up with your goals and stay strong 🙂

    @mappel35 How’s it going, still hanging in there?

  • #14604


    I have the same problem. My husband knows when I drink I binge drink. After I binge drink I have eating issues. I’m so tired of this vicious circle. He drinks every night and I feel the same way..
    I’m struggling and he seems like everything is fine, and it’s not. I try to exercise, eat right and stay mentally healthy by doing these things, but I feel alone. I feel your pain. We can only help ourselves, but it sure is tough with people who aren’t like minded around us. Keep doing what your doing.😄

  • #14606


    So happy to hear that and thanks for the update! it’s nice to hear good news stories once in a while on this forum, lol!

  • #14607


    mappel35. Glad to hear of your success! That’s awesome! Sina

  • #15164


    Thanks so much for sharing and starting this discussion. Your husband sounds like mine. I’ve stopped drinking before because of diets and got great results but never really did the work to stay away from alcohol.
    The clarity and creativity that ensues in a sober existence is amazing. I only wish that alcohol was not so much a part of everything we love to do; go out to eat, watch sports, go to concerts, apres ski, visiting the ocean house, lake house, boating, etc. It’s everywhere and I usually hate how I feel physically and mentally after the first 1/2 glass of beer or wine… Still trying to find out the “why” . Scared to tell my husband I’m just done with it already….scared of who we will be as a couple without it.
    Mrd loved your response to Mappel35

  • #15202


    I felt like I was reading my OWN post when I read yours!!!! WOW! My husband and I are in the same boat. However, he drinks during the day and I drink at night (alone). I am also afraid of what it will do to our relationship in the future. I do love him and he is a VERY good man. Just happens to be a “very highly functioning” alcoholic. Is aware of his problem but does not care to quit. I have been struggling for years wanting to be a better person. I do not agree about the ultimatum though. It will add too much stress to our situation. We do have good times together and are very compatible. I already try to occupy myself by doing other things like dinners with friends, BINGO’s, other things that may come my way. I am only on day 2. I relapsed after day 3 just last week. I guess taking everyone’s advice about focusing on “Ourselves” is best. Have you told him what you are doing? I have not as of yet but Im sure he must know because of the book and the time on the laptop. He knows its personal and won’t ask. I do worry about the “negative” feedback I might get though. But if (WHEN) we succeed NO ONE could argue that we are doing the RIGHT thing for ourselves. All the best!

  • #122952


    Thank you so much for sharing this. This is almost the exact problem I am having. This is the 4th time through the book and only been able to string together 22 days before falling back into old habits with my wife in the lead. I keep telling myself if I change she will follow but it hasn’t happened yet. It is encouraging to know I am not the only one who has a partner that may not support the decision but is able to reach out in this forum to find the support we need.

    • #122956


      Hi craneblaze.
      Yes, it is a shame the Companion Website is not maintained.
      However the program works.
      Keep posting!
      Onward! Sina

    • #122962


      I Responded yesterday this post
      It is extremely hard to change your drinking habit when you spent your whole entire marriage drinking together I’m struggling with that right now I am on day three and I went to a yoga class so I would not be home drinking when I came Home I noticed my husband drank A lot in the hour and a half I was gone and then got a shower and brush his teeth so I guess I wouldn’t know he was drinking We just have to do it for ourselves and pray that some of it wears off and them Best of luck

  • #122973


    Like many of you my spouse doesn’t feel the need to stop or cut back drinking. It makes it very difficult for me to succeed. I have been working on this for years with limited success. It’s the same broken record playing. I am trying to learn my triggers and new responses to them. All the best to all.

  • #122999


    I have been and am currently in a similar situation to you. My wife has no intention to stop drinking and in the past this has caused me a great amount of stress and anger, planning to leave her etc. Now I understand that she can’t stop but I can’t let her drinking cause me sadness or be an excuse for me to start drinking again. I have decided to just focus on myself and my health during the 30DSS and let her do what she does. Hopefully my example will encourage her to cut down on drinking. If not, then at some point in the future I might decide that we should separate, but for now my energy needs to be focussed on myself. Do what you have to do for yourself.

  • #123002


    Thank you so much for sharing I am just focusing on the 30 days and worrying about the rest of it later at least that is what I am trying to do.

  • #123974


    I truly appreciate the discussion surrounding this topic. I am only on day 3 and have failed 3 times due to my own weakness and boredom during quarantine along with my spouses unwillingness to discontinue drinking in my presence. I have asked him (many months ago and on a few occasions) to try to stop drinking along with me and I have expressed that his continued drinking is hurting my efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle but it does not seem to matter. An ultimatum is not a viable option because that would become a volatile situation. It is quite revealing to me that he is needing me to be his drinking buddy because he too has an addiction. I identify with those of you who feel their discontinuing drinking with their spouse might reveal you have less in common. I wish I could get him to identify the “why” he drinks as that might give us insight into our marriage issues. I am also very turned off by listening to him get on his soap box lectures about his superior knowledge of everything to me and my adult kids while he is inebriated. I’m not saying any of this in anger. I have a soft heart that is simply disenchanted-currently. To hear someone slur is embarrassing. To watch someone not walk upright is also awful. I keep these images in the forefront of my mind because I most assuredly do not want to be like that. On an occasion or two I have been that person. Now that I recognize it in someone I live with I am able to limit my intake. For now, even if I am moving at a snails pace in this program, I will continue to take one moment and one day at a time. I am thinking the continued effort to “begin with the end (a more healthy and productive me) in mind will eventually take root and I will succeed. Thank you for starting the topic!

    • #123975


      Hi 2775lb. And welcome aboard the Sober Coaster!
      As you can see from reading the posts, yours is a common challenge.
      All you can do for now is to view your husband as a “reverse role model ” and hope that in time the positive changes he sees in you will intrigue and inspire him to follow suit.
      If you would like more support, I have started a confidential group for just that.
      This Journey is much more rewarding when you are in good company.
      Onward! Sina

      I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/sobrietysociety

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