What do I do now?

by Anonymous

This person is in control of his life. He only drinks beer when he comes home from work. He is very thin and tall and his metabolism seems to make it easy to show signs of drunkenness. I think he drinks around a quart bottle of regular beer nightly and that's all. He drinks in the garage and makes many trips in and out of the house from the time he arrives home from his day job, around 4:30 p.m. He never brings his beer in the house, unless I am out for a while. This goes on day after day. He has worked at his job for years and seems to be a good employee and is liked and respected at work. He never gets angry or violent while drinking. He usually gets sleepy, sometimes falls asleep for a few hours. He goes to bed at 7-7:30 p.m. every night, even on the weekends. We never go anywhere.


Years ago I removed my wedding ring and told him he needed to quit drinking or we weren't going to continue to live as husband and wife. This didn't phase him at all, but it just goes on. I have lost my job of 9 years due to a workforce reduction.

I have been off of work for the first time in 40 years, so this drinking bothers me all the more now that I'm home alone all day and wait for his company in the evenings, but he starts his drinking and goes to bed so early I'm alone again before I know it. He doesn't believe he's a functional alcoholic and has no intention of getting help. He is 64 and I will be 67 in September.

My question is how can I go on like this? He doesn't want to discuss finances or future retirement. I'm getting very upset with this way of life.

ANSWER


It sounds like your husband has you twisted around his little finger. For years you have put up with behavior that many would not have. The only time you gave him an ultimatum (taking off your wedding ring), you obviously didn't follow through with your threat, otherwise you wouldn't still be in this situation.

It seems to me that he has little respect for you as he has all but a separate life. He is, I imagine, getting all the perks out of married life and putting precious little back in. In fact the ultimatum you gave him a few years back about not living as husband and wife is quite ironic because you are not living as a husband and wife are meant to live at the moment. You seem to do nothing together and have no plans for your future.

Soon your husband will retire and then where will you be? He may be a functional alcoholic now, but once he has nothing to function for (a job) it is quite likely his drinking problem will get worse.

You are 67 now and this is the time when you should be enjoying life. Obviously you are not.

You basically have two choices as to what you can do now:

  • Leave things as they are (which, judging by you question is not something you want.)

  • Along with other family members, confront your husband (but only when he is sober) and tell him how his drinking is impacting on you. Now would also be the time to tell him that unless he does something about his drinking there will be consequences. Only give him an ultimatum, if you are prepared to follow through with it!! Read my page on alcoholism intervention for advice and strategies on how to confront an alcoholic about their drinking.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that it is your life and that unless you do something now you will most likely regret your inaction further down the road. For a marriage to work there must be mutual respect, however, your husband seems to have very little for you and your feelings.

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