How do I get my husband to admit he has a problem and needs to get help?

by Bonnie
(Western New York)

My husband comes in the house long enough to tell me about his day at work and then spends every evening either out in the garage drinking or takes the 4-wheeler down in the woods and drinks. Some nights he also gets high with the neighbor who he has been friends with for about 30 years. Some nights he goes in the garage and cracks a beer before he even comes in the house.
On the weekends it seems like he watches the clock and the minute it hits noon he starts drinking.
I can't stand to have him kiss me or even be near him because he constantly smells like beer.

I was previously married 20 years to an alcoholic and made all kinds of excuses not to leave. Ex: I had 3 boys to take care of. I couldn't afford to move out and support myself and my boys. And the stupidest one, Who else would ever be interested in a woman who already had 3 boys.
When my youngest graduated high school I finally left and made a new life for myself swearing I would never be in that kind of situation again.

When I first started dating my present husband I made it very clear to him that he was getting a package deal. My boys and now grandchildren are my world. I can always find another husband. He said he was fine with that, he loved me and loved my kids.
I also made it very clear to him how I felt about drinking after being married to an alcoholic and he swore he understood.

About a year after we got married everything started to go to hell.
My elderly mother with a lot of health issues came to live with us. Even though I have 3 sisters her care became my sole responsibility.
Shortly after that my husbands brother unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. He was only 47 years old.
Shortly after that I had to go into the hospital for surgery. The surgeon nicked an artery, I almost died and was in the hospital for 3 weeks.

The drinking started after his brother passed, got worse after me surgery and has continued to spiral ever since.
I have tried to take to him about it and he just insisted that it relaxes him. He promises all the time he will go talk to someone and get help but never does.

I'm at a lose as to what to do!

Comments for How do I get my husband to admit he has a problem and needs to get help?

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Mar 19, 2020

by: Admin

You’ve had so many unfortunate events happen to you and your husband recently. This must be so hard for both of you. I understand how isolating and frustrating it must feel to seemingly watch your husband unravel before your very eyes. Since you were married to an alcoholic in the past, this behavior is that much more devastating.

You asked how you could "get" your husband to admit he has a problem. Unfortunately, there is no single way to accomplish this task. That’s because you can’t control his thoughts, reactions, or behaviors. You can’t control what he wants to acknowledge- or not acknowledge.

At this time, he seems to be denying the severity of his drinking. He may be using alcohol to cope with the loss of his brother and the trauma from your hospital scare. He states he uses alcohol to relax, and indeed, he may be drinking to numb out pain, anxiety, or depression.

Rather than focusing on him admitting that he has a problem, it’s far more beneficial for you to focus on what you can control. You can control your boundaries. You can control identifying whether or not you want to stay in this marriage. You can control if you enter therapy or attend a support group. These may not provide as much relief as, say, "getting" your husband to admit what’s going on, but these are the realistic options available to you right now.

You’ve been married to an alcoholic in the past. You know that change, if it happens, is often gradual and non-linear. Sometimes, it gets worse before it gets better. But, at the end of the day, change will only happen if and when your husband wants to change.

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