My husband has recently left me because he says he doesn’t feel our relationship can go anywhere as I won’t drink with him and I stop him from being an alcoholic. He wants to go out and drink more.
I have realized I can no longer be responsible for him but should I speak to his parents, as none of his family are aware he has a problem and I wonder whether his family should know so they can help him or whether this would be interfering on an adults right to choose his own path.
That’s a great question. Unfortunately, I’m not sure there’s one right answer. There are consequences to either choice that you make. You will need to decide which choice is riskier to you. The knowledge you have of your particular situation will aid you in making this decision. However, here are some things to consider:
If you choose to talk to his family you may face anger and possible retaliation from your husband. The resulting damage to your relationship with him may be irreparable. You may cause problems between him and his family as well. There is a risk that he will distance himself from his family to avoid accountability or even shame. However, the possible benefit is that they may be able to help him in a way that only family can. Their awareness of the issue may be the catalyst to true change in his behavior.
If you choose to keep this information to yourself, you risk him going further into an alcoholic lifestyle. He may lack accountability and encouragement to make important life changes. You may someday regret not telling his family. However, he is responsible for his own actions and it is not necessarily your job to help him or fix him. It may be best for you to maintain boundaries for your own personal well being.
You have to evaluate the consequences and determine what you will do. There are risks to both choices. Which choice has the least amount of risk in your particular situation? Which choice has the greatest potential for success? You know him, his family, and the specific circumstances. No one can make this choice for you. Above all, evaluate your own motives for talking to his family. If you choose to tell them, make sure you are doing it for his benefit and not yours.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.