What should I do if my husband stays home from work to drink?

by Charlie
(Truro, NS, Canada)

What should I do if my husband stays home from work because of his drinking?


Missing work due to drinking may be a sign to your husband that his addiction is interfering with his functioning. You probably don’t need to point out the obvious. The best thing to do would be to share how this affects you. For instance, you could tell him that it upsets you when he misses work because you wonder if he will lose his job. Tell him that this creates many fears within you about the future and financial stability. Share with him how you worry about him when he drinks. These are just examples of things you could say, but you will need to fit them to your particular feelings.

In general, share the impact on you rather than pointing your finger or reprimanding him. That approach generally doesn’t work well. He may respond more positively to you if you share your experience of the situation. The hope is that he will begin to see the effect his actions have on others and will be internally motivated to seek out the help he needs. The decision to get better needs to originate with him.

It may be good to sit down and make a list of the feelings you experience as a result of his choices. Do you feel angry, sad, scared? Do you feel anxious, frustrated, depressed? How is it impacting you? How is it impacting others in your family such as children or parents?

Many alcoholics feel depressed and trapped in their addiction so it’s important to also express that you believe in him. Be his cheerleader and give him the confidence he needs to make positive changes. Let him know that you love him and only want what’s best for him. Knowing that you are there to support him can make a big difference in his decision to stop drinking.

Ultimately, he will have to pay the consequences for not going to work. I wouldn’t recommend trying to lessen the consequences by covering for him with his boss, etc. Consequences are often the motivators that are needed to get us out of our messes.

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