{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "About to have the talk with my spouse about his drinking. He needs to get help. We have a family and it’s not okay what’s been going on. Any advice on how to approach this? I’ve written a letter but haven’t sent it. We’ve had some conversations about it, bu it generally goes with him listing the things that “drive” him to drink. I don’t know if he wants to change, but I know I can’t raise my kids around this. Thanks for any advice you might have. I’m afraid of confronting him, but I have to.", "post_id": "5ee3660962e91300222729b0", "reply_count": 14, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5c72ee1905e86a001b59b82f", "bowl_name": "Addiction & Sobriety" }

About to have the talk with my spouse about his drinking. He needs to get help. We have a family and it’s not okay what’s been going on. Any advice on how to approach this? I’ve written a letter but haven’t sent it. We’ve had some conversations about it, bu it generally goes with him listing the things that “drive” him to drink. I don’t know if he wants to change, but I know I can’t raise my kids around this. Thanks for any advice you might have. I’m afraid of confronting him, but I have to.

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This is what worked for me when my wife was getting sick and tired of my alcoholism/drug addiction: my wife set boundaries, she didn’t approach me to talk about these things when I was drunk/high, she drew lines in the sand and stood by them. We are now happily married, but I am also completely sober. The thing is, that you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it (if he is an alcoholic). He will also need to figure out he is an alcoholic on his own. So, what I recommend you do is concentrate on the things you can control, and that is taking care of yourself and your kids. Get to al-anon, a therapist, or church if you are religious.

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Thank you so much, everyone. I want to approach this with care so I appreciate all of your perspectives.

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Hi OP, I’m sorry that you’re going through this situation. Alcoholism is a cunning, baffling, and powerful foe, and it defies all logic when it has control of a drinker. The tricky thing about being an “alcoholic” is that only the drinker gets to decide if they’ve crossed that irreversible boundary into what AA calls a “Real Alcoholic”. And trust me, nobody wants to cross that line, and no one wants to admit it after they’ve crossed it, and more often than not, we don’t even know we’ve crossed it until we’ve gone so far passed it that there can be no doubt. This last point is what is often called “hitting bottom”, and it’s usually what it takes to start that first small fissure in our denial. No one here can determine if your husband is an alcoholic or not. We also can’t give you a series of instructions to “fix him”. What we can do, is share our experience, strength, and hope. At best, we can only help plant the seed of recovery in *you* (which is where Al Anon can come into play, as referenced above), and then the rest is up to you (and perhaps a Higher Power that you find along the way😊). In terms of practical advice, I’d recommend reading what’s known as the AA Big Book. You can do it discretely on a Kindle, or you could buy the physical copy and who knows, maybe your husband will choose to pick it up and read it too (I don’t recommend forcing it on him...that never works for anything), but it’s an indispensable tool for understanding what it really means to be an alcoholic and what it’s like for the person suffering from the disease. Everything I thought I knew about alcoholism was wrong, and heck, I AM an alcoholic! But reading the book felt like it was written by a divine source that knew exactly how I felt deep down. For a non-alcoholic it’ll probably sound crazy, but for this alcoholic, it represents absolute truth.

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Do you have an al-anon sponsor?

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I think saying what you wrote above is really a good start? My wife said something similar to me and I haven’t had a drink in a year. It doesn’t solve the underlying issues right away, but it takes the BS out of the way, and forces you both to face life as it is. He is drinking to solve a pain point. Convince him to stop drinking and face the problem like a man. And tel him if he does that you will treat him like the man he you’ve always known him to be.

Second the al-non. In my case I had to lose almost everything to finally hit that point where enough was enough and start making changes. Do they know they have a problem or are they fighting that it's not an issue?

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The other day we had a calm conversation and it was the first time in 8 years he admitted that sometimes he might drink too much. Until now, he never would admit to being drunk or having been drunk. He’s either in serious denial, or cannot tell when he’s drunk. I’ve never been able to get him to talk directly about it aside from the other day.

How much is he drinking daily? Does he day drink?

One thing I’ve learned and have come to believe, is that there isn’t an amount of alcohol, or a frequency of drinking, or a time of day where drinking starts, or a duration, or a history, or anything that determines if someone has a problem, it’s how they themselves *feel* about the drinking. A lot of people *should* stop, but don’t want to. It’s only once you *decide* to stop, and then realize that you *can’t* stop, that you begin to understand just how powerful alcoholism is. I mainly drank on weekends, and I would drink to excess or blackout almost every single weekend, for 15 years. I never got a DUI or lost a job (although I totally should have, on both accounts...). Others become physically dependent and literally *must* drink morning, noon, and night, or else they get the shakes and can literally die from withdrawal. Still others find alcohol later in life as a cure for boredom and realize that it’s icy grip is rapidly pulling them down into a world of incompressible demoralization at an alarming pace. For what is seemingly a hopeless situation, the good news is that recovery is possible, so long as the sick person is willing, open-minded, and can be honest with themselves. Without those three things though, the road is much harder and much longer.

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