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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5402
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am concerned about my husbands alcohol consumption. He probably

Customer Question

I am concerned about my husbands alcohol consumption. He probably drinks about twice the recommended intake for men of 14 per week and 4 per day. This is the only issue in our relationship, otherwise he is a great husband and is meeting his obligations. He drinking has stayed about the same over the last few years (I didn't know the extent of his drinking until we got married). He acknowledges that he drinks to much but he also gets defensive so I don't bring the issue up because he knows how I feel. I am not sure if I should stay or leave.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It can be very difficult when someone you love and care about has an addiction. You are very aware of the issue, but they are still in denial. It creates a rift between you and your ability to be close and have a healthy relationship.

It sounds like your husband is in denial. The fact that he is willing to say that he does drink too much is encouraging. But at this point, it sounds like he is not willing to do anything about it. He seems to have reached a comfort zone where is knows what he is doing is wrong, but changing it is too frightening to consider so he stays where he feels the most comfortable.

Changing is often hard for anyone. But taking away something that your husband feels he needs will create defensiveness for him, possibly because he is scared of doing without. But his alcohol use is causing you and your marriage to suffer. So it needs to change or your marriage will.

The first step is to approach him again. But this time, tell him you are reaching the end of your ability to cope with his alcohol use. Let him know, in a gentle yet firm way, that you are hurt and need him to listen. If he is willing to try, go together to a therapist who specializes in addictions. But if your husband is not willing to try, you may need to consider an intervention. Here is a guide to how intervention works:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/intervention/MH00127

Shame can be a huge factor in someone staying in denial and blaming others for an addiction. An intervention can break that as can understanding and confrontation (in a gentle way). Telling your husband that you understand he might feel shame and that you both can work through this together can make a difference.

Two, getting support. You cannot do this alone and nor can your husband. Trying alone is an option, but without support, it is easy to fail. Therapy is a great place to start. Talking to a therapist can help your husband see why he has this addiction and ways both you and he can alter his behavior. Insight is also important. Once he knows that he has a problem and what to do, it is hard to go back to ignoring the problem. And try to get the help of family and friends that you trust. You also noted that you tried Al Non which is also a great source of support.

Third, if all of your efforts fail, consider a controlled separation. By leaving, you may send the message that you are serious about what you are saying. While you are in the home, it is easy to dismiss you. But by leaving, he might consider that you are willing to take a serious step to get your needs met. You do not have to threaten him or even consider ending the relationship. But just by telling him "You do not seem to be interested in me right now so I will leave. If you want to be together, let me know and we will work things out", you may be able to get him to pay attention. Here is a resource to help you:

Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5402
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Kate






May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
Thank you so much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!

My best to you and your husband,
Kate

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