Husband will not stop drinking or cut down, Very stressed about it

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-18-2008
Husband will not stop drinking or cut down, Very stressed about it
Fri, 02-21-2014 - 1:41pm

I have been married for 2.5 years and my husband is in the military so we did not live together for the first 1.5 years of our marriage.  We just started living together this past April.  When we first met we spent a lot of time hanging out with friends and going out to events and so he drank alcohol and I didn't think that it was abnoral because it was events where alcohol was served.  When we hung out one-on-one we did not always drink alcohol. 

He left for bootcamp and then we got engaged and got married after bootcamp but we couldn't live together.  I became concerned right after we got married because he was in school for the military and he was very stressed about it and we would talk at night and he would start passing out while talking to me and I couldn't understand what he was talking about.  After a week of that I asked what was going on and he said that, to deal with stress, he was drinking a case of beer a night.  I became very concerned and tried to advise him to workout instead or find some other way to deal with the stress.  Well, I noticed that he would be at bars and not able to talk to me or he went out quite a bit.  I became very concerned about his drinking and we had only been married 2 months at this point!

He came home for Thanksgiving that year and his family is really into drinking.  They started having beers at 11am and drank all day!  So did my husband.  He must have had 20 beers that day.  Every day he was home on leave he drank.  Whether we were at a social event or he was at my house.  I tried to talk to him and he would just get mad.  After that I think he would purposely sometimes not drink around me or drink less around me than he did around other people. 

Well, he said to me that he does not have a problem with alcohol and that he just abused it at that one time in school when he was stressed.  He said he knew that was wrong and he doesn't do that.  However, living with him, I see him drinking heavily but he denies it.  One Sunday he said he felt stressed and he drank an entire 750 mL bottle of saki and 5 beers.  Another day I got home from running errands and found him so drunk he was stumbling around the kitchen and had tried to cook rice but messed it up and the rice cooker was overflowing.  Las week he drank a bottle of wine every day. 

Our relationship isn't going that well and I can't put up with this drinking.  I told him that I can't be in a relationship with him if he doesn't stop drinking and he said fine, then we don't have to be in a relationship.  He always says, "I run 5 miles a day, I can have a couple cocktails."  But, a couple cocktails is usually like 5+ drinks.  It makes me feel sick to my stomach to watch him destroy himself like this.  We went to therapy together and the therapist told him not to drink.  It lasted only 3 weeks.  She wanted him to stop during the duration of therapy but he refused.  His parents are both alcoholics as is his grandfather on his mom's side.  His mom's alcoholism is so bad that she has pancreatitis and cannot even eat anymore.  She drinks from when she wakes up until she goes to bed.  I am so afraid he is going to turn into this.  He doesn't drink every week day so he says his drinking is under control.  Last weekend he slept at his friend's house because they had been drinking and he came home the next morning and went to sleep and the entire bedroom smelled like alcohol.  How much do you have to drink to make the whole room reek?  I feel exhausted with this and afraid of his unpredictability.  He's only in his 20s. 

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

Your husband is an alcoholic.  You are right that his drinking is entirely abnormal.  It's normal in your 20s to have binge nights with friends where you drink 5 or 6 or even 10 beers, but here's the difference between binge drinking sometimes with your friends and being an alcoholic:  it's not something you do every day; you recognize that you drank too much; either you laugh about it together or you wish you hadn't, but in any case you KNOW you drank too much and you all admit it.

I was a heavy drinker from age 18 to my mid-20s. I had two modes, completely sober (5 days a week) or drunk/hungover (Friday night to Sunday afternoon, though there were also weekends I never drank at all).  I didn't know what it was like to drink a moderate amount. The first time I went home after a night out after "only" three beers and discovered that I could get up the next morning and have a lovely, productive day was like a revelation.  I was probably 25yo at that point.  Most of my college drinking buddies were making the same discovery.  It was just a natural maturing.

Not one of us however kidded ourselves that drinking a CASE of beer alone was normal.  I mean, your H could easily die from alcohol poisoning at that level.  An entire bottle of sake AND five beers?  Either one of those qualifies as overdrinking, forget both.

Unfortunately, I think you made a mistake getting married before you really knew enough about your husband.  If he doesn't want to change, I'm afraid your choices are to stay married to a full-blown alcoholic until he kills himself, or divorce and find someone who can be a true partner.