My husband has gotten himself in to trouble with drinking, and I know he’s been trying to curb the habit, but we recently were at a party with family and friends where he was getting sloppy and loud. It made me want to pack up and go home early.
He knows his drinking too much makes me mad, so at the party he was sneaking around with his gang of drinking buddies, and they were hitting it hard, downing shots and chugging everything they could get their hands on. I could see trouble brewing from the corner of my eye, but I never know whether to leave him be or go over to him and try to get him to stop drinking or slow down.
I don’t want to be the nagging, controlling wife, but I know he usually regrets his behavior the next day once he’s sober. Should I help him monitor his drinking at parties or not?
He’s having a fun time thinking he’s being witty and charming or the life of the party. You’re sitting off to the side feeling embarrassed. You see him slurring his words and stumbling around the room. His drink is sloshing around and people are dodging him so they don’t get showered with liquor on their nice party clothes. You notice how the sober people at the party are laughing at him, or looking at you with pity. You wonder how you’re going to get him home without his puking all over the car.
Should you help him monitor his drinking at parties? That depends.
First, what does he have to say about his drinking? Has he asked for your help? Does he want you to be the booze police?
Understandably, if you’re going to have a conversation with him about his drinking at parties, you’re going to have to catch him when he’s completely sober. If I know one thing about drunks or alcoholics, don’t waste your breath trying to talk to them, or yell at them, or get pissed off about their drinking when they’re drunk. It’s a waste of your breath and time.
Since you say he usually regrets his behavior the next day, that could be a good time to start your conversation. Ask him if he’d like for you to be his accountability partner at parties. The person who helps him keep his drinking in check. You could be the person who brings him a bottled water after every beer he drinks. You could get him his drink at the bar, and ask the bartender to make it a single instead of a double, triple or half and half. You could help him keep track of the number of drinks he has so that he doesn’t go over his limit. Yes, if he agrees to this, you would be his booze police.
His agreement is key. He needs to agree with this for it to work, and in this way your efforts are not nagging and controlling.
If he doesn’t want your help with curbing his party drinking, your options are to do your best to hold your head high at the party. After all, his behavior is not a reflection on you even though you feel embarrassed because he is your husband.
If anything, the sober partygoers probably feel sorry for your plight. They understand that this type of behavior is usually a sign of a bigger problem with drinking.
You could also pack up and go home early as you said. Just be sure to make arrangements for your husbands safe ride home.
If his drinking is seriously affecting your marriage and family, consider going to Al-Anon. Described as a “worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the families and friends of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic recognizes the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.” Al-Anon holds the view that alcoholism is a family illness.
Al-Anon’s focus is to help you cope with your husbands drinking. It is “not an intervention program, nor does it have a stated primary purpose of arresting another’s compulsive drinking or substance abuse.” Yet, attending a meeting in your community may bring to light the hidden damage your husbands’ drinking is causing. What you don’t see or acknowledge, you can’t work toward healing.
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