Ain't no sunshine in this marriage

All Woman


My husband has a hard time taking responsibility for his actions. We've been together for 10 years. He has never had a job that lasted more than one year without getting fired. It is never his fault though so he says. He is a heavy drinker and I feel he has a real problem with this. He cannot handle having anyone tell him what to do, which is another reason he fails in his jobs. He is very defensive and always the victim. I've tried talking to him and telling him I love him and am here for him. I've tried tough love. I've tried giving him space, hoping he'll come around. None of these things have worked. I know that I am not perfect. I went into marriage expecting sunshine and roses because my parents' marriage is perfect. I do not know how to help him, but I want to save our marriage. I cannot continue to live with someone who drinks so much and disrespects me. Please help!

You must be commended for your efforts at trying to help your husband deal with his drinking problems. But despite your caring and loving approach he continues to behave in an irresponsible manner. The truth is, you can do so much and no more for him as he needs to be engaged in an alcohol abuse residential treatment programme. Alcohol addiction treatment programmes guide the former user through a safe and effective medical detox, followed by counselling that targets the reasons behind addiction.

His resistance to taking instruction will certainly result in interpersonal problems with his supervisor and if he drinks on the job, his respect for authority would be non-existent.

People with drinking problems tend to speak without inhibition and control and will say things they would not normally say when they are sober. It would be difficult for someone like you husband with similar challenges to remain employed after being insubordinate to his superior.

It is not unusual for people with drug addiction challenges to redirect the responsibility for their actions from themselves and play the victim role. As much as your husband may feel he is at the mercy of the bottle, he must be accountable for his behaviour and recognise the emotional harm and mental distress he is causing you.

Whatever is the motivation for engaging in alcohol misuse, he should sit with a counsellor to identify those factors and resolve to eliminate them. If hanging out with the boys is important to him and drinking is a common feature, then he should reassess if his interaction with them is causing more harm than good. Sometimes we must make some decisions that are in our best interest and that of our loved ones.

I imagine that one of the reasons your parents had a strong and healthy marriage was that they supported each other emotionally, unlike in your case where your husband is so preoccupied with satisfying his cravings and giving more attention to the bottle than he gives to you, that he deprives you of the quality time you need with him in order to build a stable relationship.

When your husband is sober, have a heart to heart talk with him, sharing your feelings about the relationship and your hurt. He will probably tell you he has no problem and deny any semblance of being out of control. You probably need to discreetly record him when he is in one of his intoxicated moments and play back the recording when he is sober and mentally stable to assess his behaviour.

Sometimes a wake-up call is what some people need to get them back to their senses, and so with that serious talk with your husband you may need to suggest that his disruptive behaviour is a deterrent and you will not tolerate it much longer.

You can do your husband a favour and search for drug abuse treatment centres that he can access for help.

Do take care of yourself and be decisive about not accepting your husband's disorderly conduct.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to Check his Facebook page at




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