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A reader reaches out: Young wife troubled by alcoholic husband

Question

Dear Nadirah,

I've read some of your articles and like what you say. You may not be the best person to approach with this issue, but I don't want to go to any of my family members or friends. I am 19 years old and have been married for 6 months. My husband is 20. He is a really good husband, but I notice he has been drinking a lot lately. He says he doesn't have a problem with alcohol, but I think he does. He lost his job two week ago because he kept calling in sick. He wasn't really sick. He was just hung over all the time. Luckily I have a job, so we still have some money, but I don't make that much so we really need his income. I ask him if he's looking for work while I'm gone and he says yes, but I think he's just sitting hom watching TV and drinking.

I get  so frustrated when I come in the house and he's sitting in the same clothes he slept in and he is in the exact same position on the sofa as he was when I left. I don't want to get a divorce this fast, but it is really becoming a problem. I've tried talking to him about his drinking, but it always turns into a yelling match , which I hate. What should I do?

Thanks for your help,

Young Wife in Trouble

Response

Dear Young Wife in Trouble,

Thanks for reaching out. I'm so sorry that you're experiencing such marital strife so early in your relationship. Since you've only been married 6 months, it seems like he was probably drinking before you got married. Is that true? Sometimes when couples are just starting out and in love, they can ignore certain red flags because they are blinded by love. Could this be the case with you or did he just start drinking after you got married?  If he did just start drinking, then something must have happened to lead him down that road. People often turn to alcohol to ease stress or pain. Can you think of anything that could have prompted his drinking?

Perhaps he's feeling overwhelmed by the responsibiity of being a husband at 20.  Young  marriage can be hard because your both still maturing. It is important to have  a strong family support system, which it seems you may be lacking since you don't want to go to your family with this problem. What about his family. Is there anyone that you'd feel comfortable going to?

If his alcohol consumption is negatively affecting his life and behavior and if he is doing it consistently, then he is an alcoholic and needs to get help. Trying to reason with him in this state is like talking to a brick wall. You won't get anywhere because the alcohol is altering his state of mind. It changes how his brain works, so he isn't going to interact with you the same way he would when he is sober.

When you do talk to him, be sure he is sober at the time. Also, be sure you know how to approach a problem with your spouse. This is a skill all couples should possess. Tell him that you love him and want nothing but the best for the both of you. Don't focus on his being an alcoholic because he will probably get defensive and shutdown. Instead, center the conversation around the way you experience his drinking. Let him know how it affects you and how much it hurts you. He may be completely wrapped up in his own experience and not understand what it is doing to you, his wife.

Again, I encourage you to find at least one family member you can go to for help. However, be very selective when you choose who to go to. Some people may offer advise that only makes the situation worse. This is a serious issue that will be very hard for you to handle on your own.  You don't want to overwork yourself by trying to take care of this all on your own. Reach out to those you trust and let them be the support you need during this time.

Sending beautiful energy your way,

~Nadirah Angail

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Got a marriage question? Looking for some advice? That's what I'm here for. Feel free to email me at nadirah.angail@gmail.com or leave a comment here. (Don't worry. It can be anonymous.)

All Kansas City Marriage Advice Examiner content ©2010 by Nadirah Angail Habeebullah; reposts permitted with copyright notice and link back to original article. All other rights reserved.

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