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Husband’s Drinking Causes Me Anxiety

From a woman in the U.S.: MY husband (married this past July) has struggled in the past when we were dating with drinking issues. They have been addressed and he admits the times he was drinking too much but over the years this has caused SEVERE anxiety in me. He still (just 4 months ago) drove home drunk from a co-worker’s house. So there hasn’t been a time where he has consistently shown a change because little things like that keep happening to recylce me into this time where he was drinking excessivvely.

His parents are divorced. His dad lived in another state sO he didn’t see his dad but 3-4 times a year for visits. His dad has a drinking problem. Although doesn’t wake up and start drinking. Mostly he drinks everyday and weekends gets drunk with friends as if he were in college. His dad now has decided that he and my husband should spend quailty father son time together which of course just means go out and get drunk each night. He wants to begin a tradition of yearly father/son trips.

Of course this spiraled me into a panic attack just thinking about yearly drunk fests. What hurts almost more than anything is that his dad doesn’t see that my husband and I need that quality time together. Since we were married in July we have not had a free weekend just the two of us. My husband also has a 5 year old from a previous relationship. I’m caught between feeling resentment toward my father in law that doesn’t value real family time or time spent whith children since this was never his focus and worrying about my husband going out on a binder.

The drinking has improved. He only drinks on weekends and doesn’t get silly. However I still do not trust him if he were to go out with friends after him driving home drunk just back in August. Any free time away from me that he spends, he does not make wise decisions. He doesn’t have a good judge on how much he has had to drink. He has a 2 drink limit – anything more than that I have noticed he doesn’t stop. after drink two he is buzzed enough to just continue. I’m in Need of help and guidance.

A: Of most concern to me is your second sentence where you say your husband’s drinking issues have been “addressed”. Sadly, they have not. Your husband is buying your tolerance by managing his drinking most of the time. But he has a long way to go before he is sober and adult in his thinking and behavior.

He may be trying to have the father he never had by spending time with his dad now. But instead of joining his dad in the drinking, he should be insisting that his dad join him in sobriety. Your husband may believe that the only way to have his father in his life is to accept his dad’s terms, but the price is very high for doing so.

You are early in your marriage. You do need quality time together. The 5-year-old needs his dad to be an adult, not a “son” to his own father.

If this marriage is to last, your husband must acknowledge that he continues to be a barely-controlled alcoholic. He needs to get seriously involved with substance abuse treatment. It is not unusual for someone with a history of alcohol abuse to be inconsistent in his ability to make good decisions. This is one of the issues that would be addressed in treatment.

Further, I suggest that you get involved with Al-Anon, an organization that supports people who love people who have a problem with alcohol.

I also suggest couples therapy to deal with your husband’s unresolved issues with his father and how they are impacting your marriage and his parenting of his own son. He should not be spending any time with his father that involves drinking. His priority should be on making a happy and functional family with you and his son. If he won’t, you have some very difficult decisions to make.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Husband’s Drinking Causes Me Anxiety

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie Hartwell-WalkerDr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Husband’s Drinking Causes Me Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/01/15/husbands-drinking-causes-me-anxiety/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Jan 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jan 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.