Calling all alcoholics

I have a question about when a person is considered an alcoholic. My dh has been drinking to much as far as I am concerned, but then I drink every little. When my dh and I got married, he didn’t drink much either. I know of only two times he got so drunk in the military, but he gets really sick the next day and so this has always detered him from drinking. He is also on a lot of medications, like for parkinsons and depression, that this too has kept the alcohol drinking to a minimal. If we had a bottle of rum in the house it lasted for 6 months or so.

That has changed. He has been drinking every single night in the last two months. He drinks rum and coke and then two beers. I realized this month how much. We went last month on the third to a military base where we do our major grocery shopping. He bought two big bottles, 1.75L, of rum. It is now the 11th of February and he had to go buy another bottle of rum because he drank the other two bottles. He also hide the empty bottles but I found them and I saw that he bought a new bottle tonight for a big brown bag was in our garbage can. When I asked if he bought a new bottle, he denied it, but them I mentioned the brown bag and he just smiled. He also has the beer hiden somewhere in the garage and takes out some at a time to put them in the refrigerator. He says he hates that I nag him about something he enjoys. He says I nagged him about cigarette smoking until he quit and now the drinking which he says he doesn’t have a problem.

I have tried to discuss this with him, but he has a temper and gets really angry and says I am just overreacting. When we do argue about something else, not about the drinking, he will say something like this, “You wonder why I drink!” He has a personality that gets addicted to things fast. He was abused as a child and I guess it is his way of coping. He is drawing closer to God, but slowly. He has been or is addicted to these: pornography, smoking, TV, movies, food, pain medications, and excessive buying and spending.

I am concerned, but he is not. I can’t seem to discuss this with him without an arguement. I don’t know if he is already considered an alcoholic. He has increased the intake over the months. He also has two alcoholic brothers, and two cousins who are also alcoholics. They are all recovering alcoholics with the exception of one brother.

Is he an alcoholic or on his way there?:confused:

Hiding bottles is not a good sign. I am curious as to whether all of those other addictions are over. If he is drinking alot then you need to be suspicious of the other problems that he has had. It is not impossible but very very difficult to grow in your faith if you have an addiciton problem. The worldly addiction can impede the effects of Grace.

This is a question for the CA foum memeber LSK…PM her she is the place to go for advice on this matter…at least on this message board.

Your husband is self medicating. I am the wife of a recovered alcoholic. There is an underlying issue that he using mulitple addictions to escape. Until my husband had his depression treated he continued with one addiction after another. Nagging isn’t going to fix it and it isn’t going to make it stop -if anything it only componds it. He needs to see a doctor. Hopefully he’ll do that for himself. My husband was on meds for a few years and went to counseling for about six months. The chnage in him was dramatic.
Until the depression was treated although my husband struggled to stay away from alcohol and other addictions he couldn’t get a handle on it. Once the depression was treated he was able to stay sober. And he wasn’t falling down drunk every night either, you don’t have to be to abuse alcohol. He denied he had a problem. My husband was in the military too. Drinking is an especially big problem in the military from what I’ve seen.
You should probably look into counseling for yourself, loving someone who has addictions changes your personality, usually in a way that prevents healing of the relationship once your spouse starts to sober up.
I will keep you in prayers.

Hi Nana, Sorry to hear what has developed with your husband’s drinking. I think it does sound like a problem. You might want to try al-anon to see what the best way to support your husband is and to avoid falling into some common traps. Although one drawback to al-anon is that it is just about support for alcoholism, not mental illness, etc. So, if you have a way to get some individual counseling, I would really recommend it.

You are in my prayers.

“Alcoholism” is a hard thing to define, in a way. In the end, it really isn’t so much about the alcohol, itself, as it is the underlying problems. The alcohol is just an escape which becomes an addiction and the whole process rolls over compounding itself.

So, “Is he an alcoholic?” I can’t say. But is there a real problem which is becoming clear from what you describe? It would certainly seem so.

He is not self medicating. He has been in counseling since we have gotten married. He has lots of issues to work out about his childhood. His anger problem being the top reason for counseling and antidepressants, as well as other medications all prescribed by psychiatrist. His anger is so much better than when we first married. He has forgiven his mother and that was the source of his anger. He still has a temper, but not as before. He still has to fight it at times to control himself, but he really tries.

I know that being a man and not being able to work due to mental illness and many physical illness has really affected him. He can’t seem to put all his trust in God and fall on him for help, but turns to “things” just as his brothers, but they have no faith or religion. He has put on over 100 pounds of weight and is unhappy with his body, but gives up when he starts a diet. He decided to go back to Weight Watchers and I supported him by getting rid of all junk food and cooking from the WW cook book. He lasted a month and is off of it. He lost 5 pounds total. He wanted to lose more and faster. I told him that it took him 8 years to get to his current weight and it will take time, but he gets depressed about his weight and his inability to exercise that he over eats. I can understand for I am not exactly thin and went on WW’s with him, but he still gave up. When he did go to individual counseling on a regular basis, he doesn’t discuss with the therapist the things that he needs to, like his past and his pains and sufferings. He ends up complaining about me and our fights on his driving etc. Even the counselor has told him that all this would get better once he learned self control and improved himself. The counselor has told me that my dh is very very stubborn. This I knew. He doesn’t take correction well at all and in fact calls it criticism. His mother has criticized him so much, that is how he sees any correction.

I have been trying to make him feel as the head of the household, even though he can’t provide for us financially with a job. I left it up to him to decide the final decision on home schooling our dd. He finally said yes to that. He is reading the Bible after dinner and leading us into discussion. He loves this and even admitted that he felt as a man doing this. I don’t know what else to do so that he doesn’t feel the need to turn to alcohol to “feel better or escape” his problems.:frowning:

Thanks for your prayers. I really have stopped nagging him about a month ago, but I can’t help worry about the increase in the amount he is drinking. I emailed his recovering alcoholic cousin and she said she will talk to him. One of the first steps is admitting you have a problem and he is definately not there. He is in denial totally. He believes that you have to be drinking in the mornings and be drunk every day to be an alcoholic. When I first was married to him, I remember a comment his uncle said about him. He told me and dh that he had “alcoholic tendencies.” He told dh that when life was difficult he always turned to alcohol to help him. In fact we broke up many times before marriage and every time, he told me he got drunk the day we broke up.

I just don’t understand why is it so hard for someone to put their trust in God instead of looking for material things to make you happy. I have heard my dh tell his alcoholic brother that he needs God and that the alcohol will not make him happy, but just feel good for a while. He loves to give this advice, but doesn’t live it himself. I have noticed also that he is staying up late again and going to bed at around 3 to 4 am and then sleeping until 2 pm. Just only in the last two weeks he ceased going to daily Mass. I will try to have a heart to heart talk with him without putting blame on anyone and see what is really bothering him.

He is also having trouble performing in bed, if you know what I mean. I know that is very difficult for a man. I don’t know if the alcohol and medication combination is doing this, or some physical reason is the problem. He won’t go to a doctor about that. He has lots to be depressed about, but he has so much to be happy about also. If any men read this, how can I help him in this personal area without offending him or making it a big deal.

proof positive he is an alcoholic
the quantity is way over the top, which means he is legally drunk for part of every day
the frequency is over the top
but most important what is drinking doing to his personality, why is he drinking, and how is it affecting your family.

call AA, ask for referral to Al-Anon which helps families of alcholics and are the best people in the world to guide you. You will get absolutely nowhere confronting him on your own, arguing, nagging, and escalating anger and violence in the home.

Also take steps now so you have a plan to protect yourself, your children, and your assets when the time comes, because it will come, and sooner than you think.

The biggest problem with alcoholism that I had to deal with - and others in my family - is that its not really how much you drink. I know that sounds crazy, but stay with me

I divorced an alcoholic, so my thoughts are only based on my experience. When we were dating, we both drank…we got drunk a lot. I never counted drinks to know who drank more, but I know that I drank too much. But we were young, single and having fun. The difference is that when kids came along I stopped and they just kept on drinking. I accepted responsibility and they didn’t.

The biggest red flag that I saw your email is when you mentioned his alcoholic brother. Alcoholism is inherited and it runs in families. Some people compare it to an allergy (I don’t know how accurate that is, but if eating shell fish gives you an allergic reacation - like swelling up - most people would stop eating the shell fish. But with alcoholism the behavior doesn’t stop, it becomes uncontrollable) But the problem isn’t because someone drinks more beer than I did - it is something more. I know many people who drink alot and are not alcoholics. Some people just can not take the alcohol - it causes their bodies to stop making the chemical that makes them “feel good”. So they can never “feel good” without the alcohol - at least not until their bodies are retrained.

I feel sorry for anyone going through this - but do not take it lightly. The line should be drawn - no more drinking. Then stand by the line. If the drinking doesn’t stop then the answer is quite clear that there is an issue. If you love your husband at all do not tolerate it. By tolerating or ignoring it you become an accomplice in his destroying himself.

So are you saying that I should tell him no more drinking or else. Or else what? Do I kick him out? He says he can give it up in a heart beat, but when I challenge him and tell him go ahead, he doesn’t. Do I get rid of all the rum and beer? Or should I consult Al-Anon or AA first?

Hi, Nana!
My name is Leslie and I am an alcoholic. My sobriety date is May 4, 1992. By the grace of God and through membership in AA I have not had to drink or drug since that date and for that I am eternally grateful.

I think you are right to be worried about your husband. More importantly, however, is learning about the disease and learnig to understand that alcoholism can creep up on a person without them realizing it. It is also one of the only diseases on the PLANET that has as one of its symptoms the refusal of ALL parties to believe the person has it.

May I make two suggestions? One is to start a Novena to Servant of God Matt Talbot, a man who found recovery from Alcoholism through the exercises of St. Ignatisu of Loyola and devotion to the Eucharist. You can find him on the web.

The other suggestion is to try and contact your local Al-Anon Chapter and see if you can talk to anyone there about what it is like to be in a relationship with - and deeply loving - an alcoholic. You will find a fellowship of men and women who will help YOU be the best support for your husband without hurting yourself in the process.

If you want to PM me, please feel free to do so…

hang in there, darlin’!


I don’t recall if you have children or not - but don’t mess around with the mental health of your kids. This is something that they will carry with them all of their lives.

There is no way on God’s green earth that I could support my ex…I only harmed myself and my kids by trying. But remember whatever you do or how you feel - you can “support” the alcoholic without living with them. I have friends who offer me much support and we don’t live together. The only support that my ex wanted from me was sex and to be their parent - not their spouse. That is not support. God made us to stand on our own 2 feet.

I wish that I had found a good AlAnon group - but I couldn’t. They were all just meeting to whine about their alcoholic husbands, wives and children. All these people were doing was enabling the alcoholic in their lives. I am sure that there are some good Al Anon groups out there - Good luck.

It is very, very painful being married to an alcoholic. Why would someone chose beer over their spouse and children?? That question still cuts right through to my soul - the pain is unbearable. In my opinion if they keep drinking when they know that its a problem - they need to chose between home and family and alcohol.

Talk to priests - my parish priest is who actually suggested that I move out.

Good luck and take care


Have you ever looked into a Christ centered recovery Program? Myself I’m an alcoholic that doesn’t feel comfortable with AA and its related programs. Though AA may the right place for many people, but it is hard to sit in meetings were it is OK to bash the Church, but you are rediculed for mentioning Jesus as your higher power. Myself I have been involved in a program Called Celebrate Recovery which is Christ Centered and deals with they recvoery of all the affected persons in relationships hurting from alcohol and drug use. The only thing about CR it is not a Catholic Program, which there really is no such thing in my area, that is a Catholic Christ-Centered program for recovery. For me CR it is better then AA and its related groups, but I yearn for a similar appproach from a Catholic perspective. This is a topic I would like to discuss with others in recovery. for more information on Celebrate Recovery go to

I have been so very blessed. I live in a very anti-Catholic area of California and when I would hear someone start to bash the Catholic Church in an AA meeting I can simply remind them of the Traditions - and I do so - but more importantly when I speak from the podium I always talk about being a practicing Catholic and not ‘recovering’ from that - what happens for me is at least one or more people seek me out after I speak to tell me they are thinking of coming home to the Church and can I share my experience, strength and hope with them in that area.

Celebrate Recovery has helped many people - to me it was not a realistic program because it lumps all addictions into one big pot. Anything Anonymous does not suit someone like me.

Al-Anon, without a good sponsor, is just a big whine fest. If, Nana, you find people in Al-Anon who are good, solid 'Step Workers" you will find recovery for yourself and be able to understand why someone like me would choose booze over a loving family.

I can put you in touch with some very strong Al-Anon members if you wish to find out more about that program.

Remember, Nana…none of this has anything to do with YOU but YOU have everything to do with your own mental health and how to handle loving and living with an alcoholic.

That is not totally true about CR. It has support groups for many diffiernt areas of recovery, but what you speak of is just the reason I see a need for a Catholic Recovery program (it really depends on the church sponsoring the group you attend). As in AA and and it related programs I seen many active Catholics become more dependent on going to meetings and trashing the Church for never teaching them that God was merciful. I even seen very active Catholics who will go to AA meetings every day of the week and totally quit being involved in parish life at all. Just this last Saturday I went to an AA meeting where the chair first stated he was raised Catholic and ranted how it totally warped his mind, then the rest of the meeting was a Catholic Church bash. It was after I was in recovery at at CR I decided to come into full-communion with the Catholic Church. I do not hide that I’m Catholic and fallen away Catholics have been approaching me about how to reconnect with their faith within the Catholic Church. If the Church had its own recovery program it would help many not to go outside the Church for help and give those that have a need to be a Catholic in recovery,to be just that, instead a recovering from being raised Catholic. I have noticed that many of those, not all, in AA that have long term recovery tend to direct the new comers away from what ever faith they were raised in and shape them into clones of themselves. This is not true with all of those in AA, but I have seen it enough to view it as a problem. I live in area where we have meetings at several locations many times a day. Every time I go to an AA meeting I while see the same old timers at just about any meeting I decide to go to and they are like sharks to the new comers. I once had a “Catholic Sponsor” from AA and he turned out to be one of of the Churches biggest basher on many of the Catholic Church teachings. Another big problem I see in AA is the fact how many people talk about how good “their” god is to them in one breath, then in the next curse God.
In AA you tend to work your steps just with your sponsor, in CR you will work them with a small group. This may be were you may think that they “lump” all the addictions together, this I see as a plus, because many of the problems that may be another’s main addiction tend to be a trigger your own. I felt I did very deep and inclusive inventory through CR and created a great group of accountabilty partners. My CR sponsor (not Catholic)thought it was a great idea for me to do my 5th step with a preist which also is a sacrament in the Church, my AA sponsor (a Catholic) said that wasn’t the AA way. I get more support as a Catholic in CR then I do in AA. But! I still beleive there should be a Catholic Recovery program, for the Church is community and it should have the ways and means of taking care and ministrying to its own.AA has some merit, but even Bill W said he just intended for AA to be a spiritual kindergarten, myself I want to graduate to Heaven. :hmmm: :blessyou:

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My husband found out about this thread. He is not angry, but states that all of you are silly and that he is not an alcoholic and doesn’t drink much. In fact, he said that tonight he will not drink anything to prove it. What worries me is his denial of any problem. I will be honest and don’t know if he is an alcoholic indeed, but I think he drinks to much.

LSK, is my dh considered to be an alcoholic? I mean from what I told you he drinks. God, I really hope and pray that he is not an alcoholic, for we still are dealing with the food addiction. Some of the others he has eliminated from his life like the pornography and smoking. He still has an occasional cigar though.

nana3 you need to take care of yourself first, pray for him, give him to God in prayer. whatever path you choose to seek help know that my prayers are with you, and I’m assured LSK would say the same, or something close to the same. In Jesus we Trust

Nana my husband could go for weeks without drinking -he still was an alcoholic. He was sober for almost two years and then went and got drunk and smashed our car by hitting a pole. He had court ordered AA meetings 7 days a week for a year after that. I read what you said your husband said about not drinking tonight to prove he’s not an alcoholic. My husband laughed. My husband said “If he can give it up for a month without switching addictions he might be proving something.”

Nana the most frustrating part is that until they see there is a problem, they will deny, deny,deny there is a problem. There is nothing you can do fix your husband’s issues. Trust me I’ve been there. I did the “why can’t he love enough to stop?” “Why can’t he just stop? If he asked me to stop something that was upsetting him I would stop, why can’t he do that?” I got the “I can, I just don’t want to.”:rolleyes:

With me since I couldn’t control the big issues I tried to control the smaller ones. I turned into a control freak from hell, micro-managing my husband’s life. I wish I had some easy answers for you but I don’t. I will pray for you and your husband. God bless.

For a long time I tried to believe that my husband wasn’t an alcoholic because he didn’t drink in the morning. Don’t think that there is a one size fits all description of what an alcoholic is. I had been worried about his drinking since he was a teenager. I think one of the biggest red flags that someone might be an alcoholic is that someone is worried that there is a problem with their drinking.

Hello nana3. I do not drink alcohol and I have family members who drink alcohol. One of whom was a in the military for his entire life.

You say that you purchase 2 bottles of liquor on the 3rd. Is that the third of January or the third of February? I don’t mean to split hairs but it could help to put things into perspective. If it was the 3rd this month I would say that he has a problem. That is the approximate amount my Grandfather drinks. Having been in the military it is hard to recognize that he is in fact intoxicated and to the gills I might add. It almost would seem as if he needs to feel as though he’s under duress. I would say that he is an alcoholic. I would probably not say this to his face but it’s either that or he runs on 87 unleaded.

Others in my family, my father for instance, drinks about the same, 1 1.75L in about 3 to 4 days on average. I think it effects him a lot more. His health is not as great. He has a pot belly possibly indicating liver issues. He has been quitting after seeing a doctor and my concerns about his health. He will work-out in the evenings if he doesn’t drink. He sometimes will take sleeping medication to help him sleep then. My mother still drinks and does not like to drink alone. My father does not like to be sober when she is drinking. This is an issue that causes difficulties in his abstinence.

If your husband drinks to this degree I would say that he is technically an alcoholic. There is a difference between someone who drinks to get drunk and someone who drinks drunk. You say that he drinks two beers after rum and coke. If this is the sum total for the evening I would say he drinks to relax. This quantity will not have any health threatening consequences other than driving etc. It will have psychological effects and other respiratory effects i.e. less activity, falling asleep sooner. I point this out because, for one thing, he won’t think he has any problem if this is the amount that he drinks. He will not fit in at an AA meeting. This is the amount that his friends likely drink.

If this is twice a night (2 rum and coke, 4 beer) I would say he drinks to the point of intoxication. He will not fit in at an AA meeting. He may have longterm health effect that could threaten his life or cause major impairment but not likely. He could be impaired to the point of not being able to pass sobriety tests. He could be addicted but I would not say that to him. At that level of drinking he will not believe that. It could create marital issues and mask other problems.

If he drinks more than this i.e. case of beer a week and a bottle or two of liquor, I would say that he is technically an alcoholic. He would benefit from AA. He very well may suffer longterm health effects and shorter term effects as well i.e. memory loss, weight gain, fatigue. Understand that in AA there are people who drink so much it would embarrass the rest of us – not to belittle problem in anyway – he has to relate his behavior to a problematic lifestyle.

I do not drink. If I drink three beers I am tired for a week. I don’t like the effects of drinking. I would rather be out cycling or hitting baseballs at the batting cages or reading the bible. Things that require mental and physical acuity. Suggesting other activities to him might further the cause and the purpose. Not everyone is willing to entirely give up drinking. My dad drinks about three nights a week now rather than every night. I don’t like to be around him when he is drinking. He happens to be a particularly clumsy drunk and rambles and is short tempered and loud. He will do what he chooses to do however. If he is not drinking I try to make a point of taking advantage of those times.

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