Husband closet drinker

My husband is a closet drinker. He believes he is a devout Catholic. He lies constantly about drinking. He is not violent and I won’t destroy my children’s lives by breaking up the family. What else can I do? How can I have a marriage with a lying hypocrite?

Can you get to Al-Anon?


Is your husband an alcoholic, an ex-alcoholic, or just someone who would like to have a drink? Do you ban alcohol in the house? Is there a reason your husband is drinking secretly, or is he an ex-alcoholic?

These are very personal questions, so feel free not to answer them. But your OP leaves one with many questions, and, lacking the full context of your situation, we may not be able to effectively help you.

We’re all sinners. Just because someone struggles with a sin does not make them undevout. If it did, there wouldn’t be any devout Catholics.

I would advise talking to your husband. If he’s an alcoholic please advise him to visit an appropriate counselor.


I think your over reacting about his drinking. Is he abusing the family in any way? Is he getting so drunk as to be falling over? Or driving while drunk?

There are plenty of Catholics who enjoy a few drinks :innocent:. It’s ingrained in our culture. Look at Ireland, Mexico. Jesus turned water into wine after all!

But yes, drinking can be bad if it’s out of control.

1 Like

It’s not clear whether you’re saying that your husband has a hidden drinking problem, or whether on the other hand he drinks occasionally (as in not regularly) and lies to you about it and you have a problem with his lying.

Nevertheless, lying about having a drink is often a sign of having some level of drinking problem.

I would suggest that you simply tell your husband you know he is secretly drinking and that he needs to stop with the lying and get honest with himself and maybe get some help.
Then, if you need support with this situation for yourself, go to Al-anon.


A person can have a drinking problem without abusing the family, getting falling-down drunk or visibly drunk, or drunk driving.
Many people have drinking problems and no one would know to look at them. They can keep it up for years in that way. It’s called being a functional alcoholic.

A drinking problem is a dependency on alcohol, no more and no less. “Enjoying a few drinks” means you can take them or leave them. If, on the other hand, you’re drinking several times a week, or every day, or feel you need a drink to do certain activities like socialize, then you might have a drinking problem even if you function just fine.


You called this a ‘drinking problem’ over a year ago. You also said you had financial problems. You need help! Please, speak to your priest…

This is not something that can be solved online, with the amount of info you’ve given. You seem to start threads, then abandon them. I’m not saying that we need to know every detail…sharing certain facts, in fact, can cause more harm than good.

Did he promise to stop drinking before? Is his drinking endangering you or your kids? Cutting sharply into your budget? If so, you must take action to protect them, and yourself. Please, speak to a priest and a counselor. They can help you find an answer to your problem!

You say your husband isn’t violent, but he does have an alcohol and lying issue. You and hubby have children and you don’t want to break up your family.

As an adult child of a recovered alcoholic parent, I ask if your husband’s drinking is already braking up the family? Does he fail to interact with you as a healthy, non-addicted sober husband would? Does he fail to interact with his children in ways a father should? Are the children witnessing the lying? Are you covering-up to the children and others by lying about issues related to the drinking?

If yes, then the drinking has already done damage to the family unit and marriage.

As far as what you can do about it…
you can only control what your actions and reactions. You are responsible for your choices.
Your husbands drinking problem is his to own. He is responsible for his choices.

Since you and your husband are together, you will have to learn what are the best decisions you can make, given the current dilemma.

I would suggest that you find a quality counselor who works with addicted individuals and family members of addicts. Start with individual therapy for yourself because you are the one who is in control of you. Therapy will allow you to explore your emotions and responses to the drinking, your, husband, and the children.

Also, there is al-anon and celebrate recovery. Some people have been helped by these programs.

But really, this comes down to you putting your oxygen mask on first so you can safely maneuver through the situation while helping your children too. So, get the help that you personally need as soon as possible.

Also, if you’re priest is knowledgeable of addictions and can offer support to your family, then share what is happening with your priest.

I pray for the best for you and yours.



The thing to keep in mind is that we are now viewing substance use disorders as chronic diseases. Many people have several treatment attempts before they are able to stop using substances, and sadly, some are never able to do so. It’s also possible for a person to not be using substances but engage in many of the same behaviours as when they were using (sometimes referred to as being a “dry drunk”).

I’d strongly recommend counselling for you and your husband. If he is not ready to attempt treatment, I’d encourage you to seek counseling for yourself.

1 Like

How much ‘closet drinking’ are we talking about?

Thank you all for your responses. Yes I have posted in the past about issues. I’m in a troubled marriage with a large family and it’s very stressful so I do occasionally post something just out of loneliness and desperation, but don’t have the time to keep up. Regarding the drinking, when confronted he lies or says he was just relieving stress when I find proof. One example would be drinking 12 bottles of beer in the space of a couple hours when he said he was at his office (I found the receipt & empty carton the next day, so I know the time frame, I think he does this frequently, but that was just an oversight that he left the carton in car). He is not violent but goes into rages about every other month screaming & yelling at us all. I can’t support the children on my own and live far from family so I think I just have to stick it out and wait for him to hopefully admit he has a problem. I have gone to alanon 2 times, but I feel upset that I am the one seeking help when he should be getting help… but I’m sorry I’m just reaching out for some response since this is difficult to talk about with others… If I share this with friends or priests that know him I’m sure he would be angry at me… I have spoken to confessors on my own

Has something happened recently or has he always drank a lot?

I am drinking a lot more than I was last year. I always drink in the evening when everyone is in bed. (Not every evening). My life is awful and my wife is unsupportive even though I support her constantly. After months of praying and fasting I now drink alcohol instead as it has the same result.

I don’t go into rages or anything like that. I can pin my problem to an exact day.

Not sure if any of this helps?

But he is your husband. When he needs help, you might as well. And of course you need help:

If that’s not someone who needs help, I don’t know who does.

1 Like

A wise person told me that addiction is the only disease we blame on the person afflicted. Would you blame him if he had appendicitis or cancer?

Recognize he has a disease. Go to Al Anon to get yourself tools for dealing with his illness


Please, don’t be sorry for reaching out. It’s ok if you reach out.
I understand from the perspective of a daughter of an alcoholic, who could be very belligerent when he drank.

That said, he’s your husband and you have a family with him. I don’t know the ages of your children, but you can explain to the those that are old enough to understand that their dad has an illness. Reassure them that his illness is not their fault. Keep loving your babies, keep loving your husband, and learn to love you.

One thing that I would do, having experienced rages, yelling, (and sometimes worse) from my alcoholic parent, I would leave for a hotel or some safe place with my children when the rages start.

Children internalize that behavior and repeat it in their future relationships.

Me, I used to joke with my mom that I would put up a bar in the house and stock it with beer so my dad wouldn’t go out to drink. He eventually picked up a small fridge to put his beer in. (And my Alanon leader chastised me for buying my dad beer at times).

Anywhoo, take care of you and those babies. Your hubby will have to hit rock bottom, and you can’t let him take you down with him.

Please look at vocational training so you can support your family (I am doing a program myself at this time). Pray, pray, pray. Offer up those Masses on bended knee (I say this as I sit here after just having posted a thread that I can’t go to Church).

One thing I will say, is that I offered so many Masses for my dad to recover. My dad did recover, became a deacon in his (non-catholic) church, lived 12 years past a terminal diagnosis that gave him 2 years to live, and died peacefully, at hospice with my mom by his side.

Get help for you and the kids. Believe in miracles because only God can heal an addict.

1 Like

Did he promise to stop, or cut down on his drinking? If so, now is not the time to expect much of him. However, you should look for signs of drunkenness, if you or the kids are planning to go somewhere in the car with him. If he shows any signs, don’t let him drive. If you can’t drive, or he gets angry, call off your plans with him. Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous! Protect yourself, your Kids, your husband (if possible) and any pedestrian of driver whom he might not see!

If he ‘goes into rages’ he is close to becoming physically abusive. If this happens, you have no choice but to take your kids, and leave! Physical abuse should never be tolerated…especially, when children are involved!

You do have a problem…you’re living with him, his rages, and his drunkenness. And the fact that he gets angry for trying to get help…next time, tell your priest and friends what you’ve told us.

One of the worst things that a drunken person or narcissist can do is isolate their spouse. Often, it destroys said spouses self-esteem, friendships, and opportunities to discuss problems with anything with others. Don’t let him do this to you! If you feel you can’t fight for yourself, do it for your children! Do you want them to grow up with such a twisted view of what a Christian marriage is?

But, don’t stop praying for him, even if you do have to leave. God has performed many miracles. For now, just hang in there, hope, pray, and use the sense God gave you to protect yourself and your kids. Feel free to post here any time!

And, of course, God Bless!

I think you should look into al-anon.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit