Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 34 years. We have two grown children, both of whom still live with us. They work and pay rent toward our mortgage. I have no problem with their living at home, and I don’t think my husband does, either.
The problem is my husband and son are alcoholics. They work hard, but when they’re off, they get drunk. My daughter and I are having a tough time dealing with all the issues.
My son is a closet alcoholic. He stays in his room and drinks, and when he comes out, he is very talkative and emotional, and he gets depressed.
My husband can drink beer all day and spend his day doing yard work. In the afternoon, he takes a nap, and when he wakes up, he continues to drink.
They both know they need help, but neither one is making any effort to get that help. My son went to a detox center more than a year ago. Unfortunately, since the pandemic hit just after he was released, he did not get follow-up counseling and ended up relapsing.
I spend a lot of time with my best friend, who I’ve known all my life. Once a year, we go on a trip. The problem is my husband makes me feel guilty and gets angry at me for these trips. But I need to get away and have someone to whom I can vent. It seems like my husband just expects me to stay home while he is out doing yard work.
Should I be trying to do more to get them to quit drinking? Am I in the wrong here for spending time with friends? – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Between: No and no. It’s up to your husband and son to get the help that they both clearly need. Spending time with your friends outside the house is a very healthy thing, a way of setting boundaries. Unfortunately, your husband is rearing against those boundaries. It seems he’s not content to just self-destruct; he wants to drag you down with him.
If things continue this way, you might need to consider whether you can truly live under the same roof as him without it taking a toll on your mental health. To gain some clarity and insight, I encourage you to make an appointment with a therapist who specializes in addiction. You may also find solace and strength in support groups such as Al-Anon (https://www.al-anon.org) or SMART Recovery Family and Friends (https://www.smartrecovery.org/family).
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