What if your partner still drinks?
I was recently asked how to stop drinking but your husband still drinks. What do we do?
This can be one of the trickiest parts of sobriety. Speaking from my own experience, I don't think I would have had the motivation to ever make a change if I didn't have the support from my husband. By that I mean, my husband was the one gently nudging me in the direction to look in the mirror. In recent years, he was the one that was encouraging me to try to drink less and consider what I was doing to myself when I would wake up so hungover I couldn't function.
So if you are already at the point where you are worried about your drinking and hoping to make a change, then you are lightyears ahead of most people.
My husband's drinking was never a major concern for him or me. He wasn't the one making a scene at parties, getting wasted or blacking out. He wasn't the one out friends liked to tease. He wasn't the one we had to drag out of the party at 2AM kicking and screaming. He wasn't drinking every night of the week or crushing bottles of wine every other day. That was ALL me.
He could take it or leave it. That was why, when I finally found the courage to make a change and admit that alcohol was taking over my life, he was there to hold my hand through it all. He was ready. He was waiting.
I truly was one of the lucky ones to realize where my life was headed but also to have a partner that was supportive of my decision. If your partner drinks just as much as you or maybe even more - you may think to yourself - I will never be able to stop drinking. How can I do this alone? For a long time, I wished Evan drank more like my friend's husbands. I wanted him to split a bottle of wine over dinner with me, so he wouldn't care about how much I consumed. I remember thinking, I wish he was a heavy drinker too, so we could both just keep this party going!
Your partner may enable your drinking habits and not even realize it, which Evan did for a while in the early years of our marriage when we were young. If you are beginning to question your relationship with alcohol at all and you want to make a change, then being open and honest with your partner is the first step. Your spouse may not even recognize what is going on with you. They may know see it or know how you are feeling. You must advocate for yourself. Ask for their support. They are your partner and if they love you, they will be there for you. I asked Evan to stop drinking for a little bit. He had no problem doing so, because he wanted me to get better.
In the beginning, it may be really hard for them, because it will likely shine a light on their own drinking behavior. This is going to be the hardest part of the process for everyone. Even for Evan - who isn't a big drinker - he has reflected a lot over the last almost two years about his relationship with alcohol. His drinking has changed dramatically. The way he views alcohol is different now, simply out of respect for me. It was easy for him to stop drinking for me because he didn't struggle with an addiction, but he eventually went back to socially having a drink or two every few weeks.
If you have a partner who is a heavy drinker, you may feel you don't know how to do both - have a close relationship with that person while simultaneously fixing yourself. I found when it comes to getting sober, it is most important to focus first and foremost on repairing yourself. Only when you work on the bullseye then you can begin to mend the next ring on the dart board, and then work your way out towards your family and then your friends. You have to fix yourself first. And if your spouse isn't on board right away, then you need to find a therapist, sober support group (online or in person) and sober friends (real life or virtual.) You need people that can be there for you and support you. You owe it to yourself to start finding like-minded individuals who know what you are going through and understand your struggle.
The road to recovery is a long, complicated one, and getting sober is not easy. You must find the support to build you up along the way, and you don't want to come up against a partner who is challenging you from the start.
Check out this video where Evan and I share about our experience with Annie Grace:
Where do you fall on this spectrum? Does your partner drink? How do you find support if he/she is a heavy drinker? Comment below or send me a message.