My partner still drinks alcohol – is this a problem?

My husband still likes a drink. He still likes to get drunk sometimes with his mates but mostly he likes to have one or two in the house or in the pub. I worried about this at first. Would this cause a problem in my sobriety or wouldn’t it matter?

I also knew that I didn’t want to force him to stop doing something that he enjoyed and didn’t have an issue with like I did. I needed his support in my journey but I didn’t need him to stop to ensure that I stayed sober. However, we did need to have a plan.

Boundaries

In sobriety, it’s important that you set boundaries in all aspects of your life. In the early days, you have to put your sobriety first or you will struggle. At first, I would still go to our local pub and drink AF beer. But I found it difficult to have to keep explaining why I wasn’t drinking anymore. I also went during a football match where the landlady gave everyone a shot for free. I didn’t want mine and it was exhausting dealing with the questions as to why and the encouragement that, ‘one won’t harm you’. It was too early and too much. I told my husband that I wanted to avoid this situation for a while, he was fine with it, even if he was a bit disappointed.

It didn’t mean that we stopped doing anything, it just meant that our lives and friendships didn’t revolve around the local pub anymore. It was quite a big change, but we just did things differently for a while. It certainly helped our bank balance!

We have started to go back to our local pub now, but we still have the agreement that if it’s too much for me then I can leave and go home. I don’t expect my husband to come with me, but he understands that I just don’t enjoy it as I used to when I was drinking.

Agreements

I spoke with my husband a lot about how important sobriety was to me. I explained that I would never be truly happy if I carried on drinking the way that I was and sadly moderation was never going to be an option for me. He supported me fully and was quite relieved when I explained that I didn’t expect him to do the same. This was my journey, not his.

We did however agree on a few things. We agreed that he wouldn’t have certain drinks in the house. My drinks of choice were, rosé wine, dry white wine, Prosecco and champagne. It wasn’t that much of a big deal if we didn’t have these in the house for him, but it was for me. I have relapsed in the past because I thought I could cope with having Prosecco in the house. It was like it started talking to me, I couldn’t get it out if my head and eventually drank it.

He likes beer and red wine, neither of which are triggers for me, so it doesn’t bother me if he drinks them in the house. It’s all about respect, I wouldn’t ever do anything which would upset or worry him intentionally and vice versa.

He has my back

Occasionally when we have been out the interest in my sobriety and the questions have become intrusive and quite frankly exhausting. To this day I don’t understand why some people are so offended or interested in what someone else chooses to drink or not drink. My husband will of course let me answer, but if it’s going on for too long, he will either cut them off or just move me away. In the beginning, this was a lifesaver. Now I am so strong in my sobriety that I can handle these situations beautifully.

But he still drinks?

Yes he does, because this is my sober journey. It isn’t his. I have no issue with him carrying on drinking alcohol. However, I do lack empathy for hangovers or stupid actions due to drinking too much alcohol. I try not to judge, because good lord, I have no right to. But I also don’t waste my own headspace on dealing with situations caused by anyone else’s choice to drink alcohol. I am not about to preach, I may give a knowing nod of the head or a patronising smile, but it’s quite frankly not my circus and not my monkies.

Communication

Possibly the most important part of dealing with my sober journey with my husband has been communication. Once he realised how important it was for me to be sober and how unhappy and worried my drinking was making me, he was fully on board. If he had tried to sabotage my journey or questioned it, I would honestly have worried for the relationship, but he has always been very supportive of me.

He also can now see that I have blossomed since becoming sober. My confidence is much stronger than before, I have made friends that empower and care for me, thus making me stronger and our home life and our children’s lives have improved immensely and for that we are grateful.

I realise that I am lucky

I do realise that I am lucky, I know that some women and men have partners who are affronted by their sobriety. They see it as an attack on their lifestyles and choices. They are constantly moaning at their partner and trying to sabotage their newfound sobriety. I have been in that situation before and it was very hard to deal with. But I do know that it was more about him than me. All you can do is live your own journey and try and stay strong. If you choose to drink again to please someone or shut them up, this will cause resentment in your relationship and it doesn’t bode well for the future.

Much love,

B xxx

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