Is your partner’s drinking hurting your relationship? Perhaps you used to have fun together and enjoy an occasional drink, but now it seems that he consumes far more than you’re comfortable with.
Have you ever asked what you can do to help your husband stop drinking? Maybe he’s promised to stay sober in the past, but you know that didn’t go quite as well as you’d hoped. You might suspect that your husband is now hiding his alcohol consumption, which makes you even more concerned that his habit is getting worse. Deep down, you fear you just can’t trust him.
Maybe it’s an issue with binge drinking. Do you feel that your partner doesn’t have an “off” switch—that he will just keep drinking as long as alcohol is available?
It may be that your husband has done something truly alarming or destructive while under the influence. For example, perhaps he’s made a scene at a party, drained a bank account or even crashed the car. Or, maybe he’s had more frightening private outbursts, lashing out at you or the family in cruel and confusing ways.
It may seem like the caring, dependable person you married has been lost to alcohol. Now, it’s on you to keep it all together—your family, your home, your relationship—while the ground keeps shifting in frightening fashion beneath your feet.
Are you tired of managing the cycles of chaos or stupidity on your own? Do you wish you could free your relationship from the damage caused by drinking and reclaim the connection, trust and fun you once shared?
Drunken Behavior In Relationships Is Painful And Common
You are not alone. Alcohol dependence is extremely common all around the world—and especially here in Australia. In fact, it’s so common that people even joke about it, repeating this well-known line “I’m not alcoholic. I’m Australian.” Or “I just love beer.”
‘Jokes’ like these can make it difficult to distinguish “normal drinking” from dependency. But, as you no doubt know, alcohol abuse isn’t a laughing matter. According to a NSW Health report from 2017, “30% of adults drink at levels that increase their long-term risk of harm.”
This statistic only reflects medical harm, not the profound damage drinking can do to relationships, families or careers. Alcohol often causes, or at least fuels, intense, chaotic incidents and dynamics. For some of us, there’s nothing a little bit of liquor can’t make worse.
The truth is that, often, excessive consumption is the symptom, not the problem. Modern life is stressful and generally not quite as rewarding as some of us may wish. Drinking can seem like a tempting route to short-term relief from all the restlessness and discontent.
As the partner of someone struggling with a drink dependency, you likely know that it causes more distress than it soothes. You have likely also found it impossible to effectively communicate your fear, pain and frustration to your partner without the conversation turning into a fight.
Thankfully, with expert guidance in a safe environment, you can talk with your husband about his drink dependency and recovery. You can carve out a path toward mutual understanding, restored trust and lasting connection. You can get back onto stable ground together.
Dependency Treatment Can Help You Address This Problem At The Root
Even if you have a very good reason to suspect that your husband drinks too much, expressing your concerns likely exposes you to his anger or defensiveness. Working with me, you don’t have to feel like you’re “crazy” or “a nag,” or whatever else you may have been called as you do your best to keep your family above water. And, my presence makes it much less likely that one of you will erupt and storm out of the room in a fury. You deserve a chance to feel heard and understood.
As your counselor, I combine both alcohol dependency counselling and couples counselling. The overall goal is to provide you both with the support you need to reconnect and move forward. I am here to help each of you give voice to your fears and frustrations, guiding you toward shared understanding and solutions.
That means we have to directly acknowledge and address the problem at hand: Your husband drinks too much. To that end, I’ll encourage you to express all the ways alcohol is wreaking havoc in your relationship. I’ll help you develop the tools required to get your needs met without triggering your spouse’s shame or anger. That way, your husband can begin to take real responsibility for the current chaos and conflict in your relationship. He can become accountable, and you can both begin to have the conversations you so desperately need.
Couples counselling for drinking involves helping your husband find the best possible path forward. Because you will be involved in sessions, you can rest assured that your spouse is actually participating in treatment. You get to ensure that the full story is being told, even if it’s painful or shaming. Most importantly, you and your partner can both work to understand the core issue beneath the dependency and begin to carve out a path to recovery.
We Are Only As Sick As Our Secrets
Chances are, your husband has been struggling with a secret pain he’s kept buried for too long. Maybe he doesn’t know it’s there, or maybe he just doesn’t know how to put it into words. For example, he may drink to mask a deep-rooted feeling that life just isn’t going as it should do. Or, he may be attempting to numb anxiety or to create excitement in a life that seems drab and dull, especially when compared to the dreams he once had. It’s also entirely possible that he just can’t figure out how to stop drinking.
Whatever the case may be, treatment can give your husband the ability to cope with challenges without relying on the bottle. And, together, you and your husband can tear down the walls between you, then use those bricks to build a bridge.
On a personal and professional level, I understand what it’s like to have alcohol consume your life. And, from 30 years of experience working on these issues in my own life and in the lives of my clients, I also know that change is possible. With help, you can restore your relationship and reclaim the love you once had together.
You may have concerns about behavioral couples therapy for substance abuse…
If I call you, will I be betraying my partner?
By reaching out for help, you are not causing a problem—you are acknowledging a problem that is already there. Alcohol dependence is something what will not get better on its own. It is progressive in nature and tends to accelerate. In a way, it’s like you’re stuck in an elevator hurtling down. It’s up to the two of you to decide where you want to get off and begin a journey back to sanity, one step at a time. That’s not betrayal—that’s support and care.
Is counselling confidential?
Yes. Treatment is 100% confidential. Because I don’t take Medicare or private health insurance, no diagnosis goes on any record. This means that no one has to know about this counselling except for you and your partner. Your privacy really matters to me.
We’ve already tried everything. How is your approach to his dependency any different?
Too many people try to address a drink dependence by simply eliminating alcohol. But, getting through “Dry July’” doesn’t prove anything or fix anything in the long-term. You can’t help your spouse stop drinking until you know why he is drinking. Then, you can both start to really know one another again and repair your bond in the process.
Without being overly harsh about it, let me just say that your average dependent is going to have a whole host of reasons why they don’t have a problem. Denial is a very powerful force in your husband’s life right now. At the most basic level, he really likes drinking, and he probably isn’t thinking about quitting unless something truly terrible has occurred.
I can help you communicate that something terrible is occurring—his behaviour is eroding your relationship. You do not have to wait until his dependency sets fire to you and your family.
You Deserve To Feel Heard And Understood
If you’d like to learn more about alcohol dependence treatment and marriage counselling, please contact me for a free, 10-minute consultation. If you have any other questions, I encourage you to take a look at the FAQ page.
My practice is based in St Ives on Sydney’s North Shore.
*I am speaking directly to the female partner here because, 9.9 times out of 10, the female partner is the one who reaches out to me for counselling. However, if you are a man struggling to understand your partner’s drinking, this page is also meant for you! I am equally well acquainted on the particular issues faced by male partners, and I am here to help.