Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page for your Smoking Cessation board: this page for your Substance Abuse board:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Includes Expert Content
    Life is tough living with a dry drunk husband
    wtg4calm posted:
    All through our marriage, it's been tough. My husband drank when we married, later in life, he went to get sober, and suceeded. Now, he lives without alcohol, but is not sober. The stinkin' thinkin' is very real, he refuses AA meetings. I have been on antidepressants, counseling, now Alanon to help myself. I know I can't make him do AA meetings, but, it's a challenge for me living like this. His socio/narcissitic behavior is too much. Any help appreciated.
    JozoFine responded:
    Start talking to him about things you are thankful for. Get him to join into the conversation. His misery is stemmed from looking at what he wants, not what he has. You can also start a list of what things he has gotten from his sobriety. I won't lie to you, those AA meetings can be brutal! Too many idiots who just go because a court tells them to. If he hasn't worked the steps, encourage him to.
    An_240941 responded:
    My husband has been sober for a year now. I'm so proud of him, but it wasn't an easy road. He struggled through it for a bit & was angry & agitated because of course it turned into me "changing him". Reality I told him to live how he wanted, but that we have 2 girls to take care of & if he chose alcohol over us I was going to divorce him to protect our kids (was a violent drunk, not to the kids...more so the house, but still bad environment for my children). Your husband took the steps to become sober, that's the start. Now you have to help encourage him to stay that way &show him he still has a good, fun, happy life with out booze. Help him recognize all the positives around him (with out being condescending). Try to be patient & stay calm around him even when he upsets you. Sometimes it's not worth the fight, he probably isn't trying to intentionally be negative to you & may not fully realize his attitude & if it's not pointed out to him delicately it will most likely go in one ear & out the other. I agree with JozoFine, AA isn't always the most helpful. It is mostly people with alternative sentencing or mandate while on parole. Because of that it's filled with people who don't really want to get anything out of it to begin with & then sometimes the people who do really want help end up relapsing being around the ones who don't want help. Alanon is helpful because it's for family member, which means you chose to go & you wanted help as with everyone else there, it can't be use by the court systems to mandate "change". Besides AA is more of a support group than a treatment center. I'd say either be patient & try to work with him more or seeking marriage counseling (something that would help both of you). Marriage counselors can help the 2 of you work on your issues (since I doubt he thinks the alcohol or lack there of is his issue, denial) but also if alcohol is brought up & they feel it is an issue for him they can refer him to a substance/alcohol abuse counselor & sometimes an outside 3 person perspective can make people see more clearly. If a stranger tells him he has an issue he might hear it better than hearing it from you. (funny how that works out huh?). Wish you luck & hope that helps.
    wtg4calm replied to An_240941's response:
    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. You touch on a lot of issues, or past issues that I have already been through. Through the years, we have been to counseling, I, myself, have been in & out of counseling for me alone, and none of these have had any positive results. I cannot try and work with him on any issues, especially ones that I feel are hurting me. He is very good at manipulations, and is excellent on turning things around to make "me" the one with the problem. Been down that road way too many times. Now, that I am trying to get better after getting off these antidepressants, which, I am feeling so sick going throught this, he has no words of kindness, no compassion, no help whatsoever. It is of no surprise to me. Whenever I hurt, am sick, or have had compassion or help for me. His life is all about him. I have learned so much about dry drunk's "stinkin thinkin" that he could be the dry drunk of 2012 and win the purlitzer prize! I don't mean to sound so bitter, but, I am trying to get "myself" better because, I am done with the false expectations I have fallen for all through my life. I must take care of me. I am having a very hard time right now, but with the help of God and the 2 good friends I have, I hope to make it through. I just want to be free of antidepressants, and free of trying to think I can fix things. I can't. I wish you luck too in your life and blessings that all will work out for you.
    Betty Ford Center
    Johanna O'Flaherty, PhD responded:
    Your husband has addressed one aspect of this complex disease by abstaining from alcohol.

    However, alcoholism includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual facets, all of which need to be addressed. You are correct in saying that you cannot force your husband to attend AA meetings; this has to be his decision.

    With your involvement in Al-Anon, your family environment will change - hopefully for the better. It seems that you are doing all the right things, especially by attending Al-Anon; I would encourage you to get a sponsor there, and keep the focus on yourself.
    An_240941 replied to wtg4calm's response:
    It sounds to me like you need to start taking a good hard look at your life (where its been, where its at, & where you want it to be). Maybe him & his unwillingness to change his thought process, or seek outside help, or even treat you with kindness & respect is just too much for you to take anymore. If so, then you have a tough decision to make. The only person you can help or change is you. He has to want it & want it for himself or it will never happen. I agree with Dr. O'Flaherty, you need to keep focusing on you & keeping yourself healthy (mind, body, & soul). But in a marriage it does take 2, so if you want to try to help him then I hope the things that worked for me may help you. I wish the best for you dear, whatever that may be. You'll be in my thoughts & I'm here if you need to chat or vent. Ok?
    wtg4calm replied to An_240941's response:
    Attended my alanon meeting today. It was, as always, a wonderful time. The learning never stops. I am really doing better on focusing on myself and getting through my days as I see fit for ME. If I keep putting my faith in other people to do that for me, there will always be disappointment. Therefore, I know, in my heart, I am doing the right thing by trying to live my life for me and to learn to make myself happy. I can't allow anyone to take my joy away from me. My boundaries are more focused and limited. To me, I am in recovery as well as any one else with addictions. It's a struggle, but, we have to catch ourselves when we fall back and learn to pick up the "steps" again. I learn to thank God each day now, for all my blessings and for my tough moments and how I handles them. I just feel sorry for my husband who lives a life in deniel and depression. He is always right and the world is all wrong.
    RoseLynn02 replied to wtg4calm's response:
    Well I'm glad you're focusing on yourself as you should & I'm sorry your husband struggles to live a happy life. It sounds like you love him a lot. It's hard to watch someone you love live like that when you know there is a better way. Perhaps in time he will come into it on his own. I wish you luck & happiness.

    Featuring Experts from Betty Ford Center

    Harry L. Haroutunian, MD., is an internationally known speaker on the topics of Addictive Disease and its treatment. He is Board Certified in Family M...More

    Helpful Tips

    The Sensible Methadone Taper... (Withdrawals, how to get / wean off)
    I was on Methadone for 5 years. I've been as high as 100mg/day. For the first 2 years I was using 3.5grams of high grade heroin on top. ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.