My Husband's An Alcoholic, But He Loves Our Son

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Life is complicated. Thank goodness there are experts to help us untangle some of the vexing issues that, well, vex us on a daily basis. The Mouthy Housewives are here on BlogHerMOMS to help, three times a week. Email your pressing issues and questions to stacy.morrison at blogher.com to be answered in exclusive posts on Fridays. Today, we share the newest Mouthy wisdom on offer.

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Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband is an alcoholic. He's also very jealous and possessive. He's taken our grocery budget and spent in on booze. He's done some faulty things with loose women. If it were up to him, I would be trapped at home 24/7, and he gets angry if I go out and have fun without him.

Recently, I went out for a girls' night, and my husband agreed to stay home with our two-year-old son. After I left, however, he promptly invited friends over and drank like a fish out of water. He then called me to say that he couldn't get our son to sleep and decided to let our friend drive him around drunk!

I was beyond mortified and furious! Long story short, when I confronted our friend he told me that he wasn't drunk, didn't drive anywhere, and that my husband was lying about it to get me home early. He had even bragged about how fast he could make me skip out on Girls' Night.

But the twist is he's a great father. He didn't have a father growing up, and its very important to him to be an active part of our son's life. They have a great relationship, and he's my son's best friend, hands down.

I can't afford counseling so please don't suggest it; I'm on food stamps as is. Can I fix our broken marriage? Should I even bother? I dream that we could be an old couple celebrating 50 years together. But now, I'm not so sure what to do. Help!

Signed, Tired. Tried. Teary-Eyed.

Whiskey dad

Credit Image: Photo by Wiros via Flickr

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Dear Tired-Tried-Teary-Eyed,

Let me get this straight:

1. Your husband is emotionally abusive and manipulative.

2. He spends his son's food money on booze because he's a raging alcoholic.

3. His fidelity is in question.

4. And he thinks it's funny to JOKE about DRUNK DRIVING with a TWO-YEAR-OLD?

This answer is so crystal-clear to me that it almost reminds me of Mediterranean waters (just with added sadness and despair):

YOU NEED TO GET OUT. Move, divorce him, whatever. But you need to get your son out of this environment posthaste.

You may think your husband is a fantastic father, but if he were, he wouldn't have used that night alone with his little boy to party with his friends; he would've spent some quality time with the child. And in addition to endangering the welfare of your son by getting drunk while watching him (omfg), he's also a terrible role model for the boy. I've heard it put this way: would you want your son growing up to be your husband? If not, he's not father material. (If you need further convincing, look up a book called Adult Children of Alcoholics. Your husband may think he's being a part of his son's life, but when he's drunk, he's not actually THERE and this will have lasting detrimental effects.)

Sure, he may be plagued with alcoholism, but you are actually enabling the disease by bending your life to fit around his destructive lifestyle. If you want to try to get him help, go for it. (There's also Al-Anon for you, and those meetings are free!) But know that he's got to want it for himself if it's ever going to work. No ones to say that you can't patch things up while he's clean, but for now, he needs to get on the wagon before you can even THINK about next week—much less the next fifty years.

Run, don't walk, and godspeed,

Kristine, TMH

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