Dear Abby My husbands drinking problem is so bad we

Dear Abby: My husband’s drinking problem is so bad we can’t even go on vacation

Dear Abby


May 12, 2023 | 3:00 am

Dear Abby counsels a woman married to an alcoholic. Getty Images/iStockphoto

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a kind, supportive and loving man for 39 years. We are both retired. He keeps fit through daily exercise, reads, keeps track of our finances and is fun to be with. However, he is a high-functioning alcoholic. Most evenings his personality becomes unsavory. He’ll never go to the counseling center, and support groups for me aren’t around.

He was always the breadwinner and ensured a good income for our family. He was also a good father to our two sons. (I suspect our 34-year-old son is also an alcoholic.) Over the years, I’ve gone from sympathetic to angry at my husband’s drinking. He often hides how much he consumes. I never know if it’s just the two or three beers in the evening or the hidden bottle of wine or whiskey in the trash. I recently found out that he also smoked weed.

I used to be a social person. We have the opportunity to travel but this has been disastrous in the past. How should a woman deal with an alcoholic at home? – OVERLOADED IN FLORIDA

DEAR OVERWHELMED: You can’t fix your man. He can only do that if he is motivated. A spouse like you should join a support group for the families of alcoholics. If you are not geographically able, you should be aware that meetings are also offered online and can offer help and support.

Consider securing some independence and don’t let your husband’s problems isolate you. Pursue some of your own interests. Because you like to travel, join a group and go without him. It could be a much needed break from the stress you are experiencing.

I hope you realize that at some point you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to huddle for the rest of your life, escaping the viciousness of a belligerent drunk every night. If not, you can talk to an attorney about a breakup. But that could be a discussion for another day.

DEAR ABBY: I had a very good relationship with my daughter-in-law. In fact, I treated her like my own daughter and showered her with gifts. People told me she would gossip about me and say how much she didn’t like me. I feel betrayed, so I’ve distanced myself from her and don’t want her around anymore.

Am I a vengeful mother-in-law? I love my grandson but I also need my privacy. What do I do on vacation when the family needs to get together? I don’t trust her anymore and I can’t wear a fake smile. Am I overreacting? – DISILLUSIONED IN THE WEST

Dear Disillusioned: If what you were told about your daughter-in-law is true, don’t overreact. However, you will not know if the information is correct or in what context anything was said until she has shared it with you. Because of this, you need to have a face-to-face conversation where you ask directly if what you heard is true and if you did something that upset her. Then listen.

Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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