Husband is a (somewhat) functioning alcoholic

My husband and I have been together 12 years but I’ve started to realise I think he is a functioning alcoholic.

He works a very good job and goes in every day regardless. He doesn’t drink in the morning or anything. However he can drink 10 cans on a week night quite regularly. More on a weekend and he starts earlier on a weekend.

I don’t drink and never have. I completely believe people can enjoy alcohol but it isn’t for me. Plus we have a 4 year old so someone needs to be sober.

I rarely go out but twice I have come home to find he has had too much to drink and been the sole person responsible for our son. His argument is “he’s asleep it’s fine”.

im so bored and miserable. Once it gets past 8pm there’s no point talking to him or watching anything together as he won’t remember properly. I don’t want to have sex with a drunk man so we rarely do.

im lonely on an evening as he just sits and chain drinks cans of beer. My family don’t see it as such a problem and just laugh it off but I’m so lonely.

He has recently become ill and after denying it he has finally admitted he should probably stop drinking so much and is now in a terrible mood every day as he can’t drink and ends up going to bed at 7:30pm in a bad mood. He has decided he doesn’t feel much better having stopped drinking so he’s going to start again, albeit have less.

he’s never violent or aggressive, he can just be a bit snappy and low on patience when he’s been drinking.
Sorry I don’t know what I want from this I just needed to rant. Any advice?


Hi Clara, and you are very welcome here. Most of us here are in the other side of the problem from you, but fear not! If you use the search bar and look for Al-Anon, that will give you a good start. Al-Anon developed out of AA, and is a separate entity to support the family members of alcoholics.

From my side, as the alcoholic wreaking havoc at home, I recall one time when my spouse was crying, begging to know why I was doing this (persisting in my drinking) to her and to our family. And I was just stunned. My answer was “This has nothing to do with you”. I was so self involved, so self centered that I could not see past the end of my nose.

Blessings on your house :pray:.


I echo @SinceIAwoke. Ala-non is a great program for people in your situation. Your husband will have to travel his own path. You can only control you. Sorry you have to watch your husband struggle.


Have you confronted him about how his abuse of alcohol has affected you?

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You sound miserable. It seems like after 12 years you are following different paths. I’m just going to say what my Gramma said to me, “You can always change your mind”.
Alanon is a wonderful resource, yes! But, you might want to see an attorney about a separation of some sort. I wish I would have taken my own advice sooner rather than later before my divorce. Waiting too long can make it even harder to cut the strings because you can get sucked into the pit of despair with no way out. I know that sounds harsh. So, be sure to do something positive for yourself every day. Arrange for your children to have a a safe place and go enjoy yourself. You are the master of your fate.


As others mentioned, Al Anon is a path. Learning that you can’t control others actions but can only control how you respond and develop healthy boundaries for you.


I haven’t issued an ultimatum or said “enough is enough” but we have often talked about how it impacts me/us and he will stop for a week or so and then slowly start again. Always a reason - “it was someone’s birthday”…”I went to a big game”


Roger that!

Selfishness, conscious or not…is a destroyer. Too many times I’ve realized it too late and done so much damage to myself and others.


I feel its time you take it to that level. You can go to all the support groups or counseling you want, but you have lived with this far too long to not truly confront him.


As suggested AlAnon will help

Find a meeting - Al-Anon › find-a-meeting

If you wish to contact a group prior to attending a meeting please phone the Helpline on 0800 0086 811 (UK) or 01 873 2699 (Eire) for a contact number hope this helps


It sounds like you want to be heard and want to have a connection with your partner. I know that loneliness. I have definitely had times in my marriage when I have felt the same disconnect.

My advice (and questions to ask yourself) would be…only you know the true heart of your relationship. It certainly sounds as if the spark is gone and you are only going thru the motions. So I would ask myself…what do I truly want from life? Is this a good man with a hard problem that he will work on? Have you built a life you love or dread? Can you envision a life within your relationship where you feel supported, loved and share interests?

Have you had a real honest discussion with your partner around their drinking? (Always best done when you are both sober, not hungover, well rested and feeling more positive than negative…something to plan ahead for you both). Sit down and discuss what you need from your partner, see what they need from you…work towards those goals. Or perhaps take it to a therapist together? Or separate just for you. It spunds like you have had such talks.

For myself, I knew I needed to be honest about my feelings and where I was at with my husband. He is a good, kind, trustworthy, loving man who supports me in many ways and a person who drinks too much. That is his mess, lord knows I have my own.

To me, it all comes down to whether this is a relationship worth fighting for or if you have had all these discussions over the years and it is time to move on. There is no shame in ending relationships that have run their course. In all my years I have definitely learned that not everything lasts forever and that is okay.

Also, sometimes it is important to take more time to do things that spark some happiness and connection together. Take walks together, explore your town or nearby places, cook together, read a book aloud, play with your kids at the park together, things like that. Is it possible to set up some weekend plans that involve something enjoyable together that can help you reconnect (if you want to reconnect).

Just throwing some suggestions out there, as you asked. I have found we either work toward what we want in life or we let go. Either is okay, we just need to decide where to focus our energies. And he, of course, would also need to be willing to work with you. That is his thing tho, not yours.

Hope you are feeling okay after venting. :heart:


You are not alone. It can be very lonely aside a loved one who is an alcoholic.
Maybe you want to give this thread a look Are you affected by a loved one who is an addict?
Sending you strenght :sunflower:


Welcome Clara.
I hear ya.
I been sober almost 3 years now. Best decision of my life. But my wife of almost 40 years still drinks. She’s a pretty functional drinker. I would have said alcoholic, but just today, reading my AlAnon recovery devotionals I learned by labeling my wife an alcoholic, it leads me to detach with resentment.

I’ve been going to AlAnon meetings for 6 months now because my life had become unmanageable. At first my wife was angry with me for going to meetings. But as soon as I showed up to my first meeting in tears I felt this relief. I cried big time. There was this huge relief that I had found people that understood, as no one else can, what I am going through. My wife is a good person. Hell, she’s a great person. But her drinking was driving me crazy. All I focused on was her drinking.

Now I’m focusing on me. And it’s not always easy, And my grown up children. And a grand baby and another grand baby on the way. And all the other things I feel grateful for. And now I can’t wait for my Sunday and Monday night meetings. Those nights are “Me Time!”

I was scared to go to AlAnon meetings at first. I didn’t want to go. It’s not like I have a drinking problem. But my life was unmanageable. My wife still drinks. But my life is no longer unmanageable. And I’m going to keep going back. It’s worth it. And so am I.

I like to hang out on the gratitude thread. I’m always around if you want to ask any questions about anything.

We didn’t cause it.
We can’t control it.
We can’t cure it.



Thank you so much I will check that out

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Thank you so much. That’s interesting about not labelling them, I’m learning so much already.

I am really trying to get back some of “myself”. After having a baby and then covid lockdowns and realising the extent of his drinking i feel like I’ve lost myself.

My reaction to him drinking when he was solely in charge of our son meant that he never did it again. So technically I can go out and socialise/see friends on my own. However he does tend to make it very clear that he would rather I didn’t as obviously he’s unable to drink if I do.

I’m glad you’ve found it so helpful and that you’re happier. That’s great.


Glad to help a fellow scot from the promised land