When you are newly married, you discover new things about your spouse every day it seems. Many of these new revelations can be exciting and add to the quality of your relationship. You may, though, find that you will have disagreements about how to load the dishwasher or who should do the laundry. When you learn things you wish you didn’t know about your spouse, it can become a serious issue. For example, if your husband hides his drinking you need to know the signs and understand how to handle the situation effectively.
Honesty and Alcohol Use Disorder
Honesty can be the first casualty of alcohol use. The fact that your husband is hiding his drinking is part of the denial behavior that is common among individuals who are addicted. He may also place blame for his alcohol use or the consequences of his drinking on you or on other people or situations. He may also become defensive, saying that drinking is his choice.
Other behavioral issues that can arise when your husband hides his drinking include dismissing the fact that his alcohol use is a problem, comparing himself to others whom he considers to have a bigger problem, and rationalizing his drinking.
Impact on Your Marriage
You have probably noticed the signs that indicate your husband is drinking and hiding it from you. His behavior may be causing damage to your marriage already. These signs can indicate a drinking problem in your relationship:
- You have noticed his drinking habits and argue with him about his behavior frequently.
- His drinking and lying behavior has created other issues, such as money problems, shirking his responsibilities, and staying out late often.
- You’ve had to cover for him more than once after he has been drinking. You may have had to call in “sick” for him at work.
- He is more affectionate after he has been drinking, even though he denies it.
- He defends his drinking, saying he needs to reduce his stress after work or when he is worried about the family finances, for example.
- The two of you have become more isolated from friends and family that you used to see on a regular basis.
- He may become abusive after bouts of drinking, then apologize after sobering up as he promises not to ever do it again.
A Chronic Disease
When you consider how to handle the situation with your husband, keep in mind that alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease. As difficult as it may be, especially when you are newly married, try not to become angry when discovering that your husband has been drinking and has been lying to you about it. For your sake and for his, try to maintain a sense of patience and peace. You can be mad at the disease rather than at your spouse.
It can help to have an honest, straightforward discussion. Talk to your husband about how his drinking and lying is affecting you and your marriage. Avoid statements that start with “you,” such as “you always …” and instead use “I” statements. Say something like “I’m having trouble sleeping because you seem to be keeping some late nights lately.” Be firm but gentle as you begin the discussion.
Above all else, don’t enable your husband. Enabling involves making excuses and trying to prevent your spouse from suffering the consequences of his drinking. You may do this because you want to help, but in reality it can only make the situation worse. The best thing to do is to help your husband realize the effects of his disease, his alcohol abuse, and to help him get the help he needs.
Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Your husband can get the help he needs at PACE Recovery Center. We will work with him and you to help identify the underlying causes of his addiction, including stress factors associated with your drinking. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help him safely process the mental and physical symptoms so he can move forward with a healthy recovery.
If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.