My husband spends most of his salary on alcohol

My husband spends most of his salary on alcohol
My husband spends most of his salary on alcohol

Africa-Press – Nigeria. My husband and I have been married for more than nine years and for most of this time, I have been a housewife. We were financially sound until the pandemic when my husband lost his job. Even after this, he preferred I remained a housewife. He had saved enough money to take us through this period until he got another job. But after a few months of him doing nothing, he took to drinking and we started running out of money. I suggest working but he refused. Although he finally got another job, most of this money goes towards his alcohol. How do I help my husband realise he is headed towards a dark path?


Dear Joan,

I am sorry to learn that your once happy family has been affected by sudden changes, which in your case were caused by the pandemic. Any marriage will face challenges. The impact of losing a job is not just about income flow but confidence as well. Again, this might be felt differently according to gender.

A man’s ego or feeling of self-worth can quickly be injured if he realises he is unable to provide for his family as expected. This can lead them to start questioning their worth and have severe self-doubt. This is the time one needs their friends and family for support, both emotionally and financially.

You are right to be concerned about your husband’s drinking since when one family member is sick the rest get affected. Drinking was used as a coping strategy to hide from the reality of him not having a job but unfortunately, this now has become a habit. Most men find it difficult to share their pain with their closest family members and instead resort to negative coping skills such as using psychoactive drugs to suppress their pain.

The fact that psychoactive drugs, alcohol inclusive, affect the brain, it is possible that your husband is slowly getting addicted to alcohol. You may not be able to stop him through coercion or using derogative speech as this will only double his amount of stress and guilt that he is already facing, making it worse.

Find a time when he is sober and let him know how this is affecting you and the family. Suggest that you both meet a therapist who will give you a safe space to talk about this issue and also findways of getting further support.

Remember change might not be seen as soon as you want it since for now, it is your husband who needs to agree to change and all you can do is offer support. It is not possible to change someone else’s behaviour but you can change how you respond to this new issue in your family.

Take care of your own mental health. As mentioned above, your husband’s problem will directly affect you since it changes how things have been before the problem. It is also important to let him know how important it is for you to work so that you can support the family as he overcomes this issue of alcoholism.

Reader advice
You love your husband
Jimmy Wester. The fact that you want to help means you love him and nine years is a quite a journey of faith and sacrifice. We do not know what triggered the alcoholism but he is not beyond redemption. You need to find the professional help of a counsellor because trying to help him yourself will bring about judgement because of his ego. Do not even bring in relatives whether his or yours. Find a counsellor and let him know you are doing so because you love him. I believe in a sober state, he will allow you work because he has seen the need for it. Truth is, the lockdown did more harm than Covid-19 itself and your family is a victim of a bigger thing. But there is hope. What you are doing is a true testament to sacrificial love.

Get a job and help
Sarah K Frankie. This is why a woman should contribute beyond the traditional roles. You went to school; put that diploma or degree to use. This man is stressed out, if this does not change soon, there might be a tragic outcome.

Talk to your husband
Woods Western. You need to sit down with your husband and discuss your future plans with him before alcohol takes a toll. Remind him how life was before he took that path and let him know of the consequences if he does not change. Do not be confrontantional and if he agrees, together seek the sercices of a professional counsellor.

Show him the bad side
Akim Muhwezi. He knows he has taken a dark turn, especially since he was not like that before. You just need to talk to him when he is calm and do it in a non-confrontational way. Try to review with him how life was before he started drinking and how everything is now going down the drain because of his drinking.

Start working
Phoebe Miriam. Go out and look for work. Stop depending on someone, even if it is your husband. Work, save and invest.

Look at the positives
Bettie Whyt. You are lucky. At least you know he earns salary; I do not know whether mine does or not because he does not support me in any way. Your husband was there when you needed him the most. It is now your turn to take care of him and get him the help he needs to make get better.

Love conquers all
Jane Mukisa. It is true that the Covid-19 pandemic brought a lot of negative effects, especially to the family unit. Your husband lost his job and as a man, this meant that he could not fulfill his responsibilities of providing and taking care of his family. Drinking alcohol is his coping mechanism, albeit destructive. Together, seek the help of professionals and help your hubby out of this deep hole.

Talk to a doctor
John Woods. For now, be a good wife to him and show him that he can get out of this. Consult a doctor who will suggest the best treatment options.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

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