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Struggle with husbands drinking and smoking

Community Member

Hi All,

My husband is a wonderful, loving and supportive partner and father with one little flaw - his drinking.

He is by no means an alcoholic (at least I dont think so?) but does drink every day. Not to excess, most days 2 to 4 beers and some days 6 or 7.

I have several issues with this:

1. 2 yrs ago he suffered and miraculously survived a cardiac arrest (39 yrs old), he was with out a heart beat for over 30 minutes and Drs say he is a walking miracle. Rehab put a great emphasis on cutting out alcohol or limiting to 2 maybe 3 light beers, 2 to 3 times a week.

2. Saving money. We are comfortable but I would like to see us save and do more with our money.

3. Due to his cardiac condition, the blood thinners he is on and very slight ABI he can no longer handle alcohol like he used to and becomes dopey after about the 3rd beer. I don't want to talk to him when he is like that as any conversation had he either cant keep up or isn't really listening.

I have spoken to him about this on so many occasions and explained to him my concerns (I had a bit of PTSD after his cardiac arrest, it was the most horrendous day of my life) and that I worry. I explain that it's not that I want him to quit altogether just not drink during the week and only socially and it would be healthy for both of us (I like a wine with my meal and usually only do it coz the old saying if you can't beat them join them). He generally agrees and won't drink that night but then the next night he will walk in with a can in his hand again?

He is old school aussie footy playing tradie and that's how we were brought up I guess, come home from a good days work to a nice cold beer. And I never used to have a problem with it as he's not a problem drinker, just the last 2yrs it's become a problem - or is it just me that has the problem with it?

I love him with all my heart and it scares me to death something will happen to him again. I understand he just wants to be "normal" again but I wish he would understand my concern (not just say he understands but act like it).

I also know he sneaks the odd smoke from people. Sometimes 1 or 2 a week, sometimes 1 a month. Obvious why I have this issue. What makes it worse is that he sneaks and lies about it. I know it is super hard to quit but Dr said it's the number thing he HAS to stop.

Am I the one with the issue, is it still residual PTSD?

Or how can I help him to cut down the drinking and stop smoking?

Thanks in advance


3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Burdy,

It's nice to meet you. It sounds like you're struggling with your husband's drinking and smoking which, given his medical history, don't sound like good sustainable habits. It is made even worse by the sneaking around which is totally not on, but perhaps points to some guilt on his part and perhaps an inability to speak to you honestly.

I think the short answer to your question is that he has the drinking and smoking problem, and possibly you have PTSD symptoms flaring because of it. From what you've said, it sounds like you're doing all you can and perhaps should be doing - as his wife, I think all you can do is keep talking to him about how his habits affect you and those around him. Perhaps you can ask him why he drinks and lies about the smoking, but people are not usually honest with themselves. It's ultimately up to him to decide he wants to quit smoking or drink less.

The long answer is I don't think drinking becomes a problem above a certain threshold. Instead, I think it's to do with the effect on people around the drinker. Perhaps your husband wasn't a problem drinker two years ago, and maybe he's kept the same drinking habits as before, but the situation has changed. It's now causing you to worry about whether he'll have another health scare, and so now his drinking is a problem that he needs to

To give an analogy, if I said I had a few drinks yesterday, most people would say great, sounds like you had a good night. If I then said, and then I hopped into a car and drove my kids to school, they'd say mate you've got a problem. Same drinking habits, but the context changes everything.

My take is that he's got a health condition, his doctors have said something and it's irresponsible for him to continue the way he does when you are clearly concerned.

Habits are really hard to break. Perhaps the next time you feel like you are able to get through to him when telling him how you feel, you might suggest talking about ways to help him reduce his drinking. Does the drinking do something for him that you guys can replace with something else? Can you help him keep a record of how much he drinks? If you are able to help him through it, perhaps he'll be more willing to try, almost like how having a gym buddy gives us extra motivation to go.


Community Member

Thank you for your reply James,

That analogy is perfect and not an angle I have used to try to explain to him before. I guess thinking back honestly I have explained to him how I feel and how frustrated I get but perhaps I need to approach it from his view point and get him to make the decisions to quit and/or cut down.

And yes he has said in the past that the sneaking was due to his own guilt not that he was trying to be deceitful.

Thank you again


Community Member


my husband has a major problem. Binge drinking and has a gaming addiction. It’s been 10 years and he still thinks this is normal behaviour.
Don’t get me wrong he’s a good father(when he wants to be) helps out with the 3 Young children.
BUT he’s very sneaky with his beer. He drinks a carton of beer in 2-3 days (from Friday night to Sunday ALONE!) he’s started to hide how many he’s had, today I found his hiding spot with 6 freshly opened beers sitting there to be drunk when our kids go to bed. He had 2 before I got home from being out for lunch. He sits and games from 7pm till 1am in the morning every weekend but starts drinking at lunchtime.
He also complains he doesn’t get enough “me time” to play his games and drink.
I’m with my children all day everyday as I’m a SAHM. One of my children has a disability aswell. I hardly get any mental breaks and I don’t whinge about it like he does.

I am disappointed that he doesn’t put as much face time and effort in with the kids as he does his gaming and drinking.
I’m completely repulsed by the person he is when he drinks. Plus he stinks when he comes into bed.
when I have this conversation with him that he’s doing things excessively he just turns around and says I’m “controlling him like a mother”.
Ive given him free reign for a bit to make his own decisions and he’s just gone out of control. He’s gotten sneakier with his beer intake. I’m getting very over this as I’ve put up with this for the last 10 years.

He doesn’t see this as an issue either. I don’t know if he’s worth saving and getting help and counselling or I should just kick him to the curb and let him hit rock bottom (I know it sounds terrible) but he never learns until it’s too late.