2001-09-19 - Drinking Spouse
Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise."
The Question: "I have a question that's has been bothering me for some time. I am married to someone that drinks constantly - stops for a month or two and right back to drinking. It bothers me so much that I almost hate him, and I know that hate is a strong word. My question is - the drinking goes into his system - not mind - but why do I let it bother me? I have prayed and prayed that he would stop, but it seems the more I pray, the more he drinks. There's no communication with him because he's right and I am wrong; I don't want to even be in his company. How can I get over this feeling, live my life, and not let him influence the way I feel? What I mean is that when he is drinking, I constantly wonder what he will do next. What can I do? Please give me a scripture that I can meditate on. Please help me because I am so desperate to get over this feeling of anger and hate. Thanks for listening."
The first thing I would say is that your husband probably needs help. He may not agree, but someone who drinks a lot is not only destroying his life, but frankly, he is killing himself. Getting help is not only needful for your marriage, but probably for his well-being also. It is also not a safe or profitable environment for you to be in. You admit that when he is drinking, you are constantly wondering what he will do next. That ought to really concern you, especially if you have children.
You say that you know that the drink goes into his system and not into his mind. I think you are sugarcoating it, big-time. Alcohol effects the mind greatly. It is a mind-altering drug. This is why there are laws against drinking and driving. It is because the mind is affected, that drinking and driving is illegal. I think it is important to understand this, because it shows how important it is to find a way to deal with this problem. The mind, certainly, is affected when someone is under the influence.
The first thing I would suggest you do is to talk to someone at your local church. Lay out the problem as honestly as you can and seek advice from someone who can objectively look upon the problem and help you make appropriate decisions regarding your safety and situation. Dependence upon a substance shows a lack of stability, and you will never achieve stability in your life or marriage while your surroundings remain unstable. "For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty..." Proverbs 23:21
I would also seek out someone whom you can pray with and lean on while you deal with this problem. The easy thing to do is to sit back, hope and pray that things will get better. This solution rarely works. It is not what you need and certainly not what your husband needs. So if you are going to deal with this problem and not ignore it and let it fester, you will need a good friend or several who you can turn to on the bad days.
You will also need to prepare yourself for the worst. Addiction is a powerful vice grip on the one addicted. It could be that if you rock the boat and begin to try to help curb your husband's habit, he may rebel. He may even leave you, choosing drink over you. Addiction can be that powerful. However, something must be done, because living with a substance abuser is not a safe environment. He may be a sweet drunk and kind to you when he is on his "happy medication," but he may also forget something on the stove because he is soused and burn the house down. You need to do something for your safety and for his. Again, if you have children, you have every reason to act quickly.
Lastly, there is also a spiritual side to this. "...Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. There is this strong warning in Scripture. So another reason to do something is because your husband exemplifies habits that Scripture says is indicative of an unbeliever. The fate of his very soul must be considered in question, because his behavior suggests that he is currently outside the kingdom of God. Thus there is every reason to seek to help him get "on the wagon."
You asked for a verse to meditate on. In light of all I wrote above, "On the day I called You answered me. You made me bold with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3.
Soli Deo Gloria,