Life Advice



Ask Amy: He’s a great dad, but a bad drinker

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I think my husband may have an alcohol problem, but I am not sure how to help him.

He is great dad to our young toddlers, and a devoted husband to me. But as soon as the kids go to bed, he starts drinking beer. He drinks all night and I often wake up alone, to find him sleeping in the basement on the floor.

He is never sick or angry. He doesn't "black out.” He's not abusive or harmful to me in any way, but this behavior feels unacceptable.

He tells me that he is depressed and hates his job, but he feels like it is his duty to take care of us, even though I work.

I want him to feel like he can leave his job and make changes if he is unhappy, but he seems unwilling to.

I have asked him repeatedly to talk to a counselor, but he won’t.


I am afraid that my girls will think this behavior is an acceptable coping mechanism as they get older. I am also concerned that it will negatively impact his health if he does not stop.

I don't want to leave him, but I’m not sure I can tolerate this much longer.

— Lost, but Still In Love

Dear Lost: The first thing you should do is connect with an Al-anon group (or other “friends and family” support group) in order to share your story, your burdens, and your questions with people who have tread this challenging path. One thing you might learn is that, if you find your husband passed out on the floor of the basement, you should leave him there (and not usher him up to bed). Waking up alone on the basement floor might be a wake-up call for him.


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