Life Advice



Ask Amy: Hospital worker’s drinking cause for alarm

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I are in our mid-30s. We have been married for 10 years.

Within the past year she has begun to hang out with an entirely new group of co-workers, who are in their 20s.

I don't have a problem with that, but I do have a problem when these co-workers regularly bounce from one relationship to the next, and openly talk about cheating with whoever the newest doctor or resident is at the hospital where they all work.

I also have a problem with my wife coming home drunk enough to pass out on the floor two or three days a week, every single week.

She thinks I'm being unreasonable and doesn't care to talk about any of this. I don't know how else to approach this. Can you help?

— Worried Spouse


Dear Worried: You don’t say where you live, but I’m going to assume that (between the time you wrote this and its publication) your wife’s bar-hopping has been interrupted by the pandemic.

Your wife doesn’t want to talk about this because, well, it’s human nature to avoid being confronted with your own risky behavior. And her behavior is very risky. Even without the additional factor raised by the pandemic, she is risking her health, her career, and her marriage.

Drinking to unconsciousness is a very serious danger sign. Health care workers have extremely high paced and stressful jobs. A paper published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings noted that approximately 10 percent to 12 percent of physicians are estimated to have an addiction disorder (alcoholism would be one example).

These days, many health care workers are undoubtedly feeling even more stress, and yet, their patients need and deserve to be treated by people who show up for work healthy: with adequate sleep, not hung over, and not jonesing for their next after-work drink. You should do everything possible to intervene and get your wife some desperately needed help.


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