Partner who does not want to give up ... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Partner who does not want to give up drinking when I am the sick one and have done so successfully for seven months now

Livaa profile image
16 Replies

Partner does not want to give up drinking when I am the sick one and have done so successfully for six months now. Is there anyone else out there who has developed some coping mechanisms to be able to enjoy time with spouses, friends, etc. who still drink around you daily when you don’t? I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but when you have drank socially for a long time and the person you share your life with (he promised he would quit if I did but now says he doesn’t remember ever saying that ) says they don’t have a problem but aren’t willing to quit because you need support, it makes me feel alone and disrespected. Am I being selfish? It’s just not very much fun to have “happy hour“ or special time when the person you’re with has heavy alcohol breath and all of the behaviors that most of us associated is normal until we become sober Even seeing bottles out and drinks poured still make me have a lot of anxiety. I’ll get through it and stay sober but don’t know how long this will last.

16 Replies
Positive001 profile image

Try facebook... supporting wives of alcoholics. I am sure there are many people there who may be able to help with the support and strategies you need. Good luck

MLB_77 profile image

The only person you can control is yourself. You can not expect the world to change with you.

You can however create some boundaries as long as they are YOUR boundaries. Rules for yourself, not others


“I am not comfortable being around alcohol right now. I am going to go in to hang out in the other room while it is here”

See, then YOU control the boundary, maybe eventually things will improve on their own, maybe not. Either way, this is YOUR thing. YOU have the power to make the right decisions for YOURSELF.

pushthrough profile image

My wife has an occasional glass of wine and it doesn’t bother me at all. The same when I go out and people are drinking. I absolutely hate the smell of alcohol now. So aside from the smell bothering me I’m fine. I will say if I was in your situation and it even remotely tempted my wife would quit drinking completely. It’s just the considerate thing to do!

Tia2021 profile image

Hi Livaa I can totally relate to all the above, my husband is a functioning alcoholic but refuses to even drink less. Any holidays are pointless because I just watch him sinking his pints, he's type 1 Diabetic but that doesn't stop him, he just says he's always done this and doesn't want to change, sending virtual hugs xxx

Livaa profile image
Livaa in reply to Tia2021

Thanks for your response and keep on your high road!

Cat-B profile image

Hi, no your not being selfish, he is. Are you hoping for a transplant? If like me you don’t want a transplant, then the zero percent drinks ( wine, beer and Gordon’ are my choices) are very good. But I must be very clear that is not an option if you want a transplant in the future! You have to take a good hard look as to what is best for you and some difficult choices may have to made. I had decompensated liver failure diagnosis 8 years ago and I have concentrated on my liver health, I can now cope with people drinking around me but for a long time I had avoid all pubs, parties etc. At the end of the day it was a choice between living or to carry on having fun and die! Good luck

At the end of the day if it affects you this badly you'll have to make the choice whether to stay with him or leave (or kick him out as he's the one who's being a d***) This is your health - and life - we're talking about.

In his defence, alcoholism can be very difficult to kick. It won't be his 'choice' as such, more that it controls him. Though if he's kept off it with you for 6 months he should be past the craving stage now.

You have to do what keeps you alive in the long run, good luck. x

drittz78 profile image

My issue wasn't alcohol as I haven't been a big drinker for a lot of years. My mates are still alcohol focused when socialising. You can't unfortunately expect others to stop. I go out and drink tonic water/ginger ale and even tried non alcoholic cider and it honestly doesn't bother me at all. In fact I like it as I know I won't be the one with a hangover the next day. Alcohol doesn't have to be something you rely on in life.

Richard-Allen profile image

Two dilemmas are going on here. Firstly there is your need to want to stop and remain alcohol-free. This is now always easy as a person will often have to deal with triggers and cravings.

Triggers can manifest by sight, sound, smell and taste. They are all around us and once a trigger has become active it drives a craving, a desire a demand. Learning how to cope with these triggers is one of the hardest coping mechanisms there are. It becomes a personal battle as what might work for some people, may not work for others. So finding your coping mechanism is a must.

I’ve often mentioned this on here in the past, and use this to try and illustrate what triggers are all about.

It is reckoned that if a person was to walk the length of any high street in any country from one end to the other, then their brain would have seen as many as 2000 advertisements. Our brains just filter out those images that hold no interest to us and we just walk on by without giving them a second thought.

Now, if a person with an alcohol problem was to walk down the same high street, every alcohol-related advertisement would be screaming out. Budweiser, Miller lite. Wild Turkey, Jack Daniel's, etc. Once the visual image is there, the cravings soon start and the taste buds become active in anticipation.

So, what’s to be done? For the best part, it is possible to try and trick the brain into it seeing a different image. I was involved with a trial a while back over here in the UK. Called, “Functional Imagery Training (FIT)”:

However, due to Covid, this trial was suspended. The idea is to mentally substitute an image with another one.

There used to be a gentleman on this site who went on to develop ArLD. He came up with his own coping mechanism. He decided to call name his damaged liver “Max”.

I suggested that he should try and go one further. Every time he saw an alcohol drink bottle or can, he exchanged the mental image into a can or bottle of a Pepsi Max. So, that can of “Bud light” became a can of Pepsi. The idea is that after a while, that can of “Bud light” no longer holds any interest to us as the brain just sees a Pepsi Max, so the triggers stop. The same applies to all alcohol drinks. That glass of Brandy and Coke just becomes an ordinary glass of Pepsi.

This also acted as a constant reminder to him as to the state of his liver, as Max became a reminder as to why he was doing this.

Finding your own coping mechanism is your first goal.

About your partner and your relationship, this is a personal and private matter. However, I may seem rather old-fashioned here, but I believe in the need for respect in any relationship. There needs to be a willingness on both sides to want to help and support each other. This is unconditional and should be one of the building blocks of any relationship, like trust and honesty. We help and support our partners because we want to, and because they need us to.

The actions of your partner are questionable. Yes, he’s right in that he may not be the one with the alcohol problem, but he should be supportive of your struggle and condition. It’s callous and unsupportive of him. It’s a bit like being in a room with a person who has lung cancer and saying, “Well, I’m going to light up a cigarette, after all, I don’t have cancer”. He needs to be much more supportive and stop being so selfish.

Finally, I lived for a while in Ohio, the birthplace of Alcoholic Anonymous. I’m not a great believer in this approach, Where I happen to live in Peebles Ohio, Peebles was a dry state so the sale of alcohol was banned. However, the whole community had a terrible Crystal Meth problem. It became a case of just swapping one method of escapism for another,

Finally, find that inner strength and start to take control of your life again. Try and look at the bigger picture and treat tomorrow as being the first day of the rest of your new life. Weed out everything that is wrong with your life, and be prefared to dump those so-called drinking buddies.

Good luck. (Always feel free if you prefer to send me a private message).

Best Wishes


Hey___ profile image
Hey___ in reply to Richard-Allen

Hey Richard...I am pleased to see you are still here!

Your reply was powerful to me:

Triggers can manifest by sight, sound, smell and taste. They are all around us and once a trigger has become active it drives a craving, a desire a demand. Learning how to cope with these triggers is one of the hardest coping mechanisms there are. It becomes a personal battle as what might work for some people, may not work for others. So finding your coping mechanism is a must.

This is from a man who has suffered with Hypervigilance for most of my life. The triggers for me are everywhere. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Drinking for me stopped this mental state but the triggers are there in all forms. It has taken a near Liver Transplant and my Trauma Therapist to address this. And to be honest, better late than never.

Good luck in your recovery.


mtk0925 profile image

I understand the battle your in. I wanted my husband to stop too. I’m 36 years old with 3 kids under the age of 10 one being just 1 years old. I have high enzymes but no diagnosis yet. I consider myself to have fatty liver even though my dr can’t seem to prove it with scans my liver enzymes have been out of whack since the birth of my 9 year old daughter. I have been on a journey to get healthier. I’ve spent 3 almost consecutive years not drinking but I was pregnant and breast feeding at that time plus one I miscarried and I didn’t drink because I didn’t want to cope that way after it happened…. When I go out I have setzer water soda and lime etc. one hard habit was quitting at the swim club we all belong too. But I did it:) it’s been refreshing to not rely on it to be social. I can be me with out the regrets in the morning or the horrible anxiety about what did I just do to my liver. That being said. My husband and I will have one or two on Christmas Eve with family but my journey of abstinence may be more important than that so I may not even have it.

Hey___ profile image

Hey Livaa...You are in a tough situation. And to be honest a dangerous one too...for YOU! The most important thing is holding on to your sobriety and doing your best to avoid 'the first drink'.

In previous sobrieties I have made extreme changes in my life that were so spontaneous I fell off the wagon. From my experience keeping things simple has worked. It may mean having a chat with your partner(when he is not drinking!) TBH I couldn't live around alcohol but everyone is different. This is your journey and wish you all the very best in your recovery....Mark

X19Dave profile image

Hi sorry to say it but he should be giving you more support I gave up drinking when my wife's liver failed and I was drinking 60 pints a week are you post-transplant or are you having a transplant soon


Livaa profile image
Livaa in reply to X19Dave

I can avoid a transplant for now if I continue to not drink. Thanks for your response and support!

Dolly1001 profile image

Oh sweetheart! Yes, there are strategies. While I don’t have a partner, I do have friends some of whom I think would like to see me fail. (Did I just call them friends?) below are some of 5he things I use.

BUT! The biggest thing is to keep it low key, no fuss, just can’t be bothered right now. The less fuss, the less pressure I get. Hopefully some may work for you - at 6 months, you have done a fantastic job so far and a real beacon to me and probably others. Don’t let discourages pull you down!

1. ‘I’d love to join you but don’t feel like it right now’

2. ‘I’m on medication and it doesn’t like my favourite tipple’

3. I’m driving!

4. I feel abit sick & you wouldn’t want me to throw up now would you?

5. I’ll get one later. (You decide how far away later is)

6. Could I just have a …….. (water, j20, anything but alcohol)

There’s loads of ways, I’m finding I’m getting more inventive as time is going on.

Keep the faith my dear. You will win!

Aotea2012 profile image

Difficult situation. Perhaps you are wrong when you say that you are the one with the problem! Maybe it’s just you got sick first. Sorry to be blunt, but it may just be that he isn’t being selfish it’s because he can’t knock alcohol on the head. You’ve successfully done that, remaining abstinent is crucial and there’s a higher chance of relapse if he’s drinking so this isn’t something to be ignored. It may be worth talking to your GP to see if there’s some support available locally for your situation along the lines of Relate perhaps. This is something you have to tackle together, it’s both your problems and resolution needs to emerge for both. It’s not about coping with the situation it’s resolving it that’s needed.

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