Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 34 years. We have two grown children, both of whom still live with us. They work and pay rent toward our mortgage. I have no problem with their living at home, and I don’t think my husband does either. The problem I have is that both my husband and my son are alcoholics. They both work hard, but when they are off, they get drunk, and my daughter and I have a hard time dealing with all the issues.
My son is a closet alcoholic. He stays in his room and drinks, and when he comes out, he is very talkative and emotional, and he gets depressed. My husband can drink beer all day and spend his day doing yard work. In the afternoon, he takes a nap, and when he wakes up, he continues to drink.
They both know they need help, but neither one is making any effort to get that help. My son went to a detox center over a year ago. Unfortunately, since the pandemic hit just after he was released, he did not get follow-up counseling and ended up relapsing.
I spend a lot of time with my best friend, who I’ve known all my life. Once a year, we go on a small trip. The problem is my husband makes me feel guilty and gets angry at me for these trips. But I just need to get away and have someone to whom I can vent. It seems like my husband just expects me to stay home while he is out doing yard work. Should I be trying to do more to get them to quit drinking? Am I in the wrong here for spending time with friends? — Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Between: No and no. It’s up to your husband and son to get the help that they both clearly need. Spending time with your friends outside the house is a very healthy thing, a way of setting boundaries. Unfortunately, your husband is rearing against those boundaries. It seems he’s not content to just self-destruct; he wants to drag you down with him. If things continue this way, you may need to consider whether you can truly live under the same roof as him without it taking a toll on your mental health. To gain some clarity and insight, I encourage you to make an appointment with a therapist who specializes in addiction. You may also find solace and strength in support groups such as Al-Anon (https://www.al-anon.org) or SMART Recovery Family and Friends (https://www.smartrecovery.org/family).
Dear Annie: I’ve been in a relationship with “Wanda” for three years, living with her for eight months. She’s cheated on me many times. When I found out, we’d already been dating for two years, so I figured I’d stay. However, I suspect it’s still happening. On top of this, she hits me, spits on my face and calls me names. I guess it’s pretty clear that I need to walk away, but for some reason, I don’t. I think it’s because I’m 38 and have never had a serious relationship work out in the long term. Call me crazy, but I just can’t seem to leave. What advice do you have for me? — Beleaguered Boyfriend
Dear Beleaguered: You deserve better. You owe it to yourself to get out of that house and out of that relationship. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) — which deals with all forms of domestic abuse — for emotional support and assistance making an exit plan. Give yourself the chance to live the life you’re meant to live.