How can I change my drinking if my husband still drinks?

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

This is the #1 questions I get from clients.

Does this sound familiar?

You wake up in the morning and you promise yourself you're NOT going to drink tonight... then you come home from a long day and your husband is in the kitchen drinking a beer and you think to yourself, "I know I made my self a promise, but that beer looks too good. I think I'll just start tomorrow"!

You know how the story ends... it's never just one beer or glass of wine. You wake up with regret and then make yet ANOTHER promise not to drink tonight.

A merry-go-round kind of life!

What if your husband still drinks when you’re trying to learn how to drink less?

It’s a daunting habit to change if you know going in to it that you’ll be confronted with seeing your better half drinking wine at the dinner table or standing there in the kitchen opening a bottle of wine when you walk in the door after a long day.

Is it hard to change your relationship with alcohol when your #1 relationship partner is still drinking?

Yes and no.

Oh my gosh, Stephanie, what a wishy washy answer!!

The Yes:

Why is it hard at this point in your journey to drink less… it’s because you have tied so many thoughts to the connection that alcohol has given you in the past when you share a glass or bottle with your partner.

Our minds… Your mind loves to hear a story. We are a story telling species. And we love a story that is easy and helps us not work hard to get what we want.

We want to be swept away from what ever ails us.

And when you see your husband drinking. Your story mode kicks in.

You find yourself saying, “that sounds so good right now”,

“I’d love to unwind and talk with my husband and tell him about my day with a crisp chardonnay”

A drink seems like the answer to your discomfort.

A drink seems like the answer to get connection with the one you love.

How do we undo these stories?

How do we create new stories and beliefs about alcohol that will serve us long term?

You must begin by listening to the story that you tell yourself about why you want to have a drink in the first place.

The story about why you say yes in the first place.

You have to know your why before you can make a change.

Why it’s hard… The No:

What your husband does or doesn’t do has nothing to do with your decision to have a drink.

You drink because of what you want to believe alcohol does for you.

You drink because of what you believe alcohol does to enhance your relationship with your husband … or whomever your with.

No matter who offers you a drink you ultimately have all the control over your decision.

Even if you get some “peer pressure” to have one, as in when someone says, “Are you sure”?? … you are the one who ultimately creates your results.

You also get to decide how miserable not drinking is.

Your misery happens and is created in your thoughts. You might think, “my husband wants to share a glass with me” , or “I don’t want them to be drinking on their own”. Or “he must’ve had a hard day… a drink will make him feel better so I’ll have one, too”.

You also get to create confidence. You are the one who gets to say how strong and confident you are if you make the decision to pass on a drink.

Not drinking doesn’t have to be miserable.

Not drinking can be fun. YES it can.

Not drinking can mean really so much more for you if you decide to can be.

It’s miserable because you keep telling yourself a story about how miserable it is.

Let me tell you this…

You don’t need someone you live with to be alcohol free in order for you to be successful.

I’ve always been the heavier drinker in my marriage.

So when I decided to change my relationship with alcohol I had to look at why I was drinking as often as I was.

I didn’t need to look at my husband to guide me.

I needed to trust my own intuition about what my decisions were to be if I wanted to drink less.

I remember on countless occasions when I’d have a day and first thing in the morning I’d swear I wasn’t going to drink tonight.

Then I’d come home and see my husband having a beer and all of the sudden the promise I made in the morning to myself seemed like an silly promise and I’d say, “I’ll just start tomorrow” or “one won’t hurt”.

My thoughts were looking for an answer that gave me permission to drink.