Since covering four things you should do ASAP to gain the support of your partner if they still drink, something a little different has been on my mind. Even though this hopefully doesn’t apply to you, I felt inspired to discuss this topic because if it helps even one person, it was worth it.
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How To Gain The Support Of Your (Still Drinking) Partner
To quickly recap, the four things you’ll need to do to gain your partner’s support for your sobriety journey if they’re still drinking to any measurable degree are as follows:
1- Get crystal clear about how serious you are
Take initiative and make decisions that show you mean business. Part of this may include declining alcohol-fueled events you normally say “yes” to. Another method is adding sober events, meetups, or even playing sobriety-related podcasts and audiobooks while you’re hanging out around the house so he hears dialogue about it other than you saying you want to quit.
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2- Introduce new fun activities
If you’re removing some of the drinking activities you two usually bond over, finding new and exciting ways to spend time together sans alcohol is key.
3- Show him how his life improves with your sobriety
A sober you is a better you — both for yourself and for those around you. Chances are you’ll naturally become a better partner, but making it a point and putting forth extra effort to show him just how much better both of your lives really will get once you dry out can only help!
4- Be understanding and willing to compromise
Just because you quit drinking doesn’t mean he has to. You need his support, not his obedience. Communication is key, but be willing to allow him a little room to still enjoy alcohol if he wants to, without you. It’s not ALL about you. The two of you are a team. Working together is super important and if you can come to an agreement about alcohol that both of you can agree with, it’ll be so much easier.
To gain further insight to each of the points above, check out How To Gain The Support Of A Partner Who Still Drinks.
What If He STILL Refuses To Support Me?
While the actions above certainly can’t hurt, there are some cases where no matter what, your guy just refuses to have your back.
What is this all about?
What I’m about to say does not come from a place of blame and judgment, but one of compassion and understanding.
Though my current husband is the most amazing man on the planet, in my mid-20’s – during my darkest days with alcohol – I wasn’t so lucky.
I feel if I only talked about the easiest parts of my journey and didn’t share the lessons learned during the hardest, I’d be leaving a lot off the table.
That’s not why I’m here.
So let’s jump right into it, shall we?
He May Be Alcohol Dependent, Too
If he’s still drinking a lot and doesn’t support you because he’s still drinking, it may be that he’s also addicted or dependent.
Two alcoholics or heavy drinkers can easily enable each other and reinforce one another’s poor behavior patterns.
If you change and he’s not ready, he may feel threatened, as if a light is being shined on his own issues that he may or may not yet be ready to deal with.
Now, he doesn’t necessarily have to be at the exact same point in his journey as you are for it to work.
While challenging, it’s possible for you to maintain your sobriety if you are with a problem drinker, depending on the severity of either of your issues.
BUT, you have to tread lightly, expect an uphill battle and remain vigilant about your intentions and goals.
Even if your partner is unwilling to admit his problem, do the work. Try the four tips outlined earlier. Try to come to an agreement.
What’s highly possible is if you stay on track and upgrade your life, he’ll notice the great changes you’re making and you could be a great influence on him. He might eventually come around and change, too!
My Husband Used To Drink With Me A Lot
My husband and I literally bonded over our love for drinking after our first date. In the earliest days of our relationship he was right there turning up beside me.
So it comes as no surprise that though I wouldn’t necessarily consider his behavior alcoholic, we had serious issues with me scaling back when he didn’t want to.
We had issues with things like first agreeing on a no-alcohol in the house policy, then later I’d find hidden bottles of alcohol in weird places… stuff like that.
He still drinks now, but he drinks far less. My change has been a positive influence on him and he acknowledges that.
If you are certain that your guy genuinely wants the best for you even if he still drinks, I advise giving it a chance.
It May Be A Sign He Doesn’t Value You
In some cases a man’s lack of support in sobriety is a reflection of other serious issues in your relationship, however. Reluctance to support your change in drinking habits likely doesn’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg.
Many drink to excess to cope with negative aspects of their lives. Mental, emotional, financial and physical abuse in a romantic relationship fit this description.
If you are with someone who treats you poorly in other ways, being completely uncaring of your desire to improve your life by your quitting drinking is small stuff.
In this case, extreme reluctance to help you change is directly related to how much he values you.
If this is your situation, deep down inside you already know. You don’t need me to tell you what time it is.
A Controversial Argument
Many of us enter and stay in unhealthy relationships for far too long because we have low self-esteem or other underlying issues. I argue those same issues can lead us to drink too much in the first place.
I get it, I’ve been there.
The thing about this, though, is: Until you work on your underlying issues you will be in a loop of negativity that reinforces excessive drinking. Click To Tweet
“FEELING WORTHLESS” NEGATIVE LOOP
Feeling worthless and not valuing yourself is such a deep problem with alcoholism and unhealthy relationships, alike.
In this example, you feel worthless but instead of addressing the cause, you drink heavily to escape your problems.
This works temporarily, but over time it worsens.
Since you still don’t value yourself, you accept poor treatment in your relationships.
Being treated poorly by those who should love you makes you feel even worse.
Instead of fixing the problem, you drink to escape. And it goes on and on and on.
I wanted to talk to you about this because if this is you, and you’ve accepted any level of unhealthy treatment whether it’s physical, financial or emotional abuse over all, this person does NOT value you and will NEVER help you improve your life and help you get sober.
The four steps we talked about earlier won’t work.
There is nothing you can do to gain support for your overall well-being if he doesn’t value you.
But the thing is, if you value yourself you will absolutely REFUSE to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t.
So while the man you love may not value you, may treat your poorly and refuse to support your decision to clean up your life, this really does start with you. You need to value yourself. It starts from within and then radiates outward.
You Have To Love Yourself First
To share a personal experience, I once had crippling self-esteem issues. I was uneducated and didn’t have a career I was proud of. My credit was in the toilet. I had nothing. I was depressed and yes, had a raging alcohol problem that I felt helped me escape. Self-love was totally foreign to me, and I chose a damaged man who confirmed the worst of my self-beliefs.
Quitting drinking at that point was impossible!
He’d come home with liquor ALL the time knowing I was trying to go dry.
He’d laugh and ridicule my attempts to better myself.
Constantly pressuring me to show up in environments where liquor flowed freely was par for the course. And of course, many of us become more sexually uninhibited when we are drunk too.
Looking back I can see what I couldn’t see then — that my alcoholism was a benefit to him. I bet a sloppy drunk girlfriend with low self-esteem was easier to control that way, right?
Over the years I managed to turn my life around. I eventually left that toxic relationship and surrounded myself with higher quality people.
Though I still drank too much by the time I met my husband, it wasn’t the same as before. It still took a lot of work and many more years until I got it right. But I had to at least start to work on loving myself first.Quitting drinking is a radical act of self-love. Click To Tweet
If you don’t love yourself or at least acknowledge that you don’t yet love yourself, and start to take tiny steps toward healing from the inside, quitting drinking will be really, really hard in the first place.
But you also won’t be able to convince someone who doesn’t value you to help.
It sounds hokey and I don’t really like talking about “self-love”, but for lack of better language to describe it, that’s really what I believe is necessary.
If you don’t love yourself and treat yourself well, your abusive man certainly isn’t going to do it for you.
Can You Get Your Husband To Support Your Sobriety?
I know I touched on some deep concepts. You may disagree, and that’s okay.
The four strategies from the beginning of our discussion will help a good guy get on board faster — even if he still drinks.
But if you’re with the wrong man nothing will work.
You’ll need to address that first.
Whatever side of the table you’re on at this point doesn’t really matter. It’s never too late to turn that table around.
What you’ve done or where you’ve been need not determine what you can do and how far you can go.
BUT you have to take an honest look at your relationship. You can’t run or hide from it.
If he’s a good, loving guy who just isn’t there yet but you know he really cares about you and values you — it’s probably worth taking the time to work it out.
But if he’s got a chronic, persistent history of talking to you poorly, ignoring your wants and needs, making you feel bad about yourself, always putting himself first, or physically or mentally abusing you in any way?
His lack of support for your sobriety is probably one of the least pressing issues in your relationship and you need to deal with that.
But you won’t be able to deal with that effectively until you start to deal with YOU.
It always, always starts with you.