"My Husband's Drinking Is Ruining Our Marriage"

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Her Turn, continued

"The first warning bells went off at a reunion with Jack's college friends. They kept cracking up about the stupid stuff they used to do when they were drunk, like run around the rugby field naked in a snowstorm. Needless to say, they were pretty well oiled when they did all this hilarious reminiscing.

"The next day at brunch, I voiced my concerns to Jack, but he just laughed and told me not to worry. He said that he liked to have a good time but knew his limits and would never be irresponsible.

"I met his mom and dad soon after that. Like my parents, they are purely social drinkers, people who indulge in a cocktail or a glass of wine every now and then. I took that as a good sign. I figured our role models were similar and that he would evolve into the same kind of moderate drinker I consider myself to be. I have a glass of wine with dinner once or twice a week, and I'll drink a couple of beers at parties. That's it.

"I tried several times to talk to him about it, but he'd call me a spoilsport. He'd say there was no problem because he was in his own home and didn't have to drive. He'd also point out that nobody else seemed to care, that everyone kept coming back to our parties. And that was true -- the beach is a big draw for our friends, and the other guys are party boys, too. Everybody seems to accept all this drinking as normal. Everybody but me, that is.

"How Could He Be So Reckless?"

"Then, last December, Jack decided to throw an office Christmas party for his staff at a restaurant near his office. At 2 p.m. that day, I phoned and voice mail picked up. I panicked because it meant the entire office was already out partying. I tried Jack's cell phone but got only voice mail there, too. Hours went by; he never returned my calls. I was freaking out. I didn't know which restaurant they'd gone to, so I had no way to find out if he was okay.

"He finally called at around 9 p.m. His speech was seriously slurred, and a party was clearly going on in the background. I spoke very calmly and begged him to take a cab home. He promised me he would.

"When I went to bed at midnight, Jack still wasn't home. I tried his cell; no answer. I tossed and turned and eventually dozed off. When I heard car wheels crunch in the driveway, I woke up with a start. It was 3 a.m. Looking out the window, I saw Jack's car pulling into the garage, with him behind the wheel. He staggered in and collapsed on the bed. My first reaction was, Thank God he's alive! But an instant later I was livid. How could he be so reckless?

"The next day, I laid down the law. I told him he had jeopardized not only his life but the lives of everyone else on the road and his kids' future. I said we had to get help. He gave me his maddening little shrug, then said he'd see a shrink if I insisted but that I was exaggerating the problem. Talk about denial! But at least he's willing to try counseling. I just hope he loves me and the kids enough to stop this dangerous habit."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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