Sarah writes: “I have found my main barrier to change has been my husband. When I announced I was going to stop drinking he was horrified. He doesn’t drink that much but he has no desire to stop and he doesn’t think I need to either. I’m finding it really hard to be around my husband and his fridge full of beer.”

Can you help Sarah? Are you in the same boat right now? Please share your support and advice in the comments below. Here are my thoughts:

Dear Sarah,

This is a tricky one. In an ideal world, you want your home environment to be your nest. It should be your safe place. Living with a partner who is unsupportive, or consuming alcohol, can certainly make life harder.

I have to confess that when I was stopping drinking, I was single and living on my own. I was very much in charge of what happened in my home – it was my little bubble. So I don’t have direct experience of this. However, I do hear from a lot of women in your position. The good news is that many of them do manage to make this work.

The first thing I’d suggest is having a proper talk with your husband about this. I don’t know what you’ve said to him so far, but if you’ve played down your drinking in the past then he might not realise how you really feel about this. Perhaps he thinks it’s just a fad or a detox? Explain to him how drinking has been making you feel. Explain that you’re serious about making this change. You’re not asking for his approval or opinion, just his love and support. 

If you can, be brave and outline some boundaries. We’re not always very good at asking for things we need, but it is entirely reasonable for you to ask your husband to drink elsewhere. You’re not stopping him from drinking in a bar or at a friend’s house. Think about it this way – if he was overweight and trying to slim down, I bet you’d support him by cooking healthy meals and not keeping bars of chocolate lying about the place! If he does insist on drinking at home, can he keep it limited to one room? Can he store his booze somewhere away from the kitchen, so you’re not coming across it all the time?

The final thing I’d suggest is getting some support from elsewhere. It’s really important to have someone on your side. Someone who you can confide in, who knows your home situation and understands what you’re going through. Is there a friend or relative you could talk to?

Good luck!

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