Dear Abby: Husband's drinking puts family at risk and marriage in doubt

Dear Abby,
My 20 year old husband has had DUIs in the past. He has always been a drunk when he was in company. Once a week after work he goes out for three hours, drinks and then drives home. He tells me he has a few beers, but his tab and face tell a different story.
We have three teenagers who see his behavior and it sets a bad example. My other worry is that he might take the kids somewhere when he gets home from his weekly trip. I instructed her not to let Dad take her on Wednesdays (his regular bar day). I also asked him not to drive her anywhere on Wednesdays. I make sure to work from home that day, but all this doesn't seem to be enough and I want him to stop.
DISPLAY
I've considered divorce for this and other reasons, but I'm concerned his drinking is getting worse. I have also considered doing an intervention with the family. I'm at the end of my rope and ready to do something, but what's the next step?
— Reached my limits in Illinois
The first step should be to attend some Al-Anon meetings. This is an organization set up to help the friends and family of someone who appears to have a drinking problem with their husband. These meetings give you perspective. Your next step will be to figure out what a divorce can mean for you and your children financially. Once you have this information, tell your man — while he's sober and you're calm — that you've reached your limit and you're going to leave him unless he's ready to stop drinking. Watch how he reacts and if nothing changes, move on.
Dear Abby,
Seven years ago, my husband and I went through a difficult time. Unfortunately, he shared all the details with his parents. We are still together 24 years. I was so upset when I found out he had told them our deal because I loved them and knew it wouldn't be the same.
My father in law pretends he loves me but my mother in law doesn't speak to me and I haven't received a birthday card since. At Christmas we receive a check with only my husband's name on it. Only my daughter and husband are recognized on their birthdays. I love my in-laws and with my own parents gone I just miss being loved. My husband doesn't think it's a big deal that they ignore my birthday. Is it really no big deal?
— I am now afraid of my birthday
I disagree with your husband. His parents continuing to punish you for blabbering about your marital problems IS a big deal. And now the gossip should tell his people that it's time to bury the hatchet and welcome you back to the herd. If he's not man enough for that, then a few sessions for HER with a licensed marriage counselor might help you accept the status quo. You said you want to be loved, and by that you mean unconditionally. In the case of your in-laws, this may not be possible and you may have to learn to accept it.
Dear Abby
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in the Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Husband's drinking puts family and marriage in jeopardy

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