Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My husband takes care of family but he drinks alcohol, please help

Man drinking alcohol from a bottle

"He drinks alcohol..."

Assalam O Alaikum,

I am a mother of two young kids. My husabnd has a good job and he is taking care of us but the main issue is, he drinks alcohol.

I try to follow Islam and even my kids study Quran every day. I tried a lot to stop him from drinking but he just promise and can't actually do it or may be don't wanna stop. I do dua from Allah because don't know what to do. If I think to leave him there is no one to support me ...right now can't start any job because my kids are young. Otherwise he s a normal and caring person.If he leave alcohol I can say he would be a best person.

I hate my life, sometime feel guilty for his deeds. I am from a very Islamic family, I consider drinking a sin.

Please advise me what to do.

Helpless and lost


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6 Responses »

  1. First I want to say it's positive that you sisters are discussing these challenges, as this can be a healthy way of coping with the difficulties your family is going through. I want you to know that there are millions of people in active recovery from this destructive, powerful, habit, where the brain justifies a love/hate relationship with something that can quickly change the mood.

    After all it's not the porn/drug/alcohol your husband is addicted to. It's the predictable and fast mood change he's addicted to. This problem is powerful. The brain has been highjacked by the addiction and it is taking over its job of maximizing pleasure and avoiding pain and taking it too far. You should know that you have done nothing for this problem to rear it's ugly head in your life, but you could be making decisions that makes it easy for it to continue. I want to mention some of these things that may help you.

    “destructive, powerful, habit where the brain justifies a love/hate relationship with something that can quickly change the mood.”

    1. The first thing I want for you to do is to help, develop and build yourself up! Build your mind by reading books from the library about thinking positive and about self-growth and take time for self-reflection where you acknowledge the good things you do every day and what you have room for improvement with. Take care of your health by eating wholesome food that is halal and tayyib (Islamicaly permissible and wholesome), and exercising on a regular basis and fasting. Feed your soul through dhikr and Quran. Some times we can focus on life's problems so much we forget to give our own body it's rights.

    I was out hunting once and I got lost so bad I was just wandering around and around. I ran out of water, it was getting late and nobody knew I was deep in the Forest. I was getting scared. I had to stop, sit and get a new perspective of my situation. After I did that I knew the way I had to go. You may need to do the same. You can't help anybody if your a wreak, and the journey of self development is rewarding in so many ways and is never a waste of time. It also feels good! Maybe you already doing these things, I can tell you there is always room for improvement.

    I tell my clients” if you have a major problem that you’re having a hard time getting over, but you don't have a library card and you haven’t read at least 4 books on the subject, you're not serious about solving anything you just want a pity party”. So go to library, learn about porn/drug addiction, and self knowledge. Maybe it's been a long time since you've worked on self development, or maybe you never have your entire life. Now is a good time to start. What resources do you have available to help you? Write them down, this will let you know what your options are. I'm part of your resources as your brother in Islam and a Muslim Sober Companion. Helping people with problems like this is what I do. Please visit my website and feel free to call if you like. If anything I'll point you in the right direction.

    2. When you start to learn about the addictive process you will learn that inside your husbands mind is an addictive side that tells him he is making a good choice with porn/drugs and a side of him that wants to stop and be sober. We'll say side A, and side S. The more he or we connect with the A side, it gets bigger and stronger. The more we connect with the S side,it gets bigger and stronger. We connect with the S side by getting him to reflect on different parts of his life like relationships, feelings, activities, goals, culture etc, and point out things that bring him closer to the A side or things that bring him to the S side for example. Ask him to write down the time of day, events and ideas that come to mind before and after he he acts out (get high, look at porn, walk to drug dealer ..etc) and have him write it down in a journal daily. You will see a pattern develop and you can use that information to help him. Also, ask him what his goals in life are and show him how porn/drugs contradicts his goals. Remember his brain is not like your brain. It is always trying to “justify” the use of porn for him. This is the “A” side and it is real, powerful and confusing but it can be made small by strengthening the “S” side.

    3. Don't argue and yell. Just like your husband will never be satisfied by using porn to cope with problems because the porn it's self is part of his problems.
    Arguing and yelling is part of your families problem. Here is why you don't want get sucked into yelling and screaming with him.
    This is how his brain works:
    a. Pain makes him think about acting out (taking part in an addictive behavior to change mood and cope)
    b. He acts out
    c. He gets more pain from acting out (wife mad and yelling,not paying bills,shamed he can't stop etc)

    a. Pain makes him think about acting out (taking part in an addictive behavior to change mood and cope)
    b. He acts out
    c. He gets more pain from acting out (wife mad and yelling,not paying bills,shamed he can't stop etc)
    and on and on and on etc...

    4. Don't do anything for your husband that you wouldn’t do for him if he didn't have an addiction related problem. Don't pay for something, fix his problems, help him to avoid consequences of is actions, or do anything that could indirectly help his addiction. This takes self reflection. It's like how some parents of children addicted to cocaine will continually write a check to save them from getting kicked out for not paying rent, or paying a car note to keep the car from getting repossessed. Or lying to their child's boss at work about why he didn't show up for work. You must disconnect from him with “love”. Don't be mean. Do it with love.

    Think about this for a second. You’re a grown man, your rent is paid for,your belly is full of food, you have a roof over your head and you don't work. You are comfortable in your addiction. You are getting paid to watch porn or use drugs! Why would you change if you don't get any negative consequences for your actions???????? Don't help the “A” under any situation.

    The heat of consequences is what helps people to wake up and see themselves for what they are, sick, spiritually broke and going nowhere. He needs to feel his consequences no matter where it leads him. But do offer him encouragement and love but not much more then that. You can't do it for him you can only develop yourself and point him in a better direction. You can't overly concern yourself about him and get “addicted to taking care of him”. That just won't help. Be his helper in recovery not his adversary or caretaker.

    5. Make him aware what you love about him (or used to love) and how you want to help him without criticizing and shaming him. Connect him to positive stuff you would do before the addiction. Tell him with adaab, “I will no longer support the 'A' side”. He might have no interest in improving. At that point, your job is to get him interested by showing him with love how addiction is causing him life problems, in a matter of fact way, without lecturing and sarcasm. You can do it sisters, place your trust in Allah! You might be able to get him into treatment. Try to talk (not yell) to him about it, in a sister to brother manner. If that's not possible encourage him to join an online program for people struggling with addiction like they have free conference calls.

    6. If all else fails after education, after you've stopped helping his addiction, and after your own self development, you will need to learn how to organize an intervention yourself, or hire someone who can help organize one, and do it. A intervention is a way of speaking a language that a sick person struggling with addiction can understand. The language of Love. If you’re going to do it, you must do it right. I will be happy to speak with you about these issues. Call if you can use any advise.

    Know that if your husband is beating you, his stopping the use of drugs/porn is not going to stop him. His beating you is a separate issue then drug/porn use. You need to involve your family and his family. Here is an ayaat you don't hear a lot about in sura Nisa. Here Allah is talking to bystanders of domestic problems. When we know people are having problems he wants us to intervene in the situation and not stand around and look. Allah says what could mean “And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it to happen between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].”

    If you know you are having problems don't be super woman. This is a family problem so be open with the family. Why go through it alone????? When you got married you had a wali. You, pick up the phone and call your wali right now, and let him know whats going on. He has a mother, aunt, sister, father, speak to them together. Have a family meeting and bring a relative from your side of the family. You should always know what your options are. If you don't know, get a pen and a piece of paper and figure it out. Writing things down and seeing them on paper separates us emotionally from the situation and lets us think clearly. Sometimes a woman feels like she has no options, but she does. Now isn't the time for fear or weakness. Also we take ayaat with hadith. We don't just take Quran by its self we take it with the explanation and examples of implementation from hadith. The prophet (PBU) was reported in saheeh Muslim to never have hit a servant,woman or animal. He gave animals rights he also taught people not to beat or overload them. He told people the best among you are those who are best to their wives. A person who beats his wife is a person out of control and Allah gave such people stages to cool off and not just react with anger. He taught us that those who hit wives are not the best among you. If it's getting worse for you, then what do you think will happen if you do nothing about it?

    At this point I given you a starting point = personal development. I given you a way of understanding the problem= S side and A side. I given you a way to interact with him=not to yell and argue but do point out his contradictions as a “helper”, not as a “caregiver” who helps the “A “side in him get stronger. I told you some resources you can tap into= online help of people struggling with porn you can search for and my web site . I told you about worse case scenario=intervention (do this before divorce. It works 85% of time) I told you about who can help you= his family, your family along with your wali at your marriage, and your local Islamic center.

    Now what are you going to do? What is the first step you know you should take? Take it!

  2. Sister,

    I would advise you to talk to your husband and ask him to seek out help from a doctor or clinic who specialize in alcohol addiction. There is help out there but he must look for it. Alcohol destroys families. My father was an alcoholic and it destroyed my parents marriage beyond repair. Tell him how much you love him and how you want him to be there for his children when they grow up. If he still won't listen to you, give him an ultimatum. Either he seeks help for his addiction or, he risks losing you and the children. May Allah help you in your struggle and may your husband get the help he needs.


  3. Dear Sister


    If ur husband don't make any violance during his drunk time , my advice is give him more chance & pary to Allah for giving him the right path to leave his addiction. Don't make agument with him. Discuss with him how u r suffering.
    But in my own experiences i have seen it's difficult to leave addiction if there is no willinness of the addicted.
    Motivated him for leaving addiction. I want to say again the addict need willingness to leave addiction.Need also a expertise help like a doctor, clinic or reahv center. But all will be vain if addict don't have the willingness to adop treatment.

    One more thing dear sister u can read Tahajud Namaz for him.


  4. i have a question :anyone who drinks alcohol is alcoholic? , what about people who drink it for fun just to get high occassionally? would they be considered alcoholic too? in that case how do you motivate them to quit? and what about hash? especially when they think it's not really a drug?

    sorry i'm hijacking the post with my own question rather than helping!

  5. There is more to it then this but in general if the person is experiencing repeated negative consequences in any area of his life due to alcohol or other drugs, and he does it anyway that's a good sign the person is addicted and not just having fun.

    I like ice cream , but if it caused me marital problems, legal problems, to fail in school, to be a bad parent I would just stop eating ice cream and that would simply be the end of it. But a person who has an addiction there brain is not like your brain and my brain. There brain keeps telling them

  6. Brother Tashin,Najah,Ratri,Naseem

    Thank you so much for helping me out during these very difficult times.

    I read all answers and i will inshAllah contact to take further advice regarding

    this issue.

    As i am not aware of Alcoholism because no one in my family or relative takes liquor.

    Please make dua for me to overcome my pain and struggle.


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