Dear Amy: I am conflicted about what to do regarding my marriage.

In 2010, I quit drinking. My husband promised to quit with me. Unfortunately, he is still drinking heavily. I have expressed my need to be with a sober husband. He has promised to stop drinking. He even went to a hospital to detox. This lasted for seven weeks but ultimately failed because he did not participate in a follow-up plan.

He is very hard to live with. He has never hit me, but the verbal abuse gets bad. I told him that if we are going to stay together, the drinking has to stop. He agreed to this but keeps drinking.

I started attending counseling for myself. Today he told me that he doesn't like how he feels when he's drinking, but he doesn't know how to stay sober. I again offered to help with inpatient rehab and a follow-up plan, but he insists he can do this on his own.

I keep reminding him that if he continues to drink, I will file for divorce. But he doesn't believe it because he is so used to me putting up with it. I do love him, but living with a drunken husband sucks the life out of me.

Amy says: When you're truly ready for a change, you will make that change, instead of expecting your alcohol-addicted husband to make it for you.

I hope you will review your choices, and your reactions, with your counselor. Also, attend a "friends and family" support group, like Al-Anon (

You are alternately pushing him to stop and then cushioning him when he doesn't, and so you are absorbing some of the real consequences of his drinking, which for him might be having to face and choose treatment without you distracting him by making empty threats to leave.

You have fought for your own sobriety. You have a duty to make a protective and healthy choice for yourself, and let your husband learn how to fight for his own sobriety. Did you get sober for your husband's sake? (No, you didn't.) Will he get sober for your sake? (It's doubtful.) He must do this for himself.

Heartbreaking as it is for you, you might need to continue to love your husband from a safer distance. If it's time for you to leave the marriage, then you should leave it without any bargains in place.

An unusual trio

Dear Amy: A friend started dating a lovely man. She found out that he is married to a woman who has Alzheimer's. Now my friend goes to his house to care for his wife and to help him out. Is it me, or is this a little strange?

Amy says: I think it's you. You don't seem to have any personal insight into this situation, given that you don't know the man or his wife. Your friend's presence in the household might be a very good thing for all of the people involved. I don't think this is a situation where you as a friend should sit in judgment.

A sweet nickname

Dear Amy: The complaint about the man who always called his wife "Honey" instead of by her name struck me. I did the same thing until my wife passed away after 47 years of a happy marriage. I am somewhat of an introvert. It was my way of expressing love, inclusion, comfort and trust.

Amy says: I appreciate your insight regarding how your introversion affects your verbal endearments. Your wife was one lucky "Honey."

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