Addiction to Alcohol/Alcoholic husband


Hi, my husband is 65 years old and has abused himself with alcohol and smokes for most of his life, ten years ago he was involved in a truck accident in which he sustained a closed head injury, he has had problems ever since and is quite difficult to manage at times, he uses the injury to drink excessively and has been recently diagnosed with COPD which is a chronic  lung airway obstruction all my attempts at getting him to see he is killing himself are to no avail, he doesn't seem to care enough and I don't know how to help him any more, he just keeps going down the same old path of abuse, we are to see the lung specialist in a couple of weeks time in which I am hoping my husband will have to face up to the damage he is doing this body, my question is, what do I do if it makes no difference could I place him in a care institution without him agreeing to it, at the rate he is going he will be dead in a few years.

Hi Doreen

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, if your husband doesn’t want to get help and to stop drinking or smoking, there is little you can to change this and you are right, if he continues to abuse himself in this way he will continue to deteriorate.

The fact that your husband sustained a head injury would have exacerbated things and could well mean that there has been some permanent brain damage and sadly, as a result, the drinking and the smoking will just make things worse.

As for putting him into an institution, there is a lot involved and it is not easy to force someone into any alternate form of care against their will. That is something you would have to discuss with your doctor.

What I suggest you do, is to start taking care of yourself. I know how difficult it can be to take the focus off someone you love and care about but you need to understand that the only person who can change things is your husband. He has to take responsibility for his actions and the outcome of his behaviour.

I wish you well.

Di English

I strongly suggest that you find an Al Anon group near you where you will get help and support from people in similar situations as yourself.

Also, if you go to my website you will find more information on alcoholism and ways in which you can help yourself to manage your life and to improve your well being.  

Addiction to Alcohol

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Di English


I can answer questions on aspects related to alcoholism and drug addiction and in particular, questions from families and friends who are suffering from the behavior and consequences of someone’s drinking or drug abuse. My aim is to help these family members and friends gain a better understanding of the disease of addiction and to gain a greater awareness around the choices available to them. I can answer many of the "nuts and bolts" questions that people frequently ask when living with alcoholics or drug abusers. I prefer not to answer questions related to pharmacology or in depth physical effects of drug and alcohol abuse which are better answered by medical doctors and psychiatrists.


I am a registered nurse with 45 years experience, the last ten of which have been in mental health, particularly in the area of drugs and alcohol. I have worked consistently with people suffering from alcohol and drug addiction helping them to deal with their day to day problems and assisting them on the road to recovery. Much of this time has been spent facilitating their group therapy sessions and for the last seven years I have also run a family support group on a bi-monthly basis. I also have a close family member who is an alcoholic and my involvement with both the affected person and their families has allowed me to have a balanced perspective on the problems and issues involved for all concerned.

Al-Anon associate

E book for families - "The Key to Recovery - The Family and the Alcoholic"

Registered Nurse, NLP practitioner skills qualified.

©2017 All rights reserved.