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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Wants Out of 30-Year Marriage to Alcoholic

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for more than 30 years. He was once funny and nice and a good dad. But over the years he has become unbearable to live with. He doesn't shower or brush his teeth. He was always mainly a beer drinker, but now he is drinking hard liquor and stays drunk most of the time he is awake.

I told him I thought he was depressed and a severe alcoholic, and he should talk to his doctor, but he refuses. He walks around cursing under his breath, and nobody wants to be around him. I keep him off the road when he has been drinking, but I'm terrified he will hurt someone. I am pretty sure he is drinking on the job, and I'm scared he will hurt himself. I am ready to leave him, but afraid that if I do, he will be completely lost. Please guide me. -- LOST IN THE SOUTH

DEAR LOST: You don't need me to tell you that your husband is in bad shape. I don't know what his job involves, but if he's interacting with others, I am surprised he can get away with having such poor hygiene and being stoned on alcohol.

Because he refuses to talk to his doctor about this, you should. I hope you are beginning to realize that, on the path he is on, you cannot "save" him. I have mentioned Al-Anon many times in my column. The organization is an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous and was started to help families and friends of individuals who are unable to control their drinking. You will gain insight about what to do next if you attend some of their meetings. Find one by going to al-anon.org/info.

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