DEAR ABBY: I am a 34-year-old wife and mother of four. I'm concerned about my husband. He is 44 and drinks at home every evening after work.
I don't mind him having a few cans of beer, but he drinks between six and 12 a day. He refuses to see a doctor for checkups or when he is sick. I am worried about his health. The drinking could have an impact, and I would like him to have a physical exam to put my mind at ease.
I tell my husband I want him to take care of himself to live longer for our children's sake (our youngest is 4). At times, we argue about it, and I'm tired of fighting over his drinking. His response is, "At least I do it at home and not at the bar."
I think he is being selfish and thinking only of himself. He talks about "pride." How can I get him to cut down on his drinking or see a doctor as needed? -- WORRIED WIFE IN GUAM
DEAR WIFE: Your husband is an alcoholic. He may not want to see a doctor because he knows what the doctor will tell him. It is important that you understand you cannot control another person's behavior, and the only person who can "get" your husband to stop drinking or cut down is him.
For your own emotional well-being, I'm advising you to contact Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a fellowship of family members and friends of alcoholics, and it was created to help people just like you. Visit Al-AnonFamilyGroups.org, call 888-4AL-ANON or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also want to contact your department of mental health services for guidance. I can't guarantee that it will help with your husband's illness -- because alcoholism is one -- but it will help you to cope.