Should you say something every time you suspect drinking?



[Original question from @Jess found here]

Question to anyone with this experience: Should you say something every time you suspect drinking? Last night was the first time when he was texting me that I felt something slightly off. Nothing crazy. He was just a little more talkative than he normally would be at 12:30 am. But we went to bed and I just shrugged it off as he was happy. When I saw him today he was completely sober, but I swear when I kissed him I smelled a little booze. It sucks because overall things have been great. We even sat down last week and had a wonderful talk. He wanted me to tell him everything he’s been doing when he’s drunk and how that makes me feel. He wrote it all down to take with him to therapy. It was a true heart-to-heart. He then shared some of the things he’s uncovering in therapy and things from his past that may be causing a lot of his behaviors. That being said, I don’t want to ruin or taint the progression with accusations that may or may not be true. My gut says he may have found some old booze hidden or bought a small amount of something last night. But this could also be my mind jumping to conclusions. I always struggle with this one. At what point do you say something? Do you let it go? Or is that just allowing him to think he got away with sneaking drinks? Or is he only lying to himself? Again, besides this one possible event, he’s been working his tail off. It depresses me to think he still might want to drink. I don’t get it! It’s mind boggling to me.

My bottom line is he must be working recovery and staying sober. I understand this is not a linear journey, but I also don’t want him to think he’s pulling the wool over my eyes. But then again, the truth always comes out again in the end. Meaning, if he’s not truly working recovery it won’t take long for any possible sneaking to become a glaring truth.


I usually do. I hate it the suspicions. I’m tired of feeling that way. But it still happens, after years of an up and down recovery (mostly up lately) - every month, I start getting these feelings like he might be using again. Sometimes they come out of nowhere, sometimes they are triggered from certain behaviors, but no matter what, I still get them. I’m better at recognizing these feelings now and looking at them more closely to understand why they might keep coming up. This is a part of my recovery process. These are my triggers. And I’m working on not letting these triggers make me slip into old behaviors.

So I tell my husband about these feelings. And I own them. It’s my struggle. I tell him because communication and understanding each others’ feelings, triggers, struggles, recovery is incredibly important to keeping our marriage healthy. Not because I’m accusing him of using or that I’m trying to get him to tell me the truth or stop using if he is. I often feel bad about it because I’m sure he gets sick of the suspicions, especially when he’s doing well and there’s no reason for me to think otherwise. I worry that it will affect his recovery to tell him I’m having bad feelings. But then I remember that we’re in this together, and that I’m human, and that if we want to get through this he has to realize that I’m recovering, too. And he is supportive.

This is where marriage counseling has saved us. “I feel” statements sound cliche, but they’ve helped me so much to own my feelings and communicate them with my husband in a way that doesn’t blame him. It helps us have more productive conversations that don’t turn into fights… most of the time. :wink:


@momentsandlight It’s so tough, isn’t it? This time I decided not to say anything. I haven’t noticed any other reasons to believe he is drinking again. And the way I look at it is even if it was a slip for two hours, he hasn’t continued it. So I’ll just leave those feelings there for now. Today was 30 days. I congratulated him and usually I give him a small little gift or token, which I did. I think it just gets so scary because when he does drink, it becomes such a dark and chaotic situation so fast. But I have to remind myself that I’ve been through it all and if it happens again I’m all the more equipped in my own recovery to handle whatever comes my way. It’s still so painful though. :cry:

Can you give some examples of “I feel” statements you may use when you are triggered or have suspicions? Sometimes I struggle with confronting him or saying it in a way that doesn’t come off accusatory. I never want to ruin a good thing with suspicions but I also don’t want to ignore the obvious or things that need to be said or addressed.

Thank you again. Your responses are always very helpful.


@Jess Yes, of course. It definitely helps to have some examples. Some things I would say to my husband when I get suspicions:

“I’m feeling very paranoid, like you might be using again. When you don’t answer my phone calls, I’m reminded of when you were actively using and I didn’t know where you were. It takes me back to a bad place and I start to fall back into old habits, like checking your phone or continually calling until you pick up. I don’t want you to think that I’m not proud of all the work you’re doing or that I don’t see the steps you’re making to change. This is something I’m struggling with and I want you to know about it.” (This is often where my husband will hug me, thank me for sharing my feelings, and ask how he can help.) “What helps me is when you answer your phone more, or text back to let me know where you are, and to try to understand my triggers and not take it too personally when I’m struggling. This is something I’m still working on.”


“I’m having a bad feeling again. I don’t know why. Maybe they’ll never go away. Maybe it just takes more time. Are you using? Do you mind taking a drug test?”

Addressing suspicions and trust are a part of YOUR recovery process. And just as you’re supporting his recovery, he should support yours. That is what has made my relationship with my husband so much better.


Love this! Thank you. :heart: