You booze, you lose

Joey Garcia

My husband thinks I worry too much. I’m concerned with paying down debt so he can qualify for a state school loan. I’m also concerned about his drinking. When I try to talk about it, he gets angry. When I walk in the door, he offers me a beer to calm myself even before he knows how I feel. He only drinks weeknights and weekends, about six beers daily and more beer, whiskey and vodka on weekends. He had one DUI but he has been responsible ever since. He is not scary or abusive, but his nose is red and he smells like alcohol. I worry because we do not have health insurance. He is a great father and student but will not stop drinking and will not drink less. How do I stop worrying? Should I leave him alone since he is not hurting anyone except himself?

Isn’t he harming the family, too? You are trying to pay down debt and your husband burns money on booze. That means his alcohol addiction is negatively impacting the financial health of your family. If your husband sobered up and stopped buying beer and hard alcohol, how much more money would your family save? In the book, Start Late, Finish Rich author David Bach writes about the Latte Factor, those small purchases (such as fancy coffee drinks, magazines, cigarettes, alcohol, fast food and bottled water) that drain wallets fast. Most people don’t need a raise or higher income to pay down debt and increase savings, they simply need to make better use of the money they have now. Consider this: Your husband drinks about a half-dozen six packs each week ($42) and a few bottles of hard alcohol on a weekend ($24). That’s probably about $66 each week minimum. In a month, he spends $264 dollars or more on a non-nutritional beverage. If you redirect those funds toward a bill with a high interest rate, how much faster could your pay down your debt?

The truth is your husband cares more about himself than anyone else. That’s why he believes it is acceptable to drink until he reeks of booze. A child comforted by a drunken parent will associate alcohol with comfort. So your concerns about your husband’s addiction deserve a forum. Join the Alcoholics Anonymous affiliate, Al-Anon. If you sit in enough Al-Anon circles, you will discover how to stop fretting. That’s because worry is the byproduct of trying to control a person or the outcome of a situation you have no power over. When you refocus your energy on yourself and invest it in making healthy choices, you will be committed to life. And that will alleviate worry.

When my mom is not working, she shops. I tell her I don’t need new clothes, but she talks about how adorable they would look on me, etc. She is often broke which is why her behavior annoys me. I realize I should be grateful, but I don’t need this stuff. She has a lot of clothes in her closet with the tags still on, too. How can I get her to stop buying me things I don’t want?

If your mom is a compulsive shopper, only therapy will help. But if she shops when bored, she needs a hobby. Steer her toward becoming a docent at an art museum where she can be surrounded by beautiful things. You should also return everything she buys. Items too old to for store refunds can be hauled to a consignment shop. When your mom asks why, remind her that the items are a gift to be used as you please. Say you prefer to save money for her elder care so it will not be a burden on you.

Meditation of the week
“The best way out is always through,” wrote Robert Frost. What happens when you apply that wisdom to the obstacles populating your thoughts?

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