T1 husband living not-so-healthy lifestyle, should/can I do anything?

I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds by posting in your community: I do not have diabetes, but my husband does. He was diagnosed in his mid-twenties with type 1. Now, about fifteen years later, he still has problems accepting the disease. His levels are good and he's in extremely good control on the pump. But, he doesn't exercise at all and in the last few years he's started putting on weight. He has also always been a pretty heavy drinker and while he goes through spurts of trying to cut back, he still drinks more than the recommended amount pretty much every night of the week, often drinking enough to become drunk a few of those nights. He says he drinks because it's the only way he can forget about the diabetes.

This kind of lifestyle isn't good for anyone, and I worry that it may take an even larger toll on a person with diabetes, although I don't know whether that's scientifically accurate. I want him to be healthy, we are starting to plan a family, but I don't want to push him. I'd love some advice from people with T1 who are married -- how would you like your spouse to handle this sort of situation? Do I just let go, and accept that this is how he chooses to deal, or do I try to intervene somehow? I am very active myself, and I've always hoped that "setting a good example" would do the trick, but it's been years and it's just not working. Thank you.

First, I don't think you are overstepping your bounds. There are lots of folks on this site who live with T1Ds and your lives are affected too!

Having said that, your husband has to make his own changes. You can support him to take the positive steps needed, but in the end, it is his choice.

I would recommend you to find an Al-Anon chapter for yourself and/or counseling. If your husband can get some counseling or to a good AA group, that would be a great step for him.

Sometimes setting the good example isn't enough - sometimes you have to grab the bull by the horns and talk openly, directly. Speak from the heart, but use your mind to keep your emotions from overwhelming you.

I absolutely agree with Mike. It is very hard to change another person or even to motivate them to change and it can become a frustrating role in a relationship. I agree that Al-Anon for you would be valuable whether he decides to get sober or not. It will help you to gain support and skill in letting go when needed and taking care of yourself.

It is good that his D is well managed. I used a lot of drugs when I was much younger but I was diagnosed late in life. I often wonder how I would have done if that wasn't the case! It sounds like the issues you need to deal with are somewhat outside of Diabetes, but critical nonetheless as you say for overall health. As far as Diabetes is concerned, heavy drinking, aside from the damage to the body over the long haul can cause dangerous and unexpected lows.

I want to start by agreeing with Mike, you are not overstepping your bounds. This site is for people with diabetes, those who serve as their type 3's, that is people who live with us and people how just want to learn. it is a very open community.

As a male and one who drank right after my DX, I can understand the issue. First, please understand that your husband as to want to get out of it, you cannot do it for him. Now my doctor told me something that stuck with me. He said, when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired you will take care of yourself. Well i got to the point where I was sick and tired. Your husband will have to do the same.

I sort of agree with Mile in regard, as you describe things your husband does need psychological and emotional help. My advice, because it worked for me, is that he needs to get to see a therapist. In his case one who also deals with alcohol issues. I hated and still hate diabetes. But we have come to a truce, after years of trying to run from it.

My suggestion is to pick one and start going. eh will not see the issue and not want to participate, but it will be good for you and if he comes along or starts going it will be good for him.

I am guessing he may have some depression issues, this is not abnormal, but prolonged drinking is not a good way to deal with it. As I said I dodged this issue for sometime. I did not see a doctor for over 20 years and my therapist basically got me reengaged with the medical community.

I wish you the very best. This is tough, let me knwo if I can help you in some way.

Wow....I really feel for you and agree with Mike also. I grew up with two alcoholic parents. One of them actually committed suicide from the eventual depression long ago. What I can say it not only effects them, but the people around them. I am sure you are seeing that now or otherwise you would not be writting in here. It is wonderful that you care so much and willing to help him. One thing I have learned about alcoholics is and many doctors will tell you. You can only do so much. It eventually has to be them who decide they want to get better. Help him get to AA and be there to support if he does. Good luck and wish you the best.

I agree with all the above. This is a drinking problem, and not a diabetes problem.

Thank you so much to everyone who's responded. I really appreciate your help. While I know he has a drinking problem, I think I may have represented the situation a little more dramatically than it actually is. He is not ready for AA, although I might be ready for al-anon.

I'm also curious about the exercise bit though -- probably the same answer: no one can change until they're ready. I've known this all along, but it's nice to hear it from others too. Thank you again.

Thank you for sharing this. I'm so sorry about your parents. Thanks also for your support.