Written by Modupe George, Oluwakemi Aremu and Joan Omionawele Friday, 13 July 2012
MOST of the time, the reason some people irrespective of sex drink is because they have problems they are not able to solve or are not ready to solve. At times, some do it for fun. Yet sometimes, it might be a habit that they picked up from parents. The fact that they have become drunkards shows that they have lost control over their actions. Hers shared in the experiences of three typical African women whose husbands have the firm grip of alcoholism on them.
Mrs. Thomas (not real name) has been married for 20 years and she claimed that her husband has been a drunk for 15 years of their marriage. She has this to say; “It was only recently that I accepted that it was not my fault and I can’t fix it, but I’m seriously taking steps towards becoming financially independent, but I’m not yet able. I wished I have the wherewithal to divorce him when I have the money, but Its going to devastate my children particularly my daughter. I want to try and stay till she’s out of the secondary school. Though he is not abusive or violent, he is just totally emotionally unfit. He is never there emotionally for our children. I have always been the responsible mother and father, because as early as 5a.m,he is already drunk, he is useless to himself. I just hate living with him, I just want to live a new life; but I love my children more than anything, I can’t afford to leave them with him, neither do I want to hurt them. So, I’m still here wishing every night that he will just die in his sleep.”
According to Tejumade (other name withheld) a mother of two; “my 19-year old son is already tending towards becoming an alcoholic. I feel so guilty for not leaving years ago. My daughter is so sick of her father’s drinking habit and our fights that she is always telling me to leave. My husband and I absolutely have no relationship. We have not slept in the same bed in years. We do not talk to each other unless when absolutely necessary. He gets up in the morning and leaves for work and then, by the time he gets home he is already drunk and then continues until he goes to bed”; she relayed.‘’And for no reason, he would start an argument every night during dinner. Most of the time, it is with me, but if I don’t reply, he would pick on one of the children. But in spite of all these, my children love their father even though he is an alcoholic, they would be worried if I should leave him”.
For Gloria, her case is pathetic; “I’ve been married to an alcoholic for 23 years; his drinking habit has been on and off. The verbal abuse I receive when he is drunk is better imagined than experienced. He has thrown a heavy radio at me before his meals times without number. I have had cause to lock myself in the bathroom to eat my meals. He has pointed knives at me to threaten me and he has poured petrol on the carpet once and threatened to burn the house. Last year, I slept out of the house more than I slept in it, whenever I slept at a relative’s house he would call at 3a.m threatening to set the house ablaze if I didn’t return. Eventually with counsel from elders, we separated’’.
The issue of how women cope with drunken husbands in marriage has always remained a very sensitive one because love and affection are always involved in it. Hers brings excerpts from both married and unmarried and also professionals on coping with drunken husbands:
Mrs Sofoluwe Enitan, businesswoman: It is no big deal when you marry a man who drinks, but the only thing is, it should be controlled. My husband sees drinking as a form of relaxation. During weekends, especially on Fridays, he loves going out with his friends for relaxation and I’m so used to it. The fact that he drinks doesn’t stop him from performing his responsibility at home and for the children, they love and respect their father so much because he has not at any point displayed himself as irresponsible or a drunkard. The children see and know him to be a responsible, caring and loving father. So far a man is fulfilling his responsibility at home, I don’t see any big deal if he chooses drinking as a form of relaxation. Too much of it is what I don’t like. Nowadays, some young ladies would boast that, they can’t marry a man who drinks, fornicates, stingy among other vices. I want to believe what every lady should be praying for is the bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh. I never planned or prayed to marry a man with a pot-belly, but here I am today. So, in every situation we find ourselves, we should always thank God.”
John Eghata, bachelor: I don’t know why there is so much fuss over this drinking issue. I want to believe every young guy will want to feel among these days, you just have to Sayo, you can’t escape this. Drinking and falling into the gutter or committing crime with it is what I don’t support. I can’t get to a gathering only to be asking for all these jedijedi drinks; I would rather not take anything. My girlfriend knows me for this because I don’t pretend. It will be unfair if a guy pretends to be holy and he is not, the end will be disastrous. If my girlfriend will not marry me because I drink, then she is not meant to be my wife. The woman who is destined for me, and will take me for who I am will definitely come my way.
Oyeleye Titilayo, spinster: Personally, I can’t marry an alcoholic because I am a devoted Christian. How on earth is it possible for a woman to change a man’s long-time-formed habit in marriage? Is it not better to have studied your man and know the kind of person the father of your children to be is? This drinking issue made me remember the story of one sister in our church, some years back. This sister was fervent and very dedicated. A brother fell in love with her, but couldn’t approach her because he was an unbeliever and a drunkard. This man later resolved to pretend to be “born again” Christian so as to woo the sister, He started worshiping in our church and before we knew it, he was everybody’s toast; both young and old and the pastor was not left out. After six months, he proposed to the sister and they went to the pastor for prayers.
In short, they got married in the church and the brother revealed his true identity on the night of their wedding. The sister was in the bathroom to clean up when she smelt cigarette. She rushed out to confirm if the odour was from their neighbourhood, only to discover that her newly wedded husband was the one smoking and drinking alcohol. She got the greatest shock of her life and she fainted. The man then told him in pidgin English,”wetin you wan do? You better accept your fate; I don dey drink since dem born me. Abi na because I come your church com pretend, you think say I be mumu, abeg cool your temper...
When she became conscious, she reported to the pastor and he was so embittered because he was involved in their joining. On a Sunday morning, he made the pronouncement on the altar that unless the brother repented and changed to the person he pretended to be before marrying the sister, he would die within seven days, lo and behold, the brother died according to the proclamation because he failed to repent. So, ladies have to be very careful when choosing their life partners.
Oladepo Onipede, lawyer : Where the husband and wife have contracted their marriage under the Marriage Act. The matrimonial Causes Act 1970 Cap M7, LFN, 2004 will be applicable to the marriage. In a situation where the husband is a perpetual drunkard before the marriage and the wife is aware of the deficiency, nullity of marriage under Section 5 Matrimonial Causes Act (Supra) will not be granted by the court if the other spouse knew of the deficiency or disease at the time of the marriage, but decided to keep mute and hope that she or he will be able to prevail on the other spouse in order to stop the drinking habit.
On the other hand, nullification of marriage under Section 5 Matrimonial Causes Act (Supra) for a drunk husband will duly be granted by the court if it is satisfied that the other spouse known as petitioner did not know of deficiency, the petition must be within 12 months of the marriage.
Also, the court will hold that the marriage has broken down irretrievably under Section 14 Matrimonial Causes Act (Supra) in a situation where the other spouse has believed in such a way the wife or husband is not reasonably expected to live with.
Linda Ikenezie, youth corps member: Well, I had a terrible experience with my ex-boyfriend who was a perpetual drunk. Whenever I complained about his habit, he would beat me to a pulp. But he was very caring and nice whenever he was calm. In fact, his drunkenness was more like an affliction. Although, he was very generous, I couldn’t go on with the relationship. I had to draw the line and move on.
Biola Adesanya, teacher: Ah! I wouldn’t say my husband is a drunk, but whenever he is having a time out with his friends, I make sure I put on something nice and go with him to the bar. This way, I could control the amount of bottles he takes and also have fun. I have noticed that this makes me feel younger and strengthens my relationship.
Emmanuella Anazodo, lawyer: Apparently, I think with time, everything would get solved, because when I was courting my husband he used to drink heavily, but after he got a serious job, and children started coming in, he became level headed and gradually stopped drinking. I think God touched him.
Olufemi Adekoya, student: I cannot cope with a drunken husband. Oh! God forbid, I cannot stand the smell of alcohol, In fact if a drunken man is all that is left on earth, I would rather remain unmarried. I had a stepfather who was a chronic drunk and he destroyed my mother’s life, took her money and all that she had built over the years.
Zainab Abah, youth corps member: Hmm, men! can one ever, understand men? when you complain about their bad habits, they would say you are nagging, but when you don’t complain, they would say you do not care. The guy I am dating now drinks a lot, but he performs his roles, I am hoping and praying that this doesn’t affect us as we intend getting married.
Vera Akomolafe, pharmacist: I don’t see anything wrong in drinking so far it doesn’t get out of hand. I believe it adds more spice to life and as a matter of fact I make it a point of duty to buy some exotic bottles of wine as gift for my husband.
Tayo Oniyide, make-up artist: My sister, prayer is the only thing. Initially, the man I married was not a drunk, but his friends showed him that drinking and associating with useless friends was the in-thing, I found myself always crying, but that did not solve any problem. So, I decided to focus on other aspects of my life and my children. I moved closer to God and this helped me a lot.
Timothy Ogegbo, medical doctor: I think it’s a two-way thing. When I met my wife, I met her in a club house, she was an alcoholic, and she was so outgoing, she didn’t have anything to hold on to in life, but I was able to enroll her into a polytechnic for a course and I also got a small job for her because I was able to see through her heart that she would have been a different person if she had the means. So I decided to give her a chance to live a good life and I have no regrets.
Eberechi Balogun, banker: Don’t make the men feel totally useless, most of them have been made to understand through their peer groups that they are not ‘in town’ if they don’t drink and “Saye” (have fun) but they don’t know that there are other ways to have fun other than drinking themselves to stupor. I think the best thing to do if there is no way out, is to help them to discover other ways of enjoying life, such as watching movies, sports, reading novels, going to the gym, taking mid snacks and drinks, travelling, visiting recreational centres, among others.
On how to handle a drunken husband,
Mrs. Helen Joe, psychologist has this to say: If your husband is addicted to alcohol, then he is suffering from a disease as chronic as cancer, which can become fatal at times. Yes, it is a disease, but do not panic. This disease can also be treated just like any other, but not without your help. Do not cover his drinking habit, as it will contribute to his habit. Instead, face the reality and make him realise it too, if he does not honestly do that. Being an enabler, you will be indirectly helping him drink.
You might be having a sensitive husband who though realises his problem, but not still able to overcome it. He can overcome it only if he has your support. A wife is the closest companion whose love and patience can do the magic. Be patient with him. Do not nag, criticise or pass uncomplimentary remarks on the man as this does not help at all. Instead, try talking to him when he is not drunk. Remind him of his promises to end drinking just as he sits down to drink. Try to distract him from drinking during his drinking hours.
Remind him that he is actually driving away his family by his drinking habit. Tell him that if he needs them, he should try to leave the drinking habit and not his family. Convince him to go to a counselor. Tell him that he must do it to regain his own self-esteem. It is equally advisable to see a psychiatrist if needed, because he knows better.
If you have children, it becomes all the more necessary that your husband should stop drinking. Having a drunkard at home, might adversely affect the psyche of the children. Try and make him understand that he has to do it for his children if he is not willing to do it for himself. If your efforts and his determination are sincere, then he will surely succeed in his drinking habits.
However, the fact that should be kept in mind is that he should never be allowed to touch drinks again or you will have to begin again from where you had started. I am sure you can bring him back on the right track. Nevertheless, if your husband is not ready to make a move towards ending this habit, it is better to leave him alone and move ahead with your own life.
Ololade Ladipo, a Social Worker asserts that the mistake most women make is that they think that marriage would change the man, but the issue is that she would have known who she was getting married to.
The first thing is to know the limits. This means that you should know your husband inside out. If you know this, the next step however would be you helping him by not allowing him to go more than he can take.
If he is the type of man who goes out to drink, encourage him to stay at home, buy the drinks and monitor his intake. This is why it is important that you don’t nag him.
Some men would wet the bed or throw up when they are drunk, if he does this, patiently clean him up and let him see the mess he made when he is sober.
Do not abuse him or try to ridicule him because of his ego. Help him to keep his ego intact.
Be careful when you are urging him to stop drinking so that he won’t suffer from withdrawal syndrome. In his sober moments, remind him of the various health issues associated with excessive drinking.
Above all, remember you are his better half and you have a duty towards his well-being.
Written by Modupe George, Aremu Oluwakemi and Joan Omionawele Friday, 06 July 2012
BOLA was diagnosed of tuberculosis and she was on admission for some months. As a patient, she was assigned a male staff nurse, named James. When she was about living the hospital, she said to the doctor; ‘think of the