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My husband is an alcoholic. Has been for many years. He has been treated for depression and alcoholism more than once.

Gloucester, MA |

I try to get him help but he refuses. He says no one can help him. He uses his 401K to drink. I have asked him to leave but he refuses because he says the house is his also. He's really bad and out of control with his drinking. He doesn't have a job, and all he does all day is go out starting very early in the morning, drinks, comes home to sleep it off and a couple of hours later goes out again. This goes on all day. He complains that he's confused, can't focus, can't sleep and wants to die. Gets mean, irritable and very hyper when he hasn't drank for a couple of hours. I want to help him but I can't live this way any more. What can I do legally? Please help!!!!!!!!

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Attorney answers 2


I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. It sounds like you and he are both in a great amount of pain.

I hope that another attorney has some advice for you on how to get him help with his alcoholism. If that is not possible, however, and you no longer wish to be married to him, you have the option of divorcing him. If this is what you have decided you need to do, you should do it before he drinks away your retirement funds and places your real estate in jeopardy.

I sincerely hope you can get him some help, but remember that - truly - only he can accept the help when he is ready.

Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on generalized Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. If you would like an attorney with Vaughn-Martel Law to review your specific situation and provide you with legal options or information specific to you, you may schedule a telephone or office by calling 617-357-4898 or visiting us at Our office charges $100.00 for a consultation, and applies your consultation fee to your first bill if the Firm is hired to perform further work.


A spouse, blood relative, guardian, police officer, doctor, or court officer can file a petition under Mass. General Laws chapter 123 Sec. 35 asking the district court to involuntarily commit someone whose alcohol or drug use puts themselves or others at risk. This can result in a commitment to an inpatient treatment program for up to 30 days. The court will review the paperwork and can issue a summons or bench warrant for the person to appear and be examined. If the person is brought before the court, he or she will examined by a forensic psychologist or psychiatrist who will determine whether the person's condition meets the criteria for commitment. You also could go online and research interventions. Good luck. These proceedings can be difficult.

This is merely general information and does not establish an attorney client relationship and is not directed to a specific case.