alcoholic-spouse

“Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So, I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank, the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.” -Charles Bukowski

When someone you love suffers from an addiction, it can ttear you apart. What’s more, the mere presence of the addiction completely removes your ability to communicate honestly. In marriage, it’s even worse. There are so many feelings involved, and the people you love have the power to hurt you more than anyone else in your life.

Living with an alcoholic is traumatic. You’re affected from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to sleep at night. Still, when you know how to deal with your alcoholic spouse, life can become better. In fact, it can even lead to your spouse getting the help that’s needed to recover. With that in mind, here are seven tips that you must read, review, and remember to help you cope with your alcoholic spouse.

1. Remember that alcoholism is a disease

It is very hard to believe that your spouse is no longer making an active choice to drink. However, when someone is an alcoholic, the choice to drink is no longer within their control, at least to some extent.

Alcoholism is a disease. And in order to fully understand it, it can be helpful to think of it the way you think of any other disease, such as cancer or heart disease. It is possible to make a choice to recover from alcoholism. But until the individual makes that decision, the disease remains in place.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than a third of U.S. adults who were dependent on alcohol are now in full recovery. So, recovery is possible as long as your spouse is willing, and that may eventually be the case, even if it isn’t right now.

2. Don’t become angry

Your instinct is to respond to your spouse with anger when you know he or she has been drinking. It becomes tiring to cope with the stress, and at times, it may even become unbearable. Even so, maintain a sense of peace and patience. It may help to find a friend you can vent to about your anger but avoid targeting your spouse with those feelings. It may help to continually remind yourself that what you’re really angry at is the disease, not your spouse.

Remember, a good temper is much more likely to have a positive effect on your spouse in the long run. What you really want to accomplish is recovery from the disease of alcoholism, and maintaining a positive attitude—even if you eventually have to leave your spouse, for one reason or another—is the best way to achieve that.

3. Focus on yourself

If you allow it to, your spouse’s alcoholism will take over your life. In fact, in a 2013 study by the University of Buffalo in New York and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it was found that 50% of all marriages that involve one alcoholic spouse end in divorce.

There is nothing you can do to change your spouse’s alcoholism. That type of change has to come from within him or her.

However, what you can do is make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Invest in your relationships with other people, with your children, and with your extended family members. Treat yourself to something you enjoy on occasion in order to give yourself a break from the turmoil at home, such as a pedicure or a night out at the movies with friends. Doing these things will give you the stamina and resolve you need during this difficult time.

ADD_THIS_TEXT
 

4. Have a simple, honest discussion but do it the right way

It’s good to talk about how your spouse’s alcoholism is affecting you, and even your marriage, but make sure you choose your words carefully.

Statements that begin with “You always…” or “You make it hard to…” are only going to make your spouse defensive. Instead, choose “I” statements to convey how you feel, such as, “I’m having a difficult time sleeping at night because of the late nights you’re keeping.” Be gentle, but be firm in your statements. Above all, don’t become angry or accusing.

5. Don’t enable your spouse or try to prevent consequences

One of the mistakes many people make is enabling their alcoholic spouses or trying to prevent consequences from occurring. This does nothing to solve the problem, and it only prevents your spouse from experiencing the results of his or her actions, which may eventually lead to recovery.

6. Allow your spouse to explain his or her life choices to others

Your spouse may ask you to lie for him or her or try to cover up a bad choice involving alcohol. Politely decline to do so. Remember that it is not your job to shed a good light on your spouse, and this forces him or her to take responsibility, which may lead to a quicker recovery.

7. If your spouse is interested in getting professional help, encourage this to happen quickly

Eventually, your spouse may come to you and express an interest in recovery. This is the time to encourage him or her to do so. You can provide website links or phone numbers to help. It is important to act fast because the determination to get help can fade as quickly as it appeared.

The bottom line

Living with an alcoholic spouse might be one of the biggest challenges you’ve ever undertaken.

Related content: Alcohol, not Opioids, is America’s Most Abused Substance

However, if you’re careful to keep these tips in mind, and you remember that alcoholism is a disease, keep your anger at bay, focus on yourself, discuss the problem calmly, honestly, and rationally, don’t enable, and act quickly when professional help is sought, you’ll find that you can overcome it.

7 Tips to Help You Deal with an Alcoholic Spouse InfographicAre you living with an alcoholic spouse? What tips or advice would you give someone who is going through this experience right now?

***

Love our content? Want to learn more about alcohol addiction and recovery? Sign up for our newsletter now!

***

This story was first published Nov. 12, 2016, it has been updated for republication.

119 COMMENTS

  1. Hello, I have been married for 17 years and my husband has a good side however he is a functioning alcoholic, and has been for about 4 years now. Due to arguments in the past about his drinking, he now hides it. I find empty cans of cider all over the house and garden. He drinks on his way home from work and you can tell as soon as he walks in, he is very moody and irritable and makes excuses to keep going to the shop so he can have a drink. I have tried everything in the last 4 years and it has totally changed the marriage. I feel like his mother, like I can not have a drink with him on a Saturday (I drink once a week). He can be so loving when sober but very selfish when drinking. At the weekend, I had enough and asked him to leave so he has gone to stay with this sister, who is also an alcoholic. He has been saying for the 10000000th time he promises to change however did not do to the AA meeting today, and is still in denial. Think I am fighting a losing battle. Its very difficult to not have him at home, I do love him but I need to find the strength to stay strong. Any tips? I am trying to remain focused on me and the children but can not get it out of my head

    • Always remain calm when ever you want to talk to him about his drinking problems , try to go on you tube and watch few videos on the supplements an alcoholic needs to be taking to be helping him reduce the way his drinking it , you will be shocked when you start giving him all the supplements he will reduce the in take of the alcohol, the after that need to start telling him when is more of him self about see his GP so he can still help him with the medication that will make him to stop completely . I hope this helps

  2. Never stay with an alcoholic it will damage you emotionally. The longer you stay the more damaged you become. It will hurt to leave but you have to do it to take care of your needs. I was broken when I left I was ready to commit suicide because I felt so worthless. I invested all my time and emotional support on him. I believed he would heal with my help.
    His father was an alcoholic and he was an alcoholic from the age of 14. I met him when he was 50. He was in debt his friends were the other alcoholics in the pub. It was so embarrassing to admit I loved this man and my self esteem was so low I let him treat me so badly. I still love him but would rather live with the pain of a broken heart than watch him drink one more beer. Walk away for your sanity. God give me the serenity to accept the things I can not change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. If these experts can’t cure alcoholism than how the hell do you think you can. God bless you all

  3. How are you supposed to “take care of yourself” when your life is literally consumed by his selfishness? When you are either dealing with him, cleaning up his mess or steeling yourself in preparation for his next mess

  4. So basically I am supposed to endure Jeckyll & Hyde until HE decides to stop being a selfish child & to be a responsible adult? IF he decides? Meanwhile my daughter & I are absolutely miserable & have to put up with his screaming & cussing, threats & horrible behavior???? It’s even more difficult bc as so many of you have stated – everyone else in his life mostly has to deal only with Dr Jeckyll – so no one truly understands the monster that lives just below the surface.

    • My husband is a good person with a good heart who know God is real he loves me but he drinks a lot he use to drink every other day but he drinks every day I gave up a long time ago I can’t help him he have to help his self I use to be so worry about him but now I don’t I gave him to God

  5. Wow, Many stories are similar to mine. Married 25+ years, and used to have some fun times drinking together. I’m getting older and hardly drink anymore. I like to feel good and have a clear head the next day. The past few years are driving me nuts. I refuse to go out with him anymore as it too embarrassing and he acts like nothing is wrong. I ask him to avoid drinking until we’re at the restaurant, but nope he’s already had a few by the time I get home from work. He is a good guy, always a hard worker and only drinks in the afternoon and evening, and that’s mostly every day. He wonders why we don’t talk anymore and I tell him it’s because he forgets everything I say and it’s a waste of my time and effort to bother. I cannot watch tv because he talks constantly. If I’m in bed asleep, he comes in and begins chatting up a storm and wakes me up all the time. I’m exhausted at work. I swear if I had a knife near my bed, he’d be dead! As like I see from other postings, we get our peace when they pass out. I can’t help but be angry when he acts sorry and is nice and maybe I get a sober day until it begins again. I feel better to read all the other stories and that I’m not alone when dealing with these same issues. Thank you.

    • I can so relate to you. Your story really helped me feel justified in my feelings. How stupid is that. I needed someone else to justify my feelings because my husband always says I over exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. After years and years of me losing respect for him and myself I finally want to seek help for me. If he doesn’t want to fix himself that is his problem. I am almost 50 and feel like I don’t want to waste my time. He refuses to go to counseling doesn’t think he has a problem, and is infuriated with me for suggesting I go to Alan on. He thinks because he doesn’t physically abuse me I’m not affect by his drinking. Have you sought help in any other forum?

  6. I have 4 children in which 2 are his. i’ve been with him since my 8 year old was 6 months old. I now am living in his house his mom left him after passing away from cancer. When we started our relationship he just had came out of jail for fraud . I’ve known him for years was a friend of my fathers. My father passed away 6 years ago. He has always been drinking since he got out of jail. I never honestly realized it. He’s a good man. He helps with the kids and is always home. When he drinks he is very irritable. He holds grudges about things that happened 3 weeks ago and stays angry. He no longer wants sex. Lately he has been yelling at the kids a lot. He’s 38 , im 31. I work full time an i come home cook/clean/laundry. I feel so alone. We don’t do anything special that normal couples seem to do. We never “hang out” . i mean its understandable because we have tons of kids… but i feel like the drunk him hates me. He snarles an slams the fridge and i’m always in trouble it seems. I want to cheat on him because i want more sex.. but i don’t because i love him. I dont want to leave. I am financially stable with him , and i love him a lot. I get so confused because i’m young and i know i could go be with someone else. But everyone has their issues you know. We aren’t legally married but seems like it. He’s not affectionate. He drinks in the morning while at work.. he’s an electrician. His boss also drinks and is his best friend . They all day drink and hang out. I feel like i’m not cool . I dont drink like he does. i can’t handle alcohol . .. my stomach cant handle it for whatever reason and i haven’t built a tolerance to it. I feel like i’m the house woman. I’m just there. i sleep on the couch because he denies me of sex. He’s had pancreatitis a lot of times and now take hydrocodone to deal with those stomach pains from it.What should i do???? sometimes i feel like he’s cheating on me, but then i realize its his alcohol! It’s just beer -tall cans not even hard liquor.

    • I feel like you just wrote my life word for word !! I mean everything! Even from the 4 kids, 2 being his! Im so sorry for you but I’m glad to hear I am not alone.

      • Well i am sad to hear that i’m not alone lol. Today he says he is going to stop drinking and this week he was going to be sober. I cannot wait to see if he pulls through. it’s only the 10000000th time he’s said it. i even put him on my insurance cuz i thought he was going to get help, ended up cancelling him off of it since he never did. Being a mom alone is a struggle, on top of it … .not having that special connection anymore -it’s hard as hell. Try and focus on the kids and doing things to make yourself feel better. he will see that you are changing.. doing more for yourself. We deserve to be happy but first it has to be from within .. not from them. So on that note i plan on starting the gym sometime and getting my housework done at night to leave early in the morning to be on time for work. All of his drinking has affected me i almost feel like i don’t have a personal life. just mom. I am so happy we can spill our feeling out on this website and remain anonymous . When you talk to other people about it , they say oh just move on. Not that easy. Kris we in this together ! F them kids[not really bad joke lol] F that drunk[ not really , hope they change] -it’s time for you!

  7. My husband drinks beer everyday after work. Binge drinks on his days off. This behavior prevents me from productive functioning as friends cannot understand how I got caught up in this disease.
    Leave, stay, walk, run who has an answer for a seventy two year old married to a 61 year old man set in his ways where alcohol is King?

  8. I had posted a couple of times previously, but I tell you what has happened, my wife has stopped drinking totally, just suddenly 5 weeks ago, I can’t believe it but it’s true, no seizures, no real withdrawal symptoms just stopped, my life is returning to normal, no arguments just a really happy situation, you may think that she was not really an alcoholic, but believe me she was at stage 4 … I guess the reason for posting this is to give hope to all those long suffering spouses, there can be light at the end of the tunnel, don’t give up hope…..

  9. I just hear extreme judgement from you All and that you are Saints with No Flaws and You didn’t contribute to the person’s addiction in anyway or the stress you create so they can’t get better , no one wants to be an addict, no one, it’s a hell you could never imagine, just get over yourselves , take the log out of your own eyes first your all probably headed for Judgement day quicker than a broken person in addiction , Comments like everyone of yours is the main reason people can’t quit because the mountain
    Of blame put on us the gossip the judgement and that’s it’s all our fault is a hole too deep to ever get out of , so Poor all you , and all you’ve done and all you’ve been through, polish on your halos so they are brighter

    • It is a shame that CW decided to troll the people who have commented here. The original article addressed spouses of alcoholics and offered them advice. Many of us have responded by trying to explain that the advice, though well intentioned, is not very helpful because it is almost impossible to follow. However, it does help a little bit to be able to share experiences and frustrations with people who are going through the same horrible time as yourself, so it is sad to find someone trying to prevent this from being a safe space for sharing our pain. Sadly CW’s comments are typical of an alcoholic in that they seek to blame someone else, usually someone who cares and would like to help, and they spitefully seek to hurt and belittle that person or people in order to shut them up and to protect their habit.

      • I could’nt agree with you more. why do they always do that? its just like an alcoholic to blame everyone else. we are the only people that stick with them through all their relapses and bullshit and when we make a mistake its inconcieveable that we should be forgiven. Afterall we are always expected to forgive and forget everything that was done to us by them.if we have no one to talk to. How are we supposed to express how we feel. Atleast with this website we can communicate with other people who can identify with us.

      • Agatha your answer is spot on. I could not put it better myself, certainly I would have put it far less politely or nicely then you have did. One thing rings true with me especially, typical of alcoholic, blaming the whole world but themselves. My struggle ith the alcoholic I love continues… all the best for all of you people.

    • This is to CW….if the alcohol abuser is causing the issues, they need to fix it. Otherwise, the spouses or innocent children who are not to blame for those choices, have to scramble around to survive life with them. You are wrong!

    • Ah there’s too many sides to this, it’s not black and white.

      I’m the drinker in my relationship. I’m level 3, and reading these comments here keep me on the wagon. (2 months now)

      I am going through anxiety and depression over the past 3 years and I drink/do drugs to stop my brain hurting me.
      I realise this and I realise I need help, I’m trying to find it. But alcohol is addictive and society tells everyone to drink to manage their life, it’s a lie, like the smoking lie, (calms you etc) look how the pubs have glamorised booze, it’s acceptable to get drunk. I am having to re learn and recognise why I’m like this. I’ve learnt I started drinking to hide my real self years ago, and it worked. For years and years (so I thought) but now when I’m older all the crap is still there, I haven’t dealt with it, my dads death, or anything traumatic. You get used to hiding and dulling your thoughts inside a booze haze.

      The stories on here are so sad, alcohol can take everything from you and society then says it’s your fault for having a character fault. (Alcoholic)
      I’m currently helping my brother who’s (soon to be ex) wife is level 4 dependant and Abusive. There is no easy answer, he’s had to walk away and take the kids with him.

      Love to everyone going through tough times with all this. Remember everyone is going through a journey.

  10. After reading the comments I’ve been through what most on here are going through. Been with my partner just over a year! Feels like 10! I’ve tried everything but nothing works. Anger has built up, I’m not someone who swears and have been described as placid, however I’m at the end of my tether. He disappeared for a few hours last night and spent over £100. First he apologised and now he says there’s nothing wrong with his behaviour. I’ve just kicked him out! He has done this before twice and left me here by myself for weeks with no money! Enough is enough. It’s a choice he makes and he can live with those choices. I will not ruin my life because he DOESNT want to change. I’ve heard sorry time and time again but weeks and months later the same cycle. He even deliberately causes arguments so he can leave and have Alcohol and then blames me! Also found out he is taking drugs aswell. A new addiction to deal with! I don’t think so. My advice to anyone here is to put YOURSELF first. I love myself more than I love him and will not let him take me down with him. It’s very hard living with such an individual. My love and respect goes out to those who’ve lived with this for many years as I could only cope a year! He is disrespectful, rude, forgetful, emotionally abusive, brakes promises, abandons, lies, wastes money, swears, laughs in my face and the list can go on! How can a person not get angry? Angry at allowing this to happen to yourself, angry at believing there will be change but nothing changes, angry because your SO deep down is a loving caring person but chooses to throw their life away and all you feel is helpless. I’m crying as I write this as I have been left with no choice but to end the relationship. Someone mentioned it being genetic however no one in my SO family drinks and all have stable jobs! He told me he started drinking in his late 20’s as he enjoyed it and 20 years on he is an Alcoholic! Genetic I think not! Choice he makes.

    • I really no how u feel I’ve just took my stuff after 5 years we went out tonight and in front of my not his children he was flirting with a women he works with and touching her leg when we left I soon give it to him he said he’s done nothing wrong I’ve heard that for 5 years finding texts chatting up staff where he works well Im loving to the core but I’m done with loving someone who don’t love me the way I deserve to be loved I’m better off alone

      • I have been married to my husband for 33 years. He has always been a big drinker he would come home from work and drink a 30 pack of beer all by himself night after night. His drinking always bothered me, but over the past two years it has been bothering much much more. I was very busy with our 3 daughters when they were young so I think that is how I got through all those years. Now they are all over 21 and now have grandchildren. He drinks every night tries to hide it, really after 33 years I know when you have had a shot. I feel sad, lonely and unworthy. We talk about 30 minutes in a whole week, because I get up early so I can see and talk to my sober husband before work. He is selfish its all about him, what money gets spent on, what we are doing, we never do anything I want, if drinking isn’t involved then we are not doing it. Like you my husbands also hangs on other women or has to touch them if we go out, and if I say something to him he says, I have known her for years, I grew up with her. O, you did they why after 33 years if you are such great friends why have I not met those women? I dont sleep at night because of the drinking, my whole day revolves around his drinking, it is always on my mind. I have a hard time thinking about anything else. I feel his alcoholism controls my life. My opinion is I dont think alcoholism is a disease it’s a choice, sorry. People get addicted to smoking and we don’t say they have a disease they have a choice. My Mother had a disease its called cancer and she didn’t have a choice, she didn’t walk into a store and pick up a bottle of cancer. Well there is a lot more to my story, however Im looking for advice on how to deal with the alcoholic that doesn’t even know I exist.

      • My husband has been sober for 5 months after 20 years of daily heavy drinking. I am so proud of him for that! For years I dealt with him passing out random places, stumbling around with the children watching, staying up until wee hours of the morning, then whining and wanting me to hold him the next day because he didnt feel good, forgetting things that happened the night before, watching porn, calling sex lines, the list goes on. He then did some things so horrific that I made him leave. That is when he vowed to stop drinking. He said all the things he did was because of the alchohol and he would never touch it again. He said his family was more important than drinking, so I let him come back. He did wonderful for a few months. We had the perfect marriage, he was a brand new, wonderful man that I have always wanted, and things were so great!!! Hunting season is upon us and, just as I feared, it’s a huge trigger. He’s struggling. Pouting because he wants beer. Has convinced himself that he can drink casually. He’s upset with me because to him I am the reason he can’t have a drink. He hates that I’m making him choose his family or alchohol. I need advice on what to do. I’m wearing down, as I feel that I’m fighting a losing battle. He hasn’t drank, but he is becoming resentful towards me because I am making him choose me or the alchohol. What do I do? Stand my ground? Let him go drink? I feel my marriage is being ruined with or without the drinking at this point. He refuses to go back to counseling, and thinks AA is stupid. I’ve heardabout Al-Anon and wondering if I should go for myself. He says we are arguing even while hes not drinking, and doesnt understand that it’s because he wants something that has ruined our family. I cant understand how he would ever want it again after what it caused, but I’m not an alcoholic, so I will probably never understand that. I pray and pray and pray for God to intervene, and I’d appreciate your advice and prayers as well. I said all that to say HELLLLLPPPP!!!!!

        • You need to focus on you . Your family, your happiness and not on him and his crap. He wants to live like that tell him that is entirely up to him. Tell him if thats what he wants to do with the rest of his life and live like a drunk , it’s his life. . his decision. You focus on you . You tell him that you aren’t concerned with what his decision is either . That you wont clean up after him anymore if that’s what he wants. You need a hobby, and to change focus. Our significant other’s are not are happiness. We need to make ourselves happy! Take care of you feelings and emotions and remember this is our only time here . I am changing focus and starting to do more things for me. Avoid using harsh words and just smile and wave. he will be confused and you wont have the guilt that you might be the problem cuz u said this or that.

  11. I have been with my husband for 12 years, he has always drank and I used to enjoy a drink as well until I quit smoking and then at the same time stopped all alcohol. I never realised how dependent my husband was on alcohol until I stopped myself. Over the last few years he is getting worse, one day drunk one day hungover but still a “ functioning alcoholic”. I feel like I’m married to a child and he is a pathological liar.
    Just a few things he has done;
    He sold my mothers wedding ring to buy beer,
    Still a P plate driver – recently lost his license for speeding didn’t tell me kept driving got caught driving disqualified now has to go to court.
    And because he was drunk on Friday he left open my budgie cage to change her water and now she is missing.
    His stupidity is driving me insane. I’m full of hurt and resentment, I’m depressed and really unhappy. Living with an alcoholic is like living in a nightmare.

    • Louise After the night I’ve had moving all my life at 930 pm I’m laying here awake and that made me laugh I no it’s not funny but thank u I don’t feel so alone because I’ve just lost my mother

    • I’ve been with my AA (alcoholic asshole) for 32 years. The last 10 have been miserable. He is drunk EVERY night. I’ve had enough, but can’t get the courage to leave. He is hostile, short fused, I can’t say anything to him about anything without getting yelled at. Honestly, I don’t care how the alcoholic “feels”, it’s THEIR problem and they drag innocent people into it. If he drinks and drives and kills someone, or even just gets a license suspension, it going to cost ME everything I have worked for. They should change the laws so spouses can’t lose their homes, savings and anything else if the alcoholic fucks up. He got a DUI 15 years ago in another state…cost US a fortune for the lawyer fees. I’m just done. I’m embarrassed . No one close to me knows he’s an alcoholic, I don’t think he even knows. Everyone thinks he’s just a swell guy, they don’t know the truth.

      • I know how you feel everyone thinks my husband is the greatest guy, because he is so funny when he drinks. I have no support from anyone in our lives, because they are all drinkers and dont see a problem with it. I told his sister not to break out the fireball when my husband is over, so what does she do, breaks out the fireball everytime, even after I tell her how bad I have it at home. I guess my mistake to think another alcoholic would listen to me. My husband lies all the time, and he thinks I’m stupid and I am far from that. I catch him in every single lie, so what’s he do tells another lie to try and cover it up. He doesn’t know me very well after 33 years. I guess.the alcohol real destroyed his brain cells. I have recently decided to go about my own life and let him sit home a do what he does. I wont lie it hurts to know I cant spend time with the man I married, because it would be meaningless anyway. In the past we had so much fun together. All our friends would say to me you guys have such a great relationship my sister-in-law being on of them. I have a hard time finding joy in anything, it is sad to say but I dont even find joy when I’m with my 2 Granddaughters who are 6 and 9. Any advice would be great.

      • I could write the same. I thought this was a partnership, I made choices based on what he agreed to and promised… 32 years later and I’m just waiting for the ticking time bomb to destroy my life…

  12. How is it possible to hold anger in?

    And why the fuck should i ?

    Just tonight he pulls down my pajama pants while im trying to cook dinner cause he’ s drunk. I tell him no as our 14 year old is 10 feet away in the next room. Gets pissed off and starts the usual “you never want sex anymore”. I have lots of sex with him did he just forget again?…no he is just drunk

    He cant maintain an erection and hasn’t been able to for the last 5 years. Sex is really not what it used to be but he still thinks the drink is not to blame…he is 44 now and has been an alcoholic since his mad party days at college.

    DUI multiple times and jail time!

    I have supported him the whole time we have been married. I moved to the US to be with him ….long distance relationship so i only have myself to blame as he kept his addiction secret for a very long time.

    He has only had a few part time short term jobs although he now has a full time job at minimum pay and STILL buys his pint of Southern Comfort to drink in the car on the way home…..when he manages to remember where he lives. Cant see him keeping this shitty job for long to be honest

    Fed up of the lies

    Fed up of the broken promises

    Fed up of being made to feel like a neurotic fool

    He has short term memory loss now i notice and gets the shakes and agitation if he stops drinking for longer than 2 days.

    Im on antidepressants and benzos as i got depression and had panic attacks ( thought i was having a heart attack, thought i was dying) so my battle with his addiction is ruining my own health and happiness and it’s affecting our kiddo which is not fair so yes im angry and no i wont be holding any of my anger in.

    I dont drive in the US and we live in the arse end of nowhere, surrounded by cornfields, i work from home so i am lonely and i am alone apart from the kiddo.

    All my income goes to everything apart from his car and gas, right now i cant afford to purchase a car. I didnt like driving much when i lived in the UK i would often catch a bus…..i was spoilt living there i realize that now

    So im stuck and not sure what to do about my husband or second child as i call him…tonight he also ripped the plastic tray out of the fridge sending all my jars and ketchups flying, broke the shelf and basically threw a wobbler cause i had chucked his beer away.

    So try staying calm through that shit is impossible while the 14 year old is upset witnessing that tantrum from his 44 year old dad.

    Calm…um no…i wanted to rip his addled ugly head off and jump up and down on him until something broke. He is turning me into a monster with violent thoughts….i just cleaned his mess up and hugged my kid instead as screaming as apparently that only makes me feel better.

    You know prior to the last few years it wasn’t so bad, it really wasn’t but now he is circling the drain and really losing the plot. He no longer tries, i think he is giving up on himself and on us and there is not a damn thing i can do that i havent already tried. That makes me angry and sad because you will never meet a nicer man than my husband when he is sober!!

    • I’m so sorry you put so much into this relationship I did too I nursed his parents while they was dieing helped him move when they died I’ve left about 5 times and 5 times he begs me to go back and he will cut down he will pay me more attention we can go swimming holidays then I go back and everything’s goes back to how it was before give him 2 weeks to go back to old ways my brain after losing my angel mum has hurt me so much I said when was the last time u put your arm around me to say come on darling no u walk through the door and I hear the can go fuck that ladies we got to start putting ourself first one life we get

  13. This was an eye-opening set of comments. One thing it made clear is how much suffering alcohol creates–though, curiously, none of that suffering is blamed on alcohol, only on “alcoholics.” Looks like the alcohol industry has done a great job shifting responsibility from its addictive product to those most harmed by it.

    Another thing these comments make clear is that, as a culture, we’ve done a lousy job explaining what an alcohol dependence is (medically, psychologically, socially) and and even lousier job communicating the range of options available to people coping with one–either their own or one suffered by a loved one. Many of the comments reflect views of addiction that are almost a century out of date, which I blame, not on the writers, but on a media reluctant to cover alcohol addiction. For hard cases like some partners described here, there are new harm-reduction methods that are far more successful than white-knuckle abstinence or AA.

    Finally, the pain and rage on this page should not be something people have to deal with alone. While I’m not a fan of Alanon’s outmoded ideas about addiction, the organization nonetheless remains a place where partners of alcohol dependents can find support. I know several here say, “Alcohol is not MY problem; why should I go to meetings?” and the answer is to help yourself feel better. The isolation expressed here is a terrible thing; why wouldn’t you want to talk to others who understand your struggles and may even have a nugget of wisdom to offer?

    • Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I agree, there is not nearly enough written about advances in the science and treatment of addiction. We have many articles on addiction written by an addiction specialist as well as one that I wrote about a new approach. Here are the links:

      1. Listing of all of our addiction articles: https://thedoctorweighsin.com/tag/substance-abuse-addiction/

      2. A company with a new approach to treating alcohol addiction: https://thedoctorweighsin.com/alcohol-rehab-app/

    • Your comment isn’t really helpful, honestly. I would love to deal with the range or negative emotions I feel as a result of my husband’s addiction, which is why I search the web. There’s no way I could do alanon- I am not codependent, and my fuse is a little too short right now to sit quietly through that kind of talk. We have been to many therapists, who all say the same thing: I have to be patient. Useless. That’s not actionable. I need tangible options.

      • I couldn’t agree more. How long are we expected two take all the abuse and sit idly by well they embarrass you & themselves in front of friends and family over and over again. When is it time for him to take responsibility for his life? Me going and talking about it with other people doesn’t change a thing with him. What needs to happen to break the pattern?

        • I normally don’t respond to responses like yours, but I actually want to help you and your spouse, so I’m going to answer your last question as well as I can. If I can’t reach you with facts and genuine concern, then we may simply be so different that I can’t reach you at all, which would make us . . . Americans, I guess.

          The help currently offered to most people with alcohol use disorders works for only a tiny fraction of the population, but, for reasons that are complex, this fact is not widely known. Researchers learn more about addiction every day, yet this knowledge rarely trickles down to the general public, who continue to believe, as you seem to, that sobriety is either: (1) a simple matter of will power or (2) a daily respite from a chronic “disease” courtesy of a 12-step program. A corollary of this belief is the equally flawed notion that, when people with addictions can’t get sober, it’s their fault.

          Regardless of how your husband’s addiction started–and researchers now agree that complex trauma plays a large part in most addictions–it has been going for many years and has, in that time, altered his brain in ways that make sobriety extremely difficult to achieve. He may need pharmacological help, and he may need to try several different medications before he finds one that helps him either quit completely or get his drinking under control. If you want to know more, visit the following website and read the three essays on harm reduction: thesoberheretic

          Follow the links in the essays before you go to your doctor for help. American physicians receive little training in any kind of addiction medicine and are generally far behind their European counterparts when it comes to treating alcohol use disorders. In my experience, people who need help must do their own research and then educate their physicians, and, yes, I can almost see the responses now, “How DARE she suggest we do even MORE!” I’ve tried to make it easier by collecting, summarizing, and analyzing the research and by linking to all my sources, but, yeah, even knowing how unfairly burdened you are, I’m suggesting you do more IF you want your partner to have a chance at getting his drinking under control.

          Actually, I take that back. I’m not suggesting anything; I’m telling you what I know in case it’s useful to you or to someone else who may be reading this exchange. But I do hope you find SOME way out of your current situation–or, at the very least, some relief in venting here.

  14. Wow…reading everyone’s story is terrifying. It’s almost like having someone hold a magic mirror up and say “this is your future.” I’ve been living with an alcoholic for 2+ years. I’ve stayed with him through both in-patient and out-patient rehab. He knows how to say and do all the right things long enough for you to let your guard down and give you hope and then this thing takes over again. I’ve said many of the words I’ve read above and I’m at my breaking point. I know I can’t control him nor do I want to. I’m not his mom or babysitter. I’m supposed to be his partner. We’re supposed to be a team only I’m the only one in the ring. Guilt has prevented me from kicking him out. I don’t want to put him on the street. Strangely, he’s been doing well for the last several months. Finally, holding a job he says he enjoys. Helping me with bills and things around the house. Again, doing all the right things so I let my guard down. He disappeared Friday evening. Called at 5 hours later to be picked up. I contemplated not picking him up as I’ve done in the past with the thought being if he got himself there, he should be able to find his way back (fyi, he lost his truck because he couldn’t keep a job and pay the note). But I thought, do something different. Bring him home so he’s not out drinking all night. Maybe he’ll wake up with some clarity. By 8:30 a.m. the next morning he snuck out the same back door and was at the gas station around the corner hanging with the other drunks. I will not accept this life. I finally kicked him out…I pray that I stay true to myself. I know he’s not going to change. And if he is, he has to do it on his own. I have to take care of me. I have to start enjoying life again and not live with fear or anxiety. I want to enjoy a day/night out with friends and not worry he’s heading toward his next three-day binge. I’m tired of crying and pleading and bargaining with this disease.
    Thank you to everyone that shared their story. I can’t say this article helped but hearing from others has. I know I don’t want to spend another day, year, month living with an alcoholic.

    Lastly, to the commenter or anyone thinking what’s the problem with two or three drinks or that people are just bitching because they don’t like their significant other “tipsy”. On the contrary, I would love to be able to socially drink with my man or have a glass of wine or two with dinner, etc. My unfortunate reality, like most here, is that it never is just one or two or three. It turns into a one to three-day binge. Please be respectful. We aren’t whining about a drink or two. This alcoholism ruins lives, friendships and families.

    • I agree totally with all that you have said . My husband keeps telling me he is going to quit and get in shape ( as he has gained 35 lbs in the past year and a half ) and on and on. But then he gets a few beers in and here we go again … pulled out in front of an oncoming car and another truck and the truck beeps … and later when I confront him about it he says They had three other lanes they could have gotten in to .
      It’s never his fault . He’s been in prison for DWI before I met him . He’s a wonderful man sober … but as soon as he has gotten out of prison , I figured out , he goes right back to drinking . He fooled me big time when I met him … telling me all of these things we would do and telling me all of the right things and how beautiful I am etc etc etc . We are 3 1/2 years in now and I can’t take much more . I even find myself praying he will get pulled over for drinking and driving and they will put him back in prison just so I can get away from him .
      There is no easy answer . I hate alcohol and I wish it was never invented into a drink . I hate it .

  15. Agatha, my feelings exactly. I love my partner. He was an alcoholic when we met 12 years ago – I thought I could save him (imagine that!). He only drinks in evenings but he gets drunk every day. He is never violent but he loves being a nuisance. Days when I could really do with his support are the very days when he will get more drunk and be a burden.
    I have read through the advice here and all I can think is: are you serious? My partner has had my firm support for over 10 years and he is only getting worse. He has just burnt our dinner in the oven. I turned it off and took our dog out. While I was out, he turned the oven back on. Our dog has an infected wound on her neck. The only time I touch it is after I scrubbed my hands clean. I caught him in time before he touched her wound with dirty hands. That’s after telling him several times not to do it because it would make things worse for her. The advice about not preventing the consequences? The only time I did was when he wanted to cycle back home completely drunk in the middle of the night and having to cross a main road on his bicycle.
    Living with an alcoholic doesn’t necessarily mean being exposed to violence. My partner has never raised his hand at me. But just like you Agatha, I have used foul language with mine, and have thrown objects at him
    I knew they wouldn’t hurt him, but I wish I wasn’t driven to the point when I am so frustrated that throwing things at him or telling him horrible things is the only way to vent my anger.

  16. I feel the same and its so difficult for me because I am new here … I came far from the other side of the world to get married and live with him here .. he was a good person, caring and responsible until disaster come when his father died and was followed by his twin brother a few months after that. it really shook him up and from then on he started to drink and get drunk. I have no friends, family and I don’t know many things here, life is miserable and I never thought it would happen to me here .. sometimes, I feels i just want to leave, but leaving would feels as bad as staying … who will take care of him and our dogs and cat if I leave … I don’t know why I let him ruin my life, I feel like I’m trapped here … he should be someone I can rely on but instead I have to strugling alone and wake him up from his addictions .. i don’t know whats gonna happened if he lost his job and i unable to work here.. 😔

  17. Thank you very much priest of love priest kala for helping me anyway, told me that he was no longer interested in marriage, I could not say what leads to this cause, we never had a real fight that could lead to such a decision. I was much worse than I could not continue. One afternoon, I was at home talking online with a close friend, reading an article, and seeing a comment about a married woman. It really struck me because I never thought it was possible, I thought and tried. So I did whatever he asked me and after the last seven days my husband came and asked me to forgive him that he wanted us to meet and that he now has more than five years. now we are a happy family. I am really grateful for this help for what it is for me, I mean her kindness.

  18. I’ve read through a lot of these comments. I too am at the end of my rope with my wife. We’ve been married less than a year, but have known each other/dated since Jan 2016. She’s been good for months, then WHAM it’s a constant struggle. I will try to do the “detach with love” but I don’t see any specific examples. I don’t even want to be around her. Even now as I type, she’s out getting more alcohol. I know getting angry at her only makes things worse and causes a worse confrontation. I am resentful, everyone tells ME I have to go to meetings. I’m not the one with the problem. She promised me when we got married, she had this beat. She’s already had a DUI, totaled her brand new car, had an interlock device (which as been removed). She has other lawsuits against her, but she continues to drink and hurt the ones that love her. She’s lost a few jobs, and I fear, she’s going to lose the current one too. I need help NOW.

    • HEY JOHN I AM IN THE SAME BOAT YOU ARE IN I WISH I HAD THE ANSWER BUT I AM AT A LOSS I WANT TO LEAVE HER BUT I DONT KNOW HOW

  19. She’s drunk again and wants sex. Passes out after an argument, wakes up and like nothing happened wants sex …..repeat….repeat, what the hell do I do? Love her not leaving.

  20. Very familiar advice to spouses of alcoholics and very, very frustrating! Don’t get angry??? yes I try that sometimes but the next day I will explode and be screaming abuse at him. I never thought I would hear such language and vitriol coming from my own mouth and directed at the man I have loved for nearly 45 years. It makes me ashamed and exhausted and god knows what the neighbours must think! He has never been violent to me but I have recently hit him and there are days when I just want to hurt him. His disease is turning me into a monster! I do not have tips or advice to offer to others, I wish I did, I’m lost and I feel so sorry for the rest of you who are in a similar situation. I hope things get better for you.

    • I know how you feel. My wife starts drinking wine in the morning and then through out the day. I have tried everything, today I blew up at her. I came home from shopping for groceries and broth on the stove was boiling and she is in another room taking a nap. It really pisses me off the way she hurts me with her behavior, have been married for 41 yrs and this has been off and on for 30 yrs. I feel like I am at the end of my rope.

      • Maybe the only way out is on the end of a rope… you could be me, your description is my life as well, if I left home my wife would never cope on her own, she would just keep drinking till she has another seizure, that would probably be the end.

        • MB: Please get help. There is light ahead, and you can find it. Please call the suicide hotline. You are on a hard road, but there are people who can help you. You are the author of your own story.

    • Just want to let you know I guess I’m considered a monster to because it’s doing the same thing to me I’m going through exactly the same thing!!!

    • I have become a monster too!! I’m going through the exact same thing!!! I will say this it feels so good to know I’m not the only one feeling these horrible feelings are used to not even curse or get upset like this it’s unbelievable how it does affect the other partner it’s really hard because I feel like it’s not my problem so why should I suffer and have to babysit and go through all of this but at the same time I can’t leave because I do love him it’s been 13 years it really does make you feel confused and I’m usually someone that’s on point and I have direction right now I’m just a mess sitting on the couch watching my life fade away and feeling ugly and fat because I’ve gained about 30 pounds I don’t know what to do I’m currently looking for help but again why should I be the one having to add more to my plate huh

      • Laura, if it’s been 13 years you are probably still relatively young, please don’t accept that your life is over. I know you are worried by the weight gain, I eat when upset and depressed too, but 30 pounds isn’t so much. Currently my life is much better, it may be temporary but he’s been sober for two weeks. I eventually, after many many years, put my wedding ring on one end of the table and a bottle at the other and said choose. At first he kept saying I want both, like a little kid, but after several days of me crying all the time and the bedroom being locked at night things changed. I just hope it lasts this time. Look after yourself x

        • I’m trying Agatha I’m just getting so weak and I am such a strong woman I’ve never been with somebody with this problem I have no family members that I’ve had this type of problem I drink on occasion so it’s hard for me to relate and understand I have had a rough life too but I don’t Use cigarettes alcohol drugs as a healing point I don’t understand but it’s not that I’m not wanting to understand I just don’t know how to fix it or what to do I know I can’t change him he hast to want to help himself but it’s just crazy to me how I always try to talk about it and he gets an attitude I try to read about it and help him we’ve been to numerous doctors after his head injury he wants to continue his life as if everything is like before his accident So not only am I dealing with a head trauma Spouse but he makes me feel like I’m the bad guy when I try to tell him it doesn’t do him any good to drink it’s hurting me it’s affecting ourI feel terrible because I want better things in life I want to travel I want to be the person I used to be I want to have friends I want to go kayaking I want to do things and I just don’t want to go with him because it’s always about drinking and then he is not the person that I’m in love with I honestly feel that if he can’t get help we won’t last I’m 47 I feel as if I have wasted the best years of my life 😒

          • Laura, I will resist the temptation to advise you to leave as only you can decide if that is what you must do. However, you are not “the bad guy” for wanting to help him and for wanting more out of life and 47 is not so old. Since retiring I have met several couples who had lost their partners through divorce or death but then met and married new partners in their 60s or 70s and are now extremely happy. Good luck x

            • When you go out together as you mentioned it becomes about drinking. Do the friends that you both are engaging in having a few drinks around a campfire and he joins them? I still don’t understand why most women have a problem if their husband has a few drinks at night, in his own home and not endangering anyone? If he is not abusing you, or missing work or creating any other problems why does it bother you if he has a few drinks at night? Is it just the fact that he’s “drinking” that bothers you? Do you feel that in some way that by him drinking and getting a bit tipsy that he’s doing something that you feel you are not part of? Can you explain in concrete terms how your husbands drinking is adversely affecting the quality of your marriage? You say that you want to go out and do things like kayaking. Is your husband sober the majority of the day? Have you asked him to take you out kayaking? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, it’s strange how you sound ready to throw your marriage away without actual any “damage” to you.

          • When you go out together as you mentioned it becomes about drinking. Do the friends that you both are engaging in having a few drinks around a campfire and he joins them? I still don’t understand why most women have a problem if their husband has a few drinks at night, in his own home and not endangering anyone? If he is not abusing you, or missing work or creating any other problems why does it bother you if he has a few drinks at night? Is it just the fact that he’s “drinking” that bothers you? Do you feel that in some way that by him drinking and getting a bit tipsy that he’s doing something that you feel you are not part of? Can you explain in concrete terms how your husbands drinking is adversely affecting the quality of your marriage? You say that you want to go out and do things like kayaking. Is your husband sober the majority of the day? Have you asked him to take you out kayaking? Strange how you sound ready to throw your marriage away without actual any “damage” to you.

    • Most of the advice you find online is honestly complete BS, and doesn’t work at all when dealing with alcoholics. I hear all this nonsense about “not getting angry” and you’re absolutely right, how can you NOT feel resentful and angry, once you’ve reached wit’s end?!
      Good support systems don’t just appear over night. I basically have nobody, and even if I did, it wouldn’t make his drinking problem magically go away. Like someone else said in the comments, it isn’t ME who needs to be wasting time going to meetings. I already work, plus operate a small home business, and am too exhausted at day’s end to even exercise. It’s all I can do to cook a semi-healthy dinner, which of course, alcoholic husband does not eat because he’s too f’d up. I hear all this nonsense about “not getting angry” and you’re absolutely right, how can you NOT feel resentful and angry?!

      I also see things like “have a good support system”, or “find ways to take care of yourself”, and the ever-popular “don’t ever let the alcoholic change who you are”. Quite often, all of that is impossible when you’re living with a drunk.. He’s unemployed and has a slew of health issues, most of which stem from his drinking. He says he wants to taper down, but never puts in the effort. I’ve tried every type of encouragement, beratement, anger, peace, love, lack of love, silence, entertainment blah blah… nothing works, because he clearly does not want it to work. Every ache, pain, sadness, happiness, song, event, etc make him want to drink.

      And “don’t let a loved one’s alcohol abuse change you”?! That’s the biggest joke of all! It’s impossible to not live in constant stress, fear, worry, or suspicion. If alcohol is not present in the house, I need to either go buy it to shut him up, or leave the house and wander around town until 10pm when he finally goes to sleep. I can’t stay in peace and quiet in my own house, or handle my home business work without him constantly hounding me, or pounding on the door, until I buy alcohol for him. I also like alcohol, but rather than drinking daily, prefer having a few drinks on Friday or Saturday after a long work week. However, I can’t even keep 1 bottle in plain sight, I need to keep finding new hiding places for it, lest he searches all day and gets drunk while I’m at work. By the time I get home, he’s a slurring blathering fool who then tries to lie about drinking.
      He thinks AA is useless (and I kind of agree) because it focuses on all this religious business, and telling other people about your drinking issues. He actually went to a similar program for a different substance abuse problem 20 years ago, and said it did nothing but allow him to meet a bunch of other people who were even more addicted than himself. I think psychiatry may help him get to the root, so maybe that’s the answer. He’s one of those who needs to be held accountable by other people (but not me), and it often feels like if is left alone without a companion all day, he does nothing but want to drink. The man is 45 years old! I should not feel like his mother, or babysitter, or nurse; yet somehow I end up being all 3 in some sick rotating cycle.
      Ugh sorry for the long rant, I just feel so absolutely done with this, and can find no viable answers online for what to do!

      • I totally agree with you. There is no way that you cannot and not supposed to feel angry. They make you hate them and they bring out all the bitterness. They are liars and selfish human beings. I cannot believe that everyone that has written in is experiencing the same thing that I am. It’s comforting to know that all alcoholic s behave in the same way. My partner drinks to a point of liver failure and until he has a rash all over his body and then he will decide to stop and go to the doctor or spend a fortune on meds at the chemist all in the while I have to constantly be his fucking nurse day and night with no peace. He will stop only to feel better and then go back to it . It fucking enrages me because I feel used and abused by him all of the time. I am at his fucking beck and call 24/7. And I am the one who is always saving him and he knows and I know that he takes full advantage of that. Sorry for the language.but my level of frustration is so high.i don’t tell him anything. I don’t confide in him and I share nothing will happen him. He lies to my face and make me smell his mouth to prove to me that he didn’t drink. I feel as a Christian God has got no love for me and he is his favourite because he allows him to get away with everything. I know I am not a bad person and I look after my pets and everyone else. I try to do the best that I can to be good and kind which is more than I can say for him. He is heartless and an abuser and he is only good to those who do not deserve his goodness.the only thing I do is just wait for him to pass out FOR A WHILE ONLY so I can get some peace. Then the nightmare starts all over again.

      • Wow, Sesh. Your frustration sounds similar to mine. At this point I see my husband, 98% of the time, as a drunk. I get so angry and I have tried to watch my words but the anger just comes out. He thinks he is handling his liquor and stance but now after three drinks it shows all in his eyes.

        I have started to leave him alone during his private drinking fiesta and then soon after he’s passed out on the sofa or bed. Sad to say this is my peace time. But what I really hate is the need he feels to take a shower when he can barely stand. Then I have to stop what I am doing to pick him up off the shower floor or bathroom rug.

        I didn’t sign up to marry a drunk. I have expressed my feelings and my limits but yet, he doesn’t care. My vows sad better or for worst but how much of the worse am I to take?

  21. Thank you to everyone before me who posted. Addiction attacks not just the user but everyone they know. we’ve lost friends, I’ve been so embarrassed, he blacks out and says I’m lying, his mother is an idiot- says he’s fine. I can relate to almost every post on here. Dr. Jekyll mr. Hyde, “high functioning” aka everyone else gets Jekyll and I get stuck with Hyde. I think what I find the worst is the rambling, the incessant talking talking talking to the point I don’t even have to answer when he asks me a question, he just keeps on talking. I’m tired, I’m exhausted, my “caring emotions” are exhausted to the point I don’t care about much now. I know you all are too, where’s the help for us? The tired, mentally, emotionally, physically and financially exhausted? Why don’t They have to tiptoe around US after their behavior instead of the other way around? It’s like being married to a three year old who happens to go to work. But who gets stuck doing 95% of the household duties? The spouse. If I don’t want to live in filth I have to clean up after myself, my husband, and Mr. Hyde, and Hyde is a slob. And I work more than him, not sure if the cleaning discrepancy is a gender thing or an alcoholic thing or both. I would lose my mind if ever I came home to a spotless house and dinner, once! It’s also my “fault” aka intelligence that we don’t have kids. I love being blamed for that one, I’ve told him for five years (been together ten) if he would quit drinking I would like to have a kid but bringing one into the world with an alcoholic spouse to me means I am signing up to be a single mom, and that’s too hard, I can’t do it. I’m already drowning I can’t imagine adding one more (huge) responsibility to my plate. I can’t afford counseling, my insurance copay is 75$ a visit. So I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing trying to help myself online until I snap.

    • Wow @Vanessa – that’s like a page taken from my own life – and am sure many more out there are in the same situation. In my case, the three year old doesn’t even have a job. Although he did stay more sober when he was employed, he’s obstinate when working with others, and always makes it sound like everyone is “against him”. At one point, he also mentioned having a kid…because he thought it would help HIM straighten himself out and stop drinking! I asked if he was crazy, because at that point, we had hardly any money, and (still) have no insurance. Who knows, maybe it really would’ve straightened him out, but I largely feel that it’s an internal battle with himself, and not a valid reason for having a kid. Finding any type of real help or remedy for these situations seems impossible – probably because the alcoholic is the one who needs to find reasons to change, while we are just stuck suffering the consequences.

  22. Wow. I can feel the anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment in each posting below. And I am right there with all of you. I clicked on this site to find much needed help as with all of you. I feel helpless, like most. My story: married to an alcoholic- he has past trauma and the way his brain is wired, he uses alcohol and weed to feel “normal.” With him for 23 years, married and we are both in our mid 40’s. He is a high functioning alcoholic and since he works and does things around the house, he feels he doesn’t have a problem. Although at times he says he wants to stop drinking. The issue with him he cannot stop drinking and turns from being an awesome, funny man when he is sober to an overly talkative, say anything, confrontational jerk. I call it Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde – its like I am with a complete stranger at night. I do not keep quiet on how I feel or about what he is doing, I can set him off when he drinks at night because I get so mad and dont want to deal with it. He promises to stop but doesnt – he drinks every day and lies to me about it and hides his beer tall cans. He just doesnt want to hear it from me. I have tried being quiet and watching what I say to saying whats on my mind and telling him he cant drink in the house. No matter what I do he still finds a way to drink, its the alcoholic selfish way.

    I used to drink too, and lost my parents both to alcoholism. So it is extra traumatic for me to deal with this day in and day out. For me you could say I was predisposed to being an alcoholic because both my parents had it in them and died from it. But, I was able to combat it without rehab or counseling. For me, it was my faith and my love for Jesus Christ that got me out of it. It took years for me it was not overnight. I still deal with depression and my husband’s alcoholism, but I was able to personally fight and win over alcoholism in my own life.

    I still do not know what I am going to do, for I want a divorce but then I do not want a divorce. I worry about my sanity and life and simply do not want to deal with this any longer. But, I come from divorce and I vowed to never get divorced unless he cheats on me. And I feel for my partner especially since I used to be an alcoholic and I understand the disease or selfish choices, whatever you wish to call it. That when you are in the depths of alcoholism it tricks you and you cant see it for what it is. I know I am called to pray for him and for our marriage and attack this thing with my faith. I know what I should be doing.

    But why I am here right now is due to the extreme anger I have toward my husband and what he is doing to himself and to me and our relationship. Him knowing how traumatized I was/am on how my parents died and he is still drinking. Its hard, I need help. I am going to get counseling for myself and he has agreed to get marriage counseling. He refuses to get treatment for alcoholism and said he has to do it his way. Which is not working.

    Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to thank you all for your posts, they are not for nothing. My heart goes out to you all and makes me realize I am not alone even though it feels like I am. This thing we are all dealing with is heavy. Even me as a Christian and I rely on my faith and prayers, I have to admit when things get dark and heavy with this, at times I want it to end. I wish God to please take me and I really just want to go. I check out and just want it to end, because I feel so helpless.

    But, let us not give up and if anything not give up on ourselves. We are all in a crappy situation, but we know we cannot change anyone, but ourselves. Lets take care of our mental and physical and pray and try to keep a positive outlook. May Jesus be with you.

    • For Tina, “All things work out for good for those that love the Lord” Through the trials now, this can seem like impossible outcomes, especially when we are in dark valleys. I too have a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and I know that whilst Jekyll loves me, Hyde hates my guts! But know that there are fellow saints that struggle with you!!! I will be praying for you, your spouse and your marriage! One day, we will see Jesus and hear the words “well done my faithful servant”!! If you can, find a good church, one that believes in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, and who believe in Jesus as having been crucified and risen because He is the Son of God and 1 part of the Trinity! Find fellow believers who believe in being there for each other, praying for one another and carrying each others burdens! Bless you and keep turning to Jesus! May His peace and comfort see you through these dark times!

      • Please don’t be delusional, by all means love the Lord and JC, but when dealing with an alcoholic spouse, you’re kidding yourself if you think faith is going to sort it out, it’s not…. I have found there’s only one person to turn to, and that’s yourself, writing this stuff on here maybe gets some frustrations off my chest, but I know nothing will change, I just have my own strength of character to put up with the abuse, it’s all I can do, praying relieves nothing, achieves nothing, we just have to be realists.

    • I am with you all in this issue I told my husband he was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde..i honestly feel so alone in my struggles with my husband’s drinking problem. My mental health has not been doing very well and my physical health has been really bad lately. I wake up with a stomach ache that will not go away and I believe its due from stress over all this. My husband and I are middle school sweet hearts that have been have been together for 6 years now. My family moved and I lost contact with him until 6 years ago and we have been together since. I am a home maker of the age 33 and he is the bread winner age 33 as well. We both prefer it that way but im getting off topic here..long story short..and this is hard for me to say…but he drinks a pint or a pint in a half to two pints everyday. When he does he likes to argue and I always feel like i am walking on egg shells. I have told him many times how it is affecting me and that I am hurting but he doesnt seem to get it. I just dont know what to do..he tells me I can’t help him and to let him do it but “his way” is not working. He gets angry and destructive. He has never hit me or anything but he always wants to argue and gets loud when I try talking to him about his drinking. I feel really bad that I feel this way but when he does this like tonight I just think “God please let him go to sleep so i dont have to deal with it for the rest of the night”..the really messed up thing is he wakes up the next day and doesnt even remember what he said or did. When he is sober he is caring and sweet and helps anyone that needs it. He would give the shirt off his back if someone didnt have one and animals adore hi. He is always helping stray dogs and a hurt animal.. but then when he drinks he turns into a hateful, angry, destructive, unforgiving butt hole that I cant stand to be around and I have told him this on numerous occasions. I understand the weight gain issue, I have gained over 30 pounds, have stomach issues and sleeping problems and I wont go into my mental state. I love him but lately I get this anger that builds up so bad i want to hit him and I have never even been in a fight before I do not like confrontation and if given the chance will look for a peaceful solution.. I don’t keep my feelings bottled up very well. If something is wrong I tell him but I feel like i am walking on egg shells more and more. We dont really have any other issue except his drinking. I use to social drink but I stopped completely so not to be a hindrance on my husband. I even take all his liquor bottles grom the day and night before and throw them away every morning before he goes to work thinking it might be a trigger if he sees it but it doesnt seem to matter. I apologize that this is such a long lost I just dont know what else to do and I am hoping venting on here will help and I hope someone can give me some information on where to turn for support. I really hate it when he drinks and drives…he knows it bothers me really really bad and still does it. I will even hide his keys from him but if i dont give them to him he destroys the house looking for them. He always wants to go up the street to buy more 100 proof vodka and tells me he wont drink the whole pint he only wants one more shot and then he end up drinking the whole pint all in a few minutes anyway. He admitted to me today he was an alcoholic but not ready yet to stop drinking. He said he is bored with life and always wants to alter his perception. He smokes weed too and i thought at least weed doesnt make him a hateful arrogant turd but something about him drinking just brings out the worst in him. I even told him i want us to move out of Detroit and move back to the country hoping he wouldnt want to drink so much. I think it has something to due with the area we are in but im not sure. Anyway i hope someone will reach out and talk to me. I have been depressed over this for a long while now and now i stomach issues over all this and I want to sleep all day just so i dont have to deal with it. Its really taking a toll on me.

      • Angel, I am so sorry to read your story which is very familiar to so many of us who have commented here. You say you are 33. I am 65 and I hope that when you get to my age you will not have been through another 3 decades of pain. I always hesitate to give other people advice but I do have some suggestions for you. Firstly, and I know we are all sick of hearing this, try to accept that you cannot force him to stop hurting himself and you. Secondly start focusing on yourself and your own future which may or may not include him. You say you are a homemaker and that you both prefer this but this means you are imprisoning yourself and making it easy for him to carry on with his current behaviour as he has a personal in cook, cleaner and nurse always available. You need more than him in your life and you need to earn money so you can be independent of him. So start planning to get back to work and it will probably be best at first if you do not tell him you are doing this. If you need qualifications look for courses that will make you more employable and look for organisations that help women to get back into the workforce. This will probably be easier if you stay in Detroit as back in the country there may be fewer opportunities. Keeping telling yourself “I am only 33” which means you have plenty of time to build a new life and, if he can’t change, to find yourself another man and to have children but don’t delay starting your planning as time passes quickly. Stay strong and good luck x

  23. Just been reading the comments on here. I’ve been married 35 years, some good, some bad, my wife has been drinking for probably 28 of these. Gradually from 1 glass, slowly increasing to god knows how much now. Anyone who is living with an alcoholic in denial will know its like living with a time bomb. She totally believes that she doesn’t have a problem and that it’s all paranoia on my side. I lost my mom 2 years ago, now receiving counselling. How am I supposed to cope with the selfish attitude of her drinking as well as my own grief. People say don’t get angry, but how do you not knowing that they are killing themselves and there feels like there is nothing you can do to help. I am at the end of my tether and feel like there is only one way out. Bye

  24. I used to tell myself just talk to him tomorrow when he’s sober. He used to be apologetic about his alcoholic anger but now he just says I don’t want to talk about it gets drunk then is angry with me. If I give into his anger it will destroy me I must learn to ignore the hurtful curses he gives me when drunk. It is hard to live with someone who is two people. Jekyll and Hyde. I will try the advice in this website because ultimately you cant argue with someone who is drunk. Reading these comments I know I’m not alone. And sometimes it wouldn’t matter if your the Dali Lama if they want to lash out they will. Time to build the invisible armour shield when you discount abuse for just drunken ravings. Peace to you fellow suffers.
    Maz.

  25. I’m living with an alcoholic spouse that is killing me slowly. I feel nothing but despair and defeat. At 52 years old, I never thought my life would end up like this. All I do is work my ass off because he’s out of work more than in work and bills have to be paid. So when I come home from work feeling exhausted the last thing I want to deal with is a completely inebriated asshole. I’m so beyond embarrassed I can hardly look at my neighbors. My friends have all but left my life and I don’t dare invite anyone over because I never know when he’s going to be drunk and nasty, actually a complete asshole! He has no friends except one friend that he drinks with that doesn’t even want to hang out with him most of the time. I have two friends left who will actually talk to me on a regular basis. They won’t even come to my house because of him. He’s physically, mentally , emotionally and financially abusive. I’m done being a punching bag and feeling like shit about myself because of his disease. I’ve tried everything short of having him committed against his will. However, that may be coming soon. I know his liver is failing and he’s only 46. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone. I can’t even go away for a day because he won’t even take care of our dogs. He gets so drunk that he has no recollection of the previous day or anything that he’s done or said. I just wish God would take me now. This is a horrible feeling not having any peace in my home, not being able to relax after work. Having to come home and then cook, clean, take care of the three dogs, do all the laundry, dishes, and take care of everything else with very little help. No matter what I do, it’s all in vain because nothing will every change. As I’m typing he is sitting across the table and chastising me. I’m completely defeated and death would be welcomed. I have a grown son who rarely comes over because of my spouse’s drinking. I have to go to work everyday wondering what bar will the car be at today? Is there any money left in our joint account or did he drink it all away before I can make the bills? I’m struggling so bad that I’ve often thought that suicide may be a solution for me. I love myself and my family too much to ever be that selfish. I feel as though he won’t wake up one of these days and It initially makes me sad, but after thinking about it for awhile it may be a relief.

    • I identify with you immediately because I have dogs and no children and my partner is an alcoholic. He is a pissed out drunk every single day of our life. Been with him for 25 years. He bring his drunk friends every single day and all I do is cool for them and I am the only female among drunk men. He gives me no peace. Every single night he has heartburn and vomits and coughs his guts out and I have to stay awake because if I don’t he abuses me from morning till night for months on end. No exaggeration. My dogs are stressed and upset and I love them more than anything else in the world. I have decided to retreat into my shell by only doing everything that he asks and not communicating with him about how I feel because I know that he has no feelings and he is heartless. I feel so bad for wishing that something would happen to him but I can’t take it anymore. I have no love for him all is feel is anger and resentment and bitterness. I have to keep quiet to keep the peace because I have no where to go and he is a violent destructive bully that only shouts and screams and fights. I wish I could never open my eyes again . At least I know I will have some peace and I will be with my dogs and my mum( she is 82). Or I just wish he could find another woman so I can have an excuse to leave but I will die without my dogs.

  26. I have been married 43 yrs to a severe alcoholic. Oh sure he was dry for a long while but is back at it right where he left off… He went into shale only to come out and stop again only made it 6 most this time around and has continued daily to drink. He sobers up only when he knows Ill be home from work I can’t tolerate this behaviour any longer. I have asked him to leave and he digs his feet in and tells me to get out he isn’t leaving HIS home.. I see where your calling this a disease. Ha. well I have a disease also its called cancer, my life isn’t turned upside down in a bottle. I had to get some help for my disease. Sad to see he has the choice to stay sober and feels its ok to make me continue to have more stress then I can stand. Im miserable and have a lot of things to work out with me before I can find my peace Im also an enabler. when I needed him the most he chose his bottle to over helpings so much for 43 yrs a person you were to look up to one that was to be there for you one that was to be the strong person well that surely didn’t happen. Im the one taking care of the household and my disease and I get no help out of him I come home e to daily a drunk some one that cant even get up and walk straight his drinking had caused him to have 3 serious accidents so far. I have come home to 2 inch gash over his eye then next day he fell again and his entire face was black and blue and. just 2 days ago drunk again he sliced his finger to the bone came home from work to find a note he was at the hospital. So I ask how much more does it take to get away from some one like him why cant I make that move. I have a very serious disease Im battling also but at least Im battling it,. So you may all call his a disease but geez when do they help themselves.

  27. The behavioural suggestions no doubt “work” to smooth over the atmosphere in the alcoholic marriage, but these suggestion do not acknowledge and inadvertently dismiss so many cultural expectations – that the alcoholic is the “disease victim” and has no moral responsibility; that the spouse – the majority although not all are women – has the role of soothing and smoothing, of taking care of the needs of the alcoholic (which are strikingly similar to those of the narcissist). In short, a lack of cultural and social criticism here – that many readers have noted and found unhelpful.

  28. As hard as I try, as much as I’ be read….I just cannot believe this is a disease. My brain just won’t accept it. So I have little sympathy for my husband when he is drinking…and dwindling tolerance for his behavior. When he is sober( on the days he has to work) he seems miserable. A beer or two….he is a funny, happy guy. But it never stops there…and he goes to obnoxious, needy, loud A hole. Lately I am ashamed to say, I have put another drink in his hand just so he will pass out and give me some needed relief. I love him…twenty years together…but I find myself leading my own life most of the time. I don’t have friends over…no way! He would totally embarrassing me. I have told him flat out, if he gets arrested, he will have wasted his phone call if he dials me. Alcoholism is selfishness…..and this article seems to encourage people to coddle the offender….,” don’t get angry”. Temper your choice of words…….I did not find this helpful at all.

  29. I have trouble with the advice to keep anger at bay. The spouse of an alcoholic is already suppressing her/his feelings to keep peace most of the time, why encourage them to suppress it more? It is not healthy to suppress one’s feelings to benefit the alcoholic. Anger is normal in this situation and it can be expressed in a healthy way, therapy has helped me to see that. It’s important to express anger before it becomes rage. There is nothing wrong with being angry at your alcoholic AND at the alcoholism. The alcoholic’s actions are not separate from the disease and they are accountable for them whether they were sober or drinking. My husband does and says horrible things when he is drinking and I am fully aware that it is due to alcoholism but after a time, when they are drunk more than they are sober and doing mean things more than they are doing nice things, are they not one and the same as their disease?

  30. Alcoholism is a voluntary disease, so I have a hard time treating it as a disease. The alcoholic cannot have it both ways: disease that they can’t help and not seeking treatment, which you would if you had a “real” disease like cancer.

    My husband was sober for 6 months this year and was feeling, looking and doing great. Now in a couple of short weeks, it’s like he went back worse than ever.

    I personally don’t want to deal with this, so I follow almost all of these tips, except for the “disease” thoughts. I can’t reconcile that one.

    He (we) just lost his mom last week. The funeral is Saturday. He is supposed to do the Eulogy. I hope he makes it. :( such a sad state of affairs. His family is half-way informed and is starting to lose respect for him. Too bad, as he had been held in very high esteem.

    If you could spare a couple of prayers, I would be grateful.

    • There is nothing voluntary about it. You know nothing, and are clearly no expert. I am. It is over 52% genetic. It is also due to the brain rewiring after severe trauma. A very, very difficult disease to overcome. People like you make it harder. Please inform yourself before making comment which will be read by widows and people in deep grief. Your comments were thoughtless, but worse they were incorrect.

      • Nothing voluntary? Who puts the bottle to their mouth? Nobody is asking them to drink. How is a alcoholic to be held responsible for their actions? Genetic or not their is always a choice to what you put in your body.

        • I’ve been living with an alcoholic partner for almost 4 years. At first, it took me a while to realize she truly had a problem because we always hung out and went out for drinks. I knew that sometimes we would argue about foolish things and she would particularly become violent and angry quickly and irrationally. Still, I did not truly see that there was a problem. During our third year together, I noticed she would just appear and be drunk out of no where. After I observed for a while, I realized she was drinking in secret. It could be in the morning when she left to take out the trash or any moment she took a walk alone. After observing for a while, I noticed that when she appeared drunk her personality has completely changed and her short term memory was suffering more and more. She has asked for helped many times and as her partner I did my best to spend time around her so she doesn’t have moments to be alone and secretly drink. Now, we are almost 4 years in and she had displayed many physical signs of alcoholism in addition to increasing cognitive issues and short term memory loss. She will be 30 in August. From my understanding, alcoholism runs in her family and two of her uncles recently passed away from associated complications. At this point, I am afraid I will lose her. We have a daughter and wanted to live a long life together. It makes me devastated to think this may not happen. Once in while, she asks for help but I don’t know how to help her personally because I am falling apart myself. We live in a small village town in Africa and services are limited. I’m not sure I can even find a support group for me but I think there is a chapter of AA out here. Even through all the pain, I’m still hopeful that she will get the help she needs.

  31. Alcoholism in the family is a terrible thing. I know that very well. We struggled with it for many years until my dear friend recommended the guide by Ellen Petersen called “How to Help an Alcoholic You Love.” Excellent approach, which turned out to be a godsend!

    • This guide is brilliant! I’m surprised that I haven’t heard of it before. It was so worth to spend a few $ to read this guide and change my perspective. I’m glad it’s a short guide and not 300 pages. Thanks!

  32. I am living with an alcoholic husband. When he is sober he is wonderful, kind, charming the best friend/lover I have ever had but when he starts drinking (Friday, Saturday) he becomes a monster, a disrespectful, nasty, mean asshole! He typically passes out after hours of his nastiness…he is buck wild and doesn’t give a shit. Hung over during the day so there goes the weekend, then when he is sober during the week I get a bunch of apologies and him saying he is not gonna stop drinking. It is so fucked up….the kids hardly stop by because they can’t deal with their drunk father. He starts of funny…and 4 shots of Tequila later…he is a complete asshole! I don’t know what to do????

  33. Thanks for the article. Those are much needed! I was dealing with someone who got into alcohol, difficult task to do. Help comes from different sources. I recommend “How to Help an Alcoholic You Love” by Ellen Petersen. Thanks.

  34. After 34 years of hard drinking His health is finally showing the Alcholic health problems, No sex , swollen joints and legs, red nose, swollen elbows, swollen lower legs, his mind is loopy, memory is lame. I stay married to him because I remember the great intelligent man he was. It’s been a bumpy road we’re both 52 years old he looks much older. I follow these rules and I do take good care of my health. I cope.

  35. I have an alcoholic husband which has ruined most of our relationship. This article helps ,they always thinking they are normal and the best human beings in the world after acting out as jerks and being an irresponsible freaks .lol .

  36. You could have mentioned Al-anon which is there to help all those affected by another’s drinking. It helps to know you don’t face this alone.

  37. You have mentioned about the treatment of drug addiction, which is the most trending global issue in present. It’s necessary to convey this type of solutions to all who are addicted or known people who are addicted. I strongly believe if each person shares this then ultimately we are achieving or able to destroy the addiction.

  38. what a weird HELPFUL (not) article. I can’t believe that you were allowed to post this. Shame on you. I live with this nightmare every fucking day, and I am dying because of HIS alcoholism. Where’s MY help. Where’s MY understanding. I HAVE A DISEASE. Not the alcholic. he CHOOSES to drink. You say he has NO choice?? Bull shit! We ALL MAKE CHOICES DAILY! I am dying, I have no choices left, I cannot ake care of myself, he cannot either, and I certainly am not insane, hearing voices, and hallucinating all his verbal, physical, emotional and mental abuse while he is blacked out!!! IT NEVER HAPPENED he says!! omg i am completely sober for 30 years, for chrisssakes, I quit when I started blacking out. quit immediately. He’s been blacking out every single night, he only drinks for 3.5 hours…Blacked out and passed out. and I am the insane one. HAH only sane one around apparently. You are nuts writer of this artivle. Nuts.

  39. Shame on you for implying in any form or manner that the sober partner has any responsibility in the alcoholism. Don’t get angry because it will ultimately keep the person away from treatment? Really? Disgusting.

  40. It’s so hard to live with an alcoholic husband. Because understanding that is a sickness makes it more difficult for the drinker to accept it. I will try my best to invest time on myself because that’s the only control I have. Thanks for the advice.

  41. My brother is an alcoholic. My mum and the rest of the family are trying our best to help him out. Apparently, he doesn’t talk to any of us because we expressed our dislike of his drinking.
    I admit our approach may be mean sometimes but it hurts to see someone you love destroy themselves.
    I pray these tips brings a solution

  42. Dealing with Alcoholic Husband …Lost his Mom then two Brothers the drinking started and it has not stopped…been clean for 10 yrs..I ‘m ready to walk away the man I know only shows up sober..He is ugly hateful disrespectful when he drinks..Pray for me.

  43. My husband abused alcohol his whole life.Stopped drinking completely for 7 minth,now relapsed telling me he’s fine and he’s not an alcoholic.Im physically affected from the pain all day long.Trying to find out how to cope.Thanks for the tips.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.