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 tear 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.

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?

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

58 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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????

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 .

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

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