Alcoholic Spouse-Emotional, Physical, Spiritual Abuse

Living with an alcoholic spouse who is heaping relentless emotional, physical and spiritual abuse upon family members is tough to deal with. Can this extreme negative behavior be tolerated? Is it possible to put and end to the turmoil that accompanies a dysfunctional home without a divorce? Is there a way to live with a husband or wife who gets abusive after having a few drinks?

Yes, is the answer to all three of the previous questions.

There seems to come a point in many spouses’ lives, who are dealing with alcoholic behavior, where the frustration level gets to the point of thinking of getting a divorce or incapacitating the person they have married. Usually, they do not want to do either and that’s when they reach out for help. It’s at this stage of the dysfunctional marriage that many find help through therapy groups.

Ala-non is the most recognized authority in this arena. I personally give them five out of five stars.

Because of the love that bonds two people together in this marriage covenant, throwing in the towel is the last option that gets explored. In actual fact, it should not be an option unless the physical, emotional and spiritual abuse is just too much for a husband, wife or perhaps the children to endure. When there’s a possibility of someone getting seriously hurt in all three areas, a separation may be a good temporary band-aid for protection, until a working solution to the abuse problem begins to form.

There’s a way to live with an abusive alcoholic spouse, but it’s going to require getting involved in some sort of recovery program for family members of alcoholics. One of the strongest suggestions that I heard when I first entered into the Ala-non program was, “give the program a six months chance before making any serious life changing decisions.” This came as disappointing news at first because I wanted them to give me a quick fix and tell me how to make an alcoholic stop drinking.

Generally, when a spouse first begins to attend recovery meetings, they are so angry at the alcoholic and frustrated with the situation that their mental state is unstable. This is why it’s suggested to wait six months before making any decisions like getting a divorce or even separation.

Once you begin to attend meetings and establish relationships with others who really understand the pain associated with an abusive alcoholic, the anger level begins to lesson. Another reason our emotional state begins to get better is because we learn how to protect ourselves from being affected by another’s unacceptable behavior. In short, we get equipped with spiritual and emotional tools to help.

By attending meetings regularly and gaining wisdom, and tools that will help you deal with the abusive situation, the negative affects of the alcoholics behavior get lessened. This is because you will be learning from people who have been living in the middle of alcoholism for many years. They have learned how to protect themselves and set boundaries that angry alcoholics must abide by.

Physical, emotional and spiritual abuse
can be dealt with by getting involved with a support group of like minded family members of alcoholics. It has been my experiences that only people who have lived or do live with an alcoholic understand the pain and the anxiety that accompany the family situation. We can never lose hope for a spouse who is drinking too much alcohol. Take your first step to getting help today by finding some meetings in your area that you can begin attending for friends or family members of alcoholics. Once you do this, dealing with an abusive alcoholic will get easier.

29 comments to Alcoholic Spouse-Emotional, Physical, Spiritual Abuse

  • Linda

    Does the behavior ever stop?????my addict is not drinking or doing his drugs.

  • Debbi

    My answer to your question is that the behavior only stops if the A is willing to not only stop the alcohol/drug use AND get into an on-going recovery generally the best is AA or some 12 step. It is only there while talking to others they can see their behavior in others and learn how to overcome and correct just like us survivors we must do the same. This article and many others tells us we can only control ourselves and in order to stay with an A we have to learn how to change us & the way we deal with them and the situation. I learned this the last 6-12 months of my marriage of detaching, many times physically detaching to another room when he would make nasty or “off the wall” comments to get a rise out of me. I saw him then follow me to the other area of the house and either talk to me to get a feel for why I left the room or to badger me more. If it was more badgering I would move again and go do something else, somewhere else. If he seemed to want my feelings and willing to talk sensibly I would. Unfortunately for me my A never admitted to his problem (still not sure it was alcohol or mix of just personality disorder), so he never got into recovery. When his verbal & emotional abuse started to become physical and then the infidelity started I drew the line in the sand and could no longer tolerate his breaking marriage/commitment vows we had taken and I detached completely. So it is up to your A if the behavior will ever stop–when he/she is in a quiet mood and willing to talk that is when you calmly suggest a program. I left AA listerature around but in my case it never worked–I think mine had too many enablers in his life–family & co-workers & of course other women willing to drink & carry on with him. So Linda, good luck but detach & take care of yourself until that day comes.

  • Tammy

    Detaching is so hard for me. I am so sensitive to my environment and people around me. I have been sleeping in another room so I do not have to smell the AH. My home smells from Vodka and my lamps are broke, holes in the walls, wallpaper ripped, stains on the carpet. We work so hard to have it all go down the bottle. I live in a small town and do not want people to know my business. The Alanon meeting is Tues at 7pm after a 10 hour day at work. This web site is helping me. I am beginning to make friends through work, reach out to family and stay away from the home. The SECRET I live at home is devastating. My husband can be very charming and kind and then the week long binge starts. Today we are suppose to be on vacation….could not go because of his drinking. How do I find the courage to leave. Where do I begin to pick up the pieces. I give people so much credit who just get a divorce and move on. The years go by and my hopes and dreams of ever having children break my heart. The detaching makes sense….however am only prolonging the inevitable. He has been in and out of treatment, jail, AA, …….It never changes. My health is poor and I a feel my body imploding from the stress. Where do I turn??? Feeling so desperate and sad to see others living their dreams.

  • JC

    Tammy, I am sorry to hear you are having a rough time.

    Here are a few articles that may help today:

    Leaving An Alcoholic
    Living With An Angry Alcoholic
    Should I Stay With The Substance Abuser
    Alcoholics Blaming Others

    I also sent out an email to out subscribers asking them to help you out today.

  • Julie

    Tammy I feel for you. I was in the same place emotionally and mentally as you are now many years ago. However, I grew desparate and tired of the roller coaster ride and the hope that things would change. I have 3 children with my AH and am so sorry for them that they had to go through everything we went through with him. I tried their whole lives to protect them from him and his behaviors but i finally realized that we could not do this living with him. When i first found this site i tried all the methods( detachment, not enabling, no arguing when drinking, setting boundaries.) This helped so much for me and the children but not so much for him. He said when i filed for divorce that he thought things were great because i no longer was yelling at him for drinking. But what he did not realize was that i was changing, not him. He still was spending all our money on alcohol and bars, cheating on me with drunk women at the bars, ignoring the family’s emotional needs, ruining any family planned event with his drunkeness and growing verbally abusive adn then physically abusive no matter our behavior. So you see, i changed to destress myself and to help my children detach but it actually made me realize that we could not have the calm and supportive life we wanted with him in it. And it is not so easily said to divorce and move on. My divorce proceedings lasted 18months and he is still filing crazy charges against me in court such as contempt for visitation, etc… We have a protection order against him becasue he is violent and was threatening and coming to the house threatening us. So now he is filing appeals to the protection order. Anything to harass me and the children. He is not a nice man and i am so happy to have gotten away…but it was not so easy as divorce and move on. I will tell you it is difficult. I totally understand your feelings of not wanting to let go of a chance to be with him and have a nice life. I lived that for 20 years. But you have to be ready to give up on that dream or you cannot do it. However, I will warn you against having children with him while he is treating you this way and being this way. Mine made all kinds of promises “when we have kids I will slow down and cut back on drinking and smoking, etc…” It never happend . In fact things were worse because i had the responsibility of the children and the home and the bills and everything else while he spent his time drinking and partying. I had no emotional support and no feeling that we were partners in life like we had dreamed about together when we were dating. I will say that this site had a lot of good information that helped me to change and to realize that i did not want to settle for a relationship with someone who treated me and the children like he did. Addiction or not, if he did not want change i did not want to be with him. You need to set yourself apart from feeling responsible for him and take care of yourself. And this is not selfish. You need to care for yourself if you are going to care for others. I know exactly how you feel because i am the same way and my first instinct is to try to help. But you have to put logic into the equation. And that is the difficult part. Step back and take a third person view of your life and relationship and then use the information about addiction you can find here and through information about Alanon which i am sure you can find online also or in the Alanon books. And then pray to your Higher power and take the actions you need to take. I too live in a small town but you will be surprised to find that everyone will not judge you because of your AH. And if they do then stay away from them. Surround yourself with those that support you emotionally. Once your head is in the right place you can take actions to get out of the situation you are in and to detach from the alcoholic. And if he is violent like mine was, do not be afraid to call the police. I hesitated to do it so many times and now that i think back i wish i had done so. When i finally pushed all the reservatons aside and realized that he was willing to hurt me so badly that he could lose it and kill me I realized it was the right thing to do no matter the consequences. Tske care and reach out to any help you can that you feel comfortable with. What are your reservations for leaving him? WE can work through those and look at them logically and then you will find your answer. Go with God too because He is trying to show you the way I am sure. God showed me the way in baby steps and i finally am physically free and taking steps to be totally free from his hold on me. God Bless and take care.

  • Julie

    One more thing, tammy. Keeping your situation a secret only helps him and harms you. Abusers and addicts thrive on keeping things a secret. It enables them to continue on with their behavior. Mine used to hit me or push me around and then say “what happens in this house stays in this house” like it was a big joke or something. But he was warning me to keep it between us and now i know why. He would say that it would make me look bad, but the truth is he had to keep up appearances so that he could continue his behavoir and the world would think he was a great guy. So think about the real reasons you want to keep things a secret and then act on them to your benefit.

  • Debbi

    Don’t get mad at me but as gently as I can this here goes:
    Girlfriend “get your b*tch boots on”. Dig deep into yourself and pull up the anger at your A for everything he has taken from you. Make a decision now that you will no longer put up with this treatment. Your decision–but if I were in your shoes, I would take a day, bag his stuff up in hefty bags and put in front yard, change the locks, take pictures of the damage to your home and go immediately to family court and get a restraining order. This does not mean the end of your relationship but showing your strength to him and setting the boundary. You tell him that when the drinking stops and he is in a program for at least 3 months you will consider allowing him back if you see some changes. Please don’t continue to stay in the state of mind you are in right now. If staying in home is financially out of the question for you then find another place. He either realizes he’s going to lose you and get help or continue on the path. If he continues on this path you need to already have one foot out the door. Please make changes now.

  • Diane


    Please don’t stay away from Al-Anon because your are tired, or because you don’t want everyone to know your business. Trust me when I tell you, if you live in a small town (because I did), they already know more about your husband’s actions than you do. There are probably things they have witnessed that they’ve never shared with you. Who cares? YOU are not responsible for your drunken husband’s words or actions. My husband once yelled that he thought I was embarrassed by him. I said, “Why would I be embarrassed by you? What you do reflects on you, not me.”

    Go to Al-Anon, Tammy. Get support from people who have been or are going through the same things you are. Commit to go to at least 6 meetings. You will be amazed at the difference you can make in your life, once you get some help.

  • Deb

    Dear Tammy,
    If you are serious about wanting children, then you need to start looking for another man. I didn’t say divorce your husband. He is already cheating on you, with someone named Jack. Jack Daniels. If you can start to look for your future love, the do it. If you can’t then consider never having children.

    My ex would not let me have children and I missed my chance by trying to stay with him. I ended up leaving him. He ended up having children with his next wife. Did he stop drinking? NO. She just lives with it. I know him well enough. He may have pretended it for a time and I could tell by a picture she put up on the internet. I know those tired sad eyes, I know what they are from. She didn’t have them before.

    You have to choose. If you are still young enough and want kids, either go ahead and get pregnant by your Drunk jerk of a husband. And, have the baby then prepare to leave. Or, go find the one who will give you a baby. You will have to choose soon or you will Not have children.

    You can live with an alcoholic if you are prepared to become AMAZON woman. I am an AMAZON woman. I am. You won’t be able to live with a drunk without being a Warrior. If your nature isn’t the fighting kind, then maybe elect to go. I used to be sweet and soft. But I have armor now and I play games and I maneuver and I do many things that a warrior does. You will have to become different then you are right now.

    I don’t mind because its fun to become strong. Its fun to become sorta man like though a woman with a woman’s flair. I am learning a great deal and I am learning how to ‘control’ another person and not be controlled by them. I can not do it without ceasing to be human. I become a WARRIOR and that is not entirely human.

    Kids or no kids. What you choose will make a difference!

  • Zita

    I feel so bad for you Tammy but am happy to hear that at this moment you do NOT have children. You have choices. Picture yourself years from now….it will be a lonely life if he’s in it. Please leave….there is more to life out there.

  • Mike

    To all those who are dating and thinking about marrying an alcoholic.
    Do not do that for any reason.
    I’ve been a fireman for over 20 years.
    I thought I was so skilled at spotting bad behavior and being strong enough to get out of jam.
    This is one I cannot get out of. I was remarried just one year ago and I am so miserable,
    Of course, no one but you all know this.
    I hate my marriage because it was built on lies and deceit.
    Drinkers really think they are fooling people.
    They only fool the ones that want to be fooled.
    I have a sexless marriage that is filled with family baggage of her troubled life.
    If you really want to help the drinker, do so from a distance.
    Find a person who is not burdened by such strong personal demons, that they will destroy themselves.
    All drinkers are self-destructive to their sense of morals.
    See, it was that lack of morals that started the drinking in the first place.
    Please people, learn from me.
    Married one year, miserable, and regretting every time I did ignored the obvious signs, or when I refused to hear sound advice.
    Of course, I thought I was the one who would be different.
    Mistake number one.
    Mistake number two, is not listening to my intuition.
    I made a real stupid mistake getting married to an alcoholic.
    Don’t be me, writing these stories like I am a year after your marriage.
    Pray and love them, BUT they are not spouse material.

  • Julie

    You are absolutely right, Mike. I think back and realize that i married my spouse because i thought i could be the one person who did not give up on him and could make him happy. took me 20 years of anguish to realize that he has to make himself happy. no matter what I did or what happend in our lives he was never happy because he chooses not to be and he chooses to drink…drink…drink.

  • Marie

    You are right Mike, I too was blinded by my husband charisma, and now I know better. I’m the blame to everything that happens in his life. He continuously drinks and when we have disagreements he leaves the house goes to bars and picks up random women. This has been his behavior for some time now but of course it’s me that makes him do these things. I’m miserable and although I do love him I need to get out. I have children from my previous marriage and they’ve been through enough. I’m learning that you can settle differences with an alcoholic, they are irrational, and only see things their way. I’m done and I’m ready to move forward with my life. It hurts but I know that I will be alright.

  • Linda

    August 25th, 2013 at 6:21 am
    One more thing, . Keeping your situation a secret only helps him and harms you. Abusers and addicts thrive on keeping things a secret. It enables them to continue on with their behavior. Mine used to hit me or push me around and then say “what happens in this house stays in this house” like it was a big joke or something. But he was warning me to keep it between us and now i know why. He would say that it would make me look bad, but the truth is he had to keep up appearances so that he could continue his behavoir and the world would think he was a great guy. So think about the real reasons you want to keep things a secret and then act on them to your benefit.
    Julie, Oct 5, 2013
    Thanks so much for your post, This is why My A is worry about who I see and talk too.

  • Ann Hendershot

    I have been married to my A for 33 years. I hope what I share can give young women insight into the things to be aware of in these types of individuals. We married young, when I met him he was shy, quiet and very mannerly and I liked that. There was a girl and a boy in his family and you could tell that his parent’s raised them well. He also was fun, I had dated guys before but nothing like my husband. We went dancing a lot, socialized a lot and had tons of friends. Everyone liked him and I really really liked him. So, lesson learned from my experience is that just because someone is tons of fun, does not mean they will make a good spouse. I married him based on the fact that he was fun, we had fun together and if we married, everything else would just fall into place. Married 33 years and looking back I would never do it again. What started out as innocent partying, socializing and going out never stops for the A. We had 1 child, a daughter, and I pretty much grew up instantly. All of a sudden, I was a parent, and he was not. He was on golf league, once a week, bowling league, once a week and then thought he needed a night out with the guys, once a week, on top of that. Our daughter and I stayed at home while he did all this waiting for him to come home. He would eventually roll in anytime after 2am. A word to the wise….if a married man is out after 2am in the morning, nothing good is going on. Unfortunately, I was too young and in love to even think he would sever my heart but on our 25th wedding anniversary, I found out that he had basically cheated our whole marriage and all of them were with our “so called” socializing friends that we met. Some of the women, we had even invited to our home with their children and I baked, made good food and let our kids play. Lesson #2…watch those so called “good friends”….they will sleep with your husband behind your back. When I found out, I wanted out…our daughter was raised and I was done. He pleaded and said all the right things, said he would get counseling and said he knew he had a problem. That was 10 years ago and he is still drinking. He doesn’t cheat anymore and he is home all the time now but he still drinks and he changes. I have learned to detach and I feel empty and alone. I can’t even have a conversation with him because now that he is older and drinks he has memory problems and can’t even remember what we discussed an hr. ago. I don’t feel like I am a priority to him and I am just tired of his game. Alcoholics are totally about games and if they feel they can always be one step ahead of you they are happy. My advice is to never trust them, always check out their whereabouts and know that just as they need food to survive, they also need to lie to survive. Lying and deceite is a huge part of an alcoholics life and you should never believe them. Also, they love women who can be easily manipulated. I was a dead target for that as I was raised in a strict Catholic home with 6 kids. I was sheltered, naïve and never saw anything bad at home. My father was very loving, hard working and played with us and he my parents taught us to always tell the truth. So, of course, I assumed that everyone else was like that too. Also, about keeping things a secret? My husband also did that..and I did keep things a secret because I wanted everyone to think I had a good husband and it was embarrassing for me. I would have an awful night with the A, get up in the morning and choose my clothing for work the next day based on what clothing would cover the bruises better. I’d go to work with a smile on my face and my husband loved it. When I was young, he even had me believing that if I would just ignore everything he did that the altercation would not have happened. He was a huge bully in our home behind closed doors.

  • Julie

    Linda, I believe that is one of their methods: secrecy. They can pretend to be someone or something they are not if only everyone helps them to hold up their facade. Do not allow the Addicts to convince you to do that. Truth be told. Once the truth comes out their addictive world comes crashing down on them. But it may be that your actions can be a catalyst for this. I found that when i stopped “enabling” my spouse by helping him to get out of situations he had put himself in that not only was there less stress for me as i struggled to “help” him, but the truth began to unfold to the outside world and his lies started to fall apart. It is sad though that he is still in denial and blaming me. But i am starting to fix my life and the children and I are so much happier now that we are focused on us.

  • Mike

    Marie, we make mistakes. Many we live with.
    We’ve all lied about ourselves to other all the time. This time is is us who got sucked into the worst possible lifestyle.
    Drinking is one, cheating s another.
    Infidelity is zero tolerance. For me I would be driving straight to the court house and filing for divorce and never look back.
    There are no excuses for cheating. If drinking made one cheat, then they were too stupid to start in the first place.
    One thing I have learned is to make sure you don’t get involved with a very private, childish person.
    Kids hide things and private means, I have secrets to keep.
    Hey, my wife used to keep emails passwords secret when we were dating saying she was a private person and I bought into it.
    Don;t listen to dumb friends either.
    Secrets are a recipe for disaster.
    Raed every, single post here and you will learn that.
    As I have written before, I almost want to catch my wife cheating, so I can be justified in divorcing her.
    Does my marriage sound awful? You think?
    I will never marry again is this does not work out.

  • Mike

    Married to an alcoholic is so sad because you realize, this is the best it will ever get.
    The dating and courtship. The times you had no clue what was being concealed beneath their lies.
    Even when yo saw some of the bad sneak through, you didn’t want to be judgmental, so you ignored it.
    Sure, you can fool yourself into thinking there is a bright light to hang onto, but it is just an illusion.
    All those signs were warnings to run !!!!!!

  • Olga

    hugely inspirational and miraculous story of how a person can be delivered from the evils of addiction.

  • Bill

    Olga, thanks for sharing. This story is a reminder that things can change in an instant. You know, one of the founders of AA had a real “white light” enter the room when they decided to ask God for help. I love this site!

  • Julie

    Pez you are right it is very sad. But it all depends on the person they are deep inside. And like Olga’s link points out some may have an epiphany and then move on to a road to recovery and later a wonderful fulfilling life. SAdly though some do not. And so far my exah has not. But like you said now that i have seen what he truly is inside i would be surprised if he did anything but keep living like he is until he dies. I knwo that could all change in an instant if he woudl accept God but I am not waiting around for it anymore. I have my life to live and he has his. Under the circumstances we cnanot be together. Very sad since it is the ending of a 20 year hope and dream for me.And yet i am happier now than i ever was since he had been in my life. 🙂

  • Ross

    My soon to be ex husband and I have been part for almost 2 yrs..He acted like he had to leave me and even convinced his attorney that it was me arguing with him that made him leave even though he knew he laid out drinking and God knows what when he first relapsed.After I realized he relapsed I stopped trying to talk with him about why he was so late?I was so heartbroken at all the things that followed his leaving, although he wanted to move home for over a year and a half, he didnt want to quit drinking and he also made out like it was for another reason why he…blah, blah, blah…
    Now I can say that after this length of time it has given me a gift of seeing things how they are.And I am glad I am not in that mess no more!It takes two, and no matter how they try to trick you,one sided doesnt work.I have more peace.Now if I can figure how to support myself as my plan to work fell through because of an accident.Still, Im glad can be me and not allow myself to be taken for granted or mistreated.Yeah, that feels better!

  • Ross

    oops…meant to say..glad Im not in that mess anymore.

  • Debbi

    Most people who are involved with an alcoholic suffer abuse. Just the fact of their drinking and not being available to the family, children, spouses is abuse, even if nothing else occurs. Most of us suffer through quite a lot of it before we decide to start setting our boundaries and exercising our rights to not accept it any longer. In any relationship, even with non-addicts, when one person is giving in all the time and suddenly stops being so accommodating the other person is shocked and many times start to try to use coercion to get their way. If the person does not back down from their boundaries, obviously one of two things will happen: the person will realize and accept they have over-stepped onto the other and accept and make amends or they will escalate it with threats usually causing the breakdown of any relationship. When this person has an addiction all too often the family and friends take more time before setting those boundaries and so the addict is shocked because he/she has been having their way for a long time. For me from now on I will no longer look at addiction as a disease but more like an allergy. If I know I am allergic to a certain food, I chose not to eat it. If a person knows that he is allergic to alcohol or another substance and cannot stop or handle the effects it is their choice. . .Just as it is my choice to walk away, protect myself from the outcome of their choice.

  • Marie

    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for your support during these difficult times. It’s sickening what I have been going through and it’s amazing how our stories are so similar. The secrecy has been part of this relationship, keeping his phone locked or having chats online with random women and trust me they are not innocent either.

    I’ve made the biggest mistake in my life, I want to just wake up from the nightmare. His behavior has caused some financial strain that I’m unable to move at the moment and that makes it even worse.

    What I hate is that my kids love him and have come to trust him but are unaware of what our relationship is like. Although my 15 yrs daughter did mention that she has seen him drunk multiple times and suspects that he’s an alcoholic. He now has made it his business to make it a point to hang out with my 24 yrs old son and his reason is that my son understands him and knows that he is a good guy and that I’m a nag. Yeah I’m a nag because he’s a drunk a liar and a cheater.

    He is in his 40s but acts like he’s in his 20 stays out with my son most of the weekends and when I bring it to his attention his excuse is I’m with your son I’m not doing anything wrong. He is quick to spend money on having a good time partying and believes that it makes him a great person because everyone who hangs out with him has a great time.

    I feel so alone and depressed and what makes it worse is looking at him everyday. I hate the fact that I love him but that is slowly fading away. I pray to GOD every day that he delivers me free from this. I’ve been taken for granted and I’m hurt and in disbelief that I married someone who portrait himself to be someone he was not. Why did he feel the need to charm me and sweep me off my feet and once we married and started living together the true colors came out. How does one live with themselves knowing they brought a family into his miserable world.

    Having this site has helped so much and I want to thank everyone who have shared their stories. It has made me feel some sort of relief knowing that I’m not the only one going through this.

    Thank you Mike for sharing. May GOD bless you and give you the strength to continue in your struggles.

  • Melissa

    We can’t change the behaviors of an addict but there is hope in the rooms of A.A. and N.A. sharing their experience, strength, and hope in overcoming charcter defects by actively working the steps with a sponsor practicing these principles in all their affairs by being honest with themselves admitting that our lifes are unmanageable restoring us to sanity by taking a daily inventory where our actions had harmed others clearing away the wreckage of the past listing resentments where we continued to wrong others making direct amends to them by not repeating the destructive behavior asking God to give us the wisdom to know the difference. It is best to focus on yourselve by turning them over to the care of a higher authority and joining a self help group where you’ll find women struggling with the same situations offering safety in numbers having a built-in support system where you can contact each other so you won’t be alone anymore. If you don’t feel comfortable in this setting, seek out a therapist who can give you spiritual tools maintaining your emotional stabilty applying them to everyday life detaching with love from your addict’s insanity by making practical changes with rational decisions.

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  • scott

    I have been with my wife since 1986, married since 1990. Her father was an alcoholic who died from Cirrhosis at the age of 60. Her mother was emotional abusive to him for their 35 year marriage. Her drank to avoid her and ended up dying because of it. My wife followed the same path, beer in her 20’s and turning to rum in her 30’s which continues today. She is drunk every night by 6pm. It does not involve her work or normal days but at night it is horrible. She turns into her mother.
    I have chronic pain from multiple spine surgeries in the past 10 years. I lost my business and our income went from 150k to 50k so life is not like it used to be. She works and I am on disablity with no hope of returning to work in the future as my disease will continue to eat away at my spine till I die. She often says Because I am on painkillers and need them to function, she can drink…like I have a choice” She reminds me often, when drunk, how I no longer work and she has to. She didn’t work till 2004 when I fell off a roof and my problem was discovered.
    We have two boys who are now living in Illinois and attending college. They both are aware of my condition and their mothers drinking problem. It dd cause emotional issues for both of them seeing how their mom turned into someone else nightly.
    I just had a heart attack and they found emphasema in my lungs so that’s another problem to stack on my health for her to use against me I deal with it all alone. I go to bed at 4-5pm to avoid her ddrunk phase nightly and wake up at midnight while it’s quiet.
    I am not a drinker. I have one or two on occasion but not any regular pattern. My day consists of waking up, popping handful of pills, waiting for them to kick in so I can get out of bed and make coffee. I have severe depressive bouts where suicide is often considered. Life will never get better and I have made sure she will be taken care of after I’m gone with life insurance and investments. She cheated on me in 2012 and I still am not over it. I understand why but have not been able to erase the mental images of it. That’s just another issue I deal with.
    My ONLY relief is we were able to stay living at the beach here in Florida. I can go to the ocean every morning living 2 minutes away and watch the sunrise. I can dream about all my hopes and dreams I had that are gone because of a few stupid choices I made many years ago. I cannot undo them so this is my punishment.
    I constantly have break downs because of my alcoholic wife, who I love but hate. I can’t leave but hate being here. She refuses to stop saying it’s my fault she drinks. She drinks to escape how horrible her life is. Its an awful life, he has to work a job, live at a beach, drive a new car, have more clothes than most dept stores, has healthy kids who are on a good path in life. It’s all my fault. Because I can’t go make 2500 a week anymore and stay home now, I must be having the time of my life. She honestly thinks I have more fun than any human should be allowed to have.
    What’s the point of my post? I am not sure but I felt like getting this off my chest, letting others read and hopefully they realize it’s not so bad for them or not as bad as they thought. I am sure some are much worse. I endure emotional abuse from an alcoholic and have for 10 years. It will not stop till I die, which may be sooner rather than later. My choice is for her to come home and find my cold body with a note so maybe she will stop drinking one day for our kids. MY death with destroy them which is why I am still here. Not for her but for them. There is no escaping an alcoholic spouse who abuses once you have your entire life entwined in theirs. All the therapy in the World won’t fix it. I wish everyone the best and encourage anyone who is in a new relationship with an alcoholic, GET OUT NOW. You cannot help them. Don’t try to fix them, save yourself before you can’t. Good luck everyone

  • CJ

    Living with an alcoholic spouse is not easy. I’ve tried everything this website has suggested. I go to Alanon and still I struggle. Would I have married my husband 20 years ago if I knew then what I know now…no. When I met my husband he did not drink, only his father was an alcoholic. His father died young at 57 due to his alcoholism. His mom, then took her turn and fell into the bottle. Now he thinks he needs to follow in their footsteps I guess. I have 3 wonderful children with him. That I would not change for the world. They are the only things that have pulled me through and have kept me sane.

    It started out by him just drinking beer, then mixed drinks, then mostly booze with a little mix, now it’s straight vodka or brandy. The smell that he sweats out makes you want to vomit. He works away from home during the week now and stays with his Mom. He comes home on the weekends. Why he bothers, I don’t know. He will come home and immediately chug vodka so he will pass out. Wakes up to do it all over again. Monday morning he leaves and we have peace for the week. He could save the gas money and pass out at his Mom’s. He has lost several jobs because he’s been drunk on the job. He’s had 2 DWI’s. Yet he doesn’t think he has a problem with alcohol and says he can quit on his own whenever he wants. He just doesn’t want to right now He’s very smart when it comes to his job. I can’t say he doesn’t know what he’s doing there. It’s just to keep him sober so he can do his job. Without it we are financially strapped. He doesn’t always remember to pay the bills, or doesn’t have enough money left to pay them after he buys his booze. So I have taken that over just so the kids and I have a roof over our heads. He thinks he’s just a paycheck to us. At this point, he’s right. I still love him, I just don’t like him. He makes it hard to like him. He’s very demeaning when he drinks. I don’t need that in my life.

    The kids and I have learned to make a life for ourselves during the week. A peaceful life, a fun life. We dread the weekends. I have begged his Mom to help me get him some help for my husband for years. She’s had the blinders on saying there is nothing wrong with her son. Now that he’s living with her part of the time and it’s right in her face, she’s agreeing he needs help. Hopefully we can get him to see that he in fact is an alcoholic and needs help.

    I would not marry someone who is already an alcoholic or knowingly bring children into a life with an alcoholic. I would rather remain single and not have children than endure the pain alcohol has brought into our life. Love of my children and my faith in God has helped me through.

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