Stop Arguing With an Alcoholic-Ways to end fighting

How can you stop arguing with a husband, wife, son, coworker, daughter or friend who is an alcoholic? It can seem impossible at times because there is constant turmoil and looming anxiety that surrounds the life of an alcohol addicted person.

This following statement is the solid foundation that needs to be built upon:

“It takes two to argue.”

That old cliché seems simple enough to grasp in the intellect, but try to convince the emotions that it is a simple task to smile in the midst of a tornado of anger. The process of turning the other cheek and walking away is difficult when the normal interaction with the alcoholic friend or family member revolves around arguing and fighting.

The vicious cycle can only be broken by removing yourself from the fighting territory.

What if I told you that the two weapons that alcoholics use are anger and anxiety? Does that bring some light into the darkness? Understanding this truth will help you quit fighting with them.

If they can keep you upset, then the focus becomes on you rather than on them. While you’re storming around fuming with anger, then they can point the finger at your behavior rather than looking at their own. In some dysfunctional way this makes them feel better about themselves. When there’s an argument that breaks out it also gives them permission to escape get drunk.

Ways to Stop Fighting With Someone Who Drinks Alcohol

First, let me just say that you are going to have to be patient and easy on yourself if you fail the test when trying to stop fighting with someone who is an active substance abuser. People who drink alcohol regularly can really get under your skin.

Please do your best to apply the following steps with a loving and gentle attitude towards the person who has the drinking problem in your life. Being kind to an alcoholic may be difficult, but it’s necessary. If it is not possible to detach with love, then detaching with anger is better than arguing with the alcoholic.

1) Never have a serious conversation with them when they are drunk.I quit arguing all together when I began to realize it’s pointless to try and reason things out when they have been nipping the bottle. You wouldn’t try to have a rational conversation with someone who has just come out of major surgery and is under the effects of an anesthetic would you? Someone who drinks every day has alcohol in their blood twenty four/seven. Avoid talking about the serious things in life like house payments, bills and children’s health issues when they are inebriated. Wait until they have sobered up then initiate the conversation.

2) Learn to recognize what they do to try and make you start arguing with them. It may be that they criticize you or call you a degrading name. Perhaps they will disapprove of a particular thing that you did and point out your fault in the matter. Once you begin to tune into their tactics you will be able to quit reacting in negative ways.

It will be easier to stop than you think. Just keep trying until you get it right.

3) Keep your mouth shut; if what you have to say is not necessary, kind or true, don’t say anything. This means that you are going to have to keep your composure long enough to think before you respond to something that they have said or just done.

4) When they hurl an insult at you, learn to respond by saying: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Then say nothing else in defense of your character.

5) Politely tell them that you do not care to discuss the matter now. Once you do this, it is not necessary to repeat yourself again as they continue to try and get a negative reaction from you. Go into another room, close the door and start reading a book or watch TV or something. You can even leave the house and go for a walk or call a friend and go visit. Do whatever it takes to stop arguing with the problem drinker.

There are many other things that I could share with you, but remember the foundational goal is to stop arguing by remembering that it takes two people to have a fight. If you refuse to step into the fighting arena, then there will be no argument. Now, be prepared for your husband, wife, son, daughter or coworker to get even more angry when you refuse to be a part of the habitual lifestyle anymore. The only way to put an end to the dysfunctional cycle is to not participate anymore. You really can quit arguing and totally stop fighting with an alcoholic.
Alcohol Addiction Family Help

How to Stop Arguing With an Alcoholic

89 comments to Stop Arguing With an Alcoholic-Ways to end fighting

  • […] can I quit fighting with an alcoholic? It takes tow to argue. Just refuse to fight or to get into heated discussions about senseless […]

  • Alys

    Do these tips work if the alcoholic is a parent?


    what if they are violent

  • anon

    None of these work for me. My mother likes to argue. If I try to be nice or ignore her, and she sees she isnt getting a reaction out of me, she’ll keep doing things. First she’ll take my phone away. If I still dont react she’ll take my computer. If I still don’t react she’ll just keep on screaming for hours and telling me horrible things until she gets her satisfaction of me crying.

  • chris

    I am ready to try anything to save our family. Such a waste.

  • sandra

    yes these are all true,but i need to stop my self when it comes to argueing iam all ways trying to point out how this effects us,not just him or not just me US,so i just put my foot down and i wont tolaratit any more,i own my owe home,he can leave we are not married,iam very strong about this,if you are in the kinda thing iam into ,where hes just liveing with you and your trying to make it work and he wont meet you half the way,cut all your feelings becouse it doesnt matter how you feel ,they will never see the truth,

  • Caitlyn

    If you keep getting attacked verbally by the alcoholic walk away from them. Remove yourself out of their zone. Keep walking untill they aren’t there anymore. Harder for a child with an alcoholic parent. Perhaps you could take yourself to a safe haven like a good friend for a temporary refuge. Keep going there to the refuge until they realise you aren’t standing up for the verbal abuse and bad behaviour. I think it would be a fair assessment of alcoholics in general to summarise them up as behaving like a 3 year old. Not quite mature and yet punishing those around them when life doesn’t go according to their plan or when things don’t go their way. They respond with child like behaviour such as snatching an item from the family member or their spouse to cause upset and reaction which then in turn feeds their anger gene. They release their anger then comfort themselves with a bottle of alcohol in the way a young child comforts themselves with a bottle of milk or thumb sucking. Alcoholics have in many cases never grown up and through their choice of the bottle, they have never dealt with life and living here and maturing in the way the rest of us have. As soon as something ‘they just can’t cope with’ emerges they reach out for the bottle to numb the growing up gene. And so they stay stuck on the level of a 3 year old that throws trantrums when they don’t get what they want or they don’t understand something about a relationship. They need to grow up and deal with things for a chance at healthy and balanced relationships.

  • Chloe

    Caitlyn, very well said! You hit the nail right on the head. Alcoholics are emotionally stunted like the three year old you described. I LOVE how you compared it to thumb sucking to self comfort. My husband has been sober for almost a month next week, and even though it is SO MUCH BETTER, other issues have recently come up. This past Monday I had noticed several days of him moping around the house acting very apathetic and very bored with life. So I asked what was wrong and he said life sucks because it is boring. I told my husband, “Welcome to reality 101, my dear.” Life can be boring, monotonous, and tedious in the best of times. We sober healthy folk who have not been self medicating, numbing, and evoking artificial highs through substances are used to this and learn to cope. We learn how to make the most of life given what we have to work with, and learn how to deal in a healthy functional way with the expected highs, lows, and in betweens. My husband has not learned this up to this point as much, and I pointed this out to him. I had to get a little tough with him, and remind him he is not in a cancer ward, burn unit, prison, third world country, or work camp in North Korea tonight. He is not in a million worse places than he could be so buck up, put a smile on that mopey face, and stop being such a downer dud just because he can’t escape reality every night. He needs to now think and act on new ways to cope with anger, irritation, and BOREDOM rather than sucking on his adult pacifier (as you Caitlyn so eloquently put it 🙂 called red wine and COPE! Marriage, working, two kids, mortgages, yard work, home repairs, and middle age is not one big 24/7 party. Welcome to the big boy sober club, dear! Anyway, getting tough on my husband works, so I told him to get his butt over to the gym or go on a mountain bike ride to get the natural seratonin flowing. I said you are not a burn victim or cancer patient so go now!!! He did and has been much much more agreeable and upbeat this week because he knew what I said was correct 🙂 Also, I reminded him that his downer dud behavior was very selfish behavior in a marriage because it made me feel depressed too.

    If your partner does sober up, you may likely find some issues rearing up to the surface where the alcoholic is emotionally stunted. For the first week, my husband was very irritable and then that settled into apathetic boredom. My husband, WHEN SOBER, will take criticism and try to change if he thinks it’s valid. I think he did get it when I kind of read him the riot act so to speak. For the rest of the week, he made a big effort to perk up, interact, and joke with me and the kids. I know he is REALLY trying to change his ways. He said he is trying to change and I’m amazed at how far we’ve come in almost one month!

    Try to keep the faith, friends. Some alcoholics do become sober and turn their lives around. It’s only been a month here but I am very very hopeful!! 🙂 Just thought I’d post how their sobriety is not always a bed of roses…but soooooooo much better than dealing with the horrible Mr. Hyde!

    Caitlyn, thanks for your post as it reminded me to remember that he has to learn coping skills from having had his adult pacifier all these years.

  • rocio

    chloe, thank you for posting your story, it has given me a glimmer of hope. My husband is an alcoholic. He has not tried to fix this situation yet but i keep hoping and praying. I have never thought of it as boredom but this has shed new light on the subject.

  • Kelli

    Feeling hopeless

  • Ava

    Kelli! Hope you are still there!!
    Alcoholism and addiction is a disease. (Even recognized as such by the U.S Supreme Court in 1957). The facts of women afflicted with alcoholism is highly depressing!!! (Of course, we always get the “short end”, haha)!
    Alcoholic women are 50-100 times more likely to die from this disease!! Scary and sad, yes. There is hope, though. There IS ALWAYS what was left for humanity in Pandora’s box. Be safe n know people care. Be kind to yourself. We are here for a reason?-Ava

  • byron

    i just separated from my alcoholic girlfriend. she chose to party and drink with friends instead of trying to move forward. she just graduated with a ba in english. i think a lot of it has to do with financial burdens from school. she moved back home and is unable to find a job that she feels she deserves. she doesn’t like the fact that i don’t enable self destructive behavior. i have been sober and away from alcohol for 11 years and i guess i realize that i can’t change her and she needs to take this on by herself. it is maddening since i was the breadwinner of the couple. 2 weeks ago i gave her 400 dollars to pay our bills, and she disappeared for a couple of days, only to call at 3 am saying we needed to break up cause she was with two guys and she didn’t want to cheat on me. needless to say, the bills never got paid.

    i understand where she is at in her head. she has alcoholism on both sidea of the family and she initially gravitated toward me because i was sober. a lot has changed. i am not bitter, i realize that this is where she is, but i guess the hard part is her lack of tact and inability to give me space. i will not support her any more, won’t give her any more money, and neither will her parents.

    i hope that someday she finds peace with herself, and will take control. i love her with all my heart, but i am unwilling to watch her destroy herself.

  • Jules

    I am pretty sure I responded to this post some time ago but cannot find it. I really wanted to see what I wrote then, because it was so hard to accept and to apply the advice given in this article. I just could not be kind – a part of me had been so devastated by my alcoholic’s personality change, moral decay, stupid thoughtless choices. I remained in the abusive environment with him for a number of reasons – financial, co-dependency, depression and disbelief that someone I had known for so long could change so much. His alcoholism had been slowly progressive – although there were signs of change for a few years before things went completely off the wall. I just learned to dodge it somehow. In a sense, I was already somewhat “detached” at that point. But when things really started spiraling, I lost my ability to detach. I was deeply hurt, shaken, totally messed up myself by it all. I became frozen. I argued, I kept asking him for answers he could not give me. I brought up the stupid choices, the painful stuff. I was not capable of showing him kindness. He had betrayed me so deeply that I could not think straight. For three years, I did battle with him every single day and every single day for three years, he found ways to twist things around so that whatever awful thing he had done, it was my fault. He had my head so messed up, made me feel guilty and bad about myself. But this is not who he was when I met him, and for most of the years together. He was a decent person. Alcoholism brought a monster, an absolute vile side of him – but it was not overnight. I have a suspicion he might have been using something else during this time to have changed him so drastically. He got a DUI, got involved in a crazy legal mess, financial issues, stuff that just wasn’t him. He lost all reason and all logic. He was no longer the kind, considerate and compassionate man I married. However, when I started to make some changes for myself, to look at my co-dependency and how I could not depend on anyone else to make me happy – that was my job – I started to see things differently. I was able to be kinder in a gradual way – that was not overnight by a long shot. He was put on antidepressant medication that actually helped – despite the fact that he still drinks. I think the passage of time and not being abused by him verbally gave me the space I needed to understand now to not argue with him, to show kindness – but it is kindness at a distance – and to pick myself up and gain a little self-esteem back. I feel as if I have been in an emotional war, one that has left me battered and I don’t have any illusions about him anymore. But now I am able to be kind, to show compassion because I do understand that he suffers from an illness. He expresses regret and remorse now, and I do the best I can not to bring up the past. It is not perfect, but I can control my emotions a lot better now, and show kindness to a person whose sickness caused him to do a lot of damage to others and to himself. Prayers to all who come here, that peace and kindness come your way.

  • Dave Wolf

    Good advice, although a little frustrating; from what I’ve just read, I’ve already done everything correctly, and now I just need to know the next step is. I was hoping someone would suggest that, but maybe I’m already handling it well?

    Here’s how I’ve handled my situation so far before reading the above advice (or even knowing that this page existed, for that matter):

    A longtime friend of mine has a serious problem with drinking. He loves every minute of it, he does it all the time far above normal levels, and he cheerfully admits that all he does is party at bars with his wife – which, of course, means that he’s not going to want to listen to me if I tell him how I feel. He freely admits that it’s his reason for living. He knows very well that I’ve never drank, done drugs or anything else. Fortunately, he’s in another state, which makes it easier for me.

    I have him on my Facebook account, and whenever I’ve tried writing correspondence and we have written to visit back and forth, I always did my best to keep the conversation light. He’s basically let it be known that he does not feel comfortable with me calling him voice, as basically he’s strongly hinted that he is afraid of my possibly going to give him some sort of lecture (even though I’ve never brought his drinking up nor mentioned it). I respect his wishes and don’t call.

    So in our private messages, I’ve just visited about light things and kept talking positive, and he knows how much I care about him; he, on the other hand, has grown terribly cynical, and after a while he started sneaking in little things in his correspondence trying to see if he could make me angry or get some sort of rise out of me. Whenever he did this, I simply ignored the negative remarks and focused on the positive things he would share.

    Finally, one day he got sick and tired of waiting for me to fire the first shot. He sent me a scathing email doing its best to attack and upset me in any way he possibly could, accusing me of all sorts of things and saying tons of things that were flat out not true (I strongly suspect he was in the midst of a hangover when he wrote it). I was startled as he had never done that to me before in all the years I’ve know him, but I had braced myself beforehand in case it happened. So I basically replied with an answer saying, “It’s okay, I don’t mind you sharing how you feel, I’m alright with that as you have the right to feel however you like. I don’t mind at all, and am always willing to lend an ear.”

    Well, needless to say, he didn’t like that one bit. He attempted to send me an email reply back right away, but when I noticed that he did that, the first thing I thought to myself was “If I know this guy anywhere near as well as I think I do, he’s going to try to get a response out of me by making a big emotional scene of supposedly just walking away and saying that he doesn’t want to be friends anymore. I’m not going to play that little game.” So I deliberately didn’t open/read it (otherwise it alerts the sender that you’ve read it) and I simply went about my own business for three weeks.

    Only then did I send him a long email caringly expressing my concerns and assuring him that he would never have to worry about making me mad, or of my judging him, or of my accusing him of anything, or anything like that, and that whenever he wanted any support he would always have my shoulder to lean on and that he was always welcome to contact me, and that in the meantime I was just going to go about my business and wait. I sent it off, and even though early in the morning it alerted me that he read it fifteen minutes later (!), and of course when I had sent my note off only then did his earlier attempt at a reply appear: I had been right. He was attempting to say that he and I were not going to be friends anymore.

    Yet here months later, he still has me on his friend list. He hasn’t blocked me, still allows me to see his wall, and I can still message him should I ever choose to. He moves me around between his friend list categories all the time, and on my end that means he goes back and forth every few days between total silence and bombarding me with “alerts” of his activity. They go between offensive alerts, to silence, to casual updates, to personal updates, to silence again, and back all over again.

    To be frank, he’s reminding me of an ex-girlfriend who claims she doesn’t want to be with you anymore yet keeps ringing your answering machine without leaving messages; for someone who announced we supposedly weren’t friends anymore, he sure seems to be trying hard to get my attention. I find it childish and simply ignore his alerts. I know when he wants help that he’ll let me know.

    So he’s tried extremely hard to drag me into an argument, but each time I never got mad and simply replied with lots of love. I’m an extremely patient man: he hasn’t tried my patience, but it is wearying waiting for the day when he does decide he needs help. I just quietly go about my business as usual and meanwhile he knows where to find me.

    So it is good to see that I’ve handled it well according to what I’ve just now read above; I’m not sure what the heck he thinks he’s doing (still trying to get a negative response out of me?), but it would appear he might be keeping my name around as a possible “lifeline”, since he knows that if he changes his mind and wants to clean himself up he can contact me.

    What do you think?

  • Dave Wolf

    P.S. I forgot to mention: I’m in my forties, and this is someone I’ve known since grade school. 😉

  • JC

    Thanks Dave for sharing. Alcoholism and alcoholics are cunning, baffling and powerful. As I read your story, I wondered why this is bothering you so? Did something serious happen to cause the distance or is this just the “insanity” that accompanies alcoholic relationships? I recently heard from Anthony Robbins that we have 6 basic human needs:

    1. Certainty
    2. Variety
    3. Significance
    4. Connection
    5. Growth
    7. Contribution

    He says if someone fulfills three of these needs that we become addicted to that person. I wonder if the opposite is true where we would feel abandoned or rejected if the majority of these needs aren’t being met by someone.

    Anyway, it appears that there’s uncertainty, disconnection and insignificance at work in this relationship. You are also offering to contribute to the betterment of your friend’s life and he is rejecting your offer. More on the subject here: Can An Alcoholic Meet Your Basic Human Needs

    The thing I have to guard myself against is letting someone rent too much space in my head, especially an addict. In relationships with alcoholics, I can find myself obsessing over their behaviors, trying to fit together a puzzle of insanity that just won’t come together with all of the dysfunctional pieces I have in hand. No matter how many times I look at the elements form different angles, nothing makes any sense.

    Here are a few articles that may help:

    How To Let Go Of An Alcoholic
    I’m Obsessed With An Alcoholic
    Understanding The Alcoholic’s Personality
    Personality Of The Alcoholic
    How To Communicate With An Alcoholic

  • Dave Wolf

    Hi. 😉 No, it’s nothing like that, fortunately. Basically, to put a long Christian story short, I’ve been asked to be his personal intercessor and pray for him in my spare time when I can. His personality has changed so drastically that he’s violently cut off anybody who doesn’t drink, including his own family, and his “disowned” parents are worried sick; they’re terrified that any day now they’ll get a call that he and his wife have been found in a car wreck. So I’ve been asked as his one remaining “clean” friend to keep him in prayer and to encourage him should he choose to write; I said no problem as we were always close.

    So when he did write for a while, I simply kept things light, and well, I wrote the rest above. 😉

    I feel good about it, though. He now knows that even if there’s no one else to turn to he can at least come to me if he ever needs one, and I’m just going about my business as mentioned. My personal feelings are that, since in his real personality he was always a conscientious person, he’ll eventually make his decision to clean up and then help his wife do so, or maybe she will first and help him, or maybe even both together. Either way, I have faith that he’ll eventually make the choice to stop even if I’m never around again. So I keep praying to help him along. I’m not worried since I know that even if I never see him again now, eventually I will again in heaven. 😉

  • JC

    Excellent Dave! I heard a woman in an AA meeting say once that she was running away from God and ran right into him. My pastor says that it’s our job to pray and to leave the results to God. In my experience, God has been faithful to send people across the paths of those I pray for, it is then up to them to make their own choice. In the end, for your own convictions, if anything were to ever happen to your friend, you can know that you put works behind your faith. I had a very close friend who committed suicide. Although I was struck with great grief, I had experienced no guilt because on numerous occasions I’d shared Christ with him and even encouraged him to go to AA.

    Here is the entry from my journal about my friend:

    I just got the news that Gary, a long time and once very close friend, hung himself last night. I am very sad, but I know that his blood is not on my hands. I had shared the gospel with him several times. I keep thinking that it’s not true that someone is lying and playing a sick joke. I will win more souls for Jesus. I will tell many of His love for them. I will not ever stop proclaiming that His blood is powerful enough to save the whole world. DANG IT!

    Gary Will be Missed 12-3-06

    Gary will be missed, but there are others to follow
    We touch one today and many more tomorrow

    Never giving up because one just couldn’t get it
    Passing God’s purifying fire to burn in all who will let it

    Never looking back with regret about yesterdays
    Because we do our best in every situation everyday

    Gary, I’m going to miss you… I hope to see you again
    Goodbye buddy you were an amazing friend

  • Dave Wolf

    Thank you very much for the compliment, Jordy. 🙂 I can certainly relate with what you’re saying, and I was genuinely touched by the letter you shared. It’s always really hard having to deal with watching someone you love do that to themselves. I take it you were praying/interceding for him as well?


  • Dave Wolf

    P.S. I thought the automated reply I got identified your first name as Jordy. If that’s incorrect, please accept my apologies.

  • Janice

    I am In a relationship with an alcoholic who has been living with me for the last six months. We lived together 10 years ago, and his addiction caused us to split up after a year. Now since he came back, I have helped him get a job recently in a neighboring state and spent hundreds on gas, motels, and his booze, only now he is coming up with excuses not to reimburse me for those expenses. Today he gets his first weekly check, about a grand, and tells me since I wouldn’t take him today in a blizzard and he had to take his truck, I am not getting the three hundred he promised. I am a whore, a slut, stupid, have no common sense, and a hater, according to him. I get sucked into these stupid arguments daily, and feel so abandoned, I want to just leave. He has been living off me for months, and I got laid off recently, and have no income at present, and he says I am just a money grabber, and only after his money when I mention things like the shut off notices. I feel like such an idiot for taking the last of my funds and using them on this bum. He always blames me for these arguments and has started telling me to leave. Should I? I don’t know how I feel any more about him or this situation. He also has started calling his ex girl friend, who he claims he is just friends with, talking about old times with her, and says he will continue. Yet he screams at me for looking at another guy. What’s up with that? Is he cheating or about to go back with her?

  • I am pregnant and my Fiancé’ is an alcoholic. He is verbally abusive and has a wicked tongue when he drinks. We don’t have friendly conversations, everything is an argument and there is no peace between us. Its amazing to me the way he manages to twist our arguments. He is sick. I don’t know this man anymore. I have left him and try not to contact him unless i have to. He will call me when he starts to miss me, after drinking, or a bad fight or when he is feeling remorseful but not broken over what he has done. I feel like I am talking to a wall when i talk to him. He is controlling mean and unstable. I am scared that when the baby comes he will be worse, I don’t know what to expect or what to do. I pray and stay away. He has threatened me with taking me to court for custody once i have the baby if him and i aren’t going to be together. This is stressful

  • Brenda

    It’s s different kind if emotional response when it’s your loved one, someone you live with that’s torturing you. It’s not easy to not engage. My fiancé just got out of jail 2 weeks ago after trying to kill me 2 months ago in a drunken, drug fueled rage and within 2 days he’s buying cocaine and last night baits me in an argument telling me how I think the world revolves around me because I wouldn’t allow one of his abusive contacts at my house. He does this so he can drink and drug I think. He mopes around a lot acting bored. He hasn’t a clue how to live a sober satisfying life. I try to show him, he insults me. He complains that we need to make plans, he needs to be on the go 24/7. He calls me the worst names, cunt, bitch, saying I disgust him and he’s not attracted to me. Mind you, I am by most standards an attractive girl, but when someone insults you, it’s almost impossible to get over. Tons of people have told me to let him go. Even his parents have said he’s a liar and a list cause. But I keep standing behind him, hoping.

    He has no money. He’s been living off the money I squirreled away for him. I have been paying almost everything myself and he invites this person who threatened me two months ago to my house. I got up and left. So he calls me 5 minutes later to tell me he’s moving out. I come home so I can be here when he leaves and he continues with the baiting. He’s good at it too, sometimes being quiet but saying nasty things so I raise my voice and he can be like “see you’re the one who’s yelling”. I refuse to argue so he starts saying nasty things to himself about me trying to bait me. It really is ridiculous. So last night I see he blows $300 on God knows what after I’ve been living on the cheap for months and months going without. Yep, the world sure does revolve around me.

  • sc

    Oh Brenda, you need to get away from him, he may kill you. Reread what you wrote, this is serious.

  • Ninja

    It’s impossible for us not to fight and here is why. When he drinks, I won’t let him touch me sexually. I CANNOT stand his personality, the stupid crap he says, the meanness and most of all, his reeking, nasty booze breath breathing all over me. It’s like a killswitch for my libido. Of course, when he is drunk, which is every single night, he wants me more than when sober, so the fights are inevitable. When I have allowed him his husbandly perogative, I lie there is abject misery, silent tears of disgust rolling down my cheeks, counting the minutes when it will be over and he will roll over in a drunken stupor and leave me alone. I knew he was a drunk when I married him, and have regretted marrying him since the first night. My life is a special kind of self-inflicted hell, and I feel completely hopeless.

  • mdh

    Dave Wolf, you’re my hero. no sarcasm. bravo sir.

  • shelly

    I can relate to so many things I have read here today. One gal said that her alcoholic “tortures her” I feel that every day. The baiting and the cruel comments from somebody you once loved is so painful. I feel no love for this person any longer, I feel pity. As I watch him suck down that booze night after night after night, and smell it on him and then listen to the garbage that comes out of his ridiculous mouth, I think to myself “will he even remember this in the morning?” A day does not go by when he doesn’t drink. He goes away for a few days and he has his cooler with beer and liquor and he thinks I don’t notice. He had surgery and he insisted they let him go early because he “would not be couped up in a hospital!!” Of course I knew it was because “he would not be kept away from his liquor!!” He thinks he fools people, but he’s only fooling himself. The fighting and prodding goes on daily. He beats me down until I break down and cry, he’s not content until I do. I find it harder to cry lately, therefore he’s more cruel and heartless….I don’t understand what kind of satisfaction or power he feels from that? I try to get away, but he just follows me. I try not to get depressed, but it’s hard. Life with a drunk is just too hard.

  • Margaret

    I have lived this every day for months. I have only been married a short time. Everything you just described about your alcoholic is exactly the same with mine. It got to the point where I was eventually trapped without transportation a job or money and HAD no where to go but be tortured day in and day out by his drunkenness self discussions,internet porn, texting ex’s, other females, hallucinations, evil comments,bars,laughing at me, put downs, trashing the house, etc. He knew my vehicle needed repairs while I was driving it to work everyday but would not help with the repairs. He would keep telling me “pay your own way” when he made close to 8 grand a month to my 2500. He needed me as a resource for his drinking. So here I am now getting evicted, no running vehicle, 2oo bucks to my name. He left me because I can no longer pay rent, utilities, etc. This man is my husband. I’m overwhelmed by disbelief and grief, shell shocked, embarrassed, ashamed, lonely. I had no clue what was coming when I married him. He treated me like a queen the first year before we were married. I caught on to his “hiding mini tequila bottles” in his truck, drawers, patio, closet, pockets, garage. Mentioning he needed help was what made me the “enemy” and not the love of his life anymore. I never was the love of his life it was his alcohol and I was his ticket to MORE alcohol. His body has started showing deterioration, he vomits in the early morning, can’t control his bowels, smells like he is rotting and overwhelmed the house with it. I find the glasses in the kitchen cabinet spread out in different areas of the house food in bowls under my bathroom sink, half eaten burritos in my filing cabinet in between legal documents. It’s comical and a tragedy at the same time. I pray God will heal him from his deep pain and fear and shame. I cry and my heart will ache so heavily if I think for more than a few seconds of it so I distract myself with other things. I can write for weeks if I don’t stop now. Thanks for reading. You are not alone.

  • dazed and confused

    Hugely confused. I’ve been with my alcoholic partner for ten years. When we met he was sober, he told me he was an alcoholic but swore he was never going back to that. I promised I would never judge him for it. Needless to say, about 6 months in something happened that he couldn’t cope with emotionally so he started drinking again. There have been many highs and lows over the years and although I knew deep down there was a problem, for the most part we got along ok. He was unhappy in his job, so we discussed options and I supported him while he went back to University to retrain. He started his own business which was frustratingly slow to get off the ground but is now doing quite well. Three years ago we had an incident which shocked me to the core. His best friend had split up with his fiancee, we were out in a group and I was talking to his friend, he suddenly decided this must mean we were having an ayffair and I was the reason they had split up. He grabbed me by the throat. I stormed out, went home, locked the door and threw a bag of his stuff out the window. We split for a few months and he persuaded me to take him back, promising nothing like that would happen again and he would stop drinking, go to AA etc. Things were good for a while but his drinking started again,slowly building up until now he is drinking every night. He picks arguments all the time, he makes nasty little comments to get a reaction. I’ve got pretty good at ignoring them but sometimes I can’t help myself react. Then he accuses me of starting the argument. On a daily basis I am told I am grumpy, or aggressive, or not communicating. He tells me all about his day, asks a couple of derogatory questions about my day while telling me what I should have done differently, then spends the evening drinking, watching sport and messaging people on his phone. Then at bedtime he will want sex and if I’m tired or not in the mood, I’m being unreasonable, or ‘obviously having an affair’, or ‘not interested in him’,even though he isn’t really interested in me for anything else! Last night really blew up. Sick of the same old argument (which started over a green pepper), I was so sick of the insults and being told what a terrible person I am, that I called his bluff and told him I wanted to split up. The crocodile tears started but I didn’t go backwards. He actually called his best friend and left the house around midnight.
    Now I’m confused, part of me wants to make it up but my head is saying he won’t ever change,if I take him back then I have no excuse, I know exactly what I’m in for. Need strength!!

  • michael

    I will try to keep this short…..We went to Key West for 3 days…..She said it was like a honey moon; the best vacation she has ever had. We get back Sunday and she works Monday and goes to bed early getting 11 hours solid sleep. She is up and around and has to go get her dog and get her nails and toes done. Well, she is gone from 4 pm to 8 pm. I knew trouble was brewing. I called her and she slurred her voice and spoke erratically. I live not too far away so I had to verify my worse fears and sure enough she is drunk as a skunk. What bothered me was her admitting she was with another man at a bar while she left her dog in the car on a hot summer afternoon. Well, we argued in circles but I got out of there. I have had enough of this chaos of 4 years………She will come crawling back I suppose. God help me I will not have anything more to do with her. What a destructive disease. And what I have shared is just the tip of the iceberg.

    ps: her daughter called and accused her of being drunk because her speech was slurred to verify/confirm my suspicions…….

  • The article states….Someone who drinks every day has alcohol in their blood twenty four/seven. Avoid talking about the serious things in life like house payments, bills and children’s health issues when they are inebriated. Wait until they have sobered up then initiate the conversation:…… If so when can one talk to them .. At 4:59..right when the withdrawal symptoms start because the BA is the lowest of the day…Good luck slip out the back Jack.

  • Harriet b

    I can so relate to everyone. Husband alcoholic when I met him 18 years ago. He started drinking again behind my back. Then it escalated. In sept 2013 he took my motorcycle out in a drunken stupor. No helmet crashed was helicoptered to trauma center with brain injury. He is sober since accident (2-1/2 years) but is angry at system when it was his Fault. Lost driver license had to sell our business is lame in hand arm and leg. Spent a month in jail and in July when he gets license returned has to have a breathalyzer installed in car for a year. I took myself to Alanon so I could cope with a 15 year old in a mans body. I actually was looking for info in an upcoming business trip that he promised the new owner of his business he would do. Of course the first night at seminar is a cocktail party! Not a thing I can do about his choices that night. He is going to meetings (AA) but this will be hard and I know I can’t do or say anything to sway him anyway. This website so amazing as I read heartbreaking stories I know there is always hope for all of us and choices. If I had to do it again, I would RUN. Young people you have your whole life ahead of you. Better to live it alone than with a user/abuser. I really love my husband but even love has human limits. I’ll let you know what happens when we return from trip on 4/24/15. Harriet

  • Jacquelene

    I’ve been dealing with my fiancé getting so drunk and drinks at work even, but when I say anything he flips out on me!! I don’t know how much more I can take. He can’t hold a job, he’s angry and when I try and tell him I know he’s lying and I know he’s wasted, he flips out on me! I don’t know what to do anymore! I love him so much but it is ruining my life!

  • Steve

    My wife drinks almost every day/night – Its doesnt take much for her to slow words, talk rubbish, shout at the kids for making a noise and then laugh in the next sentence.

    It makes me angry now and sad but what’s worse is the impact on the children.

    We’ve already had two house fires and whilst my wife promises she doesn’t drink while im at work, we know she does. So many bottles of wine hidden, broken doors, ruined carpets.

    My drunk wife trying to tell our children off drunk just isn’t fair.

    Ultimatums don’t work, pouring all the bottles down the drain doesn’t work, trying to show her love doesn’t seem top work either. Ive even asked the Doctor for advice and nothing.

    The worst thing is if I leave I shall have to take the kids for their own safety.

    The worst thing is she doesn’t believe she has a problem but even her parents have told her to stop.

    Im just afraid the only time she will stop is when its too late. My kids deserve better.

  • terry

    I know how Steve feels. It’s like a roller coaster. I pump myself up during the day imaging a life of quite and comfort. But as soon as I get home I realize it’s just a dream. So drunk can’t as talk,stand and usually passed out by 5 . I know I deserve a better life but it’s hard to walk. I keep thinking I’m doing myself no good. But what to do. The only time it will end will be the end

  • stolenunder

    And if you AREN’T on the winning side? What if the drunk truly is correct? What if YOU (as the sober one) has been late on rent, bills, etc, and the drunk person in question brings into light a good point. That you truly are the “deadbeat”. That THEY (they drunk) is correct. Are the wrong? Are they simply bringing their feelings into view? Expressing themselves for the first time? What if they’re truly not violent?

    You’re ONE great counter-argument is that “an angry drunk is a violent drunk”. What if this is the ONE-IN-A-MILLION angry drunk who is NOT VIOLENT, and is IN THE RIGHT? What then? I live with my GF and two other roommates. One is the “drunk” and the other is their girlffriend. Yet I kind of side with the drunk. For one he is “NON-VIOLENT”. I doubt he’s raise a hand against anyone. His SITSTER stabbed him with a pen! and he didn’t do a thing. He has literally never assaulted anyone, ever. Yet he still has these bouts similar to an “angry-drunk”. All he does is “verbally-assault” yet even that is an overstatement since he never name-calls or politically assaults. Literally all he does is bring up things that other people have done. He doesn’t bring himself up, unless brought up, and doesn’t name-call or anything.

    Is he right, or wrong? The GF cries and gets upset, of course, but I mean… he hasn’t really done anything. And he kind of has a point. Originally he paid her rent for almost 2 months (over 400$) and her pet fee( of 300$), AND he has CONTINUOUSLY paid her internet fee of 15$ a month for almost 2 years! (while he was in college working barely over 24 hours a week). I mean… he may be spouting all of this stuff when he’s drunk… but maybe the drunkenness has finally given him courage to speak his mind. Again, he’d never hurt anyone. You may as well wish for Ghandi to punch the most annoying person in the world, because he has never lifted a finger, period, even when he’s most drunk it’s literally insane.

  • Adam

    The problem I have is me and my partner we have 2 children a little toddler and a boy of 9 we’ve been together for over 10 years. It’s frustrating that she will have such a vile tongue and personality argue and say such horrible things screaming at the top of her voice so even if I’m in the bedroom trying to keep my distance I can hear her shouting out her insults sometimes trying to degrade me as a man and provoke me then cry wolf and say im abusive if the argument does get heated. Then waking up the kids and while they are awake she just carry on and them seeing there mum behave like that I don’t want them to think it’s normal. it’s also very embarrassing as I know the neighbors hear everything. She doesn’t drink much but if there’s any time we have disagreement or small argument she will go have a drink. I dread the weekends
    because we are still quite young and as it’s the weekend that’s her justification and will buy spirits. I used to try and stop her but she hides the drink or will even leave the house early hours of the morning to get alcohol by foot by her self and the area we live in is not great so now I just buy it for her because I can’t stop her but I can try and control the amount. If I refuse to buy her alcohol she won’t talk to me, gives me the cold shoulder, refuses to sleep with me list goes on. Usually the following Saturday shes in bed with a hangover till 3/4 in the afternoon housework neglected, kids hungry and I have to do everything when this is meant to be my day off work. When she is not drinking our relationship is great.

  • Tersia

    Very good advise , and yes it works ! I just keep to myself and keep quiet when the alcohol-impersona starts taking over my husband, I have taught my children that too , it is still not nice (especially when the insults starts raining down on us) but by us keeping our mouths shut at that moment – prevents so many unnessacary fights from breaking out – it also remains sad as we loose so much respect for him .

  • Deb

    Adam, I don’t know if my info will help you in particular but maybe it will help someone else. My alcoholic husband had quite a few before he got home and then had 4 after he got home. He started antagonizing me about a non-alcohol related issue. He just kept trying to start an argument in front of our 6 year old son. Finally, I lashed out about his tobacco use, which is also a problem, and said a few mean things. Mostly that if he continues to use it he may get cancer and die and then he wont be around for our son. Probably not the best thing to say or do in front of our son but he kept trying to poke at me. So then he wanted to have an argument and i told him sternly that we would talk tomorrow. He would say some mean things and then keep asking me why i wanted to wait till tomorrow to talk. Im sure he knew why but after 20 mins or so I finally told him it was because he had been drinking. He continued to try to push my buttons to get me to argue back. I felt like i was dealing with a teenager. It’s frustrating to deal with him like this AND have to wait till the following day to finish an argument. He had to work the next day and I knew I’d be home before he did and then we could talk before he started to drink. The next day we talked and he understood why i wanted to wait to talk to him and said that it was a good idea. I’m trying to work on this marriage and it’s been difficult lately. My husband knows what situations make him drink more, like hanging out with his friends and he doesnt have the control to stop after a couple. He tells me he is working on doing better. He’ll start of doing well and then gradually start to get worse. I have gained a lot of knowledge and useful tips from this site and appreciate everyone who shares their stories and and what has worked or not worked for them. Adam, I know you want to purchase your wife’s alcohol to control how much and to keep her out of a bad area but i dont think that’s a good idea. I refuse to buy alcohol for my husband. I used to buy it every other day and sometimes daily. I almost always had my son with me when I purchased it. If i told him we were going to the gas station, he would ask me if it was to buy gas or buy beer for daddy. It would break my heart when he would ask that. Now he buys it himself and right now we are at the getting worse stage. I’m trying to hang on but i dont know how much longer i can do this.

  • Pat Balvanz

    My husband is the alcoholic. I used to go with him to the bars and we would get in huge fights right there. I finally wised up, and now I don’t go with him. I have forbidden him to bring alcohol into our home, and he is not doing that–maybe only twice in 10 years. He will go out and get drunk and then come home and try to start a fight. I used to scream back at him. We have no children in the home, so it’s the just the neighbors to be concerned about. Now I try very hard to “smile and shut up”. It is working better than the screaming. Sometimes I write him a note the next day to explain how he is hurting our relationship, his health, etc., he acknowledges “You’re right.” or “I’ve got to do something about it”. But he won’t go to AA or do anything. He’ll back off the drinking for a day or two and go right back to it. It’s sad. I’ve done just about everything: leaving him for a week, asking some guys I know to talk to him, and all kinds of crazy stuff. None of it worked. Best I can tell you is go to Alanon and live your life by not focusing on the alcoholic. Focus instead on yourself and your children. You don’t have to stay around when they are drinking.

  • Pat Balvanz

    I forgot to say the 3 C’s. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. Some people add “but I contribute, and I can cope”, but I like just the first 3.


    Adam if she is that disruptive to your children’s peace they will grow up damaged and sick too. You need to get them away from her when she is this way. You must tell her you will NOT tolerate that behavior and then DO NOT tolerate it. Innocent lives are at stake. Also run, don’t walk to your nearest Alanon meeting or something similar where you can get good advice from others in person and share your problems. I wish you the best of luck. She may change as young as you are but what you accept will continue.

  • We too get into screaming matches. I’ve also tried to walk away. It’s very hard.. if i leave my A goes on foot also then I worry so when he is drunk it’s like babysitting.. I’m 56 and to old for this.. he blacks out so nothing he does he remembers. But I unfortunately do. Always says I have cut way back or I want to stop but no one helps. He’s has more than his fair share of people reaching out.. always turns them away..
    Adams right the weekends are the worse or in this case any day off is an excuse to get drunk.. guessing maybe I should follow the 3 c’s. It’s only getting worse

  • Tina

    I just need to say keep quite and she will stop. Let her say whatever she wants this is what they do, the sick alcoholic. Ignore ignore, ignore or leave. If you dont want to leave just let her be. Such a sad sad disease. I just hope some day they will find a cure.

  • Teresa

    Sometimes the saying ‘detach with love’ isn’t just about the alcoholic… I found myself detaching from the alcoholic in my life for the love of myself…After 7 years I left my A, I can attest to the fact that unless they are ACTIVELY seeking treatment, by their own wish to get sober, the situation WILL only get worse.
    Anyone who has lived with an alcoholic in any aspect of relationship should read this: Alcoholism: A Merry-Go-Round named Denial

  • Barbara

    I’m accustomed to some of this behavior, having been with 2 different alcoholics at different times. These men didn’t scream all the time, and one of them never yelled, just gave me the cold shoulder and punished me emotionally in various ways. I never tried to make him stop, because I was too afraid of him… I have some experience.
    What I find “familiar” about your note is that it is all focused on your partner, on her behavior….and never on how it makes YOU feel. Because in these situations, we stop feeling ourselves, and we just work on managing. Make no mistake about the damage it is all doing to your children, and their self-esteem. They are fragile, and it is your duty to protect them. She’s an adult, she can make her own choices– and she’s chosen alcohol to deal with the emotions she doesn’t want to face (i.e., when there is a fight she drinks…dulls the emotions). The emotional damage to your children is there — they probably cower in the corner when she walks in the room, and they are not very social because they can’t bring friends over, and they feel ashamed and humiliated no doubt… My best advice is to pick up the kids and GO out the door whenever she starts. No matter what time. Teach the kids they DON’T have to take verbal abuse. And then get help for the 3 of you. She’s on her own. You need to focus on what it is doing to you– shame, humiliation, depression, feeling detached from yourself. You can’t be a father like that — not one who can help the kids. If that’s the most important thing — the children, and bringing them up in a calm loving environment– then you’ll figure out what to do from there. good luck….

  • K

    My heart aches for you Adam and your family. Going through this your-self is hard enough. Having lived
    with an alcoholic for 30 years I can see the effects
    of drinking in four different generations. Usually,
    from my experience, it can be handed down. It never
    starts with the intention of breaking the goodness in each generation. Now, it is not only the alcohol,
    heroine, meth, marijuana (spelling, sorry}and anything else the new generation can cook fry or smoke. Your children are next and getting your home
    drug and alcohol free could change that. children
    need love and when denied by inuendos of hate, discouraging personal words insinuated or otherwise destroys that natural need in the lives of children. She on her own
    must seek help. If she refuses to do anything about herself you and the children will need to seek a quality of live filled with love and caring.
    Good Dad’s and Moms have made the choice to save their children and themselves. It is possible!!!
    Pray, get to church, show and give your children a positive future. You can do it. this web sight isjust opening the door to the better life. Come here
    when ever you need to talk out something as we all know the difficult road you will be traveling
    weather you stay or go this community of people are here to do as much as we can.

  • Connie

    Do everything you can emotionally to leave. I should’ve left 32 years ago or actually 22 years ago when he started drinking & using again. I’ve wasted my life waiting for someone to get better. He is now sober, but just starting out & I’ve been sober for 37 years now. I believe in my heart I should’ve gotten help to leave back then. I believed he would get better & we’d ride off into the sunset. Well he may be getting better now since he’s going to meetings & working & talks the talk & is walking the walk. I wish it were that easy. Most people don’t stay sober. The odds are really against them staying sober. My advice to anyone involved with an alcoholic is to get out NOW & say yourself & your children an entire life of misery. I also believed I couldn’t leave & it certainly felt like it, but like they say in AA, “God could & WOULD if He were sought.” not God could & MIGHT!

  • Anna

    My heart goes out to you too Adam. I also have an abusive partner when on it and 3 young kids at home. I worry about the impact she will have on their lives, and have only just started to get real about the issues that we face and what lengths I have gone to to protect her and my own pride from admitting this reality to anyone. I am really glad to know that I am not alone and although Im sure that there are people out there wanting to scream at us to do something right now. I know that our starting point here is just where we are supposed to be and little by little we will know what to do and when to do it differently. I am finding it helpful to know different ways to not escalate the crazy arguements and not let my buttons get pushed. But with that comes the realisation and the wieght of the problem and issues we face in loving these people. Just because we love them, doesn’t mean we can change them. But our decision to stay or go is ours, like it or not, sometimes we face a grim reality of watching the one we love spiral forever downward. I am trying to let go and let her hit bottom on her own. Nice to know Im not alone

  • Margie


    I feel for you deeply.

    As hard as it may be and it will probably be the hardest thing you ever do….you need to leave the situation with your children. Until she is willing to change, she won’t. Unfortunately, that is the bottom line. You must take care of yourself and your kids now. Time will tell if she will come around and change her ways or not.

    Best to you.

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