Loving The Alcoholic By Letting Go-How Can This Be Love?

Loving our children, spouses and friends seems to be something that we “do” naturally. Letting go of the alcoholic means that we must learn to love them differently. Alcoholism is considered to be an illness or a disease. How could letting go of someone who is sick possibly work?

Understanding the concept takes time. Eventually confusion about this subject will disappear. Logical thinking says that if someone that I love is sick, I must take care of them. If the person struggling with an addiction is one of our children, then how could it be the right thing to do by allowing them to continue to be ill. After all haven’t we always cared for them when they caught the flu or a cold and every-time they fell and hurt themselves?

Chalk HeartThere’s more to it than just “letting go.” We must also practice putting them in God’s hands. This in no way means that we are turning our backs on the ones we love. We are just saying; “God I can’t-you can-so I’m going to let you.” This is where faith is born, in letting go of the alcoholic in our lives.

Once we grasp the reality that nothing that we have done and nothing we are presently doing is working, then faith can be born when we turn the situation over to God. Still this type of total surrender takes a certain amount of practice over the course of time.

In our minds and hearts we are seeing the destruction that is happening all around us on a daily basis. Somehow we think that we can fix the troublesome situation by the things that we do or say.

The reality of the alcoholic’s world is that nothing will make them quit but themselves. We can talk, scream or yell until we are blue in the face and they will still continue to stay on the path that they are on.

Why?, because alcoholism is a disease that they can only be cured by their choice to stop drinking. We cannot make them choose the right thing to do. It may be a good idea to read: Why Can’t Alcoholics Stop Drinking.

death gripLoving an alcoholic child comes natural to us, but when the horrible behavior kicks in, then we begin to loose all sense of trust. Somehow love is directly related to trusting someone with “our” emotions.

What a startling conflict in the way we think that love should be.

When the relative or friend begins to have no respect at all for our feelings, possessions, or family, we have to begin to set boundaries because we do not trust them anymore. We place locks on the doors and refuse to discuss things with them when they are using drugs or alcohol.

Furthermore, our decisions to “not” get them out of jail or loan them money become great pillars of strength that demonstrate I love you but will not support your poor behavior in life. You will find many tips in our article about having tough love with an alcoholic.

Still, how can this be love? Our ideal of giving affection to people is through helping them, hugging them and giving gifts. All of these things can still be done, but we must learn how to protect our emotions while we are loving them.

All of the changes that we make to protect ourselves do not mean that we do not love them or cannot continue loving the alcoholics in our lives. It just means that we are setting boundaries to protect ourselves from the effects of alcoholism in our lives. They may get mad, but hey, they get mad about everything so what’s the big deal? Learning how to set and reinforce boundaries with an alcoholic is well worth the effort.

arrogant upper class alcoholicRemember anger and anxiety are the weapons of the alcoholic.

Just knowing in our hearts, the truth is “we love them,” is going to have to be good enough for me and you.

We know that we know how much we care about them regardless of what they say about our affections toward them. Unconditional love is not defined by how we treat them, it is something that is un-dieing inside of our being toward them.

Making changes to protect ourselves and live in more peace and serenity is in no way not loving someone who is ill.

The only cure for this disease is the addict must realize that they need help.

As long as we continue to place big cushions underneath them when they fall, the hurts in their lives will never be great enough for them to stop drinking or doing drugs. You can read this post about how to stop enabling an alcoholic to gain insight on what to do to help them hit their bottom.

Still, even though we make changes to not enable them, the disease of alcoholism is horribly cunning, baffling and powerful. Although many alcoholics have tragic things happen and we think that those things will be their wake-up-call, many die from the disease because they were never able to quit.

The only choices we have are to love them unconditionally and continue letting go of them and putting them in God’s hands everyday. Even though they are our kids, grand-children, spouses, friends or close relatives and we want the best for them, they must choose the best for themselves. Nothing that we say or do is going to make them quit drinking or doing drugs.

53 comments to Loving The Alcoholic By Letting Go-How Can This Be Love?

  • cris campbell

    Dear Sirs;

    I work for Oklahoma State University Prevention Programs, which focuses on preventing underage drinking and assisting to provide a continuum of care (treatment) in my region. I ran onto this article in research and wonder if I can have permission to reprint it in my area?

  • Shelly

    This article was so enlightning, however, I find myself in an almost opposite situation. I have a very difficult time loving (I love my husband I guess the word would be liking) my husband because of the drinking. I have been in this relationship for over 20 years, we have children together, and yet I find it harder and harder every day to let go and to love him unconditionally. The horrible and hurtful things that he says about me or the names he calls me is so hard to hear and to ignore. These are things that are being said by the one that you love, if they love you, how can they say such things to you and not mean them. I find myself actually questioning those things he says and wonder if they really are true or not. I get so angry and am so hurt that it takes a while for me to get over the episode. In my head I know that I myself need help as much as my husband does, but I just cannot seem to get my confidence up to get help. I love my husband with all my heart but my heart is being broken and I don’t know how to stop my way of thinking and get help. I guess what it comes down to is that I can’t help but to think that if he loved us (the kids and I) enough he would stop drinking for us. He chooses alcohol over us everyday and that hurts.

    In this article it compares alcoholism with a disease like cancer. Where I have a problem with understanding this is that someone that has cancer would do anything to not have it, and sometimes there is nothing that can be done for them to be cured. Alcoholics have a choice and can be cured, maybe not cured but can get better, all by choosing to not drink anymore. I just haven’t made that connection yet in my mind of it being a disease like other diseases; it’s a very different disease indeed.

  • Katie

    I am in totally agreement with you Shelly. My husband does the same thing to me…I’ve been married 10 years, and have 3 little boys. I alot of the times just think he’s selfish…and I think he chooses the devil over serving the Lord every day. Everyone has a choice to go home to their family, or have that first selfish drink at the shop after work. But the thing that my husband says to me, is that I have an addiction with my phone…or something that he can get me back with. The thing is…is that my talking on the phone doesn’t have a huge effect on my family, like his drinking. Everything in moderation…he just likes to come back with things that make him feel better about himself. But yes…I have the same question about the disease…disease my butt. It’s just an excuse. Sorry…I’m just venting.

  • Denise

    I wish I could let go but, doing so I would feel very responsible for whatever happens next to my boyfriend. It would feel as though I have given up on him. He would also use this to bring himself down even lower, I think…and this is something I cannot except. I’m soo tired of it all. IT’s only been 3 years in the relationship and I read that some spouses do it for 20 years or more! OMG!
    My brain understands the whole idea of it being a disease, but my heart cannot stop hurting.

  • Jane

    I am currently struggling with this situation with my boyfriend of 6 years. It is so difficult to see and be around, especially since my mother was an alcoholic. I have done my years in therapy, but now I see I need to break the cycle again. I will turn this over to his God and love him through this without me trying to fix him. To think that this drug that has ruined so many lives, is still so very acceptable in society.

  • Sally

    Two months ago I just met someone who I suspect is an alcoholic. He is so charming!! I am a single mom of two and usually have my kids all the time. We kept contact to texting. Then on one of my free weekends that I was not able to go out due to being sick, he was out drinking, and was issued his 2nd DUI which he was driving on an already suspended license. When he met me, within a week he signed up for his classes that he had been putting off for many months. I was so proud of him and told him so, and then the second DUI landed him in jail over a weekend. And he had a prescription drug with no prescription on him as well, which was news to me. I gave this try another month, but I can’t get it out of my head that he really needs to deal with his legal stuff and yet at the same time he needs a friend. He was very clingy/charming/wanting to see me all the time, but I couldn’t cause of kids. We had a couple good weekends together. He has expressed that he is learning in his classes and he thinks he has found fun in me and enjoys being around me and my kids without the drinking. I was very happy to hear him say that and told him so. I really started to fall for him. Then this past weekend I couldn’t go out to the bar with him to see this band and he went with the “group” and I saw a pic of him dancing with another girl. And now he has gone cold with me. So I guess he found someone else. I am letting this one go, but I very much enjoyed his company and we were just starting to get to know each other. What should I do if he comes back to me?

  • Katie

    I’m going to be blunt with you…and not say anymore. Run away from this guy…protect your kids…he still likes partying it sounds like…not something you want to teach your kids…and not what they need to see. There’s more fish in the sea.

  • Jami

    For Shelly – my situation is very similar to yours. My husband’s alcoholism was very progressive, and I always felt he was a decent kind man, until the past couple of years when things really sped up. Now he is mean, abusive and cruel. The things he has said to me (and often later doesn’t remember saying, or so he claims) have cut through me to the point of where I feel totally worthless and that I don’t deserve anything, that I might actually deserve his cruelty. Of course a part of me, when I get a grip on things, know this is just not true, but to be treated so terribly by someone who treated me with respect for over 20 years – to have it all go there other way, it’s like he has taken on the personality of something evil. The hate in his eyes, the long hard, cold stares at me – they are frightening. He has destroyed the decent life we had and I know I cannot go on this way much longer because quite honestly, I’d rather just die, it’s that bad. I just don’t understand how alcoholism can turn someone who was good hearted and loving into this monster.

  • Ben

    Do your alcoholics pick a few small fights a day? I see mine doing so, and her fighting is very intense- storming out of the house, swearing, throwing things, saying very cruel things, not answering calls or texts, etc….It can be over anything- if I ask a question she doesn’t like, pick a topic she doesn’t like, have an opinion she doesn’t like, walk the way she doesn’t like, dress the way she doesn’t like…let’s not EVEN talk about driving. She makes me drive her everywhere, but criticizes my driving the entire time. The problem is six or seven times a day I have a lump in my throat and tell myself “I can’t live like this” and then it gets better for a few hours, then another episode. Her perspective is “you keep screwing up” hence, she isn’t wrong in how she treats me, I deserve it. There is seldom an apology. She has broken me down to the core. I am just wondering if all women act like this, or is it just this one? Also, do all alcoholics act like this, even when sober? I cannot imagine living life in her shoes, so I am wondering how other alcoholics behave.

  • Jules

    Ben, I can completely relate to what you are saying. I live with the same insanity. My husband’s alcoholism has been progressive – in the past few years, it has become hell. I used to get apologies for outbursts – and the outbursts weren’t that often. He has been a drinker since I met him, only he used to be a nice, kind person. I don’t even recognize him anymore – I guess long term alcoholism changes the way the brain works. When he says cruel, cutting, horrible things to me, I tell myself this is not truly him, but what alcoholism has done to him. Then I wonder if he actually really does hate me now – but he will tell me he “loves” me, yet this vile behavior continues. I have been told they project the way they feel about themselves on to you – it doesn’t help our hurt. I have tried hard to detach – it’s not easy. I remember the nice person he was for many years – it’s absolutely devastating to me how I am treated now. At one time, I know he treasured me – now I feel I am nothing more than garbage to him. The toll on my self-esteem – I don’t know if I will ever truly recover from what he has put me and our two children through. He makes me feel like I deserve to be treated like crap. I do not know how they can be so convincing of this, when I know it is not true, but somehow, those intense, angry, hate-filled drunken eyes – he makes me feel like I am worthless. I hope and pray he finds sobriety but if he is ever a normal thinking man again, and he remembers any of this, I wonder how he will ever be able to process such inhumane, vile treatment of another human being, a wife he used to treasure.

  • Sarah

    Hi Ben. Sorry you are experiencing all these mini arguments. I noticed that my boyfriend would do the same thing lots of little sarcastics digs, acting like a teasing teenage boy or deliberately contradicting me…I can really relate to the lump in the throat. I felt I needed some one there to defend me and witness what was going on but he did it when it was just the two of us. The behaviour is so ridiculous and unprovoked but because you are hurting and in a heightened state of emotions yourself ( due to the painful rejection) you can not compute what is going on… you think is it me? I suppose that’s what he wanted me to feel…is it me?

    Over the space of an hour or two, the tension would build, the lumps in the throat would come. I also had the shallow breathing and nervous tummy too! until I couldn’t pretend everything was ok anymore. I would express that I was upset…and bang he would blow up with righteous indignation, like he was sick of my “nagging”. When I was just trying d say how I felt and get some comfort. I think all the little jibes were leading to the point when I would leave and he could get high. Some of the anger was probably just his mood swings from his poor damaged brain but alot of it was to get me to react so he could be the victim and be left alone.

    When you say “she has broken me down to the core” I am sorry you feel so beaten by it all…maybe when we all stop fighting the disease and accept they are ill, we wont take it all so much to heart. I really got so sucked in to the madness. At one point I kept waking up scared that some imaginary judge and dury would find me guilty! and all his friends would say its you….you tormented that poor man with your arguing and now he has died of an over dose. Crazy but I didn’t tell my own friends about how much we argued so in a way I was hiding an addiction too.

    reading all these posts and going to a therapist myself has really helped me. I hope you will see that it isn’t just your partner who picks fights and blames. It seems to crop up in most of the posts!

  • Sarah

    oh yes and my boyfriend used to sit next to me showering attention on the cat and obsessively talking to the cat and stroking her. what a wind up! sometimes you have to smile at the weird way the disease of addiction works! My friends alcoholic husband left her then decorated the bedroom in his new place as an exact replica of the one in their marital home.

  • Sarah

    It strange how when the addict/alcoholic argues with us we know that they are being unreasonable and what they are saying is untrue but still we take it on as though it were true? Weird eh?

    Since reading all JC’s tips I haven’t argued with my boyfriend. Last time I saw my him we didn’t argue even tough his behaviour really hadn’t changed. I thought of myself much more as a seperate person observing his behaviour.
    Almost like I had a protective force field around me…It really helped but I think if I spent too much time with him I would lose myself to the addiction again. Luckily I live with a friend and go to work, so I get good in put from non-addicted people.

    I have noticed that when he made me feel insecure I would get even more clingy and you can’t get comfort from an addicted person it was a downways spiral.

  • Connie

    My exah was responsible,successful,funny and a caring
    person. Granted, there’s probably as many scenarios and personality types in alcoholic marriages as there are brands of liquor.

    My problem was an emotional disconnect–or lack of connection. He could not handle emotion, which I know is why they drink. When he wanted to emotionally connect with me his answer was sex. I needed the other emotional stuff first.

    Has anybody had a terrific emotional connection with a drinker?

  • Sarah

    Dear Connie

    I agree you about the emotional connection. My x would be happy to talk to me but it wasn’t really a two way conversation. It often sounded like spin. Also you could never really catch his eye he was always on the move! Like his attention was always on something in the other room or a friend on the phone or which mate he was going to meet up with tommorow/this afternoon. He was never really with me in the moment.You begin to feel invisible or boring!

    One time when he was on a come down I tried to talk to him gently about how the drugs were hurting him. He got up and walked into the conservatory. I could see him through the glass just standing there looking around slightly confused. Its like his legs had just picked him up and taken him away from the conversation! Eventually he picked something up as if he had gone into the room for it.

    I did notice that one time at the end of sex he scooted down the other end of the bed .Like the emotional feelings were just too much or too alien. When i asked if he was ok he just waved his arm in a dismissive gesture and laughed saying oh its just everyhting.

    Actually does anyone on here find that their patner does this arm waving stuff? its like they are a poletician. They emphasise what they are saying with repeated arm or hand gestures.


  • Rachel J

    I am so glad I found this sight. I’m experiencing a devestating time with a man I thought was the love of my life. My daughter has been recovering from a brain injury and so for the let two years I was so engrossed in taking care of her that I did not know , that my boyfriend ws not drinking ice water out of the pint glass but rather: gin. This very sad discovery came upon moving in with him. I used to chalk up the alcohol on his breath to “a” beer after work. I guess I was snowed. I feel stupid, embarrassed, sad that he went to the extent of having me move in, in the middle of a personal trauma we had no control over, just to invite us into his dark secret like of alcoholism. After this past weekend and me finally working up the courage to open the dialogue in a non threatening but genuinely concerned manner regarding destructive behavior- I have to say I am confused. Very confused. Hopefully coming here can lend some clarity.

  • Joyce


    I read your post and it rings true for my situation.He was my fiance’ now he is just my “boyfriend” as of today.He works for NOAA, and I am here at home 3000 miles away. I am tired of the drinking and the “who cares/good time charlie attitude” about it. He is a genuinely nice guy, generous(he has supported me for the last year while I went back to college), charming (can have a conversation with anyone), no DUI’s or violent behavior. But, if I say how I feel about his drinking and how it concerns me it turns into an arguement. When he is home he can easily drink 6 beers and a few glasses of wine. But when he is working out to sea with NOAA and the ship comes into port he is on a binge along with the like-minded of his crewmates. However, I am the insecure, jealous girlfriend when some of the drunk womem (ones he works with and not) are throwing themselves at him and some of the other men. He said he would never do anything with them but he seems to find himself in that position (either the object of intention or a spectator) just about everytime he goes out for a season to Alaska. Alcoholism is in his family; father and two older brothers, now him. He told me this last inport, when he was drunk, that he did not remember the snide comments to me but he would remember if he did anything foolish during his binges, how can this be? Selective memory? I was under the impression that we were breaking up this morning due to an e-mail he sent and a few other things. Now I receive an e-mail saying that he is taking back the proposal of marriage, we are no longer engaged jusy boy/girlfriend and he is considering just being single but Iam allowed to live here at home so we can “talk” some things out. I had no idea drinking was even an issue until I moved in with him 3 years ago. I am now jobless, no money to leave except for a small savings that would last all of two months, if I am lucky here in Seattle. I’ve tried to do the non-threatening approach as some would say and it still ignites the issue of me “being an insecure, jealous girlfriend” and I have just been told that I tell him when to sleep, when to call when he is away from home and who he is friends with.These statements have left me so baffled; coming out of left field. The issue is how the drinking affects him and how it could damage further his health and the relationship, not to mention his time away from home 6+ months out of the year…still I am the bad person. I wonder how I ever got caught up in this craziness. At the moment, that’s how I feel. I am the one making all the craziness with my jealousy and insecurities. My plan is to do the 12 -step so that I can get my sense of sanity back. I have been made to feel like a lunatic who is just imagining all of this and he is quite normal. I understand it is a disease but he is in denial about it becasue he can function efficiently (pays his bills, has a job). In the e-mail that was written he also said I can not deal with ordinary problems (nagging). No, I vent when I need to about work and such. I think that is healthy, is there anyone here who has not ever vented about work or any other thing? This he says makes me a “negative” person.Anyway, it seems like he is looking for all and anything to deflect his addiction and put the focus on me. he’s told small lies for no reason and has hid his drinking from me. I am angry, hurt, confused, feel I am to blame and I do not know why.

  • Mary

    I can’t seem to grasp letting go of the child I brought into this world. There must be something I can do. I understand that nothing has world until now, but there has to be something that will get through to her. I hate this.

  • Perfect love

    All these stories are the same as mine , my husband is a drug addict , his choice is cocaine, at first I did not for years , I was young and nieve , my second child was born when all truth came to light , still with small children I feared raising my kids without a Father , 20 years later I’m here, not understanding what real life is ! My husband is a charmer , everyone loves him, but he treated us like crap , I hated him and my kids started doing the same thing ! He still does not admit it and says I am the cause of his addiction and I don’t love him enough! I saw the effects of the drug on me when I had an affair , it was not my character at all ! I got scared I was falling for someone else when in reality it was that I was lacking the attention I needed from my husband not love ! It took years for me to figure out that I couldn’t change him and it was not my problem no more , I let it go ! I let go of him and its still the same accusations and same blame and denial ! I’m not all there but I’m doing good without him ! I say to u all to pray and care for ur selves ! They mean well but they are not capable of giving u what u need , only u can do that ! Their hearts want good but they cabt deliver ! We are chasing a mirage thst does not exist ! To me it was just time to look for help for me not for him

  • Siv

    My boyfriend of 9 years is just returning home from rehab as I’m writing. We have two young kids together. I just want to know if staying and working this out is a possibility or should I just move on? Is it possible for him to quit if I follow these tips I’ve red on this website?

  • Debbi

    I feel you all are living my life. The stories, each different, yet all have the same thread to them like mine. I was looking for the reason for the abuse in my xAH and change of attitude suddenly after 10 years of marriage 5 years ago and now after reading all your posts here I know for sure it is/was the alcohol. I kept trying to figure it out and also taking on alot of the blame for what I did, what I said, etc.

    My choice was to get out because it started to become physical abuse towards the end of 2011. But those of you who stay–take care of yourself first and foremost and try less contact with the addict so they can’t “push your buttons” quite as often.

    My last 9 months in the marriage during the divorce and still living in the same house were pure hell. I did not realize after I filed for divorce how bizarre his behavior could become & finding out about all the lies I was told over 15 years. If I had not stayed to myself and instituted my “no contact” rule his button pushing would have sent me over the edge.

    Bless all of you in your situations–not a single one of us ever deserve to be treated like this–IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT! Stay strong in whatever you decide to do & know there are always people out there just like yourselves willing to listen to you–anytime you need support–here and other sites.

  • C

    Debbi: Thank you for sharing a powerful message. I hope you have achieved great peace and happiness. I know exactly what you have been through. It seems alcoholics behave the same way.

    Why is a politician trying to make a law that 18 year olds can drink alcohol with their parents in restaurants – that is teaching them early on to drink with meals. I drink iced tea with my meals – my sons have ice water with lemon and they are adults. Alcohol ruins lives.

  • Connie

    I found this, in hopes of trying to let go of my ex fiance. I’m just so thrown that I became entrapped in his manipulation. I cared so much, that even though he lied and had me falsely charged with assault (still pending), I’m still hoping for the best for him. I mean, I could lose my kids, my house, my freedom and everything over this, and yet I only wished him to get help while with me, even if he didn’t end up with me in the end, and today he went to get a “checkup” and his bp was 180/118 (hypertension) caused by alcoholism. I feel so bad, because even though I tried everything including talking to my counselor, his family and friends, it all ended this way. Now he’s starting medication that I had hoped he would have had before, like when we were together, and maybe things would have been different. It just sucks. I mean, I love him like family, yet, not like a lover anymore, cause I’ve seen all sides to this disease and the verbal abuse and manipulation and mental abuse about took me down, and I’m a strong person. I need to let him go, I know this, but problem is, no one I know of even cared about him the way that I do, or worried about his health and well being the way I did…..they just kind of said “oh well” and didn’t want to believe what he was doing to himself. I do know I have to let go and let God, it’s just hard as heck. Someone knock some sense into me!!

  • Stacy

    I have read all the topics here, all the comments on every topic. I spent 8 years alone, just raising my children after a very very hard divorce that took a serious emotional toll on my self esteem. I wanted to be in love again, but was not searching for it, due to fear, I left it up to God. A little over a year ago, I ran into someone I attended high school with 25 yrs ago, we were only acquaintances then, we became friends, and it just happened, one night we hugged and that was all she wrote, in like one breath everything in my world was all of a sudden right. He was like bam perfect, everything I had ever wanted or needed in a man. He felt the same way, we understood each other, it was simply wow meant to be when it was not expected. Things were perfect more than perfect for 10 months, then our 25th reunion happened, he got so drunk there, humiliated me. I chalked it up to okay, he got drunk and acted like a goober, it is what it is.
    It progressed from there, and now it has been 5 months since then, during those 5 months, I have learned that he has been an alcoholic for about 10 yrs, he was only sober when we got together by force due to courts accountability with a 2nd dui, being tested weekly etc. I knew about the court thing, but being around him, being so close to him, I even doubted how can this amazing guy be an alcoholic? Well, I quickly learned that he definitely is, and in the past 5 months, I have lost 2 friendships that are more than 25 yrs old, due to lies he has told about me to them, he has said things about me that have made me dumbfounded, all to protect his source of free alcohol he was getting. When one of these friends found out he was an alcoholic, it was me that was blamed, I was called a doormat for allowing him to lie about me and hurt me and say the things about me he had said and done. Most of it I wasnt even aware of until after the fact. Telling her things like, She is upset and thinks Im cheating on her with you and she is coming after you! I mean crazy stuff. He lies about the smallest silliest things to me, and it blows me away as we once had this totally open and wonderful friendship/relationship!
    I am in love with him, to my soul. I now realize I cant save him I cant make him stop I cant even help him, but I am not ready to walk away and stop loving him, I also can no longer accept some of these behaviors, mainly the lies, omg the lies just cut me deep due to what I went thru in my marriage.
    Also, the main main issue with me, is I stayed alone for a very long time on purpose due to my children, my daughter is now 20 and in college but my sons are teenagers, and I stayed alone to ensure they had good role models in their lives as their dad basically abandoned them. As their mother, I wouldn’t let someone in my life that might end up being as much of a piece of crap as their dad was. So what kind of mother am I now that he comes here and passes out in my bed and pretty much in the last 5 months all they see is him sleeping. We have an agreement, he is NOT to come here drunk around my sons, he has actually kept that agreement but in his own way, he comes late when they are sleeping or early before they wake up….so no they don’t see him drunk…ugh, its so damn frustrating.
    I am unsure what to do, I have prayed over him in his sleep, begging God to let him hit his bottom, to reach out for help, to reach out to God to help him, I love him SO SO much, but all my common sense tells me to run as far away as I can ad just go back to being what I am good at, a single mom, alone, and will never find a man that can love me the way i deserve to be loved.
    It is easier to be alone. And ever ounce of my being is screaming that at me right now! I AM a very strong, kind giving and loving person, but now with all this I am beginning to wonder, am I just destined to be alone? Am I not even worthy of a good man, that wants to protect me, love me take care of me?
    I guess my answer is No I am not, I do just fine by myself…and I guess that’s just how its meant to be, becasue I don’t see him becoming that man I fell madly in love with again. I miss that man so so much. The man he is now I wouldn’t have given a second glance to nor the time of day to….so WHAT am I doing??? Am I really a doormat? Or just in love with someone broken, and banging my head into a brick wall thinking I can love him thru it? 🙁

  • Suzanne

    This is my storey even down to the keeping him away from my grown up children. You’ve opened my eyes, 8 years later and I’m in the same situation with him. Get out now, after reading your story, I’ve just made my decision to leave mine well alone and get a life. Thank you. Good luck x

  • Suzanne

    I mean get a life 🙂 x

  • Amy

    My alcoholic does all these things,tries to put me down,say terrible cruel means things,tries to start fights,and will do anything to get the attention off of his drinking.I have never had an apology from him..BUT I will say NOTHING he says or does becomes my truth To be honest when he is drinking and says mean thing..I take it from where it comes..His favourite line when he is mad is to tell me he doesn’t want to be with me and wants the relationship over..I tell him..don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out..I actaully told him last week he needed to come up with a new line because doing and saying the same things over and over were getting old and boring!..My biggest problem is I provoke him!.I get so mad when I come home and he is to drunk to even stand up and NOTHING is done or will be done with any help from him that I could tear him apart..(sarcastically speaking)…or at least I think I am…I somehow need to learn to shut my mouth ..sometimes I do it and do it well..other times I get so furious with him..I just cant shut my mouth and or control my temper..

  • Laura

    I have recently left my alcoholic of 6 years as my boyfriend. The first 2 years were great he again was kind and loving. He was a drinker but there was no nastiness. We relocated to a city by the sea and he changed. Now like many have said it is like he is possessed. The hurtful things he says to me again that evil look on his face. I say left but actually I had gone through a potential redundancy and got offered a job with a free flat and everything in a nice area typical enabler thinking that’s it I can help him. He took 200 quid off me on the Friday before my move and the stome roses tickets. engineered a argument that night and we ended up physically fighting. I still stupidly tried to offer this too him until today when all he does is say he needs space. I need the man I fell in love with. He is 18 years older than me and promised to take care of me. I do believe it is a disease his started with a depression which increased his intake. I know I have done all I can and I just end up angry and upset. I was in pieces speaking to my mum today. He lives with another alcoholic and the other guy sent me a nasty text because I had been texting my alcoholic which really cut because I realized he was just laughing at my pain. I know I have to leave him in Gods hands but if I could wake up from this nightmare and be back in the arms of the man I love I would give anything and I feel so pathetic and week for it yet I know that’s silly because I have moved and started and new job and getting a new life and everything he is the loser at the end of the day but it does not mean that its not so sad it makes me cry every time I think about it he was once so beautiful to see it kill him breaks my heart especially as there is nothing I can do.

    Amy the bit you said about the provoking that’s what I hear “well its hard for me because I know you will be in a bad mood when you get in because the washing ups not been done” So why do they not get up and do it because he is too busy drinking. He would say he loved my dog but he never even took him for a walk when he got in and he would have been waiting all day for the toilet because he was too busy drinking. But everything was always and still is my fault.

    If I could go back in time and show my love what he turns into he would be disgusted with himself.

  • Amy

    I always wanted a man who would treat me like a queen, who wouldn’t just drink and spend what small amount of time he is sober laying to the couch..I wanted the cleavers or close to it .When I left Dana for two years and I have to say it was the hardest thing I ever did.I was miserable, I missed him..I couldnt sleep..etc..all the things you do when you end a relationship…We all have feelings, we all love, and we all hope they will wake up one fine morning and stop drinking and every dream you had for the relationship would fall into place..I had to get out of my fantasy world and realize that the chances of any of that happening are SLIM TO NONE..Dana is an alcoholic, Dana keeps saying on his own he is going to stop drinking, Dana says he needs rehab, Dana is experiencing alcohol related health problems and still drinks, Dana wakes up and says he is done drinking, and this time is the last time..( at least twice a week) Dana is in denial..But seeing he is an alcoholic..Dana is simply doing what they do..right down to the T..and I just finally had to accept it and stop fighting something that is not mine to fight..I have fought for years..Ive tried it all and the outcome was always the same..Dana still Drank and I was a ball of anxiety, depression..I honestly had days where I thought all this was going to drive me insane..sometimes I have days where I still get a bit obsessive and try a bit of control but I am getting better at it..old habits are hard to break…Dana lies and says things like I couldn’t get the dishes done because I was busy doing this this and this..the truth is Dana lies..Dana gets up and goes the the store and starts drinking..that’s why nothing gets done..and I use to go behind him and do the things that was his to do..and I would get mad..now I don’t do it..I leave it…and eventually he will do it..he is an alcoholic and this is what he does..its the way it is..and I am a woman who works 5 days a week and has better things to do than do the things he should of been doing…so for me it works to just leave it for him ..that way I don’t get angry..and when he does FINALLY do it..and has let his responsibilities go so long he has tripled his work..I secretly enjoy listening to him sigh every 3 seconds..because I know it is sucking big time for him..but hey it was his choice to get drunk do nothing and let his responsibilities build up..I wasn’t mine ….lol

  • Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely
    off topic but I had to tell someone!

  • Terri

    Part of my trouble with my alcoholic husband is that he gets a SSI check and Im the payee and I always struggle with giving him money because It is his money and then Im afraid I will get into trouble for keeping the money away. Also now Its fifty times worse because he just got out of hospital from throwing up blood for three days. They told us he has a large ulcer and early stage cirrhosis. I am learning to control my anger but Its never easy.

  • Wendi

    I’ve been out of my relationship with my youngest daughter’s alcoholic father for 3 years now. He is the same alcoholic everyone speaks of, my teenage kids were deeply embarrassed of his drinking stupor in public while playing sports. Somehow, he always blamed me for his drinking but I wasn’t the alcoholic. He blamed it on my housekeeping skills, my cooking non healthy foods, my kids, my not being the bed partner he felt he deserved and I didn’t nag him. I basically enabled him to do as he did and not help pay the bills or do minor fix-ups at our home. But I loved him then and probably still love him in many ways but one day he left us for another woman and honestly that was probably the best day of our lives. She had no idea who he was or what he was about and she really thought she was hot for stealing another woman’s man but boy did she hit the jackpot cause he didn’t change for her and she gave him the boot within 9 months. Anyhow, as years go by one of my daughters is now dating an older man and very much an alcoholic. I can just see myself in her tolerating the pain that comes with having an alcoholic boyfriend. My daughter does not drink or do drugs to my knowledge, she met him at work, not a bar and she is only 19. They guy is a brute of a man and can really hurt her in a physical outrage and I am scared as he is 6’6 and more like Paul Bunyon outdoors type of guy. I am so scared for her. I’ve told her of how hard it is to be with an alcoholic but she is kind hearted and trusting to him. He is slowing isolating her from us and I hate it, I don’t want to lose my communication with her. Everyday I desire to hear her voice, a text, see a facebook post, something to show she is ok. I know I can’t control her life and her decisions and I hope she doesn’t fall to drinking or drugs herself. Lord help us all. Any advice.

  • Karen2

    Jude, So let me get this straight…she trusted, she had expectations, she brought it close to her…and it hurt her?
    Not off topic at all!! lol
    Love the story, bet she got a hug.

  • linda

    I know just what your saying on your post. That’s exactly what I need from my A. He seems to think badgering one min. then wants sex the next. tried to explain you can’t do the Jeckal Hyde and expect intimacy the next. just doesn’t work that way. wish you well……o my A is a dry addict.

  • Suzanne

    My alcoholic has started saying he needs to stop drinking. I’ve known him 10 years and I hardly see him now, he seems to sit in every night on his own in his room or so he says, so he just goes to work, goes home and drinks all week and basically only seems his old self on Saturdays when he probably is taking cocaine aswell.
    Will he be nice again if he manages to stop, what is a dry drunk like ?

  • […] Mar 23, 2010 … Letting go of the alcoholic means that we must learn to love them. … It may be a good idea to read: Why Can't Alcoholics Stop Drinking. [more] […]

  • Alyssa

    Hi everyone if you hadn’t read any of my posts my name is Alyssa I’m 30 years old I have an 11 yr old son and 7 yr old son and another baby boy on the way due Jan. 5th I left my AH fiancée 2 weeks ago the last thing he said to me was “I don’t want this baby, I never wanted this baby” “your Psycho” I was standing by my truck at the time and he was standing on the porch I yelled back “you need AA & to go back to church” I got in my truck and that was that. I changed my cell phone number deleated his family off my facebook & there’s no turning back. I met this man in a church, he was Prince Charming in the beginning and then turned into the HULK with an alcohol problem last Sept. Whe. His father passed away. I found out I was pregnant Mother’s Day of this year and it’s been down hill from there. We have split up 3-4x & everytime I stay at my home and I read self help books pray and go to church he drinks and sleeps around and everytime I would go back. He never called or tried to see me it was always me that went back. He was verbally mentally and physically abusive. He only threw keys at my leg once and left a huge bruise which wasn’t that long ago. He punched holes in the walls of his home, scratched my car throwing things, said horrible things to me and all the whole I just kept praying God please helps please change his heart bring my loving prince back. We’ll JC brought up a good point to me I’m in love with a man that no longer exists he is gone that an I met in church has died. My EX AH doesn’t care about me my children or his unborn son & for the first time in all our split ups I am at peace with my life and this situation. I pray daily, go to church, read your posts and its all been amazing GOD is answering my cries for peace and comfort by the minute because Iv trusted my entire life to him for the first time. I read all these stories about “coping” with these men and I wonder why are we having to “cope?” Why have we not trusted God to take full control of this situation and why are these women sticking around and staying by these Alcohlics? There killing themselves. There not gonna be there if you get sick, they demand respect but do not give any respect, there mean & heartless and cowards who only care about Alcohol. There hooked on a drug only GOD can take away from them. WE DIDNT CAUSE IT, WE CANT CONTROL IT & WE CANNOT CURE IT. Why do you stay? Why not choose peace and hope and a stress free environment? Stress kills and causes all kinds of health problems. Why are we beautiful gentle creatures made in GODS likeness staying with these Jeckyl and Hyde Men? We’ll I’m not going back. I’m raising my two sons and this baby by myself and trusting my future to my father in heaven and with a little faith and ALOT of COURAGE you too can be peaceful and happy! Praying. For my beautiful sisters in Christ on this website. You all deserve so much more! God Bless U!

  • Mihelle

    Hi My name is Michelle I have been with my Fiancé for almost five years. He is fun, loving, and a treats my boys like his own. He is an alcoholic an will say it himself. About 2 months ago he went to detox and was doing good, going to aa meeting. Then a old friend died and he drink a little, stopped then a few nips the net week. The one thing we talked about was not hiding it. He respect that and does tell me. My problem is is has a lot of friends, most very good about cheering him on. But one will grab him drinks, if I say something he get upset. I am a talker and he likes to walk away. He will leave the house and walk to a friends, I sit home freaking out is he going to drink? I know I cant make him stop, he knows he needs to go to aa. I am scared when we get in a argument he uses it as a ok reason to drink. I just hate the feeling. I don’t want to see him hurting.

  • Susan

    Thanks for this article! 3 weeks ago I threw out my so called lover of 14 years due to drinking and a threat on my life. At first I was scared. Why did I allow him back in? I had tried this 4 times before but kept finding him in binds and being the enabler I Was I took him back in my home. Wrong! I get tough love. But the truth of all of it is that the person is spiritually sick. They have conjured so much evil and perpetrated so many lies that they can’t live with it either! If there is one thing a drunk will do its argue and disappoint! Always! They must Find God! A God or higher power of their being, just find it! This person wanted to dislocate my shoulder, slit my throat and kick my head down the street! No sex no love, no respect. I have been threaten 14 times. Once a year after a binder. I have been thrown out so many times and told to F off so many many times. A drink always in hand. I have been called so many derogitory. names at this point it rolls off. I thought I did love this person. I gave and sacrificed everything on lies, booze and broken promises. He had choices Everyday! I have been sober in AA now for almost 3 years! I have found God and this is what makes it hard not to resent and not forgive. But if it’s out of sight it’s out of mind! He made the choice to threaten me in my home. Not appreciate anything done and refusing to shower. There is No excuses! I pray for this man. He’s been off the radar for 21/2 weeks now and I’m praying it’s a enlightenment and not sucking the life out of a new person! He needs help desperately! He’s got a bad heart and still does just that…play into his mind the false courage of man hood brought on by drinking, putting that target on me and away we go. I love myself more than this! I make that choice everyday! I choose to be sober! I pray he wakes up and chooses life over hate, abuse, depression, parianoia, porn, hate and bigotry. These are the gifts of alcohol. It is a total disease! Of the mind and soul. I can’t take anymore. I slapped his face for calling me a f****** c***. I am not! I gave a damn. It got me screwed and disappointed. Thank you

  • Bill

    Susan, I can feel the tension that you have been living in. You are in a good place right now to really focus on yourself.

    Please consider going to Al-anon. The relationship sounds very troubled and abusive. Al-anon will help you a lot. People who go to Al-anon understand the loneliness and the frustration that you are dealing with.

    No one should ever be someone’s punching bag. It sounds like you have been a very loyal partner, but you have to protect yourself now.

    Grab onto God as tight as you can and trust him like NEVER before. Start making changes for YOU and don’t worry about what happens to your partner. He’s on his own journey.

    As you know, your number one priority is to stay SOBER! If you allow him back into your life you are threatening your sobriety. Stay connected to AA.

    Thanks for sharing your story here. Your comments are welcome. There are a lot of articles on this website that can help you.

  • Red

    I am at the end of a 24 yr marriage to an alcoholic.
    I wasn’t raised in an alcoholic family, never saw it abused, have good parents. I met my husband 24 yrs ago, knew he drank beer, but had no idea that he was an alcoholic.
    Over the years I have allowed myself to be subjected to infidelity, rages, and ever increasing drunkenness. He has held the same job for 30 yrs.He has had multiple alcohol related arrests and by the time he gets home, has already been drinking despite a previous DUI and open container arrest.
    I work in the medical field, 14 hrs a day and come home to arguing, slurred speech and stupor most nights. It is causing me health issues, diverticulitis, panic attacks that I thought were heart issues. In a way I guess they are….
    Ten days ago he hit me for the first time. I called the police and had him arrested.
    He is out of jail and our home. He is confessing his love, I am the love of his life, the glue that holds him together.
    He wants us to start going to church, knows he can never drink again. He is remorseful. He is going toAA and going to get counseling.
    The only problem is that I have heard this so many times, I no longer believe him. It is time for me to let go, I will mourn the loss of what could have been and it will be hard but it will be ok. I have lost so much of myself in trying to “fix” him and help him.
    I hope this will help someone.

  • Enabler

    I was in a relationship with an alcoholic for 9 years. He left me one day almost 6 years ago for another woman. I was angry but as time went on relieved that I didn’t have to live with the abuse. It wasn’t much longer that she found out who he really was and their relationship ended. He asked for help from time to time, which I have done reluctantly but it grew more and more. We aren’t together as a couple, last year he really fell and got 2 DUI’s and damn, he knew my phone number. I hate feeling sorry for him but I did. We are still not a couple but all in all, I have helped him get back on his feet, he lives in my home and keeps telling me when he’s strong enough he will move out on his own. I’ve been waiting for months and months now, he doesn’t work but has set himself up his own bedroom that was my daughters room and have moved his personal stuff into my basement and I want him gone. why did i let this happen again!!! I am so upset with myself, he isn’t drinking, does go to AA but I hate the fact that he’s in my house wanting to tell me and my kids how to live our lives, what to eat and such. I told him I am going to start charging him rent and he came unglued with me that I was wrong for even suggesting that. I don’t owe him a free living but dang it, how to overcome and tell him so! I’m such an enabler, I hate myself. I just want to vent.

  • Christine

    I was married to an alcoholic/addict for 20 years. I didn’t realize he was an alcoholic for many years as there was always an excuse or a lie to cover up the horrific behavior. The nightly rages and verbal abuse, the lies, the constant accidents and hospital visits all had an explanation, none of it his fault, or somehow it was my fault. When he finally admitted he had a problem, I thought it was a step in the right direction. I thought that meant he wanted help, to salvage his marriage and family. But the drinking, drugs, lies and infidelity not only continued, it progressively worsened, almost in defiance. One night I sat him down and told him how much we loved him, and that it was okay for him to live that kind of life…just not with me and his two daughters in it. That he would need to make a choice, because it had become too much for the children and me to bear. That we wanted to help him. He understood and agreed. And then upped his behavior into full blast within 3 days.
    Finally, a friend of his dumped him in a detox facility an hour away. I wasn’t a part of that decision at all, and didn’t know where he was. They released him in less than 5 days, but I chose not to let him back into our home. Our family doctor (and personal friend) advised that my husband would never sober up until he hit rock bottom, which he would not do living in our home. My request was that he move into a sober home, or rehab facility. Instead, he became furious, vindictive, and belligerent. Very scary situation for me and our daughters. And he never hit rock bottom. Instead he found a new girlfriend, one who doesn’t know the truth, and dumped his family of 20 years.
    Although my heart is broken, I’m much happier having him out of the house. Our lives are much more peaceful, and the girls have a choice whether or not to visit him. If he is sober, they get to enjoy his company; if he is not, they leave. And I don’t sit around wondering what he is doing or who he is sneaking around with, as he is no longer my husband or problem to worry about. Yes, I’m crying as I write this, but truly, we are much happier…

  • Daisy

    I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic for the past 6 years. We have had many ups and downs and fights and blow outs. I have made the mistake of arguing back with him and he always seems to blame me for everything. He has been able to keep a very good government job and he also collects a police pension although he is only in his mid 50s. Well a year ago he announced that he was quitting the government and going to travel and live on his pension. He was not too concerned with the fact that we lived together and I had to go back home and live with my mother until I could get back on my feet. Well it wasn’t more that a couple weeks of his travels that he found himself not happy (if wasn’t the sandy beached he thought it was. He kept contacting me and offered a warm weather compromise. Well I finally caved in and agreed. Last summer I moved from the east coast to Boise and he promised he loved me and would never do that again. In Feb. he announced he was going to rehab (in Malibu). He left came back a month later, seeming all positive and had hit checklist of tools. get psychologist, go to meeting, exercise. For three days he was great with that. Then he started with a glass of wine (of course his excuse, we were having a steak, don’t they go together) :(. He was still going to gym with he signed us both up for and was slowly getting back to old habits. He meet with his new psychologist and after the first couple meeting and explaining to her his sexual abuse as a young boy he came home seeming agitated. His agitation grew over the next couple day. He picked a fight with me last Friday after drinking. Was screaming crazy stuff, he was mad at me for snooping on him. He was in the driveway pacing that he didn’t feel same. Said he was going to rehab. I asked him if could talk and he said yes the next day when he wasn’t drinking. The next day I had an appointment with my counselor. He left with his suitcase while I was gone. I texted him and he put all the blame on me. Said I hadn’t been supportive since he went to rehab. Said I treated him like a loser. He cashed in the last 25,000 of his 401k and went to Vegas for a few days and now I believe his in Cabo. He said he is not getting what he needs from me and that he will continue to pay the rent. Said he will be back May 1st. Our lease is up on June 30th. I am devastated. I am 2700 miles from my family. I do have a job here but not sure if I can afford to live on my own. I would go back east but I don’t have a job there. I know I need to let go of this man but I am so sad and lost. I trusted him. He promised he wouldn’t do this to me again..:(

  • stella

    I have a terrible time separating the disease from the person. They become one.

  • another red

    funny you chose that name…. as that is his nickname… ive never been with someone that alcohol controlled to this extent… as you stated Red.. I also work long hours only to come home to the same scenario of arguing and broken items …. I have left him 3 times but like so many of you … a guilt of helping him has kept me coming back…this time I’m seeking help and sticking with boundaries… I thought I hsd become depressed, and recently found out the other feelings I felt was anxiety……the constant arguing has really taken its toll on me and ive realized I have lost everything trying to help him… even my child cant stand to come around him…. I thought I was doing the right thing by being empathetic ….. after all he has a problem… until I realized his problem has created and is causing so many in my life and he never is dealt the consequences…the total lack of respect and callousness of living with someone who keeps me on edge .. I gradually learned over time to increase the days spent away from him… and actually found a lil piece of myself and joy again…..its hard but I think I finally understand its his battle not mine… and no matter what … I could never do some of the atrocious things hes done to me…. life wasn’t meant to be like this… and until I could take time without him…. than I began to see the light… it has still taken me years and it very much still hurts… I used to be considered a strong person… how I wonder did he get to me and totally destroy everything in my life I loved… I’m now to a point that I wonder whats wrong with me that I found this to be acceptable….for so long… and to the degree I allowed it… anyone else struggle with this in this way.. almost as if I’m scared to be in a relationship with anyone being that I cant trust my judgement any more

  • Yvonne

    I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now. He is a alcoholic even admits to it yet feels no urge to get any outside help. Dave, my boyfriend has been nice, fun, loving, always arranging weekend get away which always evolves drinking, sports and gambling. After a long boring marriage, then a divorce having a fun man to hang out with was awesome. though over time I found out he is a alcoholic, hiding alcohol bottles in kitchen cabinets, hiding how much he really drinks. when I would go to the bathroom he would run to the kitchen and drink straight tequila and vodka then run back to the living room like he never left and I could not figure out why he was so drunk. I asked him if he has been doing drugs too. it was baffling, I figured it all out that he is a alcoholic and lies about how much he drinks, and found out he goes to the neighborhood bar to drink when im working and lying to me telling me he waits till I get home from work to start his first drink which is 745pm. im struggling with leaving him. Dave is fun, nice and loving. then again every night he has to get drunk and sometimes stoned, when I look at him I see a 51year old man who looks drugged out and he is partying all by himself. need advice please.

  • […] posting your story.  You may feel lost and not sure where to turn to get help for the alcoholic. Learning how to let go of an alcoholic takes time.   The best thing you can do is learn how to take care of  yourself in the middle of […]

  • […] Mayfran, thanks for submitting your story. We must always get up one more time than we fall down. Learning how to let go of an alcoholic is vitally important to your success of reclaiming your sanity. You will find a few tips here: […]

  • […] we learn how to love an alcoholic when the bottle is literally their best buddy? I think that we can if we learn to do this in a […]

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