Pain Greater than Fear of Living without an Alcoholic

When the pain of living with an alcoholic finally gets greater than the fear of living without them that’s when change happens. As family or friend’s of alcoholics progress in therapy or even support group meetings, oftentimes change is inevitable. This is backed by a familiar statement to those of us in recovery; “Suffering is optional, but pain is inevitable.”

As we continue in our programs of recovery for family members of alcoholics, we begin to realize that we are not being treated with respect by the problem drinkers in our lives. So much of this realization happens as we begin to stop reacting to the alcoholic’s behaviors. We then begin to see more clearly how we are being verbally and sometimes physically abused. As the blinders of denial begin to get stripped from our eyes, we start seeing the situations for what they really are. Oftentimes they are very painful to look at and admit to how abusive the situation really is.

Should I LeaveIt’s hard to explain how recovery works for us dealing with alcoholics on a daily basis. Everyone has to find their own path of recovery. There’s one thing for certain, the pain continues to get greater the longer we stay interconnected to active drinkers. Without a recovery program it’s nearly impossible to live a happy life with a problem drinker.

Some people are able to live with an alcoholic for many years and are able to still enjoy their lives. Others find themselves in more abusive situations where they are constantly oppressed by the effects of someones behaviors towards them.

When an alcoholic’s behaviors continue to be abusive, many people in recovery finally say; “I don’t have to live this way.” That’s the point where the “suffering becomes optional.” Somehow through time in attending meetings, reading literature and interacting with others who live with alcoholics, we start realizing that we don’t have to live with this sort of painful situation any longer. We can change the way we are living and be able to survive without the constant dysfunctional behaviors in our lives. The fear of living without someone is lessened as we see the situation for what it really is.

WhenAs we stay connected with group members we start getting a new boldness and appreciation for life. We hear stories of people making decisions to leave the active drinkers because the situation has continued to be abusive for several years with very little hope of change. This is where the pain of living with an alcoholic becomes greater than the fear of living without them.

It’s certainly not suggested in support group meetings for people to leave the active drinkers in their lives. In fact, we are encouraged to learn how to love them without conditions.

The process of understanding the disease and the realization of the abusive relationship causes people to decide on their own merit how to handle the dysfunctional situation. As the pain gets greater than the fear, change begins to happen in our lives.

The Al-anon program states that “Living with an alcoholic oftentimes is just too much for most of us, we become lonely and frustrated without even knowing it.”

If you are living in fear and feel as though you are stuck in a difficult situation, I encourage you to find help in your community. All over the world there are support group meetings where people suffering from the effects of someones drinking can get help. Al-anon is a worldwide organization, designed to lesson the pain of living with an alcoholic.

54 comments to Pain Greater than Fear of Living without an Alcoholic

  • Ross

    I can understand this. I loved my husband. But it has been so hurtful to care for someone with this disease.
    Painful for me to have the issues that i have, that put me here.Choices “I” have made, not understanding it then.
    I have been going to al-anon since around last dec..It has helped,also time,recovery tools,etc..

  • Debbi

    For those of us that have separated and/or divorced their A’s can anyone share some thoughts with me on how I get over the feeling maybe I left too soon, guilt and how to stop those “mind movies” that keep playing over & over in my head. I can still hear his voice from some encounters with him where he called me names or heard him telling his family awful things. I have left and this is the last remaining remnant of my awful marriage and seems to keep me from my final recovery. Hoping for tips from others as to how they got past and finally found some peace after leaving.

  • Sam

    I have been separated from my alcoholic husband for about a year now. We live in different states, and I plan to divorce him as soon as possible. I knew that my husband was an alcoholic before we got married, but I married him anyway (not the smartest move I have ever made). And, I would have stayed with him until the end, if he hadn’t cheated on me (I found out that *awesome* little tidbit of news from a third party). Even after I found out that he cheated on me, I tried to justify to myself why I should give him another chance (I don’t even know if he wanted one). It is thanks to modern medicine (e.g., Prozac) and a very loving and supportive group of family members and friends that helped me to leave him… for good.

    In my opinion, it is never too soon to leave an addict especially, if you feel like your life is being adversely affected by his/her behavior, and you find yourself in a toxic, enabling, codependent rat’s nest of a relationship (which is something I found myself in). It might sound selfish, but first and foremost, you need to take into account your own well-being and mental wellness. It sounds as though you were a victim of verbal abuse, and that is reason enough alone to want to leave a relationship.

    I am not saying that it is easy leaving the one person whom you are *supposed* to love the most in the world. For me, it was absolutely excruciatingly heartbreaking. I would not wish the pain I experienced on my worst enemy. I felt like he had broken me into a million little pieces, and I honestly could not see how it was possible for me to ever be whole again.

    It may sound incredibly trite, but time does in fact heal all wounds (people kept telling me this when I was at my worst, and I always wanted to tell them to go f themselves). Time has the innate ability to lessen the intensity of a once all-consuming bought of pain and anguish. You grow a thicker skin, and you make yourself move forward.

    It is not for everybody, but I am a big advocate of therapy. I would also suggest that you find a community where you feel safe to share your feelings, thoughts, and worries (e.g., Al-Anon). Talking helps you feel not so alone, because the fact of the matter is, you are not alone – not by a long shot.

    I hope some or any of what I said helps. Good luck to you. I have been where you are (not exactly, but we both have alcoholic husbands), and I can report back to you (from the other side so to speak) that you can more than survive your current state of seemingly overwhelming distress. And you will become so much stronger, because of everything you have endured.

  • Leave and the world is with you –

  • Donna

    Sam: In my life, I have never ended a relationship because there was no love, but because I loved myself enough to end something that was hurting me. Your life is important; your feelings are important; You deserve joy. You deserve peace. Sometimes that joy and peace is found by letting go instead of holding on. Love cannot be the only reason you stay with an individual..there are more important ingredients; mutual respect, acceptance, lack of blaming behavior, TRUST, with trust being the most important. You are strong, and deserving of a good life. Go take it and make it yours.

  • Question that I battle with is is he an alchoholic? He gets up everyday and goes to work. Thats good. He is providing. Yet…I find half empty bottles of vodka hidden in his vehicle and there is always a large one in the kitchen. He goes through one of each in a couple of days. My friends drink…but they also can not drink for long periods. I used to have a drink or two at dinner but now don’t because him. Is he or isn’t he?

  • Brenda

    Sorry to say this but it seems you may have an alcoholic on your hands. He must feel it too as he’s hiding his bottles.

  • Donna

    L Anne: Stashing behavior is indicative of a real problem. Don’t doubt your gut instinct.

  • Pj

    What does not drinking at dinner tell you L Anne, already you are hoping that if you dont drink nor will he , but it aint gonna happen, you are in the early stages of codependency. Lots of A’s function and work but increasingly in a chaotic manner. Empty bottles in the car ? He’s an accident waiting to happen and undoubtedly an A. There are plenty of other male providors out there , go find one that wont suck you into their downward spiral of chaos.

  • Sam

    My favorite is bottles in the shower.

  • Ross

    Yep,I believe he is!…

    Debbie, I have my doubts at times, but they dont last long.All I have to do is recount the many hard times, the cheating, mistreatment, the almost being out on the street(me /kids) the stolen money, the regular visits to the food banks, the lies, the trading it all for a drink or drug, the dumping all the sht in my lap when he’d run off on binges……I really could go on more…really but wont!
    It was impossible for me.He had no respect for what I held dear, and to try to be a chamelion at his warped whim just to get him tp love me, accept me, approve me and keep our marriage together and HE easily tossed it away AND justified it to keep his bottle….No, I made a good choice.I never thought Id have to make, but glad I did.Just because it was a good/wise choice doesnt mean it didnt hurt,that i wouldnt grieve, wouldt havw a difficult time learning to live a different life-but doesnt mean it wasnt meant to be a good thing for me, just because it didnt feel good.I’m human, so are you…We may be grieving , growing, learning,finding our way.But it can be a good thing if we can learn to see it that way.We have lived a prolonged troubled life and it became something we’d adapted somewhat to.So now for our own detoxification!Lately, when i look at myself, i see i felt rejected because of his actions.It wasnt because i wasnt good enough to fight for etc….He is sick, warped and it is HIS problem.I dont HAVE to feel bad about myself because of what he has done, does, says.But i have to remind myself at times and then comes PEACE and RELIEF and Hope for better days!

  • better&better

    The A I was married to for 26 yrs. was the same person when he got sober. It hurt me even more because there were no more excuses. He just chose to be mean and a liar, thief and cheat. Ouch! I haven’t read any success stories yet about staying with an A, whether drinking or sober. It’s deeper than the alcohol. It’s they way they are wired. Love yourself and be with others who love you, too. You’re worth it!

  • Debbi

    Sam: I take your words to heart that hopefully time will heal the wounds–I too drew the line in the sand when the infidelity came into play. He had threatened me with divorce many times but when he broke that vow I finished the divorce process for him & I too would not wish that excruciating pain on anyone else. Thank you for your insight and caring.

    Ross: You’re right that sometimes it’s hard for us to not feel rejected when these things are done to us, especially coming from someone we pledged our life to. My financial situation was not as bad as yours during the marriage but upon separation it became hell, watching him not pay any bills while living in the house and choosing instead to spend his money on phone s#x chat lines, escorts, clothes, gambling. I often wonder now that’s over what your A & mine think about us now–maybe a little remorse is finally hitting them. Thank you again Ross–you always come through with the right words.

  • Pez

    Ross Said,” He had no respect for what I held dear, and to try to be a chamelion at his warped whim just to get him tp love me, accept me, approve me and keep our marriage together and HE easily tossed it away AND justified it to keep his bottle.”

    Ya know I come here almost daily to read posts to remind me NEVER TO GO BACK. Sometimes you still get that “hopeful miracle thing” going on and you forget HOW badly you were treated. This site keeps me straight. What Ross said it soooo true, ” He had no respect for what I held dear”. Just stomping on you and crushing you the whole way–hurting you intentionally at times cause they are so convicted of who they have become. Debbie you drew the line, So did I (a one time forgiveness for me that was verbalized!) If we give in what does that say about us! Yes, we loved them but, THEY RUINED that, the trust is broken into smitherines! There’s nothing left–even if we still feel love at times for them–the foundation is destroyed. If we would go back it would only be even worse because we show we have no limit or boundries of what we will allow them to do to us. You can’t go back and fix betrayal especially multiple ones. You just humiliate yourself! And you have seen, “How easily they tossed it away” after all your love & commitment. You just CAN’T go back. It is hard to accept finality of it all but it is OVER. It has to be for your own moralities sake!

  • linda

    Very good advice. Never go back. That’s my mistake. It only gets worse.
    Can’t take it anymore. Felt so much better away. When gone don’t speak to the a.

  • Crystal

    I would really love to leave my alcoholic boyfriend before it does become violent.He already verbally and mentally abuses me now.Help!!

  • Pez

    Crystal you can do it! Read through these blogs for some encouragement and inspiration. The chance of recovery is low and only you’re the one who gets hurt emotionally and in every way. If you don’t believe it now, convince yourself, the only thing they care about is the drink! You are very low on the list. Leave and find someone who thinks you’re amazing because you are!

  • Linda

    Crystal, Leave now or as soon as you can..It just gets worse.. My a is a dry drunk. Every time I’ve gone back it just got worse.I’ve left a total of 6 or 7 times.He has got physically abusive. He know when to do this when someone is not around.I ashamed to admit I never called the police. Because of me leaving it has alienated my sons from me n grandchildren…Please be strong n leave…….

  • Pat

    Yes I finally left after 12 years …I learned he hit rock bottom lost job he’s hospitalized right now. First time..I had to learn that I deserved respect..kindness. peace in my life. I’m working on finding myself again. I’m getting happy. It’s been 1 year and 3 months ..I have a new love he has expressed toe he believes I talk as bout my alcholic too much living in the past..emotionally and verbally and physically. ..too much pain and sadness. He won’t move on he’s stuck. I never go back always moves forward. Most important. Just move. I left no job health. Yeah. He took that too. I’m on disability for migraines. Living with relatives no car. I will do whatever it takes for my danity

  • C

    Hopeless is the feeling when dealing with an alcoholic. It takes over our lives. I realized the alcoholic was all I thought about when I was away from him – all the drama and unfinished projects. He just couldn’t get moving even though he would tell you he was doing great! They live in another world – very scary when you are living with them.

  • DiAnn Robertson

    I too married an alcoholic 20 years ago. The first 10 years were not so bad. My husband drank BEER night,y. At the time of our marriage it was 4 or 5 night,y unless we were at say a Baseball game. He would get 2 on last call, then either he brought a cooler with several or the designated driver, yes it was always me, would stop, because he had to potty, and would buy a 6-pack! Every year for the past 10 years, his consumption has increased. Rarely drinks hard liquor that I know of. We used to have a big circle of friends, would go out to eat several times a week, have cook-outs and swim parties all the time. All of those times have stopped. I refuse to have my grandkids see him stumble, talking loud, and always having to have the last word. He cannot help clean up so he just stands and watches me and my children clean up. Now he is drinking 8 to 12 beers a night. His reply is always I AM NOT HURTING ANYONE! Last week he had Prostrate surgery which was to be a 2 night stay. About 36 hours after surgery, he started shaking, sweating, passed out 2x, blood pressure dropped extremely low stomach quessey and would forget what he was saying.. Turned into a 4 night stay. The dr di not know he was a heavy drinker as he always replies that he has 2-3 beers nightly. I could go on and on for hours. Bottom line is I get so upset with him and myself for putting up with him. I should of never married him or should of gotten out of our marriage a long time ago. Now I feel too old to make such drastic changes especially being 61 years old. I was also stupid in not getting a pre-nuptial agreement, since I had been self employed for 10 years when we married. I still love him, but I Don’t like him and what he has become. I will say if he ever physically abused I would be at a Divorce Attorney immediately

  • Maurren

    Pat, I am need to go on disability for my migraines as well. What are yours like? How do I go about accomplishing this?

  • kat

    Pat so good to read your comment ,, I left my xal more than 2yrs ago.. he’s still in my head and like you I have a new guy and he says I live in the past,, funny I rem all the good things its easy to pretend it wasn’t so bad ,, but it was awful,, drinking every day and much more than I knew , he said I was crazy because I was always fighting he still blames me ,, he txts me sometimes and I text him back ,, I should be so happy to be free of him but I slip back sometimes because he wasn’t always an alcoholic but its more than drinking he stopped for two years and was still as secretive ,, he says he has a new woman so that means some other woman is dealing with his shit ..thank god and as they say in AA its one day at a time and today is so good ,

  • Ross Pendragon

    My alcoholic wife JUST DIED OF A CONBINATION OF ALCOHOLOC POISONING AND VENERIAL DISEASE…and I’m glad the nightmare is over. She divorced me after only 18 weeks of marriage during which time she commited adultery 3 times to my knowledge. That’s if you could call it a marriage. She tried to take every penny I had so she could drink it away. Friends, I READ THIS ARTICLE WITH DISGUST, OH, NOT AT YOUR SUFFERING AND THE OBVIOUS HEARTBREAK you are experiencing, but at the NAIVETY OF ANYONE WHO THINKS AN ALCOHOLIC CAN CHANGE OR BE HELPED…THEY WILL DIE OF THE DISEASE. When the mask came off, ALL ALCOHOLICS WEAR A MASK, the monster WAS REVEALED. She had a beautiful face and an articulate speaker, underneath there was a monster! Even after she divorced me and took off with another man, there were still phone calls in the middle of the night when she was in dire trouble or the time she had just been gang-raped by a group of men who she called her drinking friends! All I could say was “You divorced me, remember?”
    If any of you find yourself in a relationship with an alcoholic, pack your bags, grab the kids and get the hell out of there and away from the monster ASAP…there is NO helping these people…no therapy, nothing but trouble and heart ache. They don’t love you and you are being used. There is only one two-word answer…WALK AWAY!

  • C

    Ross: Thank you for sharing your post. Your story is what many of us have experienced in some way – constant drinking, angry, loud, blame. Your message is excellent. We have lost 3 men in our small town of 1,200 people, in the past 5 weeks. One was 46 years old. The past 2 years he did nothing – lived with his father and wasted away. No one could help him. He used to be a hard worker and very active. When there are so many dying of alcoholism, why is it so available?

  • Penny

    Hi everyone and thanks for all your words of reality. I’m getting to the point of the pain is greater then the fear of living without my A. We have been together 5 yrs. I guess what is hard for me to leave is he has really tried and made good changes that have lasted. He does drink all day everyday still. It used to be Vodka…that was pure hell. Now most of the time he drinks beer throughout the day…enough to not go through withdrawals. He does get too drunk every now and then, which does give me anxiety. He used to never work and he does now and has for about a yr consistently. I guess I feel bad leaving because he has gotten better and done things I have asked just not all things but most. I wonder to myself if I am asking too much and wanting perfection and no one is perfect. Pls tell me your thoughts and thanks again.

  • Pez

    Penny, It’s up to you!! But I have to say he’s doing just enough to keep you. The main question your nee to ask yourself is: Are you willing to live the rest of your life this way–Yes or no??? And make a decision from there.

  • Penny

    Pez..thank you for that and no I’m not willing to live like this the rest of my life. I just received your comment at the right time. He decided to get drunk tonight and I had to kick him out because I don’t know what will happen. I live in an apartment and if we get in an argument I could get kicked out of here. With him being intoxicated it is a huge possibility he will start one. Life sucks right now :(.

  • Mary C.

    Thank You all for the comments. I just ended a 1 year and 4 month relationship that started out wonderful (despite the red flags). Yes, I ignored the red flags. I saw them. He was so good to me and we were having such a good time. He brought me flowers all the time. We did lots of things and had fun. We went out all the time. That didn’t last. He is a musician. Then he revealed he Smokes pot. Didn’t reveal that until 4 months into the relationship. He stopped bringing me flowers. I got him a $300 watch for Christmas, he got me $12 earrings. By the 1 year anniversary, I recognize his 26 year old (going on 12) daughter is an alcoholic. He’s ALWAYS over her place or she and her husband are always at his place. I’m never invited b/c she doesn’t like me. He abandons me every Friday night b/c he’s with her and stays over into Saturday. He’s “Dating” her, taking her out to dinner, the ball game clubs and other events, getting drunk & high w/ her then coming to me for sex. “Too tired” or “too busy” to take me out. On the rare times we went out – he made me drive b/c “he drives so far to and from work”. (I know he just wanted to drink – but he never drank that much. I could never tell, he was probably high.) Or he would somehow sabotage the plans. The cheapskate would spend all of his money on “dating” her and (whoever else he was seeing). He’s come home too late after spending the night at his daughters or “forget” that he made plans with me for Saturday. The latest: he informed me money is tight and I’m paying my way from now on, but he still wants sex on demand. (He’s using pornography too.) – I’m done.The decision just poured over me. I put an end to it. I can go out with my girlfriends, pay my way, get treated better and I don’t have to “put out” at the end of the day. It hurts when I see him ( lives in the neighborhood) but I deserve better. To Diane Robertson: I will turn 61 in 6 weeks. You don’t deserve it. You’ve got plenty of life ahead of you. It’s not too late. Be brave. It’s hard, but it feels good to have respect for myself and not put up with anymore lies, name calling and attacks on my character and my values.

  • Mary C.

    Sorry I misspelled your name DiAnn.

  • Deb

    I would like to explain my whole story but I’m typing this on my smartphone and it would take me forever. Basically, I’m needing help with making sure my husband is not under the influence when my son is in the vehicle. I brought up the drinking problem months ago and he feels he doesn’t have a problem. He is a functioning alcoholic and 9 times of out 10 u cant tell that he’s been drinking. He feels that if he isn’t all over the road then he’s fine. Sometimes he picks my son up from school or takes him to a friend’s house after he has already started drinking. I need to put my foot down but can’t seem to find a sober time to talk to him. His friend lives less than a mile away and so he thinks it’s ok to drive our son home even though he has been drinking. If my son wants to get in the truck with him, os it ok to say in front of him,”Daddy has been drinking, so u can’t get in the truck with hi.”? I have read in mulitple places that I’m supposed to say,”Daddy is sick or has a disease” but I’m not sure how i feel about that. Why can’t I call it like it is? I would appreciate anyone and everyone’s help. I have tried to go to Al-non meetings but they are offered at difficult times for me.

  • Mary C.

    It depends on how old he is. If he’s over 12, tell him the truth: his dad is an alcoholic. He should know the truth and be aware of his own risks at becoming an alcoholic. He’s watching his dad. ” If it’s good enough for dad (or mom), it’s good enough for me.” Kids are paying very careful attention to their parents and are learning by example. If no one tells him his dad’s example is not a good one, It’s like telling him what his dad is doing is ok. Point out that his dad has a condition that he is not getting help for & should be. If Al Anon isn’t for you, you have to get some sort of support counseling to help yourself maintain your sanity and protect your son while you are dealing with his dad’s alcoholism. If he’s too young, I think talking to your son privately and pointing out that his dad has a condition that he should be getting help for, but isn’t and it makes it dangerous for him to be driving when he’s been drinking. That’s why you sometimes don’t let him get in the car with dad.

  • AM

    One thing I have to say to all of the above is that if you look back you will see the signs… things you didn’t see before. My Dad used to say if hindsight were foresight we would all be geniuses. He also told us that if someone drinks before you get in a relationship, he is going to drink after y9u get involved. Sometimes good, kind people are taken hostage by people. Get out and live your life. It does not mean you don’t love that person but you must have respect for yourself. Everyday is a gift.

  • Bmcg

    Hi all. Good reads here. Been married 27+ years to alcoholic. Finally said I go or Alcohol goes. I threw out all alcohol in house. He hasn’t brought any in…yet. Never goes out to drink. Obsesses over made up issues and other peoples issues. Won’t talk about our issues. Provides well but so do I. Self sufficient , successful. Great kids. My issue is I’m tired of being the strong in control adult here. I want out but Gods Word tells me to stay. Not sure where this will end up. I kind of hope he brings Alcohol in so I have an excuse to leave.

  • Deb

    My son is 6 years old, I’m the one who wrote above. I don’t want to say too much to him for fear of if getting turned back around on me. My husband’s mother is known for feeding people with lies/info to use it against them. So last night we had an argument because he thought it was ok to take our son to a friends house (who lives a mile away) after he had had 4 beers in 2-3 hours time. I thought it would be best if he didn’t take him. He said I was crazy. That he’d never do anything to hurt our son. Am I being unreasonable?

  • MARY C.

    HE is delusional. When he is drunk, he thinks everything is OK. My ex boyfriend – would drink & get stoned on pot (I’m pretty sure he was also using cocaine when he was with his partying buddies). He constantly proclaimed that he is “in a good place” & he is a good person, not hurting anyone & I “won’t meet a nicer guy”. Everyone says he is “great to be around”. He is the “most fun”. I am the one who has a problem. I was no fun. The “other people” – his partying buddies – are: his 26 year old daughter & her 29 year old husband who are also alcoholics, pot and cocaine users, and his 29 year old son who is so badly addicted to alcohol, pot & cocaine (& probably sex – he solicits prostitutes), that he finally hit rock bottom when he got into trouble with a hooker & her pimp, got thrown out of his apartment by his roommates and ended up homeless. HE is now in a 2 year residential rehab facility. YOU are the only reasonable one. He & his mother are delusional. I would have taken my son myself, And not returned for a long time. Are you doing anything to take care of yourself? Get someone into your life to give you support. He has his mother’s enabling. Don’t give up on al-anon so easily. All of the groups are not the same.

  • Shelly

    Deb- please listen to me. I have a 6 yr old boy and chose to divorce his dad 2 yrs ago after waking up and recognizing the truth about his alcoholic dependency. I chose to ignore it for many years and used the excuses of us being young and social, then when he came back from Iraq (he and I are both army) I didn’t want to take away his right to relax. There were a million red flags but this one woke me up more than any other- he picked up our son from daycare (4 at the time) and we live only 2 miles from it. I went to grab a cd out of the car and discovered the open container of juice and ever clear (pure alcohol) in the cup holder. When confronted, he was completely passive and blew me off as though I was overreacting. If YOU don’t care for your child. NO ONE ELSE ever will. You are his mom and God trusted you with that little boys life- act in the best interest of your child and not the irresponsible grown man. Adults can fend for themselves- children cannot. Your life starts when you get out, I promise.

  • Hi, I married a man who used to drink heavily when he was married to his first wife. He promised me that he would not do that if I would continue dating and give him a chance. He did great for a year, then this year has been bad. He can go long periods without drinking, bu then out of the blue he will stop by a gas station, pick up beer and have 4 to 6 on the way home. Knowing that I can tell he has, but he lies repeatedly that he hasn’t been drinking. He makes me feel like I am too STUPID to figure it out. Then I go out to his truck and check the cooler or under his seat and of course there is the beer! I am holding it in front of him and he is still denying it. I ordered a breathalizer test and he hid it from me. He is good as gold to me when he isn’t drinking, he is a dedicated hard worker and I do think he loves me but when he has the urge to drink, he lies about it. Which makes me not want to believe anything that he has to say. The next day after an argumnent over the beer/lyiing, he wants to act like nothing happened and just get up and have a great new day. I don’t work that way. Any suggestions for me??

  • Kathleen

    Hi everyone. On the begining I want to apologize for mistakes and my grammar English is my second language. I’m married 6 years arleady we have daughter 5y. He is drinking everyday it’s maybe 2 drinks a day when he come from work. When I look back maybe 3 years ago he was just drinking on weekends when we go out. Now when we don’t go out he just go to the garage and he is drinking by himself. I see he is more aggressive, he push me, he scream on me. I’m scared when he do that and he know that then he do it more. He always say he is the only One who work (I don’t) and he is the only one who will take care of our daughter when he kick me out because I’m no one. I feel like sometimes I want to change something live him but he will take my daughter, and I’m really scared. That’s true I’m not working even if I will find a job it will not be enough to pay the rent. And how can I even think to live him. I’m really don’t know what to do he wasn’t like that and he is worse and worse. When he is not drinking he is fine but when he is so aggressive everything change.

  • Bill

    Kathleen, you communicated things fine. I understand exactly what you are living in. You might consider going to Al-anon, a place that helped friends and family members of alcoholics cope.

    Also, if you are in the United States it’s rare for the father to get custody of a child when there is a separation.

    If you are serious about leaving him seek legal counsel. You can consult with an attorney for free. If your husband is the sole provider for the family, he will have to pay child support to you and also alimony if you divorce.

    The first move though is to get into Al-anon where there are people who can help support you during these difficult times.

  • Shelly

    Kathleen- I agree with Bill all the way. Al-Anon is a wonderful place to voice your anxieties to people who will understand. They can offer local support recommendations and even better, teach you how to be your own person again. God placed us on this earth to care for each other, not bring home money. Your worth is found outside of dollar bills.

  • Debra

    35 yrs here. Hubby quit drinking and physically abusing 15 yrs ago. Verbal abuse never stopped. Started drinking again. Has turned two youngest kids against me. They don’t believe he is what he is. Older two know what hes like. Ive left a couple times always returning after promises. I just have no where to go and he knows it. I dont do alone very well. I need to get out. Tired of constant mood swings verbal abuse and stealing my joy. I record most fights as no one would ever believe it. Are there places who help. Thanks

  • Sleepless

    I’ve been married to an A for 24 years, I’m so very tired of the verbal abuse. He has never layed a hand on me but the words hurt just as bad. He is now retired but was a functioning A, never missed work. It’s hard to think about walking away & starting over at 59 but it seems like the only option these days. The weekend of our last anniversary was supposed to be camping trip but he ruined that. I left & spend the weekend with my sister. She asked me then how often are you happy? Ha, I thought to myself what is that.

  • sue

    When you leave a alcholic is by choice for your own health dont feel guilty leaving they are sick and Have to find there own way or die from the diease

  • Ellyn

    Wow. This sounds like you are talking about my husband and me 20 years younger. I’ve been with my AH for 16 years, and he is your husband to a Tee. He is verbally abusive but doesn’t hit me, he works, which is how he convinces himself that he’s not an alcoholic, and he keeps me up at night arguing about the latest turmoil in his life. People ask me that same thing-when will it be enough.
    I’m not at the point where I want to leave, and I still hold onto the good days though they are happening less and less. I have learned a lot lately about the disease, and I have learned to fix me because I can’t fix him. I have a great support group at the alanon meetings I attend on Tuesday nights, and I participate in online alanon groups and meetings.
    I have also been told what Sue said. Don’t feel guilty, he’s sick, he has to hit rock bottom, don’t let him bring you down.
    It’s extremely hard to let go, and I have also learned that I’m co-dependent.
    I have learned to ignore him when he rants-I walk away or put my headphones on at night. If he’s too drunk to go out on the weekends, I got without him. It stinks, but it’s survival.
    I feel your pain, and I can empathize 100%.
    My mother tells me that I’m not ready to leave and that I will know when I am ready.
    I’m just wondering if I ever will be ready.

    You are not alone, and you will figure out the best thing to do for YOU. Don’t worry about him.

    Keep repeating the serenity prayer. It helps me.

  • Patti

    Hi Sleepless! I’m in the same boat as you, but only racked up 20 years so far…High functioning A, never physical, but very emotionally abusive. Whenever I’m happy, he finds a comment or action that he knows will take me down to his level? of jaded/burntout/depression. It’s been really hard as we run a business together. Our last vacation was also spoiled when he quit talking to me and drove us straight home. I go on solo vacations now. We’ve built a lot of things together and Yes! Our communication was good for work only and non-existent outside of that. I did ask him about his drinking and he said he has no intentions of quitting. Scary and hard to think of taking down all we’ve created. My best friend tells me she is troubled by how I’ve changed in the last several years since A’s drinking stepped up to nightly stupors. That was a breaking point for me. I had to get away from those drinkathons and get some help for myself. I found Al anon, a great church w/new friends and recently, I took a part time job. All these things have helped me, the new job especially! I love what I’m doing there, work with nice folks, and my once deteriorated self esteem is returning. Our communication has improved. I think he sees that I can and will be independent when I choose to, and he can’t just walk all over me. Still, I know that more time spent with an active A is going to continue to take a toll on me. I don’t deserve to go down with him. I will get my papers in order and take the next step, an intervention or seperation. I know you and I deserve a happy life and we just need to get real about our choices and where they will take us, and then take life saving action on our own behalf. Noone else can do that for us. We have the power! We have to be our own advocates as the disease of Alcoholism just wants to kill, steal and rob. God bless you on your journey!

  • Ellyn

    What I wrote was in response to Sleepless’ post.
    I forgot to add that in my first post.

  • Ellen

    I read these posts for reinforcement, as I left (or we mutually left each other) my emotionally abusive alcoholic over 30 years ago! He WAS the love of my life as he was a true Jeckyl/Hyde personality. His good side was so romantic and charming and quite charismatic; however, he could AND DID turn nasty in an instant. He subsequently married another alcoholic…who passed away, and he now lives with yet another drinking buddy – all of this is something I have learned to accept and be happy for…as long as it is not me!

    For all of you who are reluctant to leave, even if he is the love of your life, my advice is to actually do it, as it erodes your own personality. I ended up in a psych ward with clinical depression over leaving him, but I would never change it. I am doing well now, and although I have had other relationships, I have never allowed verbal abuse again.

    Good luck, everyone, and remember that we all deserve to be happy!

  • Melanie

    I can relate to so many situations. I am not married to my alcoholic boyfriend, but I am guilty of trying 3 times to make this work. The last time he was out of my life for 15 months, and he was going through a tough time and had be convinced he made these huge improvements since he gave up his jack daniels and me having a heart didn’t want him homeless so I let him move back in. He was good for a month, and now the same old thing. This time 3 bottles of wine a night. He is a functioning alcoholic and is worse on the weekend. He is verbally abusive and so moody, I am exhausted dealing with it, I have things I do to take care of me but I feel isolated, and depressed at times. His truck doesn’t run so he uses my vehicles and I have caught him drinking almost a bottle of wine before work one day because I was bedridden so he thought no one was paying attention.I am finding my health is affected now I am constantly anxious and have stomach problems, my friends think less of me and my daughter to, luckily she is out of the house but still a huge part of my life.I am on disability right now until I get knee surgery and then he needs it to if we make it that long. I am trying really hard to watch my interactions and take care of me. I go to meetings I have a back up plan if and when I am ready to leave this time I know it will be for good. But I struggle with leaving someone when they are down. I feel so guilty and I know I will be furious if wrecks the car or heaven forbid hurt someone. I had him leave the last time and it took a long time to get him and his stuff out of here I dont wont to go through it again between the two of us we have 17 animals I cannot afford to feed them all and take care of the finances on my own. I trying to rebuild me and be able to buy a house so I can take me and my animals to a new home but then I leave him here and he screws up my credit. I really did it this time, last time he took my truck for months before I could get it back. I guess that’s why I am so anxious there is no easy way out only through it. I just keep remembering I did it before, I was fine I had peace..that is what I need now, I dont know how to live with him and have peace.

  • JayJay

    Dear Sleepless, Patti, Ellyn and others. Your posts are a mirror of my life. I have been married for to my alcoholic husband for 44 years. For the first few years I was just trying to figure out why he could be so mean one time and pleasant another. I was a stay at home Mom, and always felt I had the most to loose if I left. Just before my youngest graduated HS my husband seem to have a transformation after attending a men’s retreat. That lasted about 7 years, the best part of our marriage. The last 15 years or so have been pretty bad & the last 5, really bad. He has never been physically abusive ( although I have wondered if I had pushed & instead of backing down, if it would have escalated to that). He is definitely very verbal abusive. I’ve been to a few Al-anon meetings over the years ( went to a town 40 minutes away for fear of my “mask” being revealed) We have a business in a small town, and I’ve worried about losing business if his alcoholism were know. He is a Dr.Jekyll/Mr. Hyde for sure. Sex became not existent from him about 7 years ago. Five years ago, I developed breast cancer, thank goodness for my friends who helped me through that time. Now he likes to stay out in his shop drinking beer most of the day & into the evening. He has few friends, except those who drink. He will make calls or text people too late at night. He has black outs. He talks to himself. He spends money on large purchases without discussing it. There is no expression of love to me unless I’m out of town a few days, then I might receive a “love you” text or it could be a text about some issue. He has always criticized my family and has managed to alienate my sister & her family from our lives. This year I have developed heart issues and anxiety attacks. I am learning to choose not to enter into an argument/ discussion/difference of opinion for my own health’s sake. In stead of going out to his “man-cave” I let him come in.. when he decides, and if it get’s too late, I text him goodnight, put on my soothing music on my I pod and go to bed. I recently became aware that I have been co-dependent, probably not new, but new realisation to me. I’ve found a Celebrate Recovery group in my little town, that I attend. It was hard the first few show up in my own town meeting, but everyone there has their own battles to deal with and there is anonymity. I have confided in a couple of close friends that I can trust. I think that trust is a big issue, because living with the lies, and deceit of alcohol robs that trust, and also always second guessing oneself around the craziness of alcoholism. I don’t know what the future with my husband looks like, but I do know I have to cling to the One who holds my future. This reminds me of a song:
    “Because He lives,
    I can face tomorrow.
    Because He lives,
    All fear is gone.
    Because I know He holds the future
    And life is worth the living
    Just because He lives.

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