Blaming an Alcoholic

It wasn’t until I learned that I was responsible for my own happiness that I quit blaming my alcoholic spouse for my miserable life. Have you gotten so enmeshed with someone else’s behavior that you are not sure where they begin and you end. I used to describe this co-dependency as like being on a roller coaster ride at Six Flags or Disney World. When the problem drinker is in a good mood, I’m in a great mood; whenever they are mad, I too am experiencing negative emotions. Does this sound familiar: “If they would just quit drinking, everything would be alright?” Does that sound like someone blaming another for their unhappiness?

finger pointing How can you stop getting so mad at the alcoholic and pointing the finger at them for not making you happy?

You will never find fulfillment in another human being. They will always fail us and disappoint us, especially someone addicted to alcohol. Somehow we must begin to separate our emotions from being effected by the alcoholic’s moods. We must get rid of the fantasy that life was supposed to be lived with a white pickett fence around the home and the roses are supposed to be in perfect bloom. I’m going to give you a few suggestions that can help you overcome the blame game that is associated with being enmeshed with someone who drinks all of the time.

Here’s where we start to live our own lives:
Make a conscious effort to force yourself to quit obsessing over an alcoholic’s behavior. In the beginning you may only be able to do this for a short while, but eventually as you learn how to not focus all of your energy on what they are doing, it will get easier. I promise you that as you begin to live your own life, you will start to confront the alcoholic less.

Try out a couple of these ideas:
– Don’t look at them when they come in the door.
– Stop going through their things trying to figure out what they have been up to.
– Let them go and give them to God. – Find a good daily reader like the Courage To Change from the Al-anon program.
– Talk to a friend when you start obsessing over their behaviors.

Take a while to reflect on what some of the things are that you really enjoy doing. Make a commitment to start doing things you enjoy that bring little moments of pleasure.

Try these things:
– Go to the movie without the alcoholic, ask a friend or relative to go with you.
– Rediscover some of the hobbies that you have not enjoyed for a while.
– Buy a few new CD’s and get in a good mood from listening to music.
fair ride
Getting the focus off of how someone is treating us takes work. A good way of releasing frustrations is by taking long walks with a friend or attending an exercise class. A good workout at the gym can do wonders as well. I think you may be getting the point here. There are a billion things that we can do other than focusing on the alcoholic for our unhappiness. Make a list of all of the things you can change about your daily routine so that you can start enjoying your life more…apart from the problem drinker. The happier you get on your own, the less you will blame the alcoholic for your unhappiness.

I learned in the Al-anon program that I could be happy whether the alcoholic/addict was drinking or not. This is not just a theory, but is a level of living life that is obtainable without leaving the problem drinker. When I rediscovered who I was apart from all of the intense mood swings of my spouse, I began to stop blaming them for the unhappiness that I had been experiencing.

15 comments to Blaming an Alcoholic

  • Paul

    I would love to be able to take this advice and start enjoying things such as going to the gym or going to the movies with friends etc. but these would all mean leaving our children with my alcoholic wife who has no problem getting drunk whilst being responsible for the kids, she has even been arrested for child neglect after getting drunk on a train with the children in her “care” – how can I switch off and relax doing some activity whilst worrying what is happening at home with the kids ?

  • Cheryl

    Do you have or does she have someone YOU can trust? I was in a similar situation. My neighbor gave in to my boyfriend after endless begging for a beer. I was mad at my neighbor for that. Afterwards, I spoke with my neighbor & he will NOT do that again. I can trust him now. So, to me, it’s a lot about who you can trust. Do you have any alcohol in the house? Good luck. Hope you can enjoy yourself, you deserve it!

  • tom

    Get a family membership at a local health club or YMCA. Take the kids with. Many have caregivers that can watch kids while you work out.

  • Sandy

    I am in a similar situation in that my 86 yr old mother lives with us and I’m her primary caregiver; so I can’t exactly just go off and do my thing and leave her to deal with my AH at the house . . I have another issue to add to it though; he’s extremely jealous and insecure, him letting me out the door to start living life on my own will never happen . . even when he’s sober he doesn’t trust a soul . . it’s awful . . I have to just try to make the best of things at home; it’s not ez . .

  • judi

    I agree with Cheryl…reach out to someone YOU can trust. As far as alcohol in the home… experience is the active alcoholic can be extremely sneaky and hiding alcohol becomes second nature, they will always find it and conceal it from you. For your sanity and your childrens sake, finding someone whom you trust would be the plan to attend to them in your abscence. I cannot stress enough the support of Alanon…it will make a HUGE difference in your life! God bless and good luck!!

  • Diana

    You could take the children to a sitter that you trust who has your cell number in case of emergency and then go enjoy some time with friends for a while. Life must go on for you and if you don’t find a way to enjoy life soon then you will start to resent your children who need you very much. God bless you and your family.

  • Caitlyn

    Food for thought:
    Why don’t you pick a nice activity to enjoy WITH your kids to build up the family ties. They must need some out time from the alcoholic too. Not sure how old they are, but I’m guessing they are quite young like under five? Build up your relationship with them and use this family time as a great escape for you all. Parks, beaches, playgrounds, exploring the neighbourhood on foot allows affordable and enjoyable family time together.

    Besides the obvious of finding a good and trusted friend or family member to care for them to allow you to go to the gym or movies, some gyms and movie houses have child care if you can find the funds. Some church movements have some form of support there too and many will help regardless of whether you are a church follower or not, or a member of their church. Makes them hypocritical if they did not. Contact a local church to find out if they can assist or know of any church group that assist. You may make new friends and supporters this way. A double bonus.

  • Karen

    Paul, Your situation is extremely difficult and protection
    of the children is absolutely first priority. My father 95.
    is with me and for the last 4 1/2 years. My husband does
    not care weather it is Dad or me he is intoletant of when
    drinking. I had to find something I enjoyed weather my husband like it or not. I found gardening and my green house a place where I could comfort my soul and most of the
    time be out of the way of the alcoholi husband.

    This is only a suggestion. Do you enjoy old cars and restoring them. A garage that provides space from her
    to tinker with other types of hobbies and the kids can
    still hang out with you. Building a tree house or doll
    house might help them when it gets rough around the house.

    Are their bedrooms off limits when she is drinking? Their
    rooms should be a safe haven for them. If she does not
    follow the rules on this remind her that it will not
    be tolerated.

    Neighbors mean well but fail to realize that the alcoholic
    does not need any catering. I have had a lot of trouble with that and went so far as to tell them that they were
    contributing to his problem by allowing him easy access
    to their beer. But now I believe the neighbors are in just
    about as bad a shape as my husband. You are going to
    have to stand up for you and the children.

    I am having my dad move to assisted living. Hopefully,
    he will not out live his money. He at first was very
    unhappy with the idea but now is packing up his few\
    posessions into boxes and is preparing for the move.
    He is acting excited about his new life now. I know
    this does not solve your problem but many years of prayer
    has helped me solve part of my problem. Find escape routes
    for your children when your wife drinks. Keep them away from your wife when she drinks. They do not need the cruelty that alcoholics dish out with their mouths and possibly physically mistreat them. I sincerely wish you
    the best for you and your children. Good luck with all of your decisions. Karen

  • Sheila

    Children’s safety comes first.
    Children need safety, security, and a calm stable adults which they can rely on. Who can the innocent children turn to if the non-alcoholic adult is an emotional mess?
    This situation isn’t good for you or for the children.
    I hope you get the Courage to change the situation.
    You deserve better, and so do the children.

    It is often very difficult for me to act calm and secure when my alcoholic has me feeling like a tornado inside. Yet, I consciously try my best. I didn’t have an emotionally stable parent growing up, and I want my daughter to have that. My father was an emotionally absent alcoholic and my mother became emotionally unstable and unreliable. I know it wasn’t her fault, but I suffered nonetheless.
    Alcoholics thrive on keeping us in inner turmoil. When we act calm and self assured, they lose control over us; and the children have a stable adult to rely upon. “Fake it till you make it” they say in Al-Anon.
    Perhaps you can start looking for a baby sitter, or make friends with the parents of the children’s friends, so that when they have playdates you can have a little bit of free time, or something like that.

    Best wishes and love.

  • sylvia knafl

    choose activties and movies where you can take the kids with you, find professional babysitters who can take them at their house. some gyms might offer babsitting, ask around ask everyone dont be shy about asking for help. That will open new doors.
    I dont know about your financial situation but maybe you can send the children on a little christmas vacation and take one yourself at the same time. there is many possibilities, keep asking.

  • admin

    Paul, thanks for participating. Alcoholic situations are all difficult to deal with and hopefully you can see that what you shared directly relates to the article: “Blaming An Alcoholic.”

    Are you blaming her for you not being able to enjoy your life?

    Our readers have offered some great ideas. The process of change starts with making a decision to do things differently…”where there’s a will there’s a way.”

    These articles may help:
    Learning How To Live With Active Alcoholism
    I’m Entitled To A Decent Life
    Being Powerless Over An Alcoholic

    I would also like to introduce you to the Al-anon program. Check your area by searching Google and find a meeting to attend. You will find people there who can help you with your situation.

    It takes time to learn how to stop blaming an alcoholic for our unhappiness. By reaching out to our community here at Alcoholic’s Friend you have taken a big step in the right direction.

  • Teresa

    I am also in a very similar situation. I have 2 teenagers, 2 year old twins and a 7 month old baby. I don’t ask my teenagers very often to babysit cause they need their time to been teens and when I do ask for their help with my little ones they know I really need it. 

    I have just started going to a church that has a once a week 12 step recovery program as well as a potluck that offers free child care. It’s a lot of work getting all my little ones ready out the door but it’s the best I can do with my situation. 

    It’s been difficult for me not to obsess about my alcoholic husband’s drinking. In a way I still feel like an “enabler” cause if he’s not around to help parent our children, I HAVE to be. I have no other choice but to “pick up his slack” when he’s too “tired” (hung over) or when he chooses to have his “cave time.” 

    I am thankful he doesn’t go out anywhere to drink. The house we live in has a main floor with family room, kitchen, and half bath as well as 4 bedrooms upstairs. The basement is set up like a 1 bedroom apartment. My husband has his own kitchen, laundry, bath, family room, and bed room as well as his own entrance/exit (walk out basement) if he chooses to use it. 

    He doesn’t keep his living area very clean or picked up so my twins don’t go down to the basement very often. 

    Don’t know what you have for means when it comes to finding a new gym but you may want to look into finding one that offers child care. 

    Keep us posted as to what you are able to do for yourself as well as finding a safe place for your kids while you get some “Me time.”


    What you are going through is not new in the world of Alcoholism, you should know by now that they take hostages. Your life is now divided between your personal livelihood and the safety of your children and your wife’s drinking problem. Find someone who is willing to sit the kids while you go out. This could actually create enough time for you to talk to your wife more and go out to the gym. Children do not have to see the people they love move in opposite directions. My advise is for you to get one of your wife’s friends, one who shares your concern because that way she will not take offense. Hang in there and be strong…no bad situation is permanent.

  • Paul

    wow ! thanks for all the feedback everybody,

    Teresa’s comment “It’s been difficult for me not to obsess about my alcoholic husband’s drinking. In a way I still feel like an “enabler” cause if he’s not around to help parent our children, I HAVE to be. I have no other choice but to “pick up his slack” when he’s too “tired” (hung over) or when he chooses to have his “cave time.”” pretty much sums up how I feel sometimes in that I feel the pressure to always be in 2 places at once and be both of the parents at the same time.

    Just to expand on my original comments, I do try and take time out when I can and accept offers of baby-sitting help from my parents, friends and neighbours but am always conscious that I should not take these for granted, particularly my elderly parents and neighbours, I don’t want to run out of favours. I do make a point of enjoying activities out with the boys ( and indeed my wife when she is sober ) but it would be nice to go out and do some adult stuff with friends of my own age occasionally.

    Admin – “Are you blaming her for you not being able to enjoy your life?” there is some truth in this, it’s definitely something I need to work on.

    Thanks again for all the advice,


  • […] toward their behaviors. Honestly, I took very little responsibility for my life and was constantly placing blame on the alcoholic for my […]

Leave a Reply