Detaching From An Alcoholic

What are the ways of detaching from someone who drinks too much? Why would we want to detach form an alcoholic? How can I do this in love when I am so angry at them for being this way? Is loving them still possible after all they have done to me?

This particular subject unfolds into many various roads. I will shed some light and share suggestions on how to separate our emotions from being enmeshed with a problem drinker. Separating ourselves from the way they affect us takes time. It is a process of learning how to do things differently. We don’t really realize it at the time, but our entire lives get all interconnected with everything they are doing and it really affects our behaviors in damaging and negative ways.

Don’t Allow Them to Rent Space in Your Head

You may be thinking; “what does HE mean by that?” Obsessing over an alcoholic is our biggest problem in this situation. The constant looming thoughts in our heads are taking up precious space in our minds. With that being said, don’t allow them to rent space in your head. Find things to do which will change your focus. Read books, exercise, go to the movies or talk to a friend on the phone. Find things that will help your mind DETACH from thinking about them.

Learn to Take Care of Yourself

In the midst of your extremely busy life, learn how to take “out time” for yourself. The alcoholic may not like it that you are doing something to make your SELF happy. That’s OK… do it anyway! When they approach you afterward, just say; “I’m sorry you fell that way” and go into another room.

Understand that alcoholics keep us angry and anxious. We must do things for ourselves in the detachment process regardless of what they think about us. If you are a woman, get your hair and nails done. If you are a man go golfing, fishing or go for a walk. Taking time out to get a massage works really well for relieving stress. You can count on meeting resistance from them, but you have to start taking care of yourself regardless of what they think.

Detaching From What They Think

Because an alcoholic uses anger to try and control us, we must not get upset when they voice their disapproval of when we take care of ourselves. If you get involved with alcoholism support group meetings, the alcoholic will try to goof up your plans. They might say something like; “why are you going to those stupid meetings?” It’s possible they will try to create an argument with you just prior to you leaving for a meeting. It doesn’t matter what they say. Take care of yourself and make your support group meetings and recovery literature the most important part of your life.

Detaching From The Phone

You have a choice…you can either answer the phone or not answer it. You also have another choice. You can either listen to a message they have left you or delete it without listening. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LET THEM UPSET YOU ON THE PHONE. If they are getting out of hand, kindly say; “I’m going to hang up now. I’ll talk to you later.” Then gently hang up the phone. If they leave you nasty messages, don’t listen to them. If the start calling you repeatedly, don’t answer the phone. This is how we detach form the negative influences that an alcoholic has on our lives.

In a sense we are protecting our own emotional self.

How to Stop Arguing With an Alcoholic
Detaching from the old behaviors of arguing with them takes a while. You will have to learn how to keep your mouth shut. When you sense an argument is starting, tell them that you love them or really care about them and then say; “I don’t care to discuss this right now.” You can then go into a different room, close the door and read a book or watch TV. It doesn’t matter what you do…just find something to do other than to argue with them. Learning how to not fight with an alcoholic takes time. This is why it’s important to get involved in support-group meetings for friends and family of alcoholics.

Detaching from the way we have been doing things is a huge subject. We must learn how to separate ourselves from feelings of guilt and shame.

How To Enjoy More Peace and Serenity

  • We learn how to avoid getting into arguments.
  •  We stop getting into the car and driving around to try and find them.
  •  We quit snooping around in their stuff trying to find their stash.
  • We stop obsessing over the alcoholic’s behaviors.
  • We learn how to just get in bed and go to sleep when they aren’t home late at night.
  • We detach from confronting the lies.
  • We learn how to let go and let God deal with them.
  • We stop calling them to check up on them.

There are so many things effecting your life right now from the alcoholic’s behaviors that it’s going to take a while to learn how to do things differently. Little by little, “one day at a time” things will get better as you learn more about how to detach from an alcoholic.

When dealing with an alcoholic, learning loving detachment techniques is vitally important. As we grow in knowledge about alcoholism and how to handle dysfunctional situations better, we start understanding that enabling and detaching are very closely related.

As you continue reading you will learn various methods of separating yourself in a loving way from the destructive behaviors of someone else who is close in your life. These lessons can be applied to many different types of relationships.

The more co-dependent we are and enmeshed with someone, the harder it is to distinguish where we begin and they end. When they are happy, we also are happy. When they are angry our emotions are affected in a negative way as well. We can learn how to not flow with the mood swings of an alcoholic. It’s just going to take making a few changes and doing that “one day at a time.” Remember to go easy on yourself. These changes are all about making progress and not necessarily about doing everything perfectly. If you mess up, just start over.

Let me just trow out a few…

Suggestions That Will Help You Detach from an Alcoholic:

  • Get involved in Al-anon support group meetings. Al-anon is a great organization to try.
  • Read literature on the subject
  • Start developing friendships with people from your support-group meetings
  • Take notes during meetings
  • Start keeping a journal
  • Make this new lifestyle the number one priority in your life

Now here are a few…

Methods of Detaching From A Problem Drinker:

  • Kindly say, ” goodbye” and hang up the phone
  • Refuse to listen to phone messages after you hang up and they frantically call you over and-over again.
  • Quit investigating what they are doing
  • Read books or go visit with friends
  • Shut your mouth when you are angry at them and go into another room
  • Don’t look at them trying to figure out if they’ve been drinking
  • Get your own life by doing things you enjoy doing without them
  • Don’t allow them to rent space in your head,. Stop thinking about them all the time
  • Arguing with an alcoholic accomplishes nothing. Refuse to partake in the chaos
  • Let go of them completely and stop trying to control their behaviors
  • Go for walks
  • Talk on the phone to friends or relatives
  • Take up hobbies again

When We Start Detaching-We Stop Enabling.

This new way of acting will allow the alcoholic to suffer the consequences of their actions and also help them to reach their bottom. In separating ourselves from all of their drama, we in turn,  experience more peace and serenity in our own personal lives. Loving the alcoholic by letting go is the goal of this detachment process that we are learning about.

Separating ourselves as an individual in a co-dependent relationship takes time. As we continue attending alcoholism support group meetings and set goals to better our personal lives, it becomes easier to lovingly remove ourselves from the alcoholic’s behaviors. Being kind to an alcoholic will become easier as we learn how to love them differently. Again, this is not something that will happen overnight.

Avoiding The Sting
As time goes on, we begin to recognize the times in which associating with them would not be a good idea. As we continue to learn detachment methods, the sting of alcoholism occurs less frequently.  This works very much like hanging out around a bee hive. As long as you don’t stick your nose in the hive and keep a safe distance, you won’t get stung.

The hard part of detachment from an alcoholic is breaking habitual patterns that we have been doing for a long time. This “just takes time.”  I’ve heard it said:  “if you walk a hundred miles in the woods,  don’t expect to walk out in an hour.”  The same applies to being obsessed with an alcoholic. It takes time and effort to break free from our destructive behavior patterns that we have become accustomed to.

As we begin to detach more from all of their drama, we quit enabling them to depend upon us. It’s hard to do at first because we are so used to rescuing them from everything. When we quit rescuing them and let them suffer the consequences of their actions, we are less affected by their behaviors.

Detaching from an alcoholic means that we let go of them. It doesn’t mean that we quit loving or caring about them. We just learn how to mind our own business and start living our own lives as they continue to drink. Even though we may still get frustrated with an alcoholic, we will react differently  so that WE will remain more calm and experience greater levels of peace within ourselves.

Consider making a list of things that you enjoy doing and start doing them. This can help tremendously in the process of changing our focus.

The alcoholic may not like our changes in behavior, OH WELL! We have to be strong as we start doing things differently. This is why we need the support  of  support group meetings and of friends who know how to help us change.

Loving detachment from alcoholism means that we don’t make decisions based upon the alcoholic’s opinions, moods  or advice in relation to our life. We eventually begin to be hardly affected by their destructive behaviors, views and attitudes toward us.

Now …I know I’ve shared a lot in this session, but just remember to do the best that you can “one day at a time.”

Written By: JC



543 comments to Detaching From An Alcoholic

  • I have been reading all the letters for a long time and now I would like to say that it really helps to know that I am not the only one going through all the devestating times and situations being married to my alcoholic husband for more than 32 years…He was in AA for over 10 years and we were pretty happy but he started drinking again 10 years ago and everything has gone downhill and I feel like he is a stranger…..
    I try to remind myself all the time that this is a disease……My mother and grandparents had it and my brother died of it and my other brother is in recovery and now my son is in recovery but my husband is still lost and going to meetings but was still drinking as recently as a couple of months ago. My problem is I am getting tired of using the excuse of alcoholism for bad behavior such as having another affair and also bad financial decisions affecting both of us…….HELP…I do ask God for help everyday, just to get up and do what I have to do….thanks for this website so I can express my feelings

  • Sally

    I feel the pain so many of you have expressed, but I have to say that I can see no reason at all to remain tied in any way to the alcoholics who are causing us the pain. The movers come Saturday at 8 a.m. and I’m putting an end to the misery that has been my life for 5 years. Regardless of the excuses you make to yourself for staying, it serves no purpose. Continuing to live with an alcoholic is a miserable existence. Crucifying yourself for the sake of the “relationship” is stupid and useless. There can be no true relationship with an alcoholic. Their first and most important relationship is with alcohol. All of us come in a distant 3rd or 4th or worse. No other person on earth is more valuable than you are. Time for all of us to crawl down off the cross and get our lives on a higher plain. God gives me strength, and when I compare His love to the “love” the alcoholic professes for me, it’s no contest. God’s love is the highest and the alcoholic’s is the lowest. We all deserve better than the worst. Staying with an alcoholic is proclaiming to the world that we deserve no better. We do, and the only hope of having better is to cut the alcoholics from our lives. I decided long ago that I will have peace at any price, regardless of who’s the price. A better life is out there for all of us. We just have to be brave enough to go get it.

  • Jules

    I guess for me, I progressively got “used” to a certain level of “abuse” from my alcoholic husband – not physical abuse, but emotional abuse that in the beginning I somehow accepted as part of his personality. It didn’t happen often and he was always apologetic. It took me years to see that this was the beginning of the Jekyl and Hyde component of an alcoholic. At this point, I truly cannot imagine years and years more of this – although he is “trying” as best as he thinks he can, which isn’t a lot, he is an addict and he needs professional help. I hope that he will get that help and make amends for all the hurt he has caused. It’s so horribly sad for me because I know that he is actually a good person who made awful mistakes due to his alcoholism and alcoholic so-called “friends” who aren’t friends at all but just more alcoholics gravitating toward each other so they can justify their stupid addiction and blame everyone else for their issues. That blame game just really gets to me – but we waste too much time trying to figure out addiction and what it does to those we love and how it changes them. We can only control ourselves and our reaction to their out of control behavior. I decided that this year will be the year I take control of my own life, get stronger mentally and physically and heal. If he is left behind, it will have been his choice. I hope that all of us who have been harmed by the behavior of an alcoholic finds the way to forge ahead. It takes a little longer for some of us – but one thing that is guaranteed in this life is “change.” And we do have some control over some of the changes we encounter. I pray for all of us who have come here.

  • Thiaa

    Sally,I completely agree with your assessment of what we are doing when we remain attached to an alcoholic who continues to drink and does not seek and submit to facing their addiction. The analogy of allowing ourselves to be crucified is very poignant.

  • Sally

    Thiaa, I decided to get down off the cross because there’s a better use for the wood. For me, staying with the alcoholic would be the same as committing suicide. Either way, the heart and soul of who I am would die. I don’t believe in suicide, it’s a coward’s way out. There’s nothing noble or saintly about staying with a drunk who doesn’t give a damn about me once he’s drunk. As a child of God, I matter too much to throw the gift of my life away on someone who could not care less. Yes, it’s a hard decision, and yes, it’s been months in the execution of my exit plan, but what price can be put on peace of mind and self-respect? I have to live with myself, but I don’t have to live with him.

  • Thiaa

    Sally ( continued): My husband took off in a drunken rage on December 27th, for a “fictitious” allegation. He has been gone two weeks. He called once and refused to talk about such nonsense as my saying that he was drunk or verbally abusive. He said he just left because things got negative. He did not go down the road to cool off. Instead he took a road trip across the country, leaving me to host planned holiday celebrations on New Years Eve, New Years Day (etc.).He sends an e-mail every four days as if nothing happened or is unusual. In two separate e-mails he has a letter referred to as parts A and B. Each letter describes every thing that I do “wrong” and how distressing it is to live with me. Nonetheless, the myrter ends each e-mail with how much he loves me.

    His latest e-mail infers he’s soon heading home. Knowing him, he thinks he can pop in here and I’ll be so excited to have him home. He does not accept that he did anything wrong and he thinks that now that he “set me straight” and told me ( for the 100th time) how self centered I am that things will be better now. All of my responses have been appeasing; such as I understand your feelings although I disagree, you apparently see things different that I do, you are correct, etc.. These responses, although they are what this program teaches, are less that honest and straight forward and encourage his stinkin’ thinkin’. I feel I have been feeding his grandiose and sociopathic personality.

    Regardless, he will have to face the real me when he arrives. I do not want him anywhere near me. I have told him we can not reconcile until there is considerable therapy and intervention by trained persons and we are able to coexist and communicate through loving, sharing and caring feelings. He hasn’t hear any of this. So, time will tell. But, what I know is I am over the abuse and I am off the “cross” author Sally referred to in her post.

  • Louisa

    I agree with Sally. There is nothing virtuous or noble or proud to say you survived a life long endurance test. I see this in many elderly women in alanon. Their husbands are long gone in death, and the women talk about how much they put up with etc. etc. It seems to me that they are still focused on their alcoholic husbands sitting in meetings talking about him. I think is that going to be me at age 70 sitting in an alanon meeting? My father was an alcoholic, he abandoned us 4 kids when we were teenagers. We all crowded around his deathbed, and not one word of regret or apology came out of him for weeks in the hospital, not even before his last breath. This is like my alcoholic husband, too proud, to arrogant to ever admit he might be flawed. It is I who is flawed and needs “help”. so he says.

  • Teresa

    This is exactly what I do not want for my children or myself; to continue on with the emotional abuse, the denial, his lack of parental responsibilities, his anger & negativity, the blame & guild he puts on me & our kids. It’s just sick! Sure he has a “sickness” but that doesn’t give him the right to treat us like crap.
    Where to turn or who to call? I haven’t figured that out just yet. :-/


  • Diana

    *Linda, Al-anon would be a great help for you to gain wisdom and confidence to do what YOU need to do.
    *Sally, My 3 year “marriage” is over and all my belongings are packed so I can begin to start over too. And you’re so right, there is no relationship with an alcoholic only an “arrangement”. I wasn’t a wife to him in his eyes unless I enabled him and kept quiet and let him act crazy whenever he wanted. God bless you and I’m cheering you on!
    *Jules, good for you! Live YOUR life!!! That’s a wise choice. He is choosing his path of destruction and chaos.
    *Thiaa, you’re on the right path. Keep detaching and stand your ground. He’s counting on the ‘old’ Thiaa to overlook as in the past. It is hard for us to change old habits but so very important for OUR growth. Their growth and making healthy changes is up to them.
    *Louisa, I feel for those ladies at al-anon as it is so hard to not focus on the alcoholic and as for your father, so sad that even in death an alcoholic is ruled by the denial they are in…
    *As for me, it is getting easier to not get sucked back into the lies and denial my husband chooses to live in. At first I craved the calls and emails from him because I was still in denial and now it’s as if I can see how futile it is with him in his present state. My relationship with God is closer than it’s ever been and He is #1 in my life now not my husband who has chosen alcohol,lies and emotional cruelty as his path.

  • Sally

    @Teresa: I don’t know where you live, but start by reaching out to battered women’s shelters. Granted, you’re not battered in a physical sense, but the staff and volunteers at a women’s shelter may be able to guide you toward someone who can help you formulate a plan for you and your children’s survival. Just remember that there is a difference between guilt and shame. We are ashamed when WE have done something wrong. Guilt is something other people dump on us when we don’t live up to THEIR expectations of doing and saying everything as though they are the center of the universe. There is only one center of the universe, and an alcoholic is not it. God’s already got the job covered. 🙂

  • Sally

    @Diana, you go girl!!

  • Beverly

    I wrote a few months ago, but have been keeping up with the posts. My guy of over 17 years, had started drinking again after 9 (that # is questionable) years soberiety. We don’t live together (thank heaven!), but talk everyday. I had stopped asking if he was still drinking, because I guess I just didn’t want to know the answer. Last night I called later than usual and it was obovious that he had been drinking. I finally had to ask “have you been drinking tonight”? He had no problem answering that he had 3 beers. This was in a 2 hour time span. I said “this conversation is over, we can talk again when you aren’t drinking”. I know this goes against all Alanon guidelines, but I am driven to writing a letter to explain my position and how drinking effects our relationship. I guess I just feel that if I put it in writing I am cleared of future confusion as to my feelings. When I had found out he had started drinking again (several months ago) I reminded him, when he celebrated his 1st year of soberiety)that I had stated that if he ever drank again again I would be out of his life. He claims to never hearing me say this. Thus the desire on my part to put it in writing. No threats, no preaching, just clear statement of my feelings.

    I appreciate this site and reading about the strength of others

  • Sandy

    Beverly, Isn’t it amazing how many times we have the same conversation with our spouses and yet we still try to believe them… there is a saying that has stayed in my brain since I first heard it and it’s in regard to dealing with an alcoholic… They can’t remember, and we can’t forget. So many hours have been spent trying to reason with someone whose brain is effected, emotions are impaired, and their focus is totally on self and what they want to do. We are secondary in their relationship to alcohol. We are SECONDARY so it will always be the alcohol first until they decide to change it. You are so right to set your boundaries and stand by them. No threats, no preaching just a clear statement. As Dr. Phil says, when they choose the behavior they choose the consequences. AND… when we choose to stay in the unhealthy loop of alcohol trying to find sense in an addiction we also are choosing the consequences and those consequences consume our lives and suck the joy of living right out of our bones. Detaching can take many forms but the point is, we stop identifying who we are in light of who they are. I have been the “wife of an alcoholic” for so long I forgot there was more to life than policing the amount of whiskey consumed in a day. The truth sets us free…. and the truth is we are powerless to control their addiction.

  • Beverly


    THANK YOU!! I love it “They choose the behavior and they choose the consequences”. Absoutly! I choose to protect my own sanity. I am retired, 60 years young, work part time at a Domestic Violence Shelter and have a cat that gives me very little hassle. Life is good.
    Thanks again for you response.

  • Caitlyn

    I’m just going to throw this out there for all to consider from their angles.

    Do the long term partners of long term alcoholics who are still actively drinking stay with their alcoholic to give themselves definition in who they are? Without the alcoholic in their lives they have no one to lament over or get sympathy from the general community. They have been doing it for so long they may have lost themselves in the long haul process, but do they now need to stand up and aside and redefine themselves to become them not the ‘poor partner of an active alcoholic who never does good?’

    Please don’t take offense to my questioning, but any harsh comments are welcome. Just food for thought and any responses appreciated. I’m still working out whether it’s healthy for me to stay for the long haul. Do you need to go in to the partner/alcoholic relationship with boundaries set firmly in place and a mind of iron and steel with a warm heart but the ability to recognise the relationship for what it’s really worth and about for both.

  • Diana

    Ask a hundred spouses why they stay with the alcoholic ‘long term’ and you’ll probably have a hundred different answers.
    As for your point on boundaries….NO active alcoholic will respect anyone’s boundaries no matter what they say, and they WILL say anything to try to manipulate things to their advantage of course. Ask the Lord to help you to be wise in order to protect yourself and your psyche. Faith in God is the first step in wisdom. God bless you as you search for answers.

  • Karen

    In my observance older women dealing with alcoholism
    understand more about what happens in long term relationships. It is not a cut and dried answer. To many things happen over time and love changes. In the beginning
    it is so warm and wonderful and over time you may loose a
    child, you retire, your parents die, a home maybe lost
    to fire and flood. Love changes from warmth to totally
    being lost into the eyes of your beloved. You are enamored
    by the pure presence of the dearly beloved man. Then, real life sets in. You know the person you loved so romantically has faced the same trials and tribulations,
    heart aches,pain and suffering. Love changes, to being
    grateful he came home and is some what sober. You know he will get up and go to work, you know you will be provided for and yes, he loves the bottle more than you but yet you
    know not having that person somewhere in your life love AND committment would be lost. Yours or his. There is a time and place for everything. For an older marriage, older unity, it takes time to make a decision to just leave. As for my self, learning about this disease and how to cope with the alcoholic is the most valuable contribution to my life. Holding on to what was is insame
    recognizing the problems of today and accepting the alcoholic the way he or she is today and learning to not
    let the meanness tear your heart out. It is not easy, neither is perfected love. Your heart needs to listen
    to ALL sides of the problems including the alcoholism.
    I have not physically left but a part of me has detatched
    in search of a more comfortable me.

  • Ross Pendragon

    Interesting former comment from Karen. I think I know what you mean. When you find you are playing second fiddle or sometimes third fiddle to drinking and the alcoholic’s worthless “friends”. You don’t fit into their world of so-called “friends” who, as Jules put it in an earlier post, “aren’t friends at all but just more alcoholics gravitating toward each other so they can justify their stupid addiction and blame everyone else for their issues”.

    I feel hurt and saddened that my deep love for my wife means zero to her. She again didn’t come home last night. She did call and wake me up at 3 AM to say she wan’t coming home. I could hear a man’s voice in the background talking aggresively. She said the man was her friend’s “boyfriend”, who also sounded completely drunk. My wife said she was staying over with them, She’d call me tomorrow! Always “Tomorrow”, not today! And what peril she puts herself into. I asked “Are you going sleep with both of them?” She answered “Yes, there’s only one bed, but it’s only to sleep!” I was devestated. How long do I have to take this? Do I have to stick around for years like these older women in the posts above hoping and waiting 20 years for my spouse to puts away the bottle and puts me first? Or do I walk away and find a new partner and a new life?

    Only 11 months into the marriage and I’m looking on the internet! Not a good place to find a new partner as I know people lie about themselves. But I have to get away from this person who is totally out of control and who will destroy my life along with her own if I allow her to.

    I can’t sacrifice myself to a selfish monster who, as Louise said about her alcoholic spouse on his deathbed, uttered “not one word of regret or apology came out for weeks in the hospital, not even before his last breath”. The word is beyond selfish, it’s psycopathic. Everywhere I have looked on the internet under Alcoholism it say there is “no cure”. So, what does it tell you? Get out now while you can even if you love them very deeply ’cause it aint gonner be any different 20 years from now!


  • Caitlyn

    Ross, I think you’ve answered it for yourself. Put yourself into recovery mode – recovery from your experience with the alcoholic. Be prepared for rants and ravings from her when she realises her purse has gone walking for good. Do it kindly, firmly but most importantly for yourself. Don’t let anyone – namely her – make you feel guilty for looking out for you as it appears no one – namely her – is looking out for you. In a healthy partnership, it should all be in balance. Both giving and receiving in near equal amounts. I’m thinking the long term alcoholic/partner relationships survive because there is a certain amount of giving and receiving but perhaps not in equal amounts.

    My advice to find someone nice, and new in your life is to do a hobby or activity you enjoy and as you enjoy it you may find that special someone we all deserve. If you don’t you still get to enjoy that hobby or activity and perhaps find a buddy along the way rather than a special someone.

    Sincerely wishing you luck and a happy life ahead.

  • Thiaa

    Ross, I was reading all the comments as I always do and I have read your many posts. Then, today as I was doing the dishes the spirit in me directed me to stop and send you a note. I hear your professions of love for your young, beautiful and alcoholic wife…, the woman who betrays the vows of your marriage over and over, uses you, humiliates you, and destroys you.

    First of all love yourself as God loves you. You are a child of His and not to keep repaying the price of sin. He paid it all. You are placed on this earth in the world to prosper and be in health. In the sate of prosperity ( mental,physical,free from want) and health you are able to serve Him. In serving Him you are an example of His power and love. These attributes can be used for the good of all mankind.

    Where are you now? You seen to be in a man made hell. You suffer all in the name of “love.” No, no, no. She is not capable of loving you. Have compassion but do not mislabel it love.

    I see you as also addicted. It is not to a god of alcohol but it is a god. Maybe it is a god of pity and/or self destruction. You are allowing yourself to be a victim in the name of love. But…it’s not love. The bible clearly defines love and your relationship is the complete opposite. God’s word is divinely inspired and the author’s outlined a Godly path to what love is. Sure scripture says; Love endures all. But, the Bible commands that we are to FIRST love our self.

    God promises to give you the strength to overcome and fight the battles that rage within your mind, heart and spirit. Let HIS words of scripture be your guide as well as His spirit.

    You deserve to love and be loved in return. As you give so should you be receiving. You are not receiving love. God’s children are not to be trampled on. They are also not to “play” at being God. This woman is a wife only by title. She is destructive. So, consider moving away. Love her at a distance and pray for her recovery. Stand in the gap, but far enough away that you are not sucked into the pit of her hell.

    Do you think that maybe God is looking at you, his beloved, and seeing your addiction to her as you see her addition to booze? Just a thought.

    You love another person, as a wife, because of the joy that love brings to your life. Your wife is to be your helpmate. The relationship you share with us is joyless. You seem addicted to her “potion,” all of her youth, her beauty, her drama, her neediness.

    Why? Consider letting go and letting God have her. In doing this God can have you His precious son to mold. You can reach for a true loving woman as your partner, raise a good family that has a legacy to serve their risen Savior. What a joy you will be to the Kingdom once you are ready to say no to YOUR “love potion.”

  • Ross Pendragon

    Everythig you have said is very, very true, sadly to say. I found out tonight that my wife has been to bed with many men after we married. I was shocked as you can imagine! I will take your advice and move away from her. I feel sorry and I will pray for her.

  • Thiaa

    Be strong because until you are you will remain powerless over this woman and the hell she is in. Visualize what you want and deserve. A more beautiful woman that is a treasure to yo as you are to her. What you can see you can achieve.

  • Ross Pendragon

    Thank you! I needed to hear this so I can have the power to break the chain, finally!

  • Louisa

    And Ross……..if she keeps us that lifestyle her good looks are not going to last much longer.

  • Louisa

    oops i meant to say up not us.

  • Ross Pendragon

    Yea, she has been warned not only by me but by her best friends…but it goes in one ear and out the other. She’s young (30) and like a lot of younger people, she thinks she’s indistructable!

  • Caitlyn

    Ross, as you start on your new path take time to breath between the steps of the day and keep strong. Create in your mind the vision of what and where you want to be in the near future and it will happen. Your heart, pride and ego will mend and with the bold personality you have shown us, you will find a deserving woman. Be open and ready to receive her. Don’t ever look back now except to say to yourself “see how far I have come’. The experience will have given you insight and the foresight to know who and what deserves your love and generosity. Better to get out while the going is still good. It sounds like you haven’t lost yourself too much in the process of being with your alcoholic wife. Blessings to you today.

  • Sally

    There are no words to express how peaceful and serene I feel on day 3 after moving out of the house I shared with an alcoholic. I can’t call it a home, because it was never that. Perhaps leaving was easier for me than it might be for someone else, because I moved through the stages of grief while I was still living with him. I have the utmost compassion for him, but I know I made the right decision for me. When dealing with an alcoholic, sometimes love is just not enough.

  • JC

    Thanks for sharing Sally. I used to take mini vacations when I was living in the midst of active alcoholism. I have had NO interaction with the alcoholic that caused me to enter into a support group for friends and family members of alcoholics in seven years.

    I learned how to detach from my wife while we were together through attending Al-anon. Unfortunately, her abusive behaviors escalated to a point that was too unhealthy for me to continue to stay married.

    Suffice to say: “my life is much more serene.”

  • Jules

    This is in response to Sally… I too have moved through the stages of grief watching my alcoholic spouse of nearly 25 years turn into a hateful, cruel, insane man I have no idea if the two are connected, but he is apparently a sex addict too This weekend he sent me a text meant for one of his bar women asking for pornography Then he tried to say that he had sent it to the right woman – ME – because he thought I could take some “porn” shots of myself and text them to him This of course was a lie, because he had mistakenly sent the text to me Just how low can you get? He argued with me on the phone while I cried for at least 30 minutes I told him this time I was finally ending it He said he would do whatever it takes to save our marriage – quit drinking, remove the number of the sleazy women he is involved with from his phone, try to make right all the wrongs and cruelty he has inflicted on me and our family But I know it will not happen This was the first time, however, he said he would stop drinking I do not believe he will I continue to grief and attempt to heal, hoping that by the end of the winter months, I can find a new life because this is not living He has gotten involved with people who have taken him into the gutter and cesspool He says I have been a good wife, that no man could ask for a better woman I tell myself the alcohol has fried his brain – he would never have treated me the way he has I think this last stunt of lying to me and saying he wanted me to send him PORN of myself was the last sickening straw I have given him so many chances, the benefit of the doubt, but he is not capable of changing unless he truly wants to and even with that, it’s a hard road I don’t wish him bad either – I just want to feel alive again – that I feel I have worth and am respected I know I do not deserve this Can anyone comment on the connection between alcoholism and sex addiction and if the two go hand in hand? It is my belief he was not this way until the alcoholism got out of hand and the influence of “alcoholic swingers” God help us all who come to this forum and may we detach and find peace.

  • Sally

    @Jules, I feel for you and hope you move in a direction that is best for you. In my view, and I know it may not be shared by others, it doesn’t make any difference if your alcoholic husband is addicted to sex or chocolate. To me, alcoholics use their disease to give themselves “permission” to be just as bad as they want to be, and duck the responsibility for their behavior by blaming it on the alcohol. It’s a hard, sad reality, but many alcoholics simply do not have the desire or the backbone to beat their addiction. Every one of us here has to come to the place in our lives with alcoholics where we ask, “when do we say ‘enough’?” I don’t believe alcoholism and sex addiction go together. Please don’t blame your husband’s porn/sex addicition on his alcoholic friends or on the alcohol. He’s an adult. He’s made conscious choices to wallow in filth that repulses you. I’ve known too many alcoholics, both in my family and among friends, and haven’t seen the two addictions together more than once. Please, Jules, dry your tears and make plans to go live the life you want for yourself. If you continue to wait for your husband to get help or change in any way, you’ll wake up one day to find another 5 or 10 or 20 years have gone by and you’ll still be living the hell that is life with an alcoholic. A better life, the life you know should be yours, is out there. You just have to be brave enough to go get it. God bless and keep you and give you the strength to do what’s right for you. He didn’t put you on this earth to be mistreated.

  • Louisa

    Every woman, please read Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why does he do that?
    Inside the minds of angry and controlling men. An abuser is an abuser with or without alcohol. The alcohol just allows it to come out. If you think he will not be abusive, mentally or physically if he would just stop using, you are fooling yourself. And to those women who say, “he’s only like this when he is drinking, when he’s sober he’s so nice” wrong. It’s in his core and his value system to abuse, the alcohol just lets it out. If it’s not in a man to abuse, no alcohol can make him abusive.

  • admin

    Thanks for the recommendation Louisa. I’ve linked the book to the Amazon website so our readers can learn from your suggestion.

  • Julie

    Thank you Lousia. I have actually read this book. You are correct. An abuser is an abuser with or without alcohol. Although the alcohol is another issue altogether that the afflicted needs to deal with. I had bought this book on Amazon due to a recommendation I had seen on this web site. It has opened my eyes and is helping through a tough time in my life right now as I separate from my abuser/alcoholic husband of twenty years. But right now I am focusing on me and my children and their peace of mind and safety rather than trying to save a man who really does not even admit he has any problems. This book can help any victim see the truth in what they are living which is something that the abuser is great at confusing his victims out of realizing.I recommend this book to anyone even somone who is trying to help an abused victim or an abuser. Lundy Bancroft really explains the thought processes of abuseers.

  • Louisa

    Thanks Julie. I too am going thru a very tough time. I wish all the women in alanon would read this book, so they would stop thinking it’s only about the alcohol.

  • Teresa

    I have a question. For those of you that are or we’re married to an alcoholic WITH small children AND living in the same house, how can I get my husband to move out? I’m tired of his lack of parenting let alone how different our parenting skills are.
    I’ve been feeling so melancholy these past few days and I know in my heart this is not the life God wants me or my children to have.


  • Louisa

    I don’t think you can if he also owns the house. Unless of course he is abusive to you or the children, then you could get a order of protection. And unfortunately the courts at this time only recognize physical abuse,meaning your life or the childrens is in danger. Other than that you would have to file for divorce and petition to have sole use of the house while the divorce is underway. Of course you could just demand that he get his “sorry a–” out of the house, and hope he does. :/

    I went thru a 3 year custody battle with the father of my children, a physical and verbal abuser, I won that battle and learned how the court system works thru the school of hard knocks. It almost killed me and I remember lying on the bathroom floor in a lifeless heap wanting to die.

  • Karen

    I have been with my alcoholic husband 20 plus yrs. 3 mo. ago I moved out of my home of 40+ yrs. It was after finding the Lord that I finally got the courage to do this. I lost my job last yr. then lost my car and almost lost the house. I was in a dark place and started speaking with friends about God and reading the bible. I had no money, no job, and no car and my best friend and her husband invited me to move in with them. I wanted out of my house so bad. My husband involved our son with his drinking too. There was partying going on alot to all hours of the morning. We were in financial ruin due in part to all the money being spent on alcohol every week. I was disrespected as well as my home and belongings. I would often experience heartburn and anxiety chest pains and was deeply depressed. I was tired of all the broken promises and this life was killing my feelings for the man I married. The emotional rollercoaster is hell. Many times we would have discussions and I would tell him that my feelings were being destroyed by this behavior and didn’t know how much longer I could go on. I feel so much better since moving out. No heartburn and no chest pains and carrying on with my life. I still love the man I married but I can’t go back to that. He is not willing to stop drinking so I just continue to pray for him and that God one day will get a hold of him.

  • tom

    Our son is 39 and a severe alcoholic. He lives with us and we have all the same problems that spouses talk about. He gets good jobs and everthing is fine but eventually he hates everything and everyone at work and quits or gets fired. He has been in rehab twice but only because it was rehab or jail. His behavior is getting more aggressive. His behavior is now driving a wedge between us and other family members who have had enough of his abuse. We’re afraid to throw him out because we just don’t beleive that he could survive. He has threathened to commit suicide and that scares the hell out of his mother. I think the threat is just one of the tools he uses to get us off his back about getting help but it’s not something I want to be wrong about. We have tried detaching and it’s okay sometime but he justs seems to want upset us and keeps coming at us until we cann’t take it anymore.

  • Louisa

    Tom,can you contact community services in your area or a social worker? I don’t know how old you are but soon this will be elder abuse if not already, and you say he is getting more aggressive. A social worker can help you legally get him out of the house and evaluate his mental health and maybe on disability. Nobody is going to kick him out on the street, but just check and see what services are offered because I think this is more common with adult children taking over their parents lives than you think.

  • Susan

    Thanks to Louisa and Julie. I also happen to be reading this book right now as I am trying to make sense of the behavior of my boyfriend who quit drinking altogether several months ago. I see that the core of how a person thinks does not change when the substance is gone and this book will give great insight into where the behaviors truly stem from. The only true and lasting change within an individual will be for that person to do the hard and sometimes lonely work of letting God change them. I also highly recommend this book and would like to know what others have experienced after a loved one has stopped using. Thanks for this site and the honest and encouraging dialogue.

  • Teresa

    That’s been another question of mine. My husbands behavior during the times he’s not drinking. I feel he still comes across as very angry, bitter, selfish, negative, etc. Sounds like a book I too must read. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

  • Sally

    @Tom, you and your wife need to get to Al-anon as fast as possible, because you both need support and to get the emotional tools to deal with your overbearing, drunk, problem-causing son. You may also want to consider turning your statement that “we just don’t beleive that he could survive” around. Is it you and your wife who couldn’t survive if he wasn’t in your life creating grief and turmoil and pain, or are you afraid to let him go? Drunks threaten suicide (mine did, several times), but very, very few ever attempt it, much less succeed. It’s a low-down lousy way to keep control of you and your wife. You have to stop being an accomplice to your son’s holding you and your wife hostage in your own home. I agree that you may want to call your local social services about elder abuse. You aren’t helping your son by continuing to allow him to ruin your lives. Tough love is just that – it’s tough on the giver and it’s tough on the recipient. Actually, it’s tougher on the giver(s). Please, help yourselves. One more thing to consider – who will take care of your son when you and your wife are gone? It doesn’t sound as though any of your family or friends will step up and volunteer to be bullied and abused. If you don’t force your son to learn to deal with his disease and stand on his own two feet now, how will he be able to cope when you and your wife have died? I don’t mean any of this in a hard, mean way, but these are questions you have to ask yourselves. Please go find a local Al-anon and you’ll find help and support and caring people. God bless you both.

  • Diana

    I have read that book, Why does he do that? , and it is excellent!!! As I read it I highlighted what I related to and every page had so much truth and insight. It gave me insight to myself too and slowly I became strong enough to do the right things. Great suggestion!

  • Chloe

    Teresa, my hubby hasn’t had a drop since his intervention last Monday. One week…which is the most he has ever gone without in 2 years at least. My son just today commented on how happy for once he seems, and was surprised at how talkative and friendly he has been. My husband’s pattern was to drink 6-10 glasses of wine at night (more on weekends), feel grumpy and withdrawn the next day, and then drink that night to raise his spirits. So it was a very bad cycle of self medicating the depressive effects of alcohol. He has also been working out, and because he is not drinking, his sleep apnea has already improved. So he’s getting more restful sleep. The psychiatrist this week put him on Welbutrin but that hasn’t had time to kick in yet. So the effects so far of no alcohol have been very very encouraging. Just hoping and praying he doesn’t relapse when travelling for business. Hoping hoping hoping!!

    Maybe if your husband can get it out of his system than his sour mood will improve??

  • Teresa

    Thanks for your input Chloe. My husband use to take Welbutrin and even he noticed an improvement in his behavior while being on it. However he has an unusual way of thinking and read the warnings while taking Welbutrin and read that it can cause liver? damage so he quit taking it. Don’t ask me why he hasn’t figured out that alcohol also cause liver damage. He’s just THAT… “clueless”. My husband is a big guy, 6’2″ @ 360+ pounds. He has high blood pressure, sleep apnea, smokes 3-4 packs of cigarettes a day and goes through a 1.75 Lt of Southern Comfort in 2-3 days – several days/weeks in a row, plus all the Coke Zero he drinks with his So Co. Some of you may be asking if he has life insurance… I could careless if he does or doesn’t. Suppose he has some sort of life insurance through his employer.

    There’s been times our little girls (29 months old) would ask Daddy for a bath and he’d tell them, “Oh! You need to ask Mommy or [our 15 year old daughter], that’s not my department.” He’s so lazy he doesn’t even change light bulbs or replace the batteries in the smoke alarms among MANY (all) domestic household duties. Just all pisses me off! I’d rather have him out of this house and do everything myself than to know he’s being some lazy a$$ in his $hit hole of a basement he lives in.

  • Chloe

    Teresa, I would probably want him out too. You deserve better than that. 🙁

  • Teresa

    Granit my DH has a good paying job, makes meals for our little girls (not always health meals), makes up bottles for our little guy and changes diapers when he feels like it. Those are his best qualities. I’m not saying I have falts of my own but at least I’m getting help for myself and I do what I can to take care of my health. My kids need me around for as long as possible. My kids are my PASSION!!!

  • Louisa

    Theresa, I could relate to some of what you said. My husband only drinks diet coke zero, never water, eats mainly fast food and drinks two bottles of wine a night. I am a health nut and have some supplements i take, and he would sneer and tell me i was hurting my body by putting those “chemicals” in it. Crazy.

  • Teresa

    So I needed to go down to the basement to look for something in his freezer and couldn’t help notice he drank another half bottle of So Co last night (he just bought the 1.75 Lt yesterday evening). When he’s needed to see his primary doctor to get refills for his high blood pressure medicine, he won’t even answer the questions or when asked how much he drinks and smokes. He figures it’s none of the doctors business. He’s super sensitive? paranoid? about the government already having too much power over the people and our lives. Blah blah blah… Yeah, yeah, yeah… So frustrating!

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