Ways Of Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse

I was married to woman who had a drinking problem and pill-popping addiction. There was never a moment when she was awake that she didn’t have one or the other in her system. The person who is mixing narcotics and liqueur together, on a regular basis, experiences intense mood swings.

My ex-spouse had some serious issues with criticizing others even if she wasn’t being influenced by some sort of drug. Her very nature was to be extremely critical of other people. Along with this negative behavior, she also had a temper that was unstoppable. She was a very angry alcoholic at times.

When she was under the influence of some mind altering substance, these negative emotions intensified to the point of extreme emotional, physical and verbal abuse on her part.

I have sure had plenty of training in learning how to cope with an alcoholic spouse. My knowledge on how to gain peace and serenity was gained through hands on experience.

During the intense season of being trained in how to handle outbursts of rage, juggle countless lies and deal with an unfaithful alcoholic spouse, I was attending no less than six support group meetings per week.

The information I’m sharing with you on how to cope with an alcoholic spouse was all learned from real life experiences, through reading many books on coping with alcoholics and by hanging out with people, in support group meetings, who had been dealing with alcoholics for many years.

On many occasions, I was left abandoned by her, plans were broken and promises never fulfilled. I’ve been lied to, cheated on, called every name in the book and physically abused.

I’ve been spit on and had things thrown at me. On one occasion, I was pushed down a small flight of stairs. One night when I couldn’t get into another room and lock the door fast enough, she forced her way in and hit me in the back of the head and kicked me in the back as I knelt in the corner with no way to escape.

I was with her when she decided to go into rehab and I was still there when she relapsed. The night she got arrested, I was the one who got the second phone call and the husband who refused to bail her out.

I know what it is like to be obsessed with an alcoholic. I know what it is like to be lied to repeatedly. I can also help you learn how to cope with an angry alcoholic.

Here are a few proven methods of coping with an alcoholic spouse that work:

  • Understand that you didn’t force them to drink. They have decided to become what they are through their own choices in life. Nothing that you have done caused them to be an alcoholic. Nothing that you do makes them continue to pick up alcohol.
  • There is now way that you can have any effect on whether they drink or not. You cannot stop them or convince them to not drink. Their choice to consume alcohol is beyond your control.
  • You cannot provide a remedy for their illness, there isn’t one. They will only quit when they decide that it is time to get help for themselves. One exception to the rule, sometimes in rare cases an alcoholic will be sentenced to attend AA meetings by a judge. Periodically, people will find sobriety in those meetings and stay clean and sober. In most of these instances, the person was at their bottom and were ready to accept that they had a drinking problem.

Every situation that we encounter with an alcoholic requires different coping skills. In alcoholism support group meetings these skills are referred to as tools.

Here are a few more suggestions to help you cope with an alcoholic spouse:

  1. When they lie-don’t confront the lies.
  2. When they stay out all night-just go to sleep.
  3. When they want to argue-refuse to participate.
  4. When they come home-don’t analyze them to try and figure out if they are drunk or not.
  5. When they ruin your plans-be sure to have a plan B.
  6. When your mind wants you to snoop in their things-don’t do it.
  7. After the alcoholic spouse has left you a nasty phone message-don’t listen to it, delete it instead!
  8. Do something that you enjoy-instead of spending your time obsessing over what they are doing.
  9. If you get really angry with them-exercise, call a friend or attend a support group meeting.
  10. If your spouse gets arrested-consider leaving them in jail to suffer the consequences of their actions.
  11. Stay present in the moment-avoid obsessing on past events or fearing the future.
  12. Do something kind for someone today.
  13. Do something kind for yourself today.
  14. Spend time asking God for help on a daily basis.
  15. When you don’t have any expectations of them-you will never have to deal with a resentment.
  16. Never give an ultimatum unless you are going to follow through with your decision.
  17. Never argue with a drunk.
  18. Avoid having serious conversations with them when they are intoxicated.

I wish there was a magic formula I could share on how to cope with your husband or wife who is the alcoholic. As you can tell from the list above, there are different things that we do in different situations to help us cope with an alcoholic spouse. The main objective of all the ones that I have listed are to help you become more emotionally, physically and spiritually stable.

There’s no way that you can make your loved one quit drinking. You have no control over their choices, but you do have control of yours. When you begin to cope with the situation differently, then things will gradually begin to change in your favor. You can be happy in this dysfunctional marriage. It all starts with you taking responsibility for your own happiness.

For more helpful tips buy our Book On Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse.

Written By: JC

260 comments to Ways Of Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse

  • patti

    I was able to make my decision by using the tools I gave myself: 1)The Al-Anon program. 2) Jesus. 3) My new Church family. 4) A few very good, very honest friends. 5) I got a job outside the home, and removed myself from watching/interacting with the alcoholic in drinking mode. I think these tools can be helpful to anyone living with an AH. I’d like to know, what tools have helped (or not helped) others on here?

  • My response to this is the following:
    Al-Anon did not help
    Jesus nor Church did anything to help
    I stayed with him, both retired
    I left for coffee on my birthday
    He died on the couch while I was gone.
    His heart gave up just like the rest
    He was 59 years young
    This happened one year ago.
    Now I live alone in Mexico

  • Rhonda

    In feeling the tone of your message…
    I hope I’m not out of line here…but Happy Birthday!

    Although many will not admit it, I will… Your situation is the answer to prayer for many spouses of alcholics. The cause of your anger, fears, and anxiety is greatly diminished while you are still young; no drawn out illness where you have to wipe their angry *ss and feed them for years on end. Plus , you aren’t left with more debt from mounting medical bills.

    For many of us that’s the truth , as painful as it is to hear. You mourn their loss (AS). In reality we lost them to alcohol a LONG time ago. I love my AS but I am tired of being a door mat, I deserve better. It’s better for everyone involved if they die early, drunk, and happy. Doing exactly what they want, with no regard to our happiness. What a blessing, it beats the alternative, us suffering in silence for another 20-30 years. Gina, I hope you received a good life insurance settlement. ;)Some compensation for your misery.

    PS: I think it takes more courage to leave. I did not take that step (20 years). I’m Waiting for money to drop out of the sky. I’m on disability and $ is tight. He retired earlY, in debt, no reirement planning . He drinks more now (everyday ), spends more, angrier, lazier, sleeps 12-16 hours daily ..etc. It’s quiet then.
    I can’t afford a divorce.

    What a lonely life and future. I’ll be 60 soon. This is an EVIL addiction and choice. That is why they call alcohol “spirits”.
    Alcohol in moderation can relax a person…better than “sleeping pills. But habitual drunkenness causes chaos and destruction.

    There is a reason that God says a drunkard will not enter heaven. You cannot be a selfish, daily drunk and also be sincerely “repentent.” It is idol worship,.if it comes before God, family, and even self care.

    How can one have any kind of peace or reprieve with a lying, selfish, dangerous spouse? What is the point?

    How much greater would the world be if we used our love and energy in service to God, & others who appreciate us.? Instead of being drained of our energy, peace, joy and sef-esteem by a selfish AS, who will never put our needs ahead of their mistress (alcohol ).

    I covet everyone’s prayers that I may find peace & financial leverage. So that my threats to leave will be Real. Shape up or ship out.
    PS: forgive my Grammer I’m on my cell phone. Difficult to correct. Besides, I’m angry. Long holiday weekends mean more binging. I’m working on less arguing. That is helping. But for the rest of our lives? I don’t think so. Help me Lord. Amen.

  • Bill

    Patti, this is really good news that you’ve discovered what helps relieve the challenge of being with an alcoholic. When I was with an active alcoholic there were many things I learned in Al-anon that helped me. I’d say the two things that worked best for me were maintaining a relationship with God and persistence in trying to physically and mentally detach from the dysfunctional mess. I spent a lot of time learning from wise people how to change my attitude and lifestyle in order to stay with the alcoholic. Like you, I invested a lot of time in being involved in church activities. I also attended a couple of Al-anon meetings per week. Eventually God led me out of the abusive relationship. It was in His timing though, not mine.

  • Bill

    Gina, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope your new life is filled with plenty of sunshine once the grief has passed.Things take time…It’s so sad that some addicts never hit bottom and seek out help for their illness. If I were you, I’d be proud of myself for sticking to my values in marriage of “for better or worse”. Some people have to leave dysfunctional situations. There was now way I could endure the abuse anymore it was just too damaging, emotionally and eventually physically.

  • Mike

    Al-Anon is just something else to enslave the non-drinker. Lots of ‘tough love’ that is neither. Tough is leaving. Divorcing. Love is willing to be walked over. There are no ‘enablers.’ That puts the responsibility on the non-drinker to cure the drinker. THAT is the easiest way-out for the drinker. “Not my fault.” I did Al -Anon for a bit and saw nothing but new non-drinker victims of the addiction. My wife has stopped drinking for about two years. She knows that the future of our marriage is resting with her. I am sure she feels the pressure of that, but that is just too bad. Drinking is a choice, just like choosing whom you sleep with. Nobody wanders accidentally into a liquor store to buy liquor of goes to a place to drink. These are all choices. Bad choices, but choices. Next thing you know, they will start to say there is sex addiction…oh wait, there’s already is that excuse. Stop walking around on egg shells, afraid of the drinker. The drinker knows everything is a bluff. The drinker has figured you out a long time ago. The best thing to do is too teach the young that social drinking is the stupid thing to do. Show them your life as the proof. Everybody I know who married into addiction, knew about it before hand. They hated me at Al-Annon because I was not the enabler and called BS to their faces. They hated me telling them it was choice. The enabled each other just by the design of the program.

  • fedup

    Rhonda, THANK YOU for saying what I am thinking! I think we’d both be better off if he just died in his sleep, quickly. I know that sounds harsh, but that is how I feel. Just being totally honest.

    Thanksgiving was tough. Could not spend it with my family because he embarrasses them, so was not invited. So I get punished for his stupidity! Of course he was fine – he spent Thanksgiving with his drunken fake friends, while I sat at home ALONE, as usual. Did a lot of crying. Just not fair.

  • Ileana


    I’ve been married for 24 years, 3 kids 18,12,8. We emigrated from Europe 22 years ago. We were very in love and everything seems to be perfect. My husband started drinking after we had the third child and he became self-employed. After loosing both of his parents he drank more and more and became verbally abusive. In 4 years he became alchoolic…. driving the kids drunk, lies, internet chat… procrasinating his work… so on. I did not know how to deal, I was in shock. I was a enaibling by taking care of bills, take money from 401, just to make him happy. The things got worse, we start fighting, I got so controling and obssesd with him. He got worse and gelos of my job telling me to quit if I love him ( I make 100k per year), however I was taking care of kids, house work and the job.
    Two years ago he was so drunk and after I said enaugh with the drink he pushed me down. I called the cops and he was taking in custody…. I bailed him the next day… He was angry for 2 weeks and then broke down in tears and blamed me his God (his words) to put him in jail. He went to AA judge order… it was ok for a while then started again. in the last 2 years we got in a lot of debt, again I took money from pension, credit cards to help his business…he keeps drinking and not working. We had conversations… he promised but never keeps them. I stoped paying bills and he let the water and electricity be cut off. After driving the kids again drunk In april he was ok for 3 weeks until he got money for some work he was helped to do it. He started being very nice with me again, gifts, promises ( he is also a compulsive spender) however he was drinking. His personality changed a lot when he drinks, we have no more friends because everyone is a looser in his opinion,. After another night when he drank until 3:00 I said I had enaugh…. if you open the beer I’ m leaving… He did open the beer and I took the kids and leave for a vacation … 4th of July. He did not call. When I came back he was drunk and he drunk the entire summer sending me nasty emails that it’s over and he is going to leave or I move and he will pay rent . we own a house. When the kids started school I tried to discuss responsabilities with no sucess. He kept drinking… one night in the morning at 5 amI woke up in smoke… He was smoking in the house and chatting on internet… when I askec what are u doing he said work… and I tried to take a picture… he start screaming cursing and running after me but fell on the stairs… I called the police and he was so calm and lied to the police. I left the house with 2 kids , the other one was sleeping, and did not return. I found a place and rented and I bought the necessary. It was the worse time of my life, I thought I’m going to die…. no sleep, no appetite at 118 lbs. I managed to drive the kids at school and after to lay down on the flloor and cry. I have no family here just a friend family that helped me. After 3 weeks my brother came to help. Meantime the other doughte came to live with me. I did not have any contact with my husbsnd in that month… With my brother I went to the house to have a conversation with my husband. We found a mess, he looked terrible… he was blaiming me for trying to be the men in the house. I left. We went again with the kids, my family was presuring me to help him because he is sick…, the kids were missing him, acting weird, calling him in sleep. This time my husband seems to want to do something but acted like nothing happend and expected us to move back in the house. I told him I will not move until he gets sober. in a week I found him drunk again… now saying that he cannot function without us. The kids are acting up, the oldest taking advantage of the situation it’s abusing the other kids and talking profanities.
    My husband has been very polite for a while taking us to the restaurants, flowers, gifts for kids however he did not pay the mortgage and when I told him again about his alcool issues and required him to oay the mortgage or move he changed 180 degree telling me that I am the one the left and destroy the family and he suffer to much to talk to kids facetime so he rather wont talk. He keeps drinking I can tell by the messages and he got a fake facebook account where he loosing his time. The bills are not paid at the house, the kids are acting up and I loose my mind. I still love him, he is the only men ever in my life, we had great memories and passion until the roller coaster started 7 y ago. I don’t know what to do. My first concern is the kids. They are not ok, They are angry that he still drinks. The senior started to slow diwn at school, she is very moody and she stole one bottle of champagne I kept for 10 years and she drunk it . I feel incapable for a 49 years old. I want him to get help and be a normal family again. I have bad days when I miss him so badly. I worry for the kids. It is very hard with 3 kids by myself. Any thoughts I appreciate.

  • Phyllis

    I am new to this group and like all of you struggling with an alcoholic spouse. He is a good man who is still functioning at work, but I am seeing some decline. He drinks every day, starting 5:30-6:00 AM and drinks off and on all day until about 6 at night. Then, he goes to sleep between 8-8:30 most evenings. It is a very lonely life, but I am just trying to take care of myself and fill my time with things that I enjoy doing. I am working very hard trying not to argue and to not snoop through his things as this just makes me crazy. This is not a new problem for him. I have been aware that his drinking has been out of control for almost 6 years. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

  • Chrystal

    Ileana- it is so hard. I stay with my alcoholic spouse because it’s the only way to ensure my children are safe. And that’s the only thing that matters to me. He won’t leave, and I refuse to give him the home that I pay for! I’m not a fan of Alanon, but I have a tight group of supportive friends and family. I don’t know what to say that will make your situation easier. It sounds like your A still has a lot of control over you, especially financially and emotionally. The article that started this conversation has 18 recommendations that I hold strongly to within my own life. You have to find a way to take his control away. It is difficult. This will be the darkest time in your life. People will tell you things, but until they experience the kind of relationship you are in, their words will have no meaning! He will not change because of an ultimatum. You cannot control him. You cannot change him. Your only option is to find your happiness, and help your children adjust. I talk to my 12 and 9 yr old almost daily about their father, and how the words he says are empty and meaningless because of his alcoholism. The steps provided in this article are paramount in my ability to find happiness, amid his dysfunction. When i stopped living for him, and instead living for my children and myself, things got better. I won’t stay forever. But for now it is easier to stay then it is to go. You have already separated. build a new life for your children. Talk to them about why this is happening. Be honest. In everything, be honest. This is hell on earth. But it can and will get better, slowly. This was 7 years in the making for you. The fix will not be overnight. You can do this. You are strong. Live for what you need today, and not what you want tomorrow. Fix today, and tomorrow will work itself out.

  • Chrystal

    Ileana-a few more thoughts. I have formed an army of supporters. They know the daily issues in my family, and are available any time of day or night. I’m very blessed to have them. I don’t need them all the time, but they love my children and will help them at any cost. You need an army to help you. Many find that at Alanon. I said that I was not a fan, but for me I didn’t need what they provided. I highly recommend you try them. There is also Aloteen, for your senior. Try them and decide for yourself if they can help you. They can be your army. Are you religious? Reach out to a church nearby. Whatever your beliefs, that can provide another group of OF supporters for you and your family. Your story is heartbreaking to me. We moved 2000 miles away from my entire family. That was 11y ago. I have no family here. That is why my friends are so important to me. Without them, I do not know what I would do. This journey would’ve too lonely and isolated, which would give him even more control. Build a support system. You need that. Your children need that. Start with Alanon and Alateen. I pray it will provide what you need.

  • Travis


    I think yours is an over simplistic view of a complex problem. Not everybody is in the situation where they can tell their spouse if they drink again the marriage is over. Lots of non-drinker victims, as you call them, are not able to just up and leave for financial reasons, health issues, other family member considerations, etc. I too did the Al-Anon path and some of it was good for me, some of it was not for me personally, but I am able to pick and choose what helps me cope. The three Cs were probably the biggest enlightenment in my case.

    After 27 years with a woman who has been an active alcoholic for the last several, I have a lot of good years invested in my marriage as well as four wonderful, now-grown, children and I choose to stay. I don’t walk on egg shells but do have my own separate pastimes and friends as a direct means of coping. If my wife complains that I am spending what she feels is too much time with hobbies and friends it’s easy enough to remind her that these are my way of dealing with her problem.

    Your statements about addictions being a choice are mostly accurate but no matter how many times you remind the drinker of that it doesn’t make a whit of difference to them. In my experience it just adds to the confrontational and negative spirit in the home.

    Best of luck in your particular situation and I do hope your wife stays sober but if she doesn’t I hope you stick to your ultimatum.

  • Rhonda

    Mike and fed up,

    Fed up- Sorry to hear of your sad Thanksgiving. Our turkey got done early, we invited a neighbor over…so the AH did not have time to get a buzz on, he decided to eat with us. Miracle. It was actually pleasant. I eat alone 95% of the time. He has to have a gut full of beer before he eats (midnight), belches, and then passes out (for 12-16 hours). [and He calls me the “selfish one”]. I HATE the sound of another beer can opening.

    Mike… I appreciate the fact that some of us like to cut to the chase, and not mince words. We may come across as a little bit harsh, but when we have had ENOUGH, there is no turning back. “Know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you Free”.

    I agree with you Mike. If I had a “disease” I would go to the doctor and have it “cured”. When I attended Al-anon meetings…I met some of the sweetest people, but something was missing. No sense of real joy, more a sense of giving up, and giving in (zombie-like?). I think it comes from the drunken AH determining the course of our ship (life) each day, and the non-drinking, RESPONSIBLE spouse always having to settle for plan “B” or “c”. Why is their (AH) life more important than ours?

    Of course Al-anon is for people who want to STAY with the AH, etc. So in that sense it is good. I just feel that to cope and stay, one has to stick their head in the sand, and have 0 expectations in their marriage. For some that may work. Whatever causes less stress. That is not my nature. I like to identify the problem, and find a solution. My AH definitely sticks his head in the sand, especially regarding our ever increasing debt. I wonder how many Al-anon members would leave their spouse if money was no object?

    Why be married? A “man-child” is not a spouse, he is just a selfish, dangerous, and heavy burden. Who throws temper tantrums like a frustrated 2-year old. By staying what are we teaching our children? It’s a tough call. Especially if the functioning AH is the main provider.

    My future concerns:

    What if he gets a DUI and I don’t bail him out? Consequences when he does get out? Bailed out by family?

    What if he gets a DUI? Where will we get the money for lawyers?

    What if he kills or injures someone and we get sued?

    How will I ever rely on the AH to take care of me as we grow old together?

    What if he falls asleep while boiling hotdogs? starts a fire?

    Leaves things lying around, I trip and fall, I need help, and he’s passed out. Too drunk to drive?

    I know Al-anon says only think of today, not worry about tomorrow. But when there is a pattern and you know what the future will bring… How responsible is that, really?

    Between his drinking and my disability, I went from social butterfly to semi-hermit. He is Mr Charming to everyone else. My needs never come first. It’s always about impressing co-workers, strangers, neighbors, etc

    So bottom line… now that I know the TRUTH. He is NOT going to quit drinking, he has NO desire to quit drinking, and he has NO remorse, whatsoever. He has chosen NOT to see the damage his drinking has done to me, our marriage, or his health.

    It is time for me to figure out a way to make money, and to have independence once again.

    I need prayers for the courage to step out, and start my own business at the age of 60 y.o. I could have some really good years ahead of me. Peace, peace, peace.

    Thank you for listening without judgement. So nice to have a place to vent, and share feelings with like-minded souls. XOXO 🙂

  • Rhonda

    One Question for the group.

    How many of you would leave your alcoholic spouse if money was no object?

  • Ileana

    Chrystal, thank you!
    I separeted because I was too tired of long nights with no sleep and his emotional abuse. I thought it will wake him up. However like you said I am very attached emotionally to him. We were together for 26 years, we build a life together in the USA, I’ve been working hard with a good job and the wife and mother work. I put him first almost all the time… I don’t understand his mind games, he seems to have 2 personalities. I’ve tried Alanon, I’ve got the principles, it’s hard with 3 kids to go to often. I’m praying to God to show me the way. I’m still confused…. I feel guilt and I know I should not. I’m angry why my love could not beat the alcohol. When his parents past away both in one month …4 years ago he changed for the worse, however Iooking back he has been depresed on and off after he got his own business and we had the third child. We had a movie love story and everyone back home is in shock how come he cannot give away the alchool for me.
    How do you keep the kids safe with an A????
    I have girls and I feel he is a bad example even he is loving when sober… They saw him playing candy crash all day long, smoking, locking himself in the office to drink and chat with strangers…
    I did not have alchoolics in my family, I never saw my father drunk, he is an example of work etichs and onesty… so when my husband got drunk I panicked really bad.
    It’s really hard to accept that he changed. I don’t understand this illness.
    Thanks for listening to my long story!

  • patti

    Mike, I’m so glad that your wife is cooperating with your ultimatum and is not drinking! Awesome! It will be so wonderful if you can keep your marriage and build it back again. You have a straight forward, no-nonsense way of communicating that works well for you. I hope you might understand that everyone doesn’t have the strength you have. Some of us have damaged self-esteem and we need to re-build our strength, faith and a support system, before we’re ready to make what will likely be a huge life change. I’m sorry the Al-Anon program didn’t work for you, but it has helped thousands of people through this experience, and yes, it’s helped many to come to the decision to leave, and heal their own lives. I am building my self-esteem and strength so I can confront my spouse with that ultimatum. I think my AH will respond to my ultimatum with a “No Way” (He already told me “I have no intentions of quitting my drinking”). I also need more strength to stick by my ultimatum and leave when this happens. Since I’m not the major breadwinner in our home, I feel the need to create a safety net for myself if/when I must leave. Yep, I’m studying the options of Separation, Divorce and division of assets. These things take time. I have a couple of friends that hurried through the leaving process and regret the loss of their financial contributions to the relationship. That said, I have grown much stronger the past two years since I took my life back into my own control. I know that I can leave immediately, if I feel endangered, or when I’ve had enough. Thanks for your understanding and I admire your tenacity and points of view. I look forward to your updates and comments.

  • patti

    Gina, I must agree with you and Rhonda. I also have secret dreams that my AH dies in his sleep. Also dream that he takes the intiative to leave first, or even leaves me for another. All those scenarios seem like they’d make my life easier. However, I also realize the man I loved and married is the same man who now has the baffling disease of addiction. After 20 years with someone, I doubt that any of these scenarios will actually be pain free…I’m thinking about it more. I really appreciate this website and the honesty and diversity of people and opinions expressed here. It helps me to see the bigger picture, to consider many more options than I could come up with on my own. Great Food for Thought. Thank you to everyone! Best wishes for success in OUR lives.

  • patti

    What a thought provoking, revealing question!
    If money were no object, I’d be much more likely to leave now.
    I’m going do much meditation on this! Thank you!

  • patti

    Thank you! I appreciate your validation on the tools I’m using to help myself deal with my marriage to an AH. It’s helpful to hear how it worked for you, and I share your need to take the next step/s using God’s timing, not mine. God bless you!

  • fedup

    Thank you for your kind words. And yes, I would leave if financially able. I too am disabled, so cannot earn a decent income, which sucks, because I used to be so independent.

    To everyone here, it just amazes me how these addicts all follow the same patterns – it’s like they were given a secret textbook to follow, and the rest of us are blindly trying to catch up! My AH did the same things: the spending ($50,000 credit card debt, cashed out 401k, so no retirement money, burned through savings, trashed our credit scores, and now he’s trying to re-fi house and take all cash out and blow that too!) He’s also charming, funny, & generous with everyone else, except for me. He has most people coned, but is starting to slip a little. Liar, cheater, verbal abuser, (not physical – lately), all over internet porn, cheating websites. Got fired from 4 jobs in 2 years, etc, etc.

    My question is this: Why are they so nasty to the people who love them, but so nice and generous to people who use them and don’t give a damn about them? It just boggles the mind!

  • fedup

    P.S. Mine has started 2 fires in the house – luckily small ones, which is one of the reasons why I try not to leave him alone in the house anymore. As for the DUIs, none YET, but if he does, I’d just let him rot in jail. 🙂

  • Chrystal

    It is SO hard with children! I’m very honest with my two. We talk about everything. It’s the only way. I never judge them for what they tell me, or how they feel. My 12y old has big time confidence issues, because his dad is so emotionally abusive to him. They only way I know to keep them safe is to stay. My A won’t leave. And I’m scared to divorce because of split custody. I don’t want him to have them unattended. And how do you prove these behaviors exist?!! All of our friends adore him, think he’s hilarious and a good time! They don’t see the moody side the next morning, or the evening if he doesn’t have enough. They don’t see the critical, overly reactive side. They think it’s all fun! I don’t think being drunk in front of your young children is appropriate or fun. I think it’s pathetic.

    I don’t know the answers. I pray you will find the support you need and the courage to do whatever you decide.

  • patti

    Rhonda and Ileana,
    Living with an AH and with kids must be excruciating at times. As moms, I know you always keep the safety and welfare of your kids first. Things that are troubling to you can be devastating to your kids, and they’re affected the remainder of their lives. Al Anon shows that most of us in their programs come from childhoods with addictions and dysfunctions. We do survive, but we have more difficulty than others in believing and achieving for ourselves. Please keep a close watch on your family and remove yourself and your kids the moment you sense your AH could harm them or you, before he can cause actual harm. If you need help, there are numbers in the phonebook. Also, the internet is amazing. Search to locate Safe houses, Churches, Al-anon, Interventions, many answers, programs and avenues of help out there for you. Take care and God bless you all.

  • patti

    Chrystal, I’m so glad you keep the communications open with your kids, and allow them to express their feelings about what’s going on. I’ll still encourage you that Al Anon and/or Alateen could give your more information and help with your circumstance. I’m praying for your family’s health and safety.

  • patti

    Chrystal, I’ve had confidence and self-esteem issues all my life, due to emotional abuse in my childhood. It is every bit as damaging as physical abuse, perhaps more so, because others don’t see or validate what’s going on. I was often told I was making it up or being “too soft” and just needed to toughen up or get over it. As an adult, I’m recovering, but it has been a long road.

  • fedup

    I think the emotional abuse is definitely WORSE. I have the same issues as well. Working on it. Sounds like you grew up in my house! 🙂

  • Rhonda

    Fedup. Our stories are similar. Hope we aren’t married to the same guy. LOL. The financial is so frustrating. We also wiped out all savings when he retired early, with no plan, in debt, and unwilling to change his lifestyle. Except for more partying and fun.

    Mr Charm to everyone else. Quit his part time retirement job . There goes travel plans for Christmas to see my family. First trip in 20 years to see them.:(.

    Each month we are upside down financially. He refuses to discuss it. Chipping away at our small inheritance from my parents. Healthcare, petcare, auto accidents. Wearing me down. Too much debt to leave or get a lawyer.

    2017 has got to be my year. Cancelling the Christmas plans infuriates me enough to take some action. I have been procrastinating. Wish me luck.

    The best to all of you. Merry Christmas and a Happy and sober New Year!

  • rosie

    Hurrah Mike! I was a terrible al-anon for years…could see myself in them but felt all guilt ridden, crap self esteem. female raised in alcoholic home blah blah. Finally got the courage to walk, grew a spine, the alcoholic has been clean and sober for 4 months now. I’m wary…but feel comfortable as since being out, cheerfully dating others (this was agreed to) I can clearly see there are MANY other options out there. His choice to drink and drug, mine to stay or leave. Bravo to you buddy, women need to follow your lead. I wasted years begging and crying, years!

  • Rhonda Kositzky

    Patti. Your comment struck a nerve with me.

    “Al Anon shows that most of us in their programs come from childhoods with addictions and dysfunctions. We do survive, but we have more difficulty than others in believing and achieving for ourselves.”

    I have been wrestling with starting a business for 5 years. I can work it around my disability; on-line, Skype, and the telephone. It is my ticket out of here….FREEEEEEEDOM! I am a little concerned with his cussing, and rants, if I am with a client. 🙁

    His selfishness has really p*ssed me of this time! He quit his part-time retirement job this week (He was Reprimanded for calling in late too many times). He CANNOT take correction. So he threw a hissy fit and quit. Now, I have to cancel our first Christmas trip, ever, to see my out-of-state family (in our 20 years of marriage). 🙁

    But that’s OK. He has lit a raging fire under me, it is not going out, until I get my life back. The goal is one year. When a person gets angry enough, sick and tired of being sick and tired; only then will the REAL change take place. This is about my life now…Not his. Woo Hoo! I should be thanking him. hee,hee. Come on 2017!

    If it is OK with the moderator of this site (JC) I will keep you all posted. I am taking my life back in 2017. I want to share my journey with you. Hopefully, I will inspire a few people along the way, AND It will keep me accountable. I only ask for encouraging words in return. It is difficult to open up, and become vulnerable to criticism. I am from a dysfunctional work-a-holic family, I deal with low self-worth issues. I am putting myself out there for my own healing, and for anyone else who wants to join me. Let’s take our power back. A “No judgment” zone. We are Similar in our journey; but unique in our situations, and personalities.

    Sometimes we are so scared of change that we would rather stay with the familiar; no matter how painful the familiar is. I refuse to take a back seat anymore. He (AH) stole some of the best years of my life.

    PS: I am proud of myself. I was on my computer, when he came home, and said that he had quit his 4th job, in 2 years. I did not say a word. No emotion what so ever. (Not like the old me, at all)LOL. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. He’s walking “lightly” right now, waiting for the big blow out…(laughing to myself). He thinks we are still going for Christmas; “where’s the money honey”. He refuses to discuss $$$, budgets, or debt. I will spring it on him at the last minute…but inform my family ahead of time.

    Thanks to the audios I purchased from JC…I am arguing less. I am learning to ignore the lies. These tips have given me some of my sanity back. For that, I am very grateful.

    Thanks again Patti for sharing your thoughts. We never know how our words will help/effect others. We must take that chance to share, and be vulnerable with others. Then the healing can begin. OK. I’m getting preachy. :). Relax, No collection plate will be passed. LOL.

  • Rhonda Kositzky


    You described the situation to a “T”. Charming, funny and generous to everyone but us, the one’s who will be there when they are sick, and need someone to feed them, and wipe their *ss.

    I want to get out before he gets physically disabled, I am a “softy” and I will once again get sucked in …by his guilt inducing tactics.

    It’s a big joke to his drunken family members…let them wipe his *ss when he’s old and sick. According to the AH’s, all of the non-drinking sister-in-laws are the “b*tches, and the “problem” in their eyes.

  • patti

    I’m VERY excited that you’re making 2017 Your Year! Every time someone on here successfully leaves their dysfunctional relationship, it gives me hope, and I know I can do it, when I’m ready. Let us remember that when we leave this dysfunctional relationship, we need to be very cautious not to let our next relationship be with another AH or Addict. I can’t figure out how my occasional glass of wine with dinner led to nearly every man I dated having some alcoholic tendencies. We must be mutally attracted to each other 🙁 I need to get healthy so my next relationship will be HEALTHIER.

  • Debbi

    Rhonda, I wish you well on your journey and I will be anxiously waiting an update. So please share what happens 🙂

  • Rhonda

    Thank you Patti & Debbi for your encouragement.

    Now that I said it, I feel more accountable.
    Started today by telling some of my distant siblings the truth about our finances. I shared my biggest fear.. being homeless.

    Next step, a visit to a lawyer to be sure I do this thing right. Patience.
    We have one car now, and he no longer works, home most of the time. He Offers to run errands as an excuse to disappear and drink.
    Will keep journaling, a good reminder of the hard times,the emotional stress, his intentionally antagonizing me to start a fight, threats to leave,etc. Need to get fired up when I’m feeling sappy and weak. I am hoping my Anger at this injustice is good fuel for positive change.

  • patti

    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your journey to Freeeedom! You have encouraged me greatly and likely many others. It sounds like you have a great sense of humor and tenacity! I’m rooting for you, and I know you’ll make it! Go for it!

  • Rhonda

    You are welcome…I appreciate the encouragement. And yes, I’d like to think that I have tenacity and a sense of humor. AH used to think so too, now, not so much. …;).

    Today’s break through was sharing my ordeal with a neighbor who was going to water my plants during my (now cancelled) Christmas Vacation. She gave me a hug and I felt like I could trust her. It felt good not keeping the secret. She knows both of us. He is Mr. Wonderful in the neighborhood. But I think people notice more than they would say. We all are polite in that way.

  • patti

    Yay Rhonda!
    I used to keep it all inside until I was filled with & crippled by despair and anxiety. Alanon helped me understand what was happening inside me and learn how to get myself back. I’m my own best friend again! I share with some of my family & good friends who care about me. It feels good when I share and I often get confirmation from others that they’ve either suspected something and/or they’ve been in a similiar situation. We can then share more of our feelings and it’s quite productive (sometimes nearly fun) for everyone.

  • fedup

    YOU GO GIRL!!! So excited for you to start your own business. Hope it works out. And yes, we ARE married to the same guy, because they share one brain! 🙂 Sorry your Christmas got wrecked, I know the feeling. 🙁
    As to not responding when he quit again, you did the right thing. Your not just dealing with an addict, he’s also a narcissist (sp?), and what I’ve learned is that we’re not supposed to show ANY emotions with them when they create drama or try to pick a fight – that’s what they want – a reaction. Good or bad doesn’t matter to them. I act like a robot around him – no emotion, no reaction. It’s hard to do, but it avoids fights (and also makes him crazy, which is a bonus!) Well, crazy-er!!!
    Good luck and keep posting.
    p.s. I think next time he needs me to pick him up when his car breaks down or needs me to run him to the ER again because he doesn’t take his scripts, I’ll tell him to have his fake (drunk) friends take him!

  • Rhonda

    Patti & Fedup,

    I so appreciate your upbeat comments and encouragement.
    Yes, to the narcissism comment. I am beginning to act like a robot also. It helps. Like you said, if it can make them a little more “cray-cray” then it’s more fun for us. LOL. Oh, and don’t forget the Draaaaama.

    I will keep posting.

    I will not let him ruin another Christmas.
    This one meant so much to me, on so many levels:

    Christmas with family, out-of-state.
    I turn 60 this month.
    New Years with family.
    We had lots of plans.
    They (family) bought tickets for a special back-in- time holiday experience.
    Accommodations for us, and our cat.
    Just wonderful, all of the effort they made.
    Even offered to give us money when I cancelled.
    I could not accept. That would make it too easy for him.
    No consequences for his behavior.

    He hasn’t mentioned a word. No apology, nothing. That speaks volumes as to how much my happiness matters to him. I am low on the list. That’s OK. Keep adding that fuel to the fire.

  • Rhonda

    I agree, it REALLY helps to finally be honest with the people you can trust.
    When you share with others, it lets you know that you are not imagining these things…the AH would like us to think we are the crazy ones…which I must admit; I sometimes am. I have never belittled or called anyone names before, I save that “special treatment” just for him my beloved alcoholic. special that way ;).

    All kidding aside…I do NOT like that side of me. I was never bitter or resentful. Al-anon has helped me cope, and cut way back on the arguing. Not there yet. That has helped me sooo much. I hate the lying, and I always have to get the last word in. :(. My observing more, and not getting dragged into the drama it has made me aware of his M.O. and antagonizing tactics.

  • fedup


    I think you should go have Christmas as planned with your family. They offered to pay and, if they can really afford it, you should accept. Just go without him. If he’s like mine, he doesn’t care about going anyway, so the only consequences are for you. You’re suffering, not him! Let him spend Christmas alone. Oh, and take the cat too!

  • patti

    I’m inclined to agree with Fedup on this one. If there’s ANY way you can swing it, please go yourself and be with your family and loved ones because they Love you and Want to be with you and Share the love with you!!!! Lord knows your AH doesn’t act like he loves you, doesn’t know how much he loves you, doesn’t have any idea how much he needs you to keep his AH lifestyle sinking ship afloat!!!!! I know it’s hard, same for me too. We who are always making up what the other person misses, Don’t we deserve some Special Quality time with those who love us Just The Way We Are?

    I had an epiphany this morning in the car. I credit you, Rhonda, for the excellent suggestion! I need to give the AH My Ultimatum, and am planning to do that between Christmas and New Years. I am ready willing and able, thanks to my tools and loved ones. 20 years is enough of this lifestyle that is always draining the life and joy from me. Enough of losing my self esteem to the soul-less man in the bottle!!!!!! If I wait another ? years, there won’t be enough of me to save my own ship!!!!!!

  • patti

    Hi there Fedup. I really enjoy and learn from your postings too. Our AHs must also be from the same family. They’ve trained themselves to use a lot of bravado and attitude to cover their lack in any areas. My AH must also be sharing a brain with Rhonda’s and yours. They Must share in order to have the brain power between them, to keep going (right over the cliff). LOLOL. Yep, I read a few books on the subject and ALL addicts are also narcissists. They go hand in hand, LOL. 😉 I keep thinking of the line in so many songs “Break the Chain”!!!

  • Cindy


    I’m right there with you. My situation is a bit behind yours but I decided in September to go back to school to secure my PT Assistant license. It’s a 3 year process and I hope I can hang in there until
    then. I joined Alanon which has helped. Let’s make 2017 our year!

    In my humble opinion, go spend Christmas with your family. Consider their offer a Christmas gift to you. If I was in your situation I’m pretty sure I would regret my decision if I did not spend the holiday with them. It’s not a sign of weakness to except help from others, in fact I think it’s A sign of strength and a recognition that we are loved. I’m not sure if that’s what is holding you back but I really hope you change your mind and go experience their love with your children. Life can change at any moment and I realtors and family members will not always be with us.

  • Cindy

    Oops my prior message should’ve said relatives and family members not realtors. 🙂

  • Rhonda

    T.Y. Patti, Cindy and fedup.
    I probably won’t go now…I may regret it. I appreciate the encouragement. XOXO.

    I am making this time count in my favor to prepare for all future Holidays with family. That is correct, he wouldn’t care if I went alone. Yes, kitty has to come with momma. If I went alone it would have been an endless 2 weeks of partying for him. He would “buy” (FOOD AND DRINK) all of his friends ; I would come home to twice as many bills.:( I am allowing his behavior to keep me from family. Hmmm… 2017 will be better. A second car, even a beater would help.

    Lord help me. Gotta find a way out. As a girl friend stated, I need leverage (financial)so he takes my future ultimatum seriously. I wish he was sober, we would have a chance. Time is wasting. I can’t wait for him. Not gonna happen. As long as HE has his beer, life is good.

    PS:He quit drinking for a few days(no response from me.)After 20 years, we know how that goes.;)

    Please continue posting, you help me more than you know. I want to hear about your trials and triumphs; big or small.

  • patti

    Cindy! I agree with you. Let’s make 2017 OUR year!

  • patti

    I respect that you have very good reasons for doing things exactly the way you’re doing them.
    You know that myself and others here just want the best for you, and we’re rooting for you!
    To me, living with an AH is like living in a vacuum of negativity.
    Communication becomes only as necessary, which doesn’t sustain friendship or love.
    It’s so healing & uplifting to share my feelings and events here, to get some feed-back, to know that I’m not alone, that other’s have gone and will go before me, that other’s have found healing and success.
    Your victory could spur us on to our own, or vice-a-versa.
    As Al-anon says: Take what you like and leave the rest!
    For Christmas & New Years, I’ve got plans with friends and family. AH can come along or not, either way OK.
    I’ve not asked him directly about it, so that is next on my to do list.
    I have noticed that since I’ve got my own “program” going, we are more kind and easy going with each other.
    It’s a good thing, but probably not enough, on it’s own, to save our relationship.

  • patti

    Merry Christmas everyone!
    Don’t forget to be an elf to yourself!

  • fedup

    A belated thank you for your response. Sorry, I can’t always get on the computer – he hogs it when he’s home, and I don’t dare let him know I’m on a site where I might get some help for myself!! He wants to keep me isolated and miserable. 😉

  • fedup


    Yeah, mine would do the same thing if left “home alone” for 2 weeks. You right!

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