Tips For Living With An Alcoholic Boyfriend

These tips I am offering can be applied to your relationship with your boyfriend as well as with others who seem to have a drinking problem. The rules are the same when living with any alcoholic.

The first thing that you must realize is that he has his own life and you have yours. Even though you are deeply in love with him, you need to let him live his life. If he chooses to do that by being an alcoholic, well then that is his choice.

The sooner you can let go of his drinking problem-the better off you will be. An alcoholic always has to hit bottom on their own. There’s no amount of persuasion that will cause them to stop consuming alcohol. I honestly do not know of any ways to make an alcoholic quit drinking.

Relationship With Alcoholic BoyfriendI need you to realize something right now, you do not have any control over his alcoholism. As angry as you my get at me with this next statement, it is the truth.

An alcoholic will always choose a drink before you!

Looking to your alcoholic boyfriend to fulfill your need to be loved is a dangerous place to be. He will let you down, I can promise you that. You will always be second choice to his alcoholism.

If you don’t believe me, go attend a few AA meetings and see how many alcoholics destroyed relationships with others because of their poor choice to drink alcohol.

I heard it said once that going to a bank for a sandwich is the same as expecting to have your need for intimacy fulfilled by an alcoholic. They just don’t have it in them to give. You will not get a sandwich from your bank and an alcoholic boyfriend will not fulfill your need for intimacy

This is why I believe it is important for you to learn how to love yourself and discover the beauty of who you are on your own. If you base your self-worth on how your alcoholic boyfriend treats you-you are in for some huge disappointments.

The danger of having a relationship with anyone is becoming too effected by their opinions of us. Because alcoholics are not always in the right state of mind, they can often leave us emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually abandoned. If we remain strong in these areas regardless of how the alcoholic boyfriend we are living with treats us, we will be a happier person.

I am not saying in any way that you should allow them to treat you poorly. We have plenty of articles on this site about setting boundaries with an alcoholic.

So, when you are living with an alcoholic boyfriend, you can expect that you will not always be the first priority in their lives.

You are going to have to make sure that you have outstanding friendships outside your relationship with your boyfriend. I do highly suggest that they should be girlfriends. This will keep your integrity in check and help to guard against the possibility of jealousy entering into the relationship. If that happens,  you will need to know how to handle an out of control alcoholic.

Never nag your boyfriend about his drinking problem. Don’t equate your happiness in any way to being related to his drinking problem. Happiness for you is an inside job. No one should ever be responsible for your happiness except you! Humans will always let us down, especially alcoholic boyfriends.

If you want someone to truly be happy to see you when you come home, who will not argue with you and very seldom disappoint you, trade your boyfriend in for a dog.

Men can be extremely difficult to get along with when they are not alcoholics. They are wired differently than you. When you are living with an alcoholic boyfriend, your relational problems are going to be at a very high level. It’s not his fault, it’s just the way things are when you choose to interact with any alcoholic.

53 comments to Tips For Living With An Alcoholic Boyfriend

  • Karrie

    Thank you. I feel I need intense counseling because I cant seem to break this dysfunctional relationship. I’m assuming its because we have a beautiful two year old daughter but his alcoholism is making life tough for everyone in our home, including our kids from previous relationships. This is a very co-dependent based relationship. Hes drinking is turning him into a very mean person and we cant even go hang out as a family because he gets to drunk and does stupid things like fall down and its obvious because he’s drunk. I wish my life to be different.

  • Jaime

    Thank you for this. I moved from western NY to NH to be with my boyfriend and has been a little over a year. I never realized his drinking problem before I moved up here. He drinks over a 6 pack a night. He has 2 kids from a previous marriage and I have none. When we have them if it wasnt for me his kids would never eat as all he does is drink and since he is not hungry we shouldn’t be hungry. Im always yelling at him and arguing with him about his drinking problem, but I get no where. I feel like im stuck, i’m so far away from my family and friends that I have no body to go to. As I read this I thought to myself maybe I should stop harping on him about this, but it is soooo hard! It is ruining our relationship!

  • Pez

    Karrie, It can be! Decide what you want in life and in your future. You will have to make the hard choices if not now, it will come later, believe me as time goes on it get old and you no longer want that life. Better sooner than later!
    I don’t think most people can live with an alcoholic especially if they are abusive in any way verbally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, physically. the only way I would have, maybe stayed with my XAB is if he was a mellow drunk, did not seek a fight, was faithful and non-threatening. Even if you do all that’s suggested above, He still may never change! Staying and not making a fuss give the A a “soft place to land” and I doubt they will ever quit unless the suffer consequenses like loosing a job, DUI, etc…and maybe not even then. The one thing they want is for you to accept it–there alcoholism. And not making a fuss gives them that! So don’t think the suggestions above will get them sober, they are for you to have a more peaceful life if you choose to stay.

  • Amy

    Jamie, that is the same thing I went through. He has a child and I had a child. I worked 5 days a week, clean the house, did all the laundry, all the cooking and helped both boys with there homework. He did pay the bills, but I did ALOT of work to the house and spent alot on may other things. His contribution was getting drunk and laying it all on me. I fought with mine too, in all honesty how could someone not get upset and frustrated living like that. To me that isn’t a relationship that is a nightmare.I even went to alanon. but living with a mean, useless, irresponsible drunk was more than I could handle.My life was in constant unheaval, and the longer I stayed the worse it got.
    Pez, you are so right, sometimes on here someone just says something and a light goes off for me. It is the truth, they want you to accept there drinking,Some thing I just couldn’t do. I felt like a mother taking care of an out of control teenager who needed to grow up, I honestly don’t think even if mine wasn’t mean I could of put up with it, I would of still been stuck doing everything by myself, while this person who told me they loved me was drunk all the time, not much of a relationship if you ask me, I’d rather be alone…

  • Rae

    I am an Al-anon Member I am living with a chronic we are common in law He is moving in with his son shortly I am OK with this but he is a little thrown off I am hoping he works through it
    I am learning the Step s please go to Al-anon and learn this program and stay with it as much as you can I am only one yr and have been going thru the steps very slowly I am lucky to be alive after all the substance abusers I have been with
    I know this is God separating us temp . we don’t really conceive of it as a break up
    I feel we need this time apart I really will miss him but not the drinking part no no no I hate him for that part and I hate what the drinking does to him on a daily basis
    I am not lonely I have my son living with me I am not with out I am working on my career
    He is a back slid ing AA member he knows the program well he is not abusive I am trying not to be I grew up in an drinking home I did not know about other life styles for a straight person like me
    I am learning to put myself first it takes awhile but you can do it

  • Liz

    It is horrible living with an alcoholic. It is like living with a lazy, out of control, idiotic teenager at times. I too, do all the work in the house; even the few little jobs he has eg. taking the rubbish out, is way to demanding for him. He only grooms himself eg. shaving, cutting nails, after I nag him to death. I have begged, pleaded, left notes, sent txts etc, etc, etc. Threatened to leave him repeatedly. Nothing to date has worked. Last night, another usual night that I make dinner and he disappears as I am about to serve dinner and he’s collapsed into bed.

    Our lease is up in a few months and I am looking forward to some peace and solitude. I just hope I won’t have to be single for too long but being single is much better than being in a relationship with a selfish and sick alcoholic.

    All I think, is don’t hang around. Very very few alcoholics embark on a recovery journey.

  • Jenn

    OMG! I can relate to all these stories. My ABF almost died because of his alcoholism and he went to jail-yet he still drinks i guess he likes being sick

  • Juanita

    Wow, all this makes so much sense to me now! I have been around alcoholics all my life and yes, my Dad was an alcoholic AND my (2) ex-husbands. The last one killed someone as a result of his driving and drinking. After all that you’d think I’d learn to recognize the symptoms of an alcoholic, but now I’m struggling with leaving another one. Yes, of course, this one appeared to be “different”,at first…a well respected man, polite, enjoyed being with me, etc. Then he retired from a very high stress job of 30 years and that’s when this one started to slowly drowned himself in a bottle. I simply need to stop giving, giving, giving and start living MY life. Thank you for putting into words, what has helped me realize I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT I CAN CHANGE! Thank you.

  • Thank you for this forum. I have been dating what I thought was a wonderful man for over two years, we do not live together, but he visits often. Last October he suffered a stroke, his family did all they could to break us up, but somehow we managed to stay connected. He is driving again now and back to work.
    What concerns me is his sudden need to drink alcohol, he gave it up (well now I wonder!) all the time I was with him on weekends before his stroke.
    He told me last week that it is okay to drink again. All this despite the fact he knows I have asked him not to. This man was a very heavy drinker before he met me. He became angry when I told him he could choose the bottle or me, this man professes to love me dearly, but he did not reply.
    I told him good luck as he will need it. He has had fairly recent heart surgery, is diabetic who eats sweets, had a stroke last October and wears a defibrillator monitor, he is also on blood thinners. To my mind he is courting disaster … But he will no longer be courting me ……sad.

  • Laura

    I moved in with my boyfriend in 2012. He works for a wine company and drinks their wine samples. He drinks every night starting at 6:30pm and drinks until he goes to sleep. He has to finish the last drop. He’s sneaky! He only pours a little in his glass when I’m around and then you hear him sneaking to pour more when I’m not in the room. He drinks a whole bottle each night. Some nights it’s more. He starts with white and and then goes to red. So 2 bottles are open. We say a prayer before dinner each night and I noticed his hands were shaking last night. Body withdrawing… It has effected my relationship with him. We have had NO intimacy from the beginning, 3 years now. At first, he blamed his ex-wife. Now I know why. The drinking! I don’t drink due to a sensitive digestion. It bothers him. You’re right, you can’t stop them from drinking. I miss the closeness. I do know someone who has Al-anon classes. He so happens the be this guys best friend. He lives in another state and I asked him for advice. You’re right, my boyfriend will have to hit rock bottom. I’m disabled at the moment. Needing my knees replaced, so I’m not working. I’m stuck here in the meantime and grateful I have a roof over my head. So I’m just going to stick it out for now. I do get lonely because I don’t have any family to support me mentally. They all have issues I can’t go into here. I will work on myself and get better and get out of my situation and move onto a better life. Thank you for writing this page. It’s been very helpful.

  • Lesa

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year. From day one he has drank. I threatened to leave once and he quit drinking for 2 weeks and started up when we had a fight. He works hard and does a lot around the house we rent (which is his rental, I moved in). He drinks every day. Some days are okay. But others are a nightmare. We fight and I get verbally abused. He accuses me of his friend and other men, he talks vulgar to me, he fights me about money. We have a savings together and we withdraw money and he accuses me of stealing the money he says he worked his ass off for. I already had the account and had $500. I keep threatening to give him all the savings so he will quit fighting me, and the next day when he is sober he apologizes and tells me to keep the money in the bank. I get so lonely and depressed and feel if I leave I will be by myself and no one will want me. I drank very little until I met him. Since I recently got a full time job I have cut way down on drinking, usually on a Friday, but then the fight begins. I,m not saying its all his fault, I feel like its mine for staying. My friend tries to talk me into leaving and getting my own place but I am scared of being alone. I know I am so codependent on him. I’ve read all the comments and I hope I can get to that level of leaving and being in control of my life. Thanks

  • Kali

    Hello friends…I’m honestly relieved to realize that I’m not alone in this battle with an alcoholic relationship.

    Sometimes the loneliest place on earth is this beautiful house that I helped to create. Even with our active baby boy just 9 weeks from arrival — a baby I prayed for and yearned for — I have felt hopeless and trapped.

    Relief comes in short bursts, usually only after near catastrophic fights. I worry about what the stress does to our baby in my tummy. But even if I could I wouldn’t leave….maybe that will change when I see the tears my ABF will cause our son to cry in the coming years.

    Do you think alcoholics are genetically predispositioned or was it his alcoholic father that taught my guy to live this half life between cans and bottles?

  • Ashley


    Wow, this was me a few years ago. I was deeply in love with my alcoholic husband and pregnant with our second child. I never ever thought I would leave him. As time went on and he went to multiple rehabs and relapsed immediately every time. I finally left for the safety of our children. I have thrived since being on my own with the two kids. We are happy and the nightly tears and fear are gone. I still do and always will love him but he will not change so I had to change. Best decision I have ever made. Now I can concentrate on my career and giving my kids a healthy environment to grow up in.

  • Ali

    It’s incredibly hard to ever distinguish between nature vs. nurture. Would he become an alcoholic without his father’s influence? You don’t know.
    What you do know is he has the choice to make changes in his life and he is choosing not to.
    Is this man going to be a good father? Wishful thinking would say “yes, he’ll change once the baby is born” for example but he hasn’t changed now. The fetus is feeling your stress…you are going through immense stress as well when he should be supporting the giver of life.
    You don’t deserve this, nor does your son.
    I sincerely feel for you.
    You’ll never know whether to blame DNA or what he grew up with. At this point it doesn’t matter. YOU matter and so does your unborn son.
    If he won’t stop, you must be brave and make changes to protect both of your lives.
    It would be a shame if your son witnessed this all and became another question of “was it in his genetics or was it his father’s fault?”
    Be gentle with yourself and think about walking away.
    The house doesn’t matter if it’s not a home.

    Bless your heart as a woman struggling, a human being, and a mother to be.
    Sending love and support.

  • Bill

    Kali, it’s nice of Ali to have answered your question. Also, congratulations on the baby on the way. I always like answered prayers!

    Many people on this site have found help through attending Al-anon. Give it a try…

    How to find a meeting,

  • SC

    This was written by Dr. Drew.

    One of the ways the scientific community describes the genetic component of addiction is they will say that alcoholism is 60 percent accounted for on the basis of a genetic component alone. Sixty percent of alcoholism is created by the genetic component. So not 100 percent — but I always say that it is a necessary but not sufficient cause for addiction. Because there has to be some genetic potential, in my opinion, because I have just never seen it otherwise.

    Usually with somebody like that, I will question them more about their ethnic heritage. Usually you will find that there is some Scottish, Irish, North American Indian, Central European — you usually find the genetics and follow that lineage and, lo and behold, you’ll find the alcoholism. So you could have a mild genetic burden that has not yet been expressed what we call phenotypically. There are some people who have a profound genetic burden where it is just exploding all over every family member all the time. So although 60 percent of it is accounted for on the basis of genetics, the genetics themselves can be more powerful in certain situations than others.
    Dr. Drew answer to someone’s question.
    You must have been raised in an alcoholic family and those traumas have to be processed or they are a constant problem.

  • Kate

    Hi Kali

    From what doctor friends have told me, the studies the proportion of adopted children who go on to have alcohol problems, despite being brought up in a stable environment, indicate that it is largely genetic. On the other hand my grandfather was an alcoholic but none of his 6 children or 21 grandchildren have been affected. I look at my girls and wonder if they could end up like their father. I feel very optimistic now but perhaps that’s because they haven’t quite hit their teenage years yet.

    My husband is the mellow drunk that Pez describes, non threatening, faithful etc. the kind you can live with for a very long time until one day you realise that you are helping them deteriorate and that they can’t get as far as breakfast without a strong drink. I don’t love or live with my husband now but I will always look out for him to a certain extent for the kids’ sake.

    I’m not looking for anyone else right now because I love my girls so much that my heart feels full to overflowing already (for me having kids feels a bit like being in love all the time). I have been happy in many areas of my life since my recent separation. I feel proud that I’m setting a good example now to my girls and learning to be Daddy and Mummy all in one. I don’t want them to see me crying again and hopefully they’ll forget witnessing me going through the sad times.

    Financial separation has helped me to feel calm and I’m using his constant requests for money as leverage in order to get him to the doctors/blood tests etc. I’m hoping for a medical scare that might make him come to his senses.

    But I’m also working towards letting him go altogether – he’s quite near to loosing everyone that loved him – and that’s a lot of people. I’m torn between wanting to preserve him a bit longer for the kids’ sake and taking a gamble on him letting him get to rock bottom in order to have a chance at facing up to what he’s doing to himself. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much chance of a real rock bottom as he can still turn on the charm so I think he’ll always find someone to take care of him.

    Feels like I’ve got a long way to go on this journey but I’m very glad to have this forum to accompany me now. Thanks to everyone that contributes here. Best wishes to you all.

  • SC

    All alcoholics have the no talk rule.
    My father was a dry drunk,I was the scapegoat. My sister is NOT an alcoholic but she scapegoated me. She still has the no talk rule, I try to talk because I want to be seen,heard and understood and she gets angry. We do not have a relationship (my only sister).

    I married a very high functioning alcoholic, you couldn’t see that he was drunk. He also had the no talk rule,which is why they get mad when you try to talk about something. This divorce took me down, I ended up in The Dark Night Of The Soul.
    Google if wondering what it is. Because of this experience, I began my spiritual journey .
    Alcoholism will take everybody down around it.
    I would always see what I called the normal side of my xah and think he was gonna to get it and the truth is they don’t and won’t.
    I started self-help from growing up in an alcoholic home in the 80s and I got married to my ex alcoholic husband 20 years later and he still got the better of me . I have spent the last 3 1/2 years trying to find the person I was before I met him. I will never get involved with an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic again!
    I said when I got divorced that I was gonna be a better person when I got through this but I had no idea how difficult the journey was gonna be .

    I have been on a spiritual journey since my divorce and I’ve had the aha moment that it all goes back to the no talk room which I cannot live with.
    Feels good to express this, thanks for listening. 😉
    No Talk Rule
    Codepentence is usually developed in a dysfunctional family system. Dysfunctional families can range in severity, but some common characteristics include a distorted set of spoken or unspoken rules. These rules can continue to dominate and control our life into adulthood. Since we have believed we need to live by them, we may not even recognize how they are damaging us. See if you can recognize any of these patterns.

    Adapted from J. Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You. Every alcoholic has shame.

    Control—One must be in control of all interactions, feelings and personal behavior at all times—control is the major defense strategy for shame.

    Perfectionism—Always be right in everything you do. The perfectionist rule always involves a measurement that is being imposed. Fear and avoidance of the negative is the organizing principle of life. Members live according to an externalized image. No one ever measures up.

    Blame—Whenever things don’t turn out as planned, blame yourself or others. Blame is a defensive cover-up for shame…Blame maintains the balance in a dysfunctional family when control has broken down.

    Denial of the Five Freedoms*—Each freedom has to do with a basic human power—the power to perceive; the power to think and interpret; to feel; to want and choose; and the power to imagine. In shame-based families, the perfectionist rule prohibits full expression of these powers.

    The No-Talk Rule—This prohibits the full expression of a feeling, need or want. In shame-based families, members want to hide their true feelings, needs or wants. Therefore, no one speaks of the loneliness and sense of self-rupture.

    Don’t Make Mistakes—Mistakes reveal the flawed vulnerable self. To acknowledge a mistake is to open oneself to scrutiny. Cover up your own mistakes and if someone else makes a mistake, shame him.

    Unreliability—Don’t expect reliability in relationships. Don’t trust anyone and you will never be disappointed.

  • C

    There are so many marvelous stories here to help a young mother find support in order to make sound decisions. The baby is the most important angel – the alcoholic is a disaster! I am for him going to AA and Al-anon for the rest of the family. It affects everyone. It takes more than a young mother to raise a child, and the other family members need to be able to support her. Maybe the father will find a sponsor and be ready to be sober before the baby arrives. Al-anon will teach the mother and family members how to cope with the dad.

    My ex was an alcoholic so I know how difficult it is to raise babies almost all alone. For me, the loneliness was the most difficult part of being in an alcoholic relationship. Mine just came home after work and drank beer and fell asleep!!! Not a life by any means!

  • SC

    Fyi. John Bradshaw has worked with hundreds of alcoholics and he said that not one did not have shame.
    He had a PBS series that aired in the 80s. Some of the series can be seen on YouTube. He is also recovering alcoholic.

  • AM

    cannot tell you how helpful all these comments have been to me. I haven’t seen my alcoholic friend since memorial day weekend……last spoke with him about 4 months ago……and then he shut me out of his world completely. I did everything for him……helped him financially …..8 years of “friendship”. you are right he loves the bottle more than anything. I miss him and am struggling to fill the void. I keep busy and pray for strength. but it is hard. Hard because you cared and loved someone deeply.

  • Liz

    Hello. I have been dating an alcoholic for 2 yrs and lived together the 3rd year. Oncewe lived together I noticed her getting stupid drunk 2-4 nights a week , stumbling home, peeing in our condo parking lot, stbling and falling down several times a night on the way to the bathroom. We were engaged. Then my fiancé/alcoholic was rear ended In a motor vehicle accident 1 yr ago. 2 months ago started 2 cortisone shots in bad back disk. Then my fiancé started taking Vicodin, became combative, argumentative and decided to move out. What the hell? I witnessed severe personality changes, mood swings, irritability and spacing out on me. My fiancé has passed the 7 week mark and, I think is addicted/ abiding Vicodin. What is the worst is a Jekyl/Hyde personality change. I feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest and tossed in a meat grinder. Help! Has anyone gone through this? I went to an alanon mtg sat but no one else showed up – what the heck?

  • Karen

    Hello, I don’t have children only my dog. All my family has passed away and I am left with an alcoholic husband that I have been married to for 22 yrs. He drank when we first met and quit when I told him that was the condition for marriage. I am a long time survivor & fighter of Sarcoma and Kidney failure. In 2007 a tumor or my spine left me with a leg I can’t use and the drinking started again this time it’s mainly beer. He puts down well over a six pack during the week and on weekends its a suitcase everyday. We don’t do holidays or vacations, no friends just the fighting and trying to keep my mouth shut. He doesn’t do Dr’s anymore or hospitals with me so I am on my own but let me just say that I would not be able to survivor both of these diseases without God’s help and grace. My dr’s know so its no surprise not to see him with me and truthfully, I would rather he not be there when you know they smell it. My heart goes out to you mothers that have to keep your children safe. My father was an alcoholic I guess that’s why I never took to drinking of any kind. I was abused by him and you can get past it but never forget it and your children, they are smarter than people give them credit for. It is hard to hide it so they don’t know, but believe me they do. Prayers to all of you for staying the course and trying to find some beauty in each day God has given us even if it’s only in seeing a rainbow or butterfly. Time to go. Thanks for listening and letting me share. I never have, feels better.
    God bless, Karen

  • AM

    LIZ….. to quote you…. heart was ripped out and tossed in a meat grinder. I used to say feel like a bag of trash that was left at curb. Yes know how you feel. These people are not rational. The person I thought I knew used me. Painful and hard to accept. Everyday I think I am making progress and then I take a step back.
    Prayer has helped me and good friends. Big hug for you.

  • Kate

    my boyfriend cooks me dinner every night, lights candles,
    Does dishes laundry and hands me his entire
    Pay cheque. My boyfriend is a functioning alcoholic.
    He starts drinking the first minute he is awake.
    Until the minute he goes to sleep.
    The problem is lying about drinking, no intimacy,
    I feel alone emotionally . I try to explain this to him
    He says you’re not alone I’m with you all the time.
    How do I explain in a way he may understand
    How I’m feeling.

  • Devlyn

    Hello all! I must say I cannot believe how accurate these descriptions are as to alcoholics and their behaviors. After almost ten years with my highly functioning alcoholic boyfriend, I had always attributed these traits to his personality, not the alcohol! Boy did I have an awakening after reading these posts! Yes, he has them all.. First and foremost: He is the most fundamentally selfish person I’ve ever met in my life. The entire world revolves around him all the time. He has expectations that he demands from others, yet hypocritally he would never do the same for you. Number two: Severe lack of emotional intimacy. Yes… It’s lonely in this relationship. Number three: Unpredictable mood swings and personality changes from one minute to the next. Number four: drunken belligerence which turns into emotional abuse towards me, usually at around beer number twenty just before he “passes out” for the night. Too drunk to make it to bed, he usually ends up on the couch for the night. Number five: I do almost everything, all of the time. Dishes, trash, recycle, laundry, grocery shop, make the bed, clean the bathroom, pay the bills, all the driving (cuz he’s been drinking of course). Like I said, almost everything, all of the time, for ten years! We both have full time careers, so no excuse that it’s all on me! I literally thought he was the most lazy, uncaring, thoughtless, selfish individual I’ve ever met in my entire life, until I read these posts and learned that it’s been the alcohol all along!!!! Omg!! Thank you!
    Banner 37 Audio Lessons

  • I have a tendency to believe that some of the characteristics are inherently part of what makes up an alcoholic – in other words, part of the predisposition that leads to the addiction. I say this because so many people in my family are either active alcoholics or recovering alcoholics/drug addicts. I have been in these situations way too many times and have come to the conclusion that life is short and very valuable, especially now, since my third husband (who is not an alcoholic) has recently been diagnosed with stage four metastatic cancer of the heart, lung, liver, and brain. I’ve had 27 years with this great man who has no addictions, and now I’m facing the prospect of losing him. He made up for all the years I had to cope with alcoholics/drug addicts. He showed me what caring, kindness, and true love really is. There is no room in a person’s life for abuse of any sort. Life is just way too short.

  • Pez

    Amen Diana! and also anything else that does not serve you! whether it be a job a friend or whatever if it does not serve you well and causes you anguish get rid of it.

  • Paula g

    I have to ask if the chicken or the egg came first on this one! Are alcoholics selfish because they drink? Or do they feel they can be as selfish as they want and somehow this tendency creates a person who becomes the alcoholic? I love my AH, but I think it might be a character flaw in me that enables my love. I am not co-dependent anymore I don’t think, but I should demand more from a lover. I am worthy, so why don’t I?

  • That’s what I learned from my present husband of 27 years, Paula. I don’t have to demand more; he just gives of himself. In fact, I have to stop him sometimes because he’s almost too good, and I don’t want to ever take that for granted. He is my best friend.

  • Bridget

    Well today I was told by my AH that he has no feelings anymore and doesn’t care about anything. He recently told me that he wanted out of our ” relationship.” I too, do everything and always have. Everything does revolve around them, they are selfish and if you allow it; they do become centre of the universe. It has been about 6 weeks since he told me he wants out. I am trying to be super positive and move on with my life. This is absolutely killing him. Misery loves company. But today when he told me he doesn’t care about anything anymore and has no feelings and doesn’t care …… Well it scares me. Been with this man for 23 years and I have seen him slipping away from his family little by little. It’s really concerning me but I have to move on with my life. I do believe they have to make the first step if not the cycle continues. I can’t give up how far I have came in 6 weeks, little progress or not I have to stay focused on moving forward. God help me!!!

  • Bill

    Wow, everyone who has shared today, amazing wisdom and courage in action.

    Bridget, reassure your partner of your love for him, but don’t get entangled in his emotional roller coaster ride. Be rock solid in knowing that no matter what happens, you are going to be just fine.

    Why? Because you are asking God for help. He will be your strength no matter what the outcome of this situation is. God knows the end before the beginning.

    The alcoholic you are dealing with is going to flip flop all over the place because that’s what alcoholics do. Stay steady on the course of focusing on yourself and taking care of yourself. You ARE NOT responsible for how he feels, his moods or any of his behaviors. You are responsible for letting him know that you love him and taking care of yourself.

    This is a good article on loving an alcoholic without conditions:

    This is a good article on the importance of not being indecisive:

    If you aren’t already involved in Al-anon, consider trying out about 6 meetings.

  • Tina

    I agree with you about getting rid of the problem but how do you get rid of your child.,

  • Tina

    Bill sounds like you know pretty much about dealing with alcoholics. I was wondering what in Gods name do I do with my son. I really cannot deal with this roller coaster anymore. HELP.

  • Bridget

    Thanks Bill, I have done just that. Told him we all Love and care about him no matter what happens. No one ever said this was easy. One day at a time. Thanks for listening everyone.

  • Tina

    God Bless you Bridget.

  • JC

    Hi Tina, I believe there are four foundational things that bring amazing stability into any relationship with an alcoholic:

    1. Learning detachment techniques
    2. Understanding and expressing unconditional love
    3. Learning how to stop being an enabler
    4. Learning how to set boundaries

    A friend on this website, MCP, recently had success in doing an intervention. Check out his comment here:

  • Tina

    Thank you JC. I have done a intervention With Kevin Dickson in 2013 but he is back at it. I guess what I learned at rehab I forgot too. I have to try all those you have listed above once again. How do you understand and express unconditional love. My husband and I go off on a tangent when he is downstairs drinking. We are so tired of it. I guess we need to stop and think what we are saying and doing. What are detachment techniques can you share some? Thanks again.

  • JC

    Tina, “Detaching From An Alcoholic” is on of the most commented articles on our website. You can check it out here:

    I also published a short video a few years ago on this topic. Check it out here:

    This article on obsession is good too:

  • Paula g

    I think of the AH like a child, for some things all you can do is repeat yourself, until it almost becomes a sing song of reminders and positive thoughts. For example, I go through each day with my AH, “did you eat anything for breakfast?” “why not?” I was and am constantly reminding him of the basics of taking care of himself, like drinking water and/or Gatorade. When he states incredibly negative things I counter them with “Or” something positive he obviously didn’t think of. I keep it light but I don’t waiver. So even if you don’t have another intervention completely you could maybe meet up with him with one or two others and revisit the fact that you’ve been through this with him before, point out how he is again endangering himself and ask him if he needs to go to detox. Point out how his life is passing him by as he misses so much time each day being intoxicated.
    I don’t know how old he is, but for many alcoholics they only start being able to get a handle on it when they are older. Maybe if you know one of these guys he could point out to your son that with that comes regret for not getting it together sooner, and let him know he doesn’t have to make those same mistakes.
    Just some ideas, I don’t really know your situation but I do have kids and I am with an alcoholic and repetition sometimes is the only tool left. Try to keep calm and keep trying to reach him. Good luck sister.

  • Paula g

    Hi Diana,
    I have a great Father, he is the man you describe for my mother. I don’t know if that kind of love is in the cards for me in this lifetime, nice to hear they are still making them that way though. Happy for you 🙂

  • Tina

    Thanks JC helpful, Im going to try to go to an meeting.

  • Tina

    Thanks Paula good advise. I need all the luck I can get. Love this site it really helps me. Thanks

  • Pez

    good luck Tina, but I have to say all these techniques and things to do MAY stabilize you. a relationship with an alcoholic will never be stable because they are unpredictable. some can learn to deal with the unpredictability and detach others cannot. only time will tell if it will work for you or not.

  • Pat

    I finally had the nerve to tell my AH exactly how I felt. Due to learning so much about the condition from various places I was able to do it without a lot of negative energy. I found him more respective since I learned that men do not value love for the most part but do relate to respect. I told him it is very hard to continue to respect him when I find him past out drunk. Since I feel men do not respect a women that stays with them as how can we have any self respect when we put up with all their nonsense. So I also included people that he respects that do not come around anymore due to his drinking. He told me I was using some heavy idea. I told him that he is the smartest man I know besides my dad and it is hard to watch him trow it away. I told him I am so sorry that he has had to go through such bad things in his life but he can either use it to grow or stay stuck in the past and keep focusing on them and be a victum all his life. I know that since God wakes him up everyday that God has things for him to do and he just needs to figure out what makes him happy. He has so much to offer the world and it is a shame to throw that away. Of course he got mad and told me that it is none of my business how he lives his life. Which is exactly true and I told him so. I am not saying he is going to stop drinking but it has seemed to have some effect on him. He has not drank in 3 days and this morning he asked me to help him get healthy. These are all things I have prayed over many times asking God to help me every step of the way so it is not credit to me but to God if there is any improvement in his life. God bless you all and praying that wonderful things come into everyone’s life.

  • JC

    Hi Pat, it’s great to hear that you are communicating with your partner. I think it’s wonderful that you have been educating yourself and presented your concerns with self-control, great job!

    What exactly did he mean when he asked you to help him get healthy?

    Also, how do you feel about that statement and what it entails?

  • I have to ask myself, “Are we staying with our alcoholic partners because we love them, or do we stay because we don’t want to be alone?” I remember back when I tried to get out of my first and second marriage because of their alcohol and drug problems. My first husband was a dream until he had a dump truck accident that severed his aorta and caused him head trauma – changed his entire personality. Before I knew it, he was drinking, taking drugs, and having sex with every woman in town that was willing, and a lot were willing because he was very handsome. I stayed five years because I thought it would be wrong to leave him and take his kids from him especially since this all came about due to a horrible accident. Guilt was my leader. He finally became violent and punched me so hard that I flew across the room. He broke my nose. Once I stood up, I pointed to the door and told him to pack up and leave. It took him about ten tries and me just as many demands for him to leave for him to finally go. Two hours later, he returned with a girlfriend and wanted to take the kids for a picnic. It wasn’t nice the way I put it, but I said, “You take your whore and have a picnic together, but the kids aren’t going anywhere with you.” I finally left the state with his permission because the drugs and alcohol along with head trauma kept him coming to my house all hours of the night. He knew he was out of control, so he agreed. I punished myself for years afterwards and ended up dating men that I thought I deserved. Once I got through that phase, I quit dating altogether, and that’s when my present husband walked into my life. We’ve been together for 27 years, and it was he who taught me what love really is. Sure, we had our problems throughout the years, but the difference is that we worked through the problems together with the same goals in mind. I believe that alcoholics and drug addicts have the predisposition tendency to narcissism. I see it so clearly now. My first husband wasn’t born that way; head trauma is what changed him. That’s when the predisposition began. It started up while he was still in ICU. I made light of it then and blamed it on his injuries, but over the years, that part of him remained the same and that’s when the troubles began. Now that I’m losing my present husband to stage four metastatic cancer, I look back at my life with alcoholics and narcissists. I will never chance marrying another man because I never want to risk the chance of being with an alcoholic or drug addict or narcissistic control freak. I’m absolutely certain that my present husband is a rare species. Nobody could match up with him. He’s just too good, and I have had 27 years of his goodness. I’m so grateful to him. Once I loose him to this horrible disease, I’m certain that I could never go back to the ugliness that addiction brings into our lives.

  • Pat

    J C
    He wanted me to get him some tomato juice and put some vitamins in it so he could feel better. He has started to see that using beer to help him sleep is not working. Even though he passes out it is not a quality sleep. If he continues drinking when he stops for a short period then he has bad nightmares. I have shown him where it is proven that he is keeping his body from processing his thoughts by not getting into the better deep sleep.

  • JC

    Pat, oh, I thought he was asking you to help him get sober.

  • Paula g

    oh Diana,
    I am so sorry that you are losing such a wonderful man. I hope that once some time passes you will find that you don’t really need a man, because you have had such a great relationship. Maybe you will get to learn how to enjoy being single. Big hug.

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