How To Stop Getting Mad At An Alcoholic

Smiling Thirty Year Old WomanYou may have every right to be mad at the alcoholic in your life. You may have even reached the point where you don’t want to have anything to do with them right now. If that’s you, please understand that you are not alone. One of the weapons that an alcoholic uses is anger. If they can keep everyone around them upset, it helps to keep the focus off of them. While we are storming mad, they are having a great time with their drinking buddies at the bar.

Your story may be different than mine, but at the end of the day, somehow they are very much the same. I’ve interacted with thousands of people who know very well what it is like to be fuming mad at an alcoholic.

How do we overcome this raging madness that eats away at our serenity? There’s really not a quick fix, but there are many things that can help relieve the frustrations associated with dealing with an alcoholic.

Here are a few things you can try:

  1. Understand that they are in love with alcohol more than anything else in life. The desire for a drink drives their every action during a day. From the time an alcoholic awakens, getting a drink is consciously or sub consciously on their minds until they fall asleep. They are always looking for the opportunity to have a drink.
  2. Get in the habit of having a back-up plan. This means that any time you have made an arrangement to do something with an alcoholic, hold on to the possibility of them following through lightly. Have an alternative plan in your pocket just in case they do not show up for the engagement. You may still get mad at them, but because you have something else planned, the anger will be cut in half.
  3. Learn what the personality of an alcoholic looks like. This will help you in the process of letting go of the alcoholic a little faster. Once you know that just about all alcoholics lie, you will stop asking the question of why do alcoholics lie so much? When you learn that it’s not possible to have a rational conversation with a person who is intoxicated, you will stop trying to have them. Always avoid serious conversations with someone who is  intoxicated.Very Mad
  4. Learn techniques to help you stop obsessing over an alcoholic. When we stop being the private eye (PI) and let them live their own lives, there will be a whole lot less things to get mad about.
  5. Understand that they have to reach their own bottom. We can be mad at an alcoholic twenty-four-seven and it still won’t make them quit. Nothing that you or I do is going to cause them to stop drinking. The sooner you grip that truth, the sooner you will have more peace in your life. Understand, they must hit bottom on their own. You don’t believe me? Then tell me what you have done that has made an alcoholic stop drinking. That’s what I thought, NOTHING!
  6. Get involved in alcoholism support group meetingsThis is probably the number one thing that will help you learn how to stop getting mad an alcoholic. There are people in organizations such as Al-anon who have learned how to live with an alcoholic in peace and have been doing so for many years. If you want to learn how to make a million dollars, hang out with a few millionaires. If you want to become an auto mechanic, go to school for mechanics. If you want to learn how to quit getting so mad at an alcoholic, interact with people who are capable of teaching you how.

Finally, understand that you have no control over another person’s actions. The best medicine is to start living your own life to the full even if they are drinking, Get your focus off of everything the alcoholic is doing and do things that you enjoy for a change. This is how we overcome being mad all of the time. Let the alcoholic go and start living a life filled with less stress and anxiety.

21 comments to How To Stop Getting Mad At An Alcoholic

  • Leslie

    Thank you for your article it is very helpful the guy I live with for the past eleven years is out cold on the floor after drinking vodka all day. I was so angry and yelled and cursed at him. I am still angry, after reading your article I am beginning to get my serenity back. Pace and hope, thanks again.

  • kim

    Thank you for this article. I’m just now coming to grips with how serious my husbands drinking problem has become. And yes, I’m VERY angry!! I’m sick of him smelling like vodka every single day, I’m sick of his stupid behavior when he’s drunk, I’m sick of his lies, I’m sick of him not coming home on time, I’m sick of him forgetting almost every conversation we have, I’m just flat sick of him! I’ve lost every ounce of respect for him. Up to this point I literally thought I could make him stop. HA! Now I get it. I’ll never be able to but I can do a lot to keep his toxic energy away from me and I can live a more peaceful life. I’m going to give this new way of thinking every bit of my energy. I’ve been making myself sick with worry and all the while, he couldn’t give a lesser (bleep) about me or our marriage or ANYTHING! The only thing this man cares about is himself and vodka. I would leave today if I had the money, I work and make decent pay but it’s certainly not enough to start over with.

  • Lynda

    I’m struggling with what to do. I’ve been in a long distance relationship with a fantastic man that slips in and out sobriety. He was sober for 6 months, then just last week relapsed — hard. The arguing, judgemental crap came back full force. He apologized profusely (of course) and even sought help with a substance abuse counselor and is willing to go to either an inpatient or outpatient facility to kick the habit once and for all. I would be his main source of support through the process. We talk a lot about building a life together, but I don’t know if I should cut and run now since were are still in the dating phase and live in separate cities or stay by his side and help him recover fully. I do realize that love cannot cure a person of this disease. Any suggestions?

  • Denise

    Dear Lynda,
    Cut your losses, chalk it up to experience, etc. they are Jekyll & Hydes. There are a lot of good guys out there. Yours is a loser just like mine, only difference is I married him 34 yrs. ago. That crystal ball sure would have come in handy!!! Take care of yourself. denise

  • Jenn

    Kim, you sound just like me. I’m done and want out hes never going to change

  • Peta

    Hi. My worry is the anger i get with him after numerous over drinking events. We’ve been married for almost 5 years, with 4 year old daughter. I have done everything (i Think) I’ve ignored, drunk with, discussed, done my own thing, but it keeps happening. Each time I ignore/pass it, it get worse and worse until I explode! I get aggressive (throw things, break things) and I hate feeling this way. I don’t want to feel like this. what do I do?? We live in different country ATM. until the end of the year, I my daughter and i are sort of stuck. How do I deal with my anger? Before I do something bad.

  • Candace

    What about when you reach the point that you involuntarily hope that he drinks and drives to get arrested or hurts himself or even passes away? I’ve been married for 5 years and we have 2 kids. I’ve asked him for 5 years to please get help and he refuses. He believes he can beat this on his own. This is my second marriage and another divorce with children frightens me. I’d have to seek full custody of our kids which would kill my husband. He’s an amazing father too but I could never leave them alone with him. I keep telling myself just to figure out a way to be happy until our kids are grown…that’s a long 17 years away. I despise him when he drinks. I have ZERO compassion for people who know that they need help, but won’t get any. And he says “F you. You don’t know what this feels like. No one wants me to be more normal than me.” But it’s a lie. And he says that if I ever leave him, he’ll sober up just to spite me. Who says that??

  • Denise

    Do not let your fire go out,
    spark by irreplaceable spark,
    In the hopeless swamps of the approximate,
    the not-quite, the not-yet,the not-at-all.
    Do not let the hero in you soul perish,
    In lonely frustration for the life you
    deserved but have never been able to reach.
    Check your road and the nature of your battle,
    The world you desired can be won. It exists,
    it is real,it is possible, it is yours.

    This was written by Ayn Rand. A great author. Sent to me by my wonderfully intuitive son. This is my time.
    Whether my alcoholic husband chooses to languish in his world or live in mine and my children’s is his choice. Alcohol is their mistress. Live your life. Even if you have children at home. Because basically you are a single parent.Your children will remember and love you for everything. A Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. Mothers and Fathers who are trying to make life work. Always Denise

  • Denise

    How do you live with the fact that he might lose his job today or kill someone today driving drunk. How do you live with people telling you they can smell booze on his breath at work? Why don’t they tell the loser he’s going to get fired after 36 yrs. and lose his family for sure. Why are people so quick to tell the spouse who has been living with it for 35 yrs.? What in the hell is she going to tell him that she already hasn’t? I wish he would go away. There are a lot of women, I have found , that want a divorce. Using the alcoholic? Perhaps. Whether it be monetary or hmmmmmmm I can’t think of any other reason. They are lousy at love or any relationship. Lousy at parenting. Worthless. They have that poor, poor , pitiful me thing going on. Pathetic.Yup, had a crappy weekend. Cannot wait to go to work. We work at the same place. Different ends of the building. Wonder if they mind him having a few stiff cheap-ass vodka’s before he starts? Wish it would all go away.

  • Patti

    Denise, You sound like a very loving and creative person. You express yourself so well and I can feel the love that you still have for the person who was a bf and now just a bm (bad mess). I think the drink makes them unlove themselves, and then they must unlove us, the other characters in their life/play. I still have some happy in me and when I’m out and about in the world I find myself daydreaming/pre-planning my next phase of life which will probably be much different than the one I have now. I used to be happily independent and I think I can get there again, if I can realize nothing’s gonna change (He stated exactly that to me two times now) and forge ahead and perhaps avoid the next 20 years being filled with bitterness and emptiness. I lost my bf, for sure!

  • John

    Major thanks for writing this article and the women who’ve responded.

    I have an alcoholic friend who’s constantly drunk and endangering himself in developing countries. No matter how many times I’ve talked to him, he keeps fucking up.

    Reading everyone’s responses has helped. His whole rationalizing, lying and self denying speech patterns are near carbon copies of those Ive read here. I talk to him and Im basically talking to crazy. I dont fucking get this damn disease.

  • Luisa

    Hi! thank you for your comments, it sad but at least I don’t feel so lonely. I’m 38 years old and I have been with my alcoholic husband for 12 years. He is 50 year now. When I met his I was young and I wanted to party! so he was the perfect match. Handsome, smart and funny… he still is when he is sober.
    Him been drinking is making insane! I became a very angry person, I scream on him, drop stuff in the floor, scandals… I’m mostly frustrated about don’t know how to making stop. He lost his job, I left the household two years ago but I still love him very much. I attended Al-anon meetings but I’m agnostic, so the religious angle doesn’t work for me. I when to therapy for many years and when finally I was getting over of him, I felt again until his charm… Always been very scare of him getting drunk. He can be very rude when he is drunk and I get so mad all the time… he start hating me and me too. I guess this is what people mean by been in a toxic relationship. We live in the midwest and cause of the cold weather we decided to get some vacation in L.A. He got very very drunk and as usual I became his enemy, he tread me bad… I in exchange screamed on him, took his phone and computer and disappeared for a day just to make him suffer. I want him, to feel as bad, unprotected and sad as I feel when he is drinking. I’m don’t want to be this horrible human that I become when he is drunk! I can’t do anything for him and that frustrates me, but me loosing my mind scares me more and makes me sad. Sometimes, I even feel very confused and I feel that I’m the wrong person here. As he said, he doesn’t going to stop drinking cause he is an artist and like to be that person, he “loves” me but he can’t tolerate my anger anymore. Anger that start all the time when he drinks. He said that I have problem and by asking him to stop drinking, make him drink more… its so confusing for me. So now I’m the bad guy in this story. I’m alone in USA, I have no family and a couple friends that are sick of me telling the same stories as a broken record. I just want to find peace in my soul but I’m just crying all the time and feeling miserable.

  • LM

    Reading this and people’s comments after a massive row with my alcoholic husband. The minute he comes in I can tell if he’s drunk and almost always I rage at him about it. It’s like a red mist erupts from my heart, I feel so embarrassed and disappointed and disgusted with him. Tonight he came Home and I could see him swaying so I I told him he was drunk But tried so hard not to shout at him. He flew off the handle, calling me names, saying it’s my fault, I’m a horrible person and he would not let the row go when I was trying to, stomping about and getting in my face. I will admit that most of the time I lose my temper with him and sometimes say some horrible things but I always say to him to Leave me alone when I can feel my rage growing and he never does, but will follow me about saying, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong,’ ‘you’re the problem’ ‘I’m not drunk.’ It gets to the point that I explode at him and I’ve hit him on a couple of occasions out of sheer exasperation and despair. I don’t respect him because he clearly doesn’t respect me enough to change his ways, instead it’s me that has to accept how he is and find a way to be calm when he comes home pissed and late. Why should i accept he is An alcoholic who repeats himself endlessly, doesn’t listen and is never home when he says he will be and then will always blame someone else for his tardiness? I can hear him downstairs right now, muttering and calling me an ‘a-hole’ and I’m trying not to fly down the stairs and rage at him. When he isn’t drunk he’s a kind, considerate, hardworking, generous and loving man but I can’t stand him when he’s drunk.

  • Mary

    I have been with my alcoholic husband for 33 years and at first didn’t realize that he had this addiction to alcohol. Over the years his drinking just keeps escalating and I find myself incredibly lonely and depressed. We’ve lost friends and family members, no one wants to visit because he is incredibly rude to anyone who gets in the way of his drinking schedule! Everything he does is based around drinking and if he does something for someone, it has to be early in the morning, before the drinking starts! He is a functioning alcoholic, meaning he still has his job, but the minute he gets home, even before he says hello to me, he’s popping open a beer, the first of 6-10 each day. He goes to bed by 8:00 each night and makes comments to me about staying up later than he does. I tell him if I started drinking (guzzling) beer and whatever else he’s drinking, I would certainly be passed out by 8:00 as well!
    I have los all respect for this man, I actually cannot stand him anymore! I am in counseling right now, trying to get up the courage to file for a divorce. I am 58 years old and wish to enjoy my retirement with someone who values life and actually wants to have a life outside of the home…my husband does not want to do anything at all. He sits in the dark drinking and binge watching television. I’ve discussed getting help because I believe he must be depressed, but he only tells me that he loves his life and that I am ungrateful and will never be happy. He’s constantly gas lighting me and trying to make me believe that I am the one in the relationship with all the problems, when actually I just want to be happy and in a loving relationship. If I knew alcoholism ran rampant in his family, I don’t believe I would have married him and I really should have left 20 years ago when he smashed into a bunch of parked cars near our home….he’s done so many terrible things and I feel stuck!

  • At 4:00 am I’m reading these shares about feelings so many are going through and thank everyone of you for your honesty. I too am at that point of I cannot take this anymore. My anger is hurting me. I have given my all. He can do.nice things, yet I think I’m done. I’ve been angry for too long. It’s getting worse. I am independent. I take care of all. Too much enabling him. I resent him. Anger and rage are killing me. It’s no accident I found these writings this morning I woke angry. Still calming myself. I am changing. He knows it. Got to get more support and get unstuck. Thankyou everyone!!

  • Annie

    It’s helpful to read your post and comments–thank you. We’re good company. I’ve been with my husband, who has a high functioning addiction to alcohol, going on 30 years. We have 2 daughters who are 18 and 20. He’s an awesome dad and used to be an awesome partner. Our relationship has devolved into one that is purely transactional: managing the household, helping our daughters launch into adulthood. We do this well, but there is no real affection between us. So I guess you can’t call it well. He has no interest in me. His devotion and love lie with alcohol, our daughters, our dog, then me. I feel lonely and angry more often than not. I can’t express my anger because of his typical alcoholic reaction (blowing up, making me seem the unreasonable one). He knows alcohol is the problem, but is not willing to change. About half the time, he comes home from the workday tipsy or drunk, falls asleep on the couch. The other half, he works on his drinking after he comes home. Because he’s high functioning, he can rally to make dinner a lot of the time. I’m tired of living with a husband who isn’t the person I once knew, who is controlled by his addiction. I’m so sick of feeling this way. I don’t see a happy future with him–the present certainly isn’t. I set up direct deposit my paycheck into an account I’m going to use to finally leave him. I can’t live like this anymore.

  • Debbie

    So what if you’re 65 and who knows how many years you have left. Make ourselves unhappy trying to deal with an alcoholic or for once just be happy. I can’t see getting older and grayer and getting any satisfaction from just being on my own when I’m sick
    Or in a wheelchair. That’s not fair to me.
    Any thoughts on this? Thanks

  • Heartbroken wife

    I have been married to an alcoholic for 21 years. There are always good (sober) moments which is what keeps me hanging on… to the hope. That maybe one day, just one day I will be more important than the alcohol. We have 4 children, 3 of which all have the scars of growing up in a dysfunctional household. I have no circle outside of my kids and work. I feel financially and emotionally stuck. When he drinks whisky he isn’t mean, he is just swaying back and forward. He is emotionally disconnected. Does anyone know how it feels to live with a man for 21 years but yet feel utterly alone. No friendship to lift each other up? I feel like I am his best friend, but he is certainly not mine. He is selfish, financially irresponsible, and only thinks of himself. Yet I stay. Not quite sure of what holds me back from leaving. Fear of being financially alone… fear that I won’t ever find someone again. Idk. All I know is that the pain and backpack of weight that I feel on my shoulders is now too much to bear. I want out and don’t know where to start. Everytime I get to a place where I am emotionally ready to leave, he slows down, even stops drinking for awhile. He earns my trust back and the same dysfunctional cycle starts all over again. The slow hand off of responsibilities until I’m holding a full plate and he’s out “enjoying” himself and not a care in the world. Robbing Peter to pay Paul to barely stay afloat on the bills. I work overtime to make ends meat just to find him passed out by 7:30pm. He doesn’t deserve me. My royalty, my efforts, my love. I’m afraid if I walk away he will drink himself to death. Why am I strong enough to deal with this mess on a daily basis but not strong enough to walk away.

  • S

    Thank you for this. I recently had to cut contact with a “friend” due to their alcoholism. I’ve been feeling very angry at them lately since this friendship has caused more hurt than good things in the end. I’m slowly getting over it and living my own life although part of me is still sad that they most likely won’t ever get out of this illness.

  • Katie Abraham Dillon

    It is not an accident I stumbled across this article – and I am grateful to see it is ongoing in current time and didn’t just stop a few years ago … I feel the pain in everyone’s comments above. I’ve been there – I found a piece of my own story within everyone else. I wish I had the majik words to help all of (us) I am not about to say I do not struggle still – every single moment of every single day I am fully aware of my husband’s alcoholism — I can’t shut it off ….. He has been in and out of my life for 48 years – I am grateful that I now work from home so that I can be here for emergencies – currently he is completely non-functioning in any sort of productive way – he literally lives on our patio with a tv a chair a table a cooler for his beer and a garbage can with a lid to “hide” his empty liquor bottles in. He smokes and drinks out there – and he stumbles to the bed – outside of that and the bathroom he’s never in any other part of the house and outside of his once a day drive down the block to restock beer/booze/cigarettes – he never sees any other part of the neighborhood, the city, or the world. He barely eats – he’ll go 3 days at a time until he finally admits he’s weak before he’ll take anything I offer. I dole out his medication and if I didn’t hand him the cup he’d forget they were on the counter he has to walk past to take them and even when I do hand them to him – nearly 50% of the time he refuses them as if he’s ready to just die. I feel like I live with 2 men. I have started to referring to them as Timmy and Alt … Alt is his alter ego who is the alcoholic – but I hate labels so I just gave him a name instead …. it has taken me a LONG time – and still I falter – to come to terms what I am about to say …. now granted – we are both 59 and do not have children in the home – so i have no one else I have to consider – if I did – I’m sure I would be writing a different story. My Timmy is the sweetest kindest unselfish human I’ve ever met – Alt is a bastard – and then some. When Alt comes forward there is name calling, made up stories, blatant lies, accusations, threats, a hole punched in the wall even .. I could go on and on but I’m sure you’ve all experienced it .. the disappointments the let downs – the put downs!!! Timmy would never talk to me or treat me the way Alt does. I have had to educate myself over and over and then remind myself that if Timmy could choose differently – he would. For how strong and stubborn Timmy was made – Alt is stronger. Timmy will not leave this life sober – there have been 5 detoxes and rehabs – and the longest was only 7 weeks sober and that was just because he didn’t have a vehicle in that time – so no access. I’ve spied on him, checked his bank account every time he leaves the house, looked in his truck, pockets, the GARBAGE CAN to find the evidence I already knew was there — why? Just to upset myself? What I have had to do is learn to love the man – and still allowing myself to hate the alcoholic. So I remain kind. Period. It was not easy arriving here. Not at all!!!! but when Alt is forward and ugly – I mean cut-throat ugly – and then sleeps, Timmy awakens – not remembering much if any – hell Timmy is so wet brained @ this point he cant process new information or formulate new thoughts much less remember what I said 10 minutes ago … so he’s loving – and needs reassurance that i still love him. And I do – so I reassure him. I’m past the point of wondering if I’m enabling him – he is past the point of sobriety ever returning. Even his doctor and psychiatrist told me he can’t stop drinking now without medication assistance or he will seize and die …. So I remain gentle thru acceptance of what is – as is. I grieve my husband – I grieve the boy I grew up with and the man who loves me in ways no one ever has – he’s storybook romance — that man is long gone – now sometimes he’s like a wounded child – sometimes he’s like a broken old man 20 years my senior – and every day I wonder if he’s going to take his last breath after beating the shit out of his body for decades – I mean whose body can run on NOTHING but booze/cigarettes and continue to stay alive?? I’ve been angry – I’ve been fucking mad – I’ve questioned God – I’ve been sad/depressed/fatigued — and I got back up – only thru acceptance that this time in our lives – I am merely holding space for a fellow human who still deserves love – no one is disposable – but I have zero expectations of him (otherwise I’d be 100$ disappointed) – I can’t view him any longer as an equal partner – I can’t turn to him for help – mentally emotionally or physically – and when I surrendered to that – I stopped spying, looking, for what I knew I’d find and just let it be. And I went back to living — I am his caregiver – that is pretty much all — but admitting that to myself allows me to find my own joy – even though I know when I come home Alt will be the one here – because Alt hates it when I leave .. but when I dont engage with Alt’s outburst – Timmy eventually comes back in glimpses and looks at me like it’s christmas morning and just lights up …. and my heart smiles …. and I know I’m doing what needs to be done until … well .. he’s done and I will look back at this and I will miss him …… but I will also breathe – knowing he has peace that he just couldn’t get in this life ………..
    for those of you with kids – others to think about – to protect — well – I’d make a different choice and get the hell out – I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt I would never subject anyone else to what I am choosing.
    My prayers to all of you to all of US — may our alcoholics find peace — and may we never lose ourselves in the process of their live paths – whether we choose to stay or leave

  • Katrina

    My best friend of many years is now a raging alcoholic, mean and out of control and likely suicidal. Since I refuse to allow her to drink in my home and have expressed my concerns with her mixing Xanax, booze an driving, she verbally attacks me and says I think I am better than everyone and other insulting, untrue things. She has been lying for several years about her drinking but she gets falling down drunk and has hours long blackouts, so it certainly becomes obvious. When I tell her things she said or did during a blackout she says I’m a liar. I have decided I can no longer have her in my life because she brings only anger, anxiety and chaos. She had weight loss surgery and promptly became this raging drunk. Apparently alcoholism is a side effect for 20% of the surgery patients and they don’t advertise this horrible, deadly side effect. I have to let my friend go because her mind is gone & she is irrational and mean. I simply have to end her abuse because she gets vicious,,

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