Expecting Unexpected Things To Happen With An Alcoholic

OppositesIn support group meetings they say that expectations lead to resentments. I totally understand the truth of this statement within the context of someone disappointing us. I still think that there are a few healthy expectations that we can exercise that will help us while we are involved in alcoholic relationships.

When we begin to understand the personality of an alcoholic, then we can “expect” that they will act like an alcoholic. This is a healthy expectation to have, at least until they finally hit bottom and get help. If that happens, we can then hope that the process of change will have a positive impact on all who are involved. However, when an alcoholic does finally get sober and starts on a journey of recovery, it can take a long time before positive changes are seen in their attitudes.

When we want someone to be something that they are not capable of being, then we get frustrated and angry. This is why the concept of acceptance is so powerful. What is it we need to accept?

Let’s start with these few things:

  • Alcoholics lie
  • They deny that they have a drinking problem
  • Alcoholics obsess over getting another drink twenty-four- seven
  • They break engagements
  • Depending upon how bad they are they may not be dependable at all
  • Very rarely do they extend the type of common courtesy that we may experience in a so-called “normal” relationship
  • They feast upon arguing and fighting
  • An alcoholic can be extremely irrational
  • They are masters at pointing a judgmental finger at others
  • Many alcoholics have little respect for others feelings
  • The most important thing to them is drinking
  • They can be relentless when they want to argue

Can you see some pivotal points that can lead to frustrations in the previous statements? Of course you can. We all want people to be truthful with us. We also want to be treated with common courtesy. The thought that a drink to an alcoholic is more important than us is disturbing. The last thing in the world that anyone wants is to argue and fight with someone. The golden rule of  “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” does not apply to how alcoholics treat us. Rarely are they kind and courteous to others.

Expectations OppositeSomehow we expect an alcoholic to act normal. This is why you have to expect the unexpected to happen. There is nothing normal about the person you are dealing with. So stop expecting that they will act normal. People who consume alcohol daily are a bread of their own. The sooner you can accept that the better off you will be.

Expecting broken promises to be broken by an alcoholic will save you from experiencing tremendous amounts of frustration and anxiety. Expecting that an alcoholic is going to chase after a drink until they get drunk will help you have more peace of mind. Accepting that they love to argue can keep you on your guard to “avoid” having an argument with them. Understanding that they are not going to call you and tell you that they are planning to stay out all night can help you to get a good nights sleep when they do not come home.

Can you see how expecting the unexpected can help you. You just have to start thinking a little backward when dealing with an alcoholic because there is very little that is normal about having a relationship with an alcoholic. Understanding and accepting the personality attributes of an alcoholic can help you gain a lot of peace and serenity if you can manage to stop expecting them to act differently than they are.

32 comments to Expecting Unexpected Things To Happen With An Alcoholic

  • RAJ

    Dear Author,
    This is a very good article written by you.I appreciate it as it reveals the true nature of alcoholics to the affected innocent people and inspires hope to carry on living with a lightened load.

  • Silvia

    Wow. Ive always consider myself a very open minded person and
    One of the things that always gets under my skin is why is it that my boyfriend could never call and tell me he was going to go out and stay out late? Now I understand and even though I feel sad and defeated, another part of me just felt relieved to know that I am not the crazy controlling bitch. I can’t stop reading all this articles, they’ve really helped me understand alcoholism, behavior, and accept that I am sick as well and although there is a long way to go I am walking in the right direction. Now when I feel anxious and alone because my ah is nowhere to be found, or calling non stop, or in crisis i come here and. Read and think and I feel better. One step at a time. d Thanks so much for bringing light into my life.

  • Carmen

    Hi Silvia,
    I didn’t nag either. I tried to be understanding. When he turned on me I was more shocked than surprised. He didn’t physically harm me mostly because I am a strong farm girl even though I am aging. He was an aging alcoholic who was beginning to fall apart. He blamed his physical issues on his job and some of them were linked to the job but it was clear that alcohol was his first love and that it was depriving his body of needed nutrients. The crash came slowly. I am so grateful that I joined Al-Anon and got myself into therapy in May of 2015. He started by withdrawing money that he’d been giving me to help with the bills. We were married but had no joint accounts. He just wouldn’t give me money any more. I was widowed and had learned the benefit of keeping accounts separate already. As my finances began to crash he became more verbally abusive as he tried to control my spending. It was total nonsense on his part since he had a larger income than me and I was paying all the bills. He even suggested I use less toilet paper. When I found my serenity I was able to detach. After several months he decided to leave. Two months later he killed himself. I could think all kinds of self defeating things but I knew because of the program I am in that this was entirely his choice. I was married to him for 7 years. He was charming and funny. He was a great cook. He loved to do the grocery shopping. He became more and more controlling and less funny. Alcoholism is a progressive disease. Even though he had been a functioning alcoholic in the beginning, he decided he didn’t want to go to work anymore and he began to sabotage his own health. Nothing I did had any positive impact because his plan had nothing to do with what I thought it was. It is very much like dealing with a devious child. Because he went back to his family (sister & niece) and left a copy of an outdated will on the bed, they are stubbornly keeping everything including the pickups he took with him. The point I am making here is that as his wife I was ready to relinquish him to his choices. Had he divorced me or managed a legal separation, I would be able to let it all stand as he left it. But he didn’t and I am in a community property state and am a property owner. Probate is appropriate. I have had to go to court to be appointed personal representative. His family is resisting at every single step. None of it makes any sense except that they are all alcoholics too. The three signatures I have on a will that we made together are theirs. This will work out for me in the long run but it adds injury to grief which I’ve been experiencing for a very long time. I will gladly spend all the money that might be in his checking account to settle this. Had they let me handle it this as the law provides in the first place they would have had more money and possessions out of it. As it stands they will inherit his Oppenheimer retirement account and his job life insurance money. There is no sensible reason for them to handle this in the way that they are except revenge. Revenge for what? For giving him the best years of his life? For him moving back into their lives? It literally does not make sense. Alcoholism is progressive. I can’t stress that enough. You are going to make your own choices. Nobody could have talked me out of marrying him but I didn’t know what I KNOW now and what I’ve experienced. My long message is a substitute for Al-Anon today. I do not feel well today. Thanks for listening and I hope that you find that special place inside of you that you can value so that you will not let yourself ruin your life over an alcoholic. You are special and a very nice person.

  • Pascha

    So let me get this straight. I allow my boyfriend to lie to my face, allow him to hurt my feelings, allow him to be cruel, allow him to denigrate me to his drinking buddies, allow him to scream at me, allow him to disrespect me, and allow him to betray me? I just lay down and take it? Never holding him accountable? Allow it day and night? I came here for coping advice; but, I am reading enabling advice and co-dependency advice. I need hope. There is no hope for us? I am over two years into this, and I basically need to take everything that I know is right, and become a cow-towing, beat down, anxious and insecure woman? It doesn’t feel good. Not only am I supposed to not hold him accountable, I have to roll out the red carpet for abuse? Be all alone, together? What is point of staying in a relationship with someone that lies to your face everyday? There is nothing to build on, no growth to be had, no bond to strengthen if you have no trust. I will love until the day I die; but, I have children, I own a business and I will not under any circumstance be a lay down for abhorrant behavior and let him take me down with him. I am ashamed for how much of myself I have lost thus far. Power to you, and Godspeed if you have the strength to suppress your values and self worth. I don’t have that kind of strength. I can not believe that having no hope is sincere coping advice.

  • Bill

    Pascha, I understand your frustration in dealing with an alcoholic. I’ve dealt with them for the majority of my lifetime.

    I took time to read this article again after reading your comment, since I read it a long time ago.

    The author isn’t implying that anyone be a doormat, rather he is presenting personality attributes of most alcoholics. A duck is a duck and an alcoholic is an alcoholic. We get trapped on a merry go round of frustration when we continually confront the various personality attributes of alcoholics “expecting” our confrontations to change their behavior. The alcoholic isn’t going to change until they hit bottom. Therefore, change is our responsibility aiding in avoiding the traps that keep us invested in emotional turmoil.

    I don’t see this as being an issue of wimping out as much as I see it as the application of wise choices.

    Consider Reading These Articles:

    Don’t Be A Doormat

    Setting Boundaries

    Protect Youreself

    I hope you find something helpful in your search for relief.

  • Pascha

    Thank you for your empathy Bill. Still, many issues with this article. Accepting that the golden rule doesn’t apply to an alcoholic, and to “stop expecting they will act normal” is not helpful information for me to cope at this time. Accepting that I am going to be devalued, ridiculed and humiliated day in and day out is not a healthy, peaceful, serene mindset for me. Further, “…the sooner I accept it, the better off I will be.” I do not have peace and serenity living with an emotional terrorist. Thank you for links as well. It is very kind of you. I stopped long ago trying to teach my boyfriend basic human emotions, and that his words affect me in a negative way. I can not accept being treated horribly anymore. I understand it is a disease. I have set the boundaries. I do not give ultimatums. I like myself. I like that I feel emotion. I like that I am sensitive and cry when I am moved by beautiful art and music. Being hard and cold like a robot, switching into accepting my abuse mode will only embitter me. One can try this coping advice, but it won’t last very long. I stand by my original opinion. Sooner or later, all of that bottled up pain will resurface. I don’t want this life. That is how I will cope. It is what is best for me. He gives me absolutely nothing other than fear. He contributes nothing to my life other than pain. When he comes home, I will ask him to leave. Only then will I accept and detach emotionally. My 6’3″ 220lbs athlete boyfriend who weighs exactly100lbs more than me, will not have the opportunity to push me around and bully me anymore.

  • JC

    Pascha, thanks for sharing about your situation. Being in a relationship with an alcoholic really is a challenge, especially an abusive one. I can empathize with you all too well. I’ll never be in a relationship like that ever again, been there, done that…it’s a miserable situation to be involved in. I have many emotional scars from that season of life.

    Do you believe that your boyfriend is going to quit drinking anytime soon? Did he have a drinking problem when you started dating him? You said, “he contributes nothing to my life but pain”, why are you still with him?

  • Pascha

    Hello JC:) How kind you are to respond. To answer you questions: In the beginning, he was very charming and bombarded me with love. About 3 months in, I noticed the drinking wasn’t just when we were out for dinner date. I asked him outright if he was an alcoholic. He answered “Yes.” He confided that he wasn’t happy and he seemed very vulnerable. It actually made me love him more at the time. About 7 or 8 months in, the abuse began. It was as if a monster came forth. Looking back, I felt hope, never gave up hope, that the charming prince of a man would reemerge. I always forgave. I always had hope. I stayed with him out of concern, where would he go? I was concerned for his well being and felt a great deal of guilt if I wasn’t taking care of him. He was very good at turning and spinning things as my fault and making me feel guilty. I was losing myself. I have always been a diplomat personality, and was always sought out by friends to for my calm and helpful demeanor; but, I turned into someone who was paranoid and unstable. I have never really been deceived on this level and I am sure that I was in utter denial. I believed if I loved him unconditionally, he could go back to the way he was and we would be ok. It took me two years to realize that he was not authentic in the beginning. That charming outgoing personality was not truly him. The enraged passive aggressive miserable man was the true personality. What I loved never existed. I tried very hard to find a way to cope; however, when I was absolutely raw I realized he contributed nothing to my life. It was not a partnership. Everything was my responsibility, including his well being. And for some reason, I don’t know how or when it happened, I stopped doing things that I enjoyed and was living entirely for him. He would tell me I looked awful and the things he loved about me he now hated. I lost myself and became skittish and nervous and unrecognizable. Trying to please him. Like it was my fault he was no longer charming toward me because i am hideous from crying all of the time. I was always confused, my confidence and strength was gone. I realized I could not “save” him; but, I could save myself. I am damaged still after a month of being free of him. I am grateful for this forum and I am doing the best I can. He doesn’t need me to take care of him. He surrounds himself with enablers and other alcoholics. He has moved in with a friend of his who is another functioning addict I think. It was almost as if caring for him became my purpose in life…and that became a problem for me. I don’t know how it happened JC. I don’t know when it happened. I felt as though I lost my light and vibrancy. I have hope and take it one day at a time to heal myself from the entire experience. I started yoga and resumed other activités that I had abandoned and especially my artistic creative hobby, which he shamed me for. He called me obsessed and sick because I needed to “create” everyday. I am sensitive. I am compassionate. His words affected me. I tried to include him in my activities. He would just shame me. His approval became very important. Then it just went away, and my hurt turned to anger. I told him to leave. I think about him everyday, and how I was deceived. I need to understand so it never happens to me again.

  • Pascha

    ***JC, my apologies, …I left out the very important reason why I stayed. He had a heart attack last April. I was at wits end and began detatching from him about a month prior . I was afraid at the time of abuse backlash, and started “planting a seed” so I could get him out and keep myself safe. He is an athlete, a surfer too, very strong. He is in excellent physical condition. He was rushed to UCLA and I was called to meet him there. He had emergency stent procedure to open his artery. He blamed me for his heart attack. He would use that against me to make me feel guilty. The cardiologist said because of his familial history, his father and brother had heart attacks at exactly the same age, and cholesterol caused the heart attack. Not me. It wasn’t my fault or stress I was “causing” him. He stopped drinking for about a month after his heart attack, then he started lying that he started drinking and visiting old girlfriends that heard and reached out to him, all the while denigrating me to them. He never even mentioned that I was at the hospital with him, advocating for him and caring for his very personal needs. That made me very angry he allowed one woman in particular, to believe he had no one and was all alone in the hospital. My name never mentioned than to tell people I caused his heart attack by stressing him. It was wearisome.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your forum. I am free of him physically; however emotionally he is still in my thoughts as I try to make sense of it all.

  • JC

    Pascha, thanks for taking the time to share a little more of your life with us.

    When I went through a painful breakup a very wise friend shared a statement with me that really helped me get through the healing process, “things take time”. When I would begin to feel discouraged, depressed, disappointed, lonely, hurt…I would just remind myself, “things take time”.

    Your story is like so many that I’ve heard through the years, including my own. I recall being so committed to the alcoholic, believing that the beautiful person I once knew would return, all the while enduring the abuse. I’ll never forget how committed I was to making the alcoholic’s life better, only to be unacknowledged and scorned. I endured so much pain during those times and learned so much about what the signs of emotional abuse are that I will never, ever, enter into an intimate relationship with someone who has characteristics of an alcoholic or abuser.

    Thanks for expressing your gratitude in relation to the Alcoholic’s Friend website. I am amazed when I think of how many people have shared their experience, wisdom, hope and gratitude on this website.

  • k

    Experiences shared by survivor’s of alcoholic relationships help the
    rest of us recognize what is happening to us. Thankyou for sharing
    your story. Stay strong and willing to learn more about you. The
    alcoholic is going to watch the best thing that came into his life
    walk out the door, never looking back.

  • Rhonda

    T.Y. JC. I truly enjoyed Pascha’s share. Gives me hope. I am curious. If an AH has been drinking beer since childhood at what age does the body start shutting down? What are the symptoms? Are there any stats available?

  • Paula g

    Hi Pascha,
    It’s a strange phenomenon, I experience too, The Alcoholic or addict, somehow doesn’t deal with their issues but instead it’s bottled up until they are spewing out at the people around them. And if your closest you are made to live their misery, and breathe it. They need a compassionate person to feel their pain, as if spreading their disease to us is their goal, or somehow a cure. And yet when my AH is not drinking he is acutely aware of having been unfair while drinking. I feel lucky in my relationship in that I get breaks and even as much as 1/2 the time we have been together he has been sober. Even when he is not drinking he is “irritable restless and discontent”, truly. But he is at least aware of others around him, and he tries at being fair. And succeeds.
    The only chance an alcoholic has and can start being open to change is when he is sober, and if he isn’t going to try you can’t help him. I don’t know if you are having feelings of guilt, but don’t. He isn’t. He hasn’t and he won’t, because the only person he thinks about is him. They say not to feel sorry for an alcoholic, because they have got that covered. And it’s true, right up until the point where they decide to “get busy living”. That’s the only time they stop felling sorry for themselves.
    Just remember nothing he said was true, it’s like the demon in the exorcist, when people manipulate others, they go right for their weak points, and the only thing he got right was which buttons to push. I bet you he didn’t even believe the things he said to you, so you better not. You can safely erase it all and start over being Pascha from before you met him.
    When you hear echos of nasty things he said, tell them to be gone, you will be alright, you have done the hardest part already. xo

  • Rhonda

    Great response Paula G . Especially regarding the AH ugly comments. They don’t even believe it, why should we? I will remember that one! Ugly, ugly comments. It’s not normal, but we start thinking it is. 🙁

  • EF

    Thanks sooo much. Although my relationship with the love of my life who is an alcoholic has been over for 35 years, the relationship continued as “friends” until 3 years ago through his subsequent marriage to another alcoholic who died 3 years ago. He now lives with a beautiful and accomplished woman with whom I am friends but who is also as far as I know, a drinking buddy of his. Her husband is in a nursing home. Ok. I am no ones judge. So…I have not been on speaking terms with him for three years…the last and final time he treated me in a nasty way. All I can say is God bless him, and I am so glad we are done. I have some friends who are active alcoholics. But I can walk away from them. Walking away from him took over 30 years
    Learning that it was good that we didn’t stay together…that is the blessing in my life.

  • Jen

    I’m so upset this morning. My husband used to drink about twenty years ago, but got sober in a rehab. Through the years he’s dabbled with drinking, but never really had a problem. He started drinking a beer or two, three…a day about a year ago. Now things have escalated and he’s getting drunk everyday. Yesterday he decided to add some cocaine to the mix and blew close to $400 dollars. He tried to act like he wasn’t smoking crack, but it was so obvious. I confronted him, to my surprise he confessed. I don’t know what to do. I have to work today, he’s off today. I am so afraid he’s going to get more drugs and spend money that we can’t afford to spend. I didn’t sleep hardly at all last night, tossing and turning over and over…He has access to several thousand dollars in his business. He told me this morning that he wasn’t going to drink to day and definitely not get drugs again. He said he got ripped off that the stuff they sold him was junk and he hardly got high. I can’t believe he’s talking to me this way. He is so far out of his right mind. If anyone has suggestions PLEASE share.

  • DEB

    Dear Jen,

    This will feel really odd and uncomfortable. But, it doesn’t sound like he cares about you ‘at this time.’ If you intercede, you will cause yourself to do exactly what others have stated in this conversation. Before you know it you will be living ‘for him.’ For ‘when he is sober’ for ‘his needs’ and you will ask yourself ‘when did I forget me?’

    I believe you should firmly tell him that he needs to go back through rehab. If he refuses, you need to put money aside for yourself and do nothing to stop the damage he will cause to himself. Find a place to go to on the weekends and start sleeping and living in a separate bedroom.

    He either WANTS to stop or he does not. IF he is willing to go back into rehab, you are OK. If he refuses, you need to get your funds in order, protect your accounts and prepare yourself for the next journey you need to live. If you choose to stay, CUT HIM out of your life as much as possible.


  • C

    Deb: Super post. Thank all of you for sharing – I understand and have dealt with all the nasty comments from the A, and felt sorry for him because he had to have neck surgery which takes a year to recover from so he can do normal lifting, etc., again.

    The truth is the A’s get worse. They can be so wonderful in a restaurant or on the phone with their friends/family!!! But, for some reason, the one caring for them gets the brutal behavior over and over.

    Deb is so right – we have to cut our losses and leave or they have to leave. It may make them wake up and care for themselves – we sure couldn’t make them change.

    Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2017.

  • Pascha

    Paula you are right. I understand. I know you think I did the hard part already by breaking up; however, I am still not used to how easy my life has become. I am not being manipulated or controlled anymore. Nothing I want to do is a struggle, or a fight with him; but my anxiety, that because I want to do something, like fly to NY and visit my family, still exists. Is that PTSD? I’ve heard it can happen to abused people. I am wondering why, if things got easier for me, it doesn’t feel easier. I am honestly scared sometimes of his rage still. JC said things take time. Will time heal this for me? I also worry and look over my shoulder a lot in parking lots and in the markets we frequented, because although we are apart, we still share the same community. Paula, my À-ex isn’t the same as your A-husband. He does want to inflict pain. He is vengeful. So, I worry about that side of him. I also wonder if there can be cross-over with certain personality disorders and alcoholism. I am free; but, not entirely free. I have breathing exercises that I learned from yoga class to help me, so I can fall asleep and function with mundane things like walking to or getting out of the car.

  • Pascha

    I am struggling with residual pain from his abuse because I actually feel things. I don’t numb my brain with alcohol or drugs. I just need to allow myself more time. It’s only been 5 weeks. Today was a nice day. I realized this morning that I am not standing up straight anymore. I am walking hunched over with my arms wrapped around my waist. Hugging myself. Guarding myself. When I realized my posture, I self corrected and smiled. I think that is what healing is. A process of self awareness, that takes time for your body, mind and heart to realize these little things are out of whack and need tending to, so life is authentically stable again.

  • Sherry

    I am in a very hard place right now. I’ve written on here before about my AH and made plans to end our relationship.i finally did on Christmas eve. It wasn’t the most ideal time especially for my children. I have kicked him out before but he always seems to guilt me into taking him back. He lies, that i want to believe, do sound enticing. This time is different though. Something clicked that night when he picked me up from work with or kids in the vehicle. He got out and was leaning as he walked. No more. The conversations i have with him tear me apart because i want my family whole and i know who he is without alcohol. My kids lives matter too much to continue this craziness. I feel relief and then i feel guilty because now he is homeless. I feel free but hate that my kids are torn up every day because they don’t understand. My heart is breaking but i am stronger now. I absolutely cannot allow this to continue. How do i move on? How do i explain to my chicken? How do i set boundaries when we have to interact. He begs to come home every time we talk. I’m not going to let him but it’s putting me through the ringer. My 12yr old is so angry with me. Please help.

  • JC

    Hi Sherry, thanks for sharing from your heart. Have you been to any Al-anon meetings? Connecting with people in person on a weekly basis will help with your struggles during this very difficult time.

    You are making positive changes that are benefiting you and your children. It’s tough on you now, but “you can do this”. You are stepping in the right direction, offering yourself and your children a much more peaceful lifestyle.

    The alcoholic is a grown man. He can figure out how to survive on his own. Sure he’s upset, he should be, his life is falling apart because of “his” alcoholism, NOT BECAUSE of what you have done, but because of “his” poor choices.

    Protect yourself and your children from the dysfunctional behaviors and “don’t worry yourself sick over him”. Focus your attention on enjoying your life and creating a healthy home for your kids. Stay present in the moment and enjoy your time with your children without obsessing over the alcoholic. Get to as many Al-anon meetings as you can in a week.

  • James

    Sherry, You did the right thing, honey. Don’t waste any more time on the worthless bum. Get a divorce and move on with your life. Take it from me, he ain’t never gonna stop drinking no matter how much he promises…ever! My wife drank herself to death. I had to watch her die because no matter what they say, an alcoholic will never stop drinking till it kills them.
    Best, James

  • Nancy

    Hi Sherry, when I left my husband I had to keep telling myself you can’t save him from himself. It’s hard, I prayed a lot, went to my alanon meetings and tried to stay busy. It’ll get easier, but sometimes life is short so enjoy your days now. We’ve wasted enough days oh thief problem. Move forward and make a good, productive life for you and your kids. When they get older they will understand. I waited until mine were grown, now they tell me I should have left sooner. Be well. I’ll keep you in my prayers, nancy

  • Kathy

    Sherry, congratulations on doing what is best for you, your children and your husband.
    You’ve set clear boundaries now and have empowered yourself and your family to move out of this heart wrenching cycle.
    My daughter was angry at me for a long time when I first left her father. Now that she is older she tells people she is my biggest fan. Shes even asked how and why didn’t I leave sooner.
    You’re teaching your children strength, boundaries, what is and what is not acceptable for your life which empowers them to do the same for theirs.
    Your husband is also learning his behaviours are no longer acceptable. How ever difficult it may be he is the ONLY one who can change those behaviours.
    It is hard at first but over time you’ll start feeling the freedom of no longer having this affect your life.
    I had written myself a letter which I read everyday to remind myself why I made the decision I made. It helped me stay strong.

  • Lisa Wasdin

    Good morning all and to you JC. It’s been a little while since I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of the “shares”. I’ve been setting here and reading all of the post for the last hour. Maybe this was my meeting. I tried to go to a meeting last night only to learn that it was relocated and I was not able to find out where last night. So I sat in the parking lot and read out of the two books that I had with me. Courage To Change and One Day At A Time. I’m in a really difficult situation and really don’t know what direction to turn. If you JC or anyone can offer some encouragement and or words of advice. I would be so greatful. I know that I can take what I want and leave the rest.
    I have been married to an Alcoholic for almost 30 years. Everything I have been reading is all to familiar! About 3 months ago I believe my husband finally hit bottom. I will never know for sure, only he will know that to be true or not. He started going to AA. Every day for the first 30 days. Then it went to once to twice a week. To maybe once a week to now lucky if he goes once in a week to through the holidays he went once in 3 weeks. At first he was becoming the man I once knew. So kind, loving and caring. Hickups of self loathing like we all do at some point. But now it’s becoming more and more all over again. Becoming mean and careless. As far as I know there is not any alcohol involved that I’m aware of. I have not witnessed any intoxication or have not even smelled any type of alcohol on the breath. But he back to showing signs of lots of irritability, frustration, blame game, no self responsibility and depression.
    I told myself that when we got back together this last time and he finally sought out help. That I was not going to walk on eggshells anymore and I was going to sleek and defend myself for now on. I wasn’t going to tip toe around scared that I was going upset or make him angry. Or apologize all of the time when we have disagreements because I don’t want to fight anymore and I don’t want him to be made at me anymore. I do things wrong and I will take responsibility when I do. But I promised myself that I’m not taking all the blame anymore out sake for peace in the household. I no longer ask him if he has been drinking or why he is come latter then is expected. I do call him out when he is speaking or treating wrongly. This all was working and was doing well for both of us. But now he’s going right back to old behaviors. I told him he is talking and treating me poorly and it’s uncalled for. I explained to him in hopes that he might be willing to take a look in the mirror. But it’s not happening. I’m now sleeping in the other bedroom and we are now not even speaking. Because I won’t give in this time and take the blame and guilt that does not belong to me. He’s not being argumentative. Just spoke some degrading words that I expect an apology for that he is not willing to give. I’ve been told that just because an alcoholic stops physically stops drinking. Does not mean that the behaviors go away. So my dilemma is. Why did they go away at the very beginning when he sought out help and now slowly coming back? How do I get past this and where do I draw the line in the sand? I was learning how to communicate with an active alcoholic. I’m starting to think that I don’t have a clue on how to communicate with a possibly non actively drinking alcoholic. Do I just continue to speak my feelings and not expect an apology when it’s called for? Do I continue to hold my ground until there is an apology? I have learned through Alanon that most of the time it is better to be happy instead of right. I do get this concept. However, is it like a child if I don’t require an apology, will it just continue to repeat? I’m at a crossroad here and at a standstill. I’ try to be a pretty open minded person. So I would really appreciate any wisdom you Jc or anyone would be willing to share! Thank you

  • Rhonda

    Bravo, you did it!
    You are an inspiration.
    One day at a time.
    Eventually, the children will understand, that Mommy knows best.
    Stay strong sweetie.
    I am sooooo proud of you!
    I am not there yet, but your strength has helped me.

  • Annie

    Hi Sherry,

    What a heart-breaking situation to be in, I really feel for you. My AH was raised in an alcoholic family, became one himself and I met him after 3 rehabs. We’ve been married 15 years, 11 wonderful, 5 years hell when both one sister committed suicide due to family abuse and his other sister drank herself to death. I felt so sorry for him I hung on way too long, became crazy myself. Then finally I took a stand and moved to another city. After 2 months of self pity begging, crying & angry rebukes he went back to meetings and counselling.

    So he has been sober for 6 months now, and I have been back for 2 months. He tells me now it was hearing me sound happy and cheerful, talking about other people (I had isolated myself for years to keep the peace) which made him realise that I really could and would move on. And as I was 1000km away, he couldn’t come by and upset us all, guilt trip us all. Anyhow now he is 4 months sober, like the man I knew and adored 5 years ago and married 15 years ago. He goes to counselling once a week, AA meetings 4-5 times a week and is a functional hard working gorgeous husband and father again.

    I was told 5.5 years ago the moment he picked up a drink that I needed to leave him as it would only get worse. I spent 5 years feeling so bad about this messy sick human being, the man I had so loved, that I couldn’t leave him. Addiction is buried deep and is hard to kick. But not impossible. Your husband just has to see hear & experience that you care about him but do not deserve the chaos he is choosing to inflict upon you all.

    Because it is his *choice*. It is difficult to stop drinking, but not impossible. No-one is holding a gun to his head and forcing him to drink. He is choosing it. And every time he picks up a drink he is choosing to inflict pain and confusion and grief upon the woman and children who love on him and depend on him to be a grown up and choose them over alcohol.

    Your kids are young, they don’t understand. He is behaving in a self-centred and immature fashion. You are the only sane adult in that sad awful situation – you have to take charge and lead the way. Talk to al-anon and ala-teen people about age appropriate literature and/or people for them to talk to.

    And read these blogs. I was only able to leave my husband by reading these pages…seeing it was an issue not just us. And that he was never going to stop until he realised I couldn’t be manipulated anymore into feeling so incredibly sorry for and sad about the tragic mess he had become.

    I can’t tell you though how totally thrilled I am to have him back now. It is wonderful. But we have also both agreed that if it happens again – because nothing in life is guaranteed -I am to leave immediately, with minimal contact. He is adorable and funny, sensitive and wise, but an exhausting upsetting nightmare of moodiness when under the influence of alcohol.

    You all deserve better, him included. Because he will be hating himself now, but only he can stop and sort himself out. I have sat in months worth of meetings of divorced, separated men, alcoholics who all feel incredibly bad and sad for what they put their wives and kids through. While still drinking and in early recovery they are full of self-pity and resentment. After time they all without exception feel incredible remorse for what they did. And all recommend any spouses of active alcoholics to *get out and stay out immediately!* Nothing else will snap them out of it.

    Best of luck to you!

  • Annie

    To Pascha up there,

    I have been hospitalised for months with PTSD and also counselled many with it. I also have endured 5 years of living with a relapsed addict. It is similar but not the same. But read up on fight-flight responses etc. This is what you are experiencing. I have had death threats from my work and know what it is like being stalked and threatened. Hideous!Alcoholics in the throes of their disease and captured by it, it changes their personality and the whole thing becomes a controlling nightmare.I was happily married for 10+ years to a wonderful man. Then endured 5 years of progressive hell. I had to move 1000km get into counseling and meetings and clinical psych appointments to recover some semblance of a normal life again. Now I am back, as he is 6 months sober and back to the man I adored. But he and I agree I had to get far far out of his sphere of influence to snap him out of it and recover myself. As I was, and I sure you are, very shaken and nervy right now. If I were you if you can’t move out of town just get out far away for as long as you can manage – it will all look very different when your brain in not permanently running on adrenalin and fright – and you can at least think clearly then and set up a plan to heal and move forward. My now sober and ‘returned’ husband heartily agrees with this advice by the way. He tells you to get away as far as possible and if you can’t, protect yourself in whatever way you need to. Yours is possessed by a demon right now and not at all thinking straight.

  • TL

    Sherry, I totally understand where you are coming from. You are sad and mad and trying to protect yourself.I have been married to AH 20+ years believing him the times when he said he was going to quit. I hung in there with our daughter now 20 yrs old and she’d beg me to divorce when she was younger. But i believed him. Now he’s going to jail for a 5th DUI in 10 years. I never signed up to be with a criminal. This has turned my life upside down; trying to figure out how to hold a household together on one income and how to keep him away once he gets out. I don’t trust him at all; even drinks (always hides it) since he was bailed out; putting himself in more danger of going to jail longer – this is so crazy. It’s progressive. They quit sometimes for awhile and you never know when it’s going to change – I’m done living with that over my head. So scary – I’m afraid to be alone and have had anxiety for two months straight since the DUI-at least the car is gone along with it’s value. It seems too much to tolerate (at least outsiders think so). My AH also has no family and no parents and no where to go…It would be alot easier if he had somewhere to go. It will be hard for him getting a job too – Time to set things straight and be very firm even if not in our nature to be that way.

  • Hey Lisa, I totally get what you’re going through! I am married 38 yrs to my AH. He was Air Force fighter pilot in his former life so being able to consume large quantities of alcohol was a job requirement as all the guys down time was spent in the fighter bar on base. Then he became a fireman where (at that time) being able “party down” with the bros was also a job requirement. He was a fun guy at the time because he was only home 2 days a week. I realized after the first 10 yrs he WAS NOT father material so I had a tubal. My problems did not start until my husband was forced to give up alcohol due to some heart problems that’s when I had to face the fact that the alcohol was not the entire problem just a nasty side effect of who he really was A NARCISSIST! He has now been retired from both jobs for nearly a decade and I am just now taking back control of my life! Like you I have had enough of his bullshit! He says he has quit but all that means is he’s gone “underground” with the drinking which means he hides it in the garage then sneaks out there to guzzle some when he can. I also have my “own” room where I go when the dog and I have to detach from his CHAOS.You need to get on UTUBE and learn how to deal with narcissist abuse……there is information there which will be VITAL to you if you plan to stay with this man as I have chosen to stay with mine. He is the devil but he is the one I know and for financial reasons I am not going anywhere. It IS heartbreaking watching the man you have loved and been devoted to literally kill themselves with alcohol but if that is his choice there is nothing more I can do except not allow him to ruin what time I have left on this planet………..I am a wildlife rehibilitator specializing in injured and orphan wild birds which I return to the wild….So Rewarding as I have animal children everywhere! Now that I understand who I am living with I have been able to take back my life and STAND IN THE GLORIOUS LIGHT OF WHO I TRULY AM and that’s not caretaker to an alcoholic/narcissist adult who is fully capable of taking care of thenselves! I hope this has helped you Babe! Best of luck to you! Get help/take charge of your own life YOU WILL BE HAPPY AGAIN no matter what your AH decides to do with his 🙂

  • CL

    You absolutely did the right thing. My ex-father in law drove drunk on Christmas Eve and killed his wife that night. The family was never the same. Someday your kids will understand and hopefully this will be rock bottom for your husband.
    Stay strong!

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