Caregiver Relationship With An Alcoholic Spouse

JC: Guest Poster, thanks for sharing your situation with us. While reading,  I was deeply touched by your words. I felt sadness as I empathized with how your love relationship with your spouse has dwindled into emptiness. So many of us who have relationships with alcoholics find ourselves being the caregiver rather than the romantic lover we once were. May I encourage you to make a list of all of the things you are grateful for relating to your husband. This is one of my favorite articles: How To Live A Decent Life With An Alcoholic .

Guest Post:

I want to start just by saying hi and thank you for having such a website as this. I don’t think my story is so different than any other, but I feel a need to vent a little about my situation. I have been married to an alcoholic for nearly 6 years. He is not a bad guy and I was drawn to his kindness and sweetness. He is one of those men who displays so much potential that makes you want to give him a chance, so I did.

Our relationship has been such a big mess with so much suffering and struggling financially and emotionally on my part at least. I have done everything that I can to help this man and love this man and even try to talk him into getting help. Of course nothing I have said to him has worked. I am 100% guilty of enabling him, and at the time I did not realize that was what I was doing. In short, our relationship has become more of a care giver/companion than that of a husband and wife. I have somehow made him so very much depended on me and I am just sick and tired of it anymore.

Peaceful MomentI get absolutely NO emotional support from him whatsoever which makes me feel horrible and unnecessary. I am doing my best not to argue with him, but this is so hard!!! Even when he is sober I find that I just don’t like him much anymore. I feel sorry for him in some ways, but that is it. I have no sexual desire for him anymore, but at the same time I feel almost trapped in this relationship. I have not been able to find employment that would sustain me enough to live on my own, so I stay here with him only because I do not have the income to leave.

I’m doing my best to deal with the put downs and total disregard to my feelings, and I don’t know where else to turn. Talking to friends has not helped much because after a while they no longer want to hear it, and then they start to put the blame on me. I have very limited transportation so trying to get to ALONON meetings is out of the question. I have become so easily irritated and touchy living with this man and very withdrawn.

I do get up and go for long walks when the weather permits, but other than that I sincerely am at a loss as to what else to do. But even after all of that, I KNOW that this cannot go on for ever, and so I pray a little more and I keep on trying to find work. I am pretty much alone in my struggle, but there is always God and so there is always hope.

You may find these articles helpful:

Feeling Lost In An Alcoholic Relationship (great comments from our readers on this one)
Blaming An Alcoholic
Advice For Alcoholic Relationship Issues

I love your last statement; “there is always God and so there is always hope”. God is the ultimate caregiver. Place your trust completely in His direction for your life and marriage.

Please feel free to comment below on being a caregiver or anything related to alcoholism.


14 comments to Caregiver Relationship With An Alcoholic Spouse

  • Ross

    Hi, I can identify feeling alone and my needs seem to go unnoticed. Have you tried Al-ANON phone meetings?
    There are also good online al-anon support groups. They dont replace a face to face but there are enough phone meetings at different times of the day, so that can be a big help.Ordering books from al-anon can help, or off of amazon for less.There is much information out there to help. Dont be alone anymore.I even had an online sposor to help me. There is hope!

  • Ross

    oops. “sponsor”

  • Cherri

    I WAS in that same kind of relationship and had a 3 1/2 year old. I did not know there was this kind of help out there. And not having the money to pay someone. I felt trapped too. When the physical abouse was then directed to my daughter I finily told my family and they took us in. But this was after 11 years of suffering. I’m still trying to fuger out how to deal with him. Hopefully this program will help me to be able to communicate with him better. In the mean time I’m battling him in court over our daughter. And not having an attorney is hard as he has one and continuos to lie. I’m hoping that the sike Eval that court has order will bring it all to an end. You are right about God, just keep on praying he loves you and will not for sake you. God will never give more than you can Handel. Just repeat that when you are filling over wellmed. Thanks for sharing your story I’m hoping that you can save you marriage and not end up like me.

  • Katie

    Just keep turning to God…and praying about everything throughout your day. Everyone else in this life will let us down…but not God. I would live your life the way you want to live…go to church, be active…model to your husband Christ…and maybe he’ll notice…and want what you have. God Bless!

  • Lisa R

    Please keep moving forward, I am in a very similar relationship as you. And it doesnt happen over night , but one day you will wake up and feel so much more confidence than ever before. Keep praying , and god will show you the way. Dont allow yourself to become so withdrawn that you lose the love for life. My prayers are with you!

  • Jamie

    Cherri, your situation sounds difficult. Good for you that you are protecting yourself and children.

    Have you met with any attorneys yet? If the husband is the bread winner in the family, in most cases the husband will be responsible for paying attorneys fees for both parties.

  • Cherri

    I did have an attorney she broke me. Yes he does make more then me but not much more. He still has his attorney and not making our house payment since sept last year. To keep his attorney. To try and keep fighting me in court. The counntless lies is what is the problem. I just wish he could tell the truth and we could move on. He’s been drinking durning his visits with our daughter. I could on and on. I’m fighting the alcohol battle and finily fill like I’m making some progress. I have requested that he pay for my fees for the divorce since he continues to drag this out. Oct 7 2010 is when I left. So keep me in your prayers thank for your support we all need that.

  • Andrea

    Thank you for sharing your story. I was in a common law relationship with an alcoholic. We dated for 3 years, broke up for a year due to his drinking and remained friends. He promised me and swore up and down that his drinking was minimal. Needless to say, I fell for it. We lived together for almost 3 years. We had a little girl who forever tried to get my EX’s attention, but he was to interested in himself and his booze. He also had a very nasty temper and on numerous occasions threatened me, broke things, screamed and belittled me. Our child ended up being a witness to it. I gave him a choice, our daughter and I, counselling, joining AA, and anger management or his booze. He said, ” I can’t help it if I like my beer “. Needless to say, lawyers are now involved and I am not working. He is building a web of lies and continues to try and control me. He is now trying to be a father even though his daughter never meant anything to him before based not only on his words but also his actions. He has informed me that he will get what he wants, no matter the cost as he has his rights. If only he knew the back up and evidence I have against him, he would maybe back down then but I doubt it. I feel sorry for him in a way, but then I realize all the pain my daughter and I went through and continue to go through and I don’t feel sorry for him anymore. He has made his bed. My daughter and I have been fortunate to have family that have given us a home and a safe haven.

  • Cherri

    I’m going through the exact same thing I know how you feel as I’m also with family. Stay strong. I could not afford attouneys any more. So I am battling him on my own. I am finicky starting to get him to go through the programs. But you know if they do not want to change they will not do I have to learn to cope with all the lies and other things he will do.

  • Jamie

    Andrea and Cherri, it might be a good thing that you don’t have attorneys. In the long run, the men will end up spending a lot of additional money because of your limited understanding of the court system. I experienced this sort of thing once. I had an attorney and the other party did not. My attorney was constantly having to try and straighten out the mess that the opposing side was creating.

    I wonder if you would take your husbands back if the decided to get help for their alcohol problems?

  • Cherri

    My runs much deeper then just alcohol I’ve had mental and physical abuse as well as my at the time my daughter war 3yesrs 10 months he did this to me for many years and then started on my daughter now 5 continuing to lie about what happens. He’s just now going to a 12 steep and orderd to do a random call drug program. As well as a sike eval and of course I’m invalved in that to. I will never go back I was told by CPS if I went back th the abuse they would take my daughter away from me because I know he’s like that. So thanks for yor support. Yes his attorney is wanting to fight so she can get as much money out if him as she can. He has the house in for closer. I think because if his abuse of alcohol he lies and other things. Im tired and I do not want to see my daughter get hurt. So device court hear I come April 5 th court commfrence.

  • Erin

    Are we allowed to post links to other sites and programs that have helped and share our own experiences with those programs if they are not affiliated with AA?

  • admin

    Erin, thanks for asking, you may post links. If we find them to be inappropriate the links may be removed.

  • Debbi

    Dear Guest:

    It’s been awhile since you posted your story and since you stated that your friends are tired of listening (I know that feeling), I thought you might need to hear from someone new to help you stay strong.

    It has been an awful struggle for me as well so I know all the feelings you are having and have been having. Start with “baby steps”. Keep trying to find employment within walking distance or bus service distance. Once that is established, work on getting reliable transportation for your employment. These 2 things will accomplish alot for you: 1-you will get out and socialize & work, which will help keep your mind off him and give you some money to “sock away” for that rainy day, as well as helping your self-esteem. 2-You will be able to attend support groups and Al Anon once you have some transportation and these meetings will help your emotional state to deal with what is going on at home.

    3 years ago I was where you are now except I did have a job. Not enough to completely support myself though so I got a second job to save money and started attending support groups and reading all the books I could on alcoholics and abusive relationships. Now I have filed for divorce (this is my next step).

    Stay strong–work the small things first and as each step is accomplished, set another goal for yourself to slowly work towards detaching both physically and emotionally. Keep telling yourself that what you’ve done so far has not worked, so now try different things–mainly focused on YOU! YOU are a great person & YOU can do this. I’m further down the road than you but an example that YOU can do it too!

    Stay strong-you can do this. You are in my prayers.

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