Can An Alcoholic Change? He resents and ignores me…

Guest Post By: Luanne
Is there hope? Can an alcoholic change? If they do can a relationship be saved? My husband has been drinking for at least 10 years, but during the past 1 1/2 to 2 years in has been increasingly worse. He is an only child not very close to his parents until his father had a stroke a year ago and is in a nursing home. His mother is a prescription pain pill addict and is very physically handicapped. She will not cooperate with us on getting her help. This has put a great burden on his shoulders. He works very hard and travels a great bit of the time. When he is traveling he drinks heavily in his hotel room.

We talk before bed every night and sometimes he will pick a fight over nothing. I think he is just disgusted with everything and he is picking a fight with me to hide everything that bothers him.

We have 3 kids who are very active in sports and scouting. This takes up alot of the time every evening and with him out of town much of the time, it is hard for me to find a job that would allow me to work after I put the kids on the bus and be home before them.

This is our biggest fight. He resents me for not helping support our family. We are not financially hurting; he has a good salary. I miss working and being around people, but I have no one who can help with our kids. He makes me feel lazy and useless. Every fight no matter what it is over this is what he beings up. I love my husband and before the heavy (3 bottles of vodka a week that i know of) he is fun, loving and we did alot together.

He says he knows he has a problem and sometimes he says he wants to change. He does not drink thru the day and sees this problem but come evening he makes no effort to try and quit or even cut back. He stays up at night after I go to bed and then drinks very heavily. I feel like this is his way of turning me away. Like he would rather have his bottle than come to bed with me.

We have lost most of our friends because at get togethers he has to drink until he can’t walk. He has said that being around the friends he knows he drinks too much and we have been avoiding them. And they avoid inviting us. This is going to be a problem because we paid for a vacation with them.

Our only hope is that we have a new couple we have become friends with and he is a recovering alcoholic and does not drink at all. My husband enjoys doing things with this family. But they dont know how bad my husband drinks. My husband said he would like to do more with them because they dont drink. The “guys” are going camping this weekend and he knows there will be no drinking. We will see if he sneaks a bottle or tries. And if he tries what kind of mood will he return in?

JC: Thanks for submitting your story Luann. There are several articles that we have on our site that came to mind as I reviewed your submission that I feel will help you understand the nature of alcoholism a little better. I would like to ensure you that there is always hope for change. It’s common for us to think that the addicts resent us. Alcoholics blame others for their problems. It is also common for friends and family members of the alcoholic to be ignored by them. This is one of the personality traits of an alcoholic. These things are normal, so go easy on yourself.
I think you will also benefit from this article: Insanity Associated With Alcoholism.

17 comments to Can An Alcoholic Change? He resents and ignores me…

  • Rick

    Hi Luanne, I feel for you. All i have is hope, although it is small. My wife is an alcoholic. she quit drinking 3 years ago and its been hell living with her since she cant have her “medicine”. You didnt cause his drinking and you cant cure it. You can only let him go where his disease is going to take him. you cant save him either, only love him; and that is hard when someone “shuts down and hates you”. The best thing that has happened is that i found Al-anon. There is a lot to learn about the disease and its incredible effects on our lives. It makes us all crazy.Pray and take care of you and your children and set boundries understanding what you have control of and what you do not (only you). It feels very lonely without Close friends to share with. Find them and share and let them “love on” you. I have found that, i have enabled the problem by trying to “fix” everyday problems, money etc. And putting myself last in order to help her find happiness, 20 years and could never do it. Maoney is not the problem either. The alcoholic is not capible of being there for you and offering love and care. Ive heard it said it’s like like going to the hardware store for a loaf of bread, It’s just not there. Take care of yourself, find out what that means from those who love you. Talk and share and pray!

  • admin

    Rick, I absolutely agree with what you have shared. We must find happiness for ourselves rather than looking to an alcoholic to make us happy. There are many things to learn in regard to how to actually do this. Something I did today was put a picture of me smiling on my desk, where I work most of the day, as a reminder of who I am and who I want to continue to be.

    I learned early on through attending support group meetings that I needed to focus on me and not the alcoholic. This is a process that takes considerable time to master, but is something to hope for…

    Luann, you can find happiness even if the alcoholic is drinking or not…You are responsible for making changes because the problem drink will not until he gets serious about quitting. Until then you can learn how to live with him and love him without conditions. Yes, there is HOPE!! The audio lessons offered on this site can teach you how to start making positive changes.

  • Laura

    Wise words Rick and “admin” … Luanne, truly, so much support and so many tools in Al-Anon that allow for YOU to have peaceful, engaging, dare I say delightful days whether the alcoholic is drinking or not … can’t say enough good things about the lifeline Al-Anon is … all the best <3

  • Sheila

    CAN change? yes
    WILL change? God only knows

    But I can change ME, with God’s help, and so I am within a program to do just that…returned to God, got to Al-Anon, seeing a counselor (for myself only). These have helped lern what boundaries are, learn that I am allowed to have them, and get the courage to erect them.

    It takes a whole lot more than stopping drinking to change! Stopping drinking is only the first step.

  • Suzanne

    Good Afternoon,

    I agree with Rick that when an alcoholic stops drinking it doesn’t get all better. I like how he used the word medicine and even though I have not been married to or lived with an alcholic. I am recently ending 2 year relationship with a friend/co-worker of 9 years. Always knew he drank but shocked at the person he is and not the charming, fun, witty, likeable, hardworking guy I saw for 7 years beforehand. Found out he has a 30 year history of heavy drinking and years of drug abuse. He quit drinking cold turkey 9 months ago. He is almost worse in behaviour now than before. He is changing for the better to some degree as he is seeking the Lord (on his own) but still has thinking patterns and behaviours that are nothing short of abuse. Wish I would have “run the other way” before we got together outside of work as I was advised by church friends. It is heart-breaking and sad but just quitting is not enough. He has not sought any help at all and thinks he can do it all on his own. He is an abuser and I think on some level he knows it, doesn’t really want to change and is why he has no male friends (for accountablity – women are easier to control) and won’t even go for pastoral counseling. He doesn’t think he needs it and then whines that he can’t understand why he is almost 50 years old and alone. I try to be supportive but he keeps heaping on the insults, degradation, has all my moves under a microscope, insults all my friends constantly, etc, etc. Would have walked away completely more than a year ago but we work together full-time. Quitting, without a total commitment to counsel, time and personal accoutability – all signs of a mature adult human being – won’t change behaviour. He has me to try and control and abuse and that is all he has in his life besides putting on a big show in front of everyone else and this is 9 months of not one drop of alcohol after a 30 year history of drugs and drinking. Still wants things right now, and will use emotional abuse and manipulation to get his way, always in every situation. Wish I never had to see him again at this point but constantly find myself catering to his emotional blackmail because it is just the easier thing to do. Even though I do this most of the time, he will still find a way to pick fights with me as Luann said over anything or nothing at all. So, I guess no matter what I do, I can expect the insults, degradation and abuse. He’s the one with the problem(s), not me. Just wish I could get him to take a look at himself and leave me be. Not interested in someone whose warped standards I will never be able to live up to no matter what I do. Just can’t tell him these things so thanks to everyone for support and a forum to let it all out.

  • JC

    Suzanne, I love your references to the Lord and mentioning things like accountability. God can take any mess and turn it into a miracle. An active alcoholic can change for the good, if they get serious about change. Addicts usually have a lot of things to work through. They don’t get the love, joy, peace, patients, kindness and self control right away though. When they quit, if the don’t tightly connected to God, a program of recovery and stay accountable to others, what a wild ride things can be.

    These are good articles:
    How To Set Boundaries With Alcoholics
    How To Stop Arguing With Alcoholics
    How Does An Alcoholic Stay Sober

  • Caitlyn


    Take a stand for yourself today, now, right now. No more emotional abuse. No one, not even in a loving relationship should change who they are to live up to their partner’s expectations. The only expectation in any relationship functional or otherwise is to be who you are and your partner to be who they are and like and love what you see, what you mean to each other and nothing else should alter that. You alcoholic needs to love you for you, for being you or tell him you’re not the right one for him and to look elsewhere. You can’t change your essence of self and you shouldn’t pretend to him or more importantly to yourself that you can and you are this other person. Tell him, love me as I am or go away and find your ideal woman/friend elsewhere because I’m not it and I can’t be it. Never. Period.

    Love yourself for who you are. Find yourself a worthy and deserving friend/partner who likes and loves you for who you are. No pretences. You, as you stand now. May God give you strength to stand true to this conviction, His conviction for you it is how He made you. The world needs you as you are, as you have been made. Don’t let the alcoholic mould, manipulate and contrive the woman he wants. It doesn’t sound like it’s you. Sorry. You deserve the world, go out and find it.

  • Caitlyn


    Yes alcoholics can change their patterns and unsociable ways but they need help. Alot of help and they have to recognise that. Anyone can change that which is unwanted but it takes much assistance from all corners of society to help them when it is an addictive problem or an unbalanced behavioural problem.

    I think you have more going on than the drinking abuse alone. Some of it will be relationship issues that need addressing. Sounds like you’ve been together quite a while. Staleness and familiarity can creep into the relationship for anybody. It sneaks up and before you are aware it’s there. So think about a relationship counsellor, a pastor can be a great option. Some pastors are very skilled in this area and will be able to get you two smoking hot together again(an expression).

    Think about finding a part time job that will help you with feelings of independence and feelings of making a contribution to the household. There are jobs that tie in nicely with kids school hours that you often don’t need qualifications in. Think of an assistant at a school, lunch time cafe assistant or similar, shops look for part time assistants stacking, selling that sort of thing. Hunt around and ask friends for solutions to help in your hunting.

    Most important, take pride in what you do for the family running your kids around everywhere, and being there for them when they arrive home from school. Many working mums that have no option would trade places in a flash. Also realise what a great contribution you are doing for your family by not having to pay someone to look after your kids while you work. I mean how dumb is that. To pay someone while you work.

    You don’t need to point the contribution you make to your family by being there to your husband. Chances are he’ll only see the trees on his side not have the scope and ability to see what a fantastic mother you are, great wife for taking care of the smaller details on the domestic front. So you take pride it that, OK. But, find a part time job to boost your self-morale and make you feel independent. Independence goes a long way in boosting your self-image and loving yourself. It sounds like you are lacking. And you shouldn’t. You do a great job on the home front. It’s not all about bringing money in. You give love, life, living to your kids and believe it or not to your husband. Don’t let him vent out his mishapen alcoholic views onto you. Learn to let those toxic words of his wash over and away from you. Build up your immunity to them. They are not true. I’m sure you know that. Go now into a quiet space and ask yourself, ‘are those words true’. I am certain your inner answer will be an emphatic no. It is untrue. And that, is why you are being stirred up inside by the untruth of them because it isn’t who you are. It’s untrue. No one likes something spoken about them that is untrue it really stirs the emotions. Now that you know that little gem, let all future untruths that pour out of his mouth wash away. See them floating down the river and over the waterfall of untruths.

    God bless you and your family.


  • Joseph


    I lived through similar experiences and got very desperate – then I found Alanon. Have you heard of it? You can find it in the telephone directory usually, then just go to a meeting.

    Cheers, Joseph

  • C

    After reading posts from many people who have been in contact with an alcoholic, I have a better perspective but it still doesn’t make sense that anyone would ingest liquor to the point of harming their mind and body. I don’t get it!

    There seems to be a pattern – the alcoholic lashes out at the person who is in a relationship (working or mate), and will batter until the person leaves. There is no stopping the alcoholic’s mouth – they will hound someone until they pass out or the person walks out.

    I don’t drink but have seen what daily drinking does to someone – it is a mental problem.

  • jane

    They are all the same. They blame others for their issues. Your husband complains you don’t work to help support the family and mine wants me to quit my job. I know if i do that he’ll then complain that i don’t work. They always find a reason to bitch. They blame their drinking and misary on their spouce. How about just not drink? how about that?Sometimes i think my husband just can’t stand to let me have peace. Sorry just needed to vent

  • Amy

    C..that is exactly the simple truth they seem to just want to fight and cause constant chaos all the time, until like you said, we end up leaving. I wonder if the real truth is they just want to be alone to drink there lives away. If I didnt have this site and get to see how all the situations when dealing with an alcoholic are so similar I would of more than likely have began to question my own sanity, because living with an alcoholic is surely nothing like I could of imagined in my worse nightmare.

  • jane

    It is a nightmare. I wish I could leave him but it feels impossible financially speaking. I sit here with anxiety over the things he does and i feel trapped. I’m glad i found this sight.

  • Rick

    I’m glad you vented. I totally agree! My AW of 20 years finally stopped drinking after an episode that scared her so badly that she quit. I thought, finally I’ll have my sweet wife back. Well guess what, practically overnight she became the most miserable person I’ve ever seen. More miserable that before. She totally shut me out of her life emotionally, went on shopping sprees, totally dove into AA. (we have 2 children) and one day when she was so depressed, like always, I asked her what was her most favorite thing in world. She said, “drink”. I think that clarified where the children and I ranked on her list of priorities. Four years later, with AA, thru the steps 3 times, and the family broke, the week after Christmas she announces that she’s moving out. She did, took her income, immediately reconnected with her divorced college boyfriend, and went on a trip with him. (Her therapist said there’s was nothing wrong with her doing that)! I guess the boyfriend thing didn’t work out because now she is begging to come home. Since I said no, I am the bad guy. I filed for divorce and she is devastated. I have never been so relieved! That’s terrible to say, but it’s true. Even though I’m still broke and in debt, It seems to be better financially even without her salary. She spent more than she made. God has watched over me and the kids and our home is peaceful. The divorce is not final but for the first time in 20 years I have some hope.

  • Caitlyn

    My tip for the friends, wives, husbands and family of an alcoholic is to keep moving forward with your happy day and don’t let their misbehavior penetrate your good day. It only will if you allow your emotions take over your day. Let go of I’ll will and the chaos they cause and take control of how your day will go for you. Hard to do but it is within most people’s reach. Focus on that when they go off on their “tangent”.

    It’s what I try to do when he’s having a drink melt down. I can often spot the signs before it happens and start then and there to prepare myself to keep my good day and not let him ruin it or try to take control of how it turns out.

    God bless you all on your journeys. Wishing you all a good day starting with today.

  • jane

    Rick so glad you have your peace you and your beautiful children desearve it. Caitltn, i don’t let him ruin my day. my day is always happy because i am a happy person. Its at night when he starts to drink the hard stuff when its hard he pokes at me and keeps saying mean things to start a fight. Its like he goes after me verbally.

  • A friend and person with I was having somewhat of a relationship with did this: Grabbed me by the shoulders, started shaking me and yelling into my face. He yelled “Do you want me to hit you?” Then told me he was going to throw me down the stairs He called me after I left and blocked him so the message went into voice mail – drunk “Call me girl”…. He was saying horrible things and laughing like a maniac

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