Leaving An Alcoholic-Feeling fear, guilt and confident

JC: Thanks NM for sharing from your heart. Making the decision to leave an alcoholic is one that is filled with many emotions.  Once you start working your plan you will see that the fear will fade into the distance. Once you taste of the serenity that is just around the corner, you will wonder why you waited. It’s clear that he doesn’t want to be in this relationship anymore.  Stay close to your support group. Please get connected with Al-anon if you aren’t already.

Lonely ManGuest Post By: NM

So I finally did it. Or so I think I did. I got a new place. I’m supposed to be moving pretty soon. I’ve figured out a plan to try to make some extra money to become more independent and not have to depend on him for anything, not even if our kids need something. I have a great support system. Everyone is on board, family, close friends and co-workers.

Great! Awesome!- I bet you’re all thinking how wonderful it is and how this will change my life and I can begin to heal. I try to see it that way too but the more I think about it, the more difficult it becomes.

This man has been mean and abusive (Abused By An Alcoholic) to me for such a long time. He’s disrespected me in front of almost everyone we know. He tells me to get out of his house almost daily. He’s said I ruined his life. I keep disappointing him. I’m holding him back. He doesn’t love me. He wants to be alone. He regrets having our children with me. He is only with me because of the kids. He says I’m going to fail in life alone. God is going to punish me and “show” me. I’m turning his children against him but I’m not going to win. God is on his side. He lies, lies, lies and keeps a lot of things from me. When we attend functions together he doesn’t acknowledge me. Constantly, asks people if they are married and when they say yes, says sorry to hear that. Belittles me to no end. Drinks like crazy. sometimes his binges are 4 days long non stop and we all have to deal with the evil twin.

So what’s the problem, you ask? The problem is despite all of these issues and many many more, I still feel guilty for wanting to leave him. (How To Not Feel Guilty When Associating With An Alcoholic) I feel rejected (Being Rejected By An Alcoholic) by him and don’t understand how that is possible. I’m the “healthy” one. Why and how can he make make me feel so bad about myself? And how can I still have compassion for someone who is so mean to me.

Do I have no self respect? Self Esteem? What in the world is wrong with me? I cry and cry just thinking of how after 25 years I’m just going to walk away with my kids and begin to heal and yet I feel like I failed. My daughter says, “don’t worry mom you will be happy when we leave. I promise you. You don’t deserve this. You deserve to be happy.” (How To Be Happy Apart From The Alcoholic) Why can’t I see that for myself. I really hope that I go through with this move. I’m beginning to think that I won’t. I don’t want to stay. So many nights I’ve pleaded to just make it through this last night and I will leave tomorrow. Tomorrow is now here and I can’t seem to make my move.

When I left the alcoholic, I had a close relationship with God. There was no doubt in my mind that He was helping me through the difficult changes. This helped tremendously with having confidence that I was making the right move. It was an abusive relationship and God was removing me from what He knew would never change.  Fear was overcome by having faith that God would take care of me no matter what. That was nine years ago and I have always been taken care of.

58 comments to Leaving An Alcoholic-Feeling fear, guilt and confident

  • Mary M

    NM, be strong and courageous. You deserve to live a happy life. It’s an inside job, being happy! Once you are out from underneath the weight of alcoholism, you will find there is an abundance of peace to be enjoyed. It sounds like you’ve spent a lifetime taking care of others. It’s now time to take care of yourself and enjoy all that life is. Take this journey one step at a time and live in the moment. Hoping the best for you!

  • John

    Nm, please understand that you will be replaced. That’s what alcoholics do, they have little appreciation for the things they have lost. Don’t let this bother you, I am preparing you ahead of time so you will be strong when it happens. Chances are good that when he does get into a relationship it will be a disaster.

  • NM

    Thanks, Mary. As the move in date gets closer I get more and more anxious. I feel like I’m the bad guy. How can I just leave him like that? I even feel that I should cover the months bills so he doesnt have such a hard time. But i’m sure he wont care when Im struggling to make rent. I hate this cycle of codependency. I dont know how I feel. I hate when things are bad and am contet with my decision but when he’s sober I feel like I’m not doing the right thing. I hate that this is “his” fault. If only he could fix this and make things right and we could be happy and have our beautiful family all together but thats MY idea of happy. I talk myself out of all the negativity and try to stay focused on the light at the end of this loooong tunnel. 🙂

  • NM

    For years I worried about how he would replace me soon and how I would feel so bad about it. He never wanted to marry me. NEVER. Always said that marriage is for suckers and that men who do it are dumb. I always told myself that I felt he would move on right away and give the next person everything he didnt give me. But today, now, I am not so focused on that. My life has revolved around him for years. I have lived under his reign. I refuse to let that control me and my feelings. I know it will hurt me. I know I will probably have a hard time with it for a while but I think the pain of seeing him move on with someone else is much less than the pain of being with him and feeling soo alone and so rejected and so helpless. I once heard someone say ” some people die at 25 and are buried at 75″ I am close to 40. I have lived with this man 23 years. that is my ENTIRE life. I know its going to really hard. But I want to be happy and I want him to be happy and get healthy and if someone else can help him achieve sobriety then thats great. Maybe I am the problem. Maybe he feels like he never really got to decide what and who he wanted in his life since we were young when our daughter was born. I was 16 he was 18. I hope he heals for himself and for his children. My father died 11 years ago of liver disease at 44. He was an alcoholic also. Today my sibling and I need him still. There are time when I need him and I hate that he chose to drink himself to death and feel like he chose alcohol over us. I don’t want that for my children.

  • Sally

    NM, you will have a hard time for a while. Been there and done that. Left the drunk in my life back in January, after 5 years. That was 4 years, 364 days too long. Only now do I have days when I go all day without him crossing my mind. Over time I know it will happen even less often, and I’m okay with that. I’m gone and have stayed gone and don’t have any regrets.

    It hurts that drunks choose alcohol rather than us, but that’s just the way it is, and all the hand-wringing and “if onlys” in the world won’t change that one sad fact. Get over “if only” and get on with your life. Your drunk is not your entire life. You have children, friends and family. Get over worrying about him and wondering if he has whatever it is he may need. He’ll get by. Ask anyone on this board – drunks always manage somehow to get by. You can pretty well bet that your husband will NOT get better and he won’t heal himself and there’s not one single damn thing you can do to change the outcome.

    You’re very young, compared to some of us here, and you have a lot of life ahead of you. Go back and read as many of the articles and stories here as you can, and read all the comments. You’ll see the same thing has happened over and over to all of us – we either get on with our lives or willingly, deliberately allow the drunks we are or were involved with to drag us down and suck the very life out of us. It’s what drunks are good at – using every single person who comes into their orbit. None of us, including you, are anything more to a drunk than a convenience item, like a tv or a washing machine. In a drunk’s world, there are no feelings or thoughts that matter more, or are even real, except their own.

    You are only as helpless as you allow yourself to be, but don’t think we all here don’t know how hard it is to buck up and get on with our lives. Disengage from the crazy making that every drunk is a master of, and learn that worry is like a rocking chair – it keeps you moving, but you get nowhere. You being the child of a drunk means you’re trying to re-create the life you had, but you hope to change the outcome. Been there and done that, too. Put on your big girl pants and accept that you can’t, never could and never will be able to make everything work out. You don’t have the power to influence your drunk, any more than you had the power to influence your dad.

    Just because you accept something doesn’t mean you have to like it. You just have to know that you only have power over yourself. No one else. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Stay the course, get out of there and get on with your life. It can be done. Many of us here have done it. So can you. Stay in touch. We care.

  • Debbi

    Dear NM:

    Prepare yourself–You will experience a range of emotions that sometimes will leave you reeling: anger, guilt, shame, jealousy, depression, denial, and not to mention suddenly wanting him back. I am just a couple months ahead of you. Divorce in August & he move out September 5th. You are right to expect this. It will not be easy breaking away and he will probably make it even harder on you once he knows you are pulling away.

    You have some things going for you though that I did not have: support & family. I did not have that. I had no family in the area to call on and because my husband came across to the outside world as Mr. Nice Guy, no one ever believed me when I would tell of the horrible things he said & did to me, so that when I would reach out for support & help from police, post office, counselors he invariably would convince them I was “crazy”. So, rely on this support system very heavily over the next year as you move away–you will need them to stay strong! Most of them will gladly talk to you when you need that “listening ear”. You would do the same for them. When they are not available call the 24 hour Domestic Abuse Hotline (800-799-7233). They are there to also help you through these feelings & provided me with my safety net when these feelings overwhelmed me.

    One good person on this site said a wise thing to me: Expect them to increase the abuse once they know you’ve had enough because they really don’t want to lose you. And boy her words rang true: Mine threatened with divorce, left me in hospitals, left me bleeding in a bathroom. Once I called his bluff & agreed to mediation & divorce he increased the abuse if that’s possible to: hiring escorts, picking up prostitutes, bringing them to the house, threatening me with words, actions, guns & knives. He stopped contributing financially, called me even worse names, poisoned my name to anyone & everyone. The hurt was unbelievable & then as his last act he made sure I knew he had someone else he now loved–that one cut like a knife & my emotions went everywhere.

    It won’t be easy but you can do this. They keep people close to their “circle” and they pull them in when they need them and then push them out when they are done with them. They never push them too far though just in case they might need them again. So until you are sure that you are not in their “circle” you are right to be feeling & waiting for that “other shoe to drop”. That is where I am at right now. I don’t want to hear that he is maybe the perfect husband/boyfriend for someone new but he is vindictive enough to do anything because I pulled out of his “circle of life”.

    I am unlike you and do not wish him the best because he is still ruining my life with his poisonous words to the extent his union even covered up withdrawals from accounts & pensions that would not be disclosed in my divorce and now causing me financial hardship. I actually hope to just one day hear that he admitted finally to someone that he realizes the extent of what he did to me & misses me (again my stupid emotions controlling me).

    Keep us posted because sometime the worse “roller-coaster” ride of this relationship comes when you make the break! Please keep in touch with everyone here–it has helped me tremendously.

    God Bless & Good Luck!

  • uncadiane


    In your posts I hear you saying, “I feel guilty,” “I feel like I’m the bad guy,” and “I feel I should cover the bills.” Here’s something I learned in Al-Anon: Feelings aren’t facts; they’re just feelings. In other words, just because we “feel” something doesn’t mean it’s the truth or that we should act on it. Acknowledge your feelings, but make the right, responsible, rational decision. You might say, “I feel guilty for leaving, but that’s ridiculous. I’ve done every possible thing I could to make this relationship work and nothing is ever enough. Even if I continue to feel guilty, I’m leaving! I’m moving on to a new life for myself and my children.”

    I just left my husband in June, after 22 years of marriage and 11 years of his drinking and drugging. My compassion kept me in the home for a lot of years; I thought I was doing the right thing. I finally had to admit that my constantly dealing with his behaviors was destroying me, and yet it was helping him maintain his bad behaviors without consequence. I literally had to stop being compassionate toward my husband. When I finally left, not one single person questioned my decision. Everyone, without exception, said they wished I had done it years ago.

    My life isn’t perfect now; there are still problems to deal with and I still have to deal with him (home to be sold, pets, etc.) But I don’t have to deal with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

    Move away from hostility, humiliation, danger, abuse. Move forward to peace, contentment, satisfaction, and happiness. You and your children deserve this.

  • kaz

    The feelings you’re feeling, the doubts you are having are all normal. This is part of the process. Whether you make the decision to stay or go, it will be your decision. You may go for a while, and then come back. And that’s okay. I know, in the heat of the moment it’s an easy decision to walk out the door. But, then, in the morning, the feelings have changed. This is normal too. When you’ve had enough, you will know. It all takes time. The day I left my partner, we were arguing. I had made up my mind, it was time. I actually thanked him for arguing with me, because it made my decision easier. We too have property to sell, so there is a small amount of communication. A few times he has had too much to drink and has wanted to be nasty via phone and txt messages. I know he’s hurting over the breakup too. Neither of us wanted the relationship to end, but neither of us knew how to fix it. When he started to get nasty again, I asked him to please not contact me when he had been drinking. Once I’d made the decision not to get into the argument with him, I felt more relaxed and in control of my emotions. I can’t do it every time, but I’m getting better at it, and he’s not trying to push my buttons any more either. So, I guess the both of us are leaving each other alone. I wish you luck on your journey.

  • Caitlyn


    My advice is to look on your time ahead as the most positive move of your life. Wind back the clock to when it all went haywire sometime after 17 and relive your life as you should have NOW. Think of yourself as a born again life lover with a bright future ahead and nothing to get in the way as you have sorted out and departed from the ugly side of what was your life.

    All the best for you into your new life. Enjoy every moment ahead and if negativity or guilt slips in bid it farewell swiftly and continue on your path to serenity and fulfilment. You deserve no less. No one does.

  • Nombasa

    NM,u’re on the right path. Associate yourself with positive people. I wish you all the best and don’t believe anything bad that he says about you. Alcoholics will even blame you for the weather outside,I’m talking for experience.

  • Hi all you lovely people. I needed to hear this today. My alcoholic is again in recovery 3 weeks, and is again attending an alcohol day programme. The difference this morning is that he told me he is no longer going to depend on me. I panicked even though this is what must be. He says he will not be back, he now has his own accommodation but has been at mine for the last 3 weeks recovering from his last bender and homelessness. He is going back after his programme today to his own accommodation. I have fed him and given him money (which has left me struggling) and support, but the strain between us both is so difficult as I have many resentments towards him over the vast damage he has caused my life during the past 10 years. My mind thinks all sorts of ideas about him recovering and finding happiness with another which causes me great distress, as this is all I wanted for the two of us, not to be though, which leaves me in great sadness. He now has a support network and I am now alone to find support for myself, I have to change I know this, it is so painful, I must not panic and keep it real. Thankyou for being here for me.

  • Mary M

    Karen, I think it’s important to leave the chaos behind for a while and let the alcoholic prove that they are serious about their recovery. There’s just too much fear involved when we stay too close to them after the first get out. If he’s caused vast damage over a ten year period it sounds like it’s time to work on you for a while. There are plenty of men in this world who aren’t alcoholic/addicts.

    Do you have Al-anon in your area? If so, make a commitment to get plugged in there. Give it a try for 6 months and you will see that life can get better. I am confident that whatever fear you are feeling will fade into the distance as you stay involved in an alcoholism support group. New found friends will become the most stable thing you have had in your life for a long time.

  • NM

    Thank you. “worry is like a rocking chair – it keeps you moving, but you get nowhere” I will remember that.
    Yes, my emotions are everywhere. As I’m packing I feel so upset that these are the last days I’ll be part of this life. The only life I have ever known. And even though I am alone in this relationship. Just having him around and watching interact with my boys is enough- of course when the semi sober man is around. Later in the evening after a few beers in comes the craziness. Only then can I say “you are doing the right thing. Is this what you want for your children? U deserve better. Do you want your children to be alcoholics?” It’s soo hard to leave without feeling so guilty.
    Thank you. Your comment really helped me. Feelings aren’t facts; they’re just feelings. AMEN to that! And like you a lot of people have asked me why I waited so long. This is my second alcoholic marrige. My first one was my parents. My mom put a lot of responsibility on me as I was the oldest and I had to deal with my father. I’m not a victim. This is all I know. I’ve never been in a healthy normal relationship and I fear that I may have these doubts because I now need the chaos to feel normal. All I can do is pray and keep moving forward.
    I’m sure gonna try. 🙂
    Thank you.
    I wish you the best.

  • NM

    So this week he got a job. He’s been thru about 4 jobs in the last 5 years. Its a pretty good living but I think the hours get in the way of his drinking. Anyhow, he’s been excited about it and comes home in a decent mood and talks to me about it. He seems in good spirits. Playing with the boys and pretty decent with me. And of course I’m now feeling so scared. How am I going to tell him that I’m leaving. My plan was to take my stuff while he was at work and have him come home and tell him when he called me. I’m not taking anything but my kids beds. Everythign else is “his” I’m not really worried about the materilistic things. I’m sure in time I will be able to replace most of the stuff. Anyway, I’m sick to my stomach about how I’m going to tell him and what his reaction will be and how my boys will react to the change. They are 4 and 2. My daughter is 19. She’s fully on board. She is my rock. She keeps telling me that I’m doing the right thing and keeps reminding me of all the things he’s done. “remember Mom, when he sat in my room and told me he didn’t love you and he was only here for the boys? That alone should be enough.” Please pray for me. I am asking God for strength and guidance. Not for strength to leave hold my head high knowing I’m doing the right thing and that I will be ok. Its not going to be easy or fun but I’m sure I will be fine. I have so much to prove to myself. I’ve set so many goals for myself. I’m excited about all of that. The hardest part of all of this is physically moving. Getting out of my chair and moving. :/ ugh!

  • PW

    If you can’t leave him for yourself then do it for your kids. A girl who sees her Mother be treated this way is most likely to end up with men who will treat her this way too. She needs to see you having self-esteem and self-respect in order to help her have hers. there are alot of subconscious behaviors and beliefs we as children learn and really don’t show the consequences until later in their life. A boy who sees his Mother being abused will probably think that it’s ok to somewhat or fully abuse women. Do it for your support team – knowing how much it hurts them for you and your kids to be in this situation. You will thank yourself later that you did. Now is your time..

  • NM

    I did it. I’m in my new living room right now wondering if I can really do this. Financially, I mean. Other than that I have a strange sense of peace. He called three times md left me a message. I haven’t listened to it. I don’t want to. He was mean to me last night saying I would never have anything more and I would never be able to leave because I couldn’t do it without him. He said I hate talking to u. I hate looking at u. Do u not speak English? Leave. I said u got it!

  • k

    Hi everyone,
    I am also in the same situation as most of you. I recently left my alcoholic husband. My husband was not physically abusive, but he loved to play mind games. He lies about everything and is very reckless with our finances. We have been married for almost five years and have two young children. We are constantly having yo move because he spends all the money or just losses his job again. I had every reason in the world to leave, but i still let him control me. I still enable him, and I cant manage to stop. I am happy that I left most of the time, but i still let him vet to me. Its only been a month since i left. Sorry its so long. Any thoughts on how to stop letting him control me

  • Debbi

    Hi K:

    I too left/divorced my A. The last year of marriage during inhouse separation I completely went no-contact. I have been battling many illnesses & I had to stay away from him completely in order to heal. If you are not strong enough to stop the controlling like me than this might work for you as well. Mine also was not physically abusive until 3 months before the separation when he starting pushing me–so it might have started to get physical in your situation so it is good you have removed yourself. My A played such mind games that 6 months out from divorce I am still trying to get my head back straight and get through all my problems but I will keep you in my prayers that you will get through this.

  • Lori

    I finally left. My husband accused me of an affair 10+ years ago (that never happened). Every time he gets pissed at me for something he brings up this stupid ‘affair’ and frankly, I am getting tired of hearing it. My 19-year-old son had a nervous breakdown about 2 months ago. I finally figured out the cause of this breakdown. My son busted my husband with another phone line – texting/talking to another woman inappropriately. My son confronted my husband and told him to get rid of it. In an attempt to ‘justify’ his own infidelity, my alcoholic loser husband tells my son that I have had an affair! To me, that was lower than low! My husband over the past 6 months has gotten worse with his accusations, his lies, his flirtations with other women, him blowing up at me for ridiculous things, him picking fights – it is sickening. In hindsight I have finally realized he is an alcoholic! I think about it and everything he does revolves around beer. EVERYTHING! I told him he had a problem and this is why he treats me so badly. He thinks he doesn’t have a problem – he “drinks 5-6 beers a night to relax.” Ya – 5-6 Monday thru Thursday. Friday it is probably 10-12 and Saturday/Sunday is a case a day. SERIOUSLY. And he doesn’t see that as a problem? He has become a total ass and he hasn’t even apologized to me about this affair – he just turns it on me and talks about the alleged ‘affair’ I supposedly had. It is stupid. He has become a complete jerk. My friends say he needs to hit rock bottom first. Well, he is a functioning alcoholic who has luckily never been caught for DWI somehow. But – he has now lost his wife, lost the respect of his teenage son and my other son that the one son told this all too, he is starting to lose his friends…. I am up in arms as to what to do. I would like him to get a physical done because if he only has a year left to live – then I might as well hold off on the divorce. On the other hand, I’m afraid he will eventually kill/hurt someone while drinking and driving. He drinks and drives all of the time, but someday he is going to hurt someone. He has totaled 2 vehicles within an 11-month period by driving into the ditch. He was never arrested because I picked his ass up from out of the ditch. I won’t be doing that again!

  • Sally

    @Lori – RUN! Fast and furious! Get away from this guy and make it legal. If he screws up with a DUI or, God forbid, he kills someone, YOU as well as he will lose everything and, being a drunk, the worst will fall on you to pay for. Enough is enough. Get it in writing. Forget however much time he may or may not have. Been there, done that, got out and never looked back. Two cars trashed in less than a year is a sign – DEAD END. Bless you and your sons. You’ll be ok. Praying for you all.

  • Paul

    Hey people, truly appreciate your courage and sharing the stories of your lives and the A’s that have so dramaticly affected so many lives. What a horrible disease that we face! The majority of the posts seem to be about wives in abusive relationships, and I recognize that as serious problem that warrants all the attention it is getting and more. May all of you find your way through the chaos and insanity of living with and loving an alcoholic.
    Gentlemen are not immune to alcoholism, we to face the turmoil of a loved ones addiction. I have wittnessed the destruction of my friend, then girlfriend, and at one point my fiancé. Eight years have passed since we first met and now I believe her compulsion to drink (everyday now since the beginning of this year ) is so strong that without intensive professional help she may not recover. The pathogy of this disease is indiscriminate, man or woman, rich or poor, alcoholism respects no one!
    My hope is to bring light to this dark and progressive epidemic, we do have a responsibily to take care of ourselves first! However we as human beings must not sit on the sideline watch this needless suffering. I don’t have all the answers, just a willingness to change the the way we look at this horrible disease. True sin is when good men and women do nothing!

  • Debbi

    Lori: Oh, my gosh, you are going through a horrendous ordeal–your story mimics mine exactly except no car crashes & my son left because he saw this man I had married. So I have now divorced and lost my son. Your son stuck up for you against his father’s lies–you must be one great mother and raised a wonderful son. Stick with him right now through his breakdown and help him as he was helping you. Your husband does not deserve your help now. Once your son recovers, make your decisions of what to do. Your son needs your support, don’t let him down & the two of you can move on together away from the man who has caused this–my prayers are with you-Debbi

  • Debbi

    To Paul:
    You show such insight and I recognize that for men dealing with a significant other it can be much harder on you. Society will give more sympathy to a wife that leaves that situation than they would a husband. You as a man and maybe the provider feel an even bigger obligation to stay than a wife would–you truly are sometimes in a harder place than us women. You are absolutely right that for us to sit by and do nothing is the greater sin but what can we do when we are scrambling just to save ourselves right now. Boy, am I open to suggestions. I had hopes of turning my home into a “safe house” for others going through this when I found I had no place to go to just sit and get some peace and get away from all the “crazy making” but that is not meant to be. In JC’s case someone came to him repeatedly and talked to him about accepting God’s love & that turned him around. Maybe everyone here who is still living with their addict needs to plan an intervention where someone talks to the A about a higher power who does not want this destruction in their life and loves them. But despite what you are going through–you have been an inspiration with your posts & I so appreciate your knowledge.–Debbi

  • Lori

    Thanks Sally and Debbi! My son is doing MUCH better – thank you. When he was released from the hospital, he was not able to be left alone for quite some time. I also needed to stick around so that he took his medications as perscribed. My A husband was rarely around and one day he asked “I thought you were leaving – when are you leaving?” I told him I couldn’t leave because someone had to be with our son at all times and since he wasn’t exactly concerned with him, I had to stay! But – now that he is better, I left. I told my kids last night and I think they understand. My oldest son and his wife have seen and been a part of my A husbands insaneness. My 19-year old I think is upset, but he completely understands (since he is the one who busted my A husband to begin with.) And my daughter – she is ok with it. She is rarely home anyway and completely understands that I am NOT abandoning them. I am willing to bet my two younger ones will be spending more time with me than their father. My A husband is too busy for the kids anyway – always has been. However, maybe he will get the message that his drinking is pushing the people who love him away. Yet – he has become so selfish, he probably doesn’t really care anyway.

  • Debbi

    Lori: I am so glad for you. It looks like you have some great support with your children and this will help you immensely. Lean on them if you need to in the beginning–I am sure they are all willing to help you. I’m glad to see a good ending and maybe a great new beginning for you.–Debbi

  • Paul

    Hey Debbie ,
    I re-read your post and I just wanted say, thank you. Thank you for your honesty, your courage, and your compassion. The concern you have for the other women is palpable, the days are brighter knowing that there are people who are willing to reach out and lift the spirits of so many. Perhaps knowing that you are positioned to share and offer your wisdom will aid in your own personal healing. Through no fault of your own it would seem your past experience with an A has gifted you to offer these women healthy perspective. It may not be the safe house you were thinking of,but this site of safe sharing is of great value! (BTW thought of building a safe house as well)
    You had mentioned that society may have more sympathy for women leaving a toxic relationship than for a man in similar situation. I didn’t mean to suggest that we(men) have it harder or easier
    than anyone else rather I’m compelled to be a voice for the men who are either incapable of expressing their thoughts or simply don’t have the means to do so. What I am suggesting is that the pain is pain, and alcoholism destroys lives regardless of gender. This ism has taken its toll on my soul, and as man of faith I never quit albeit I feel defeated. Lord hear my prayer I am an empty vessel, fill me with your will.

  • Debbi

    Today is Fourth of July and if you live in the US you are celebrating your independece. I admire you because it is harder I believe for men to express their feelings even during times like you are going through. I have to sell my home soon so no safe house–I honestly told my God if I got to keep it that is what I would do but sad to say not to happen–my health is taking a turn for the worse and I need to go be with family. I am in need of another safe house and unable to carry out the promise I had originally hoped to keep. But what about you?–go make that safe house for me today–a place where others can celebrate their independence today, reach out to the first person you see and offer them a nice place to sit & have a good conversation and spread your kind heart to them.

  • Paul

    To Debbie ,
    I’m amazed by your strength. Despite your circumstance, you manage to give back to others , in ways that are sad to say rare these days. It’s nice that you have family that is willing to open their home to you as you continue to treat your health concerns. Gods speed in your recovery! I know how difficult it can be to care for yourself under “normal” conditions, throw into the mix having to deal with the negative emotional and mental effects caused by having lived with an A, and focus can be a hard thing to achieve.That being said how much of your health issues are linked to living with the A? I just went through two surgeries ( first and only) recently and while it would have been nice to have the alcoholic show some sort of support, she is incapable to care for herself much less anyone else. You see she her drinking has cost her nearly everything, relationship with her siblings, as well as her daughter, her parents ( God bless them 86 & 93 respectively , stole their credit card and maxed it out ). She lost her job of 19yrs. from all places a well respected health care agency, full benifits in January and is currently unemployed. Add to that a DWI in February, hospital stay after falling down drunk, and currently having an affair with another alcoholic who is abusing her! My faith is tested and I’m struggling to move on with my life. Its not my nature to ignore suffering or allow myself to be mistreated. The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to live like this any more. It’s the hardest thing to do watching some one you love slowly and methodically destroy themselves. Any suggestions to begin healing, for I’m not in good spirits
    Thanks Paul

  • JC

    Paul, I know that place of having my faith tested while coping with an alcoholic. Keep a close listening ear to God. While leaning on Him and not so much our own understanding, we find His will for our lives. This may be a timely song for you to listen to: Praise You In This Storm.

    Stand upon what you believe in and do your best to not compromise. Love without conditions, forgive without conditions and take time to enjoy your life to the full today.

  • Shenzi

    This man carries unhealed childhood wounds. He seeks to medicate his pain with his addictions.
    Because he does not know how to own or heal the root cause of his pain he projects them onto you.

    He won’t find sobriety without feeling motivated to do so. This means allowing him to experience the consequences of his actions. This is a gift you can give him by leaving – as long as you stick to simply telling him in an ” I feel ” way what it feels like to be with him and steer clear of ” YOU” statements:
    ” YOU ARE, YOU DONT, YOU NEVER, YOU ALWAYS, ” etc are judging and shaming and signs that you yourself are regressed and projection.

    The best thing you can do is take good care of yourself while letting him know you love and believe in him.





  • Shenzi

    Meant to say ” signs that you yourself are regressed and projecting.”

  • Debbi

    Suggestions To Paul: okay Paul you seem to have more confidence in me than I have in myself right now. I have lost alot of my faith that I used to rely on through my life with my health problems but I do not want my losing my faith right now to roll over on to you. So read JC’s post where he says “Keep a close listening ear to God”. Through my whole life I had an attachment to horses starting for therapeutic reasons due to birth defects in my legs. While not a good rider I found I had alot of patience especially with older horses that had been abused. I trained 2 of them for the local Riding Center for the Handicapped–one got “Horse of the Year” award nationally. I trained my horse to lay completely on the ground so that after my surgeries I could straddle her & she would get up with me on her since I sometimes could not. I trained her to be what they call “bomb proof” so that I actually had her at a bicentennial celebration standing next to a cannon that got shot off & she stood quietly. She became the mascot for a local high school who their football team were called the Mustangs & April & I and whoever could ride then charged across the field at every home game.

    Okay, Paul says where are you going with this Debbi? Back to JC’s comment. a listening ear. In the horse world a horse that is trained well and will do things for their rider that they normally are afraid of has what we call a “reining ear” very similar. In the case of the horse they always keep one ear turned toward their rider or trainer’s voice–If I did not see April’s ear turned back toward me I knew she was not listening and I had to get her attention. In order for your faith to help & guide you you must acquire the “listening” or “reining” ear towards your higher power. I would tend to believe that God when he sees that we are not listening and our ear is not turned back showing that we are giving him our “reining” ear of attention he will have to get our attention in some way. So, more than just a listening ear you need a reining ear meaning you need to first hear and then you must show you are willing to be led & sometimes it is being led into places you are not comfortable with. But if we don’t agree to be led we will make no progress. Keep your reining ear towards your higher power and follow the instructions you hear. You may sometimes only hear a whisper that can come in the form of nature, you may sometimes feel an urge to do something so strongly that you must follow it. You must always look forward with at least one ear listening for your instructions.

    You are feeling very let down right now–she has given you no support for your surgeries and you say she is having an affair. But at the end of your post you say the most wonderful giving comment that it is the hardest thing watching someone destroy themselves. You are still caring about her & you are showing God’s love with that comment. There is nothing you can do to stop her or control her but I see your heart breaks for what she is doing–I did not see one word of anger towards her in your post. God is working through your reining ear–I can see it. It will be slow for you as you will need to stop watching what she’s doing because it hurts you but your goodness is showing because you care–you are keeping a close ear to God by your actions. Others see her behavior and I’m sure know you did everything. My case is much different because mine hid his addictions and people don’t believe me over him because he’s Mr. Nice Guy out in public. God is watching over you, I can tell, so keep that close listening ear out for him! Since you cannot help her at this point find someone you can help, a neighbor in need, a pet that needs a home, it will come to you and you’ll feel that urge to help someone–that’s your reining ear, follow it. It always helps us to reach out and help others–we get back more sometimes by giving to others. Sorry to be so long but don’t lose your faith–it is the hardest thing to get back–I speak from experience on that.

  • Diana

    Yes, living with an alcoholic is a constant attack on your self esteem. I once heard in an alanon meeting trying to get love from an Alcoholic is like trying to get love from someone in an insane asylum. Now there are times when things are not so bad but believe me the Jekyll and hyde personality is alive and well. My Mother found AA late in life. My ex-was easy to leave but not for ten years. I thought I could change him rescue him etc. when He said one day ” I will drink as much as i want and If you don’t like it get a divorce,” I thought Wow Ok. and that was it Once day u just wake up and enough is enough. I know you are still with your Alcoholic but i had to leave because of my children who were seven and eight at the time. I could not see subjecting them to this crazy violent at times life. In the end I had to rescue them instead of the alcoholic. this may sound crazy but if not for the kids I may have stayed longer. It is far better to be alone that with someone who drags you down because they are mentally Ill. Just don’t look back he will be fine. And you will be better save your life while you can. the only thing I regret is staying with my ex for 11 years and not leaving sooner. GET OUT FIRST (analyze everything later.) Love just can’t fix this problem.

  • michele

    My name is Michele. This is first time on site. All this is new. The site not drinking. I having been dealing with my husband drinking for 8 years. It has been a lot of rocky roads. It is liking dealing with a walking time bomb. My husband drinks every single day. Some days he drinks more then others. Sometimes alcohol makes him crazy. He leaves for days, spends all of or money and he does stuipd stuff to himself when he returns. We lost houses and or kids have been to 5 different school in a year. We been in hospitals for trying to kill himself. I’m to appoint now where I can’t deal with it anymore. It’s always my fault if i wasn’t such a bad wife. I’m to controlling and no one is going to tell him what he can do. I have to hide money from him so i feel i have a plan. Everytime i say im leaving i start to go thru with it then i lose my nerve. I start to feel so quilty and I start asking myself did i send him over edge and am i such a horrible wife. I love him I just want him to get help. After bailing on are kids fathers day I told him enough is enough I cant deal with it anymore. I talked him in to going to AA meeting. That last 2 weeks

  • Julie

    It is a hard choice to make to leave the alcoholic. I think a lot of it is fear-based, on both sides. When the alcoholic is spewing insults and threats, it is because of fear. They are constantly trying to move or change their surroundings. If they only lived somewhere else. If they only had a better job. If they only had a better spouse/partner. It goes on and on. That is part of their dillusional thinking process. It is a mental disorder and when you live with someone like that, day in and day out, you begin to think in a distorted way. It’s a vicious cycle. I have been there. I lived with it for 15 years. The lies, one after the other. The roller coaster ride of emotions, fear, mental abuse. When the drinking and drugging got to the point that I found out my kids were putting a mirror under their Dad’s nose to see if he was still breathing, that was my turning point. I work nights and my poor son called me at work and told me his dad was so drunk and stoned out of his mind, he was afraid to be alone with him. My poor children. I can’t believe I subjected them to that lifestyle for so long. I guess it’s the thought of “what if”, I don’t know. My husband is generally and nice person. He works hard and never physically abused me and never called me names. I know he loves me and our children. But I had to get to my breaking point and make the decision to live a better life and give my children a better life. I couldn’t have done it without God’s help. I kicked him out and he stayed with some friend’s of ours. The first night there he went through their cabinets and was asked to leave the next morning. He then stayed with his brother and his wife for awhile but eventually agreed to see a counselor. Long story short, he started taking Antibuse and handed over all of his pills. It has been a long, hard road but he now attends AA 5-6 days a week and has been sober for 18 months. We are back together and he is making lots of progress. Without the help of God first and AA, we couldn’t have gotten to this point. We take it one day, one minute at a time. I know our story has a happy ending, to this point, but we would have never gotten here, I don’t believe, had I not taken that first step. I only allowed him to come back when he had followed through with what I asked of him. I am also very clear with him that if he stops working the program and goes back to his old way of life, that he will have to leave. I now know that I have the strength to do that. I know that I can make it without him if I have to. I deserve better and my children deserve better and won’t accept anything less for myself and my family. You are stronger than you think. Remember, they live in a distorted world and they will drag you in if you let them and allow the lies to pull you in. I would suggest attending an Alanon meeting. It’s a huge support and surround yourself by caring people who will support and uphold you. May God bless you and your family!!

  • Coreen

    Paul: As you can see from other posts, being with an alcoholic does real damage. It would be so helpful if you could find a therapist who could help you during this difficult time. I did when I was dating an alcoholic, and it really cleared my thinking. I was distraught, and 3 x with a professional who is used to treating patients with similar problems, helped immensely.

    There are millions of people in this world – we do not have to stay with an alcoholic. You are depriving yourself of loving companionship – hope you will focus on yourself and take good care.

  • JC

    Michele, welcome to our site. You may find some helpful info in the following articles:

    Alcoholics Blaming
    How To Detach From An Alcoholic
    Ways Of Letting Go Of An Alcoholic

    Please continue to post comments on the site about your situation. Our readers will offer encouragement and wisdom that can help you during this difficult time.

    There are also three free videos here: Alcoholic Relationship Solutions

  • Amy

    I have to get on this site everyday just to be able to keep it together right now. Ever since I put a restraint on and left my boyfriend he is doing everything he can to rip me apart.In court the judge even seen his anger level and used it against him to grant us a restraint without us even having to testify.He told the courts he hates me and wants nothing to do with me, and is trying to set a court date to get MY things I purchased in the house.I just sit here and think You hate us!.Then imagine how we feel about you.I guess what keeps going through my head is I cannot understand why anyone would do all he has done to us over the last year, hurt us to the point I had to call the cops, and feel no remorse at all..while we were in the court room he was laughing and joking with others, as if he could care less he hurt me or my son. In his head it is all our fault and we need to pay.If I happen to see him drive by me he either looks away or has this look of anger on his face that if he could strike me dead he would…Im glad we are out of the situation, but I have so many feelings and emotions I still feel like I am on a roller coaster all the time.Even on the 4th yesterday I didnt do a thing I took a lawn chair down to a secluded beach and just sat there and read..seemed more comforting that being involved in the 4th seeing we live in a small town and all he did was drive around and around on his motorbike ALL day, thats the big problem with living in a small town, even though he hasnt FINALLY been following me or bothering me..it seems everywhere I look there he is..his anger and the things he is doing is making me feel guilty, and upset, I just want to be alone all the time..what I cant get is why am I feeling this way I havent done anything, I shouldnt feel this way…its as if he is trying to turn everything around and blame me for his own actions and the end of the relationship.I’m beginning to feel insane myself.

  • Debbi

    To Michele & Amy: Both of your A’s are in the blame-game stage with you. This is a difficult time where you yourself start to think you’re crazy and maybe you did cause this. I know it sunk me into a depression. Don’t let this happen to you. Remember: The A knows what he is and what he’s done and in order to live with this they do two things: 1. Drink more to cover up their feelings 2. Blame you & project all the problems on to you. I tend to believe when they do this it is actually because they are feeling remorse and they push those feelings back immediately by blaming others and you are the biggest target. Keep your distance and less contact so you become less of a target for their treatment. They will either decide to make this right or move on and make someone else a target to blame for their behavior. When I went no contact with mine at the end I would hear him yelling horribly at someone on the phone so I assumed his adult daughter was now getting the anger not me. Don’t take in their anger, deflect it. I forgot to do that and it is now causing the depression after the divorce as I sort through my guilt and what part was my fault. Don’t take the blame whatever you do!

  • JC

    Amy, the insanity will never make sense.

    You may get a little insight into your situation from these articles:

    Personality Of The Alcoholic

    Alcoholic Is Always Blaming

    How To Protect Your Serenity When Dealing With An Alcoholic

    Smile today Amy, a lot! Keep your chin high, your back straight and walk with confidence everywhere that you go. Rest in knowing that you were created to be exactly who you are and that you are a beautiful person.

    Let go of yesterday and live in the moment. Also, remember that you can start your day over as many times as you need to.

  • Debbi

    To Paul:
    You had asked me how many of my health problems are linked to my ex A. I will share the story of my medical history & welcome eveyone’s responses if maybe they too had strange tumors develop during the stress of living with an A:
    1. My mother was under the care of her doctor while pregnant with me. He later became a full blown alcoholic and lost his license to practice. When my mother was pregnant with me this man dispensed thalidimide (spelling?) a drug that had actually already been outlawed to treat nausea in pregnant women but this dr had a supply & was still dispensing it. It caused me to have joint defects most prominent in both my knees which I have learned to overcome but had 6-7 surgeries to help with that.
    2.No other major problems until 2000 when determined I had pre-cancerous cells on cervix due to HPV virus. I now know that my ex A was probably running with other women & prostitutes then but did not put 2 & 2 together until many years later.
    3.6 years later lump in neck suspected cancer but when removed was not.
    4. 3 years after that lump in right breast determined not to be cancer
    5. 2011 the bomb hit while doing a followup mri to my neck to make sure lump not growing back a tumor in my brain was discovered. Husband for 3rd time threatened divorce & this time actually started the process with a mediator. This actually worked to my benefit–knowing I was soon to lose my health insurance in divorce I researched trials in brain tumor treatments & found a hospital (only one in 4 in the country) with a new type of radiation to radiate & remove small tumors such as mine and now there are 253 hospitals one year later doing this procedure even on MS patients and Althmeizer’s patients with great success. I was the 201’st person at this hospital to take this treatment. The only alternative was a full blown surgery, cutting my skull, removing tumor & replacing skull with metal plate, 18 months guaranteed out of work & 2 weeks in induced coma. No guarantees of any permanent damage to my vision and/or motor skills and balance. So by ex starting this process he may in fact have saved my life. This hospital was wonderful. I lost the hair on the back of my head but since grown back. The buildup of fluid caused me some vision problems but they put me on steroids to reduce swelling and most of my vision problems are gone. I only missed 3 days of work. My last followup showed tumor has shrunk by 15% and still shrinking My husband never went to the surgery, never spoke to me. My last conversation with him was on my way up to the hospital prior to my surgery for pre-admission testing my car broke down & I called him to see if his brother would be available to finish out my trip for me. Ex A showed up where I was broke down on the road, leaned his head in the window & told me to go to hell. five minutes later he called me and said well, did you change your mind about me driving you up there I told him you just told me to go to hell & I hung up. I could not sit in a car with this man for a 3 hour ride because 2 days prior I had just found escort charges on his credit card & phone s*x charges as well. I was devastated.
    Now that I have lost my health insurance they have now found one lump in each breast suspected cyst. My two biopsies were last week and in one hour from now I go to the doctor to get my results–wish me luck!

  • Paul

    Coreen: thanks for the feedback,you are right I think seeing a therapist would be very helpful , I’ve been to a couple of them over the last 4yrs. The problem was they were not specifically educated in dependency. I’ll look into finding one on Monday. The damage is done,my thinking has become distorted from living with an A for as long as I have. At some point my relationship with the alcoholic must change, I have been so consumed with this insane lifestyle I’ve neglected my own responsibilities and my wellbeing suffers so. The parallels of alcoholism and co dependency are numerous and I believe left untreated ruin lives, not just the individual plagued but all the those who are close.
    I’m so grateful for this site and all the people that share their stories,it’s comforting during the “in-betweens” of either dealing with an alcoholic or walking out the journey of our own personal recovery.

  • Paul

    You are in my prayers. The openness in which you share is remarkable, the definition of courage is not absence of fear, rather taking appropriate action in the presence of fear. You seem to personify this in your approach to life. Listen, despite your health concerns you have a gift that God has given you. This gift manifests in your kind and compassionate words of encouragement. Have you ever considered ministry, motivational speaking, writing a book…..? . (Safe house!) The women connected to this site would do well to learning from your experience. I know I appreciate the time you share with us.
    God Bless you, Paul

  • Debbi

    Gee Paul Thank you but I never thought I had any special gift always considered myself “jack of all trades, master of none” Good news from doctor–lump in left was benign fibroid tumor, lump in right was fat–go figure? the doctor tells me I’m too skinny and the result comes back fat. Thank you for your prayers. I have 2 more hurdles to get through next week. One more AID’s test since they say it could take a year before it shows positive & since my exA was running around this was mandatory and the next awful thing I have to do before I move is have a horse put down. I saved him when my ex A wanted him put down as part of the divorce decree and now I feel horrible having to do this–I had every intention of keeping him & let him retire & eat my back yard grass but I have been unable to find him a home and he’s too old to survive a long move and no place to keep him where I’m going. So I sure don’t feel courageous right now I actually feel guilty and waiting for the gates of you know what to come for me doing this to this horse. This was the moment I lost my faith because I prayed for 4 months for God to find a home for this horse who gave 10 years of service to our county and I feel my higher power let me down. But thank you for your prayers & I hope you get some great news today too–I know I sure did!

  • CHeryl

    JC, I am with you today as my alcoholic husband has relapsed again. I need to set boundaries and stick to them. He was 45 days sober. Such a wonderful man sober and I often mourn his “death” when he relapses. He will drink 50 beers a day and go into alcohol psychosis. I know I need to tell him that I am done unless he stays on medication and goes to daily AA meetings? I’m exhausted- praying for you JC, myself and all of us fighting this uphill battle. Thank you.

  • Amy

    Thanks Jc and Debbi! It has been along year a part of me is sad that things couldn’t of been different I feel played, used.I have never seen anyone so angry and mean in my life. I have seen and lived with such outrageous crazy INSANITY for the last year as I am sure all of you have,sometimes I have all can do to keep going. I just sit and dwell on it all and go over and over it in my mind. Trying to make sense of it all, even though a part of me knows their isnt any sense to be made.I feel better if I am not alone and if I keep busy.Apart of me is mad that I wasted so much time on this relationship and another part of me is mad at myself for getting involved with him in the first place, and another part of me is mad that after all he has done it is my fault in his mind, and he seems to want rip me apart and hurt me in any way that he can.I guess as they say”time heals all wounds” and I can also say I am glad to get away from the constant insanity.I want to thank everyone on this site.I read all the comments and come here everyday and I always find something that gives me strength or helps me make some sense out of all of this.

  • Elisabeth

    Debbi- am i right in thinking that you live in Maryland? Can you tell me approximately where you live? During my travels last year, I came across a wonderful group of people in Pennsylvania who rescue horses that have been abandoned or whose owners can no longer afford to care for them.

  • Debbi

    I live in NJ and Jack’s vet & several rescue places in my area have sent out requests to every rescue place within 3-4 hours from me. But everyone said there is a year+ waiting list for them. But thank you for your concern.
    Amy: You expressed exactly what I am going through also. Time doesn’t heal all wounds but let’s hope it heals the largest ones and makes the others fade with time. The only good I see come out of this is being able to use what we went through to tell others you can get through this. Keep posting Amy–you have a great way with your words!

  • Josie

    My husband of 21 yrs blindsided me with divorce papers I never saw it coming and he’s an alcoholic. He tells me and our children I don’t make him happy and I’m a miserable person and that’s why out of the blue he wants a divorce. It’s like he woke up one day and decided to hate me. I have been a good wife and mother and this is what I get ? How can he do this to me ? And he left and has no contact with me I have to call or text him begging him back and he laughs at me and tells me he’s never coming back ? His offer to me in the divorce was he gets everything and I get nothing but all the debt. I don’t understand why ? How one day he can say he loves me and the next serve me with divorce papers.

  • NM

    Hello all, i haven’t been on for a while and I wanted to post a quick update.
    Moving out was probably the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I missed my Ex. I cried a lot. It was sooo hard. 25 years is not easy to walk away from. At first he hated me and was so mean about it all. And It all made me so confused. I felt as of I had rally done something bad and he was the victim. As I ga

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