Guest Post By: Therese
I was just wondering how one gets through a vacation with an alcoholic? When my hubby gets nasty and becomes verbally abusive and we’re home, I can do one of several things to remove myself from the situation. Heck, I can get in the car and go to the movies alone for some peace and quiet.
We have been together for seven years. I have never had a carefree and enjoyable vacation since. He doesn’t necessarily like to be around many people or strangers for that matter. His energy level is horrid and needs to take a nap every afternoon or else he turns into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! We recently went to Las Vegas and I had the most horrible time. He wanted to control (Determined To Leave Mean Controlling Alcoholic) what we did every day. We could only see the shows he wanted, and eat only where he wanted. Finally, I put my foot down and told him he could go see any show he wanted and that I was going to see a show that I really wanted to see. Boy did I pay for it the next day.
He began his 2 hour litany of abusive names and insults. I felt I was being shot at with a riffle they were coming at me so quickly. I grabbed my purse and left the room spent the whole day alone. Every time we go anywhere, the same thing happens.
I could relate to the woman who wrote a couple weeks ago about how she was verbally abused on her own honeymoon. I went through the same thing. He complained about everything. I remember being completely tense the whole time. There was nothing even remotely relaxing about our honeymoon. Certainly, I didn’t want to be in the same room with him, let alone get intimate! After waiting years to be married, I only have horrid memories of my honeymoon.
Is anything normal with an alcoholic spouse? I wanted to jump a plane and come back home the next day. What do others go through when they go on vacation with an alcoholic? I hate the thought of having to take vacations alone. Instead of coming back to work nice and relaxed, I get back and I am always overly stressed. Fortunately, my husband is sober, but certainly his alcoholic characteristics are always there. Somehow he always manages to them in his suitcase when we vacation together! HELP!
JC: The only thing I can think of at this point is you might consider inviting another couple to join you next time. Vacations are always more enjoyable when there are others besides our spouses to do things with. The same tools apply wherever we are with all alcoholic relationships, detach with love, don’t be a door mat, set boundaries, avoid enabling and never argue with a drunk.
Wow, this is a tough one! I have been in your shoes several times with AH boyfriend and a husband. The husband, I ended up divorcing because I just could not continue to live under the gun on a daily basis. He was also extremely OCD alone with having anger issues and inability to cope with hardships and several other issues. The boyfriend and I went out of town AND we had several friend with us but he still could not control his meaness. Did it right in front of everyone! We have since broke up and I am currently dating another alcoholic but thankfully his only issue is he has tendencies to try to accuse me of wanting other men when he has had one too many. I have learned, through the help of this group, on how to deal with it and our problems continue to become less all the time. My advice to you is to completely remove yourself from this man. May be some time away will make him realize what he has so that he can respect you! If not, then you are worth SO much more than being miserable with a man who cannot cope or control himself, even in a situation that is to be enjoyable for both of you! He will either come around or continue to be a miserable person and why would you want to live that way? You walk on thin ice all the time and there is SO much better out there for you, trust me!!
I was with an alcoholic years ago and we took many vacations together. One thing I noticed, she always had the mindset that even though she was drinking, she wanted to have a good time while we were gone. We had plenty of arrangements while being at home. Even though she would get hammered on vacation, she wasn’t the obnoxious person she was at home. She worked full-time at a very stressful job; she always was grateful for the time away. I think that because we had common interests on the trips that we took, we enjoyed the time away form the rat race at home without many conflicts. We rarely fought during a vacation time.
I think if it’s not fun to take a trip with the alcoholic, then plan your vacations with friends or your children.
Vacationing with an alcoholic can be trying, to say the least, but what has worked for me is deciding he is not going to ruin my good time. We go camping, we go to the beach, we’ve gone to Florida. I am determined to have fun. He can sit in the room or at the camp and drink all he wants, but me and the grandkids go out and enjoy! He is always invited to go along, but rarely does, because he knows there is no drinking most of the places the grandsons and I go. Fortunately, he does not get mean or ugly when the grandchildren are around, actually it’s been some time since he has gotten mean and ugly….I think it has more to do with my attitude than it does with him. I choose not to engage him when he’s drunk now. I think I have finally learned to step back, shut up, and smile. I can’t control any of this except my behavior. If I feel he’s going to try to pick a fight, I smile, kiss him on the cheek, tell him I love him, and remove myself from his presence. He can’t argue by himself, well sometimes he does, but that’s quite the show. I guess what I am saying is after all these years I have learned this is not my battle, life is short, and God is truly in control. Best wishes and prayers sent your way.
Alcoholics seem to have the same personality traits. Nothing is ever normal or sane when dealing with an alcoholic.
Sandi, wow, if we could all handle life with such confidence, going on vacation with an alcoholic might actually be an enjoyable adventure. I can tell that you have been through plenty of battles with this disease. When we give up the fight and put our lives in God’s hands, we can have a good time in just about any place. I thought of this post, Being Happy With An Alcoholic as I read your comment.
Well, I have learned how to have fun in life. I love to travel and refuse to let the alcoholic ruin my good time when we are on vacation. I actually got a separate hotel room once when he wouldn’t stop badgering me one night. I just left the room, went to the front desk and took care of myself that night. Out of courtesy for my husband, I called him and told him what I had done and where I was. The next day he wanted to engage in an argument and I just ignored all of his attempts.
Another thing I do on vacation is remind him that if he doesn’t quit being so irritating that he’s not going to get any tonight. I tell him that there is nothing appealing about his attitude and if he wants to have a good time with me in bed, then he had better start treating me like the fine woman that I am.
One of my favorite places to visit is Las Vegas. Just give me a slot machine and a hand full of coins and I’ll be happy to camp all night long.
Sounds like Mary M has it all figured out. She stands tall for herself and decides what’s best for herself without being nasty to the alcoholic in her life. If fact she shows great respect by informing him what she is doing and why and where she is while asserting her in a positive manner. We could all take a page out of Mary’s book.
This is what others need to do to. Stand tall, decide for yourself what is right for you without a screaming match, walking away from any anger presented to you by the alcoholic and taking control of where you are, where you are heading and having an action plan that is positive for you whilst being respectful to your alcoholic whom you must love otherwise why are you there putting up with the misbehaviour?
By making positive plans and decisions and keeping God and Love in your heart while deciding, you can’t go wrong and you can plan to have the fun you deserve.
Top points to you Mary M.
Ask him, why do you want to act like this. Don’t you want to enjoy yourself on vacation. Do you ever think all this is a little odd? Of course, if it will make things worse for you
don’t do it. Would love to hear his answer.
Thanks Caitlyn, It’s taken many thousands of hours in support group meetings and a lot of hard work to learn how to stay in love with my alcoholic husband. He’s a teddy bear at heart and a furious kitty cat when he’s on his soap box. I’ve learned how to set boundaries and get out of harm’s way at the same time. The big picture of the relationship is that I am married to a good man. I’ve never worked a day in twenty fiver years of marriage. He’s never raised a hand at me. He’s a fairly docile drunk. I love visiting this site and interacting with the people here.
Thanks to all,
Therese, I am sorry to hear that your spouse was difficult to be with on vacation. I read this article https://www.alcoholicsfriend.com/2009/12/no-name-calling-allowed/ a while ago and it really helped me in setting boundaries. We can’t let the alcoholics just walk all over us and treat us like door mats. If we are going to stay with them, then we are going to experience rough times, even on vacation. I think it’s important to let go of the difficult times by forgiving the other person. If we hold on to the hurt it only makes us feel bad. Setting boundaries, detachment and forgiveness are things that have made a world of difference in my relationship with my alcoholic husband.