Feeling Neglected By An Alcoholic With Multipe Addictions

severed relationship
If you are involved with an addict, you’re putting yourself at risk of being neglected by them. Their entire world revolves around medicating themselves. If you are hoping for an intimate connection with the alcoholic and desire to feel significant through spending quality time with them, be prepared to have a plan B on a regular basis. Many of your basic human needs will need to be met outside the alcoholic relationship.

You will never measure up to the desire within the alcoholic/substance abuser to medicate themselves. As awful as this may sound, if you choose to stay with an addict, get used to being abandoned, neglected and rejected.

You will always be second place to their addictions and they come in more forms than just mind altering substances. That’s why we say change your attitude or change your address because you are wasting your time by trying to force your hand with a substance abuser to change.

One addiction feeds the other and before they know it hours have passed as they isolate in their world of self gratification. Try as you may, you will never measure up to multiple addictions.

Some alcoholics will get plastered and play video games all night. I had a friend who used to love to smoke wacky weed and then they would create things on the computer until the wee hours of the morning. In fact, he developed an entire product line for his company while being under the influence of marijuana.

I had another close friend who had an addiction to prescription pills that would make her speedy. She would stay up until three, four or five in the morning being one with the remote control while watching TV. Then, she would take something else to make her go to sleep.

Have you ever heard of the term “Sports Widow?” Give the sports addict a remote control on a Sunday afternoon and a cold one if he/she is an alcoholic and you will see the dual addicted personality in full bloom.

Every time you make yourself vulnerable and express to an addict that you would like to spend time with them, you are placing yourself at risk of being rejected and even neglected. When this happens your need for significance and connection are being affected. The challenge you are faced with is how will you react to situations where you are being rejected by an alcoholic.  Also, how will you fulfill your need for connection and significance?

If we experience anger because we want to spend time with the addict and they continually refuse our offers, how do we rid of ourselves of this negative emotion without letting it out on the addict? Should we become even more vulnerable and share with them that we feel neglected? Perhaps you are the type of person who withdraws into a state of isolation and self-pity when you are neglected by someone you desire to be close to.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of being neglected by a substance abuser.

  • How do you cope with being neglected?
  • How do you fulfill your needs for connection and significance when the alcoholic ignores you and indulges in self gratification?
  • What do you do with anger?
  • Do you find yourself being depressed?
  • Do you express your needs to the alcoholic or internalize your anger?
  • Does the alcoholic ignore your request to spend quality time with them?
  • Do you find yourself having expectations that only lead to resentments?
  • How could you avoid feeling neglected, rejected or abandoned?

23 comments to Feeling Neglected By An Alcoholic With Multipe Addictions

  • Dawn

    I spent 2 years trying to connect to an alcoholic. I’m sorry to say, I feel like I wasted 2 years of my life. I spent many nights home alone. He would disappear for 4-5 days at a time, coming back to tell me how much he missed me while he was away. If I made time with friends he was sure to be there waiting for me, making me feel guilty. When he was with me, he was busy with alcohol and TV. I lost jobs. I couldn’t pay the bills and he wouldn’t pay any. I lost myself being so wrapped up in him and what was going on with him. And, I am losing my home. I made the decision to make him leave. I have a new job. I’m working on a new home. And, I’m building and rebuilding friendships and feeling happier than I have in a long time.

    My advice to anyone going through the same thing or similar… Get out and get a life. Choose to love yourself more than you love the addict. The addict is always going to choose the addiction over you…you will always be second. Someone has to make you number 1…why not you? We cannot change the addict, so take the time you are investing in them caring for and loving them and start pouring it on yourself (and children, if you have them).

  • s-p

    Wow 4-5 days at a time.Was there ever any explanation or did you have to pull it out of him? My new husband says he is at work, then I find out he was really playing sweepstakes for 8 hrs in a row. He offers up little info though and I pull it out of him which is exhausting.

  • Bill

    Detachment has been one of the hardest things for me to accept in my relationship with my wife. I value being close to her above anything in life, yet she chooses to connect with her addictions on many more occasions than with me.

    The only way I can deal with this is through accepting the situation for what it is. I’ve tried for years to change her and nothing has worked. As JC said; “change your attitude or change your address.” I’m always working to better my attitude and often fail at having right responses when I feel rejected or abandoned. I slip and get angry sometimes. The good thing is that I don’t stay in the anger anymore.

    I have plenty of things I enjoy in life, playing golf, being involved in the Big Brother’s organization, but nothing can ever satisfy the desire I have to be close to my wife, nothing.

  • cs

    I know what loneliness and isolation feels like as I live in a small community where my husband’s family are. We moved here 4 years ago. During this time my husband drank more and more and and we fought often. His family are not friendly or supportive.I changed my attitude and stopped fighting with him then I informed him I was moving back home with or without him. He knows I’m fine with leaving him behind so he’s climbed onto the wagon! I’ve taken hold of the reins and not letting go. I’m also going to an al anon meeting for support.

  • Christian

    S-P, I know exactly what you are talking about. I’m kept almost totally in the dark. I ask my boyfriend what he did he do today and he says things like oh not much, end of conversation. I mean like I haven’t spoken to him in 24 hrs and all he says is not much. I get really suspicious and start asking more questions to try and engage in a conversation and I still get little information. It always leaves me wondering if he’s doing something like sitting around looking at nude women all day on the internet. That’s one of his many addictions. I mean how can you trust someone who doesn’t share much with you? I guess I feel neglected through conversation. Even though I get to spend time with him, it’s like he has a secret life he doesn’t want me to know about.

  • Gilda Feducia

    Anyone who is entertaining the thought of marring a reformed alcoholic should run and not walk out of that relationship.. I had the misfortune of thinking that once the alcoholic stopped drinking that he would be just like everyone else!!! It is a misery knowing what I got myself into. But, if I can stop one person from making the same mistake that I made my life will have made a difference. Don’t believe his lies that he loves you and will take care of you. You will be living an isolated life with an angry and insulting man by your side.

  • Ross Home

    I hate to have to admit it, but I have to agree with Gilda. I have been married to an alcoholic/addict for 23 years and have known him 25.There were times of sobriety, the longest almost 8 years.He still had alot of issues he either didnt know how to address or didnt really take it serious enough.
    I have known ALOT of loneliness, financial issues to this day.Cheated on to.I am learning to take care of me, to get something out of my life.I have a ways to go since the sh t is pretty deep.Sorry for that, but it is too true. Wish it weren’t.I n answer to the articles questions…..

    *How do you cope with being neglected?
    Getting over it working on recovery.
    *How do you fulfill your needs for connection and significance when the alcoholic ignores you and indulges in self gratification?
    Happened Alot!So now I’m trying to work on friends.
    *What do you do with anger?
    Learning to discover/deal with it through recovery.
    *Do you find yourself being depressed?
    Had been that way so long. Now I’m trying to heal.
    *Do you express your needs to the alcoholic or internalize your anger?
    Expressing may not get me anything but disappointment.Need to learn to meet own needs.
    *Does the alcoholic ignore your request to spend quality time with them?
    Yes at times.
    * Do you find yourself having expectations that only lead to resentments?
    Definately. Cant really have too many of those.That might work with people who are not sick in that way.

    *How could you avoid feeling neglected, rejected or abandoned?
    Change my expectations of my sick husband, be in tune with my own sick-codependent thinking,learning how to get a life.

  • Sandi

    How do you cope with being neglected? I used to dwell on it, but now I refuse to allow those emotions to control me. I focus on things that fulfill me!

    How do you fulfill your needs for connection and significance when the alcoholic ignores you and indulges in self gratification? I have hobbies, I have friends, I have a job I really enjoy!

    What do you do with anger? I give it to God….most of the time but there are times I let it out. Especially if my AH has done something really stupid.

    Do you find yourself being depressed? Sometimes, but I try to remind myself of the good things I have.

    Do you express your needs to the alcoholic or internalize your anger? I express them, when he’s sober.

    Does the alcoholic ignore your request to spend quality time with them? I’ve learned not to request it. If he wants to spend time with me, he knows he will need to be sober.

    Do you find yourself having expectations that only lead to resentments? Expectations is the father of resentment. I find if I want to be disappointed, all I have to is have expextations. If there is something I really need my AH to do, I tell him first thing in the morning what I need, and if he does it, that’s great, if he doesn’t, then I make other arrangements.

    How could you avoid feeling neglected, rejected or abandoned? Knowing who I am in Christ has helped me more than anything.

  • Elisabeth

    It helps me so much to read these articles and the comments. I am realizing more and more that my fiance is a textbook alcoholic and that I am not alone. For years, we have argued over this very issue. He doesn’t want to go out and I do – I want to spend quality time with him, enjoying things together. For many years, I thought it was because he was a loner or because he was embarrassed because often he was unemployed, because whenever his family called, he was ready to go out. But now he’s working and he goes out with his friends after work but doesn’t invite me or, now that he’s making money, take me out. (At one point, he used his lack of income as an excuse not to go out with me, even though I said we could do things that are free.) In fact, when I said something about it just recently, his response was “You don’t make me want to take you out. Taking you out would feel like work because you’re always on my case about it.” Now, I get it. It’s not me. It’s him and the fact that I know the real him, whereas these new friends have no idea. They get to see the guy he wants to present. It’s such a weight off to be able to say to myself, there’s nothing wrong with me – it’s not my fault. Thank you.

  • Sharlo

    “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”
    – Robin Williams

  • Linda

    Sharlo, Thanks for sharing that Quote..SOOOO true

  • JM

    I’ve learnt that by re-focusing on myself instead of the alcoholic, by detaching to the alcoholic, I slowly regain the inner peace.

    Join the Al-anon group with the fellowship, you will feel less alone.

  • MMS

    Thank you for this site, it brings me great comfort and gives me real situations to contemplate with others.
    How do you cope with being neglected?
    I used to feel terrible. He would go out until the bars closed, never answer my calls, never eat, just drink and smoke for the other 8-10 hours after he got off of work. Then, he reeked so badly and was so mean when he came home that I didn’t want him near me. In the morning, amidst his moodiness, I would try to connect, but he would yell at me, call me names and finally I realized I was begging for love that I would never get. After losing job after job in our small town, he finally had to move away to work. It is peaceful now and I can’t wait to divorce him as soon as I have the finances for the lawyer and just a bit more time on my side to pay off the bills.

    How do you fulfill your needs for connection and significance when the alcoholic ignores you and indulges in self gratification?
    I have gone back to artistic pursuits with music and painting and made friends with like minded artists that support me in my life changes.

    What do you do with anger?
    I vent every now and then at the drunk guy that is still my husband. But, generally when he is being needy about money. I try to find other ways to express myself by writing songs and working out instead though.

    Do you find yourself being depressed?
    I was clearly depressed for the last 7 years and with self care have been feeling the alcoholic fog of this life lifting more and more every day.

    Do you express your needs to the alcoholic or internalize your anger?
    Yes, but he always throws it back at me saying I should just forgive and forget. I do my best not to treat him like he treats me, even though its tempting. But, I have been studying Buddhism and that brings me great comfort and stops me from reacting negatively. I am just more firm now and very clear about what I will or won’t accept. I used to internalize my anger but that found me 50lbs heavier. So, I am working out and working on staying calm but clear.

    Does the alcoholic ignore your request to spend quality time with them?
    Yes, when he comes to town now, he immediately goes to the bar and bing drinks for days on end. Its sick, but nothing new. I have learned to release the rejection because I know i am leaving him sooner than later. I just hope he doesn’t die from poisoning or that his organs still have some vitality left in them.

    Do you find yourself having expectations that only lead to resentments?
    Yes, I no longer expect anything from him. I live my life without him. If he is sober and wants to join in my life and activities, I think heavily about whether his presence will be positive or negative and then I decide if he can join me or not. The ball is in my court now. I will not bargain with a drunk ever again and I will never beg to be loved ever again. Its taken awhile for me to get to this point, but I am so glad that I have been able to detach from this addict/drunk.

    How could you avoid feeling neglected, rejected or abandoned?
    Do not date/marry or stay married to addict that refuses to live by a 12 step program. Period. Ensure you have interests that are positive outside of the relationship and once you start to see them slipping away because of the addict, refocus, and ensure you have an escape plan to implement for your finanicial and emotional well being.

  • Paul

    Oh My Lord, this read really strikes a chord with me. I got so exhausted with being turned down by my friend that I got discouraged to the point of not even wanting to ask anymore. It’s disheartening when you want to spend time with someone and they choose their addictions over you most of the time. I’ve adapted an apathetic attitude over the entire situation. I feel the anger surfacing when I am rejected…I curse under my breath by saying: “F-it, I don’t even want to ask them anymore.” I definitely have resentments that have accumulated over time. What’s the point in having a significant other if that significant other would rather spend time nursing their addictions than spending time with you? I also find myself saying things to myself like: “I’M DONE” or “I HATE THIS.” Yes, I’d say I have some rejection and abandonment issues. I don’t neglect her and expect to be treated the same way…but I never am.

  • AM

    This post is perfect for me today. My 48-year-old addict has been using crack at least once a month for the past 11 months, and that’s what I know of… so it’s probably more. Every time he does, I break up with him, and then he tells me what I want to hear, and we get back together. This last time, before he went out, he said he was looking forward to spending the next 3 days together. That night, he went out, came home at 7 in the morning and was gone that night again. I have been trying to change my attitude in order to live with him because I do love him deeply, but I told him today he needed to show me true recovery before we can be intimate again. My question is: What is true recovery and how will I know he has it if we aren’t living together? He refuses the 12-Step program and rehab. His method is called “Smart Recovery” (which seems like a good program) but so far, he hasn’t fully embraced it.

  • JC

    AM, thanks for sharing. You might want to check out this article: Giving Ultimatums To Alcoholics.

    You must really love this man to have broken things off and gotten back together so many times. Does this type of relationship seem healthy to you? I’m guessing that you have experienced being neglected due to his attraction to drugs?

    In regards to your question, perhaps you already know the answer to your question because you said that your friend hasn’t embraced the “Smart Recovery” method. In my experience, when someone gets clean and sober, there’s a complete change in lifestyle. They will be talking about the freedom, happiness and joy that accompanies living an honest and sober life. Their choice of friends change, they read recovery books all the time and the attend support group meetings daily.

  • AM


    Thank you for your reply. You are a very kind and devoted person who deserves some sort of award. 🙂

    The relationship is not healthy and that is one reason why I keep trying to free myself from it. However, I’m just as addicted to him as he is to his drugs & alcohol (forgot to mention he keeps trying to stop drinking whiskey too.)

    My broken ultimatums are adding to my depression and lack of self-esteem. I know that I must stick to it this time, and that’s why I’m reaching out to you and others in this group. I also plan to return to my Alanon meetings. I’ve been sick with effects from the flu for 18 days (just got antibiotics). I believe I have finally hit my bottom.

    My problem is I get attached to the idea of how it was when he wasn’t actively drinking and drugging. Things were so blissful and I keep hoping we will return to that joyful relationship. So I make myself believe his words when he says he will do this and that and stop the madness. When he doesn’t, I feel let down and the cycle continues.

    I appreciate your providing me a link to the article, Giving Ultimatums To Alcoholics. Unfortunately, the link didn’t work… but I figured it out. The URL is actually this (for those who are also trying to read it):


    Thank you again. I will keep using this site to help me figure out what my boundaries are and stick to them!

  • C

    Addicts are only involved with themselves and that is questionable! A true addict is so disorganized but will lash out at the person who wants to have a better life with them. It is exhausting and so depressing.

    I realized that my bf only went out for dinner with our friends – during the day, he drank and watched TV. He is retired. Rarely, would he work on a project around the house – it took weeks to get him to do anything like paint or use a hammer!!

    With the help of everyone on this site, I have detached, made my own life and realized how much healthier I am again. The alcoholic is always miserable if you are looking good and having fun! I can’t waste another day concerned about anything negative – I want to laugh and celebrate life.

  • Ross

    Well after being shunned for a few days by my husband(we’d been talking of and on since dec 2011)
    he said he’s done.I feel he was trying to move home and wante the easiest way out. He at first didnt want to quit drinking and after many months, said he would but never got around to it. Always assuming that him saying that alone would have him in the home by the weekend.
    He went to 3 meetings and said he would straghten up and expected to come home soon, even though we’d talked and i let him know i’d needed to see that he was really wanting to get well. After this latest half conversation in which he’d dominated,he started shunning me like was his routine.I beleive he means it this time and its not like i didnt the other times. I felt like he was trying to see the least he could get by with.I didnt feel like he was very serious and thought id wait and see. His money pressures and things piling up from his consequences has put a strain on him.I feel he thinks his remedy is to move home and me get us back on track.He hasnt ever wanted to budget. I would and he would sabatoge it or spend while i was trying to help us get ahead.I am hurt again, as i hoped down in my heart that he would try. He doesnt see what he’s done.He expects me to pay a very high price to have him/money to pay bills while negotiating would most likely be out the door.

  • Karens

    When I feel neglected I am hurt, frustrated and miserable. So the best thing to do is find and do something I love. My dogs just know when it is a bad day for me and they are so attentive. If that doesn’t work I have a mental intervention. I literally take my mind to some place that is beautiful to me. For instance my mind has created the most beautiful stream, with a song in its heart as the water moves by. This stream has beautiful, lush green vegetation and the sun sparkles through the leaves onto the water. I can immediately calm myself, all the fear leaves. I let the water wash away my problems. This ability is a gift from God that I have practiced for many years. It is a mental sanctuary that we all need. It is much better for my blood pressure to harbor my safe haven in my heart than the anger and frustration of daily coping. It was interesting to me to actually think about what I feel and do around the alcoholic. Not easy to be honest with
    myself. Reality is always there, the freedom to take a break from the heart ache is priceless.

  • charice

    i always feel neglected when he prepares to be with friends drinking till 4am. he said he will be home soon but thats only a lie. that’s why i’m having difficulty sleeping thinking of him. i’ve been cheated many times and seems like im obsessed over him because he’s capable of doing it again and again specially when he’s drunk and now that he’s earning much.from the time i found out about his cheating i never had peace of mind. whenever he’s out of town many things playing in my mind like is it really work or he’seeing someone. im hurting coz he has no control on his drinking till he hit the bottom. jc, ur right not to argue with them coz you will only hear hurting words.

  • AM


    I love your picturesque meditation! Thank you for sharing.

    Every time my beau was out during his all-night crack & whiskey binges, I had no proof that he cheated on me, but if he’s out all night making love to drugs and alcohol, it still feels like he’s cheating. Not much difference I my opinion. It’s still morally wrong.

    So last Thursday, I told him I needed a week off to take care of myself, and I asked him to share with me his efforts for recovery. I literally gave him an instruction manual of what it would take for me to allow him back into my home where he was living.

    Instead of providing me with examples of meetings he’d attended and things he learned about himself, he kept trying to make me feel sorry for him and blamed me for the spot we were in, saying I was being mean and negative.

    So today, I packed up all his stuff and told him it took him 10 months to get where he was (10 months of biweekly binges) and he could take 10 months away from me to focus on his recovery.

    He said, “My recovery is my own business.” And I guess that’s true to a certain extent, but if I am lying awake all night wondering if he’s dead or alive and he uses my bed as a place to come down from being high, it becomes my business.

    The Alcoholic’s Friend site provides great advice for detachment and happiness, but I felt I could no longer live with him if he’s not doing the work, but claiming his is…

    All talk and no action makes me a stress ball, which is bad for my health. I felt I had to hold him accountable…and I was tired of being a doormat.

    Thanks to all who share their experience, strength and hope. Tomorrow I’m going to an Al-Anon Dessert Potluck!

    Take care everyone… Keep your chins up! 🙂

  • Sofia

    How do you cope with being neglected?

    When I was living with my husband, I dived into work, mothering (single parent like), fulfilling the voids of needs he neglected, and confronting him in an anger cycle. Currently, we are separated. And I found that detachment was the only way to deal with the neglect… Any bits left over however I find I deal with just as poorly as before. As long as I don’t expect him to meet the needs, I don’t get disappointed, and I can point those needs toward God. Going forward, I’m struggling to understand how it is possible to mend an alcoholic/addict and codependent marriage without neglect being a reoccurring problem that compromises the codependent.

    How do you fulfill your needs for connection and significance when the alcoholic ignores you and indulges in self gratification?

    Before separation, I forced myself to fight it from him (which didn’t work). Now I focus on my extended family, friends, and faith.

    What do you do with anger?

    I used to act on it, very shamefully. I have found that dialectical behavioral therapy methods help me to deal with the anger and emotions behind it. I now have to “walk away”, sit in my feelings, and deal with the issue after the anger has past.

    Do you find yourself being depressed?

    Yes, I now recognize I dealt with post partum depression, twice, as a result of the environment from my husband’s alcoholism.

    Do you express your needs to the alcoholic or internalize your anger?

    I say it, I scream it, I act it toward him. Sometimes I say nothing at first, but being an extrovert, it comes out eventually.

    Does the alcoholic ignore your request to spend quality time with them?

    No, that’s not a big love language of mine. I usually asked for ‘help” with the house, kids, maintenance, errands… I did, however, started asking for him to come home on time, as he was evidently drinking at work after he was done working. Neither of which he did.

    Do you find yourself having expectations that only lead to resentments?

    YES. That is not our fault though, our expectations are meeting basic needs. When these basic needs are not met, we either hate them with resentment, or hate ourselves of not being good enough to deserve such needs being met.

    How could you avoid feeling neglected, rejected or abandoned?

    Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries.

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