Ending My Marriage To My Alcoholic Husband If He Drinks Again

JC: Thanks Danni for your story. I hope your husband can stay sober. You have placed a serious demand on yourself, your husband and marriage. Here are a couple of ideas:

Submitted By: Danni
My story is somewhat different from those I have read. My husband is an alcoholic and I suppose he has always been, however we are retired and he has all the time in the world to drink now. Through the Grace of God we have never suffered from financial difficulties since we were newly weds 35 years ago. Even though he gets falling down drunk most days, he has never paid a bill late nor borrowed money. He is not a mean drunk unless I provoke an argument and then he gets pretty foul. He is not violent.

I have learned to follow JC’s advice of keeping my distance and keeping calm. The situation has become more difficult because we are Americans living in Europe. We live in beautiful Croatia where we own two beautiful homes, one on the sea and one in the mountains with panoramic sea views.

We have luxury cars and everything we have is paid for. Sounds like a charmed life? I would rather do without all this in order for this sweet-when-sober man to stop the madness. Unfortunately we live in a country that really doesn’t know how to deal with alcoholics. He has been in a treatment facility, we have attend what passes for AA meetings for years. There the drinkers and spouses are encouraged to chastise the drinker instead of giving support.

Please feel free to leave a comment below the article.

Friends, knowing his problem, insist he have a drink at their homes. “Danni, it’s just a beer.” He just celebrated his 60th birthday and all his gifts were bottles of wine. So you see that this situation is pretty impossible. He is in therapy now with a good psychiatrist who has been of immense help for me as well. Everything was better when he started and then I guess some old wounds surfaced and then he was worse. The doctor will not see him again unless he stays sober for several days.

Yesterday he was sober because I had him arrested for domestic violence. He was really drunk and he was in bed and when I neared the bed he kicked me on the cheek. This was some sort of reflex, but I took the opportunity to get the police here. The do not come just for a drunken man…he must be a danger to himself and others. That same day he scraped his Mercedes against a wall so I knew it was time. He has driven drunk more often lately. I hide the keys most of the time. I contacted the Dr. and he spoke to the police and asked them to take him to the hospital instead of jail because he had also taken too many muscle relaxers on top of the booze.

As I said, the policy here is not really to help the alcoholic so off to jail he went to spend the night. Sunday morning we both had to go before the judge and he was released with a significant fine and charged an extra $40 for his stay in Casa Clink which had no toilet or sink. So after we returned home I told him that if he has one more drink I will get an attorney to file for divorce and force him to sell our property so I can return home to America. I cannot sell anything with out his approval. This is the first real threat I have made and I am deadly serious.

To make matters worse we are expecting our 16 year old grandson in a couple weeks, visiting from California. I cannot have him witness his grandfather in this state. We were in America for 3 weeks last Christmas and my husband didn’t have one drink and we and the kids and grands had the best time. Our summer this year is filed with visiting friends and family…So today he is sober and said he is frightened now with the jail experience and knowing that I am serious about leaving. As you all know, promises are empty. He absolutely means it when he says it, but the allure of alcohol is stronger than he or I. I don’t want to be forced to leave this beautiful country which I love so much. I am totally cut off from family back home and without a partner there is no point.

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63 comments to Ending My Marriage To My Alcoholic Husband If He Drinks Again

  • Amy

    Yes even when mine was sober or attempting to be he didn’t really seem to act much different.He just wasn’t drunk.They seem like pretty miserable people to be around either way.Even sober mine would fly into rages about NOTHING.I would sit there and try to figure out why anyone would get so upset about some of the things he did.I remember the day it hit me after dealing with so much drama over and over.He flew into a rage as usual and I just sat there thinking , this guy is crazy.It seems if the focus and attention isn’t on them then they are not happy.He seemed to want everyone around him just as miserable as he is.Living with an alcoholic sober or not sober is simply no way to live.They will drain you dry of every ounce of life inside you, I will be a long time recovering from all I have been through, but I had rather be going through all that I am , that be there in that living situation with him one more day.

  • Amy: That is it – they want total attention all the time. When he sat in front of the TV and drank a beer or wine, I would work a crossword puzzle or whatever – made him mad I was involved with anything but him! I thought he was nuts. You really express what I have been through.

    My ah would stay downstairs all night watching TV with a drink and then fall asleep. He wondered why I became totally detached. When he was on the phone with any of “his family”, he had a different tone of voice – I got the stern approach constantly!

  • Pez

    This is atypical. I found out my XAB (he was sober for 8 years of his 20 year marriage) from his X wife that he, even sober, was self-focused and filled the house with anger. She had him removed from the home the anger got so bad. She was hoping to force him into counseling by court order. But instead with the pressure of being removed from the home, he started drinking again (I met him a later). I believe if an alcoholic gets sober he/she also needs counseling to learn to relate to a loved one in the proper way. It’s a learned behavior while drinking and they know no other way to be, especially if they have been indulging for many years. They don’t know WHAT NORMAL IS!
    And I don’t know about you guys, but I am a professional business woman and my life is NOT all about my significant other! I want whomever I’m involved with to be interested in my life too! This constant self-absorbtion is exhausting!!!! and certainly not a reciprocal relationship.

  • Julie

    If you would like an insight into the mind of an alocoholic a good book to read is “Drinking: A Love Story” By Caroline Knapp. I found a used copy on Amazon for under $6. This is written by a recovering alcoholic and gives great insight into the mind of an alcoholic. BUt she does let the reader know that recovery is slim and most addicts do not stay sober. So understand and forgive and have mercy but remember to guard your hearts/minds when delving into the why’s of an addict’s brain. I know as I read this it helped me to understand my ex a little but i have to say to beware that you do not feel too sorry for them. Mine has other reasons and issues why i had to separate alcoholism was not his reason for his actions it was a symptom of who he was inside. So I guess i am saying to read this to understand but also realize that this author though struggling with the same addictive problems may not have the same personality as your Alcoholic.

  • Debbi

    Julie: I will try your suggestion on the book. I recommend going to Doug Thornburn’s website–he wrote 3 books that are fantastic 10 years of research on addicts. He blows away all the myths that we think about alcoholism. I’m curious though, if you did not separate because of his addiction what was your final reason for separation? My exA’s drinking was tolerable so for me it was the lies (about me & to me) and the infidelity. Just curious about you.

  • After reading Danni’s story, I could relate in many ways. I may not be living in another country, but I did move from California to Colorado to be with my significant other and it where we live is secluded. It takes me 40 min to drive to work and everyone out where we live seem like a community of alcoholics, and there are no girlfriends or anyone to really talk to. We live in a beautiful house, drive decent cars, I have two horses and a beautiful lifestyle, apart from my partner who works from home and does Real Estate. So every day I finish my full day job to come home to the drunk who tells me how tough his day was. I have to keep from either strangling him or laughing when I hear this, as his day encompasses 9am – 3pm, or less, but I am sure the drinking starts from the time I leave the house. It gets frustrating living with someone I can’t really talk to, as he’s just not capable. When morning comes, he wakes up being affectionate, trying to hold my hand. For me, I am still detached and watching my heart and keep emotions in check. Its hard to live detached all the time. There are some occasions where he isn’t drunk, but been drinking, and we can talk somewhat. But when he is drunk, I detach, and go in another room to do my own thing… I have to so not to focus on his state, the glazed eyes, poor color of skin, the feeling of disrespect that comes over me if I study him too much… so its best to control what I can, thats me… leave the room and do my own thing. I do think of leaving him, but my current job doesn’t pay enough to pay for a rental, so I am currently looking for a new job and hoping I find something that can support me better. When I did move out, I was told I could take a part-time job and only had to pay my own expenses, he would take care of everything. Now that he’s not so productive, I get made to feel I’m not contributing enough and need to do more. So as said, I am looking for another job, but not for him, for me so I can have the choice to leave and be out of the stress of living with an alcoholic.

  • Debbi

    Dallas: You’re doing all the right things even though I’m sure it is very difficult for you. But know there are a lot of others in the same boat & some like me who have left their A’s already. Life will get better for all of us I’m sure.

  • Julie

    Debbi for me it was a lot of things. The lies and deceit, the never being home except to yell at me and the children and threaten us and criticize everything we did. The control he tried to have over us and the fact that he would treat me like i was nothing but a piece of property to him. I actually caught him making out with my neighbor in our backyard one night. they were both durnk of course. When i yelled at them both and told her to get off my property he actually told me i should go apologize to her because what if she never comes over to drink with him anymore because i am such a b**ch. Geez for me it was incidences like that which just piled up over the years until my hurt became anger and i realized i was worth more than to be treated like that. The fact was whether my ex was drunk or semi-sober he always acted the same toward me and the children and to me that meant that was who he was. So the drinking was just another problem tacked on to the rest. I know when we were dating i really felt sorry for him all the time because he used to tell me how everyone in his life had always treated him so badly and i was the only one who had not. So it was very hard to say no to him when he asked me to marry him. I tell you now that i am wiser i would never marry someone because i wanted to make them feel wonderful and worthy. I would marry someone again only if we both felt wonderful when we were together. And there is a big difference. Wish i had not had to go through so much to learn that. I only try to teach my children in hopes that they choose better for their lives. Thanks for asking Debbi. I am sorry to hear you had to put up with lies too. 🙁 It is so frustrating to say the least.

  • Julie

    PS i will check out Doug Thornburn too. Thanks!

  • Deb

    Is anyone still on this board? I’m seeking some advice on dealing with my husband who is an alcoholic.

  • Pez

    I still check in from time to time.

  • SC

    I still check in too. Not sure why it’s slow now?
    Don’t receive emails from this site anymore??

  • Parisgirl

    Danni – I can somewhat relate to your story since we are also retired and he drinks vodka all day every day while I take care of all inside and outside work on the house. I cook every day but he would rather drink than eat most days. When he does sit for a meal he pops open a can of beer – he drinks that in between the vodka. Great.
    He drank for the first 36 yrs of our marriage, went to AA for 5 yrs then started again after his diagnosis & treatment for lung cancer. I’m pretty worried about his overall health but am literally powerless to do anything. Most days he’s pretty mellow with the drinking but some days he is nasty and hurtful.
    I know that he’s depressed but he won’t go for help. So he drinks which exacerbates the depression. Bottom line is that at our age – although I could afford to walk away – I just don’t have the energy. I’m really so tired of doing the “heavy lifting” – so frustrated; this is not the way I wanted to spend retirement.

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