glgl Guest

I'm with my husband for close to decade now, he's a great person, perfect for me, completely the love of my life. But he's also an alcoholic and the last few years have been hellish. He does admit he has a problem, has been to rehab, goes to AA, on medication to help him quit, has counsellors but nothing is working. He keeps on drinking, nearly every single day.

I really can't live like this anymore. He's loses all sense of reason when he wants to drink. behaves like a toddler having a tantrum and storms off citing a litany of bull**** excuses about needing space when he is just heading to the off license. He's nearly died several times. Been hospitalised, needed emergency care, it's not unusual for him to pass out on the street after a binge and have some stranger find him and call an ambulance. It's not unusual for me to come home and find him passed out covered in vomit, occasionally having wet himself. I've had to save his life on at least two occasions, which he isn't even remotely grateful for.

Writing this out makes me wonder why the hell I'm still here with him but I love him. It's like he's two people and the other side of him is truly wonderful. It's really hard to walk away from someone who you love so much, have shared so much and have so many plans with. The thing is I don't think those plans can happen. I can't have a family with him, I can't rely on him when I need him. When I had a miscarriage a few years ago he was mostly crap (this was the catalyst for me realising how bad his drinking was). When I was sick and in hospital he snuck out drinking the first day I came home even though I was still in a bad state. Christ on a very basic level I just miss sex, because gibbering drunks are neither capable of sex nor terribly attractive. The three times a year he manages to hold it together long enough make me want to be with him doesn't really satisfy me.

I know if he could just stop drinking we could get our lives back on track. I could let everything go and move forward. (I've been in counselling about this myself and a lot of different support groups.) At times he gets sober for a few weeks and while it's not all sunshine and roses it's great overall. But he's back on an awful self-destructive path. If he's making any progress toward recovery, it's miniscule and unnoticeable. I'm still just about young enough to leave him, start over and still have hope for that I could have a family with someone else. I really don't want to do that, but I don't want what I've got either.

guest2905 Guest

Hi OP - my heart goes out to you. I guess not only is there a deep love for your husband, but also a fear that it would be the end of him if you stepped away from him?! That in as much as he is bad at the moment, without you there to look after him, there is no-one to stop him basically killing himself? I am not sure how difficult it is at the moment to get into residential treatment programmes (i understand the addict has to want it themselves also), but is there any chance of this? Can you perhaps say that it is the only way you will stay in your marriage and remain his wife (ie if he checks into residential rehabilitation)?
I can't begin to understand truely the extent of your torment, but I have a little idea being married to a compulsive gambler. It takes organisation etc but we have found a way to manage. At times though I nearly left him too. Alcoholism is different though. You must find the strength somewhere and apply your conviction to him, to yourself. No self-destructing alcoholic is worth YOUR life, no matter who it is. Please dont lose many more years giving someone 'their last chance'.. give yourself a chance for having a more rewarding life - the pain will pass... I wish you the best of luck...

seenitall Registered User

I agree with you, OP; I think you need to leave your husband.

With an addict, the addiction is and always be the priority in their life; you know this better than anyone by now. The OH is always a pale second on the priority scale. It is just the nature of the beast.

"For better or worse" is all very well until the worse includes the lifetime of being an enabler, in misery, without a true partnership in any sense of the word, denied a family, unappreciated, taken for granted, joyless, sucked out of all emotion or energy. It is easy to judge people, but it is pure, living, breathing, relentless, hopeless hell to walk in your shoes, OP, so let no one's judgments make you feel guilty.

You know you deserve so much more than this, OP. You have one life. I hope you choose to live it with dignity, pride, strength, fulfilment, love and happiness.

adagio Registered User

Hi Op... unfortunately a familiar story.
If I roll back the clock about 30 years you are telling my moms story, but she didn't leave him until recently (5/6 years ago). The time she spent w/him, while being in love w/him, she invested every ounce of herself into helping him and keeping the home together.
But alas, she was wasting her time and eventually had to leave.
Now.. every case should be treated individually but simply put you have a choice to make.
You can stay w/him and try to support him.
Or you can leave and build a new life for yourself.
Either way you will have to take a gamble, but think of what you are gambling with. On the one hand you are gambling on him, but the bet you are placing if you take this option is your time and energy. If it pays off you could have the man and family you want. But if it doesn't, then you could loose a large portion of you life that you cannot retrieve.
If you gamble on leaving him and it works out you will find the life you want w/someone else and you will be treated the way you deserve to be treated. But if it doesn't work out you may regret leaving him.
Now, forget about anyone else for the moment and focus on you. Which option finds you placing the most on the line? It's obvious isn't it?
You will be taking a hugh gamble on him if you stay. I have seen first hand the results of this gamble not working out (leaving the home/have a breakdown/attempted suicide..etc).
Having grown up in such a family I wish my mom had left him 30 years ago. My heart breaks for her that she has missed out on finding what you want - a warm loving relationship.
There are many groups/people out there that will tell you (they may be correct!) that you should stay w/him and be as supportive as possible.
But in my experience (not just my own, but friends from similar backgrounds) unless an individual has the self motivation to get better then they will continue on a self destructive path.
There is the slim possibility that you could try a different approach (I have seen this work only once) where you leave him and allow him to hit rock bottom. Then watch an see if he has that inner motivation to recover. But you will have to be very strong and not return too soon (assuming that he does prove to you he is motivated) because if you return too soon the old patterns will return.
Finally, I genuinely wish you well and hope you have the strength to do what's right for you.

BraziliaNZ Banned

heart goes out to you. Have you spoken to his family yet? Might be an idea.

glgl Guest

His family know what is going on and are also trying to do what they can to encourage him to change. Though they are also feeling at their wit's end with him too by now. Nearly all of our friends know as well and all are trying to help him (and me).

It's just so hard for me to reconcile the man I love with the drunk I live with. I feel like I'm losing my mind. I've spent ages going to counseling in conjunction with him. I let go of all my anger and hurt. I prepared to move on, made changes to my life that make me a lot happier. And during this time he got treatment, started a tentative recovery, seemed to be coming back. I knew there was still an awful lot of work to do before things could be 'normal' but I was prepared for it.

But lately he's just lost it completely. He is always incredibly drunk (apart from at work, afaik). And when he is sober he just completely wants to ignore what's happening. If I try to bring it up he starts whining that he can't recover if he has to hear about how much he is hurting other people. I feel like I'm losing my mind. He has convinced himself that he is working on his recovery and thinks everyone should treat him as if he is, but he's drinking more than ever. He's absolutely full of righteous indignation if anyone tries to do something he doesn't like as it is "impeding his recovery."

I really don't want to have to leave him. I'm crying writing this. But I've started to lose all hope that he's going to get any better. I'm so sad about this, I love how our life should be. I love our home and the lifestyle we should be having. I can't believe that we have everything that he says he wants in life but it's not enough to stop his drinking this way.


Hi OP. I definitely think you should leave him. Im the child of an alcoholic, my fater, and my mother was in the position you are in and she never left and the alcoholism destroyed her. She ended up with a stroke at 52 and then live in a wheelchair with a drunk supposed to be her carer and both of them died in an accident a few years later - an accident that was probably caused by his drinking. She had a horrible life and was a totally broken person. The situation also had a terrible effect on both me and my sibling and I still attend group therapy to deal with it, many years later.

The thing is, if you leave him now, because of the drinking, and make it clear to him the reason why you are going, he then has the chance to sort himself out and if he does, there is nothing stopping you going back to him. But if you dont leave at all, you just stay stuck in this awful situation.

The other thing is, you are IN the situation so its very difficult for you to have any real perspective on it, and if you leave you will actually have a clearer mind to decide what the future holds for you.

My heart goes out to you, if youre not already going you should definitely go to Alanon - it helps a lot. None of this is your fault, but you are suffering from the effects of his alcoholism. You didnt cause it, you cant control it and you cant cure it. You can only help yourself.

I wish you all the best.

seenitall Registered User

glgl said:
I really don't want to have to leave him. I'm crying writing this. But I've started to lose all hope that he's going to get any better. I'm so sad about this, I love how our life should be. I love our home and the lifestyle we should be having. I can't believe that we have everything that he says he wants in life but it's not enough to stop his drinking this way.

OP, you are an enabler. Do you know what that means? As long as you stay with your OH, and "support" him (which means support him in his drinking by keeping schtum, doesn't it?), you are effectively condoning his alcoholism.

I am sorry but the things you say you love, they don't exist. You are delusional, you are hanging on to a delusion, to something that is not real.

You are so run down by your life that it is obvious you are in no state to help even yourself, let alone your OH. I am so, so sorry to read your posts, OP.

Alcoholism is a condition which will bring you down, way down. It is inevitable, it is happening. Now, it won't only take him to hit rock bottom for him to realise he needs to stop drinking, it will also take you to hit rock bottom in that relationship for you to understand you have to get out of it for your own sanity and any chance of happiness. What that rock bottom will be, I don't know. I just hope it happens ASAP, rather than in 20 years' time or never, like with the sad examples of wasted lives the other posters wrote about.

I feel for you OP

The only person who can help you is yourself. I wish you were able to see that, and to get the hell out.

adagio Registered User

As I mentioned earlier that you have a duty of care to yourself, but I neglected to mention that you have to be 100% certain that you don't bring a child into such an environment.
An adult can rationalize seeing a drunk in operation, but a child cannot and unfortunately it can leave a scar for life.
I'm sorry but I may have been beating round the bush earlier w/my post. I think you should leave, gain perspective and then decide where you want to go.
If you don't you could regret if for the rest of your life.
There's a whole world waiting for you Op.
Best of luck.

Kimia Registered User

Nothing in your situation is going to change unless he realises that he needs help. Nothing. Are you happy with giving him all the power like that, over your lives?

He has to be the one to decide to stop drinking, but you're the only one who can decide whether or not to trust that he'll eventually realise this. What if he doesn't? What if you're still there 20 years on, still waiting for him to stop drinking?

You are effectively putting your life on hold, in the corner, away, until your husband realises that he is an alcoholic. Again, this may never happen and you have no say in the matter.

You have a choice. You can either stay with him, hoping and praying that 'some day' he'll realise that he needs help and seriously stops drinking. Again, that day may never come. Or you can leave, detach from him with love, and start living your own life.

One of these choices will result in you living your life for someone else. The other will result in you having a life of your own. It's up to you what you want to do.

glgl Guest

Weirdly enough he came to me this morning in tears at his behaviour. (We've been sleeping in separate rooms as I lock our bedroom door and don't let him in if he's been drinking.) He says he feels he's hit a new low and that this is his rock bottom. That he has alienated many of his friends, driven his family mad, completely taken advantage of me and knows he's on the verge of losing me and our future. We spent hours talking, sometimes arguing, and he knows that he'll lose everything if he continues on like this.

He had one meeting today which he was fine after. Then we spent some time together talking. He's at another meeting now which I'm nervous about because he sometimes pretends to be at this meeting and goes to the pub instead. He has an appointment with a community alcohol clinic on Wednesday and a therapist on Thursday. He's also planning to arrange an inpatient treatment during his summer holidays next month and he's asked me if he can accompany me to my martial arts class during the week as he's been advised to take up a sport.

I told him that this needs to be it, if he keeps drinking I will leave and that it will be for good. I left him before and we were separated for a few months until he admitted he needed professional help and got it. But because I left fast (it was a situation where I felt if I didn't go I never would) I just stayed with my parents, went on holiday to see a friend and then back to my parents. He convinced himself in retrospect that I hadn't left him, I just tried to frighten him. This time if I go I will sort out work and housing before I go. It will be easier for me and he won't be able to convince himself that I'm moving for his benefit. It will also mean that I will still have some of the things I miss when we are apart. My parents are great but when I go stay with them I don't have my own home that I can do my own thing in. I don't have a sense of stability or of starting afresh.

So my plan now is to spend the next few weeks or so sorting things out so that if I leave I will be leaving to start a new life, rather than running away from what I have. This gives him a chance to get his sh1t together but if he doesn't I'll leave on my terms.

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mollymuffs Registered User

I know how you feel i also lived with an alcoholic who i loved so much. The thing is i was let him be an alcoholic by being a co-dependant and allowing him behave the way he did...we have been separated almost 3 years and my kids have told me since they are surprised we never separated years ago... get a book on co-dependancy and take a good read..only you will know what will make you happpy i hope all works out for you..

Mon Vie Guest

I was given this advice (however it took me another year to leave the relationship) but please take time to read it:-

The best that I can do is to tell you the truth about alcoholism.
You may not like my answer to you, but it will be honest and truthful.
The action that you take will undoubtedly determine what the rest of your life will be like!

If your boyfriend does not stop drinking, and you stay with him, you are
looking at a relationship and the good possibility of having a lifetime
full of pain and misery. If he does not stop for sure he will get worse.
If you continue to stay you will become his victim, but never his girlfriend, lover or
wife. Drinking alcoholics take “hostages” they never take partners,
because their alcoholism does not allow them to have a normal
relationship with another human being. Alcoholics who are still drinking are
generally self-centered to the extreme, booze is more important to them than
ANYTHING ELSE. As much as he may love you his addiction will never allow
you to come first, booze will always come before you, his health, his job, his family, andeven his very life. By breaking up with him you may be doing him a big favor by helping to raise his “bottom”. In other words his recognition that he has lost another thing that was important in his life. I know of many cases where the non-drinker of a couple ends up “joining “ thedrinker as a matter of their own survival. What ever
you do (unless you are also having a drinking problem) don't join him in his drinking, because to be a male alcoholic is bad enough, but to be a female
alcoholic is much worse because of the “special” problems that a woman drunk
faces. You will become his weak prey that he can do with whatever he wants to.

It is very easy for those who are close to an alcoholic to become“enablers”. An enabler is a person who allows an alcoholic to continue drinking, primarily by their acceptance of the alcoholic's actions and not holding them accountable for their unacceptable behavior. If an enabler has no special knowledge or training in the field of alcoholism and they try to help, the alcoholic can sense the ineptness and weakness of the enabler and they continue on drinking because they know that they will be forgiven and rescued time and time again… and again. In a backhanded way you will give him “permission” to drink by your continued acceptance of his unacceptable behavior. What ever you decide to do it should be based upon your head talking and not your heart. Don't let your actions appear to be allowing him to continue drinking. If you continue on the road that you are on you haven't seen anything yet. Alcoholism is a progressive disease it only gets worse it never gets better on its own.

I would make it very clear to him that you do not want to hear from him again until he does something positive about his drinking problem…and then only after he has been sober in a program of recovery (like AA) for at least one full year. Never make any threat to him unless you intend to follow through with it.

HOWEVER, if for some insane reason you cannot stop yourself from continuing
your relationship with him, then it would be wise for you to go to Alanon meetings. It is the Only way that you will survive the ordeal Of having an alcoholic in your life.
If you chose to remain in your relationship with him and you don't attend meetings you have no one to blame for your situation but yourself.

Alcoholics are not bad people, they are sick people who need help, but
they must be held responsible for their actions! You may not be able to do anything about your boyfriend's drinking but you can do something about the problem that has developed in your life by having an alcoholic in it.
Until you are armed with the right kind of information, knowledge and implications of the disease, your efforts to help him will be for nothing.
Alcoholism is deadly and it destroys everything and everyone who comes into contact with it. Please go to meetings it will be your only chance to survive the relationship.

If you don’t already know, it is generally believed, by many in the field of alcoholism, that it is a three-fold disease. Mental, Physical and Spiritual.

The “mental” part of the illness refers to the mental obsession to drink that precedes the first drink... a pre-occupation with thinking about drinking which is so powerful that the alcoholic must drink. The “physical” aspect of the disease is, that once the
first drink is downed a physical compulsion takes over in the form of a deep
incessant craving that the alcoholic must continue to drink until some outside incident stops them or they pass out.
The “spiritual” part of the illness (not spiritual in a religious way) is in the loss of an
alcoholic's values, and a willingness to settle for less and less as the drinking continues. It becomes difficult for the alcoholic to determine the difference between right and wrong or good and bad. The alcoholic develops a change in priorities where drinking becomes more important than health, family, job and friends.

Stopping drinking is not a matter of willpower.
Alcoholism is a disease.
Drinking alcoholically is but a symptom of a deeper underlying problem that must be faced up to in order for an alcoholic to recover. Without learning what that problem is, trying to stay away from a drink is known as "white knuckle sobriety". It isn't very long before the alcoholic has to drink again. For the alcoholic there is no such
thing as cutting down, drinking only on weekends, changing what they drink,
smoking pot or taking other mind altering drugs or even switching to “near
beer” with 0.05% alcohol. For the alcoholic nothing will work short of total and complete abstinence from any thing that contains alcohol or other mind-altering
substances (drugs). Of course the exception is a medical doctor's prescription as long as the doctor understands that he is dealing with an addicted person. Unfortunately, all alcoholics must hit their own bottom before they do anything about stopping. I am sorry to say that hitting a bottom for some many may mean going as low as a person can six feet! Don't let him take you there with him. Let him
go and get on with your life. Once again, you may help to save his life by raising his bottom even if you are no longer together.

Until he “admits and accepts” that alcohol is causing him problems there is little you can do for him. No one can scare an alcoholic into stopping drinking. Cajoling, hand-wringing, threatening, begging and even putting him away against his will, will not get him to stop doing what he has not made up his own mind to do. Don't think that he does not want to stop, he can't stop when left to his own devices. Also, don't
be lulled into thinking that an alcoholic will stop drinking just
because they say that they will. It's not that he will purposely lie to you… but they will lie to themselves because down deep he is afraid to stop.
Alcoholism is powerful, cunning, baffling and insidious. An active alcoholic's choices
become limited to: attending a recovery program like AA, or entering an in-patient detoxification clinic that has an after care outpatient program, then to the AA
program. If he does nothing about stopping then he is destined to die a drunk's death, get involved negatively with the law or end up in a mental institution. I am sorry to be blunt, but I am only stating what you probably already know. Rarely have I seen an alcoholic stop drinking on willpower alone. The disease is too powerful.

There is no reason why you should remain in such a horrible situation as you are. Just ask yourself what you would advise a friend to do if she came to you and explained the same situation that you are going through as her problem. I would bet that you would tell her to get away from him ASAP. You were not put on this earth to allow another person to enslave you and have to live in fear and yet do nothing about it.

If you do talk to him you may want to say that you are leaving him because of his drinking. And… that until he is sober for at least a year or more that you do not want to hear from him or have any contact with you. You have to get on with your life.
God forbid that you have a child with him and then become tied to him for the rest of your life and I am sure that he wont be a provider.
You know that its one thing for him to be ignorant of not knowing where to get
help, but he does know and won’t do anything about his problem.

I wish you the very best and I hope that I have not taken too much liberty with you in the way I have responded to your question. You seem to be an intelligent woman…
don’t let this man destroy your life. Get outwhile you can, and concentrate on a someone who can love you, more than booze.
I know that you love him…but he can’t love you and alcohol at the same time!

4 people have thanked this post
Kimia Registered User

Mon Vie, thanks for taking the time to write that.

StarryMoon0 Registered User

Mon Vie, that is an amazing post.

To the OP, you leaving him may be his rock bottom. He may get the help he needs. Maybe not though, and you have to be prepared to look after yourself.

You are not responsible for his addiction and you cannot control or "help" him with his addiction. Only he can do this, and only if he wants to.

Stand up tall, do what you need to do, look after yourself and go to an Al Anon meeting for support. There are so many people going through these things, you are not alone.

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