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living with an alcoholic

By March 19, 2011 - 8:28am

I have been married for 17yrs. I knew he was an alcoholic when I married him. Things have gotten so bad. When he is sober, he is the best, but I can,t forget all the name calling, the nasty things he says, and sometimes physical abuse. I know I should leave him, but it is so hard to do. We lost our home 2 years ago and we live in a 5th. wheel in my moms driveway. Its very hard to get away from him when he's drunk. I feel like I am trapped, he has no family, if I tell him to leave he would be living on the street. What am I to do?

By March 18, 2012 - 12:30pm

Hi Cheryl,
I have to agree with Susan above. I have lived with an alcoholic father and then married an alcoholic/drug addicted husband. I can only tell you this. You need to break the chain of abuse. Only YOU can do it. I know how you feel, hopeless, helpless, low self esteem. Most of all, you don't believe you can make it on your own. Also that when he is good he is very very good. It is not the alcohol inasmuch as it is his own behavior.
From my own experience I learned how to focus on me. I went to alanon, and also called the battered women's shelter to go to groups there.
From all I have learned and applied, I can honestly say that I sit here writing you as a Victor not a Victim. Blessings, Donna

March 18, 2012 - 12:30pm
By May 20, 2011 - 6:19pm

Hi, Cheryl1955.
Sorry to read what your going through, been there, done that and your right it"s hard to leave, but not impossibe. Love yourself more than you love him.... abuse is never ending if you don't take a stand

May 20, 2011 - 6:19pm
By HERWriter Guide March 31, 2011 - 10:42am

Hi Cheryl1955

Thanks for your post and I'm sorry you're dealing with all this. Did you marry him thinking that you could 'fix' him? I'm sure you know by now that it doesn't work.

I think you need to stage an intervention (similar to what you see on television). Gather your family and anyone affected by his behavior and tell him how badly he has affected you all. Addicts are intensely selfish and self-absorbed - that's part of the addiction.

Tell him that if he does not get into treatment, he has to leave. And yes, that means being on the streets. YOU are living on the streets yourself - a driveway. What's the difference?

You can continue to allow his behavior to ruin your life as well as his or do something about it. One thing you can be sure of one thing: nothing is going to change. It has been like this for two decades and nothing has changed and nothing ever will. If he won't change, you have to. Get yourself to Al Alon and break your own addiction that you have which is trying to fix him.

If he won't take help then kick him out. He'll take you down with him if you don't. It all sounds very callous but any addiction expert will tell you to do this because NOTHING else works.

You are not going to make his life any worse than it is already so stop worrying about him and sit down and think about the fact that being married to this man has made you homeless, broke, abused and miserable. What is staying going to do?

If he refuses to get help, get him out and get a restraining order and start to get your life in order. Cheryl, please do not end up in your 70s, looking back on a terrible life and wishing you had made a different decision. It's important that he gets help but you need help too. Get this man out of your life if he won't seek help, otherwise you will see your whole life become his life, even though you haven't earned any of that misery.

I know I speak very frankly about this but I have seen far too many women stay with these men only to find freedom when their men die terrible deaths of cirrhosis, cancers or heart failures. But by the time it happens, the women are older and have lost decades of their lives to men who didn't care enough to at least try. Addiction is a terrible thing and addicts need help, but what he is doing to you is practically criminal and you have to step up, take control and find your backbone.

My best to you and let me know if you need more information/resources.

March 31, 2011 - 10:42am

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Superwomen... we all are. But now lets add the 24-7 responsibility of caring for your chronically ill husband/spouse... whether it be depression, ALS, MS, diabetes, heart condition, cancer... or...? It takes its toll. Even when they are appreciative, but what about when they are not.. when the anger is directed at you. The depression of theirs add to the challenges. Many of us don't want to leave...but how do we cope? how do we find time for ourselves without making the situation even worse?


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