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Do I try to make it work with my alcoholic husband?

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Question - (26 January 2007) 40 Answers - (Newest, 2 February 2011)
A female United States age 36-40, *atient1 writes:

O.K. here it goes......My husband is an alcoholic. When I fell in love with him it wasn't a problem. We met in our early 20's so we partied together, nothing uncommon. We have since had 2 boys (5 and 3) and I have matured and calmed down. He has only gotten worse. He has gone from 6-12 beers in a regular day to 12-36 (no kidding) a day. He has become a different person than the man I married. His mood swings are very unpredictable, he has gotten physical with me in the past, and he can be straight up vulgar. On some occasions he doesn't remember, sometimes he is so sorry and can't live without me, other times it "must" have been my fault somehow. Any way, I've grown so tired of living this way. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he will get help, but it seems like everytime he gets closer to getting help he just endulges further into the alcohol. I do love him dearly and my boys love him too. But I'm afraid of the negative affect he has and will have on our children. I have never loved someone so much and hated them at the same time. With the stress of him and my kids I feel like I am losing my mind. I've tried leaving him and he pulls me back with his kindness and sincerity and things will be good for a little while, but then when it gets bad again, it gets really bad. I don't know what to do anymore. Do I keep holding on or do I finally let go?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 February 2011):

I just had to answer this, as I have read some amazing answers to this question.

I have been married for 6 years to an absolutely terrible alcoholic. There have been 3 nights in our marriage that he did not drink... every single other night he has been drunk. I have suggested EVERYTHING, but he won't get himself helf as "he doesn't have a problem" "he can stop if he wants to". I am very greatful that we do not have children. As much as I have wanted children for the past 6 years (I even went as far as having two IVF's!)I am pretty sure that a higher power helped me not to have children with him!

I have struggled this whole time with how to "fix" him, instead on concentrating on myself and what is best for me. I gained 80 lbs from unhappiness (with myself!) and lack of self esteem. In December I finally came to the realization that I had to leave, and I have to think of me first. I have come up with a plan and started saving for it (as he has drunk all of our savings, I didn't even have a penny in December!). I will be leaving on April 1st, I have found a place to leave which I can afford on my own and have started working on my own personal happiness.

Not only have I become a much happier and more self confident person, I have also lost 10 lbs. All of this and I haven't even left yet. But not only have I decided to leave, I have two people behind me who I can trust to keep me accountable.

Of course all of our situations are unique and we have to do what is best for us, but please follow your hearts ladies and do what will eventually make YOU happy. Not what is going to make your husband happy or your children. Because your children will be much happier if you are happy and your husband won't get help if things stay the same.

I am truly hoping and praying that this will be a wake up call for him and that he will get himself help. However I fear that he will only get worse. But I have finally managed to accept the fact that it is not my responsibility whether he gets help or becomes worse. That is all up to him and something he will have to do for himself.

Good luck with all of your journeys.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2010):

I relate so much to the last post! I wish I could meet you.

I also have 3 children (aged 7,9 and 11) and I have been married for 12 years, together for 17.

I had always sensed that he had a problem with his drinking from early on in our relationship, but he was my first love, and I was a young 19 year old with low self confidence. Even though my head told me he was not the right person for me, I fell in love madly and soon I got "trapped" in a co-dependent relationship.

His drinking has changed over the years.

Earlier on he was a pub binge drinker. When I confronted him he always made all kind of excuses and promises that he would cut down, that he would stop, etc. With time he managed to bend his habit slightly, now he's a heavy social drinker and he also drinks alone at home "to relax". Occasionally he will get completely drunk.

I can never tell when this will happen. One day he may drink sensibly and come back home sober, another day he may not drink, and another day he may drink and carry on drinking until he's very drunk. There have been many times in the past when I have had to take him away from a bar or a party or somewhere else because he was embarrassingly drunk.

This does not happen on a weekly or monthly basis, it just happens occasionally, twice- three times a year. It hasn't happened so much recently (the last time was 9 months ago) but the pure unpredictability of it is what makes me anxious, and I can never feel relaxed when he goes out to have “just a couple” with his mates, or at social dinners, celebrations and parties.

I have suffered a lot over the years, and I have been through so much pain and anxiety.

He cannot hold a steady job and have a steady income. He constantly has new projects but never seem to lead anywhere, because he acts by impulse without thinking things through. I am the main provider of income and stability.

Our sex life is also poor. I think he'll rather drink and go on internet social networks than make love. And I don't feel like making love when he's drunk.

This has also fueled my lack of body confidence. I don’t feel attractive to him nor to any man.

From the outside we have a great facade, we have three lovely children, I have my own business and he helps me with it, and I am quite successful and very confident professionally.

Behind closed doors is a totally different thing, my personal private life lacks trust and intimacy. It is far from ideal.

In the past he’s tried to stop, but he’s never fully admitted he’s got a drinking problem.

We've nearly broken up so many times: but he's always fully regretted, has been really sorry, told me that it will never ever happen again. When he sobers up he is so loving, generous and helpful and our kids love him–if only he could be like this all the time.

He’s like Jekyll and Mr Hyde .

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (1 November 2010):

I have been married for 16 years, not quite 40 years old and I am still trying to get out. We have 3 beautiful children 13, 10 & 8, I work full time and earn a decent salary to put my children through private school so am affluent enough on my own without my husband.

I still cannot leave him.

I am probably co dependent. I don't love him anymore, and he is well aware of this. I stay for my children, my eldest child begged me to stay when I had him arrested 8 years ago for a mild episode of abuse (it used to be worse), he pulled me down the stairs when I was 6 weeks pregnant, now she is asking me to leave him at age 13 as he is quite verbally abusive to all of us.

His drinking goes in starts and is not regular. He uses so many excuses it is hereditary, he has a problem, its my fault, I nag him too much, he has never had any family support from his father & mother - the list is endless.

As I sit here reading what I am typing I am not sure why I am still here, I am an intelligent woman, self sufficient and fairly headstrong but he just has this hold over me.... I just cant work it out.

Every day it gets harder to leave, I have a wonderful facade of my functioning family that everybody believes, behind closed doors I couldn't bear the shame of it. Perhaps therein lies my problem, I do blame myself, I know it isn't me but I just cant help it.

Please ladies don't wait until you get a job, I did and I still cant leave 16 years later.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (22 October 2010):

When I first met my husband he was not a drinker,than one day his best friend just got out of the military, so he would bring beer to my house, it got so bad that we would fist fight each other, he would call me a horror, cheater, liar, u name it he called me it. I cant talk to him while he is drunk he hits my 14 year old, and Iam truly so sick of it I cant bare it anymore, I have 3 beautiful girls, and it hurts me so bad mentally. I dont know what to do? From beer to hard liquor, its insane hes drowning in his own mess,and a I dont want to be here when he does.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 October 2010):

I see myself in all of your stories and yet I hope for that ending that seems only possible in movies or in death. Does this mean I'm stupid or just a dreamer? Am I not allowed to hope? My husband was never abusive to us physically, only to himself. Emotionally and mentally, yes. He is ill, right? Why is it so hard to accept and move on? This is my first time to open up, forgive me...I can't stop crying since he left us four weeks ago...and yet deep down I know it was a gift....

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 August 2010):

I'm 42, been married 17 years with two gorgeous teens. My partner is an alcoholic and has been since before we married! I married him as I thought he's a professional and would change! Well I was wrong, I cannot believe I am this stupid! Yes I've been through it all physical abuse, verbal abuse, manipulation, threatened, thrown out the house at midnight and asked to leave the kids behind, as he wants sex and I don't want it cos he's drunk. He picks on the smallest things and they turn into a nightmare! He is a professional and keeps a professional high paying job but what I go thrugh behind closed doors I wouldn't wish on anyone. We moved countries and he manipulated and threatened me so my our daughter had to seek counselling and asked me to leave him! I turned 40 and saw life differently! I started telling friends about my life, they gave me advice and believed in me! I am going to counselling and haven't spoken with him for 6 months. I used my hard earned money to set up house in a new country only to be told by him that I didn't have to and I chose to spend it! I used it to buy a car, rent, car hire, deposit for A car for him, send him back overseas for a family funeral. I did it all out of love! We're separated for 6 months yet still live under one roof. I cant wait to file for a divorce and start my life over again. Yes he's hurt me but I can't hate him, I feel sorry for him! I want him to fix his life and move on and find someone to love him! I am always wanting the best for everyone, now I've realised it's time to think about me and my kids! It's hard cos as a christian divorce was against my belief, but I know that God wouldn't want me to be in an abusive relationship. My mom went thro the same thing and u grew up believing that I could never rely on anyone and that I had to be independent a d keep a full time job. I'm so glad I did as I now believe I can be independent and make a life on my own! Good luck to all out there! You can try to change someone out of love and compassion but they gotta try for themselves else we'll be carrying them forever and they will never learn responsibility and make a change for themselves! I'm done with my marriage but I wish him all the happiness he deserves! If I can do it after movi g countries with no family for support so can u! It's a trap u choose to live in or get out! xx

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A male reader, Outahere United Kingdom +, writes (14 August 2010):

Some say alcoholism is a disease. Maybe. Maybe not. Does it matter? Drinking is still a choice. An alcoholic can choose to drink, or, to enter recovery for the rest of their life. Until the latter choice is made, everything the alcoholic says and does is to ensure their state is not threatened - i.e. they are able to get the next drink. Insofar as this is the case, be assured that the alcoholic is fundamentally selfish.

This means everything the drinking alcoholic says is not to be trusted. This means that the kindnesses, the professions of love, desire, honesty, companionship etc are not to be trusted (at best), but are methods to ensure that their state is not threatened. Even if stated is the most endearing, obviously loving, clearly caring, declamatory way that "I can change" or that "the time for change has come", do not trust the alcoholic in denial.

Alcoholism is a progressive addiction. The behaviour and health of an alcoholic will worsen while they continue to choose to drink, as their world and personality shrinks. Without a doubt it is a tragedy to see someone beautiful vibrant, charismatic, kind, generous, open hearted (whom you love or loved) choose actions that cause them to steadily decline and eventually become transformed into someone unrecognisable to you.

Spouses of alcoholics become hostages. Becoming a hostage means that we live according to the reality of the hostage taker. This means that we (spouses) lose touch with our own reality and our own sense of self shrinks along with self esteem, self worth, self value, and so on. So, spouses also acquire part of the addiction and become co-dependent (if we weren't before).'Co-dependency no more' can provide insights in to how to manage your situation.

The choices are pretty stark for you: Stay and do nothing, make no changes and continue to enable your alcoholic. Or stay and learn how to 'love with detachment', or pack your bags and go.

ivehadit31 wrote a really good phrase; if you decide to leave, you can choose to view it not as 'failing' (and how on earth did you fail? you cannot control the alcoholic, and it certainly wasn't your fault, or your responsiblity!). Or, You can choose to view your choice to leave as WINNING BACK YOUR LIFE.

Personally, I got tired of the 'I love you: I need you: You ****er. Seeing someone you love transform into someone you hate takes a while to comprehend, a while to emotionally accept and process and quite often a while to come to the decision you probably already know, deep down, is the right one for you. On another site a question was posed: how long will you continue to ask your question? another year? another 2 years? or 5 years? 10? I made the choice to leave. It's hard at first and painful. The good thing is that, no longer being a hostage, you have a life, one life, and you know that it is your life, to do with as you will. You know your own value when you have won your life back.

I hope this helped a little. I wish for you the best life you can imagine.

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A female reader, wishful thinking Canada +, writes (19 July 2010):

Well all i can say is that when you are dealing with a drunk it can be so hurtful and demeaning to yourself and a mockery. Life can be so hard and the denial as some of us experience is unfathomable. If wishes could come true we wish our counter parts were normal and we all lived in harmony. But the truth is we loose to this awful disease as it can consume the people we love so dearly and as they say a "bird of a feather all stick together", so that means people that all drink to an access will accept their friends, to treat their friends, lovers and wives with so much disrespect and the lies that transcend from such atrocity is a very sad affair.

How many of you allow your friends to pee on dishes,of on the furniture or in their clothes for that matter, also how about allowing them to beat up there partners and except the lies of deceit and disillusion, most people accept the situation as they do not want to bother with other people's baggage and allow all of these things go unscathed, Alcohol can be such a lethal combination for a relationship to go down the tubes, and it does not matter how much you love that person, That person has to want to change for their own self being and for their future and not be the the known as the ole drunk of the neighbourhood or known as the comedy fool. It truly is sad when a person is intelligent to converse with before they start to drink and then they go through a metamorphosis and turn into a blubbering idiot and try to either beat you up or blame you for things you did not do, or try tell you that they see things that are not there or even threaten to kill you or they make you suffer from mental infidelity or promise you things and then tell you they love you.

The next day they can not remember what they said or what they did and only the people that see them going through these changes are there to remember what happened. If only they were taped while being inebriated will they see what fools they really are. Anyone being involved with a drunk like that are setting themselves for a major heartache as people like these are unpredictable and very hurtful not only to them selves but to family and friends. I am only one in a million that think this way and I know my statement will not make much of impact, But I am also a victim of this sad situation and i just wanted to voice my opinions. I do belong to Al-anon and it has helped me cope with the man I love and the one I am loosing to this aweful disease. My advice to you all is think twice before being involved with people like that on a personal level, the pain and the heartache is not worth the effort.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 May 2010):

hello im in the same situation, my partner drinks everyday and goes to his mates a few times a week, Ive tried to talk to him so many times at the fact he not here for the family and he just tells me there is a roof over our head, its not enough anymore, we all need to be loved, im currently wanting to walk away but scared to, just like you... i have a beautiful home, but don't want to leave it either, BUT Ive come to realize that me being happy and my kids smiling is more then a house is ever going to be worth.. all i can say is ask yourself what u really want for you and your kids and that's what is important

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A female reader, heartbroken2010 United States +, writes (4 May 2010):

i am in the same boat, my husband is a heavy drinker ,we fight every day,we have 2 kids together,6&7.you no when its bad when your kids tell you to leave daddy,he is sooo mean to me and the kids but i guess he has hammered it in my head that i am stupid and have no where to go that i just stay and deal with it,i have thought so many times of just taking my own life but then i think of my kids,i have no job so i no i cant just pack and go,he has never hit me so i guess you can say its all mentally so if you have it in you to get out then i would, there will come a day where i will have a job and i will too

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A female reader, heartbroken2010 United States +, writes (4 May 2010):

i am in the same boat, my husband is a heavy drinker ,we fight every day,we have 2 kids together,6&7.you no when its bad when your kids tell you to leave daddy,he is sooo mean to me and the kids but i guess he has hammered it in my head that i am stupid and have no where to go that i just stay and deal with it,i have thought so many times of just taking my own life but then i think of my kids,i have no job so i no i cant just pack and go,he has never hit me so i guess you can say its all mentally so if you have it in you to get out then i would, there will come a day where i will have a job and i will too

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A female reader, ivehadit31 United States +, writes (16 March 2010):

I am going to have to say making it work is something that you may never accomplish. I have been married for 9 years all of which my Husband drank. In the beginning it was very regularly(daily)with violence, black outs and neglect and within the last 2-3 years it became more of a weekend only thing with less anger and less violence. I was fooled into thinking that "wow, he has control enough to cut down drastically, so soon enough he will stop" WRONG! My main issues are the lack of parenting he provides for our 3 children, the short temper when drinking, lack of household help and the infamous money spending that goes hand-n-hand with his drinking binges.

He likes to take off to find one of his drinking buddies and then becomes missing in action till he is so drunk that he only comes home to pass out since drinking more is not an option. Once he comes home he is broke almost every time. This has been a huge problem because he always seems to find it necessary to pay for everyone else' habit, almost like a child needing to keep friends by giving them candy or the good treat that was packed in their lunch box. He yells at me when his money is gone and repeats the vicious cycle but won't even take his kids up to get them ice cream or anything for that matter because that would be a waste of money, especially knowing I take care of everything.

I have kicked him out, yelled, screamed and just about everything else many, many times. Those things were all pointless and did nothing but get him to do the crying apologies just to be allowed back for a honey moon phase. I filed for divorce after setting aside the anger my kids will feel knowing I want their dad gone and the emptiness I would feel being single again. He called crying and begging to give him another chance because he saw how serious I am now and he can't lose us over stupid things like hanging out, drinking and blowing all his money on his so-called friends. I let him back on the condition that I would not stop the divorce unless he validly quit the ignorant things he was doing as all the lies had been said many times before. Make a long story short, within 2-3 weeks of being back home, he did nothing more for the kids, drank and blew check after check on taking his buddies out on his tab once again.

Just like everyone says you can try your best to make it work but if they don't agree to professional help they don't want help. I have learned I have been an enabler to his disease because I sacrificed my own happiness and morals just to keep a smoke screen family household together.

Never again, he is gone and the divorce is going forward. I get text msg's saying that "divorce should not be the answer over something so small, divorce is for cheating and serious stuff". I grew up with a single mother and will do all that is necessary to make my kids understand to not settle for unhappiness. I have been the main money maker in the home and losing him takes nothing from me other than a feel of failing which is something hard for me to accept. Believe me it is not failing, it is winning my life back and finally letting him face reality and grow up for his own good...ALONE! I am ashamed for how strong of a person, I have always been that I allowed myself to fall victim to someone else' disease.

If you have tried to make it work over and over with no success...Let it go! Life is too short to hope if someone else will just change, your life will be good. Live happy, don't compromise another day hoping you will be able to do the magic thing to put an end to the drunken madness...You won't!

Best of luck! Its a hard decision but live for yourself because if the tables were turned it is very likely that your husband wouldn't accept it from you.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 October 2009):

My husband and I have been married for 9 years, I am very sad at this moment due that he does not stop drinking, we have tried several groups AA, WICH HE WONT GO BACK due to something they did to him, also we tried joining our church groups and meetings, but It works for a couple of weeks, and then we go back to the same life, I am so sick of it, I left him three times allready, and this last time I wanted to file for a divorce, but due to the love I still feel for him, I did not go trough with it, But I feel so guilty, and have this need to accept him just how he is, and try to help him. I read the other comments, and I totally relate. I wish he would stay the way that he is when he does not drink, but its like living with Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hide, he turns back into a frog. I am so miserable, yet I feel so happy sometimes. God, I wish I could get out. I will pray so much.....

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A female reader, counrtygirl United Kingdom +, writes (23 August 2009):

Good day to everyone

I have read some of the answers and I can truly relate to them, I have been with my chap for 8 years he is what you would call a controlled alcohlic, he holds down a full time job well paid professional position, drinks every day will be lovely to everyone while we are out but as soon as we get home the abuse starts. I have been verbally, metally and physically abused by him. He does not understand why I am so anger ans sad he just calls me miserable and keeps telling me we have no social life together because no one likes me he tells me I am hard work

my two sons have left home now so I am on my own yes it is a lonely life and sad. look at other couples and think they are so lucky. I trully loved hime but now I am full of resent for him because I will never forgive him for destroying our relationship, the like he gave me and the like we will never have. This is his problem that I have allowed him to put on to me I know I have to leave to be strong again

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 June 2009):

I am in a similar situation and I think the answer is definetly yes. He has to want to change and you can't change him. You need to provide the best for your children and they don't deserve to live in those conditions. It is tough on them.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (29 June 2009):

Your story is just like mine i a just on my way to a group called willow. It is a support group for pople who live with others who abuse alcohol. I have been with my fella for seven years and looking back a do not know how i have stuck it.

Had a very bad few weeks with him so feeling very low. You will always be second best in an alcoholics life, sad but true. He will let you down time and time again and looking back i dont think the highs are worth the lows. I am just trying to get strong enough to get rid. He says he loves me and my kids but i know he does not love me only. What i do for him its a lonely life living with these people, very lonley.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 June 2009):

I have been living with my alcoholic for 3 years now. We were high school sweet hearts and have been in eachothers lives since we were teenagers. We used to go out on weekends and enjoy a good drink, little did I know that during the week when I was busy going on with work etc, he kept drinking. He was able to play the part so well that I never suspected anything. I come from a very strict catholic background and living with a man before you are married is major taboo but drinking and fonication is not ha! go figure. Anyway, if lived with him I would have known what he was all about an would have never married him. I love this man so much so it is not easy. My husband is a down and out alcoholic, he has no job and just sits and drinks. He steals money for alcohol and sells whatever he can, most of the time he will steal the alcohol itself. we are no longer invited to any functions because his behaviour is always so bad. He has been arrested several times for been drunk and disorderly. I finally joined Al-Anon and it has worked perfectly for me. to each his own but I decided mine will be detachment. I go on like he does not exist, at first it was hard when he would go out and not come home until 2 days later when the police brought him home drunk. I am able to detach because he is not physically abusive, but the mental abuse is there and it is bad. We have no children so that helps alot. You have to do what is right for you, you have to decide how much more you want to take and what kind of children you want to end up with. As for me I have detached myself and so far so good. I am getting on with it and not waiting, praying or hoping for anything. If you beleive in God then let go and let God!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 May 2009):

I completely believe in marriage but enough is enough. Please seek help for yourself; individual therapy, al-anon, find people who understand alcholism. I have been through hell and back with my alcoholic and have left after 2 years of complete misery. He IS NOT the same man I fell in love with and loved for many years. I also don't see him returning to that marvelous man any time soon. I started to get it when an older woman in Al-Anon approached me after I shared at a meeting. She came up to me, hugged me and told me "you're me 25 years ago but I didn't have the sense to leave" and promptly started crying. She's been living with an alcoholic husband for years, has a daughter who's been in and out of rehab since she was 13. She is also raising her 11 year old granddaughter because her daughter is a drunk.

I left that meeting knowing I dodged a bullet (figuratively) and realized I needed to sit on my hands and not do another thing for him. He's been presented all kinds of help and he still lives like this. I decided I would not let him pull my life down with his. God Bless and all my best.

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A female reader, AlcoholicVictim Australia +, writes (16 April 2009):

Can I just add something here, I read about a custody thing on here, and I must say my ex who is the father of my 3 older children has half custody of my older kids. (week about) I already worry for them as he refuses to give them ventolins alot of the time and yes I have had to battle it out in court, So MY FEAR IS...If i now leave my second long term relationship (who this time i am married too) my alcoholic husband. WHAT IF HE HURTS MY KIDS. If he gets shared custody and theres no guarantee the courts will award me custody is my thinking, (cuz even if they're alcoholic how can you prove that) what if he hurts my kids. At least if we are all with him. I can try to protect them WHICH I OFTEN NEED TO DO. at least verbally. And on occasion physically. though most of the physical stuff is taken out of just ME. anyway back to the point. is Leaving my husband really best for the kids if I can't be there to protect them when they will at times be in his custody without me.

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A female reader, MamiOf2 United States +, writes (1 November 2008):

MamiOf2 agony auntOk. If you are anything like me then the following applies: You google "drunk husband" or something similar, to find other stories like yours you can relate to. You read them and feel an empowerment where maybe you want to leave and 'decide' to, because these other stories are so similar to yours that you feel like if they can then so can you, you may even comment on other ppls stories with your own advice because it's easier to give it than follow it! Well i am you if you agree with any of the above, and I am finaly thinking that I realy want to stop talking about it, and finaly leave. Because you know what? Deep down inside we know that's what we need to do. People dont change, they are who they are (Is what my grandmother says) and its sort of true. If he wants help, he'll need to reach some sort of breaking point before that happens. And why wait around for him to change when you have kids? A childhood memory can last a lifetime, do you want your kids to grow up remembering their dad drinking all the time. I dont want my kids to. We just need to finaly leave and stop making excuses and looking for "answeres".

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 March 2008):

I live with my partner who also an alcoholic. We both drank alot when we were younger and then i got pregnant with our first child. I stopped drinking while my partner went from social drinking to just drinking in the house. He drinks the same amount every week. It never gets any more or less. He claims he is not an alcoholic, and i know that he suffers from an obsessive behaviour disorder although he has never been diagnosed with it. He can be morbid and depressing after he drinks and isnt pleasant when he is drunk but he is not violent and never has been. If your husband is violent then i think you need to seek proffesional help as soon as possible. The drinking has really changed our relationship over the years though and i feel like we stay together merely because of the responsibilities that we share. I don't think that he can see what effect his drinking habit has on his family. My kids are old enough to see that he drinks too much and see him as pathetic. I told him recently after my father collapsed from liver failure, that i would not put up with him like my mother did my father until we're old, me always nagging him and him allways talking about the good old days when it was just us and it was fun. Yeh, the first three months we were together, when i joined him in the drinking, never mind the 15 years since and the three children i have brought up and all the happy memories this brings me. He murmured then as he often does when i feel brave enough to tell him what i really think, "yeh i'll try". Then he starts drinking half an hour later that night and goes back to normal the next. I think you have to throw caution to the wind and just up and off. Leave them to sort themselves out. Afterall a lot of the drinking problem is caused because of lack of confidence in the first place and men are especially vunerable to this i think. I think leaving them can be the kindest thing because they will then have to stand on their own two feet for a change. Maybe one day i will take my own advice. But it can never be too late.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 March 2008):

CD

I have lived with a problem drinker for 26 years of marriage. I waited for my children to get older. While they have moved on, with their lives I am now the one left to deal with the abuse? The sickness? Putting up with the behaviour of a man I do not know any more". Even if i do leave, at 49yrs where could i go? There was so much help and support when my children were young. I still have one young man at home. He HATES alchohol. Being co dependant has ruined my life. I am too afraid to leave "in case he ends up dead" and we walk on egg shells while i stay. I would say to any young person - LEAVE .... do not enable another person to control your life or affect your own welfare. I have tried everything ... my life has been lost and wasted because i have been too afraid to move on. I am the one accepting councilling and taking anti depressants because i live with an alchoholic. My dad passed away in late November 07. The fmily who would have helped have either passed on or moved abroad. I would hate for anyone to end up in my positon. My sincere prayers to ALL who suffer in silence. A lonely mom and wife...

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 March 2008):

Get yourself to an Alanon meeting a.s.a.p. You will find very helpful, sincere and truthful people there. It will make you feel so much better to know you are not along.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 March 2008):

I have been married for thirty years my husband stayed sober for twenty four years and then fell off the wagon after some hard times we were facing in life. Our children are grown and in the past year I have been through literal hell. I left him last May moved three hours away to start a new life for myself. Guess what? he made all sort's of promises saw the errors of his ways so I kept my apartment but went back home gave up a good job and six weeks later I was back again, no job and for the past six months with him sober I have moved back and forth from my apartment to home with him in tow. He has been sober supposedly for six months although you never quite believe it if you are not with them 24/7. We are now in financial ruin forced into a bankruptcy and we have driven our three grown sons who none drink completely nuts. All of them love him but tell me daily mom what are you doing still hanging on??? For the most part he is trying like the devil to make things right he is sober as far as I can prove, but the pain the dissapointments the non trust I feel for him and my suspicion will not heal. He is not the same man anymore, his drinking for those few years have seperated us regardless if he is sober or not now. You can not take away all the hurt and the loss you went through as the one on the other end of their abuse and neglect. I spent so many night's crying myself to sleep while he partied in the basement by himself with his dog. I now hate the dog who still is his number one friend!!!!!!!!!! This disease destroys the family as well as the one addicted. You become addicted to the addict. I am now back in my apartment and he is still in the house three hours away trying to find a way to make thing's okay and that will never happen. Too much time spent, too much hurt and too much pain. I will never trust him again and so this time I am going to let go. He wants out deep inside because he resents me for not being able to drink, I see it in his expressions, in his mannerisms toward me, in his isolation that he got so accustomed too. My marriage is over after all the years I put into it but I can not change it. What is done is done.Some may recover and some may actually make it but I say you have to do what is best for you. For me I have a man who is sober but he still thinks like the alcoholic, his character is damaged and he can never fix that with me. Why should I make him pay for his mistakes the rest of his life. I hope for the best for him but now if he stay's with me he will be destroyed. I can no longer recover.............

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 December 2007):

alchohol is a disease,hate the disease not your husband. why does he drink? ask him. he in the process will destroy himself, you and your children, boys who may grow up repeating the same story unfortunetly. maybe take a break from him and threaten that unless he checks into rehab then you dont go back, i know this is killing you right now but unless a step is taken now then you will only destroy yourself and most importantly,your children.

it is not his choice to drink, he wants to, but since alcholisim is a disease, its so hard, it takes over you mind, body and your soul, it clouds your way of thinking and eats you up slowly and painfully, but its up to you to change this. check him into rehab or some serious help, let the boys know how horrible is alcohol. just remember you are a strong woman, who knows whats right. goodluck and god bless.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (6 November 2007):

You are better to get out. YOu only cause more hurt and pain for you and your children. No matter how hard you want him to stop drinking he has to do it you can't. Drinking is a choice, which becomes and addiction. Either way, it is something that the alcoholic must stop. My husband and I of 22 years just slit up. All he could do was drink and work, mostly work, ....I couldn't take it anymore.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (26 October 2007):

Prepare yourself and what / where you will go or how to get hime out....I was married to my eX for 15yrs and I suspected after two years.....foolishly stayed for my boy my experience is no matter what you do or say will not change them...if they are in deniel they are a lost hope.....my advice is to cut your losses and move on ...or be prepared for a rougher passage ahead... think of your children, they need a role model and they will not necessarily choose the right one to follow.....I was angry at first, when I divorced and she got the lion's share of the settlement, but I feel sorry for her now, no anger!I left the matrimonial home when my son was in his last year at school and she took an over dose of beta blockers and denied she had done so to the paramedics...enough was enough I gave 15 years...... for what? Only you know how bad things are...only you can decide what is right for you......by the way, my son chose to come with me saying " when you dad have a drink, you become happy, when mam has a drink she becomes evil....sad really. Its been hard to cope with when you loved someone so much but, you have to think about the children and what they are making out of the situation and how it will effect them. bye and good luck in your life I say you deserve a better life...you have to choose noone can do it for you!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 October 2007):

i really know how scaered, alone, confused, angry, frusterated, insane, isolated and sad you must feel. i'm in a relationship with a man whos basically addicted to everything mind altering, booze and haroin are the main ones,i have three kids two with him. its so easy to say what to do when you don't acctually live in the situation. i never in a zillion years thought i would ever have stayed and put up with one% of what i have put up with and theres no way in hell i would have put my children through it, but i have and i do. but in a relationship with addiction there dosn't ever seem to be a clear, right desision. alanon really can and does help, it helped me. it nice to be with, talk with and have the support of people who have gone through the same things. i still deal with the unbelievable "symtoms" of this disease, its just easier to deal with life now. its a family desease everyone gets sick so when he does get help for himself his treatment probibly will recomened that his spouse go to alanon, thats how i started, glad i did too.

try to take care of yourself

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 June 2007):

LET GO!!! He is becoming angry and angry is one letter away from "DANGER"! He's NEVER going to change. Before he can love you and the kids he has to first love himself and that may never happen. I grew in an alcoholic environment and it was insanity. My father would drink and then beat my mother up. While my brother was pulling off my mother I was dialing 911. I bit my nails for years because I was so traumatized by what I saw as a child. The best thing you could do for your kids is to leave him. When my parents use to fight I would yell and tell them to get a divorce. They never divored, but my mother finaly kicked him out and that was the best thing she ever did. Ten years after she kicked him out he finally joined Alcoholics Anonymous. If you don't do it for yourself. At least do it for the kids. It's not healthy for them to grow up with an alcoholic. If they see their father drinking. I'm afraid when they grow up they'll be the ones drinking. Let them know it's wrong and unacceptable. LET GO AND LET GOD!

Take care.

God bless you and your family.

Love, Daisy

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 June 2007):

Your husband sounds just exactly like mine. I recently left our beautiful 3500 sq. foot home and took an apartment 3hours away. I quit my job of nine yrs. and am starting over focusing on myself. However our boys are grown so its a hard choice. Get into Al Anon support it will help you. All I can say is that I love my husband (29) yrs. but I was so tired of all the crap and how I was becoming a person I did not like very much. I have turned the focus on myself now and it is lonely, scary and hard. I am not filing for divorce I am just taking a break to regain some of my life back. They suck everything out of you and you end up becoming almost as sick or sicker than them. He is still drinking, although this has begun to make him really think he is now alone to be responsible for his own actions with no one to blame. He talks to me frequently and says he is going to get help but been there and done that already rehab and all to no avail so time will tell. I tell him I love him and I support him but I have to consider myself now bottom line. You will know when enough is enough. My husband did not drink for 23yrs. and in the last four he has ruined his relationship with our three sons because of the abuse they cause with their drinking. Kids are damaged by Alcoholic's just as spouses are no matter what age they are. Good luck

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A female reader, Zoey8 United States +, writes (3 February 2007):

Last month was the worst in my life. My sweet sober husband was a very mean drunk. He drank everyday starting about 3 in the afternoon. Things came to a head the first of Jan. I packed up some of his belongings and sent him away. I filed for divorce, put a two year no contact order on him. Since the day he left he hasn't had a drink, is attenting AA, getting couseling, and is back in church. He agreed to the divorce if that is what I wanted. I never thought he would change even for a day. I felt bad for enabling him to drink and never really giving him a chance to change. I dismissed the divorce. He still isn't home. We are working on ourselves right now. I know we both love each other and have hope in living a Christian life together. Prayer has helped me. We have a big hill to climb. There can never be alcohol in our home. I've stopped listening to people who say he'll never change. AA is filled with people who have quit drinking.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (2 February 2007):

my dear, i can totally understand where u are coming from. i know how much i love my husband, how much i would go through for him, however i don't think given the choice he would go through anything for me. It's sad to say but when faced with an alcholic they only have one master. i'm not living with my husband just now, i made a choice not to and believe me i regret it at times cos i miss him so much. I know the man i knew is still inside there somewhere but i also know that if i allow myself to hold on to that ideal for much longer i will become something really sad. He is still involved in our lives but it's time for me to call things to a halt. Otherwise i'm just allowing him to feel it's ok to drink and still have a family when he feels like it. I'm enabling him if i allow things to go on like they are and that's wrong for him as well as me. The hard answer is NO, you can't make it work until he acknowledges and deals with his problem. Yes you can live with it, if you choose to. nothing will change unless u decide to make a change. for my part, yes i love my husband enough to live with him the way he is, but i love my children more to allow them not to live with him. thats my choice.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 January 2007):

dear only you can deciede what you want but remeber your choices will affect your kids so you have to think carefully about this the fact that you have asked this question is showing that you are considering leaving do not do it to punish you husband as this will not work you have to do for yourself and your kids lastly along with all the other post i too have lived with an alcholic and it only gets worse unless they want help which sadly is used as an excuse to keep you there.

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A male reader, goodbutnotgifted United States +, writes (27 January 2007):

goodbutnotgifted agony auntwillywombat raises a good question, In this situation its dificult for me to put myself in your shoes but my inlaws story is alot like yours, its sad so strap in. before they got married "Bob" had a problem but he managed to hide it from "Sue" until well after the reception was over. They had two kids a boy and a girl and life was functioning. "Sue" worked almost constantly to try to pay the bills and "Bob" was in and out of jobs driving truck and other various odd jobs. when he was out of work he simply tended the cows and chickens and goats on his land turning as much profit from that as he could. well the problem is "Bob" was also abusing the kids, nothing freakish no sexual stuff. he just insulted them and shot them with pellet guns in the house screaming at them if they tryed to flee. eventualy word got out and "Sue" was receiving calls at work from both friends and police reporting the abuses and even instances of friends of the kids parents trying to take the kids from the home at the point of a riffle. True stories can save lives so here's the bad part. You can imagine "Bob" was wreaking havoc on these kids mental states, and about 8 years ago their eldest son shot himself at a party surrounded by friends, as "Bob" and "Sue" live out of town from this party the daughter had to id the body. You can imagine. This sounds like streching but with Alchoholism now taking its toll on "Bob" and no sign of quiting in site before it kills him his poor sons life is meaningless. unless of course his story can help you save the lives of your children. I have nothing but the greatest respect for "Bob" but untill something happens to tell him his drinking is actualy destructive he WILL NOT QUIT!! I have tried everything, and I mean everything. I even tryed to sue him after he killed my dog after tricking everyone uot of the house. He shot her in the head 7 times with a .22. thats beyond inhumane, thats surpasses rage. The hard part is that your thinking "well he's not that bad" I have seen relationships with drunks first hand not just this case, but this would be a book, please get him help or get out of that mischiver, all the prayer in the world wont erase what "bob's" done. dont let your man be the next "Bob" There is realy no option here. but I know your "sue" in a sence, but you should know "Sue" keeps "Bob drinking becasue she can control him, he's like her minion its twisted. She does it because its her way of revenge, and I dont want to see that anywhere else. Like I said I have tryed everything. God bless you and good luck

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 January 2007):

I am sorry you have found yourself in a marriage with an alcoholic. My uncle is an alcoholic and he is 70 years old and dying of lukemia, because alcoholism kills bone marrow cells.

Alchoholism is a progressive disease as you have watched over the years your husband becoming one, now the disease has taken over his life and his free will and his personality is literally disentegrating before your eyes, he is in essence mentally ill, that in itself is a reason to leave for yourself.

For your husband to change, he actually would benefit from you leaving him, as your staying is actually enabling him because you have probably adopted a pattern of behavior where you condone, you care take, and you cover up and protect him from the scrutiny of others. The only way an alchoholic will change is if someone with power over them either financial or emotional power like you do as the mother of his children, actually promise, not threaten to cut off all ties with him until he becomes sober....this is the catalyst he needs to go into detox and rehab.

Don't try to do this alone if you can. Contact a professional in your area that is trained to conduct interventions to help you do it properly without judgement and with no exits for your husband....you need help in order to have the best results.

If he refuses help, then you need to put yourself and your kids first and leave the marriage....no one deserves to live with a person in their disease, it is especially damaging to your children, trust me, my cousin, the daughter of my alchoholic uncle, almost lost her life to crack cocaine addiction, and the real kicker is that both of these people are doctors, anesthesiologists---so no amount of education or social class causes alchohol to discriminate on it's insidious control over a person that is susceptible to addiction.

My prayers are with you.

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A female reader, willywombat United Kingdom +, writes (27 January 2007):

willywombat agony auntPatient1, can I ask you this, does he recognise that he has a problem with alcohol or not?

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A female reader, finchy United Kingdom +, writes (26 January 2007):

finchy agony aunthi, i am 17 well i think you should leave him!! not because i am being horrible its just the affect that it will have on the children. My dad was an alcoholic for the whole of my life! He would always say he was going to stop and he never did. He started being violent towards me and my mum and would always apologise afterwards and say it would never happen again! then after a few years he stopped appologising. He even stopped as low as to say he wished id never been born! imaginge if he said that to your kids. I am now contemplating seeing a counciler because of the effect it had on me!.. He is still an alcoholic now and my guess is he will always be one! Because i was with him my whole life i have grown up to hate him! Do you want your kids to hate their father??

We tried to leave and my dad found us and threatened to kill me unless we moved back in! i now live in a differant country.. so what i am saying is get out before it is too late.

sorry to seem so negative!

xx

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 January 2007):

Hi Patient, you asked for a male perspective and I've read your question, I don't think someones sex will change the advice but, I would agree with everything that Irish has said. I actually have experienced alcoholism in my family. I've seen a niece grow up with an alcoholic mother and God only knows the kind of trauma she has suffered, I dread the days when she becomes a teenager and it all comes out. Her mum has been sober 4 years now but my niece, who is 9, shows obvious signs that she has had a difficult childhood.

I do not believe your husband will try and seek help until he has something to truely fight for. Things for him will probably have to get considerably worse. Rock Bottom. Before he will be able to tackle his alcoholism. They will for you too, because leaving your husband and refusing to accept them back until they are sober has got to be the most difficult things ever, but you need to think long-term and be tough to be kind.

Please, please think about your children as they are looking at every single little thing in the way that your husband is doing and if you do not act, they risk growing up to not respect women, and be prone to having emotional / anger problems and drink / drug problems. Your children are literally like a sponge sucking up everything that they see from their environment.

Whilst your husband is drinking he is not the man you married. You need to be very strong and brave and trust that once he has been sober he can properly realise what special amazing people he has in his life... but like I say, until he is able to face reality and stop drinking, he will never be able to see that in the way you do. I do wish you all the best and I hope you have family or friends you can turn to for additional support.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 January 2007):

I am sorry..how hard this must be for you. You are very right to be concerned about you boys. Being exposed to a parent who suffers from alcoholism, can and will have life long, negative, painful effects on them. I can only tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes. You can decide if this is the best suggestion for you. Firstly, he's definitely out of control and he's addicted and he's in serious, serious denial. You need outside help. I would contact his family doctor and get a referral for a detox/ rehab center with counselors and write the number down. Then I would sit him down and ask him to go, with your full support. Hopefully he will go but it's highly likely he won't. If he doesn't want to go, then you need to ask him to leave the home. Immediately, not in two weeks or a month...right away. If he refuses to budge, then you and the kids need to go. Have a plan of action in place. Let him know that his drinking is no longer going to be a part of you and your son's lives anymore. Be strong and follow through. Give him the number to the family doctor and rehab center and tell him, there will be no reconciliation until he is a sober, trustworthy, loving Father and husband. Because he is abusing you and the children, you need to protect your children. I can't impress that enough on you. I know this will be the hardest thing for you to do, but your courage and strength will teach your children that no one should just tear their young lives apart..they will learn to take a stand by role modeling you. They need to see you do this. Your husband's alcoholism is a HUGE boundary breaker in this family and your husband needs to be 'backed into a corner'. Hopefully he'll get the help he needs and will become a man, that can attain a better character. But note, if he gets the help he needs, remember he is an alcoholic--this will always be temptations. But stick to your boundaries. Boundaries are important with partners who suffer from addictions and your strength can pull this family through. But he needs to realize he has a problem and get the help for himself. If he doesn't get the help he needs, and shows no redress to achieving sobriety, that will be your cue to go and visit a lawyer. A divorce may be your only option. Again, I am sorry...but please, be strong, take a stand and protect your children. My heart is with you, dear.

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A female reader, cd206 United Kingdom +, writes (26 January 2007):

cd206 agony auntWhile I think that when kids are involved, it's imperative to work as hard as possible at a marriage you mention he's been violent which means it's endlessly better for your boys to be in a safe one parent family than a dangerous two parent one. Leave him, for them and for yourself.

CD

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