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This is my reality, how do others cope with living with or saying goodbye to an alcoholic partner?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Health, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Article - (7 February 2012) 13 Comments - (Newest, 21 February 2012)
A female United Kingdom age , suey writes:

Hi I am new to this, so don't quite know if I am doing it right or not.

I have written in reply to a question 'What's it like living with an alcoholic'.

That's me well at least until last week, I had, had enough and told him to go.

This has happend before and he has wormed his way back with promise of stopping drinking and I have believed him, or not, but because he is a fantastic man when he isn't drinking I have taken him back.

We had 2 lovely years when he wasn't drinking, even when he is drinking (drinking with some control) he is great, careing and good fun to be with and I know he loves me.

But even though I know its the right thing to do it hurts like hell, so I suppose I just need to let my feelings be known. I don't tell anyone you see, its my problem so I must get on with it, I know that's stupid but I have my pride, laughable isn't it.

Anyway if you read this thanks and if you want to reply even better

but if not I think it helps a bit just to write it down. Thanks

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A female reader, suey United Kingdom +, writes (21 February 2012):

suey is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hello masterofpuppets and thank you so much for your response its now the 21st and he left on the 3rd, so I am doing well, still have times when I could cry, but mostly I am OK. Well done to you for kicking the habit, I know it isn't easy. I agree with all you say, I kept thinking he would change because he loved me, but no. Maybe as you say this is the best thing for both of us, and maybe he will do as you did and get his act together. I would love that to happen because as I think I have already said he is a great person when not in drink and I could not have been happier those two first years when he wasn't drinking. I think if he did stop and if we both wanted to try again it would have to be without living together, he has destroyed the trust I had in him. When he was ill, which resulted in him stopping drinking, he was very ill and almost died through esophagus varises (not sure of the spelling) which is caused through drinking. I hadn't known him that long around 8 months and I took him in to help nurse him back to health and support him, I trusted him so much I never gave it a thought about leaving him alone in my house. But now all the trust has gone, he has let me down so many times. Hope that makes sense. I would love the real him to return but I can't see it happening somehow. Sorry I do go on and thanks again for writing. So glad things turned out good for you and your son.

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A male reader, Masterofpuppets United States +, writes (21 February 2012):

Masterofpuppets agony auntHello Suey, wow thanks for sharing this. I am A recovering Addict and Alcoholic and this hits home for me. I was that man you speak of over and over again until I made A conscience decision to do something about my use and abuse of substances. I at one point ended up living under A bush in Arizona after my wife asked me to leave my home and my child all due to my drinking. I am sure you are hurt and I know it sucks but it might just be the best decision for the both of you. I would have never realized the error of my ways if I hadn't experienced losing something that was so precious to me (my Son) I then started up A long journey to clean up my act and get with the program so that I may be in his life again. If this man truly loves you then he will make an effort to clean up his life but understand he has to do it for him not for you and he has to want to remain sober for himself. I wont say you should or shouldn't take him back that is something only you know and should make that decision for yourself I can tell you this, if you allow him to be drunk and in your life and he has an issue with Alcohol the relationship isn't good for ither of you.. Good luck!!

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (12 February 2012):

Abella agony auntcongratulations on selling the car.

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A female reader, suey United Kingdom +, writes (12 February 2012):

suey is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Well guess what, I have had my car for sale for some time, no interest, anyway today I received a phone call someone wants to come and see it.

When we were together we had talked about being safe and that he would be there to see every thing was OK.

Well I thought I don't want to be on my own when these people come so what can I do? So I thought swallow your pride be strong and ask him to come while they are here (is this a mistake or not).

I phoned him and explained the position, he Immediately agreed to help out. So he came straight away, we had a couple of hours to wait, chatted he attempted to get a little closer if you know what I mean?

But I did not weaken, you would have been proud of me, and it wasn't easy believe me . The people came and I am also pleased to say I have now sold my car, we chatted briefly and he went. How cool is that, so proud of myself. Just hope I haven't given mixed messages.

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (12 February 2012):

Abella agony aunthi

Sorry to hear you are not well. Hope that you feel better soon.

Try not to weaken. No matter what he tries. You could also block him by phone and email if you feel strong enough to do that?

And buy yourself some nice perfume as your Valentine's day present to you. Just because you deserve it.

And yes it is a grief cycle. Kubler-Ross talks about it. This is a big change, and takes time for things to settle down.




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A female reader, suey United Kingdom +, writes (12 February 2012):

suey is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Got to the stage where I could weaken, but I wont. He has phoned me asking for something he has left here, we agreed I would leave it out at the back for him to collect. I have got to admit I looked out for him a little, but I missed him, which was a good thing. Just wish I wasn't feeling ill and could get out, sure it would do me good. I am beginning to feel a little like crying, but I know this is a stage I will go through, its a bit like grieving, well it is grieving, for what once was. Had planned to do lots today cleaning and cooking but don't have the energy, only tided out a draw and feel knackered. Be glad when this cold/virus has gone, apparently it makes you feel very tired so I am not the only one, couldn't have come at a worse time though. Never mind tomorrow is another day, see what that bring.

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A female reader, suey United Kingdom +, writes (11 February 2012):

suey is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for your advice and I take your point about visiting the doctor if needed.

I work full time and have quite a demanding job so although I have done volunteering in the past I don't think that would be a good idea.

I go walking/rambling which is really good you can lose yourself in thought and afterwards feel fantastic, we used to do this together but once he started drinking again it faded away.

At the moment I haven't been feeling that well (only a bad cold) but no walking, just being very lazy and looking after myself, still going to work though.

I love my life, my work, my family so have lots to be thankful for and am very lucky. Imagine if I was going through a breakup and everything else was rubbish or only some parts of my life was. No I am fine, I am not saying I don't have moments were I feel sad and miss him because that would be lie.

But I am strong and I can do it, and I will do it.

Going out with my sisters and brother for a meal next week (valentines night) don't know if I will tell them about the split as yet, maybe leave it until I feel I am over it.

Most people will tell others I know 'A problem shared is a problem halved' and all that, but for me it seems to make it worse.

This is different because no one is being over sympathetic which can lead to tears and eventually giving in, also if and it is a very big IF we did get back together it would make things feel very difficult. I know how to keep myself safe.

Thanks for reading and replying it means a lot.

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (10 February 2012):

Abella agony auntand I have not (yet) suggested a visit to your Doctor as I sense that you can get through this.

It will not always feel great.

Yet I do think you have the strength within to get through this.

One proviso: if you do start to feel depressed about your situation please do visit the doctor urgently. As depression is a serious condition.

My thoughts are that if you take on some of the suggestions offered, that i think you will start to see your self esteem rise.

Good luck

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (10 February 2012):

Abella agony aunthi suey

Follow ups are really good. I like to read them. And if you look at the stats, far far more people read the answers and the follow-ups than reply. And that's OK. Imagine if you had to wade through 300 replies to every followup :)

So only a percentage of those who read the words you wrote then choose to reply.

But what about you? More on that in a moment.

But first, I am very sorry to hear about your Mom.

Though I hardly remember her my great grandmother developed dementia, and her daughter (my grand mother) chose to look after her. To help her through it.

But looking after a person, with dementia, is very draining. And I believe it shortened my grandmother's life. It was wonderful that she cared. But so many carers in this world end up having to put themselves last all the time.

There are things you are capable of that you have not even thought about.

Have you thought of making an action

plan to make life more bearable?

And everything listed needs to be affordable and do-able.

My top priority wish-list item I would like to suggest for you is any strategy that you are comfortable with to improve your self esteem. Now the answer to that could be to listen to a relevant DVD, get a

Book on the subject, or a book on Positive Affirmations to say out loud to yourself every day.

If you can get yourself some affordable counselling one to one then all the better.

Maybe join one of the support groups that hekp people affected by alcoholism too?

Anything that you do or learn that is a new skill and you stick at it to learn it well will improve your confidence,

Check if anyone in your area teaches Contract Bridge - it is a sociable card game enjoyed by millions of people all over the world.

Sudoko - buy a book on the easy level - once it is explained at the start of the book - it can be very relaxing.

See if you can find a local person who could teach you how to do water color painting? A most relaxing hobby. And not difficult - especialy if you stick to abstracts.

read some of the articles in about improving self confidence. You will find them by searching via 'health' or 'troubled relationships' or 'big questions', and any other tag you think is relevant

There are other things that will also life your mood and get you healthy at the same time. Think the walking, hire an exercise bike, find a heated indoor pool or even better a aqua-robics class or a gym. Or try lifting very small weights daily, at home.

And then (once you have taken steps to improve your own self-esteem) there is volunteering. Most volunteer places desperately need more volunteers. And it is so much fun to do.

Now it is your time to be #one.

And to go forward confidently.

Best wishes


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A female reader, suey United Kingdom +, writes (10 February 2012):

suey is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Well its a week now since he went, not doing bad at all only think about him when I am alone. I'm OK when I'm at work, well OK other times really, I think I am doing well. Do I miss him? I missed him when he started drinking again if I be honest, so not a lot left to miss I've got used to him not being there well not the real him. My Mum had dementia which they also call the long goodbye, I think this has also been a long goodbye, if you get my drift. Probably writing to myself here, but never mind. It would be nice to get some sort of response though.

Bye for now x

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A female reader, suey United Kingdom +, writes (8 February 2012):

suey is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi and thanks for your reply,

I know I will be OK it just takes time. I was married for 26 years and left him, I survived that split so am sure I will survive this one and rebuild my life. It's such a pity he couldn't have kept off the booze like he did those first years, it was fantastic, it makes it so difficult because you know inside there is this great person who has become lost, drowned in alcohol.Not making excusses for him and in fairness to him he always said "I can't blame anyone for my drinking only me" but you do wonder what caused this path of self destruction. I know he had a crap childhood, a Mother who encouraged him to commit crim ie. rob the electric meter, phone box or shop lift and a Dad who beat him, he has always defended his childhood saying it was all he knew so he thought it was right. The other week however he told me he hated his Mum and felt sorry for but also hated his Dad. This is all such a far cry from my childhood I can't help thinking his parents are at least alittle to blame. None the less I know he can do it if he tries, after all I have seen the evidence, but I don't think he wants to try and wears it like a badge, "It's because I am a alcoholic that I ....". I think writing on here will help to keep me strong, while I get through these first stages, and I know I will be up and down for a while, and may be tempted to have him back.. but I musn't I know. At least I have kept his drinking from my family he always held it together when we visited or they viseted us (they are grown up and left now) I would have been devestated if it had impacted on them. I havn't told anyone about the split yet, I want to deal with it myself first, and then I will be strong.

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (8 February 2012):

Abella agony auntnow is a great time to re-focus your efforts on what you want out of your life from now on and further in the future.

He is out of your life and you are in charge of your future now. No more cleaning up his mess. You can now have peace reign at home.

Just think: you can repaint a wall any color you want. Change your bedroom colors to anything you want.

Find out if there any community projects in your area where you could volunteer when it suited you - maybe once a month?

Or joing a group doing Zumba or aerobics to enjoy developing friendships and improve your fitness at the same time.

You can get a mini-makever of your hair-cut and your hair style.

From now on your life is for living. Not mopping up after an alcoholic who is more likely to need a nurse maid/counsellor, rather than a girlfriend

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make every new day a new beginning to enjoy life.

Not pick up the pieces every time his alcoholism intrudes into the relationship

Best Wishes


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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (8 February 2012):

Abella agony aunt

I read your remarks in the question you mentioned:

And you are completely correct. Alcoholism needs the alcoholic to want to change. And to admit there is a problem. You did the right thing to walk away. If in all the time you have been with your partner - and your partner's love of alcohol has increased, not abated, and therefore you were fighting a losing battle with a rival (alcohol) with a far more deadly hold over your ex.

AND by walking away you are not enabling the alcoholic. So you are doing the alcoholic a favor by walking away. Think of it as an act of love. Not that the alcoholic will appreciate that.

when an alcoholic is enabled then their addiction is supported. Enabling is any action that is making it easier for the alcoholic to go on as usual.

I think an alcoholic may need to reach rock bottom before they will seek help

So you were correct to bring the problem out in to the open and you did not cover it up

And well done that you knew when to walk away from ‘helping’

You spent so much time walking on egg shells. That is no way to love. and now you no longer need to keep on making excuses for him lifestyle and the social settings your partner uses to partake of alcohol All these habits can hinder an alcoholic’s resolve to quit

Yes, he made promises, but he just as easily broke those promises.

So well done to you that you stopped listening to his excuses and instead looked at his actions

You have a right to set boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable for you, from now on, in the hope that the alcoholic will start to get serious about his recovery.

An alcoholic is a sick person in the grip of addiction to alcohol. So it is essential that the alcoholic remain an actively motivated and keeps a central focus on kicking the alcoholic's addiction.

While an alcoholic remains in denial that there is a problem - with you wasting your time trying to persuade the alcoholic to try to kick the addiction.

Health is affected.

Relationships are affected.

Alcoholics feel the lack of respect and disgust and barbs aimed at them and this makes them feel even more of failure and sadder. They lose relationships, jobs, marriages and they lose friends. Their opinion of themselves sinks lower and lower the more alcohol starts to dominate their lives.

And the children of alcoholics are affected for decades to come unless they get counselling to cope with the issue.

Often an alcoholic is self-medicating and therefore the alcoholism is masking other serious untreated problems like grief and depression

There is support out there. Here are some UK links that may help you or your family

Support for families:

Support for children of alcoholics

NHS support is possible - but the waiting list is horrendous – months not days. But online NHS advice, below, is free

Talk to frank allows you to text talk to a counsellor and it’s free about your alcohol addictions (and drug addictions) and holds a great deal of useful information.

And below is the mobile TalktoFrank site.

Mobile site:

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