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Readers Respond: Have You Been Playing a Role in the Life of an Alcoholic?

Responses: 338

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Updated September 22, 2012

Walking Away

After 10 months of dating, I recently decided to leave my alcoholic boyfriend. As much as I love him, he has to be the one to decide to seek treatment. I can't "love him" out of it; he has to want it and follow the path of treatment to recovery himself. The hard part for me is the not knowing is sometimes just as painful as knowing what he's doing. I wonder if he's still drinking, if he's gotten thrown in jail, if he's even still alive. I feel anger, worry, anxiety, depression. But most of all right now I just feel sadness. Sad for him and sad for myself as well. But I believe this is the right decision. Everyone else in his life enables his behavior and doesn't see how that contributes to his decline.
—Guest Ex-Girlfriend

Drinking husband

I feel for you. I always let husband get the best me letting him get away a lot of BS. He has his second DWI no longer have a vehicle. Oh well, what can I do? Been there done it. He will go to court either jail/or treatment. I can't wait. Looking forward to him not being here. I pray in his absence I will do what I need to get well. I feel bad or began to understand why I'm not in love him. You heard this before but he is great husband/father when sober. I have lost many years because I allowed him to continue his drinking/behavior. I want to be happy and really enjoy been alone. I'm not there yet but with His help I will continue my recovery going to Al-non/counseling. My hurt and marriage will pass. Lessons are a part of living.
—Guest lifeisgood

Enabler and martyr

I grew up with an alcoholic mother. and then married an alcoholic. Why did I make the same mistake as my father. I was always taught to enable. I don't know how long I can stay on the vicious roller coaster.
—Guest Daughter/wife

Cornerstones

My first husband was addicted to meth and this time the culprit is alcohol. I am not trying to fix my husband. It did not work with the first. I am an addictions counselor, but also human. The best thing we can do for the addicts we love is to stay focused on our goals and realize this is their battle. Let these words comfort you instead of hurt. We can't fight it for them. I have read that some of the people posting think they help addicts by helping pay fines, fees, and other various acts. The best thing we can do for the addicts in our lives is back off and help them when they are ready. The cornerstone to recovery is a solid support system. There is a fine line between support and enabling. Cornerstones maintain the stability of a structure. To be one you have to stay strong and stay focused on yourself. Focus on your hopes and don't lose yourself while trying to hold someone else together. How can you fix something that is broken if you are broken too?
—Graves77

How long does it take?

I know for sure I am playing a role, I am too afraid of him not to. So I just do what he wants and hope that he falls asleep, so I can have a moment to myself. This alcoholic needs constant attention and can become violent at a moment's notice. I am violating every written and unwritten rule by reaching out and telling someone. I am so tired of being screamed at for nothing, I too want to escape. Am I using this person as an excuse, we have no marriage, no sex life because of alcohol and quite frankly who wants to have sex with a drunk angry person. Not me, no thanks, so instead I just keep going to work and praying for a miracle. From what I have read from the other bloggers on the site, there are no miracles. So how long does it take until you, I, we have had enough?
—Guest FRANKIE2

Oh Yes

Just tonight I picked him up from a bar. If he were to drive he would have for sure killed someone and himself.
—Guest FRANKIE

Confused!

My husband is a sometimes recovering alcoholic that has switched to pot as his poison. I have seen him unemployed, drain our bank account, treat people badly and emotionally abuse and manipulate me. One day I came home and found that he had posted an ad on Craig's list soliciting other men for sex! I wasn't even upset about this latest malfunction. I quietly packed his bags and asked him to come home. He showed up. I confronted him and he left. For the longest time, I convinced myself that I made a vow, in good times and bad, until death due us part. I have come to realize that this is not what God meant. He has had sobriety but is still a louse. I am supposed to be grateful that he is sober. Sobriety is not good enough! I want to flourish and I don't want my son to inherit this devastating legacy. I have attended Al-Anon before but hated it. Why the hell am I supposed to ignore his problems . . . they affect me too! I hate that people say I played a role in this . . . BULL!
—Guest Susan

Martyr no more!

I was with my husband for 11 years and played a great martyr. I even taught him how to hide his alcohol from the kids. After I was face to face with his 22 year old mistress, he is 44. I finally kicked him out. I kept saying how could this happen to me. I am starting to understand how the alcoholism affects the whole family and why I was depressed and "moody" and he came off looking like a saint. I let myself be the scapegoat with his family and now this has caused a huge rift and my small children and my step daughter are caught in the middle. All I can say is the more I learn, the more I understand. The more I reach out to others, the more I know I am not alone. I will stop the cycle with my children, I am happy and there is life after the abuse from a manipulative, emotionally abusive alcoholic. I wish very one the best of luck in their recovery, you are not alone.
—Guest It's getting better

Son in law

My son in law comes from a family of beer drinkers and in the last five years I have noticed that my daughter has emotional swings - quiet and patient with the children one moment and the next yelling. I don't think she realizes the effect of his drinking is having on the whole family. I worry about him driving with the children in the car. A couple of years ago my son went to a out of state location for work with him and the son in law was drinking and driving. My son who is a big boy could not stop him drinking or give up the wheel for my son to drive. The son in law has been stopped and arrested for DUI was able to fight it in court, but doesn't seem to remember how scared he was at the possibility of losing his job. I want to find a way to help, but I have no idea. And my daughter is preparing to be ready with the next time he explodes. How can I help her? My family does not really drink much so this is really new to me. I worry the most for my grandchildren, but I don't know what to do.
—Nana062

Same Story

I sitting here reading everyone's comments and didn't realize I'm not alone. I'll be married 19 yrs next month, and my husband is an alcoholic. We have two children, 17 and 12. I don't have to hide anything from them, they see what's the issue and hate him for what he has done to our family. However today I had a fight with my husband about the drinking and our 17 daughter sided with her dad and said she didn't blame him being with someone like me. You can't imagine the hurt I felt. I've spent years protecting my children from the constant fights and abuse. I don't know what I'm going to do. My husband knows he has a problem but according to him, it's all my fault - the nagging, accusations, etc. Is it my fault? I have not gone to therapy and know that I need to talk to someone. I can't continue to live like this. I feel that no one understands what I have to deal with. My last option is rehab for my husband - I hope he will make the right choice and fight for our family.
—Notsure_why

10 years later and still fighting

I've been with my boyfriend for 10 years and he doesn't drink all the time. He is fine to drink beer but occasionally gets into a bottle of scotch or cognac and once he does he can't stop. He becomes rude, condescending and an extreme disappointment. He embarrasses me in front of family and friends and ruins social gatherings. Just last night I had to leave my best friend's wedding. He didn't even make it through dinner before I had to take him home. We've had countless discussions and fights over the years. He fights me and then promises me he'll try and control his drinking. I come from a family of alcoholics and I don't want to live my adult life this way. I feel so let down, unimportant and disappointed. I love the man when he is when sober. But hate who he is when he's been drinking. I don't know what to do anymore. Any advice would be so welcome!
—Guest Out of Ideas

Ignoring the Bad Behavior?

How do you just ignore the alcoholic's behavior when you are financially dependent on them keeping their job? Without his job we will lose the house. I've tried everything to make him stop, but he won't now he is at the point of drinking all day even at work and now work is complaining about him. What do I do? Just let the house go into foreclosure? That doesn't seem right. Any advice would be appreciated.
—Guest lou

What do I do?

My husband of 26 years has become an alcoholic in the last 5 years. He has been to rehab but has become worse thereafter. He almost died twice already with bleeding esophageal varices and has started bleeding again but refuses to go to the doctor. He hides drink at home and always twists the situation around to make himself the victim when I confront him. He has left home for the past 3 days and I feel guilty saying this, it is so peaceful but he has taken the family business phone and my daughter's car. I am not really worried about him but the fact that he has the phone we will not be able to get calls for our business which is electrical contracting in which all 3 of my children work. He will return like nothing happened and I normally perform, but please someone give me advise on how I can detach myself so that I just get on with my life and ignore him. I cannot do this and work myself up until I am screaming and swearing and performing.
—Guest Lost

So sad

In one respect I am pleased to say that I have taken the break up with my partner surprisingly well, however deep down I feel so sad. I dropped in three of my four children as he was taking them today and when I walked in the house was a complete mess and several bottles of wine were at his armchair. I asked him how he was doing and he said fine. I almost was tempted to say something but bit my tongue I'm not going to lecture I thought to myself. I was so in control then I blurted out, what was he playing at? Did he want to lose me and my kids over alcohol? When I asked him if he loved me he never replied and said something lame that was irrelevant. I feel as though I have wasted a good part of my life on him and his problems. I felt sorry for him and agreed to go and clean his house this week. Yep back to the old enabling bit except this time I am going to give him a call and tell him to clean up his own mess. I'm telling my children often enough to do that. The same rule applies to adults.
—Guest sadmum4

My Mom would be better off dead

My mom is 74 years old and 3 out of 4 of her kids are enablers. I am the oldest and moved out of town (about 80 miles) to get away from the day to day crap. I'm the one who got the silent treatment for keeping my kids away from her because of her drunken behavior. Now are all in our 40's and 50's. She is financially okay, but falls and injures herself over and over. I have long ago accepted that she will kill herself with alcohol. I don't want to take her to doctor appointments or run to the hospital when she breaks something. I love her as my mom but I don't like her one bit. I'm the only one that can sit down and visit with her because I don't deal with the day to day stuff. I notice that the doctors are tired or her too. I've finally accepted that I am an enabler and I want to stop it right now.
—Guest Foxyspet

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Have You Been Playing a Role in the Life of an Alcoholic?

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