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

Responses: 334


Updated September 22, 2012

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?

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.


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.

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.

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


Vicky I was so sad after reading your story. You are not a loser and definitely not a reject, he is. You did what you had to do to try and keep your children. If that is how people are going to treat you they are not your true friends. He has conned the people in authority into believing that you are a liar and has conned his way into your children's lives. In the end the truth will come out. He won't be able to live a lie for that long. In the meantime stay strong and keep in regular contact with your children when they reach a certain age they can make their own choices in who to live with. Best of luck.

Time to stop

Someone once told me that there would come a time when I would think enough was enough and walk away from my alcoholic boyfriend of 12 years and I did. I left with my 4 children and it was one of the hardest decisions I had to make and for months I had to put up with the kids lashing out at me as everything in their lives had to change as well as mine. But you know what I am getting there. I can cope I have had to for all those years without much support from him and I am starting to like myself again. We started seeing each other again but the underlying problems still remain. He is still oblivious to the fact that his drinking has destroyed our family life and until he realizes I have decided to withdraw from him. I will still be there in the background for him but I am no longer willing to put my own health at risk for this unneccessary stress called alcohol. My boyfriend doesn't give a damn about us so I will be damned if I run around being an enabler for him.

20 good years and 15 of pure hell

Hi Chris I know where you are coming from when my partner of 12 years was drunk he would think nothing of being sick wherever he was and leave me to clean up his mess, he was incontinent. I felt he was fine if he drunk one bottle of wine but when he drunk two and did not go to the toilet before bed then he would bed wet and his response the next day would be sorry and leave me to clean up his mess. He has even slept beside my son and wet his bed. The problem is unbearable. We end up forgetting the fun we had with them. That's what drew us to our men in the first place and feel like its the norm to change and clean up after them and in some cases while we still have small children to look after. When I left my man people were telling me I look great and that I looked terrible before. The stress of carrying the illness on our shoulders does eat away at us to the point we don't know who we are and wondering if there going to be any future for us at any time in our lives.

This is my life

Hi Tammy hope this is a consolation to you but your kids will remember everything you did for them when they are older it is then that they will really appreciate your struggles to give them a good life minus their father's minimum input. They won't have any time for him and that is something that he will live to regret. Stay strong, you deserve a good life and it is up to you whether you want to put up with the life you have got by detachment from his actions or just to leave and make a new life. The options are there only you can change in order for him to have a chance of changing. All the best Karen{mum of 4 boys}

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