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

Responses: 334


Updated September 22, 2012


I have tried to accept, to shoulder more of the responsibility, to let him figure it out. To have faith. Maybe the faith should lay where he puts himself after I and the kids have endured some of the most awful insults. Put to shame because we want a hot shower in Nebraska's mid-winter, because a kid is out of lunch money at school. This kid feels so ashamed to be alive, as we all did, that he asked a friend's parent if he could live there. Of course they call to ask and he gets verbally assaulted again. The sexual partners, the hoodlums he took as friends, the (well suspected) crimes, the falling from the ladder and now not wanting to work. Actually having the nerve to tell us all that we get to take care of him. The stealing of family money to go out with prostitutes, even when there was hardly any food in the house. Plain old making us feel guilty for living and lying and cheating everyday. He even said he wanted to start killing for money, then he wouldn't have to work.

How Can You Believe?

How can that woman say that she read the posts and no one has faith? Most of these people stuck it out for years in hopes that the situation will change. The only problem is that the alcoholic didn't want to change and there is nothing that the family can do about that. At some point you have to think about yourself and do what's best for you, not the disease. My sister has been an alcoholic for 20 years and has lost everything - job, home, her son can't deal with her anymore and yet she chooses to continue drinking. She's been in an inpatient rehab center 3-4 times that cost my parents their retirement. It's hard to have faith in a disease that, if allowed, will take away your money, family and life. I separate my sister from her disease and love her dearly. I hate the disease, but my sister is in the gripes of the disease and it's dictating her life. I'm tired of the lies and manipulations. I had to except that she may die from this disease and that allowed me to detach.
—Guest MG

Letting go

The love of my life and husband of 21 years lost his business a few years ago and completely fell apart. Withdrew from me, began hanging out in a bar in a lower class area without my knowledge, drinking constantly, gambled away all our money, bankrupted me, losing our house, ran away about 6 weeks ago, then left the bar one night with a drunk woman and was unfaithful to me. I am dead now, he has murdered me in every way, the lies and adultery are beyond comprehension to me. He wants to go to marriage counseling, but will not get treatment, yet I am still harboring hope which is torturing me, I don't know how to let him go.

A hard learner, enabler? Who me?

After 25 years married to an alcoholic one might think they know all the reasons for sticking with a relationship that just never seems to get better . My ex husband was in the military, an officer, we had 4 children together. He was gone so much that I often just felt I was married to the picture on the wall. It is easy to pretend nothing is wrong when you are not living with an alcoholic daily. My husband was a good provider, our children never really spent enough time with him to realize he had a problem. The signs were mostly there, but I was not paying attention. After many years of diligently trying to live a normal life, he came home, or almost. My reward for good behavior was a husband who had been in a long running affair with our house broker who became pregnant. He still wanted the marriage to last with me but I was not willing to do that so we divorced. 20 years after the fact I find myself again in a relationship with an alcoholic, beware of repeats.

I've About Had It

Met her 10 years ago. Helped sell her house and we bought one together. Then, 4 years ago, we married even though I knew there was somewhat of a problem. It's gone downhill, fast, since. I've tried all of the approaches. She refuses to get help. Functions well at work. what a deceiver! Last week, for the first time in my life, I was arrested. I was so flabbergasted I didn't ask the police to test her level. I tried to stop her from calling 911 because she was simply drunk. NEVER have I been physically abusive to any woman! She told the police that I had grabbed her wrist and took the phone from her. I have two counts, now, to deal with... got thrown out of my own house. I handled it wrongly and know it. But, I'm done with her. I just want to get back in after the arraignment, tomorrow, long enough to get my ducks in a row and I'm done. She has a history of deception. Two of her 3 adult offspring hate her. I'm getting a good lawyer and we'll split whatever we can get out of the house.
—Guest kd

One big mistake we all make

This is for all of you who say I love him or her (The alcoholic). We are in Love with who we want them to be or the person they were not who they really are. I know because I've gone down that road too many times. Be honest with yourself. Are you in love with the alcoholic or who they were? Just thought I would bring that point up because I've had to learn the hard way.
—Guest A believer

In the same boat

Seems a lot of us wives have very similar issues with the ones we love. We all need to take care of ourselves, detach from the problems because stress can kill a person. For some unfortunates, bottom is death and there is nobody except God that can help.
—Guest mdltwngirl

Unwanted guest

I have been living with an unwanted guest in my marriage for 40 years. It's name is alcohol. No words can describe the hurt it has caused me and our children. There were nights when I woke up drenched to the skin, where he had urinated in the bed. The mental abuse has left me with no feelings for him whatsoever. I was never left short of money, but that was his way of getting rid if the guilt he should have felt. He is still drinking even though he has heart problems and is on medication. He has told me that it is my fault. When I try to speak to him about his drinking. He says i am a nagging wife. I cannot look at him in the face, and I only stayed with him because I had no where else to go. What a fool I was .
—Guest pathetic

Hurt and coping

My husband has gone through a year of AA and going through treatment after four years of on and off binge drinking at home. We've had arguments, gone through the house to find bottles, lots of embarrassing moments when we're supposed to be celebrating milestones in our lives, and plenty of bitter fights. We have a little boy and alcoholism has been the main reason I've held off on having another child with him. I hate having the distrust and resentment because it builds up and I've threatened to leave him in the past. We have a great military career and it has not affected his job but I won't be surprise if one day he does something really stupid because he is drunk. He blacks out when he drinks so much at home and I know he is embarrassed about this. Since his treatment ended six months ago, he is slipping back. We are still young - in our 20s - but I'm getting to the point that I love him but don't want throw my life away because of him and become a bitter person someday.
—Guest guest Aleja

To Donna

Donna, I'm kind of in the same boat as you, I have 2 Alcoholics who I support, yes as bad as I hate to say it, my 70 year-old mother is 1 the other is my 49 year-old brother who doesn't work, just lays around on couch all day, then about 4 pm, they both start drinking. He gets so drunk,he starts wanting to get religious. It is so embarrassing, but what can I do? It's my mom. I have tried to get him help, the EMS Ambulance comes, 4 Hours later, he is calling from hospital, he's re-leased. He has no insurance,as he doesn't work. I'm like you Donna ,I am just tired of being the ATM machine. Please anyone have any answers? Thanks.
—Guest dell-david63

Response for Helpless

You cannot continue to walk on eggshells around him. You must stand up to him and not be a doormat. EVERYONE deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and that means you too. Let him hear you roar like the woman that you are. You cannot continue to be afraid of him because he uses that to control you. You must understand what I am saying to you. If you are afraid of him hitting you or he treatens to hit you then, call the police and have him arrested. But, do not make the mistake that so many women make when they call the police and decide not to press charges because then he knows he can do it again without being held accountable. When and if it is time to have children with this man; you will know. Do not wait to stand up to him. I am begging you.
—Guest Carrie

Getting off the wheel

I am just starting to get my life together. I am in the middle of divorcing my husband he has been an alcoholic about 4 to 5 years. I have had verbal, financial and physical abuse. I think the whole alcoholism thing is very sad it affects so many people around them. I want my husband to reach his rock bottom so there is a chance he will reach out for help for the sake off our 2 girls. I have stopped being his enabler so he can see his own problems. The inner strength i have gotten from Al-Anon and family and friends has helped. I do hope he finds the solution sooner rather than later.
—Guest kas

I love him so much.

I've been married to an alcoholic for 15 years. We have no children together, as I am frightened about bringing a child into the world with an alcoholic father. He's quit before, for almost two years, but fell off the wagon. He's a month into a sober period now, and every day is a living hell. I walk on eggshells because I'm afraid that any conflict whatsoever will make him relapse. Every moment we're together is wrought with tension, and I just know it won't be long before he flips out again. I'm thinking that if I ever want peace in my life, I have no choice but to leave. But I love him so much! The thought of being without him makes me want to die. He's my baby boy and I don't want to lose him to this horrible disease. What the hell can I do?


I am not an alcoholic but, I do live with one and I love him very much and I know he loves me too (even though he doesn’t know how to show it sometimes). I will not give up on him or his ability to get sober and stay sober. I don’t fully understand what he goes through on a daily basis but, he does talk to me about his problems and his fears. I do understand what it’s like to be addicted and the addiction is only part of the problem he faces. I have a nicotine addiction that I would love to beat and, I believe it will happen even though I don’t know how or when. But, I do know that there is nothing that anyone can do or say to get me to quit even though I value and respect other’s opinions on it. I have to want to do it for me. I have read every single post on this site and have noticed a genuine lack of faith from many. I don’t go to church but, I do believe in God and I do pray often. I can pray until I am blue in the face but, if I don’t believe that God will do his work then it will not happen.
—Guest Carrie

I refuse to enable anymore

For at least 15 years now I have been enabling my husband of 28 years with his drinking problem. At first I only found the empty bottles hidden in a basement closet. For the past 7+ years I have been ignoring his drinking problem and have been blaming myself for his sexual problems. He also has a genetic disease that he should not be drinking because of the medications he has to take do not mix well with alcohol. He blames me for his sexual problems that he needs more excitement and wants to do a 3 way with another woman, a sexual therapist, if there is such a thing, I call that a prostitute. I refuse and tell him that it is his problem, not mine. He does not tell his Dr. about any of this and refuses to take anything to help with his lack of sexual satisfaction. I am always the scape-goat for his impotence. I have had it. I will not enable him anymore. I will not let him put me down anymore. I will not get into a car when he has been drinking. I will come out on top.

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

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