Should I Leave my Alcoholic Wife (or Husband, Partner, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Addict)?

Question:

I cannot bear my wife’s alcoholism any longer. If I stay I’ll perish. But if I leave her I’ll be in the financial pits. And strangely, I still love her!  I’ve been to an Al-Anon meeting but it’s not enough. Most of my friends tell me to leave her, and my family tells me to stick it out. What do I do?

Note: I first wrote this answer as a way to talk about methods to approach tough dilemmas, and since that time it has grown into the forum you see now. 

I’m continually moved by the vivid descriptions of the carnage that addiction causes, and the impossible “you choose, you lose” dilemmas faced by exhausted, isolated partners. Often, finance, children and other circumstances prevent any simple solutions. But, I also notice that many describe their own addiction of sorts – to the partner. A love and attachment you cannot shake, despite the consequences. It’s something like finding yourself holding a hot panhandle and gripping all the more tightly the more it burns.

Please feel free to tell your own story.  I also encourage you to respond to other postings with a few words of appreciation, support and ideas.

Updates are appreciated.  There are many more readers of this dialogue than there are responders – you have an interested group here and we want to know what happens.

Thank you.

Answer:

You have a mighty dilemma. My first suggestion would be to treat with skepticism any advice to take choice 1 over choice 2. In the end, only you can decide. And only you will know just how much sadness and anxiety is going to be inherent with either option.

Try viewing your dilemma as four-pronged: Choice 1 would be that you decide to leave your wife and that you do so in the most careful, strategic manner, doing the most that you can to ensure this unfolds as becoming the right choice. Choice 2 would be that you leave in a way that magnifies the potential for a negative outcome, say by being mean, impulsive or passive, neglecting the care of your self, your social network, financial interests and so on. Choices 3 and 4 would be the most attentive, well-equipped approach to staying with her, vs. the approach that would leave you the most hurt.

In other words, the way in which you select a choice and then follow through on it what is important, and it is where you can make nitty-gritty choices on a day-to-day basis. The working out of those specifics might be where your attention is going to be productive.

There is another general rule in making a wrenching decision. Make the mistake you can correct. That is, whichever course is more reversible might be considered first. In your case, it is much easier to recover from the mistake of waiting a bit more, than to recover after discovering that divorce was a mistake. Naturally, this is a general guideline only.

One more thing. Loneliness and anxiety, among other troubles, are almost universally difficult for partners of alcoholics. Reaching out is good. More reaching out is better. Al-Anon is not for everyone in your situation, but those who do find it helpful would probably say that it’s the repeated attendance that makes it work.

680 Responses to “Should I Leave my Alcoholic Wife (or Husband, Partner, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Addict)?”

  1. Joe Says:

    At first I felt useful. Now, I’m sure if I left she would lose her livelihood. She would be driving drunk and doing all the other things that my enabling allow her to do without consequence. She drinks, works, drinks, sleeps(very little), and drinks. She won’t go to restaurants that don’t serve her favorite beer. She won’t engage in activities that don’t let her drink beer, she drinks beer. She makes a lot of money but she’s always broke because she makes financial decisions while intoxicated. How can I help her without enabling her?

  2. forestdancer Says:

    One reason I enjoy this site is because the ongoing communication makes me feel like I am not alone, and it also gives me perspective when I read about the different solutions and choices everyone is making. I think the most difficult part of being married to an alcoholic is that it seems as if I am “forever waiting”. I am either waiting for him to blow up, break something, disrupt the household in some dramatic manner, or simply just waiting the peaceful times out, knowing they will come to an end in some dramatic way. I am posting today because an acquaintance just committed suicide because he was so depressed, he couldn’t take it anymore. He left behind a wife and 3 college aged children. He was 43. He wasn’t an alcoholic, however his depression mimicked the depression my husband exhibits often. Alcoholics drink and then enter a world none of us can understand. Depression is a large part of that. My husband thinks the world is ending, wants a divorce as part of his rants, never wants me to leave as another part of the rants, hates everyone, hates himself, etc. Nothing is good enough for him, yet is overwhelming for him at the same time. When I told my husband about our friend who committed suicide, he said “are you talking? Do I look like I care? Go find something to do!” Somedays I forget that the man I married is inside there and comes out periodically, but overall he is a sick man and may never come out of himself to be with me again, the way I remember him. I don’t know who said this, but new growth always comes from something rotten. I picture a seed that is sitting in garbage, and then grows into a beautiful flower. That flower is all of us who are sitting amongst the garbage. We are growing into something beautiful, and maybe some of us will have alcoholics that recover someday.

  3. Ed Says:

    My wife and I have been married a little over 50 years. In the past 6, she has developed into an alcoholic. She has been to multiple local 7 day in patient followed by intensive outpatient programs, been to a 28 program at the Sanctuary in Chelan, WA. Last summer we hired a professional interventionist and she went to a facility in Dallas, supposed to be 60 days. She called daily and asked to come home. After 11 days, the staff called and said she was not willing to participate in anything and that I was looking at “an expensive hotel.”
    I took her home. I have done a number or at home detox programs. I do so because the consequences of her drinking are enormous. She also has some early dementia, mostly short term memory loss. A local psychologist told me that made it difficult if not impossible to work with her, because each visit is supposed to build on the previous and with her visit was starting over.

    I have not let her drive, since she had two driving while drinking incidents earlier this year. She continues to think that she can “have one drink of wine with dinner,” ie moderation. We have tried this many times, and each time the result is what you would expect. She does not want to accept that she has a drinking problem. I have so far ruled out leaving her or divorce because I don’t think she is physically and mentally well enough to live on her own.

    Is there a way to stay living under the same roof, but prevent her drinking problems from wiping out our assets? I could live upstairs and come and go on my own, meet and date other ladies, but provide a sheltered environment until she finally falls, again, for the 30th time (no exaggeration) and suffers a permanent injury or death. I fear the car issue most.
    I could provider her wine, I have tried that for a while, but I am then “enabling.” I seem to have all bad choices.

  4. Robert Says:

    I wish I had time to read all the stories on here. This forum has been a godsend. For so long I felt so alone, because living with an alcoholic wife is so isolating, so private. I didn’t want to tell anyone, my family, my friends, my co-workers. I just didn’t want to bother anyone with my private hell, my living nightmare.

    I have been married 11 years, no kids (thank god!). My wife started drinking 7 years ago as a coping mechanism for depression and anxiety. She also drinks to numb physical pain in her back. It started with a 6 pack of beer most nights. She would have moments where she would not drink for a night, but now she binge drinks every night. She has graduated to wine mixed with vodka. She usually drinks until she passes out. And she is not a pleasant drunk. She becomes very belligerent and mean. The verbal abuse is overwhelming. This often leads to domestic violence. She will go into an alcoholic rage over the most irrational things. You can’t reason with her or calm her down. I can only leave the house. I have learned from past experiences that I have to hide her car keys or she will try to leave the house and drive drunk when she is mad. One time she turned the car on with the garage door closed, put the car in reverse, and rammed the garage door, crumpling it. I can’t tell you how many alcohol related injuries she has suffered. Broken eye socket and nose, sprained ankle, etc. I have spent many nights in a hotel for my own safety. She doesn’t remember most of the destruction she has caused the night before. She apologizes every morning, promises to stop drinking and get help. It’s the same old song and dance. She will never change. I really want to file for divorce and move on and start over. I am 44 years old (she is 39) and have many good years ahead of me. I no longer care how much money will be spent on separation and divorce. I just want out. After one particular gut wrenching night about 3-4 years ago, I sat down and wrote my feelings on paper. A very personal poem. I have never shared it with anyone. I am going to post it on here tomorrow when I have more time to share it.

    Thank you to Tom for this forum and to everyone who has shared their stories. It has given me hope, strength, and courage. God bless.

  5. Phil Says:

    First post on any site like this so bare with me… not even sure why I’m sharing.
    I have read so many of the stories and while they give some comfort that I am not alone. I still feel alone.
    My wife has the disease and thats the way I think about it. Not her fault perhaps, I can’t quite decide.
    Anyway, I am this week after 5 years of marriage and 4 years of realisation that she is an alcoholic, finally leaving her. I have suffered the same consequences and environment that nearly all of the posters have suffered, I think we all see and feel the same stuff.
    My wife will not seek help for her illness and is not ready to start the journey that might lead her to a better life for herself and those around her. That is the saddest part.
    I have waited for 4 years for her to try and she is heading in the wrong direction still. Not sure she has bottomed out yet.
    I am not sure I want to wait for the bottom, it might be years away and then be too much for me to deal with. Perhaps I am weak.
    My concerns now moving forward are how I deal with the guilt that perhaps I could have helped her more, I am after all, leaving a sick person.
    Despite there being little love left in our marriage and no affection, how do I live with the fact that I gave up on another human being that needs help.
    I feel selfish that I am pursuing a goal of my own sanity and happiness for the remainder of my life ( I’m 45) and leaving her to deal with this on her own.
    Practically she will be fine, she is a high earner and will walk away with a settlement from my property investments with enough to be ok. My concern is leaving a sick person.

    I guess I am seeking any advice or words that will help me deal with these feelings.
    I am sure some people who leave an alcoholic will feel tremendous relief and I too feel that in some ways but it also feels selfish to me.
    The thought of staying makes me feel physically and emotionally ill, so I know I am doing the right thing for me and my 17yr old daughter ( from a previous relationship).
    Anybody felt the same way ?
    How do we deal with the emotional aftermath ?
    Do the scares of this ever heal?

    My sincerest hopes of happiness to you all.

  6. Mark Says:

    Thanks to everyone speaking here. I feel validated and supported as I read. Our experiences are similar, and I realize better that I’m up against the alcohol more than just up against my wife.

    I’ve been married 25 years, and finally am grasping that my wife’s put downs, insults, and lies, are probably mainly part of her alcohol and prescription drug dependence.

    She drank while she was pregnant with my son. Our wedding night ended up with her head in the toilet throwing up, rather than us consumating. She did a good job raising my son and she’s a hard worker, but has always, even since our honeymoon, expressed anger, put downs, insults, etc., and then acts as if she doesn’t remember, or denies what she said, and repeatedly accuses that I never look at my “stuff”, or says “you never own your part….” And on and on.

    Last year when my son moved into the Dorms at the local college, about the same time I was diagnosed with a mild form of Leukemia, and she just really got insulting and decided she’s going to go to the local bar and play pool. Over the next year she crashed her car three times, once running a red light, hitting my car, my sons car, and then totaled her car (thankfully she’s and the others are ok.) Then she started sleeping with other men, and now into the second year of this, she now sleeps at another mans house every night. My 19 year old son moved back with us a few months back, and is being so kind to her, and blessing her with supportive, encouraging words, hoping she’ll get back to some dependence on Christ rather than dependence on her addictions.

    Turns out, now that I am seeing things more clearly, that the bottles in her closet, always drinking before we went anywhere, insensitivity, lost friendships, blaming, gossiping, etc, etc, shows that she never gave up her dependence on alcohol. Over the years she started getting many prescription drugs, and is not supposed to drink alcohol when using them – but as usual she doesn’t listen or heed advice.

    She wants to separate or divorce, she said, so when my son finds a place to live, I’ll move also. I know she wants to move into our house her male friend, to help pay part of the mortgage, but I worry that this will only enable or encourage her continued pattern of denial, drinking, drugs, and self lies. But she doesn’t talk to me at any depth, and just gets angry when I talk about adult topics like her smoking and drinking and how it affects her health, finances, etc.

    I am shocked at her seeming lack of depth, and acting like she doesn’t understand how I might feel about this loss, after investing 25 years and having a son together. She’s a Doctor of Psychology and has her own psychology business in town, but she has never managed the finances of the business, and I recently did a full audit of the last several years, and she’s lost an average of about $1000 per month due to neglecting to collect money that she was never paid up front. Also, as a psychologist, it would seem like she’d be able to talk personally and at greater depth than she does, so I must conclude that being smart, trained and skilled, is separate from being “heart smart.” She’s like talking to a distracted middle school kid. She blames and makes light of deeper topics, rather than connecting and communicating on a mature level. As we speak we’re now over $18,000 in debt for taxes on her business, because she doesn’t save part of her income for business taxes. Each month, we’re going another $800 in tax debt, because she isn’t managing her business finances. And I don’t think we could get rid of tax debt by going bankrupt?

    After getting married, and her put downs and disrespectful attitude that started on the honeymoon and continued, we’d get past the repeated blow ups, then focus on our hard work, but never connected in any intimate way, and now in our present situation she blames me for not wanting sex, or not wanting to cuddle, etc. I never felt like cuddling with someone who in the next second would blame or put down.

    I’m sad about where I’ve ended up, after so much time. I am trying to be supportive to her, but I’m living more separate than ever, with her being gone very night, and I’ve never been good at making new friends, but now I’m going to have to make a new life for myself, especially when my son moves out permanently — he’s my best friend. I guess I’ll just continue to connect more with my church, try to make some new friends, and keep working, as the while hoping my wife gets some inner peace, better sobriety, and hope she doesn’t have to hit some “bottom” that will result in us losing our home. I wish I was better off financially to manage the losses, but we’re not well off enough. We’ve been comfortable, but no extra money to save each month.

    I welcome any advice or suggestions. I feel I just need to continue this path, and watch it unfold, because she won’t take responsibility and she won’t communicate, she just does what she wants to do. For example, I’m going to ask her to read this, what I’ve written, but she probably won’t. If she does she’ll just deny all of it, and put me down or tell my I’m being a victim. I just want to live in peace and have security, but she’s a question mark and if we end up in financial ruin, it won’t surprise me.

    I feel divorcing is not good overall. It would help protect me from her financial irresponsibility, but I care about her well being, and don’t want to abandon her, even though she’s abandoned me and our son, in this adulterous life she’s leading. I think it’s possible, too, that she’ll get worse, drink more, lose the house, lose her business, go bankrupt, and take me down, financially, with her. But If I divorce her, what good am I doing in the world? How am I making any difference in he life, if I act like most others who only think of him or herself, and just get rid of the trouble person?

    I’m hoping that per her request of a trial separation, she’ll get more “centered”, see more clearly what she really wants in life, and gets more responsible. If she crashes, I want to be there as a support to help encourage her and let her know she has me and our son, and most importantly, has Christ to trust in for strength.

    I don’t know what else to do?

  7. JJ Says:

    Good Day.. My story is very similar but with a added twist.. We been married 22 years and she’s been drinking out of control for more than 5 years. Tried everything rehab take money away .. last night I discovered again vodka hidden in a energy bottle. I called it quits this morning with her now she threatens to commit suicide.. I feel ashamed and not sure what to do .. My life is s living nightmare .. Have 2 kids 18 and 13. The support me but we cannot o on..

  8. Tom Linde Says:

    I’m going to weigh in again with a couple of short comments.

    First, the disease model of addiction is wonderfully useful. But for many in the profession, it serves mainly as a metaphor. In other words, not to be taken 100% literally. I don’t want to go into a whole discussion on this, but one example of how it does not fit so well with the disease model is that for most other diseases, the patient is something of a victim. Blameless. And responsible for little other than to follow treatment recommendations. The addict is unfortunate to have inherited the genes and to have the other influences that lead to the addiction. But they still bear full responsibility for all their actions. The challenge for all of those writing here is, ‘How do I lovingly hold him or her accountable?’

    Another subject. I am very interested in all the recent emphasis on “grey area drinking” – not horrendously over the top, but above recommended healthy limits. This is the range where you may not be experiencing any of the obvious consequences, but where you have increased risk for later health problems (diabetes, hypertension, dementia and more). And, where there could be subtle consequences not hitting your radar screen, such as diminished engagement with family, reduced exercise, poor sleep quality and so on.

    For all who are drawn to this site, it might be doubly important to make sure your drinking is below that line – a line which is drawn more conservatively than most people realize. It’s easy to find out. Take the AUDIT. Please pay extra attention to the explanation of exactly what constitutes one drink. A pint of microbrew and most poured drinks at the local bar are usually more than “one”. A test score of 8 or more in men or 7 or more in women indicates risky or hazardous drinking. Over 15 (in men), or 13 (in women), should be alarming.

    For more on this, please see this wonderful short video, created in part by my friends at the Group Health Research Institute. Watch it twice.

  9. Andres Says:

    What a great resource this site has been! I just found it and am shocked at how many similar stories there are to mine. I’ve been married nearly 7 years and have a 5 and 3 year old. My wife has always enjoyed drinking and has admitted to me that she’s always associated “fun” with alcohol and has a difficult time having fun without it. It started getting bad about 3 years ago at the birth of our 3 year old son. I was traveling a lot for work, so that coupled with post-partum depression set off the bomb. I’ve heard it all – if only i hadn’t left her “by herself” with 2 kids she wouldn’t drink, if i had done this or that, etc. Been called every name under the sun, hit on occasion, it goes on and on. She’s also majorly draining our finances with her habit. She typically drinks 2-3 bottles a night, 5-6 nights a week. She’s also on anti-depressants and anxiety meds, which she takes in smaller doses when she drinks and typically overtakes when she doesn’t drink. I’ve tried to explain to her how horribly it affects me and i worry deeply at how mommy’s “juice” will affect our kids. I pray my 5 year old isn’t picking up on it yet. She is an absolute horror to be around when she drinks, and typically follows up with an “I’m sorry” the next morning. She knows she has a problem, which i guess is a start. She tries to tell me that she needs to “taper off” which is a bunch of bull she tells herself to excuse drinking. She has been seeing a therapist and a psychologist but only about her anxiety/depression – they have NO idea she drinks excessively. I’ve asked why she can’t tell her doctors the full truth and she thinks they’ll throw her in rehab. That and she’s embarrassed she’s lied to them for so long about the real truth. I’ve threatened to tell her doctors, I’ve taken all her bank cards, I’ve tried it all. I’ve taken over a majority of the housework to alleviate stress but i’m thinking that all I’m doing is enabling her behavior. Honestly, i’m struggling with the difference of showing her grace and enabling her (we are both Christians, which adds to my feeling that i need to stay and help). I read above that it’s similar to a hostage situation, where i am my wife’s hostage, and i cannot agree more. I wake up every morning and wonder what type of mood my wife will be in. It’s extremely depressing and exhausting to be around this level of uncertainty each day. She won’t let me tell anyone, but I’ve confided in one friend anyways. I couldn’t keep it in anymore.

    Anyways, thank you for letting me verbal vomit – it feels really good to get it out. I will be in prayer for the men and women of this forum. I wouldn’t wish this life on my worst enemy…

  10. Shawn Says:

    I wrote back in March about my wife who had just left for rehab. She relapsed within the first week she was back. She has taken to denying when she drinks. She has obvious tells when she does. She goes to meetings, sees a counselor, and stays sober probably 27 out of 30 days a month. Her nastiness is not as terrible and she doesn’t pass out on the couch anymore. I just can’t control how angry I get when she does drink and then lies to my face about it even though we both know the truth. She burnt dinner and left the stove on the other day. Aside from that was acting like “drunk wife” I asked her if she had been drinking and it was world war 3 all over again. I called her a shitty mother because she left the stove on due to her drinking. The kids (older than 6 but not teens) play a big part in this. I think they are safe with her if we divorce, but unsure if she pulls moves like leaving a stove on while cooking dinner. They have managed to be fine without me always around as I have been away most of the summer on business. I gave her an ultimatum. I know she will relapse on occasion (it’s a disease, I get it). No more lying, find a job or do something to get engaged with. Our lease is up soon and I gave her a timeline to accomplish this or I would refuse to continue our lease and find a separate living space. Is this too harsh? Does this make me a shitty person? Am I just adding stress and encouraging her to drink? I told her my tank was empty and I had nothing left for her. I told her she used up everything I had for her and if she wanted this to work then it was going to be all her. I actually told her that it was going to be her sole job to convince me every day that she hadn’t been drinking and that I shouldn’t even suspect it. That’s how used up I feel.

  11. Jake Says:

    I’m writing here for the first time. The stories I’m reading are quite moving and help me to appreciate other writer’s shared perspectives. My girlfriend and I are unmarried, although she hints that I should be proposing. We’ve been together 3 years. I am 40, she is 35, and thankfully we have no kids, and she doesn’t want any or she says she’d have to change her life style (she is a drinker and smoker). She works at a bar, in a college town, so of course drinking is involved. We both drink too much, several times a week, but whereas I just get sleepy and call a cab and go home, she doesn’t seem to know when to stop once she gets going. We both love wine. It is not uncommon for us to finish off two bottles. But she buys boxed wine, and I know she’s going to keep pouring if it’s around. She doesn’t drink in the morning, or at work. But if she has a night off, watch out. She blacks out, passes out on the couch, sometimes doesn’t come home until 6am, and a few times–too many for my comfort–she tries to wake me up in the middle of the night and have sex, when I need to be up at 6am to go to work. On a recent night she started molesting me and I turned her away, and she started calling me nasty names, threatened to leave (she has a breathalyzer on her car, so she would have been wondering on foot, not safe), and started sobbing. I know we have intimacy issues to deal with, but at 3am blacked out drunk is not the time to start a discussion. The thing is, the next morning she won’t remember what happened and just laughs it off. The only way she’ll open up to me is when she’s drunk, or when we’re both drunk. I probably enable her, but when I intentionally cut myself off at a bar and go home, I want her to come with me. Lately she just stays and either walks home or calls a cab. I can see the direction this is going, when I read other stories here. I’m unsure I want to marry someone who isn’t confronting her problems. My first step will be to discuss when we’re both sober and clear-headed. I want to help her, I don’t necessarily want to leave her, but I have type I diabetes and I have to make changes to improve my health or my situation will certainly deteriorate. It’s an uncertain future for both of us.

  12. Edmund Says:

    First time in this site. The short of it is my wife of 22 years was diagnosed with cancer about 4 years ago. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation she started drinking to deal with her mortality. She lost a brother to alcoholism and has a sister that is an alcoholic. She has an enlarged liver at this point. We have 3 children, 1 away at school and 2 at home. The older two know what is going on the youngest is 7 and only knows mommy doesn’t feel well at times. She has been in 4 rehabs over 3 years. She just recently started working again after 3 years of not working. She ran up 4 credit cards to over 45K in debt. Sense her last rehab about 11 months ago she was sober. I just recently thought she may be drinking again and did the typical vodka bottle hunt and found 2 empty bottles. I confronted her and she denied, like always, then admitted she slipped. She is a pathological liar. I promised myself after dealing with this for about 3 years that if she ever drank again, even once, I would leave with my children. And yes she has driven with the kids drunk before. I can’t leave my house without having major anxiety that she could hurt herself or the kids. The strange thing is before her cancer she was never a big drinker. At the age of 48 she turned to self medicating. She has said some horrible things to me when she drinks. I was always told 2 kinds of people don’t lie, drunks and children. I feel I need to take the financial hit and leave to protect my kids and myself. She comes from money and will probably get help even tho her family relationships are strained majorly from the lies and drinking. I have been dedicated to my kids in every way. I have protected them from the pain mom has put on them the best I can. I know they are hurt deeply. I feel that this will never go away and I should move on and try to start some sort of new life at 46 without her. Any thoughts out there?? This sight makes me feel somewhat normal. By the way I have always loved her and always will. When she is/was sober she is a wonderful person.

  13. Jason Says:

    I have stumbled across this forum by mere chance or was it. I have been married for 4 almost 5 years, during this time my wife has abused (phetermine) and alcohol together creating a very emotional numb person. She started the alcohol to calm the nerves and excitement from the phentermine. As time has gone on the abuse has hit its plateau for me. My wife does hair for a living, so she only works 4 days a week, during those days my children are either in day care or under my care. On her 3 days she isn’t working, she is their primary care giver while I am at work. As the addiction is getting worse she is failing at caring for my children, often to drunk to care or participate. I can no longer leave them in her care while I am working. I have often been crossed with the deliema do I stay or do we go. I love her, but striving to keep my family together we stay. I know i can provide a better life for my children without her, but what kind of life would my children have if I took them away from their mother? I too am torn, I married my wife with the knowledge that divorce isn’t an option, but find my self toying with the idea daily. Am I now addicted to her the way she is addicted to the alcohol?
    Whats my recovery, Al-alon isn’t right for me, I find more hope attending AA meetings with her that than i do any where else. At least these people have hope and have made strides to heal. Today I feel hopeless, today I feel torn, how do I or how can I protect the ones that can’t protect themselves from a disease that is robbing my wife of her god given right of Mother hood.
    Thank you all, my heart goes out to those hurting. I pray for you.

  14. Saadia Says:

    It really helps to listen to what other people are going through. I think that maybe the best advice. I still feel depressed and isolated but I am also in a foreign country,foreign Language, far away from Home. Living in the countryside. I have some project Work but it is based from the house- with a Company from home. The large part of my income comes after project implementation.I have Been trying to get a part time job with social contact… Anything, but have not Been successful. 6 years ago I told My husband that i want a divorce. This was a Year after I discovered He was an alcoholic. In that Year his episodes became more frequent and more lasting. I used to think He was a social dirinker like I was! It is so strange when I think back as I wonder How I did not see it. But, at least to the most extent He was Good at covering it up and on the occassion He did a lousy cover up job i just tought it was social drinking.. Something I could relate to! He immediately stopped drinking when i told him I wanted a divorce. At This time we were living in my country and I was the main bread winner. I did not believe He would.. It was something i had heard too often. But as circumstances were seperation was difficult and living together for a While was necessary. He went to aa meetings reguarly. He Even ended up with the keys for the meeting place most of the time. He was a serious aa member. Life became full of hope Again and we shared many happy moments. I hardly ever drank ..but that was a Natural progression as He was My main social partner. After 2 years we moved to his country and after 6 months He started drinking Again and stopped going to aa meetings.He has since then said He Will stop drinking a few times but most of the time just denies that He is drinking or believes He has control over it. 2 months ago I told once Again that I want a divorce. But He refuses and says He does not want one. So Now i am working to save Money to leave him to fund seperation as the law Here requires if both parties do not agree to divorce. If He physically abused me or was having an affair i could apply for a divorce by myself. I think back at How i used to regard alcohol to where i am Now. I hate it- the smell of it ,Even. I hate How it damages him. I still love him I just know that I cant live with him and I have given our marraige all the chances I can. This last stretch is so exhausting and having to watch him deterioriate is over bearing. I am also deteriorating. It takes every ounce of Energy to face each day. I force myself to Be disciplined but still I cry. Still i want to sleep or escape. Wish I was not here. A day at a time becomes an hour at a time. For the first time last week I wished To Be dead. I thought about it and it felt like relief. Since then I have Been scared of the pleasure that thought gave me and I put more effort into each day to planning My Life without him. The tears and heartache remain. The lonleliness is deafening. He has long since stopped to gearing himself, seeing himself. He has gone really. I dont see him anymore but i do see a crime against him every day called alcohol. It is time to go home

  15. Jesse Says:

    Wow so many stories that are nearly identical to mine. My wife and I have been together for 9 years and married for 6. We have 2 kids together, 3 yo and 5 yo. I have one from a previous marriage that I don’t get to see anymore as a result of me buying into my wife’s manipulative behavior and getting us into trouble. She convinced me that my daughter was a horrible child with problems and if I didn’t get them corrected we were both out of the house. So I made the stupid decision to get a paddle and the next time my daughter acted up I spanked her with a paddle and we were charged with child abuse after my ex caught wind of the situation. (in hindsight I should have taken the “my daughter and I are out of the house option”) She has always had resentment toward my daughter and would berate her when she’s drunk for hours at a time sometimes. She does the same to me, or use to rather, I don’t drink with her anymore so I just completely avoid her when she is drinking. She has hit me, tried to jump out of a moving vehicle, cussed me up one side and down the other worse than any other person in my life. She has called my daughter a little b and said how happy she is that she is out of our lives and that she refuses to let our kids know their sister. She is an angry drunk with severe ADHD and BPD. We both use to party alot, but I have since gave that life up and she is unwilling to do the same. She drinks 2-7 days a week and is typically up until the early morning hours drinking. I lose sleep waking up all hours of the night and don’t find her next to me. Sometimes I’ll go check on her and she’ll start a screaming match in the middle of the night when our kids are sleeping. Sometimes I’ll find her passed out in random places around the house. Sometimes I’ll just go back to bed and pretend to sleep until she finally comes to bed or passes out somewhere. Then she has to either get up and go to work (when she has work, she does contract cleaning) or she will stay in bed and sleep. I’ll either have to go into work late or take our youngest to a baby sitter, because I have went to work with her in that state before and she will sleep until noon while the our youngest (or both depending on the time of year) roam the house and or yard unsupervised. She got a public intox and DUI last year on separate occasions and thankfully cannot drive drunk (which she did frequently even though I consistently pleaded with her to stop or something like that would happen). On the public intox I actually was the one that called the cops on her. I found she was having inappropriate conversations with an ex after confronting her about it multiple times over the previous 4 months. Each time she told me it would stop and she just tried to hide it better (didn’t work). The last time I found out and we argued about it, her friend came and got her. I wake up at 3:30 am to the sound of breaking glass, after pleading with her to sleep in the garage because I wasn’t letting her in where our kids were. She didn’t back down so I called the cops on her. The after math was 4 slashed tires (two on each vehicle), a broken door, and broken glass in another door. The DUI was only about 2 months after that. She gets her interlock off in about a year and I’m afraid something else will happen. All of this and she has the nerve to label me controlling and selfish and has her friends and family convinced of the same. She likes to tell half truths and twist things without including her behavior in the story. I’m worried about her and our children’s safety

  16. Evan Says:

    After separation, I fell in love with friend of a friend who was from Eastern Czech Republic. This is wine country, big drinkers, and she escaped the iron curtain before 1985, never knew her father, estranged relationship with her mother. Married a local and divorced him when he returned to Czech. Raised her daughter in Maryland on Mac&Cheese. You can see where this is going.

    Hidden vodka bottles, she ended up taking cab to my father’s hospice to visit him – at 8am! – nurses called police and had to eject her. She wakes up at 4am and starts drinking vodka – blames me for ranting about her problem. Big lesson – don’t criticize them as they will turn it around to blame you and drink even more. She even tells everyone that i drink 10 bottles of wine at night – like, I’d be still writing this if i did that. Like, I’d still be alive if i did that. Alcoholics are very, very, crafty. You can’t imagine where I find her bottles. Note: you cant’ be a civilized vinofile around an alcoholic – they will use that against you to justify their sickness. Sick, sick, sick – i don’t know what to do.

  17. David Says:

    I stumbled onto this forum,out of complete desperation, my wife of 35 years had drank herself out of two good jobs,lost her professional license’s,lied stolen cheated and decived me so many times I can’t count.while l have been battling cancer she just gave up,stopped paying our bills ,the house is at risk,she let us get behind 6 months, only some fast talking and paying the bank 600.00. Bucks a week has saved it,I ask what was she thinking and I get a blank stare and a I don’t know.I found a bag of mail, she was just stuffing everything in this bag,never opening them,we are in deep financial problems, she has had three accidents,took off for a month living here or there,the YWCA ect.I am a yoyo on a string.she decided home was better than the Y mostly I think is they would let her stay for free.she is in a treatment program,but has stopped on way home from therapy,and slammed down 24oz beers,she already has drivers licence problems,she says only once or twice,but she will lie to me in a heart beat.she claims to be afraid if me when it fits her narrative for the day,I for awhile believed I was to blaim,but have realized I am not.my cancer treatments, and having to keep working to save our home,I have little energy left for meetings I am told I need to go to.I.am at the end of my rope.

  18. mark Says:

    my partner is 7 months pregnant.She is 39. I am 46. I keep finding bottles of wine and small bottles of spirits in her hand bag, purses, boot of the car, side pockets of the car, rubbish bin etc etc. She hides them where ever she thinks I wont look. I even found then in her laptop bag last night. I have tried to tell her what she is doing to an unborn childs brain is child abuse. She doesn’t care. She still does it. I have called her a c*nt of a mother out of anger and many other other names. All she does is look for blame and says that is so mean to call me that. But what she is doing to that unborn child is fine to her. She says I know what I am doing ! Lies lies and more lies everyday. I get answers like that was there a long time ago. I don’t drink any more. I haven’t seen that bottle. That’s not mine….Every excuse under the sun. I miss my son. I miss my old house. I miss my old job. I miss my friend. I missed you…. Any excuse to sly one on the side.. I feel for everyone here. Its shocking to have an alcoholic girlfriend. Devestating….. I don’t know where I will be in 10 years from now….. Probably still here. And that’s sad to think of……………

  19. Jason Says:

    I know this is just another added story to a sad set of circumstances for so many people. I have been with my wife for 18 years, married for 14. She drinks vodka some nights, wine most nights, some nights a little of both. Over the last couple years she drinks to the point of being drunk every night. She changes like most of you say as well. She is never really abusive, just a very sad situation to watch each night in hopes that today will be the day she doesn’t drink. She understands she has a problem and always says she will get help, never does. I think her hesitation is to have to quit, she keeps looking for the way she can still drink some but not too much. She lies to her doctor about it and even went through a colonoscopy for IBS because she didn’t want to claim she was drinking to the doctor. So you understand the type of control this drug has on her. I love her very much and I use to hide her alcoholism to other people but now I just let her tell the lies about it. She feels no remorse or guilt the next day and never has a hangover, ever, crazy right? Her father is a recovering alcoholic, her uncles are mixed one understanding they have a problem, the other with no concern regarding the personal abuse. We have no children together and the ones we had when we got married are grown and out of the house. I keep thinking that divorce might be the ultimatum she needs, I just don’t have the courage to do it. We could easily separate our finances and divide our properties so it wouldn’t be horrible just stressful. The problem is that even after all this, I don’t want to lose her. It hurts me every day, I don’t know what to do.

  20. Sean Says:

    My wife has been sober for over 6 months. She continues to drink (a glass of wine or two) during social occasions, but that’s it. One incident was instructive: she drank too much and fell into one of her dark, self-pitying, supremely selfish, belligerent moods that you all know so well. But she remembered everything in the morning, felt terrible, and it hasn’t happened again.

    Her self image has improved; she’s lost something like 30 lbs and looks ten years younger. We are happier than we’ve been in over 20 years.

    I don’t write this as advice to others. I would never suggest that anyone stay with an abusive, alcoholic spouse. And I won’t claim that it was somehow worthwhile to stay with my wife since we’re now so happy together, or that our suffering has been redeemed in some way by our current happiness. I feel enormous relief that she’s herself again, a relief that has grown over the weeks and months since she quit. (I have had to recover from her addiction along with her.) I also know she might relapse, though my fear of that relapse has abated with time.

    My only advice is to repeat what others have said. Spouses of alcoholics should never blame themselves for their partners’ drinking, and there’s really very little you can do to help them. If it feels intolerable, it IS intolerable; do everything you can to get away from him or her.

    Peace to all of you.

  21. Melody Says:

    I know eventually I will leave him but right now I simply don’t have the heart to leave him. It has been more than 4 years since I met him. I was a foreign student at the time and now I have a stable professional job in the city. It is an irony that as a foreigner myself I have to take care of him who was born and raised here. Nothing is easy for me but I always try hard to succeed. I know that not matter what I will never marry an alcoholic and bring kids to this mess. I got my permanent residency on my own. This certainly is not my first relationship but I still feel it is so hard for me to walk away.He doesn’t have any money any savings and I know he will end up in a rooming house and his situation will go downhill very fast. He is now 35 and lives on welfare. The idea of leaving him scares me because I don’t know how he is going to live. I am the caretaker. In the past, I paid for a few of his courses, brought food back home , paid for a few time for his rent, and had been doing a lot of things for him trying to improve his life. I am exhausted and feel like trapped. He drinks a lot and doesn’t go to work right now. When I come back home at night after work there is always a mess for me to clean up. One time he even pissed on the floor and pooped on the toilet seat. He doesn’t care about anything and the mails are piling up but he simply doesn’t open them. Two years ago, he broke his arm from a motorcycle accident and had been through four surgeries. At that time he was living in a rooming house and I remember the room was hot, there were bedbugs in his room. His parents were angry about him and they live in another city. They didn’t help him at all even though his one arm was broken and had wrist drop because of the damaged nerve. He was miserable and penniless. Again I was the one who killed the bedbugs, took care of him because I cared about him so much.
    I feel sorry for him but at the same time he is the one who is destroying his own life. Besides alcoholism, he is also a heavy smoker, and marijuana addict. Because of all of these bad habits it is impossible for him to have any saving. Now I have been living with him for a year. Last year I brought him to this big city because at that small town where we were, there was no job and he was depressed for unemployment. However even in this big city there are job opportunities everywhere, he is still always between jobs. It is simply impossible for him to hold on any jobs because of his addiction. I broke up with him once and then I came back to him. I am sick to my stomach thinking of all the hardships I have been through. I don’t talk to my friends about my situation anymore. It is my own problem and nobody can help me. My family back home doesn’t know any of these because I don’t think by telling them can help me with anything. I also feel shame about myself and that is also one of the reason that I don’t talk to my friends about it anymore. Actually I am distance them since I came back to him.

  22. Conrad Says:

    Hello Everybody, I would like to share a different perspective on the end result. I married an alcoholic woman whom I loved immensely, and still do. Luckily we had no kids. We were together on and off for 5 years, and she promised me it under control, which is also the point where we got married. Unfortunately, an alcoholic can hide it only for so long before it comes out. She does not believe she has a problem, which is the worst part. I have been called some of the nastiest words ever, seen scenes with her semi passed out on the couch trying to eat… (It made ‘The Hoff’s’ drinking video look like playtime)

    I lost it one day started procedure to have the marriage annulled. This woman has a gift to make me feel like I’m the one that’s wrong somehow, and I doubted, however went through with it… Its now been 1 year and few months of zero contact (I love her but I do not ever want to hear from her again, there is to much pain associated.)

    Here’s what I have learned:

    1. The drinking never stops.
    2. You don’t know how unhappy you are, until you taste freedom.
    3. The alcoholic will never change. (How many do get cured?)

    I am living a happy productive live without the gut wrenching stress of living with an alcoholic… Its the best decision I could ever make…. I hope this helps some of you.

  23. Amy Says:

    Hi. My common-law husband is an alcoholic. We have a small child. I’ve put up with his drinking for about four years. I left my evening job in support (it paid very well) to go back to school and start a new career as an administrative assistant. I have a new job but I am just starting out so the pay isn’t great but I work with great people and it allows me to be there in the evenings to care and protect my daughter. My partner has a well paying day job. We own our home together and I really like our home as does my daughter. Yet I stand to lose it as I can not manage it financially on my own which I wish I could so my daughter and I will still have a place to live. As for getting an apartment this is yet another thing I am afraid I can not afford. I’m scared as we have no where else to go otherwise. I am upset because I feel like my daughter and I will lose our home because of my partners addiction. I know life isn’t fair. I also have child protection involved as I reached out to employee assistance through my new job. I would like him to leave but we will have no where to go and watch our home be foreclosed on. Please advise. Thank you in advance.

  24. Jesse Says:

    I am hesitant to talk about my problems with my wife and her huge drinking problem. After being together 13 years we have had up and downs, for the last three years after my daughters birth she became a full blown alcoholic. The first year was just stumbling and passing out on the floors, the second year she became physically abusive and started hitting me weekly, to the point where I would wake up on a work night with her mounting my back punching me in the back of the head. The abuse stopped after I called my mother and asked for help. This is when the real problems started. CPS got involved she got help for two months then learnt how to hide her drinking. Now the physical abuse stopped and the verbal abuse began. The verbal abuse comes to me all day while I work, and I ask myself are my kiddies ok? I have friends stop by and check on them on her real bad days. Any attempt to stop her from buying booze has failed, I no longer see her drink and she will deny drinking 90% of the time I know she has, her eyes change shape when she has had a drink.
    I have attempted to leave her now several times, She threatens me with jail and threatens me with false accusations. Says if we separate the kids will starve even if I bring food. I have never been charged with a crime yet I have had her call the cops on me three times now. Every time I get charged with assault but the charges are always dropped cause there is no marks other than red arm marks from holding her back during blackout rampages.
    I have cried wolf to my family too many times asking for help only to allow myself to remain in this toxic relationship, she has attempted to stop over the last month but to no avail the verbal abuse continues daily and I see no way to protect myself and the children from her. She said if I got my mother to take the kids she will say my mother kidnapped them, I am scared the law will not be on my side cause my situation seems so surreal…
    Alanon didn’t help me it just taught me how to allow her drinking, I wish for the days when she just hit me and was good to the kids.

  25. melody Says:

    I knew a guy who quit cold turkey by locking himself in his basement for two months. He relapsed once and quit again and stayed clean eve since. He said he still smokes marijuana and never touched hard drugs again. Here a former AAer says she stayed sober for 18 years and now she can drink like normal person?

    https://www.thefix.com/content/leaving-alcoholics-anonymous91414?page=all

    Isn’t addiction compulsiveness? I thought alcoholism is predetermined and disease? I thought they should never drink again even after a long term sobriety? It makes me doubt about those decease theories now.

  26. robert Says:

    i have a problem my wife is an alcaholic nothink matters as long as she can get vodca and paracitamol iv been married 4 36 years now and im treated like a dog yt i love her we dont sleep together iclean her room out each time she ends up in hospital new bed bedding .bags of bottles rubbish .its bullying that i hate i clean cook work .and i take all the abuse she throws iv wok up in the night and she stands thir with a nife.and on an on she gos .meny times ive felt like ending my life through her and i am realy sick of it she is now in hospital two seezuers in one night now she is getting help i get phone calls demanding night nurse tabets to help her sleep in hospital .so im getting shit off her for not bringing them up so i no im going to go through this another year nasty is not the word she is nice one minuet next ive said the rong word and i get it for a week or until she whants somthing .so if thirs enyone who does not drink and feels lik holiday so do i .

  27. Melody Says:

    Tonight he took my two prepaid credit cards that I got from work and went to bar to drink. He said he was going out to pick up cigaret butts and after an hour he was still out and I began to suspect it. I checked my wallet and didn’t find my credit cards. My heart sank at that moment because I already figured out what he was up to. I went out to the bar in the neighbourhood but didn’t see him there. I had to call my credit card company to cancel my cards. It is the 3rd time that I had to do this. I also found out where he had been to from the transactions charged on my cards. It was only $30 but it is a totally breach of trust again. I kicked him for a few time because I felt fucking angry! Only a few days ago I said I needed to get out of this. It is the time now. Thanks for this blog. I kept coming back every time when I felt desperate and lost in the past two years but I had never posted anything until a few days ago. It was all the building-up. I had taken advantage of for so long and he always justified it in his way. He owes me about four/five thousand dollars probably from all the money I spent here and there trying to help him improve his life but there is no end for the madness. It is still not about money it is about the trust that being abused. He said he loves me and I truly believe that. However, I haven’t been treated right and I have felt like a mom than a girlfriend for the past four five years. I am 33 now. I don’t know if I should say it is not fair for all that had happened to me. If the first half year I was confused and trying to figure out his problem than maybe I was totally innocent at that time. But after the first six months I started to educate myself on this topic and the more I got to know about it, the more I tried to help and save him. It is like I deserve it. Thanks to my parents’ horrible marriage though, I always know that I will not want to be a woman like my mom who stays with a guy who cheated on her and destroys her dignity. He didn’t cheated on me but there is no trust between us anymore. He is a victim of addiction but I cannot give myself fake hope anymore. He said he wish he didn’t go out tonight and he hope I can give him one more chance and he is going to a meeting first thing in the morning. He said this one it is outstanding and I am not just saying it but not doing it anymore. Can I give him one more chance? I wish I could but I can’t. It is heartbreaking to see all your efforts just in vain but this time I have to end this. I still don’t know how he is going to pay his rent after I move out? I am thinking I could give his parents a few hundred dollar so he can be pay this month’s rent. I am doing that to make it easier for me. It is always like this – You feel pain but you still cannot stop care for the addict. However, I promise myself this is it. That’s the last thing that I can do for him and for myself. It has to be the end. There were all those little happy moments but there was never pure happiness. This Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve were his drunk nights and tonight he did that to me again. This morning we were still going out skating like a happy couple but who knows it ends just like this. I probably will feel very empty and miserable for some time. I am an atheist so god is not going to help me. I have to believe that time will heal everything again. Let’s be fair he is not a bad guy. If there is god, may god bless him.

  28. Conrad Says:

    @Jesse

    Jesse, record the behavior, the phone calls, the abuse. Even video record the drunk behavior at home… A few recording with different dates shows consistency in her behavior, so its not treated as an isolated incident.

    Get out of there with your children.

    Good luck and God Bless

  29. Gary Says:

    I wrote on this website 4 years ago. The same story as everyone else’s
    Looking for support due to feelings of guilt over the prospect of leaving my alcoholic wife who made my life and my three daughters lives a misery
    18 months ago I wrote again stating from my experience you cannot live with an alcoholic. Partner. The addiction is too strong.leaving and eventually divorcing heri was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. But by the end I realise that any love I had for her had gone due to her drinking arrests hospital visits and rehabs
    I have since re married and now have a lovely relationship where it is a joy to come home from work not a night mare. My ex found another partner and is having difficulty in coping with her. she continues to drink urinating in her pants hiding bottles around the house. She cannot get work because no one will employ her. She continue to make people’s lives a misery and burden. If her new partner leaves her my 33 year old daughter will end up putting a roof over her head. She is newly married and doesn’t know what it’s like living with an alcoholic 24/7. I’ll do everything I cAn to help my daughter and I’m worried about her because if the burden her mother is going to place on her. So you see even though my advice to all who write on this website would be to get rid and leave your alcoholic partner/wife/or husband. The demon called drink never stops coming back to haunted you

  30. terry Says:

    Umm thanks everyone for there story. I too have a wife that is an alcoholic, i admit i am strong person and sometimes i can say things to her that can cut deep. However that said we have been married for 12 years and like many other spouses i too was blinded by love. Tonight was a weird night in such i never said anything about the pungent smell of alcohol and rotting organs as i layed down to sleep beside her. Tonight I awoke wondering if i have given up on her and now feel i’m forced to simply watch her slowly die from the disease. I think I am honestly through with saying anymore to her but i know i cannot tell her that for fear this is the gear she was seeking to increase her drinking. In the past I have had her arrested for hitting me with hope the whole process of hiring a lawyer and temporary separation would someone awaken her to the realization that her drinking is a problem. However that process and choice only worked for little awhile. On the good side most of time she is a good mom and good wife and hard worker, however on the bad side i cannot help but feel disgusted with her the days i come home from work and find her drunk. Tonight I have given up thinking that she will ever admit that she has a problem with drinking. Tonight i am afraid that i am forsaken to this life with her and will just have to suck it up and wait for our son to turn 18 in such he might better understand why i maybe asked his mother for a divorce. Our son will be turning 12 in two days and i will be fifty years old by the time he does turn 18. Who knows what can happen in six years? Maybe i don’t know the glass is half full!!

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