Being Married To An Alcoholic Can Mean Divorcing Yourself

Being married to an alcoholic is challenging. As if marriage isn’t tough enough, we find ourselves facing an illness that can be life threatening.

As spouses we want to believe that there is hope, and that the behavior is something we can correct. We believe the if we do certain things, say certain things, avoid situations, and act a certain way it will change the alcoholics mindset. We think that if we avoid alcohol itself that it will help. After all, if we drink they will want to drink. So we avoid it all together. We try everything to prevent drinking episodes and fight like hell to understand the disease, its causes, and its effects.

(One of the biggest mistakes we make; is thinking we can control the fate of the disease.)

It is hard to maintain an upbeat spirit and our identity when dealing with an alcoholic on a daily basis. Often times we lose sight of ourselves and eventually, as we find ourselves again we find the courage to walk away.

The hardest part of dealing with a spouse who suffers from alcoholism is accepting the reality that we can’t change them. It does not matter what we do, they are who they are. They will lie to us, and they will deceive. Trust will be hard to restore.

The battle of dealing with an alcoholic you love can be just as bad as having the disease itself.

Some alcoholics hide it well. They come off as hardworking, well liked, and social. Others can come across as laid back and quiet. These are usually the ones who can’t maintain their alcohol and become violent. It can be quite dangerous. They can’t hear our crying and pleading for them to get help, instead they dive deeper into the drinking and begin to resent the one suggesting they seek help. They are in their own world, and only those who accommodate their disease are welcomed.

Alcoholics are on a road to self-destruction. Until they reach a dead-end they will not realize that they need help. They will continue to surround themselves with people who make them feel justified in their behavior. Someone who says “Oh you had a bad day? Want to have a drink?” will soon be their best friend. They feel this person understands. What this person has done is opened another door and allowed the alcoholic to do even more damage. They have just become the rescuer.

Alcoholism is a painful disease to watch. We never know what will come next. A new injury, more vomit, a new place he/she passed out, another fight, a D.U.I., a social mishap, or a new hole in a wall or door.

When living with an alcoholic you are truly the only one who knows the extent of the disease and can often vouch for the fact that you never know what their mood will be. Sometimes even the slightest things can set them off. It is Jeckel and Hyde. They are critical of others because they feel bad about themselves. They are out of control. They have lost sight of who they are. As a result they can become controlling, and abusive.

When we love an alcoholic it can be debilitating. They can not see the pain they cause. Sometimes we just have to let go because it becomes too depressing to watch and live with. At that point all we can do is pray for the best results.

Until people want to change, there will be no change. And if their disease is causing you to lose who you are and what you believe in, it is time to let go. It is not worth losing you too!

For more information about contributing to your loved ones disease  click here.

35 thoughts on “Being Married To An Alcoholic Can Mean Divorcing Yourself

  1. You are never alone. Im glad you visited and gained something from it. I eventually left, it was my only option. I had to give my children a loving and peaceful home. It was the hardest road I have ever walked, but three years later I am very glad I traveled it.

    It is a nasty disease. And sometimes love means walking away vs. sacrificing ourselves and others we love.

    Alanon is a good support group for spouses, children, etc. Alateen is for the kids I believe. Nonetheless, there is plenty of support for those that battle with this in relationships. And I can only imagine that alcoholism has become more apparent in many homes these days with the economy etc. as it is.

    Good luck to you. Feel free to email if you just need an ear to listen or advice.

    And again, thanks for stopping by!


  2. Michele says:

    Hi Angela! Just read some articles on your website. I was touched by your article concerning meeting your love. You go girl!


  3. brenda says:

    i read your article and thank you so much. As my partner has two addictions, an ex and children who think that I am keeping them away from their father. Which by the way is so untrue. He has decided not to communicate with them just has he done with me. I have left for awhile to figure things out. I have told his children to not call me anymore as that was out of control with verbal abuse and has been going on for 9 years and my partner has never done anything about it. He called me last at 1 in the morning to ask me a question were his passport was, while he was out getting crack. I got up this morning after not sleeping more then a couple of hours and looking in the mirror and seeing a face I did not know anymore. It is a very sad face that is ready to explode. I have to sit at work here and make everyone think that I am happy when I so hate my life right now. So i am going to do alot of soul searching this weekend. i will not be returning for the weekend back to him. I can’t help him anymore. I did help him 5 months ago with the gift of treatment. And now I don’t even know him or like anything about him. I know I feel something for him but it is like my heart is so broken that I don’t even know if I love him. Well thank you for listening to me.


  4. Can I just say what a reduction to find somebody who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know tips on how to bring a problem to gentle and make it important. More folks must read this and perceive this side of the story. I cant imagine youre no more common because you definitely have the gift.


  5. I am writing to make you be aware of what a nice experience my wife’s child enjoyed viewing your site. She figured out lots of things, including how it is like to possess a great teaching nature to have many people without difficulty have an understanding of a number of specialized subject matter. You really exceeded people’s desires. Thank you for offering such necessary, safe, revealing and even unique guidance on your topic to Lizeth.


  6. Anonymous says:

    I am so happy to read this. This is the type of info that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this.


  7. nian says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and many who are in the same predicament. I have been in a marriage with an alchoholic for years. At first I made myself believe that he would change however, that has not happened. I was looking for some type of information on my situation. My husband is not physically abusive but is verbally. I have lost my self-esteem and I really don’t know how I have stayed sane for all these years! I want to leave him but feel as though I can’t! I have a good paying job for the past 21 yrs, children are all grown and on their own why am I still with him?? I need to stick with what my heart has been telling me to do for years!! Thank you for sharing your story with so many readers. Please keep me in your prayers!


  8. Anonymous says:

    I made the decision to walk away two weeks ago – – after 31 years of living with an alcoholic who is emotionally and verbally abusive and very controlling. Through the years, I have lost myself and have so much healing to do. Thank you for this helpful website. Everything I have read has just validated my actions.


  9. Arlene says:

    It’s truly amazing to me the more I learn about addictions the more we all have in common. Like other comments, I can so relate to your post. I have been married to my alcoholic for 23 years, and until the last year, didn’t realize how bad it was. He goes to AA, I go to al-anon. He’ll quit for a month, then secretly start drinking and deny he does. There is no trust left in the marriage, and that’s what makes it so hard for me to try to even think about trying to make the marriage work. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel.


  10. Donna says:

    Thank you for your article. I am crying as I write this I have been married to my alcoholic for 10 years. When he isn’t drinking he is the best husband anyone could have but when he starts I don’t even know who he is anymore. I want to leave but am unable to because of lack of funds and really bad credit. I really don’t know what to do anymore.


  11. It is a hard road to walk, but you can do it. Your credit can be repaired and funds are a job away. You can do it! The peace that you gain leaving is worth the tears and the pain. It is not worth losing who you are.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Every day I feel the walls closing in. I have lost myself throught my marriage. My husband is an alcoholic and gambler. He has ruined my credit and my financial future is bleak. My children are in their teens and we are living with a man who’s mood changes like a switch. He is tempermental, depressed and angry. I pray to find a way to repair this.


  13. kelly says:

    When I read your piece I felt as if it was my story. Everything you said was me. Thank you for that! I have been married 19 years and only realized that my husband is an alcholic the last 5 years. I am trying to find the strength to leave as many logistics of finances, kids etc.. tend to be my excuses and keep me from just that . My husband went into rehab 2 years ago and that was the man I married. He gave me a glimmer of what it could be like yet, 2 years later I am with a “Jekyl and Hyde”. The kids are now 10 and 12 and verbalizing their fears and stress dealing with this disease. I too thought I could “help or change” him and that does not seem to be happening. I have been to a few Alanon meetings and will attemp more yet find them not that helpful. Thanks for the great words that summed up my situation. Nice to know others have been there and walked this road.


  14. I just want to mention I am newbie to blogs and actually savored you’re web blog. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You surely have very good posts. Many thanks for sharing with us your webpage.


  15. Just confused says:

    This is a road I wish on no one. Its painful, lonely and depressing. Mostly painful. It makes my whole being ache. I am finally letting go after 31 years of marriage to a wonderful man, horrible alcoholic. I love him but can not do this anymore. I have to stop this madness. I have tried to fight his battle, but lost myself. I am not helping him or the children by staying together.
    We have two grown kids, have pursued school and careers, survived war and deployments, we’ve both had cancer, and lost parents. A lot of love and battles fought. And we should be able to sit back and reap the beauty of it all now. But its not to be. He is owned by alcohol and I can not stop it
    That is the hardest thing to accept. I can not do a darned thing about this. I just have to stop. Reluctantly I will. But I have no idea where to go from here. My mind is totally blank.


  16. Yes it is a painful road, to say the least. It is a shame to go through so much together and be forced to let go.

    I have been out for 5 years now, and the disease still eats at him and probably will for the rest of his life. I can say, it will get easier for you in time. You will find yourself again, and be ready to accept the type of life you deserve by getting out and making yourself available.

    Families of alcoholics fight a battle that few understand. If you find yourself lost and feeling hopeless, I would like to recommend alanon as a support group. It is a great place to start.

    It is difficult to accept that there is nothing we can do to help them. But, like any addict… one has to help themselves. Brighter days will come. And you will reach a point where you look at other alcoholics, and thank yourself for getting out.

    Feel free to email me if you want some encouragement. And thank you for taking time to share your experience.


  17. Just confused says:

    Hi Angela,
    I appreciate your understanding of these crazy and complex situations. How do we find our way, constantly ducking and weaving through these mine fields? My husband ended up in the hospital. He almost didn’t make it. I am not one to forsake someone who is in need, & I am a nurse. And there’s that love thing. He is lucky to be alive, on the ventilator for 10 days, in the hospital since 12/21. To be discharged tomorrow and has had another miraculous recovery. How does he do it? So we start this confusing process again, but how do I make this different than all the others? People do rehab, but…………oh wow! Can it get any more confusing????


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