How do you deal with unacceptable behavior?

Published by at 11:19 am under Common Concerns

Welcome to “First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery” from Al-Anon Family Groups. This is a series of podcasts to discuss some common concerns for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Pam, Anna, and Betty are with us today. All are active Al-Anon members who are willing to talk about how they deal with unacceptable behavior.

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241 comments on “How do you deal with unacceptable behavior?”

  1. Shannon says:

    I just need a mental break. I feel like I’m going crazy. Dealing with my drunk parents is totally different from my drunk husband. I don’t know how to deal with this.

  2. Mack says:

    My cousin and my brother are both alcoholics — both drink a fifth of vodka by themselves a day, plus beer, etc. I live with both of them. They’re both angry alcoholics.

    My brother will get angry at my cousin or my aunt and tell me to relay messages to them, putting me in the middle of his battles. I usually don’t respond to him when he texts and then he gets angry about that. I ignore him most of the time.

    If I bring up his drinking, it turns into a fight and I’m tired of fighting, so I’ve become almost mute with him. This only angers him more. He smokes pot when he’s sober, but if he’s drunk pot is a huge “no, no.” He insists it’s being smoked, even when everyone else is asleep.

    He’ll send texts at 4 am, basically reading me the riot act, telling me that our mom would disown me if she were still alive, and that if I don’t turn on other members of our family I’m not his sister anymore. I’m between a rock and a hard place with him.

    He has a job and is married, but his spouse only enables him, buying him the vodka while he’s at work so he can come straight home and start drinking. I can’t do it anymore. My anxiety is leading to very real health issues that require doctor visits.

    I can’t go to sleep until he does, which sometimes isn’t until 4 or 5 am, even when he has to be to work in the morning. I just want him to realize what he’s doing — not just to me, but to himself. I don’t want him to die because he got angry and said the wrong thing to the wrong person.

    I just needed to put this out there and vent a little, I guess.

  3. grace says:

    I am 34 weeks pregnant and this is my first baby. I am emotionally stressed due to my alcoholic husband. I feel he doesn’t care about me anymore. He always blames me for everything and drags me down. I just cried and want to leave him, but I keep on coming back.

    Many times I pack my stuff, but after so many days I find myself coming back to him. He promises me not to drink or to do some stupid stuff, but he can’t keep his word. I am tired dealing with him also, but I don’t have the nerve to stand on my own since I’m just new in his place and I don’t have family to support me here.

    I am very sad because his vices are destroying us and driving us apart. I’m just really hoping I can stand on my own and have the courage to leave him some day.

  4. Kiki says:

    Whenever my husband drinks, he drinks like it’s water and finishes 3 beers within 5 minutes, and he continues to keep drinking, then acts a certain way towards men. He takes his clothes off for them and wants to show off his body parts to the men, but he always does this when he drinks. The next day I bring it up and he apologizes and tells me he is not into men, but he says it’s not a big deal, but it is.

  5. brandy says:

    My fiance’ and I have been together for almost two years. He is a severe alcoholic. He has destroyed past relationships, lost great jobs, been in several near-death experiences and still continues to drink his life away. I am a recovering drug addict and have been able to control my addiction only by the grace of God.

    We just recently found out that I am pregnant. I was only 8 weeks when we found out. He slowed down a lot whenever we found out, but now he is slowly slipping back into his old ways. I am terrified.

    He is verbally abusive and sometimes physically (not since the pregnancy, though). He does outrageous things, such as trying to shave my head, throw my clothes and things out the door, destroy our home, and tell me how much better his ex was. Then he wakes up and has no recollection, sometimes claiming I am lying.

    He has put me in situations where I wanted to put a bullet in my head. It’s so hard. When he is sober, he is everything I could ever dream of in a man.

  6. bessie says:

    I don’t know what to do now with my husband who is always drunk. I am afraid of him.

  7. Jane says:

    Thank you all so much for your comments – there is a strange relief in knowing that others are fighting similar battles. I wish you all well in fighting them.

    My fiancé is an alcoholic and has been since I met him 5 years ago, but it just keeps getting worse and worse. When we became pregnant, he promised to stop and never managed to. He hates his drinking and is always apologetic and saying how he wants to stop. But two days later it happens all over again.

    He just disappears without telling me where he is or who he’s with and will stumble into the house, breaking things and vomiting and urinating all over the house. He says that it’s normal — that lots of people do it. His friends think it’s funny.

    It has gotten a lot worse since he started working for his brother-in-law, who is also an alcoholic. He just can’t say no to him. They drink at work and afterwards. Weekdays, weekends, mornings, afternoons. He excuses himself by saying that they didn’t have a chance to eat lunch, so that’s why they started drinking.

    He combats his stress about money by spending hundreds on alcohol every week. On the rare occasion he is home before our daughter goes to bed, he wants to hold her when he can barely stand up, then yells at me when I tell him no. I feel like I have tried every approach and nothing seems to help. He is the perfect man and we have the perfect relationship when he is sober.

    It frustrates me that we both want him to stop so badly, but he still can’t manage even for a short time. It is such an emotional roller-coaster and I can feel myself losing my trust in him, and my tolerance is growing thin. We talk about it all the time and still no changes. I’ve gone from being worried sick to barely caring at all when he doesn’t come home and that terrifies me.

    I love him so much, but I don’t want to raise my daughter with a drunk. Thanks for letting me get this all off my chest — with vomit all over the bathroom and him passed out on the couch right now, it really does help.

  8. Leigh says:

    My mother is an alcoholic. She lives in another province, 5 hours from me. Her partner died and she wants me to pack up my life and move in with her. I am 52. I have a dog rescue and a full house of rescues. I have a life, a life of stress with critters — but a life of joy and love and success. She has always brought me down, ridiculed me and my son. I have been distanced from her for years, but now I am the best thing since sliced bread.

    I talk with her every day for an hour. She is often drunk or drinking at the time. She is often sick, tired, angry and hateful. She was rushed to hospital last week, but refused to stay after being defribulated to slow her heart rate.

    I feel guilty because I cannot handle it anymore. I have suffered from depression for the last 10 years and am just starting to feel stronger. Her phone calls stress me even before they happen. It takes an hour or more to put the call behind me.

    I am the only kid and I just don’t want the last years of my life and health being distroyed. She has a choice, and has chosen alcohol. I hate it.

    I want to run away.

  9. Mandi says:

    My fiance’ is an alcoholic. He isn’t harmful to me in any physical or mental way. He breaks himself down. He only drinks maybe one night a week (someone told me this is binge-drinking). He can’t just have 1 or 2 drinks, he will drink a 12-pack of beer and an entire bottle of vodka.

    Last night I finally reached my breaking point. He walks around outside our house and inside, screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs. He is depressed, he is lonely, he feels like other than me no one cares or loves him. No matter what I do, he won’t go or seek help. I feel like the worst person, wanting to walk out and not look back.

    When he is sober, he is my soul-mate. When he is drunk, he is someone completely different. The last few times he has been drunk/obliterated, I actually became frightened he might hurt me. I don’t know what to do anymore.

  10. Lost says:

    I’m not sure what to do. We have been married almost 30 years and his drinking has been a constant.

    He seems to think that because he works and pays bills it’s ok for him to drink. I guess I didn’t realize how bad it was until he got some sort of stomach infection and he couldn’t drink for 2 weeks. It was great. He didn’t get mad, act crazy, talk a lot or accuse me of anything. Then when he came off the meds he went right back to it. Last night I was taking our grandson to get some shoes–well he invited himself! He stayed in the car, complained the entire time, started in on me about how I didn’t stand behind him. What?

    I have taken care of him when he was sick, done everything that a wife should do and then he says yeah, you are going to have a headache that makes your head explode! Where did that come from? I think I really need someone to talk to.

  11. TP says:

    My husband is an alcoholic. He’s been in detox over 30 times in the past eight years. He stays sober for a month or two, then drinks until he gets so sick he has to be hospitalized. He knows it’s killing him. He knows it’s destroying me. He just keeps getting worse and I can’t do it anymore — the cycle of one month sober, one month drunk, and then in recovery.

    This is insane. I don’t need him financially, he doesn’t work. He just upsets the kids most of the time, and makes life difficult and often unbearable. I want him to leave. But he has no money and no one wants his drunkenness in their lives.

  12. sb says:

    So, from my last post, I am still where I started — nowhere! I love him and I don’t love him. I want to leave him and then I can’t leave him! Promises made and promises broken! I can’t trust anything he says or does anymore. Every day he has one or another excuse for drinking!

    My children are tired of him. We have been married almost 20 years and known each other for 7 more years. The feelings are gone, the trust is gone, the faith is gone, the support is gone, the sex is gone, the relationship is gone. But I still can’t leave him. Is pity, sympathy, sadness, anger, or revenge the reason I can’t leave him? Is the thought that at the end I lost this battle after all the rough years we had from the first day of our marriage — did I fail?

    There are days I hate him and wish bad things for him, and then days I pity him and feel sorry for him. But where does that leave me and my kids? They want to leave him, but I know what I had to give to marry this guy. Everyone loves him — pure heart of gold, is what they say, but they are not living and dealing with his stuff. When he is sober, he really is that great guy with a big heart for everyone — but not for his family.

    Sometimes I just want to beat him, slap him, throw stuff at him, and sometimes I just want to run away, take my kids away, ignore him, not care for him — wish I was strong like a lot of the women who can walk away and not look back, but I guess a Scorpio stays committed through it all.

    But these men take for better or worse to the worst! Wish I had the guts to leave him and walk away. I have been trying to get support and help to heal myself, but the country I am in is not very kind to women. I know for my kids to heal I need to heal, so that I can help them be better humans and not follow in his steps.

  13. Confused says:

    My boyfriend I’ve known since childhood is an alcoholic. He is the perfect man until he gets drunk. He has broken many material things and inflicted bruises on me. I don’t know why I stay, besides the fact that I tell myself that he was there for me through multiple suicide attempts.

    I am at my wits end, as he left last night on foot. The police brought him home at four a.m. wearing underwear and a T-shirt. He had lost his phone, keys, wallet, shoes, socks, and pants. He was found blocks over, knocking on doors.

    He recalls none of this. I just do not understand. It pains me to think how anyone could do this to their family. He has depleted our bank account and destroyed his vehicle. I do not want to take our child to my parents’ home, but what other choice do I have? He has destroyed his life, and I am so distraught and perplexed.

  14. kym says:

    I’ve read all the posts and send my prayers to you all. I’ve been married 27 years and the last 7 have been hell. My hubby drinks pints and starts on a Friday when work finishes. He rolls in whenever in the morning and shouts and crashes, pees every five minutes. Then when he does get to sleep his snoring keeps me awake and I have to start my job at 7 am. He never remembers a thing — his mates think it’s funny.

    I left for 6 months, but returned as the house was going to be repossessed. He rolls in on a Sunday at 11 pm, goes to bed and then gets up for work stinking of alcohol. I have found myself wishing him dead and want to pour beer down his throat to help him on his way.

    I did love him, but it’s gone. We are distant and I’ll never trust him. He flirts, he’s a pig, a slob, and has become lazier, sleeping on sofas all day when he hasn’t gone to work. He doesn’t drink at home or every day, but weekends he’s never sober. I wish he’d disappear, and dread every Friday.

  15. Joseph says:

    Unlike others here, I’m not married or related to the person who undergoes personality change when they consume booze — she’s my live-in landlord. I have an undiagnosed chronic ilness that has created friction despite me being current with all rent and expenses.

    Laura (psuedonym) is 57. I’m a 54-year-old never-married single male, active in recovery since 9/6/04. Having a sponsor that was in Al-Anon,and AA, was immensely helpful.

    My issue is the unpredictable, abusive, belligerent behavior that suddenly comes on — the only warning, her flush, red face. I do not engage her anger, just the factual content of her outbursts, which have usually been discussed twice prior to eruption.

    I look forward to the podcasts and the day I’m financially able to relocate, as this illness has left me unable to work since 12/28/13. By the grace of my higher power, God, I’ve been able to pay rent, although my net worth status is indigent. I am able to use phrases like, “It must be very frustrating, given the anger, living with a chronically ill roommate. You never know how I’ll be — bedridden or able to perform minimal walking exercises. I can see it is chaotic for you also.”

    It doesn’t help with the tongue lashings, but helps me see me from her perspective. A humbling action. Rather than responding (some say righteously with quid pro quo, factual debate) in reality. That’s not effective when one is absent from the discussion. Thanks again for this forum. And I remind myself I’m not special. Laura behaves that way to most people.

  16. Becky says:

    I’ve been married 21 years, the first 10 years were perfect. Then he went to Afghanistan for 15 months, came home, he started drinking.

    Well, from there things have been going downhill. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. But this drinking the brandy, acting crazy, wanted divorce, treats me bad — then another Afghanistan, not for the whole time, half a tour.

    He got a disease out in Afghanistan, lost his kidneys. He’s had a kidney transplant almost 4 years ago and his drinking has gotten worse. Doctor doesn’t want him to drink, but does it anyway. Drinks and drives, doesn’t care. Talks rude to me, our daughter hates when he drinks. He doesn’t care — oh, but he can go to his mom’s and respects her without the drinking.

    I just wonder, I don’t want to divorce him. But I really wonder. A lot of what everybody was saying. It hurts that he doesn’t care about his health. How to deal with an alcoholic.

  17. leelee says:

    My husband of almost 15 years is an alcoholic. It is starting to affect our relationshiop and the children. The kids are upset and cry often.

    When drunk, he is very mean. Threatens to divorce me and take our daughter.

    It is so hurtful. I do not know what to do.

  18. Nikki says:

    I recently married my husband and am truly happy. My biggest issue is his family. His father, brother, and sister-in-law (brother’s wife) are always drinking to excess, and his brother and father seem to think it is okay to drink and drive. I have always been weary and told my husband prior to our marriage that I am more than happy to pick him up if he needs a sober driver, and he always promises that he will have a safe driver.

    I am trying to have faith, but today (after I was promised his brother would be the sober driver), my husband came home and one look at his brother, you could tell he was drunk (and perhaps high as well). I was so upset and expressed this to my husband, who was slightly drunk, so I don’t think he understood it. I told him that I don’t trust his brother anymore and I will no longer be happy if he goes out with just his brother.

    I don’t know what to do. I keep pleading and nothing is being heard. I know my mother-in-law has given up and doesn’t say anything. I don’t want to always fear that they will be drinking and driving, but obviously with their track record it isn’t working out.

    I want to have kids with him and we are looking to buy a new home.

    Sigh, I really just needed to rant about this, and hopefully I will figure something out before anything bad happens.

  19. Jolie says:

    I’m in a pickle. My husband is a full-scale alcoholic. He binge-drinks whenever he can. Some weekends he can drink close to one hundred beers. This is usually followed by being very ill for days, as he is a diabetic.

    Obviously he has difficulty holding down a job. Every day is a living hell for me. He belittles me and verbally abuses me. Sometimes he can be physical, but usually it’s verbal.

    When he is on a binge, he plays the stero music full blast and keeps me up all night. There are days when I go to work that I am so exhausted. I have asked for help from his mother, but she is in complete denial and gives him money to feed his habit. I’m so tired that I also give in to his abuse and give him money for his booze and cigarettes, as he is a chain smoker. He is putting me financially in the red.

    I am just so fed up. I never imagined that my life would be this way. I can’t bring myself to get a divorce, as I just don’t have the resources or the strength anymore. Thank you for listening.

  20. Christi says:

    Have been married for 22 years to my husband. He drinks daily, at least 3-6 beers when he gets home from work. We have separated in the past and things have gotten better, but I feel like I am watching a train wreck and can’t stop it.

    He suffered an anxiety attack almost 10 years ago, and our life has never been the same. A DUI 4 years ago. I feel like my feelings are just dismissed. He always is saying how he has improved, but I see him sliding backwards. I almost feel like a babysitter.

    I know you can’t stop it and can’t change it. But it breaks my heart to watch him! I ask him, why can’t you have a beer or 2? He has been sick in the past, constantly throwing up, doctors said you need to stop drinking, and he tried for awhile, but can’t and doesn’t want to stop!

    I am always wondering how did we get here? He still makes me laugh, and gives me butterflies in my stomach — is that what makes me stay? I don’t know how to be without him — we have been together 25 years!

  21. jen says:

    I can’t believe this is happening to me. I think my husband is an alcoholic and I don’t know what to do. Feeling really scared. Thankful I can at least utter the words here.

  22. Lisa says:

    I have been with my boyfriend 4 years now. He is an alcoholic, a black-out drinker. He beat me real bad three times in three years! It’s been a while since then. Now he has started drinking again. I’m stressed out.

    We have been homeless for over a year. We slept in campgrounds, my car, now a hotel. Looking for a place, an apartment, but I’m getting tired. This past weekend he hit me, threw things at me and demanded sex. I pulled away.

    I have to get out. I haven’t been happy in four years. He says I buy you everything you want, I bring you flowers. But there’s no romance and he drinks too much. It’s a cycle that never ends. I have to find a way out. I pray to God to help me find a way.

    I can’t live like this anymore. Yes, he can be a great, sweet, very handsome guy! But the drinking, the abuse and prejudice. And he squished my kitty. I have to leave somehow.

  23. Natalie says:

    My husband and I have been together for 22 years. We have 3 children and our first grandchild is on his way. Should be happy times — except alcohol is a big problem. He drinks as soon as work is over every day. Weekends, he starts drinking as soon as he wakes up.

    He suffers and has been recently vomiting and choking in his sleep. I’m scared that something will happen to him. He is a great man, but he says I cause his drinking by being concerned about his drinking. My kids lost all respect for him.

    I feel since I’m his problem, I should leave. I work two jobs just to help, because he spends so much money on alcohol. I cry every night and pray that he wakes up the next morning. I feel so lost. I have no family. He and my kids are my only family.

  24. Clair says:

    I am very grateful for this podcast. I’ve been in Al-Anon for about 3 years and have a number of qualifiers in my life. I was particularly struck by the speaker’s comments on setting boundaries and how she has to keep stating her boundaries over and over again so that she can limit the chaos in her life.

    I am having trouble with my sister-in-law, who has been in recovery for many years and is now in food addicts anonymous. I had thought I had stated my limits/boundaries to her and my brother-in-law (who is also in recovery), but of course I thought that because I said it once that would be enough. I mean, I don’t want to be a broken record.

    They both fall very easily into a pattern where I feel like I’m their secretary/mom and I have to fill in the gap in their relationships. They constantly need things. My sister-in-law is particularly consumed by anxiety. It came to a head last week over a childcare issue when I asked her to clarify whether or not she needed me to take care of her kids. We had talked about it the week previous, but then she chose someone else without telling me.

    This happens a lot. When I asked her about it and about her long term needs, she brought up how she does not feel comfortable asking me because I’m constantly hot and cold with her. She even went so far as to say I don’t like taking care of her kids, but that is not true. My issue is with her, not her kids.

    It took me a couple of days (and a meeting) to really process this and think about what she said. She is absolutely correct, I have been hot and cold with her. Why? Because this is how I protect myself from being treated like a doormat. The anger that people see is really frustration (I have struggled with this all my life). A massive wall goes up between me and the person I believe is going to take advantage of me, if they see I’m angry. My sister-in-law is the most recent person in a long line of people who have chaotic lives and try to draw me into it. They have one need after another and it never seems to get better.

    The podcast speaker’s comments about not wanting chaos in her life is exactly what I want. I want minimal chaos and I have to find another way to express that, rather than creating a wall of anger. I only lose when I express anger. Not that there’s anything to win, but when you express anger, that’s all people see and hear and whatever you are really upset/frustrated about never gets recognized.

    I believe now she has blocked my phone number. I have tried to reach out to her to talk with her in person. I’ve left two messages. I will leave one more and that’s it. It’s up to her at that point. It’s difficult because we live in the same building and our kids go to the same school. At minimum I want to have a cordial relationship for the sake of our kids. I have to be okay with restating my boundaries over and over again. I plan to apologize for my part, but the chaos has to end.

  25. Tee says:

    My boyfriend is the most amazing man I have ever met. I love him so much and he loves me too. We want to get married and when he is sober, I feel like he is my soulmate and we have the perfect relationship.

    It’s when he starts drinking where all the problems occur. He just doesn’t know when to stop. He will drink all night and even into the next night and doesn’t have a problem driving drunk either. He loses all sense of judgement when he is drunk and behaves so selfishly. We had a fight one night and he tried to strangle me as I was leaving. He didn’t want me to leave.

    When he is sober, he tells me that he knows he is ruining our relationship and that he thinks he has a serious problem with alcohol. He even wants to go see someone. But, a day later, he will be back to drinking and will do the most stupid and selfish things.

    I love this man so much. At the moment, I think I want to break up with him though, because I feel like I need to make a drastic move in order for him to change. I keep telling him that he needs to change for himself and not for me. And maybe I also need to take a break from this relationship and work on myself. Maybe one day we will find each other again and be together. But for now, I think he has some serious issues he needs to work through and I need to let him do that.

    Letting him go is going to be so difficult. I dread the thought because I just want to be with him. However, I know that things will not change if I continue to pretend as if nothing happened and that his alcoholic behaviour is not a problem.

  26. Chad says:

    My wife is an alcoholic. I’m ready to leave. I do not know how. I don’t know what to do.

  27. EMERLCA says:

    My partner and I are together for five years now. In the past he suffered from a drug addiction and eventually quit, just before we started dating. We got married two years ago and at first I just let him have a beer or two cos he always asked so politely, but before I realized it, it started becoming an everyday thing, and now he drinks a minimum of three beers every day.

    I have tried talking to him about it, but he totally ignores my feelings. He believes he is not harming me or anyone else, so why should I have a problem with it. I have even left home to get him to realize that I hate his alcohol dependency, but he just lied about trying to stop, got me to come home, and here I am three months later, unhappy, scared and confused. Last night he was rude to me and told me he is tired of my nagging. I only am trying to help him. I love him.

  28. Lala says:

    I can’t believe that I am reading this blog and it appears that my life is unfolding before my very eyes. I have been married to an alcoholic 12 years, but I didn’t know that he drank until 5 years into the marriage.

    He has been drinking really heavy for the past 6 years. He has developed pancreatitis and gets very sick often. He wakes up in the morning and cries to me saying, “I’m afraid that I’m going to die.”

    I have tried rationing his liquor, and he was willing to fight me if I didn’t give in. It’s pretty bad. My worst fears have come upon me. I’m looked at by my family negatively because of what he has done. I am going to Al-Anon.

  29. shannon says:

    Is my husband an alcoholic? This is a question I ask myself all the time. We have two wonderful kids and he is a very involved father. The issue is he drinks. Not all the time, but some of the time, and when he drinks, he drinks.

    He slurs his words, makes poor decisions, and acts horrible. We typically fight and I take the bait and fight back. Then the low blows come. He yells, swears, calls me horrible names I dare not tell you. I go to bed alone and crying and then he goes out to smoke pot because it helps him not have a hangover.

    I have tried therapy and setting boundaries, all of which have failed. I have a hard time admitting he has a problem, because it is not the same list of issues you read about. (My father has been sober for 30 years, so I have been through this.) Drinks every day, not involved, etc.

    It is almost like he is allergic to alcohol. I am going to my first Al-Anon meeting tonight, hoping the end of this roller coaster is coming, because I just want to get off the ride.

  30. BMH says:

    I am trying to understand the behaviors of a functioning alcoholic and the blame and criticism it seems to entail.

    Prior to my boyfriend of nearly 6 years, I had no experience with alcohol–as neither I nor my family drink. My boyfriend is a high-functioning alcoholic. There has really not been a time that I’ve not known him to drink. His mother was an alcoholic, I think, and his father, his sister, his soon-to-be ex-wife, his daughter (who was a heroin and meth addict and is in jail for giving her 18-month-old a methadone overdose), and his son. He has complained to me about how he went to his wife’s family about her drinking and how they would do nothing.

    Yet, he forces me to be an enabler. He does not start drinking till 5 or 4 or 3, as sometimes happens. I have watched him put away 3-5 beers an hour, 8 to 12 beers in a 3 hour period (which is better than it used to be as he has drunk 24 in an evening). He usually stops drinking when he eats, but it’s hard to get him to eat and he will have had at least 8 beers by then and claims he isn’t hungry.

    For a while I wasn’t really seeing him in the evening and everything was great. Lately, I’ve spent some time with him on vacation and gone with him to the bars. Everything is fine as long as I don’t address his drinking. He will drink 8-12 beers at the bar, then stop to buy a six-pack. I now have half a remaining six-pack in my fridge, which I resent and I have decided to give to the neighbor. He doesn’t see his drinking as a problem, just my behavior.

    I think he totally over-reacts to little stuff. Most recently, I was trying to figure out what time in the morning I needed to set the alarm so we could do the things that he wanted to get done. He had already drunk 8 beers that I could count. My trying to say, “So back it up for me,” somehow led to me being the abuser, rapist, and he was never going to speak to me again.

    He calls me crazy, angry and argumentative, even though I don’t feel the least bit of anger. (And this is a huge improvement over when he would call me something terrible, say Hitler was right, and many unrepeatable things–all because I somehow cooked his food wrong.) I feel he often gets this way when he’s had too much to drink, though I do wonder if he might still be hypercritical without the alcohol. While I know this is not the best relationship for me, and I would never marry him, I am unwilling to let the relationship go at this time, so I can’t really understand myself in this.

    I also know that I cannot accept this behavior again, and as soon as he’s back from his trip and I can get him when he’s not drunk, I’m going to tell him that I will not accept him drinking more than a beer an hour, though I’d rather there would be none. I am also going to tell him that he is an alcoholic and that I do not have a tolerance for it.

    I know I cannot control his behavior, just what I am willing to accept or not accept. I will no longer be his driver for his binges, his happy partner at the bar, or have any part in handling his beer. It is not acceptable to bring beer into my house. How I am going to handle our trip to Las Vegas June 8th, I’m not sure. I guess I will just leave him where he is at when he reaches for that 5th beer and sleep on the other side of the bed until his stench wears off.

    What I am trying to understand is if his criticisms and put downs are related to the alcohol or if these problems will exist even without the alcohol. I wonder if this is typical behavior of a functioning alcoholic in regards to personal relationships and the criticism of their partner–and if it is typical that the drinking partner calls the non-drinking partner abusive and a rapist. I also wonder what it is about us that I am unwilling to let go.

  31. gisele says:

    My boyfriend of almost a year fell off the wagon about 2 months ago, after being sober for 8 years. But I now know that the behavior that he was showing was the precursor of him actually taking a drink.

    In my horror, I discovered he is a mean drunk. I tried going to an Al-Anon meeting, but I didn’t click with that particular group. And quite honestly I was too angry and emotionally drained to try again. Now here I am 2.5 months after he fell off and even though he is not actively drinking he is still doing addict behavior.

    I had to tell him yesterday that he needs to make his recovery his number one priority. I love this man so much, but I love myself more and I just can’t watch him destroy himself. Hopefully he can start to work his program and get back into his recovery. This is really hard to do–stepping back, that is.

  32. Stephanie says:

    My fiance’ and I have been together since mid 2011. We got pregnant not long after and now have an almost three-year-old. My fiance’ is a wine broker, but drinking the wine isn’t required necessarily. He thinks he can drink like he used to when he was in high school, but he just can’t.

    We’ve recently moved from the west coast to the east, far from family and friends, and are working hard. I’ve noticed his drinking has increased so much more. He’ll drink a beer as early as 10:00 a.m. and all throughout the day I’ll see cans or bottles laying around. The wine though–that’s usually when he’s at his worst is when he drinks too many glassse of wine. I’ll notice and say, “Why don’t you slow down with the wine?” or, “I think you might be drinking too much.” But he doesn’t and just keeps drinking. He doesn’t know his limit and acts like a fool, embarrassing himself and me.

    I’ve tried talking to him about his drinking and his response is, “I don’t have a drinking problem.” This is not what I want our son to grow up around, or seeing, or taking after. In fact, he’s passed out right now at this very moment outside on our back patio.

    I guess you could say I’m disappointed that he would drink so much and not think about our son who went to bed without saying goodnight to his daddy. And I’m nervous because I’m afraid that he won’t realize he’s got a problem and needs to either majorly slow it down or stop all together. Otherwise, I’m through with the catering to a 28-year-old “man” who acts like a drunk high school teenager who doesn’t know his limit.

  33. Elaine says:

    My husband is an alcoholic and nothing changes. I have been with him 15 years and it’s always the same thing. I married him and knew he had problems. I need to leave him. He has 3 DUI in under two years and actually things by the grace of God worked out, but I am ten years older then he is and I think at my age now, I still have a chance to have a decent relationship.

    I wish him well, but it’s interesting how all the alcoholics have such good, decent people loving them, and they give so little–the alcoholic, that is. The best thing I read, was to live with an alcoholic is not to live with them, LOL.

    I love my husband very much, but he is a selfish man. Nothing I say or do means a thing to him. I gotta leave, cause I mean something. We do nothing together and it’s a no sex and no connection marriage for the last six years.

    I am done, but he does not know it. I will file for divorce but not yet, I need an exit strategy. I can do it. My cats are better company then he is. He likes to be with his men friends all the time. I really believe he is gay, which is fine. He needs men around him all the time. I could go on, but why bother. Ya know alcoholics are really boring and selfish and everyone, including me, thinks ohhhhhhhh, what to do.

  34. Amy says:

    I have lived with my boyfriend’s brother, who has been a verbally abusive and angry alcoholic for 3.5 years. After two instances of the cops getting involved in the last 6 months, I gave him an ultimatum that I would no longer tolerate his drinking and that he needed to move out.

    As of 3 weeks ago, my boyfriend’s brother has moved out and in with his parents, who are our neighbors. Now they are in the process of moving all of his belongings out of our house and while doing so their mother has been saying the nastiest and most cruel things to me and my boyfriend (her other son), who is nearly a year clean from substance abuse himself. She is also an alcoholic and now their family is blaming me for tearing her two sons apart from each other when all me and her son want is to live our lives.

    Everything is so toxic right now and my heart is broken because I have done nothing but take up for myself this past month and stand my ground on not taking any more verbal and mental abuse from their son and now they, too, are also being verbally abusive to me as well. My boyfriend luckily has a thick skin and is able to brush their behaviors off, but I have a thin skin and it is wearing me down and I feel like the stress is killing me.

    I also just started a new job this week and am very sick and having to receive phone calls and messages from my boyfriend’s parents of how mean and cruel of a person I am after all they have done for us. They have actually never done for us, though, monetarily speaking, so I am confused as to what they have actually done for us, other than give me and their son a guilt trip for not wanting to live with their other son that has an addiction to alcohol.

    I’m so worried for my boyfriend’s parents as they are both in their mid-late sixties and if I feel the stress of this situation is killing me at age 30, I can’t imagine how they must be feeling. I fear something is going to happen to his mom or dad and although I know I shouldn’t blame myself if something does happen, I can’t help but being human and feeling responsible when they are telling me it’s all my fault. Thank you for letting me share my current situation.

  35. Hope says:

    My husband is an alcoholic. We’ve been married for 3 years, but have been together for 7 years. When we started dating, he didn’t drink. Then one day he started and hasn’t stopped since. He drinks 5 quarts of beer on the weeknights, and drinks stronger stuff on the weekends. He’s always irritable, angry, and mean.

    He tells me it’s my fault. He even acknowledges that he has a problem, but doesn’t want help. I’m at the end of my rope. He’s physically and mentally abusive and I can’t go on like this. We have an 18-month-old and I’m currently pregnant with twins.

    He has to be forced into spending time with our son, and he’s so short tempered that he always ends up yelling or screaming at him over doing normal toddler things. If he doesn’t consent to help soon, I’m going to leave him. I refuse to have my babies grow up in the same hell that I grew up in. I just need to know I’m not alone.

    It’s so hard waking up next to him every morning and having to pretend I’m not upset about the night before. I dread seeing him come home from work because I don’t know who I’m greeting at the door. It’s time for him to try, or I’m going to stop trying.

  36. L says:

    Growing up in an alcoholic home, I was held back, scapegoated and beaten down. No child could survive so many put-downs, so much criticism. Listening to my father now as he abuses, scolds, insults everyone around him, I imagine myself as a fragile, delicate child standing in front of him sobbing, begging him to be nice to me. I wanted so much to be loved. It was like begging a vicious dog to snuggle. It was never going to happen, and it wasn’t my fault that it didn’t work out. It wasn’t my fault it left me barely able to function–damaged and broken.

    He is who he is, and his mean harsh comments had nothing to do with me. A dog that bites, that’s all he is. I limped along, being bitten, crippled by his abuse my entire youth. Looking back, I used to think I was a failure, unable to function. Now I see I was a survivor, and I did the best that I could in an insane situation. I had limitations piled on me like a pack of hyenas on a zebra colt. It’s amazing I managed to survive and get out.

    I thrived for awhile, but recently I’ve placed myself in a relationship with a child of alcoholics. He’s a narcissist who feels justified being mean to others when he doesn’t get his way. He scolds to hurt feelings, thinking that’s how you get people to do what you want. It’s the same pattern of put-downs that held me back in the past. I’ve asked him to start treating me better, to give me encouragement instead of crushing, discouraging put-downs. He can’t stop. It’s like an obsession, a need. It’s like a stinging scorpion, it’s in his nature.

    I’m not a child, but it is holding me back. So far it’s been impossible to overcome. Anytime I start a project he puts me down until I stop working. He interrupts yard work to tell me I’m doing it wrong and won’t stop criticising until I stop trying to get stuff done. I can’t even understand the drive. Why does he feel a need to keep me from doing -a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g-? Oh, who cares why– right? Who cares why my dad seemed obsessed with destroying my spirit, crushing my hopes and dreams. His need to put me down has nothing to do with me, and my current boyfriend’s need to hold me back, to put down everything I do is his need, not mine.

    It’s like watching a dry drunk flail and struggle, not knowing how to act. He cluelessly thinks, “Is this how to get people to do what I want?” and “Can I get away with this?”.

    I answer “No. Sorry, it isn’t. It won’t work on me, and I’ll tell you so.” The difference is that I know that this behavior is unacceptable, it’s his fault not mine, and I know it’s not my fault.

    I know I can turn to Al-Anon for help and strength. I will survive this. I’m not a child anymore. I’m a strong, grown, capable woman. I’m amazing. I’ve survived being held down and stood up before. I’m going to shake this off and get back on my feet. Being held down is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just the understandable result of a crushing series of put-downs that I didn’t create. And I know better how to deal with this problem now.

    Feeling stronger.

    Thanks for listening.

  37. aimee says:

    I have been with my fiance’ for 3 years and have been his best friend for about 10. For as long as I have known him he always drank.

    About a year into our relationship he got very sick and he had to have surgery and lost a lot of weight. He has something that has to do with his stomach and esophagus–after all this has happened he quit drinking for about a year. Everything was amazing. He was the perfect man.

    Well, for the past two years he has been drinking, trying to hide it from me. He’ll come home and say he only had one when I smell it often so strong and know he has been lying about everything. He turned into a demon, said very horrible things to me, put me down, disrespected me, accused me of cheating, while I just sat there and listened and waited to fall asleep. Meanwhile my children heard him talking to me this way.

    Just two nights ago it was the worst. The verbal abuse was so bad and went on for 6 hours straight. My son, who is 18, lost it. He was going to fight and even had a knife in his hands. I had no other choice but to call the police. My fiance’ was arrested and I made sure I got a restraining order, but why do I feel so bad? He is sleeping on the street in his car and he needs to go every morning into the public bathroom to wash up. Knowing all of this stuff breaks my heart and I feel so lost.

  38. Kelly says:

    I’ve been with my husband for 7 years but have only been married since August. We met in college and I thought it was normal/okay to binge-drink and get a little out of control at times. My now husband started having anxiety attacks, which were fairly difficult to deal with because he was racking up a lot of emergency room bills. At that time I was working hard to help support both of us because his sales job wasn’t going very well (in return it gave him more anxiety). Then about two years ago he started coping with anxiety by drinking.

    We started planning a wedding and he just kept making poor decisions–spending lots of money, drinking to the point of puking on himself, driving drunk and getting into an accident (somehow he didn’t get arrested), etc. A few months before our wedding he took a job that includes traveling via flight. Flying has always given him anxiety but he wanted to overcome that fear. He started coping by flying with alcohol. I’m not sure how his company hasn’t caught on because he spends a lot of money drinking on these business trips on a company card.

    We just bought a house together and I’m terrified that he will lose or quit his job soon. His dad, mom and I have had two interventions with him now, but he’s a great talker and can easily manipulate. He went to a few AA meetings but never followed through with getting a sponsor, because he “doesn’t have the time with his traveling”. He’s never physically hurt me, but I’m mentally drained. I’m in healthcare and I understand this is a disease but it’s hard to understand and be supportive when I’m the one that suffers from his choices.

    I have to leave for work in 5 hours, but I’m up writing this because I needed somewhere to turn. I think my friends are over hearing all of my problems and they think I’m crazy to believe he will change and get help. Friday night he looked me in the eyes and promised me he didn’t drink anything. I told him I didn’t care if he did, I just didn’t want to be lied to.

    I’m so terribly sick of all the lies! I looked at one of his work receipts that night and sure enough alcohol was purchased–although I already knew he drank, because I know how he acts when he drinks. He’s sloppy and doesn’t make sense when he talks. He’s gained a lot of weight recently as well, when we both used to be very health conscious. It’s so gross when he eats drunk and gets stains all over his shirt as his belly hangs out. I don’t even care that he gained weight. I still love him, but just hate that alcohol is making him so unhealthy.

    Anyways, Saturday morning he was so sorry and couldn’t bear seeing me cry and promised me he would never lie again. Now tonight he called me after landing in North Carolina and first told me he didn’t drink and as he slurred his words and finally ended up telling me he drank “three”. Two trips prior he ended up in a drunk tank in a rehab facility because supposedly the cops can take you there or to jail. He has had so many close calls to rock bottom but somehow is lucky enough.

    I just feel like a completely diode rent person and feel as though my life is constantly in disarray. The stress is killing me and I don’t know what to do. I feel like I should leave him for a while, so he feels like he hit rock bottom. I know he loves and treats me wonderfully when he’s sober, but I think I hate him when he’s drunk. I’m 29 and would like to have kids someday, but would never want another life have to go through this. Sorry for the rambling.

  39. Kaz says:

    Married almost 26 years. My husband is an alcoholic and says, “Oh, well.” I am screaming inside and have virtually given up on life. I am so depressed and am just tired–needed a place to share this.

  40. queen says:

    I have an alcoholic husband who doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He gets drunk on a daily basis and I hate it. We have been married one year.

    Before we were married, he never showed me any of this behavior. I’m thinking of divorcing him because I’m tired. I have 3 kids, none are his. He has 2, one that’s 10 and she hates to come stay with him because of his drinking.

    I’m starting to not like him at all. I work and when I get off he’s drunk. He is out all night. I am so mad at myself for allowing this, for even marrying him. I don’t know what else to do.

    I have talked to him several times and he begs me to stay and I forgive him, but life is too short to be unhappy–especially my kids being unhappy. I just need to start heading in the right direction.

  41. Marly says:

    Thanks for all the comments here. I feel empowered by them. I have been married 20 years and have 5 children with my alcoholic husband. My husband has been binge-drinking since we got married, but no overnighters or blackouts until 10 years in.

    He has had two arrests for DUI and now lives in another state, where he is starting out at the entry level of his career yet again. He is pleasant, intelligent, educated and funny when he is sober. He is also a liar and selfish and depressed, whether drunk or sober. When drunk he is reckless, depressed, inappropriate, dangerous to himself and others, and embarrassing to our friends and families.

    I was afraid to leave for 3 years, but finally kicked him out. I support our children and care for them by myself. He visits occasionally and calls once a week. He is very pleasant on the phone, but after reading the comments here, I know I can never take him back.

    I have to have enough self-respect and concern for our well-being to know that I have to keep our lives separate. I will support him and love him always, but my happiness and that of our children cannot depend on whether he is drunk or sober. I’m sorry for all that is gone and will never return, his income as a doctor, our home due to foreclosure, a father for my children, a partner for my life.

    On the other hand, I am grateful that when I come home, I feel peace. I can open the door glad to be home and see my kids, not afraid of what will happen or what has happened while I was gone.

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