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

  1. Que says:

    I have a husband who drinks, calls me names and broke our house up. He never accepts his wrongdoings, unless he’s sober. But to me, I’ve been dealing with this and it hurts. I love him, but I want to be happy.

    I met him this way. I feel now I should’ve just stayed away. Now it’s killing me inside. We break up almost every other month and try to work it out. I still hurt inside, can’t talk to him and when I do or I feel a certain way, he says it’s me. Yes, I’m insecure. Only God can help, I guess.

  2. Isabelle says:

    My story is pretty much along the same lines as all the other people, unfortunately. I am not married to my partner, but we have been together for 20 years and have 2 daughters, 11 and 17. I would have left a long time ago if it wasn’t for them, but I am so unhappy.

    My partner comes in late most nights and he drinks a lot (about 6 nights a week). He is not aggressive, unless I show that I am annoyed with him. He is just really silly, slurring his words, looks terrible, and basically my girls and I cannot have a decent conversation with him.

    I have made threats of all sorts and he says he will try to stop and in fact he did go to AA sessions for a while, but now he has stopped and things have started to slide yet again. I feel desperate and wish I could leave as I don’t think I love him anymore. I don’t know where it has all gone wrong.

  3. Want to Leave says:

    My husband can’t resist a dig or kick when I’m down and he seems to relish speaking loudly so the kids will hear, too. Now, my son treats me like dirt. The other two are about to follow. He says the most venomous, nasty things and then acts like it never happened. I’m only with him for the kids. I don’t want to be a divorced woman, but I can’t live like this.

  4. Kris says:

    I have been with my fiance for almost 7 years. I knew he was a drinker, but not the full extent of it until many months into the relationship.

    I guess I am like most women and have this compelling feeling that I need to “save” him and I wish to God I could. He is a very late stage alcoholic at only 38 years old, drinks beer daily, usually a case.

    His goal used to be 1 pint — 1 quart of vodka, but that was a few years ago. He’s been good for a while, just drinking beer, but the last year I see him slipping a lot. He lies about it, but I know the difference.

    He is pretty scary on hard liquor. I’ve been pushed around, threatened, etc., and the worst part is there is no support from his family whatsoever. His mother is a drama queen who screams and cries over everything. His brother thinks his drinking is great, and his sister and niece believe every lie that comes out of his mouth when he’s drinking and have it out for me because of course I’m the bad person. What’s worse is they know the way he is and his track record with prior relationships and still believe it all.

    I love the man dearly, but I feel so stuck. I don’t want to watch him die (and he’s been hospitalized more than I can count), but I feel so alone.

  5. In need of help says:

    I have been with my husband for 4 years and married for 6 months. I thought I could deal with the drinking every day, but I don’t know how without it starting arguments when I bring it up. He says it’s not a problem, he enjoys it ├ánd it is who he is, and I need to back off and let him be who he is and love him no matter what.

    I was in an abusive marriage for 15 years and don’t want to have to deal with drinking every day again. Every time I bring it up, it starts the biggest arguments of all time. I don’t know how to get him to realize I matter and he has a problem that is killing our marriage.

  6. Vici says:

    I’ve been married to an alcoholic since 2009. He’s been abusive physically and mentally, mostly mentally! He is an all out control freak. He has put me down so much that I barely have any self-respect. He has also isolated me so much that I don’t have any friends and only have communication with my son, and I had to fight for that right.

    He is a typical alcoholic who tells lies and gives every excuse in the book for his inappropriate behavior. He can’t see that his negative actions cause all of his problems. His lying is so out of control that he has told all his friends and family that he is dying of lung cancer. The only thing physically wrong with this man is that he sits on his unemployed butt all day and is out of shape! He told this lie to see who really loves him.

    Remember, I said he is controlling and has made it very clear that I am not to tell anyone the truth. Everyone knows that he lies and they’re texting and calling me to know the truth. I do not answer the phone or reply to the text messages because of the repercussions I will face with him. It gets better — one of his friends has posted it on Facebook. Now hundreds of people think he’s on his death bed. Of course he is blindsided by this and I know he doesn’t know what to do. He has become angry.

    I actually can’t help but to have an internal hard laugh at this fool. But I also know that alcoholism is so cruel and a side of me feels sorry for him.

    I plan to leave him in June, because I’m so unhappy and just want to be a normal person. I am also scared because I know I will be facing a full-out war.

  7. Malibu says:

    I have been married almost 9 years to a functioning alcoholic. When I met him, he was everything I wanted. He had so much life in him. He drank every night, but seemed to limit himself to a couple of beers a night.

    When I got pregnant with my now 5-year-old, I noticed a change in his drinking. Now he’s up to a full case a night and has been for almost 2 years. Our finances are suffering and our relationship is severely hurt.

    He functions as far as he goes to work and supports us, but he has no other drive for anything. He has isolated me from my friends and I no longer have any hobbies because it made him angry for me to have a life outside of him. I have asked him to leave and he refuses to. I have nowhere to go if I were to leave.

    I have been to Al-Anon meetings and he started going to AA, but he did it only because it frustrated him that I had somewhere to go other than home. I quit going.

    I want to pull myself away from him and the toxic relationship we have, but it is so hard. I have been to counseling and she urged me to get legal advice and to prepare myself to leave. Reading these helps me feel like I’m not alone.

  8. Janet says:

    In summary, alcoholics absolutely are impossible. What an ugly affliction. Then my husband does nothing but yell at me for not wanting to have sex with his stinky, vile, vulgar, alcoholic self. He actually gets mad and threatens me. I try to tell him this in a much kinder way. Something like. “It is simply not possible for me to want to bond physically and emotionally with a person in that state.” But not the morning or the next day, either.

    If he cared what I thought, he wouldn’t be drunk and nasty all the time. I am legally married, but I refuse to have sex with him because he repulses me and says vile and nasty things.

    We are older and for many years I hoped he would die long before me, but that isn’t a sure thing. His parents were just like us, except that she probably did have sex with him, because he certainly was out running around. He was a good man, just a pain -in-the-rear drunk by the end of the day. She ended up dying several years before him.

    I left for fifteen years and raised my kids alone and it was wonderful. Now I am back for financial reasons, but not for long. I just need to get my ducks in a row and then I am finding my own place again.

  9. Brooke says:

    My story is a lot different from all the ones I read here. My partner is not my husband, for a reason. It’s because he is a raging 22-year-old alcoholic. We have been with each other since I was 5 and he was 3. He is on his 3rd DUI. This last one cost me almost 10 grand, only because he hit a government car and ended his hit-and-run in the parking lot of the police station.

    It was horrible, but I finally got to see him and the only thing he did was laugh. At that point I was done. When I saw his car all smashed up, I thought I’d lost him forever. He will work for 3 hours at work a day, get sent home sick and drink until he passes out on the couch, sloppy as ever.

    Honestly, the hardest part of all this is that I feel bad. His life was a mess when he moved away, when we were 10 and 13. His mother began a relationship with a horrible man — somebody who beat her down and drank a 30-pack every 6 hours like medicine. He would blast music and make the kids watch him hurt their mom. God help her, I still don’t know why she stayed there for over 10 years. I think my partner saw that stuff happening and figured it was okay to be like him. My partner has never laid a hand on me. I don’t think he ever will, but every night is the same thing. I could go on for days about everything.

    I work late hours and I come home to a trashed house and a heavily drunk partner. He is blasting music til 6 am. It’s actually 6 am now and he just passed out, but keep in mind I live in an apartment. I’ve been evicted 3 times in 2 years for loud music and yelling. When he is in his drunk zone, I am every mean and horrible name under the sun and my past life and relationships are huge issues to him. I need help and I don’t know what to do. He says he doesn’t have a problem, but he does. I wish I knew what to do.

  10. Diane says:

    It has been really amazing (and scary) to read these posts – so many of them reflect what my life looks like now and I can see many of them in my future, if that makes sense.

    My husband of less than a year is a functional alcoholic. I didn’t realize that when we were dating – he had a few drinks, etc., but seemed fine. It wasn’t until we were engaged and I moved in with him that I came to see the full extent of it.

    When he drinks, he does it at night and is able to go to work the next day (he’s only had to stay home with hangover-related symptoms once or twice). He is not himself when he has been drinking – he is surly and belligerent to me. It’s as if everything I say or do is an imposition or a drag. He doesn’t help me at all at home and has passed out on the floor, couch, etc., on a number of occasions. He swore that he could control it and tried to keep it to “just 2 beers” several times. It’s only when I caught him sneaking alcohol or he came home too drunk to deny it that I’ve realized he’s been lying to me.

    At my insistence in December, he finally sought help. Unfortunately, I don’t think he believes he actually needs it and resented me for “making” him go. Last night, he came home drunk. He said this has happened another time that I didn’t know about (I work during the day and go to school at night, so it’s very easy for him to go and drink if he chose). As much as the drinking upsets me, it’s the lying and sneaking that hurts me more.

    I am at a loss as to what to do. I moved halfway across the country to be with him when we got married and have very little support in my new state. I work and go to school and I can barely manage that with all of my household responsibilities without throwing an alcoholic husband into the equation. It’s very lonely and isolating.

  11. Liz says:

    There are so many of us. I never knew how ‘not’ alone I am. I’m so sorry about what we are all going through.

  12. joan says:

    My husband of 17 years started really drinking heavy in 2013 when his dad died, and then he broke both legs. We have been thru almost all his inheritance. He blames me, but he had a seizure at work and was laid off.

    He hates A.A. and is seeing a psychiatrist, but contunues to drink and blames me for spending his money. My mom died and we got a free house and 80 grand. He then broke his foot and was out of work for 1 year — goodbye money, hello mortgage.

    I hate him. He won’t look for a job and keeps spending his father’s inheritance, but it is my fault. I work every day and he does nothing but watch tv and feel sorry for himself. I don’t know how I get him out of my house and life.

  13. Izabellahh says:

    Well, it’s so sad reading all these comments. But I kind of fit in the same situation, because I’ve been living with my husband for 6 years, and he is an alcoholic — big time.

    He’s been abusing me for all those six years, so I’m on the borderline to say enough is enough. But he finally decided he is going to quit drinking, so he is doing this with a doctor’s help. But after, I find it out he was drinking at work. The trust is gone between us. So, now he is taking pills to go to sleep, and smoking Marijuana every single day — also drinking non-alcoholic beer, so he is always on something. He’s not there all the time. I think this is getting worse, because I’m afraid he is going to start doing different drugs. He is also moody, not talking at all.

    I don’t talk about this with anybody because I feel ashamed telling my family what is the reality. I keep this to myself. Sometimes I really have a bad thought about myself, but I love myself too much. Thank you to all these families — sorry for the children. Thanks for posting and sharing. Best of luck to all the families, because we do not deserve to be abused.

  14. Rachel says:

    My husband is an alcoholic. At the moment he is on a drinking binge. These binges happen every couple of months. It’s been this way for roughly 4 years now.

    During these binges, he stays home from his job (he’s a small business owner), drinks all day until he passes out, wakes up, and drinks again until he passes out. We’re on day 3 of this binge. He’s lost his wallet and ID and can’t buy his own alcohol, so I do it. If I don’t buy it for him, he breaks everything he touches until I do.

    I want him to sober up, but he’s destroying our home. He says terrible things to me and tries to put his hands on me when he’s like this. He rages and screams at the top of his lungs until he has no voice. It’s extremely terrifying to witness. When he is sober, he’s wonderful and loving. I know that somewhere in there is the man that I love.

    I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve allowed him to alienate me from my friends and family, so I don’t know what kind of support network I would have if I left. We don’t have any children, and I’m so thankful for that. I do have pets that I am afraid to leave in the house with him. I don’t know what he would do to them if I left. I feel hopeless.

  15. Maureen says:

    Oh, how my heart hurts for all of us. But I do know that we all have a choice, even if it feels too scary or hard to do….is living in what most of us live with on a daily basis at all easy or good? But that decison is up to each one of us to decide.

    As I read these posts, I see the truth comes through, we list our own answers to what needs to happen, yet in the next sentence we forget what we just said. That is the insanity of addiction. I grew up with alcoholism, then I left one very long-term alcoholic marriage, was single for 3 years, found an addict that was really doing his program and sober for 6 years already. Well, 8 years into the relationship I realized he no longer had the daily committment to his program, and for the last 2 years it has been a long downhill slide. Then many stressors happened in our lives, and yep, there went all that sobriety.

    It wasn’t a brief relapse and back at sobriety, even knowing all he knows on what he has to do to remain sober. Instead, he let it take him for 9 months now. I experienced once again in my life all the nasty name calling; it is my fault that I am not putting my program to use. I am so negative and critizing when I try to talk about the truth of what was happening, his constant denials, his constant promising to quit and a few days later finding proof of his drug, leaving for a quick errand and coming back 5 hours later, etc., all classic of what goes on.

    I had to repeatedly struggle not to believe all the crap he was saying and yelling at me. I knew that it was pure manipulation to take the focus off of him and put it on me, but it was a blow to my self-esteem and I questioned myself. Oh, the dreaded power of addiction for both the addict and the co-dependent, such destruction it brings to all involved.

    I gave him a letter stating he needed to leave back in December, knowing he was willing to sacrifice our relationship. He cried, pleaded and begged me that he didn’t want to leave and hadn’t used for 4 days and wouldn’t. I truly thought he was sincere (one more time, right!). 5 days later I had proof of use once again. This time I remembered what the program says–don’t tell them to leave unless you really mean it, because all we are doing is training them that they can manipulate us, that we really will stay or not kick them out. So I prayed, gave him another letter giving him 3 months to be out, he was not working and not looking very hard for a job either, but I told him job or no job, homeless or renting somewhere, it was his choice to decide to stop using or not, but I was done. He has continued to use, just found a job, but will lose it unless he quits, but that is on him, not me.

    I deserve to have a life without the yoke of addiction, that has plagued me for over 58 years. It is sad to realize that I had to learn that hard lesson once again. My co-dependency is still in there yet, though I have made many changes. I have to remember that there are very unhealthy reasons that I continued to be attracted to an addict, even one that was sober and doing well for many years. It has taught me, that for me, it is too dangerous to get involved with one, be it sober or active user. When I finally get truly healthy and realize deep down I deserve better and have boundaries set that will not be crossed, then I may be ready for a truly healthy relationship, with a non addict. Until then I need to be single and do what I can to not get lonely in the meantime, to find things that bring joy and happiness to my life, I have choices, remember? I need to remember that.

  16. Tonya says:

    I have been married for 17 years and we both have always been social drinkers. However, within the last 4 or 5 years, my husband has taken it to another level. He doesn’t drink every day, but when he drinks (2 or 3 times a week) he gets completely wasted. There is no such thing as one or two beers anymore — it’s shots and hard alcohol when he drinks. He is usually depressed the next day and says he will cut back, but the cycle continues.

    We have two teenagers who are exposed to this. I haven’t discussed anything with them, but I know they are smart enough to know when he’s wasted. I feel like he’s a horrible example at this very impressionable time of their lives. I want to help him get better, but I also don’t want my children exposed to this anymore.

  17. Vanessa says:

    I’ve been with my husband for 12 years. We have 2 young children. My husband has always been a somewhat heavy drinker, or binge drinker. I cannot remember an evening (except if he was working) that he hasn’t had a drink. Which in retrospect was quite a big problem, but he was always pleasant and it never seemed to affect other areas of our life. A “functional” alcoholic.

    But, about a year ago, he faced a real traumatic situation and since then his drinking has gotten heavier and he says mean things and starts arguments. He started taking Xanax for anxiety and a few times he has mixed that with alcohol and it turns him into a real jerk. I don’t know how to approach him without him getting upset or defensive.

    I worry that his moods will affect our kids. The atmosphere can go from secure and pleasant to angry and moody in a flash. He accuses me of being moody. I am tired. I don’t want to argue.

  18. lynn says:

    I have been with my husband for 20 years. He has always been a drinker, but then he quit for about 5 years. He started back, got a DWI, and it’s only been going downhill from there. Going on a year and a half — hospitals, rehab, affairs.

    Now it’s just the drinking — 2 or so bottles of vodka a day, more if he can. My problem is that it has taken control of me. I am finding my temper getting worse and things happening I don’t seem to be able to control.

    I don’t like how his problem is making me feel. I don’t want to be like this and the worst part is it’s all for nothing. He never remembers anything. I just get myself stressed for nothing, all because I can’t control my own life — his drinking is.

    I don’t want to lose everything we have worked for, but I don’t think I can live with this anymore.

  19. Liz says:

    I have been with my husband for 20 years. He has always been a binge drinker, and has settled into a pattern of drinking on weekends. He has a set time for starting on a Friday evening & will continue until he is incoherent.

    He is abusive & a very nasty person when drunk. The same happens on a Saturday, but at an earlier time. Again, he is incoherent by nighttime. Sunday is for his recuperation & he lies on a chair all day.

    He doesn’t believe he has a problem, as he says he only drinks 2 nights a week. I believe he is an alcoholic, but a controlled one at that ( if that’s possible). I am tired of the craziness. Weekends are ruined with his behaviour, and the kids are fed up too.

    I have become detached from him. I don’t believe or trust him anymore. How could someone possibly change when they don’t think they have a problem. Being a partner of an alcoholic is a very lonely & sad existence.

  20. Holly says:

    I met my best friend a little over a year ago, when I was a single mother with a 21-month-old daughter. The man I got pregnant by has never been in our lives and I never dated since him. When I met my current boyfriend, I knew right away he was different. God, I loved him. It was special and I felt and saw it in his eyes when he’d look at me.

    He is a truck driver. When he quit driving over the road and began driving local is when the behavior difference started. First just being mean, annoyed, then he stopped even talking to me. I knew he was hiding his drinking and I would put out a little bit of hints, hoping he would come to me and talk, but instead he would tell his friends and family made-up stories about me to then justify what I now know, how he was cheating on me. That lasted about 3 months.

    In those 3 months he got so mean and nasty, and all I kept trying was to show him how much I loved him. Then I caught him outside in his truck, slamming down a bottle of vodka. That’s what he drank every night, a bottle straight down with nothing mixed. When I found out about the cheating, he was in such denial about that and drinking.

    We have argued pretty nasty. Before he would call me names at first, then he would push me down on the ground really hard until 7 months ago he literally picked me up by the neck and threw me through 2 doors and down a flight of stairs. When I was able to look up and realize what happened, he was on top of me, choking me in the front yard and I was never so scared in my life.

    The next day he was pretty mean, but the day after he cried a lot and apologized. 2 weeks later, he beat me so bad I really should have been in the hospital. My daughter saw almost the whole thing and still has nightmares from it. She had never even seen her mom get a sliver before. He was in the process of adopting her as her dad, and still is her dad.

    I kicked him out before Christmas, but can’t stand to be away from him. He’s been staying at his mother’s and tonight I get a call he’s in the hospital, having seizures because he’s trying to quit drinking and hasn’t had one since yesterday afternoon.

    I’m sitting here thinking about how at one time I was so strong and didn’t ever need any man to depend on. Where does one get so caught up in someone else that you lose all of your morals, your common sense? Where did I become so weak and desperate to put up with this man for any length of time?

    Over 7 months later, I’m still struggling with my left arm that was torn so bad I can only use it for short periods of time today. And I have to watch my daughter’s heartbreak as she constantly asks and wants to know where and why her dad doesn’t come home and see her. I hate myself for letting him in my daughter’s life, but yet I still want so bad to be sitting next to him in that hospital room. I don’t know why.

  21. Toyin says:

    I’m so thankful I found this website.

    My husband and I have been married since 2005. I am an actress. He works in the ministry for a major nonprofit organization. I am Canadian. He is American. We got married in 2005 and shortly thereafter I got my green card.

    When we started our relationship, it was long distance. Then we moved in and lived in the same city, Minneapolis. About 2 1/2 years into our relationship, all the while recreational and social drinking.

    My husband has never felt comfortable being sober and drinking socially. As the years have passed, I noticed he would drink more and more to become socially comfortable when we went out with friends. Increasingly I experienced fear of reproach or being judged by professionals in the entertainment industry when I brought my hubby to events. So, over a course of time I began to be less active socializing and more isolating myself from events that would move my career and artistry forward.

    We began to hang out with his friends, eventually moved to New York and now we’ve been married for 10 years. I feel much of my day-to-day experience is saturated with cynicism, self-doubt, resentment and low self-esteem. I’m attending Al-Anon meetings, but I’m struggling with the reality that I am financially reliant upon him in order to initiate a divorce.

    I’m afraid I don’t love myself enough to relieve this discomfort. He has started at a detox and inpatient month-long program. I’m numb and struggling with whether or not to stay, if I am being a jerk for moving out when he is at the beginning of his sobriety. I just can’t handle the idea that relapse is possible. I am also emotionally burnt out when I think about the idea of spending the rest of my life this way.

  22. Carle says:

    I have an alcoholic husband. We have been married for almost ten years and he drinks every day. Sometimes it’s two six-packs and then three. When he gets so drunk, he acts like an idiot and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Most of all our three kids.

    It’s like he is mentally stuck in party mode from high school. I don’t know what to do it anymore. I am so sick of going round and round with him. I want to leave, but I love him and want him to change. I just don’t know.

  23. Julia says:

    I married my husband 16 years ago this June. He was drinking when I met him, but I was a social drinker as well. But after I married him, he drank more than socially. It has been a hard marriage.

    He gets verbally down on me and makes hateful comments when he drinks. He was very bad for a few years, but I thought he was better for a while — said he just wanted beer or wine when he gets off work. He would promise not to drink, then start again.

    Tonight I came home from my grandchildren’s and he meets me at the door, smart and rude. Then when I found out he was doing hard liquor, he said I better get used to it. I told him I will not tolerate it.

    I have a chronic health problem and just turned 60. I threw out alcohol tonight I found stashed. Even more concerning, he has been buying guns he says for protection, but alcohol and guns don’t mix. I found a handgun in the table tonight and made him put it in the gun safe.

    He never in his worst years would drink on a work night — now he is. I don’t know what to do. I can’t work. I take care of my 84-year-old mother at her apartment. I don’t want to leave my home, but he owns it. I don’t know what to do, and after 16 years I feel unsure of what he will do next. As many wives of alcoholics say, he can be kind. But it doesn’t make up for what he has put me through.

  24. Don't know what to do says:

    I have been married for 15 years to an alcoholic and he is mean to the kids and I. Our kids are very well behaved young adults that do not do anything to get into trouble. He yells at them for having an opinion about certain topics and tells them “to quit being like their mother.”

    He tells me I need to quit being a friend and be a mother. I try to do everything right, but I still do it wrong and get yelled at and told that I am stupid. He yells at me because I have to talk to a guy at work about work-related issues. Then he lies about the drinking, especially when he is driving with the kids in the car.

    I don’t know what to do anymore. My kids ask me everyday, “Mom, why don’t you leave him?” And my response is he loves you all. What do I do.

  25. Christine says:

    I’ve been married to a highly successful, brilliant alcoholic for 11 years. I have watched him climb the ladder of success and am so proud of his accomplishments.

    We always went out for a few drinks and never had an issue. It was a part of our courting and we were just having fun together. Once we were married for a few years, I started to notice the mood swings and insults being thrown my way. I didn’t realize at first what was happening and I started to feel really down about myself and my ability to make him happy.

    It really started getting bad when the women started entering our life. By the second affair, I threw him out and he sobbed and said I give him anxiety. We spent the next 3 years apart, where he spent it with his new pill-popping girlfriend. So now he’s an insecure drunk with a pill addiction, all the while climbing to higher and higher career success — go figure.

    He came back into my life about 3 years ago and promised everything was going to be amazing. Well, 3 years later he was cheating on me again. I found out through a sexually explicit video on his phone and he lied saying it was an old girlfriend from when we were separated. He told me I have no respect for his privacy and that I am crazy.

    Well, through all of my hurt feelings and anger and sadness I have finally decided to divorce. This man has taken a tremendous amount from me — my youth, my self-esteem and my ability to trust people. When you are caught up with an alcoholic, you live in this perpetual state of being paralyzed. I was afraid all the time to express myself verbally and sexually. I only hope the road gets easier from here and that my wounds heal.

  26. Jessica says:

    Most of these stories I find are very similar to mine. My husband and I met back in April 2005. We’ve had a pretty close relationship. Of course we had our struggles, but I fell hard for him fast. Before I knew it we were moving in together!

    My husband came from a family full of alcoholics. He grew up in and out of shelters. I met him through his brothers who were friends of mine, when he moved to Oregon from Louisiana. We were immediately drawn to each other. After 10 years together, going through struggles and fights, me losing my mom to a pulminary embolism back in 2010, my fertility issues (diagnosed with PCOS 3 years ago) we decided to get married, finally.

    After saying our “I do’s,” we decided it was time to start seeking medical help with our fertility issues. Step one was to quit smoking. Our new family doctor gave us a prescription for both of us to start Chantix. Everything changed. The drinking went from weekends to every single day. He became very hostile and constantly called me names and screamed in my face for hours. We went back to the doctor and she recommended he be put on anti-psychotics — risperidone.

    He then became a very heavy drinker. He stopped taking the risperidone about 2 months into it, because he felt it made him tired and loopy. He started taking Saint-John’s-wort, but that didn’t continue long either.

    Every day he was coming home from work with beer — spending our bill-and-rent money. His work started to be affected by his personality change. Eventually he lost his job for blowing up at the C.E.O. He had no drive to find work for a while. All he wanted to do was drink, and smoke marijuana. When he would drink, the smallest things would set him off. He became very paranoid and hostile.

    Nothing I say can change his mood, and if I say nothing, that’s just as bad. I’m so lost. I went from being in this relationship with my best friend, doing everything together, having maybe one little fight a year, to being married to an alcoholic that’s in denial.

    I love this man, and it kills me every day to watch him drink away our life together. I can’t even imagine not being with him, as sad as that is. But I find myself asking myself, “What more needs to happen before I do leave?” Maybe when it gets physical? Will I leave then? I want to say yes, but I never thought I’d stay with someone who calls me the names he calls me.

    I do everything I can for this man. I wash his clothes, wake him up with coffee most mornings, clean the house, cook his meals, do his laundry, etc. Whatever you can think of, I probably do it. But now I find myself not wanting to do it anymore. What’s the point? I fear that I’m closer to leaving than I think I am. I have nothing left. I know he’s changed me. Watching him go through this is killing me. Every day I lose a little more of who I am.

    Tonight I sit in front of my HP Laptop, wishing I could just not exist. I feel so alone. There’s nothing left. I’m terrified.

  27. Aly says:

    The worst part about reading all of this is that I can’t live precariously in my denial any longer. It’s amazing how similar our stories can be, yet living all over the world in completely different situations.

    I too have called my husband Jekyll and Hyde since the day we got married 10 years ago. I don’t know why I stay. I tell myself it is because I’m an optimist and can’t stop hoping today may be the day he stops drinking. But maybe I’m just too afraid.

    I don’t want to start over, I don’t want to leave my home that I have put so much into. I don’t want to have to explain to people what happened — least of all my elementary-age children. But most of all I don’t want to feel like a failure. My husband is my best friend and I love him immensely, but being with him is slowly killing me.

    I know what the “right” thing to do is. He has abused me verbally since we started dating and occasionally physically. He has broken down doors, smashed dishes, and made messes for me to clean up. I’m sure I’ve done everything wrong since day one. The hardest part is this dual personality — how do I kick Hyde to the curb when I am still in love with Jekyll?

  28. Erin says:

    I’m 33 and have been married for almost 3 years. My husband is really sweet and amazing and funny. He enjoys drinking for holidays and to cope with emotions like fear. When I show disappointment, he drinks and binge-drinks and is hurtful and mean and contemptuous.

    I feel unsafe to be human. It’s a lot of pressure to feel like I have to please him all the time, as to not “set him off” (drinking). His contempt is unbearable. It comes out with just me being around. He is mean and angry. Everything is “GOD, leave me alone for just one minute,” as I ask if he would like dinner. Or I’ll stub my toe and “sounds like you made a mess.” It’s constant blaming and criticism. This stems off to habit when he is not drinking, the anger.

    I’ll ask him a question to make small talk or to get his opinion and he gets angry. It is as if I have some ulterior motive other than wanting to hear what he thinks. It’s almost as if he feels like I’m out to get him or something. This makes me very sad.

    I’d like to have small talk and laugh more with my husband. I’m very afraid to get pregnant and have kids because dealing and managing his drunk, violent, abusive behavior will be even harder with children. I’d like to break this cycle before having kids, but come to realize that it will always have to be managed if we have kids together. I already feel like I want to protect them from the yelling and impatience and hostility.

    All I really would love would be for my husband to love himself so much he could face sadness and anger and disappointment without the illusionary crutch of alcohol. The anxiety is too much and the love is absent. If he were to love himself as much as he says he loves me, he would work hard to make staying healthy a priority. Please, if you’re reading this, send him and us a prayer of love.

  29. Leslee says:

    I have been married since 2005. Things were great. We bought a house in 2008. My husband started drinking off and on. It got bad about 2 and a half years ago.

    I left him for 1 year. We worked things out and he stopped. Well, he has started back — drinks bottles of wine, daily. He gets angry, verbally abusive. I am ready to leave again. Don’t know what else to do.

  30. Alexis says:

    Reading these stories makes me want to cry, cause I feel I am no longer alone.

    I have a family full of alcoholics — grandparents, uncles, brothers, etc. –and I’m a newlywed. And guess what I married? The last thing I wanted, an alcoholic.

    I do not drink an ounce of alcohol. I had a problem in my teenage years with it when my parents got divorced and have been sober since the age of 19. I am now 26 years old and married the man of my dreams.

    Like everyone, when he’s sober he is amazing, we are happy, loving and full of adventure, but now I find myself hating him for this. I get the struggle of addiction. I was addicted to what felt like everything possible for 5 years, and since I’ve cleaned up I have a wonderful job, great friends, a beautiful home, everything I ever wanted.

    My husband and I started as a long-distance couple. I was from Canada and he was in the U.S. For a year we went back and forth and everything was great. He drank, but what I assumed was the normal consumption — 1 or 2 on week nights and depending on where we were on weekends, a little more.

    We met through our work and our work was so supportive they got him a visa to work here in Canada, which saved us a lot of stress, being long-distance. I am so thankful to them. It gave us the chance to get married as we wanted. He came here August and we were married in November. I secretly inside wish I never did and he tells me every day he wishes we did it differently, but this is his way to trigger me so that we fight and he has a reason to drink.

    I gave him every option before he made the decision to move here and now he hates me for it. He’s not abusive, but when he drinks he blames me for everything and tries to control me. For instance, “I don’t love him.” And “I don’t want him.” Or, “Who you talking to on the phone? Who are you texting? Where are you going?”

    He doesn’t trust me, but the best part is he has no reason not to trust me. I don’t got out with friends. I stay home and clean up after him, cook for him, buy the groceries, do the finances. If you can think of it, I do it — including doing all the wedding planning and asking him to marry me.

    I highly believe in if you make a promise, you keep it and I won’t promise anything if I can’t keep it. Unlike him, you know how many times he canceled the same day, plans he made with me and friends or family? All the time I end up solo and get home to him drinking. Or the promise of if I have all this beer tonight, I won’t drink for the whole week. Yeah, that was the case on Sunday and he hasn’t stopped since then.

    I know I shouldn’t believe it, but I love him so much my heart secretly believes it and I end up hurt every time. I’m so emotionally done, it’s incredible. I don’t care anymore. I want him to go back to the States and divorce me, but he won’t cause he knows I keep coming back and doing everything.

    I’m just so tired. I suffer from Crohn’s disease and this stress slowly kills me, but he doesn’t care. That’s the problem. It’s always his way or the highway.

    He’s the most arrogant, miserable, ignorant man I have ever met and gets mean when he doesn’t drink. I’m just so fed up. I want to leave and may have to. This isn’t a give-or-take relationship. This is a take-only-from-me relationship and I’ve lost my mind. It feels like I have nothing more to give.

    I am so young and do not want this for the next 20 years of my life. I have so much love to give and want someone to give it back to me in the same amount. I love this man, but nothing I do will stop him. If I tell him it’s me or beer, he always drinks.

    I’m starting to lose myself in the process, as he’s taking all I have left in me. I need help.

  31. Barbara says:

    I’ve been married for almost ten years and my husband’s drinking has gotten worse over the years. We have three beautiful children. I am tired of him drinking every single day.

    He is missing out on our kids growing up, because he is never there mentally. I am tired of having to do it all around the house. We’ve talked about his drinking problem, but of course he will never admit he has a problem. I don’t know what to do.

  32. Roxy says:

    Married 18 years to what you would call a functioning alcoholic. The story rings true to the fact that he is truly a wonderful man when sober. I think back to when our kids were young and how much they have gone through. He was abusive physically in the past. That part has not happened in a while. But lately he is on this kick where he talks to me for like three hours when he is drunk. I call it the drunk talk. It’s a mixture of verbal abuse, emotional ups and downs. I don’t talk. I usually just listen, sometimes cry.

    I made myself a goal a long time ago after I got sick of him calling me a burden (while drunk) that I would be able to support myself and my kids. It was very hard to find the courage, but I went back to school and became a nurse. I have been one now for a couple years. This decision has changed my life, because I learned that I am capable, smart and if I choose to leave I can do so knowing that I can take care of my kids.

    My husband spends a lot of time at the bar. He is going down a path that is destroying our family. He blames me for a lot of the problems. I know the truth. It just hurts. I love him very much.

    I am praying for the strength to do the right thing. I know that I am enabling him, but I need direction. I don’t want to have any regrets. I don’t want to give up if there is hope, but I don’t know if there is hope, and if it’s worth the wait.

  33. Laura says:

    I am an enabler. I don’t know how to find help and how to end the situation I’m in. I feel so helpless.

  34. Angel says:

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year now. I knew he drank when I got with him, but I didn’t know how much of a problem it would become.

    He recently got a DUI –totaled my car on Christmas Eve. I told him that was it. If he didn’t see a problem and wasn’t willing to fix it, I was gone. He did really well for about a month. Then the Super Bowl came around — he drank. (He never comes home when he drinks. I sit up all night, freaking out. He doesn’t answer his phone. Claims he doesn’t hear it.) But I told him to leave.

    We got into a huge fight. He doesn’t seem to care how badly it hurts me to see him literally drinking his life away. So he kept telling me he’d only drink occasionally — I’m thinking maybe holidays is what he’s talking about. Last night he proved that was not the case. His friend comes over and they are playing Madden and he asks me if I mind if he drinks with him. Of course I mind. Barely 2 months ago he totaled my car!

    So the begging ensued — he said he didn’t like that I was telling him what he could and couldn’t do. I told him he was free to make his own choice, but not free from the consequence. Claimed I was threatening him.

    I love this man. He has stepped up and been a great father figure to my kids, and when he’s sober he’s amazing. But when he drinks he’s completely different. I don’t know what to do.

    He says he isn’t an alcoholic anymore. Tried to tell him it’s like cancer. You’ll always be an alcoholic. You are just in remission. I would like to find someone to talk to.

  35. Alisha says:

    I’ve been married 9 years. In the beginning there were no signs of alcoholism. Then one day we went to a party and he was a drunk mess. I still didn’t think anything of it. 9 years later, he is a drunken fool.

    We have an 8-year-old son together, who is suffering behavioral problems. The husband sits in his garage every day drinking beer after beer, pints of cheap tequila, cheap vodka, staggering, smelling like a nasty, smokey bum on the streets. Just sloppy. He has drunken tirades every weekend. He is very mean to me. He says awful things that are so hurtful when he is drunk. It hurts me so bad, but I try to remind myself that it’s the alcohol.

    He’s a violent drunk with his friends. He has gotten physical with a few of them. Who will be next? Me? He keeps lying and telling me he is going to change, but I don’t believe him anymore. I just want my husband back, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. He chose Jose Cuervo.

    I threaten to leave, but he doesn’t believe I will. It will be a major struggle for me to go off on my own, but I can do it. I really love him and I wish he would get help. I am struggling to make the decision to leave. I have my divorce papers ready to go. But scared to file.

  36. Rebecca says:

    My husband was in recovery when we met. He started drinking when our son was two. Our son was just diagnosed with autism. He’s almost 4 now.

    I can’t do autism and alcoholism at the same time. I just want my husband back, but I fear he is gone forever. I need him now more than ever, but it looks like I have to make a choice and it has to be my son, because he chose alcohol.

  37. Jojo says:

    I’ve been married to him for 5 years. We have 2 children. I’m on the verge of leaving. I don’t know if I can just waste another 20 years with him, believing his promises, just to be let down time after time after time. I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster.

    He drinks after work, says he will be an hour, then turns his phone off and doesn’t come home till the next day, smelling of that gross alcohol smell, and sleeps half the day away if it’s the weekend. Otherwise, he will drive to work half-drunk. He totally ignores our kids when he’s hung over and is mean to me — like I’ve done something wrong? I can’t keep living like this. It’s so hard to make a final decision to leave.

  38. Cassandra says:

    My boyfriend is an alcoholic. I’ve been with him for two years. He is becoming verbally and emotionally abusive when he’s drunk and refuses to see that he is. Everything that’s wrong in his life is always all my fault. Until he thinks I might actually walk away and then he starts apologizing, begging me to stay. He says he drinks because he can’t sleep. But that means that he gets himself so wasted that he has no filter on his mouth at all.

    I divorced an emotionally abusive man. There is no reason that I should have found myself in a relationship with someone who would do this again. At the beginning, he hid it from me. I was in denial about his drinking, that it wasn’t that bad. But there it is, in all it’s bad glory, staring me right in the face.

    My therapist says that I unknowingly got myself in a relationship with an alcoholic because my mother was one. And there is that child within me seeking out that approval or love from an alcoholic knowing in my head the whole time I’m not going to get it. He triggers the heartbreak of the love I didn’t receive when I was a child. So I find myself begging for that love when he’s drunk and telling me I’m worth nothing.

    It’s hard in the moment to tell yourself that you will be ok whether you get from him what you need or not. The truth is, there is no hope for this to work if he continues drinking. I don’t know why I haven’t’ been strong enough to leave yet. Maybe I’m waiting for him to screw up so bad there’s no way he could see it as my fault. But let’s not kid ourselves, he’s an alcoholic: it’s always everyone else’s fault.

    One day at a time.

  39. Brenda says:

    Just getting dragged down. No friends, because they don’t want to come to see me because of the drunk. Family just ignores it, but nobody comes around. So alone and feel like no support anywhere.

  40. Gigi says:

    He’ll say such mean things to me and the next morning I always get I’m sorry & I love you. Then night will come and he’ll do it all over again.

  41. Alia says:

    My husband and I have been together for almost 8 years. He has quit drinking several times, I thought, but was hiding it in places that I found.

    No matter what I do, it’s not good enough, but when he is sober I am wonderful, the best wife and mother.

    I am finding from my stepson that even when his father is home that he isn’t taking care of our son, but my stepson who is 12 is taking care of him.

    I’m at a loss for what to do. He has quit his job without a back up! Found another, but is only working 4 hours a day and I have been paying all our bills and rent for this house for 3 years. I’ve always supported us.

  42. Christine says:

    I am engaged to an alcoholic. We were friends for 7 years before we started dating. I love him to death, but he drinks and takes anxiety medication. It has kept him from being able to keep a job and have motivation.

    I have grown up with siblings who are all addicts to pills and alcohol. I have threatened to leave him and the longest I’ve seen him stop drinking is 5 days. I just don’t know what to do. I’ve tried being his counselor. I’ve tried being his spouse and friend. Nothing works.

  43. Mark says:

    I am an addict . I am powerless over my addiction. My wife divorced me and now that is the only motivation I have to be a better man.

    I work the program and I hope that one day my wife can forgive me. I understand that if someone doesn’t admit they have a problem, they will never be helped.

    For me, it took losing the one person I loved more than anything in this world to wake me up. I am sober now. And I am working the program. I pray one day I can redeem myself in my ex-wife’s eyes.

  44. Feeling crazy says:

    It’s like a crazy wheel that a mouse runs on. My husband is an alcoholic who seeks out women to have affairs with them.

    I grew up in an alcoholic family and found myself married to one. He keeps saying, “I’ll stop. I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you.” This last affair was 7 months and he tells me he had a love for her.

    He kept promising it was over. He has no job, no money. I pay all the bills, raise the children. I’m waiting for it to stop so we can be happy again. He is a great man, when he is the man I know he could be.

  45. Janie says:

    I am married to an alcoholic. I relate to all the stories, but I am still here 30 years later. I, too, am jealous of his co-workers. They spend hours with him sober, but I only get less than an hour.

    On the weekdays and weekends he goes out to his garage and drinks a 6, 12, or 24-pack of beer, but he says he doesn’t have a problem — I am the one with the problem. He complains that I am not affectionate and that is why he drinks.

    I don’t want to be near him when he drinks because he is sloppy, verbally abusive and a jerk. He makes hurtful comments out loud and he doesn’t care who hears. My grown children have seen his outbreaks as they were growing up and still continue to see it. Our oldest son, who is 26 years old, has not spoken to him for over a year because he holds a lot pain and resentment toward his father.

    I stay in the relationship because I love him and he has an illness. “Would I leave him if he had cancer?” is what I ask myself. I feel sorry for him at times. I don’t know how and where I can get the strength to leave.

  46. Neighbor is an abusive drunk says:

    I’m here mostly to vent about an abusive neighbor. Having grown up in a family of emotionally abusive alcoholics and drug addicts, I’m familiar with recognizing the patterns of abuse, and also the importance of ending the cycle of abuse, even if that means severing relations (which is easier when it’s not a family member, of course). Thankfully, this guy is merely a neighbor.

    The guy when he’s sober is pleasant to talk to, but as time goes on there are more and more red flags going up and it seems the more comfortable he gets with us the more abusive he is verbally. He treats our friends like crap, verbally abuses any man within 25 feet of him as they automatically become his “imagined threat,” and resultantly other men are then subjected to his verbal abuse. Something as simple as a male friend going in the house with me because he needed some swim trunks — the alarmist drunk accused him of wanting to rape me.

    I’m having flashbacks to all the drama I grew up with, and my (wonderful) husband and I both have decided it’s long past due to sever our relations with this guy. He denies any accountability for his abusive behaviors and, of course in typical abusive alcoholism fashion, it’s now a personality trait on my part that I’m alienating him. What a joke! The guy alienates himself with his abusive behaviors and I’m so furious at his attempts at mental abuse right now and his attempt to externalize the blame and victimize me — but I should know better, since I’m aware of abusive tendencies of alcoholics.

    He has screamed at us (and his own family members) in emotional rages repeatedly, and then when we try to establish boundaries with him, he turns around and says he doesn’t know why we are being “hostile” with him since he “hasn’t done anything to us.” By “hostile,” he’s simply referring to us establishing a boundary with him, telling him not to text us in the wee hours of the night when he needs someone to drink with after his dad goes to sleep. The deniability is predictable, but mind-boggling. As if his toxic behaviors aren’t damaging to all his relationships around him, and we are just supposed to keep coming back for another round of his abuse, or we’re at fault and it’s a character flaw in our part. I saw the red flags a while back and my only regret is we didn’t sever this a while ago, but in the past year it’s progressively gotten worse.

    This is our weekend cottage where we come to relax and it’s been anything but relaxing. We finally severed relations and we hope he doesn’t resort to retaliatory behavior. The guy is a lunatic with obvious emotional problems and we can’t figure out what came first — alcoholism or emotional problems. He seems incapable of processing emotions like an adult, can’t handle even the most minor slight — or an imagined slight, much less an all out rejection — and watch the mind games begin as he externalizes the blame. He pouts like a child, throws temper tantrums and storms out, screams in emotional rages, has an obsession with being “an alpha” and thinks that being a jerk to other men puts him in an alpha position. He cries like a child when he wants attention, etc. What a weirdo!

  47. Darlene says:

    Sometimes he is good, sometimes he just turns on me and the kids. It is like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. I don’t know who is going to show up sometimes.

    It is always my fault and I am always the stupid one. I am so tired of the yelling from him, with him and the kids — there is always anger and yelling. I know I can only change me and and not him, but I just want it to all be better.

    I am worried he is going to lose his job; we can’t leave, we would be broke, the kids would have to leave their home, school and friends. I can’t afford to keep them where they are. Not only would they lose their father, they would lose their home, their school, their way of life. But he may take that away any minute by getting drunk and alienating his boss. It is like Russian roulette and all of us are on the edge.

    Things could be so good if he would stop, go back to being the responsible, kind human being he used to be.

  48. Kay says:

    I am living with an alcoholic. The lies and abuse get me down. He drives while drunk, but says he doesn’t have a problem.

  49. Debra says:

    My husband and I have been married for 37 years. For the last 15 years, he has become a binge-drinker. He has stopped drinking many times. I start to feel like he has it beat and then out of nowhere he’s drunk! He’s never abusive, but he is a staggering, blubbering idiot. There’s no trust or respect left!

    I never know what triggers it. I threaten to leave, he begs me to stay and promises he’ll never drink again. So goes the cycle. I’m trapped!

    I don’t think I have the courage to leave. It would tear our family apart. He promises to go to AA and work the program this time. I want to believe him. I feel like a fool!

  50. Monty says:

    My first step to acknowledging the situation I am in is very much like all the rest. It’s scary and shaming. But as others know, the spiral just gets worse and my boundaries keep getting crossed — so it’s time I stopped accepting it and put some plans and firm boundaries in place, in the knowledge (which I’ll get in time, I hope) that his abusive and drink-driven behaviour is not my fault.

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