The Wife of An Alcoholic Shares Her Story

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Today I’m brining you the story of a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. She is sharing bravely and submitted her story anonymously in hopes of support. I’m proud to share her words.


Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of drinking, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.

If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.

Please show your support to our reader who has submitted the story below. 


He’s in hospital again.

My depressed, anxiety-stricken, suicidal, alcoholic husband.

It’s the third time this year. Saying it’s been rough is a bit of an understatement, especially since I’ve been trying to shield two boys from the chaos.

His first wife believes the booze is the base problem. (I wish she’d given me the heads-up sooner.) I’m not sure I know which came first. The chicken or the egg. The booze or the depression.

Whatever may have started it, they are all dancing together in a horrible, destructive, downwards spiral, and have been for some time.

It’s the lies that bother me the most.

When we met, he was open with me about his depression, and how his first wife left him because of it. But her leaving was basically good, because his misery in the marriage was the root of his depression. So he said, and I believed him. Depression I can deal with. I deal with it daily. I suffer myself.

I knew he drank a lot, but so did I.  And it wasn’t like he was drunk all the time, or drinking in the morning, or anything. But when he drank, he drank a lot. He couldn’t have just one beer. He had to have 4, or 6. Dinner out meant a cocktail, a 70/30 shared bottle of wine (or 3 beer), and an Irish coffee. It was expensive, and made him tired so he fell asleep early instead of spending time with me, so I complained. But it didn’t change.

Then we had our son. And our son was difficult. More difficult than most parents could imagine. My husband couldn’t handle it, and he drank even more. His temper was horrible.  I once called him a monster. He heard me that time, and he tried really hard to control his anger. And he did a good job.

But he still drank to relieve stress. And to sleep.

Did you know that alcohol completely disrupts your sleep? It may help you to calm your mind so you can fall to sleep, but it will give you a fitful and disrupted sleep. So then you drink more. And your tolerance increases the more you drink. So you drink even more. And then your liver starts to feel the effects.

Not to mention your relationships.

Alcohol is a depressant. When you self-medicate with alcohol to deal with your depression and anxiety, you may dull the pain in the moment, but you contribute to your depression in the long run. You get worse.  And you can’t stop drinking. You spiral.

And it sucks. And the people you love pay the price.

My husband is very successful in life. He is fantastic at his job and is highly respected. He can put on an amazing show of competence and composure, even when he’s tanked. If you are a stranger or a colleague. But if you’re family? Forget it. We get the full show.

Wife of an alcoholic

Photo: “Ambro”

For the last six years I have been holding this family together with the thinnest thread imaginable. I’ve begged him to see a doctor, to seek help. I put myself between our kids and their dad, softening the blow of his vodka-induced rage. I try to hide the fact that he’s passed out on the couch. I make excuses for why he isn’t doing whatever household chore, or why he won’t go to the zoo with us. I make excuses to our friends, to his office when he doesn’t show up. I make excuses to me.

I’m tired of making excuses for my alcoholic husband.

I’m tired of feeling like a single parent.

We’ve lost our husband and father to alcohol.  I’ve been holding on to hope for years, because I love this man. I remember why I love him when I see him in his sober moments and he fixes man things around the house, or cooks an amazing meal, or plays with the boys. And, don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of those days. He is an amazing man when he is sober. Even the depression doesn’t keep him down, now that he’s medicated. And since his failed (thank God!) suicide attempt this summer, he has been trying really hard, as far as I can see. He was himself again for a long while, though it was a struggle, and he had a lot of professional support. He was wonderful. But then something triggered him, and he started again.

And the lies started. I mean, I know this man. I can tell when he’s drinking. And I long ago gave up on being quiet about it. But he denies it every time.  He would deny it when I’d kiss him as we left the parking garage in the mornings and parted ways for our separate offices and I could taste it on his lips. He denies it now when he yells and wails, and then passes out at 8pm. But I know.

The lies hurt me the most. That and how his actions are affecting our children. No child should have to see their father this way. No child should have to walk in on their dad passed out on the couch with an empty vodka bottle rolling around the floor. No child should have to know that their dad is in hospital because he wanted to end his life for the third time this year.

No wife should have to continue to protect her children from this every day.

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    • Julie says

      My husband and I got married when I was 28 and had our son when I was 35 he just turned 6. Makes me old lol. Best thing that ever happened. Well, even though I drank a lot up until then my husband always drank more. I rarely drink at all now since my husband seems to see my leisure sips of wine as a green light to Indy 500 style drinking for him. He is very high functioning and successful, helps with most chores, cooks, and pretty much does 50/50 household and then some. He just drinks too damn much. He drinks six out of seven days of the week. When I say drink I mean to the point of inibriation 99% of the time passing out on the couch. Rarely coming to bed before 4-5 am. Beer and wine mostly (he did cut out vodka for the last six months or so). I go to bed alone those nights. If he doesn’t drink (a very rarity) he goes to bed extremely early 9-930pm. I seriously don’t think he can stand to be awake sober. He of course denies having any issues. I take call one week night and every five weekends and it is ALWAYS a fight to get him to “go easy” when I am on call. We have a six year old in the house I’ll say. If there is a fire and you are drunk you will both burn alive how will you get him out if I have to go to work after you’ve been drinking. It’s a terrible seen that always plays out the same way. He drinks any way….. I am rattled with anxiety and worry about whether I’ll have to leave the house…. it’s just plain awful. Even when I am not on call I lay awake upstairs and I hear the beer bottle or wine glass drop from his lap and break….. I walk down and cuss and yell because it infuriates me the dangers he’s putting our son at risk of. In winter he starts fires in our fireplace EVERY night….. I fear he will unintentionally kill us because he is too drunk to be safe. He thinks I am just anxious. I don’t know what to do. I want to protect my son from seeing this. I also want to stop protecting my husband from himself. Any advise? Am I too anxious? This much drinking can’t be normal.

      • Rebecca Shrake says

        Hi Julie,
        I am so sorry to hear what you are going through! My husband is an alcoholic so I understand your frustration and anxiety. My advice is to find an Alanon group and go to a meeting. I resisted going to Alanon for a long time but once I did, I found some peace.

        Take care of yourself!

  1. Judy says

    My heart goes out to you. I am the adult child of an alcoholic mother. I still remember her telling me how I was no good, and how i would amount to nothing in this life. It left a big scar. He needs to make the decision to help himself.n you can’t
    Do it for him. Your job is to protect yourself and the kids until he figures it out.
    Wishing you luck:)

  2. Amanda F. says

    I am so sorry you and your children are going through this. You sound like a very strong and courageous woman. I can see why you are at your wits end. You have every right to be. It seems like you have done everything in your power to do everything to take care of your husband. Have you considered or have you had an intervention with him? Maybe it’s time for you to draw a line in the sand and tell him needs to get some real help or you and the children are leaving. I’m not talking about a conversation (or fight) between the two of you. I mean getting others involved, possibly even a professional. Believe it or not, turning your back on him may be the greatest act of love you can give him right now. It doesn’t appear anything else is working.

    I say this because I am an alcoholic myself. I did many of the things your husband did although I don’t have children. I didn’t want to do the things I did, but alcohol had taken over and I could not stop on my own. My loved ones had an intervention for me and I will be forever grateful for that. I have been sober for 2 1/2 years now and I am a different person or I should say, I am back to being the good, honest person I was before alcohol took over.

    Your story moved me very much. I really hope you are able to get the support you need. I will keep you in my prayers.

  3. Lisa H. says

    I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I am a recovering alcoholic and put my daughter and my husband through hell with my disease. Since being sober, I have also had to watch others waste away due to their addictions and it’s frightening, maddening, and isolating. My ex-husband, my daughter’s father, is in late-stage alcoholism right now and it crushes my heart to watch her go through hell, waiting for him to die or get well. It doesn’t look good. But still, I can’t lose hope.

    Might I suggest Al-Anon? I have started attending that group in addition to my regular 12-step support group, and I have met the most amazing women (and men) there. They have seen all kinds of unimaginable pain, but have been able to find support, peace, and serenity within that program.

    I’m sending up prayers of healing for you, your husband, and your family. This truly is a family disease. Even if he may not be willing to get well, you can.

    Blessings of peace to you.

  4. Butterflygirl says

    I’m in a different situation. I’ve been a victim of physical abuse. My husband has been charged with Assault as well as other things. We have been separated for one month now. I hear he is doing very well in that he has enrolled himself in 4 programs: Anger Management, AA, Partner Abuse Help Program (PAR) and personal counselling that he is paying for. I hear he is extremely remorseful and is apparently doing everything in his power, with God’s help, to make the changes in his life that is needed. “He doesn’t like the person he was.” His drinking and pain killing medication (narcotics) were destroying the wonderful person he could be. Like every alcoholic, he hid this secret life from me as much as he could. My question to all is, “Is there hope for him?” Is there hope for us? I’m going to see a counsellor myself next week. I can hardly wait.

  5. Imthere says

    I get it. He’s not mean. Just not connected. He doesn’t come to soccer games, plays, special art nights at school. There is always an excuse and he makes it out like he is taking care of something important and then probably makes you feel guilty b/c you are not there to take care of it. Deep in your mind you don’t want to leave because you are thinking of your kids. The hell with him is better than it is going to be without him. Some judge is going to screw your kids stability up by forcing them to go with someone who has never paid attention to what needs to be done. He will get a holiday that he has never even participated in. And let’s say that you can convince the courts to just the minimum. Then they only have to go on Sat/Sun. What if they have something they want to do; a party, a game, a fair. Whatever it is, he won’t take them b/c that will be his time with them. He will take them home, where it is safe, and never leave until you pick them up. He can drink and keep them in the house. To leave him is selfish b/c the only true victims are the kids. Or at least that is what I think b/c I don’t know what will really happen and at this point, I don’t want to gamble.

    • kee says

      I think I must have written this in my sleep or something. This is EXACTLY my situation. What do you do when the alcoholic is not abusive, at worst acting “goofy” and then passing out, and essentially a void? If you divorce and have shared custody, you have to leave your kids suddenly in the custody of a drunk person…alone? So their current life with you, an essentially single parent in a reasonably organized and cheerful home, turns into a split deal – and now they are having to stay nights in a sad alcoholic’s den? Again, alone with one drunk adult as supervision? And, yeah, forget about birthday parties or cheer. And better hope your little one’s appendix doesn’t burst in the middle of the night with the only person in the house who knows what to do and can drive passed on on the couch…

      • mdbrbma says

        I could have written your message word for word. I too have an alcoholic husband who is ‘silly and happy’ and passes out ( he calls it falling asleep) most nights by 8:00pm, if not sooner We have 2 boys who I am raising and it feels more like having 3 with him. I help with all of their homework, grooming, social schedules, sports (I am the coach of their teams) all activities and organization of any kind. He “sleeps” on the sofa while they are watching a show and calls that quality time. I think of leaving him but then realize that is punishing the kids rather than him. He will get them every other weekend where they will do nothing but ‘watch tv’ and have an absentee father who prefers to drink. He swears that we are more important than anything and ‘this will be the last time’. But it never is…

        • Willy McCabe says

          Document everything and divorce him. Have times and dates of your husband’s drunkenness and what happened. Leaving him and taking the kids may be the only thing that wakes him up and forces him to make a decision. Documenting his illness will give your lawyer ammunition to show the court that he doesn’t deserve to have the kids without an outside chaperone until he gets his shit together. I speak from experience, cuz I was that guy. My wife leaving was the rock bottom that made me ask for help. I’ve been sober for 20 months now, and although my wife and I are divorces, I’m a better (and sober) dad than I’ve ever been. Quit enabling him.

          • Sandra says

            Thanks for sharing. I am preparing for divorce and my husband is an alcoholic and trying to get physical custody of my 6 year old son. I am trying to get a lawyer because I need to protect my son. It is so hurtful all the things he has done cheating, name calling, controlling, and emotionally abusive. I asked for separation and he asked for divorce. He is very spiteful. Please pray for me during this journey.

  6. says

    I can relate to all of these stories, but I have more. I have a last stage alcoholic husband that was so depressed and out of control that he lied about his 16 year old son to make himself look better. He thought he could get me out of his life by calling the police one night on me because he wanted me out of the house. I was so hurt, that night he went from Dr. Jeckel to Mr. Hide with the flip of a switch. He does this every night. On his days off, it was worse because he started drinking earlier. He was fine the day that he called 911. I had come home from work, he had a salad ready for me, he was being nice and a few hours later he was drunk and staggering and telling me he wanted a divorce. The police ended up coming that night and they made him go stay at his mothers, because the police told me that he was extremely intoxicated and very agitated. He was very mad, and I had to put a PPO on him the next day. I have been doubting myself ever since. If only I could talk to him, maybe I could make it better. I was wrong. As usual, everything was my fault. After I put the PPO on him, he started to turn off all of our utilities. I had no other option but to file for a divorce. I keep asking myself if this is what he really wanted. It was not what I wanted. We have been married for 23 years. I have known him for 30. He says he will never come back. Right now I have our 2 boys. They really could care less if they see him or not. He blames this on me also. The truth is they are afraid of him. All I ever wanted was for him to get help. My family and co-workers think I am crazy when I say I would take him back if he got help. I am told by all that he can’t really love me. This hurts so much. I do need to keep myself and my teenage children safe. It has been 5 months that all of this has happened. He seems to be having the time of his life. I keep plugging away trying to save the house. The kids are a lot happier now and can actually have their friends over without worrying what kind of mood their father would be in. Is their still hope for him. Is it true that Alcoholics tell the truth when they are drunk? I gave this man all of my love and most of my life. He was always a drinker. His brother who is 6 years older than him has Alcohol Dementia. I have seen my husbands brain and way of thinking get worse over the last 2 years. I asked for help from his family because he was out of control. I was told, he doesn’t have the problem, I do. I feel totally lost at times, but then I realize that I have been alone and taking care of the kids needs for a very long time. Things will get better. Any hope?

    • Deedee says

      Wow, I just had to respond to you after reading this. My husband is in end stage, although I still have hope that he and I can keep him on the straight and narrow before he has to give in to wet brain, my biggest fear of all. He can be the sweetest person in the world, and I know he loves me, but he has also shown that he will lie to me to my face, which really hurts, since we had always been totally honest with each other — he has destroyed that in our relationship. I have taken away the car keys, because he’ll say he’d never drink and drive, but he does — I cannot let him hurt or kill someone else so I just can’t let him drive. Another lie to me. He will also say that this problem is with me..ME. Of course I know he says this when he’s drinking, but it still makes me sick and angry. I’m just trying to keep myself together. I’m retiring a little earlier from my job to be at home all the time. Sounds crazy, and yet I know that if I left him, he would never last even another year. He’d drink himself to death. As long as I can, I hope to fight back. Your situation is soooo much more difficult. My children are grown, and since he was still a pretty functioning alcoholic when they were young, they were pretty shocked to learn their father is an alcoholic. However, if things had gotten to what I’m hearing from you, there is no way I would have kept my family in that situation. You are not the problem, his addition is the problem. Hard to keep that in mind when you are being told you are part of the problem or, as in my case I am THE problem. That’s bull, and we both know it.

      I also understand your feeling you would take him back. Well, if he could really show that he is serious about recovery, then I suppose I’d do the same thing, but only once. You can’t help it if you still love the man you fell in love with to begin with. But a person can only take so much hurt, anger, lies, stumbling and falling around, falling and breaking closet doors, trying to drive, having mean mean things said to you, becoming incontinent at night, worry, no rest, no..that’s not a healthy atmosphere for any child — or wife. I’m venting and need to stop. You just touched a familiar spot with me, and my heart goes out to you. Those kids come first!

      • Lori Jackson says

        Wow I soooo relate to where you’re comin from… male component and I have been married 26 yrs!!I hate him soo much….He’s abused me and my son for yrs!! Thankfully my. son has grown into a great young man..however circumstances have made him have to move back home for awhile…I’m so nervous that jerk dad will be more abusive than ever!! But I don’t won’t tell my son no!! What do I do???

  7. alisaen says

    my husband admits he is an alcoholic and he drinks everyday.a couple of times lately though when he’s playing with our daughter he says to her your uncle loves you and he repeats it several times, like he really believes he his her uncle and not her father is this normal for an alcoholic or is his liver failing.

  8. Sue says

    I don’t have any sympathy for the alcoholics in my life anymore. I am burned out. They are very self-centered and narcissistic and think they should be able to ‘drink’ if they want to. They don’t ‘hear’ the pain of those of us around them. They have caused immeanse damage to their relations and just keep on drinking. They mow right over us all. The ironic thing is that with behaving the way they do, thinking they should be able to live the way they do, they will all get eventually what they deserve – mental illness induced by alcohol, and health problems galore, and in some cases probably death. When I ask, don’t you care about this or that the answer is always ‘no’, so I am tired of worrying about them. My concern now is for those they hurt in the process of carrying on. I don’t buy their ‘victim’ mentality. They ‘victimize’ everyone around them.

  9. Tiffany says

    I wish I could tell you that things will get better but the truth is they will get much worse. I have been divorced from my alcoholic husband for 4 years now. The first 2 years after our divorce I sat by watching him drink and party andhave the time of his life. I raised our 3 girls on my own while trying to explain his actions to our oldest daughter who was at that time 13. His family always blamed me for everything and so did he. All of them refused to see he had a problem and still to this day try to cover up for him and get him out of trouble. But 2 years after our divorce he was caught driving with our children while drinking and was charged with a DWI and 3 felony counts of child endangerment. Since then I have watched him spiral downwards and even though he was put on probation he still continued to drink and get arrested for various felonies. Meanwhile I tried to move on with my life but he was always there…calling me late at night when he was drunk, begging to come over, asking meto bail him out of jail, etc. At times I did go to his rescue and then lecture him but it never did any good. I have been through a roller coaster of emotions from loving him to hating him to being angry with him then angry at myself and angry at alcohol and the depressed and then just confused. Now he is facing going to prison and I have had to come to terms with that and maybe hope that this is the only thing that will make him sober up for good. I have realized that he has to hit rock bottom before he will even begin to get help to stop drinking. I am trying to pick up the pieces of my life now and move ahead. I have met a wonderful man who is not an alcoholic and who has respect for me and my children and for the first time in over 15 years I actually feel like I have a companion in this life. I do feel that my ex husband loved me but the disease took over who he was and he will never again be the same. You have to do what is best for you and for your children no matter how hard it is. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for you. You just have to realize like I did that you are the victim here and you have done nothing wrong. If you keep going back to him and being there for him then he aill never stop drinking…you will always be his crutch. I hope this helps. I pray for all families that have to go through this…it is a terrible disease and affects everyone in the family.

    • Amy says

      I have been divorced from my ex for a year and a half. I keep letting him back in my life because I truly love him. He started drinking before our divorce and has continuously gotten worse since. Our now 15 yr old son stopped going over for visits last Aug because his dad was always drunk. Then in Sept, he was in a motorcycle wreck. He was driving drunk. Fortunately, he didn’t harm anyone but himself. Unfortunately, he broke his back. I rushed to the hospital and stayed with him. Brought him home and nursed him back to health all the while losing hours at my job. He promised the world and I believed him. As soon as he was able to move, about 7 days later, he went back to his old ways and came back to my house hardly able to stand. I kicked him out. Since then, the drinking has gotten worse , but he says he loves me and he’ll quit. Then, he goes right back and gets drunk again. Only a day later. He blames me for his drinking. He’s out having the time of his life and I’m home trying to raise our son and pay bills. He ended up getting out of the dui and pleaded to reckless driving. He also turned on the charm and talked the dui course instructor out of sending him to mandatory counseling. He needed the counseling. His parents bought him a Jeep after the wreck and his friends celebrated by buying him shots. Most of the time, I feel like I’m going crazy. Everyone sees this great, fun friend and his son and I are left picking up pieces. People tell me that I am his crutch and as long as he can look to me to hold him up when he’s down, he’ll never get better. I believe that. But I also worry that if I cut him off, he’ll hurt himself or I’ll never see him again. I guess, I’m taking what I can get from him because I love him. We’ve been together 22 years and were married for 16. I’m honestly jealous that other people get to see the fun loving guy when I only get the worst. I keep hoping that he’ll change for me, but I know the truth. I don’t know why I keep hanging on and hurting myself.

  10. sandy says

    I have a unique situation. I have been married to him for 39 years and I pretty much raised our daughters by myself. I hid how bad his drinking was from them. I did it well because a few years ago I asked them both{they are grown adults} when do you think your dad started drinking? and they both gave me different times. I have a home daycare and he had to quit his job about 12 years ago and go on disability. He has several health issues which now he can’t even do simple things except drink because he says it helps numb the voices, depression and lets him sleep. Which is does not. I have a separate part of the house I use for the daycare so it does no effect them but I have to be careful anyway. He leaves during the night now to get alcohol and I caught him taking money out of my purse. Today he wanted to take our grandson somewhere and I had to tell my daughter he hadn’t slept. He was furious and if this makes him mad enough to leave then ok I am really ready for this to end. I don’t know how much more I can take. He lies constantly saying a man has to have his secrets and his secrets are really in his head. everyone know when He is drinking he changes instantly. He is going to a psychologist for this but they last time it did’t help he and I quote told him what he wanted to hear. He doesn’t believe he is an alcoholic he even told his dr. that. His dr asked him what is your definition of an alcoholic and he couldn’t exactly say but I spoke up because I was there for this last session and said he had an uncle who was an alcoholic and he lost everything and was never sober and he said yes but he isn’t that bad. I have tried alanon it did nothing for me. I have a couple of family members I can talk to but I hate to. So I understand what these women are going through. Can I write again?

  11. Lsuea says

    I’m 44 years old and my husband left me 4 months ago he was an alcoholic who suffered from depression. Your story is bang on. He’s with another woman now and blames me for lack of support when he wanted to die. I was at my wits end!! Lying, cheating, verbal abuse, saying he had cancer to cover up a suicide attempt and letting me go a week thinking he was dying!!! My mom has days left with her battle from cancer.
    Was it my fault because I had hit the I font give a shit wall.
    Is he really in love with this woman
    I’m hurt, alone and can’t even co parent with him.
    I can’t take the blame but did I contribute? He’s says he wanted to die cuz of me!!!

  12. misty says

    If I didn’t know better I would have thought that I wrote this article myself. It is almost identical to my situation. I am so lost
    My husband is currently being held in a psychiatric facility and I have been through so many lies and failed attempts of sobriety where he hides, lies and sneaks I have no hope which I know is not the right place to be to help it be successful but I just am tired of being disappointed by his actions. His mother disagrees with his actions but is constantly making excuses for him and rationalizing all the reasons that he has to be like this i am just so lost

  13. Tiffany says

    Read this with tears in my eyes…. 6 years of watching my life unravel and the hands of alcoholism. A year and a half ago, I chose to file for divorce, to provide a safe environment for my girls but daily I checked on him. I am as addicted to him as he is so alcohol, its so painful. He now lives with a woman who allows his drinking and has no relationship for our teenage daughters, yet I still grieve the loss of my husband and his alcoholism. Next Monday we go to court for our divorce and it is so devistating to me to no longer be needed in his life.

    • Dave says

      I’ve watched my wife go down for 8 years. Rehab twice, detox several times and is not able to work with children(school). She was removed from our home a year ago and lives with a man 15 years older who supplied her with booze. She has told me she has to “pay” the rent with him, when she was drunk. At this moment I have an assault charge over my head that didn’t take place. I wouldn’t let her stay at the house when she came at 6:30 drunk. This was a condition spelled out by children’s aid. Two days later the police called me and I was charged on her word. She called 2 nights later to apologize and that the guy she lives with made her do it or he’d kick her out. It is in the hands of the court now. Even after this and many more pages of crap like this I still see the person who seldom drank and was the centre of our family. People tell me to move on and the truth is, is that I still love her. I know she is in her own prison and suffering. She’s not the same person but I can’t get past that. I totally understand as I will be facing mine in court and there won’t be any winner.

  14. Meech says

    Wow, i am not alone! Every single one of your messages resonates with me in a big way, alcoholic husband, got so bad after 10 years of marriage that i said enough was enough – we had to live together for about 6 months after separating as he had drunk all our savings and we couldn’t afford it, things got worse, i would race to put the kids to bed before he got home so that they wouldn’t see him falling over, they saw it anyway at the weekends but i tried to keep them busy on day trips etc.
    He eventually moved out, got worse and worse, lied about drinking when he had the kids, lied about driving when he had them and was plastered for i eventually filled for divorce with a condition it is saying if he drank with the kids in his care, he would have no rights to see them. The problem was, i still cared….
    He continued to lie, had 6 car accidents in the space of 6 weeks, drinking went from bad to worse, he made my kids lie to me, telling them that they couldn’t tell mummy that he was drinking because i then wouldn’t let them see him!! Eventually, i would just go and pick him up and bring him to my house so he could spend time with them as i didn’t trust him with them, i had him over for dinner twice a week and then on Sundays I would pick him up at 09:30 and he would stumble off in to a taxi eventually.
    Three weeks before Christmas was bad, he couldn’t function, wasn’t showering, couldn’t get through the night without drinking, was drinking all day and when he woke up, drank again – he lost his job (again) and he eventually agreed to go in to rehab – at that point he was drinking 5 bottles of wine a night, wine in the morning, driving drunk with a 21 year old to work, dropping the kid off and then going for a coffee (with brandy) getting through the day with beers he snuck in…i cleaned his rented house over Christmas instead of being able to spend time with my kids, i sorted out his financial mess he had left behind, as we have a joint mortgage, the banks would put embargos on our joint account for money he owed the tax man….i also look after my kids and work full time.
    He was in rehab for 2 months, had a further 2 months looking for work and then went to stay with some friends – throughout this time, i was still having him over to see the kids, i had told him i would support him through rehab but this was it, no more, i need to focus on my kids and maybe even myself!
    2 months later, I took my kids on holiday, he said he would look after my house, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbit and fish….we left on the 21st July, by the 24th July he was back in rehab, having trashed my house, starved the dogs, let them crap all over the house, vomited everywhere, 2 bottles of gin, 2 bottles of vodka, 2 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of cava and countless beers later – i called in favours from all over the place, sorted out kennels for my dogs, a friend to come and clean, another to feed the other pets, another to sort out the crap…i cried a whole heap and then i woke up. I am done, the only thing that i need to focus all of my energy in to is my children (and work, obviously that pays the bills!) my eldest is 10 and worries about his dad, needs to call him to make sure he is ok, needs to know where he is, worries about people knowing it…i will start psychology sessions with him as soon as possible as he is the same as me, he worries and he shouldn’t he is a child, a 10 year old boy should worry about whether to climb a tree or jump in the pool and that’s it, he should not feel responsible for a man of 38. My youngest is 7 (three days ago) and he doesn’t want to see or speak to his father, he wants us to get a new father who wants to spend time with them and who will be nice to us all. Don’t get me wrong, my ex is not a bad drunk. What pushed me to deciding that i was done? The fact that his doctor called me and said that my ex had started drinking because he felt like a part time father, that i didn’t allow him to see the kids, and that we had left him on his own….after giving up years of my life to make his better, i officially quit, i will no longer invite him over for dinner, or for family Sundays, i will no longer allow him in my house, i will no longer support him, i will no longer be a friend to him and thus be an enabler, i say no.
    My worry is my kids, they will need to see him but i can’t trust him to pick them up from my door and drop them back off a couple of hours later so do i meet him in a park and let them go and play for a couple of hours whilst i work on my laptop, or do i take it to court and get someone else to supervise the visits? How much time should he have with them? Every week? Every other week? They saw him last week for an hour, my eldest was happy to say goodbye and my youngest was distraught – not because he didn’t want him to go but because he apologised for his small relapse, but, as he explained to my kids, an alcoholic doesn’t always think before he acts – WELL THAT’S OK THEN!!!!
    I find myself thinking that there must be some kind of excuse for me out there, i work full time, i take care of my kids full time, i do sports with them, i try to keep the house clean and tidy, i help them with their homework, i walk the dogs, clean and feed the pets, try and make sure that my kids are coping with all the help i can give them…and yet, as crap a father as he is, his children have a right to see him so i will be tied to this manipulative, lying shit for as long as my kids need me to be – can anyone tell me how many hours i need to give up for his rights?!
    The positive is that i have finally decided that i need to look after myself too, a healthy mum is a happy mum right? I’m not saying i am overweight or have any particular health issues but i would like a life, i am 38 – not dead yet! So, running machine is arriving next week, i am going to sign up for a photography course with my boys, even going to the water park tomorrow, in the last few weeks i have been on roller coasters, Disneyland,the Eiffel tower, ridden horses, swam with my kids, played hide and seek, climbed up trees, rolled around on the floor laughing with them, i am freer than i have been in years, although i realise that the road will be a bit bumpy, at least i am no longer responsible for the grown up i divorced!

    • says

      Meech I thank you for sharing this difficult journey. You’re doing the right things for yourself and your children and I’m so glad that you’ve realized it’s not your responsibility. I will continue praying for you

  15. says

    I am married to an alcoholic who lies constantly, he will be sliring his speech, stumbling all over and argue with me and say he hasn’t drank, right now I took the keys because he was acting like he wanted Taco’s and I said sober up and u can go, now I am repeadily being verbally abused non stop, I am not letting him eat, we have plenty of food in the house, I’m so stressed at the person he has become and what it has done to me and my 15 year old son!!! He is a diabetic and drinks a fifth of vodka each day, passes out everywhere, snashes every car we get, wets himself, almost burned our house down 2 times cooking and passing out, covers himself in food like a 2 year old in a high hair when he eats, has Charcot foot from all the abuse, enlarged spleen and liver, low white blood cell count and will not find out why, he also , vomits all over himself in from of our Son’s friends, now he will not have friends over our home, caused his family to blame me, I been with him 19 years, I left my job and cry everyday because I don’t know what to do, I hate that my son and I live like this, I feel so alone, I have a beautiful home but it’s a horrible place to be, my husband has a really good job, my son and I will loose everything if I leave, I am now a crying mess, I just don’t know what to do to better our situation, I have this dream that it will all stop and he will become the great guy he once was, unfortunately I think it is killing him, I am now at the point that I wish he would die so my son and I can be free of him and all the torchure he has put us through!!!

    • says

      Hi there Lisa. First of all allow me to assure you that you’re not alone. For the millions of active alcoholics out there, there are family members living what you are. Nothing will change if nothing changes. If you continue on accepting this as your living condition, it’s probably not going to change for the better.

      The “things” you would lose if you left…ask if they’re more important than your own happiness or that of your son. As I read this it seemed to me that you already know anything I would say to you.

      Please try an Al-Anon meeting, there you’ll find a support group of people who know what you’re going through.

  16. Evan says

    A very touching story, and unfortunately the “spouse of an addict” story is all to familiar and common! Like many of those commenting here, I too have been in your shoes. I was a phone call away from walking away from the entire situation, but was lucky enough to have a friend answer that phone call and keep me in the game (sort of speak). 2 years later our family is doing great! My recommendation to you and anyone in this position is to first off get your spouse into a long term treatment center. Once that happens, get yourself help; either al-anon or some family addiction program. I was blown away to learn the damage addiction had on my own life and the many ways I was contributing to the situation.

    Most importantly…take care of yourself and do whatever you need to maintain ‘hope’. A little bit of ‘hope’ goes a long way, but without it there is nothing left.

    Best of luck on your journey!

  17. Caitriona says

    I married a beautiful loving man 10 years ago. We have two children now aged 8 and 5. My husband lost his job 8 years ago and began drinking a lot. His personality changed when drinking. He went from telling me how much he loved me to being really mean and nasty, lying about drinking, slurring words, stumbling around, drunk driving. I begged him for years to give up drinking but it was always my fault… I didn’t understand him. He was depressed and suffered from anxiety. When he wasn’t drinking, he was a lovely, kind and very talented man. He was great with the children, patient and played with them. Great around the house, DIY, cleaning, making dinners etc. Except when he drank that all went out the window and he changed – mean, aggressive, angry, not nice to be around. 2 years ago he was particularly aggressive one night. I kicked him out of the house and he went to rehab for 6 weeks. He came out, stayed with his parents and was drinking again within a few weeks. They kicked him out of their house. He went to AA for a couple of months but stopped. He wouldn’t accept his drinking was causing all his problems. His brothers and sister all cut him out of their lives. I still loved him so much but wouldn’t let him back to the house until he stopped drinking. I organised an apartment for him to live in (it belonged to my parents) as he had no money to rent somewhere. Only problem it was a two hour drive from our house. He hated living there on his own. He continued drinking. I would get drunken phone calls where he went from telling me how much he loved me to shouting at me to get out of his house and about how I was controlling and abusing him by not letting him live with us. He was also upset that my parents looked after our children while I worked. He said I was isolating him from the children. But he used to mind them while I was at work and too often he would be so absolutely out of his mind with drink that he couldn’t even stand up or form sentences. I couldn’t risk him minding the children. So he was depressed about this too. He began staying with us at the house from Friday to Tuesday and it was nice to have him there for the weekends and we could do family things and be almost normal. But he still drank for the 3 days he went to the other apartment and I would get the drunken mean phone calls. He always saw himself as the victim though. He thought I was out to get him and did not understand / would not accept how he was when drunk. And then the drinking started again at our house – bottles of vodka and whiskey hidden around the house. And him lying about it, swearing he was not drinking and calling me all sorts of names. Last December a few weeks before Christmas, he was at the house and was drinking and very angry and ranting all weekend. He wouldn’t let me sleep and was kicking the bedroom door at 2 in the morning – shouting about how I was abusive as I wouldn’t let him stay at the house and as I had gone to lawyers about a separation because of his behaviour when drinking (he had put his hand around my throat and really frightened me one night). I had always said if he gave up drinking we would work things out. But he wouldn’t accept his drinking was the problem. It was always my fault. I was so emotionally tired from it all. I loved him so much but couldn’t go on the way it was. I went into Court the next day and got a barring order (saying he had to vacate the house and couldn’t come to the house at all). I just wanted the drunken ranting and anger to stop. I could handle it during the day, but at night time when trying to sleep it was awful and he became quite crazy when drunk so it was scary. So, he said he was going to kill himself. He was distraught. We had gone through this before 2 years ago and he had pulled through. He rang me drunk, so I couldn’t talk to him. He wouldn’t listen. It was all my fault. He asked me if there was any hope for us. I said no, it had gone too far. I was so upset with him and he was still not accepting the drink had anything to do with it. I didn’t mean what I said. There was always hope if he gave up the drink. I was under pressure from everyone to not give in to him and the chaos had to stop. So, after that call he texted me a few times over the next couple of days telling me how much he loved me. I didn’t answer, even though I really just wanted to tell him everything would be ok and that I loved him and that we would work it out. I was so emotionally drained. Torn between loving him so much and doing the right thing for our children and me, I thought. So, 4 days later he took his own life by hanging himself in a forest. All alone. He died thinking I didn’t love him. The pathologist’s report showed he had no alcohol in his system, but I knew that as I hadn’t heard from him a 2 days so knew he wasn’t drinking. I took away his hope. He had nothing else. I will never see or hug or kiss my beautiful husband again. Our children’s Daddy is gone. That was 4 months ago. It doesn’t get any easier. Every second of every day I think of him and miss him so much. I am beyond devastated and completely heartbroken. It is my worst nightmare. So awful it was when he was drinking, I would swop the way it is now with that in a heartbeat to have him back. I don’t know what to do.

    • says

      Oh dear one, I am so sorry for your loss. I feel your pain as I just buried my husband last week. I too, struggle with the guilt that if only I had let him be home the night he passed away instead of a friend’s couch perhaps he’d be alive today. I went through the same of everyone telling me I needed to have strong boundaries with him due to the constant chaos his drinking created in our home. I know I needed to provide a safe home for our children & my sanity but i never thought it would have led to this. Do you have good support system? You can reach out to me if you dont.

      • Caitriona says

        Thanks for your kind reply Knaz. I am so sorry for your loss also. I hope you are doing ok. It is very early days for you. I hope your children are coping ok. What ages are they? My children are alright, I think. It is so sad when I see how much they miss their Daddy. Luckily they are kept busy with their own little friends and lives. I don’t know how I am still going about life. But you just have to. I talk to my husband all the time (in my head). I cannot believe that almost 5 months have passed since he died. It feels like only yesterday. I have so many regrets and will have to live with them. I just wanted a bit of peace from the chaos… now I have that, but I don’t feel any peace. Just emptiness inside me. Nothing will ever be the same again and it is all my doing.
        How are you keeping? I know what you are saying about everyone telling you to have strong boundaries. I was in the same position. And I relied on my family for support with the children while I was at work so I had to listen to them. But, at the back of my mind, I always knew this was a possibility, as he was so depressed. And that is killing me. But we can’t go back.
        Hope you are ok. The early days are very hard, watching everyone around you living their lives when it felt like for me that the whole world had just fallen apart.
        I would love to hear from you. Take care of yourself and your children.

  18. Out looking in says

    I was married to an alcoholic who told me daily that I’m the reason he drinks, due to my nagging about his drinking and the lack of him in our lives. Well after 13 years of that, I finally had the courage to leave with our children, a boy and girl who were ages 9 and 10 then. This was 11 years ago. Since then he’s remarried and heard he was doing the same thing to that wife as he did to me but worse. He’s lost his job of 20 years because he started drinking on the job. Has been in and out of the hospital for scorisis of the liver and according to our daughter, he seems to have some type of dementia. He’s 44. He’s not eating and currently weighs under 100 lbs and he’s 6 ft.
    I just want to help him get better for the sake of our children and grandson, but don’t know if I can. doesn’t help that he despises me because I left him, so he told our kids. I feel so bad for my children who has to see this as adults now. How can I help? I did love him at one point in my life. Does that account for anything?

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