Alcoholics and Broken Promises


There are so many things that alcoholics do that frustrate us. Understanding why is half the battle, the other half is keeping our cool through broken promises and letdowns. Of all the challenges I’ve faced, learning how to not get angry when the problem drinker breaks plans we’ve made has been a real challenge.

Dealing with disappointments associated with problem drinkers can be a real challenge. They tell us one thing and continually do the opposite.

Why is it that they cannot stick to the plans? Will they ever be able to follow through and just do what they say they are going to do?

The answer is found in understanding the personality traits of an alcoholic. Actually, the freedom for you will be discovered when you learn how to accept the nature of the illness that your friend, loved one, co-worker or child is suffering from.

Part of this nature of alcoholism is broken promises. You can get a deeper understanding of this by reading this post about lying alcoholics.

Accept this fact and you will stop fighting with the alcoholic all of the time. Here’s what happens, I hope this makes sense to you.

They have a tendency to tell us the things that they “think” we want to hear. That means if “we” make dinner plans to go out to “our” favorite restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol and a movie afterward, they will tell us yes that they want to go because they know it’s something that we want to do. The truth of the matter is that in the back of their minds they are thinking that they won’t be able to have an alcoholic beverage for about four hours.

I’m guessing they say yes because they want to make us happy “for the moment.”

So, they may say yes because you want to go, but the reality is that they won’t show up for the engagement because their physical craving for alcohol will not be satisfied. Thus, they tell us the things that we want to hear and then wind up hanging out at the party down the street because that’s where there’s an endless supply of drinks.

There have been so many promises that the alcoholic has broken in my life.

How can you be prepared for an alcoholic breaking promises?

There are two things that you can do to be ready.

  • Don’t have any expectations that they will follow through with what they have promised or committed to do. By doing this, you will have no opportunity to have to deal with a resentment toward them because there were no expectations for them to live up to. Acceptance is the key to all of your problems in this area.
  • Have a backup plan. This just means that if you are planning to do something with the alcoholic and they break the plans, be prepared with a backup plan. Once I had a dinner date planned with my alcoholic spouse. She broke our plans to go to the theater and see a musical drama. About fifteen minutes before the play was to begin, I called a friend when my spouse did not come home in time and asked them if they would care to join me. They said yes and my friend and I had a wonderful time at the play.

By doing these types of things, you can stop losing your temper with the alcoholic. These are the kinds of behaviors that we can adopt that will help us to quit blaming the alcoholic for our unhappiness.


3 comments to Alcoholics and Broken Promises

  • Jackie Ray

    My daughter’s alcoholism goes back to college days and she is now thirty eight years old. Years of struggle have made me feel much resentment and anger(at times). Trying to cope with all the problems she has created and her difficult personality, without getting angry myself, has been one of my greatest challenges. Sometimes, I am able to do that but often I am not. It just goes against everything I feel to tolerate her bad behavior, lies, and manipulation with meekness. To me, that is asking a person to do the impossible in the worst of circumstances. The abuse (not physical) that a person close to an alcoholic must cope with is beyond what most people can handle without displaying anger, disappointment, frustration, resentment, etc. The years of feeling used, manipulated,
    and abused have destroyed any hope of a normal relationship. Even when she is sober, she displays the personality of what I have read is a “dry drunk.”

  • […] many occasions, when the alcoholic in my life would break plans, I would criticize and ridicule her for being so unthoughtful. This always created a very intense […]

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