Some Alcoholics Keep us Fearful for a Reason


They say in Al-anon that the two weapons alcoholics use are anger and anxiety. They keep us fearful for a particular reason, it helps to keep the focus off of themselves. The expression “walking on eggshells” is used in association with people living with problem drinkers often in alcoholism support group meetings.

Understand this, if they can cause us to act or react in negative ways, then they can point the finger at us and say; “you’ve really got problems.” When the truth of the situation is that they are the ones who are creating most of the tension in people around them.

Sometimes the tension in a dysfunctional home seems to be so thick that you could cut it with a knife. It’s said that the person struggling with drinking all the time is hardly aware of why they are behaving the way that they are.

It’s just a characteristic of people who are alcoholics to keep others around them living in fear. So, with that being said, don’t take it personally when they mistreat you. They are SICK with the disease of ALCOHOLISM. In no way am I saying that you should accept unacceptable behavior though. Learn how to set boundaries when dealing with an alcoholic.

What are we afraid of though?

We are afraid to mention things to them because they may get mad and yell.

Perhaps you have been abused physically by an alcoholic and you are on guard to protect yourself from another sudden outburst of anger.

What about the fear of being divorced? Now that’s one that they are good at throwing in our faces.

We also live with concerns that they may injure themselves or someone else.

These unhealthy situations come in many different forms, but how do we overcome being fearful when dealing with an alcoholic?

The answer seems to be found in trusting God.

Many people testify of how their relationship with God gives them the strength to endure the hardships that are associated with living or working with an alcoholic spouse or co-worker.

Faith is the opposite of fear. So, when we can have faith while living with an alcoholic that God is working things out for our “personal” good, then we are able to better deal with the fear that seems to grip our lives while interacting with the problem drinker.

My Father
Not all of them keep us in fear though. My father was a social alcoholic. He had a very successful business and took care of the family very well. I don’t recall him ever raising his voice at us except to tell us to turn the lights off. However, he was very distant at expressing love toward us in an affectionate way.

My Mom
Mom on the other hand got very angry if you disrupted her binges. She was a closet alcoholic who drank at home. Her drunken binges would throw her into fits of rage if we found the booze that she was hiding and poured it out. She would hide the wine, vodka or beer in places like inside the toilet tank, under the bed and in the coat pockets. That was years ago. She has since pasted away, but prior to doing so stayed sober for many years. Her fits of rage sure made me uncomfortable. So-much-so that I would think twice before pouring out her stash. I was young, but no fool. I learned from her outburst of anger how to be fearful and leave her beverages alone.

My Brother
I’ll never forget when my brother was drunk and I brought up a particular subject that he did not want to talk about. He yelled and screamed at me. I was extremely upset and obviously fearful of my alcoholic brother at that moment. I never again revisited the subject until about twenty five years later. I made darn sure that he was not drunk the second time.

My ex-wife
I had a very verbally abusive and physically abusive alcoholic/drug-addict in my life that constantly kept me walking on eggshells. Her sudden outbursts of anger would come out of nowhere. One moment she would be as charming and as harmless as a dove, the next meaner than a snake.

I think that when people are hostile like that it gives them a sense of control.

I know that I hate to be in conflict with others and will avoid it at all costs.

A good way to begin to recognize the things that we are fearful of, as they relate to interacting with the alcoholics in our lives, is to start keeping a journal of the events that are occurring daily. By doing this, we will begin to see very clearly how we are reacting to the situations that are making us angry and anxious.

Now, the title of the article says that alcoholics keep us fearful for a reason. Sifting through all of my stories, the main reason is that it is one of the characteristics of the disease. They can’t help but be this way.

It’s common for me to recommend that my readers get involved with alcoholism support group meetings. It is through interacting with wise people who understand what you are going through that you will find the help and answers that you are looking for.

I would love to hear your comments on this subject.


4 comments to Some Alcoholics Keep us Fearful for a Reason

  • Yvonne

    I am glad I read this article…I find that I am doing everything right according to it. However..my situation is indeed different and from my own lifetime experiences, have learned how to deal with drug and alcohol abusers the proper way…just by nature. My mother was a prescription junkie.my step father an alcoholic pervert,my 4 brothers joined the 1960’s LSD and wacky weed crowd.and you know what? I never ran with that crowd growing up.I didn’t want to BE like them.and was always the designated driver on many occasions…substance abusers are ugly..they are mean and abusive..ALL of them are selfish and self serving and suffer much loss.
    The best cure….is Video Tape them..record thier behavior..Play it back the next day or later…omit the funny parts if any….but show the distorted face…the slurred speech..the embarrassing deeds..the drooling….the peeing in thier pants…all of it….It can get ugly..real ugly. do it because….this is what they make YOU look at every day…this is what Everybody sees

  • Nancy

    He likes to bring up his ex-es. Ex-wife, ex-girlfriends and tell me things I don’t care to know about them. I have a hard time not calling him out on this, it just pisses me off. I know he does it to make me jealous and uncomfortable. Guess that is one of my buttons he likes to push.

  • Gabby

    Mine kept me fearful of my place in the relationship by trying to make me jealous and even having affairs. Mine kept me in fear of my possessions for whenever he got mad they would get broken or stolen, but never broke his things. Mine kept me in fear of losing my job for damaging my car and costing me jobs by spreading rumors. Then it came to fear of my life and that’s when I walked out, never looked back and left everything behind. I lost everything. . .when does Karma strike back to people like this?

  • Julie

    Dear Gabby: I made the break like you did when the alcoholic husband in my life turned very ugly and abusive, both sober and drunk. Like you, I walked out with nothing and he tanked our finances with drinking, using drugs and compulsive gambling. It’s been 2 1/2 years and I can finally say that I am starting to feel better, working on rebuilding my life. When I wake up every morning I tell myself that I don’t have to deal with a crazy, mean, drugged out person any more. I got myself a small apartment and am able to budget and save money, something I couldn’t do when he stole everything for his addictions. As far as Karma, let it go. Give your rage, hurt, disappointment and sadness to the Higher Power and ask for help in dealing with your feelings. We are wasting our precious time if we focus solely on them. I can’t change the past, but I have redefined the present and the future. Good luck in whatever you decide to do with your life.

Leave a Reply