Ways Of Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse

I was married to woman who had a drinking problem and pill-popping addiction. There was never a moment when she was awake that she didn’t have one or the other in her system. The person who is mixing narcotics and liqueur together, on a regular basis, experiences intense mood swings.

My ex-spouse had some serious issues with criticizing others even if she wasn’t being influenced by some sort of drug. Her very nature was to be extremely critical of other people. Along with this negative behavior, she also had a temper that was unstoppable. She was a very angry alcoholic at times.

When she was under the influence of some mind altering substance, these negative emotions intensified to the point of extreme emotional, physical and verbal abuse on her part.

I have sure had plenty of training in learning how to cope with an alcoholic spouse. My knowledge on how to gain peace and serenity was gained through hands on experience.

During the intense season of being trained in how to handle outbursts of rage, juggle countless lies and deal with an unfaithful alcoholic spouse, I was attending no less than six support group meetings per week.

The information I’m sharing with you on how to cope with an alcoholic spouse was all learned from real life experiences, through reading many books on coping with alcoholics and by hanging out with people, in support group meetings, who had been dealing with alcoholics for many years.

On many occasions, I was left abandoned by her, plans were broken and promises never fulfilled. I’ve been lied to, cheated on, called every name in the book and physically abused.

I’ve been spit on and had things thrown at me. On one occasion, I was pushed down a small flight of stairs. One night when I couldn’t get into another room and lock the door fast enough, she forced her way in and hit me in the back of the head and kicked me in the back as I knelt in the corner with no way to escape.

I was with her when she decided to go into rehab and I was still there when she relapsed. The night she got arrested, I was the one who got the second phone call and the husband who refused to bail her out.

I know what it is like to be obsessed with an alcoholic. I know what it is like to be lied to repeatedly. I can also help you learn how to cope with an angry alcoholic.

Here are a few proven methods of coping with an alcoholic spouse that work:

  • Understand that you didn’t force them to drink. They have decided to become what they are through their own choices in life. Nothing that you have done caused them to be an alcoholic. Nothing that you do makes them continue to pick up alcohol.
  • There is now way that you can have any effect on whether they drink or not. You cannot stop them or convince them to not drink. Their choice to consume alcohol is beyond your control.
  • You cannot provide a remedy for their illness, there isn’t one. They will only quit when they decide that it is time to get help for themselves. One exception to the rule, sometimes in rare cases an alcoholic will be sentenced to attend AA meetings by a judge. Periodically, people will find sobriety in those meetings and stay clean and sober. In most of these instances, the person was at their bottom and were ready to accept that they had a drinking problem.

Every situation that we encounter with an alcoholic requires different coping skills. In alcoholism support group meetings these skills are referred to as tools.

Here are a few more suggestions to help you cope with an alcoholic spouse:

  1. When they lie-don’t confront the lies.
  2. When they stay out all night-just go to sleep.
  3. When they want to argue-refuse to participate.
  4. When they come home-don’t analyze them to try and figure out if they are drunk or not.
  5. When they ruin your plans-be sure to have a plan B.
  6. When your mind wants you to snoop in their things-don’t do it.
  7. After the alcoholic spouse has left you a nasty phone message-don’t listen to it, delete it instead!
  8. Do something that you enjoy-instead of spending your time obsessing over what they are doing.
  9. If you get really angry with them-exercise, call a friend or attend a support group meeting.
  10. If your spouse gets arrested-consider leaving them in jail to suffer the consequences of their actions.
  11. Stay present in the moment-avoid obsessing on past events or fearing the future.
  12. Do something kind for someone today.
  13. Do something kind for yourself today.
  14. Spend time asking God for help on a daily basis.
  15. When you don’t have any expectations of them-you will never have to deal with a resentment.
  16. Never give an ultimatum unless you are going to follow through with your decision.
  17. Never argue with a drunk.
  18. Avoid having serious conversations with them when they are intoxicated.

I wish there was a magic formula I could share on how to cope with your husband or wife who is the alcoholic. As you can tell from the list above, there are different things that we do in different situations to help us cope with an alcoholic spouse. The main objective of all the ones that I have listed are to help you become more emotionally, physically and spiritually stable.

There’s no way that you can make your loved one quit drinking. You have no control over their choices, but you do have control of yours. When you begin to cope with the situation differently, then things will gradually begin to change in your favor. You can be happy in this dysfunctional marriage. It all starts with you taking responsibility for your own happiness.

For more helpful tips buy our Book On Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse.

Written By: JC

51 comments to Ways Of Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse

  • Mike

    In sports for example, if you want to get better, you play against those bette than yourself. If you want to function in the real world, you need to be with those with healthy thinking. Hanging out with poor thinking only keeps you in poor thinking. Poor decision making led them to drinking and the same thinking keeps them there.
    For everything we do, we are rewarded. There is a reward to their drinking. They like it and won’t admit it and there is the inner conflict.
    Like a husband who cheats. He says he doesn’t want to cheat but it feels good. He wants to feel the sex with another woman. He first lies to himself then to others to feel better. At AA meetings, everyone wanted to sound good to the others at the meetings. Either to show how good they were doing or proud of the speech they gave.
    Look, all men desire to be with another woman at some point in their life. It is maturity that in needed to harness that thought. When the drinker finally admits it and says, “I like drinking and really don’t want to stop. I say I want to stop to keep the responsibility away from me, but I say those things to keep others off my back” then it is a waste of time to get help.
    The best thing I could say about alcoholics having alcoholic friends is, Bad company ruins useful habits.

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