Should I Stay With The Alcoholic-A Solution To Your Dilemma

Stone WallPeople get caught between a rock and a hard place when they are trying to give the alcoholic the benefit of the doubt. An addict can be very manipulative in making us think that everything is our fault. How they get their hooks in us so deep I’ve yet to fully understand.

I think being undecided about if I should stay with an alcoholic or break the relationship off is a horrible place to be. One moment we are swayed by their expressions of love toward us and the next upset because they are treating us like trash.

I think it is vitally important that we don’t find ourselves teetering on a seesaw of indecision that is based on how we feel. Either we are committed to have hope and faith that eventually the alcoholic will hit bottom and change or we are not. Making a black and white decision is the answer to your dilemma.

Start the decision making process by listing all of the positives and all of the negatives of the relationship.

Why are you with this person?
What will things be like a year from now if they quit abusing alcohol or drugs today?
What will things be like if the addict doesn’t quit?
What are the benefits of being with this person?
What are the bad things about this alcoh0lic relationship?

Important: Remember, it’s OK to make a decision to be undecided at the moment. If you are seeking God’s direction for your life, He has the final word for you, be patient and wait. If you are giving support group meetings a try, someone in Al-anon suggested that I give the program a chance to work in my life for at least six months before making any major decisions.



If we decide to stay in a relationship with the alcoholic/addict, then we must do all that we can to learn how to cope with an alcoholic. I was told that I had only two choices: 1-I could change my address 2-I could change my attitude. By staying in a relationship, I feel one must make a decision to give it the best that they have without expecting anything from the alcoholic in return. I’m just saying that we make a choice to be committed to unconditional love and continual forgiveness. We can do this while letting go of an alcoholic and practicing detachment.

If you truly feel there’s hope for better days with the alcoholic, then learn how to stay in this difficult situation without letting their behaviors have such a negative effect on you.

I do want you to be sure that you see the situation that you are in for what it really is though. You cannot hold on to the person that the alcoholic used to be. If they are treating you horribly, then you have to live in reality and not the fantasy world of how they used to be.

People stay in relationships with alcoholics for decades and they do it with great success. The keys to staying with an addict are found within learning detachment.

If you are being physically abused by an alcoholic, you must seek out help in your local community, immediately! No one should be anyone’s punching bag. You do not have to tolerate unacceptable behavior. Get out of harms way without delay.

Hopefully you grasped a couple of good things here and will be better able to make your decision as to whether you want to stay or leave the alcoholic.


34 comments to Should I Stay With The Alcoholic-A Solution To Your Dilemma

  • ross

    this is a hard one.i never wanted a divorce.but i never wanted this, or at least i know that now.
    i believe he loves me and i think i may him, to some degree. i cant give up on expectations ‘in’ a marriage.
    which probably says a lot. i know he is sick and that to expect anything much while he’s actively using alcohol, isn’t realistic. and that expectations probably isn’t a good idea soon after entering recovery-but need boundaries, for sure.
    I don’t want to hold on like this forever and cant stand the pain of letting go either.
    Which puts me in a odd position.I have been this way for a little over a year, no change, except working on my recovery and sometimes the thoughts of not dealing with it sounds good.We are apart since last year.
    I would like to hear from others if they would like to share with me.
    Thanks…

  • Regina

    Ross, I am in the same situation as you. My situation is complicated with the fact that I have 2 children who love my alcoholic husband very much. We too are separated and that was by choice by him as he fled to a town 2 1/2 hours away from us. He abandoned his position as husband and father to have his romance with his bottle undetected. What gets me through? PRAYERS and continuous reading of materials posted by this website. You need to constantly remind yourself of the many tips this site gives. Continue reaching out to people who walk the same path we do and take one day at a time. Our prayers will not go unheard!!!

    Best of luck,
    Regina

  • Ross

    Thanks Regina.It’s so true. The more I keep up on reading, sharing…and practicing what i know. The better
    I will do. Sometimes, I find it unreal, that, when i get away from these recovery tools, i get back into an unhealthy way of thinking. It still surprises me.It’s good to hear from others. Thanks…
    Hug,
    Ross

  • Linda

    Can someone explain a dry drunk…

  • Ross

    Hi Linda, I think in short, it means that even though the alcoholic has quit drinking,they aren’t necessarily in recovery unless they are working a program.
    (or)
    They aren’t drinking, or in recovery but exhibit character of one who is still drinking.

    Anyways, it wouldn’t hurt to type it in on the web and see what you can find. I’m sure there should be some things to look at.
    Ross

  • Linda

    Thanks Ross,
    He is going to AA meetings. What for us to get back together (32years ) When I left he was having a affair (emotional)with his female boss.also married.I was told they were emotional unavailable. How am I to believe this. before I left he got emotionally, physically, abusive. Today I find myself missing him….Wishing we were together…..I’m feeling like the crazy one….

  • JC

    Linda, are you in a waiting period to see if he will stay sober? What is the status of your relationship at this point? It sounds like he wants to get back together with you, is that right? Has he cut off the emotional affair? Have you set any boundaries with him for getting back together or given any ultimatums in the present situation?

  • Ross

    Sorry you’re going through that Linda. I hope you’ve also found recovery for yourself
    in Al-Anon or CoDa?Nonetheless I’m sure it’s a lot to take in.

  • Linda

    Ross,
    We are currently separated about 1 year. Talking on phone everyday,but I find he doesn’t want to talk about any of the issues. As far as the affair not sure that’s over.He says so..When I had been up we enjoyed are time together.We also disagreed about are son that’s 27 living with us. I would set rules and he would let him do what ever he wanted.(Bring girls in the house over night,Having coffee in morning I never new who was coming out of my upstairs.Wanted to be their buddy not the parent.I did tell him I was not coming back without a job. He thinks I should drop my job and just come back. That’s not going to happen. May not mean any thing to him but it does me..O yes he has put our 27 year old out,but not until his counselor told him,He would move in and not pay any room or board or have any rules.I will admit I was a very good enabler,for both of them.

  • Ross

    Linda, It sounds like you are doing some things right! Good for you.I don’t blame you for taking actions to take care of you.I’d say that’s very healthy.
    Ross

  • Albert

    Here’s my guilt. I knew she was an alcoholic when I married her. I drank back then too but quit about 8 years ago so I could try to set an example. She has hated me for that ever since. My additional guilt is that this is my 2nd marriage to alcoholics. The first lasted about 16 years and this one about 15. I feel that I failed in the first and I do not want to fail again. That’s the gut feeling. Reality tells me that both marriages never really stood a chance.

    What is so hard is the fact that life has gotten more organized, routine and yes, even comfortable at times while the love and romance in the marriage has disintegrated because of alcoholic anger and rage. And that anger and rage will destroy in a minute all of the work aimed at developing understanding and compassion.

    We live alone in the same house because of alcoholism. Ours is a sometimes rewarding life but it is always overshadowed by the fact that her rage can destroy the peace at any moment. It is getting worse. And no, I do not want to be living like this next year.

  • […] Should I Stay With An Alcoholic […]

  • Ash

    I am currently in a relationship with an Alcoholic. We have been together just shy of 2 years. When we met… it all happened fast. We moved in together after only knowing each other for about 4 months. During the time of getting to know one another we spent almost every night together. I noticed he drank most nights but never more than one or 2 beers. I only ever saw him really drunk on the weekends… if we went out. Then when he moved in with me I noticed bottles of liquor disappearing… I didn’t say anything. But I stopped keeping liquor in the house… I had never dealt with this before and had no idea what I was dealing with.
    Now over a year later I am in a hard place. His drinking is out of control, recently he came home drunk and we got into an argument. He threatened to leave as he always does and instead of leaving he put his arm through a window and severely cut his arm. After about 3 hours at the hospital and 25+ stitches later we went home and he had decided he was going to ‘cut back’. He did extremely good for about 3 days and 2 of those days were spent mad at me for ‘making’ him do this. I told him if hes doing it for me it will never work- it has to be for him.
    He comes home drunk regularly- meaning he is driving drunk. Just the thought of that makes me sick to think about. I am trying to accept and let things be. He keeps saying he is not ready… which I understand. Except that in life sometimes we can’t be ready for what is coming. I wasn’t ready for this… I’m trying to make the best and deal and support him but I no longer have a clue what to do… he manipulates the fights so things are my fault. He says he doesn’t trust me because I won’t ‘sugar coat’ his drinking.
    I’m lost.

  • Lynn

    I am recently married. I knew my husband liked to drink but it seems like he’s drinking three times as much now that we are married. Instead of having a drink later in the evening, he’s drinking before I even get home. Or early in the day, then sleeping all afternoon and lying to me about it. He works from home. I spent the afternoon yesterday calling and messaging him with no response. I called my son who was just getting home from school and asked him if he had seen my husband. It seems he was upstairs passed out. My kids were picked up by their dad a few minutes later so I don’t think he even knew they were in the house. When I finally got him on the phone, he insisted he was on conference calls all afternoon. By the time I got home he was visibly drunk and acting like nothing was going on. I didn’t bother pointing out the lie, he was drunk. The argument would have been a lost cause.

    I’m trying to decide what to do. When I bring up his drinking he gets immediately angry and defensive. He says he’s 40 years old and likes to do what he likes to do. We’ve only been married a couple of months. I haven’t given him any ultimatums because every time we talk he’s quick to say he’ll just leave. I love the sober version of him. That’s the person I want to be married to. Not the one who picks fights with me because he’s had a few drinks in the middle of the day and the bird is making too much noise.

    How do I get him to listen to reason and hear what I’m seeing and feeling with out him over reacting? Is this just a lost cause? Should I bail now? How embarrassing to just get married and divorced within a few months but I know I can’t live this way worrying every time he sends me a hostile text or starts drinking early. I am also lost.

  • So I am kind of new to this level of alcoholism. I was married to an alcoholic for 10 years, and sadly last April he committed suicide. I started dating my current boyfriend in June after knowing him a little over 10 years, and knew he had a drinking problem, but was unaware how severe it had become. He moved in with me in August, and by October it had become constant fighting that was bad enough for me to call the police. He went to jail, promised to get help, and stop drinking. I didnt realize that at that point he hadnt hit rock bottom, and would promise anything to come back. At this point his family will no longer allow him around them, he is in jail for a second time and is facing up to 6 months. He is saying that he finally realizes that he cannot drink at all, even in moderation, and that he needs help. My dilema is that I have never loved someone so much in my entire life, however I cant tell if he truly has had an epiphany, or is still lying to himself and me because he is unhappy and uncomfortable. I want to be with him and support his recovery, but I cannot continue living in a fantasy world that his alcoholism will no longer affect our lives. I see that some families have had success with recovery, others that have had to let go and walk away. How do you know where you are at?
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  • My experience is that everybody finds Jesus on the deathbed and when the rat is in the trap, he doesn’t want anymore cheese. Every addict tells you they will quit when they are in the sorrows of consequences. So the question is not so much about him, as it is about you. As a survivor and someone who has seen addiction of a parent, a brother, an ex spouse, I think I have seen it’s really not so much about loving someone else, but loving yourself enough not to step back into the cycle. Relapse for addicts is super high. Less than 5% of those who attend programs like 28 in-patient will stay sober. And how many times have you heard from others that the promise of sobriety goes as far as getting saved from the peril that an addict puts themselves in. Once out of jail, the doghouse, whatever negative situation, drinking or not; sticking with him- you will have an addict in your life. If you really want a change and care enough about yourself, you’ll take the experience and grow, learn, but not re-do. I think patterns for enabling behavior, or picking out people that need help or being saved, dooms us to repeat the past until we consciously make the decision to end the cycle. You need to ask questions of your boyfriend like; Have you said you’d quite and didn’t before? Have the consequences caused significant repercussions that you are personally, NOT OK to have happen again? Recovery for people who are already committed to each other by lineage or by marriage is hard enough, but I would NEVER enter into a relationship with someone who has not demonstrated sobriety, honesty and truthful conduct for atleast 5 yrs. It is an uphill battle and honestly you deserve to find someone who isn’t afflicted so that you aren’t taking care of a disease, but rather another caring and loving human. Right now, he’s damaged, and the wet brain doesn’t make good decisions. Matter of fact, all addicts should have to ask a person of responsibility if the choices they are about to make are sound. It may sound harsh, but if others have excluded this person from their lives it’s because addicts make such great liars that no one wants to be doomed to have Part II, III, IV etc. of the same drama. Lots of fish out there.

  • Laurie

    Melissa what does this tell you? Maybe its not so much the other persons problem that affects us, maybe its our own.
    What is wrong with me and why do I attract these kinds of men?
    What we project we attract. So we may not be drinkers but we have low self esteem, worth, little to no confidence and we look for love in the wrong places. Love should start in one place and that is with ourselves only when we know how to love ourselves do we realize our worth and what we deserve. Happiness cant be found anywhere else other than in ourselves, if anyone thinks its in the next relationship, job or our spouses getting sober, we are chasing a lie and will never truely be happy.

  • Laurie

    I would suggest you find a support group via Al-Anon which will give you knowledge not only about your spouses sickness but also help you to understand yourself. Learn tools to help you cope with your spouse and help you to move forward with your life. (Nothing to do with leaving)
    There are problems in active drinking, there are problems in sobriety and there are problems in life. That is what life is about.
    The family members of alcoholics are probably sick too. Codependency, please google it. You may wish to look at enabling an alcoholic, detachment with love and also personal boundaries.
    You didnt cause the drinking
    You cant control the drinking
    You cant cure the drinking.
    If you wish to contact me I have a facebook page called Alcoholic Family Support. Swarch thru facebook and message the page. 24 hr support.
    I wish you well on your journey.

  • Julie

    Thanks for those recently posting here everyone. I moved in with my partner a few years ago. We’re middle aged. I have learned since how bad his drinking is- a few bottles of hard alcohol in a few days– until he is ON the floor passed out.He does not stop until he passes out, and will go get another bottle if still awake when the first one is gone. Walking, thankfully, not driving. This is not every day though. Periodically- a few times a month, once a month, every two months…. I have through the naive stage of thinking that once we moved in together ( ( came from a different city) he would no longer drink because he would have me and no longer be lonely! I was so wrong. I knew he had a background with drinking but certainly did not know the extent, and despite me with a family with an alcoholic brother, uncle, grandfather-I really did not understand the severity of it. Now our lease is up in six months (NYC expensive place to live so moving is complicated by that!) and I either stay or go… and waiver so often. The moments when he is genuine and sober I love him and do do not want to hurt him. But he’s a bear a lot of the time. Even when not drunk he is so irritable and after years of heavy drinking I think his brain is changed though he is very smart. I wonder if he drinks to cover some other mental issue. I know he was abused as a child. So many things that require healing and the booze does not let that happen! I have learned that small lies and constant timing with money issues are continual. I have gone through many cycles of having hope and having us get more stable then having things blow up with another drunk cycle of days, verbal abuse, or his consistently blaming me for picking fights no matter what my own mood might be. We don’t smile much any more. When does one give up? That’s the question. There is that hope that if only… and that fear that somehow I could let him down or not be supportive with this being a “disease”. I am also worried at this point about being an enabler if I DON’T leave. How much do you have to accept? When does one know for sure? It is a tough place to be in.

  • Denise

    Wrote a letter but did not go

  • Zita

    Dear Melissa….David is right. I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic and the mother of an alcoholic daughter. I am here to tell you that regardless of whether they are high functioning alcoholics like my husband or dysfunctional as my daughter, you will endure a multitude of heartaches. It has been 1 1/2 years since my husband has touched alcohol and he is doing very well, but the selfishness that I attributed to drinking is still there. My daughter lies and steals and has lost many jobs due to her drinking. I feel so badly for her 10 year old son. I do not see her or involve her in any family gatherings. I have reached my limit. Unfortunately she still has people in her life that enable her. It is a very sad situation but it is what it is. I would rather live on my own Melissa than with an alcoholic.

  • Denise

    Zita is absolutely right. I would rather be alone than deal with the heartache and roller coaster ride they take you on. My youngest son does not call. Does not come to visit. This holiday season is going to be interesting.My alcoholic husband always turns it around. Never his fault. Thank God I have the woods to walk in with my dogs and the memories of Yosemite. I sit and shake my head and stare and cry. I survive but do not feel alive.

  • Melissa
    Please love yourself.
    Stay away from this disease, you put in your time, and pain, ask God to help you stay away.
    Good luck

  • C

    Thank you all for sharing your life stories. Some are very similar to what I have been through. I am grateful for the wonderful advice. I have been an enabler because there wasn’t any other choice – he was going to drink and would get nasty when I would suggest he stop for his own health. Our Maine Coon cat kept us together – and, he had another house 100 miles away so he would visit with his family for up to 2 weeks at a time – Heaven!

    I know the feeling of being numb.

  • D Robertson

    We have been together and/or married for over 20 years. In the beginning he would drink 4 or 5 beers a night. As he called it, he only got DRUNK one time a yea and he deserved it! I will order a drink occasionally but end up giving him 3/4 or leaving it.
    He lost his best friend shortly after we married of a heart attack. This started his drinking to increase to 6 or 7 beers a night and the “drunk” to occur at least monthly. As more deaths started to happen the more he drank. Always the excuse. For the past 5 years our life has been in a bubble. I hate going anywhere with him and it is easier not to invite anyone over so he does not show his butt! He does not hold his alcohol, therefore is the only one to be drunk at get togethers.
    He had surgery a few months ago. Right at 45 hours after, he started withdrawal. Thank God he was still in the hospital. He went 3 1/2 weeks without a beer. I actually started liking him again. I could see a Hugh change as far as his memory was better, driving was definitely better and he did not sleep most or a lot of the day up u til 6:00 pm when he started drinking again.
    He is not abusive to me, but he gets an attitude with our 9 yr old granddaughter. She lives close enough to walk and spends the night a lot.. He is jealous of my relationship with her. He pouts and acts like a 9 yr old with her. She keeps me busy and gives me reason to laugh and smile.
    If our financial situation was not what it is I would leave in a heartbeat. He refuses to admit that he has a problem with alcohol, and that putting himself on a 9 yr old level does nothing but upset me and her.. Even in the hospital he refuses to admit it was detox and says it was a reaction! He will not listen to his children or mine. I am 61 and feel like I am 75, he is 68 and acts like 80 year old during the day until he starts drinking. I know I am rambling and could go on and on about our situation. I am afraid of what he would do to himself if I told him to leave or I left. I love him but I just want back the man I fell in love with.
    If something does not give soon…..Any advice?

  • Kelly

    My husband and I used and drank together for 6 years , weve been clean and sober for 3 . We have a 5b year old son together he has recently started drinking again and lying about it. I love the man he is sober and hate when he is not. I work at a treatment facility and yet it took many family members and a volatile incident to finally make me see whats going on , ( and I believe has been for a few months). Know that he gets “mean” and I cannot confront situation face to face. Am actively praying yet could use some advice?

  • Sarah

    I have been dating my now fiancé for over a year and he has take the role of helping my raise my daughter after her father died. He is an alcoholic and will not get help. He has wrecked my truck twice, hit me, and put us in danger numerous times. I know he can be a good man and the alcohol is what makes him behave so badly but when is it time to stand up and say no more? I have PTSD and agoraphobia and I can hardly handle it emotionally and my kiddo is heartbroken because she loves him and I hate for her to lose someone who loves her but he isn’t a great role model. I’m lost, HELP!

  • Run away. As fast as you can.
    That alcoholic will wreck yourlife.
    He will NEVER PUT U OR YOUR CHILD FIRST.
    get over it. Start newvyear without that monkey around your throat.
    Saying this with love

  • Sarah

    Filomena I was almost ready to leave today I laid it all on the line and somehow he nudged him way back in. I have the opportunity to get out but I don’t feel I should have to uproot my daughter and leave everything because of him. It feels like my addiction is him treating me bad, I think they call it co/dependents? Maybe I need help too!

  • Regina

    Greetings to all. I am writing this to update you all that I have been married to my alcoholic husband of 7 years but a recent incident has finally caused me to decide to change my situation. The last time I wrote on this site, I was still in a fog of my own, not wanting to end my marriage because of the potential it still had. Now the recent chain of events has catapulted me into a new place emotionally where I don’t know that this marriage can be repaired.
    During his recent episode of drunkenness, he decided to go into the bedroom of my 12 and 13 year old boys while they were sleeping(his step kids) and choke one child, then proceeded to yank the other one out of bed screaming at him. Since then, I have had to obtain an order of protection, department of child safety has been to my house, the state is pressing charges against him and he is living away from my children and I.
    I am at a point where I still don’t want to end the marriage but something in me has died. He has yet to apologize to me for what he has done (yeah right…accountability what is THAT?!?!?) or even make an effort to show any remorse for his behavior. Sarah, be careful. Don’t let your “aha” moment end up with a casualty that cannot be replaced, whether that is the innocence of your child or the sanity of your own mind…..
    Good luck to you and Namaste……

  • An apology?
    Uprooting?
    Abslutely insane. If we believe we are doing anything correct by staying anywhere close to the alcoholic, then jut pray to God.
    He is the only help for us.

  • Deb

    Hi there. I say stay with the alcoholic until it begins to change who you are. It will do that. However, often there are reasons you stay, including children. Its my personal opinion that alcoholics and drug addicts are cowards. Their choice is not your choice. You can elect to ‘be overtaken’ by this world whether it be sensuality or various forms of misfortune. Or you can overcome this world. Just as any other bad thing in our lives, the alcoholic is just another challenge. Just make sure you live your life as ‘that hero’ that you image. Live admirably, be strong and shine like a star. Become a saint, though I am unsure of your beliefs. Go ahead and do it. Not many elect to do so and so you are needed. But you can do that with or without the poor folks who already chiseled their path out. Perhaps in another lifetime they can be somebody. But, your circumstances do not dictate your becoming a shining star. Whatever you choose, make sure you do not allow them to bring you down.!!

  • Theresa

    All these comments are true. I have 25 years with my husband an alcoholic. I’m not myself, so hard to be happy. The lieing never ends and even jailtime for duis don’t stop the frinking. Our daughter is 19 now so I can leave him without worrying about her missing her dad. It’s so bad that he would consider drinking after that jail experience. I’m angry sad and overwhelmed. This is so disappointing waiting to see what will click in him to make him stop. Exhausting.

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