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Dealing with an Alcoholic who promises to get help if I don’t leave….


We have been married for 5 years.  I had no idea that he was an alcoholic when we married.  I thought he was an “alcohol abuser” and was just stuck in his university days.  His drinking has escalated to the point where I can’t take it anymore.  We had our first child 2 years ago and I cannot leave him alone with her as I don’t trust him to take care of her.  I have threatened to leave a thousand times and each time I do he says he will go get help but never does.  I am finally at my breaking point and am ready to move on.  My problem is that I feel so guilty and feel like I am abandoning him as he is obviously sick.

Should I go? Will he ever change? Can I force him into therapy? I am ready to leave but still not ready to share with my family and friends.  I am so angry at him and so mad at myself for being paralyzed to take action.

#1508 Reply

Cara Mia

Run don’t walk to the nearest AL Anon Meeting.  Go to 5 meetings. Get a sponsor.  It will help immensely and it is confidential.  About alcoholism we say you didn’t Cause It You Can’t Control it and you sure Can’t Cure it.  Holidays are so hard.  Take care of yourself first and your alcoholic second.

#1678 Reply

Leave, no question about it.

Your responsibility is to your children.  Imagine that he drives drunk and they die.

SHARE IT.  IT WILL EMPOWER YOU.  My wife is mentally and physically abusive… at first I was ashamed and embarrassed but like Cara Mia said, you are not the cause, nor the cure.  It is SAD and you have to deal with that.  You may still love him, but you also love your two children and you are their mother who has a responsibility to protect them.

#1730 Reply

Jessica Ehrenworth

Hi Tired,

I am one of the therapists on this site. My name is Jessica Ehrenworth.

Al Anon is an amazing organization that provides amazing support.

The one thing about behaviour, is when we say we are going to do something and don’t, the other party stops believing us. Whatever you say, make sure you are willing to follow through or else it becomes a threat with no consequences. It is ok to let go. Sometimes that is the only thing to do.

Behaviour doesn’t change until things become bad enough to force us to change it. You cannot force him to change his behaviour  (to stop drinking). If he says he will and doesn’t that shows that he is probably not ready. Addicts often need to reach rock bottom in order to think about changing their lives.

The question for you becomes, are you willing to go down with him? You can support from afar. Sometimes leaving is the best wake up call and support you can give someone. Leaving doesn’t mean you don’t love him or are abandoning him, sometimes it means that you love him immensely and it is the only thing you can do to change an unhealthy situation.

Change starts with you. You can only control what you do. You deserve to be happy.

If you would like to talk further, let me know. I am always here.

#9041 Reply
random avatar

If you have family or friends to stay with temporarily go as a test.   I left my husband completely and after he stopped smoking pot and cut down drinking.  Too little too late cause I asked for that for years.  But some space and losing you might do it.  Otherwise he’ll just keep talking about it

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by mara.
#10844 Reply
random avatar

Hi everyone,

Your words hurt because I live the same nightmare for ten years. We were high school sweethearts and got married after only a few months of dating. He is the love of my life and promised him to be there for him no matter what. But I have only one life to live. He’s an alcoholic who lies and steals money from our account to get vodka daily. Our debts are growing and I am desperate to move on with my life. I almost forgot how it feels to be touched and kissed with love, to have one you can have a conversation with and most importantly, one who you can trust. I’m alone in this country, have no relatives, working but not making enough money to afford a rent or to be able to support my children. I had very dark moments when I considered checking out as the only solution, but then who will take care of my angels? I must find strength… and start it all over again.
Please help me where to start…where to go for support or advice.
Your time is appreciated

#10925 Reply
random avatar

RUN!!! Don’t Walk, RUN as fast as you can. Don’t make the same mistake so many of us have made and stay, it NEVER gets better. They promise, you cave and the cycle begins all over again. I’m telling you this from experience. I thought my love for him could fix him….guess what, it didn’t and still hasn’t and I’ve wasted exactly half of my life with him and now stand to lose everything because I stayed married so long he’s entitled to HALF of everything I have, even though he never once paid the mortgage or the power bill….but he somehow always had enough money to get his alcohol. I wish I could tell you, yes, stay and work with him, but DON’T! If he really wants to get help, he can do that, and THEN come back and prove to you he has done the work. Good luck my love

#10990 Reply
random avatar

one thing I learned about addicts they will NEVER ever change. Problem is that many people that put with addicts are codependent. I lived with an addict for 30 years. When I met him he was an addict and I didn’t know ANYTHING about addiction, drugs, booze, none of that. I thought I was doing a good thing by helping him. Boy was I wrong. i was a mark and he knew it. I’m working myself up to leaving him. If at all possible I plan on leaving him on his 65th birthday, a birthday present from me. It may sound vindictive but I don’t care. I KNOW without a doubt he’ll go back to drugs. The only difference is I don’t care. If I see him on the side of the road and I could save his life, I wouldn’t. He was the only man I ever loved. Now he’s the only man I despise. Until I leave (he will NEVER leave, I have to do it) I will make his life hell. 2 months ago he was admitted in the ER with a heart attack. He was in ICU for a week. Had I known it was because he took cocaine, I would’ve never gone to see him. I found out purely by mistake, the heart surgeon did not know that he asked that no one tell me that he tested positive for cocaine. Now that I found out, I wish he went and got high again and dropped dead. I’m soo over these scumbag addicts. When I met him he was homeless (yes I know…long story, again I knew nothing about drugs or the pathology of those that are addicts). I helped him clean up, get a jog, got a home, got his own business going etc..all along always battling his need for drugs. I learned SOOO much about addicts and addiction and, sadly, it’s only in the past 2 years that I learned about co-dependency. I’m a classic example of a co-dependent. Now maybe I went to the dark side but I have no sympathy, no patience, no caring for ANY addicts. I would never ever ever help another addict for as long as I live. I don’t care why and how they got there. I have had A LOT of trauma in my life from as far back as I can remember (and I have the scars to prove it) and I know that addicts are sad pathetic things that can’t deal with life. Best thing to do is walk away from an addict. As soon as my youngest is out of school (i need to help her financially) I am out of here. Look forward to the day I walk away. Until then maybe he’ll do me the favor and go get high and drop dead in the process. Good ridden – I have wasted 30 years of my life on a pile of human trash and I regret EVER saving this thug’s life !

#11041 Reply
random avatar

I’m coming at this with experience. Being a recovered ‘Alcoholic’ for quite a some time. When people are in active addiction, they are the biggest liars not only to others but more importantly themselves. He will not get help unless he is honest about his problems, whether he lives with you or not. You have some serious variables here, namely the safety of your child(and yourself) both physically and mentally.

He is not only sick(mentally), but out of control dependently. And there are many variables to that. He has to face what ever demons he has in his closet that makes him choose to pick up that drink. It is up to him to re-establish his moral compass and get the help he needs. That is his choice to make, not yours.

You have to make a choice that is best for your well being, no matter how bad it hurts in the moment. You have to play the tape until the end in these situations, and an addict, when untreated is terribly selfish and manipulative. So why can’t you think about what’s best for you and your child? Because the addicts are great at manipulating people to make there situation more bearable for themselves.

My thoughts go out to you.

#12611 Reply
random avatar

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