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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 1 year, 9 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

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