A Newfound Inner Peace

As the wife of an active alcoholic, I have been awakened hundreds of nights by crashes of glass, yells from the other room, or intrusions into the bedroom where I was attempting to sleep. Usually these would occur at about three or four o’clock in the morning, and I would often react with screams of my own, usually in the form of insults or threats. I would stomp out to the porch, feeling justified in releasing my venom. All that these actions did, though, was assure that I would stay awake, thus affecting the following day, as well as the rest of that night. My solution was to make a sign and place it on my nightstand which read—

Once the alcoholic starts drinking, he is no longer himself, and so I am wasting my breath and destroying my serenity by talking to the bottle.

This strategy works much of the time, although sometimes I still have my lapses. It reminds me that our program is about “Progress Not Perfection.”

By Karlyn P., Florida

The Forum, July 2018

2018-06-29T16:08:22+00:00June 29, 2018|Categories: Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, The Forum|

30 Comments

  1. Jennifer S. September 2018 at 1:31 am

    30 yrs married, kids all left home and all he does every night is drink. He always says he will stop, it’s the job, the worry of being the only earner. My MS is severe and not entitled to help as he’s working.
    I’m at the end, no family to help, in a country that’s not my own and no money to leave and nowhere to go. Feel I need to keep it all together until our son’s wedding in December then that’s all 4 sons settled and my job is over.

  2. Tammy August 2018 at 3:47 am

    I’m reading all these comments at 1:31am. I’m supposed to get up and work at 5:30 and know that isn’t going to happen now. My husband has now finally fallen asleep on the couch but I’m still worked up and can’t sleep. I don’t know what to do, but I can’t do this anymore. Tonight he ran into some friends of ours that we hadn’t seen in at least 10 years. Helped one of them dig their truck out of a ditch so of course they went out for a beer to catch up after. Only it wasn’t just a beer. When I called him to find out where he was I could tell he wasn’t even going to be able to figure out how to get a cab and I knew I wasn’t going to sleep until he was home anyway so I got out of bed to go get him. Tonight thankfully he was quiet and remorseful – sometimes he’s very mean spirited, never physical but very verbally aggressive.

    Anyway I read these stories and I know it’s time for me to get help, I keep telling him he needs to get help and he doesn’t do it, I know I can’t control him. But I know I can’t do this anymore. I love him and I don’t want to leave, because “in between” we are so amazing together and our life is so good, we have 3 beautiful happy kids. Sometimes “in between” lasts a year or longer but lately it’s getting more and more frequent. My emotional stability is weakening and it’s affecting how I’m showing up in my own life.

    It’s time to get help.

  3. Lynn August 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I have read over a number of these postings and in each one I see two or three familiar traits. I have hope. My husbands has overcome many obstacles in his life. He has quit some pretty hard drugs and quit pot just before I met him. Alcohol is the last hurdle, but like many of these postings, he can’t quite get past this. He does not recognize that alcohol is an addiction, just like the other addictions. He justifies his drinking. He hides his drinking. Lately things have gotten out of control. Last week his drinking and obsessive behavior drove such a deep wedge between us, that despite his apologies that trust is no longer there. I love this man deeply but he does not understand how this is affecting both of us. He laughs when I tell him how he stumbles and the mean things he says. He doesn’t understand how a night of drinking is why he cannot cope the following day.
    He is driving me away.

  4. Ariella August 2018 at 12:32 am

    I am currently engaged to a functioning alcoholic. We have been together for almost 6 years, and engaged and living together for 6 months. His drinking has been only on weekends usually, however the last couple of years it’s gotten worse and worse. Any day off he has, he drinks as soon as he is awake. He tries to make sure he is sober enough to go to work the next day, but he has already had to call off multiple times, in which he continues to drink. He is emotionally abusive when he drinks, threatens me to drive him to get more alcohol. Lately he’s been more physically abusive. I’ve had to hide bruises from friends and family or make up excuses for them. I am the only one who really knows about his issue besides his side of the family. So all my friends and family are so excited about the wedding and keep asking me plans for it. We have our date set, and now it’s getting time to pick vendors and such but I’m nervous to be putting all this stuff set in stone when he’s been out of control. I don’t know if I can trust that we will get help, he says he will but he then changes his mind and says he is scared. I am scared to leave for many reasons, he is my best friend, we live together and work together, all of our lives our intertwined at this point.

  5. pat August 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I find comfort in knowing i am not the only one who lives in this state of anxiety and pain. I too live with a functioning alcoholic. My husband is a professional with a very good job. He goes to work every day comes home every night. He doesn’t cheat or use drugs, he doesn’t even drink every night, but every weekend from Friday to Sunday night he drinks till he is slurring his words and making no sense. I know for my own sanity I need to get help and move on.

  6. Melanie August 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I need help as well. I have been with my husband since age 17. I am 49. He has always had issues but in the past 4 years he has really gone crazy with his drinking trying to stop taking Xanax. He cannot hold down a job. I cannot work out of the house because I cannot trust him with the kids. He is verbally abusive to the whole family. He will not get help. Said I did this to him. Said if he kills himself it is all on me. His personality turns from one moment to the next. Says evil things. Threatens me all the time. We are all scared that anything we say will make him mad. He cannot function without drinking. I don’t know what to do. He argues with everyone. Goes into fits of rage. Ruins everyone’s days and then blames me for all of his issues.

  7. Anonymous August 2018 at 9:02 pm

    My husband is a functional alcoholic. He mostly isn’t verbally abusive and he is never physically abusive. He comes home and almost instantly starts drinking. On the weekends, he still only drinks in the evenings but he drinks more than 8 cans of beer every night. He no longer goes out with friends or goes out to drink at least. He will drink by himself on the patio. Sometimes he passes out on the patio or the toilet. There have been times where he peed on the floor because he thought he was at the toilet. He bangs into walls, doors, furniture. He can barely stand and he slurs so much and goes on nonsensical tirades without any prompting from me. I love him but it is hard. Sometimes I hate him then I feel guilty because he has a problem and he needs help but no matter what I say or do, he will not get actual help. Sometimes I think, only 7 more years until our son is an adult. I only have to live with this for 7 more years. But I don’t want to think like that. A lot of spouses have it so much worse than I do. He just annoys me and worries me. I start to worry less and less and I wonder if it is because I’m starting to love him less and therefore don’t care as much.

  8. S August 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I love my husband so much. He is a wonderful loving husband. But… his drinking is out of control. I think it always has been but lately things are worse. He has never been violent and manages his job so I feel bad posting when I think many other posts have it far worse but there are also so many similarities – he lies – he lies blind to my face about drinking when I know I am right and then the whole night is gone – he can’t even string a sentence together. I don’t know what to do or how long I can carry on like this. Although he would never knowingly hurt anyone or anything when he is drinking he doesn’t always know or think what the outcome might be – I dare not have a weekend away as he would need to look after our dog and frankly I don’t trust him to feed him or wake up in the morning to let him out. He won’t talk about it and so many of our friends drink a lot so he uses that to normalise his drinking but we have been married for 30 years and I know this is not normal. I want to support him but just don’t know how as he seems to just see my support as an excuse to keep getting away with it.

  9. Sharon S. August 2018 at 10:18 am

    All these stories resonate with me. I wonder if I am the sick one. Living with an active alcoholic is too much. I try not to react to the verbal and emotional abuse, but it is wearing me down. Al-Anon is a safe haven, we are not alone.

  10. Tara August 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I left and I’ve waited for him to get it together. Two years of separation and he’s still drinking, attempted AA once and failed and blamed it on me even though I’m 4,000 miles away. They’ll never accept responsibility. I’ll never be happy with him. Living with him was like trying to hug a cactus. I just love myself and my daughters and I’m filling for divorce. I can’t want my daughters to be strong, empowered women letting some drunken mess abuse me and potentially us. If you’re in their path you become a dumping ground for their self hatred and bizarre, twisted blaming logic. I couldn’t get on with my life because I was waiting on him. I don’t need to do that anymore. I’m going back to school and already have a great career to fall back on. I’m not living in fear of what he will do anymore. He’s going to do what he’s going to do. I can meditate, let go of trying to help or control and thank god my girls won’t have to know what it’s like to live with that because they’re very young. I’m healing and we’re safe. There’s life beyond being consumed with another person’s mess. You can’t save them. They’re on their own spiritual path. I’ve got to stick to mine and it involves joy, peace and knowing I’m enough.

  11. Heidi August 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Thank u everyone for sharing. It’s so important to not feel alone. We are not alone.

  12. Jody August 2018 at 10:40 pm

    My life is so similar it’s frightening. I’ve been married to my husband a decade and he’s always been a social drinker but his usage has been ramping up over years. The last year has been hell. He argues with me pretty much constantly. He drinks a fifth daily. He slurs and speaks in circles, follows me around the house, dominating my time and my thoughts. I have 2 young daughters who miss their father. There’s a man that lives here but we don’t know him. To make matters worse he’s our sole financial support. I feel unsafe to leave our children alone with him. I should go and work just in case the worst happens, but I can’t. My hands are tied. He’s sinking and I’m linked to him. So are my babies. I desperately miss the man I married.

  13. Jeanie August 2018 at 2:09 pm

    My husband was an alcoholic when I met him 25 years ago. He had a troubled childhood and never got help. For 24 years it’s been off and on with his alcoholism. For most of that time I really didn’t know how to describe him. Most of the time he drinks two or three and we get along but it’s always only a matter of time before he has a bad day and that bad day is taken out on me and our kids. He gets very defensive and talks about all the disrespect he gets from everyone. I can try to ignore him, cry to him, argue with him, it doesn’t matter because once he’s at that point, there’s nothing I can do or say. He usually just leaves. I used to tell him to leave and one day he asked me to please stop asking him to leave, making it seem like that was one of the problems, so I stopped doing that and instead telling him to sleep on the couch but most of the time he leaves, looking for any excuse to do so, knowing that it hurts me. He goes and usually waits in his truck and drinks until he passes out. So many times he’s left and he always comes back and is so sorry. He’s a good guy but his drinking has gotten in the way and we’ve lost so much, our home, everything. I always thought that he was just struggling with work or whatever but now I realize that he’s bringing it on himself. I don’t see it as a sickness, I see it as selfish. How can he live with himself for the pain he’s caused us. Right now he’s supposedly on the wagon and says he will stop because he doesn’t want to lose me as our kids are grown and almost grown, I won’t feel so obligated to stay with him. But I love this man, I always have. I don’t want to leave home but he’s so unhealthy. I don’t trust him anymore, I feel depressed and betrayed and I don’t even know if I can go through this anymore. I feel that something is just wrong with me to stay. My heart is broken. I’m in love with a man that loves his drinking more than he loves me, at least that’s how it feels.

  14. Anonymous August 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Reading these comments, crying. Knowing that these are all small glimpses into my life. I told him today that he needed to choose between us and the alcohol. I’m so sick of talking to him. My words do nothing. I know he will end up staying. He will end up convincing me that he will get help and that he will change but he won’t and we will be in this same situation in a couple weeks. I just want the man I fell in love with to come back. I want him to be the man I want and need him to be. It might be too much to ask of him.

  15. Kitty R. July 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I have been married to an alcoholic for 51+ years. Yes you read that right. OMG why haven’t I left him. Am I chicken, afraid to be alone? No excuse now, kids are raised. Now he has Alzheimer’s and I have COPD, plus I am visually impaired. I have macular degeneration and advanced glaucoma. I am no longer able to drive. What now? Please help

  16. Julie H. July 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I haven’t attended an Al-Anon meeting yet, but will be attending soon. We’ve been married 34 years. The last few years the drinking has gotten bad. I think partially it’s due to him living out of state for 8 months out of the year. He is going to Residential Rehab for at least a month, tomorrow, I feel relief! but don’t trust that it will work. I’ve felt angry and sad, how could our life that we’ve worked so hard at come to this? It seems I cant help him, I need to learn to help myself get better. I’m being pulled in lots of different directions, caring for my elderly mother, my daughter is sick, and my brother is dying. Feel like I want to flee and get away from the demands of life.

  17. Pat July 2018 at 6:20 pm

    It’s the lying to my face, saying he’s not drinking as he looks at me with blurry eyes and slurring speech. Saying he’s going to AA meetings, when I know he’s going to the liquor store for another bottle of vodka.” Just be honest I scream “, as he screams, ” trust me”. I feel so alone and confused.

  18. Rene July 2018 at 4:13 pm

    It is kinda odd to see comments that describe my life. I can still remember the boy I met and young man I married 30 years ago. He says it’s my fault when he drinks too much…it’s not and I know that but our relationship is so unhealthy now. I am so very tired of being unhappy and worried about his reaction to everything. It’s a very lonely life. He even swears he drives better when drinking that everyone else does sober. It’s unfair that he risks everything we’ve worked for everyday. He also believes alcohol doesn’t change him. I don’t even know what to think anymore.

  19. Ellen July 2018 at 9:40 pm

    I feel like I am reading my own life. For the past 20 + years my husband’s drinking has been getting out of control. He is still able to function and go to work but for how long? He won’t leave either, makes promises he will stop and still drinks behind my back. My kids resent him and want him to leave. Love him hate him that is how I feel. I am an educated women with dual degrees and here I am stuck in a vicious cycle. So I have made the decision to start attending meetings and bring along my adult daughter and see how we can take back control of our lives.

  20. Anonymous July 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I was made to go to Al-Anon by my therapist 7 years ago. I hated it when I started, attending my first meeting and vowing to never go back. After my partner sexually assaulted me, I was desperate to feel better and was willing to try anything. I remembered Al-Anon and mostly attended because the meetings were free. All I did for the first 6 months was show up: I didn’t share and after meetings I would need to rest but I did start to feel better, very slowly. I attended about 3-4 meetings a week when I began. I started to come back to myself and the fog started to lift. I realized that I didn’t need to make any decisions about if I should stay or leave just yet. I gave myself 18-months to figure that out and I also realized that you can love someone and still want to leave them. I started to focus 100% on my program, reading literature daily and calling Al-Anon friends when needed. I got a sponsor and worked the steps, I learned to pray and meditate, I started to have a relationship with a Higher Power- all while my partner was binge drinking daily. Now, there are many, many things that I love about him: his intelligence, his sense of humor, he is a good provider and father and I wasn’t willing to give up on him and us and the life that we struggled to create for over a decade. I did start to make contingency plans though. I went back to school to finish in case something awful happened. Today he is semi- sober but only because our youngest son tried to commit suicide (my first therapist warned me that the only way he’d stop is if some catastrophe happened- thank god my son was not sacrificed in the process). My life is light years away from when I started Al-Anon: we are homeowners, business owners, I’m well on the path to finishing college, even our children are doing well (with the help of a team of therapists and psychiatrists). I’ve forgiven him for the transgression that set me on my Al-Anon path, and we are actually happy. My self-esteem is so much greater and my past, put into perspective (I come from a long line of alcoholics and addicts so this was pretty much my fate). I am so, so grateful to this program and for anyone out there struggling, say “yes” to the program.

  21. Anonymous July 2018 at 12:54 am

    I feel everything you all feel. But someone please tell me…why do we stay? Why don’t we leave?

    I hear your brief stories on here but of course, I don’t know half the extent of them. I become enraged and I want to shout out at the top of my lungs….BEAT IT! But I know they don’t leave…

    Then I think to myself “Get out”… yet I sit here, responding to a topic as I’ve clearly not left my own situation and it is upside down all over again.

    My reason is my kids…
    But even then…I wonder…is it the best for my kids? Will he even care to take them and care for them–some days I cant imagine it…

    But I don’t want to risk my kids’ lives because somewhere, somehow I messed up and decided that reproducing with the idiot would be a good idea…
    So that’s why I stay…

    Because they don’t deserve to be alone with him, because I messed up….because I don’t want to leave them alone with him for more than a day….because I maybe want to punish myself a little for making such a messed up decision…

    I’m angry…and I don’t know what to do…yet when I read the comments I ask myself…why the heck do we stay? Why the heck don’t we leave?

  22. Jenn July 2018 at 6:52 pm

    My ah and I used to use drugs… We both got clean/sober and had a son/ got married… Then he started drinking… I used to agree its legal… He isn’t hurting anyone… He isn’t causing problems.. He goes to work daily… Then one night he got trashed and hit the wall. Then it happened again and again… Then playing with our kids threw our 2-yr old daughter in the pool and he fell so he couldn’t grab her and I grabbed her! Seeing the horror in her face freaked me out… Then he got mad threw a toy at my son leaving a mark… He quit for about 3 weeks went thru unimaginable withdrawals. Now he is drinking less often few times a week but wants me to get a job leaving our kids with him at night… I’m unable to trust him… Scared of his alcoholic behavior. He came home drunk today trying to argue. I am not trying to get a job I’m not giving up anything. Why should he give up drinking when I don’t even make him breakfast before work anymore?! I guess I used to go over and beyond for him… He works, I raise our kids.. I can’t take the chance of leaving our kids alone. What if he gets drunk like today? What if I’m not here? I’m scared feeling alone in our marriage… It’s my fault he drank again… I didn’t do enough/say the right things… we are now needing me to work but I can’t leave them… My daughter doesn’t do full time school till next year in fall. I love my husband but hate the alcohol… I’m glad it’s better not everyday but he tries to lie to himself he hasn’t drank in 2 weeks. Since 2 days ago not 2 weeks so I’m wrong… I should’ve gotten a job when he did 3mths clean… Not it was 3 weeks 6mths ago… His longest time… Says I don’t credit him enough… I’ve got a calendar and keep track… The bar tab is killing us and the new 20.000 camper with maxed debt credit cards… I don’t even know if I have fight left to go thru the day sometimes… I’m sleeping too much now and think its depression. I feel alone.

  23. anonymous July 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Find an Al-Anon group and go. I am married 36 years and did not recognize the signs. I just knew that he drank almost every night, and started several years ago choosing his “smiler” over coming to bed with me. And then would be hurt when I was irritated because he woke me whenever he deigned to come to bed. And that started over 20 years ago…I hit a spot where my life was just out of my control. And I found Al-Anon, but only after it had been suggested to me several times – over the past 4 years. It has saved my sanity. Find a chapter, go to at least 6 meetings. Give yourself a shot at regaining serenity, sanity, and peace even if you still live with the alcoholic and they keep drinking. You are worth the try…

  24. Amy July 2018 at 9:20 am

    I live this daily. It is so maddening that I live on the edge of walking away and feeling that this is my cross to bear. I have so much anger and resentment it’s eating me alive. Miserable way to live…

  25. Daniela July 2018 at 7:18 pm

    My partner now completely resents me as I kept asking him to leave when he relapsed and drunk. For years he drank daily. Now he will have weeks of sobriety but something keeps calling him back. The minute I would walk in the door from work and see the dead glaze in his eyes it would terrify me. I could not bare to hear that slurred spiteful voice. I would immediately ask him to leave which would of course bring more violence and aggression. The last few times I have called the police. He has said I am unforgivable for turning my back on him and throwing him out his own home. This is 9 years later. I’m 27. I constantly feel like it’s my fault and always torture myself if it’s just the fact I am not good enough for him to choose me over that life.

  26. Angela July 2018 at 6:10 am

    The madness started again yesterday – of course it was all my fault, although I know the real reason is the GP refused to increase his pain medication. We have been married for 30 years and together for around 36 years – the last 15 years have been hell, an affair, suicide threats, self harm, hair pulling, mental abuse. The lovely man I married seems to be around less and less. I have detached in the past to the point where he is laid in his own vomit and can’t get to the shop or the toilet – then he ends up in hospital, they detox him and send him home to do it again a few weeks / months later. He hasn’t worked for the last 8 years – he needs mental health treatment but they won’t touch him until he has a long period of sobriety. Foolishly I thought he might do it this time – I even spent money on a romantic weekend away at the start of next month, along with concert tickets. Now I am sat here wondering how to get through today, I work at home doing a full time and part-time job and have no escape, he has taken so much from me both mentally and financially (over £20,000 in treatment), he won’t leave, the drinking will no doubt escalate rapidly but why should he force me to leave my home. I have just emailed a solicitor, I don’t want to be without him but I can’t live like this it is making me ill. He says I will be responsible for his death if we separate, I know that it is not my fault but this is so hard….My eldest son will be returning from university next month – this has affected him so much and I don’t want him to be coming back to a home where he feels it necessary to barricade his bedroom door – I have to make this stop but don’t know how…

  27. Liz July 2018 at 9:04 pm

    I’m feeling so lost. What do you do when he doesn’t see it a problem and that it’s my fault he drinks too much sometimes. I feel like I failed him and our marriage. I feel so alone.

  28. Linda July 2018 at 12:25 pm

    This all just makes me feel so alone. My A H use to be my best friend and lover

  29. Anonymous July 2018 at 6:55 am

    Same story for me
    My anxiety is out of control
    He constantly tries to engage me after drink 2 and I am doing my best to detach with love
    I would say most nights I can do it but feel so deflated when I wake up each morning knowing I have a 8 hour period of time before it all begins again
    My dilemma is that we have an adult child with complex special needs so I can’t easily leave
    I appreciate this site as it offers me guidance and hope
    Thank you

  30. Michelle July 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I’m living exactly the same as you. I feel discouraged and impotent about this. Sometimes I feel like it’s my fault, sometimes I know it’s his decision. But in fact it’s hard to ignore, watch him destroying himself is killing me.

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