I Couldn’t Navigate My Wife’s Alcoholism Alone

After many years of marriage, I realized that my wife’s drinking was becoming a serious problem. A family counselor insisted that my wife attend 30 A.A. meetings in 30 days and that I attend as many Al‑Anon meetings as I could find in 30 days. Resentfully, we complied. Admittedly, I was a controlling person. I had been a military pilot and learned that, anytime my life got “off centerline,” I had to be quick to fix it. However, I was totally baffled by the fact that I could not fix my wife’s drinking.

When I entered Al‑Anon some time later, my life changed. I began to work the Twelve Steps, and I continue to attend meetings every chance I get. Once my wife started attending A.A. meetings, I thought that we had both finally found peace again. Eventually, though, she started finding ways to push away from her meetings. Things went from bad to worse when she started blacking out. It seemed like the honeymoon was over, but she finally agreed to go to in-patient treatment. She has been home now for less than two weeks.

I have learned that there are no promises and no guarantees for the future. I cannot negotiate with alcoholism. Through this process, my Al‑Anon tools were put to the test, as was my faith in my Higher Power. However, I found the strength to weather this storm, thanks to this program. My journey has not been easy. It has brought the pain of new growth and humility. I still believe in the love that binds my wife and me together, despite alcoholism, and I believe that together, we will win this one.

By Rick H., Georgia

The Forum, May 2018

2018-04-26T14:33:11+00:00April 26, 2018|Categories: Alcoholic Spouse or Partner, The Forum|


  1. Leigh September 2018 at 7:02 pm

    I am cohabitating with an active alcoholic. I have 4 adult children.
    I am thinking of attending an Al-Anon meeting tonight. I went once about 2 years ago and left feeling very discouraged. My reason was not because I had been offended but because some of the people had been in their relationship with an active alcoholic for years. It is not the life I want to participate in. I want clarity to make good decisions for myself and my adult children. If separation is the only way to resolve this I am looking for support to change my own harmful patterns.

  2. David M. August 2018 at 1:21 pm

    My wife and I have been together for 4 yrs…She drank wine when we were first together, by the box…As time went on, it went to Vodka, a 1/5th a day…She is verbally abusive to me, and my children…She has destroyed things, Tvs, my son’s phone, his jersey, etc…Always targets my kids..She went to in patient for 30 days, got out, and on way home bought a small box wine, it has evolved to vodka on the way home from her work at 8 in the morning…We go to counseling but it has not helped..She will not attend any AA meetings…I feel like all I can do, is walk away, to protect my 2 children, but I worry about the 2 she has…Looking for help and answers.

  3. Anonymous August 2018 at 4:57 pm

    My husband is an alcoholic and as you all know, it is really hard to love an alcoholic but I do. We have been married 23 years. We have boys, 16 and 13. It has been very bad this last year. He was doing better but is drunk right now. The sadness, heartache and indecision that come with his drinking is terrible. Should I tell him to get out bc he has been drinking again? Who can I talk to, I feel like we have ostracized most of our friends. God is good and I can rely on Him. It still is sooo awful though. 😥

  4. Glen W. August 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I just read new post. I feel sadness for all of us. I get the heartache. Today, I missed Al-Anon, again. 2 visits missed, but I will go back. I know that I have to keep going to Al-Anon, my safe place, a place of love, and they get it.

  5. Janet C August 2018 at 7:54 pm

    My Husband has been an alcoholic for 12 years now. We got married 16 years ago and he was preaching part time at his church. I really thought I found a perfect foundation for a family. He had Gastric Bypass surgery 4 years after we married and then traded food addiction for alcohol addiction. I grew up with an alcoholic father so know all too well how my children feel. My 15-year-old son is going down the wrong path now and my 10 year old daughter is always depressed and just hides in her room. My daughter had cancer and was doing chemo 5 years ago and my husband would sneak liquor in her room while we were there for two days at a time doing her treatments. My love for him is long gone but my kids want their family together under the same roof. I choose to be happy now and focus on them and myself. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Depression and sadness are daily. He gets drunk and passes out in his chair every night. Zero relations between him and I and all we do is argue. I’m just over it.

  6. Robbie K. August 2018 at 5:03 am

    My wife, whom I love with all my heart, is an alcoholic. She went to rehab for 36 days. It almost killed me. We have been together for 10 years, not our first marriage but I know she is the one. Her ex-husband passed away 2 years ago and ever since then she has gotten worse. The things she says when drinking are extremely hurtful and insulting. I don’t even see my own kids from my previous marriage as that one is a meth user and pill abuser. I used to drink a lot wild Turkey 101 at 10am but I stopped because of her, I loved her that much. I’m no angel far from it but to help raise my step kids for the last 10 years and see what she is doing to her own kids breaks my heart. She left rehab back in February of this year, 1 week later she was drinking. She stopped looking for a job, cleaning the house, eating, and there is not much in the department of affection. It’s so bad that her daughter’s birthday was last month, they went for a pedicure and a manicure. She took a glass of ice and they left, not 10 minutes later they’re back. Her daughter screamed she ruins everything and said she wanted her to stop by the store and get a beer to take in the shop as they had their nails done. After confrontation and of course nothing wrong on my wife’s part, they tried it again. The 2nd time was ok. I work all day come home to her on the couch, nothing moved, nothing done, she is emotional crying saying her best friend died, tells me to get out because I will sleep in another room when she gets verbally abusive and breaks things I have. I have spent the past 3 Christmas alone as she says leave and then get back. I’m here looking for help as I can’t do this alone.

  7. Glen W. July 2018 at 10:40 am

    I went to Al-Anon, this morning, 8am. Best blessing, after yesterday and last nite. I have to go, for me. This is still between her an her God.
    Just help her to stand. I’m no hero, she is if she gets thru this📿📿📿📿,Prayer for all.

  8. Glen W. July 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Yes,well, I just wanted you all to know how thankful I am for you listening!!! Sometimes it’s just to know someone hears me. The heart question always arises, Do you love Me? or I will love you, always, and fight for you. So much, and this disease!!! Thank you all for hearing me,GodBless.

  9. Glen W. July 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Well,this disease⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️as all know takes not just emotional toll but one on our spirit! Wears us down to our knees, asking, begging God,please!!!!!!help her, and help us who love her!!!! I know all of you are in agony, and I, too, have no answer, my strength, I hold on to God’s hand! Just hold me up, help me to hold still, help me when I forget she does not hear me.

  10. Alethia June 2018 at 3:57 pm

    My husband is a drug addict and alcoholic. He is currently incarcerated for fighting me and my son (20). I called my son to help me. It is a horrible feeling to have to two I love the most fight each other. I just married my husband this year in the midst of his mess. We were thinking that it was unhealthy to shack up and we wouldn’t get our blessings. I just joined an Al-Anon group and a yahoo group and have learned sooooo many wonderful things in a week than I have ever learned in my life..

  11. Glen W. June 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks,to many who share here!
    The pain.

  12. Anonymous June 2018 at 12:25 pm

    My husband is an alcoholic and he is not the same person that I married. His drinking has gotten bad since we had our child from his own unresolved issues. He says that he wants to quit but doesn’t. He has quit before and he says something like “I am going to quit for the month” so I know he can physically do it. I think it is more of a mental battle. We have certainly had our ups and downs and I have had my issues to work on (meaning I have been to blame for some things). I am not a drinker so I don’t really understand. I know it’s a disease and I know that he really has to want to quit but it’s becoming difficult for me to deal with and he does not drink around our child but he doesn’t seem to understand that even when he isn’t drunk, the alcohol is still affecting his brain and the way he is acting (I am not a doctor but that is how it seems to me). He has gotten more forgetful and he is just more critical and snippy. He drinks 6-7 days a week. Vodka. He sits outside for awhile when he gets home from work (late around 10:30) then gets mad at me when I’m ready for bed. Says it’s a waste of time to even try to spend time with me because I’m just going through ball asleep. Meanwhile on his night off sometimes he takes a nap around 7 and I never give him a hard time for falling asleep. He is a good person, husband and father but the alcohol makes him very different. I don’t know what to do.

  13. Lindsey L. June 2018 at 10:40 pm

    My husband is about to be 30, his drinking has gotten worse and worse over the last 4-5 years. We have 3 daughters, our oldest is sick, we almost lost her in April. She was born with the illness she has and my husband blames the drinking on his nerves. That having a few beers a night makes him feel so much better with our daily stress of a sick child and the normal things like bills and work. I don’t understand alcoholism. I think its a cop out, I was raised to face my demons head on, but I feel I am always cleaning up his mess and also taking care of our girls. He is a wonderful person, very sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. He is much different when he drinks. Not mentally abusive, but cocky, and rude. I have to ignore him or call his parents to come get him. I don’t even recognize him, he’s not the person I married, and he’s not what I want to bring my children up around. I feel I am stuck. We have good weeks, days, or months then he will downward spiral. He doesn’t believe there is a problem. I don’t know how to make him see it.

  14. Patrice W. June 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I never see him high but when he leaves I know what he is doing. When he is home everything seems to be fine but when that mood hits and he has that look I don’t know him anymore and it breaks my heart. It went from the first of the month to every weekend.

  15. Glen W. June 2018 at 9:14 am

    Yes, yes, wife is also alcoholic. This is the greatest test of my faith and how long do I keep going. She has copd and still drinks. This is so hard, and the hardest part, she’s the one I love.

  16. ken June 2018 at 10:12 pm

    When my wife isn’t drinking she’s the most person I have ever met. But when she drinks and she takes ambien she turns into a person I don’t know. Says things to me that are so hurtful and mean, spends money she doesn’t have then I have to cover her debits. I have had to get her out of jail for shoplifting when she had thousands of dollars to pay for whatever she wanted…and it goes on and on. I love the sober her and hate the drunk her….have taken this for 17 years I feel if I leave her she will end up dead or in jail and if I don’t I will be miserable or ruined by a lawsuit….I don’t know what to do, it breaks my heart.

  17. Carlos M. May 2018 at 6:04 pm

    As I’m writing this post, my wife is crying from the agony of defeat from alcoholism. It is most painful to say the least, as this disease slowly eats away at her very existence. I recently began attending Al-Anon meetings and they have helped me immensely, though the brutal emotional challenge is there while seeing her being consumed by this illness. I’m praying for her to seek help at A.A. though her reluctance and unwillingness to accept that possibility is too great for her. One day at time as it is said.

  18. Anonymous May 2018 at 1:28 pm

    My wife and I are about to go down the same road and it looks bleek I’ll be honest, but I promised her for better or worse and I’m going to try anything! Of course divorce would be easy but I choose her!!!!!❤️

  19. Heather F. May 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you so much for posting your thoughts. I too am an alcoholic and my husband doesn’t understand Alcoholism. He is in the military as well. We both have a great deal to learn and I’m praying he’s willing to join Al-Anon while I’m in in-patient treatment. thank you!

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