Why Is It So Hard For Me to Leave My Alcoholic Husband?
We have been married for almost twelve years. WE have two young boys - 5yrs and 6yrs old. My husband has been an alcoholic the whole time.
He is a chronic binge drinker. The cycle goes like this: he drinks after work until late into the night. Comes to bed drunk for weeks at a time until he does something really embarrassing or aggressive and he realises he needs to get his drinking in check. Like most of the stories I have read, he is profusely apologetic the 'day after' and also incredibly loving.
I am a committed Christian and for all those years I have relied on my faith as a way of getting through/over my husband's frequent drunken episodes. It is also the reason I haven't rushed out the door. I have believed many things including that God wants me here for him; that he is my 'mission' or my cross to bear; that God will change him and I will see it; that he is a good Dad during the day.
I know that allows divorce in certain circumstances like this. I also know that God understands and would love me regardless of what I do. So why don't I leave?
I have committed and supportive family and friends who know exactly what I go through with my husband. They do not judge and don't encourage me to leave or to stay. My father was a chronic alcoholic who did stop drinking and he encourages me to stay. My mother who suffered for many years with my father suggests I should leave. Interestingly they are still together.
I just struggle in my head and heart and don't know what to do. I would love some sage neutral advice.
I think one of the big reasons someone in your positions finds it hard to leave is because you fear change ... the unknown. Subconsciously you know what you have in your husband - whereas what is 'out there' is all unknown and can be scary to contemplate.
I think another major reason is that often the spouse or partner of an alcoholic is also living in denial - and finds all sorts of justifiable reasons to stay (despite almost all evidence to the contrary) as you have in your list above. You hope deep down that eventually he'll change ... but 12 years later nothing in reality has.
Look, no one can tell you what to do. You have to make that decision for yourself. But if it was me I'd draw a line in the sand and give your husband an ultimatum: 'turn your life around or I leave.'
Sometimes that will scare an alcoholic like your husband to change - but often it doesn't and he will choose the alcohol.
You have to understand that we can't control someone else's choices. Until your husband takes responsibility for his alcoholism and does what is necessary (gets help etc.) to overcome it - there is little you can do.
I believe that God has given us free-will so that we can create our own lives - and that ultimately he wants us all to learn how to find happiness, peace of mind etc. And if a current relationship gets in the way of that - and we've done everything we can to help - then I don't think there is anything wrong with moving on.
But that is simply my view. You have to make the decision yourself. What is going to be best for you and your children in the long run? Why not also go along to something like Al Anon and meet spouses who are in your position to learn from them about how they've handled it?
There is also a book called Help: I Live with an Alcoholic
you may want to get your hands on and that can also provide additional insights on ways to handle things you haven't yet thought of.
Hopefully some ideas here help and good luck with whatever your decision. God Bless.