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Husband Swears He Stopped Drinking But Continues to be Verbally Abusive and Displays Drunken Behaviors

by Karen Brown

The husband swears he has only drank once in 5 months BUT he continues to act like he has been drinking. He continues to be mean and say inappropriate things in front of our 4 children.

If I say to him, "You are acting differently", he lashes out verbally. The next morning, he continues to uphold that he has been sober. I don't believe him. He slurs his words, face gets real red, he has hate in his eyes, says very hurtful things, stumbles, and falls asleep early at night.

Our two teenage kids know when he is acting like this and hate it. The husband blames me for my neglect of him for years on his behavior. I know I am not the cause of his alcoholism or verbal abusiveness. Is it possible this is a mental illness and not just the alcohol??

He thinks he is doing everything to keep the marriage together, although, continues his abuse.


Hi Karen

Dry Drunk syndrome is a symptom some people display who have have stopped drinking - but who don't actually work at changing their old negative and destructive thinking patterns and behaviours, so they're essentially the same person they were when they were drinking, except without the alcohol.

Now this could be your husband, but someone who slurs and stumbles sure doesn't sound like they haven't been drinking. But it actually really doesn't matter - because even if you do stop drinking but don't make the effort to really change - what's the point?

That's why having an alcohol addiction recovery program to work at once you stop drinking/achieve sobriety is so crucial - because that's where you make the lasting mental and emotional changes that allow you to become a 'better/new' person now that you're no longer drinking.

So if your husband hasn't made any effort to find/work at a recovery program like AA - it's not surprising he's just the same as he used to be. And until he stops playing the blame game and takes responsibility for having to change, you're unfortunately going to be stuck with more of the same.

Any kind of abuse is under NO circumstances ever acceptable and you need to convey that message to your husband. He needs help and you should insist he gets it if he wants to save your marriage. A combination of therapy and working a recovery program will help him change.

And if he's not prepared to do that, for your own sake and that of your children, you should then really consider whether continuing in this relationship is going to provide you and the kids with the love and stability you need.

The sad reality is, until your husband is prepared to take TOTAL ownership of his problem and get the help and support he needs, nothing is likely to change. You can only hope that if he realises you will no longer tolerate his behavior and that he may lose you as a result, he'll be motivated to do so.

God Luck and God Bless

Comments for Husband Swears He Stopped Drinking But Continues to be Verbally Abusive and Displays Drunken Behaviors

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Mar 27, 2013
alchaholic husband
by: Anonymous

hi I am married to a alchaholic, he is a binge drinker, i used to drink with him and then relised we argued all the time so i stopped,, He hates me for this he goes out looking for compamy with his mates or else brings them to the house for a drink, \i hate it when he drinks he usually gets cross and says horrible things to me, i love him but its getting to be a joke now, he hasnt made love to me for about 6 months as he has put that much weight on and i think this gets him down, i have tried talking to him when he is sober he tells me if i dont like it i know where the door is, i am so ashamed to go as i was married before and i dont want another failed marriage. i just wish he would stop this drinking, he is a fantastic man without this drink, but when he is drinking he is so different,He is always looking for drinking partners and wanting them to come to our house all the time,we live in my home town and he blames me for being here says he hates it,when he is sober he is always sitting sighing which gets me down , I tell him i dont want his mates here in the house but he doesnt listen and brings them here before i get home he knows i cant say anything while there in the house what am i going to do please help me

Jul 04, 2010
Still drinking and tries to hide it
by: Anonymous

Believe me when I tell you, it only gets worse. My husband lives in the denial stage saying he doesn't drink and then he gets drunk, acts inappropriately, slurs his words, trips over his own feet, sleeps for long period of times, and then the next day, acts like not a thing occurred.

For the past 6 months, I have been in his face and continue to tell him that I do not believe him that he is not drinking. I have taken a little bit of video of him while drunk and will continue to do so if I can.

I am taking myself and kids to a counselor that specializes in Alcohol Abuse.

I am worn out, like you. You just will never win with your husband. They want to keep their control over you and especially their drinking. This illness/disease is so strong they really do not understand the depth of destruction they cause.

I now am firmly telling him I want him to change for our four children, not for me. I am spent and don't think I can love him like I did in the past. Still trying to find the strength and courage to get him out of our lives.
K Brown

Jun 25, 2010
Verbal Abuse from your spouse
by: Anonymous

My spouse gets drunk about 2 times a week. I never know what I;m gonna get nice or nasty should I leave the house or stay... I never know what to do..... the last time he was drunk was three days ago he came in from drinking all day and talking loud I said " Honey please I haver a headache can you lower your voice" OHHH God not good... everything I said after that he took personally as a DIG he calls it. I had no intension of getting him going but he kept on about things that hurt me until he got a reaction i got up and left the house I have not talked to him in three days,,, I am so sick of this behavior I don't deserve this. It has happend so many times I have no tears to cry.
He wrote me a letter on my email telling me I know you dont want anything to do with me so I will leave you alone then the next day he had a skintag and cut it off and ran in for my help because it would not stop bleeding. He tries to get back in my good graces by some antic he thinks up when I really am mad at him. Other instances he just apologises and tells me the next morning he loves me and to ingnore his words and to get tough. I am sticking to my guns and not letting him do this to me anymore.

Jun 10, 2010
Different drunk, same blame game
by: Greg A

I fell in love with alcohol because, in the beginning, it made me feel so good. When it started causing social/legal/health problems and I continued to drink, I initially blamed my parents. I eventually blamed my jobs, my first wife, second wife, third wife, then back to Mom (after she moved in with us).

Most spouses will buy into the guilt trip for a time and do things to appease the alcoholic or control their drinking and so on, but what they eventually realize is that there is nothing they can do to control their spouses drinking or behavior. You are about at that point now.

It's another form of the old lawyer joke: How do you know when an alcoholic is lying? Ans: Their lips are moving.

When we are in our addiction, we will make any promise, tell any lie, and vigorously attack anyone who threatens our drinking because we think that we cannot live without it--no matter how much grief it causes.

It maybe time to abandon ship to save yourself and your children from further abuse and let him drink himself drink without interference if that's what he wants to do. Only you can answer that question.

Jun 07, 2010
Sex is an act of love
by: C-P

Sex is an act of love between two people who care for and respect each other. So if your husband is not acting in ways conducive to creating those feelings and continues to be abusive - its perfectly understandable that you no longer want to have sex with him. He can't have his cake and eat it. Marriage does not mean you have to provide sex on demand. If you don't feel the connection and your partner/spouse abuses you or makes no effort - you don't have to feel obliged to have sex. So don't let your husband try and turn this whole thing around again by shifting the blame onto you. I said it before - any form of abuse is under NO circumstances EVER acceptable. Make a decision that you're going to start doing what is best for YOU and commit to leading a life that will make YOU happy otherwise things will continue like this. Your husband needs to take responsibility for his life - and until he does, don't expect him to change. You can't control what he does - but you can control your decisions and the choices you make. I know it's not easy, but you can do it. Good Luck.

Jun 07, 2010
more questions about abusive alcoholic husband
by: Anonymous

The husband continues to feel that my neglect of him (sex and communication) over the 17 year marriage has caused his behaviors. If there has been a lack of communication is because I have chosen not to argue with him, especially when he is drunk or acting inappropriate, so I have remained quiet. Since I began telling him my feelings for the few years and yes I admit, when the kids are not around, I have yelled at him, he feels I am abusing him. I can not get through to him period. He listens and sometimes admits his wrong doing, then may be on his best behavior for a few days and then asks for sex. I have been rejecting him almost each time for the past 5 months, with the exception of two times. The two times I gave into him, the next day, he acted inappropriately and said hurtful things, even in front of kid's friend.

The husband continues to pressure me for sex almost daily and can not see that his awful words regularly are to damaging to my feelings. I know this is a pattern and he can not cure himself.

He feels I still should want sexual relations with him but I am too hurt. I really think my feelings won't change. Is withholding sex part of detachment?? Do you think what I am feeling and doing is part of breaking away from him? Please tell me I am right in not wanting this man to touch me any longer?? I am so tired of this awful cycle. Thanks for all your advice.

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