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Is it Possible - Recovering Alcoholic Married to an Alcoholic?

by Susan
(Fredericksburg, VA)

I have been sober for 7 months. I stopped drinking because it was only bringing tragic consequences to my life. I married my husband last June, when I was still drinking. He is a daily drinker and until 3 weeks ago, had not changed his drinking habits at all.

But 3 weeks ago, I couldn't take it anymore and asked him to stop during the week. My question is, is it possible to continue my life when he continues to drink on the weekends? I am doing great with being sober and I am loving life so much more, but I feel resentful towards him.

Resentful that he doesn't stop completely. He has told me, he just likes to catch a buzz and he handles it well, which he does, he is a good drunk if there is such a thing. He gets affectionate and lovey dovey. I am resentful that I have to be around it. I am resentful that I can't drink. I am resentful that we are in different places.

And I am scared that I have to spend the rest of my life sober but living with alcohol Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have always said, he shouldn't have to stop because I have, but I also ask myself, is it fair for me? Please help. I asked him to stay at his parents tonight because I have to think about this. Answer

Hi Susan

Is is possible to have a successful relationship with an alcoholic if you're in recovery? Sure. But you have to go beyond that and ask yourself if that's what you really want, especially considering how resentful you already are about your husband's drinking.

The only way it would work is if you totally accept your husband as he is, knowing that you can't change him, and it's his choice whether he continues to drink or not. Is that realistic though? Only you know yourself well enough to be able to judge whether you can let go and make peace with your husband's current lifestyle.

Be honest with your husband and tell him how you feel. Maybe you can both reach a compromise while being true to each of your values and needs. Your sobriety shouldn't have to be compromised, while your husband isn't going to change unless he wants to.

Couples therapy/marriage counseling might be worth considering to explore if there is a viable middle road you can travel, so each of you feel your needs are being met. But only you can honestly answer whether you can realistically see a long-term future with an active alcoholic?

Being in a relationship with an alcoholic is incredibly difficult, so the best chance your marriage has is if your husband also embraces a life of recovery, and you both travel that road together. But there is no perfect template to a relationship working. It's different for everyone so contemplate deeply what it is you really want and need.

All the Best

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