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My Husband's Alcoholism and Relapse: When Does it Stop Hurting?

by Janet

I have been married for 19 years( together for 25) to the love of my life. In 2000 his alcoholism was brought front and center and it took almost 4 years of hospitals and rehabs for him to get sober.

During that time there were several life threatening injuries that I thought meant he had hit bottom for sure. How wrong I was. Finally in 2005 he got sober after an extended inpatient stay. Life was good for 4 1/2 years. Or so I thought.

This past spring he picked up again and 2 more hospital stays followed. Everything came to a head when he picked up again 3 days before he was to be the best man in my brothers wedding. I was left with no choice but to ask him to leave. The hardest thing I have ever done!

The last 3 weeks have gone from bad to worse. His family of course blames me and tells me I tried to kill him because he managed to get a credit card and spent 3 days in a hotel a drunken mess. I was told he was near death. He has since moved in with a family member out of state and I have not heard a word from anyone.

I have also discovered that he has been taking prescription ativan on a mostly regular basis for almost 2 years. I have spent these 3 weeks in a state of mourning. I don't know that he will have the strength to come back from the abyss again.

It breaks my heart and I am very sad. On the other hand I am so angry for the lies and let downs. I keep having arguments in my head between anger and sadness.

Does this get any easier? What can I do to help get me though these difficult times. I have done AA, Al-Anon,and am in counseling.


Hi Janet

The old adage that time does heal all wounds also holds true for you. The last few weeks have been understandably traumatic for you so try and make peace with the fact that anger and sadness etc. are part of the natural grieving and healing process. It's best not to fight those feelings, just let them express themselves however they need to.

Remember too the principles you would no doubt have learnt in relation to your husband's alcoholism: You didn't CAUSE his alcoholism, You can't CONTROL his alcoholism, and You can't CURE his alcoholism. It's easy to feel guilty and blame ourselves in some way if a loved is struggling with an addiction (especially if family members start throwing blame around). So you have to keep reminding yourself that your husband is entirely responsible for his relapse and the state he now finds himself in.

But onto some practical ideas that can help you process your grief and pain, and hopefully make this period a bit more manageable ...

Journalling and writing down your thoughts on paper can be a massive help and release. When there's a lot of stuff going on in your head, writing down your thoughts, feelings etc. can really help ground you and make sense of all the chaos that is seemingly going on all around you.

And so you don't spend all your time stewing in your thoughts, make some quality 'me-time' again. It's so easy to lose yourself in the toxic dysfunction of being involved with an alcoholic, so you need to make time to reconnect with yourself again and discover what it is that makes you happy. Walking? Exercise? Yoga? Meditation? Reading? Favorite Hobbies? What things could you do and try that would re-invigorate your soul and help you find peace and happiness again?

So don't fight the grieving and healing process, remembering that in time things will get easier. But also make the commitment to yourself that you're going to spend time developing a relationship with yourself again, and re-discover what it is that really makes you happy.

Good Luck and God Bless

Comments for My Husband's Alcoholism and Relapse: When Does it Stop Hurting?

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Dec 29, 2012
alcohol and affair
by: Anonymous

Husband relapsed after 23 years sober having an affair at the same time. We have been married 37 years. Affair is over but relapse is not. My heart is broken. I cry everyday.

Jan 03, 2012
reply to torn in pain and anger
by: Anonymous

I understand. I know how hard it is when your love is so deep. I have been with my husband for 25 years. I love him with all my heart but with each relapse I trust him less and less. After 12 years of rehabs and relapses I am finally coming to underrstand that love may not be enough. I had to ask him to leave about 6 weeks ago. I know that I can not help him. he has to help himself. I need to look after the best interseet of myself and child. I keep thinking that my husband will see the light but I just dont know any more. So here I am living each day at a time waiting for him to make a dicision.
Family can't understand what you are going thru. remember they only want the best for you. I too felt the same way about alanon. try different group. you may find one you like. I found mine with freinds who have had their own experiences. Their are many more of us out there than you think.I was always taught that if you can talk about the problem it can be fixed. you are not alone

Dec 21, 2011
Torn with pain and anger
by: Anonymous

It makes me feel a lot better to know that other women feel the same way I do with an alcoholic husband, mine also does drugs so it gets even harder. We have been together for 8 yrs and I am only 25 and he is 39, its embarassing because people look down at me and say I am so young and I need to move on and we dont have any children ( the only time I got prgnant I lost it :( and my family sees me like a looser for not leaving him especially when I met a great guy who wanted to give me a great life, but the reality is that my heart is with my husband and I am so confused because I feel like I hate him so much but at the same time I love him and miss him when we are not togetgher because he is a very good person, he is very affectionate with me and tries very hard to make me happy, but every time he relapses I dont know what to do because I just hate him and have so much resentment and anger.. it is very difficult to be in a relationship with an alcoholic and a toxic relationship and I wish I was stronger and be able to leave him and I know I can meet someone else who can offer me a better life, but why is it that I can not leave? I have tried Al-anon but dont really feel comfortable becasue I am the youngest and feel like they see me different. I am very depressed with my life and dont know how to get out of this.. Thank you for listening....

Apr 30, 2011
With you in spirit
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry for the pain that you are experiencing. I married the love of my life 16 years ago (together for 20)and I know the despair, confusion, frustration and fear that is part of any alcoholic marriage.

My husband's drinking was raging out of control for nearly 3 years before he finally managed sobriety thru AA for nearly a year. The first 3-4- months of sobriety were nearly as difficult on our marriage as his drinking. Just when I thought I could breath again after a year of sobriety, he relapses - several times.

He feels guilty, he feels remorse and he feels the pain it causes. Which makes everything harder in some ways. I hate the alcoholism as much as I love the man. Constantly torn in two.
Al-Anon helps and I've got to get back to more meetings. I'm also going to get my 12 year old into Al-a-teen as it looks like we have a long road ahead and I want her to have the skills and support to be strong and healthy.

I will be thinking of you and all the others who struggle with those who struggle with addiction. Hang in there and try to keep yourself in the middle between the hope and fear because you truly can't control it. Good luck and surround yourself with support and encouragement.

Oct 26, 2010
Husband's relapse
by: Anonymous

Hi there, I can totally relate to your pain. I feel similar in my 17 yr marraige. My husband has never seeked treatment and continues to be abusive and closet drink. Our four children have seen it all and I wish I had the courage to let him go and move on. I have emotionally detached from the husband and am not in love with him. I will never let me touch me again because the pain is far to great the next day or so. From the experience and years of living with an alcoholic, there are not too many happy endings. Most of us are wrapped up in our dysfunctional lives and wish that there was an easy way out. I am hoping to find the courage to file for divorce and live the rest of my life with certainty and happiness. I wish you the best and hope you find the courage also to move on and find your own happiness. You are not alone. There are so many people out there like us. We know what an awful path alcoholism is and hopefully, will find a way to a better future. Good luck, contact me anytime.

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