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My Husband's an Alcoholic.Should I Leave Him?

by Debra
(Alberta Canada)

I am married to my husband of 28 years. I knew he drank when I married him, but didn't think it would be a real issue. Well 28 years later it has gotten unbearable at times.

I left him a few times, when our children were young. But I always believed him when he promised he'd stop drinking if it meant losing me and the kids. He managed to stop drinking once for a year year - before he started up again. And he continues to stop and slow down a bit.

But he is the nicest person when he's not drinking. Lately though he's been a mean drunk, picking arguments with me for no reason. An example is tonight, I ate dinner before him, because he was too into the beer. Well he decided a while later to cook some dinner. He made enough for me and him and put a plate out for me. I told him I ate earlier and wasn't hungry. He got really upset, and said nasty things to me that hurt my feelings like so many times before.

I am so confused as to what to do anymore. We don't have children at home. They're all grown up. And I just don't know what I should do? I feel alone and sad. Could you please give me some kind of suggestion?


Hi Debra

Your question is probably one of the most difficult to answer because it's different for each person. Unless there is any form of abuse involved do I think there is a clear case that you should leave without question.

The unfortunate reality of being in a relationship with an alcoholic is that you can do nothing to control them or their drinking. So they have to want and be ready to stop drinking themselves - and be committed to putting in the necessary effort to make it happen, if they are ever going to achieve lasting sobriety.

So I guess you need to ask yourself - do you think your husband will be ready and committed to stop drinking himself? You may be able to help create sufficient motivation that he does - by giving him an ultimatum or doing an intervention, but apart from that you are powerless.

So then you need to ask yourself, do you think your future will be better and more fulfilling by staying with an alcoholic husband,- or better and more fulfilling by leaving?

Some spouses leave and say it's the best thing they could've done, and others stay and somehow manage to live with it.

No one can give you a definitive answer. You need to reflect deeply and decide what you want for yourself. It's not easy I know. Why don't you take some time away - that will give you some time to think and reflect, and give you the opportunity of spending time without your husband so you can experience what it feels like without having him around, and which might then help you make your decision?

I think you should also get yourself to an Al Anon meeting (for family members of Alcoholics) in your area. There you'll meet other spouses in exactly your position, and they'll be able to share their thoughts and ideas with you too.

Make time for yourself to think and reflect and decide on what you want, and I'm sure your inner voice will guide you in the right direction.

God Bless and Take Care

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Sep 04, 2009
A Difficult Decision
by: Marge

It's such a difficult decision dear. I know people who've left their husbands and have gone on to be much happier, and others who've stayed and glad they did because their husbands managed to turn their lives around. I think you need to make it clear to your husband, that if he wants your marriage to last, that he needs to get sober. Support him in doing that ... encourage him to go to AA, if he needs treatment help him get it, but make him realise he needs to ultimately be responsible for his sobriety, and if he's not prepared to do that ... well then you're not prepared to carry on with things as they are.
Good luck dear, and yes, Al Anon is an excellent idea. You'll meet so many people there in exactly your position.

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