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My Spouse is Addicted to Alcohol and I Don't Know How Much More I Can Take?

by Marilyn
(Fort Worth, Texas )

I married a man who is in deep denial that he has an alcohol problem. I read somewhere about "functioning" alcoholics, which to me seems crazy because I'm really struggling with this dysfunctional relationship.

Also, It has caused me to focus so much on his issue, that I have chosen to use his addiction as an excuse to not move forward with my dreams and goals. I feel weird when I say, My dreams and goals because I thought that if you are married that it should be Our Dreams and Goals.

Unfortunately, my spouse has given up on dreaming and /or even having a positive goal to move forward to. I think that sometimes if he weren't married to me, maybe he wouldn't be an alcoholic. I just don't know anymore ... I'm always in a fight or flight thought pattern "leave or stay" yet, I stay year after year after year. Now I am angry with myself for staying with him ... signed confused. Answer

That’s unfortunately the thing – being in a relationship with an alcoholic lends itself towards dysfunction - because how can you have a happy, healthy, loving relationship based on trust and mutual respect when the person you love essentially chooses alcohol as their first love?

And so the relationship/marriage descends into a pattern that is ultimately toxic … for both of you. But like you, people persist, clinging onto the hope that person they love will one day change, and in that process they usually end up further enabling the alcoholism, rather than addressing it as they had hoped.

And the only way to really address it is to say enough is enough – draw a line in the sand – and force the person to choose … you or the alcohol.
Because if you don’t, you end up where you are now … frustrated, disappointed and feeling like you’ve given up on your dreams.

You don’t have the power to control, change or cure an alcoholic. But you do have the power to control what you decide to do with your life. So you can make the alcoholic (your husband) choose – 'get help, turn your life around and lets share our journey together … or I’m going to have to start over because I can’t let you take me down with you while you’re busy destroying your life.'

There are no guarantees that will work, but at least then you’re taking control over your own destiny again, and not spending most of your energy fighting the dynamics of you relationship, which inevitably happens when involved with someone struggling with alcoholism.

It’s never too late either. Use that anger to motivate you into taking action and moving forward with your life, irrespective of whether or not you decide to stay in your marriage.

Good Luck

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