Free Report

To receive your copy of "Codependency and Alcohol Addiction", subscribe to my FREE newsletter by entering your name and email below.

Networked Blogs

Married to a Functioning Alcoholic? Getting Help

asleep from drinking too much

Mary (alias) recently took the Alcoholism Test and then emailed me. (She didn’t leave a public comment because she wanted her communication to be confidential.)

Although a few details are changed or omitted to protect Mary’s privacy, she began with

“I was researching functional alcoholism and came across your site. I took the Alcoholism Test to determine if my husband would be considered a functioning alcoholic. I have not yet spoken with anyone about this, but just researched Al-Anon and plan on attending a meeting…”

Mary goes on to make the following points:

  • Married for 19 years.
  • Husband a drinker, mostly drinking alone.
  • He has been drinking more during the last 5-6 years (now more than
  • two liters/week of hard liquor.)
  • He is not abusive and does not miss work.
  • He seems to have trouble remembering.
  • He just seems out of it at night…
  • His personality is changing.
  • He has no interest in sexual intimacy.
  • He now looks at ‘adult’ websites.
  • He has never thought he had a drinking problem.
  • She has become less tolerant of this behavior.
  • She worries that she may seem non-caring. 
  • Mary ended with wanting my opinion on his condition and asking for some suggestions on how to approach him?

I answered Mary’s email and encouraged her to attend a few Al Anon meetings to gain some perspective. I suggested that her becoming intolerant was a good thing, because it indicated she was not slipping into codependency. I said some other things too, but I couldn’t really offer professional advice based on her email alone.

After I answered her I kept thinking about her situation and how similar it sounded to what I have heard so many times before. Just look at the long list of comments following the Alcoholism Test.

So I prepared a more complete answer to all you “Marys” and “Pauls” out there who are suffering relationship problems in the presence of alcohol abuse.

Of course, what follows is only a beginning. I go into much more detail in my book, Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A woman’s Survival Guide.

Your Relationship Comes First

Relationships are the heart and soul of our society. If our relationships with others were to disappear, most of us would feel all meaning slipping away from our lives. Our husbands, our wives, our children, our parents and extended family, our coworkers and our friends help to create the meaning that shapes what we become in life. We are a social species.

Relationships unfortunately can falter. And when your relationship with your life partner is faltering, you need to act decisively.

There has been research showing that a majority of couples on the brink of splitting, but who somehow manage to hold on, five years later will be getting along fine. Unfortunately, many couples allow the situation to become unbearable before they even think of getting help, and they often don’t make it.

Mary wanted to know what she could do regarding her husband’s drinking as the cause of the other problems they were having.

I prefer, however, to start with the assumption that alcohol abuse is the symptom of something. It is often much more productive to focus on your relationship and on yourself than on the alcohol problem. Your relationship is where the real urgency is.

If your relationship doesn’t survive, your partner’s drinking habits won’t affect you anymore.

Counseling

You need to find a psychologist or other counselor who works with individuals and couples on their relationships. It would be even better if you find one with expertise in the substance abuse area as well.

If your partner has no interest in getting marriage counseling, it may not be a problem, at least at first. When you go for counseling without him,

  • You will gain insights into what you might do to improve your relationship.
  • You will gain some clarity and calm about your contributions to your problems together.
  • You will gain perspective on why you react as you do to his behavior.
    You will get clear about what you want out of life.
  • What I have often done when working with an individual whose relationship is in trouble, is ask my client to invite her spouse to come to a session with her to assist me in understanding her. This is extremely useful on its own, but more often than not the partner will begin to participate.

Other issues will emerge, including mid-life issues, self-esteem issues, spiritual issues, empty-nest issues, fears that neither of you were even aware of, unhappiness, shame and, yes, alcohol abuse.

The point is this: if your partner stopped drinking today, you would still need to do the relationship work to recover your marriage. So why not get to work on it right away and save yourself a mountain of grief?

The following two tabs change content below.

166 comments to Married to a Functioning Alcoholic? Getting Help

  • Lynne

    I too am married to a functioning alcoholic. Everyday he drinks at least one bottle of red wine, sometimes up to 3 bottles plus beer, and sometimus up to 6 bottles. He has no alcohol-free days, but he goes to work. I am over it. I’ve been married for 22 years and I am done!

  • Tilly

    My partner of 3yrs I realise now, is a functional alcoholic. The drinking of 1-2 bottles of red wine every night eventually caused me to withdraw as I couldn’t stand the smell, the look and the repetitive intellectualising.
    Now it would seem that my withdrawal and other negative effects on my psyche has caused my partner to want to leave, be independant, move to yet another city, get a better job and so on.
    I had so much love to give although we argued as I have a strong personality and can be reactive.
    I would like the relationship to heal and grow.
    We have to live in the same house until our business is sold. the business caused a lot of stress as it’s so unprofitable.
    I feel utterly devastated and and an emotional mess but have started taking anti-depressants to help.

  • faith

    I’m coming to the conclusion that a “functioning Alcoholic” will never recover, it’s not going to change unless something completely tragic happens. My husband is one of the them, and I think I need to love myself first. I always find excuses for him, he even made me feel like I was the reason for his drinking.His mother is a recovering alcoholic and amazinly enough she doesn’t talk about with him. I feel like I’m the only one who sees the problem. I think it’s time for me to leave with my daughter and start my own life, but before,I know I’m going to need lots of help and I need to detach from him, and accept the fact that alcohol is of more importance to him than his daughter and I, that alone can bring anyone’s selfesteem to the ground.He’s a loving dad,a hard worker and a kind person. But everything good he does goes right out the window. He’s made it clear he’s not going to change, and he said he doesn’t care if we get divorce. I am left with no choice, I almost feel ashamed I have stayed for so long in this relationship. I am crying as I’m typing,but I’m hoping these tears are the firts of the last tears I’ll cry over my husband’s alcoholism.

  • rhianna

    I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for 7 years. I have a question, in the past things have been pretty much like you all said. But, a couple nights ago I was in bed asleep and he came in drunk. He just got mad for nothing and started yelling. Then he said “I’m going to F ing kill you”. He has gotten drunk and angry before but I’ve never been scared, I always just blow it off, but when I looked at him there was something different about his face. It was like his eyes were empty, hollow, like he was not there, but they were full of rage all at the same time. He has never hurt me or even really scared me before this, but I was honestly affraid. I went to the other room and slept with my phone just in case I needed it. I don’t know if I should be afraid that he will become abusive because he has never physically harmed me. Even that night he didn’t but that look made me think he could become capable of it. Do you think that he is becoming abusive?

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Hi Rhianna,

    The usual progression for an alcoholic husband is from just being angry a lot, to being verbally abusive then to physically threatening (slamming doors, hitting walls, breaking things, and making threats of physical harm), and finally to punching, pushing, choking or driving into a tree with you in the passenger seat.
    It’s not possible to predict how fast this will happen, but your husband appears to be a long way down that path. You are probably in an unsafe situation, based on what you say.

    The thing to remember is that if he is drunk and in a rage, you cannot handle him. Sometimes four policemen confronting someone that state can’t handle it and call for backup.

    Please look after your safety. Tell someone, including your family doctor, about what is happening. Have an escape plan. Chapter 24 in my book, “When to Pull the Plug on an Alcoholic Marriage,” is devoted to the issue.

    Best wishes,

    Neill

  • Robin

    I have been married to my second husband for approximately 10 years. I am 50 and he is 59. During this time span, I have observed periods of very heavy drinking followed by brief periods of "not a drop". Over the last 2 years, his personality has changed dramatically in that the temper outburts are daily as opposed to occasionally. He is perpetually annoyed, verbally abusive (on a regular basis), threatens to divorce me (brought on by an innocent remark that annnoys him), and recently has poor memory recall. Both of his parents drank heavily and he has always socialized with friends who drink heavily. Quite often, I feel that I am having "out of body" experiences as I’m listening to him curse at me and am afraid to answer back in fear of escallating his anger. He blames me for his anger; repeats that I know what makes him angry. In 10 years, I can say that we have never had what I consider a typical argument or loud discussion about anything! If I disagree with him, or broach a subject that he doesn’t care to discuss, he will fly into a rage and usually leave our home for a period of a week or so. He has never apologized for any of the ugly things he has said to me, nor does he admit to any drinking issues. He plays emotional games with me such as planning trips and refusing to take the trip at the last possible moment. Simple discussions about details of the trip can bring these outburts on. Often, he will jab at me with immature comments such as "you’re just like your mother" or "would you like to hear what your children said about you?" All in all, I fell in love with a dynamic, intelligent, funny, athletic man 10 years ago and I feel that he has vanished. His personal hygiene is non existent and he no longer cares about exercise, health or weight. He has not had a physical check up for 5 years or so. I don’t want to give up on "us" but he seems unreachable in most ways these days. I emailed Alalon (sp?) and would appreciate any comments or advice you can give. Thank you in advance for your assistance. Kindly: Robin

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Hi Robin,

    The brain damage from the alcoholism does sometimes change personality. It also causes delusions, the first one being that there is no problem. The second delusion is that if there is a problem he is a victim of it, that is, it is not his fault.

    You are not, I repeat “not,” responsible for his triggers and outbursts. Your responsibility is to live your life with as much happiness, compassion and fulfillment as possible. You have a lot of years ahead of you. Can you picture yourself sitting by and watching him deteriorate and become increasingly dangerous over the next decade or so. What a drain that would be on your own spirit.

    Of course you don’t want to “give up on us.” Good people don’t break commitments easily. However, it sounds like he broke his commitment to you at least five years ago. It takes two for a marriage to work.

    Please pay attention to what I said to Rhianna above.

    You have my very best wishes.

    Neill

    PS: If you haven’t already done so, read my book. It will help.

  • Callie

    I am married to a functioning alcohlic and have been for a little over a year. We have a one-year-old son. He is wonderful with our son, he does not work but is a full-time student, and he helps a little around the house. The way that he treats me is the problem, almost like he hates me. Verbal abuse I guess is what you would call it- everything he says is cruel and condescending, he is always hateful, angry, emotionally immature and cannot let go of partying and “getting away”- why does he want away from us, we’re his family? I guess it’s because then he’ll have the freedom to drink as much as he wants to. Even his own parents know how he is. I am miserable and depressed all of the time. I don’t what to do or what our outcome will be but I find myself turning against him- I fear that very soon, I will stop loving him and leave. He has so much potential and so much good- and the whole situation is very sad. It took me a while to realize that his problem was being an alcoholic, prior to that I nearly drove myself crazy trying to please him and make him happy. He is such a miserable person and the only time he is happy is when he is doing what he wants to do- which usually involves drinking. I hate to leave and cause any confusion for our child, but I am so unhappy. Please help.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Hi Callie,

    Your son will be fine, as long as you look after yourself and do whatever you need to do to heal from this and lead a happy and fulfilling life. It is not parents’ being together or apart that that supports or hurts children, but it is how well the parents handle conflict. If your description is accurate, your son is suffering from being there.

    It sounds like your husband’s problem is much deeper than his alcoholism. The alcohol may just his way of medicating his emotional problems. He may be very smart and have a lot of potential, but but from you say he has very little insight into what’s going on inside him. Big clue: he thinks you are the problem.

    Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you can live with them. You have some tough choices to make. Remember, you have a right and a responsibility to be happy.

    There are a few articles about happiness, marriage and other related topics on my other website, http://www.neillneill.com . You might find some of them helpful. Do read my book.

    Love and blessings,

    Neill

  • Holly

    I dont know how long ago this was written, but I’m kinda in the same boat. BUT, I had to leave my husband 9mos ago. The emotional abuse was terrible, as for his 2 wonderful sons….he never spent any time with them. He too is a functioning alcoholism. He quit 3 mo’s ago and we’ve been in counsling..thought I had the man I married back until my 7yr old told me he saw him drinking when they went to his house sunday night. I looked further into it and it was true. I really thought we were on the right track. Counseling was going good and so on…but he’d been acting kinda weird lately…attacking me with stupid things here and there…now it makes sense. I hate alcohol. He tore me up and down with his nasty attitude after being found out. Said I had no right to snoop…I told him I have every right. I told him before he quit that I would not come back unless he quit driking completely…..thats that! He went back to his 1st love….beer. I’m so sad and hurt. I love him so much. I feel everything that the rest of you feel. Keep strong. Do what is best for you! You have to take care of yourself. I had family to take me and my kids in….actually I’m living in a 5th wheel camper in my parents back yard. This after living in my own home with pool, jacuzi and so on. It’s hard, but I was physically becoming sick due to the stress of the situation. And I saw it starting to affect them…that was it. I left. Not easy to say that your a 33 yr old woman living in a trailer in your parent back yard….but I had to do what ever it took to get me and my kids out. I cannot work extra hours due to the pain that comes from nerve damage…that comes from shingles…that came from stress…that came from my marrage…that came from my husbands love of beer!!

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Dear holly,

    Thank you for having the courage to do what it takes to look after your safety and well being, and the humility to share your story with others. N.

  • kelly

    I married my husband in Feb 2008. I have know him since I was 8 years old. He is my best friends older brother. I was as close with him as I was with his sister. He was my best friend. He has always had a drinking problem, however always was honest about it and for the first 8 years of our relationship mananged it where I could accept it. He would drink when we went out with friends, or when others were drinking. He rarely drank by himself. After 6 years of living together he begain drinking by himself almost daily. Prior to our wedding he quit drinking alone because I refused to marry him. After our wedding he picked up drinking alone. He now drinks on average 12-18 beers per day on a week day. On the weekends he usually will drink 24-30 beers by himself per day. He spends about about $800 per month in beer.

    I pay for our house hold expenses, and if I ask for money to help pay for certain bills he drunkely explains to me how I need to straighten up and how I’m not spending my money wisely. He refuses to eat while drinking and goes several days with out eating.

    When not drinking he is very quite and non responsive. He will go to bed at 5pm on nights when he doesnt drink. He has lost the ability to communicate when he is not drinking.

    He has lived 6 years in prison for action taken while drinking. He is not scared to return to prison he is scared of loosing his family.

    Since we have been married he has mended relationships with his parents and extended family. They now see him as the reformed person he protrays.

    Because I am so close with his family they are aware of his current actions, but he is not nearly as bad as he was, as they see it. He maintains a job and sees his son. He cuts the grass and helps around the house. He completes all the chores any husband might do.

    He has become verbaly abusive to me. As we all know, “I’m a F-ing idot because I left the hall light on!” He has poured beer all over our bed because I refused to sleep in the same bed while he was drunk because it smells. He turns the radio up so loud and refuses to turn it down and has even pushed me to keep me from reaching the volume button. He constently informs me that I don’t act the way I used too.

    I completly understand his opions. I’m not the same. I have lost who I used to be. I have allowed his sickness to become mine. I obess about it. I wonder each night when I come home from work if he will be drinking or in bed by 5. I have lost my best friend!

    I am mean to him. I call him a “drunk looser” all the time. It makes me feel better to hurt his feelings. I know its wrong and not helping the situation, but I feel better telling him how I feel. I’m sick of being nice.

    I want him to just walk away from me. I want it to be him that leaves so I dont feel guilty for his further downward sprial. I dont want to see him hurt.

    He has taken medication before for depression and that seems to help with the drinking. He has a bottle of Anabuse that has never been used also obtained to help him. He is completely aware of the problem when his is sober. He just can’t battle the urge to drink.

    I dont want to leave him just yet. But unless I can figure out how to help him, I see no option in my future but to leave. I dont know how to get him help. Should I just walk away, save myself and hope he figures its out?

  • Leah

    I am so sad and so heartbroken, I left my husband six years ago after 19 years of marriage. He has been verbally abusive and physically abusive to both me and my 3 children. Although he has been a addict for most of his teen years through adulthood, I am not an addict. I do not drink nor do I smoke pot or use any type of drugs.

    I guess what I wanted to know is why do I carry all of this guilt. Any time something goes wrong with our kids or with him it is always my fault. It is always because I did not do something right. He is now married a year ago November 17, a much younger woman with a 7 year old little boy and he mistreats their dog. The dog is a little dauschand and he puts it in the pet carrier when it barks and kicks the carrier and spins the dog around and dumps the carrier upside down and thinks it is funny. It is a boy dog and he bought it a pink collars and tells everyone it is gay. That is this little boy’s dog. He hates everyone and everything it seems and certainly tries to hurt things that are smaller and weaker than he is.

    The heartache and pain is killing me every day. When he divorced me, he grew his hair out long, got tattoos, rides a Harley, and looks absolutely horrible, but he thinks he is cool because he has a young wife, a stepchild and a little dog he can kick around.

    I know I was a victim of his abuse and now another child, woman, and helpless animal will also be victims too!

    This breaks my heart in two.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Dear Leah,

    Your guilt is part of what a bully creates. I’ve seen this many times. You are absolutely not guilty, but he created that as a means of controlling you. He was and it seems, still is, a terrorist. A terrorist is someone who gets what he wants by making others fear him. He will probably end up in jail. I just hope nobody has to die to get him there.

    A few sessions with an appropriate helping professional would help you release those awful feelings. You have carried his stuff far too long. Get some help to let it go. It is treatable! You deserve better that what you are giving yourself.

    You have my heartfelt best wishes.

  • Joyce

    What he does to that poor, innocent dog is disgusting. You need to call the ASPCA or the police. I am sick over reading this.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    You are absolutely right, Joyce. Thank you for saying what many of us are thinking.

  • hjc

    the look you describe on his face….I see that look every time my husband drinks to a certain degree. It’s like he is no longer the man I know…but a stranger, that i do not like. It is exactly as you describe. There is a hollow,empty look. Almost a wild eyed look. It’s during those times that my husband has been the meanest. It’s actually quite scary. You need to keep yourself safe. My husband was always mental and emotionally abusive to me….never physical. But it was during those times that I wondered if he would snap. The rage that would radiate from him was awful! I did leave him almost a year ago now after 17 yrs of marriage and 2 wonderful kids. I love him, but could no longer put my kids, nor could I live with his addiction. It was destroying us as people….the marriage was already so messed up. I tried sooooo hard to save it. I begged him to quit, and to this day do! I love him, but cannot be with him. I can still hear it in his voice and tone over the phone when he’s had a few. Well Ladies, looks like we’ve all rode this terrible ride! God Bless you all and give you strength to do what you need to do. You cannot change him/her, all you can do is change what you can in your life! I sure did….and still do, a lot of praying for him!

  • Sue I.

    I have just physically removed myself from my home and marriage of 6 years because my husband finally graduated to physically harming me in one of his drunken “spells”. It happened on Christmas day, which it seems is when it always happens…on my Birthday, on our Anniversary, on any holiday you can think of. His pattern is to go 6 months or more without drinking, then have a glass of wine with dinner, then eventually two a day, then four (that fourth drink turns him into a mean, angry, beligerent stranger who can’t wait to tell me how I make him angry and that’s why he drinks) and eventually a whole box (5 liters) in a day, or a fifth of Whiskey….enough to drop most people to their knees. He then retreats to the bedroom, where he sleeps it off for a few hours, then gets up, verbally abuses me, and starts drinking again until he needs to sleep it off for another few hours. He repeats this behavior every six months or so, and it always lasts from 3 to 5 days each time. I’m so sick of it – I believe I have lost the feeling of love for him – I feel empty and drained – and down right pissed off that he has made his problem MY problem. I can’t stomach to be around him when he is like this. He is such a hard worker and a good soul when he is sober – and then there’s this monster that appears. He graduated to physical violence this time around and broke two of my fingers because he thought I did not come home that night…when in fact it was just 4 hours after he left Christmas dinner at my sister’s home because he “didn’t feel well”, and left the dinner party. It was just an excuse to get out of there and drink some more before he passed out. When he awoke, he thought it was a different day! He didn’t have a clue. I grabbed the dog and got out pronto after he twisted my hands until he broke two fingers. Physical violence is not negotiable in my book. I’ve tolerated the verbal lashing far too long as it is. Now I’m not sure what to do next, but atleast I’m out of physical harms way until I figure it out. YIKES! I wouldn’t have chosen this life if I had known he was like this when I married him!

  • Steph

    My husband and I have been together nearly 3 years, we lived together off and on for 2 of those years and have only been married for 10 months now. In Jan of 08 me and “my kids”(previous marriage) moved out because of his drinking, he gets very verbally abusive not only to me but to my children, my son is 17 and on 3 different occasions he has tried to provoke physical contact with him but I always tell my son to remember he is a drunk and to ignore him and my son does, funny thing is the next day he will apologize to my son but never to me. In feb of 08 he received a dui(still hasn’t went to court over it) and I was there for him as a friend to help him when it happened and I kept things on a friendship basis, well he started beggng and pleading for me to give him another chance that things would change that he would get better and all of there usual crapola, but me loving him and wanting so badly to believe in him I came back and married him. Well he got a automatic 90 day suspension on his drivers license for refusal of breathe test when they pulled him over and even though my gut said thats why he wanted me back my heart kept saying give it a chance. Well once his 90days was up he became the verbally abusive alcoholic again, I asked him if the only reason he married me was because he needed a ride to and from work for 90 days and he told me yes!!! But of course now he says he only told me that because it was what I wanted to hear, I guess I must of wanted to hear all the other abusive things he said to me also. I have to teens and no job(thanks to him) and I want to leave and never return to this place ever again, I want to wipe the memory of this man from my life. He will sit and tell you he is a alcoholic and that is what he wants to be, he doesn’t want to quit and won’t. I have gotten back into church and trying to live right and I just cannot see how anyone could live like this for countless numbers of years. I guess I wrote this becaus I would like to hear just one more person to tell me I’m doing the right thing by getting out even though I know it’s what I have to do. I guess I feel sorry for him because of his drinking problem an thats why I’ve put up with it but by putting up with it I become someone I don’t like. And I’ve been cursed, belittled, and dog talked for nearly 3 years now even when I didn’t live here he would call and text my phone cursing me and dog talking me for no reason. I know I was stupid for coming back here it is probably the worst mistake I have ever made. Yall just pray for me and my kids that god will help us to move forward and stay strong thru this…….Thank You.

  • sharon

    Wow! Sometimes i just read some of the comments to catch up and make sure I am doing the right thing. I lived it too, 14 years on the alcohol merry go round. You think that you have done something, that you are at fault, and they blame you and tell you that you are a bad mum. They change every night a bit like dracula hey, and you cant wait till they fall asleep, because you know it is over for another night. They come back in the morning and sometimes they are sorry, or cry and when you realise that all you have to do is have more love for yourself, and tell them that they are not going to bully you anymore and dont play their game and leave if necessary. They will tell you what you want to hear, because they are so good at the game, and you keep believing them until one day, you have a heart attack or get sick, depressed or so down and you wonder how your life got so crap. I had this pain of anxiety in my chest everyday, always frightened when the crap would hit the fan, but the peace I feel now outweighs all the pain.

    The house is up for auction next tuesday, I am transferring jobs taking the kids and I am really nice and polite to him, and he sits there and cries and drinks. I wont fall for it ever again. I wonder what happened to all that love, I try and think of things that I will miss without him, but not much comes to mind. All my memories are of occasions when he got pissed and spoiled the day, passed out at the end of the night, fell over or I drove home with him passed out in the seat next to me. I think with my head and not my heart, this has got me out of this terrible situation we still have to sort out money, but when you decide what you really want. That is not nursing and running after some alcoholic who is only going to deteriorate, they progress and you dont even realise it, we go into denial as well.

    Put your heart in the cupboard for a while, use your head and have a real good look at the life you are living, and if it not how you want it, run because this is not a rehearsal, we only get one life.

    Love to all. It is so hard and I know exactly how everyone of you feel. Alcohol is a curse

    Shaz

  • Robin

    I’m 33, my husband is 55. We’ve been together for almost nine years. We’ve been married for 4. Over the last two years it’s gotten worse. He’d drink beers that I know of and then I caught him hiding vodka in the utility room and vodka miniatures in various places. I always bust him because he’s not slick. I’ve told him several times I’m done, but I don’t really have anywhere to go. He’s not abusive, he works hard and provides for the family. He’s awesome in the day time and at night he’s like a whole different man. He walks around drunk, gets up atleast 8 times at night to urinate, whether it’s on the floor by the toilet or in the toilet. He even falls and breaks things and then in the morning blames the kids for breaking the items or eating his food, which he ate! He disgusts me. He looks old now and he NEVER wantes to do anything or have sex. I’m 33! When I try to speak with him about this he just says “yeah yeah yeah” I feel like i’m going to blow and I have no clue as of what to do. My mom just died, my dad died when I was a child. I have NO parents. My siblings don’t live here. I feel helpless!

  • shaz

    Robin, you just have to look after yourself, work out what would be good for you, and if that is moving out, or near your family then that is what you do. People keep telling me that alcoholics have to hit rock bottom before most will decide they need help, Dr Neill might be able to clarify this point.
    However, I know how hard it is when they are really great of a day time, they are like the man you want them to be, however, as the afternoon progresses you knows that they are hanging to have a drink and then another day is stuffed again.
    It seems that they are only going to get worse, and I couldnt put up with the problems, emotionally and financially.
    Its a horrible problem, but after reading this site you realise you are not along, and there are heaps of people living with exactly the same thing
    best wishes
    shaz

  • Vanessa

    Even with a job/hobbies/counseling, my world has become so small. If he’s been home “sick” all day, I can’t invite anyone inside the house (a la Skid Row) because he’ll be lying nude on the living room floor, surrounded by bread crusts and banana peels. “Sick” equals passed-out. The last ER visit determined .43 blood alcohol. He works until 6:00 PM, with every other Friday off, yet we have dinner together only on Wednesdays, because he has so many other “things” he likes to do after work. I can’t plan on Christmas or birthdays, etc.. He’s a licensed California Family Therapist, working with troubled kids. Irony.

  • Kat

    Faith reading I am crying as I read your post!!!!:(
    Your situation sounds exactly like mine its so scary I have a 7yr old daughter and hsb pacifies her with candy,junk food,soda,etc. everyday against what I have asked (he has no respect for me)when I’m not around don’t tell your mother then when I find out and address it he becomes defensive and nasty! Our daughter is so poisoned,and so he loves her but as the gentleman sd at AA it’s a sick love!!!!

    Now that I have had him removed from our house 4 the 3rd and last time tried deal at first and he suggested counseling so we went to two sessions he blows smoke up the counselors you know what and she noticed and sd to me later he blames you for everything even though I ws humble! I sd how I used to nag,argue,hate him(in front of our daughter),make demands no beer in the house,etc…I was finding he drank more and he would not drink for about a wk and a half and then would say I’m just drinking one beer(but his body wld nd it,this is as long as he can go I found out w/o drinking)he stopped going to bars becuz of my demands,but now that he is out he is right back to what I have been fighting for 6yrs drinking at the bars,going out,cheating I feel and lying about it,being disrespectful/defensive to me when I catch him in lies by calling me insecure and saying “Im sick of your big mouth”, the final straw for me was when our daughter said, “Mommy daddy loves he’s just sick of your mouth and doesn’t love you anymore!” This bought TEARS to my eyes!! At the instant I knw it was time to brake all communication counseling and all get my daughter and myself in counseling so I can heal our relationship….I just explain to her we are leaving daddy alone right now,she is so confused but very sweet about not contacting him. So I call my phones provider’s and blocked out all his numbers from any contact! I feel like Im not going to put you out and let you still emotionally,verbally abuse me at a distance this is defeating the purpose! I love him dearly and he loves me and I believe he is tired of me becuz now that he is out he is free and it will get worse,so sometimes I feel guilty becuz at least at home he was not going out, back at the bars,and limiting himself to his enabling friends. but then I think about the bad times, how he talks about me horribly to his friends,sister,ex-wife,etc. that I’m the reason he is not successful and dragged him down,etc. He has always worked and had a good job and we would have nice cars,houses,etc.,but then we would lose everything and I wasnt making as much as he. C his ex-wife made double income to him so when he would fall she would pick up the pieces and just put him on a pedastal, he wld cheat she would catch him and still stay he was physically abusive to her tried with me twice sent him to jail and hit him back with a golf club so he hasn’t tried since with me it’s just the verbal attacks on me and talking about me to his friends and the same ex-wife I just mentioned(they have 2 boys who he only pays child support, but doesn’t physically spend a lot of time with,their older now)but the ex is so happy that we have split she has always still loved him and told him i am POISON for him. So I am the only who has sd u r an F/alcoholic and trying to save him and the more he fights me and says I nd 2 drink and have the problem. So he will admit and say I have some issues but so do you,etc. so now that he has gone my business has flourished, I am working on losing the 55lbs I gained consuming myself with trying to fix him and my daughter and I are doing more things 2gether becuz I am not as stressed, but at night when she is sleep I cry becuz I miss my hsb but dont want that monster back.

    I pray he falls so hopeless with despair and hs no choice but to find Jesus and get saved and one day come home!

    I feel like if i divorce him all my sacrificing goes down the drain and I am waiting to see if he files,also I believe he is talking with a woman as well as he is communicating more with his ex who is an enabler big time and pacifies him with her $ and being there for him&and he has cheated with her before so I have not caught him but his actions show he is doing something,becuz my hsb likes to have sex and will nt b w/o a woman around. The other times I put him out he called all the time confessing his love willing to do anything just wanted to come home. This time he sd Im not coming back to you the way you are and we nd counseling so he is acting different and doesnt show me he really misses us like before,so I have heard so many stories about the wife praying for hsb and he has come around (takes time).

    I figure I will concentrate on my daughter and I healing, going to Al-anon,Al-ateen,and it hurts that he DOES NOT GO OUT OF HIS WAY TO CHECK ON US AND FIGHT FOR OUR LOVE IT’S LIKE HE IS CONTENT WITH NOT TALKING. HE IS VERY PRIDEFUL&ARROGANT so I guess he figures she blocked me out so 4get it. i just pray that he misses us and him not contacting us is pride,etc and eventually he will gv in! I have since gotten closer to Jesus Christ and bought the boook POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE and now I am waiting on more blessings! I am praying for your marriage and wish you many blessings!!!!!! Thanks for listening& I pray Dr. Neil comments on some of my pain and decisions, and I also purchase book,”Survival Guide of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic”

  • Tania

    Hi everyone, I’m so glad that I stumbled across this website, and to have read the comments left by everyone of you amazing courageous woman! I relate to what each of you have shared and it’s actually really comforting knowing that I’m not alone in this living hell.

    Shaz, your post inparticular really helped me…your advice to put your heart aside for a while and use your head, I think, is essential to do. I’m currently in a 6 year relationship, and my partner has been on a rapid decline into alcohol oblivion for the last 2 years. He is a functioning alcoholic…gets up and goes to work everyday, pays the bills and although inconsistent, tries hard to be a good father. BUT our relationship has become so disfunctional. He’s virtually unrecognisable to me and is a far cry from the person I once loved and respected.

    For too long I have thought…but, this is so sad…he’s a great person when he’s not drinking…he doesn’t mean it…and he had a shit of a childhood… So forgiving!!…after that very same persons tyranical verbal abuse. That same person who is cold, empty, nasty, antagonistic… Regardless of where my thoughts take me, given my situation, it always always comes back to the plain fact..he is an alcoholic. He will not change, I can not change him, I am not responsible for him, I do not want this for my life or for my son. So there is no other option for me but to leave the relationship. It’s the right thing to do.

    Hey if anyone wants to share their story, I would most welcome it….you know, perhaps we could swap stories and thoughts, offer some comfort, support, ideas..?? I really feel it might be helpful for me to be able to do that.

    Wishing you all the very best!

    Tania x

  • shaz

    tania, you said some good stuff in there, the part about he had a crap childhood and he doesnt mean it, I have made every excuse under the sun. Still waiting for my house sale to go thru, hopefully soon. He said yesterday that he was going to have a break from drinking, straight away my mind is saying that is good. Things might come good and that silly person who wants to believe that there is no problem comes back. But she doesnt stay long anymore, I say to myself, self what the hell do you think after 14 years it could be that easy, if it was so easy he would have changed before. And Kat you said we hope that they will fight for our love and change and us girls/sorry and boys too believe that when you REALLY….. love someone that they would do anything to save the marriage, stop hurting you, love the children more, support you and care for you and be the intimate friend you had before the bottle took over. My husband just disappeared somewhere, I am leaving soon but he left me months ago, sitting downstairs with his beer and Austar, not helping me pay bills, clean the house and pool, care for the kids, main tain the house, love me or take me on a holiday.. What will I miss when I go, his cuddles of a night time, the sex we used to have, that stopped because I moved upstairs away from his abuse verbally, the few moments that are there
    of normality, hey you know what not much! It has been one hard long battle that has progressed, he hasnt spoken to my son for years, treated him terribly when he was a little boy. Husband has always put himself first, arrogant like you said Kat, a narcissist (very selfish and he thinks he is never wrong). I have lost a lot of trust too, unfortunately because all the promises are bull shit, so you get to the point, you feel what is the point of trusting them when they dont follow through with things. Just to finish, a letter came on friday arvo from a teenage girl who said he was her father, it was the year before I met him. He tore it up denied the whole thing and put it in the bin. I dont know what to believe, I am glad I am splitting up our money and property, I really believe th past comes back to bite people, how can you believe anything they have to say when they are only in their mind half the time. Love to chat more tania and kat
    shaz

  • shaz

    He lasted two days without a drink, anyway I think that was how long, doesnt matter. The last two days he was really down and grumpy. I knew he cant go without a drink, he asked would i pick him up from the club (bar) and after a few hours there he is a different person. He is more chatty, a little happier still complaining that I dont show him any love because I had switch off to save my sanity. It comes down to them or me, crazy hey, as I drive through the bottle shop on the way home from the club and he buys three more big bottles of beer I look at him and it is so sad, on the outside he is still the man I married, except for the red face and huge beer belly. It has been so hard to get myself to this point of leaving, I know if I dont go this will kill both of us, and that ultimately stuffs my kids too. If I stay I am caught in the madness of caring for him and watching him progress and put up with his eratic moods and nasty comments. The other alternative which I wish I had done years ago was to leave, I am ready to go. It is just the house sale that I hold out for and then I am gone. I honestly believed for 14 years that he was going to stop and some miracle was going to happen and I was going to have this dream life, that I have always hoped for in my head. It cant happen and wont happen while I stay with someone who is controlled by a bottle of alcohol. Dr. Neill said even if they stopped, they have to change their thinking which is a huge thing to do. Change your life, change your friends, my husband manages a club (bar) he is caught in a lifestyle that will kill him if he doesnt stop. This web site opened my eyes, I thought I was the only one caught in such a horrible situation that no one could ever give me the answer. How do you leave someone who you love more than anything else in the world….because they cant see that there thinking needs to change.

    My eyes are full of tears, because it hurts so much and I have cried heaps of nights, but the best thing is when I read back over these comments I have written and see how muc h I have grown.

    Love to all

  • nid

    Hi everyone,

    I’m married for 6 years and have a 4 yr old daughter. My husband is an alcoholic with some bi-polar illness. He tries to work hard but gets disheartend with petty issues and starts drinking. He bangs his car almost everyday, he creates a scene almost in all markets, and I have no social life all thanks to him. His family does not support me and I am not qualified enough to pick up a job.

    pls help.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Dear nid,

    Living poor on welfare sounds like it would be better than what your life is now, and you might qualify for some job training.

    In the big picture of things, you task is to decide what you want, and then take action. You don’t have to know in advance how you will do it. The universe will show you how as you go along.

  • ann

    i hate everything about my ex alcoholic partner. ive allowed him destroy my life , he is a chronic alcoholic.hes a liar, manupilator , scheaming bastard.he has begged for money on the street, hes not from around here i am, alot of people know me. in all my years i have never seen anyone to beg , only him in this village. he called the police for me because i slapped him across the head when he was drinking. im an alcoholic also. ive lost my brother and sister to alcoholism i pray i will not die that way. ive had a couple of relapses, the whole stress thing was unbearable with him.he contracted T.B last year and refused to take his medication for the nurse, he wanted me there.There was a danger my 3 yr old grandaughter was infected,and after alot of painful tests,thank God ,she is O.K . i have never seen anyone to cry so readily , and they just vanish when i tell him shut up . I dont like the person i have become, im angry ,resentful, depressed, pitiful, . Have isolated my-self ,will not go out . Gave up work as a carer because i could not take the stress living with him. I feel i am the abuser now , i insult him if i talk to him on the phone, he says outrageous things , blames me for things that hes doing . Why do i find it so hard to move on when i cant bear to be in the same room as him for 5 mins. I really thing im gone crazy from living with him. Why cant alcoholics that are brain dead ,and a liability to themselves and others be locked up. I am an alcoholics ,but i also hate alcoholics

  • LORETTA

    I feel better for visiting this site. It reinforces that I am not crazy as my husband would say that I am because he has no problem with drinking but rather I have the problem. I have known him half my life. We have been in a relationship for twelve years but I have know him for twenty. He used to be my best friend. That hasn’t been the case for a long time. He will never quit drinking. He comes home under the influence 90% of the time. If were lucky he passes out right after walking through the door rather than interacting with me and his daughter. He isn’t mean. He isn’t nice either. He is obnoxious and stupid. He talks and argues about useless stuff in the evening and doens’t really remember much of it. Actually he remembers enough to say that I am being oversensitive and exagerating about his drinking.

    I pay the bills. I would be fine by myself but I do love him. I don’t want this anymore though. I told him today quit drinking (he won’t) or move out. I hope I can keep my resolve!

  • Diane

    It is amazing how these e-mails describe exactly what I try to express to my husband when he is sober. I always believed I was stronger than my husband’s addictions; Cocaine, Maurijana and alcohol. Alcohol has won out over the other 2 addictions thru the years and alcohol has won out over me. Unlike many who have written, I have always had a great job and my husband is not physically abusive. I learned the hard way to never let my guard down. I could tell so many stories they would fill a book and they would be very similar to the stories written on this Website.

    Today my husband is retired, I still work, and if he has access to money, he will buy a bottle of vodka. I always feel like his jailer. It would be nice to one day not wait for the other foot to fall. It would be nice to let him have money and use it responsibly. Without me watching over him, he would drink and drive even more than he does and possibly kill someone. After 5 vehicle accidents, (3 sited as DUI’s-I believe he was taking drugs for the other 2), 3 totaled cars we owned not counting the ones he hit and the women who suffered back injuries, he was finally put under house arrest serving his jail time. The first DUI and a year after we were married, I thought we were lucky because he said he ran into a tree. When we went to look at the vehicle the husband and father of the woman driving with her mother in the other car were there too. My husband said, ‘Well you got what you want, I will never drink again.’ That was 27 years ago and he has repeated that same statement at least 1000 times. He also went to a rehab center. $12,000 and 2 days after, he was drinking again. He was a model patient and a great help to other alcholics while in rehab. When I went to rehab family day, many patients came up to me and told me what an awesome, great, helpful, caring man my husband was. I whole-heartedly agreed – when he is sober.

    These days, I convince myself that I am saving a child’s life by keeping a close eye on him. The problem is he can be sober for long periods of time, even up to 4 years. Then, I let my guard down. For no reason that I can see, he would start his drinking again. He says he gets depressed and only alcohol helps. I told him alcohol is a depressant. Of course, alcoholics are not known for making sense! He has seen a doctor, but he said it won’t help. Just another excuse to not give up drinking completely.

    After many years of experience living with drug addiction and alcoholism, you would think I would have found THE ANSWER. There is no simple answer if you decide to live with an alcoholic. However, I can say, if you decide to stay never, ever let your guard down. Don’t be fooled by waiting for things to hit bottom to get better – that bottom may very well be a life and let’s pray it is not yours!

  • I am engaged and my future husband drinks. I don’t live with him but I need to know how can I tell if he is an alcohlic. I have been married before and I don’t want to go through another divorce. I can’t really tell how much he drinks, he doesn’t abuse me, he works as a nurse, he is very good to me, he doesn’t party, but I need to know how to tell if he has a problem, we are going to see a counselor, because the drinking is a huge deal to me.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Teresa,

    I assume you have answered the best you could the questions in “Alcoholism Test” on this website. You would also be a lot more savvy after reading the book.

    If his drinking is a major issue for you and not for him, and he cares deeply about you, he will stop drinking. If his drinking is important to him, he may move on and free you to find someone with a better fit to you.

    On the other hand, if his drinking is compulsive, that is, he must drink, he may dismiss or minimize the issue and try to convince you it’s your problem, not his. (Listen to how he talks with the counselor about his drinking.) If you get a hint of that, you are in for a mountain of grief over time.

    Read Robert’s recent comment:
    http://alcoholism.neillneill.com/9/the-functioning-alcoholic-part-one/

  • amy

    I have been married to my alcohlic for 2 years now. I have 2 kids and he has 2 kids, all live with us. I was born and raised in one state and because of all the duis we have moved 4 states away from my family and friends. He knows he has a problem, everyone knows he has a problem.
    I love this man and don’t want to leave him but I know this is not the best situation for me or the kids. He is mean and verbally abusive to me and the kids. I am 32 yrs old and my oldest child is 16 and she hates being here. She doesn’t like the way her “dad” treats me or her 6 year old brother. He goes out and stays out nearly all night long partying with kids half his age, he is 33 and then blames me and says I nag him. He cries and apoligizes all the time and I do honestly believe him(although I know in my heart its part of the game). I also do not like the way he treats my youngest son.
    I know I should leave but there’s so much involved. What about HIS kids? I’m the only sanity they have, although that’s not saying much. He can’t go back to the state we came from because of a warrent stemming from alcohol and can’t get a decent job because of said warrent.
    We never seem to have enough money for a decent amount of groceries but ALWAYS seem to have enough money for a 30 pack a day. I’m writing this while he sleeps it off and I’m to the point that I can’t even seem to get mad anymore and that pisses me off too. I’m almost numb so maybe there’s still hope because I do still feel something.
    Reading everyone elses posts I see so much of my relationship. The fear of physical abuse, the fear of being alone, the fear of leaving. I’m just tired of being scared all the time. Will he make it home or will I get that dreaded call? Is he gonna kill himself, my kids or someone elses kids when he makes the decision to drive(he like to drink and drive, even when the kids are in the truck with him)!
    I would like to say he’s a good father but can’t seem to even bring myself to say that anymore. The kids hate him and everyone has to walk on egg-shells, drinking or not.
    THIS IS NOT THE MARRIAGE OR THE LIFE I SIGNED UP FOR!
    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Amy

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Dear Amy,

    No, you didn’t sign up for this. Leaving a relationship is difficult, even if you know it’s the right thing to do.

    From what you are saying, you are clearly endangering your children by ever letting them get in a vehicle with him. And you set a poor role model for your children if you stay, love or not. If your daughter or son grows up and gets into such a situaton, would you want them to stay no matter what? No? Then don’t model it.

    You may need some professional help as you go through the transition. Delay is the deadliest form of denial.

  • Deb

    I have married for 11 years. It is hard to pick up and leave, you think it will get better or change. My sitation has only worsened over the years. It started out with beer (weekend drinker mostly) and now he sits at the shop (alone most nights) drinking cheap whiskey until he is staggering drunk. He thinks I should be glad that he isn’t out in the bars or on the road. The situation has never been perfect but it is really bad the last three years. He was laid off about 5 months ago and hasn’t found a job. Now I am stuck paying all the bills and he sleeps all day and drinks all night. He makes sure he isn’t in the house when I get home. It is a miserable life and he has told me he doesn’t plan to stop or change. We have a 9 year old daughter. I konw I need to get her out, but we have bills and now only one income and unemployment. I can’t save enough money to even get us into an appartment right now. Things keep getting worse and it doesn’t seem that anyone notices the chaos but me.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Deb

    See a lawyer. Get him out. Protect your daughter.

  • Tania

    Hi everyone,
    This is my second post. The last was about four months ago, and I am proud to say that I have left my abusive relationship.
    I found the courage and the strength to leave and I am so happy NOT to be in that situation and environment anymore.
    I can let out my breathe, and I can relax for the first time in years.
    Practically and logistically it was a nightmare getting to this point, but well worth it…HONESTLY. I am now on government assistance/benefit (“welfare” I think you guys call it in the States), and it’s hard, but you adjust and get by…and learn to be very skilled at budgeting and resourceful with what you have and what you get.
    I have lots of emotional support from family and friends, which is probably the most significant thing to get me through, along with my son. I just look at his little face and know I finally made the right choice.
    My best wishes, happy thoughts, and STRENGTH to you all.
    Tania.

  • Kathryn

    I have been married to my husband for over 30 years. We are both in our late 50s and our children are grown and out of the house. We’ve had a pretty good marriage free of serious problems.

    My husband has always been a regular (but not heavy) drinker. I have nothing against drinking even though I drink very little / drink socially on occasion.

    For many years my husband has drunk at least a few beers or glasses of wine daily. This concerned me a little but when I mentioned it to him, he rationalized it away and said it isn’t harmful. I was willing to go with that. Especially since drinking has never seemed to interfere with his life or work. He has never, to my knowledge, missed a work or family obligation or been in trouble with the law due to alcohol.

    Little-by-little his drinking has increased to where he now drinks at least a 750 ml bottle of wine a day or sometimes a combination of wine and beer totaling the same amount. He drinks every day. During the week he begins drinking after work and continues til bedtime. On the weekend, his drinking starts a little earlier, especially if he or we are at a function with alcoholic beverages.

    My husband is not verbally or physically abusive, but I seem to see subtle changes in his personality. Quite frankly, he is getting boring. I know that this amount of drinking cannot be good. I also fear that the amount of his drinking will continue to increase as it has already. My husband was once very lean, but is at least 50 pounds heavier than when we married and is now getting a bit of a paunch – surely at least partly due to the many extra calories a day from wine and beer.

    Many people in his family (mainly white collar, educated) drink a lot. He admits that his own father was a functioning alcoholic.

    I don’t see being able to live with this for the rest of my life and especially if the amount of drinking increases. But I don’t know how to approach him about this without him becoming defensive. There are some other issues in our marriage which need addressing as well and the drinking issue has sort of brought it all into focus for me.

    Any advice?

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Hi Kathryn,

    My recommendation is that you find a good professional for marriage counseling, someone your husband could respect and someone who has some experience with addictions. Book an appointment for you and your husband, and go alone if he won’t join you.

    Make it clear to your husband that you are seeking helping in deciding how you want to live the rest of your life, because the present isn’t good enough. In the process of all this, you will gain clarity. He may too. You both need it for the choices you will make. If he decides to leave alcohol behind and needs help, have him get in touch with me to discuss options. He does NOT have to be "in recovery" for the rest of his life.

    Eileen and I have been together 30 years too, but we had a bad patch about 8 years ago. I know that getting a long-term marriage back on track is worth fighting for. We have been able to get through the subsequent deaths of three of our children, and have ended up even closer.

    You both have my very best wishes.

    Neill

  • Tara

    Hi. I came across these stories from women in my situation and find it strangly comforting to read them. I’ve been married for five years, together for seven and we both have two children from previous marriages. My daughters 12 and 14 live with us in Texas, his boys live in New York.
    He always drank, but the last three years and especially this last year it has gotten so bad I don’t know how he is alive. He drinks straight vodka starting the minute he wakes up -four or five am, until he passes out, then starts drinking again. He consumes about a liter and half per day. He doesn’t take care of his appearance or exercise anymore and we no longer have sex. He disgusts me and he has ED from the booze, so we quit that a few years ago. I hate our life together. He manages to keep employment and is really good to me and my girls financially and he cooks. His tolerance is so high, most of the time strangers don’t know he’s been drinking at all. He does get really opinionated and repeats the same stories over and over when he’s drunk-which is always, but luckily, he is not violent. He is very insecure and pathetic. He is in deep denial though and thinks he’ll live forever. He says I have a drinking problem to be mean, but I drink about two bottles of wine a week and don’t drink at all at least two days a week because I come from a family of drinkers and alcoholics and I’ve always been aware and concerned about my health and aging. I also abstain for weeks at a time for cleansing a few times a year and I don’t crave alcohol. I exercise and care about my health. He’s just trying to justify his drinking by making me feel bad. I feel I can’t leave because of money. If I had the money, I’d leave. He won’t quit. He doesn’t want to quit. I feel really stuck and am understandably depressed. I need direction. I have thought of Alanon and perhaps that would help. I have to get my life on and find some joy again. He’s a helpless mess, but that doesn’t have to ruin all my days…Thanks for listening and would appreciate any advice. T

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Tara,

    Harsh as this may sound,you are being paid not to have a life. And it can’t be good for your kids either. The money isn’t worth it. You and your daughters will have some decrease in affluence if you leave, but you won’t be destitute. Discuss with a lawyer.

  • Pamela

    People can’t quit because alcohol is so easily available and a habit. my husband got tired of my drinking went to detox/psyche 2 days to make sure. My addiction is I like the buzz and I can’t stop. I hold down a job pay the bills, and I thought I was o.k. The real key is to have a deterrant to go on ANTABUSE, so you won’t drink. 2 days to get in your system and 2 weeks to get out and if you have a teaspoon of alcohol it will feel like you popped 10 drinks. that’s what you need, and Revia to decrease cravings. My minds says I want the shit. I never had DT’s. It really works. MD’s arent going to help you with this because you have to be alcohol free 12 hours after your BAC reads 0. I Had a very High tolerance to alcohol. Blow a 0.45 on a breathylyzer with no signs of intoxication. It took 8 years to do this. 10 hours to clear my system since I’m 5’10″ 190 pounds. You have to go to a center to make sure alcohol is cleared or you will end up in the ER. google ANTABUSE. I’ve been sober for 7 days. Thank God my husband did not divorce me. I did not hit rock bottum. hope this helps

  • Kimberley Vergona

    I so know your pain. I too am in the same boat. My daughter is 4, soon to be 5 and I dont know what to do. My husband is a funcioning alcoholic. It took me awhile to realize it. I guess he is just smarter than me, or just practiced at it. My mother is bypolar and I grew up with her, so I guess sometimes I dont know what normal behavior is, but I knew him in high school and dated for 2 years. We have been 2gether now for 7 years. I love him and dont want to leave. I wish I knew how to help him.

  • Sue

    My husband and I have been married for four years. For both of us this is a second marriage. When we dated we would go out for supper and drink and have a really good time. After we were married the drinking continued. I started to feel bad physically and emotionaly so I cut back my drinking to a few glasses of wine a week. My husband still drinks like its a party every night. He polishes off a 40lb of Rye every two days. His memory is going, we have no sex life (he blames me), he drives drunk, he looks for any excuse he can find to go out for lunch with the boys so he can start his drinking earlier in the day. I have confronted him on several occassions and he claims he needs a drink to manage his stress. A drink would be fine but he manages to consume at least 15 – 20 oz of booze every night. We finally had a big blow out the other night, after much crying on both our parts he confessed he still didn’t know why his first wife left him and took his kids. He might still be in love with her. He hasn’t dealt with his past divorce at all and is using alcohol to cope. My husbands refusal to deal with his past and his drinking will eventually ruin our marriage. For now I have decided to stay in the relationship and seek help for myself. I only hope he will be able to join me at some point and resolve his deamons without alcohol. I love him with all my heart.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Dear Sue,

    I’m glad you are getting some help for yourself. It will help you gain clarity. You wouldn’t believe the number of marriages that falter because one party has not completed the grieving over the loss of a previous relationship or for being separated from the children. And it’s so stupid, because the emotional effect of loss are treatable. Alcohol simply postpones dealing with it. Without the alcohol and with help, he could have worked through this years ago.

    But some would rather suck on a bottle and wallow in grief than face the reality what happened and deal with it.

  • Lucinda

    I am extremely depressed, don’t know what to do. Husband has been smoking pot daily for 35 years, now has a cough. He drinks two bottles of wine a night. Every night is the same, watches tv while drinking. Completely ignores me. My 19 year old daughter and i are completely financially dependent on him. I’m trying to find my way out or just suffer to have a roof over my head. I am 51. He is 53.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Dear Lucinda,

    There is always a way out, but someone in depression usually can’t see a future. If you can, see a professional with help for your depression. See a lawyer about a separation. You are under no obligation to live this way until he drops…or you do.

    Give yourself a jolt by thinking about what you are modeling for your daughter. Would you want your daughter to stay in an empty marriage no matter what?

    You’ll look back on your separation as very freeing, even if you have to go on welfare for a short time.

    Best wishes.

  • Lucinda

    Thank you, I am going to get help for my depression and go from there, I would also like to mention that he secretly started growing pot plants under the house, and I believe is addicted to porn. He is highly educated. He knows he can get away with anything because I have no money. He never smokes in front of me but leaves signs of his addiction everywhere. He doesnt care anymore what he looks like. He knows how I feel but does not care. I know he would choose pot over me, in fact he already has. He is very arrogant and will deny to anyone he has any problems. But I am the only one who knows his dirty secrets.

  • Samantha

    I got sober a year ago and my husband tried to stop with me but will not go to AA and hates it. There is no alcohol in our home but he will sneak off and get drunk every few weeks or so. It’s only become worse over the last year. Then he will say its my fault that I stress him out and I won’t allow alcohol in the house or I’m always at meetings. Our sex life is horrible and we have been trying to conceive for the last year with no luck, instead lots of doctors and financial burdens. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats and own a home. We fight constantly about fertility, money, his drinking, my program and sex. I’m at the point of separation but was laid off and have no financial security other than unemployment. Am I overreacting to this? He refuses to go to marriage counseling and I don’t know what to do anymore. Thanks.

  • Dr. Neill Neill

    Hello Semantha. You are probably underreacting, not overreacting. Please don’t bring a child into that mess.

    AA is unsuitable for many people and he may be one of them. However, there are alternatives to 12 step. Marriage counselling probably won’t help much until he decides he wants to turn his life around, and then takes action. He’ll have to deal with why he is so unhappy. (It’s not about you, no matter what he says.)

    Have you read my book? It would help you with your decision.

  • megan

    My husband has an addiction problem. A year ago he FINALLY quit cigarettes and 2 months ago we both quit smoking weed together. For me it was not an issue because I have wanted to quit for sometime. He has always been a drinker but recently has been passing out every night.

    He has never been abusive to me or our 2 small children, but his personality changes now. He wants to argue and accuses me of lying because he doesn’t remember things from the previous night. He says I am making him try to change by “making” him quit everything. On top of the drinking, he is eating pills like candy, particularly Vicoden. He takes it for the high. He says he can’t quit everything and has admitted when he is sober that he is jealous of me because it is so easy for me to be free of addictions.

    I grew up in a house of meth, heroin, alcohol, physical, mental, and sexual abuse. I have been there and refuse to let my children experience that. The only thing I have ever done regularly is pot. I am not a drinker, have never tried hard drugs, I don’t even consume caffeine. He gets so dependent on everything.

    I am finding myself sickened by him, unattracted to him, but we have kids and I am a stay at home mom working part-time at the Y. He refuses to get help for his addictions claiming he needs them. What do I do?

  • Hello Megan,

    There are no easy solutions. The really important consideration is what your children see modeled. That’s what they learn. Right now, what they see is an addicted father with all the irrationality that comes with it, a mother who stays with him and won’t rescue them from a worsening situation, and two unhappy parents who stay together even though they don’t like each other. Is that how you want them to live when they grow up? If not, then you (the two of you) will have to make some changes, however difficult. Are you up to it?

    Given your background, it is no accident you were attracted to and married the man you you did. It is not a life sentence, because change is always possible.

  • Nic

    I recently took the alcoholism test in regards to my husbands drinking, although I knew in my heart the answer was a glaring YES! His father has been/is still an alcoholic and his large family has always made excuses for the behavior, so although his family in Mexico doesn’t see this as a problem, my husband’s drinking (we live in the US) is a problem for us. When we married six+ years ago, I knew he drank a lot, but I thought, “people change, he will change”, however, he hasn’t-he goes to work, pays the bills, has friends, and is a “regular guy” when others are around, however, he drinks 5-7 drinks at every party and often at home he drinks 6-8 beers on weekend nights (every weekend). If there is alcohol in the house, he obsesses about drinking it and tries to entice me into “having a glass of wine”, even though he will finish off the bottle himself in one evening. He has and does admit to having a drinking problem and even to being an alcoholic, he also recently admitted to a one-time affair three years ago. After I discovered this 3 months ago, I went to see a therapist and when I told him I was leaving, he went to see a therapist as well, in hopes that I would stay. But, to be honest, these last 3 months have been HELL and he’s still drinking-I know that we have had many tragedies in our marriage-my mom died our first year of marriage, I had four miscarriages in four years and his mom died suddenly last year, and he has always been very difficult, if not impossible at communicating and being open. In my heart I feel that I have given this almost seven years and seen no “fruit”, and I’m ready to move on, for both of us, but I always find myself holding onto one more shred of “things will get better”…I’m so hurt and bitter and disappointed and I don’t know if I want to forgive him, let alone if I can…

  • val

    my husband and i have been together 25 years, 24 of those married. we have a 13 year old son (much treasured after 3 miscarriages). i am 48 and my husband 58. he is from an eastern european country. he was a political dissident and was imprisoned for 2-3 years, doing hard labor. he was beaten, tortured and kept in solitary when he wouldn’t inform on others. both of my parents are recovering alcoholics, who were violent to each other when they were together (until i was 9), and drinking. i witnessed my dad beating the crap out of my mother, saw her try to kill herself by setting herself on fire, and she was physically and verbally abusive to me. she later had a 19 year old boyfriend when she was 32, and i 12, who was also physically and verbally abusive to me. i grew up in san francisco, in bad areas, surrounded by criminals, addicts, and crazy people. from age 9-12, i was sexually abused by a neighbor, and when i cried to my mother about it, she told me i was a prude with a dirty mind, and ordered me to continue going to his place. i have a sister who was also sexually abused (by a different neighbor), who is now a struggling alcoholic and crack addict.

    i didn’t date until i was 20, and was too afraid to have sex until i was 22. i only had 4 boyfriends before i met the man i married. one of those boyfriends told me, “you’re life story is so horrific that no one will ever be able to love you!” when i met my husband, i felt we understood each other because we’d both suffered so much. i figured i’d finally found someone who COULD love me, and i felt safe loving because he was so strong and responsible and emotionally stable.

    he’s always been a heavy drinker, and sometimes over did it on weekends when partying with his friends, but seemed like it wasn’t any more than any of his other family and friends, and i know his culture is a drinking one. and besides, he was a charming, happy drunk. he has always worked hard, made nice money, saved responsibly, met his obligations, and even does all the cooking (because i’m a terrible cook, and hate it with a passion). we also have travelled a lot throughout the US and Europe. i love traveling, but he has started to hate it. we own 3 houses, and have 3 mortgages (one of them upside down, but at least rented out). there is no way to sell any of them.

    i have always been moderately to severely depressed, and have lost job after job (and friend after friend) because of my depression. most of the work i’ve done the past decade has been as his secretary/translator/editor in his own business. i’m only able to work on things that don’t cause me too much stress (other than deadlines, which i can handle). i don’t have great social skills – seems like i always end up disappointing and then pissing off the people i work with (though i’ve always done well with customers). but i get stressed out and worn out by pressure and noise, and can’t multi-task. also, i’ve had several surgeries on my eyes, and am now night-blind, so i can’t go to any job that would require me to drive either before sunup or sundown (and most of them DO have those kinds of hours). there is virtually no bus system where we live.

    the reason i mention all that is that i doubt i’d be able to find any kind of work, and my and our son’s lives would become pretty bad if i left or my husband left.

    the past few years, my husband has started to drink every single day. it used to be beer and hard alcohol, but he’s switched to red wine (believing it is “healthy”). he’ll drink 3-4 bottles a night if i let him. last year, i found out he was spending about $300 a month on wine. when i pointed it out, he agreed to drink just 2 glasses of wine a night on weekdays, and 3 glasses of wine on weekends. that doesn’t sound like much, but his glasses are enormous, and he fills them to the rim. so that’s probably equal to 4 glasses on weekdays and 6 weekends. compared to what many of the women above report, that’s still not much, but his personality changes after just 2 of “his” big glasses. he gets loud and obnoxious and repeats things and argues stupidly and if we get upset with him, threatens to leave us. in fact, lately, he threatens to leave every night. we keep our alcohol under lock and key, but he’s constantly maneuvering to sneak, trick or cheat his way into having extra glasses of wine. for the last 4 hours of each evening, i have to keep my eye on him constantly. if i go to the bathroom, he finds the key (if i haven’t hidden it well enough) and runs to the liquor cabinet and pours himself another, guzzles it, and pours another after that. if i stand behind him when he’s pouring his first or second glass, he complains about me being like his mother who controlled his father until the day he died.

    i also know that if we split, he would just disappear from our lives. he’s kind of cold-hearted. he never phones or writes his friends or his daughter and grandson from “the old country” – THEY have to put all the effort into keeping in contact with him. he’s an ok father to our son – spends some time with him, but doesn’t play sports with him ever, even though he used to play soccer and european handball when he was younger. he never drives him to any events either, but at least he sometimes goes to school meetings – our son has some learning disabilities and so we have lots of IEP meetings. he used to be affectionate with our son, and even laughed and played with him – it’s so sad when we watch the old videos of them together, because these days he’s mostly just incredibly grumpy and unhappy and just grunts whenever anyone asks him anything or tries to talk with him. like a lot of the men mentioned already, he’s gained a lot of belly weight (he’s now obese), and his hygiene sucks. he wears filthy clothes, and if i grab his pants to wash them, he complains, “what’re you doing? i’ve only been wearing zem 4 days!” he drinks as he cooks (like the Galloping Gourmet), keeps adding more and more hot peppers into whatever he’s making (til our son can’t stand to eat it). then he sits at the dinner table and drops food all over his face and clothes, leaving big grease spots i always have to use stain remover on when doing laundry. he smokes all the time, and burns little holes into all his clothes. he constantly stinks of cigarettes and body odor, and in the evening, wine gets added to the stench. at night he snores like a buzz saw, tosses and turns, moans and groans, even hums and sings and talks in strange languages (not his own). he now sleeps in our guest room so i can get some sleep.

    when he manages to get really drunk, i stay awake all night for fear he’s going to get up to pee and not make it to the bathroom. he has also hurt himself – at a friends house where we spent the night, he fell backwards into their tub, his pants down around his ankles, and cracked his head, smearing blood over the tiles. another night, he fell 10-15 feet down an embankment into an icy creek (at about 10 degrees f) and had to be rescued from drowning by his friend. and he almost shot himself in the leg when out camping with that same friend, plus i have a bullet hole in a wooden bowl in our living room, shot by his brother in law while they were both drinking. this last week, at Christmas, my 21 yr old niece came running in and whispered, “hey… your husband is naked in the hot-tub with us!” ugh…. he’d promised me he wouldn’t embarrass me in front of my family, but he’d gotten in with my niece and 18 yr old nephew and his 19 yr old friend.

    that same evening, he drunkenly told my mother that if i REALLY loved him, i’d accept him as he is. he thinks he’s not harming anyone, and he works so hard – he DESERVES to drink what he wants. sometimes i think he might be right – he doesn’t abuse us, just worries us. if i didn’t care so much, it wouldn’t matter what he does. and it’s not like the grass is any greener on the other side – at 25 yrs, our marriage has lasted years and years longer than anyone else’s we know (other than his own parents and sister’s). everyone else seems sort of miserable in their relationships (or lack of them). i just wish he’d get some therapy and work out his issues, but where he came from, psychologists and psychiatrists worked as informants for the State – only crrrazzzzy people went to them. :/

    sorry this has been so long… i’m just so discouraged, but can’t see a way out that doesn’t have us ending up with an even more miserable life, and regretting losing a father and husband who is pretty great during daylight hours.

  • Hi Val,

    Yours is a sad story. I have two suggestions:

    Get some help for yourself. Find someone who can treat trauma (you have a long trauma history) and who understands alcoholism. It may be a psychologist, but call him or her a “life coach” for purposes of keeping the peace at home.

    Read my book, “Living with a Functioning Alcoholic.” It will help you understand what not to do that may be making things worse. (You are doing a few.)

    You have my best wishes for your journey.
    Neill

  • val

    thanks, dr. neill. i can’t believe i wrote so much. lol – that thing goes on forever, yet i forgot to mention i’ve had years of therapy. it’s always been hard to find anyone interested in treating the “trauma” though – seems like everyone just wants to deal with the here and now. which has been useful, but not enough. i even asked the last one if we could focus on the past because i feel like i just need to get it out, and she agreed, but then kept steering me towards discussing the present. i’ve kind of given up on therapy for now. however, i’m interested in reading your book. i’ll go look at it now. thanks for listening. :)

  • Hi Val,

    After you have read the book, or before if you wish, please contact me if you are interested in doing some “trauma coaching.” I do “distance work. “It sounds like you really could benefit from some good trauma work. Or send me an email telling me where you live and I’ll see if I can identify someone with appropriate expertise in trauma work in your area.

  • Julie

    I have read alot of the replies and they are all so similar to my situation, I know the most sensible thing to do would be for me and the children to leave him. But I love him and know what and awesome partner and father he is when not drinking, although those times are few now days. Is there anyone that has weathered the storm and now has a happy alcohol free partner. I so want to help him so he will be there for our 7 year old, my first husband died at 38 leaving me alone with 3 children, I do not want my 7 year to lose her father too. I really really want him to get better, I don’t want for him to have to hit rock bottom first though. Please I need some good stories, give me hope…

  • Sue

    I have lived with my boyfriend for 3 years. We had a relationship 30 years ago in high school and kept in touch over the years. We are both 50. He drank a little when I first moved in and wanted me to drink with him. I drank heavily in my younger years but just don’t drink at all now. He has progressively drank more to where he drinks every night or if it’s his day off, he can start earlier in day. He drinks 1/2 to 1 large bottle of vodka. Some days he will switch to wine – 1 to 2 bottles.

    He got a DWI last July and is still waiting to go to court. He was required to go to classes for alcoholism and all he got from that was all the other people were way worse them he was.

    When he drinks, he gets mean, says ugly things or gets just totally stupid in remarks he makes. I have got to where I hope he is passed out already when I get home from work. Since last summer, I have thought about it and I am leaving the end of this month. We got in a big fight after he told me his ex wife wanted to talk with him. I apparently was supposed to be violently opposed to that if I really loved him. She has cancer and wants to make amends. I thought it would be good for both of them. He told me if I didn’t give him the answer that was right I could just pack up and leave. So I told I would leave – but that it wasn’t because of his ex, it was because of his drinking. I told him if he doesn’t get help and his going to die. He works, pays the bills, takes care of the yard, but he turns into a person that I can’t be around when he drinks – which is all the time now. Sad.

    I was married previously to a man who was an closet addict – coke – and I stood by him for 6 years. I learned my lesson. I would have left sooner but I have been getting dental/medical stuff taken care of while I still have insurance. When I leave, I return to the small town I moved from. I don’t have a job yet, but am going on faith that I will find one. (Didn’t mean for this to be so long – just helps to tell someone.)

  • andy

    thank you thank you for all of your stories eveyone….and for this website!

    i have been married for 25years (next wed) although separated for the last 2 years and have either left my husband or kicked him out on numerous occasions before.

    i was pregnant, got married even tho i knew he was an addict and drinker, i somehow believed and hoped that he’d grow up when he saw his baby…..well! 25years and three beautiful children down the line he is still no different.

    he is an alcoholic, gambling, druggie, who somehow manages in some kind of way to maintain his business which “proves” to him that he is ok and of course i have no right to complain because as long as he manages to support our family he cannot be an addict. to say nothing of the fact that he borrows huge, really huge amounts of money all over to keep things going.

    of course i am the mad, depressed, no fun, nagging, stiff, f….d up one because i really should be counting my blessings. we forget about the times i had to lock myself up in the room and call his brother or a friend to come and take him away cos i was so scared of being hurt by his crack-crazed violence. we forget about how many times he was driven home by strangers and left his car at the casino, and the time he ran out of petrol, pushed his car into a park nearby, and the next day reported it stolen (blackout) only for me to find it 2 days later when i was driving past the park! the nights of him coming home, face smothered in bright pink lipstick, him spending hours in the bathroom with drugs and porn.

    i spent my life trying to give the kids some sort of stability, thinking there was something wrong with me because my husband didn’t love me enough to come home to, dieting constantly cos maybe if i was thinner, sexier, cleverer, etc he would love me more than he loved his fixes.

    i protected the kids from knowing the truth and protected him from them. even tho he left my six year old alone on the soccer field at night in winter with no lift home while he was using – another kind dad brought him home.

    i could go on and on with all these stories – a never-ending saga of pain, hopeless love, co-dependency, sadness, in between which were the lovely family holidays (were they real?), birthdays, his kind generosity, a sweet but very sick man. i write this to remind myself never to go back
    i need reminding every day.

    i bravely left him 2 years ago but he refuses to give me a divorce, has every excuse in the book. he is a victim of my so called cruel and calculated move and now he is keeping me hanging in limbo,. he has a girlfriend, in my face, in my house, in my bed in front of my children.

    i get very confused – rage, jealousy etc because my delusion only remembers the good times and the nice sober him. and of course she only sees that part – weekends only she lives in another city.

    therefore i need the reminders of the reality. he is nowhere near recovery, he is still abusing me emotionally, he is still very sick.
    will the wanting him ever go away? i need to “put my heart in the cupboard”!(love that one!) and stay in my head that remembers the heartache, lonely desperate nights when i didn’t know if he was alive or dead.

    the doubting of myself, the crying and the pain. i have to remember he is not based in reality – he too is a child, a damaged one who refuses point blank to grow up. he refuses to take responsibility for his stuff and constantly puts the blame on me.

    where i live now is sunny, contained and a happy space. i don’t have much stuff but i have some sense of peace. i sleep at night.
    the process of leaving after many prayers felt like the red sea opening before me and i had to walk through it even tho it was so scary. i knew my (and my kids) survival depended on it.

    i am proud of what i did! must never go back even tho i love him. i will be brave again and find the strength to push this divorce through
    oyayoy!

    i think its the fact that he stayed relatively functional that made it even harder to see the real truth and easier to believe the manipulation and lies.
    thank you for the space to write my story( very abridged) thank you thank you it helps!

  • ang

    how do i fixed that i’m emotionally detached after my husbands drinking? During that time he was emotionally and almost physically abusive

  • Hello Ang,

    Becoming detached or even numb when you are being abused comes from your inner wisdom to protect yourself. It’s emotional preparation for detaching completely, that is, leaving, so you can have a life again. But protect yourself; abusive spouses become most dangerous during and shortly after a separation.

  • Mary

    These people do not seem to be functioning alcoholics at all.

    I have been with a now non functioning alcoholic for almost 20 years. Nightmare roller coaster, been there worn the tee shirt. I do not drink or do drugs etc myself. But the worst aspects of the journey have been the abuse from outsiders.

    I do not think we understand the illness or whatever your take is on it. Well it is much easier to criminalise and demonise the drinker isn’t it?

    Tough love, walk away, al anon, detach with empathy, if you are not the solution then you are part of the problem. Oh and leave them to hit rock bottom (oh as in a recent case someone or others might kick them to death after abusing them).

    In other words it is self inflicted so jog on.

  • Dawn

    I came upon this site today while I was at work because I know that my husband is a functioning alcoholic and I am starting to get fed up with him! We had a fight last night because on his days off he is always gone drinking and we never see him (he works 12 hr shifts), so it made me very upset because we just had a discussion about this a week ago and he said he would do better, but last night he told me that he likes to drink and that is what he is going to do!

    We have had a lot of verbal abuse and some physical abuse in the past, he even pushed me down when I was 8 months pregnant with our son and now my son has speech and behavioral problems and I wonder if it was from the fall, I have had to call the police on him several times in the past he has broken windows out of three of the houses we lived in and the other night he woke me up when he was drunk and started trying to pull me out of the bed because I wouldn’t fix him any food. My oldest son (from a previous relationship) does not have much respect for my husband I can tell but I think he keeps quiet for me. I am at my wits end. His mother also enables him financially and emotionally, he can blow all his money on beer and liquor and he can always call her to pick up the pieces. I feel bad because

    I have let my self lose it, I suffer from anxiety from worrying too much, and now I feel like a shell of who I once was. He says I’m no fun, but everything he does involves drinking except when he is at work. Pray for me. Any advice?

  • Barb

    I’ve been married to a functioning alcoholic for 24 years. I’m just so tired of living this way, not wanting to go to events because he’ll get drunk, crude and vulgar. I’m tired of people encouraging him, he’s fun, he’s cool, they see it once in a while I have to drive it home and deal with it. He loves the friends that praise him and think I’m just “no fun” which he jokingly tells people is my Chinese name. When he’s drunk at these events, I become the butt of his jokes, and everyone finds him funny and lovable except me. Any friend that has dared to tell him that he is rude, crude, vulgar and has a drinking problem is no longer invited to events and he conveniently cuts out of our lives.

    We no longer have sex, we no longer sleep in the same bedroom, there is no intimacy and looking at him because just gets mad. I’ve spent days arguing with him, crying and just being upset; now I just don’t go, leave without him and close the door to my bedroom. I’m lonely and I want to move on and meet someone but he refuses to move out even though he has places to go to, he has family, I have no one. My kids are grown and they get annoyed with him when he’s drunk but when I get mad at him, they laugh. Its a big joke to everyone. I’m 44 years old and I don’t want to be the old lady that told me that she wanted a divorce when she was 42 but stayed with a man she hated and now in her 80′s everyone laughs at her when she tells them she wants a divorce.

  • It really makes sense, hope that you will add some more soon!

  • judy

    I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for 3 years. He is 76 and I’m 68. He has been a functioning alcoholic for more years than I have known him. In the past 2 weeks he has become a non-functioning alcoholic. I can’t make him get help. I can just cry and watch him die..

  • Jen

    I have been in a relationship with my partner that ended one month ago. She is an admitted alcoholic and despite breaking up in the past and her promise to not want to loose me over alcohol, she went full circle. First it was beer, then the beer made her bloated, then wine, then the hard stuff. On top of it, she is premenapausal and did nothing about it. I was blamed for everything, and she was frustrated with me on a daily basis for every little thing. I learned to leave her alone and bite my tongue but she knew which buttons to push and I would react. I believe she did this for two reasons. 1. She wanted the arguement. 2. It was her way of being able to accuse me of treating her just as badly.

    I asked her repeatedily to slow down, or stop, that it wasn’t good for her health or us. Her response, “I work everyday and don’t get crazy when I drink. I am handling it. I tried to tell her it changes her personality, that it creates intolerance, frustration, anger, and inpatience. Am I correct? She also responded by saying that she doesn’t know anyone who doesn’t have a few drinks at the end of a stressful day.

    I became so frustrated that I had to walk away even though my heart is broken. Despite this, I am still trying to reach out to her through emails in hopes a light bulb will go on in her mind before it’s too late. She was going to propose to me on my birhtday and now won’t even talk to me, doesn’t want anything to do with me, not even an eventual friendship when we had so much in common. Am I wrong? Should I stop? How can someone turn it off like that? How does alcohol really affect personality changes, and what kind of brain damage/health risks are there? Please help!!!

  • Fact: Over time, alcohol abuse often leads to personality change and accumulating brain damage. It creates multiple health risks.

  • Rachel

    I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for 13 years now. When we first got married he drank normally, having a few beers on the weekend. But then after my daughter was born, it turned into a 6 pack every night. After my son and different things causing stress, it has now turned into an 18 pack of beer every day. He is such a great father to my son and daughter and has a good job. He has called into work from time to time due to drinking too much the night before.

    He will openly admit to me that he knows he has a problem and knows that if he doesn’t stop it will eventually kill him. He is 46 years old and it pains me to see him do this to himself. He has stopped at different times over the years but only to start back up again. He has never been physically violent with me, but over the past several years he has started to say mean things to me if he gets upset about something after he has actually drank enough that you can tell he is drunk. He does always apologize and seems to realize that he was out of line. Over the last couple years he has purchased several guns that he keeps in the house…this scares me also that he is going to be drunk one night and get in a fight with a neighbor or something and do something really stupid.

    It has always seemed like the the good has always out weighed the bad. The drinking has always been his only major flaw. Reading peoples posts it does worry my now that if he continues down this path his personality and anger is going to increase. He also takes an antidepressant medication every day and I’m sure mixing the medication with the beer isn’t good for him either.

    I’m only 34 years old and I’m getting fed up with watching him slowly kill himself every day. I’m afraid if I did decide to leave him it would only make the situation worse and he would drink even more…I’m just very frustrated…this wasn’t what I signed up for when I married him.

  • Lisa

    My husband and I have been together for 9 years, married 5. The first year of our relationship he would drink a lot but it was more social. As the years went by it kept getting worse. He started bar tending and started drinking on the job every day. Eventually, he got a 2nd DUI and that didn’t stop him. He kept drinking. This time around he would call me at 3 or 4 am almost every day to pick him up, he said he is being responsible. We would fight and I would go pick him up on a daily basis. 2 years later, another DUI, went to jail for a day, had to get a blower installed in his car. This time with the blower, he would time his alcohol consumption. He would call me for rides and me being a good wife, because of the guilt trip he would put on me, I would pick him up at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning, and I had to be up for work at 9 a.m. I just remember being so miserable and not understanding him every single day. He kept convincing me that he doesn’t have an issue, he works in a bar, and it’s normal. Well, this has been going on for years and nothing has changed. I would pick him up and he would get mad at me in the car for no reason, punch the windshield etc. I got fed up and threaten to leave him, we would make up, and now when he gets drunk, he says to me, “you left me”. We moved to NYC where he took a restaurant management job and the drinking got worse along with other things. He doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat, just drinks and drinks and goes to work and wakes up and does the same thing every single day. He does have one day where he doesn’t drink, but he just sits on the couch and watches t.v. all day long. He doesn’t even walk or feed the dog while he is home. Every night now when he gets home (he takes the cab home now) he comes into the room and starts fights with me. I am just so fed up, yes I did leave him but I thought it would wake him up. He said it made it worse. Now he doesn’t trust me, and recently has admitted to being a functioning alcoholic and he thinks it is funny.

    I am so confused, depressed and sad. I am watching him destroy himself and can’t do anything about it. Is it wrong for me to want better? I love him but he is hurting us. He thinks I am crazy and just want to start a fight with him, and there is nothing going on. Let’s go unwind have a cocktail, let’s talk over a cocktail; it’s always an excuse to drink. We don’t have any kids and he says a child will make him change. I used to think that, now I fear he won’t change and it is unfair to bring a child into the picture. He gets mad if I discuss his drinking with anyone. I am so fed up, it’s not okay for me to be pissed off almost every single day of my life. I deserve better than this because I am a great wife.

    Looking back at all the times we spent together, it always involved him drinking or us on the couch watching tv, because it’s his recovery day. I always hear, “That’s it. I am done.” The next day, he is drinking all through the day at work again and it goes on for the next 6 days. Then its recovery day.

    What did I do to deserve this? He is great when he is sober but that is only for a day. Why can’t I find the courage to say I deserve better and I don’t need this in my life? I am so weak for allowing him to manipulate me and the situation. I am so scared, we have a dog together and I know that if I leave him I would have to give up our dog. I keep telling my friends the same story every day, I think they are fed up with hearing it. They know he will just manipulate me into thinking that I am crazy and overreacting. I love him and want to help him at the same time, but just don’t know how.

  • Kim

    Wow. I have been reading these stories this afternoon and I must say the saddest ones start with: ” I have been wih him for 24 years…or more”

    To me, the scariest thing in the world is spending another year stuck….litening to lies, excuses and being blamed for his shortcomings as a human.

    My husband became gravely I’ll due to his alcoholism, suffered a sever seizure with a self attempt at withdrawal, lost hi license, almost his job and still minimizes this as ” it was nothing”.

    I also read today’s article on narcissism and realize this is him to a “T”!

    I agreed to stay while he got well…unfortunately as is the case with narcissistic, self indulged alcoholics, they fail to recognize the harm they are causing others. He still drinks on occasion, lies about it, calls me names when confronted, tells me “it’s nothing and I’m crazy”.

    He is correct, I am crazy for staying as long as I have and crazier for subjecting our little girl to all of the fighting.

    So, with a happy, free heart, I am moving on…….something clicked and resonated….the only thing worse than denial is delay!

  • Quoting C Northcote Parkinson, “Delay is the deadliest form of denial.”

  • Anne

    I’ve been married to a functioning alcoholic for 17 years now. We have 2 daughters who are 11 and 5. At first when we married he was a happy weekend drinker, at least I thought as much. He is the youngest of 7 children and comes from an enabling mother, an abusive father, and all but 2 of his siblings are alcoholics. Our marriage was based on strong passion and a deep friendship. Through the years we have fought over his drinking on and off. When our eldest daughter was 2, he wrecked his father’s truck while he was drinking. We acquired many debts due to his binge purchases and lack of responsibility. While I was pregnant with my second child, his drinking became a big issue. He was physically and mentally withdrawn from me. I needed him and his support during this time because it was a very difficult pregnancy. He drank a lot during this time as well. Sometimes a 12 pack of beer a night and a case a night on weekends.

    My turning point…

    I was pregnant during Katrina, we evacuated. I went to my mother’s with my eldest daughter. He went to his mother’s an hour away so he could drink and party it up under the radar without having me and my mother nagging him about his drinking. When I found out I was not to go into full labor and I needed a c section, I called him. I told him I was going to have a c section and I needed him to bring his mother over to my mother’s house to watch our daughter so he and my mother could be at the hospital with me. What does he do…He picks me up, leaves my mother and brings his mother to the hospital.

    This is when I realized me and our daughters were not as important to him as his drinking. He was withdrawn and spent very little time with me and our daughters before we moved back to the coast. During this time, we acquired many debts. I always tried to be there for him even though I knew there was no hope. He lost his job and I had to give up college to go back to work to support our family. His drinking got even worse. He started drinking Vodka, lying to me about his purchases, spending his gas funds on alcohol. He would pass out regularly, sometimes during dinner with a plate in front of him.

    I have even been to Al Anon meetings and brought him literature. He forgets little things like telling me things one day and telling me the same thing. I began to realize that the alcoholism was really ruining his mind when I couldn’t depend on him to even care for our children. I came home from work one night at 10:30pm to find him passed out on the couch, the girls running through the house like mad animals, unbathed and unfed. He thinks I can’t smell the vodka, but I can. He adamantly lies to me and tells me he isn’t drunk when he can’t even stand up. He makes me feel guilty if I go off and spend time with my friends. He always watches the money, hoards it from me while me and the girls do without. I recently found out he had returned a huge purchase back to a store where he got a cash refund instead of putting it back on the credit card he used. He didn’t tell me and spent the money on alcohol when we needed groceries and gifts for our daughter’s birthday presents. He gets mad at me when I got mad at him.

    I am sick of his sloppy butt. I want to be gone and not dependent on him. He has ruined our marriage, he has ruined us financially because we just had our Bankruptcy discharged. I don’t leave because I don’t have any money saved and I don’t want my kids to do without. I don’t love him anymore, he messed that up on his on by pushing me away. This is so hard and none of my friends seem to understand what I am going through.

  • Kristyn

    Hello, I have been married for 4 years now to a functional alcoholic. We have 5 kids ages 1 to 8. He works 6 days a week and at least 12 hours a day. He comes home from work and the first thing he does is open a beer. It is very hard for me because he is a wonderful man. After he opens his beer he starts cooking and cleaning. He cleans the entire kitchen, living room and dining room from the floors to the dishes He doesn’t do much with the kids but I can say that these three things are always done.

    I feel like I am wrong sometimes because he tells me that he is doing what he has to do and that I should be grateful. He also tells me that I am supposed to stand by him through anything and that I shouldn’t be stressing him out by always bring up his problem. He tells me that he has many other problems that he needs to take care of first. He has a list of things that he wants to change about himself for our family before he has to worry about his drinking issue. ( which to him is not an issue) it is something he could stop at anytime.

    I am afraid because his father was and still is an alcoholic. They have no relationship because of his dad’s addiction. He is alone and asks us for money all the time. We no longer speak to him and that kills my husband inside.

    I can see him going down the same road as his dad and don’t want my kids to go through life seeing the constant drinking. I do not want them to grow up as functional alcoholics and resent him. I keep telling him that this will end our relationship if he doesn’t get help but he tells me I am wrong for saying that I would leave him. What am I supposed to do? Do I push him deeper into the drinking when I confront him? I need to get him to admit that it is a problem. I don’t want to see us separate over this but I don’t want to bring myself down over something that I have control over ..

  • sue a

    Kathryn, I can relate to you! My husband is a successful business owner. I am as well. But I want to take care of our kids (2 boys) so my business comes 2nd. I am 42 and we have been togther about 15 yrs. We partied together at first with a group of friends. We moved away from a lot of those people as the partying got more serious. He always finds a neighbor to drink with. Like it’s ok cuz he’s not driving. They do shots. He is not an angry drunk or abusive. But in our daily life, he is sarcastic and exaggerates and blames and I now he lies and juggles his work day, living on the edge. It’s this constant feeling like the floor is going to fall out from under us. But he has taken care of us for so long, he thinks I should ‘have faith in him’. He knows he shouldn’t drink so much. He knows the boys are aware. I am not hard on him because I drink sometimes too. But I have some wine or meet girlfriends. I just never got the same kind of buz from alcohol as he does. It’s just calories to me. So, I guess my complaint is that over time, we are not thriving. We are ok. He has no ambition or goals. He never wants to go anywhere or try new things and neither do the kids. I think he would be a different and outgoing person without alcohol. But he doesn’t want to be. He is happy the way things are. It’s going to take me putting my foot down and I resent that. I have weighed out the consequences and I will not threaten divorce. I analyze this to death and I deserve better. My life was a mess at times and I’ve been with worse men. Everything is ok, but I live with this fear that something is going to happen. I question my judgement. I am depression. I worry a lot. He has slowly sucked the life out of me. I can’t quite let my guard down like someone said above. I’m tired but grateful at the same time that my kids and I are ok. Overall, I have lost respect for him and that is a marital problem. I don’t want my boys to pick up his alcoholic behaviors. I don’t have the energy to take this on. Status quo is easier. The mystery of the functioning alcoholic. He’s not that bad! Why stir things up? What if I’m wrong or overreacting. Could I do more damage than good? Can I quit drinking and completely avoid all our friends?

  • Kate

    I’ve been with a functioning alcoholic for 7 years. In fact, he’s so “functioning” (and deceptive) that I didn’t even know he had a problem until he left us 6 months ago after I accidentally discovered his secret stash. Over the years, he went from drinking a few beers daily to wine (because it was “healthier”) to liquor (that he said he didn’t like). I had caught him sneaking bottles into the house several times but he vehemently denied it and I didn’t think that walking up to him and grabbing the bottle from behind his back to humiliate him and prove my point would have yielded any good results so I let it be. He has repeatedly cheated and lied to me in the last 3 years and yet I stayed because I don’t take the commitment that I made to him in marriage lightly. He said his actions were that of a man who was unhappy and he has been carrying around deep seated anger from a “dysfunctional upbringing” (his words) and he needed to comes to terms with that ALONE before we could have a better life as a family. He doesn’t even know exactly where his anger is coming from because it’s that repressed but certain triggering events (he doesn’t know what those are either) make his anger “come to the surface”. I gave him room and waited for him to come to terms with his past and it never happened and this time, he left because he said he would “feel obligated” to help me with our child if he stayed with us and he needed to focus on himself. Well, focus on himself, he did! He’s the most selfish, self-absorbed, entitled, narcissistic, self-righteous person that I have ever met!!

    When I discovered his stash, my initial reaction was “he lied to me AGAIN!”, and yet HE was the one that broke out into a rage and left. I was stunned, to say the least, but I guess I shouldn’t have been. I could have never been prepared for what would follow in the next few months. He was emotionally absent (unless anger was the emotion that was called for) in recent years so I was very lonely but he was never abusive. Well, now he’s very abusive, verbally and emotionally. He calls me horrible names and then laughs at me when I cry and says it’s my fault for taking it personally and that no one can make me feel anything…I’ve chosen to be upset. He says he’s angry (rage is more like it) that I’m angry that he pretty much left us without any consideration for our needs and that he still has no answers for why he left (remember, that “deep seated anger” that gets in the way of our family?!). He says it’s not things that happen to me (him leaving us) that causes stress in my life but the expectations that I have that get broken that do (so, expecting a spouse to be faithful, honest, and to treat me as an equal in marriage was my mistake?). If I get upset about something he says, he tells me to repeat what he says verbatim (which I think is pretty abusive and belittling in itself) and if I even get 1 word wrong, then he yells and screams about how I distort his words and anything that I construe as being mean is not really that…it’s just my misinterpretation of his words or me deliberately twisting things around so that he looks like the bad person (again, me making myself miserable, through auditory hallucinations this time). Well…to me, it seems like that’s exactly what he’s doing!

    Apparently, I’m to blame for everything but ironically, not for anything I did during the marriage. His explanations for how / what I’m feeling puts all the blame on me and takes any responsibility and accountability away from him. I had been eager to hear what it was that I did or said to make him so miserable in our time together so I could apologize and make amends as necessary but he hasn’t come up with anything. Instead of just the anger and sadness that I felt over him leaving us, I now have feelings of deep resentment for his blaming me for things that have nothing to do with our marriage OR me, for that matter. He has a way with rationalizing the irrational and somehow making absurd things sound like they’re plausible. I’m sober as can be, yet he manages to make me feel like I’m drunk and confused. He makes things so crazy that I start questioning my own sanity. After 3 months of constant verbal and emotional abuse and 1 physical threat (that alone was enough for me!), I couldn’t take it any longer and decided that if I stayed, he would destroy my self-esteem. Deep down, I knew that the things he was saying were “my fault” were really not, but hearing it over and over in different contexts and seeing the “fault list” grow on a daily basis was wearing on me fast. Fortunately, he works full-time but I don’t even get a penny from him so I don’t depend on him financially. I don’t need someone in my life just so that I have “company” when he feels like being present and I certainly know that abuse has no role in my marriage or our child’s life.

    I retained an attorney 2 weeks ago and she’s drafting a separation agreement. Of course, he reminds me it’s me (again!) that’s breaking our marriage vows by taking the step. He’s stepped up the “games” even more although he was agreeable (I even confirmed with him the day before) to the separation agreement. Heck, he was the one that left in the first place so why he is making an already miserable process worse? Judging from his actions in the last 6 months, I think he’d be ecstatic that I was the one that took the legal step but he’s not? I guess it’s a no win situation for me. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. There is a young child in the picture so I’m taking what I feel are necessary steps to best protect her future and my own but I see he’s not going to make it easy. Waiting until he’s ready to come back to us (he even said maybe he won’t ever!) is not a viable option, especially when it’s quite apparent that he has only gotten worse, not better.

  • The alcoholic never initiates the divorce. If he did, he couldn’t claim to be the victim.

  • Leslie

    Thank you for this site! I just had one of the worst nights of my marriage yesterday. My husband is a high functioning alcoholic…he loves his beer. He starts drinking in the afternoons on every weekend day because you’re ‘not an alcoholic’ if you don’t start before noon. We planned to take my nephew to some car races last night. My sister is always very worried about who is driving and what the environment will be like and rightfully so, we had her child with us. My husband continued to drink when we got to the event, buying the beers 2 at a time. My nephew kept count, telling me how many emptys were stacked underneath our seats. This is nothing new for me, if we try to go out and enjoy anything, I already know we have to budget for ‘him’ to drink. Makes anything we do super expensive.

    The problem started when we dropped my nephew off at home. His little sister who is 5, came up to my husband and asked him how many beers he had to drink and if he was driving…she didn’t know what she was doing, but it set my husband off. He held it in while we were at their house, but when we got in the vehicle, he argued with me about he was going to drive and I was insistent that I would. That is what started the argument on the drive home….he was adamant that he was SOBER enough to drive…kept going on and on about it. Even with me telling him I am sober, I didn’t drink all night. He then started into me about how I need to visit with my sister and tell her to quit talking to her young kids about his drinking. Its none of their business he said and that a 5 yr old shouldn’t be asking him about how much has drank. Problem is, I don’t think I need to have that talk with my sister. She sees the problem. I am not sure I agree with her talking to her kids about it as they are quite young. But why do I have to stick up for him when he is a drunk and is always drinking around them.

    We ended our night by coming home and getting into more of a discussion/argument about each of our families. He likes to tell me that my family is so much better than him. That we know everything…this is all in a condescending manner. He doesn’t want to even be around anybody who wants to call him out on his drinking. His family doesn’t even communicate with him, unless they need him to help with something, as they know what they are getting into….its all so exhausting…I hate the weekends, cause its all about the beer all weekend long. Beer and the TV…I want our life to be more than this…I starting reading some of the threads on this site and was crying, so I felt compelled to write. I have been with my husband for 3 yrs, 2 yrs of dating and married now for almost 9 months.

  • Your husband is putting more than his own life at risk by drinking and driving. Do you wait till someone dies; perhaps your niece or your neighbor? A man who “didn’t have a problem” killed my mother. Could you live with that?

  • Whit

    I have been scanning all the posts and my situation seems similar …. yet different. I need advice! I have been with my husband for for 33 years (married 28 years). We are in our early 50′s now. We have always been extremely social people. My husband was very athletic and involved in a lot of sports activities. There was always beer around. We both enjoyed having a few drinks … but he always was (and still is) able to drink an enoumous amount. We also live in a very social neighborhood and there are always drinks at every get together. About 10-12 years ago my husband had a knee surgery that went wrong. He contracted a staff infection, had 3 additional surgeries and has never been able to run again. This ended his sports activities and I feel began a depression for him. The beer drinking escalated. He was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and is barely able to walk and he is losing feeling in his hands as well. He has also been diagnosed with diabetes and does nothing to take care of it. We have lost most of our circle of friends because they don’t want to deal with him. He has been totally abandoned by his entire family (parents, brother, sisters, nieces, nephews) and recently had to sell the business he owned with his brother. My husband’s excuse for selling the business is that he cannot work because of the neuropathy. I feel his brother has had enough of trying to run the business on his own because my husband would go to work in the morning — then head to the bar for the rest of the day. In reality, I can’t really blame my brother-in-law for wanting him out. My husband now considers himself retired. He goes to a bar 7 days a week by 11am and comes home around 6-7pm. Sometimes he is really drunk — other times he seems what I’ll call ‘acceptable’ (if there is such a thing). He calls me or one of our daughters for a ride occassionally. He is having difficulty remembering things and many conversations make absolutely no sense at all. There is no physical violence but he does become mouthy occassionally. He desperately needs help! I am considering moving out of our home. I told him again this week that I do not want to divorce him, but I feel that he needs something to wake him up. I have begged him to get help for his alcolohism and he does not think he has a problem. I am wondering if I move out and tell him that I am willing to return if I see that he has gotten help will be the right thing to do? I may have done so sooner but our grown daughter’s are still dependent on us financially (for several reasons). I work full-time and most of my pay goes toward their expenses. If I leave I know that my husband will cut off any financial support and I don’t know how my daughter’s will be able to meet their expenses. Any advice would be really appreciated. :)

  • r dioth

    .well hi, I have been with my husband for nearly 10 years…he is an alcoholic. he always has been. I didnt see it.
    Why didnt i see the signs?..when we first met he would always turn up with atleast a six pack..we went out on dates where there was alcohol..am i stupid?!!..I am his 4th relationship, the others left after a few years aswell. but they didnt have children to him. ok so how bad is he?…pretty damn bad, im living with my own real life jekyl and hyde. And it sux!…he drinks as soon as he can..always beer.. he leaves for work at 6am, with his little esky with a six pack in it..and i know for a fact he drinks from the moment he gets through town as my daughter was with him once and he cracked a beer..it was 7am..ive been to work with him..he drinks on the job..he drinks all day..he has lunch at the pubs, gets more at the drive thru on the way out and more on his way home…rarly he has come home pretty sober..but of course he wouldve had something..but then theres the times when he reeks of a brewery, has a strange look in his eye, a different tone in his voice that signals to us, “just dont answer back, do as your told,”.
    he becomes sarcastic, narky, snappy at kids, insinuates stuff towards me…and worse of all is he is an arseholoe to my eldest son from a previous relationship,(also have a daughter from previous relationship who he is fine with and also 4 together) calls him a *****, has yelled in his face, threatened to “knock him out”..and recently kicked him because he wouldnt answer him…I have got between my children and him before so he wouldnt hurt them and admit that recently i have told him that if he lays a hand on them i will knock him out, thats if he can get through me first…he laughs..Im not scared of him anymore..i used to be..but not anymore..In the past about 5 years ago he went through a really bad phase..he would shove me against the wall when i was pregnant and threaten to punch me..he has pushed me down a few times and this one night he held a beer bottle above my head and was threatining to hit me with it..with my kids right there, he then wanted my ring off my finger and was bending my finger saying he could snap it if he wanted to..he then yelled that i probably enjoyed the sexual assault i experienced as a child..well the cops were called, he had a dv order placed on him and i was leaving..then he promised to change, he cryed, he stopped drinking as much..i stayed.also by now he had 7 drink driving charges.
    And now here i am..over the last 4 years he has had episodes of being psychotic, he has slowly got worse and im watching him get worse, i dont want to sleep with him, and now he acuses me of having an affair..im not like that.he is an arse to my son again, he is an arse in his words to me and is even jelous of me talking to friends on the phone and has accused me of “talking to my boyfriends”….we are talking about a one minute time frame of texting my friend about her sick son..unbelievable!…we walk on eggshells, i warn the kids if i know he is in a mood and tell them to just do as they are told and not fight or be silly..i find myself hoping he will just die… and that makes me hate myself for feeling that…I want to leave..but then theres the times when he has only had a couple o beers…and he is ok.( this is usually in the mornings).he is nice. loving.. nice with kids..etc..omg..how do i get off this bloody roundabout!? How do you look a resonably sober man in the eyes, when he is nice, and say ” btw im leaving”..I just dont know what else to do.last night was another night of hurtfull comments..like the fact my older two are proof i had sex with someone else before i met him, oh and he is going to look somewhere else for sex now as im not doing my duty in that area..i even said that the way he treats me and the kids is a turnoff..he had a f^& everyone attitude lastnight..even rang my sister and said she isnt welcome here to stay as he doesnt want to put up with her kids..not that he is here anyway.!..oh and the biggest one being that I have no idea what work is like and i was a slut before i met him as its obvious because of my older children..and he said that if i think he is a cranky arsehole then id better look out as he is going to show me what that is..i asked if he was threatning me..he said i should grow up!..im lost..he loves his own kids, he loves me..or does he..or does he just “own” me as i cant talk to anyone else…..far out..someone please take me away

  • Deidre

    Thank you so much – I have found this site and comments so helpful. My husband of 6 years is an alcoholic. A month ago I threw him out for a multiple of reasons, all stemming from his drinking. He has been unemployed for 5 years and has been unable to get a job due to criminal convictions (drink driving) and 6 weeks ago he drove drunk again, and crashed into another vehicle. The day before this happened he assaulted my father. As a result of both he is looking at a custodial sentence. He is a nasty, psychologically abusive drunk and like so many others who have commented above I just retreated behind emotional walls to protect myself. He’s also been depressed since being out of work and the cherry, on the frosting, on the cake an affair I discovered.

    I can really empathise with those who say they love yet hate their spouse. I have swung between loathing and caring so many times but I suddenly realised that being single is far better than being miserable with someone who will never change. I don’t quite understand why I was prepared to put up with an abusive, drunk of a husband for so long? Which ultimately lead me to this site. It was my dirty little secret and I was determined to make my marriage work and not become another divorce statistic. Admitting I’d made a mistake was tough, but it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact it now feels like the beginning of a new, brighter one.

    He is now getting help for his alcoholism, but it’s too little too late. Even though he admits he’s decreased his drinking by 80% he is still drinking 3-4 times a week (1-2 beers) and only once a week he will drink to get drunk.

    I’m so blessed to be financially secure and have no children because it’s meant that I was able to follow what my heart and intuition have been screaming at me for so long. Talking about some of the things that happened while he drank has been really therapeutic as it’s helped me realise that this is not what a healthy, happy marriage looks like. I had reset my normal, which included a drunken spouse. Happiness, respect, laughter, fun, companionship, affection, trust and love should be the norm…not the exception.

    Leaving a marriage is heart breaking, but living with someone with alcohol addiction is just as lonely. Be strong, put yourself first and live the life you want…not the one you hope will happen IF sobriety ever occurs.

  • katrina

    Hello Every One, I have been with my husband three years–he is a drunk. It’s New Years Eve and I am alone. He’s drunk again and I can’t bare it any longer.

    I don’t know were to go from here; he caused another row. Please someone what do I do? I want to leave him my love is dieing. I would have to disappear as he would not leave me alone. I don’t know what I am doing with him. I am on my own at night. He is always asleep before 8pm. All my friends are fed up with hearing about him. He is always nice to everyone but me. Help please

  • Dee

    Hello, I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for 17 years. Recently it’s now affecting our business. I do think he is trying to sabotage it so he doesn’t have to work anymore. He just wants to stay home and lay around all day recouping from the previous night of heavy drinking. He is extremely verbally abusive, telling me he hates me and wishes I was dead. The next day apologizing for it. He treats our daughter the same way but not our son.

    He came from a family that looks down upon women. He is one of twelve children. Both parents were alcoholics and 6 out of the children. My kids have told me to leave him many times. I do not want to try to fix it anymore I just want out but don’t know how to do it. I know he will become enraged. I have a difficult situation because we own our business together. I have secretly been looking for a job to get out but to no avail or ones that come through is not enough to support my children and myself. There is no fixing this like I said the verbal abuse is debilitating, getting screamed at 6 out of 7 days has to stop, he has threatened divorce and to leave but has not. Any advice would help.
    Thank You

  • Elle

    I am 30 years old and have been married for 2 and a half years. I’ve never known an alcoholic. I met my husband when he was fresh out of rehab for a pill addiction. We were both 26. He didn’t drink a drop for the first year we dated. I’d never been so happy with anyone before. He slowly started drinking once a month, twice a month, etc. I still didn’t see it as a problem. I didn’t know better. He wasn’t an angry or mean drunk. I truly thought he had a handle on it.

    About 6 months into our marriage I became pregnant. We lost our daughter during pregnancy. I was a wreck. And he was not there for me emotionally. I don’t know if the drinking got worse during that time or if my eyes were opened.

    We went to counseling. He went to AA. I thought things were looking up but then we got pregnant again and just a few weeks into it his drinking picked back up. We lost our second daughter during pregnancy too. To say I’m heartbroken would be an understatement. Back to counseling, back to AA. Things seem better for a while.

    Two months ago, I’m embarrassed to say we became pregnant again despite the heavy drinking. I had an ectopic pregnancy and lost my right Fallopian tube. I feel broken, worthless. He doesn’t help. I get literally enraged with him when he drinks now. I yell and scream. I throw things. I’m so angry for how my life has turned out. I’m married but alone. I’m a mother but not.

    We never have sex. Ever. I’ve gained 30 pounds since we were married. He told me one night while drunk that he just isn’t attracted to me anymore. I know the extra weight is from depression. How could I not be depressed after all that I’ve been through. I feel like he has ruined my life. I don’t believe in divorce. I mean I believe in it but I also believe I made a promise to God and while I could legally divorce him and leave, I don’t believe that a second marriage is morally right. So I feel trapped. I can’t bear the thought of not being a mother to a living child one day but know that with him it can never happen so long as he is drinking. I don’t want to be single either. I’m just torn.

    How am I supposed to find happiness?

  • Lu

    Dr. Neill appreciates your comments and how you all help one another! He is very grateful to provide this forum and all the feedback he receives! His heart goes out to each one of you. However, Dr. Neill is not able to give advice in this public forum. If you need his help, please refer to his consultations page: http://www.neillneill.com/consultations. He uses Skype or telephone to make consulting more convenient.

  • Sara

    I recognise so much of my own feelings in these stories. The anger, feeling crazy, the depression, the futility. We split up after six years of drip drip hell. I ask myself why I stayed and it was in the hope of getting back the man I fell in love with who said he wanted no more lies or affairs. He said he was a functioning alcoholic when I was three months pregnant. I suspected till then. He would berate me for hours till i was in tears . He has been physically abusive on two occasions, but mostly menacing in his behaviour and emotionally abusive.

    He is a successful actor and director and very good with his stories. I feel like I have no power to defend myself because of the lies he has circulated about me, that I am mentally ill, that I am the abuser. An abuser for what? For complaining about his drinking and asking him to leave his drinking and the lifestyle and the smiles and surface for something real and precious. He has no respect for anything. My child is nearly four and because of that one stupid hope I had that he would give up drinking and be the kind loving man I knew. His family and friends dazed by his celebrity enable his drinking and swallow his stories even though I have never had a bad word with them.

    I discovered his use of hardcore pornography and seeing prostitutes in each city he worked from Internet trails on his laptop. Then the affairs and meeting women in bars and clubs and not telling me. No phone calls home. I couldn’t see it stopping, any of it. I couldn’t see his drinking stopping and then I realised the power of alcohol is too strong for me, stronger than me. At one point I visited my doctor and literally begged her to refer me to a psychiatrist, she reluctantly did and I was told there’s nothing wrong with me but it sounds like he’s an “alcoholic pressing my buttons”, and that I suffer reactive depression because of the situation.

    So much else happened where he put my daughter in a very vulnerable situation and his other kids too when he went drinking and left his other kids alone in a hotel room. I don’t want this for my life, this uncaring pointless drinking life or to sacrifice precious things like culture and heritage for this. Do I want my child to think this is normal? That’s why I would not let go of the abuse or the infidelities and confronted him with it, also I feared being a doormat otherwise.

    Am I happy now, seven months on? My hearts broken and he has said he loves me and has no girlfriends. But then backtracks on why he said it. I still have this stubborn hope that he will change . In the meantime I dream of a little house for me and my kids where we can be at peace, though I know he will not stop bothering us and will steal my peace of mind using access to my child as the reason; even though he walked out on us multiple times without so much as a backward glance. But I recognise these stories in myself, I know I’m not crazy , I know I have a right to be treated with love and respect. Something I would never have understood or got living with him.

  • Belle

    I’ve been with my husband for 6 years. We married 2 years ago. When my husband and I got married I knew he had some issues with abusing medications and alcohol. However, I didn’t know exactly how serious they were. Mainly because I wasn’t around to witness or find anything. Eventually when we moved in together I noticed the medication and alcohol abuse increasing. As for him I’m not too sure if he knew how serious his abuse was then either. He said he did what he did because he couldn’t sleep. Mainly because of stress, and consequences of shift work. He said he would be “fine” once he catches up. At that time after really looking at his stressors both him and I felt that his substance abuse streamed from his stress at work and housing properties. He was a shift worker that was over working himself (16 hour shifts) on a daily basis. Why? Because he had several rental properties to maintain financially. So we sold almost all his properties (we now have 3 including our own house). As for work, a physician has put him on disability for the reasons of inability to cope appropriately. He’s a nurse so showing up intoxicated puts everyone in danger. Unfortunately, these “solutions” has not helped my husband feel he has less stress. He now feels that he has lost and given up a lot of what he worked hard for, and feels ashamed he is not the “bread winner” and does not have a job. So he has gone back to medication and alcohol abuse.

    Because my husband is a nurse he has certain advantages and disadvantages. He is able to recognize that he needs help to a certain degree. He knew if he continued to go to work in the state he was in he would not be able to work as a nurse in the future. So he reached out to a psychiatrist he worked with and has seen him in his twenties (let me elaborate on this issue after). The disadvantages include he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else and he can handle his abuse in the way he wants to. This means he manipulates counselors, physicians, nurses and every other professional that has to deal with him. So when he has to go to the hospital because of an overdose he knows what to do and say when he’s sober to get discharged or out of his mental health act forms. Also because he knows some of the professionals he is ashamed to go to AA meetings and rehab facilities afraid to run into someone he knows. I know.. they sound just like excuses right? But really may be I don’t understand the level of embarrassment he feels. I mean.. that’s why I’m typing here my problems instead of telling my friends and family right? and I’m telling my story here and ow because I really feel like the people commenting here understand what I’m going through.

    There’s an even more complicated background to my husband. At a young age he was sexually abused by his cousin. It was so horrible for him he attempted suicide in his early twenties. The physician that put him off work is actually the same psychiatrist that saw him in his early twenties. The psychiatrist has also diagnosed him with dissociative personality. Because of his abusive childhood I’ve been told that my husband was using dissociation as a form of coping ever since he was young. This means under certain “conditions” my husband becomes his other half. This other half he turns in to is capable of saying and doing things that are unpredictable. And of course he can’t remember them. The psychiatrist claims that alcohol brings out the dissociation. I’m sure to a lot of you the “other half” just sounds like a drunk. Which is what I have a big issue in differentiating. Is it his other personality? or just alcohol?

    During the last two years we have gone through several hospitalizations and run in with the law. Yes, all in his “dissociative” state. But all his blood alcohol levels come back positive. He has also had encounters with the police where they certify him and have charged him with DUI etc. Every time my husband sobers up he realizes his mistakes. And tells me how he will try to stop drinking. It’s been like that for the last two years.

    I have the same feelings as a lot of you that have left their comments here. I feel like I’ve lost my best friend and that I don’t have a husband. I’m exhausted coming home because I’m a nurse as well. I come home after taking care of patients with different issues including long-term alcohol abuse to a husband that I fear will end up like my patients. And yes, my husband dealt with alcohol abusive patients in his line of duty too. We don’t have sex anymore and I feel myself pushing myself away from him because I don’t want to be disappointed again. I’ve convinced myself to stand up for myself but I don’t necessarily always do it in a positive way. For example, if I find him at home intoxicated I yell at him during his episode, and after when he sobers. I know it doesn’t make a difference anyways but it’s better than being my old naive self that looked the other way… right? Honestly, I know it’s true. I don’t deal with it always in a positive light or effectively. I scream, I cry, I yell, I try to drag him out of the house (sometimes he’s drinking and cooking so I try to get him to leave through the back). I hate the smell of alcohol. I don’t even drink when I’m out with my friends because I feel like I’m a hypocrite.

    All of the professional help I’ve seeked have said the same thing. Counselors have told me we can’t work on our marriage until he addresses his dissociation because it is not realistic to have him deal with an addiction and mental issues simultaneously. It is hard enough for a “regular” person to deal with addiction but someone who has doesn’t have the greatest mental health isn’t going to be able to deal with both issues. The psychiatrist have told me that my husband needs to agree to go to a group or rehab program and want to change in order to overcome his addiction so I need to wait.

    I have such mixed emotions with my husband. With his drinking several liters of vodka a day I don’t recognize him anymore. I love him and I don’t. I hate who he has become and how our relationship has been deteriorating. I hate going back and forth in my mind of who is “responsible” for the deterioration because he’s the one drinking but marriage takes two right? I told him that I hate who I’ve become now because I’m so angry and anxious.

    My husband tells me he loves me. Actually even in his drunken state he always tells me he does and that I’m not the problem. But at the same time he says the way I treat him is like a mother to a son and he hates that. But how can someone who is abusing alcohol take care of himself, be trusted? I don’t want a “son”, I want a husband. I’ve told him he needs to tell me and understand that one day I want my own family and I don’t know if he’s capable of being trustworthy. He’s lied so many times about his substance abuse. I’m just so tired. Really really tired. I have to deal with all the finances because if he has a cent he will spend it on liquor. I have to drive him around because he got his DUI (although he knows I’m tired so he’s willing to take a bus). He says he knows he has a problem (but thinks I over exaggerate them when the doc asks me about how much he’s drank, what has happened in the last week). He tells me right now he’s in the worst mental state he’s ever been. He said he’s never hated himself so much or his life. He also tells me that he’s never been this sloppy with his hygiene and around the house. He tries in his own way to change and make a difference but it’s taking a long time. I know change doesn’t happen over night as much as I’d like it to. Even if he wants to stop it isn’t that easy. How long do I give him? He has been going to AADAC (he started a week ago) to show that he’s trying to change. He also says he really wants to go back to work. He feels that if he was working he would have some kind of purpose but is aware that his psychiatrist refuses to put him back to work anytime soon. This also causes financial stress on both of us.

    I’m having difficulty right now knowing how much time he needs. If it’s possible he can make a commitment to not drink and if we will be able to have our own family. He wanted to have a family once before and he says he’s hoping to one day when he’s more stable. I can even tell right now from my passage my mind is going back and forth. I contemplate everything. I go back and forth. I feel like I know he has problems and I hate what’s happening but at the same time I defend him here and there. Why I don’t think AADAC will necessarily help is because he went to rehab before. But they “kicked him out” because he wasn’t participating in the groups and they felt he wasn’t ready for rehab and he was in denial. I guess I have just been let down so many times I am lost in what I should do and believe. I don’t even know what I want really.. if I want to leave or stay. Am I just impatient?

  • I have just been reading through all of the comments above, and have come to the realization that my husband is a Functioning Alcoholic. I try to get him to limit himself with the amount he drinks, he will try for a week to limit himself to 1 carton of beer but that is all it lasts one week. Other times he will come home from work and will have approximately 8 beers one after another and then he will finish that off with some red wine. All this on an empty stomach because he quite often doesn’t eat during the day.

    The look on his face totally changes (although he won’t believe this) he looks as if he is extremely agitated and at these times I have learned that it is often best not to even engage him in conversation as it often just ends up in an argument. He often takes his anger out on his children first and then if I stick up for them and ask him to take it easy he will just start on me big time (better me than them). Our daughter moved out as soon as she was financially able (at 18) and now my son (who is almost 16) seems to now be the target of his verbal abuse. I am writing this today because he went off again last night and what started it was my son putting his dinner plate on the bench beside the kitchen sink and not washing it up straight away. His tirade was so bad that my son went to his room crying and was on the internet setting up a place for him to go and stay for the weekend because he said he was sick of it.

    My husband not only drinks too much but when he drinks he drinks fast. Quite often we will go out somewhere and it will be BYO. My husband will often go through what he has brought with him and will then be in search of something else.

    I don’t object to a few drinks after work at all, but I think 6-8 is way too much and he drinks and drives home from work or golf. Whenever I ask about the amount he has drunk it always ends in an argument. I don’t need to ask anymore you can usually tell just by the look on his face.

    He has trouble sleeping, usually crashes out fast (due to the amount drunk) and wakes several times during the night. Sweats excessively during the night, has permanent body odor. Suffers from gout. Has a large beer belly. Doesn’t spend time with his children. Is not affectionate at all. Spends all his time usually in the spare room lying on the sofa bed eating and drinking watching TV.

    It upsets our children and is hard to ask them to not worry about it as it obviously affects them. I try and do my own thing and not let his problem bring me down (even though it gets embarrassing at times. Apologies for the long post, but just reading all the previous comments and writing this has helped.

  • Stephanie L

    I ran across this website while searching for the magic answer that I know I have but am afraid to move forward with.

    I have been with my husband for 20 yrs married for 17 1/2 yrs. I had three children that he accepted when we got married. For most of this time things have been good. However 6-7 yrs ago he started drinking beer 18-24 a day 7 days a week. I told him I was not gonna budget for beer anymore so he changed to straight vodka. I mean straight from the bottle with beer or water a chaser. He drinks a pint to a 5th every day 7 days a week.
    Blames the drinking on stress….says he knows he has a problem and one day he will surprise me and quit.

    He shakes so bad until he drinks a little it worries and scares me. He hasn’t worked in 3 yrs; was in school for 2yrs but hasn’t been successful in finding a job. So he now starts drinking about 11AM and is drunk by the time I get home from work. I never know if he will be the happy drunk he use to always be or the negative mumbling drunk he has become. He has these conversations with himself and then gets angry when I have no idea what he is talking about.

    I know he loves me very much but his drinking, smoking pot every day just plain sucks. He has just started saying mean things, sometimes directly to me. Other times he is just mumbling to himself but its about me. If I call him on the mean things he says “I’m just being honest.” I have tried to tell him that being honest doesn’t make it ok, especially when he knows it is mean.

    My kids are grown so its just him and me. I work full time and his mommy gives him a few hundred every week so he can pay some bills. She owns the house we live in. She knows he has a problem but tells me he is my problem now. Then tells him I am just trying to stir the pot by telling her about how much and often he drinks.
    I can leave as I have a job but don’t want to leave my two dogs behind. I am afraid he will be mean to the one as he says he cant stand her. She is a pain but I love her. I don’t know if he will give me the dogs later if I leave without them. My basement is also full of two of my kids stuff, one is in rehab and the other is away at school. Do I leave there things or take it all with me? I wont be able to afford a storage unit.
    Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Alexis

    I know my husband is an alcoholic. We have been married for 10yrs but together for 13yrs. I am truly considering leaving him over his drinking. He has always enjoyed beer.

  • Amanda

    I’m not sure if I’m looking for a problem or if it’s really that bad, but I’m sure my husband is a functioning alcoholic. Some days he will admit it and other days he says he is just having a drink like everyone else. It goes in waves. He drinks whiskey everyday ( lots if it ). About 3 drinks in he starts to change a lot less tolerant and little comments it’s either directed at me me or a member of his family ( he no longer speaks to any of them which is a fifty fifty thing they treated him bad and in return he hurt them back verbally ).

    Sometimes he gets violent. Although he tries very hard not to, but when he does it’s because I annoyed him and didn’t try and calm him down. On other occasions he just gets nasty with words, but there other days where he just drinks says odd things then goes to bed. He doesn’t lose his sex drive when he has a drink but I don’t want to have sex with someone that smells and is drunk. Although, even then you’d think he was sober as he holds his drink well, or he wakes up at 3 in the morning wanting it ( he is never forceful about sex but I feel guilty if we don’t have sex as he says that’s how we show our love by being intimate ).

    Life is hard for him. He hates it, but we have two young children who ho loves dearly and he says they are his savior. Although, as long as they are good and not too noisy .. This is all confusing and muddled but I’ve had enough of not knowing if I’m being out of order or should be supporting him ( he did not have a good childhood but neither did I but I think you need to get things sorted then carry on with your life not let it ruin the rest of it ). I love my husband very much but I don’t think I am in love with him anymore.

  • kate

    I’m still in limbo about how to move forward with my life. I guess compared to many I am lucky. My functioning alcoholic husband of 32 years has never been violent, and only displays his verbal abuse when I react to his being drunk. He was always a heavy drinker, but it was controlled enough for us to have a good life – we were best friends and had a good sex life, until about ten years ago. The drink took over and gradually our sex life diminished because he was always drunk. Then eventually he had an affair which I found out about 3 years ago. He claimed he was very sorry about it and said he still loved me and wanted to get our marriage back to where it had been before it all went wrong.

    Silly me – I believed him – but as every one of you who have shared your stories knows – the only real love he has is for his red wine. He works every day, looks after the house, has always been good to our children, who are now adults, and adores our new granddaughter. But I am sick of talking to a drunk every night. At 53 I don’t think it’s fair that I should be living a celibate life, because his drinking prevents him from being able to have an erection. And what about the future? Our children are fed up with him being drunk every time they come for a visit. But of course he doesn’t see anything wrong with it, and has absolutely no plan to do anything about it. So far I am still dithering about what to do. Thank you all for helping me to see that I am not alone.

  • Lisa

    We have been married for almost 31 years and have 4 adult sons but it’s getting very hard to have a happy life together. My Husband has always enjoyed beer and wine but it seems like he has consumed it more and more over the years and it’s now normal for him to drink 3 or more beers a day. If you question him he tells you it’s good for your health to have a beer/wine or two everyday. He says it helps him unwind after work and although he says he has gone a day here or there without he won’t/can’t stop for any length of time.

    Although, he would not agree with this. I can’t remember the last day he went without a drink in a day so I would imagine it’s been a long time. He gets angry about EVERYTHING, so much that I’m on pins and needles when he is around. He is very controlling, argumentative and easily agitated. I use to enjoy spending time with him but now I can’t wait till he leaves and I even try to convince him to go out with the guys. I know we need to discuss his drinking but because everything I say lately ends up starting an argument it’s hard to bring the topic up. I’m going to watch his intake over the 5 days and then approach him this weekend. This way I will know the truth before I open my mouth.

  • Coco

    Hello,

    I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for 6 years. We got married when we were both 22 after being together for a short seven months. I didn’t realize how bad his problem was until I moved out of state to be with him where he was stationed while serving in the military. The last six years have been a living nightmare. Beer is drink of choice and he will consume 18-24 beers per day everyday. He somehow manages to maintain a full time job (he has been out of the military for four years now). He is verbally abusive and has called me every awful word you can think of. He drinks and drives and has almost killed us both several times.

    There have been a few times where we have taken separate cars somewhere and as he drinks and drives, he thinks it’s funny to try and “race” me down the road or tailgate my car. He has almost run me off the road several times. While I was driving with him, he was wasted and jerked the wheel because he was mad and I swerved off the road just missing a telephone pole. I’ve been physically abused as well. Pushed, shoved, choked, and pushed out of a parked car. When he gets really drunk he tells me that he could kill and and no one would ever find me…

    I have never seen him sober for longer than one month. While he was in the service, he was deployed twice for seven month tours. After he returned he would only stay sober for a short time and go back to drinking again. He degrades me and my family constantly and frequently blames me for all the problems. His parents both drink frequently and show no interest in trying to get him help.

    I’m only 28 but I depend on him financially. I work full time and go to school full time but I can’t afford to live on my own and doubt I would qualify for any assistance. I’ve completely lost my sense of self and confidence. He has taken my happy go lucky spirit and crushed it. I have no idea who I am anymore. I’m constantly agitated and depressed. I love him and in those brief periods he is sober he is a kind person. I’m basically just watching him die and I want to have a life again. Don’t know where to turn. Have gone through AL-anon, counseling, etc. Nothing seems to help. Please any advice would be appreciated! Thanks for listening to my story.
    Coco

  • Kat

    Hello,

    I have been married for close to 7 years now. My husband was drinking before he met me and so the feelings I have are of guilt. Guilt because I should have seen through the charm. I loved the person he was when we married, but he doesn’t seem to be that man anymore.

    He spends less and less time with me and our 2 children and then gets mad because I don’t want to sleep with him because of the lack of time spent. The times I do give in, my heart isn’t in it and I almost feel “dirty” after. Other factors bother me as well. My husband use to only drink at home and now he goes “out” at least 4 times a week. I feel myself getting angry when he goes, knowing that is money that could go to our mounting debt and time he could have spent with us.

    He seems like a functional drunk because he works full time out of our home. He drinks much less than others I have read about on this site, but he HAS to have a drink every day. Other behavioral changes have occurred over the last 4 years. He can’t tolerate noise (which is a big problem seeing as we have two toddlers,) he rarely showers, he loses his temper over little things like paying bills or kids jumping up and down in our living room. When he has our kids he barely pays attention to them. On more than one occasion he has told me he didn’t have time to feed our kids. To this point, I now don’t trust him to leave them alone with him for more than quick runs to the store. For extended times, I have to leave them with my mother who is in her mid-60′s). He always tells me I don’t listen to him (which I do, everything I have done has been for him and our kids).

    There is a list of complaints and I could go on. He really makes me feel like I am in the way and that the kids are a burden. I have researched divorce and it sounds like I would be treading into scary waters. One website stated that if I get an apartment and try to establish a home, I still might not get my kids. I am afraid to leave them with fear of neglect, but I don’t want him to not see the kids. I worry that I am going to be stuck in this loveless, thankless relationship with 2 kids who are the true victims.

  • bz

    I am 35 and just lost my wife of 10 years and a 3 yr old daughter due to my alcoholism. I thought if I could just control my drinking things would be fine. I’m a “Functioning alcoholic” as some would say. I completely broke down the other day and it was like everything I had done in my life, good and bad, hit me. I couldn’t believe what I had done!! I had just lost my family because of my alcohol abuse. I am an alcoholic. If anyone is listening that has an alcohol problem, please think about your family and what your doing. They need you. I’m 7 days alcohol free and counting.

  • lost & confused

    My boyfriend is an alcoholic–I think. He works 5 and 6 days a week and just comes home and eats, showers, and goes to bed. But he will drink on the days off sometimes. Before he started working again he would drink daily. His drug of choice – gin. Straight out the bottle. His personality changes when he drinks and he will get really moody. He also has high blood pressure and smokes. Sometimes his blood pressure will be like 200/113.

    He started taking his meds again for like 5 days but then on the weekend he will just stop taking it. He gets really bad headaches after drinking. His liver has almost shut down before and he had a small stroke before. Now his liver is only working like 60 percent. How much longer will his liver last if he keeps on drinking?? Me and his family worry about him but he will get mad and say I’m trying to be motherly to him.

    Could he have a lot of brain damage from drinking or could it be his bad liver or high blood pressure that makes him act so moody and such an a-hole towards me and others when drinking. When we would go out he would get drunk and treat strangers and other friends better then he would treat me. We would always end up arguing. I have decided myself to stop drinking. I see what it does to him and I don’t want to do it to myself anymore.

  • MS

    I have been a codependent person for 14 years. I’m was just passive. It is because I didn’t want to fail at another relationship.

    He isn’t abusive physically but my eyes have opened since my 16 yr moved out and in with her biological father. My husband didn’t say goodbye or hug her or any emotions. They disagreed a lot on his word. He grounded a lot with no timeline. It would go on for months. She would lose her phone and no friends but needed to be responsible for her siblings because he would take his time coming home. But once home cracking a beer was first thing he did. He has quit drinking several times. Once for 11 mo. I left for the first time ever 2 yrs ago. He made so many promises and they are all broken.

    He cant stop making remarks about my daughter. He says to the younger children which are ours, that he is happy she is gone so her behavior doesn’t wear off on them. All future plans do not apply to her. She just made a huge accomplishment she became a varsity cheerleader. I just sit here and be passive as my life has become a very unhappy place to be. I don’t know where the strength is but I need it to move on. To be happy to make my children happier.

  • James

    I am married for 44 years now. My Wife is has been an alcoholic this past 20 years or more and still drinking. I have been in Al-Anon for about 6 years. I suffer with GAD but have worked all my life; not easy at times and that is putting it mildly. I suffered a bout of depression in 2002 and stopped going to Al-Anon. I took early retirement in 2009 but found after one year that I could not deal with my wife’s drinking. This is only a short message as I could not go into all the details. I wish a good life to all people with or without an addiction, because we all need a life that we can be happy in. It’s to short not to be happy.

  • Deb

    Help–my husband and I have been married 23 years. His drinking has gotten worse over the last few years along with his personality. When he is not drinking he is rude, arrogant, hateful and almost impossible to be around. When he drinks he becomes nice and is even submissive..but acts like he has no brain cells–can’t carry on a conversation and it makes me sick.

    I’m so tired of him causing problems in our marriage. He promises to stop and then goes right back–he has slurred speech, unsteady on his feet and then claims to have only had “3″ beers practically 4 -5 nights a week. He promises to change and never does. I would have left already but we are drowning in debt and I feel trapped.

    I don’t love him anymore. We have no sex life–he can’t perform, and we sleep in separate beds. We have a 16 year old who knows what is going on–she is sick of him too. What can I do and where can i get help. I’m tired of pretending to the outside world that everything is OK when it’s really not. He has the audacity to tell me to leave…

  • Lu

    Dr. Neill is very happy to be able to provide this forum! He cannot give public advice. But, he does have his book “Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide.” Which can be found here: http://www.drneillneill.com. Also, he is available for private consultations via phone: http://www.neillneill.com/consultations.

  • Alex

    Hi Dr. Neill,

    I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years and we are planning to get married next year. I have lived with him for 3 of these years and didn’t realize he had a drinking problem until a few years in. He is very sweet and good to me and only binge drinks when he is upset (always the same reason, his child’s mother). When he is drunk he is like a child and hard to deal with and I get very upset.

    He knows he has a problem and has been through AA and some rehab but relapses when times are hard. His mother tells me not to marry him because his drinking will cause me to be lonely and resentful in the future. I am willing to help him and he helps himself when it is needed but am I asking for a life of regret? His mother is trying to convince me he will spiral into a full blown alcoholic and I will have to take care of him. I have committed to this man and see the drive in him. Am I a fool to marry a functioning alcoholic, can there be hope?

  • christina

    Gosh, I almost feel like a Kate Moss at a Weight Watchers meeting… meaning… I hear these stories of physical and/or emotional abuse and my HFA husband isn’t like that at all. Sober he’s a big sweet loving giving man and drunk/wasted he is the same, just sappy and sloppy. But there have been times when we’ve been in public and he gets loud and obnoxious with others. So embarrassing. He’s put me in some uncomfortable situations more than enough times that I just don’t want to go anywhere with him if I know he’ll be drinking. But even after having 6 beers a lunch, he swears he doesn’t have a problem. I guess his body has built up a tolerance. Anyway… I too am miserable now in my marriage. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to order your book from the library and I hope it helps. Oh and I’m going to start going to Al-Anon meetings.

  • A.

    Elle–

    Maybe you “don’t believe in divorce”, but by doing what he’s doing, your husband has already broken the marriage. (Is he “honoring and cherishing” or whatever else he promised?)

    If you truly want happiness, get out of the marriage and find a man who WILL love honor and cherish, and give you the babies you want.

  • Kimberly

    I have been with my husband now since July 2006, we got Married Aug. 2009. He always drank and I mean ALWAYS. He drinks mainly beer, and that can be anywhere from 2 -6 a night after work but on weekends it is up to 30 a day. He has started in as early as 9 a.m. just upon waking up, but not that often. He has never ever been abusive to me, whether verbal or physical. Which is one reason I have hung on so long. I keep thinking he treats me wonderful. He goes to work faithfully, is a wonderful father to our 2 year old daughter. He always comes straight home after work. He helps me in the house, he helps me with anything I may even remotely mention.

    The only signs I am seeing here that relate to some of the others is he embarrasses me if we go out into the public. He is addicted to Porn sites. His getting drunk on weekends in front of the kids and passing out, which ruins any plans we may have for that evening. He has 2 children ages 6 and 9 from a previous marriage. He used to tell me it was his EX wives fault that he drank so much. Because she was such a B**** to live with and that he was miserable with her. But now since he has continued, I know that was one of the excuses that others here are describing. I will tell him “What is your excuse now, maybe it wasn’t her fault after all, because she isn’t here anymore”? Now his excuse is “He has the hardest Job ever, and the stress is killing him”. I just don’t understand, how hard he has it” or “he has to drink, cause it calms his nerves”. He forgets most everything we argue about the night before.

    He is always worrying about if he can drink or if there will be people who drink – if a plan is to be at a social event with others. I have very religious family members. He hates to be around them because he doesn’t want to be in a situation where he can’t have a can in his hand. He doesn’t eat very much at all if he drinks, because once he eats he passes out. Most times he will drink until the last minute of the day before eating, and then go to bed. We can never plan outings with others because, anything like going to eat, or movies, or whatever because that is an interruption in his being able to drink.

    He got a DWI back in 2009, he went through all the test of determining how many hours he needed to take in his classes, with nothing but LIES. If he had of told the truth on all the questions he would have been doing way more hours then they determined. He went through the Mothers against Drunk Drivers class, heard all the awful stories and not one time did it even seem to affect him. He had to pay for over a year, for a blowing device to be in truck. After it was all over he had paid close to $4000 in classes, fines and expenses related to getting back to normal. But not one single time has he stopped drinking and driving. And even with him seeing the financial burden it put us through, He did not change a thing. He is convinced it was only because he was in a State other than where we live that he was caught in. Because If we had of been in our own State, the troopers wouldn’t have given him the ticket or took him to jail. So he continues to drive and drink. When I am with him I drive, but he still drinks. I am so afraid I will get an open container ticket if I get stopped because of him. But he can not be made to not do it. So what do I do? I will not let him drive with my daughter in the car while he is drinking so I have to drive the car.

    I threaten to leave him every single episode of a drunken, passing out, argumenative night. He will do very good for about a week, then go right back to same ole, same ole self. He will not ask for help or admit he needs help. Says he can’t afford to lose his job or even the time off without pay, if he were to go to a Rehab. Every single person who knows him, knows he is a drunk. We worked together at the same factory where we met. And all the Coworkers even knew he was a drunk. He use to come to work with an icechest in his truck and on breaks go drink one to get through the night. So some of the coworkers even knew he was drinking on the Job.
    He has never cheated on me, He has never hit me, called me names, or acted out vilently in any way. he acts like he loves me more than life, like he can’t live without me. He is still very sexually motivated. But if I turn him down -he will instantly turn to his Porn.

    I was raised in a very Religious family whom taught that drinking was wrong all together. I went to church every Wednesday night and twice on Sunday, faithfully. My dad was the Decon of the Assembly of God Church that we attended. So of course I feel I am living with the Devil now. I must admit that because of my own interpretations of the Bible, I don’t think a drink every now and then is wrong. I think God says that the Drunkeness is what is wrong. Doing too much is the Sin. But I would rather stick with the Zero drinks at all than to have to deal with this. It is ruining our marriage.

    I am miserable because I do not want the bad influence in our daughters life. I never had a father with bad influences in my life. I cherish my childhood memories, and I want my daughter to have the same experience. I also hate the idea, of having to start all over. I can’t afford to get a minimum wage job and still pay the Daycare. Daycare would take almost all of the money. I also do not want to have to be in the situation of letting Him have his fathers rights to her and KNOW that he is drinking and driving with her. His mother drinks every night as well so I couldn’t rely on her to help. At least now I know that with me here I will be the Driver, and I can protect her if he gets drunk. But in the same time I know he loves his baby girl so very much and HATE to take her away from him. So what do I do?????

  • Lynn

    As I read through these comments, I feel like, “Has someone been watching my life for the last five years and just wrote about me?” Surly this is the case.

    My husband and I have been married for 12 years and the last five years have been the pits to say the least. I realized five years ago that my husband had a problem when he promised to put it down because he didn’t want his sons to see him drinking everyday and that day never came. However, what did come were all the excuses under the sun as to why he kept on drinking. It crippled us financially. Even when I showed him how much it crippled us, he didn’t care ~ he had a job, was an adult and he was entitled to drink whatever and whenever he wanted. By this point, I was embarrassed that we couldn’t do anything that didn’t involve “beer”. Nothing at all. He would even take beer to our kid’s games, until one day he was removed. When our children had games in the evening, forget about him showing up because that encroached on his beer time. Next came the excuses for work; he always made excuses as to why he couldn’t come in to work on time as he slept his hangover away all morning long.

    Now I sit here with two impressionable young boys that watch their dad drink away his days and nights. The excuses are now gone. Now it’s just everyone else’s fault for everything in life.

    Walking away is the last thing I want to do, but it’s also the very first thing I think about almost every day.

  • Tina

    All of these posts are heartbreaking to me. I recently realized my husband is a high functioning alcoholic, or at least I think he is. He says he isn’t (of course). We’ve been married over 10yrs, have 3 kids; 1 year old, 10 year old, and 17 year old (from my previous relationship that he formally adopted). He drinks beer – DAILY. Not one or two but, 7,8,9 or more during the week even. My dad was an alcoholic, maybe that’s why I’m still married to him, trying to fix him. I know I can’t fix him but, I feel that I’m suppose to because of our children. If we did not have our kids, I would have walked awhile back.

    In the last 9 months, his personality is so different; short temper and he gets upset about silly things. He use to be very easy going and laid back. I was always the hyped-up one, worried about money, cleaning the house, or the kids. I feel so disconnected from who he has become, like I do not know him at all. 2 weeks ago, I asked him to stop drinking due to the fact that he took our two older kids to the lake and was drinking and driving our boat. He had our daughter drive back because she “wanted too”…really?? I doubt it. We have a rather large truck with a lift-kit (a midlife crisis purchase of his a few months ago) and the boat is 23′ long. I wouldn’t even drive it. Anyway, I told him no more, “They are not to go with you if this is what you do while you ‘spend time’ with them.” He said, “OK.” Then again this past Sunday, he did it again. I said, “That is it…they aren’t going anywhere with you PERIOD. If you can’t respect their safety, then don’t take them.” He isn’t teaching them anything by doing this.

    I just don’t get it. We went to counseling once about 6 years ago. He had an affair with a co-worker. One of many, I’m sure. We separated 2 years ago for 3 months. I filed for divorce, we were 2 weeks from it being final and both backed out, I think out of fear. . . I don’t know. We have little to no intimacy. When we do, I swear all I smell is beer and I want nothing to do with him. If he left, I can’t say that I’d stop him. Its like he wants me to be the “bad guy” again to say its over…I feel horrible about it all. I’ve been just sick everyday these past 2 weeks. I can’t keep food down. He says his drinking is no big deal and he enjoys it. He stopped drinking during the week, but makes up for it on the weekends. He goes to work everyday and pays all our bills. He is forgetful now and moody. He can’t concentrate on a conversation without getting off track to talk about himself. He is all about money now and what we have financially; things that do not matter to me. Our daughter asked me if he was leaving, again. I said, “No, he is just tired.” But I know it’s coming…

  • I am married to an alcoholic. For several years of our marriage, he was a functional alcoholic. He drank copious amounts at night and managed to work during the day. But about four years ago – around the time our daughter was born – his drinking intensified. He became withdrawn, moody, and unpredictable. He was never a social drinker, preferring instead to demolish a case of beer in the comfort of his own home. I didn’t know because he drank at night while I was asleep. He probably drank the whole night (he’s an insomniac). He only woke up after I left for work. At some point, he started drinking during the day too. He slipped from being a functioning to a non-functioning alcoholic.

    In the early stages, I mistook his behavior for depression, or rather, defined his behavior entirely as depression. He too, said he was depressed and denied he had any sort of drinking problem. We thought that his depression might be related to our failing relationship, so we sought counseling. After about 10 sessions, our counselor told us we couldn’t continue. She said that my husband needed to address his alcoholism and related depression before we could make any progress with our relationship. Three detoxes and relapses later, my husband is now in residential rehab. He has been clean for two months running – a first for many many years. I think now is the time for us to start talking. Unfortunately, he no longer wants to talk to me.

  • I am married to an alcoholic. For several years of our marriage, he was a functional alcoholic. He drank copious amounts at night and managed to work during the day. But about four years ago – around the time our daughter was born – his drinking intensified. He became withdrawn, moody, and unpredictable. He was never a social drinker, preferring instead to demolish a case of beer in the comfort of his own home. I didn’t know because he drank at night while I was asleep. He probably drank the whole night (he’s an insomniac). He only woke up after I left for work. At some point, he started drinking during the day too. He slipped from being a functioning to a non-functioning alcoholic.

    In the early stages, I mistook his behavior for depression, or rather, defined his behavior entirely as depression. He too, said he was depressed and denied he had any sort of drinking problem. We thought that his depression might be related to our failing relationship, so we sought counseling. After about 10 sessions, our counselor told us we couldn’t continue. She said that my husband needed to address his alcoholism and related depression before we could make any progress with our relationship. Three detoxes and relapses later, my husband is now in residential rehab. He has been clean for two months running – a first for many many years. I think now is the time for us to start talking. Unfortunately, he no longer wants to talk to me.

  • Me too

    Friends,

    In response to the many posts that really hit hard because they are happening to me too on a daily basis, I stretch out to Rhianna, to let you know that my husband also has monster moments.

    My husband and I are soul mates. We have been together for over 35 years, married for 27 years, and are an exceptionally close-knit family. We’re like a jigsaw puzzle – we fit.

    Over the years my husband’s drinking attitude remains as it was when we met as students – lots of it, quickly. He is very gifted in many ways and extremely successful in his own career field, as well as in different sports, and is a whiz at Sudoku. He is charismatic and has a magnetic personality. He can also be short tempered and moody. He has no money management skills; a substantial amount of our wealth has been spent on beer, wine, and bar bills.

    Gradually, as years have passed after having a few drinks or too many drinks, his anger becomes extreme and is directed at me, or worse, uncontrollably to our daughters.

    Last week he turned into a monster again within minutes. The hate, anger, and aggression has left me shattered. It has happened before, and I do worry for my safety.

    I guess the reason for this comment is to let this sorrow out and let you know that you are not alone.

    Strength to you, and all of us who really struggle to know what to do when our families, relationships, and futures are threatened by alcohol that our husbands are addicted to and are unable to see the damage that is being done.

    Neill – thanks for an exceptionally informative website. I will be buying your book.

  • Mel

    I have been married for a year and 2 months, but am active duty military and have been away from my husband (deployed overseas) for 10 of those months. Now that I’m back in the states and living with my husband again, I have noticed his drinking has gotten out of control. He shows every sign of being a functioning alcoholic and has lied to me and my family about his habits.

    Lately, (for the last 2 months) I have come home to find him passed out, and have noticed him stumbling and slurring his words at all hours of the day and night. When I ask him if he’s been drinking he says, “No..I’m just tired.” Well, last night I was cleaning the spare room where he spends a lot of time on the internet and playing his bass guitar, and I found empty bottles of vodka hidden all around the room. When I brought these to his attention, he didn’t say a word. My fears have come true and its obvious now that he needs help. He’s already begun the blame phase; saying it’s his dad’s fault, his old friends’ faults, and even accusing me for not being here when he needed me (because I was in a different country and couldn’t call home as often as I’d like to). At such an early stage in our marriage with so many odds already stacked against us, I’m wondering to myself if beating this is even possible…

  • Taylor

    I have been married to an alcoholic for 13 years. He drinks an average of a 12 pack a day. We have 2 children. He goes to work, cleans and cooks dinner everyday. I have to run our children daily to activities. I have noticed over the last year he is very short with me. He has a bad temper. I am afraid sometimes and I don’t want my children to be affected. He goes to bed every night drunk and eats dinner at 10 pm. He has gained a ton of weight and cares nothing about losing it. I am just so afraid to leave. I will have to give up everything; the house, camper, you name it…it is his. I love him so and wish he would get some help, but he doesn’t think he has the problem. He thinks it’s all me. Everyone says how lucky I am to have a man that works, cooks and cleans. Why don’t I feel so lucky? He is just getting meaner.

  • Jessica

    I have recently come to terms with the fact that my husband is 100% a functioning alcoholic. I have been in complete denial for years because I did not see him as the stereotypical alcoholic. We have been married for almost 11 years now and have an 8 year old son. He works steady and has never raised his voice at me. He has never been a violent person. He is very close to our son and an excellent father. He excels at his job and is very artistic and meticulous. Yet, he has been drinking progressively heavy now for about 10 years. He is up to at least a 1/2 pint of vodka a day, some days a full pint or some days even more. He is extremely anti-social and most of the time I feel like a single mom. He works away from home 4 days a week and when he is home he is drunk every night. He is sleeping during our family time and I just plain feel lonely.

    I am a very independent woman and have a lot of my own friends. I work a full time job and go to college. I completely run everything in our home, even mowing the lawn now! I have just gotten to a point where I believe that if something doesn’t change soon I will have to end things. But I love him so much and the thought of life without him just kills me! I just can’t handle it anymore! I deserve more and so does my son. .. I have desperately wanted to have another child now for the last 6 years. I have been waiting on him to be ready. Recently, he shared with me his reasons for not being ready to have another child; because of his heavy drinking. He says he is afraid to have a child with problems and it be his fault. I am just overwhelmed. How can I help him to help himself without falling into co-dependency? Do I kick him out or do we leave? I just don’t know where to start….

  • Lisa

    I have laughed and cried at the stories on this site because they are so familiar! I have been married for 19 years and have 3 children; 18, 16 and 13. My husband has been drinking ever since we met, but it has gotten progressively worse and now he is drinking on a daily basis (4 bottles of beer, 2-3 rums, 2 glasses of wine, and then 2-3 pints in the pub, AT LEAST). I have worked out that he is drinking 150-200 units a week.

    He is verbally abusive to me every few months. He usually falls asleep on the sofa or the floor downstairs. His personal hygiene is very poor and his teeth are rotting because he can’t be bothered to brush them! He somehow manages to hold down a successful career. I have got a successful career too and have recently taken the decision to get out and leave. I just want to start living and forget about the crap I’ve put up with for the last 19 years and show my kids that you can make changes in your life if you’re unhappy. An important lesson to learn!

  • Babs

    Another wife of a functioning alcoholic here and I am just SO TIRED, mostly of him being mad all the time! I never know what will make him mad; one time I threw out the little pack of free crushed peppers that had come with a take out pizza and he went crazy. “WHY CAN’T YOU F******* ASK BEFORE YOU THROW SOMETHING AWAY?” It seems we can’t do anything as a family (we have two children) without him getting mad over something. I am going away in February with my children to a water park. He hasn’t decided if he is coming. I don’t even want him to come. How sad is that? The days of my life are either: a) status quo and we basically co-exist or b) him mad about something. I go to work and it’s like a light switch is turned on in me; no one would dream how suppressed I feel at home because I am a naturally happy and upbeat person, but this marriage is like being pecked to death by a duck.

  • Jenna

    I was in a codependent relationship with my functioning alcoholic husband, now we are just married. I guilt-ed him to stay overnight in the hospital with me after our 3rd child was born because I knew he wanted to go home and get drunk. He was restless and irritated, but stayed. Three weeks later, he drove drunk to the local bar while I adjusted to having three kids. A friend of mine went to pick him up for me and brought him home. That’s when I realized that this problem was no longer manageable.

    He went to AA and quit drinking for 4 glorious months. Those were the best months of our marriage. I went to Al-Anon for a bit, but realized quickly that it wasn’t for me. We were on a family vacation and a date, when he ordered a beer, telling me that he needed to be happy and treat himself. Two weeks later, he was back to his old habits, so I found a counselor and went on my own. It helped. I learned about my codependency and changed. I set up boundaries for myself – that if he drank, he slept on the couch. I would call a sitter if I was going out so he wouldn’t drink when he was alone with the kids. We made it through another 3 years quite well. I found hobbies for myself, made new friends and found some peace with the fact that I had no control.

    However, my feelings are changing again. Now, I can’t be intimate with him. I cringe if he touches me. I’m angry at him all the time and every time I see him drink, my mood changes from pleasant to sour. The boundaries I set in our relationship have created such a distance, that I think our kids are now affected. They don’t have two parents who work together. I’m considering leaving, except other than the drinking issue… there is still a lot of good. My problem is that my husband is more productive around the house when he drinks, and more helpful with the kids. Sober…his temper is short, he is plugged out on electronics or restless (needing to drag all of us out on huge adventures to occupy his impulsive tendencies). He is a good man. He has a good heart. He has tried his best to have it all – a good career, a big family, a wife and his beer. In theory…he has achieved it. Except, I am miserable. I can’t say I feel a lot of love anymore.

    Last week, he didn’t drink for three days and I found myself gushing over him. He was so wonderful to be around. Then, he cracks a beer and I have to stay clear or I spiral into a negative cycle. Is there another step for spouses who have broken through codependency, do not enable, and are taking care? Or, I have I reached the point where I have no option but to face that inevitable void between us?

  • Christine

    I am so confused. I’ve been married 20 years, but the past 9 years or so, the drinking is worse. When comes home, he downs a beer and shot of Jaeger Meister and then opens another beer. I don’t bother to make him any dinner half the time because he just makes himself a steak. He doesn’t clean up after himself, just soaks it and leaves it in the sink. He’s cooked stuff and left it on and fallen asleep. I wake up to the smell. He’s fine on the weekend, obsessed with having a car in front of the house, goes to the gym in the morning and expects us all to wait for him to get home before we do anything. Most of the time, he’s home by 1 or 2, unless I specifically have to be somewhere, then he’s just in time. He argues with the kids over the TV. I just bought one for the basement so that they can watch what they would like and not some cursing, shoot ‘em up movie.

    My boys are 12 and 13, my daughter is 17 and have no use for him. They can’t stand him and let him know it most of the time. The kids and I have told him that he drinks too much and there’s too much nonsense when he’s home. We have to do what he says and wants and no noise where he is.

    I have reached my limit and don’t even try to sit with him to talk at night. I stay away or go up to bed and watch a movie. I was tired of either hearing him go on about his bad day and his aches and pains and how hard he has it. All he does is go to work, come home, and that’s it. I work Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekends, cook, clean, homework, after school activities, bills, etc. Just because I get out at 4pm, I don’t work as hard as he does. I am really thinking about just packing and giving him an ultimatum.

    He never remembers anything I tell him, I have to repeat myself five times or more and then the next day he still doesn’t remember and then gets upset with me. When I tried to talk to him about it, he tells me that all I’m talking about is myself and I’m being self centered and that I’m nagging. He just rolls his eyes and does whatever. At this point I’m really thinking that the extra security of his paycheck is just not worth it. He comments on what I decide to do with bills, etc, but doesn’t even come up with anything to contribute. He just says that I need to do more or he just takes the information and sets it aside and doesn’t even look at it, even if there is a deadline. I am sorry to ramble on and on, but I was reading the posts and just started venting. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • June

    Hi,

    We have all endured so much pain and confusion from living with or being married to a alcoholic. Each one of us has gotten the courage to talk about it, so that is a positive step. I just wanted to share my life experience of living with my alcoholic ex boyfriend.

    During high school, I met and dated David. Years past by and we met up again at a Halloween party. Then we started dating and soon moved in together. I purchased a new home and he moved in with me. He was a good man and hard working, as he remodeled our house, worked full time, and was a excellent father to his son. I noticed in the beginning of our relationship, that he would drink a lot. I convinced myself that he was drinking and depressed because he couldn’t find a job. I allowed my feelings for him to control my thinking. We moved in together very fast (within 2 months). David drank everyday…24 pack of beer. Some nights he would change his choice to whiskey and he would drink a 5th. He never included me in any function outside of our home. He would take his son swimming (I was not invited), he would go watch a ball game at his brother’s house (I was not invited), he would go to a pool party at a co-workers house (I was not invited). He hid me from the world…. I was not allowed on his Facebook friends list, etc. The only time we were a “couple” was at home. Even then, it wasn’t a good relationship. Some nights he wouldn’t come home (claiming he slept in his car, etc). All lies!!

    I was used to paying the bills and keeping a clean, nice living environment for him and his son. He son was with us two weekends a month and during the summer for 4 days a week. David would urinate in the bed, pass out on the couch, etc… cry the next day begging for forgiveness, etc. I gave him 2 years to change, but he never would. I got a loan for him, a used truck, and he promised he would pay the note. As soon as I purchased it and gave him the keys, our relationship got worse. He continued to stay out all night, lying, cheating, etc…. especially drinking more and more on a daily basis. He would stay out drinking all night and call me to tell me he was on his way home and then he would not come home. I would call his phone all night, but he would not answer. I had his brother call him and he answered on the first ring. (Yep, hiding something). While I sat home crying and worrying that he would get killed or kill somebody behind the wheel, he was out cheating and lying and drinking. I felt like such a failure and I was so depressed.

    The holidays were upon us and he said his mother was coming to stay with us for a week. She lives 6 hours away and only sees her sons once a year. We sat down one night, (he was drinking) and discussed the menu for Thanksgiving and the guest list. He wrote the guest list on paper and SAID we should invite my family as well. I was so excited cause I’ve never spent a holiday without my family (mother, sister, niece). The next day, he broke my heart because he said only his family was coming for Thanksgiving. I asked him about the guest list that he wrote and he said he changed his mind. I knew then that we would soon end our so called relationship.

    When his mother came for the week, I was treated like a stranger in my own home. (I bought this house and I pay every single bill in this house other than the power bill). Come to find out, his mother was also an alcoholic, but a recovering alcoholic. She was quiet and distant from me and her two sons. After learning more of his past, I felt like a idiot. I rushed into this relationship thinking that I knew David… considering I dated him years before when we were young. I convinced myself I KNEW him. Little did I know, he treated his ex wife in the same manner. She took their son and left him while he was at work one day and she never looked back. She wouldn’t talk to him period. The had a difficult divorce and in court she accused him of sexually abusing their 2 year old son. (I never believed that and I still don’t). The judge told him he could not use alcohol or drugs in front his son period, nor could he live with a woman without being married.

    David broke all the rules though. David was finally able to start seeing his son at age 4. David is a awesome father and I prayed every day that he would stop drinking and raise his son better. His son sees him drunk all the time!!! His son loves him dearly!!

    Okay, so finally I made up my mind to give him one more chance. I told David, I was giving him one more chance and hoping we could find a way to have a meaningful relationship without the burden of alcohol. He called me Saturday afternoon all excited because he had just made reservations to take me to New Orleans for my birthday on Tuesday. His job required him to work 24 hours at a time. I received his call at 7 pm and he said he was going to bed early and he also said he couldn’t tell me which hotel we were staying in cause he wanted it to be a surprise. I certainly thought we were on the right track until a few days later. On Tuesday morning, I was up getting ready and packing, all excited cause he was finally taking me somewhere for my birthday. He was passed out with a hang over and complained about getting up. When we left the house and he asked if we could stop at my mothers’ house and use her computer to make reservations. Of course I said, “I thought you made them already.” Then he responded, “Well, I had intentions on it.”

    We went to New Orleans and stayed two nights and had a okay time. But he was distant. He spent his money and took me to New Orleans for two nights in a nice hotel, but we didn’t even have sex. I felt strange on the trip home. Distant. Of course, he was drunk a lot during the two days. Not to mention he used the bathroom on himself cause he couldn’t get back to our room in time. Not pee either…. number two. Gross!! On our way home, he said let’s stop and get some rum (my choice for a mixed drink) and let’s go home, get a shower, hang out in the bed and watch TV and spend some alone time together.

    We get home and I took my bath. He got in his bath tub at the same time I got out of the shower, changed clothes, washed two loads of clothes, put up our laundry and went to bed without him. He was on his phone texting someone. I woke up at 3 am and checked on him. He came to bed, but fussed the whole time. Then at 6 am his alarm went off and he went back to sleep. I decided I was tired of taking care of him so I didn’t wake him up. His alarm was disrupting my sleep though. He got up late and he was angry. I tried to help him gather his bag and clothes for work and he bitched at me like he never has before. He left for work and I was upset and mad with him!

    I dumped out a bag of garbage from his truck on my kitchen counter. It was nothing but receipts for beer and cigs, etc. I found a receipt from Saturday night at 9 pm from a store in the next town over from us. Come to find out, he took off work and was cheating on me the Saturday night he called to tell me he made reservations for my birthday and then said he was going to bed early. Lies, lies and more lies.

    When he left for work that morning, he never came back. We got into a argument on the phone and I asked a friend of a friend he works with if he was at work Saturday. The answer was no. So that was the end of our relationship.

    Within 6 months, he found a new sugar mama and moved in with her. (I felt sorry for her and prayed for her and her kids daily). She too, was a good person and a hard worker. She paid all the bills, same scenario… then a year and a half into their relationship, he started contacting me… calling, texting, and came over to my house. I allowed it to happen so that he could have the opportunity to apologize and discuss the issues so that I could let go of the hate.

    I know he loved me, but his drinking was a big problem… he and his new girlfriend broke up and he moved out into his own place. Now he’s having to foot his bills for a change. He still tries to get back with me, but I wont allow it. I try to be his friend, but its not working out to well because he wants what he wants…. sex and a woman who will provide for him so that he can spend his money on beer. He never did pay me for his truck. I paid the truck off 6 months after we broke up and gave him the title. I would rather pay it then be sued when and if he was to kill someone under the influence and wreck.

    He is a very attractive and intelligent man. His profession is a fire fighter and he just uses women to get what he wants and needs in life. He doesn’t love anyone. His past hurt him terribly and he is taking it out on everyone. He loved and lost his ex wife and son to alcohol and now he is destroying himself and anyone who cares about him. I’m so happy that I don’t live in fear every day anymore… fear from paying bills, him loosing his job from calling in sick, sick and worry from a possible DUI, or worse… sick from his lies and cheating. I’m very comfortable with this now… it’s in the past… glad we were able to apologize and try to communicate again without hate. But happy I no longer live this lifestyle. He still drinks daily and calls in sick etc… he’s just before hitting complete rock bottom and hopefully he will get help. I’m not in love with him and do not want a relationship with him anymore and I’m very blessed to have gotten out of this abuse.

    Good luck everyone….. the ending doesn’t have to be nasty, just a clean cut. It took almost two years for him to apologize and look for me, but at least it happened. I needed that closure and he gave it to me.

  • I am writing because I have been searching for a way to help my boyfriend for 3 years now. We have two children together and I already have one failed marriage prior (sex and drug addictions). We met back in 2008 and he was sweet, attentive, and caring and wonderful with my two children from a previous relationship. We dated for a year and decided to move in together. Now I knew he drank, but until we moved in together I never knew the extent. He is a highly functional alcoholic or at least he was…

    I found out I was pregnant shortly after we moved in together and that is when everything blew up in my face. He started drinking more and blaming me for his drinking, telling me if I wasn’t so disgusting he wouldn’t have to drink this much. It even got to a point he was so drunk that one night while I was half asleep, he came in and kissed me on the forehead and whispered in my ear, “I don’t love you and I never have” then pulled the blanket over my head and wrapped his legs around my neck and laughed while I fought to get free. I got my head free of the blanket and bit him as hard as I could on the back of his leg. I called his mother- not realizing at the time she was part of the problem too- she came to talk to us… it ended with her telling me he is bipolar and asking me what I had done to provoke him. I left him for three weeks, but somehow ended up going back.

    Our daughter was born in March. Things were good for a while even though he was still drinking, until he lost his job. I worked two jobs and he stayed home and did nothing and I do mean nothing. I did all of the cooking and cleaning and paid all of the bills. The only thing he did do was bring our daughter to me at my job so I could breast feed. Warning signs…. I began to feel really warn down and went to the doctor to find out I was pregnant again…things took a turn for the worse and the verbal abuse started again. He would tell me how fat I was, how disgusting I was and then try to tell me that he was kidding. Everyday until our youngest daughter was born, it was a roller coaster of beer emotion hatred until I finally left this time for 2 months. And again out of stupidity, went back.

    The drinking didn’t change and in fact the verbal abuse got worse and he had his mother asking me if I thought I was skinny… so I left. We lived separate for 7 months and I came back and reclaimed my apartment that he destroyed and he moved home with his mom. We have lived separate for almost a year now. My question is: is there hope for someone like him? Jeckle and Hyde. Or is he a lost cause? Do I count my blessings that we are not living in the same house anymore?

    I fell in love with the person I met who was attentive and caring. I find myself thinking that that person is somewhere inside of him, but I don’t want to put myself in a position where he could hurt me or my kids ever again. He wants to work on things, but I don’t even know how to address it with him. Do I just run? Did I fail again? Can he be helped? I don’t know what to do I am very conflicted and maybe too forgiving…

  • Langstyn

    I’m writing also due to being married to an alcoholic. We have been married 3 years. I adopted his daughter 2 years ago, she is the most loving child and I love her with all my heart. She was living with her grandparents who had a very strict religious background. My husband hates his family so we do not keep in touch. My daughter did not live with her father, but only would see him when he wasn’t working out of state. Now that she has been with him more and is older, 13, she notices that he verbally abuses me and is a very selfish man. She wants nothing to do with him and can not rely on him when she’s sick, depressed, or in need of something for an occasion.

    We have grown so close. I am a teacher and have never had children. The problem is his drinking, lack of love for both of us, jealous of our relationship, and angry that we’re always together. I do not say negative things about her father and try to get her to show affection for him with out success, so I have set up an appointment with a psychologist hoping he can give us insight. She wants to go but wants me to go with her. I went to a counselor and she felt I was not the one with the problem, which I know that, but I just can’t let him hinder my daughter. She is a gifted student and I will not let him create problems for her, even if I have to make him leave.

    I’m 53 and he is 41. I have lived in this house for 20 years. My fear is how do I get him to leave with out all the drama that may happen. I had a childhood where my parents divorced and fought all the time so I will not fight with him. I tell him when he chooses to drink, I will stay in my room. I know I’m not a doctor, but I think he also could be bi-polar. At one point he was trying and very willing to help him in anyway I could, but due to lack of work, injury, and losing his drivers license, due to reckless driving, he has been in a very scary state. He is quiet, withdrawn, and overall non responsive. I will not buy him his alcohol and if he chooses to drive, he will have to face the consequences.

    I tell him I would be more willing to help but he is the one who has to make the decision to fight this disease. I just hope I’m doing the right thing. My only draw back is not being loved, I’m very lonely and miss companionship. I will not find a relationship to replace these feeling, I really want this marriage to work. I’m just not sure I’m strong enough, I want to be happy!!!!

  • Lisa

    Hi Dr. Neill,

    A week ago, my husband of 8 years told me he’s an alcoholic – seems he was so well functioning, I didn’t even recognize the problem. He was sneaking liquor behind my back and drinking after I went to bed. Since then, he’s been in an AA meeting every night and I’ve been to Al-Anon myself.

    My question is, I feel so betrayed and deceived by the lying – the disease I can handle, (almost). It’s the deception for so many years that has me so hurt. I want us to go to counseling immediately, but I’m worried that doing that will make him more vulnerable so soon in his recovery.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Best,
    Lisa

  • Andrea

    Hi everyone,

    I just recently filed for divorce after only being married for two years and I decided to do some more research before I made that final decision. My husband is in the military and along with many other military members, he is an alcoholic. Everything was great when we first met and fell in love. I believed all his promises and all the stories he would tell me. I never noticed how bad his drinking really was because he was so good at hiding it.

    The night after we got married, I was trying to get some sleep because I had an early flight home. He decided to drink vodka until 7 in the morning and kept me awake. He blacked out and as some of you said got that black hollowed evil look in his eyes. Next thing I know, I’m laying on the ground with my skull cracked open. When I had realized what happened, I started crying and he was so mad I cried that he punched me in the spot where he had the first time. I went home the next day and was going to leave him right then and there. Then he filled my head with all his bullshit lies and false promises again and I went back.

    Of course nothing changed and by this time I had moved to where he was stationed and left all my friends and family behind. It got worse. The abuse was horrible. He started threatening to kill me with knives, guns, and his fists every time he had booze in him. I also heard stories that when I was visiting family he was staying in hotel rooms with other females (no real proof). I threatened to leave him again unless he went on medication and quit the drinking. He got prescribed meds, but never took them, and the sobriety lasted for about two months, until I caught him sneaking alcohol.

    It is so hard to love someone so much and to know they could hurt you and treat you the way they do, and to realize that nothing comes before booze to them. I am now home where I am from, and he is still stationed states away from me. He has no aspirations. He’s trying to get out of the army for medical discharge, still hasn’t gotten his license back and doesn’t own a vehicle. He is still drinking all the time, no matter what time of day or where he is, most people don’t realize it because he is functioning and they don’t know the signs like I do.

    I wish walking away was easier. You would think it would be after all the abuse and hurt I have been through, but he always comes back and brings up the good times to make me reminisce. I want him to be the one to leave so I don’t feel bad for him, I want him to realize this is all his fault and change. I want him to be just as miserable as he has made me throughout our relationship. So many mixed emotions and my court date is in a few months. I know he’s going to try to crawl back in.

    He is 35 years old, I am 25. I am in school, in the medical field trying to better myself and he couldn’t care less (as much as he says he does) about a real life in the future after the military.

  • Ruby

    Hi. When I first met my husband he did drink and when we started dating we had a lot of fun drinking together. We married in January and have been married 2 months now. I quit drinking and expected him to do the same. He cut down this year to one or two bottles on the weekend, but recently he bought a six pack and he drank that, which ended in an argument.

    We both decided divorce is best. He wanted to try again, but I said not until he quits beer for good. He said it wouldn’t be possible for him to quit for good. His parents drink a lot, they have cocktail hour everyday at four. His mom drinks more, she can be considered an alcoholic. My husband is not abusive, just very quiet which is normal for him with or without beer. I made an appointment to see a lawyer next week, I don’t know if I can go through with a divorce. He’s so wonderful, treats me like a queen, but him just saying he can’t give up beer is the whole issue. Any advice?

  • Misty

    I believe I am living with a functional alcoholic. When we first started dating I was going through a rough long divorce and was very depressed. We would have fun together and go out and drink. I guess at the time I just saw his drinking as social, like most people I know. It wasn’t until I slowed down on drinking and we got married that I realized his drinking was much more. He drinks by himself 90% of the time. He mostly drinks at night because he works, but if it was his choice he would drink all day. He doesn’t see anything wrong with drinking all day because he says that he spaces them out enough that he doesn’t get drunk, but he just doesn’t see it. He does get drunk. Sometimes he gets drunk off just a few. Or at least what I consider drunk, he is not sloppy drunk, but he acts different and sometimes gets more upset or sleepy.

    There have been times when he drinks at night that he will have 2 or 3 24oz cans of beer and pass out in the chair. Drinking has also led to him looking at porn sites online which then lead to arguments and lying. He also lies about smoking cigarettes. He knows that I don’t want him to smoke because I don’t want him to develop health problems. I have told him I want him to be around for me and the kids. My mom has a smoking addiction and it is killing her and I do not want that to happen to him. I have tried to help him quit… I have tried to get him to do the gum, the patch, electronic cigs.. I have tried everything and he still smokes behind my back and will only admit to it when I confront him about it.

    He is the person I fell in love with when he is not drinking.. he is someone else when he drinks. We fight more when he drinks. It is the same thing all the time and I am at my wits end with it. When he starts drinking he starts arguments with me that are very childish. He will say something hurtful and when I say something back he will say I am the one starting the argument. He tells me it is my fault that he drinks. Last night he told me again that I am the reason that he drinks.. it is because I nag him about things that when he comes home he wants to drink so he can deal with it. Other times he says he doesn’t have a problem and he just likes to drink. He has had substance abuse problems in the past and now he says drinking is all he has left and that he deserves that. The next day after we get into a fight and he makes me cry, he will apologize about his actions and say he was just mad. Next night it is the same thing again.

    Lately he has been telling me that if I just didn’t care, then I wouldn’t get so upset when he does the things I hate.. I am starting to think it would be better if I didn’t care anymore, but that upsets me just thinking about doing that because it would mean that I would have to make myself not care about him anymore and I don’t want to do that. But he is right, if I just don’t care then I wont have to be upset and cry anymore.

    I just don’t know what to do anymore, I want to go to counseling but sometimes I just don’t know where to start. I don’t want other people in my family to know what we are going through because I am ashamed. I just want to be in love with my husband again. I have been going through this for almost 3 years now. I feel like I am starting to not love him anymore.

  • Linda

    I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for 19 years. He gradually got worse over the years. Eleven years ago, we bought a house and he more or less lives in the basement, listening to music and drinking beer every day after work, at least 2 six packs a day. He has been doing less and less around the house, he’s in the basement most of the week.

    I love him, but he does nothing to help himself, even though he knows he has a problem. This is been taking an emotional toll on me for years. He’s a very loving man, but I don’t know if I can handle it too much longer!

  • Tera

    I have been married to my husband for 13 years. He is also a functioning alcoholic. There was a time, about 4 years ago that he wasn’t so “functioning”. He has been arrested twice for DUI and lost 2 jobs over drinking.

    Admittedly, he has gotten better (if that’s what you wanna call it). Back then (when he lost the jobs/got DUI’s), he was drinking liquor heavily, like a fifth a day, but now he suffices on somewhere between three and eight 8.1 % beers.

    He knows he is an alcoholic and has even went through a 21 day rehab, along with outpatient treatment. His sobriety lasted approximately 5 months. However, he is convinced that since he is “doing so much better”, I have no reason to be agitated or complain. I, like some of the others, have grown to the point where the smell of it makes me sick. Thing is, he smells like alcohol whether he’s drinking or not.

    I have attended Al-Anon meetings and found comfort in sharing and listening to others, but the thing is, what’s the point when it doesn’t change ANYTHING? I want my marriage to work, but I truly don’t believe he will ever stop drinking. I often compare being married to an alcoholic with being married to someone who is having an affair. No matter what, you can’t compare to the bottle and there’s nothing you can do about it. Heartbroken…….

  • Mitzy

    I have more experience with alcoholics than I would wish on anyone. My father was a functioning “nice” alcoholic for years. Of course as children and young preteens we did KNOW that was the problem. We were never abused, loved dearly by our dad, who was VERY active with us in our childhood. We were very blessed to have lovely homes, recreational property, and our dad loved outdoor sports. The drinking problem really took off when he lost his business, and had to go to work for others at work he hated. Mom and dad fought a lot. We thought maybe she was just hard on him, as of yet, we didn’t know alcohol was at the core of these arguments.

    I also have lived with a functioning alcoholic for over 35 years. You see, like my father did when his business went under, my husband was “on the road” through his job…..and so for both it not only gave then opportunity to drink excessively and get into the “bar” scene, the distance covered up the addiction for a long long time in both cases.

    What I can tell you from my very up close experience is the following:

    1. It takes a long time for the very negative effects of drinking to become “abusively” problematic….work can hide a lot of the problem and we as women don’t automatically look for alcohol as the “cause”. They become very adept at hiding the growing problem.

    2. Your sex and social life is usually the first thing to go, especially if that social life doesn’t involve, revolve around or include drinking. For a while they will go as it is another excuse to drink and this will be covered as everyone else will be drinking so their drinking is okay. This usually starts a cycle in “bingers”.

    3. Usually the next thing to go is YOUR personal freedom, as without realizing it you are taking on more and more household and other chores that used to be shared. They may still do a few things, but they will usually be “low involvement” chores like watering the yard, trash and other brainless and non physical activities just so they look busy and contributing….but not much more than a teenager could do.

    4. You will begin to think you are crazy, as when their memory recall, blackouts and other stuff you may not catch on is happening….it will be you that was confused, when in reality it is them. The “lie that will fly” is a natural part of their self defense. You will find they have a hard time keeping their word, and it is convient for them to “forget”, and blame you.

    5. They will increase in areas that receives praise from THIRD parties, making it hard for you to complain without seeming “jealous”. What they are doing is creating alliances…….they will need these to make YOU look in the wrong, and to doubt the OTHER realities of neglect or bad behavior you are seeing. These third parties can be children, family (theirs or yours), friends (yours and theirs) and any other place where people will label them “nice guy”……this is image building they will need to make YOU look crazy…so don’t be fooled by this ploy, and do be aware it is a very manipulative tactic of covert coverup. Re reading the post you will see this is being done i.e. “he is a great father”, “neighbors just love him”…he knows what he is doing. An alcoholic, needs the validation and will over kill on some relationships (that are of value against you) while ignoring others.

    This is all part of the campaign of alcoholism. I personally do not view it as a disease, unless it is self imposed like and STD or something. Choices are made here, call it a “disease” forgets that self inducement.

    6. Soon as all of the above, gets to be aggravating, annoying or hurtful and you start to confront this behavior, you will notice projection and twisting all blame back on you….you have also given them a valuable tool in the alcoholics toolbox. I call it how to pick a fight, so you can leave and drink. Now that they know what aggravated (you told them) you will see it MORE, especially if you are also curbing the excessive or habitual drinking in your home. A fight they can storm out on straight to a bar or liquor store is giving them a license to “binge” or drink till they maybe come home after dark (no confrontation) or maybe too drunk too.

    7. As all this escalates in your life…….you try and think straight and when you do you develop NO tolerance to this behavior, (this is when the physical abuse will start if not already happening), alcoholics do NOT tolerate “ultimatums” nicely. Now they are scared out of the bag, so to speak, and this “fear” really really angers them. Their coverups have been uncovered. The addiction makes them fight you as nothing else works. They can’t lie, hide, sneak, and blame, you are on to them and this is when YOU need to be very careful and will probably get the real shocker just how much their personality has changed. The hollow eyed stare and clenched fists……now is your cue to get you or them out permanently….as there is rarely a return from this phase and will actually make you miss the other benign not confrontational behavior. But if you stay to the threats or inflicting physical harm, you can NEVER go back and it will get worse and worse. As this is what works to get you to back off and take the blame.

    8. Children are frequently used as pawns to get to mommy or to replace the pity, mommy is no longer giving. They become another tool in the tool box to use against YOU and FOR alcoholism, and children do NOT understand the cause at all if your alcoholic is covertly clever and YOU may find your own children siding against you, the meany to daddy who is so nice and so much fun. You stay up to this point and forget having a healthy love based relationship with your kids. Or worse they see the problem and will blame you for doing nothing about this and subjecting them to “targets” or put in the middle.

    9. You cannot save a alcoholic (or any addict) with love, as they abuse it and use it and cannot return it…..if you “expect” them to clean up, stop drinking or give back……depending on the stage it too will boomerang into you showing your love by tolerating the most vile abuses. It also keeps them from dealing with themselves and the negative effects their drinking has on you, them, the kids, the finances and the marriage and home. Not a defensive move on your part at all, the more you tolerate the more it escalates.

    10. If you are a woman with children and worried about money, many have waited till they leave the house, call the cops report a DUI and now they have a conviction which goes better for you when the money is divided. Many women, don’t want to do this, or fear they will lose their job and No money…..you have to apply this to the “desperation” of your situation. I do know your word about the abuse and alcohol means nothing in court. Proof is all they care about in most states conviction or charges.

  • Kate

    I have been living with my functioning alcoholic husband for seven years and I have been through lots of different stages as to how I have tried to cope with it; hiding it and compensating for him, trying to praise his good points and build his self esteem. Then came anger and making ultimatums; it’s me or the drink. He kept giving up then drinking again, one minute he admits he is an alcoholic then he denies it and says I am the one with the problem. Now I am numb, I don’t know what to do.

    We have two daughters age 5 and 3 and I am worried he will soon have an effect on them, he openly criticizes me and is verbally abusive to me in front of them and he is just in an alcoholic bubble of selfishness and bitterness most of the time. But they love him and I feel guilty about wanting to split up. I have no money and no where to go. I am scared how he will take it if I say it’s over. I don’t know what to do. I don’t think he will ever change, I see the future with him would just get worse and worse and I am resentful of him now. I don’t think I have any love left for him.

  • I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty.

    You are amazing! Thanks!

  • L

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 11 years and he is a functional alcoholic. He drinks half a bottle of vodka and 4 pints nearly every night now, sometimes more, occasionally less. I don’t like him when he drinks, he gets snappy and verbally abusive, recently he has starting threatening me and wishing me dead.

    He has 2 daughters that have lived with us for almost 9 years. I’m scared that his behavior is having a negative impact on them and really don’t know what to do. I have no parental responsibility over them even though I’ve raised them both as my own for majority of their life. He is a fantastic dad when he’s sober and works hard at his job.

    He blames me for his drinking. His eldest daughter intentionally cut her arm last week and told him she did it because she’s fed up watching her dad drink himself to death. He’s still drinking! I haven’t left him because I fear he won’t be able to cope raising his daughters as I pretty much do most it but if what he says is true, that I drive him to drink then am I wrong to stick around? I really don’t want to leave the girls. I have spoken with his family about his problem and they are aware of what he gets like, but not sure they understand the extent of his problem.

  • L

    After reading my post back and Mitzy’s post, I realize I have to take action. I am going to have to confront my partner and if he is not willing to seek professional help then I have no option but to disclose his drinking problem and seek legal advice on guardianship of his daughters. I can not live like this nor allow his daughters to be subject to this lifestyle. By doing nothing I am guilty of any harm that may come to two innocent children.

  • Zhina

    Hello,

    I was with my ex boyfriend for 3 years. I knew from the start he was a highly functional alcoholic, but I never saw him drink. He is educated, from a good family and has a very good heart. After a year or two after I had already fallen in love, I realized what an alcoholic person is like. I had no knowledge of what alcoholism is since it is not common in my culture. I was young and in love.

    In between this disaster I got pregnant with my son. He was drinking and leaving the house, coming back drunk on the floor. I was pregnant and had to pull him in the house or out of the bath tub and take care of his withdrawal symptoms. He became emotionally and verbally abusive, telling me I don’t make him happy and that I am the reason he drinks. It was hell. My son was 4 months old and we separated. I was in an extremely high conflict custody battle with an alcoholic who had major control issues. He eventually committed a crime in which he was under the influence and had to go to jail.

    I now have full custody of my 2 year old son. I have a good team of family and friends. My ex, breached his probation and now he is in a very well known rehab facility for 2 months. Right before he left we had a brief discussion and for the first time I saw the peaceful sorry look on his face. He said this will be hell for him, but he is only going because I told him so. Why can I not move on emotionally? I feel like I have been brainwashed.

  • I am reading these posts crying. I see so many similarities but some differences. I am married to a functioning alcoholic who can never just have one, has weeks where he has none but then weeks where it is 5 nights a week. He goes to work, is a great father and for the most part a good husband. He used to have lots of friends to drink with but the last couple years has been drinking at home all the time alone. He never used to call me names, but lately if we are arguing when he is drunk or sober, he calls me names. He has thrown and broke a plate, and I have seen that hollow look in his eyes that is scary and there have been a couple of times when I have been very fearful that he will hit me. The couple people I have confided in say he would never do that but they don’t see that look in his eyes. I seem to have the reverse problem in the sex area – he always wants to and gets very angry with me when I don’t or go to bed like a normal adult at 11:00 and I don’t stay up with him while he is drinking. He is not the man I married, I am sick of the alcohol and I feel like I am no longer attracted to him. I don’t want to tear apart our family but I am so depressed and have been suffering terrible anxiety for the last year, which I think might partly be because of this. He’s not that bad – sometime I feel like I am over reacting but everything is escalating. I don’t know what to do….

  • B

    My husband and I have been married for almost three years and were together for almost 10. We broke up before because of his drinking.

    He told me when we were engaged that it was better, but after we married he was drinking heavily. I talked to him and he’s been working on it, but a lot of the times he drinks daily, a six pack and sometimes harder alcohol too.

    His family has a history of alcoholism and his parents know about it because he told them he wants help and they haven’t done much about it. His extended family lives here (both of our families live in another state) and they drink a lot too. They haven’t been much help when he told them he was thinking of quitting.

    My concern is that he’s only frightened me twice, because he’s gotten angry and has thrown a few things (pillows) and would follow me around demanding to talk to me when I tell him we’ll talk about it in the morning. He also gets belligerent and argumentative when I tell him I don’t want to talk; he’s also gets really cynical and pessimistic. He has no hope. The descriptions of his face and eyes changing is true. He glares at me with such hate and anger.

    He’s always apologetic the next day and tells me he wants to change, but he doesn’t make the effort to see his counselor often or to get support from his family. My family is supportive of him because my dad used to be an alcoholic.

    Sometimes I think about leaving, but I’m still unsure. I want to help him, but its effecting me a lot. We don’t have kids yet, but everyday it makes me think that dream is getting further and further away.

    I know he’s getting a bit better, but it’s not enough. I want to see this gone and I know he doesn’t want it either, but it has a hold on him.

    I just ask for prayers for us and him.

    Thank you.

  • Jennifer

    Neil,
    After this morning I came home and began searching the web for everything I can find on alcoholics and marriage. My husband and I have been married for 7 years now. He has always drank, but it has progressed into something that is beyond just drinking to relax. He drinks on average of a 12 pack per day. Before work and after work..and at work. I stopped in this morning and he had been in the restroom downing a cold one. I was furious. I have noticed a change in his habits lately and have questioned him, but I always get that everything is okay. He has been coming home later than usual, eating, and going to sleep immediately after. There is no intimacy whatsoever and hasn’t been for months. His health has also taken a toll with high blood pressure, stomach issues, and elevated liver enzymes. I have begged, pleaded, threatened to leave, gave ultimatums, etc…and still, the beer has taken a hold on him that won’t shake. How do I get through to him that I simply love him and want him to get better? He does work every day..but coming in second place to a 12 oz can is taking its toll on me and on our marriage. I am almost at the point of throwing up my hands and walking away.

  • Helene

    Hi, I couldn’t believe how many letters there are. So many of us suffering with the same thing! I have been married for almost 30 years. I realized that my husband had a problem for sure maybe 5 years into the marriage. We had kids by then. I stayed at home and couldn’t work or go to college because I couldn’t leave the kids with a drunk at night. My career suffered and disappeared. I now work again, but make very little money because I was home for almost 20 years. I love the man I married, but he shows up very rarely now. I only see this drunk who lies and has become very selfish. He only thinks of himself, but tells himself it is okay because he brings home most of the money. I have seen lawyers and have thought about leaving, but fear not being able to support myself or my youngest. We used to be so in love and I now I find myself hating him most of the time. Last year, he was straight for a few months, but became angry over something stupid. He drank quite heavily. He became verbally abusive, which is the usual now, but also was very different! His eyes were so black and he didn’t seem like the normal stumbling drunk. He appeared to have more energy and was quite dark. He spoke vulgarly and began to talk to the tv. By the end of the night, he was threatening to kill me and standing stark naked in our living room telling the cops that they saved my life. I don’t know if it was just the amount if alcohol or he was on something else too. I will never know. Well, I got him removed from the house for 3 months but then I believed his lies and let him back. I was so happy for about 24 hours. Then it was all over. It has been a depressing nightmare ever since. He resents me because I won’t have sex with him. I resent him for everything and for not getting why I can’t have sex with him. I am married by I have no partner. I just hate life right now. Wish I could get away from him!

  • Brooke

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 9 years in Feb. We have 2 beautiful boys. He has always been a drinker and so was I, before we had kids, my oldest is 5. He does have a problem. I know he sneaks shooters for jack and he has a 24 ounce bud light every night after work. He always says he’s, “been working all day and I deserves to have it.”

    He is not physically abusive, but sometimes he can be mentally. He Never misses work or is never even late to work. I want him to quit and I have threatened him. There is nothing I can do to get him to stop. He always has to be high on alcohol. Do you think he is a high functioning alcoholic?

  • Lee

    Dr Neill, I sure do appreciate your balanced approach to this – how you speak from a values base and still apply it with flexibility.

    Many of these situations are similar to mine. I too wonder if it would be best to cause my wife to face her own stuff more consistently by backing away in some way. I do not want to split with the non-alcoholic but I do want to split from the alcoholic . and start a new life kind of split. If that makes sense.

    We’ve been married over 30 years and at least 20 of them she’s been drunk most every day. She’s also clinically disabled from Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disc Disease, and Depression. Her drinking is a “self medication” which is killing her brain because of the toxic mix with Rx pain meds. She’s been hauled away 2x by paramedics with Acute Alcohol Poisoning.

    I care deeply about what she is doing to herself and try to help w/o enabling. But … all this has greatly disabled me (taken up much of my mind energy). Alanon, friends, and even the rescue mission I volunteer at are not enough to really help me with this. I feel totally trapped. I can’t imagine a good future. Don’t really have hope at this stage. We are below the poverty line, we lost all our savings, and we have no retirement. I’m 57 and feel very much like throwing in the towel before we are both on the streets. I know I should have more faith, but every time she changes from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde a little more of my life is taken from me. I feel my only options are (1) suffer on in this situation, (2) leave and lose everything, or (3) take my own life to bypass the inevitable. Not very good choices.

  • Dear Lee,

    You’re not the first person to be faced with this kind of situation. I’m going to rephrase your three options to give you something to think about.
    (1) “suffer on in the situation” = continue to slowly die
    (3) “take my own life to bypass the inevitable” = die quickly.
    That leaves option (2) “leave and lose everything”. I would change that to “leave and create a new life for yourself.”

    If you choose that option, and I’ve had clients as old as 75 choose to create a new life on their own, you may have to deal with feelings of personal guilt as well as judgment from others. But if that is the choice you make, please know that the guilt and judgment will pass. And it’s a better choice than either slow or quick death.

    No one would want to be in your shoes. You have to make your own choices.

    You have my very best wishes. Neill

  • Sarah

    My husband finally decided he wants to stop being a monster and change. He says he wants to quit. I will believe it when I see it. he has been to AA, group therapy, individual therapy, two intensive outpatient programs, and he still doesn’t know why he drinks. He says he just likes the buzz, that’s it. No anger, no pain, just likes the buzz. Is this possible?

  • It’s possible, but unlikely. Most who believe this are not facing something the need to.

  • Amelia

    I am suffering under the verbal abuse!

  • Brittany

    I am 32 years old and have been married for 8 years. I really could use some advice! My husband is an alcoholic. He has always had a problem with alcohol, but about eight months ago it really has spiraled out of control. His whole personality has changed. He forgets things all the time. We have a 6 month old daughter and a 4 year old son. About three months ago, my husband played on a softball team with my brother and cousin. One night after a softball game, my brother came in and asked me if Tim had a drinking problem because the last few games, he was acting strange and causing problems on the team. That is not like him at all! He is normally the most like able, social man you could ever meet! I knew it was true when my brother told me. He had even driven my brother drunk to the game without my brother knowing that he had been drinking! I was so furious! After my cousin and brother talked to him, he did stop showing up drunk to their games, but he didn’t stop at home. He does go to work and seems okay during the day. But, he constantly is telling me we have no money and that I have to get a part time job. Yet, he is drinking every night.

    I have no problem getting a part time job to help with the finances. He has a pretty flexible job where he can work from home. He has promised me, my brother, my cousin and my parents he would stop drinking. Yet weekly I keep finding hidden bottles of vodka. I told him, “sorry, there is no way I’m getting a part time job and leaving you with our kids.” He gets angry and tells me I’m lazy and that I just don’t want a job. That is not true at all. I have worked full time 7 of the 8 years we have been married.

    I love him and I don’t want to leave. But he lies to me constantly and drinks a lot every night and weekend. I want to leave. I am scared if I don’t get full custody, I don’t trust him alone with the kids because he can’t control his drinking. I’d rather stick it out until they are older so I know they are always safe with me. Also, I am a mom with 2 kids. How would I support the 3 of us?? My parents would certainly let us stay with them for a little while. But I certainly wouldn’t want it to be for long and nor would they. They would help, but my mom gets frustrated easily with kids at her house. So what do I do??? Living with my husband and his constant lying, passing out at 6 or 7 at night and treating me like crap is becoming more than I can take. He always acts mad at me. Like this is all my fault. He has no problem lying to me. He doesn’t feel bad about anything. He always says he has called his doctor about getting help, but low and behold, no appointments, no nothing. What should I do? What is the best thing for my kids? I know leaving is, but my husband won’t just let them go that easily. I would never trust him alone with them because he is so out of it all the time. What do I do???

  • Cindy

    We’ll, I am one of those really stupid women who stayed with an alcoholic for 30 years . I actually had the guts to leave him last summer, but came back after 2 months because I felt sorry for him. I’m ready to leave again. I’m getting a plan in place. Finding a better job, tucking away some money, and planning a future for myself.

    I really understood what Mitzy was talking about with her 10 steps. I believe my husband and our lifestyle is around 7 or 8. He is a functional, workaholic alcoholic. But when he’s got his 4-7 days off in a row I can expect him to be a Hyde every evening or by noon some days. His drinking has obviously gotten worse and so has the anger and verbal abuse. We can not have a decent conversation anymore when he is drunk; because, he will say stupid, childish, idiotic things that no decent man would ever say to his wife. Lately I haven’t been “playing the game” and I will retreat to MY room. I think this is really pissing him off more and confusing him. After reading Mitzy’s comment, I am scared he might get more violent. His anger is so deep. I don’t know where it’s coming from. I have really noticed that this is getting much worse.

    Sometimes our life can be actually normal, we can and do get along, but it’s so sad to watch this cycle of alcoholism and watch him killing himself. His health remains intact, but is slipping a little. Seriously?? I just want him to die and soon. But I’m sick of waiting for that to ever happen.

    I stayed with him this long because of the children. They have been on their own now for 5 years or so. I thought this would be the prime of our lives. Having fun after we ( I ) raised 3 successful children. I Thought of leaving quite a few times.Had a lawyer 2 times even. I even have had a “divorce journal” for over 10 years now . How pitiful is that huh?

    I am growing stronger and smarter though. I left once I can do it again. This time I will never go back. Never. What a waste of a person, not me, him!

  • corrine

    My partner, Dave, and I have been together for ten years. Together we have two beautiful daughters, one six and the other three. Dave has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage whom he has always been the sole custodian for. We met when I was nineteen and he was twenty-nine, I moved in with him and his daughter (then she was only four) at twenty, and a year later I had our first daughter.

    Since the beginning, it was not “out of character” for Dave to drink a few light beers (3-6) in the evening after work. Being from a European family, drinking a few beers around dinner time is common practice so Dave’s habit never phased me. In fact, many times I have “picked up a pack” for him on my way home from work even though I rarely drink any alcohol. Anyhow, around the end of pregnancy #2, Dave’s drinking progressed to stopping at a bar and having a “few” then “picking up a pack” to bring home and drink.

    A combination of pregnancy hormones and his increasingly annoying “drinking” personality, led me to gripe about his new ritual and Dave’s answer to this was more time spent in the bar, less time spent at home. Finally, after a DUI driving home one evening and being berated by his pregnant fiance’ at the police station, Dave gave up the bar scene. I wish this would be the end of my post, but unfortunately, finding a man ten years older than myself did not mean that he was ten years more wise or ten years more mature than I. He continued to come home with his six pack most evenings, I was tempted to yell and scream, but for nearly three years we had gotten along fine this way and I was just relieved that he was at home safe with me and hopeful that we could pick up where we left off. Unbeknownst to me, Dave had progressed (or regressed) to making two purchases at the liquor store, the normal beer and a pint of bourbon. Eventually I caught on, his horrible, cocky, argumentative, “I know-it-all” and “mine is bigger than yours” attitude was throwing red flags in my face. After a long year of playing hardball Dave finally had an epiphany, after I secretly recorded an argument he was having with me (literally, all my dialogue consisted of was “please stop, I don’t want to fight with you”)and we were back to being the couple and the family of five that I loved and missed. Life went on normally, beautifully, until October.

    Dave’s mother, my children’s grandmother, lived a mile down the road from us. She was a major part in our day to day lives, volunteering in our daughters’ schools, getting them on and off the bus everyday (since he and I were working), there was no favor too big of us to ask of her if it meant she would get to be with her grandchildren. I realize now that she very literally revolved her life around those three girls, and who could blame her? But as close as she was to her grandchildren, her son was her world. Dave gave her the family that she did not have as a child with an alcoholic father. Mamaw (we called her) unexpectedly passed away from a massive heart attack in October. The world stopped for Dave that day and has been reeling for my family ever since.

    Needless to say, I see the aggressive behaviors, the constant desire to start an argument, to interrupt, to not listen, all these tell-tale signs of Dave’s whiskey drunk starting to come out of their dirty little shadows. I begin to watch him closely and I start seeing the patterns in routine again. When he fell asleep this evening my suspicions were confirmed and the monster I dread is trying to take him again, I found his two empty pints of bourbon under the couch. I’m not sure I can do this again, I’m scared for him and my family’s future.

  • Linda

    I can related to Mary. My husband is a functioning alcoholic. He used to come home and drink, now by the time he comes home, he’s already drunk. He went from drinking two six packs a day to a six pack and a pint of whiskey. We also have been married 19 years, and our sex lives have diminished, as he passes out early. I don’t know about anyone else, but my husband refuses to get help or change. I’ve been to al-anon meetings and they just talk about how the cope with their alcoholic spouses, to me they just love the booze and that’s it. It’s too lonely a life for me. If he refuses to change, I’m out!! I love him, but just to watch him kill himself or someone else is just too much for me to handle!

  • angela

    Is a child better to be raised by both parents even if one is an alcoholic? I want to do whats best for my kids. One is 4 and the other 1. My husband is an alcoholic. I don’t think he will ever change and after years of trying, I have given up trying to change him. I now just hate him for what he’s done to what could have been a perfect little family. I despise, detest, and I am constantly angry with him. Yes I treat him coldly. After years of lying (closest alcoholic) and loneliness, and being constantly let down, I have formed a hard shell, so he can’t hurt me anymore.

    When we fight and I suffer his abuse, I just want to leave. Then the next day, it’s all forgotten and I see him make my daughter giggle like no other, and our son refer to him as his ‘best friend’ and I think, “I may do more damage breaking them apart than if I stay.” Its so hard. I am 38 and been with him for 22 years. I can’t see out of the fog. I thought I was strong, but I can’t seem to see a life without him, as we have been together since we are kids.

  • khuba sher

    I am married to a guy who has been drinking for almost 10 years. He drinks almost everyday. His drinks contain mostly 45% of alcohol. He doesn’t care that the quantities of drinks may harm him. He is having a continuous stomach problem (like gastric), burps, bad breath, burning etc. He sometimes feels himself dehydrated too. I can’t guess whether he wants to quit drinking or not because according to his perception every legend drinks, or sometimes he says that he needs excitement or entertainment every evening that’s why he he drinks, well I think these are just his excuses to drink. He doesn’t agree that he is addicted, but in reality he is very much addicted to it. I don’t know how anyone can convince him not to drink. We have been married for 1 and a half month and recently am expecting. He is at the start of his career too but doesn’t think its wrong for him to drink as much at this point of his life. Normally when he drinks, he doesn’t get out of his senses neither does he harms anyone, but if any conflict comes between me and him or between he and anyone else even if its his mother, he shouts loudly and behaves immature. I think it is because of lots of alcohol consumption. I need help on how to deal with this kind of husband as it’s the start of our life. thanks

  • Hope

    Hello everyone, I just wanted to hear your advice. I have been drinking alcohol for about three years, pretty much every weekend, all Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have recently decided to seriously stop! I’ve been wanting to for a while now, but I never did. I told my husband that I’m done with drinking and I would like to better myself (losing weight for a example) but he tells me I can still lose weight and workout etc. but what I’m trying to tell him that I really just want to stop. I feel like he doesn’t care about my feeling he just wants me to drink with him so he doesn’t do it alone. I don’t know it’s really complicated.

  • Carol

    My husband proudly calls himself a functioning alcoholic. He goes through a 30 pack of Bud everyday. He begins drinking around 9:00 and doesn’t stop until he falls asleep/passes out watching TV. He keeps the house clean, does laundry, cooks all our meals, and occasionally works. Years ago, he worked for a manufacturing company, and got into altercations with every boss he worked for. I was hoping that when he left there and became self-employed as a Home Improvement Contractor, that things would get better, but now he gets into some kind of altercation with every homeowner he works for. He does beautiful work, but when his customers point out something that needs a touch up, etc., he thinks they are out to get him and trying to take advantage of him. He has issues with people who don’t “follow the rules”, yet he himself isn’t always a rule follower and it’s okay. He holds everyone else to a much higher standard.

    He had an abusive childhood, witnessed his foster father molest his sister, was made to bathe in cold water after everyone bathed in it before him, and was always hungry. He was only four when his real father left, so he never remembered him. When his real mother finally got him back five years later, he was so damaged and full of anger and rage, that he ran wild, became a holy terror and began drinking at age 10. He told me that the only thing his mother ever taught him, was to hate, and she never once hugged him or told him that she loved him. She never celebrated his birthday or gave him toys for Christmas. I felt so sorry for him that I made it my quest to change his life forever, to love him and make him happy. Sadly, I was not the answer.

    In trying to help him, I made myself physically ill, from colitis to anxiety attacks to depression. Fortunately, I found a wonderful psychologist who helped me understand that I couldn’t change my husband, but I could learn to change myself. Like his alcoholism, getting myself better and learning to find happiness on my own, has also damaged our relationship. We are still married, but I am not the person I was so many years ago. I no longer have the patience to deal with my husband’s issues and his outbursts. His verbal abuse and controlling ways push me further and further away from him, and although I know I should leave him, I don’t. I stay and try to convince myself that I’m happy and I settle for a marriage and husband who are both broken. I know I am important and that I matter and that I deserve happiness, but I just can’t leave. I unrealistically keep hoping that he will change.

    This Easter holiday, his brother, nephew and our boys and their girlfriends came for dinner. My husband, as always, did all the cooking and the food was incredible. He also, as always, cleaned the house the day before. Easter morning, I went to church with my sister, then stopped at my mother’s to take her her gifts, and when I got home, still needed to set the table. I asked my husband if he needed any help and he nastily said, “Does it matter?” After I set the table, I went upstairs to stay out of his way only to find that he had sliced three extension cords and threw the pieces all over the bathroom floor, toilet and sink! I remembered that I had stored the extension cords inside our bathroom vanity, but because I had laid them loose instead of wrapping them up neatly and securing them, it set him off! This is a typical scenario of how crazy he gets, and it happens every holiday. He has been crazy ever since, accusing me of using him, for taking advantage of him, for being lazy, for playing games with him, for saying that he spends too much money on beer, for everything! His biggest complaint is that his time is too precious to waste and that I never appreciate anything he does. I don’t know what he expects me to say. I thank him constantly, I rave over his cooking, I compliment him, I help him, I am attentive to his needs. I feel like I have been a good wife. I’ve made sacrifices, I’ve done without, I don’t put pressure on him, I never argue with him, I don’t do anything to hurt him.

    I really wish that someone could tell me what it is that he wants when he says that I use him and don’t appreciate him.

  • Jennifer

    I have been married 4 1/2 years now to a functioning alcoholic. I have 3 kids from a previous marriage and we have none together. Mine walks in the door and makes a drink, always whiskey and coke, this isn’t the usual glass, think of a large at McDonalds that size. He has at least 5 per night from 5:30-9. He drinks right at 3-4 half gallons per week if we are only at home and more if we are out eating etc. Depending on how his day went is the mood he brings home. I feel I have walked on egg shells for the last 3 years with him. If I say something he doesn’t like he ridicules me, tells me how inadequate I am etc. I am a professional woman who can easily make it alone with my kids, but I stayed time and time again. He constantly makes the kids feel worthless rolling his eyes, sighing heavily, mumbling under his breath when they are talking or just telling them he doesn’t want to hear it and sending them away, even when they are speaking to me. I received counseling and was told by 2 counselors to get out now it isn’t going to get better. What I realized through counseling is I was a co-dependent. Why, I have no idea. He has told me numerous times he wants a divorce and I always tried to work it out, always giving up what I wanted or ask for.

    If you mention his drinking he will be the first to say he doesn’t have a problem, he can stop anytime he wants, all the things I’m sure we have all heard. Yet I stayed in January I said I want a divorce (he was still living with us although the relationship was platonic) he came to me one night in February. saying he didn’t want to divorce, he was stupid, etc. yet again I gave in and didn’t say anything about the booze praying he had seen the light. Well then we started all over again except now it’s escalated in just the last month to flying into a rage over any and everything example: the kids discussing with me their school work, me telling him about my day, etc. He is very intimidating to of us. When he is screaming he is lunging at us, but he says it’s to make his point. He has shoved me down once, but again that was my fault because I got in his face, he forgot he took the step to me. Now though he is having memory lapses, he can’t remember details of a situation, such as me calling the kids to dinner, and he begins screaming at me, “they have eaten” and telling them “to go to bed,” in his fit of rage yeah that didn’t happen well for him. My son hurting himself to the point of needing quick care from a healthcare professional and him telling me how I coddle my kids and they can’t do anything for themselves.

    Since we decided to first split in January, I have felt different about him. I love him don’t get me wrong, but I can’t stand him. I am finally fed up, not taking his rants, his constant ridicule, just getting up and walking outside or taking the kids to do something so he can act like a fool, but of course there he is upon return telling me what a horrible mother I am for coddling my kids. I am just slap fed up with it. I think what has kept me from just divorcing him in the past (and I know this will sound stupid to some) I hated the thought of being alone. I’m 38 with 3 kids under 11. I am/was scared of this. Tonight was basically the last straw when my child needed medical attention for something he did playing, and my husband thinking I was coddling him by taking and getting him fixed up. He blew up screaming blaming me and what is funny yet sad, he wasn’t fighting about the situation at hand. He was dragging everything up for the last 5 plus years over and over. Then, tried to tell me what happened tonight when my son hurt himself and called me a lair and became enraged when I told him how the situation unfolded. He honestly didn’t remember what happened an hour ago. Of course, he does like always, blows up, screams, gets in my face, blames me for it all, and then goes to bed like a 3 year old. So tonight, like a child, he throws all the covers off the bed onto the floor I use and gets his. I actually laughed loudly when I walked into the room and continued with my nightly routine.

    His family sees it but won’t say anything to him about the situation, he’s somewhat the outcast. His closest friends, yep you guessed it, are drunks although he doesn’t go to bars. He just drinks at home alone and takes it out on us. I told him tonight to leave although he didn’t he stood there doing his immature jabs at me until he ran out of alcohol, he went outside then came in to yell more. I am over it. Yes I love him, but I think when I finally detached in January I just let go emotionally. He was the guy, when we dated and first married, who when his car pulled into the drive I got butterflies, who would text me every morning even to this day just to say hi, yes I returned his kind gestures and I have tried, but there is only so much a person can take. It’s killing me mentally and it’s really taking a toll on my kids. I believe his behavior is due to jealousy and alcohol abuse. My kids are my number 1 and that will never change, although I almost let him destroy us. Tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow I pray I find my voice, my confidence, my will power, and whatever else God can give to end it. I can not bare this anymore and my kids shouldn’t have to either. I honestly have felt a weight lift when I was writing this. Although I am open with people about my alcoholic husband, I feel for the first time, I said how I felt and what I want for me for my kids and for our future. Thanks for your stories and words of encouragement from the bottom of my heart. I truly feel knowing that I’m not alone in the world, and reading others are in the same situation has saved my soul.

  • Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my
    facebook group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

  • Karla

    I’m scared not for me but for my sister . She lives with alcoholic . She’s very scared because he transforms into another person. That’s when she starts talking back to him and he gets really mad, starts hitting the wall, and even her . He also doesn’t want to live with out her and gets very Sentimental. She’s scared and can’t just go because he won’t let her. She’s scared for her life and others. They just married and she wants to just go but they need help. He’s out of control and the next day it’s like nothing happened. Please help us!!!

  • Ashley

    Wow, this site is really helpful and makes me feel so much less alone. My husband is a functioning alcoholic. He has a great job and he very smart. He is a good dad to our daughter, honestly if it wasn’t for her I would have left already, but I’m so afraid he will try to take her from me. The only place I have to go is my parents house and they are great people, but they smoke pot and I’m so afraid that he will try to use that against me. So I stay. But the drinking is getting worse and worse and he is always saying really nasty horrible things to me. I’m not sure what I’m even writing I just felt like I needed to write something and try to get me thoughts together. Sorry this is such a mess.

  • Kristin

    I’ve never felt compelled to write about anything so personal on a website before, but after researching functioning alcoholic and reading a lot of these stories, I feel maybe I’m in a marriage like this. I will try and make this as short a possible. I have been married for 19 years, and currently pregnant. My husband and I both like to drink, but I have stopped since becoming pregnant. Now that I’m not drinking I realize how much I did and I am repulsed by my behavior. My husband still drinks, about 1-2 beers a night, and every weekend. Some weekends he will go through an 18 pack on a given day and others he will manage a 12 pack for the entire weekend. Every now and then he will get triggered by something and say extremely hurtful things to me, then follow it up with an apology the next day. This just recently happened, and I being sober and pregnant was beyond hurt. He apologized, but the next day came home from work and had his usual 2 beers. I feel because, before becoming pregnant, I don’t have the right to harp on him, yet I’m having to deal with this every 3-6 months of these insane hurtful rants. Does this sound like a “functioning “alcoholic? I’ve all but asked him to stop drinking. He says he’s cut back, and doesn’t seem to me that he thinks he has an issue. Any advice is much appreciated.

  • Karen

    I am wondering if I should leave my alcoholic husband. He has had a few rages recently because I or one of our two children make him upset. Tonight he got so mad that he was screaming at our kids. Then he started throwing their toys and even broke one, which upset them both. I am scared to leave because I am worried that he may get violent. When I have threatened to leave in the past, he tells me that he will make my life miserable if I do. He tends to have a temper even when he is not drinking, but it’s a lot worse when he is. My kids are starting to not like their Dad since this happens a lot these days. He is depressed about his job, life, and is just an unhappy person. I try to be happy so that my kids have one secure parent, but it’s getting exhausting when I just feel like crying. I feel so sad for my kids. I don’t know if he needs an anger management program or an AA program or both. He has a good heart, but is fighting demons.

  • Twice the Fool

    Yup, me too. I feel like such a fool. I divorced my ex because of alcoholism. After being single for more than 20 years, before marrying my current husband (after dating for 2 years) during that time I told him over and over and over and over how much I detest the smell of beer and booze in general. “Oh, no problem Babe! I only drink occasionally!,” and, “I’d never put you in that situation, I love you!” Yes, I bought it hook line and sinker. I’m such an idiot! In 8 short years it’s gone from 1-2 beers a week (that I saw) to 12-16 a night! “What are you complaining about? I go to work everyday!” and “I don’t have a problem, I go to work everyday and the bills are paid,” he says. Barely! We’ve been dipping into the savings weekly for several years now just to tread water! My weekly grocery money is now down to $40 a week for 2 people, 2 dogs and a cat! I tell him, “I’m hungry. He replies with, “Then eat! Go buy something to eat if you’re so hungry!” Ya, I could do that. But, by the end of the week checks are going to start bouncing! “I’ll get a paycheck on Thursday don’t worry about it,” and “You run around here acting like you own the place,” he says. Ahhh… ya, I do! Because I paid cash for this house before we were married. Yeah, It’s all mine! Then he says, “you’re always ordering me around and telling me what to do.” Well yeah, if there are only 2 of us living in the house and 50% of us are drunk 90% of the time, someone has to be in charge! Someone has to stay engaged to make sure the roof doesn’t leak, the car isn’t repossessed and the city doesn’t fine us because the grass hasn’t been cut or the hedges trimmed in 6 months! “I work hard all day, I’m not going to come home and vacuum too!” Well darlin’, if you don’t do it, it’s not going to get done! I’ve got 5 herniated discs (C2 – C7) bilateral torn rotator cuffs and a blown out elbow. I’m not supposed to lift more than my purse, let alone vacuum! With all these animals it’s disgusting and unhealthy in here with all the hair. My daughter won’t allow the Grand-kids to come over because Hubby is drunk all the time, and there is so much hair all over the floor, furniture, couches and in the air that it’s embarrassing! “No, I don’t want to go for a walk (play a cards, go get an ice cream, ride a bike, etc) I’m tired. I work hard,” he will say. I read that as, I don’t have time, I’d rather get drunk instead of spend time with you! But, I think the worst part was when I realized not only is beer more important than I am, he’d rather masturbate alone than be intimate with me. What a shrew I must be! I can’t describe how much it hurts to change the sheets on his bed and find a dirty magazine underneath the pillow and evidence of his affair with himself on the sheets.

  • Thanks for finally writing about being married to a Functioning Alcoholic.
    I liked it!

  • Stacy

    I have been married for 8 years and over the past 3 years we have been struggling with my husband, who is a functional alcoholic. It started with my husband coming home trashed from work and he had lost his job. It was a very rough 6 months after that. I actually told my husband to get out. He came home and things were better, but he never quit drinking. He does not binge drink, but drinks every day. He is not abusive and he admits he needs to quit drinking. He does not party, but drinks by himself on the way to work and on the way home from work or hides in the yard so no one can see him. It is not in the house, for I do not want to see it. My husband is depressed, lacks self esteem and thinks moving back to where he is from will solve our problems. We have a 14 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. He works, never misses work due to drinking, is there for the kids always. He lacks any will to take better care of himself, he is lazy around the house and has turned into such a negative person. The biggest thing with his drinking is the damage is does to us financially! We have gone to counselors briefly, but he never is truly open so it has been a waste of time! I went to a counselor myself, for I was trying to find my place in this marriage as his wife! I do not want to be enabling and I want to be supportive, but he never does a thing to change! I know it will not change on its own and I would be completely there for him if he would start! He says he wakes up everyday wanting to quit but nothing! I want my marriage to last, but I can’t keep going like this! I just feel so frozen and alone at times. I have no idea what my next move should be!

  • Victoria

    I discovered that my husband was an alcoholic on our wedding night. We went to our room and he said he was popping to the bar for a drink and he didn’t come back for 10 hours. The whole of our honeymoon was overshadowed by his 18 hours a day drinking binges.

    We’ve now been married for 2 years and I’m tired of the 2 bottles of wine a night, with at least a whole bottle of spirits being added to the mix 4 or 5 days a week. We don’t have children and he isn’t aggressive so he doesn’t see what the problem is. For me, it’s having a stranger in my home every night, it’s someone that I don’t like and don’t want to spend time with. I think I miss him, but to be honest I can’t remember what he used to be like.

    He’s not nasty, he’s not violent so I feel as though I have no justifiable reason for leaving, no matter how unhappy I am. I just want to be happy. but fear that it’s just not meant to be.

  • Tajana

    I’ve been with my husband since I was 17 years old. I am now 49 and my husband is 9 years older. My husband has always drank since I’ve known him. When I say, “drink” he was drinking large bottles, 5th’s at a time. Now he has gotten older (he’s 57) I’ve taken him to the doctor just to see if he has done any damage to his liver, due to the drinking. The doctor tells us only a pinch of his liver is damaged, but could be reverse if he stops drinking. Since then he drinks even more, he’s mean and verbally abusive. He just found out his dad and uncle all died from alcohol abuse. My husband then says to me, “if I die you will be taken care of.” as if I want to here that. My husband and I have raised three kids. I thought we could live our lives, travel and do things that couples do once the kids are raise and gone, but I don’t even like going any where with my husband because of the drinking. We don’t have sex, we don’t even sleep in the same room because of the drinking. I have expressed my feelings about his drinking but, he doesn’t care. It just ends up in a shouting match and him saying, “deal with it.” He feels as though I’ll always be there, but I’m so fed up. I have made my mind up to leave. It is so hard to do because he makes me feel as though I need him, but I know I don’t. I’m tired.

  • Rachel

    Hello everyone. I am so touched by all of these stories. I didn’t realize until now that everything that has happened has also happened to so many others. Or that what I was dealing with was called functioning alcoholism. Every one of your stories strikes a chord and I feel for you all who have to go through this.

    My story is, My functional alcoholic ex-boyfriend (yes I refused marriage 4 times) was so good at hiding his alcohol problem that he was able to gain school year custody of our now 8 year old daughter! Everything I said to the judge about his alcoholism, emotional abuse and anger issues was here say, I could not prove it. He is a master of deception, he fooled them all.

    I tried to leave him several times through the years and each time he would sit me down and talk at me for hours and hours and convince me I was horrible if I were to leave and break his heart, and how could I live with myself and how could I do that to someone who loves me.. and so on and on… forget how I felt, that never mattered.

    When our relation was coming to an end finally, I got pregnant. Our daughter was born the same week I finished college, forget the career. When our daughter turned 1 year old is when I finally gathered the strength to leave him, fueled by the loss of my father, who was supposed to visit us on the day he passed, but was told not to come because the drunk ex owed him money. My Dad committed suicide instead of visiting. (I also lost several pets during the turbulent years.)

    Now the hate towards me is so strong still, even though he is remarried to a woman with the same name as me. He says he picked her to marry him to be a mother to his daughter. The cold heartlessness is incomprehensible to me, how can you love someone and not care if they are happy? Oh yeah, alcohol.

    Every time we have had an exchange for our daughter since we broke up 7 years ago, he has smelled of whiskey. Sometimes he would put her in his truck smelling of whiskey and drive off with her! he would say, “the judge says it’s my custody time now,” if I objected. When I visited my daughter for Christmas she said, “I want to be with you more Mommy,” and I said to tell her dad that. When she did he said, “The judge says that you live with me at …” and proceeded to announce his address. He is like a military zombie who has zero respect for me as a human or woman or mother of his child.

    Recently he came to pick up our daughter after I had her for the summer and he went absolutely crazy and starting saying, “f*** you” to me and, “I hate you” and “you’re a horrible mother” to me in front of our daughter because I allowed her to get a haircut and get bangs. His face was scrunched and evil and black staring at me. I can’t handle dealing with such hate anymore. I called the police and told the ex I am no longer afraid! He can’t control us anymore! He tried to snatch my daughter from me and she kicked at him until he let her go then she ran back to me crying saying, “how can you talk to my Mom that way?” When the police came, they deemed him to be smelling of booze, but not acting drunk and I had no choice but to let him take her for custody time, even after she said she was afraid of him! He was all sweet as pie to the officers and they bought it. I left the hotel where we did the exchange not knowing if she was going to be okay with him, and it’s an awful feeling. I am a non-drinker and hate the smell of alcohol and can’t be around alcoholics for this reason.

    I was with my ex for 17 years, since I was 19 years old, (dumb and not prepared to handle a manipulator) and the stories of how he ruined my life are endless(but I will stop). It echoes all the stories I have read here and then some. Now he continues to cause me grief even from across the country, I won’t be free of him until our child is grown. Wish me luck, thanks for listening.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>