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Disconnecting From Your Alcoholic Spouse

Sometimes you just have to take care of you

Living day to day with an alcoholic is extremely hard on the family. The family often, in the beginning, pulls together to offer the alcoholic help in becoming sober. 

However, speaking from years of experience in dealing with an alcoholic spouse, I can tell you no matter how much help is offered and taken, nothing will make one bit of difference until the alcoholic has decided for himself help is needed.

Over the years I personally tried everything imaginable to get my husband to stop with the drinking. It was tearing our lives apart as a couple, tearing our family apart, and killing us financially.

Nothing I said or did made one bit of difference to him. I kept waiting and waiting on that rock bottom to come for him. Over the years there have been multiple arrests for DUIs, drunk and disorderly, trips to the hospital when he had been assaulted in a bar. Countless self-inflicted drunken injuries, which often required medical attention.

No amount of begging, or pleading made a difference, he was going to do what he wanted to do at any cost. Finally the children were all grown, and are on their own. They have chosen to distance themselves from their alcoholic father, and will not interact with him in any form if he has been drinking or using drugs.

Ah, yes, I failed to mention that over the years, not only is he an alcoholic, he is also a drug addict. Pain pills are his drug of choice. Since the kids are on their own, I have disconnected myself from interacting with him.

I have set boundaries for him that reveal I refuse to participate in his alcoholism. I will not drive him to buy alcohol, or anywhere to drink. I will also not pick him up from anywhere, bar or not, where he has been drinking.

Since he has not had a driver's license in 20 years, he must either walk, get a ride from someone he knows, or take a cab. Over the years his drinking has progressed significantly. He has gone from beer drinking daily to drinking hard liquor, sometimes a fifth of vodka and whiskey a night atop of pain pills.

How he has not killed himself, yet, I do not know. I go through each day wondering if I will find him dead in his room. It is not pretty. So to save my own self from the stress and the worry, I have disconnected myself from him mentally.

I do not engage in conversations, or arguments with him when he has been drinking, I walk away. Because face it, there is no point in arguing with a drunk.

Why am I still here, many of you are probably asking yourselves. Well, as life would have it, I am currently not in a position to leave yet. A plan has been made, and as soon as I save enough to move forward, I will leave.

What will happen to the alcoholic spouse? Well, I cannot tell the future, but I will assume that he will continue on drinking at a rapid rate, taking every pain pill he can get his hands on until one day his body just gives out.

Will I be sad? Who knows, maybe a little, but I feel that I lost my real husband years ago, and the man that he is now is a stranger to me. I just need to focus on myself and my own well-being.

If you are dealing with an alcoholic spouse, I wish you luck, but be advised that this disease is terrible, both on them and you. There comes a time when you feel you have tried everything to step back, and you just let whatever happens next happen. Know in your heart you did everything you could—and let yourself off the hook, you are not to blame.

As they tell you in Alanon, "You did not cause it," "You can't control it," and "You can't cure it."

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