Should I Divorce My Alcoholic or Addict Husband?

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

English: Google Logo officially released on May 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve Googled this question: Should I Divorce My Alcoholic or Addict Husband?

Late at night, early in the morning, on good days, and bad, this is the question that rattles around in my brain. I Google out of desperation, searching for guidance from strangers, when I should be praying and turning this over to God.

No one will tell me what to do, and I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I cannot see from one day to the next.

When do you give up? When do you call it quits, and realize someone is never going to change?

I’ve started going to a new Al-Anon group, and I like this one. They’re quiet and thoughtful. They aren’t pushy or overselling the program. And there’s a member who’s divorced, who has left her alcoholic husband. While I’m sure there are many others out there in the wide world of Al-Anon, I’ve only met women who are there to work through their husband’s recovery, or who can attest to the power of AA and their husbands’ sobriety. I’m happy for them, but I want some contact with women whose husbands haven’t made it. Women I can identify with.

Husband moved out 5.5 months ago. I said I would give him a six month trial separation, as he fell apart when I gave him the dissolution papers. It just didn’t feel right to not give him another chance. We are now legally separated, because of the drugs; I felt that I had to take over custody of our children.

But in my heart, I still feel married. I don’t feel that I can let him go with our marriage intact, and I need to to get on with my life. I pray for him, for me, and for serenity, but I’m having trouble detaching with love. What the hell does that mean, anyway?

For a while–the first five months of our separation, actually–detaching with love meant that our lives were pretty much the same, except Husband was sleeping in an apartment and we didn’t go on any dates. We saw each other daily. We were still intricately woven into one another’s lives. We even still made love, once in a while. We were talking about our days, and caring for one another. We would text about little things during the day. Most of our communication was about the boys, but not all. I was holding on and not letting go.

I still had hope he would get sober.

I still do, but I also need to face reality. He is drinking. Outpatient rehab turned him away and told him his only option was inpatient (residential) rehab, as he had high blood pressure, which they took as a sign that his body was detoxing. It wouldn’t be safe or ethical to allow him to detox outside of an inpatient program, they said. This made him angry. I said, “Well, are you drinking?” “No,” was his answer. But his credit cards tell another story, and so does his body. So now he is, again, not working on getting sober. I’m not surprised, this time.

I have to accept this. I’ve done everything I could do: been really nice, practiced so much compassion and kindness it was almost sickening, stopped being resentful, changed my own attitudes, forced him to go to rehab, monitored his AA attendance, tracked his whereabouts, scheduled AA meetings and social outings for him, stopped monitoring his AA attendance, begged his friends to intervene, given him numbers of men willing to sponsor him, prayed, pleaded, withheld love/affection, openly given love/affection, given really good pep talks, reached out to our church community… You name it. I’ve done it. My pastor even told me, “It sounds like you covered your bases. It’s time to let go.”

Wow. And you thought Christians would counsel against divorce, right?

But what does that mean, let go? Not call or talk? Doing that. It’s painful. I’ve told him I’ll talk to him when he’s sober. Not once has he picked up the phone to apologize, or say hello, or beg me to give him another chance. He’s too sick.

So is it ethical to divorce a sick man?

All of this Al-Anon talk about detaching with love has me confused. They talk about detaching with kindness and compassion, instead of cold indifference. I told him I loved him and want him to get better, that I’m here if he needs me. Is that enough?

I feel so guilty, like I’m abandoning him when he needs me most. He said as much.

But I need serenity, and I can’t have that with an active user in my life. I just can’t. I tried, and it was too painful. I can’t stand the chaos, the lies, and the emotional instability. Not to mention worrying about anger and violence resulting from drug use.

I also need a loving partner, someday. I miss hugs and holding hands, going to the movies together, or even just staying in. I haven’t had that in so long, and someday (not this year! this is my year) I want that again. I won’t have that if I don’t move on.

So, should I divorce my alcoholic and addict husband? The debate rages on.

Update: newer blog post on the same subject: How to Divorce Your Alcoholic or Addict Husband or Wife


352 thoughts on “Should I Divorce My Alcoholic or Addict Husband?

  1. Hello I am in my late 20’s married for one year and half… 4 months ago its when everything started.. found out my husband was an opiate addict. He was doing for 3 months and after me finding out some money missing in the safe – he told me everything said he would get help and he did while i left. I didnt talk to him for almost one month I started going to Alnon meetings and he was going to his meetings 3-4 times a week and stayed sober. Then i started to talk to him little by little and we meet every two weeks as friends. Last week almost 2 months being separated living in different homes…. He gets into a car accident and his mother and I went to pick him up, he passed the sobriety test because the police said he was tired. And once i drop him off at the house since he was extremely tired i saw his phone had one missed call. I asked him if he knew that number since it has a voicemail. Then i took him to bed and i go through his phone. He was talkin to a girl kind of in a sexual way and she was replying how she misses him and wished she could kiss or hug him. Then i see other messages from a drug dealer. His mother and i confronted him but he still not being himself. I left the house and couldnt take this role coaster anymore. 2 days later i sent him a txt and i told him that we really need to talk about us like serious stuff. He sent me a longgggg txt msg to say he didnt mean anything and everything he said that hurt me wasnt intentional that he loves me and he will understand if i leave him. He said he is going for outpatient treatment because he realized he has a serious problem.
    I have come to a conclusion where i dont want to communicate with him for about 6 months but i dont tink i can do that because i will start to feel like i am punishing myself for not talkin to him. I know i cant control things or fix him but i am also confused because i want to be by his side with this sobriety and stay with him while he is going through all this. Any advice guys? I really dont want to get a divorce.

    • I’m sorry you are going thru this. My suggestion would be to find yourself a therapist who can guide you to make healthy decisions for yourself. It’s difficult to keep a healthy frame of mind in the midst of his addiction. Addicts lie. They don’t lie to hurt you personally, but that is what it feels like. They lie so they can continue their addiction. You are young in this marriage…tread lightly. Regaining trust is very hard.

      • Thank you do much Anonymous for your kind words. I have an appointment to go for therapy monday and yes i am not taking as personal all this because i know its part of the “disease” however,, none of us deserve to go through this. just gotta stay strong.

  2. Hi Young, I’m glad to hear that you have an appointment to talk with someone. That’s a giant step in taking care of yourself. For me in my situation, I neglected taking care of me because I was too busy taking care of him…..I wish I would have done that differently and that someone had encouraged me to take care of myself. I’m glad his mother knows the truth and that you not alone. For me, I kept his secrets, never told anyone. I encourage you to talk to trusted friends, therapist, Al-anon, keep talking, don’t be a secret keeper….talking is healing.

  3. Your story is my story. The inner battle within me rages. We are seperated also but the thought of divorce is earth shattering. It is because we LOVE them…and our love is forever. I wish I had a good answer for you…for myself. I have reached my breaking point of pain and disappointment. Or have i? If he would just call, talk, promice, and love me! But he doesnt. He wont. All the “good times” run through my mind. They are few and far between but they are powerful. They are promicing. They are also an illusion. I guess we eventually will divorce. I’ll have to pull the trigger….I think he is content as things are now. It will be the hardest thing I will ever do. And the aftermath will go on and on as we have a son together. I love God and try to live by his commandments. To divorce a sick man seems SO WRONG. I pray God will not only forgive me but will also bless me and even help me!!! My heart is open to a miracle if there is anyway to save this marriage! It burns to disappoint God, my Son, even my husband. But God help me….I cannot physically, mentally, or emotionally handle the ABUSE any longer. I have to let go…or die inside. I’ll pray for you….I am so sorry. I truly understand your pain.

    • These stories echo mine as well. Been married only 2 years, my husband is 39 and is from a town 3 hours from where we live. He has spent most of our marriage there. Like “young’s” post above, it was about 4months into our marriage that my world got turned upside down from finding out he is addicted to meth. I had no clue. Just last night he had a motorcycle wreck – it’s the 6th vehicle he has sold for a few dollars to get drugs or completely totaled. I feel the same guilt and ask the same questions. He has cheated on me and constantly accuses me of cheating (I don’t). Like you all, my world revolves around him – worrying, trying to help, trying to be there for him. A good friend of mine told me about the book – Power of a Praying Wife. It seems that when I read it daily, things improve. And when I stop, things get worse. There is also a prayer called Camelot Warfare. I will post it in a separate post. Pray for your husband’s this way. God DOES hear our prayers and we continue to pray for His strength and will for our marriages, He will guide our footsteps. Also, to help me get through this, I created a Facebook page called 1Praying Wife. I try to post positive quotes about marriage to keep my eyes focused on God and not the problems that come with being married to an addict. I think the Al-anon concept is right – we need to start focusing on ourselves. I’ve heard this a thousand times, but the other day on tv, the preacher told the story about Moses and his people being in the wilderness for 40 years. God let them stay there that long because of their complaining and unbelief. I am a growing Christian, and when I heard that I realized that I am focusing on my problem and as Al-anon teaches – we cannot make them use, and we cannot make them quit. The problem is for God to solve – not us. Try getting the book Power of a Praying Wife (Stormie Ormartin) It has helped me. And so has the Camelot Prayer – Prayer for a Wayward Spouse. You can send me messages on Facebook – 1Praying Wife. It is not easy for any of us, but together, we can pray and support each other.

  4. Prayer for a Wayward Spouse (in my case, drug addiction, porn, sex with other addicts) Background listed first, then the actual prayer)

    The Prayer of Hosea is one of the most powerful prayers in the arsenal of spiritual warfare — the Hedge Prayer. Hosea had a wife who was committing adultery and running around on him. Hosea was convinced that he not divorce her but to pray for her return. This prayer is particularly useful in praying for a wayward spouse, child, or friend who has gone astray from the Faith and from God, has left to lead an improper life, and/or is estranged from the proper relationship they should have with you.

    It should be noted, as it is with all prayer, the Hedge Prayer is not a magic bullet. There are no guarantees that the person prayed for will return. We must always remember that God has given his children the freedom to choose — even the freedom to choose wrongly. No one, not even God, may force a person against their will to do anything. God, however, is a mighty persuader and although He will not intrude upon one’s freedom to choose the course of one’s own actions, He may provide the person with great incentive, motivation, and circumstances to help them decide to come back to the place they should be.

    For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns; and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers, but not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better with me then than now.’ Hosea 2:5b-7]

  5. Prayer for Wayward Spouse (actual prayer – use it daily. I have seen it work when I use it daily!)

    Trusting in the promise that whatever we ask the Father in Jesus’ name He will do, I now approach You Father with confidence in Our Lord’s words and in Your infinite power and love for me and for my [husband/wife, person’s name] and with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, Blessed Archangel Michael, the guardian angels of myself and [person’s name] , with all the saints and angels of heaven, and Holy in the power of His blessed Name, ask you Father to send forth Your Spirit to convict [person’s name] and to allow him/her to see any and all wrongs that he has done and how they offend Your infinite goodness.

    Father I ask in sorrow, knowing that You do not intrude upon free will, but that You can give Divine Influence like you did with Hosea’s wife, that You send a hedge of thorns and wall around [person’s name] so that he/she cannot find the paths that lead him/her away from me and our marriage, and though he/she shall pursue his/her [i.e. lovers, lifestyle, sinful ways, etc.] , he/she will not [i.e. overtake them, practice improper lifestyles, engage in sin, etc.] ; though he/she shall seek [i.e. lovers, improper lifestyle, sin, etc.] , he/she shall not find [i.e. them, desired lifestyle, the sin that draws him, etc.] ; that no matter what path or what [i.e. lover, lifestyle, sin, etc.] he/she seeks he/she shall not find satisfaction or happiness until he/she returns to me, his/her wife/husband where he/she may then be taught by Your Holy Spirit the true meaning of marriage and sexuality and to be a good and loving husband/wife, and to know the ways of righteousness and true manhood/womanhood.

    Father, I am powerless against these spiritual forces and recognize my utter dependence on You and Your power. Look with mercy upon me and upon my husband/wife. Do not look upon our sins, O Lord; rather, look at the sufferings of your Beloved Son and see the Victim who’s bitter passion and death has reconciled us to You. By the victory of the cross, protect us from all evil and rebuke any evil spirits who are attacking or influencing us in any way. Send them back to Hell and place a wall of protection around this marriage. Send your Holy Angels to watch over us and protect us.

    Father, all of these things I ask in the most holy name of Jesus Christ, Your Son. Thank you, Father, for hearing my prayer. I love You, I worship You, I thank You and I trust in You. Amen.

  6. Well, it’s DONE! I am finally divorced!!!! It’s been over two years since I’ve seen my ex. I never thought I would be happy or joyful again. But, after doing lots of work….alanon, therapy, etc. and most of all…..STAYING AWAY, I am back to my former self. I am happy, peaceful, joyful, adventurous….oh and did I mention HAPPY!!!! Wish him the best, but he’s in charge of his own f****ed up life. He is not the father of my children, so thankfully, I will never have to deal with him again….if I don’t want to. I am EMANCIPATED!!!!!!

      • Thanks pam and writerlyone…..this site has been so precious and integral to my own heaking

    • Congratulations Silkpalace. I’m so glad that you found your former self again, I am right behind you and working to figure out who I was before his alcohol.

      Enjoy your calm, peaceful freedom!!!

  7. Hello I’m 23 and I’ve been with my husband for 5 years. We have two children together and I am pregnant with our third due any day now. Everything used to be wonderful and my husband was very loving to our children and myself. About a year ago he started doing meth with my brother and has been using since then. He can’t hide it because it makes him completely psychotic. A therapist thought he was schizophrenic. He can’t keep a job. We have lost all of our savings, our home, our family. I live with my mom and he lives with my brother, doing drugs. He isn’t mean or even very sneaky. The part that hurts me is the loneliness. Even when I talk to him it is not my husband I’m talking to. He doesn’t stop using long enough to realize he needs help and I don’t know what to do. I understand that addiction is an illness but his illness is destroying me. Any advice would be helpful.

  8. In my case, I’m the husband and watching my wife drown away. I’m to the point where i will not talk to her when she starts drinking – so – we pretty much won’t talk. Last night was probably the last straw as we went to a relatives house for dinner and with 5 minutes – she was passed out. And I had a breakdown and explained what my life has been like – as very few people know as we have withdrawn from everyone.
    I was disgusted with how she behaved – she said (in the morning – and sober)- “I’m never drinking again.”. It lasted less than 5 hours.
    And now – she is mad at ME because I’m mad at her.
    Everything i read on this blog is my life – so good to know I’m not alone – but still left with what the hell do I do.
    Married 25 years – and the verge of bankruptcy – as her drinking is costing about $1,000 a month – plus the spending sprees she does while drunk (on computer).
    A fall down a flight of stairs was what I thought would have been – finally – the bottom I was looking for – nope – got sober for 45 days – and then started again – only more and worse.

    • Sorry you are going thru this. Have you thought about going to a therapist… helps to talk things out and will help you sort out your next step.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I left my husband this past January after so many incidences like this. I kept thinking he had hit rock bottom and it would open his eyes, but that has never happened. Losing his job and his wife was not enough. Unfortunately, getting sober is up to her, not you. I think you have to decide what you are willing to put up with and whether or not you are willing to walk away. It is so heartbreaking, and all of us here know that it is one of the toughest decisions. So far, I have not regretted leaving even though it still makes me feel terribly sad, I feel like I have a future now.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I left my husband this past January after so many incidences like this. I kept thinking he had hit rock bottom and it would open his eyes, but that has never happened. Losing his job and his wife was not enough. Unfortunately, getting sober is up to her, not you. I think you have to decide what you are willing to put up with and whether or not you are willing to walk away. It is so heartbreaking, and all of us here know that it is one of the toughest decisions. So far, I have not regretted leaving even though it still makes me feel terribly sad, I feel like I have a future now.though it still makes me feel terribly sad, I feel like I have a future now.

  9. So here I am crying…married 28 years, divorced 1.5 years because of his alcoholism and today i have a broken heart because I realize I miss him, the good part of him. Divorce hurts even if it’s for all the right reasons, even if you divorce because it’s the only hope you have that it will make him stop drinking, even if it’s tough love. I’m 54 and I don’t want to start over. I’m mad and sad all at the same time.

    • I find myself feeling that sadness sometimes too and a lot of resentment. It is hard not to be angry when you devote yourself to someone and it is hard to put aside all the good memories. I cannot file for divorce until early next year (because we have a one year waiting period in this state)…but I’m dreading that finality. I hope it will be a relief, but I know it will be really hard too.

  10. I can relate so well. I have married for 27 years. I’d say the last 8 years to an alcoholic. I had a wonderful marriage and a wonderful husband only to lose it all to alcoholism. We live together but have been separated for about 4 yrs. I filed for divorce on June 2, 2014 and it’s still on going. Since I filed, he refuses to speak to me, look at me, and avoids me like the plague. I had always hoped he would ask for forgiveness and change his ways but if hasn’t happened and I doubt it will. He is a different and bitter person. Lately, I’m having second thoughts about divorce because I never wanted it. I just felt I had no choice. I’m grieving the loss of my marriage, my husband and the life we were supposed to have. Sometimes, I do better than other times but other times I loose it. Does it get better ? I’m afraid to be alone. The only comfort I have is that I pray a lot for the reconciliation with my husband.

    • I feel exactly the same as you. I served my alcoholic hudband in January and he has showed no remorse, no please don’t leave me or I will get help. Instead he shows anger, blames me for his drinking, guilt trip that I threw him away and are ruining our kids hope of a family. I keep weighing the good times against the bad , but the bad wins. I was getting physically sick and emotionally drained keeping this secret for 24 years. I felt like I was dying because I lost almost all happiness I was numb and lonely because the alcohol took away the love of my life. Alcohol left me chaos a liar and a cheat yet I am heartbroken why?

  11. Question for anyone……with all the emotional and financial mess that goes on with being married to an alcoholic, I never hear anyone comment on the danger of their alcoholic driving under the influence. My x never drank in a bar or at home, he only drank in his vehicle and it scared the hell out of me that he would have an accident and kill or permanently disable others. I was scared to death of being sued and loosing our home if that happened. I was petrified that he would hurt someone else. Does anyone or has anyone felt like this? Comments welcome please.

    • My husband drank on the road all the time. It scared me to death. Once while he was still employed he was called to a job (as a newspaper photographer). He was too drunk to drive himself and told me to take him. I said no, that he would only embarrass himself. So he drove. I know he wanted me to feel guilty for this, but I couldn’t cater to his behavior. I debated calling the police myself to get him off the road. Thankfully he didn’t get very far before he realized he was too incapacitated to make the drive. He lost his job not long after that. I also had to spend a lot of money for a lawyer when he got a DUI. He didn’t learn his lesson though. In his mind, it is always someone else’s fault. I felt guilty all the time because I knew he was out there driving around and I didn’t know how to stop it. I miss the man he used to be before all the crazy behavior, but I certainly don’t miss that constant stress and worry over what might happen next.

      • Thanks for the reply LD. it was always such a mind game with my alcoholic because I NEVER saw him drink, ever. I repeatedly asked him to drink at home, but he told that it wouldn’t be right to drink in our home. I would reply, really, but it’s okay to drink too much and get in a vehicle and drive on a public roadway and endanger other people’s lives. It’s insane for him to think driving drunk is a better decision than drinking at home.. We’ve been divorced a little over a year after 28 years of marriage and I still try to find a logical explanation when I know full well that there isn’t one.

        Have also paid for the dui.

        His last accident before our divorce, he had a .6 BAC, he should have been in a coma or dead but he stumbled away. It was a
        one car accident with a concrete light pole and 60% of his blood is vodka.

        Such an awful addiction.

  12. Hello everyone!! I just read through some of my posts on here from March, when I finally made the move… packed up my stuff and left. Everything. The divorce was finalized within a month of filing, as I didn’t fight for the house, lost money on his gambling, nor did I ask for alimony.
    Best decision I could have ever made. I now have a wonderful job as a case manager at a non profit. I was given the opportunity to go to school and get my MSW… fully funded and paid for! I have so much to be thankful for! My folks have been extremely supportive and are letting me stay as long as I need to. My relationships are flourishing, my Crohns disease has gone in to remission. It’s just amazing. A miracle, really. I haven’t heard anything from him unless it’s regarding my name coming off of the house. I rarely think of him. I’ve only cried a couple times since the divorce, but more so out of weariness and anger over the financial mess he left me in. I don’t miss him one bit whatsoever. As much as it sucks that it got so bad… I’m nearly thankful. Sounds crazy, I know. But it was so terrible all the time, for so long… that I had no fond memories. Nothing to miss. I feel only relief! I pray each one of you comes to this point, whether you stay or go. I pray for peace in your life, wisdom, and strength. Blessings!

    • Anna, I am so very happy for you. It’s amazing, yet not surprising how things just seem to have fallen into place. My divorce was final in June and I cannot tell you what a relief it was. I too, did not ask for alimony, money he owed me (as I now have a mortgage because of him and his stupid financial planning). All I wanted was my freedom…..and you can’t put a price on that! The best part……well there are just too many best parts, but one of the best parts is being able to host a family gathering and go to parties, etc. and not have to watch his every move back and forth from the bar……worrying when he will go over the edge and be a total asshole.

      I am 58 and this was my second divorce. If I ever go out with someone again, I am going to really pay attention!!! I don’t know what the future holds for me, as I have no interest right now in having a relationship with someone. But if I ever do……I WILL PAY ATTENTION!!!! to all those red flags that I chose to always ignore because I was “in love.”

    • I so get what you are saying! I was married for 33 years, divorce final for 2 years now. I literally RAN away. I wanted nothing from him except my freedom.. I had a big beautiful home with all the trimmings. But when I left, I would’ve lived in a dark closet and slept on the floor if it meant I was free of the chaos and abuse that I was enduring. Asking for alimony or anything at all would mean keeping a connection to him alive. I tried the nice route because we shared 3 kids and 6 grandchildren, so I was pleasant at family gatherings, never telling anyone of my true pain.. Well, 3 years have passed since I ran, and all the kids have figured him out on their own. Seems that I was the one keeping him together. ( I knew that, but nobody else had a clue)… Nowadays he is nearly a street person, completely broke…( gambler )… Sickly all the time ( alcohol ) and the family have all turned away from him until he decides to put his life back together. Vindication! And I didn’t have to do anything but watch! Now I’m so happy, bought a little adorable house and it is free of any chaos and abuse! I have a lovely little dog and actually dated a very nice man for quite some time. This week I kicked him to the curb because I found out he had a little issue with pornography. Good for me to watch for those warning signs! I’ve made many girlfriend, and I will NEVERTHELESS settle for a man that has an addiction of any sort… Sounds harsh, but I must protect my heart and my freedom to think, act and protect for myself! Yay!

  13. I have been married 37 yrs to an alcoholic. Let me tell you it has been the worst years of my life. I took my wedding vows seriously and wonder if this really what God wants for me. No minister will tell me flat out if it right to Divorce. I have a had one tell me to stay sweet. Another,divorce is for selfish reasons. I wish I knew what to do. I am so depressed and wish I could share my life with a nice man.

    • I was in your place……although for “only” 12 years. I took my wedding vows very seriously too. I DID leave, and am officially divorced. I was extremely depressed while living with my husband. I am now off all medication for depression and have never felt such peace as I do now. My advice: “Life is too…..short….save YOURSELF!”

    • I found this quote in a book I was reading when I was contemplating running away from my abusive alcoholic pathetic excuse of a husband…” YOU DO A GREAT DISSERVICE TO GOD BY WILLFULLY ALLOWING SOMEONE TO ABUSE ONE OF HIS BELOVED CHILDREN….you ARE a child of God and being such means royal blood runs in your veins. You have every right to be happy and a duty to your Heavenly Father to protect yourself.

  14. Ok…so it’s been a few years since I wrote, but I still hungrily devour any new comments posted to this site. There is so much comfort in finding others who have a similar story, or who can understand you and the choices you make…or don’t make!, and won’t judge you for something that they don’t understand. Thank you all who come here! You are in my thoughts and prayers!
    I have a sensitive topic, and so I knew to come here. Here’s the bio:
    I have been married to my alcoholic husband for about 16 years, and with him for over 20. We have 3 kids…all teens. I left him several times over the years and would sleep on the floor at a sister’s house…the kids and me. Usually he would go on ‘good behavior’ and stop drinking hard liquor to get me to come home. About 3 years ago he hit a mid-life something and left. Got his own apartment, furnished it with our savings, and didn’t stop by more than once a month to see the kids, even though he lived a mile or two away, and worked blocks away from us. Long story, but he got a DWI about 10 months later, and asked, begged to come home. I think it was so he could be close to work, and someone to drive him around, as it was his second DWI in 22 years so it was looking like he’d lose his license. I let him on one condition…counseling. He agreed, but now says he never meant it. Within weeks of him moving back, the landlord decided to sell the house we were renting and we had to move. After weeks of nothing working out, my sister and husband bought the house across the street from them, and is letting us pay a subsidized rent. God bless them! He said he would not come live so close to my family and basically was homeless/living at his job (an auto garage). After about a year he got a roommate and got an apartment. Now it’s been about 2 years since moving and having been separated again. He has come by about once every couple months to see the kids, but more often I bring them to him to see him once a month or so. He usually tries to give me a little $ every month to help, and I am grateful for that. I have slept with him a few times, since I am still in love with him. But the day after he acts no different and he goes his merry way, and does not call or come back for weeks/months again. About 6 months ago I decided I can’t sleep with him anymore. It makes me attached and emotionally conflicted again…and I think the kids wonder what’s up. I have never gotten separated or divorced for religious reasons, and because I had hope that I could wait his disease out and someday he would change back into the guy who loved me and the kids the way he used to. I am now nearing the limit of being able to hang on to this with any kind of hope though…
    My question: I took him to lunch today just to chat and see that he is still ok and alive. He basically said he is dying for sex, and if I am not interested he may pursue it elsewhere. I told him go ahead…I have been bullied by him enough in the past to do things for him that now I do not need to ‘go along’ with anything for him! What concerns me is I tried to talk to him reasonably, and tell him if he is going to go mess around with someone else, then we need to separate. Spiritually and otherwise…it is not the right thing to mess around when you are still married. I explained it is not fair to me while I am still ‘waiting’ for him. I do not know if he really will go seeking it, or if he is just talking…to see if I’d give in cause I don’t want him to go elsewhere…but I can’t believe how different I feel. Strong, but sad. I feel like divorcing him, or at least separating him, just because he pulled such a jerky thing. Is this wrong? I have held out so long trying to be supportive…but now I just want to throw him to the curb so he can go get his ‘needed’ sex, and I can go about finishing raising our kids without worrying about our marriage. Is this wrong? I need some support in these feelings, as this is the first time I am feeling this way and all I can feel with them is guilt for the thought of deserting him. I am glad to feel so strong and confident for once, but… a whole slew of new emotions at the thought of finalizing anything. I took my marriage vows very serious as well…if anyone has advice on how to cope with those feelings of disappointing God or along those lines, I would love to hear it. Basically I am open to anyone and all of you as I am just feeling so sad about the thought of being done with him. I am sad for my kids too, cause I worry he won’t even come around every once in a while if I divorce him…they may miss out because of a choice I make. Sorry…I could keep going around and around in circles thinking about this. Thanks for listening and any comments/advice. I will say a special prayer for all of your intentions tonight. God bless you all!

  15. Minus the child involved I fee like you described me.
    He’s an addict mainly pills but Coke too. Denies even when tests positive, separated reconciled and things got worse now the second go at divorce is destroying me because I know this is it and as an addict he won’t take responsibility for what he’s done to our marriage/me.
    I married forever but he destroyed every aspect of our marriage, I wanted a separation he pushed for divorce saying I didn’t love him if I left. I can’t unlove him… But he can’t unlove his drugs. I will never be his partner I will always be his keeper and that broke me

  16. Hi faith, I’ve been in your shoes. Divorced 2 years now from 28 year marriage. I was the keeper too, he loved alcohol. Still does not admit to anyone that alcohol is a problem. I am slowly moving on with my life and you will too. It’s a process and the less you are involved with him, the less conversations you have with him, the more you will begin to relax and calm down from his addictive lifestyle. You will be amazed at how awkward it feels to not be fixing him, you will have time to think. Divorce for any reason is sad and painful.

    • Hi these stories are so much like my own. My children persuaded me to separate from my husband 8 months ago after 29 years of marriage thinking this would make him see sense. It didn’t. They were concerned for my well being. I didn’t realise how depressed I was. It has broken my heart but my life is so much more peaceful now. He has very little contact with myself or his grandchildren and can’t understand why this has happened and blames me as do his family. I don’t want a divorce but know that unless he changes there is no way I can go back to that chaos. I’m struggling to move on tho I’m trying really hard. Any tips ?

      • Yes…..Here’s the biggest tip I can give you. Give it time! I didn’t divorce my husband until almost 2 years after leaving him. I needed to do it in my own time. Just leaving him took all the guts and strength I had, and I couldn’t even imagine talking to a lawyer, etc. I needed to “heal”…..and for me, it didn’t happen in 8 months to do so……it took over a year. I thought of him practically every 5 minutes! And I worried about him more than I worried about myself. Be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time. Remember, we too, are also addicted……addicted to them!

      • Hi Cheryl, my opinion is that “he doesn’t understand why this is happened” is because his mind and thought process is affected by his addiction., he doesn’t think with the same sane common sense that most non addictive people was for my husband who was a drinker. As an example, To this day he does not acknowledge that he had a drinking problem even though there is a DUI, hospital admittance, job loss, accidents, etc.

        It’s hard to move on, I’ struggle less and less each day. Be kind to yourself. Are you able to go to a counselor, that was helpful to me. Surround yourself with people who support you, your kids, friends and coworkers. It’s hard, you’ve been with him for a long time, but you can do it, I did.

        His family blamed me too, I don’t care what they think or who they blame….they did not live in my house and they really do not know.

        Good luck, keep talking about it and reasoning it out little by little.

  17. Today is November 25 2015 and after 14 years together and 3 years of marriage I am leaving my alcoholic husband. I signed a year lease and will be moving December 1st I am both terrified and excited. It’s only Wednesday and I’m not sure if anyone can relate but the drinking is usually the worst on the weekend. I pray nothing happens this weekend and he let’s me leave peacefully.

    • Karly……Can you have someone with you as you are packing up and leaving? I had to leave while my husband was sleeping and sneek out…..otherwise he may have become aggressive and violent. Sending you all my love, prayers and support. Please, whatever you do, do NOT go back to him!!!! He will make promises, threats, etc……..The first 6 months are very hard!!!! You will question if you made a mistake and wonder if being alone and if being lonely is worth it. You will not stop loving him! It takes a long time to be “detached” . It took me about two years before I felt “normal” again. BUT IT IS SOOOOOO WORTH IT!!!
      I am just so sorry that I didn’t leave my husband two years earlier when my life started becoming insane!. But, now I LOVE LIFE!!! You will too! Good Luck this weekend

    • Hi Karly,
      Please keep us updated on how your move went. I left my husband in February and it was so crazy and so hard. It took awhile for me to start feeling secure about my decision. I still have my moments, but I know I did the right thing. It really does take time, but now you’ve given yourself an opportunity to grow and find true happiness.

  18. I’ve been married 28 years. 3 children 26, 23 and 19. All living at home. My story resembles all the stories I’ve read here. My husband is an alcoholic, he went to rehab for 4 days and was sober for about 4 months….but now is drinking excessively again…..keeps promising to change but I know he never will. He has now lost his job and I’m scared about my future. I’m ready to leave him, but how do you leave when you have a mortgage ( that I can’t pay on my small salary). We refinanced the house so many times that we still owe a lot of money. Plus all the other bills that need to be paid. I can’t afford to live here, yet can’t afford to move out….he also ruined our credit over the years. My oldest is paying back student loans and my other children are currently still in college. I feel trapped. My depression is starting to affect my job and I’m starting to feel physically ill from the stress. I too love the man I married but hate the man he has become. How do I move on with my life?

  19. I too am going through what all of you have been going through, my husbands DOC is meth. The manipulation kills, the lies kill and the actions show nothing. I have recently started therapy and also have filed for divorce. I pay for everything, even though he works. I buy everything for the kids and such and my problem is I don’t want a divorce, only wanted a separation and some space to find myself again, but my husband will not leave. I am in the last stages of the divorce, and have not filed the final paperwork. I only want him to move out, but he wont. He refuses. So it feels so guilty loving and hating someone and having to get a divorce and possibly evicting him. GRRRR

  20. I divorced my husband twice! Together 24 years. Have a son 21 and a daughter only 13. He works offshore 10 weeks on two weeks off. Has his own place. I Don’t worry he’ll have to be airlifted again to hospital cause of a car accident while he is on the boat. Day he comes into town my heart races fear begins, and a lot of sadness, especially during this Christmas. Found out on Facebook that he is “in a relationship.” This is one of several since we’ve been divorced. The last woman he used so she would send him naked pics on the boat. He got back into town, on my doorstep at 12 midnight fall down drunk. I looked in is phone, that’s how I knew about her. She came from out of town and he of course didn’t like her and she was very upset and hurt. When my son graduated from high school we get to remember dad had some woman at the graduation. Now the woman he’s supposedly in a relationship with friend requested my 13 yr old daughter!! My daughter declined and blocked her. My daughter loves her daddy, and I wouldn’t ever want to tarnish that, but just like my son, my daughter will be a woman one day and her heart will be broken when she realizes all her dad has done. I thought I had healed, but as he is back in town every bit of the anxiety I thought I released is “flooding back” and I can’t stop crying and can barely breathe. Crying because my husband is my family. How can he just let me go, like a stranger? I’m his family. You can never let family go. Apparently marriages are not considered family relationships like son and daughters. If we wouldn’t of divorced my daughter would have been affected more than she has already has. I feel shattered and he is not!! Please pray for me. I believe God has put my husband (can’t say ex) on a boat for 10 weeks at a time to help me and my son and daughter catch our breathes and heal. Please pray for me and my children. Pray my husband gets help. Pray I won’t be attending his funeral. That my kids won’t. I’ve stood over my own mother’s casket on my 13th birthday. I fear my kids will too, but their dad’s. I probably am not making a lot if sense and I don’t know who if anyone will read this. Perhaps I have to just write to release this pain. Advice to newly married women of alcoholic husbands… Get out now before you have children. You think you are in pain now, wait til your 45 and your while life has passed you by and your so sad and broken and wished you wouldn’t of given ALL of yourself away. You will lose yourself!!

  21. I can so relate to all of your stories. Mine is so similar I will not take up the time to share it. Instead I’ll jump right to the end. I finally got the courage to “really leave” my addict/alcoholic husband. The kids and I could not live like that any longer. Soon afterward, my husband committed suicide. Now I have to live with that. I thought by finally leaving him, I was going to regain some peace and stability (and that he might get sober) but that is certainly not what I got. I question which would have been worse, continuing to live with him or living with his death on my shoulders. Sorry to be a downer.

  22. I hope someone is still out there listening…I could use an ear…

    My husband of 1.5 years (together almost 5) is addicted to adderall. It’s been a downward spiral for approximately 2.25 years. It started with running out a few days early each month, to gone with his sixty pills in 15 days…to November 2015 they bumped him up by his request (didn’t know he was going to Dr) to 90 pills a month 20 mg. First month I took 30 away he asked me to help him. So he had 60.. In six days he took 55. After a huge blowout of him resenting my regulations, i finally said do it yourself but if you mess up im done. Mind you i sleep alone he doesnt sleep doesnt eat for days. Stays locked in his shed inventing meaningless pointless youtube projects. In January all 90 gone in 20 days. Gave him separation papers. He promised he would change he loved me he has a problem etc. In February 90 gone in 17 days. I lost it. Begged him to get help. Promised March would be different. And March’s 90 was gone in 10. I can’t do this anymore. He’s no called no showed at work. Hes late to work. He ignores me for days then detoxes then sleeps and eats days on end. Then wants sex??? Then it starts all over again. Nope. No more. It’s financially physically mentally affecting him. It’s emotionally financially mentally and now BC I’m stressed sick over this affecting me. I told him March 17 I was moving out for 30 days. Has been an angel… Until today. I Have a place to go April 1. Been sick all week, he’s been a gem. He calls today. Says he needs to borrow money – no biggie. Then says he went to the doctor and told him about his addiction and that he’s been abusing them. I’m thinking heck yes finally. I said did you tell him how it’s affected us… Crickets. Nope he didn’t tell him. His doctor didn’t get the whole story and put him now on adderall extended release twice a day. Same drug. Just lasts longer???!!! Ever since then he’s been ANNOYING talking about how he has to get up early to go get it. How he can’t wait. Acting like a five year old waiting for Santa. Said see I’m trying to change… THIS IS NOT A CHANGE ITS A SUBSTITUTE!! AND as a result he gets it filled two weeks earlier than his old script would be available. I have tried not to cry all night. He just doesn’t get it!!! 😦 I need to remove myself from this cycle. If I don’t I’m going to drown in this myself. He can’t love me until he loves himself enough to change and get clean.

    Thanks for listening…

  23. My alcoholic husband has been in two treatment centers since we met 2 yrs ago, now he wants me to accept his drinking and says that I am crazy and I need to be on medication. I had to call off our huge wedding last year but decided to marry him anyway quietly. Tonight I decided that I can’t live like this anymore. We have been separated for 2 months and he is being very hateful and angry!

    • You are a wise woman to take action to separate and to distance yourself from the relationship. I stayed too long…28 years too long. For me, being married to an alcoholic was a horrific roller coaster ride…you never know from day to day and now that I am out I can tell you that that is no way to live, there is never any peace, security or true love.

  24. You have made a huge decision in finding somewhere to go. Please do this for you. Take a step away go to where you can to be safe as hard as it is no communication for 30 days minimum. You will have restless nights and horrible days at first but it’s for the best. You only have 1 mind and 1 soul it needs some nourishment. You are holding it together now but trust me you don’t realize how Mich you have been beaten down. Take this breather for you!!! You deserve it. I tried all I could do for my ex I even went to the meeting thinking by me going it would help him. You know the old saying, you can lead a horse to water…. Its the same here. He needs to be ready for his own follow thru and accountability is something he must choose. You need to be accountable for your own health!

  25. Wow.. I feel like you just wrote my life story of the past 8 years. Thank you for writing this. I have tried Al-anon but have only met women who stayed with their husbands. I had my husband move out 7 weeks ago and finally let him spend a weekend with me these past couple nights. What does he do? He lies to me about drinking a few with his friend last night, as if I couldn’t tell! I feel in my heart he loves me but his wants and needs for drugs and alcohol will forever make him an unhonest man. I feel as if I will never have serenity in my life with him in it and I hate that I can’t just let him go. I have a lot to think about. I wish I could talk to you now since your post is 4 years old. Did you stay or not? Should I? Well I guess today I’ll just breath and go from there.

  26. I divorced 3 years ago from a 28 year marriage to an alcoholic. My x has been sick, my adult son, who recently moved in w him to care or WATCH him in an attempt to keep him from drinking. I don’t know any details of his health problems, I hear bits and pieces but none of it makes sense….delusions, fever, weakness, 2 liters of fluid drained from his abdomen, urinary tract infection, etc. hes been in and out of the hospital for weeks at a time over the last couple of months. Now my son is avoiding me, won’t return my phone call…..I sense he just doesn’t want to talk w me because he feels I will ask about his dad, I think my son feels I abandoned his dad when we divorced. It’s all so complicated and confusing. My son may be enabling his dad, keeping his drinking secret….just like I did, this is terribly painful.

    • It’s been over a year since I’ve posted, but your post drew me in…I left 4 years ago…divorced 3 years now. (33 yr marriage) I feel exactly the same pain that you feel. My x has been hospitalized numerous times now. Once in critical condition where even the doctors weren’t sure he’d make it. Couple more DUIs and he is now staying in a rehab house mandated by the courts. He must attend AA meetings 5 days a week and has mandatory counseling 3 days a week. Room, board and counseling all paid by the courts. He is very sickly, can’t remember how to do the most basic tasks… It’s like the drugs and alcohol have eaten his brain. He cannot function on his own. Even going to the grocery store alone has become impossible.. So my daughter has taken over. She makes sure he is taken care of, gets to court and counseling and doctors. Time and time again, he lies to her face about the victim he is … How he isn’t drinking and how horrible I was for leaving him. We have 2 other kids that won’t speak to him…been lied to a few too many times. But why do I feel so guilty? I’ve pulled myself out of the ashes of our lives, worked OT for years to get my feet on the ground. Made many new friends and have tried so hard to let the pain and chaos go. But the guilt follows… Why?… He was abusive, lied constantly, ruined all finances and future….cheated on me… All while numbing himself with drugs and alcohol… So why do I feel guilty about creating a new life?….. I met a wonderful handsome widower and fell in love. We were married on the beach in Tahoe in July with our 5 kids and 10 grandkids present. .. This man APPRECIATES a woman and all she brings to a family. My world is so completely different now… But somehow that nasty guilt even creeps in and threatens to steal this new found happiness too. How do we let go of the crazy past, while keeping our family intact and embrace a new future without the alcoholic?

      • I can totally relate to both posts. I think we feel guilty because even though we are divorced from our exes, our adult children aren’t. They are still IN IT. My 33 year old son doesn’t keep in touch with him, but my 30 year old feels obligated to take care of him at times. And it is very hard for him to “Let Go”.

  27. I don’t know if it’s guilt I feel or just the continual shock and disbelief of the power of alcohol. I can’t wrap my head around the choices the alcoholic makes or doesn’t make. I agree with the above “alcohol and drugs have eaten his brain”… true.

    All of our adult children know why each of us divorced, they know about alcoholism, but they still care for their father, look at how long it took us to physically leave the relationship. My son does not know about ALL of the dirty manipulation that comes w alcoholism, he doesn’t want to hear or believe it, so he becomes angry w me when I try to have the conversation. He shuts me down. It’s painful and sad to watch adult children feel the need to enable. I’m trying to live a more positive and healthy life as an example to my son. None of this is easy, whether you are in or out of the marriage when any children are involved.

  28. I have only a few words to say to all of you today…maybe because I need to hear it/feel it/know it…or maybe because I know you all do. But here it goes…

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