What is the best thing to do for my alcohol abusing husband now?

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Hi All

I know I have asked for advice a lot recently but I seem to be in thick of the crisis point for my marriage and things are changing and moving quickly and I am struggling to know what to do.

Firstly as an update. Th past week has been horrible and sad. Starting with a couples counselling session where hub lied openly in front of me about how much he drinks to the counsellor, said he loved me but also felt "i can't do this anymore", described relying on drink to help with stress and to stop him feeling but denied having any kind of problem and continued to blame me for everything because in the past I have asked him to leave the house (not saying I wanted a divorce but needing to calm the situation, try to shock him into action or knowing we needed a break before trying to sort tings out). The counsellor asked him what he wants right now in the present, he said to be completely on his own away from everyone, to be able todrink without repercussions and to be away from our home town. He asked him what the perfect outcome of the marriage counselling would be, he said for him to come home, be able to drink responsibly and for us to be happy together as a family again. He asked what life looks like without me in it, he couldn't answer, he just said he didn't know or he hadn't thought about it. Then he said that it would never happen becaue I will always be in his life because we have the kids. I tried to explain how things are when we are married but living apart is not how things will be if we separate properly, I will not be there for him in the way I am now. In the end he agreed to have counselling alone for a while before going back together and made an appointment for yesterday.

Since then I have been on an emotional rollercoaster, he has repeatedly said he loves me and loves the kids, he has repeatedly messaged me randomly things that are trivial and conversational and just feel like he wanted to keep contact, he has held my hand and hugged me and now, on Mon eve, he has told me it is over, that he wasn't going to counselling, he wasn't going to try and that this was it. I asked him what he was going to do, he has no idea. He has no plan of where to live (he is staying on drinking buddies' couches) he has no plan to collect his things, he intends to continue to come to our house to have the kids, he has no plan for dealing with finances and he has still not dealt with the police issue I have mentioned in previous posts. He also felt that we would stay in contact as friends, saying "we're best friends, we know eachother better than anyone else in the world." I told him that if he was walking away and saying this wasn't a break, this wasn't us trying to work things out then I would have to walk away completely. I told him I am not his friend I'm his wife, seeing him hurt himself and having to watch him keep leaving us is killing me, him sending chaatty friendly messages and saying he loves me is killing me, I can't deal with being around him if this is it and we are over. I told him if he wants help and he wants to heal then I am here for him, I told him I love him, I want him to be ok and want us to be together again one day when these things are resolved but that if he doesn't want those things too I have to move on somehow and rebuild my life without him and the continuous contact is hurting me and confusing me and preventing me from being able to cope with this heartbreak.

I just don't know what the right thing to do any more is. I can't believe he is able to shut down and walk away from all we had like this, I can't believe he even understands the enormity of what he is doing because he clearly hasn't thought about how his life will be without me, or even realised that ending our marriage will mean that he does lose me. It feels so difficult to accept because he can't give explanations, he can't elaborate, he can't have a conversation, he isn't processing emotions, he doesn't seem to be dealing with reality and I feel like I am talking to a stranger. He has drank, a lot, every day he has been gone and I am very worried about him.

In essence I would love to hear from drinkers or ex-drinkers, what is your opinion on what he is doing and why? What could your spouse have done to help in this situation? What is the best thing for me to do now? I want to be sure he is ok without allowing him to rely on me without committing to our relationship, I want him to heal because he is a very good man underneath all of this and because he is the father of my children and I want their relationship to be ok and ultimately I want to do the best thing to make sure he knows I still love him and want him and will be here without judgment if he needs me but also to protect myself from feeling used, disrespected and living with potentially false hope.

I would be really grateful if you could offer some words of advice because I am just at such a loss, and if the best thing I can do now is to move on and to try to live without him then I need to clarify this in my head and deal with the grief and pain of losing my soul mate, best friend and other half.

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  • Posted


    Your post resonates with me as I was just like your husband.

    At the moment the drink is controlling his life and he is choosing it over you and his family. There is nothing, and I mean nothing you can do to stop it. He needs to want to stop for himself, and the only way he can do that is to admit that he has a problem. And that may take a while. 

    I was just like your husband. The Alcohol had such a strong grip on me that it was all I could think about. I didn’t care about anyone else or even about myself. All I wanted was to drink. I walked away from my family on numerous occasions to binge on my own. In hotels, in my old house and even in the car. One binge lasted 2 weeks. Most of which I can’t remember but I came to with a black eye, a bashed face and bruises everywhere. I still have no idea how it happened.

    it was only when I hit rock bottom that I asked for help to stop. At that point it was either get help or die, and I didn’t want to die. The remorse and guilt over everything I did or said was overwhelming. It was horrendous trying to regain the trust of my family and friends again.

    the best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to leave him to it until he reaches out. Let him know you will be there for him when he’s ready to get help but don’t keep texting or talking to each other. He will realise what he’s doing at some point but how long that takes is unanswerable.

    i hope that helps. I know it’s horrible for you and the family but sometimes you just need to walk away to preserve your own sanity and health. It will be difficult but stay strong and he will reach out to you at some point and when he is ready to seek help you can then help him through it.

    Good luck.


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    • Posted

      Hi Liz

      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I'm so sorry you and your family went through all of that and so glad to hear you managed to get help.

      What you have said is so hard to hear and so difficult to process but yes it does help, it helps me believe that I am doing the right thing and that right now it is my only choice. 

      He has hit his rock bottom twice before, first time after being raging drunk shouting etc around the house(though not physically violent to any of us) and the kids being there and being terrified of him, I made him leave that night and he was heartbroken and sorry and then he was scared and begging for help, he went to the GP and stopped drinking for a few weeks but as the memory of the night faded he started to drink again. The second time came after again I had had to ask him to leave after he had been on bender after bender disappearing a lying. Whilst he was away he smashed a pub window with his fist and was arrested he kept this from me for months but came back for days to the house begging forgiveness, accepting his drinking was a problem and asking for help. Again he went to GP, started anti depressants and stopped drinking for a few weeks. When he started to drink again it wasn't as heavily before but his stubborn cruel attitude was worse than it had ever been, after a while he just seemed to get sick of me wanting to help, trying to talk, needing him to show he was committed to making things ok, trying to make us a happy family. He checked out, shut down and left. Now he says it's for good, but as I've explained despite him saying that all of his actions suggest that isn't what he really wants or how he really feels. It's all so confusing, complex, difficult and upsetting.

      I'm worried that by not having to function as part of a family and having a free couch to stay on with a heavy drinking friend or two it will take a long long time for him to hit rock bottom, he manages to get to work, he manages to come and look after the kids for a few hours and then the rest of the time he is drinking, but he says that is what he wants. Anyway, I am trying to let him do this himself, realise what his life is now and what he is losing and pray that his real self can fight through to the surface again one day. 

      I understand what you're saying about how awful the guilt etc is to deal with and I worry he thinks that it is all insurmountable now. I have told him before that I don't expect perfection but I do expect love, respect and honesty and a willingness to make things better. I hope he knows that if he can show these things he need not ever be unable to come to me, because I know who he really is and if that man comes back again I can and will forgive him.

      Thanks again. x

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  • Posted

    I am sorry to hear that things are no better for you. I totally agree with Liz. All you can do is tell your husband that you will be there for him when he's ready and basically just let him go. Eventually he will hit rock bottom and realise that he is needs help and will then ask you to help him. You must stay strong for your own sanity and for the sake of the children. My best wishes for you and hope it will be better for you in the future x

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    • Posted

      Thanks Susan, I knew deep down I'm doing the right thing, just hoping and praying there was one last little thing I haven't thought of and could try because this is very very hard and upsetting and not at all what I want.

      Thanks again for your kind words of support. x

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    • Posted

      Conclusion is that alcohol is destroying and dominating your husband and nothing else matters. You have to leave. Sorry to be going but leaving is the only option. I too was destroying my health and family life but finally realised that I had too much too loose and stopped 5 1/2 years ago when my twins were 15 months old.
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  • Posted

    Hi Sad times. I'm an alcoholic and I put my ex through hell. He did the the best thing for him and our daughter and cut me off completely. I was no longer able to manipulate him or negativey affect our daughter. I was shown in no uncertain terms that my behaviour was not going to be tolerated. I was given the option of supervised contact via a contact centre therefore a third party would bear witness to my drunkeness or sobriety. He also took me to court to get legal custody of our daughter. To this day he won't talk to me if he thinks I've been drinking.

    Even though you love him you have to do what's good for you and my opinion would be to make yourself as emotionally and financially independent of him as you can.

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