The Alcoholic Husband

Alcoholic husbands ruin families.

While family dynamics vary, most families consist of a man and woman, who may or may not have children in their care. Even if they do not live together, the alcoholic damages the people in his family.

There are a number of possible repercussions of having an alcohol abusing husband, including:


  • Loss of confidence
  • Money troubles
  • Emotional stress
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Misdirected anger
  • Depression
  • Want
  • Physical abuse
  • Loneliness
  • Guilt
  • Emotional abuse
  • Self loathing
  • Shame

...and of having an alcoholic father:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Nightmares
  • Poor grades in school
  • Fear of abuse
  • Poor social skills
  • Excessive shyness
  • Lack of confidence
  • Emotional stress
  • Bed wetting
  • Health problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sadness
  • Physical abuse
  • Loneliness
  • Guilt
  • Emotional abuse
  • Self loathing
  • Shame

And the lists go on.

Unfortunately, many of these effects are the same things that stop one from proactively dealing with the problem. Fear, shame, sadness, lack of money, these are all powerful barriers to a wife doing something to improve things for her or her family.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to get your life back. This site is designed to help you learn about some of them. The best thing you can do for your family is to learn about the problem of alcoholism and what your choices might be.

What if they are abusive?

One of the hardest things to deal with is an abusive alcoholic. The Alcoholic Husband Fable combines a number of the stories I’ve heard about alcoholic family abuse into an overview of how bad it can get.

What can I do?

Only you can decide what is right for you. Only you can assess the risks of taking any given action. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about the problem, about your options and about the risks to you and your family if you do nothing.

Some of the choice available to you include:

Do nothing: Closing your eyes and hoping something went away never worked well when we were children. It generally doesn’t work any better now that we are adults. Alcoholism is progressive and only continues to get worse until steps are taken to change the situation, either by the alcoholic or by those affected by the alcoholic. Doing nothing can eventually be fatal, either for you, the alcoholic or someone you care about.

Intervention: An intervention consist of the people in an alcoholic’s life getting together and telling the alcoholic how their drinking behavior is affecting their lives, with the intent of convincing the alcoholic to seek treatment. It sounds simple. It’s not. If all goes well, the alcoholic husband will go into some kind of treatment program. However, if it doesn’t work, it can make an already bad situation worse, sometimes becoming the catalyst to dissolution of the family unit. The Intervention page discusses this option in more detail.

Get help: If the problem is only going to get worse, then why not get help right away? Too many people don’t look for help until the pain of living with an alcoholic is worse than the fear of the embarrassment they will experience by admitting that there is a problem. Remember, embarrassment never killed anyone. Abusive alcoholics kill every day. The Finding Help page discusses a number of sources of assistance.

Divorce: Leaving your alcoholic is never easy. Often there are children involved that do not understand why daddy can’t live with them any more. Many women are not in a position to support themselves and their children if they leave their alcoholic husband. In all too many cases, leaving your alcoholic can trigger abusive behavior. This is particularly likely in households where abuse has occurred before. There are sources of help listed in the Finding Help page.

If there is a potential for abuse or violence, GET HELP! I can’t emphasis this enough. If you think it is no big risk, read this page. If you decide to get help, Most towns and cities have organizations and shelters to help those dealing with violence from an alcoholic husband. Check the telephone book or the Internet. Or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. But do it away from home. You could be putting yourself in danger if your abuser catches you searching for information about domestic violence.

What if they quit drinking?

Sometimes changes in your behavior can act as a trigger for the alcoholic to make changes for the better. Great! However, be cautious. Alcoholics are very good at making grand gestures that have little substance behind them. Just because they started going to AA last week is no reason to believe they will still be sober next week.

Check out the In Recovery page to get some ideas about where to go from here.

What now?

It is my hope that this site will provide you some tools to get a handle on your alcoholic marriage. Please write with any questions that you may have about your specific situation.

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