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My Alcoholic Husband Is Driving Me Crazy

by Grace
(Allentown, PA)

Help! I made a poor choice in my husband. I did not see his alcoholism. Even worse, the vows were said, the rings exchanged and starting with the honeymoon, there has been a profound lack of intimacy. It's as if he came down with an allergy to sex.

My anger lives in upset, disappointment and grief. My father died suddenly in 2010 and if that wasn't the worst thing ever, my husband's way of being actually made it worse.

Now my sister has cancer. Her prognosis is grim and she is so young, 45. On Sunday my husband and I argued. I asked him to cut me some slack because I feared my sister was dying. He said no and then I screamed at him. He gave me the finger and goaded me and was most unpleasant. I quietly gathered my things and slipped out the back door and took a long drive and listened to a lovely book on tape. All the while having a good cry.

When I returned home, I sat for a bit to decompress - but I fell asleep for 2 hours! I was awakened by my husband who yelled at me and demanded to know where I was.

I understand that silence can be interpreted as hostile, but in this case I chose to not respond, because I was emotionally drained, was exhausted, and I didn't want to say anything that might set him off.

I don't like being upset and angry. I don't like who I am when I am with him. Yes, we've been to counseling, but our counselor was not well versed in addiction issues.

For now detaching helps, but it is like a work in progress. I don't earn enough to care for the house on my own. I feel trapped and oh so unhappy.

I feel that my husband has a real problem that he is not willing to face.

Thank you for listening.



Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Grace, and thanks for telling your story here. I'm sorry for your loss of your father, and your sister's illness. That's a lot to deal with, even without the marital stress you're going through.

First things first. Your husband's alcoholism is the primary issue here. I suggest that you go to an ALANON meeting in your area, and learn about what it means to be married to an alcoholic. If your husband does not address his addiction and get into a strong recovery program, you have no chance at having anything near a healthy marriage. You just can't have a healthy relationship with a practicing addict of any kind.

You also need to address your own anger, and take full responsibility for it. You will find the guidelines you need on this FAQ page. I also encourage you to make sure you're grieving in healthy ways regarding your father. You'll find guidance on how to grieve here.

If you and your husband decide to stay together, and if he gets sober and into recovery this book will help you with your marriage: "Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples" by Harville Hendrix.

I hope things work out for you to be happy, Grace, whether you stay married or not. You are worthy of that.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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