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Feeling helpless alcoholic partner and worried about my own mental health

Community Member


I’ve been with my current partner for around 6 years, he’s always been a heavy drinker but in the last 12 months or so it has become worse. He drinks around 10-12 cans of beer each night. I have tried to talk to him about the problem and the impact it is having on our relationship and the example it is setting for my two young children. I’ve also recently started working as a nurse and seeing the impact alcohol has on the patients I take care of is devastating. He is not violent when drinking but can be aggressive - as in he will stand over me or edge closer to my face and point his finger at me while loudly speaking … I feel his drinking is affecting me a lot more each day I feel helpless and lost and angry most of the time. It has gotten to the point that I cringe when I hear the cans open.
I don’t know what to do anymore I just feel like crying and am hating my life

16 Replies 16

Hi Suckerforpunishment, welcome to our friendly online community, we are so glad you decided to join us here.

We are so sorry to hear that you've been feeling helpless and lost, it sounds like you’re in a really tough situation right now with your partner and his drinking. Please know you don't have to struggle with these emotions alone, there is support available that can help you through this.

If you would like some help finding mental health support, we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

We would also recommend that you get in touch with an organisation called Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. They provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities and aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships.

Please check in and let us know how you are whenever you feel up to it.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Suckerforpunishment, and can I join Sophie in offering you a warm welcome to the site.

Living with someone who is addicted, and in this case, it's alcohol, can absolutely affect you, as well as the kids, not only in their behaviour but also the cost of drinking 12 cans a night, with the possibility of having more outside of the house, which may be unknown, but know that once you start drinking, there is every chance other cans may be hidden away and whether or not he drinks at his mate's place.

Although he may not be violent, he can be aggressive as you have told us and that's definitely a warning sign because his drinking is excessive can have consequences, including damaging your relationship only as the alcohol is more important and comes first before anything else.

He would be delighted that you go to work, not only because of the money you earn but his ability to feel as though he can drink when no one is home or until the kids get home from school and may ignore their requests or demand what they should be doing, so it's going to affect how they are feeling and certainly something that you are going to worry about.

Trying to explain that he needs to be rational about the situation, will be very difficult for him to understand, his priority is the alcohol, not the relationship, nor how to assist in helping towards the run of the house.

Al Anon 1300 252 666 can firstly help the kids talk with qualified counsellors who dress in casual clothes and breaks down any barrier between them and the counsellors, I know they helped my sons when I was drinking when I was in depression.

Secondly, you might want to talk to people where you work who will support and understand what you're saying, just as we do and a decision needs to be made and please remember the reason why he drinks is only what he believes and is no fault of yours.

Can I ask you a question and please only answer if you want to, the house/flat you're living in is it in your name or joint names, we hope to hear back from you whenever you're available.

Take care.


Thank you for the reply Geoff
i do feel as though he enjoys a few extra drinks while I’m at work of an evening, there have been a few times I’ve called if I happen to get a short break to see how he is going and he has been incomprehensible due to slurring of his speech.
these are all things I have brought up with him calmly and with compassion. Along with the fact that I am simply not attracted to him when he is drunk slurring and stumbling. My 2 children are from my previous marriage and I don’t work unless they are at their dads due to me simply not wanting to leave them in his care of an evening - saying this out loud makes me realize this is bad.
the house we live in is in his name, it’s his mortgage, he doesn’t ask me to pay anything towards it, I usually transfer a few hundred each fortnight to his account and buy food as necessary,

another thing I find quite strange is the fact that sometimes “friends from work” or clients of his will drop in cartons of beer for him as a thank you gift. Sometimes directly to our doorstep while I’m home and sometimes he brings them home stating someone had given it to him. When I questioned why they are giving him beer he simply says it’s because he went out of his way for them and they wanted to thank him.

Hello Suckerforpunishment, I really appreciate you returning a reply to our comments.

It is difficult to be attracted to someone who is intoxicated, not unless you are both having drinks, then it's a different situation, depending of course, however, I'm sure your two kids would much prefer to go to their dad's place, rather than stay with your partner who is drinking and a sensible choice.

It seems his friends and/or clients know that he likes to drink and maybe before he comes home he's already had a few then when he gets home he goes straight to the frig and opens a can, disguising he's had a drink.

As he's paying off the house and you contribute it still leaves you in an awkward position, whether living with someone who is addicted to alcohol is unknown because of their moods, especially if there is no alcohol to consume but they desperately need it and telling them not to have another can, only increases their desire to open a can, so it's a catch 22 situation.

Coming home from night work must make you feel anxious, not knowing what sort of condition he's in and what requests he wants and for a sober person to confront an alcoholic and try to discuss a topic is certainly not an easy task and is going to affect you mentally, adding on to all the other problems concerning you.

He can't use the ammunition that you're staying there rent free, because you contribute every fortnight and I'm sure you would do all the household chores, including the cooking, cleaning etc. so that's an enormous part to run the family, but more concerned for you whether or not this is the life you were hoping for.

We hope to hear back from you whenever you're available.


Hi sucker for punishment,

I am going through a similar thing at the moment, so my heart goes out to you. I know how soul-destroying this can be. My partner has always been a heavy drinker but in the last 6 months I feel that it’s “got him”. I know because he often makes promises to “cut back” but then has these massive nights at home and is stumbling around the place. I feel a mixture of emotions, including horror, sadness, empathy and loathing. I try not to be angry because I know it’s an addiction but sometimes I can’t help it, I’m so angry that he’s not even trying sometimes. It feels like a roller coaster ride that only goes down and I desperately want to get off but I’m strapped in for the ride. After one particularly bad night, my partner came home so drunk he could barely stand and ended up vomiting in his sleep while lying on his back.For the first time I realized that this may actually kill him, so I’ve booked him in for a GP visit and alcohol Counselling Services. I got the whole “I’ll cut back” bs but I just said that he’s had a year of that and he’s only gotten worse. Please prioritize your mental health in all of this, try to get an outlet that is separate from your relationship. I do and it’s so nice to be able to leave my problems behind even if it’s for a few hours

Hello Juliet and Suckerforpunishment, the words of a drinking spouse/partner that they will cut back mean nothing at all, it's a refusal to accept the truth and to admit the reality of their condition, it's denial, especially when they say 'I'll just have one more' which may lead onto having two or three more, debunking the idea that they do have a problem.

An alcoholic will go to any lengths to get a drink and once they're intoxicated don't care one bit about what someone else says to them because their promise of tomorrow will never come, there will always be an excuse.

Best wishes.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

So true Geoff,

Addiction is so hard for loved ones, because you are so entirely powerless to stop them. And the only person who can get help refuses to do so. I imagine it must be the same for loved ones of people with mental illness, you are relying on people who are not thinking clearly to make a rational decision and ask for help, but many can’t or refuse to.

Hello Juliet, you are correct as well.

Take care.


Community Member

I know exactly how you feel... Hubby and I have been married 20 years, and we are still fighting the same fight.. over his drinking. While he doesn't necessarily drink daily, when he does, he can't stop..

I'm feeling like I've come to the end of my rope. He has said for 20 years he knows he has a problem but he won't do anything about it. I really don't know what to do vat the moment either.. I'm so frustrated, sad and annoyed all at the same time.