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How do I not end up hating alcoholic husband?

Community Member

Hi all,

I have been married to a man I love very much for the last 21 years. I have always been the main breadwinner, and he has been the primary caregiver for our daughter. He would always keep up with the housework and cook all the meals so that I could focus on my very demanding job. What I didn't know at the time was that we was drinking heavily during the day, and most likely was doing school pickup while he was drunk. He has been working part time for the last 5 years or so.

In 2019 he lost his job because he was under the influence of alcohol on the job. I didn't realise how much he was drinking until then - he's always been so good at hiding it and I have no sense of smell so couldn't smell it on his breath. Plus he never drinks in front of me - hides it in the car, the garage, in his golf bag etc. Since then he has spiralled out of control, and is now either glassy-eyed drunk or asleep. He has done 2 stints in rehab this year, with the latest finishing only 2 days ago. When he's there he's articulate, amusing and caring. But since he's been home, he's immediately fallen back into old habits. He swears he hasn't had a drink but he staggers between rooms, won't eat, then takes 4 hour naps at 10am, and again at 4pm, then sleeps 8-10 hrs at night. Meanwhile I'm doing all the housework, the cooking, looking after teenage child and doing all the running around associated with that, as well as being the sole earner and working 10hrs / day.

So how do I not become bitter, and end up hating him? I want to help him but he lies constantly, and is never sober enough to have a serious conversation about what comes next or how I can help. When I try he says that I lecture him, but he just sits there and stares at me so I agree that its one-sided. Our daughter can barely speak to him. I'm so angry all the time I'm on the verge of tears every day. Life is so much less stressful when he's in rehab. I hate being at home, but need to be there to make it a home for my daughter. And yet I can't kick him out or he'll be homeless or sleeping in his car. I feel so trapped!

What can I do?

3 Replies 3

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Lynhs,

I'm so sorry for your challenge.

Sometimes people use drinking as self-medication, to escape from mental suffering, and as long as it becomes worse and worse, people start to lose control. The behaviors of your husband, his attempts to hide, lie and uncooperative, maybe it's not him but his mental illness, maybe it has already escalated for many years, longer than you can imagine.

If you think this could be the case, you can give BB hotline a call for some professional advice, including arranging a phycologist for your husband. He might need not only physical but also mental care, which could be the root cause.

Hope everything will get better.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Lynhs, Mark has made a good reply and tend to agree with him, however, to answer your question it's impossible not to, and I say this because I self medicated with alcohol and was also hiding the alcohol, a cupboard drinker that finally was one reason why we divorced, I now am ashamed because I deeply loved my wife.

Now we still talk and see each other regularly, but let's not talk about me, because I know how you must be feeling and it's lonely and disappointing to know why your husband has become an alcoholic.

Rehab works when people are in there, but as soon as they come out, the chances of going back to their old habits is high, but if you visit him in rehab you naturally hope that he's been cured, his personality is different and you hope he will be another person when released.

For him to disguise his breath is easy to do, it's how he talks, walks, and how much sleep he requires is when you know, unfortunately, he is the only one to decide whether or not he wants to stop and I've been sober for 2 years but definitely cut down after the divorce.

If you tell him to leave the house, there are places available where he can sleep or he will be directed by the authorities to contact or visit a place to sleep and that's his concern, not yours, sometimes this makes a person wake up and realise they need help.

As much as you do to protect your daughter, she still can see and knows what's going on and the only way to help him is 'to be cruel to be kind' and you don't know whether or not he'd prefer to be somewhere else.

I hope you can get back to us because we'd like to continue this conversation and please ask any question you want to.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Lynhs,

Im really sorry for your current situation it must be hard for you.

I think it’s hard to watch anyone you love go through an addiction because you can see the damage it is doing to them and the addict can’t see it themselves because they are controlled by their addiction which is also really tough.

It has to come a time in the addicts life that they themselves want to stop doing what they are currently doing, they need to become aware of it and wake up and acknowledge that there is a better life for them outside of their addiction.

How do you end up not hating your alcoholic husband? LOVE unconditional love that I’m sure you had when you first met…… and understanding…….

I truly hope that your husband can become aware of what he is doing and turn around and come back the other way for the positive..