Ask Angie: The alcoholic man I love, is kind, smart, funny and spiritual. He has to drink most days. He can’t have 1 or 2 beers. When he drinks, he drinks until he is drunk. Then he becomes the other man I live with. Verbally demanding to the point of abuse. He complains he does not get enough attention or sex, that he needs it every day. I love him, but I am worn out. My friends and family think he is a great man. He works hard, he loves his children and me more than anything…. he has only 1 fault… he is an alcoholic. He has asked me to marry him… I can’t commit until he proves our relationship comes first, not alcohol. I have detached. I don’t argue or fuss. I just calmly just let him know that I will marry him, when “he” is ready. What can I expect that his actions will be during this time of detaching?
Marriage Guidance: Your intentions are good and right and what you said to him sounds like a great idea. “I will marry you when you quit drinking (when you are ready)”. But you cannot reason with an alcoholic. In fact he may take your rational as being a threat. The alcoholic does not want to be given the “or else” speech. “Quit drinking or I won’t marry you”.
Because you are not married to him yet you probably have no idea of what it is really like to live with an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a cunning addiction, which makes the alcoholic able to work around circumstances and issues when reasoned with by those people who love them. You see, the alcoholic will do anything to keep drinking and will justify reasons “why” they can.
It is not that the alcoholic does not have right and good intentions—they may honestly feel they can quit drinking so you will marry them, but the reason to quit drinking is not enough to keep them sober, even if they did stop drinking for a time. The only reason that an alcoholic stays sober for good is because they mentally and spiritually are ready and able to give it up for themselves!!
What Can You Expect From The Alcoholic When You Detach?
The alcoholic may love you more than life itself, but that love is not more powerful than the power that alcohol has on the alcoholic. What can you expect his actions to be when you detach? If you detach appropriately he will become angry and confused by it. But detaching is the only way a wife or husband who is married to an alcoholic can cope every day and keep their sanity. Alcoholism, if given a chance will take you right down with it.
Alcoholism is a sickness of the mind and soul. The mind of an alcoholic is controlled by the drink—not by the spiritual self. They do not think about the well being of the people they love–they look out for themselves. They are looking out for when, how and if they will get their next drink. I know this may sound harsh because as of yet you have never had to live with an alcoholic but this is how addiction works. It affects everyone the alcoholic loves and has contact with.
You can expect the alcoholic to become even more abusive when you detach. They may scream and yell and throw things. But they will get over it. You have to hold your ground if and when you detach. Your actions have to be consistent and not wishy-washy. You shouldn’t one day detach but then the next day drink with them, or give into their alcoholic demands.
Don’t detach only to get something from them. In this case to get married. Detach because that is the only way to help them get sober, and the only way for you to regain your sanity.
They will be confused, wondering why last week you were talking with them when they were drunk and this week you are not talking to them when they are drunk. Explain to them the next morning before they start to drink again why you are detaching. You can’t just detach and not tell them why you are behaving differently.
Can You Expect The Alcoholic To Get Sober If You Detach?
I would not expect anything. I would not have high expectations because if you do you may get disappointed. I would just live each day one day at a time and be patient. I would pray for the alcoholic every single day and with them before they start to drink.
Some alcoholics when given a firm tough love from loved ones are able to quit drinking for good, while others can’t seem to stay sober for very long. I truly believe that without God intervening in the alcoholics life there can be no real sobriety. We need God! Without Him we are nothing!
If the alcoholic realizes his purpose as a man of God and as a husband to a wife someday, and if he can find solace and peace through Jesus then he or she can most definitely become sober and live an abundant and fulfilled life. Emotionally the alcoholic has to give up what is compelling them to drink. Physically the alcoholic has to eat a good daily natural diet without sugar. Spiritually the alcoholic has to find his way to God and then allow God to become number one in his life!
The alcoholic is powerless to stop drinking on their own, but they still have to have the willingness within them to accept Christ as a big part of their daily life, and the will to want to stop drinking. I highly recommend you do as much study and research about alcohol addiction as you can. Don’t believe one opinion—get two or three other opinions that concur. Talk to other people who have overcome addiction. What did they do? How did they become sober?
For the alcoholic, it is not just about going to rehabilitation or going to Alcoholic’s Anonymous that will help them to stop drinking, it is the willingness to move forward with their life, realizing their potential, and becoming the productive person God intends them to be. They don’t need alcohol; it’s only a crutch they use to make their life seem more bearable.
In my opinion the one and only true way to get through the deceptions of addiction is through the workings of God. Rehab and AA are secondary to surrendering yourself to God. An alcoholic drinks because they need inner healing. Once they get to the root of their emotional wounds, they will be able to stop drinking for good! We Need God!