Should I Stay or Should I Go?

We are aware that this is a hot topic for many.  And it is a decision that no one can make for you.  However, if you or your children are exposed to violence or sexual abuse, then we strongly advocate that, for safety,  you should leave or get your drinker to leave.

When we wrote the Bottled Up book, almost the only advice that was given by friends, relatives and treatment agencies was to leave.  In fact we actually wrote the book in response to that lack of options.  We wanted to provide an alternative to the many, many people who still loved their drinker and did not want to, or were not ready to, make that break.

5 Replies to “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

  1. After watching my sister for 18 years live with an abusive alcoholic, the toll it has taken on my 87 year old mother 83 year old step-father, and myself I would say go. She has no children with this man she is trauma bonded to him. I am entering therapy to deal with this. I have been to Al Anon, didn’t help me. Now that I am breaking out in hives due to her situation I need help. She has changed so dramatically and doesn’t even know what day it is. There is no upside to staying with an alcoholic, especially if there are children involved. What is the message? Put up with a broken, lost, depressed individual or rescue from this life, which never gets better. Never pity them its a trap. How is a drunk a good husband, that doesn’t make sense. My father was an alcoholic and myself and two siblings have struggled with relationships for a lifetime. Doesn’t matter how you build up your own life if you are going home to a man that is drunk every night it is depressing and their is no getting around that.

  2. I was so happy when I found you both back in about 2009 or 2010. As you say, everyone says leave, as if every situation is the same. I found a book recently called Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. One thing they stress is that not every situation is the same and not all alcoholics are the same. Until I came across your website those many years ago, I felt guilty for loving someone with an alcohol dependence. He wasn’t abusive, but he could be unpredictably moody which was very stressful. There were lots of times when I had one foot out the door, but he is the love of my life so with the help of Bottled Up and other sources I made my way through the tougher times. Over the years he cut back until it really didn’t affect our relationship. But because he is in his late 60s and alcohol is having a detrimental effect on his health, he is putting in a real effort to quit completely. He is getting counselling and being honest with doctors like he never used to be. Not every situation is untenable. I found I could decide what my OWN boundaries were and quit worrying about labels like enabling and co-dependent and the common wisdom that only made me feel bad about myself. With Bottled Up and the book I mentioned I realised that I was mostly doing it right all along. That doesn’t mean I’m not human. On occasion I turned into a raging maniac, like when he started drinking again after being sober a month and I was screaming and kicking a bottle of vodka around in the snow. Not my proudest moment. You helped me feel like there wasn’t something wrong with ME because I was choosing to support my husband even though he was less than perfect. Also that it was normal to lose my cool sometimes even if I’m trying to do the right things. Our life is good now.

    1. Thank you for your comments which, taken together, support what we say in the video, you cannot offer a one size fits all solution. Everyone’s situation is different and, in Bottled Up, we support whatever people think is the ‘best’ solution for their circumstances.

  3. I’m finding building up my own life with drawing, painting..doing things with family helps a lot. His drinking isn’t as much as it was and he is now disabled and pretty much has calmed down. I will not drive anywhere with him as when he does go out to lunch and/or dinner, it can escalate the drinking, then he (or may not) talk abusive to me. He has 2 kids who are both drinkers who take trips with him and it’s always worse when they come over. I make sure I’m not home and have told them both why I don’t join in their trips or dinners…so we kind of lead separate existences. I love him very much, but have put up boundaries. If you stay, it’s the only way to do it.

    1. I am doing the same. After 36 years of nightly drinking, I cannot take the stress. I only noticed it when he went on days 7 years ago because I would be asleep every night when he got off work and it didn’t affect me… though, has been way too much to deal with. When my dad died in 2019 I needed his support…his way of doing that was to drink more. He couldn’t handle someone wanting to lean on him for a change…that is when I realized I am living with a very selfish man and drinking only amplifies it. I cannot leave as I have no income or resources at this time in my life. I babysit my grandchildren and they need me here. I am only staying for them. I left my love for my husband on the back burner….where he has left me all these years.

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