When do you leave an alcoholic?

This video is a response to a question asked by one of our members.  The question is –

I would like you to speak more about parting as being a possible solution for partners as some drinkers will not change in spite of what the family do.

If you have other topics that you would like us to discuss please let us know.


Here are a couple of other videos on this topic.

We mention this one in the video above – What’s your bottom line?

Another video on this topic that many people have viewed is – My partner is an alcoholic, should I leave him?

6 Replies to “When do you leave an alcoholic?”

  1. I gave my partner the chance to get help and I left for 3 months and he said he stopped drinking and would get off it so I went back. Within a month I found him on the floor blind drunk so i left for good. Not with anger as I loved him so much and didn’t want to go. I then got lots of texts during the next 6 months some ok but others not ok, accusing me of all sorts of things. He then went down hill very quickly and ended up in hospital 8 months later! I was beside myself with worry that I made him worse and drink more! He was in hospital 3 months and he died 3 days after Christmas? I spoke to him daily and told him I loved him but he died!! I’m struggling that maybe I could have done more. He waited until he couldn’t walk and a neighbour phoned the ambulance. He lived in Ireland and me inUK so I couldn’t even visit! Covid put an end to travel and hospital visits. I’m not sure how to cope with this. I’m trying but feel so so sad

    1. Hi Julie
      Having just read your post, our hearts go out to you. Having been involved in this area for many years (both professionally and personally) we are well aware of the deep emotions that surround the sometimes agonising choices that our community can be faced with. We are continually amazed by the loving kindness that family members extend to their drinkers. Almost without fail the people who come to this website arrive with the desire to help their drinker and accept that challenge with love and determination. However, it is true that love can be a motivation for change, but also out of love one can be dragged down into a situation that is ultimately untenable.
      We, recognise that it is difficult, especially in the midst of your sadness, but we urge you to process the grief but not pick up any of the guilt. All of us, even drinkers, are responsible for our actions and nobody, however much they love us, can save us from ourselves. It sounds like you did all that you possibly could have done, and you should console yourself with the fact that, at the end, he knew he was loved.
      Much love
      Lou and John

      PS. If it would help you process, I am available to talk through this sort of issue in a 1 to 1 session. John

      1. John and Julie
        Julie, I’m so sorry for your loss! John, your reply is so helpful. I was able to relate to your story in a way Julie.
        My husband began an addiction to alcohol 14 years ago after the death of his son. Since then he hasn’t been able to live life, in fact I consider him a broken person. His health has been going downhill more so recently, but I’m still thinking about leaving. I also love him but my health is being affected by alcoholism and now with his physical decline I feel like I’m trapped and have no life in this marriage. He doesn’t take care of himself physically and has given up caring.
        I’m very torn about a decision as I am in my mid 60s and find the thought of starting over to be overwhelming. Julie, what you did for your self-love and for the love of your partner was very courageous and clearly not a decision made lightly. Right now Covid is “giving me” a space in time to not have to take action but the decision making is so hard. I fear that because he loves me and relies on me, he too will go downhill and die if I’m no longer around. I have talked to our (wonderful) family doctor and I’ve told him that I feel it’s my husband’s journey, and if he isn’t at least trying then I can’t be responsible for his health and demise. So hard! I pray a lot and ask for strength and courage. But sometimes even us, the spouses, feel abandoned.

  2. Hello! I would love for you to explore more about mental and emotional abuse. My alcoholic is not physically violent but both me and my daughter have been suffering to the point that I have now decided to leave, just don’t have a place to go to yet.
    What is exactly mental and emotional abuse and does the law weight it as much as physical abuse?
    I feel that I have tried everything I could to help and stay.
    My only regret leaving would be that because he’s not violent my reaction has been overall exaggerated.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Nicoletta
      Tis is an important topic and we will definitely put it on our list of videos to make. Abuse comes in many forms, violence is just one of them. So if you are being abused mentally and/or emotionally, no your reaction is not exaggerated. Stay safe.

  3. Thank you for this video. I have been doing the program and I am most definitely more centred and empowered around my situation. I recently had a 1to 1 with John and I gained a lot of clarity by speaking to him about my situation. The leaving before you leave was quite poignant for me. I have been distancing myself in many ways for some time and I am now feeling empathy for my drinker for how lonely it must be when your partner retreats. This does not excuse his behaviour or change my feelings but I’m grateful the program had brought me this far.

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