My Husband Is An Alcoholic – DEAR DEIDRE: My husband died of alcoholism and his family blames me for abandoning him. Even at the funeral they kept me cool.

I am 57 years old and we have only been married for four years. He was always a heavy drinker, but it got worse when he retired last year.

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

I would buy a case of wine and drink it in one night. We tried home detox and residential rehab, but he relapsed.

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It broke my heart, but I’m back in my old apartment. We still got on and he even helped me out on his good days by doing odd jobs.

I found out he died through a text from a friend. His family barely looked at me at his funeral. Now I have to deal with his property.

The home we shared is a mess and there are blood stains on the floor where he fell. It makes me so sad.

DEIDRE SAYS: It’s sad, but it’s not your fault. You couldn’t make him stop drinking or cure his addiction for him.

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I guess because of his family’s feelings of guilt they want to blame you, but you don’t have to accept their verdict. Don’t download it.

NEXT IN TODAY’S DEAR DEIDRE The boy who bullied me at school is now my neighbor – and I want to embarrass him READ THE CASE OF DEIDRE’S PHOTO Mark searches for his lover, who swings the boy she just met Vanessa McDonald writes her hardest work so far – with an alcoholic and loses her husband, father and friend.

I once stole my husband’s shoes. Not just one pair, you understand. All of them. The flip-flops, the sneakers, the wingtips.

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

I thought that if he didn’t have shoes, he wouldn’t be able to leave the house to buy alcohol. And I wanted so desperately to stop him from doing that.

Husband Xmas Spirit Embellished Christmas Card Hand Finished

That didn’t work, of course. When he finally came around from drinking the day before, nothing was going to stop him. Faced with his fury, I walked to the car and dragged my suitcase back.

When you’re sitting there at 2 a.m. in the chaos of your marriage, your family, your life, it’s funny what thoughts creep in.

Another time I stole all the money in the house – even the ubiquitous jar you find in every kitchen full of 1c and 2c pieces.

And then I woke up again at 4 a.m., sitting up straight in cold panic, because in his office drawer was the new company check that had arrived a few days earlier in the mail.

Is My Partner An Alcoholic?

When you live with an alcoholic, it takes over your whole life. When he doesn’t answer the phone, your life goes into slow motion as you consider the options: is he busy, in traffic, distracted? Is he passed out, hurt, or dead?

At first I would go and look for it, drop everything at work to drive around and ask my son to do it when I can’t. Then one day, he refused. It was pointless, he said. But my heart bled for my beloved husband of almost 30 years… What if you hit your head, you’d collapse, throw up?

But this happened day by day, and life goes on. The work continues. The family goes on.

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

Things fell apart so quickly. We were together for 30 years, lived on three continents, supported each other’s careers, raised two beautiful children, had adventures, traveled the world.

Is My Husband An Alcoholic?

He set up his own company in Malta in the early 1990s, building a loyal clientele of people who admired not only his technical expertise but also his integrity. Money was never the motivation; gaining respect was.

We bought a boat and spent months alone cruising together, never tiring of the company, saving up for a world cruise after the kids went their separate ways.

Vanessa pictured on the boat she hoped would be part of a happy future with her husband

And then he had a breakdown. It hit us all hard because he had always been so easy-going, but as he hit menopause in middle age, he began to dwell on his father’s untimely death, going through bouts of depression. How did we not realize how serious it was?

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About a year later, I made him a cup of tea and put it next to where he was sitting on the sofa and realized he hardly touched it. Just as I walked towards him, he reeled and fell flat on his face on the ground.

It was my first time in an ambulance and as we sped through the dusk I was vaguely aware of the reflection of the blue light of cars pulling to one side, the siren wailing, the paramedics trying to resuscitate him. I caught the word “stroke” and froze. At Mater Dei, seven or eight people came and went, tests were done, tubes were connected, he was wheeled away, brought back. The hours passed without change; there is no answer. Text messages kept coming: What’s going on? How was he?

And then the medical team disappeared, one by one. There he was unconscious, unresponsive and nobody was paying attention.

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

I was furious, I grabbed someone’s hand as he passed. They looked at me tiredly and said, “No stroke. He has alcohol poisoning. He must have drunk a whole bottle…”

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He hid his drinking so well, as most alcoholics do. We ignored it as effectively as most of us do when faced with the unbearable. There was nowhere to hide anymore.

Years earlier, as a journalist, I had done an interview with Al-Anon, the support group for relatives and friends of alcoholics. I reached out and within an hour I sat with my angel, who handed me a well-worn book of daily readings and told me about the three C’s: you did not cause, you cannot control, and you cannot heal.

Even as he was telling me these things, he knew I would resist this advice. Why else would I steal his shoes? The urge to stop the people you love from self-destruction is very difficult. So brutal.

I went to one of the Al-Anon meetings. I listened, in a state of despair that hung over me like a heavy blanket, thinking that these people had such terrible stories, far worse than mine. How did they laugh about the tragedy? How did they cope?

My Husband Drinks Alcohol Heavily

The first step – of the same 12 that alcoholics themselves follow in AA – was haunting: “I must admit that I am powerless over alcohol.”

I read the book my angel gave me for days and days, spent hours on the internet reading about it and finally figured out what it meant. Alcohol has already robbed my children of their father. They deserved to have one normal parent.

My days could no longer be about whether he drank or not: the moment I let my guard down, then alcohol destroyed my family’s life as much as it did his.

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

In Al-Anon, every week, for years, it was forced upon me that we should have compassion.

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How can you not let the rage and despair get the better of you when you finish a full six months in rehab and then stop at a supermarket on your way home to buy a bottle?

How can you understand that the urge to drink was so strong that he left the house with potatoes still bubbling in the pot on the stove?

How do you keep hope alive when you see him struggle valiantly over and over again to quit, go to rehab, go to AA, only to relapse one day, one week, and – in one case – two whole years later?

How do you love him on the days he’s sober when the fear of an inevitable relapse is constantly hovering over your shoulder?

A Day In The Life Of An Alcoholic’s Wife…

What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I stop him? How could he do this if he loves us?

They say an alcoholic destroys the lives of 10 people, and as time went on I could see the rage, the shame, the guilt in those who loved him, who felt the same as I did, tormented by the sober times when we looked into his eyes and saw the man which was still.

We lied so often. About why he missed family occasions and work meetings. People would play together. No one talks about alcoholics.

My Husband Is An Alcoholic

At one point, a group of close friends sat with me, one holding my hand, the other handing me tissues, as self-pity overwhelmed me. One of them, wanting to help, suggested a movie she had seen about an alcoholic,

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Years later, I ran into her and apologized, but it happened so often. Everyone likes to think that something can be done, some magic word, some epiphany, that you can love them enough, stop them.

All you can do is learn coping skills. I learned that

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