Christian - Alcoholic - Marriage

I am a Christian woman (46) and the adult step-child of an alcoholic.  My husband is my second marriage.  We share two children (13&11) and I have a child from my first marriage (19) and he has three children (Adult) from his first marriage.  My husband is 63 - 17 years older than I am, and an alcoholic.

My husband is a very sweet, caring, Christian man.  We have now been married 17 years. 

When I met and married my husband, I knew that he drank - but it was nothing like the alcoholism in my childhood.  My step father was an angry drunk.  He would beat my mother, pushed us down stairs, and one Christmas Eve, he burned our Christmas presents and Christmas tree up in the fireplace.  I never saw the life we are now living in our future then.

In the last three years I have watched my husbands health deteriorate rapidly.  He has spinal stenosis and was forced to retire from a retail management position because he could no longer be on his feet ten to twelve hours a day.  When he retired and was staying home, he began to drink more.  He has tried to occupy his time by volunteering at church - but it did not keep him busy enough - and the drinking became excessive - to the point of what I would call binge drinking - where he was a different mean person.

In the past year - he has had 10-15 hospitalizations.  Some of them he came very close to dying.  Since January of this year we have made a trip to the ER every three weeks - all resulting in admissions.  All of the conditions seem to relate to his alcoholism - though each time it is something a little different.

I have converted a study on the ground floor of our home into a room for him because he can no longer navigate the stairs in our home.  Additionally, I do not want to sleep in the same bed with his because he now has a colostomy and wets the bed nightly. 

Two of the admissions I mention above were to alcohol treatment programs where he dried out - but he has not been successful at maintaining that sobriety.  The treatment facility we have used is considered in the top two or three in the nation.  He attends AA meeting daily - and goes thru all the motions of calling his sponsor, etc, but he is still drinking.

I have also gotten involved in Al-anon, and have a sponsor - though I am not consistent in working the program or attending the meetings.  Someone has to manage the house and take care of the kids - and hold down a job - and there just seems like not enough hours in the day.

When I was still in my mother's home I found it very easy to give her advice and very difficult to understand why she stayed married to my step father - even buying for her the book - "Co-dependent No More" - which I am now reading for myself.  I have every one of the characteristics now myself.

But now I stay because of the following reasons:

  1. I took a vow.

  2. I don't want my children to grow up in a divorced home.

  3. I am not sure how to face my church friends if I leave my husband.  They just think he is sick and do not know of the alcoholism.

  4. Financial reasons - Its fiscally advantageous to live in the same home - in different rooms.

  5. I have no idea how my husband would possible care for himself.

I don't feel any love for my husband anymore.  I think in the last three years I have seen two glimpses of the man I married, and felt love for him.  I pity him rather than have compassion for him - something I wrestle with from the Al-anon program.

I struggle most with the face I wear for the world of the loving wife - at my husbands bedside in the hospital for days on end, but inside I am not that person.  I am exhausted, depressed, tired of sorting his medication.  Tired of cleaning up the bathroom after he pees all over the floor and leaves his dirty colostomy bags on the counter.

And now his mind is going too.  Not just while he is drinking.  He is losing his mind.  He becomes incoherent.  He hallucinates.  He repeats himself over and over. 

I know I am not the first woman with an ill husband.  Alcoholism is an illness - I know.  I know many loving wives care for ill husbands and have dirtier jobs than I do.  I just can't take it anymore. 

The Holy Spirit in me knows that I am losing it too - a Christian woman shouldn't't feel the way I do.  Truthfully, I feel I live day to day just waiting on my husband to die.  Lord help me!




Katarina46 Katarina46
46-50, F
9 Responses Apr 22, 2010

Hi have u found useful strategies help or support, id if i reach out i get judged or misunderstood including family and church.i pray endlessly for hm.what wud u do in hindsight?

Thanks for sharing! It is indeed a difficult journey, one in which you fall out of love very easily. My husband is in the early stages of alcoholism & I must say- I hate it!!!!!!!! I do know, however, that I am growing in my faith as I work through the steps of alanon and as I learn to let go as I have no control over his drinking. As you struggle with working through the steps, I imagine an alcoholic also struggles with working through the steps. I find it hard to believe that anyone can automatically quit drinking. An alcoholic needs to want to change, so you & I must work through this so that we no longer enable & our hope can be that once they are not enabled, God will help them to notice their struggle & therefore they will know that they are powerless over alcohol.

You cannot change what you will not confront!

I understand this woman's dilemea. I have lived it. Currently my husband doesn/t drink, becaus he doesn't want to die and because he knows I will leave him. He is in the advanced stages of liver disease. We co-dependents have to get help for oursleves. It is when you get help for yourself, you can begin to see clearly what you do to enable his drinking and then turn it around. I am in that process. One of the things that I did was to make him share in the responsivbility of the house. H eis is to feed and care for the animals(whiich I did not want becasue I knew that he could not be trusted to take care of them) I learned to expect him to do it in spite of the many obstacles that required me to overcome in this process. I also told him that it was his fight to live and not mine.Even the sick have to continue to live.

Thank you all for your comments...guidance. I am also a Christian living with an alcoholic. We have been married for 23 years and during this time he had many years of sober times. He used to serve god, preached to others and was a good husband. He has been fortunate to hold down a job for all of our married life. I am now at the stage where I want to leave him. I have made provision for me by purchasing an investment property ... So I can move away. Financially it will be tough for me to manage all our debt alone but I will be ok. I am a born again Christian and we are living in another country, away from family. We do not have many friends here as his drinking is the cause of our isolation. I am no sure what to do? I know that I made a vow to god... But the lonliness, lies, uncertainty, etc make it very difficult. My children are grown up but still living with us. One is still studying and the other is trying to find a job. They are very upset with this. I protected them when they were smaller so they did not know anything about his problem. I hav also told a couple of our friends. I don't want to hide it anymore. It is so hard for me to function properly. My mind is always on this situation and I am just sitting at night, waiting for him to call to pick him up or to come home on the train. I just can't take it. I don't know what will happen to him if I leave him. Help me... I need advice.

I inherited an alco unknowingly.his ex wife said its easier to be single parent than with him as the ongoing strain is gone.i find the same wen hes gone for work but as we have 3kids under 3 i feel cant leave yet.plez pray grace

Hi Reedychick~<br />
Thanks for your comments. I can honestly say that the Alanon program is helping me. It is providing me the tools to take care of myself.<br />
<br />
In addition to it I began seeing a Christian Counselor. He told me that it was OKAY to leave my husband! He sited sc<x>ripture, and why, but I was in such shock I can not quote it to you. Anyway, I did just that. We separated, for about 6 months. During this time my husband went into a treatment program and sobered up. And I no longer felt trapped. Just knowing that I could do it was so freeing.<br />
<br />
My husband and I reunited, and guess what - he is drinking again. It is never if, but when, will he have that next drink. But, I am not wrestling with it as much. I can chose to leave rather than live that way. There are no more secrets. Our church friends and neighbors know the truth. That is freeing as well.<br />
<br />
If he drinks to a drunk, I leave him alone passed out where ever he is. It is not my responsibility to cover for him, or to fix things.<br />
<br />
I know this is a short answer, and I will write more when I am able - but removing the feeling of being trapped - stepping out of the isolation - has been life changing for me. Also, my husband is not my report card. I am not responsible for his behavior. <br />
<br />
And do lots of praying!<br />

I see that this was written over six months ago and wonder how things are today for you. I too feel as if you're writing my story but without the children together. I have grown children which he considers his "kids" especially since his have nothing to do with him. He has no one, no money...we have been waiting on him to receive SSDisability for a few years now. This man is only 55 yrs. old. He has had many surgical procedures done that have left him in alot of pain. He's been on pain pills for nearly all of the seven years we've been married. PLUS, he drinks daily. He makes no income but plays his sympathy card with me by cleaning up, working in the yard, doing laundry..."you know I want to provide for you...I just can't" "how do you think I feel?", "I want to work", etc., etc. It has been a miserable seven years. He claims to be a Christian but doesn't go to church anymore...can't be comfortable sitting in a seat for an hour. BUT, he can sit stooped over passed out on the porch all night long from being drunk and over drugged!! Why he is still living, I have no clue!! He now has a morphine pump, takes MULTIPLE drugs (4 mgs. of Xanax a day), and continues to drink. YET, his liver tests are all normal. I truly thought he would not still be alive today. It hurts me to feel this way. He is NOT the man that I married, But it didn't take very long for him to change!! Guess I know now why his ex wife of almost 20 years divorced him!! I was just so blind to the truth..though a "little" drinking was okay. I have paid dearly for my bad decision., Oh, and did I mention..I met him at church??? It is so hard to know what to do. Al-Anon is only going to teach me how to live with a drunk...I think I could teach them!! I hope things are better for you....I know, we didn't sign on to be caregivers to peole that are destroying themselves!!

K,<br />
<br />
I feel you were writing my story, except I don't have children. I've been married for 12 year and of those 12, they've been the same...year after year after year. He's always got something bad to say about me every night. What I did wrong, how I think I know everything, how I act superior to his drinking buddies (and some of my former drinking buddies). I don't care if person drinks, I just hate long term drunks. I get the constant "let's just ask your friends what they think about you on this one" threat. I too hang on because I made that for better for for worse vow, because I believe in that vow. My advise is to talk to someone of your faith, but not your usual church. Go across town and talk to someone. But, we can get all the talking in the world we want, and we're still going to be in the same godforsaken loveless marriage, because our husbands have taken up with the mistress of drink. Good luck, we both need it.

Sorry to say, you are right that you are living day to day until he dies. Next time he get seriously ill stick him in a rehab center for a long time. After a while he will see that he has to change or die. Also, the excuses you give are lame. Start with each one and be pro-active to change them. You took a vow, so demand his duty to get better. Councelor for you children, even at the church, cause they need to know why the father is dieing. As to finances, take the money now, don't wait. Make your husband ask for it.<br />
Sometimes the wife create the problem by not be pro-active.<br />
Lastly, be honest with the church and talk to a lay-leader. They will be at your side when your husband dies, right?

There is a spirit of Alcoholism and Addiction involved. Lay your hands on him and command them to leave in the name of Jesus

Tell him to read this powerful prayer: Search google for "THISBLOODSFORYOU.pdf" first site