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Being married to an alcoholic... can it work?
Married Life / 2:22 PM - Wednesday September 09, 2009

Being married to an alcoholic... can it work?

I have a friend of mine who is 47 years old and she's married to an alcoholic. She was crying on my shoulder for a while, but I finally told her that this was stressing me out for no good purpose since it wasn't making her happier, it was just enabling her in avoiding dealing with the problem, which is that her husband is a drunk.

She didn't want to hear that, but now she doesn't complain to me anymore, so I am happier and I enjoy our friendship... at any rate, I told her that I can't solve her problem but she can go to a group like Al-Anon, or join another support group for spouses of alcoholics, or go to therapy and learn how to cope with the situation. Or confront her husband... though I doubt he will change.

However, apparently you can stay married to an alcoholic and learn to cope with it and be reasonably happy, or at least this is what I have heard. What do people on this site think? Can you be reasonably content in such a marriage? How?

- Asked by curvysmartgirl, A Creative, Female, 36-45, Dallas, Artist / Musician / Writer

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Your friend is codependent on her husband. It gets rather complicated, but in a nutshell -- she benefits from his drinking like a martyr. "Oh poor me -- I have such an abusive drunk for a husband!"

Melody Beatty has some excellent books on the topic.

- Response by utahmom, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Managerial

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If someone has an emotional investment in being the "rescuer" of a substance abuser, or the "victim" of one, then they're happy being miserable!

- Response by justpassingthru, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Financial / Banking

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For some alcoholism is a very serious disease. For others, its more of a, well... hobby.

Maybe she should try to start a new hobby.

I am only joking on the matter. I do believe that ANY problem in a marriage CAN work if both parties want the same thing or can find a mutual respect for each other. In this case, it sounds like a dosage of either acceptance, conformity, or separation.

- Response by 20something, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 29-35, Consulting

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I guess you can if you are willing to enable someones slow death.

- Response by lalalagirl, A Creative, Female, 36-45, Student

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In other words she no longer complains to you about it. She is just dealing with it and perhaps that is what makes her happier.

- Response by seasons4, A Sportif, Female, 46-55, Financial / Banking

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If he's not a mean drunk - some people can easily live with it. And of course as long as he doesn't drink & drive
Some men drink to unwind & are funny drunks, but don't hurt anyone
You're obviously not afraid for her

- Response by Vickey69, A Married Girl, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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Not likely. But he could reduce his drinking and behave better. Alcohol kills your liver and brain cells. But it's effect on your behavior is what kills relationships. I used to be a functioning alcoholic. Now I only drink on the weekends and only when J is with me.

So he could do the same if he so chose.

- Response by llafsroh, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Boston, Science / Engineering

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alcohol "abuse" and relationships do not work on any level.

To answer your question, absolutely no way I could be satisfied inside a relationship where my partner was "abusing any substance be that alcohol, drugs or food.

- Response by spadeace, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Who Cares?

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It is no worse than living in a marriage where the man is domineering and runs your life.
She needs first to get down on her knees and pray for her husband. Put him in the hands of her Heavenly Father to convict him of this addictive vice; to be a better leader in the family stucture.
I do not know any marriages where alcoholism is prevelant where it is a happy marriage.

- Response by flwoodpecker, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Other Profession

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Only alcoholics stay married to alcoholics. You can't date a guy who loves his booze unless you love it too. Weekend binges are still alcoholics. Rosey

- Response by roseytalks, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Tampa, Who Cares?

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No, no, no.

- Response by myrtletyrtle, A Creative, Female, 46-55, Who Cares?

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Wow, she probably didn't read in the handbook of one person you don't date no less marry. An addict. I dated an Alcoholic and it was draining for me. So I broke it off and don't ever want to speak to him again.
Your friend is a co-dependent person who thinks that she has to save him. Or she thought he will change. There is nothing you can do but let her be. She made that choice to marry him and she has to make her choice to leave him. You did what you thought was right and I am glad that you told her to zip it. Because it was probably ruining your friendship.

- Response by womanv, A Career Woman, Female, 36-45, New York, Self-Employed

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- Response by A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 29-35, London

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