Can You Really Trust an Alcoholic?


I find it very difficult to wait for someone who I know is going to be late.

I’ve always been taught that on time is late and it’s always better to be early.

Maybe people have been brought into my life to teach me patience (not one of my stronger attributes).

There has been one thing I’ve learned about trust through these people. It’s about trust.

Trust isn’t all or nothing

I’ve discovered trust is often treated as though it were a light switch, either on or off.

You may decide to trust or not based on what you’ve experienced.

When you expect something from your alcoholic and they don’t deliver it you may chalk it up to an inability to trust him.

I would challenge you to consider what kind of things you do trust about your alcoholic.

These things may not be positive but you certainly can trust them to be true.

If your alcoholic runs out of alchol what will he do?

If your alcoholic starts drinking early in the day what’s going to happen?

I told you they weren’t positive but they are in fact behaviors you trust to happen based on what you’ve seen in your alcoholic’s behavior.

The bottom line here is whatever consistent behavior you observe result in behaviors you can expect.

This is trust even though it’s not what you want.

Consistency builds trust

Try a different spin on this. Because your alcoholic is VERY predictable.

What seems clear is what you really want is for your alcoholic to be trustworthy.

I suggest a difference between trust and trustworthy.

The later implies they’re being entrusted with something and they’re being responsible with it.

I believe it’s safe to say you would like to entrust your emotions, hopes and dreams to your alcoholic.

Your alcoholic’s illness makes it almost impossible to be responsible for much more than where’s the next drink.

When you know someone can’t be trustworthy what do you do?

If I know someone isn’t trustworthy with a cash drawer I wouldn’t make them the cashier.

You understand, if your alcoholic isn’t able to be entrusted with what you want to share with him, at some point you may limit what you share to what can be handled.

Trust is built over time

Real trust takes time.

You need to take opportunities when your alcoholic is sober to discuss what areas you trust and what areas you’d like to work on together.

Yes, if you expect it to get better there needs to be communication directly with your alcoholic about what isn’t working.

When your alcoholic hears you tell about the behaviors you trust (ie drinking, drunkenness, irresponsibility) and then you let him know what you’d like to be able to trust there’s an opportunity for improvement.

You might even find it easier to do this in a letter where you choose your words and your alcoholic can read it again and again.

What are some of the things you trust about your alcoholic? Tell us about it in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 18 Other People Thought...

  1. Viki

    What an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks Viki for your comment.

  2. Gemma Renee' Locatelli

    I trust that my alcoholic will say sorry when he is sober for what he does when he drinks. I trust that my alcoholic will treat me like I AM AN EMBARRASSMENT and like HE IS NOT. I trust my alcoholic will become social because he drinks but not include me. I trust my alcoholic will continue to hurt me in many ways if I do not get a hold on my emotional state. I trust that my alcoholic has no care or concern for my emotional well being when he is drunk or drinking. I trust that my alcoholic is not going to miraculously change over night.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When we know the things we CAN trust isn’t it ironic when we still get surprised as it happens again and again? You are looking at your alcoholic through a clear lens and it’s not too pretty.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Robin

    I am full aware of the things I can trust in my Derek . everything you listed and a few more. the highest one on my list is the fact that Derek will make sure I am in the hardest Love to know …Loving someone who can never stop disappointing you. he left to work out of town and I discovered exactly what it takes for him to cheat or try to. my surprise after instant anger was relief….Now I know what he needs to cheat…I knew it had happened to the others and that it could happen to me. Now I know the recipe for me. The fact he was not successful does not change the fact he tried. Alcohol is the cruelest and most evil of “other women”.I cope cause I have to. I am not done here, leaving is not an option I entertain. So no he is not trustworthy but predictable. Like the sun and a good watch to do exactly the same thing everyday and night. I am here for those rare sober moments when the spirit trapped by the alcohol peaks out and I know my love is not wasted on the man He could of been. patience is taught by this kind of life in a boot camp sort of way ,never easy and sometimes dirty. guaranteed to show you what your made of. for all the partners who rang the bell and gave in there is no shame.I am not ready to ring the bell. Should I out live this love of my life. I will not do another alcoholic once is enough. thank you

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Robin, you show great courage and strength as you find ways to cope with your alcoholic. There are valuable lessons learned when you live with an alcoholic…I’m sure they could have been learned in other circumstances. They are learned none the less. I hope our support here lightens the load a little.

      Thanks for your comment.

  4. Amber

    I’ve learned that I can trust my husband will always disappoint me. He’s made so many empty promises to quit that it’s ridiculous. I always want to trust him, but it’s just not possible anymore. He’s very unpredictable with his disease. Ultimately, he’s an awesome husband and father. Both me and my kids adore him…..BUT, his drinking dictates the type of person he is going to be, whether it’s acting silly and super fun to be around, or so drunk that he’s careless about what he says (so I have to keep kids away from him), or being nice one minute to a total jerk the next, or the worst is when he’s making an attempt to quit drinking because the withdrawal symptoms are so overbearing to him that he acts like a complete jerk. That is what I’m dealing with right now – he’s trying to quit….AGAIN. And on Father’s Day, he broke and ended up running every person in the house off crying because he’s so moody. It’s very tiring living this way. I would love someone’s input on how to successfully raise children through this type of lifestyle. Because, I try to be honest with my kids (ages: 11, 7, 5) about daddy’s problem and try to protect them at the same time, yet it’s very hard to do. I would leave him, but I always envision my kids being alone with him while he’s under the influence. And I’m a mom first, so I’ll ride out the storm. I just wish he would quit, because I love him for the man that he really is. So for now, I’ll continue trusting that my husband dissappoints me.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I hope your alcoholic quits. I appreciate your commitment to keep your children safe. Remember not to enable him. Be a reflection of truth…NO Covering for his alcoholic behavior. Don’t gloss it over with the children. In the same way they would understand if your husband had diabetes or any other disease they can understand alcoholism is an illness.

    • ladypugsley

      As an alcoholic who dosen’t drink anymore, I would just like to say how sorry I am to read your experiences living with active ones.
      I’ve been there and seen the effect it has had on those closest to me.
      But I also know We don’t mean it. We are sick and ill and can’t help it.
      When drinking We are caught in a circle.(A vicious one).
      It’s awful! And most of us are wracked with guilt but too ill to do anything.
      Don’t shout at your alcoholic.
      When We are caught in a binge there is nothing to be done.
      Except wait.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Thanks for your comment. You show how unintentional an alcoholic’s behavior really is.

  5. Sad

    I can trust myself. Having been the glue in this marriage and the one to pay bills, be emotionally supportive to my alcoholic husband… I now say I can only trust myself.
    The alcoholic has chosen to follow this path of continuous downward spiral of lies, games, abuse,.. for which I want no part of. Sadly the ones who have abused him (his parents) and never been there for him are the ones willing to follow his lies,… and add passive/aggressive scenereos to attempt control of the alcoholic son. It is time for me to pick up the pieces and add more firm boundaries for myself to ensure my safety. Where I go from here I do not know as I have put so much into this marriage and have been left physically drained/exhausted, abused and now no idea of what sort of future there is for me. I can only hope that my slow process of doing things for my health and well being will lead me to where I am supposed to be.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You’ve been the one carrying the weight of the relationship with your alcoholic who is indeed ill. At times it’s overwhelming to say the least. It’s clear to me you’re on the right track with setting boundaries and finding ways to take care of yourself. There will come a day when you find strength in exactly the place you’re supposed to be.
      Thanks for your comment.

  6. lillian

    Well, I really want my husband to it wrong to be played out by 25 yrs of lies and embarrassment?I just want peace..and I do not want to grow old like this..I deserve better!Hats off to you ladies who are stickin in there..but I just do not think it is in my best interests anymore..I am disgusted with the jerk..and I am a Christian..which is probably why I stayed with him so long.I need help to get through the next
    2 months with if I kick the bum out now..he probably won’t go to our daughter’s wedding and everybody will blame me!I am caught in a trap all the time..the kids don’t understand and think mom should just always be there making a happy home..but mom is on the verge of insanity!!and mom has to think about mom’s future sometimes too..any ideas would be appreciated.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I don’t think it’s a matter of right or wrong. You’re tired of the antics played out by your husband. I think possibly the strongest statement you’ve made is “mom has to think about mom’s future”. That isn’t a small task. Whether you stay or leave it’s time to do what you need to do to be okay.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. ladypugsley

    I really want to know how you on the ‘other side of the fence’ are feeling.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You’ve put it out there. Let’s hear what others have to say.

  8. kelly

    I was with my alcoholic partner for 3 years and it was so hard. I gave so much of me to help her and in the long run I just ended up losing so much of me. My friends told me early in our relationship to get out. I tried to look at myself and how I would feel if someone gave up on me. The empty promises, to DUIs, and all the lies led to distrust. It has been a painful and slow process of moving forward and leaving her behind. I am working so hard at forgiveness for my own overall well being.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It sounds like you made the choice that works for you. Healing takes time. Thanks for your comment.

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