Conflict With Your Alcoholic


There’s something about conflict and alcoholism that seem to go hand in hand.

Maybe the very nature of the illness draws upon inherent differences to protect opportunities to use.

I’d like to believe your alcoholic isn’t prone to conflict out of personality or character.

What can we learn about conflict and your alcoholic?

Let it go

When you find yourself in the middle of conflict there are still choices.

Even if you feel so angry and so right you want to fight to the bitter end, there’s really not much point arguing with an alcoholic.

Judgment’s impaired.

Simply put you argue with someone who just isn’t capable under the influence to keep things straight.

It only stands to reason you are more than likely to be able to make your point better than an impaired alcoholic.

So, what is there to do?

Walk away. Don’t engage in the conflit.

You may need to practice this move a few times before it becomes natural.

When you actually walk away it’s very important to mentally walk away as well.

If you physicall walk away but keep mulling it over and over you’re still in the conflict.

In particular, if your the type of personality who wants to get the point across, you may find it difficult to stop thinking about it.

You know reasoning with your alcoholic is pointless.

Ruminating about a conflict is also pointless.

Do something different

If you keep doing things the same you’re going to end up with the same results.

Now it’s time to do something different.

No matter how insignificant it may seem, change something about your response.

Here are some differences you might select:

  • Select a better choice
  • Leave your alcoholic with the last word
  • Modify the tone of your voice
  • Choose your words carefully
  • Agree to disagree

There’s no guarantee but we both know if you don’t do something different the conflict won’t get resolved.

Speak the truth

Truth is so liberating.

When you reflect the truth about the situation there is such a power and freedom that’s released.

Your alcoholic can deny the truth but deep down he/she knows.

Hiding from the truth because of fear or insecurity doesn’t alter the truth it just covers it up.

My suggestion is to face the truth and be willing to speak truth into your alcoholic’s life.

Only truth really sets you free.

How have you handled conflict with your alcoholic? Let us know in the comment section below.


Did this article help? Get more advice (it's Free)

Your Addicts First Name

Your Email Address


Here’s What 28 Other People Thought...

  1. Willow

    Fighting with someone who is drunk is like fighting with the bottle they just drank from. Actually I’ve joked that it might be a better time to argue with the bottle as it wont argue back. I typically walk away, go to another room or pack the kids up and go to a friends house. The last one I only do in cases where he is being violent.
    My issue is how do you handle conflict when they are sober and you are talking about the events that happened while they were drunk that were hurtful or unacceptable? Also if he admits he has a drinking problem (while sober) but gets angry at the fact you think it might be best if he got help because the way things are in the house is hurting everyone in it. He sees that as an ultimatium and wants to fight about that. I told him to take a few days to think about what he wants to do and he agreed we could talk about it at another time in a few days as he was getting really angry.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      What a great technique. Thanks for sharing.

      • kat

        My issue is how do you handle conflict when they are sober and you are talking about the events that happened while they were drunk that were hurtful or unacceptable?
        my same issue, and i hate being reminded of the ugly again, this is when i want to explode, how can i deal with this on going stupid logic he has about being right about what he does, and if they remember the argue then why can’t they remember their own actions that stirred them up

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Alcoholics do have blackouts. In these situations their brain actually don’t record events that happen. When sober there’s no possibility of them remembering the event. I’m sure that’s frustrating. The interesting thing here is how your alcoholic’s ego will defend being right even when he can’t remember what he did.

        To help him save face you might say something like, “I know you may not remember what happened last night but it was very hurtful to me.” Then leave it at that. You don’t need to explain or try to trigger memories that aren’t there. Leave it with him and his conscience.

  2. janisha

    thank you so much for this. walking away is THE HARDEST THING. I struggle with this everyday. I know he’s not himself@the x but I’m so angry& hurt that my emotions just explode. I will definitely try something different tomorrow.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When your emotions run high the best thing to do is NOTHING. When your emotions calm down you think better and can choose what to do.

      • kat

        Janisha, when rod gets like this i learned in the past the arguing can escalate and you can be hurt, their good reasoning is gone , i call it good when he is not drunk or a day after drunk then we can reason , but drinking and day after is nothing bad reasoning and stay clear of any confrontations with yours, find a hobbies and go to it for yourself when your mans like this , this is when you need something to love u back because if you don;t you will eat yourself into anger

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Good advice Kat.

  3. Ross

    I used to argue and try to reason, along time ago. I do better now.I can speak truth as long as I watch about looking for a particular result. Or have an interest in getting a particular outcome.I remind myself when he is playing head games that he is sick. He obviously is, or else why in the world would he do the extreme things he has when he’s relpased..I do forget sometimes, but soon remember.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      How easy it is to set yourself up by expecting something your alcoholic just can’t deliver. What a tough lesson to learn. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Dollydaydream

    An alcoholic when drunk is off on a trip on their own.
    No point in arguing—-really.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Precisely. I think those around the alcoholic may actually make it worse for themselves by arguing. You nailed it…there’s no point.

  5. kat

    yes your right about this, but help me with this, always and i mean always the next day Rod will bring up what happened still to prove his pt, trying o be little me and still prove his actions were ok

    the ugliness of the argument lingers on how can i stop this it eats at me help

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      So much is lost in the delivery. Even if you let him think he’s right, the process is hurtful. My suggestion would be to let him know it hurts you when it happens.

  6. kat

    oh to answer you? how i handle conflict, well the first thought i would love to do is get a ball bat and really let him have it, AHHHH!

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I glad you don’t use the bat! Alcoholic’s don’t let you get too close so loving them from afar seems appropriate.

  7. Char

    My husband has admitted he has a problem and is getting help. Is doing well in recovery and has done well spiritually. Is frustrating for me though, Who helps me take away the hurt and anger for how he has acted toward me, when you have supported them everyday of your life.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When you begin to accept alcoholism as an illness you can begin to realize the alcohol impaired your husband’s judgment. The emotional pain of each event is the result of the illness of alcoholism. It’s not an excuse but rather an explanation. You’ll need time to put the hurts in perspective. My most important recommendation for your husband is to follow through with a consistent support group and get a sponsor (accountability person). Whether AA or Celebrate Recovery.
      Thanks for your comment.

  8. Kathy

    My husband recently had a TIA, aka a mini stroke, and the doctor told him he should not have more than two beers a day (two beers to him is a tease). He, my husband, is angry about this though he is trying to adhere to the doctors suggestion, but at times he lashes out at me. He takes my reminders of what the doctor said as a way of me trying to control him, when in truth I just want him to be around longer (alcoholic or not he’s a wonderful, loving, and hard working man). I’ve just recently started “trying” not to say anything to him and let his own common sense about his health be his guide, all I can really do is pray that it does.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Alcoholic’s generally don’t use common sense when it comes to alcohol. They drink, relapse, get drunk, distort the truth. I think the reminder of the doctor’s recommendation is a good point of truth he needs to hear. What he doesn’t realize is abstinence is easier for an alcoholic than drinking two beers and stopping.

  9. David

    We don’t fight. My husband makes angry or dismissive comments then walks away with the last word. I can’t be bothered to fight and if I do try to bring something up when he’s not drunk, he brushes it off. He was just joking or I’m too sensitive, or he was just making a point for arguments sake. So, mostly I don’t even talk to him about anything just to avoid being hurt. We are not close about anything anymore and even things I used to like, such as hearing about his childhood, I have no interest in. Now, I’m just mad at him all the time for interuppting my tv, reading, supper, nap, work, phone call, etc. I don’t say it, I just shrug or nod and make non-committal mono-syllabic responses. In other words, I don’t get mad, I get passive-aggressively even. Not helpful but we’ve both got so much bottled up, I’m really afraid of what might get said if we did have an argument. I try to act nice and quiet but I’m actually a very mean, sarcastic person. I could be the one saying something horrible. Probably the only thing he’d remember the next day. How would I live that down?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Sounds to me like you need to find an outlet for some of your anger. Maybe if you decided to journal about those things that upset you it would give you some release of the pent up frustration. I know it doesn’t change anything in your world but it could begin to change how you feel about things. Just a thought.

  10. KJ

    This makes me think of how he punishes me when I bring up something uncomfortable. In other words, I asked him what happened to him sobering up. He was sober for about 5 weeks and then went back to it saying that sober was boring. While we were having coffee this morning I brought up his drinking and he immediately shut down and stuffed his face into his phone. I said, we are having coffee and talking, what are you doing? He said we weren’t talking. He told me that I go about it all wrong. I asked how I should address it and he said, leave it alone and then went on to tell me that asking me for coffee was a mistake. Anytime I try to bring up anything that may somewhat of an issue he shuts down and then punishes me. He won’t call or talk to me for a day or two now. In fact, he has told me previously that I need to be punished. What should I do? He won’t communicate about any problem, drinking or something else, without shutting down and then punishing me.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Your alcoholic apparently wants to continue to use, does not want you to discuss it. If you don’t say anything everything will be fine until the next drunken episode. On and on it will go until he chooses to get into recovery. Confronting him is not the issue. He wants to drink and doesn’t have a plan to stop.

  11. Susan

    Hello, I have been with my husband for 13 years he is a college educated professional, who, without fail works everyday at an 8 hour job. We have an extremely bright 9 year old boy. having said that, my husband drinks from the moment he gets off work until he passes out at night every night of the weekend its worse. I won’t insult anybodys intelligence by trying to explain what all this means, because I strongly believe that you all do. What I’m struggling with is trying to weigh the differences in life. Should I stay with this man and cope, or should I leave? I think it’s affecting our son in a big way. I think bad outweighs the good, and it makes me very sad but very determined Our son means everything to me.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Some alcoholics are very functional for many years. Overall, the impact of alcohol on them continues to progress. You already have observed an influence on your son. There’s no easy answer to stay or leave. It’s definitely a personal choice. Alcoholism is a disease and often the person who is affected by it are the last ones to recognize what’s going on. I hope the articles help you to make the best choice for you and your son. Thanks for the comment.

  12. renee brodwith

    My boyfriend of two years drinks excessively. I love him for the good person that he is. I hate when he comes home and begins to drink. He goes to sleep. That’s all he ever does is drink and sleep. I feel like we don’t have a life together anymore. Whenever I talk to him about it he gets angry with me and then we begin to argue. I just want the man who I fell in love with. I feel sad and hurt.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Your situation is all too common. I understand he doesn’t like to be confronted about his drinking, but you are losing him to the alcohol. If he doesn’t deal with the issue your relationship will suffer. I recommend you not be afraid to speak truth to him. It’s kind of like letting him know what you see happening.

      Learn to be assertive with him in order to preserve your sanity.

      Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Comment

Talk With Someone