Cost of Caring About Your Alcoholic


One of my pet peeves is when a salesperson tells me something is a certain price and by the time the transaction is done it’s increased because of hidden costs.

In many ways the deal you negotiated with your alcoholic is similar.

Did you ever think it would cost so much to care about your alcoholic?

Here are some costs you may not have considered.

Fixed Frozen Feeling

Maybe the most expensive cost to caring about your alcoholic is what it does to your emotions.

Sure you feel anger and at times guilt or shame because of the situation.

The high cost emotionally is how you have to turn off your emotions or be hurt.

If you care…It hurts.

If you don’t care…You feel guilty.

How do you cope with this double bind?

  • Never take on your alcoholic’s responsibility
  • Show your caring by speaking truth
  • Be realistic in your expectations
  • Take one day at a time
  • Use compassion not pity

Unlimited Chaos

I’m sure you never bargained for the chaos you’ve had to face.

The antics of your alcoholic become a little more understandable when you take into account the PRIMARY motivation for him is to USE ALCOHOL.

What that means is whatever it takes to get alcohol, have the time to use and consume as much as it takes to get the buzz, that’s what must be done.

The result?


Some behaviors become quite predictible, like the missed appointments, forgotten anniversaries, birthdays or special occasions.

The lies they tell are more consistent than the truth you’d like to hear.

Again, one of the best ways to handle the chaos is to:

  • Stop and think before you respond
  • Nothing needs immediate action unless the house is on fire or someone’s dying.

  • Consider the source
  • You already know your alcoholic is either intoxicated, planning to be or on the way to being intoxicated.

    Do you need to look further for the source of the chaos.

    When intoxicated, your alcoholic becomes irrational and uses poor judgement.

    What’s said is often hurtful because if your alcoholic was sober those would be the things his inhibitions would hold in as unacceptable behavior.

    Increased Workload

    Even if you’ve become successful at not enabling you have to admit your workload is bigger than it needs to be.

    Generally, you consider in a relationship both of you share the load of day to day responsibilities.

    In the relationship with your alcoholic it’s not likely he’ll carry his fair share.

    One of the things you can be certain about, if alcohol use continues your workload will only increase.

    I’ve never seen an alcoholic who’s active in their addiction voluntarily take on every day responsibilities (unless it was a drinking opportunity).

    I do know of alcoholics who were asked to fix something, they started…has a beer and months later the project was still undone.

    Which leads me to the final cost I want to discuss.

    Frustration and Struggle

    The number one sentiment we receive at FreeMyAddict is how frustrating it is to live with an alcoholic.

    The struggle is between what you want to have happen and what really does happen.

    If your not careful these emotions can become a barrier to other things you are perfectly able to do.

    How important is it for you to be okay?

    Even though that seems like an easy question to answer, often it’s not.

    Living with your alcoholic you may spend most of your time wondering, worrying and caring about him.

    Maybe it’s time to care about what YOU need.

    It’s really okay to do something to improve who you are.

    Let go of the struggle.

    Leave the responsibility of your alcoholic’s drinking behaviors to him.

    Learn to be okay in yourself regardless of what your alcoholic does.

    What has the relationship with your alcoholic cost? Let us know in the comment section below.


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    Here’s What 14 Other People Thought...

    1. kat

      I would have to say no matter the cost i would help him , he would me, after all if compassion is compassion and it were Christ would you help him? I love my husband , yes its going to be hard but then he would stand beside me , there have been times when i feel like quitting but then i go to prayer and God takes it from me , turn to God for all of your needs and he will fulfill your needs

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        It never ceases to amaze me what personal faith can do. I really like how you embrace the concept of alcoholism as an illness. When we commit to each other for better or for worse and illness comes along, commitment means everything especially for those who are ill. I know there are some who would walk off if their spouse took ill with a serious illness, but most I believe wouldn’t. Why then should people walk off from an alcoholic when he’s in the acute phase of a chronic illness? Thanks for your comment.

    2. Robin

      The one sure thing I have lost is Peace of mind. Cause its never “if” something will happen its “when” it will happen.And yet the ever illusive event where that sober guy peeks out and proves that drunk dude is worth it all holds me fast to the wheel of this wild ride. Compassion is a serious needed ingredient no one will go through this for someone they can’t love. And yet the measure of love is how we treat people who are of no use to us.Namely Alcoholics. If they had to pay us it would not be what we are worth ,Someone invested in seeing their alcoholic through to an end is a priceless soul. Only God can reward . ok had my say thank you for the fixed link robin

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Robin, the link was good the article failed to launch as scheduled. I do appreciate you keeping us on our toes. It’s a treasure to have someone who loves you for who you are not what you’ve done.

    3. R.

      I have also lost peace of mind, money,retirement.I have lost the sanctity of my marriage through what I feel have been several infidelities. He’s told me he’s crazy for me and feels guilt he cant handle for the pain he’s caused me.Inquired if i would sell his stuff if he’d got to rehab the other day. But says he has to wait till the right time at work as there is a schedule change coming and he doesn’t want to lose his chances.married 23 years.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Alcoholism bears a heavy cost to everyone around it. I hope your alcoholic makes it into recovery. There’s always another reason why it can’t be today. When the cost outweighs the benefit of using it’ll be today.

    4. D

      I have a 18 month old baby and her best interest is not taken care of when I’m at work and its just more stressful on me. My mom was just in town and she so sides with him because hes older she has no insight to the living hell that I’m actually in. Ive come to a realization that I need to change this situation to protect me and my daughter. I have seen the light!!!!! Amen to that. My marriage has been a long lonely ride

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Sounds like you could use support from objective people. Have you ever been to Al-Anon? They’ll not side with your husband. I agree, caring for your daughter is a primary concern. Thanks for your comment.

    5. Sandy

      It has cost me living at home, I had to move out it is getting so bad. I love him and hate him all at the same time. He just does not get it. VERY CONFUSED

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        I don’t know if your read a recent article on the love/hate dilemma. It talks about exactly what you’re feeling.

        Alcoholism is a very complicated illness and takes it’s toll on all who are around the alcoholic. Thanks for your comment. Stay close to FreeMyAddict and allow us to support you in on your journey.

    6. Marina

      I am very frustrated, resentful, angry, sad. I am trying to figure out what to do. After 37 years of marriage, I am really thinking about calling it quits. Others say for better or wrost in sickness and health I should stay with my alocholic. But with all the weight on my shoulders taking care of things around the house and the budget (always overdrawn) I am at my wits end. He is still not going to AA, still thinks he can do this by himself. How he is getting the alochol I don’t know. I have taken all access to the bank accounts away from him. I think a credit card company gave him a credit card, how I don’t know he hasn’t worked for a full year for almost 10 years, just working here and there.
      I have gone as far as speaking to legal aid, and what I heard I don’t like. Because I am working, I would have to pay alamony to him. How is this fair. I am so angry, at the law. I have always worked. I have contributed to the household. Even when my childred were small, I worked part-time to help out with the expenses. So I guess the price I have to pay is to pay my alocholic or pay with my health. Big price either way.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Marina, Have you considered an intervention? I won’t tell you to stay or leave that’s your decision. If there are still influential people in your husband’s life, people who he cares about, an intervention may be a good choice. If you want to discuss it just forward a communication to Webmaster If you want to look at what it entails here’s that link Intervention

      • KAT

        Marina, for one i don;t think you should try to get him to quit, you r trying to stop him control him , , i know you are trying to protect him and your finances. i think the best thing is try and get him to get rid of the credit card and let him have the funds he wants so he is not charging, it comes with interest, then I would try to see if you can get a counselor to come over for supper from AA and just be a friend , an alcy does not see their faults until another speaks of theirs, your husband has to come to terms with this, i tried like you to control the situation, its better and believe me on you if you let it fall on his part,otherwise he will not try to get help when i let rod alone and make his own puddle he came to terms with it, he caused his own downfall and could not blame me, this helps a lot if you try to control things he will hate you and blame you, so let him fall, now for you, you need to find yourself you are a good woman, you need to get your own hobbie ,do not listen to his garble when he speaks to you and puts you down, THE PROBLEM IS HIS NOT YOU!,Praying for you because for so long i was there,

        • FreeMyAddict Team

          ***NOTE: This post was made AFTER Marina informed us her husband passed away…not seeing recovery. Our hearts go out to Marina***
          Thanks Kat.

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