Don’t Do These 5 Things When You Confront Your Alcoholic


I’m sure if you’ve lived with an alcoholic for any length of time there’s been a confrontation or two.

Did you get the results you’d hoped for or was there more you’d expected?

Here are a few things to consider before the next confrontation with your alcoholic.

Don’t be unprepared

Here at FreeMyAddict we advocate you prepare a plan for when you confront your alcoholic.

It doesn’t have to be extensive but it needs to include:

  • The directions to a rehab center
  • A contact person you can call
  • A packed bag

There’s nothing worse than to have a confrontation, your alcoholic agrees to go to rehab and by the time you’ve researched where to go, secure an appointment…he’s drunk again.

The straight forward recommendation is…PREPARE!

Don’t debate

I’m sure you’ve been in one of those conversations where you could argue all day and not get anywhere.

Your alcoholic has something invested in a long debate that goes nowhere. He can continue to drink.

There’s no motivation on his part to end the debate.

That’s why when you refuse to argue or debate an issue it ends the process.

Be sure you don’t get drawn back in by some curt remark or other manipulations he may throw your way.

Simply refuse to debate.

Don’t be angry

I know it may be difficult not to be angry when you deal with many of the situations your alcoholic put you through.

I suggest you not confront out of anger. You know how parents are always told to calm down before you discipline a child.

This is pretty much the same idea. If you confront out of anger you will more than likely over react. Then what you hoped to accomplish will probably not happen.

When your alcoholic is sober and you speak without anger the results can be far more successful.

If you find yourself unable to find a time you’re not angry, you may need to spend some time in an effort to work through some of your anger.

I can’t reinforce how important it is to be calm when you confront your alcoholic.

It totally changes the dynamic.

Don’t use blame

Even when you know your alcoholic’s responsible for his behavior it doesn’t make it a good idea to blame him.

When you alcoholic is the target of blame the likely response is defensiveness.

This will lead to excuses not that they need a reason to come up with an excuse) and probably feel justified because of the blame.

What you want to accomplish here is for your alcoholic to take responsibility for his actions.

The best way is to clearly separate your choices from his.

You can remind him of his choices but you can’t do anything about his choices.

The only choices you have control over are yours.

Don’t takes his words personal

When you confront your alcoholic things will be said. Many of them are very hurtful.

From their point of view, drinking has become their world and it’s being threatened.

It would be a big mistake to take your alcoholic’s words personal at this time. In fact, they represent him more than they represent you.

I know you may find it difficult to let these words go, but when you learn to do it your life will become much less stressful. Your confrontation will go much better, too.


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Here’s What 16 Other People Thought...

  1. This article was very helpful. Filled with really sound, clear advice.
    Thank you.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks Michelle I’m glad the article’s helpful.

  2. Marina

    Good advise. I am trying to let go but I am having a very difficult time with it. My huband has stopped drinking off and on. Going to meetings off and on. He is not drinking right now for a about 2 weeks, yet he has not gone to AA in over a month. He is not working and I am the one who is keeping the household afloat. He is very angry with me and withdrawn does not say very much but when he does it is always very negitive and hurtful. I repsonse in a negitive and hurtful way. I know I should not do this but it is very hard. I have feel very resentful towards him. I am trying to keep busy but just coming home is very hard.
    Thanks for reading.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Off again On again can be very difficult to handle. It sounds like your husband may experience what we call a ‘dry drunk’. It’s when the alcoholic behaviors are very much intact but the alcohol isn’t. I’m glad your husband goes to meeting…They really work. I’m sure as you take care of yourself you’ll work through the resentment you hold. In the mean time stay here with us and keep sharing your thoughts.

  3. kelly

    Great article, not always easy not to take the hurtful words to heart or not to shout them right back. Walking away from the scene usually works best for me. Thanks Kelly

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      No one I know bats 1000. You’ve made a good point. Just walk away works for you and a lot of others. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Connie

    Walking away or leaving for a short period helps me. Even though he does not mean what he says. The words still hurt.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you. Just know it’s the alcohol talking.

  5. Tracy

    Thank you for this helpful article. It IS very hard not to take the hurtful words personally but I am working on it! Also, what do you when they are in COMPLETE denial and think you are overreacting and they even DENY they are drinking at all? Thank you so much.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Denial is part and parcel with alcoholism. I have come to expect it rather than be surprised by it. When your alcoholic suggests you’re overreacting he probably means something like… “I really rather you not react at all. I makes it harder to get be comfortable continuing my drinking.”

      I learned years ago alcoholics will do or say most anything to be able to continue using.

      My suggestion is… Be yourself. If you hurt express it. If you know the truth don’t hide it. His drinking is HIS responsibility not yours.

  6. terri

    My mother is a senior citizen 76. She has beendrinking for years and now that she us much older, its extremely pathetic. we thought she hit Rock bottom when she blacked out and had a seizure. her license revoked, still. now she leaves from AA to hit the liquor store.
    I attend al-anon online and f2f.
    we lost our mother and she has chosen to love alcohol over her family.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Terri, seniors often get caught up in alcohol to fill voids in their life. Don’t believe it’s ever an intentional choice over the family. Once the alcoholic takes a drink the drink takes them. Their choice is more of a fleeting moment in time. It appears your mother really does need to see a counselor who specializes in addictions among older adults.

  7. Buffy

    I have fallen in love with a man that treats me like gold when he is not drinking, but have come to discover that he drinks an awful lot. He denies he is an alcoholic, and when I even mention his drinking, he automatically says I am judgemental. I have never been a judgemental person and was rather shocked when he said it. The discussion turned immediately to my being too judgemental. Now I am afraid to say anything about his drinking because it gets instantly turned to me being judgemental. I don’t want to argue with him yet I don’t know how to confront the situation, especially it being a fairly new relationship. I am lost with what I should do. I do not want to end our relationship because he is wonderful when not drinking, but I don’t know if I am willing to be in a relationship with an alcoholic. He makes me question myself and if I am over reacting.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Alcohol results in impaired judgment. When you acknowledge the FACT it’s HIM not YOU who has the issue. It’s never judgmental to hold to the truth. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Nina Williamz

    I was caring for an 8 yr old in his home.His mother is a shift worker 4 on 4 off, 2 days, 2 nights. He is a good kid.I’m not going to call him spoilt. His mother buys him guilt gifts and rewards him with over processed junk food and he is overweight. He is fed ritalin and has the ADHD label. To me he is a typical boy who demands attention and challenges his boundaries.
    Her drinking is more along binge and secretive. She grabs a drink when she walks in the door after night shift, gets up in the morning and grabs a drink, gets up during the night when she can’t sleep and has a drink. About once a month she buys a big bottle (1 – 1.5 Ltr) of whiskey or bourban and it’s gone within 2 days. She always drinks alone. Initially I spoke to her mother hoping something would be done. Then I spoke to her friend after she drank two big spirit bottles as well as her cans of bourbon over a week. I want to make it clear that I haven’t seen her drink within 10 hrs before work She hides her drinking very well. When she is drinking she sleeps all the time but blames it on illnesses. She can stop and start but the longest I’ve seen her go without is two weeks and what a difference. Unfortunately I off loaded on a friend of hers. (Yes I know, stupid) Her reaction has been swift. I had hoped that I could get an intervention in place but she has made sure I am the enemy and her the victim. I have backed up my belief, I told her I believe she is an alcoholic and continued to focus on convincing her to do something for the sake of her son. Although I assessed the probability of a drinking dependency or disorder I am not qualified or know where to go from here. She is in complete denial. Her son has told me some pretty sad stuff but he’s scared to tell her in case she dies. I have been replaced as her sons carer and been made to move out. I worry about him but can do nothing now. Planning is definitely the key as you mentioned.
    Why do revealer’s become the mortal enemy and the enablers praised? If she acknowledged and sort help I would have done all I could to help her. No wonder abusers and addicts get away with so much.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Most alcoholics are in denial to some extent. The simple answer to your question is enablers make it easy to use and someone who reveals makes them face their addiction. Sometimes an alcoholic will be will to agree to a simple assessment. There’s one one this site called the MAST and if there is an indication there might be a problem then an evaluation by an Addiction Professional is in order.

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