I Give Up!


I’ve always heard if you’re at the end of your rope tie a knot in it and hang in there.

How many times have you been there?

You thought it was the end of the rope and there you go again.

One crisis after another.

Maybe it’s time to give up!

What am I talking about?

There are at least 5 things you need to give up.

Control of your alcoholic

I learned a long time ago it’s impossible to control anyone outside of yourself.

Sometimes it’s even hard to keep you under control.

The reality is, if you don’t have the choice that makes a difference, you don’t have control (and never will).

I like how the serenity prayer says “God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

The key for me is the wisdom to know the difference.

You can spend so much time and energy for nothing on things that simply won’t change until your alcoholic decides it’s time.

Unfortunately, some die in the illness.

As someone who has spent 30 some years working to change that fact, I can attest to the fact it takes wisdom to know what you really cannot change.

It’s only at that point you find acceptance for yourself.

Taking on your alcoholic’s struggle

Your alcoholic isn’t really interested in bearing the responsibility for what alcohol causes.

His interest is in securing the opportunity for the next buzz.

I know it’s impossible when you care about someone to not empathize with them about what they may go through.

After all to have your entire life controlled by the obsession of alcohol, to be helpless to the urge and consistent in spite of the harm it causes is overwhelming.

The secret here is YOU don’t need to carry the weight of his illness.

It isn’t your struggle.

If you were married to someone with cancer, it would be understandable to be supportive even if treatments didn’t result in success.

In fact, I’m sure you’d work together to find the right treatment…One that would work.

Alcoholism is a bit different.

Your alcoholic isn’t often a willing participant in search of a treatment to get through the illness.

The result is YOU are the only one trying to find the answers.

Here’s the deal…

You can’t be more concerned about your alcoholic’s recovery than he is.

It has to be HIS recovery for it to work.

Guilt or shame

It’s difficult to accept that your alcoholic isn’t at least partially responsible for the illness of alcoholism.

I don’t intend to debate the issue of alcoholism as an illness but let me share recent research suggest it’s a brain disorder.

Some of the related behaviors are the compulsion to use, relapse and obsessive thoughts of drinking.

Can you see how it’s really not something YOU need to be ashamed of?

When you accept alcoholism as an illness, it’s quite normal to have remorse over the fact.

To carry guilt or shame only hurts yourself.

It won’t help your alcoholic at all.

Unrealistic expectations

I’ve heard the ‘if only’ statements about alcoholics.

They usually sound like, “If my alcoholic would just spend some quality time with the family”.

Some illnesses take away specific functional abilities. I would say alcoholism takes away much of the ability to be intimate with others.

It certainly effects the ability of your alcoholic to be truthful and open.

When you come to terms with what this illness has taken from your alcoholic you can begin to find ways to change what you expect.

I wouldn’t expect a diabetic to enjoy a large piece of my favorite pie, or a person struggling with lung cancer to go outside for a smoke.

When your expectations change you’ll find more acceptance.


There’s really no one to blame.

Researchers relate alcoholism to both environmental and heredity factors.

Blame is so easy to fall into because of how chaotic your alcoholic’s behavior can be.

The reason it’s beneficial to give up blame is that everyone involved gets hurt with blame and you stay stuck.

The path to recovery for your alcoholic has to include accepting responsibility for his illness.

This is an acceptance of responsibility not blame.

When someone takes responsibility for spilled milk, there’s no point of blame for the spill.

So, if you’re at the end of YOUR rope, might I suggest you may want to ‘give up’?

How have you come to terms with your alcoholic’s illness. Share with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 14 Other People Thought...

  1. robin

    I have no interest in giving up. It doesn’t make me a better person than the one who does. It makes me more determined to love unconditionally the hardest love to know is to to love someone who can never stop disappointing you. The measure of love is how we treat those we have no use for. The only one I harm in holding on is me. we have no children between us and the ones we have separately are grown gone out of the houses years ago. I just want this one Man to not die alone not die unloved or unwanted and I will never apologize to anyone for it. alcoholism is a cruel demonic other woman but she is no secret and she has a fight on her hands I got ammunition with her name on it …prayer …prayer in my world changes things I learn from people like you guys and I pray and go forward one day at a time. you asked ….lol thanks robin

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I think prayer is a great choice along with many other things you can do to make sure you’re okay. Your husband is very fortunate to have someone who is willing to love unconditionally. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Jules

    I understand what Robin is saying. And I really understand what she means when she says she will not apologize to anyone for her decision to stay with her AH. It is very hard for me to accept how different “friends” and even some family have treated me for staying in my situation. Yes, it is very difficult, but their comments and judging of me for staying have caused me to back away from them. I have actually felt victimized by others and their criticism and judging of me for staying. I actually have felt “shunned.” I don’t understand this. I have come to realize the lack of support I have received from so many I thought were there for me emotionally. This has multiplied my pain in ways I can never express. The trickle-down effect from my AH’s alcoholism – I just cannot believe it.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Many people don’t understand alcoholism is an illness. When you stay with your alcoholic it’s the same as how you wouldn’t walk off if your husband found out he had cancer. There’s no reason to hang your head when you care about someone.

      I think some are still caught up in moralizing alcoholism. It’s an illness not a moral issue.

      I hope you’re able to lift your head high because you decided to take the higher ground in your situation.

  3. For years I was guilty in my own view, of not being supportive of my alcoholic husband. I have been told that I only did what I knew at the time, and I know that I would not have set out to be deliberately cruel. I am now trying to learn about alcoholism and the “do’s and don’ts” as well as learn to take charge of my own issues, and also how to handle myself for the times if my husband falls off the wagon. For ever long, I wanted to walk away – now I realise I do really love this man and that means accepting him the way he is, not the ‘ideal man’ and to be patient and realise that it took a long time to get him to where he is, and it will take a long time to heal, and that I will love him regardless – not on the condition that he gets better. I feel very inadequate, but hopefully I am getting to be a better, kinder, more loving person. I am responsible for my own happiness, not dependant on whether my husband is considerate or not. I am blessed that he loves me and wants to work as a team, as I do with him, and I am fortunate that we are two givers and two big forgivers and I have lot to humbly learn from him when it comes to love. I know so little and you all you lovely people seem to be so wise – but I can get there too, thanks to all of you.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks Sarah for your comment. It takes a lot of forgiving when you’re in a relationship with an alcoholic. It appears your doing a lot of good things. I’m glad your here at FreeMyAddict

  4. Sarah

    I have woken up to my unloving ways that I was not supportive of my husband who has a drinking problem. I am now trying to learn about alcoholism and the “do’s and don’ts”. I realised I was trying to control the situation, and I wanted to leave for so long. I came to realise I do love my husband and that means hopefully coming to true acceptance (love) of him and loving him whether he wins the fight or not. I realise only I am responsible for ensuring my own happiness. I am so grateful and humbled by my husband who loved me in spite of my negative attitude (and I feel a lot of remorse for that but I have been told I only did what I knew at the time), and that he is working as a team with me, as I am now working with him. I can’t believe I got it so wrong for years, and hopefully I am now becoming a more loving and kinder person now. I sure want to be. I appreciate all the wise thoughts of all you lovely people.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Alcoholism is an illness. The way we treat an alcoholic or someone with cancer need not be that much different. Sure there are different symptoms and often with alcoholism they become very personal. It is non the less an illness. Would we treat a cancer patient negatively because they were cranky or short with us? Probably not.

      • j tolle

        I understand that it is a illness. Yet; if someone has cancer they would seek out help and treatment. You would support them in that treatment. I have tried for years to support him with his “illness” of alcoholism. Tried getting him treatment…tried supporting him. However; he is not committed to treatment. Only to his own needs of drinking at any cost to himself or me. And yes in time you find you are moving away from Friends and family. The alcoholic would rather you do just that. I also can see why those friends and family members find it hard to support you in time. They see you being put threw hell over and over while he just keeps drinking. I now understand that a alcoholic will not only take them self down but everyone around them as well. I am even afraid to leave home for a few days not knowing what I’d find when I return. The last time I did that I returned to find my home trashed and beer cans everywhere! The alcoholic will take control of your life. The last few times he has been so drunk and out of it that he said he could kill me and going to prison would be nothing to him. I felt that if I pushed his buttons he could do just that. I called the police; he is now in jail. Seems they also holding him on a old DUI he has failed to report to his PO for months. He may get a year. I know that I am done giving support to someone that only returns my help with nothing! I am going to move with no forward address or phone number. This time I am not going to believe his letters from jail that he is going to get help and how sorry he is. Then only 3 days after returning home he is drinking again and the hell starts all over again. No I am sorry I do not agree it is the same as cancer. There is a time you have to say “I gave him all my support ans help and he just doesn’t really want it. He wants to just drink.” So you are really only supporting his drinking! 10 years of this game is enough! I am out of here. Time to take care of myself. He will be himself with me or without me..a DRUNK!

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        You’re the one who has to make the decision to stay or leave. There’s no judgement here on you whatever you choose. Let me clarify the illness part. One of the symptoms of the illness is impaired judgment. This is part of intoxication and the overall damage to brain cells over time. If a cancer patient had symptoms preventing them from choosing adequately you’d have a more comparable illness.

        Treatment sometimes happens on the inside. I’m sure there are some opportunities for AA at least. If he’s motivated he can show effort in that direction. Letters don’t show much it’s the actions that begin to become proof.

  5. KAT

    I knew my husband drank when i married him 25 years ago. He wasn’t a drunk then, but as life threw curve balls he drank more to try and defuse the situations. He got worse, there seems to be no answer some times for the way he responded to drink. He was not as bad as some but he is an alcoholic. When you have to have a drink for any reason because it makes you feel good, more then 4 times a week day, yep your AA. THE THING IS I KNOW IT GETS WORSE, AND I KNOW I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO LASH BACK , BUT THEN THERE IT IS. What you get is total blow up so do not push it. Leave, go somewhere until they are out of the heated temperament! My husband for the first time in his cultured life ended up in jail because of a blow up and lost control. When he looked at me i knew it was another being in him. I no linger saw my husband. This is a bad situation. Leave, go somewhere until they cool down. Take the keys so he is home. Have someone call them and speak to them show some interest on them. Talk with them get them to think about other people other then you. Take control to protect. I like the word protect better because this is what your trying to do and there is nothing wrong with this as long as it is in the right forms. Keeping all drink from a new AA IS BETTER FOR THEM UNTIL THEY GET FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM THE CRAVINGS! It is hard for them but not your problem but i do believe when we said for better or worse, it is ours all the way, 25 yrs and my husband is alcoholic free. He still has cravings but he says and I quote, I would never do that to you again , I love you honey.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks for your thoughts. They are very helpful for others who may be on the verge of giving up. I so glad your husband is alcohol free and doing okay. I appreciate you sharing with us.

  6. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this. Guilt, shame, unrealistic expectation and blame are the cause of most of the addict’s and the addict’s loved ones problems. Once acceptance occurs, change occurs too. If you stop struggling and start accepting, then thoughts change. Thoughts lead to feelings and then to behaviour. So, if we change our thoughts, then we can start to feel better and behave differently. Only change can make one’s life better. Without change, we’ll keep doing what we’ve always done.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks for your comments. If the addict or the one’s who love and care for them would only do what you’ve suggested there would be much more healing. Relapse or continued use occur in the thoughts before they ever end up in action.
      Change is often thwarted by the fear of the unknown or the fear of loss. These are powerful motivations. For many staying with the emotionally painful known is easier than changing to the healthier behaviors that are unknown.
      That’s why we do what we do to help people move into change and a healthier lifestyle, even with an addict or alcoholic. Thanks for your comment.

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