Left Holding The Bag With Your Alcoholic?


One of the most common practical joke played on camping trips to the newcomer is Snipe hunting.

The ritual includes the novice carrying a bag while banging two sticks or rocks together to attract the snipe.

Of course for all of us who have been there and done that, we know there are not snipe on the prowl.

As the novice you’re left holding the bag.

It may seem a little like that in the relationship with your alcoholic.

You may feel like you chase after something that just doesn’t exist.

What are your chasing after?

Stable Relationship

Your alcoholic may not be capable of stability because of alcohol use.

What your alcoholic is able to do is be very predictable. You already know his patterns of behavior.

Your expectation that he will somehow behave differently results in you being let down again and again.

If somehow you were to alter what you expect to what he’s likely to do you’d have much less emotional pain.

I’m not suggesting this is a substitute for a stable relationship, it’s simply a way not to hurt all of the time.

Stability may come when your alcoholic finds recovery.

I’ve actually known alcoholics who were no more stable after sobriety than when drinking.

Alcoholism and recovery are both a struggle for your alcoholic.

Stability’s more likely after 5 years of sobriety.

So the real question is are you still in pursuit of a stable relationship?

Open Communication

In any relationship it’s important to communicate with each other.

This requires two willing participants who share honestly with each other.

Your alcoholic is vested in not exposing what’s thought because it might limit alcohol use.

When you would like your alcoholic to have thoughts about what’s important to you, more than likely it’s about some way to get alcohol or get somewhere he can drink.

Your likely to continue to be hurt as long as you continue to expect your alcoholic to open up.

Don’t be mistaken, when your alcoholic’s under the influence of alcohol he’s NOT having open communication with you.

This communication is just uninhibited. This simply means things that are being expressed would not have been if normal inhibitions were intact.

So may time you can be hurt if you believe the things that come out of your alcoholic’s uninhibited mouth.

This is one of the reasons I recommend communication when they are sober. Minimize what you believe when your alcoholic’s drinking.

If you practice doing that you’ll be hurt less even if open communication is a rare thing in your relationship.

Change Your Alcoholic

I can’t tell you how many spouses of alcoholics who still believe they can change their alcoholic.

The truth is your alcoholic will change when they decide using alcohol is no longer worth it. That’s the day they move toward recovery.

You can establish boundaries, stop enabling, kick your alcoholic out of the house or leave ’em. It boils down to your alcoholic’s choice…not yours.

I do have good news…

Once you know there’s no such thing as a snipe you can’t be fooled by it again.

When you accept the truth about what to expect from your alcoholic you don’t need to be fooled again.

In what ways have you searched after things with your alcoholic that just don’t exist? Share with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 10 Other People Thought...

  1. robin

    So the real question is are you still in pursuit of a stable relationship?>>>>>
    I have been years knowing stability doesn’t live here I work for reasonable and attainable. I have been snipe hunting …lol
    I have no delusions of changing Him. just cooperation in the smallest things. this happens but is not reliable no surprise to live on guard and accepting disappointment is not easy and won’t get better by my actions . I still want to be in this and work toward the best of this bad situation I know God in this changes things my faith in change is not in Derek or me Its in God. when should matter but it doesn’t patience required I can learn to be patient I can get smarter and be a spectator not a victim. My God doesn’t quit on Us I am not either.thank you robin

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Your faith can be stable, your decisions can be resolute, you can be relatively stable even if Derek is falling down drunk. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Kat

    i love how it appears every time i get a letter from you on my alcy it is right in there with what is going on, your right you cannot change him or shouldn’t try to change anyone for that fact, you can however be on guard, rod used to say i controlled him, i found this word, its called protecting him, be careful your alcy doesn’t manipulate you , with his words, there is ugly and nice, there is stability and unstable, choose the one you want to be and stay in it, love them do not ARGUE WITH THEM, sometimes it best just to let their logic catch up with them , God did say for better or worse, i had no idea our relationship was getting worse because of the alcy, i thought it was me, he blamed me, now there is a whole new relationship getting along with someone i wouldn;t think twice about dating , however learning to teach someone at our later date is not so bad, it appears the bad days good days are a balance right now but i have hopes for better days and feel them coming on

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      There’s plenty of opportunity to grow when you live with an alcoholic. Thanks Kat.

  3. David

    Creating my own stability within my relationship with my husband has been the hardest thing for me to do. It involves working in all the other issues and ideas discussed before – unconditional love, releasing my expectations, getting a life of my own, speaking my truth, and so on. I just can never seem to get it all together. The emotional roller coaster is killing me. And I really think that. I am so up and down with stress and hopefulness. And when it does seem like he’s cutting back or trying to quit, I’m really not hopeful just waiting for him to fail. Some times the only stability is to feel nothing and other times it’s just long periods of waiting for one of us to die. It seems like that is the only way this situation will end. Intellectually, I know this is not true but it is how I feel. I don’t even bother with things like open communication. That part of our relationship is probably over for good. I never know how he is going to respond to anything I tell him so I keep anything not related to pratical aspects of our life together to myself. And I have given up on any idea I can change him. I can barely keep myself together. But I am trying to focus on me and I’m working up to giving up TV which has become my own personal addiction and keeps me in constant contact with him and his drinking. This website does help and seeing the other comments helps a lot. It’s good to know I’m not alone and it’s nice not to be constantly told that the only right thing to do is the one thing I will not do which is leave. I love him, I’m grateful for all the things that we do have together and for all that he’s done for me, and if worse comes to worse, I simply will not allow him to be sick and alone if that is what it comes to. He is still a worthy person in my eyes.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I hope you find interests you have independent of your husband. These things can provide some joy and purpose in life. I know many people suggest the only thing to do is to leave an alcoholic and under some circumstances it may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you consider alcoholism an illness, it doesn’t make sense to walk out on someone who is ill. I leave it to the individual. There’s no judgment by the Team at FreeMyAddict if someone decides to leave or stay. Our goal is to counterbalance the view to leave.

  4. David

    I have let go of all my interests that take me outside the home. Dave is very jealous of any time I spend anyway from him so I mostly just visit with the kids or help out my mom. I read a lot, I have a couple of part-time jobs I really like and I garden. Plus I have school. I feel this is the most I can do at this time since I am financially dependent on him.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You have some interests you can certainly build on. Let me suggest some ideas, if you like gardening, what would it be like if you shared your skill with some people who may be willing to pay for your expertise. Another, if you’re in school and are good a a given subject is there a need by someone for a tutor? Plus you already have some part time work. You’re working on your independence.

  5. David

    Thanks for your suggestions. I already help my mom and one of my daughter-in-laws with their gardens but the tutoring sounds interesting. I like to help people out and share. There may actually be an opportunity for that at one of my jobs. We’ll be hiring a student for a research project so I think I’ll try being involved in that. Thank you.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When you share life with an alcoholic it’s easy to get lost in their issues. Finding your own talents and making good use of them is very liberating.

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