stress from living with an alcoholic

How To Avoid Confrontation with an Alcoholic

Arguments, tension and confrontation are daily occurrences when living with an alcoholic. Avoidance of interaction with the alcoholic while they are drinking is the best solution; this includes, talking and arguing with them. They are not thinking clearly and won’t take in what you say, so why waste your breath arguing about their behaviour? Why fuss and fight with someone who has lost the ability to make any sense? Don’t become ensnared in the alcoholic trap with them. Stay out of the trap, so you can help them.

Alcoholics are often confrontational, so it is better to avoid him when they are getting drunk. This is often easier said than done. This may take going to bed early or setting up your own area of relaxation in the house. If he follows you to try to draw you into an argument, try to get him to agree to talk about it in the morning instead. Don’t say, “You’re drunk, so I am not discussing it” as this will only add fuel to the fire. Instead say, “I’m feeling too tired to discuss this now, so can we talk about it tomorrow?” He’ll probably continue to rant and rave, but keep firm to this line and hopefully he will leave off.

When he is sober, then address the issue and say you are ready to talk about what he was keen to talk about the night before. He may not remember having the conversation or the context of it and try to brush it off. So you may need to drop a few reminders of the hurtful things that were said. However don’t gloat, nag or labour the issue. If you are not comfortable doing this, then don’t do it – it is not mind games, but just enough to remind them of their behavior so they realize gradually over time that they are having blackouts and being nasty.

- Extract from How To Live With An Alcoholic and Still Enjoy Your Life

Additional Tip: When I would see the signs of a confrontation brewing I would deflect it by acting like I didn’t notice and then ‘casually’ realising we needed milk or I had forgotten to get something for dinner and leave the house as quickly and as casually as possible for a couple of hours with the kids and go to a friend’s or the playground. He’d be usually unconcious  before I got back.


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5 thoughts on “How To Avoid Confrontation with an Alcoholic”

  1. This is the hardest part for me … or it has been at times. I have to tell you that having found your book, I am calmer. “React in a neutral way” has become my mindset. It doesn’t always stop him from being explosive but, I don’t take on the tension like I always have. I look back on all the arguments, all the disrespect … it’s all so horrible. Why am I in this place?

    Sometimes I look in the mirror, smiling at that person as though I loved her. Thinking about how a person who loved me back would see those eyes, that smile. I wonder if I still have the ability to show someone I love them with my eyes, my smile, my heart …

    I think – “you are still and attractive woman” … and then I hear the door open and he comes in the house and the blackness comes back

  2. The day my sister died of cancer he called me about 3 times. I thought he was home, no he was at a buddies house drinking volka. When I arrived home I had no one to comfort me, hold me a shoulder to cry on . He has 3 felonies on him now and continues to drive. He lost his dad Decembet 22. He does not cry or show any emotion at all. I am so depressed about my sister , she was my best friend. On my birthday he goes to his friends house again does the same thing. I told never tell me that he loves ever again, he was not here when I needed him the most and of course he always has an excuse to get drunk no matter how many AA meetings he goes too. I am so bitter I don’t know if I will ever get over the fact that he was not here for me in my time of need,

    1. Sheila I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I too lost my only sister and best friend 5 years ago so I understand what you are going through. Seek your comfort in your grief from your friends and family. Your partner should have been there for you – that is what life partners are, to help create good times and memories and help each other through the bad times.

      My husband has helped me through some really tough times since he got sober including the loss of my sister, so I know it was worth sticking with him through his bad time, when he was an active alcoholic. So what you need to decide is, is he worth the wait?

      Think back to the time before he was a drinker, was he a good guy? Would he have been there for you if he wasn’t a drinker? Sometimes the drink causes our partners to be insensitive or horrible and sometimes people are just like that and we don’t see that side of them until something bad happens and we need them. So you need to decide is it the drink that is causing him to be horrible or is it just his personality? If it’s the drink then you need to look after yourself and develop your life outside your life with him. You then are in a stronger position to decide if he is the person you want to be with or without drink.

      Stay in touch. x

  3. Tracey West (the one who wrote the forward to your book) just wrote a comment on my blog — and being the curious cat that I am, I found my way to your blog here. I like what I see and I am recommending your blog to my readers and my blog page:

    I am primarily an artist who draws “pretty pictures” (greeting cards and fantasy art), but when I had to deal with an angry alcoholic over several months, I was compelled to do some less than pretty illustrations and writing (with links and sources) on the topic of alcoholism.

    Anyway, thank you for being another voice I can recommend to my readers! I appreciate anyone who can bring awareness to this terrible disease and who has advice about how to deal with subverting abuse from enraged and mentally altered alcoholics.

    1. Hi Lise,

      Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog and comment. I ‘dabble’ in painting and find it a great way to switch off! Writing is my therapy ‘thing’, do you find art a good ‘relief’ mechanism? Would you recommend it to others to try even if they have never lifted a paintbrush in their lives before?

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