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Isabelle's husband was addicted to alcohol. Over time it destroyed her marriage and family. This is her story.

"Living with a man who likes to drink is never easy. I got married when I was very young. I came from a big family and I just wanted to be happy, meet a man, get married, have our own house and have children. I just wanted what most young women wanted. 

Early in our relationship we used to go out together, most couples did. My husband worked but he would often go out to the pub after work. I would have his meal ready and often he didn’t want to eat when he came home or he would complain of having a bad stomach. I didn’t think much of it but this continued.Then there was a family death and my husband took this badly. He would go to the pub by way of dealing with his grief. He would drink every night and wouldn’t come home until the pub shut. 

My husband never hit me but he would be abusive when he’d been drinking. His drinking never stopped him functioning. He never kept me short of money but alcohol always changed the way he behaved. He’d refuse my cooking, he didn’t like this food or that food…any excuse to avoid eating. He’d sometimes throw food up the walls. He was never like this when sober. My family liked him but I didn’t tell them what he was like because I felt ashamed. I’d chosen this man and I thought I could make my marriage work, that I could do something about our problems. One night my husband came home in a state, my father in law was visiting and he saw his son like this. He suggested I go to stay with my mother and I did but she wasn’t interested, she more or less told me I had to get on with it. I knew then that I wasn’t going to get any help. I don’t blame her for this, she had her own big family and I was just one of the family so she had her hands full…I think she just didn’t want any more problems. 

The following years I’d have to say were all about him. I can never remember sitting down to Christmas dinner as a family because he was never there, or if he was, he didn’t want to eat or he fell asleep in the chair, so it was just me and the kids, it was as if I was a one parent family, I did everything, shopping, decorating, gardening….I did everything and he did nothing. I felt as though I brought my kids up on my own. When he was sober he never wanted to accept some of the arguments we had or discuss some of the things that had happened the night before, he either said he couldn’t remember or couldn’t accept that there was a problem. 

Looking back I can’t believe I put up with things for so long. If he’d have been worse than he was, nastier and aggressive for example, it may have been easier to finish the relationship, it might have happened quicker. I’d have a week or two when everything would be lovely, but it was as if he couldn’t bear how normal and pleasant life was when he stayed away from alcohol and he’d go back to his drinking ways. I don’t think he could cope with us just being a simple normal family. If he’d have admitted that, it would have been easier. My son hated him. 

We split after many years. I couldn’t allow things to go on for ever. Even now he won’t accept he did anything wrong. To this day he doesn’t see some of his family but he won’t accept it was because of something he did. He was never open to negotiation. It was his way only. 

I’ve always had an inner strength so I think that’s why I wouldn’t allow him to change me into what suited him so I think I made the decision half way through our marriage to have my own life and that was the beginning of the end of our relationship. Alcohol wasn’t going to affect my life any more. That was the decision I took and that was the right thing to do.

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