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Addiction to Alcohol/Why is my alcoholic husband so angry?

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Question
Why does my alcoholic seem so short and snotty when I try to communicate with him about his recent fall off the wagon or when he finds out I am helping myself by going to al-anon? Why does it seem like he is making it to be my fault?

Answer
Renee,
   Thank you for your question and for sharing a little of the relationship issue.  First, congratulations on going to Alanon and getting the help you need.  The one thing people need to know is that alcoholism is a family disease - if you are connected to an alcoholic you will be affected by the insidiousness of the disease.
   The best way I can answer this question is to ask a question:  Why do you feel it necessary to ask him questions or comment on his slips?  These are his to deal with and having someone interject any comments or questions or accusations only exacerbate the effect the slip has on the mental and emotional life of the alcoholic.  We call such interventions as these "working the other person's program." You must understand that he may be feeling overwhelmed or guilty or sad or troubled that he slipped.  Even what appears to others, such as yourself, as a comment of support or caring may be taken as a slight against him as a person.  Until he build up enough self-esteem (and alcoholics are usually very low on this attribute), he will be sensitive to any communication about things from many people besides those in the program whom he trusts.  His sponsor and fellow AA'ers understand him whereas non-alcoholics will not.  he will need time to work through these personal issues.
   My suggestion is to continue to work your program, offer him support if he will accept it, and keep your distance when it comes to talking about his drinking or his recovery.  If he is working a healthy program the day will come when he is able to better face any issues he may have about his interaction with you as his wife and he will make amends.  Then he can begin to build a healthy communication with you.
   A second suggestion is to read the chapter in the Big Book entitled, "To Wives" and "The Family Afterward."  These will give you a good look into the mind of a person newly sober and trying to stay that way.  I hope it might also offer you some strength to endure his working his own program on his own time and in his own way.  
  You work yours and hopefully he will continue to work his.
  I hope this may have helped.
Grace and peace,
Clyde

Addiction to Alcohol

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Clyde

Expertise

I can answer questions on the recovery from alcohol addiction as I am a recovering alcoholic with 22 years of sobriety. I can also address the spiritual aspects of the 12-Step program as I have a Master of Divinity degree; serve as a pastor in the Quaker church; and, serve as a hospice chaplain. I have also served as a prison chaplain for one year and currently volunteer as a mentor once a week, working with two inmates one-on-one as they work towards reentry into society as free persons.

Experience

I am a recovering alcoholic with 22 years of continuous sobriety.

Education/Credentials
Master of Divinity awarded in 2000 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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