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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have lived with an alcoholic husband for 25 years. He failed

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I have lived with an alcoholic husband for 25 years. He failed at treatment. He was in treatment for a month last fall. He drinks one pint a day in our garage after work. I still love him after living in the cycle of abuse for all this time. I want a divorce now. I feel guilty to leave him. my christian faith says stay. My family says go

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


There is no where in the Bible that says you must stay in a marriage where you are being abused. God never requires us to expose ourselves to hurt and pain by someone who is abusing us.


Keep in mind, you have made a very good effort to make the marriage work. You went to counseling, stayed with your husband through all the efforts to get treatment, and you have thought this through, including asking for help from others. This is not a quick "you made one mistake" decision.


It is understandable that you would feel guilty. You care about your husband and you married him expecting the best. And the nature of alcoholism creates a dependency and strong emotional pull for the mate that is coping with an abuser. Alcohol abusers can make others feel sorry for them. It's how the abuse works and why so many wives and husbands find it hard to insist that their spouses stop using. Breaking away from the emotions of the situation is difficult and trying.


You may want to consider seeing a therapist yourself. If you found that your original therapy was not effective for you, you can try another therapist. Talk with your doctor about a referral or, if you attend church, your pastor can help. Or you can search on line at


You can also turn to your church for support, which you may have already done. Talk with your pastor about how you feel. Christians do divorce and if done in cases like yours, there is a justification.


There are also resources you can use at home to help. Here are some to get you started:


Live, Laugh, Love Again: A Christian Woman's Survival Guide to Divorce by Carla Sue Nelson, Connie Wetzell, Michelle Borquez and Rosalind Spinks-Seay


Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion by XXXXX XXXXX


A Woman's Guide to Healing the Heartbreak of Divorce by Rose Sweet


You can find these on or your local library may have them for you.


I hope this has helped you,

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