When Your Husband Is an Angry Alcoholic

If your husband is a drinker and you’re noticing him getting angrier the more he drinks, you may have some questions. Is he becoming an alcoholic? Is he an angry alcoholic? Does he need help? Am I safe? These are important questions, so let’s take a look at the most plausible answers, keeping in mind that every situation and individual is different.  So essentially, there’s no clear-cut answer that pertains to all men dealing with anger issues when drinking.

Is the anger a sign of alcoholism or something else?

Not all the hot-tempered men are angry alcoholics. In some cases, alcohol becomes a triggering factor for a certain percentage. Does your husband express anger when he is sober? Or does the anger just come out when he’s drinking?  For some men, when their mind is not altered and their inhibitions are let go due to the alcohol, they feel free to let their pent-up frustrations and anger out. This may be exactly what your husband is doing.

Alcohol abuse, in general, can certainly cause family problems. If your husband is drinking, he may become irritated at times and express his anger.  This may frighten you and your children. This type of behavior can lead to psychological or physical abuse, so it’s always best to address the issue immediately with your husband at a time when he is sober.

What’s underlying the anger?

If your husband is becoming angry when he drinks, he’s most likely dealing with some things in life that are causing him to feel anger, though when he is sober he can refrain from acting on such feelings. He can stuff those feelings well when sober, but alcohol reduces the ability to think straight and keep feelings in.  It is important to come to understand what is underneath that outburst of anger.  He’s got to get to the root of the anger, which may be tough to do if he continues to drink.

Does he need alcohol treatment?

If you’ve had a heart-to-heart with your husband and he feels like he’s fine and it’s not a big deal that he gets angry when he drinks, or that he’s an angry alcoholic, he may need some alcohol treatment. He could very well be in denial to alcohol abuse or alcoholism.  Many people drink because they are dealing with a lot of inner pain.  They may feel:

  • fear
  • depression
  • anger
  • shame
  • guilt
  • confusion

Not wanting to actually feel those feelings all the time, they choose to numb them temporarily by drinking.  Of course, this is never a solution, but to them, it gives them a feeling of relief for a short period.

If this seems to be the case with your husband, have a compassionate discussion with him. Let him know your concern.  He may not realize how this is affecting you and your family. You can suggest several avenues that he can turn to for help with the alcohol and the underlying anger issues, like an alcohol rehab, AA meetings, SMART Recovery, counseling, etc.  These resources can help him with getting sober and dealing with the underlying anger issues.

Do alcohol rehabs really work?

Alcoholism and drug addiction can certainly wreak havoc on lives and go on for far longer than most people expect.  What starts out as a social drinking period in life can turn into a full-blown addiction, with the substance abuser not knowing how to kick the habit.  They may have tried 30 times to quit to no avail. It’s usually at the time when they hit rock bottom that the question starts arising, “Do alcohol rehabs really work?” because they are at the end of themselves and are tired of failing.

Your loved one may indeed need some professional treatment to get free from the pull that alcohol has on him.  He may not see it now, but eventually, most alcoholics hit some sort of rock bottom, and are more apt to admit that they are struggling.  Whether he’s an angry alcoholic, or just struggling with stopping drinking, deep down he’s probably aware that he’s gotten it pretty deep.

Alcohol rehabs have been around for decades, as substance abuse professionals saw the need for alcoholics to have a structured environment to learn about the disease of alcoholism, detox, and be surrounded by professionals that could help them build a solid foundation for recovery.  Effective alcohol abuse treatment can incorporate various components of treatment geared to treat the disease and any other co-occurring conditions.

Do alcohol rehabs work for an angry alcoholic?

Although alcohol rehabs are not 100% successful in preventing a relapse from those who attend, they have been proven to be quite successful in a variety of ways. Now, alcoholics may want to be sure that a rehab will help them get and stay off alcohol. They want a guarantee, but the issue in question is not so much the alcohol rehab, but the alcoholic.  Will he really commit to taking the rehab program seriously? Will he do the work required? What about after rehab? Will he continue with a recovery plan?

An alcohol rehab will be able to offer the tools and support necessary for an alcoholic to detox and get clean. They will be staffed with substance abuse professionals who will help them learn about the disease of addiction and create a recovery plan. Just like a person with diabetes will learn how to manage their disease, an alcoholic can learn how to manage the disease of alcoholism at a drug rehab.

Tools offered at an alcohol rehab

Those that attend an alcohol rehab will be able to detox under medical supervision, begin counseling to see if they can get to the root of the addiction, be introduced to 12 Step programs, and create a relapse-prevention and after-care treatment plan so that they can continue to grow and learn when they leave the rehab.

Is freedom truly available?

If your loved one is showing signs of alcoholism, and maybe even going around like an angry alcoholic, know that you’re not alone.  Is freedom truly available?  Yes, but it does take a willingness to admit that there is a problem and be willing to do whatever it takes to get into a solution.

For some people, that road to recovery doesn’t go as planned. There may be relapse after relapse occurring, and this can certainly cause some frustration and anger. Perhaps this is what’s going on with your husband or boyfriend.

He could also be dealing with undue stresses at work or maybe unhealed wounds from his childhood.  There are some that find it challenging to discuss their feelings with others, so they end up stuffing their feelings.  Over time, all that pressure builds up, and before they know it, they are having a tough time handling that pain.

What about me?

As a loved one of an angry alcoholic, it’s challenging.  You may feel disappointed, frustrated, angry, sad, and hopeless. Good news is that there are support groups that are there for you, so you don’t have to lose your mind dealing with an angry alcoholic.  Groups like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Codependents Anonymous are all helpful when it comes to loved ones of alcoholics keep their life together despite what their partners are doing.

Check out meeting times in your community and consider attending a meeting regularly. There you will be able to get a sponsor/mentor and work through the 12 Steps so that you can continue to learn and grow on your life journey. You’ll also learn valuable tools like how to set and keep boundaries, practice self-care, and take responsibility for your level of happiness despite what others are doing.

Reach out to a counselor

Of course, 12 Step groups aren’t suitable for everyone, so consider seeing a counselor if you need some extra support.  It’s always nice to discuss your issues with a professional to gain insight and feedback, as well as learn valuable tools to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with an angry alcoholic.

If you cannot attend therapy, consider reading articles and books on the topic. There are also many YouTube videos that are helpful in learning how to get through this situation. Simply search phrases like, “How to deal with an angry alcoholic” or “How to help an alcoholic” or “Al-Anon”. Make it a daily practice to feed yourself inspiring and motivating things.  You do not have to let any angry alcoholic make your life miserable.

There is no guarantee

Should your loved one decide to attend an alcohol rehab, of course, there is no guarantee that success will happen, but it is certainly possible.  Those who have had successful experiences and are still managing the disease of alcoholism attribute much of their success to their willingness to follow their treatment plan, work hard, be open and honest, and do what they need to do in order to stay clean.

Alcohol rehabs do work, but making the most of the experience is up to each person entering the program. Going in with a positive attitude and a mindset ready to do the work required is quite helpful.

If you have questions, know that we are here to assist you and your loved one to the best of our ability. Simply reach out and give us a call today.