Losing a partner who was an addict

Hi everyone

I just joined this site as I’m lying in bed on the first night of losing my partner. I can’t sleep and came across the site after a random Google search. I was just wondering if there is anyone out there who has lost a partner who had addiction issues? It seems like there is nothing to support people like us who not only experience the usual symptoms of grief but all the emotions that come with supporting an addict, sometimes over many years. My partner was an alcohol addict, a professional man whose life unravelled as the addiction took hold. He was found dead in a public place and the local paper published this before police had the chance to tell me, so I found out from their article. I cannot see how i am meant to carry on, the guilt is overwhelming. Police have said I would benefit from trauma counselling but I know this is a bit early for most counselling services as I am very newly bereaved. Thank you to anyone who responds, I really appreciate it.


Hello @Rawsadness ,

I can see that you’re new to the community, so I wanted to say that I am so sorry for the loss of your partner that brings you here. You say you are feeling an overwhelming guilt, it is early in your journey take the emotions step by step.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that may help right now.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,


it might be odd for me to say this, but the addiction has nothing to do with your loss. circumstantially, but right now you have lost a dear soul and that should be your focus. his addiction is immaterial. it was why he died. your grief and loss are what matters now. no time is too early for counseling. I went straight away and it helped a lot. I still have counseling. worry more for you and your loss.

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@berit many thanks for reading and raking the time to reply, I really appreciate it. Whereas there was so much more to my partner than his addiction, it was the reason he died. Supporting someone through years of addiction and seeing them at their best and their worst, feeling all the frustration, shame, embarrassment at their actions, constant fear they’ll die, the glimmer of hope when they achieve brief periods of sobriety then having it dashed as they relapse, anger at the lies and denial, juggling work and caring responsibilities, all the time absolutely loving that person regardless and have them love you - then the final end when their body can’t take any more. No bereavement is ever simple, but when you lose a partner with substance abuse issues there is so much more to unpick, so many layers, and every feeling you have somehow suppressed so that you can continue to support the person is just flooding at you in waves. People who have lost loved ones to addiction are a unique group, coping with bereavement and often complex trauma after watching their loved one spiral into chaos as addiction grips and takes hold. That is the reason I asked my question because I have not found any resource that supports people like us. I wish you well.

I’m so sorry for your loss.
I agree addiction is a whole set of its own. I hate it.
I lost my fiancé through addiction and alcohol in February. He was a functional alcoholic and didn’t drink around me but we didn’t live together. Obviously we would after the wedding and I wonder if he would have been able to stay dry.
I thought he’d stopped drinking but he was found at the bottom of the stairs and at the inquest they ruled death due to severe alcohol intoxication.

There are a couple more threads on here

I found this really helpful.

I’m having counselling now 10 months on and I’d say I’m glad I didn’t try sooner. There is so much to process and I felt sad for so many months but I’m really angry right now at him and at God!

Take care of yourself. You’ll still be in shock. Thoughts are with you. X

Hi Carrotsgrl

Thank u so much for your reply and I’m so sorry for your loss. You’ll have so many "What if"s and unanswered questions; I know I do. I definitely feel angry (I told him so when I id’d him!) and I also feel very lost; the sadness is just overwhelming. A song by Level 42 came on the radio yesterday and I just cried for ages, knowing I’ll never hear him sing it again.

What I can almost promise you though is that when your fiancé was drinking so heavily to the point he died through severe intoxication, it is really unlikely he would have been able to stop when you were living together. You would have likely ended up like me, juggling all sorts, living with constant fear and anxiety and I can guarantee you that functioning addicts only function so long before their lives unravel. My partner was a functioning alcohol addict for years, a highly professional man with an absolute fanaticism about his appearance, the life and soul of every party. I couldnt spot the signs at all, he hid them so well. Then as the disease progressed his life absolutely fell apart at such a rate it was scary. This is of no comfort to you, but at least your fiancé spared you the pain of watching this struggle and fast downward spiral.

Thank you for sharing your journey with me. It really means a lot knowing there are people out there in similar situations, feeling similar emotions to mine and having gone through similar scenarios. I’ll definitely check out the thread. As for counselling, I’m still in two minds. I think people are worried in case I do something to myself and that counselling is going to prevent that. I just think I’m still in shock and that people have to be ready for counselling for it to be effective. I’ll just go with whatever professionals think is best.

Take care of yourself and you can always PM me anytime if you’d like to.


My husband of 25 years died a year ago, he was an alcoholic and he had only been able to face that on the last 3 to 4 months of his life, like you mentioned his body was just too damaged by the alcohol, however i was with him when he died and it was peaceful which i am so grateful about. The grief is complicated by his addiction and i feel so much guilt. I just take it a day at a time. My very best wishes to you, and hope you are doing ok.

Hello, I lost my ex partner to alcohol dependency on 9th June. I’m a mess, I can’t think about anything else. He had done 3 months in rehab last year and then he relapsed immediately. We broke up in the 3rd week of January and he died less than 5 months later. I sometimes tell myself that I killed him. His drinking escalated when we broke up though it was beginning to spiral already. We were still in regular contact and I could have gone to see him but I didn’t. If I’d seen him I’d have gotten him medical care. He was a few weeks away from being admitted to an nhs detox centre when he died. I feel I killed him first by ending the relationship and second by not physically seeing him. I’m going to start bereavement counselling tomorrow. For anyone in Scotland the charity Scottish Families Affected by Drugs and Alcohol offer this for free. You can also just call them to talk. I get 6 sessions and more or less if needed xx here’s the link https://www.sfad.org.uk/support-services/bereavement

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Hi Suzanne11
Welcome to the group no one chose to be in but we are here to support each other.
I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so so sad and harder because it’s a life ended too soon.


I lost my partner 17 months ago due to acute alcohol intoxication. It was completely unexpected because I thought he was dry.

I still think ‘ if only’ sometimes but at the end of the day each of us are responsible for our own choices.
You did the right thing in leaving, preserving yourself and I’m sure he knew you loved him.

Thank you for your message. I’m sorry for your loss, that must have been a huge shock. I appreciate your encouraging words xxx

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Hi, so sorry for your loss. My partner died of addiction recently too and it’s very hard. I feel addiction just adds another layer of tragedy. I don’t know if you feel this but I felt I lost my partner many times over and over to addiction because often he wasn’t the person I know him to be. I also lost him every night he was awol and everytime he chose drugs over me or was hospitalised. I’d lie awake terrified he was gone already, and yet when it happened for real I was just so shocked and devastated.


It was a shock for me. He died the day before our wedding!
I hadn’t lived with the drinking as I only saw him at weekends and he was a binge drinker.
We only got back together as he’d been dry for 18 months. I knew the risk of relapse but I think he believed he could stay dry!!

It’s an illness at the end of the day.

I hate that I still am selective who I tell the cause of death to as there is still such a stigma and judgement -attached to death from alcohol and drugs.
I’ve found it makes grieving so hard and complicated. I feel like I’m not being truthful as I think people will judge me for being with him.
Does that make sense?

I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you have been through.
Are you getting support?

Yes it makes perfect sense I totally relate to that. I’m so sorry :cry: xx

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