Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are sadly linked with domestic violence. Alcoholics are more likely to batter their wives (and husbands, but most family violence is perpetrated by men) and they are more likely to batter while intoxicated.

So if they stop drinking, if they can get help for their substance abuse problems, will the battery stop?

Unfortunately, it probably won’t.

One very telling statistic is that although many violent abusers will batter more often while drunk, most will also sometimes batter while sober. Often they will use intoxication as an excuse or a justification for the violence, but since they also beat their wives while they are sober, we know that alcohol does not cause the violence. We also know that since alcohol doesn’t cause the violence, simply eliminating alcohol from the equation will also not eliminate the violence.

If a violent abuser promises to get help for their alcohol abuse, this is a good thing and a step forward, but it is not a solution in itself. To truly better the family situation, men will need therapy both to eliminate the substance abuse and also to work on anger management and self control. Without getting some pretty intensive domestic abuse therapy, they are not at all likely to change for the better.

Some men can change; some men can learn with professional help how to live without violence, others cannot. Even with therapy for the violence, should you stay? Most professionals would argue that you shouldn’t and that the risks of future violence and your right to live without fear supersedes all else.

One thing that you can be certain of is that without therapy, he will never stop the battery. Men who show a pattern of family violence will not stop without help; no matter what they say, no matter how sorry they are and even if they do stop drinking, it will happen again.

If you or a loved one is in a situation of family violence, and the abuser is unwilling to get professional help to better their violent and abusive tendencies, there is no real option other than to get out and get safe. You have to take care of yourself and your children first, and although it’s never an easy decision, know that they won’t stop, know that it will probably get worse, and know that you can’t change them.

If you need help, do a Google search for “domestic violence and your city or county” to get information about local and safe options, and to get some 1800 numbers where you can call for good local advice.

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