The Lonely Middle Aged Alcoholic Man!

Most people have a fixed impression of the stereotypical middle aged male drunk. This image is usually conjured up as a down-and-out wino living in shop doorways, sleeping under cardboard, and wearing rags held together by threads of old rope.

Lonely DrunkThe True Master of Disguise!

Although the above types do exist, they are far from representative of most problem drinkers in western societies. A large majority of alcoholics, in the throes of midlife, appear to live a seemingly normal existence when viewed from an outside observation.

First Impressions can be Deceptive

Many of these middle-aged men will own a house, a car, and even be in gainful employment. Countless others will have a partner, 2.4 kids, and a family pet to boot. So just how do they juggle their lives and hold things together?

Well, after years of heavy drinking, the middle aged drunk becomes adept at giving the impression to those around him that life is nothing short of normal. The sad reality is that nothing could be further from normality than the way he chooses to exist.

The Morning after the Night before

The forlorn drinker probably can’t recall his last solid stool. Recovering from early morning hangovers becomes part of his dawn ritual.

Depending on his physical make-up, he may frequently devour pain killers like a ravenous mutt wolfs down doggy snacks.

Typically, the lonely drunk resents his job, the people he works with, and probably cares little for anyone or anything outside of himself and his compulsive drinking.

He might be able to mask these realities from others, and he may well suppress his foul moods, but they’re there, nonetheless, gnawing away at him insistently.

Is it any wonder he drinks as he does?

There’s Nothing ‘Normal’ Living Life as a Middle-aged Drunk.

By the time these ‘still functioning’ aging alcoholic men reach their mid 40’s they have mastered the art of disguising their true self from the world at large. They are well practised at being whoever they think others would like them to be. Most even start to believe their own hype, which is nothing less than the reinforcement of denial.

But every so often, feelings of pain, remorse, and guilt come flooding into the forefront of an alcoholic’s mind. These thoughts are quite uninvited or unprovoked by the man, yet come they will, and mess with his head they do, despite desperate attempts to wish them away.

Characteristically he drinks more to suppress the pain of his situation. Alas, the more he drinks, the more he needs to drink, and so the addiction to booze gets further strengthened with each and every bender. Sadly, alcoholics of this type – who often pass out half way through a spree – are susceptible to causing fires in the home, sometimes with catastrophic consequences.

I know you. Who are you?

The drinker who arrives at soft middle age will habitually leave for work the morning following a heavy binge the night previous. He somehow manages to successfully portray an image to his colleagues of just another ‘Average Joe’.

So here he is, the lonely midlife drunkard constantly putting up a façade that contradicts with his true inner self. This in turn strengthens his septic denial, denial being the biggest hurdle for most midlife alkies to overcome should they decide to take a stab at sobriety.

Nothing Lasts Forever

However, there comes a point in every hardened drinker’s lifetime – usually during his middle years – when he’s no longer able to keep up these fallacious appearances of ‘normality’. When his façade does start to crumble, one of two things will happen:

  1. His life spirals downwards rapidly, or…
  2. He reaches out for help.

Reaching Out to Others

Asking for help usually takes place during a wakeup call of some description. It’s a desperate attempt to get sober before everything and everyone around him gets totally trashed.

The Downward Spiral

Sadly, the downward spiral is more common than the cry for help, hence the poor recovery rate among societies’ midlife boozers. Sadder still is the fact that around one third of all middle aged men in western countries now indulge in risky drinking. Alcoholism is rampant among society’s middle aged men and it’s getting worse.

By the time the lonely middle-aged alcoholic reaches his 50?s, his mind may have become extremely warped as a direct result from decades of heavy and uncontrollable drinking.

How Low can he go?

AlcoholicMore often than not, this sad and lonely individual will now be in a poor physical, mental, and spiritual condition. He will have to lose just about everything and everyone dear to him before he’s ready to even consider a new and sober lifestyle.

The medical profession refer to these men as low bottom drunks that have little chance of recovery. Alas, the above is all too often a correct assessment. But with new and innovative approaches to treatment evolving all the time, there is, nonetheless, more hope for the hopeless than there ever was in the past.

If it’s to be, it’s up to me. Isn’t it?

Despite all the available help and support for twenty-first century alcoholics, none of it’s of any use whatsoever unless the man himself wants sobriety MORE than he wants to mask his pain through intoxication. As that old adage goes; “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. This is so applicable to the predicament of any wasted drunkard.

Not all Loneliness is Solved by the Company of Others!

Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing, though the active alcoholic eventually finds himself being both alone and lonely. A condition which is a recipe for progressive ruin! This state of being is usually centered solely in the mind, but it is nevertheless a very real isolation fixed in the psyche of a desperate drunkard.

Loneliness of this type has nothing to do with people. Oftentimes, an alcoholic will feel increasingly more lonely and more isolated when the numbers of people around him grow. Strange as it may sound, but the happier and more upbeat those people that surround him are, the more lonesome he becomes.

His loneliness is that of the human spirit. It is an inside job that only the individual can fix if he wants to be freed from his malady. But he has to want recovery badly enough if he’s to achieve any level of sobriety and serenity in his future life.

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Help is only Helpful – when it’s Wanted!

Yes there is help and support out there, and lots of it. And yes, it is possible to change a life around starting this very minute, on this very day. But nothing or nobody can help the middle aged alcoholic unless he’s ready to help himself.

No drinker is to blame for his problem any more than someone with ADHD can be held accountable for their condition. But what he is responsible for is his solution.

Help & Resources for Suffering Alcoholics

The types of help and recovery resources for alcoholics are still evolving. Although Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is still the most popular by far, there is a plethora of other options for those who can’t or won’t accept a 12 step approach to sobriety. SMART Recovery is one of them, but there are many others. Visit the 50ish forum here for a list of options.

A Final Word from Andy Aitch
(Webmaster of 50ish.org)

Not all recovery involves checking into rehabilitation centers, a period often referred to as rehab or in-house treatment. With so many choices available for recovery, you will surely find something that meets your needs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Anyone can develop alcoholism at any age. By that I mean early teens and up. If you are a younger visitor reading this, or a concerned parent, just know that it’s never too early to get into recovery, in fact the sooner the better.

Whoever you are, wherever you happen to be in the world, 50ish.org wishes you
the very best of luck.

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Readers Comments

    Marsha says:

    My husband is in bed right now. He has been drinking all day again and went to bed angry and saying how the world revolves around me. I am so depressed I head for sweets and sugar, but no alcohol. Our daughter thinks her dad is always like this,and ignores him a lot. I love him very much and he actually didnt drink for two weeks and it was amazing. Then he just started back up again. I keep worrying that he is just going to pop and die. He has high blood pressure, very bad restless legs that keep both of us up most of the night, he has angina and his fasting glucose is now bad. How long can someone last that has been drinking 1/2 bottle of Jack for 25 years now? He is very able, holds a job, etc., but has no ambition and hates everything.


      Andy Aitch says:

      Hello Marsha and thanks for your comments.

      What you say about your husband is, sadly, an all too familiar situation. Alcoholism doesn’t only affect the alcoholic, but also the lives of those closest to him/her as is your experience.

      The other sad fact about this is that the one drinking will only stop when he is ready to. What I can say from experience though is that recovering alcoholics need people in their lives that can understand and relate to their malady, i.e. fellow recovering alcoholics. Books, TV documentaries, and general education are all well and good, but on their own will do little to help in most cases. This is why many alcoholics do better when they join a group such as AA, or whatever else is available in their area.

      Good luck with your situation and I hope that things get better for you and your family soon.

      Andy Aitch


    George says:

    Why do we have this invisible self-destruct button on our person? If we’re not drinking ourselves to death, we’re eating ourselves into an early grave. And how many men and women continue to smoke themselves to death?

    It’s all a bit grim, isn’t it. George Colorado



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