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Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse

coping with an alcoholic spouse

Coping with an alcoholic spouse can be extremely difficult, but there are ways to preserve your wellbeing along the way.

Addiction affects not just the addict, but anyone close to them who spends time and shares space with them, especially family or housemates. The people who have an addict or alcoholic in the family all suffer right alongside them. Alcoholism can tear families apart, it contributes to the decline of the quality of life in the home, regardless of which member of the household it affects, for nobody’s life ever improved from getting drunk and high on a daily basis. In some instances the alcoholic is quite functional and supports the family, while in others the alcoholic can be a complete drain on familial resources, catching repeat DUI charges, hiring an attorney, going to jail, wrecking the car and dragging the rest of the people in the family right down along with them.  

When a person struggles with alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, they often try to hide the problem from those close to them. They will tell lies and go to great lengths to keep their habit a secret for 2 reasons. First, they do not wish for the secret to get out because they know it is a bad habit, and they feel shame, but life is only tolerable with a slight buzz. The 2nd is more insidious, the alcoholic does not wish to be caught out because they do not want to stop drinking, it takes center stage in their life, to the detriment of their marriage. Unfortunately no matter how much an alcoholic works at keeping their secret hidden, alcohol being a depressant that affects memory, coordination and cognitive abilities, it ultimately reveals itself to those people close to them.  

Having an alcoholic spouse often affects the other partner quite negatively in their own life, it can cause problems at their work and in their other relationships because they are forced to actively lie and fabricate excuses to explain away their alcoholic partner’s actions. Many times the spouse internalizes blame and convinces themselves they are somehow responsible for their partner’s alcoholism, they tell themselves that if they somehow were a better spouse, their partner would not need to drink, and it is their own shortcomings that led to this problem. Al-Anon is a 12-step program for people who have an alcoholic family member because once the situation takes root, it will require work to get back to feeling happy, healthy and free. In the case of any teens, Alateen is available for teenagers, it is far easier for teens to confide with someone their own age, in a similar situation.

Coping With An Alcoholic Spouse

With some work, you will again have clarity and coping with your alcoholic spouse can give you an objective view into your situation and determine the full extent of your spouse’s addiction. You can determine whether they will seek treatment or, if it is a lost cause. There comes a point when the spouse must take a more self-centered approach and look out for themselves and any children or other relatives in the home also affected. Are they abusive when they drink? Are you staying out of a sense of fear or loyalty? Are they unpredictably dangerous when they drink and do they show any sign of stopping or at least, slowing down? Once you are fully aware a problem exists, and you do not speak up for the benefit of the family unit, then you are enabling that addiction to strengthen its grip and grow stronger and do more damage. Do not fall into that habit, where your silence means you are actively facilitating and contributing to their alcohol abuse. 

This sounds awful because it is, alcoholism is a progressively worsening condition and that alcoholic spouse and parent can drag the entire family down with them. The spouse must examine if their drinking negatively affects their own life. Maybe it interferes with your ability to provide for family members. Has your spouse sought treatment, and how long was it successful? If they have relapsed then the problem currently is definitely worse than before, that is what an addiction does, it grows stronger. So examine where how far down the slide your partner is, will it require an intervention, or would they get help if confronted and given adequate support? Is their drinking to that point where it can no longer be controlled, or they simply refuse to try? 

Studies have revealed that if your partner is an alcoholic, and you have a child of the same gender, that child has 90% greater odds of also developing a problem with alcohol, and that should be enough for you to make up your mind, that is how deeply alcoholism can affect a family. While it may be possible to justify your staying with an alcoholic, allowing children to remain in a dysfunctional, alcoholic household might result in child protection authorities becoming involved, especially if there are any signs of abuse present, and rightly so. If that occurs, coping with your alcoholic spouse may now be shared with coping with your children’s struggles. In severe cases, if the problem devolves far enough from normal the children may need to be removed until your partner leaves or cleans up. 

Alcoholics often become agitated because their thinking processes grow blunted from the cumulative effects of too much alcohol, too often. This frustration often results in developing long-term health conditions, legal problems like incarceration, permanent injury, dissolution of the family unit, even loss of the home and assets in cases where a civil suit for a drunken accident comes into play. Alcohol was a factor in 55% of all domestic abuse cases and the heavier the drinking in the home, the greater those odds increased right along at the same rate of alcohol consumption. 

Alcohol Rehab in Dallas, TX

Casa Colina understands how alcoholism can ruin a family’s affection and trust and what a vital role that relationship is to treating an alcoholic spouse, so they strive to always include measures designed to heal the alcoholic, and also the remaining family members. They offer full family counseling in addition to treating the alcoholic. Once you know there is a problem, as unpleasant as it is any delay is enabling the problem to worsen so contact Casa Colina in Dallas, TX by calling (844) 974-CASA or, click here and email them today. 

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