Alcoholism and Marriage? Can they coexist? What do you do if your spouse or partner is an alcoholic? How do you deal with that? Is there a way out?
This is a tough one because you’re dealing with something out of your control. And that’s something you have to remember. There is nothing you can do about someone else’s behaviour, much less if they have a drinking problem. So whatever you do, don’t blame yourself about what’s happening. Even if your spouse or partner is playing the blame game and throwing a lot of what’s happening at your door, trying to make you feel guilty, remember it’s NOT YOU and has nothing to do with you.
Chances are though they’ll be in denial about the reality of their drinking problem. You’ve heard every excuse in the book about their drinking not being that bad – or if it has become so obvious to even themselves that they do have a problem (this usually happens when their life really starts falling apart like they lose their job, get into financial trouble, end up in hospital or jail), they make countless promises about how they’ll stop but never do.
So where does that leave you? Can you make alcoholism and marriage work?
Your self-esteem is no doubt being destroyed through all of this - and at worst you may be the victim of abuse because most cases of abuse are alcohol induced. Having kids compounds the problem tenfold – because you have no idea of the long-term damage your spouses alcoholism is having on them. I know, I was the child of an alcoholic parent.
So my feeling as far as alcoholism and marriage goes is this - if there is any kind of abuse involved, that you leave – without question!! Putting your (and your children’s) lives at stake is a risk you just cannot take. And if you find it difficult, just think of the kids and the harm you’re doing them by leaving them exposed to that kind of environment. You may not be responsible for your husband or wife’s drinking, but you are responsible for leaving your kids exposed to an environment that can have devastating long-term consequences for them.
And you cannot then even contemplate going back – until your spouse has gone for treatment and gotten a period of sobriety under their belts. At least 3 months, but preferably 6 – to show this is for real and that they are serious about changing. Otherwise it will just be a case of further empty promises.
If however it’s just you – you have no kids to worry about and there is no abuse – you have to start creating consequences for your husband/wife if they continue to drink. Because pleading or making threats soon wears thin.
It might be that you insist on therapy or AA – or if things are bad enough, professional treatment. But most importantly you need to have a consequence if they don’t agree. And you need to be serious about it and mean it. Are you going to leave? It has to be something they’ll really value and will miss.
Performing an Alcoholism Intervention can be an extremely powerful method in getting a loved one help or into treatment. If you’re really looking for expert and detailed advice on doing an Intervention or are not totally sure of yourself - I suggest you get professional help - because this is such an important thing to get right. You only get one shot at an intervention so you have to make sure there are no mistakes.
So coming back to whether alcoholism and marriage can be made to work, it really is a tough question. Do you have kids to consider, how bad have things become, is there abuse involved?
Remember the longer you let things continue – the more you become an enabler to your spouses behaviour. A really common excuse I hear is that "I love him/her so I need to be there for them." Don’t kid yourself (and I know that sounds harsh) because how are you showing someone love by letting them continue the way they are?
Real love is often taking the tough approach - being firm – and creating consequences for actions like continuous drinking and drug using - because ultimately that’s the best chance you’ve got of creating change because that way your alcoholic or addicted husband or wife, begins to have to face up to the consequences and damage their drinking and using is causing.
Otherwise you just end up being a door mat and you lose all your sense of self worth – and so not only is your spouse’s life being destroyed, but yours as well. Codependency is just another form of addiction. Is that what you want for yourself?
There is more courage in doing something and taking action – than doing nothing at all. You need to sit down and really think about what you want from your life. Letting things just drift helps no one. The Alcoholism and Divorce question is something you may eventually have to consider.
Whatever you decide to do certainly won’t be easy. Getting through alcoholism and marriage is tough, but it can be done. You may also want to consider Al Anon - For Families and Friends of Alcoholics where you can find support from others who are going through what you are.
Knowing the Effects of Alcoholism on Children and how to deal with the likely problem of Depression and Alcoholism that many are afflicted by will further help you deal with the problem of alcoholism in a marriage.
If you're married to an alcoholic or addict, Help Me! I'm in Love With an Addict: How To Survive a Relationship With an Alcoholic or Drug Addict is a book you should try get your hands on.
It goes into a lot of detail about the best methods to try and help your spouse, while also answering those tough questions like whether you should consider a divorce, and what you can do to make sure you ultimately find peace and happiness again.
If you're frustrated with your marriage and are desperately looking for answers, Help! I'm In Love With An Alcoholic will show you there is another way and that things don't have to continue as they are.
If you're serious about making changes, you'll discover all you need to know about it by Clicking Here
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