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Can a Marriage Survive Alcoholism?

by Carey

Do you think it’s possible for a marriage to survive alcoholism? My husband and I have been married 13 years. The first 2-3 years were great, then he began sinking into his alcoholism which lasted around 8 years, and now for the last 2 or so he’s been sober.

I honestly just feel we have nothing really in common anymore. He is very focused on his recovery and is very involved with AA, and so there isn’t much really to talk about because he mostly just uses AA and recovery lingo nowadays.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for him, and am thrilled he’s sober again, but being married to him when he was drinking, was really hard, and I think I lost something then which we haven’t really been able to re-kindle, even since he’s been sober.

I’m not even sure I’m that sad anymore, maybe our time together has just run its course?



Hi Carey

Relationships are hard work at the best of times. Throw in a spouse suffering from an addiction, and it can become almost impossible, so the fact that you’re still together is a blessing in itself. So when it comes to alcoholism and marriage it’s almost impossible to predict how things will turn out.

Your husband has no doubt undergone a massive change and the fact that he’s so serious about his recovery is great, but that can still put a strain on the relationship because that’s where all his focus now lies, so feeling distant and probably a little left out and neglected is not unusual for someone in your position.

The best thing you can do is focus on yourself again, and discover the things you enjoy doing and that make you happy, because that would have been incredibly difficult no doubt while your husband was in the middle of his addiction. As much as your husband is focused on his recovery, you also need time to heal and re-discover yourself because addiction does affect family and loved ones massively as well. So make that your focus, and while you and your husband are both busy rediscovering yourselves, you will hopefully end up rediscovering each other.

But if that doesn’t work, then it may be time to consider counselling and see if that won’t help your marriage. You may be right that your relationship has run its course because I think that can happen, but in your case I still think it’s too early to tell, and there is a lot you can still do and try before making such a big and permanent decision.

Don’t also forget the importance of communicating your feelings to your husband. He may simply be so wrapped up in his recovery, that all he needs is a little prod to remind him that he also needs to work at your relationship.

So don’t give up yet. Things can still change.

Best Wishes

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May 25, 2013
How're you doing now?
by: Anonymous

I'm going through the exact same thing in my marriage....been dealing so long, I'm almost numb to it. I feel like he left us 10 years ago when this addiction took hold. So even tho he's still here, he hasn't been HERE. He's in a 90 day treatment program but when he gets out, I'm done (and im not even upset about it). Let me know how you're doing

Oct 12, 2012
alcoholism ruined it all
by: Anonymous

My husband has been sober 8 months. It has been a struggle, emotional connection appears to have gone. Don't feel like a real married couple anymore. Husband doesn't communicate on an emotional level and submerges himself into reading books. Lonely marriage really. Alcoholism ruined everything.

Feb 18, 2011
My alcoholic wife is in recovery
by: Anonymous

My wife is now 7 months into recovery,attending both aa and rehab clinic ,although she appears. To look a lot healthier, emotionally very up and down. I have been to alanon but found I was the only male there.our family is very concerned about the fear of relapse and my wifes safety as she seems to be over confident and emotionally vulnerable with also an acceptance of people she shouldn't trust ?she has had a drinking problem for more tha ten years ! I have always been a light drinker .living with a alcoholic wife who I love has drained me emotionally and is a very lonely existence. Hope things wil improve soon

Oct 04, 2009
It Can
by: C-P

Yes it can, but it all depends on the individuals involved. If you both really want the marriage to work - and are prepared to put the effort in to do so,absolutely. Ultimately I think it all boils down to a question of desire - how much you both want it to work. If you want it, you'll do everything you can, but if not, I fear it will be very tough. But don't make any hasty decisions. We go through periods where things do feel disjointed, difficult and not the way we'd like them to be, but things do change, so its important to remember that. I do hope it all works out though.

Sep 27, 2009
Thank you
by: Carey

Thank you for your advice. I know I mustn't rush into any hasty decisions, but I think living with an alcoholic for so long almost numbs you in a way. Maybe as an act of self preservation I taught myself how to shut off. That's why I don't even feel that much right now. Who knows what the future holds for us but you're right in saying that I need to get my own life back on track and in doing so I'm sure everything will work out for the best.

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