It can be frightening and stressful to be married to an alcoholic. You may begin to internalize many of your sentiments about what is happening due to your partner’s alcoholism, and you may become despondent. You may not have understood you were marrying an alcoholic at the time, or your spouse may not have been an alcoholic at the time you married, and the issue may have worsened over time.
When you’re married to an alcoholic, you may constantly ponder whether divorce is unavoidable and how it might be avoided. You may also ask how you can go about your normal life when something like this is always hovering over you. Alcoholics may act recklessly or dangerously, be irrational, have financial and employment problems, and frequently lie or cheat; this is just the beginning of how this disease manifests itself.
When you’re married to an alcoholic, no matter how many times you beg or plead, you undoubtedly feel like your words are falling on deaf ears, and they are. So, what should you do if you’re married to an alcoholic? Is divorce the only way out? There’s no doubt that addiction and alcoholism are significant causes of divorce for millions of families, but here are some tips for dealing with life when you’re married to an alcoholic.
Being Married to an Alcoholic
Being married to an alcoholic is difficult, and keeping your marriage working can be even more difficult. Sometimes referred to as an alcoholic marriage, this toxic marital dynamic takes a significant emotional, financial, and physical toll on the couple and the drinker. Not only that, but it frequently causes irreversible harm to the relationship, which is why marriages involving someone with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) have a higher divorce rate. Recognizing the warning signs that your spouse’s drinking has become excessive could save both the marriage and their lives.
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Struggles of Being Married To An Alcoholic
Alcoholism does not develop overnight. The process is so subtle that a spouse may not notice their husband or wife is becoming an alcoholic right in front of their eyes. Another reason why a drinking issue stays undiscovered is that the spouse may be an enabler, making excuses for the husband or wife and refusing to recognize the harmful behavior.
#1. They are having problems finding or retaining a job.
One of the clear indicators of a drinking problem is when it interferes with substantial everyday activities like school or a job. The work performance of an alcoholic is frequently the first to suffer, most commonly as a result of calls out due to hangovers or being intoxicated during working hours. Once fired, individuals may have difficulties obtaining new jobs or keeping up work for more than a few days or weeks, which can devastate household finances.
#2. They avoid family obligations.
Marriage is a collaboration, and problems arise rapidly when you can no longer rely on your partner. Whether it’s household management or kid raising, if your spouse consistently drops the ball, it’s a clear sign that their priorities have altered.
#3. There has been a decline in personal hygiene.
Alcoholism is a condition that both physically and psychologically damages the body. One of the adverse effects is an increasing disinterest in everything other than drinking. As a result, your spouse’s hygiene routine has gone on pause for a lengthy period.
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#4. They have rapid mood swings.
Alcohol disrupts neurochemicals. The ensuing imbalance might lead to developing or worsening mental health issues. Anxiety and depression are frequent. Your partner may experience rapid changes in emotional states due to advancements in alcoholism.
#5. They forego meals
Alcoholics are prone to malnutrition and anemia, partly due to their habit of skipping meals in favor of an alcoholic beverage. If your partner regularly passes up meals while holding a drink, it could indicate that alcohol has surpassed their basic survival instincts.
#6. Unintentional weight gain or loss
Weight swings are another effect of a drinking problem. If they frequently miss meals, as previously noted, you may observe them losing weight seemingly without explanation. Alcohol use disorders, on the other hand, can result in severe weight gain because alcohol contains carbs and sugars that are difficult for the body to burn. Furthermore, alcohol disrupts the digestive system and might result in a slowed metabolism, which adds to weight gain.
#7. They exhibit high-risk conduct.
A chronic drinking problem can harm the region of the brain that controls impulses and makes sensible decisions. As a result, you may find your husband or wife participating in risky activities they would not ordinarily engage in. This could manifest as gambling, illicit behavior, or repeated automobile accidents. However, this can also replace routine activities such as skipping work or picking fights.
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Married to an Alcoholic Husband
When excessive drinking becomes a habit, it is referred to as an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or, more colloquially, alcoholism. An AUD endangers the individual’s health and safety and necessitates treatment at an alcohol detox center and an alcohol rehab program. If you suspect you are married to an alcoholic, here are some warning signs to look for.
#1. They consume more alcohol than they should.
Drinking excessively is a significant indicator of alcoholism. However, the amount that is safe to drink differs between men and women. Consuming more than four drinks in a single day or 14 drinks per week significantly increases the risk of alcoholism in men. Drinking more than three drinks in a single day or seven drinks per week is enough to raise the risk for women.
Your husband may also binge drink, which is five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in less than two hours. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says that binge drinking five or more times a week is heavy alcohol use.
#2. They need more to become drunk.
Most folks only need one or two drinks to get a buzz going. However, one or two drinks will not get them intoxicated enough for your wife or husband. While one drink used to suffice, they may now require five or six before they feel anything. This is called “enhanced tolerance,” and it happens because their bodies have gotten used to drinking often.
#3. When they stop drinking, they experience withdrawal symptoms.
Does your hubby complain about shaking in the morning? If this is the case, they may be experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These appear whenever your partner hasn’t had a drink in a while. Other warning signals to look out for are:
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- Sleeping difficulties
- Vomiting and nausea
- Appetite loss
- feeling exhausted.
#4. They have cravings for alcohol
It’s normal to want a beer bottle after work, but your spouse’s desire is more robust. They may believe that they will perish unless they consume alcohol. These cravings can strike at any time or environment, causing people to consume alcohol in areas where it would not typically be acceptable.
#5. They spend a lot of time being hungover
A hangover is frequent after a heavy drinking session, during which you feel ill and achy as your body recovers. Being hungover may be a regular occurrence for your wife or husband. As a result, individuals may constantly feel poorly and complain about it.
Married to an Alcoholic Narcissist
Alcoholism and mental health issues can be touchy subjects. A person suffering from narcissism and alcoholism most usually has low self-esteem and may find it difficult to recognize that they have a problem. Unfortunately, addiction treatment might be especially difficult for them. If they relapse, they may feel like failures and may blame others.
Everyone has a rationale for their actions, and an alcoholic narcissist may tell you an excellent reason why they should drink, whether or not those reasons are justified. They may see their problem as a personal flaw or failure that they are embarrassed to discuss.
It can be challenging to tell if someone you know is an alcoholic or a narcissist if they demonstrate destructive, selfish conduct and will not be held accountable for it because of their drinking. After all, this conduct appears to be appropriate under both scenarios. Symptoms of being married to an alcoholic narcissist include:
- Inadequate self-examination
- Refusing to accept responsibility
The good news is that narcissistic personality disorder and alcoholism are both highly treatable conditions. Alcoholic narcissists frequently refuse help because they are entirely convinced that they are in the right and have the right to do whatever they want.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Narcissism and Alcoholism
Co-occurring illnesses can be challenging to diagnose because they frequently affect each other and have overlapping symptoms. It is always critical for dual-diagnosis individuals to simultaneously receive treatment for both conditions. Treating alcoholism without addressing narcissism or other mental health issues that underpin substance addiction increases the likelihood of recurrence and the need for more professional treatment. Alcoholic narcissists require dual diagnosis treatment for these reasons.
A thorough treatment plan is the safest strategy to overcome a co-occurring disorder. These approaches include a variety of therapy and aftercare programs that target both alcoholism and mental health issues. Detoxification is typically the initial stage of a multi-phase therapy regimen. During this stage, the alcohol is completely cleared from the body. After detox, a person can enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to continue their recovery.
Inpatient rehabilitation occurs at a residential institution where patients are cared for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This treatment is ideal for people who have struggled with co-occurring disorders while dealing with issues at work or home. Inpatient facilities include therapy sessions, support groups, and medication-based therapy in a safe, supportive atmosphere, allowing people to focus on their rehabilitation without being distracted by outside stressors.
How to Stay Married to an Alcoholic
Staying married to an alcoholic is a fluid process. It is a journey rather than a recipe. What works for you in one situation or moment may not work in another. As a result, having various coping skills in your toolkit is critical. You can help yourself cope with the experience of being married to an alcoholic by doing the following:
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is critical to your ability to cope, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It could include things like meditating, working out, or finding new things to enjoy during this hard time. Making time for these things and even prioritizing them might be advantageous.
#2. Peer support groups
such as Al-Anon, which was formed to assist the families of alcoholics. You can acquire coping techniques at Al-Anon that will help you detach from your partner’s behaviors and take care of yourself. Furthermore, these groups may help you deal with your partner’s drinking more constructively while also providing support and connection with others going through a similar experience.
#3. Involve family or friends who can make you feel more supported.
Be open and honest about what you need from them. Remember that you are not alone in this.
This can be useful for figuring out how to stay married to an alcoholic. According to studies, even if the alcoholic spouse refuses to seek help, family counseling can help the nonalcoholic spouse reduce stress and learn coping skills.
#5. Educate yourself.
Based on what your spouse is going through, what treatments and services might they be able to access when they are ready to seek help? Be prepared to feel more at ease when they are ready to talk about their difficulties.
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What Can You Do If You’re Married to an Alcoholic?
One of the distinguishing characteristics of alcoholism is a denial of the problem or blaming others. First and foremost, it is critical not to blame alcoholics for anything. It’s also critical that you don’t allow them to make excuses. When you’re married to an alcoholic, taking care of yourself is crucial. Take time to do things you enjoy, and think about joining a support group for those who care about alcoholics.
A support group will allow you to express your thoughts and create a social network, which is critical to avoiding depression due to your stressful condition. When you’re married to an alcoholic and looking for solutions to help the situation, having an intervention is one of the greatest options. During an intervention, the alcoholic’s closest loved ones gather to talk to him or her about obtaining help. In this case, you’ve probably already chosen a treatment center and planned everything so that if the addict accepts help, they can leave practically immediately.
You could also consult with a professional therapist who is familiar with addiction concerns. Seeking expert assistance is truly your only choice. There is no way to talk, argue, or humiliate an alcoholic out of their addiction to alcohol. The more you attempt, the more frustrated and exhausted you’re going to become. If nothing else works, you may have to consider divorce, but first, consider joining a support group, planning an intervention, and visiting with an addiction therapist or counselor.
If your spouse refuses to accept a problem or needs help, it may be time to seek the professional help of a licensed interventionist. If your partner agrees to seek professional assistance, you have several options. Conduct thorough research ahead of time to ensure they receive the required service.
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Detoxification Under Medical Guidance
Detox is frequently seen as the initial stage of treatment. It will assist you in navigating the complex process of alcohol withdrawal but will not address the patterns of thought and behavior contributing to alcohol consumption. After detox, several treatment approaches and venues can provide the continuing support needed to maintain long-term sobriety.
Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for alcohol use disorder and mental health issues are frequently utilized in tandem. This involves the administration of drugs as well as other medical treatments. During your rehab, your treatment facility’s professionals will assist you in determining what caused your addiction. They will teach you tools to help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that contributed to your addiction. Sometimes the stresses and troubles in your life cause you to turn to substances to help you temporarily forget about them.
Integrated Mental Health Treatment
Because alcohol hurts mental health, people may use it to self-medicate for untreated conditions. Typically, rehab institutions include mental health screenings, diagnoses, and integrated treatment for co-occurring illnesses. Furthermore, holistic and therapeutic approaches are frequently employed to treat these issues in recovering addicts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are two types of behavioral therapy (DBT). CBT addresses negative and dysfunctional mental patterns while promoting good emotions and beliefs, whereas DBT assists clients in managing competing urges to make healthy choices. Both techniques are used to address substance misuse and mental health issues. Therapy also teaches individuals how to recognize, avoid, and minimize triggers for drug cravings.
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c. Although you cannot force them to seek help, you can encourage them to do so. Simultaneously, make it a point to support yourself by setting clear boundaries, avoiding self-blame, and seeking treatment if necessary.
Remember that you cannot heal them. Nonetheless, showing compassion and kindness while articulating your worries and giving treatment options might play an important role in their decision to strive toward recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the life expectancy of an alcoholic?
People hospitalized for alcohol consumption disorders have a life expectancy of 47–53 years for males and 50–58 years for women, and they die 24–28 years earlier than the general population.
What drinking does to a relationship?
Alcoholism is linked to codependency in relationships as well as verbal and physical abuse. Arguments, financial difficulties, acts of infidelity, or worse, domestic violence, are common causes of breakdown in married or unmarried partnerships.
Can an alcoholic have a healthy relationship with alcohol?
It can be tough to learn to moderate your alcohol consumption, but it is possible to restore a more healthy relationship with alcohol in the future.
Can heavy drinkers live a long life?
In general, research has not identified health benefits for people who drink more heavily. A recent analysis claims that alcohol addiction is leading to a drop in U.S. life expectancy.