How Alcoholism Affects Marriage
Alcoholism is a powerful disease. It’s an addiction that holds power over a person and can create major tension in a person’s relationships, especially in a marriage or partnership. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there are serious problems that can arise in a marriage or partnership when a spouse (or both spouses) have an addiction to alcohol. Some of these effects of alcohol issues include:
- Dysfunctional or non-existent communication skills between partners.
- Violence, typically initiated by the spouse with the drinking problem.
- More frequent cases of infidelity, for both spouses.
- The alcoholic spouse may show signs of jealousy towards the non-drinking spouse’s life, friends or career.
- Financial problems and economic instability – due to the alcoholic’s decreased ability to hold a job and the amount of money spent on alcohol.
- Legal troubles, such as DUIs or other alcohol-related offenses.
- Decreased family function. Family often is fractured and spends much time apart, due to drinking.
- If there are children involved, the alcoholic’s parenting skills are severely limited.
- Marriage or partnership ends in separation or divorce.
Helping a Spouse Dealing with Alcoholism
Spouses and partners of alcoholics can’t force the alcoholic into alcohol addiction treatment or counseling, but they can take steps to encourage an addict to seek much-needed alcohol detox and alcohol rehab. The NIAAA offers the following helpful suggestions:
- Don’t “cover up” the problem. Cover-ups allow a drinker to continue drinking in peace. Only when an alcoholic realizes that they will not be able to continue their destructive addiction with their spouse making excuses for them, they are more likely to change.
- Talk about it: When drinking affects your relationship, tell them specifically WHY and HOW. Say things like “It really hurt that you missed our son’s soccer game because you were hungover.”
- Time interventions: Only talk to your spouse when he or she is sober or calm. Talking to a drunk person about their drinking is never effective – and could become a volatile situation.
- Get help: Enlist other family members and friends to back you up. Talk to an addiction specialist for support tips.
- Set an ultimatum: You have to be prepared to set consequences for their actions and follow through. Alcoholics cannot be allowed to hurt your family and manipulate you. Sometimes, moving out or separation is a powerful motivator for them to seek help.
- Find professional support: Addiction counselors and medical experts that are specifically trained to handle alcohol addiction can help you navigate the difficult and emotional aspects of getting a loved one into treatment.
How Inpatient Drug Rehab and Alcohol Rehab Can Help
The NIAAA reports that a large percentage of couples entering marriage therapy say that alcohol is a “major problem factor” in their relationship. Therapy is an excellent tool to help a couple understand just how destructive alcohol is to a relationship – but it cannot address the root cause of the problems: the addiction itself. Treatment for addiction with outpatient or inpatient drug rehab or alcohol rehab is often the most effective course of action because it removes an addict from their “regular life” and allows them to focus completely on alcohol detox, addiction treatment and alcohol addiction counseling. Inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab is a powerful option for those who feel as if addiction has taken over their life.
If your partner or spouse has a problem with alcoholism, you need to seek professional help. The Hills Treatment Center is a Los Angeles private addiction rehab center that offers comprehensive and effective treatment for drug and alcohol dependency and addiction. The Hills private detox center offers inpatient and outpatient options and has every amenity needed to help patients break free of their physical, emotional and mental addiction to alcohol and other drugs. To learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment options at The Hills Treatment Center, visit The Hills web site for more information.