Dealing with an Alcoholic Spouse

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 in Marriage

An alcohol addiction is one of the most challenging marriage problems as it can lead to a lot of dramatic situations. This addiction can not only hurt the person who is suffering from it but also the people around that person. When dealing with an alcoholic spouse, you must understand that the worse thing that you can do is nothing. Whether or not you have children, you need to address this addiction the moment that you notice it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it is only a phase or that everybody needs something to relax once in a while. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be to deal with it.

  •   Recognizing the addiction

You should know that an alcohol addiction is not very easy to recognize. A lot of people start drinking regularly because they want to relax or forget about their problems. For a while, everything is alright. The problems occur when something stands in the way of their drinking such as accusations from friends and family members or money problems. People who suffer from alcoholism are often very insensitive to other people’s needs and feelings. The can physically and emotionally harm their loved ones without realizing or even remembering.

  • How alcoholism can affect your life

Dealing with an alcoholic spouse is a very hard mission. A lot of people prefer to avoid the problems and hope that they will go away by themselves. However, alcoholism can degenerate into serious problems such as infidelity, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional traumas and so on. These problems are even more dangerous when they are affecting the children. According to a survey performed by the Iowa mental health clinic, almost 70% of the daughters of alcoholic fathers have been sexually abused at least once by their fathers when they were under the influence of alcohol.

  • What are your choices?

If your spouse suffers from an alcohol addiction you have three choices: you can stay and do nothing, you can leave your spouse or you can confront the problem and try to solve it. Staying and bearing the problems caused by an alcoholic spouse is the worse possible choice. A lot of women do this because they don’t want their children to suffer due to a divorce. However, in most cases it is better for the children to be away from their alcoholic parent. Leaving can be a healthy solution for you or/and your children. However, choosing to leave without trying to solve the problems caused by alcoholism is not the best thing to do either. You need to confront your spouse and try to help him/her get rid of this addition.

  • Essential tips

When dealing with an alcoholic spouse, you need to be calm yet determined. You must only bring up these problems when your spouse is sober and you have his/her full attention. In preparation for this discussion, make a list of all the things that hurt you and your family when your spouse is under the influence. Don’t accuse your spouse but be very specific and descriptive. For example, don’t start yelling at your spouse because his/her drunken behavior embarrassed you in front of your friends. Instead, try to explain that it hurts you that people are looking down on him/her due to the fact that he/she is always causing scenes while being under the influence. If your discussions produce no results than you need to seek professional help. Start visiting a psychiatrist in order to get advice on dealing with an alcoholic spouse and try to convince your spouse to attend your sessions. However, if your spouse has psychically hurt you or your children, you need to leave as soon as possible. You don’t have to divorce your spouse but you need to distance yourself until he/she overcomes the addiction and can once again be trusted.

In order to overcome the emotional problems caused by alcohol abuse you need to understand a few things. First of all, there is no good excuse for being an alcoholic. It doesn’t matter if your spouse if going through a rough period or if he/she needs to relax. Furthermore, you are not responsible for your alcoholic spouse; you don’t have to lie for him/her in order to cover up the substance abuse problems and you don’t have to care for him/her when dealing with a hangover. Furthermore, if you decide to leave, you shouldn’t consider how this decision will affect your spouse. Your safety and/or the safety of your children should be your first concern.