How to Cope When Living With an Alcoholic Spouse

alcoholic spouse

How to Cope When Living With an Alcoholic Spouse

Alcoholism doesn’t simply affect the alcoholic–it impacts the lives of their loved ones and communities, too. People who struggle with alcoholism are not often able to contribute to their communities or have healthy, loving relationships with those around them. They often cannot be responsible workers, parents, or spouses until they get the treatment they need to overcome their addiction.

If you are married to an alcoholic, you probably understand the stress, worry, anger, guilt, and shame that often surround this condition. When you have an alcoholic spouse, it is nearly impossible to have a healthy relationship. Instead of a loving, safe partnership, a marriage with an alcoholic spouse becomes focused on addiction. Many people who are married to an alcoholic end up seeking a divorce. This is understandable, but is it avoidable?

With the right treatment and support, people can recover from alcoholism and learn to live a healthy life without drinking. The same is true for marriage with an alcoholic.

If your spouse is struggling with addiction, your marriage might feel lonely–but you are not alone. Reach out to the caring staff at the Florida Recovery Group for more information about helping your spouse get the treatment they need.

Warning Signs You Are Married to an Alcoholic Spouse

Alcoholism often begins with problematic drinking and progresses to a physical dependence on alcohol. To have the best chance at a full, lasting recovery from alcohol addiction, your spouse must get treatment as soon as possible. Recognizing the warning signs of alcoholism early can help you get your alcoholic spouse the treatment they need sooner.

Some common warning signs of alcoholism include:

  • Drinking more than they planned to
  • Falling behind in their responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Taking risks while drinking, such as driving under the influence
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol–needing more to get the same effect
  • Having symptoms of withdrawal when they attempt to stop drinking
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences to their health, finances, relationships, or safety
  • Lying, hiding, or covering up their drinking
  • Spending the majority of their time and energy thinking about, drinking, or recovering from drinking

Your spouse may also lose or gain weight, have significant changes to their sleep and mood, experience nausea, sweating, or shaking hands, or neglect their personal hygiene.

In some cases, it may be clear that you are married to an alcoholic. In others, their problematic drinking may change and it might be hard to determine if they are truly alcoholic. If you are worried about your spouse’s drinking, reach out to an addiction specialist to talk about your concerns.

What is it Like to Have an Alcoholic Spouse?

Being married to an alcoholic can be an emotional rollercoaster. While no two marriages are exactly alike, many people who are married to an alcoholic experience similar feelings. They may feel a mixture of shame, anger, guilt, hopelessness, anxiety, and sadness about their partner’s alcoholism.

People with an alcoholic spouse may also feel as though they need to cover up their partner’s drinking. They may work hard to finish work for their alcoholic spouse, make excuses for their behavior, or scramble to finish work and projects for their spouse. These types of enabling behaviors are not helpful, and they are exhausting.

If you are married to an alcoholic, you can’t have a healthy, loving relationship. You may not be able to plan for the future or depend on your spouse. All your energy goes into “curing” your spouse. You may feel like you are in survival mode.

There is no cure for alcoholism–but it is treatable. With the right treatment and support, your spouse can recover from their addiction, and your marriage can be saved.

Steps to Take if You are Married to an Alcoholic

If you are married to an alcoholic, there are things you can do to help your spouse get the treatment they need. These include:

Above all, try to avoid anger and blame. No one chooses alcoholism. Be encouraging, but set boundaries. Take good care of yourself, too. Find a therapist who will support you so that you can be present and supportive of your alcoholic spouse.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Today

If you have an alcoholic spouse, you do not have to manage their addiction alone. At the Florida Recovery Group, we know that alcoholism affects both the alcoholic and their spouse. That is why we offer programs designed to treat addiction and support the whole family.

If you or someone you love needs alcohol addiction treatment or support during any stage of addiction recovery, please reach out to our staff for more information about the programs we offer. Do not wait another day for the treatment you need and deserve. Give us a call to speak with one of our admissions counselors today.