Living with an Alcoholic: What to Know and How to Cope

Living with an alcoholic husband or wife can test the love and strength of marriage in many ways, and speaking with your spouse may make them defensive or lose control of their emotions. When speaking to a partner about their alcohol use disorder, you should try and wait until they how to live with an alcoholic are sober. They are more likely to listen and understand the problems their drinking is causing in your relationship if they haven’t been drinking. Al-Anon is a support group for people with an alcohol use disorder, and for those who are affected by someone else’s drinking.

Find out more about the cost of rehabilitation and seek expert support before undertaking a detox from drug or alcohol. Living with an alcoholic son, daughter, partner or parent can be difficult enough, but life becomes even harder when the individual refuses to accept that they need help. If you do feel that a friend or a spouse is struggling, and you want to help, approach the subject very carefully. There is no guidebook on how to live with an alcoholic wife, and people respond differently to questions and offers of support.

Living With an Alcoholic Spouse? You’ve Got 4 Options.

Explain the ways in which his or her addiction has affected you and others involved. Describe the emotional and mental stress the behavior is causing. Do not get involved in their drinking sessions
As obvious as it sounds, you should never partake in drinking with an alcoholic, even if it’s ‘only a drink or two’. By doing so, you are effectively encouraging his or her behavior – an alcoholic will feel as if there’s nothing wrong with their addiction. Try to find alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax together instead of supporting the drinking habit. Having a short- or long-term relationship with an alcoholic can be incredibly destructive.

  • Point out how little time you’re spending together recently.
  • People addicted to alcohol may be able to function at work or in social drinking situation, but they’re unable to hide the disease from the person closest to them.
  • It does not interfere with their day-to-day lives and they are able to have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
  • According to the Foundations Recovery Network, up to two-thirds of cases of alcohol-related violence occur in close interpersonal relationships.

Often, in trying to “help,” well-meaning loved ones will actually do something that enables someone dependent on alcohol to continue along their destructive paths. Make sure that you are not doing anything that bolsters their denial or prevents them from facing the natural consequences of their actions. If family members try to “help” by covering up for their drinking and making excuses for them, they are playing right into their loved one’s denial game. Dealing with the problem openly and honestly is the best approach.

What Is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Some of your actions, although with the best of intentions, will backfire and fuel an addict’s alcohol abuse. Keep these pointers in mind so that you don’t unknowingly support their behavior. The FHE Health team is committed to providing accurate information that adheres to the highest standards of writing. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure FHE Health is trusted as a leader in mental health and addiction care. Some of the best advice for someone who is experiencing alcohol dependence in their partner is to go to therapy. Living with an alcoholic partner can be emotionally, financially and physically exhausting.

how to live with an alcoholic

Experts highly recommend working with a therapist, particularly one who specializes in trauma or substance use disorders. According to Peifer, a mental health professional can help you connect deep-rooted fears and wounds stemming from childhood to behaviors, responses, and patterns showing up in your adult life. AUD is a mental health condition that can prove very difficult to manage and overcome. Alcoholism does not just affect children and spouses but siblings as well. Having a brother or sister with a drinking problem can also be very tough as you may be trying to support your sibling whilst also taking care of your own family. If you are in this position, speak to your parents, your sibling’s partner, or anyone else who may be able to help.

How Alcohol Addiction Affects Relationships

What might seem like a reasonable expectation in some circumstances might be totally unreasonable when it comes to someone with an addiction. When your loved one swears to you and to themselves that they will never touch another drop of alcohol, you might believe them. You don’t have to create a crisis, but learning detachment will help you allow a crisis—one that may be the only way to create change—to happen.

  • Most people with alcohol addiction have trouble keeping up with work.
  • “In this process, you’ll process unresolved traumatic experiences and develop tools to formulate healthy relationships and communicate your needs,” she explains.
  • Intervening in the addictive behavior may be seen as a threat to the family’s financial security — even if the family must put up with emotional neglect or physical abuse.
  • Don’t wait any longer before you take some decisive action when you know you’re living with an alcoholic.
  • Most of the time, people convince a loved one with an addiction to seek treatment by showing them how the substance is negatively impacting their life.

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