If you have a spouse that struggles with alcoholism, you know how challenging it can be. Addictions like alcoholism can have a big impact on family members, especially spouses. And, many spouses of alcoholics may wonder what they can do to help their loved one. But, they may not know where to start. In this article, we offer advice for those dealing with an alcoholic spouse. This way, both individuals can get the help they need to move past alcohol addiction and repair the damage done.
The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Both spouses of alcoholics and alcoholics themselves should understand the dangers of this addiction. Alcoholism can lead to a number of physical effects like cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, seizures, and even death. Other effects of alcoholism can include the development of mental health disorders, poor emotion management, and a wide array of societal consequences. Regardless of the physical, mental, and social effects, many individuals living with an addiction to alcohol function normally. This is known as functioning alcoholism. But, just because someone can function as an alcoholic, it doesn’t mean they’re free from the negative effects this addiction inevitably offers. Before facing the deadly dangers of this disease, it’s important to seek help and obtain recovery.
Dangers Alcoholism has on Marriage
In addition to the various mental and physical effects alcoholism can have on a person, it can also negatively affect marriages. Some dangers alcoholism has on marriage may include:
Financial struggle: Not being able to afford a fair share of bills and other financial obligations. Or, draining savings to the point of financial instability to afford drinking habits.
Job loss: Not showing up to work due to being drunk or hungover resulting in further financial issues for the family and marriage.
Domestic violence: Spouses who are addicted to alcohol are at an increased risk to showcase violent behaviors toward their spouse. Furthermore, addicted individuals are also more likely to act out in ways of emotional and verbal abuse too.
Changes in the relationship: Many spouses realize the negative change that addiction can have on a person’s personality, making it harder to stay in a marriage.
Parenting: Alcoholism can have an effect on parental abilities which can strain a marital relationship.
Attempting to Stop Alcoholism Before It’s Too Late
Alcoholism is a degenerative disease that gets worse over time. So, identifying it is important. But, individuals actively involved with alcoholism may be in denial about their own drinking habits. They may not even think they have a problem at all. This is where it’s helpful for spouses to offer support, compassion, and acceptance.
The best thing for a spouse to do it recognize addictive behaviors so that addiction doesn’t progress rapidly. So, if you notice that your spouse is drinking more than usual, more often than usual, and without being able to stop, it could mean that alcoholism is rapidly progressing. Address this by having a conversation with your spouse about getting help. And, taking some steps to provide this help for your loved one.
Committing to Each Other and Treatment
Since you took a vow to your husband or wife, you are committed to staying with them for better or for worse. Addiction is definitely a low point in a marriage. And, typically, a point in time where people need the most support. So, don’t give up on your addicted spouse. And commit to helping them see their addiction through to recovery. Tell your addicted spouse how their addiction affects you and your children (if you have them). Furthermore, offer your support and compassion during this time. Finally, provide resources for treatment help that suit both of your needs.