Alcohol abuse can be destructive to relationships. In fact, about half of all marriages where one partner has a drinking problem end in divorce. If you have ever thought to yourself: “My husband’s drinking is ruining our marriage, what do I do?” This article is for you.
However, if you’re concerned about your husband’s drinking and your relationship, don’t lose all hope. Professional support, couples therapy, and fellowship groups can help support your husband in his recovery and heal your relationship.
Unhealthy drinking habits can take a toll on any relationship, especially marriages. Research has found that drug and alcohol abuse may lead to relationship dissatisfaction, instability, and verbal and physical aggression between you and your partner.
Every marriage is unique and can be affected by alcohol abuse in different ways. Some of these may include:
Many people drink alcohol from time to time. Drinking in moderation may not be anything to worry about, but if your husband starts drinking more than the recommended levels, there may be cause for concern.
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), low-risk drinking for a man involves:
If your husband is drinking more than this, you may want to have an open conversation about his drinking and talk about professional help if necessary.
Opening a conversation with your partner about his drinking may seem scary. Speaking with your husband will require strength and empathy, so it’s a good idea to prepare a bit beforehand.
If you are uncertain about the conversation, you may first want to contact a professional addiction specialist for advice and guidance. If not, here are some tips to think about before you open the conversation:
Alcohol addiction and abuse affect more than the individual. If your husband has a drinking problem, it’s normal to feel frustrated, concerned, and exhausted.
If you’re suffering as a result of your husband’s drinking problem and find it hard to manage, you may like to try couples therapy – especially if your own drinking habits are healthy. Couples therapy can provide a safe space to resolve conflicts between married couples while helping to build a supportive relationship that encourages addiction recovery.
In general, couples therapy has three main aims:
Sometimes, alcohol abuse and relationship problems can form a ‘destructive cycle’ where unhealthy drinking leads to relationship problems, creating stress and emotional turmoil, which encourages further alcohol abuse. Couples therapy aims to intervene and turn the destructive cycle into a constructive one, where supportive relationships lead to increased abstinence and so on.
Living with a partner with unhealthy drinking habits can affect your own mental health. With this in mind, it’s essential to take care of yourself too.
Setting healthy boundaries and practicing good self-care can help you maintain overall well-being. You can also attend Al-Anon meetings, which are fellowship groups specifically for family members of individuals struggling with addiction. Al-Anon meetings are a chance to share negative experiences related to alcoholism, give and receive advice, and find comfort and inspiration from others’ stories.
Sometimes, drinking problems can lead to harmful and abusive behavior, and you may wish to leave the relationship. Remember, there is never any reason to tolerate physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. The Domestic Violence Hotline provides support to survivors of domestic violence so they can live lives free from abuse.
Recent research suggests that married couples may enjoy better relationship satisfaction when they have the same drinking habits. That is, married couples may be satisfied if they are both abstinent.
While the findings suggest that relationships where the husband is the only person who drinks may tend towards less satisfaction, there is nothing to say that these relationships cannot work. Every relationship is different, and there are plenty of ways to have a satisfying and fulfilling relationship where only one partner drinks.
However, if your partner’s drinking habits become unhealthy, the relationship may become more complex. You may want to try couples therapy or encourage your partner to access professional support to help maintain a healthy relationship.
If your husband is struggling with alcohol addiction, recovery may seem a long way away. The good news is that decades of scientific research have uncovered effective evidence-based treatment methods for recovery from alcohol addiction and substance abuse. According to the NIAAA, “no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with an alcohol use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment.”
Addiction recovery programs usually combine a range of treatment options tailored to each person’s needs. If your husband attends a rehabilitation program, he may participate in:
Addiction recovery programs usually include comprehensive aftercare to support clients after the end of the rehabilitation program. This may include connecting them with local support groups or offering continued recovery coaching.
Dealing with an alcoholic spouse is an uphill battle. It will be challenging and there are plenty of unknowns along the way. But you are not alone. There are plenty of resources designed to aid those toward healthy steps when married to an alcoholic.
If you are worried about your husband’s drinking, contact us at Empowered Recovery. We can offer confidential advice about supporting your husband and the treatment options available. Call us today to speak to one of our compassionate and expert team and take the first steps to a family life free from drug and alcohol abuse.
Contact our team to find out how we can help you