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My Husband’s Drinking Is Ruining Our Marriage: What To Do?

Alcohol abuse can be destructive to relationships. In fact, about half of all marriages where one partner has a drinking problem end in divorce.

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.

How Does Alcohol Destroy Marriages?

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:

  • Neglect of responsibilities. Alcohol impairs cognitive and physical capabilities, preventing people from effectively fulfilling responsibilities. Drinking may also preoccupy your husband’s day-to-day life, putting other obligations and duties second best.
  • Recovery from hangovers. Heavy drinkers usually experience frequent hangovers. While a hangover may be temporary, it can prevent your husband from fulfilling the tasks required of him within family life. It can also encourage harmful behaviors like unhealthy eating and lack of exercise.
  • Legal problems. Excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, can increase the likelihood that your husband will be involved in violent fights, accidents, or other offenses like drunk driving. Your husband’s drinking problem is also likely to have a monetary cost and may put a strain on the family’s finances.
  • Potential for addiction. While not everyone with a drinking problem is addicted to alcohol, heavy drinking and alcohol dependency increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Addiction is a destructive condition that can take over someone’s life and requires professional help to recover from.
  • Creating a bad climate. Unhealthy drinking habits in the home often create a harmful environment for raising children. If both parents are heavy drinkers, they may encourage a particularly bad climate. Studies show that children who have a parent with an addiction are at an increased risk of developing an addiction and other mental health conditions themselves.

When Should I Worry About My Husband’s Drinking?

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:

  • Drinking no more than four drinks on a single day
  • Drinking no more than 14 drinks per week

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.

How Can I Talk to My Husband About His Drinking?

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:

  • Learn about alcohol use disorder
  • Find a calm time to have the conversation when your husband is sober
  • Plan what you’re going to say
  • Think about what is driving your partner’s drinking habits
  • Be open and empathetic when you communicate – try not to be judgmental or act like you have all the answers
  • Set a good example with your own drinking habits

I Hate My Husband When He Drinks – How Can Couples Therapy Help?

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:

  • To end alcohol abuse
  • To help a partner support the recovery process
  • To develop patterns of behavior that support long-term sobriety

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.

Seeking Support for Yourself

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.

Can a Relationship Work if One Person Drinks?

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.

How Can Addiction Treatment Help?

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:

  • Talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Group programming
  • Support groups
  • Complementary therapy, such as yoga and meditation
  • Life skills development
  • Family therapy

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.

Contact Us Today

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.

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    3651 Canton Road,
    Marietta, GA 30066

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