If you are reading this, then you or someone you know is in a relationship with an alcoholic. You are not alone. Alcohol addiction is a massive problem that can destroy relationships. Every day, millions of people are affected by alcoholism, but there is hope. You can get through this.
If you are starting to think that your partner is struggling with alcoholism, you may feel scared, confused, and helpless by their alcoholic behavior, however, it's important to remember that you're not alone.
However, to help someone with an alcohol use disorder, it's important that all the family members know what to do. For that, it's important to answer a few questions first.
How Do I Know If My Partner Is an Alcoholic?
Many signs can indicate whether or not someone is struggling with alcoholism. Substance abuse isn't a simple journey.
It's something that affects one's physical and mental health, living with an alcoholic spouse can be difficult, but it's not necessary that someone who drinks excessively is an alcoholic partner.
So look at the signs to see if they have a drinking problem first.
Take a closer look at your partner's drinking habits. They may drink excessively, have trouble controlling their drinking, feel the need to drink to relax or feel better, or experience negative consequences due to their drinking (e.g., job loss, financial problems, and relationship problems).
These are some of the main signs of a substance use disorder, but it's not important that every person that struggles with alcohol abuse goes through the same symptoms.
They might have different coping strategies, might be good at hiding their addiction from their family members, or might be happily eating breakfast one minute and struggling with their own pain the next.
It's integral to keep an eye on your own loved one's alcoholism instead of allowing natural consequences or letting a crisis happen.
Can You Have a Healthy Relationship With an Alcoholic?
It is possible to have a healthy relationship with an alcoholic, but it can be very difficult. If your partner is (at least) willing to seek help for their alcoholism, there are lots of different things you can do to support them and improve your relationship.
You can try family therapy with other family members that might feel affected by the ordeal. Don't direct hurtful or negative comments at them because if they're struggling with alcohol dependency, that might make matter worse.
What someone with alcohol addiction needs is a mental health professional to give them professional treatment along with the family being their support group, and provide them the social support they'll need to stop drinking.
Even with the diagnostic and statistical manual, every person is different, and alcohol use disorders are also different for everyone because every person's life is different.
So the exact answer depends on their own particular alcohol problem is different, and it's important to slowly begin the journey without making excuses or going down destructive paths so that the addiction treatment can be successful and the alcohol spouse can get the help they need.
However, if they are unwilling to get help, the relationship may not be sustainable in the long term. If intimate partner violence is involved, the situation might end up being dangerous for you and the spouse.
What Should One Do if Their Partner Is an Alcoholic?
If you think your partner is an alcoholic, you must talk to them about your concerns. Be prepared for them to deny there is a problem, but try to stay calm and respectful. You can also help them by finding some professional help, setting boundaries, and caring for themselves.
Remember that you can't force someone to change, so the decision must ultimately be up to them.
Their own decision-making will have to come into play. You need to have reasonable expectations from them, so they can get past that "crisis point" and make it through the pre-contemplative stage and get to alcohol treatment.
When they decide to put the first step forward, they can fight drug abuse, get to a point where alcohol consumption is a thing of the past, and they can get to a healthier life.
Helping Someone with an Alcohol Addiction
Below are some of the best ways to help someone struggling with alcohol addiction without compromising your mental health.
1. Talk to Your Partner About Your Concerns
Start by talking. Have an open and honest conversation. Your partner may not be ready to admit they have a problem, but it's important to talk about the concerns you're having and let them know you're there to help.
Be prepared for them to get defensive or deny there's a problem—it's common for alcoholics to deny their drinking is a problem. Try not to get into an argument, and stay calm and respectful.
2. Help Them Find Professional Help
If your partner is willing to get help, research treatment options together. look for programs specializing in treating alcoholism, such as inpatient or outpatient rehab, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, or counseling with a therapist specializing in addiction.
3. Set Boundaries
It's important to set boundaries with an alcoholic partner. For example, you might decide not to go out drinking with them or have alcohol in the house.
You should also clarify that their drinking is affecting your relationship and discuss what steps need to be taken for things to improve. This could mean a bunch of things like going to couples therapy or taking a break from the relationship.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Helping an alcoholic partner can be emotionally and physically draining. It's integral to take care of yourself by maintaining healthy habits, spending time with supportive people, and reaching out for professional help if needed. Remember that you can't force someone else to change—the decision ultimately has to be up to them.
The Bottom Line
Alcoholism is a serious problem that can destroy relationships but there are things you can do to help if your partner is struggling with alcoholism, such as talking openly about your concerns, helping them find professional help, setting boundaries, and taking care of yourself Mentally and Physically.
You should also remember that you can't force someone else the change the decision ultimately has to be up to them.
You don't have to fight it all alone. With the support of Sober living homes like Design for Recovery, you can overcome your struggles and reclaim your life. Just contact them today and they may be able to guide you about rehab treatment facilities near you.