Living With An Alcoholic


Alcohol withdrawal can begin within hours of ending a drinking session. The best cure for codependency is a strong, healthy sense of self. Individual therapy, combined with marriage or family counseling, can strengthen your self-esteem and help you build a healthy, sober relationship. You could steer them to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for general education on alcohol misuse or the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator tool to find local treatment options.


Experts, people who are in recovery from alcohol abuse need an environment that allows them to stay sober, including strong sources of social support. Unstable job prospects bring financial uncertainty for families affected, and the possibilities of long-term unemployment if the substance abuse problem isn’t treated is very real. This puts extra stress on spouses or partners who may have to carry the financial load, and children will sense the anxiety in the household as well and suffer because of it. Having an alcoholic spouse is not a situation you will be forced to go through alone. Some people have gone through and are going through the same situation, and they can offer insight, advice and understanding. Do nothing.While this may sound like an awful option, it is the decision that many people with alcoholic spouses choose.

Substance Abuse Guide for Parents Find out what you can do to protect your children. You will have to determine what behavior you can accept and what behavior means; it is time to call it quits. Intervene to get help for your partner, but they refuse treatment.

Emotional abuse includes threats, insults and controlling behavior, according to the Office on Women’s Health website. When you’re living with a high-functioning alcoholic, your own health is at stake as well as the welfare of your loved one. By getting help for your loved one, you may be able to avoid further consequences of alcoholism and build a healthier future for your family. Alcoholism affects everyone in a household— not just the individual who drinks.

  • This allows them to continue to drink without consequences, and it allows the alcohol use disorder to continue.
  • Here are the lessons I learned and the mottos I live by to be a healthier parent.
  • But it’s almost undoable to keep it a secret from people who stay in the same household with them.
  • Working with a therapist who understands alcoholism and the toll it takes on families and who knows how to help those who are codependent is very helpful to people living with alcoholics.

When planning for an intervention, it’s often best to make sure the individual’s luggage is arranged and a rehabilitation center had in mind. Doing this would decrease the chances of changing their minds after accepting to go for help. Despite the different experiences people have of living with an alcohol dependent, what, in my experience, they all want is not just help for their loved one but help for themselves.

Setting Boundaries vs. Enabling

And it’s hard to know how best to support them while also making sure you’re paying attention to your own wants and needs. However, it is extremely difficult to recover from alcohol addiction without extensive counselling and a medically approved detoxification plan. In many cases, the person simply wants to know that they have your love and support throughout their journey to recovery, even if they aren’t quite ready to seek treatment yet.

Accepting unacceptable behavior usually begins with some small incident that you brush off with, « They just had too much to drink. » But the next time, the behavior may get a little worse and then even worse. You might slowly begin to accept more and more unacceptable behavior. Before you realize it, you can find yourself in a full-blown abusive relationship. Remember, it’s not your responsibility to « cure » their AUD. You just happen to love someone who is probably going to need professional treatment to get healthy again.

Most times, your loved one or partner can be a nice, understanding individual when they’re calm and sober; drinking can change them into an entirely different person and different personality. Sadly, domestic abuse in various forms can accompany a persons’ inebriated persona. The first thing you can do if you are living with an alcoholic is to remind yourself of this; none of it is due to any fault of yours, and neither is it theirs. Alcoholism can be the result of several factors which include; the person’s genetic make-up, environment, and emotional/mental health. To recover from it, some level of medical help is often needed.

There are too many broken promises and too much distrust in a relationship with someone with addiction to feel comfortable, safe, and respected. This doesn’t mean the relationship can never be a good one. But for it to improve, the addicted person must be willing to get help.

The effects of living with an alcoholic are comprehensive and profound. They affect the mental, physical, and financial health of everyone in the household, and they cause interpersonal conflicts that are unpleasant and stressful for all. Treatment for alcoholism is necessary for people with drinking problems, but a successful recovery will bring a new lease on life for each person the disease has affected.

alcohol use disorder

An estimated seventeen million adults ages eighteen and older have an AUD or alcohol use disorder. Usually, family members of alcoholics endure physical, social, and psychological trauma because of the core alcohol problem of the family member. Loving someone who is addicted to alcohol can be a tortuous experience.

If you have children, you’re no doubt also worried about the impact of your spouse’s drinking on them. Perhaps you’ve wondered whether it’s you who has the problem, as your spouse may have suggested. Take some time to learn more about enabling and the family disease of alcoholism, attend an Al-Anon meeting in your area. It may also be helpful to learn more about the resources and information available for families affected by alcoholism. So what happens when you stop enabling someone with an alcohol or substance use disorder?

Alternatives to a twelve step treatment programme

Finding solutions to these potential problems before the conversation takes place can ease their burden and make the idea of seeking help feel less intimidating. You could also research treatment programmes on their behalf and gather the relevant information to present to them at a later date. They may feel an immense amount of guilt and shame and have tried multiple times to reduce or completely stop their alcohol intake with little success. Their addiction is physically apparent for all to see, and they have no way of hiding this from others. You may have seen the typical stereotype of an alcoholic portrayed in the media and popular culture – dishevelled, scruffy and incapable of leading a normal life. The group can give you a place to get social support and encouragement from others going through a similar situation.

They may collect DUIs , endangering the lives of family members and friends along with those of other drivers. The close family members of alcoholics share in the disease and in the pain it causes. Confront them.This could be in a one-on-one conversation or aninterventionwith others who are concerned about the person. Without confrontation, it’s unfair to expect a person to change. If you never tell them how their actions affect you, they will likely never know.


Unlike other after years of enjoying drinking, my body has just stoppedics, the term commonly used to refer to people with alcoholism, high-functioning alcoholics don’t display obvious side effects of their disease. Most people with alcohol addiction have trouble keeping up with work. They lose track of friendships and prioritize time with alcohol over family time. At times they may even blame themselves for the situation, wondering what they did wrong or failed to do right. Alcoholism can take a devastating toll on a person’s physical health, emotional well-being, personal relationships and professional life. However, many alcoholics manage to function effectively, holding down jobs and maintaining households.

Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism & Co‑Occurring Disorders

Every person who loves someone with an addiction has to choose whether to help the person or to distance themselves from the person. Distancing yourself can seem selfish, but you have to look out for your own well-being before you can help someone else. You are only staying in the relationship because you are afraid to leave. Your partner is unwilling to give up drinking and shows no willingness to accept help.

mental health disorders

Even if your loved one doesn’t become violent from AUD, they can still present security dangers to the household. They may no longer perform the roles they once did, and they can disrupt family dynamics. You can also learn more about what you can do to help by contacting Al-Anon, a group set up by and for people just like you. You may find it a relief to know that other partners are going through much the same as you.

How alcoholism affected my family…

For years, I wondered if my father’s alcoholism defined me. Here are the lessons I learned and the mottos I live by to be a healthier parent. It’s also important to address your family’s own needs at this time. Make sure your children are eating a healthy diet and getting adequate exercise and sleep. Having someone intoxicated on a consistent basis can be stressful and cause anxiety over what’s going to happen next.

Common Things The Spouse of an Alcoholic May Experience

The recovery process doesn’t end after 90 days of treatment. The transition back to life outside of rehab is fraught with the potential for relapse. Aftercare resources such as 12-step groups, sober living homes and support for family and friends promote a life rich with rewarding relationships and meaning.