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March 24, 2023

How to Help an Alcoholic Spouse

Alcoholism is a challenging issue that affects not only the individual but also their loved ones. Living with an alcoholic spouse can be challenging and may cause significant stress and emotional pain. If you or someone you know is struggling to help an alcoholic spouse, you’re not alone. At Inner Voyage Recovery, we understand the challenges of living with an alcoholic spouse, and we have created this informative guide to help you on how to help them.

Signs of Alcoholism in a Spouse

Recognizing the signs of alcoholism in a spouse is the first step in getting help. Some common signs of alcoholism in a spouse may include:

  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Drinking in the morning or throughout the day
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or home
  • Drinking to cope with stress or emotional pain
  • Blacking out or forgetting events
  • Becoming defensive or angry when confronted about their drinking
  • Physical symptoms such as tremors or shakes

How Can You Help an Alcoholic Spouse?

Helping an alcoholic spouse can be challenging, but it’s essential to encourage them to seek professional help. Here are some steps you can take to help an alcoholic spouse:

  1. Express Your Concern

Expressing your concern to your spouse about their drinking can be challenging, but it’s essential to do so in a caring and supportive manner. Avoid criticizing or blaming your spouse, and focus on how their drinking is affecting you and your relationship.

  1. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Encourage your spouse to seek professional help. Inner Voyage Recovery offers a range of addiction treatment programs, including a Partial Hospitalization Program, an Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient Programs. Our team of addiction specialists can provide the support and guidance needed to overcome addiction and maintain long-term sobriety.

  1. Support Them During Treatment

Supporting your spouse during treatment can be a crucial aspect of their recovery. Attend family therapy sessions, encourage them to participate in support groups, and create a supportive home environment.

Effects of Living With an Alcoholic Spouse or Partner

Living with an alcoholic spouse or partner can have significant effects on your physical, emotional, and mental health. Here are some of the most common effects of living with an alcoholic spouse:

  1. Increased Stress and Anxiety

Living with an alcoholic spouse can be incredibly stressful, as you may never know when they will become intoxicated or how they will behave. This uncertainty can cause anxiety and fear, leading to chronic stress and other negative health effects.

  1. Emotional and Physical Exhaustion

Living with an alcoholic spouse can be emotionally and physically exhausting. You may find yourself constantly worrying about your spouse, trying to cover up their behavior, or dealing with the aftermath of their drinking. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion, burnout, and even physical health problems.

  1. Increased Risk of Domestic Violence

Alcoholism and domestic violence are often linked, as alcohol can lower inhibitions and increase aggression. Living with an alcoholic spouse can increase your risk of experiencing domestic violence, which can have long-lasting physical and emotional effects.

  1. Financial Problems

Alcoholism can be a costly addiction, and living with an alcoholic spouse can lead to financial problems. Your spouse may spend money on alcohol instead of paying bills, leading to financial stress and instability.

  1. Relationship Issues and Breakdowns

Living with an alcoholic spouse can take a significant toll on your relationship. You may feel distant, disconnected, or resentful toward your spouse, which can lead to relationship issues and even breakdowns.

If you are living with an alcoholic spouse, it’s important to prioritize your own physical, emotional, and mental health. 

How to Deal With an Alcoholic Spouse that Doesn’t Want Help

Dealing with an alcoholic spouse who doesn’t want help can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to encourage them to seek treatment. Consider staging an intervention, seeking the help of a professional interventionist, or attending a support group for spouses of alcoholics.

Support Groups for Spouses of Alcoholics

Support groups for spouses of alcoholics provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences and gain support from others who are going through similar struggles. These groups offer a space for spouses to share their emotions, frustrations, and concerns related to their partner’s alcoholism.

Support groups can also offer valuable information and resources on how to deal with a spouse’s alcoholism. Members of support groups can share their personal experiences and offer advice on how to handle challenging situations, such as how to talk to a spouse about their drinking or how to deal with the aftermath of an alcohol-related incident.

Two of the most popular support groups for spouses of alcoholics are Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. Al-Anon is a support group for friends and family members of alcoholics, while Nar-Anon is a support group for friends and family members of individuals struggling with drug addiction. Both groups use the 12-step approach, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction recovery groups.

In these support groups, members are encouraged to share their experiences and emotions, with an emphasis on mutual support, encouragement, and understanding. Members are also encouraged to focus on their own recovery and personal growth rather than solely on the alcoholic spouse.

Support groups can be a valuable resource for spouses of alcoholics, as they provide a sense of community and support. They can also help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide a non-judgmental space to share personal struggles and emotions.

Alcoholism Treatment in Atlanta, GA

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, Inner Voyage Recovery can help. We offer a range of addiction treatment programs that are tailored to meet individual needs. Our team of addiction specialists can provide the support and guidance needed to overcome addiction and maintain long-term sobriety. Give us a call or visit our admissions page to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one overcome alcoholism.

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Author

  • Emily Rowe, LMSW

    Emily Rowe is the Clinical Director at Inner Voyage Recovery Center. She is a Licensed Master of Social Work with 8 years of experience in clinical settings covering one on one sessions, family sessions, group sessions, crisis interventions and suicidal prevention. Recognized by leadership and colleagues as forward thinking, creative, empathetic, active listener and effective.

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