Living With An Alcoholic: The Hidden Truths

Living With An Alcoholic: The Hidden Truths

Anyone living with someone who has an alcohol addiction will know how harsh the challenges are and the detrimental behaviour they have to endure.

Alcoholism is a devastating illness and a condition that gradually leads to fatality when left untreated. Trying to help someone stop drinking can be an ongoing battle, causing arguments, abuse, violence, financial strain, legal issues and more, yet many family members and friends continue offering their support even when under great pressure themselves.

Observing someone under the influence of alcohol is a common sight today and is often looked upon as disgraceful or inappropriate behaviour, or it may be discarded and seen simply as a form of having fun. No matter how someone’s opinion of alcohol abuse is formed, the effects of a serious drinking problem can be extremely damaging to the people having to live with it, although, quite often, they are prepared to pretend nothing is wrong.

What goes on behind closed doors can be horrendous while the effects of alcohol take hold, and these hidden truths should emerge to help all those living with an alcoholic get tips on how to cope, discover the dos and don’ts, and know when to seek professional help.

The Challenges Of Living With An Alcoholic Spouse

Living with an alcoholic partner or spouse comes with serious consequences. Daily challenges are undeniably exhausting, especially when the individual struggling with alcohol use disorder is in denial and unable to accept they have a problem. Chronic alcohol use disorders are placed at the most severe end on the scale of substance disorders and are the most common conditions of addiction around the globe. 

Sadly, a person who develops an addiction has not sought the problem intentionally but rather has been taken over by the addictive powers of this popular substance. There are many reasons why a person finds solace in drink: to relax, socialise, or find comfort when under stress or anxiety. The immediate effects of alcohol can produce states of feeling happiness and relaxation, but this can diminish rapidly as alcohol is a depressant and can quickly make happiness turn into sadness when quantities reach a level that affects the brain’s correct function.

The scientific and medical jargon can be discussed at length about how alcohol affects the body and mental health, but at the end of the day, it is the person who behaves inappropriately when under the influence and the consequences of that behaviour affecting family or friends who are exposed to it is what matters.

Having to deal with an alcoholic spouse or partner daily can take its toll even on the most patient family member willing to offer their support, but the reality is that most people having to cope with an alcoholic spouse are not aware of the condition and nature of such an insidious ailment. Showing care and love towards their partner is expected to be reciprocal, believing that their addicted spouse will stop drinking if they are truly loved. The truth is that any chronic alcohol disorder leads the individual only to believe in obtaining the substance they need and will reject any form of help or intervention if they think they will be denied of their habit.

Bluntly, an alcohol addict will not accept help or even want to stop their habit until the rock bottom point is reached. This is the crisis point when all steps have been used in vain and treatment options become limited other than seeking professional help. 

Most alcohol-related problems end up in heated arguments, verbal abuse, or domestic violence. Extreme incidents can lead to family breakdowns, divorce, child custody, imprisonment, mental impairment, and even suicide. Understanding alcoholism and how it affects a person, knowing how to engage in conversation, and avoiding the temptation of enabling addiction are positive strategies when dealing with an alcoholic partner.

Why Do Families Put Up With Alcohol Addiction?

How To Understand An Alcoholic Partner

What Not To Do When Living With An Alcoholic Partner

Useful Tips For Dealing With Alcoholism

Coping Strategies For Helping An Alcoholic

The most effective way of dealing with substance use disorders is through receiving professional treatment to address the condition. It’s easier said than done when you’re living with an alcoholic who refuses to get help. 

You may consider talking to your partner about their alcohol intake, but be prepared that an alcoholic in denial may go along with your suggestions but will not necessarily take them on board and, more probably, will reject any help and advice.

As a first step, choose a time and place without distractions and always wait until they are sober. Help them to understand their condition and how it affects you, friends and family members.  The conversation should not be one-sided but should encourage them to speak allowing opinions and feelings to be openly and honestly described.

You may want to write down the points you need to address before confronting someone you love and ensure your own physical and mental health is in good stead before attempting such a delicate conversation.

Some of the concerns you can address could be the following:

  • Refuse to make excuses for their drinking and inappropriate behaviour. Explain that you will not cover up or lie when their actions have a negative consequence as mild as it may appear.
  • Make sure they are aware of how much damage is caused within the relationship and how children or other family members are being affected.
  • Set clear boundaries that your partner may respect as to what is and isn’t acceptable. This could be refraining from drinking alcohol in the house or finding their means of funding their habit as examples.
  • Remind them of any broken promises or lies and let them know this is unacceptable behaviour.
  • Be prepared to take drastic measures and offer an ultimatum to either change or separate from the relationship. This should focus on getting appropriate treatment and must be followed through with a determined attitude for it to be effective.

Any conversational confrontation should be carried out in a calm and relaxed way without making accusations, shouting, or engaging in verbal abuse, as this will have no effect, and the individual will be less likely to listen to ways of controlling their drinking.

When The Effects Of Living Become Overwhelming

Most often, self-help is not enough, especially when faced with alcohol or drug use. When you love someone, it is only natural to give your very best care and support to help them recover, but unlike other illnesses, substance addiction is not straightforward, and for many people living with a person suffering from such a condition, it becomes too much to tolerate.

The breaking point is when a professional alcohol intervention becomes a necessity to help you cope and may be a successful way to convince an alcoholic to accept alcohol addiction treatment.

You should never have to feel that you are alone or the only person in the world going through such an ordeal. Alcohol is the most addictive substance in our society today, and even with campaigns for drink awareness and health concerns, people will continue to drink, and many will become addicted.

You need to accept that a successful recovery from alcohol addiction requires professional treatment. There is no other way. Taking steps to help someone you love to agree to find a solution takes a lot of compassion, empathy, and dedication. Never underestimate how important your support is.

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