Alcoholism is considered a significant health as well as a social problem. Often the family members of alcoholics suffer intense psychological, physical, and social trauma due to the core drinking problem of the family member. Most deeply affected are the wives of alcoholics.
If your partner or significant other is wrestling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), you can take steps to help you and your partner through the difficulties posed by their compulsive drinking. You are not the cure or cause of your partner’s substance abuse issues, but there are ways you can contribute positively to their recovery and your healing.
What a Partner Living With an Alcohol Use Disorder May Experience
An alcohol use disorder is a chronic medical condition described by an inability to control or stop drinking despite health, social, or professional consequences. The impact of an AUD is not always limited to the one suffering from this chronic medical condition. AUDs may affect not only the person with the drinking problem but their family, loved ones, and others around them.
Life with an alcoholic husband or being with someone with an alcohol use disorder can trigger attempts to control your partner’s drinking, feelings of self-blame, or to enable your partner to make excuses for their drinking.
When you live with a spouse with an alcohol use disorder, looking after yourself is essential. Although it may seem absurd to focus on yourself first when your partner may be showing worrisome addictive behaviors, it is vital to look at your own needs and emotions before you can take steps to help your spouse.
If you happen to be living with an alcoholic spouse, you have probably experienced many different emotions and difficulties. At the moment, you may be exhausted from having to pick up more responsibilities, terrified about the future and health of everyone in your household, and angry and sad about your current situation.
Whether you are living with a functioning alcoholic or someone with alcohol dependence, life can be emotionally and physically draining. Learning how to deal with an alcoholic partner and looking after yourself can be stressful, and often, support is needed to help manage.
My Alcoholic, My Love
To save your family and yourself from the wreckage that an alcoholic brings to your life, you must turn away and learn how to take care of your loved ones and yourself. This is not easy. Most of us have been raised to love and care for the people in our lives. To break this tradition is heart-wrenching and nearly impossible. Few can do it alone, and the author found the Al-Anon organization of tremendous help. Here are the author’s struggles as she battled to find her way to a new satisfying life for herself and her children.
“I will not go down the rabbit hole with you.” After hours of ugly attacks by my husband on me.
“I am delighted I chose to live where I can see that somewhere else in the world, life is going on.”
Separating from my husband and desperately alone in my apartment, with a busy highway running right outside.
“I am impaled by my alcoholic and must move on.”
I realized I could not live with him but had to move to another city where he could not be in my life easily.
About Margaret Jackson Moschak
Margaret Jackson Moschak has spent most of her life studying people. By people, this refers to whether employed as a secretary in a welfare office, teaching in high school, encouraging young students to love reading, working in local politics, or managing an exhibiting art group and always searching out why people interact as they do with one another.
Margaret earned an M.A. at the State University of New York at Albany.
Being part of a massive family in Northern New York, she now lives in Ithaca, New York, where she is a Taoist Tai Chi instructor. She has three sons, a daughter, and five grandchildren.