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When Your Spouse has an Addiction

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Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Few things can put a strain on a marriage more than when one person is addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism can shake the foundation of trust and put the entire family in jeopardy. In marriages where one partner struggles with alcoholism, the non-addicted spouse carries the responsibility for two people, including care of the children, finances and is often the primary breadwinner for the family. The need to support and find appropriate treatment for the addicted loved one becomes overwhelming. Understanding the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction in your spouse can empower you to make good choices and get the help you both need.

Alcohol Effects on Marriage

Woman contemplating divorceIn many cases, married couples are able to drink occasionally with no negative side effects. But when one partner has a family or personal history of addiction, the risk for alcoholism is greatly increased. The University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions lists the following as possible marital consequences when a spouse struggles with alcohol addiction:

  • Lower marital satisfaction. Heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are responsible for lower overall satisfaction in marriages, and especially when the problem drinker is the husband.
  • Alcoholism is a factor in domestic violence. This includes both physical and psychological abuse.
  • Alcohol use disorders are the most common reason for divorce.
  • More negative interactions overall between married couples where one spouse has an alcohol use disorder.1

The Signs of Alcohol Addiction

If you suspect your spouse has a drinking problem, it is important to watch for the following signs and symptoms of alcoholism:

  • Drinking throughout the course of the day, including socially unacceptable times such as the morning or during work.
  • Strong denials regarding his or her drinking problem, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  • Poor performance at work or school as a result of drinking alcohol
  • Sudden mood shifts and irritability when not drinking
  • Being hungover or sick after alcohol use interferes with work, school or other activities.
  • Drinking even though the person knows he or she will be driving, boating or doing something else that would be risky when impaired.
  • Memory losses or blackouts.
  • There are accidents or injuries after drinking.
  • The person drinks even though there are physical conditions that would be worsened by drinking.

If your spouse has even one of theses symptoms, it’s time to get help.

Co-dependency and Alcohol Addiction

One of the biggest challenges facing couples when one individual has a drinking problem is the matter of co-dependency. Often, an individual will not help his or her spouse because she is afraid the relationship will deteriorate if she confronts her partner. This same problem has caused millions of people to sink further and further into alcohol addiction, and countless relationships to become isolated and unhealthy as a result.

What is needed in a co-dependent relationship is for one person to stand up and have the strength needed to reach out for help.

Getting Help for Your Spouse

If any of the above applies to your situation, it’s time to get your spouse into an alcohol rehab program. However, for some couples this may mean an intervention is necessary.

An alcohol intervention is a meeting where family and friends gather with a single goal: to tell the addicted loved one how his behavior is affecting the family and to get him into treatment. A professional interventionist can help you and the members of your intervention team plan the meeting and make sure the process is productive and safe for everyone involved. Through alcohol detox and counseling, your spouse will be given the tools to regain control of his life and become the individual you fell in love with before alcohol entered the picture.

Finding Help for Alcohol Abuse

Once a successful intervention takes place, the addicted individual must be taken to alcohol rehab immediately. Michael’s House is an addiction treatment facility located in Palm Springs, California. The caring, professional staff works closely with every patient to make sure that their needs are met, and their rehab is progressing in a healthy, productive manner. Contact Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032 for more information.


1 "RIA Reaching Others: Does Drinking Affect Marriage?" University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, 21 Oct. 2014. Accessed 27 October 2017.