When you’re married to an alcoholic, it can be scary and stressful. You can start to internalize a lot of your feelings about what’s happening as a result of your partner’s alcoholism.

When you’re married to an alcoholic, it can be scary and stressful. You can start to internalize a lot of your feelings about what’s happening as a result of your partner’s alcoholism, and you may find yourself becoming depressed or feeling hopeless. You may not have realized you were marrying an alcoholic at the time, or your spouse may not have been an alcoholic when you married, and it may have been a situation that developed over time.

When you’re married to an alcoholic, you may find yourself frequently wondering whether divorce is inevitable, and how it can possibly be avoided. You may also wonder how you can live your daily life when something like this is like a cloud hanging over you at all times.

People who are alcoholics may behave recklessly or dangerously, they may be irrational, they may have financial and work trouble, they often lie or cheat, and that’s just the beginning of watching this disease progress.

No matter how many times you have begged or pleaded, when you’re married to an alcoholic you probably feel like your words are falling on deaf ears, and ultimately they are. So what can you do when you’re married to an alcoholic? Is a divorce the only option?

There’s no denying that addiction and alcoholism are big reasons that millions of couples divorce, but below are some things to know about coping with life when you’re married to an alcoholic.

What Happens When You’re Married to An Alcoholic

Some of the things commonly experienced when you’re married to an alcoholic were touched on above, and below are more details of these situations:

  • When you’re married to an alcoholic, you may blame yourself for the problems of your spouse. It can be easy to start developing a co-dependency with the alcoholic or enabling them in order to make them happy or avoid conflicts. These situations can also contribute to a spouse blaming themselves when they’re married to an alcoholic.
  • Often people married to alcoholics and other kinds of addicts will take the situation personally. They will feel like the alcoholic is treating them a certain way because of something they’ve done or can control. It’s essential for people married to an alcoholic to know that an addicted person can’t completely control their behavior, and it’s not their fault as the spouse.
  • One of the most common scenarios, when you’re married to an alcoholic, is that you’ll try to cure the person or make them better. This could manifest in trying to promote them drinking at home rather than at a bar to prevent danger, or they may try to shame the person into not drinking, or issue ultimatums. More often than not this is not going to do anything to help the problem, and it may lead to further problems.
  • As an enabler, you may be trying to cover the issues of the alcoholic and make excuses or conceal what’s really

What Can You Do When You’re Married to An Alcoholic?

One of the defining characteristics of alcoholism is the denial there’s a problem, or blaming others. It’s important first and foremost to avoid letting an alcoholic place blame on you for anything. It’s also important that you avoid letting them make excuses. When you’re married to an alcoholic first and foremost, take care of yourself. Take time out to do things you enjoy, and consider joining a support group for people who love alcoholics. A support group will help you share your feelings, and build a social network which is so important to avoid becoming depressed because of your situation.

When you’re married to an alcoholic and looking for ways to help the problem, one of the best is to have an intervention. When you have an intervention, the closest loved ones of the alcoholic come together to talk to that person about getting help. In this situation you will likely have already selected a treatment center, and prepared everything so that if the addict accepts help, they go almost immediately.

You might also talk with a professional therapist who is experienced in issues of addiction.

Seeking professional help is really the only option you have. There’s no way you can talk an alcoholic out of their addiction, or argue or shame them out of it. The more you try to do this, the more frustrated and worn down you’re likely to become. You may ultimately have to consider divorce if nothing else works, but before that think about finding a support group, planning an intervention and speaking to an addiction therapist or counselor.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.