The majority of people are acutely aware of the long-term and very damaging effects alcoholism has on the body, but not many know that just as much damage can be done to relationships as well. The fact that alcoholism has a simultaneous destructive effect on physical and mental health and (committed and intimate) relationships is what makes it so different from other chronic health conditions.
With a marriage or other committed relationships, alcoholism has the potential to put a serious strain on – or even destroy – the intimate bond between two people. Having a partner who drinks too much is very much like throwing a stone into a calm body of water – the effects have a ripple-like effect on all those around them. Children, relatives, friends, and co-workers all bear the brunt of a person’s addiction. However, many would argue that – aside from the alcohol abuser – their partner often feels the biggest impact.
Couples where a partner abuses alcohol are often very unhappy – in fact, they are usually unhappier than couples that seek marriage guidance for other reasons. As the alcohol abuse worsens, it starts to take more and more time away from the couple – taking its toll by creating an emotional distance between them that is difficult to overcome. These couples also report that they fight and argue a great deal, which sometimes can become violent. It is often the fighting itself that can create an environment or situation in which the partner with the alcohol dependency uses the substance to reduce the stress of their unhappy situation, meaning that a vicious cycle ensues.
When alcohol dependence eventually becomes one of the main reasons for fighting or arguing, the conflict leads to more substance use as a way of reducing tension, conflict about the substance use escalates; thus more drinking occurs, and so on. Couples where one partner abuses alcohol has a very tough time getting breaking free from this downward spiral – however, all is not necessarily lost. There are many proven ways to combat this cycle of abuse – allowing the abuser and their relationship to recover.
What Are The Alcoholism Symptoms
There are several warning signs that drinking by a partner is causing harm to the relationship to the point where an intervention by a professional is required. If a partnership finds that there are frequent arguments about drinking or things related to drinking, for example: financial problems, staying out late, not taking responsibility for helping in the home or with childcare, then it might be time to get some help. Further, if one is having to cover for a partner regularly because they have been drinking – be that phoning in sick for them or lying to friends and family because they are a no-show at an event, then it is time to address the addiction professionally.
Couples often report that as alcohol dependency takes hold in one partner, the abuser will only want to join in with activities where alcohol is readily available. Instances of domestic violence often increase – not just initiated by the partner who has been drinking – but by the partner who is suffering the consequences – often borne out of anger and frustration at the situation that they find themselves in.