What To Do in a Relationship With an Alcoholic?
Are you in a relationship with someone who has an alcohol addiction? If so, it is normal to ask yourself how you can help your partner secure addiction treatment and whether they need it in the first place.
Answering these questions can be tricky, though. On the one hand, you may think that your partner’s alcohol use has not escalated beyond control. Still, on the other hand, you may understand that without treatment, their alcohol abuse could severely impact their life and give way to a host of physical and psychological problems.
Can You Have a Healthy Relationship With Someone Who Has an Alcohol Use Disorder?
When a person struggles with an alcohol use disorder, it can be challenging to maintain loving and caring relationships with them, especially when they are under the influence of alcohol. You may want to do everything you can to salvage your relationship and support your partner, but a healthy relationship with someone who has alcoholism requires sobriety.
Unfortunately, the road to sobriety is a long journey filled with bumps and turns. If your partner is in active alcoholism, they will need some kind of treatment. This could mean attending a support group, or it could involve them going to rehab for addiction and mental health treatment.
Although it may seem difficult to do, especially if your partner needs support, practicing self-care and making sure that you have strong boundaries in place is essential to looking after your own well-being.
Living With Someone With an Alcohol Addiction
Upon beginning a relationship with someone who has an alcohol use disorder, you may not have been aware of the problem. Likewise, if your partner develops an alcohol abuse problem during your relationship, they may hide this from you. However, they may come across as an exhilarating person, which can be attractive.
After a while, though, their drinking habits may become too much, and what was attractive could become challenging to be around.
Common reasons for you to seek help if you are living with someone who has an alcohol addiction include:
- Missed plans. Unfortunately, those living with an alcohol addiction may often prioritize alcohol, meaning they miss out on your plans. For example, you might have arranged to meet with your partner for dinner, and they didn’t turn up. Subsequently, you might find they were drinking and forgot all about it.
- Your partner may embarrass you. You may have initially seen your partner as the ‘life of the party,’ but now realize that the way they act when they are engaged in excessive drinking is inappropriate and embarrassing. They might tell off-color remarks, they may become belligerent, and they might even start fights. These behaviors can all ultimately weigh down on you, which is why it is essential for you to seek help.
- Sexual infidelity. When alcohol is used, inhibitions reduce. If your partner abuses alcohol, their inhibitions may be somewhat low at all times, which could lead to them committing sexual infidelity.
- Health concerns. Alcohol addiction takes a toll on the body. You might have noticed that your partner looks less spirited than they used to. For example, they might have bags under their eyes, and they might complain about pains in their body. These should all be reasons that they seek professional medical advice.
- Mental health problems. Besides physical health problems, you may be worried about your partner’s mental health. If they act differently from how they used to, their alcohol addiction might have exacerbated an existing mental health disorder. If a mental health problem arises alongside alcoholism, this is known as a dual diagnosis. In the event that your partner requires dual diagnosis treatment, attending a specialist rehab center that can provide this is in their best interest.
How Do I Encourage My Partner to Get Help?
If your partner has developed an alcohol addiction, asking or encouraging them to seek support is not unreasonable. However, as many people who have an alcohol addiction live in denial, it is best to have a supportive conversation with them.
Rather than expressing how they make you feel in a confrontational tone, talk to them about your worries about their health and well-being and inform them of the available support groups and treatment centers.
Offering your loved one support by going to support groups with them may also be beneficial. Suggesting that they speak with a healthcare professional can additionally encourage them to get help.
What To Do if Your Partner Will Not Stop Alcohol Abuse and Go to a Treatment Program
You likely know that your partner needs substance abuse treatment so they can stop drinking. But how do you encourage this?
Although the above suggestions are usually helpful, most people who live with an alcohol use disorder are very resistant to treatment and will come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they should not go.
Here are some tips on what to do when your partner does not want to consider looking at treatment facilities.
- Educate yourself on alcohol and drug addiction. Addiction can be difficult to understand for people who do not have it, and your partner’s actions may seem incomprehensible. Why don’t they just stop? Unfortunately, it is not as easy as that. Addictions are mental health disorders that mean that someone simply cannot stop drinking alcohol without getting help. Educating yourself on alcohol and drug addictions can help you understand why they continue to abuse alcohol.
- Set clear boundaries. The constant stress that your partner puts you under can become overwhelming. Setting boundaries about what you will accept can help them, but it also helps you. Stop making excuses for them, and help them to understand that you will not accept certain behaviors.
- Let go of expectations. You can try to help your partner by encouraging positive changes needed to help them see that they have a problem, but ultimately, it is down to them. If they do not want to stop drinking, unfortunately, there is very little you can do to help.
- Stop enabling. Are you financially supporting your loved one’s drinking? Are you buying them alcohol or paying for their food after they have spent all their money on alcohol? Whichever of these you are doing, it is time to stop. Enabling behaviors can prevent those with alcohol addictions from getting the help they need.
- Don’t blame yourself. Addiction is a disease with genetic and environmental factors, and you are not the one to blame for your partner’s alcohol problem.
- Take care of yourself. The stress of being in a romantic relationship with someone who abuses alcohol can start to wear you down. Remember that it is essential to take care of your own needs. This means eating healthy food, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep, and taking some downtime.
How to Prepare Your Loved One for Addiction Treatment
When your partner is ready to secure professional help and begin the recovery process, it is important for you to know what you should do. Here are a few pieces of advice that you can follow to make sure they get to treatment without any hitches.
- Make sure they are with you the night before going to rehab. People with alcoholism can sometimes get cold feet after agreeing to go to a treatment facility, and they often start making excuses surrounding why they cannot go. Make sure they are with you the night before treatment begins so you can reassure them that they will be okay during their time in treatment.
- Make sure their belongings are packed. When your partner attends rehab, they will not require much, but they should be sure to have plenty of changes of clothes, toiletries, a few books, and a way of getting in contact with you. Cell phones and laptops are often taken away during the week in treatment centers, but use is allowed on weekends.
- Check they are not taking prohibited items. The flip side to the above point is making sure that they do not have anything with them that they should not have. This includes obvious items like alcohol, drugs, and weapons and extends to mouthwash containing alcohol. If you are unsure what your partner can and cannot take to rehab, check with the treatment program staff.
Contact Us Today
If your partner has an alcohol addiction and you are worried about their mental health, please contact us today. We can support you in helping your partner receive the care and support they need to overcome their alcohol addiction.