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Having A Relationship With an Alcoholic

Having A Relationship With An Alcoholic

Marriage and serious relationships can be hard. There is a lot of give-and-take as well as the need to compromise often. Unfortunately, not every relationship will last, but when alcohol is involved, it makes maintaining a committed relationship even more challenging. Alcohol ruins relationships when it becomes the priority of one person. If you are currently in this situation, our Chicago addiction treatment center is sharing some tips on navigating a relationship with an alcoholic that can safely guide you through this rollercoaster.


Can You Have a Healthy Relationship With an Alcoholic?

In most cases, alcohol abuse can create a toxic or unhealthy dynamic in a relationship. While loving an alcoholic is possible, especially if a deep relationship has been developed, maintaining a beneficial relationship amid active addiction is a different story. Along with issues of trust, alcoholism may lead to financial hardships for the family or an uneven balance of responsibility. Sometimes alcoholics can even become violent when drinking.

Even a relationship with a high-functioning alcoholic spouse can lead to serious problems that can eventually ruin your relationship. More often than not, the only way to have a happy and healthy relationship with an alcoholic is for them to get sober. Sadly, even that will not guarantee that the problems in your relationship will go away or that your relationship will survive as too much damage may have already been done.

At the end of the day, you cannot truly have a healthy relationship with an alcoholic. Dating an alcoholic can lead to many trials and struggles, including emotional and physical abuse, financial hardships, infidelity, and more. The best thing you can do for your partner is to get them help.


Tips on Dating an Alcoholic

If you are currently married to an alcoholic or dating one, you may be struggling with how to cope. You love them, but when they drink, they become a different person. Should you stay? Should you leave? Is it possible to heal a relationship that has been so deeply impacted? If you are dating an alcoholic or married to one, these tips may be able to help.


Set Boundaries

Too often, alcohol and relationships create a toxic dynamic. The loved one of the alcoholic may unknowingly be enabling them and their drinking habits. Common enabling behaviors include lying to them, making excuses for them, or giving them assistance to settle financial problems caused by alcoholism. One of the best ways to keep this from happening is to set and follow strict boundaries related to their drinking and behavior.


Knowledge Is Power

Gaining alcoholism and addiction education can assist in comprehending your partner's situation and how their substance use disorder might be affecting them. It is essential to acknowledge that addiction is a complicated condition that has physical and psychological elements. Knowing the science behind addiction, such as how it impacts the brain and triggers compulsive actions, can be valuable in fostering sympathy and consideration for your partner.

It is also crucial to acquaint yourself with the symptoms of alcoholism to recognize when your partner is struggling and needs more help. Moreover, educating yourself about addiction can help you comprehend the impact of your actions on your partner's recovery. It is crucial to abstain from encouraging addiction by participating in activities that might contribute to substance abuse. By learning more about addiction, you can better understand how to support your partner's recovery while also taking care of yourself.


Express How You Are Feeling

Sometimes we forget that our significant others are not mind readers. While you may have mentioned their drinking habits before, if you do not explicitly tell them, they may not understand the extent of your concerns. Approach your partner calmly while they are sober and have someone else present if you are fearful that they could become aggressive.

You could also approach them with the assistance of a professional alcohol interventionist to decrease the chances of confrontation. Interventions at our Chicago drug rehab are helped by certified professionals to educate the addict’s loved ones about addiction and increase their chances of recovery.


Try to Get Them Help

Dealing with an alcoholic spouse is not easy to do on your own. Not only can waiting to get help make their recovery more difficult for them overall but coping with the struggles associated with alcoholism can wear you down, as well. If your loved one’s drinking has gotten out of hand, they need an alcohol treatment center.

While you cannot force someone to enter treatment, you can try to point them in the right direction. As we mentioned previously, our intervention specialists can offer you the safe space, guidance, and support you need to direct your loved one toward treatment. Their sobriety could save your relationship.


Get Help for Yourself

Along with trying to get them help, you need to get help for yourself. Constantly figuring out what to do when you are dating an alcoholic can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. At the end of the day, as much as you want to help them, you cannot cure them.

That said, your support is necessary, but you must take care of yourself, too. You could get help by talking to a professional, joining a support group, or even joining a support group for families of alcoholics. While your biggest concern might be your significant other, neglecting your needs will only make you unhappy and cause problems in your relationship.


Know Your Limits & When to Leave an Alcoholic

If you tried and tried to get them help, but they refused, it may be time to leave. While leaving an alcoholic can be scary, it may be in your best interest. Especially if they become abusive or aggressive when drinking, you should not stay in the relationship. If you are concerned about your safety, have someone else present when you leave and make sure they are sober.

If your loved one is an alcoholic or you struggle with drinking yourself, do not wait any longer to get treatment. At our drug rehab in Chicago, we help patients stop drinking and work toward happier and sober lives.

To learn more about our outpatient or partial hospitalization program in Chicago, call Banyan Treatment Center today at 888-280-4763.


Related Reading:

The Kindling Effect: When an Alcoholic Relapses

Impact of Alcohol on Mental Health


Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.