Alcoholism is becoming a big problem in the US. Here are some scary statistics that give some food for thought.
Nearly 14 million people or one in every 13 adults in the USA are alcoholic in nature. Also nearly half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism.
According to US divorce statistics it has been found that divorced or separated men and women are three times more likely to be alcoholics or to have an alcohol problem as compared to married couples. Alcohol is one of the many reasons behind divorce. Alcohol abuse has ended more marriages, broken up more families and affected more children than one would like to think of. The repercussions are great.
Effects of marriage and alcohol abuse
Alcoholism is a disease with signs like drinking alone, inability to stop drinking and a compulsion to drink. It is in the nature of alcoholics to lie, make excuses, blame others for their drinking, and continue to use alcohol regardless of the consequences. Hence, being married to someone who drinks a lot can be challenging for a non-drinking partner. Here are some of the drawbacks of having an alcoholic life partner:
- Distress: When one partner is an alcoholic, the feelings of marital distress are always high. Too much distress in marital life can eventually lead to dissatisfaction and people start looking for ways to escape from the of marriage.
- Poor communication: When one partner is under the influence of alcohol, it becomes impossible to have effective communication. Lack of proper communication can give rise to anger, and less warmth and unity in the relationship. Without communication, important issues such as family finances, sexual intimacy, and child-rearing decisions go unresolved. This only increases the tension in marital life.
- Irresponsible: Due to heavy drinking habit, a person becomes irresponsible in nature. An alcoholic person will not be interested in participating in everyday household tasks and responsibilities. The focus turns to the next drink as well as secret drinking. When you don’t get the support of your partner, it leads to an unhappy marriage.
- Domestic Violence: Under the influence of alcohol, verbal and physical violence toward the partner often increases. Violence has no place in any relationship.
- Negative Influence on Children: Parental alcohol abuse can lead to psychological distress among children. There will also be increase in social, emotional, behavioral, and academic problems, which can be harmful for their future. There is even a syndrome called Adult Children of Alcoholics because of the long term effects on children who grown up with an alcoholic parent.
Trying to Save Your Marriage
Living with an alcoholic partner can be extremely stressful. Before deciding to divorce your partner think about some of these aspects.
Alcoholism is a disease and your alcoholic partner needs help to get rid of this habit. Alcohol meetings, therapists, support groups or inpatient alcohol treatment facilities can be of great help. Know your options so you can call for an appointment as soon as your spouse agrees.
Having a friend talk to the alcoholic could also be helpful as their is less emotional connection. It is a fact that alcoholics cannot treat their own drinking problem no matter how much will power they have. But there is always hope for recovery if support is there. Give all the love and care to a partner receiving treatment.
I believe it’s very important for the non-drinking partner also to go for therapy. The non-drinking partner often gets their ‘need to be needed’ met by an alcoholic partner. This is known as co-dependence and is a definite hindrance to the person trying to give up drinking. Have a look at this co-dependence checklist.
However, if there’s no improvement in the drinking habit and you find it hard to maintain a healthy atmosphere at home for your children, divorce might then be an option. An abusive home atmosphere is not at all good for you or the overall development of your children.
If you wish to leave your alcoholic spouse, you must be fully prepared – physically, mentally and emotionally. You must do the preparations for a safe exit and have a support system in place to help you through the divorce process. It won’t be easy but keep your end goals in mind of the life you want for yourself and your children.