Alcoholism is not a choice and facing the consequences as an addict is a taxing ordeal. Among these consequences is the effect it has friends, family, business associates, and others. Spouses are often the greatest victims of these situations,–living with their partner’s problems and anger on a daily basis.

Because they constantly bear the brunt of their alcoholic partner’s actions, they continuously live at risk. Such risks include not just verbal and physical abuse, but stress that can push them past a breaking point. For some, it may even be severe enough to begin coping with alcoholism as well.

This does not make alcoholism itself a contagious pathogen, but rather its physical and psychological issues develop intense stress. Emotional spikes, health issues, financial troubles, abusive behaviors, and social isolation can be pushed onto partners as well. But how likely and serious can this issue be?

Are Partners at Risk for Alcoholism?

Over time, many studies have found scientific links to people’s physical and emotional health and alcoholism. For example, individuals with parents or other family members who have had addictions are also at risk. Genetics does play a role in this—such as links to anxiety disorders—but the mere presence of addiction can have a lasting effect.

Naturally, genetics does not play a role between romantic partners, but there is a risk of exposure. It may be obvious that abusing drugs is bad, especially if it has a direct impact on someone’s relationship. But nevertheless, the exposure and stress of dealing with an alcoholic can ultimately push the other past that breaking point.

Sometimes the other partner will also abuse alcohol to cope, or simply to block out or numb conflicts and emotions. In a sense, living with an alcoholic can push the mind to accept a defeatist attitude.

Side Effects of Living with an Alcoholic Spouse

Having two partners abuse alcohol is not only a recipe for disaster but it can make both lives even more miserable. Addicts may give into alcohol to escape their problems, but addiction ultimately makes many problems worse. Arguments can increase drastically due to a lack of communication and responsibility between each other.

Additionally, the negligence that tends to build in alcoholic relationships often allows for the enabling of foul and irresponsible behaviors. Alcoholics will ignore problems to avoid trouble, and this can double if both partners become complacent in their addiction.

Alongside this ignorance, codependency is another bad habit that develops in these toxic relationships. In codependence, the addict relies on their partner for many needs—from physical to emotional—and cannot properly function alone. This can lead an addict to develop low self-esteem, overly reliant and unhealthy behaviors, and form a victim mentality.

Dealing with an Alcoholic Spouse

Being trapped living with an alcoholic partner can bring feelings of fear and helplessness, with no foreseeable escape. But ignoring the issue will not only solve nothing but allow it to become even worse. If your significant other or spouse refuses to listen to your feelings, it may be time to stage an intervention. You can seek to hire a professional interventionist to reason with your partner, along with close friends and family members.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a Discovery Place’s Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.


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