Recognizing the signs of alcoholism in your partner is essential in early detection and intervention.
The signs of alcoholism in a relationship can be damning to the people involved in that setup. It is a complicated process that would lead to many unfortunate circumstances. “My Alcoholic, My Love” is a book by author Margaret Moschak that opens discussions about people stuck in an alcoholic relationship. The book is focused on alcoholic family help as it highlights marriage, addiction, family, and faith. A relationship built on dysfunctional roles to cope with addiction is doomed to fail.
Addressing alcoholism can help prevent the escalation of the problem and improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery. Here are some signs to look out for:
Increased Tolerance – Your partner needs more alcohol to achieve the same effects they used to get with less. This could involve drinking larger quantities or more potent types of alcohol.
Withdrawal Symptoms – When your partner tries to cut down or stop drinking, they may experience symptoms like nausea, sweating, shaking, anxiety, and even seizures.
Loss of Control – Your partner might have unsuccessful attempts to quit or reduce drinking. They may desire to stop but find themselves unable to do so.
Neglecting Responsibilities – Alcohol use may lead to neglect of work, household chores, and other essential responsibilities.
Social Isolation – Your partner may start to withdraw from social activities, hobbies, or friendships they used to enjoy in favor of drinking.
Other Signs of Alcoholism That Would Strain the Relationship
Drinking in Risky Situations – Consuming alcohol in situations where it’s physically hazardous, such as before or while driving, can be a red flag.
Legal and Financial Issues – Frequent legal problems or financial difficulties related to alcohol use can indicate a severe problem.
Relationship Strain – Alcoholism can strain relationships due to mood swings, arguments, and other negative behaviors.
Increased Time Spent Drinking – Your partner may spend more and more time focused on obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
Physical Health Change – Alcoholism can lead to physical health issues like liver problems, weight changes, and a general decline in overall health.
Psychological Changes – Mood swings, irritability, depression, and anxiety can be linked to alcohol abuse.
Secretive Behavior – Your partner might hide their alcohol use or lie about how much they’re drinking.
Steps to Recognizing Alcoholism in Your Partner
If you suspect your partner is struggling with alcoholism, it’s essential to approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy. Here are some steps to consider:
Learn about alcoholism and its effects to better understand what your partner is going through. Take the time to research and understand alcoholism, its causes, effects, and treatment options. Knowledge about the disease will help you approach the situation with empathy and avoid misconceptions.
Find a calm and private moment to express your concerns without judgment. Use “I” statements to gently express your feelings and observations. Take the time to research and understand alcoholism, its causes, effects, and treatment options. Knowledge about the disease will help you approach the situation with empathy and avoid misconceptions.
As a partner in an alcoholic relationship, assure your partner that you will help them seek treatment. Let your partner know you care about their well-being and will support them through their challenges. Show empathy and understanding, and avoid passing judgment or making them feel guilty.
Encourage Professional Help
Suggest that your partner speak with a doctor, counselor, therapist, or addiction specialist to discuss their drinking habits and explore treatment options. Suggest that your partner consult a medical professional, therapist, or addiction specialist. A doctor can help assess their physical health and provide guidance on the appropriate treatment path, which may involve detoxification, counseling, or medications.
If your partner’s behavior negatively affects you or your relationship, there should be bounds between you and your partner. While offering support, setting healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your relationship is crucial. Communicate clearly about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, and discuss potential consequences if those boundaries are crossed.
Seek Couples or Family Therapy
Consider involving a therapist specializing in addiction and relationships to help you navigate this challenge together. Enlist the help of a therapist who specializes in addiction and relationships. Couples or family therapy can provide a safe space for both of you to address the impact of alcoholism on your relationship and work towards solutions together.
Attend Support Groups
Encourage your partner to participate in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery. These groups offer a sense of community, guidance, and shared experiences that can be valuable during recovery.
Dealing with The Signs of Alcoholism in Your Partner
Recovery from alcoholism is a gradual process, and setbacks may occur. Be patient and understanding as your partner navigates their journey toward sobriety. While offering support, avoid enabling your partner’s behavior. This means not covering up their actions, making excuses, or participating in their drinking. Furthermore, allowing it can inadvertently prolong the problem.
While initiating a discussion, your partner might need to initially be more receptive to your concerns. Be prepared for resistance, denial, or defensiveness. They may need time to acknowledge the problem and be open to seeking help. Sometimes, a formal intervention involving family members, close friends, and a professional interventionist may be necessary. An intervention can provide a structured environment to express concerns and encourage treatment.
However, it’s also okay to know when it’s time to go and leave an alcoholic partner, especially if they refuse to help themselves. While you can provide support, your partner ultimately has to decide to seek help and take steps toward recovery. If the situation becomes severe or dangerous, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice or intervention.