April 1, 2013

Marriage & Addiction


Your spouse wasn’t an addict when you got married.  But now your spouse is drinking every night after work and ramps up the drinking on the weekends.  You feel lonely while he drinks because he retreats into his own world or you feel frustrated or scared because she has a personality change and becomes mean.

Sarah and Brian were one such couple.  He started drinking 10 years into their marriage.  At first, it was just one glass of wine a night but as life sent them curve balls, Brian increased his drinking.  Sarah quickly found herself alone at night.  Brian withdrew while he drank.  Soon, Sarah found herself making excuses to friends as to why they couldn’t meet for dinner – Sarah knew Brian would either show up drunk or would get drunk during the dinner.  And that was embarrassing.

Eventually, Sarah made an appointment for counseling because she was unhappy. She didn’t really want a divorce but she couldn’t see where things would get better.  It seems funny now, but when asked if she thought her husband was an alcoholic, Sarah had a visceral reaction and said “Well, no.  He just likes to drink a bit.”

The truth was that Brian was indeed an alcoholic and Sarah was the co-dependent.  Learning that alcoholism is a family disease and that both of them needed to begin their own recovery, opened up a whole new world to Sarah.

Sarah and Brian had tremendous amounts of denial about Brian’s drinking.  When someone’s drinking affects their relationships, it is time to take a closer look.  Relationships can get better once the alcohol is gone.  It takes courage but if you think your spouse or family member may be drinking too much – ask for help!