If your partner has been abusing alcohol it can be a very tough situation for you. You might be feeling frustrated, drained out and most importantly hurt. It might also be affecting your mental health, your relationship with family and friends and your self-image.
In this article we will be learning how to cope with a partner who abuses alcohol. Why they might be doing this, how you can cope and how to help.
Here are the topics we will be discussing:
- How do I cope with my partner’s alcohol abuse?
- Why is my partner abusing alcohol
- How do I help them?
How do I cope with my partner’s alcohol abuse?
- Find a support group
- Have a social circle
- Make sure you have a job
- Join a class
- Reach out to your friends
- Go for therapy
Find a support group
We all know that there are support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous for those who abuse alcohol. There can also be support groups for caregivers and especially those who are partners.
Finding a support group can help you in more ways than one. These groups can show you that you aren’t alone in your struggles. That you aren’t the only one who goes through these things over and over again. It normalises your pain and in that way it gives you an outlet to vent and even accept what you’re going through.
Once this happens, it becomes easy to start working towards a solution. Or working towards something that can make you feel better. This is what happens when you also have the people to support you through this journey.
Have a social circle
Keep yourself occupied, make sure you have friends around you. Or at least you have a social circle whom you meet often and go out with.
This social circle doesn’t have to be your support group. It can be another set of friends who you enjoy being with. This might be to perform a certain activity, or do certain things that can possibly help you be free.
This could be playing a sport or practicing a form of art, dance classes and so on.
Make sure you have a job
It’s extremely difficult to lead a life with an abuser especially when you’re not financially independent. It can be also stressful when you’re financially independent because they might be dependent on you for money.
But financial independence gives you the ability to support yourself and the confidence to lead your own life. It’s the first step towards feeling independent in a relationship and keeping your life separate from that of your partners.
It also gives you control of your life. Living with someone who abuses alcohol, and not being able to cure them can make you feel extremely helpless, and even weak. It could affect your self-esteem and make you question your abilities as a partner. Thus having a job can make you feel more in control of your life, giving you the balance you require.
Join a class
You might be thinking that all the solutions so far are solely for you. They’re encouraging to look at yourself and do the right things for yourself. This might look selfish to you when you have an alcoholic partner.
However this isn’t the case. One thing you need to understand is that you can’t quit being an alcoholic. You can only take them this far. Where you encourage them to quit, your give them the support to quit, introduce them to rehab centers and so on. But you cannot actively help them more than this.
Eventually your partner will hit a crisis point. You will have to wait for this to play out. They might get into a fight, lose people they love, or a job. That’s when you need to be there for them when they decide to change.
Mind you the journey of change could be much more difficult than this moment. They will relapse and find themselves in difficult positions.
That’s why it becomes important to keep yourself sane and occupied. Join a class , learn something new and work towards making that a part of your life. Make sure you grow into a stronger person.
Reach out to your friends
Keep your friends in the loop, we know this can be difficult. It can come with a lot of unwanted judgement and questions. But it’s important to know who are your true friends who can help you out in this difficult time.
Also it’s important to have people know the kind of situation you are in. In case of an emergency it’s always better this way. You might not want to involve them, but none of us can do without friends and family.
Go for therapy
As much as you try to stay strong for your partner and your situation, you need to remember that you can be vulnerable.
You are only human and it’s okay to feel low, weak, and helpless. These are things most of us go through in life. However the problem arises when you try to repress these feelings. You try to push them out by putting on a brave face. You also tend to project these feelings onto other people.
Going for therapy will help reduce these issues to a large extent. It can also help you locate your feelings and once that happens it becomes easy to balance them out.
Why is my partner abusing alcohol?
Your partner might be abusing alcohol for a variety of reasons, or it could be a habit that’s turned into an addiction.
Most of the time there are reasons that haven’t been solved at a young age and that’s been eating them up, due to which they’ve turned to alcohol.
Alcohol can be used as a way to escape the pains and troubles of the present. It can also be used to escape the troubles of the past that have managed to make their way as baggage. Sometimes alcohol is transgenerational. In the sense that if your partner’s dad was an alcoholic , this could be a reason.
However this isn’t definitive but it does increase the chances of the child becoming an alcoholic.
Any kind of major life event, such as loss of a loved one, an accident that has changed the way they lived, loss of a job or financial stability, these are all common factors that we see in alcohol abuse.
How do I help them?
The number one thing that you should understand is that you cannot completely help your partner. You can’t stop them from being an alcoholic because it isn’t up to you. And to a certain extent even your partner will be helpless.
Addiction is something that takes time, patience and a lot of empathy. Cleaning up after your partner might just encourage their habit. It’s important to allow them to be responsible for their own actions.
This might be difficult and hurt you alot, but it’s definitely needed.
However you can encourage them to quit. You can introduce them to support groups, or even rehab centers. Taking it step by step is the key. Make sure you’re doing it at a pace in which they can adapt to.
Under no circumstance should you encourage them with financial aid. When you know they are going to use the money you give them for alcohol, refrain from doing so. You might be worried that if you don’t give them the money, they might find other means to get it.
They most likely will, however this has to become their responsibility in order to find the need to fix it themselves. As long as you act responsible the pressure to fix this is also going to be yours. And we know that you can’t do much for your partner in this situation.
If your partner abuses alcohol, it can cause a lot of disruptions in your own life. This is exactly why it is important to understand the reasons behind your partner being this way and making sure to support them, whilst allowing them to take responsibility for their own actions. You cannot help them sober up, this is something only they can do, and it will even take them a lot of time, relapses and learning.
If you do have any questions or queries please drop them in the comment section below.