Song | Oceans  

Coping with an alcoholic, there is a sigh of relief
Are you involved with someone whose drinking is bothering you?

How do you cope with an intimate relationship that is affected by alcoholism? Living with a spouse, partner or significant other who exhibits a drinking problem can have devastating effects on our emotional well-being, our personal relationships, our professional life and sometimes even our physical health.

Spouses of alcoholics are often overlooked when it comes to treatment. The partner who struggles with drinking may get professional help, even residential care, while the other is left to get through the aftermath. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, and there are plenty of ways for spouses of alcoholics to get much-needed support:

  • Reach out to trusted friends or family to confide.
  • Ask other family members for help with child care, transportation, or just chores that are sliding because of coping with an alcoholic spouse.
  • Join a support group for loved ones of alcoholics, either in person or online or both.
  • Work with mental health professionals to get evaluated for mental health issues and to get therapy and other types of treatment if necessary.
  • Learn and practice positive coping mechanisms, such as relying on social support, exercise, meditation, and deep breathing.
  • Spend more time socializing with friends and family.
  • Take care of the needs of any children involved and make sure they have the tools they need to cope with having an alcoholic parent.

Living with an alcoholic partner is challenging. There are immediate issues, like violence, stress, and worrying about children, as well as lasting issues that cause harm for years to come. It is crucial to address and deal with the issue of drinking and to offer help but also to know when it is time to remove oneself from the situation for self-preservation. 

There may be very little you can do to help the alcoholic until they are ready to get help, but you can stop letting someone’s drinking problem dominate your thoughts and your life. It’s okay to make choices that are good for your own physical and mental health.

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