How Alcoholism Affects Relationships

    How Alcoholism Affects Relationships

    A review of the literature found a significant relationship between alcohol and domestic violence — with one 2020 study in Australia citing alcohol as a factor in roughly 24% to 54% of family and domestic violence police reports. The survey results showed that people in committed relationships who use alcohol during intimacy were more likely to be sexually aggressive toward their intimate partners. Alcohol problems can quickly damage relationships, though it’s often more challenging to determine whether you have one if you’re dealing with an addiction.

    What percentage of relationships fail because of alcohol?

    “Heavy drinker” is defined as six or more drinks consumed at one time or drinking until intoxicated. The study established that marriages end in divorce 50 percent of the time, when one of the spouses drinks heavily.

    Couples where a partner abuses alcohol are often very unhappy – in fact, they are usually unhappier than couples that seek marriage guidance for other reasons. As the alcohol abuse worsens, it starts to take more and more time away from the couple – taking its toll by creating an emotional distance between them that is difficult to overcome. It is often the fighting itself that can create an environment or situation in which the partner with the alcohol dependency uses the substance to reduce the stress of their unhappy situation, meaning that a vicious cycle ensues. The majority of people are acutely aware of the long-term and very damaging effects alcoholism has on the body, but not many know that just as much damage can be done to relationships as well. The fact that alcoholism has a simultaneous destructive effect on physical and mental health and relationships is what makes it so different from other chronic health conditions.

    How Alcohol Abuse Can Affect Romantic Relationships

    “Using computerized or online daily diary methods to compile day-to-day variations in thoughts and behaviors provided us with very accurate sequences of events,” according to Levitt. “This reliable record of effects for each gender, the nature of the drinking, and the processes occurring between the partners provided information about factors that may make or break relationships over time.” Interestingly, heavy alcohol consumption was not always harmful to relationships, according to Levitt. “The harmful effects of heavy drinking were buffered when partners drank together vs. apart,” he explained.

    Analcohol use disorder, however, could quickly ruin your relationship. This might be difficult to see if you are the one with analcohol addiction. If you are unsure, here are a few signs that might be cause for concern. You may drink because you think it is fun, as an escape from stress or even to relieve other physical symptoms such as chronic pain. However, drinking excessively or too often can have consequences, including damaged relationships.


    Alcohol dependency is defined as, an inability to control alcohol consumption. Even when there is significant damage to interpersonal relationships, physical and mental health, and other important life roles. If your wife, husband or partner’s drinking is impacting your marriage in any way, there is a problem.

    Likewise, the alcoholic could largely benefit from acknowledging their problem and opening themselves to the change that will be needed in order to overcome the alcohol use disorder. As the spouse of an alcoholic entering recovery, you may receive greater results when you help yourself before you attempt to help your loved one through this challenging alcohol and relationships time. In addition to attending support groups, loved ones of alcoholics may consider 1-on-1 or group therapy. A trained health professional can help family members assist their loved one’s recovery. People who consume alcohol regularly can develop an alcohol use disorder . AUD is the inability to control one’s drinking despite negative consequences.

    Homelessness and Addiction

    Such comments as, “I’ve been concerned about that too,” or “She’s right, we have to face this,” are hints that a family member is trying to become your ally against the drinker. You must make efforts to neutralize the alliance, i.e., maintain an alliance with the family as a unit, rather than with specific family members. If drinking appears to be more marginally related to presenting problems and treatment is progressing smoothly, it can be addressed later in treatment. You may have a limited number of sessions or limited time during which the family is available for treatment.

    alcohol and relationships

    Patient placement criteria for the treatment of psychoactive substance use disorders. Motivational Enhancement Therapy is a brief, two- to four-session treatment that combines assessment, feedback, and principles of motivational interviewing . MET is particularly effective for those clients who are angry and resistant at the onset of treatment. You can guide family members to develop specific feedback and role-play how to discuss their concerns with the drinking family member. Providing a drinker with choices is more than passive acceptance of the individual’s goals and preferred route to change. You can play an active role by providing specific information about different goals and different treatment options.

    Alcohol Worsening Your Spouse’s Mental Health

    It is also very important that the problems in the relationship be treated; these problems do not go away because the drinking or drug use has stopped. Many couples are both surprised and disappointed that they continue to have many fights and arguments after the substance abuse has stopped. Interestingly, marriages with both spouses drinking heavily result in divorce about 30 percent of the time – the same as non-drinking couples. However, two heavy drinkers do not foster the perfect family life – anything but. Support organizations exist for friends and family members of those with alcohol use disorders due to the problems created by the condition. Al-Anon Family Groups and similar organizations seek to help people in this situation understand their role in the environment.

    alcohol and relationships