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Whether you're dating, married, or have another type of relationship, loving an alcoholic will take its toll on you. Partners of alcoholics experience both short-term and long-lasting adverse effects.
Partners, lovers, and spouses often experience emotional abuse, which can escalate to physical violence. This can lead to several serious issues, including:
- Mental disorders
- Physical health problems
- Developing their own addictions
- Permanent injuries
- Damaged relationships
Fortunately, there are millions of people in the US who have been in or are currently undergoing treatment for their alcohol use disorder (AUD). This means that it is possible to get your partner help.
The steps you'll take will be difficult but necessary. In order to build a brighter future for yourself, your partner, and your loved ones, you need to address your partner's addiction.
It will be a long road, and it's most likely that you'll need professional help along the way. Therapists, doctors, and addiction counselors will be able to provide you with knowledge, resources, and a network of support. When you're ready, please reach out to one of these people.
In the meantime, here are three small things that you can start doing today that will help begin the recovery process, or minimize damage:
1. Do some research
One of the essential elements of the recovery process is education. The majority of treatment programs use educational strategies to help people overcome their AUD, and so should you.
The more you learn about alcohol addiction, treatment, and recovery, the more you'll understand your situation. This will help you stay safe by drawing boundaries and providing healthy support for your partner.
2. Find support
At the beginning of their recovery, people often turn to their partner for support. This can be very demanding. Plus, if you don't take the time to establish boundaries, and reach out for help early on, it could make the road ahead very difficult.
Establishing a support system of your own is crucial to helping your partner recover from their addiction. Here are a few ways you can find support:
- Reach out to people you trust and confide in them
- Ask friends and family to help with chores and tasks that may not be getting handled
- Join a support group for loved ones of alcoholics (you can find them in-person or online)
- Talk with a therapist or other mental health professionals
- Spend more time socializing with loved ones
3. Talk with your partner
If you're reading this, the question "How do I talk to my partner about their alcoholism?" has probably crossed your mind at some point. This is one of the most intimidating, yet important, steps you'll have to take.
Here are a few tips that will help you prepare to talk with them:
- Be ready — Be sure to do your research. If possible, talk with a professional and ask them for tips on how to approach your partner.
- Choose the time carefully — Never discuss the situation while your partner is intoxicated or under the influence. Make sure that they are sober and that you're in a safe, quiet, and private place.
- Have options available — Simply telling someone that there's a problem isn't going to solve it. Have at least some options, to provide hope and positivity, ready to suggest.
- Remain calm and patient — Address your concerns calmly, but directly. Don't accuse them, instead explain your concerns for their health and well-being. Allow them to speak and listen actively.
Dating or living with someone who suffers from AUD is challenging. However, it's important to know that you're not alone. And to prepare yourself for the road ahead. You can start your research by visiting our alcohol section and learning about the effects and treatment options.