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Why Your Alcoholic Spouse Won’t Quit Drinking Alcohol

Posted Jun 06 2010 7:17am

Are you married to an alcoholic husband or alcoholic wife? Do you feel totally frustrated and resentful watching them drink everyday and throw their lives away; their family life, their marriage, their work, and their health in the process? Addiction makes no sense. It is a chronic, progressive disease.

The brain of your alcoholic spouse hears two voices. The biochemical voice in their brain is “screaming”  at them to drink alcohol. Your voice is nagging, pleading, pressuring them, making them promise to quit drinking alcohol.

Which voice will your alcoholic spouse ultimately listen to?

In my experience as a psychiatrist treating alcoholism, there is only one reason that any addict gives up the substance they are addicted to. The pain of continuing to drink must outweigh the pain of quitting drinking alcohol. The pain to stop drinking alcohol includes going through alcohol withdrawal, dealing with cravings, participating in a 12 step program, and changing their lifestyle. Their focus has been getting work out of the way, the family out of the way- any obstacle that interferes with their next drink.

Alcoholic recovery requires starting a brand new life. Your alcoholic husband or alcoholic wife starts their new life by grieiving the loss of their “best friend” (the bottle). They must give up their “drinking buddies” who they perceive as friends. Next, they reconnect with their family and others who are committed to a “sober lifestyle”. During this period, alcoholic spouses need to work through the feelings of guilt and shame  over how they have treated those close to them.

These are huge changes which require  facing “life” and responsibilities, not actively avoiding them by drinking alcohol. It’s similar to learning to walk again when people have suffered a stroke. It takes hard work and support.

So- you can now see why your alcoholic spouse is afraid to take the leap to quit drinking alcohol. It’s terrifying to them and they are afraid of failure. However, every one I have ever treated that gets to this point is extremely grateful for the benefits of being clean and sober. Please leave a comment if you have other ideas why your alcoholic spouse is not willing to quit drinking.

(If you want additional help turning your marriage around click here to register for my free report on, “ 5 Proven Methods For a Healthier Marriage With Your Alcoholic Spouse”. It may save your family’s life. The information in this report gives you very simple strategies that could very well save your marriage).

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