8 Ways Alcohol Abuse Harms Marriage

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How to Stave off Divorce by Moderating Drinking

Alcohol can be a poisonous substance, especially in large amounts. When used to excess, alcohol is toxic to the body and mind, and alcohol abuse or addiction can also poison a marriage. Overuse of alcohol disrupts life on many levels, and takes a particularly devastating toll on intimate relationships.

A 2014 study entitled the “National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions,” published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, sought to compare the divorce rates of couples in which one or both were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), compared to couples without this condition. Results showed that divorce rates were significantly higher among those respondents with an AUD: 48.3% vs. 30.1%. These marital dissolutions occurred during the time between the first wave of data collection and the second one, three years later.

How Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Can Affect Marriage

In the early courtship phase, a couple may center many of their dates and social interactions around events that include indulging in alcoholic beverages. In our culture, alcohol is so deeply ingrained in most social activities and holiday celebrations, that during these early dating years, alcohol use by a couple is typically not an issue. Later, however, after marriage, work, and family life begin to be more demanding and stressful, one or both partners may increase their alcohol intake as a way to manage the daily stress.

Alcohol becomes destructive to a marriage when one or both parties acquires an AUD as a result of chronic, increasing use of spirits. As tolerance ramps up, the quantity consumed follows the same trajectory, resulting in overuse or addiction.

Negative Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Marriage

There are many negative manifestations of alcohol addiction that can wreak havoc on a marriage. Some of these consequences include:

  1. Disruption in sex life, disinterest in one’s partner
  2. Detachment and withdrawal, inability to be emotionally available
  3. Increasing irresponsibility and unreliability, not following through on family obligations
  4. Physical health problems, affecting the quality of life for both
  5. Inability to function at a job, possibly leading to termination and putting family finances in jeopardy
  6. Loss of interest in physical appearance, gaining weight, and looking disheveled or unkempt
  7. A change in demeanor, becoming more negative, depressed, and unpleasant to be around
  8. Erosion of interest in participating in activities the couple once enjoyed, due to decreased energy and vitality caused by excess alcohol use.

How Curbing or Eliminating Alcohol Consumption Can Save a Marriage

If an AUD has seriously disrupted a marriage to the point of a spouse potentially filing for divorce, there are options to get things back on track and repair the relationship. Not all alcohol use results in dependency, which makes it crucial to seek ways to control alcohol intake before dependency takes root. Learning how to moderate a drinking habit is a process that requires commitment — not only to making the necessary behavioral changes, but to preserving the marriage itself.

When one spouse has been consistently engaged in reckless drinking — causing marital and family strife, plus serious financial and/or legal consequences — moderation can redeem the drinker and save the marriage. How is this accomplished?  One can learn to control drinking by setting personal goals and benchmarks, followed by ongoing counseling, medically-assisted treatment, regular breathalyzing, and peer support.

Ria Health Can Help You Reduce or Stop Your Drinking

For the sake of a marriage, as well as overall mental and physical well-being, reducing or eliminating alcohol intake is imperative. Ria Health stands apart in the field of AUD treatment by providing a revolutionary mobile app, partnered with a physician and recovery coach — sidestepping the need to go to a facility for the treatment.

The app provides a behavioral modification element that helps members set personal goals — either reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption — and then tracks progress with data provided by scheduled breathalyzer use. Online forums lend peer support and additional coaching. For more information about Ria Health, please contact us at riahealth.com.

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