Living with a Functioning Alcoholic Husband What Are My Options?

Consider not drinking yourself (at least temporarily), says Kennedy. You, too, might realize that your relationship with alcohol is negatively affecting your life. And you might find that you feel healthier and happier without it.

Are alcoholics more likely to get divorced?

Divorce rates are significantly higher among people with an alcohol use disorder. Addiction is the third most cited reason for women seeking a divorce and the eighth most common for men. Alcohol use can negatively impact sex drive. Couples in a sexless relationship are less happy and more likely to consider divorce.

It also makes someone more likely to die in a car wreck or from murder or suicide. And any alcohol abuse raises the odds of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Strength, courage, and conviction serve as necessary traits for the battle against the grip of addiction. Witnessing a loved one’s drinking and the ramifications of their alcohol abuse can feel overwhelming and commingle with feelings of shame, fear, anger, or self-blame. The friends and family of America’s vets understand all too well what it feels like to be consumed with worry and fear for your loved one. When addiction is the foe your vet is facing, it’s even more painful.

Divorcing an alcoholic who is the lower income earner

We’re on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help. If the consequences of high-functioning alcoholism have become overwhelming, and your loved one refuses to seek help for alcohol abuse, it could be time to plan an intervention. An intervention is a planned meeting in which the concerned parties confront the alcoholic about their behavior. One of the first signs that someone’s struggling with substance abuse and alcoholism is drinking alone.

Show your concern and suggest that you try to solve the problem together, but don’t allow them to make excuses or justify their drinking. The first step in helping a friend or family member who is drinking too much is to approach them about their alcohol use. Yet, a high functioning alcoholic needs help as much as a classic alcoholic. They might also brag that they’ve stockpiled liquor so that there’s always enough for everyone.

Seeing the functional alcoholic signs and how you can help a loved one with their addiction.

Alcohol detox isn’t easy and not everyone can do it on their own. That is why alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal treatment is administered by medical professionals. The best cure for codependency is a strong, healthy sense of self. Individual therapy, combined with marriage or family counseling, can strengthen your self-esteem and help you build a healthy, sober relationship. Liver damage is the most talked about physical consequence and that is a concern almost immediately.

You may also be spending a lot of energy covering for him; perhaps you need to take care of the household finances or make excuses if he has to miss family functions or other important events because of his drinking. If you have children, you may be worried about their welfare and safety if, say, your husband has been drinking before driving them to their soccer games. You may also fear that your children are at higher risk of alcoholism later in life if they are exposed to the example being set by the high-functioning alcoholic parent.


You may be helping the functional alcoholic in your life to continue drinking when you take on the co-dependent role. The fear that you will lose everything if your partner realizes they have a drinking problem can sometimes cause you to help maintain the facade to hold everything together. The problem is that eventually, everything will unwind and you will slowly lose all the security they give you anyway.

Is it OK to ask your husband to stop drinking?

Communication is the key thing

If you never talk about it, your partner may never know how disturbed and concerned you are by it. The idea is to make them aware of what is going on and how uncomfortable you are, also including how much you would love them to quit drinking.

This type of drinking typically starts as an accompaniment to any social situation and quickly blossoms into a drink for any situation at all, from waking up to calming down and going to sleep. Some may see alcoholism as drinking too much in general, Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Sober House but in reality it can start with moderate drinking at inappropriate times. Being in a relationship with an alcoholic who seems functional may appear normal on the outside, but there are underlying dangers that can cause a lot of pain and destruction.

Functional alcoholics tend to be married, successful, and educated. It often comes as a surprise to learn that they even have a drinking problem. If you or your spouse is struggling with alcohol abuse and want addiction recovery help, please call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab. Our substance abuse specialists can help guide you on the best alcohol use disorder treatment and levels of care for you or your loved one. As a comprehensive behavioral health facility, Casa Palmera understands that drug and alcohol addiction and trauma are not only physically exhausting, but also cause a breakdown in mental and spiritual sense. What makes Casa Palmera distinct from other treatment facilities is our desire to not only heal the body, but also aiming to heal the mind and spirit.

  • But he had to hit rock bottom to do it, and he dragged me down with him.
  • The relationship is filled with dramatic highs and lows, and there’s very little time spent moving forward in a calm, level fashion.
  • However, alcoholism has serious effects that can’t be avoided long term.
  • Support groups for friends and loved ones, such as the 12-step program Al-Anon, can help people navigate these relationships.
  • It can be emotionally taxing on the alcoholic spouse to deal with the alcoholic’s mood swings, lies, or excuses, while also covering for them and picking up their slack at taking care of the home.

Chronic/severe alcoholism refers to people who have been drinking heavily for many years and are at risk of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome if they stop drinking cold turkey. Familial alcoholism refers to people who began drinking at a younger age and likely have family members who also abuse alcohol or other substances. It is difficult to know what to do when your husband is a functioning alcoholic, but empty threats and compromises won’t improve the situation. Keep in mind that you may not know if they are drinking alone or to what extent.

Listen with compassion and thank your partner for hearing you regardless. When confronted with the emotional pain a spouse is experiencing, a person suffering from alcohol use disorder may deny the problem, lash out, blame their spouse, or engage in other combative behavior. During this time, it is important to stay focused on the problem and keep it short and simple. Keep in mind that this is about healing the relationship, not ending it. Whether it’s a night out or just a small office get-together at lunch, this person uses any occasion as an excuse to drink alcohol.