How to Get and Stay Sober When Your Partner or Husband Drinks

It is only the beginning of a long, arduous, rarely successful trudge to save the marriage. It is up to us to roll up our sleeves and do the work of repentance and rebuilding. It was early 2015 when I uttered the word abuse for the first time. It was early 2015 when I told him I loved him, I would always love him, but I was no longer in love with him. It was early 2015 when I told him I wanted a divorce. It took time but I began to speak out about our struggles, about the violence, and about the strained state of our relationship. With each week I got stronger, and the stronger I got, the further I found myself from him. As we shifted the sobriety count from days to weeks and, later, months, we became more in tune with one another, but we were still two strangers living apart.

We were supposed to go to counseling, but then it turns into a fight before it’s time to go. His last text to me on Friday was that he was done letting my sponsor come first and for me to go on with my life. We’ve been together for 15 years, and I don’t know if we’re beyond repair. Sometimes people discover who they really are in recovery and grow apart. Others find the burden is too heavy and decide to end their relationships. A marriage in recovery means volunteering to go through that backlog together. Some people, frankly, don’t have the stomach for it.

Our marriage is happier than ever because of the alcoholism

Everyone knows that alcoholism destroys marriages. I’ve read about a 20 percent increase in divorce rate when abusive drinking is in play. But I’ve never been able to find statistics about the divorce rate of marriages when the abusive drinker is in recovery. marriage changes after sobriety I don’t think that is a subset that’s ever been studied scientifically. While my sample size is not large enough to publish the results, something like four of every five marriages I’m aware of where an alcoholic spouse quit drinking resulted in divorce.

  • Couples who have one person who heavily uses alcohol and another who does not are more likely to divorce than couples who both heavily use alcohol.
  • My expectations were consistently exceeded by the expertise of the staff, the content of the program, and the overall respect and care I was treated with.
  • If your marriage was strained at all when you drank it will likely be strained in recovery.
  • If the issues in the relationship are not treated, they can set the stage for continued conflict and, in turn, relapse to drinking or drug use.

Fifteen years ago, we quit drugs, and then we both started drinking together. He quit when I quit, but he has a medical marijuana card. As an active alcoholic, I was in immense emotional pain but I also caused a lot of pain. My husband, in having to navigate a relationship with a drunk, had built up certain defenses. He loved me but he still had to live with me which, I can imagine, was really trying Sober Home at times. After a rough bout of undiagnosed postpartum depression, my addiction took off, and I went from binge-drinking once a month to daily drinking to escape the depression and anxiety. I’d begun moving toward isolation, alienating my friends and family, and my son’s father was the last one to go. When my first child was born in 2007, it took everything I had to not run from caring for him.

Drug and Alcohol Use in America

Being patient will be key in getting your marriage back on track, whether you’re living with an alcoholic/drug addict in recovery or you are an alcoholic/drug addict in recovery. What I initially regretted was Bill’s lost charm and warmth. I was attracted to his sensibilities and the ease with which he could be just as comfortable in his business suit as his biking gear. In early recovery, his affect was very abrupt, and his affection felt stiff. Was a sober Bill, a man with a very different personality? Those questions haunted me for a long time as Bill struggled to reconnect with his emotions. The antidepressant played havoc on his mind and body. He often expressed how he felt foggy and resented how it impacted our physical intimacy. The combination of these effects shattered his self-esteem. For almost a year and a half, we experienced a new kind of rollercoaster until he found the proper medication and acceptance of its place as part of his treatment.
marriage changes after sobriety
My pregnancy added an additional challenge to the recovery process. Yet, sobriety destabilizes the status quo, and the longer partners are together, the more their patterns become entrenched. As a binge drinker, I was adept at pulling myself together for long periods of time, which created a roller coaster of highs and lows in our relationship. This was the first time I’d really committed to sobriety and my husband needed a chance to come to terms with the fact that he could trust me and rely on me as much as I could him. I was irrational and, often, my insecurities weighed out over reason, which meant he tip-toed around me and couldn’t be open with his feelings. I would rage over little things like not receiving a phone call or text message in what I thought was a timely manner. I spent too much money and had nothing to show for it so he had to hide money to make sure the bills got paid. I neglected my child and him so he sought support elsewhere.

Do’s and Don’ts for Helping Your Addicted Spouse

This time, my apologies weren’t reminders of my inability to control my drinking. They weren’t promises that I’d make the same mistakes again. We argued in sobriety just like we argued when I drank. We retreated to the place we knew so well at the first sign of irritability or frustration. We argued over inconsequential things like eye rolls or dismissive looks. Our skin was worn so thin from years rubbing each other the wrong way that the slightest abrasiveness was enough to send us reeling.

All of the staff was very accommodating and friendly. You only get back from the program what you give to your recovery. Even if you were to reconcile, you’d be building something new because what existed before is broken. It had to be for your drinking and drug use to continue. There is a reason that many relationships don’t marriage changes after sobriety work after one partner gets sober. He says I spend all my life with AA and my friends. He smokes pot, he’s a mean person, and we have totally different personalities. I’ve grown so much, but he doesn’t think he needs to change anything. Sobriety means you’re as equipped as you can be to manage any outcome that comes your way.

When I would take sobriety out for a test drive, I remembered the many occasions from the past when I had done wrong and apologized. I didn’t see the damage that remained because I was confident in my amends made in those many mornings after. Yes, I had been an asshole, but I had said I was sorry. Address the hell into which my disease had transformed her life. When a man stops cheating, it doesn’t erase the pain of the past indiscretions. That is where you will find your family and yourself. For one week I felt confident and safe and assured. For one week I saw the promise and potential of an alcohol-free future. We provide a healthy environment uniquely suited to support your growth and healing. Discover the solutions you’ve been seeking with this new guide to living free of alcohol.

Was this article helpful?
Thanks for letting us know!
Feedback
image
I have been a teacher/entrepreneur most of my career. From the founder of TestCafe, I recently moved into my new role as Director at NeoStencil. I love taking photos (at times a couple out of hundreds turn out ok), a game of squash whenever I can, and I’m learning to play the mouth organ and piano (at snail’s pace).