ProConnect

Can You Still Love Your Alcoholic Spouse?

By

Can You Still Love Your Alcoholic Spouse?
If you live with an alcoholic, fleeing isn't your only option.

Can you really love an alcoholic? If you read most advice columns it would suggest that love and the alcoholic are two words seldom used in the same sentence. The usual advice is get away from the alcoholic as quickly as possible, run now because it will only cause you pain.

While it is easy to see why this advice is given, it is not very helpful. Many people living with an alcoholic love them. They are not seeking advice on travel arrangements; they are looking to find a way that they can peacefully live with the man or woman that they love.

More from YourTango: Why Do Alcoholics Refuse To Stop Drinking?

Many are looking to find a way of coping with the drinking behaviour of the person that they chose to be their life partner, the father (or mother) of their children. Sometimes that behaviour may seem like it has been designed to be a personal insult and slight. It may even seem like some alien has taken over the partner because he/she is not behaving like the person they love. Gentle men and women may become aggressive, abusive, violent, self-centred, thoughtless etc. They may seem at times like a total stranger.

Despite this, few people want to toss this relationship aside because of some well-meant advice, regardless of how smart it might seem. This is part of the agony of living with and loving an alcoholic; it seems as if you are behaving in a way that flies in the face of all good common sense. As if you did not have enough guilt to contend with, the helping professionals give you even more.

It is natural, not unnatural or stupid, to love the person you chose to spend your life with. We know that their behaviour can sometimes cause you to despair, doubt your sanity and want to scream. However it is difficult to switch love on or off at will. For many alcoholics the only way that they will experience redemption from their problems will be through love. If they cannot love themselves enough to change, then they may be saved by the love of their family, children, wife or husband.

So to repeat, can you really love an alcoholic? Yes you can love an alcoholic. Many, but by no means all, have an air of fun and slight danger that makes them very attractive, at least in the initial stages of a relationship. However, those same qualities can drive you to distraction when the relationship has reached what should be a more mature stage. The trick is figuring out a way that entails loving them in a helpful and constructive way, avoiding rescuing or enabling behaviour and promoting constructive change.

More from YourTango: From Philip Seymour Hoffman To Shawn Pyfrom: Life As An Addict

This is the ethos that lives at the heart of the Bottled Up program. You can learn to make the best of the time your drinker is sober. So, instead of wasting these precious days squabbling about what cannot be changed, you invest in creating new positive shared memories that are the glue that holds relationships together for the future.

More love advice from YourTango:

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr John McMahon & Lou Lewis

Author

Dr John McMahon & Lou Lewis

Bottled Up

john@247helpyourself.com

Location: Exeter, DEV, United Kingdom
Credentials: BS, PhD
Specialties: Addiction, Drug and Alcohol, Family Support
Other Articles/News by Dr John McMahon & Lou Lewis:

Why Do Alcoholics Refuse To Stop Drinking?

By

It seems crazy, booze is making him ill, everyone can see that, her friends don't want to be around her, and she can't see that. Why can't they see what everyone else sees so clearly? Why do they seem incapable of recognizing that that there is a problem at all and that it is destroying them?  With all these signs of a problem, why do ... Read more

From Philip Seymour Hoffman To Shawn Pyfrom: Life As An Addict

By

Philip Seymour Hoffman dies of a Heroin overdose and Shawn Pyfrom publicly admits to being an alcoholic and a drug addict on the same day. What a powerful message that addiction is no respecter of gender, age or social status. It can affect people who seem to have everything just as easily as those with nothing. We have no intention of moralising in this ... Read more

How Can He Love Me, But Not Put Down The Drink?

By

The infamous relationship question as a partner of a drinker is difficult for you to understand, and rightfully so. If he loves you as much as he says he does, why can't he stop drinking? He says he loves you and even gushes sentiments about how much he loves you, needs you and wants you, yet when you ask him to stop drinking, cut down or not drink for one ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts
Fighting

Put Your Relationship on a Diet Free of Blame and Criticism

Replace the blame and criticism in your relationship with heartfelt gratitude and appreciations.

Smooches

Why You'll Never Meet The Right Partner

Give up the search - and figure out how to actually create love instead.

Trouble In Paradise

The Honeymoon Is Over

Making marriage work post honeymoon phase

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Resources
How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>
HOT STUFF!
FROM OUR PARTNERS