My partner drinks too much
This is a hot topic. You’re struggling and for a number of years, you have watched your partner drink more and more. They change when they drink, perhaps happier, more talkative, and then the flip side of it is they become like a teenager and the adult self has left and you are left with someone who is:
- Critical and negative
- Shutdown and distant
- Agitated and so much more.
You feel like you have a third person (being the drink) in your relationship, and you are very tired of the behaviour and what comes with your partner drinking too much. Tired of talking about it, asking, telling, trying for your partner to change this hurtful behaviour.
Firstly, you are not alone, this happens to many couples. If you are on the receiving end of this it’s very worrying, upsetting, and lonely. You love your partner, but you don’t love the drinking.
You cannot fix this for your partner, they must want to change. I will repeat this. You cannot fix this for your partner even if you’re a pleaser, rescuer and martyr.
Enabling or aiding is common and occurs when one partner, usually without conscious intention, makes it possible for the other to continue drinking without having to face the consequences. Could this be you?
Examples of enabling behaviour might include:
- Allowing a partner to neglect their responsibilities.
- Letting a partner abuse you or someone else.
- Making excuses for your partner.
- Neglecting your own needs to help your partner.
If you find yourself lying, making excuses, or creating explanations for a partner that allows them to remain in denial, you are probably enabling rather than supporting.
How to support yourself if your partner drinks too much
The quality of questions you ask yourself is a great place to start, being honest with yourself.
- Am I setting healthy boundaries for myself?
- Am I nagging and behaving like a parent?
- Am I letting the people in my life take responsibility for themselves?
- Am I seeking help from professionals outside the home?
- Am I giving myself time for my own stress management activities?
Watch out for co-dependency
This is when a loved one is depended on another in a partnership. If a couple is living with substance addiction, co-dependent partners can end up enabling. In some cases, the co-dependent loses their sense of self in the overwhelming effort to “save” the partner from addiction.
Where does addiction come from?
Childhood trauma and pain lie at the root of addiction.
This doesn’t mean you may have experienced physical abuse, injury, witnessed a frightening event.
As a child feeling invisible, a burden, not wanted, neglected, abandoned is a trauma.
Growing up with parents who were emotionally unavailable you may have felt unloved, unsupported and internalised it to feel worthless.
All these feelings lock-in and can turn into harmful beliefs that you may have for the rest of your life. Until it is acknowledged, addiction will continue to gather strength.
You cannot change this for your partner. You may be living in the potential of who you think your partner can be without the drink. They show you who they are, believe them the first time. It’s their decision moving forward.
Tune into my Empowered Marriage Podcast to learn more. This fortnight’s podcast is available now and discusses this topic in more depth.
I just want you to love me – https://www.powerofchange.com.au/empowered-marriage-podcast/