Today we are going to discuss dealing with an addictive spouse. First lets define an addiction. Addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence of a behavior or substance. Most times when a person hears addiction they only think of drugs, or alcohol. There are several different types of addiction that we will discuss which include gambling, gaming, food, sex and exercising.
Drinking alcohol usually starts off as a good time with friends, studies show that by eighth grade, 52% of adolescents have consumed alcohol. Boys are 4 times more likely to become alcoholics.The process of becoming an alcoholic occurs gradually by changing the normal balance of chemicals and nerve tracks in a persons brain. It causes confusion on how to experience pleasure, and the ability to control your behavior, because of this people crave alcohol to restore the good feelings and remove the negative ones. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscles and heavy drinking can lead to coma or even death.
Drinking impairs the brain and nerves but its also ruining other parts of your body. It comes with several health issues such as liver disease, digestive, heart, and eye problems, not to mention the birth defects on unborn fetus’s. There is a higher risk of cancer and moderate drinking has been associated with breast cancer. Alcohol is often the cause of drownings, suicides and homicides. Drinking and driving is a major cause of death. If you have an addiction to alcohol then your more likely to have an addiction to other substances as well.
The impact alcohol abuse to America’s society:
Alcohol related crashes kills someone in the U.S. every 22 minutes. At any minute, one of 50 drivers on the road is drunk and every weekend night, one out of 10 is drunk.
According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, there are 105,000 alcohol related deaths annually due to drunken drivers and alcohol related injuries and diseases. AFA journal - 6/90
Alcohol related accidents are the leading cause of deaths among young people. Dallas Times - Sat., 6/9/90
The damage caused by alcohol impaired drivers is the same as if a Boeing 747 with over 500 passengers crashed every eight days killing everyone.
Drunk drivers are responsible for 1/2 of highway fatal injuries.
65 people each day die on our highways
How does alcohol effect a family is a difficult question to answer but no matter how much research I do, I do not find a happy story. The spouse of an alcoholic tends to take on mental and physical health problems. As alcohol abuse turns into addiction, the non-drinking spouse will become the care-taking role, giving them the feeling of resentment and exhaustion. They non-drinking spouse will become also know as an enabler and help keep the alcoholic out of trouble, even if means putting themselves in a bad situation. In this type of marriage the divorce rate is much higher than a couple that does not drink. It will start with poor communication, anger, reduced sex desire, and while increasing martial abuse, it will deplete a families finances. However, as the family builds a wall to help the alcoholic, they make the problem worse but permitting the drinker to keep drinking.
There are steps to help a family member that is addicted to alcohol. First look for the signs of addiction, a few examples but not limited to are loss of willpower, harmful consequences, unmanageable lifestyle, escalation of use, withdrawal symptoms upon quitting. According to the mayo clinic, a person does not need to have all five listed, even one of the symptoms is a sign of alcoholism. After identifying there is an addiction there are programs to help not just the drinker but the entire family as well. There is
Alcoholics Anonymous, also know as AA, which helps the alcoholic with their addiction. The program is free and includes a 12 step program, in which alcoholics learn they are powerless over alcohol.
For the spouse and