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Alcoholism in Marriage: Negative Impact and Surviving Sobriety

Alcoholism and Its Impact on Marriage

Marriage is a beautiful institution that requires commitment, love, and effort. Unfortunately, alcoholism can negatively affect the dynamics of a marriage and challenge the vows made.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol

Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 15 million adults in the United States have alcohol use disorder. This staggering number signifies the prevalence of alcoholism and its potential impact on marriage.

In this article, we will explore the negative effects of alcoholism on marriages, the challenges of divorcing an alcoholic, and alcoholism’s influence on court proceedings for divorce and child custody.

Negative Effects of Alcoholism on Marriage


Alcoholism can contribute to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. The depressed spouse often lacks motivation and disinterest in engaging in everyday activities, which can strain the marriage.


According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, excessive drinking is one of the primary indicators of potential domestic violence. Alcoholism can lead to physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and verbal abuse.

The fear of abuse and impending violence can cause the other spouse to experience anxiety or depression.


Alcoholism can cause one spouse to neglect their duties within the marriage such as taking care of the home, paying bills, and managing finances. The neglected spouse may feel like they are carrying the weight of the marriage alone.


Hangovers can cause irritability, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. The hungover spouse may not be fully present in the marriage, which could lead to a breakdown in communication and intimacy.

Legal Problems

Alcoholism can contribute to the acquisition of legal problems such as DUIs, public intoxication, and potentially costly legal fees. These legal problems can affect marital finances and cause undue stress.


Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects an individual’s brain and behavior concerning alcohol consumption. The alcoholic spouse may prioritize drinking over their marriage in an attempt to satisfy their addiction.

This type of prioritizing can contribute to marital dissatisfaction and lead to separation or divorce.

Divorcing an Alcoholic

Divorcing an alcoholic can be a complex process requiring careful consideration, legal documentation, and safety precautions. It’s essential to secure a lawyer specializing in divorce cases involving alcoholism and ensure that proper documentation is gathered.

Child Custody

Child custody issues are often contentious in divorce cases involving an alcoholic spouse. The court will prioritize the child’s best interests in deciding who should receive primary custody.

The non-alcoholic spouse should provide evidence of the alcoholic’s harmful behavior to ensure the safety of the child. Additionally, the non-alcoholic spouse should have a plan in place for how to potentially monitor the alcoholic parent’s sobriety to maintain a safe environment for their child.

Legal Process and Emotional Toll

Divorce, in general, can be a complicated and emotionally taxing process. Couples divorcing an alcoholic spouse may face additional hardships such as the guilt of leaving their partner in their time of need, navigating the legal process with an addicted spouse, and experiencing the stigma of being a divorcee.

It’s important to seek support to ensure the necessary steps are taken to divorce an alcoholic successfully.

Stigma and Guilt

Society often stigmatizes individuals who decide to leave their alcoholic spouse. This stigma can make the divorce process even more challenging for both parties.

The non-alcoholic spouse can feel immense guilt for leaving an addicted spouse and may require therapy to work through the emotions.

Alcoholism and High Divorce Rates

The prevalence of alcoholism impacts high divorce rates in the United States. Research has shown that marriages with one heavy drinker are more likely to end in divorce than marriages with two light drinkers.

Alcoholism can create an imbalance in the marriage, leading to dissatisfaction and an unhealthy environment.


Alcoholism can have negative impacts on marriages, posing challenges to the divorce process and child custody issues. Recognizing the negative impacts of alcoholism within a marriage is the first step in dealing with the issue.

Divorcing an alcoholic can be a challenging process, but seeking legal representation and support can aid in assisting the non-alcoholic spouse during this process. The prevalence of alcoholism in marriages calls for continued research and heightened public awareness concerning addiction.

Surviving Sobriety in Marriage

Sobriety is a challenging journey that requires hard work, dedication, and commitment. However, sobriety can also strengthen a marriage and rebuild trust between spouses.

In this article, we will explore the healthy approach to sobriety in marriage, taking it one day at a time, and the importance of medical research and fact-checking on alcoholism.

Sobriety and Strong Marriage

Sobriety can lead to a strong marriage by establishing a new foundation of trust and support. The non-alcoholic spouse can provide encouragement and offer stability through the difficult process of sobriety.

Additionally, the alcoholic spouse can be vulnerable, admitting their issues with alcohol and tackling the problem head-on with the support of their partner. Establishing open communication and committing to sobriety can lead to a healthy and strong marriage.

Rebuilding Trust

Alcoholism can break down the trust between spouses. Sobriety provides the alcoholic spouse with an opportunity to earn trust back over time.

Trust can be rebuilt through transparency, clear communication, and a willingness to listen to the non-alcoholic spouse’s concerns. Additionally, actions such as attending meetings and therapy sessions can show a commitment to sobriety and further reinforce trust.

Taking It One Day at a Time

Sobriety is a long-term goal that requires efforts of addressing one day at a time. The pressure that comes with the idea of quitting alcohol for a lifetime can feel daunting and overwhelming.

However, focusing on one day at a time can alleviate the pressure and make sobriety seem more approachable. Additionally, taking it one day at a time allows the alcoholic spouse to recognize their progress and acknowledge their triggers.

Research and Studies on Alcoholism

Medical research and fact-checking are essential in understanding alcoholism. Research has shown that excessive drinking can increase the onset of alcohol use disorder.

The National Institute on Alcohol

Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that heavy drinking increases the risk of alcohol use disorder. It is important to understand the scientific and medical components of alcoholism to establish a healthy approach to sobriety.

Fact-checking reputable sources provides individuals with accurate information about alcoholism. It is easy to get misguided by the abundance of information available on the internet.

However, it is crucial to verify the credibility of sources. Obtaining information from reputable resources, such as NIAAA and other medically reviewed sources, can offer reliable and truthful information on the challenges of alcoholism.


Sobriety is a challenging journey that can strengthen a marriage and rebuild trust. Taking a healthy approach to sobriety, establishing open communication, and taking it one day at a time can make the process more manageable.

Understanding the scientific and medical components of alcoholism is crucial in finding a reliable and truthful source of information. Medical research and fact-checking can offer accurate information and help establish a healthy approach to sobriety.

Overall, alcoholism can have both negative and positive effects on marriages. Understanding the challenges of alcoholism and its impact on divorce and child custody proceedings are crucial.

Surviving sobriety in marriage and rebuilding trust can lead to a healthier and stronger marriage. Seeking credible and factual information is key to establishing a healthy approach to sobriety and ensuring proper understanding of the complexities of alcoholism.


1. What should I do if my spouse is an alcoholic?

– Seek support, document any harmful behaviors, and potentially seek legal assistance if divorce or child custody issues arise. 2.

Can alcoholism strengthen a marriage? – Yes, sobriety can lead to rebuilding trust and open communication, leading to a healthier and stronger marriage.

3. Is it possible to quit alcoholism one day at a time?

– Yes, taking it one day at a time can alleviate the pressure of quitting alcohol for a lifetime and make sobriety seem more approachable. 4.

How can medical research help me understand alcoholism? – Medical research can offer accurate and reliable information on the scientific and medical components of alcoholism.

5. Where can I find reputable sources on alcoholism?

– Reputable sources such as the National Institute on Alcohol

Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) can provide medically reviewed and factual information on alcoholism.

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