5 Ways in which alcoholism affects the non-drinking spouse

Alcoholism affects the whole family.

The spouse of the alcoholic is very close to the addicted person and it directly influences him/her.

Let us look at how it affects the spouse and theĀ negative effect drinking has on a marriage:

Physical health

The constant worries and financial pressures lead to exhaustion, constant tiredness and even illnesses.

The spouse neglects his/her health in trying to coping with the situation. They often do not eat or sleep well anymore.

Late nights anxiously waiting for the alcoholic have a huge impact on the health of the non-drinking spouse.

Intense feelings

The spouse of an alcoholic may have the following intense feelings: hatred towards the spouse, self-pity, helplessness, disappointment, anger, depression and the feeling of being overwhelmed.

They struggle with their ambivalent feelings towards the alcoholic.

The alcoholic is often a loving spouse and a good parent when he/she is not drinking, but a very different person when drunk. This creates conflict in the mind of the non-drinking spouse.

Take the roles of both parents

The non-drinking spouse starts to do the work of both parents. He/she may try to cope but frequently neglects the children in the process. They then feel extremely guilty.

Marital problems

There are intense arguments, promises from the alcoholic, and more arguments. The more the alcoholic drinks, the more they drift apart. Divorce is often the result.


The spouse of the alcoholic often becomes co-dependent. This means that the person tell lies on behalf of the addicted person, clean up for him and keep him away from family and friends.

The spouse often does not have a life anymore and forgets about their own needs and desires.

Alcoholism affects the non-drinking spouse in very negative ways. In his/her efforts of coping with the demands of the household, the children and the finances, he/she often burns out. It is important that the spouse of an alcoholic get an objective picture of what is going on in their lives.

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