The alcoholism-and-divorce combination is similar to the chicken-and-egg scenario, regarding which comes first. According to the High Beam Research website, it isn?t clear if divorce leads to heavier drinking or if heavy drinking contributes to divorce. Whichever the case, it is clear that alcoholism and marriage do not mix.
Link Between Alcohol and Divorce
A study of 454 people in California and Oregon revealed a link between heavy alcohol consumption and divorce, according to Boston University. In the couples who frequently used alcohol and became drunk, their marriages had a higher rate of ending in divorce. Alcoholics are just as likely as non-alcoholics to get married, but they are four times more likely to get a divorce, according to the Learn About Alcoholism website.
Alcohol and Bad Behavior
The couples in the California and Oregon study who used alcohol frequently also reported violence in the marriage, job loss, legal problems and sexual dysfunction, according to Boston University. Other problems occur when the spouse who drinks exhibits a change in behavior and may become angry, critical, controlling, sullen and moody.
Alcoholism is a family problem. The spouse who is not an alcoholic should get help in addition to the spouse who is. If the alcohol abuser refuses to get help or stop drinking, the non-drinking spouse should seriously consider divorce, according to the Professor?s House website. A promise to seek help without action does not count. The Professor?s House website recommends the alcoholic try an in-patient hospital setting combined with Alcoholics Anonymous.
Alcohol and the Brain
Alcohol abuse disrupts the brain. An alcoholic will behave differently, which will eventually damage the marriage if left unchecked. Organic brain damage will occur if the alcoholism continues, according to the Professor?s House. If you and your spouse have children, divorce is the only option to shield them from an abusive home atmosphere.
If you are married to an alcoholic, divorce is not the only option if your spouse will get treatment. The Professor?s House recommends a three-step process to help with recovery–contacting a local chapter of AA for the alcoholic, contacting Al-Anon for the spouse and loved ones, and an intervention if both AA and Al-Anon fail. After the intervention, the alcoholic would go to an in-patient treatment center. Recovery is possible from alcoholism, but it won?t happen on its own. Alcoholics cannot treat their own problem, no matter how much willpower they think they have.