Married To An Alcoholic Is Stressful


As I was studying psychology in my college days there were conversations about stress reduction.

Techniques of self hypnosis, deep muscle relaxation and meditation were all offered as potential solutions.

I’ve come to realize they are great suggestions but there’s another aspect of stress you need to understand.

Zero stress means you’re dead

Maybe one of the most significant things you can come to accept is that if you are alive there will be stress.

Maybe it’s just one of the ways we deal with life’s situations.

You can probably relate that when situations happen again and again it doesn’t take a big issue to put you into a tailspin.

This simply means you aren’t handling the stress of the situations as they come.

For some of you, there may seem to be a need to put on a strong exterior presence to those around you while all along you’re falling apart inside.

You’re not really handling your stress this way.

It’s more like you’re stuffing it.

Most certainly you will respond to the stress in some way.

Cover up for stress that’s not managed may look like some of the following:

  • Respond with curtness
  • Distant demeanor
  • Silent treatment
  • Sullenness
  • Arguing
  • Defiant behavior
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Clenching teeth
  • Avoidance

This is by no means an exhaustive list of responses stress but it’s a start.

Learn coping skills

The key isn’t necessarily to avoid stress but rather to learn how to cope with it.

The techniques mentioned in the intro are a few methods used to cope.

Coping strategies are developed like any other skill you might want to have in place.

If you wanted to learn how to bake bread you might find a great recipe and try it a few times until you perfect your execution of it.

If you want meditation to work for you as a coping method you need to learn how to do it.

Then you must practice it in order to be ready when your stress needs to be managed.

You can insert self hypnosis, exercise, prayer, using a journal or other method you find helpful

Most important is for you to practice your coping skills often to be prepared for when you need to use them.

Manage your stress

In the wild the buck will fight off other bucks antler to antler.

Their blood flow goes to their head and their strength is focused on their front legs.

The fight until one is defeated.

This could be defined as a stressful event.

THe big difference is when the buck is done with the fight, it’s over for him.

In your world you have the great capacity to remember.

This recall may even include the possibility of almost reliving the event as though it was happening again.

This simple human trait means we know how to carry the stress of any one event with us well beyond when it’s over.

Maybe you do this just in case it might happen again.

There in is the problem.

You constantly prepare for the possibility of your alcoholic’s behaviors and then carry the stress even when it may not be as bad as you anticipate.

This is why you must learn to manage your stress.

Here’s a technique that really works. If you MUST stress about your alcoholic’s behavior, give yourself a half hour NO MORE NO LESS.

Give it all the worry you’ve got. Then let it go.

If you need this time every day take it. Just don’t let uncontrolled stress rule your days (and nights).

Decide where you put your attention

I’ve worked with a lot of people over 30 years and a common thing I find is how easy it is to allow thoughts to rule.

When I teach people how to begin to take control of what they think, often they are amazed it makes a difference.

Thoughts may eminate from things you’ve heard or seen.

Influential people, things you read, what you see on television and through life events may become the fertile ground for what you think.

It’s your decision what you focus on.

Other’s don’t think for you.

Regardless what your alcoholic does, you must decide what you think about.

Learn from situations

I know very difficult situations arise when you care about your alcoholic.

There are times things seem to go better and then the bottom falls out.

Most events, even when it seems to go all wrong provide opportunities to learn from what took place.

When you approach life with the intent to learn from experiences and to manage the everyday stress of life it does get better.

In what ways have you learned from your life stressors? Let us know in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 10 Other People Thought...

  1. David

    I am slowly starting to learn to let go of some things with Dave but it has been really hard. I don’t look for the hard liquour bottles anymore. I don’t expect to be able to talk to him about personal stuff and I don’t let that bother me like I used to. It is pointless to think “no fair” when it isn’t going to change. I just have to say “this is the way it is” and figure out how I’m going to deal with it. I have tried to think of him more as a person and less like a husband, just so I can distance myself a little bit and be more focused on understanding him and less focused on how I feel he doesn’t meet my expectations as a husband. I find this helps. Besides trying to focus on what I need to do to bring myself out of the gloom, I find this has been one of the most important steps to combating the stress. For a long time I was very obessess about the idea that our relationship was not how a marriage was supposed to be. Well, every marriage is different and has its own sets of problems and strenghts. The drinking is one our problems but it is not the whole marriage and I forgot that for a long while.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      When the hopes and dreams of what you thought marriage would be gives way to the reality of your husband’s illness, reality sets in. This wouldn’t be your plan for marriage but it is your reality. I equate it to finding out early in your marriage your husband has a debilitating illness that alters his personality and limits his ability to be a true partner to you. Some women would simply end it but others choose to understand an love regardless of the illness. Not an easy choice but an important one.

  2. kat

    THE way I have learned from my stressors is don’t go there, What is stress?, Its a thought or a behavioral you have seen or heard and think possibly it is suppose to be this way, and what starts stress and what stops it? these are important for one, We can help heal the situation, stress can damage it, to help your alky, I have to be sure he for one is not drunk when we relate, and how I relate to him about my concerns and cares, not control, for if you try to control you’ll lose your listenor, but if you go at them with compassion and sincerity on how you feel, but I will warn you! If do this when they are drinking and they will turn this around and blame you, the drinking is like a drug, it has numbed them they cannot respond with love, but with short term expressions, I have learned to suppress depression by listening to music praying singing hymns, for when you go to God you receive, more then you ask for , totally different when I read a book I still feel the stress and it builds but not with God , HE COVERS YOU IN PEACE AND LOVE AND LETS YOU KNOW He WILL T AKE CARE OF THE SITITON

    • kat

      i FORGOT TO ADD, The biggest disappointment i get is when he forget our night out or our event and falls to drinking, because i feel he has robbed from me, i could have made other plans, so now i have learned i have backup plans if he fails to comply , this totally take out the stress factor because now i cannot get upset because i made plans to have a good time and treat myself ,

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Your plans succeed with or without him.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It appears you’ve found ways to manage your stress. Personal faith goes along way.

  3. Ross

    I have learned that I get on a cycle with my alcoholic husband when he’s loving and sweet and tries to seduce me and can turn on a dime the next week(or even after a few days )and decide not to speak to me. Usually its after I let him know that we can’t live in the same house as long as he isn’t in recovery for awhile .I guess I have learned that unless I can see some real change I need to quit getting on this up and down roller coaster with him by being sucked into it.I need to see he’s serious and I have still been getting the same results.No change no real commitment to change.I actually think he’s turned the tables on me and waiting for me to hit bottom finacially and take him back. When it was I who has been hoping he’ll hit bottom with all the consequences of his choices.So far, he is now passing on the consequences to me instead by keeping more money than he needs to for himself and giving me less, therefore putting me into a worse situation.I homeschool and it is so difficult with things hanging over my head.Thanks for letting me share.


    • FreeMyAddict Team

      My suggestions would be for you to find alternatives for financial security. Take in someones laundry, babysit, sew for someone. How important is it for you to not give up your boundary? This is an important time.

      • Ross

        I do need to come up with alternatives. And my boundaries are important. There is no more room for denying that my situation can be more than what it is when he’s offering the same situations as before.There is no peace or living like that for me anymore. At least, God forbid-that I absolutely had to.I enjoy the peace of not being around the many stressful situations and disappointments alcoholism brings, It’s hard enough when he’s not here. But definately easier than him being in the same house.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        I believe you’re on the right track. Keep it strong.

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