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How to Quit Drinking When Your Spouse Still Drinks

Oct 15, 2023

The greatest influence on your life typically comes from family members, friends and peers, educators and instructors, mentors and role models, and your spouse. When you’re trying to live a sober life, exposure to any of these people who are drinking heavily can threaten your recovery. More significantly, living with a spouse who still drinks can interfere with your sobriety on a daily basis. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to manage emotional triggers and temptations, communication needs, and lack of support from a spouse.

It may feel challenging to quit drinking when your spouse still drinks. To achieve sobriety and remain in recovery, you’ll need to learn how to make different choices for yourself. Setting boundaries with a spouse can involve not drinking during certain hours or when you’re home. Ensuring you practice self-care daily can also help you continue not to drink once you have found treatment. A support system will also be beneficial, so you have people around who understand the demands of working on your sober goals while living with someone who still drinks. Hanley Center offers personalized treatment programs for men, women, and older adults who struggle with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. 

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

5 Steps to Take to Quit Drinking

The process of giving up alcohol can be difficult but incredibly rewarding. Here are five steps to think about if you or someone you know wants to stop drinking.

Step 1: Acknowledge the Problem

Recognizing and understanding that drinking is a problem is the first step. For sustainable change to occur, self-awareness is essential.

Step 2: Develop a Support System

Share your decision to stop drinking with your family and friends. Having a network of supporters can be extremely helpful as you go through your recovery process.

Step 3: Implement Lifestyle Changes

Changes you can make to promote your sobriety in daily life include identifying and staying away from the situations, places, or people that make you want to drink and focusing on developing good habits like frequent exercise, a balanced diet, and enough sleep to sustain a healthy lifestyle. You can also learn effective coping methods, such as mindfulness practices, counseling, or meditation, to deal with stress and challenging emotions. Creating a set daily schedule cuts down on idle time, and make sure you find ways to stay active. Keeping a journal of your achievements and challenges can also be helpful.

Step 4: Seek Professional Help

Find a medical expert or an addiction specialist to help you. They can offer a complete evaluation of your alcohol consumption, suggest suitable treatment choices, and develop a unique plan for getting your recovery work started.

Step 5: Tap into Existing Sobriety Networks

Consider joining support groups where you can connect with others facing similar challenges. These groups provide ways to learn from others, allow you to ask questions, learn new coping strategies, and celebrate your sobriety achievements.

Setting Boundaries

Ensuring you can quit drinking when your spouse still drinks involves the use of well-placed boundaries in your life and in your marriage. Setting limits while trying to stop drinking while your partner still does might be difficult, but it is essential for your recovery and well-being. Designating certain areas of your home as alcohol-free zones can be a part of those boundaries. Setting specific time limits for alcohol consumption in the home and requesting no drinking happen in front of you are other options to explore. It’s vital for your partner to respect your sobriety, so they should not be offering you alcohol, pressuring you to drink, or making jokes about your past drinking habits.

Learning to Communicate

Talk openly and honestly with your partner about your decision to quit drinking. Clearly state your thoughts, worries, and motivations for quitting drinking. Encourage your spouse to express their feelings and views as well. Be mindful of your personal communication style, as it may hinder your ability to keep your home peaceful. Aggressive or passive-aggressive communication styles tend to lead to more disagreements.

Taking Responsibility for Your Own Sobriety

Maintaining your sobriety while continuing to nurture your marriage requires accepting responsibility for your own sobriety. Below are some tips to get started:

  • Describe your needs, worries, and recovery-related objectives.
  • Understand your emotional triggers, appetites, and mental well being or stress that can lead to drinking.
  • Set firm limits with your partner on drinking at home and during social occasions.
  • Put self-care habits first so you can protect your physical and emotional health. Create an effective support system outside of your marriage.
  • Create a well-structured recovery plan with clear objectives, coping mechanisms, and relapse prevention tactics.
  • Take up hobbies and other pursuits that you enjoy that keep your mind active, and, to avoid relapse, learn and put stress management skills into practice.
  • Celebrate your sobriety, frequently evaluate your personal growth and potential improvement areas, and set reasonable expectations.
  • Finally, forget about the drinking-related mistakes you have made in the past.

Three More Tips for Ensuring Sobriety

  1. Plan Sober Activities.

Make plans for and take part in activities free of alcohol. This can involve pastimes aligned with your interests, outdoor activities, sports, or cultural events.

  1. Create an Exit Strategy.

Have a plan in place for when your partner’s drinking makes you feel uneasy or feels like a temptation for you to drink with them. Impulsive choices can be avoided by being aware of how to leave the situation and having a destination or two already in mind.

  1. Consider Separate Living Arrangements

Sharing a home with someone who regularly consumes alcohol can put your sobriety at risk. Consider other housing options, such as staying with a friend, a family member, or at a hotel. If the issue at home persists, you may need to explore long-term options.

Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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