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A Partner Who is Addicted to Alcohol or Drugs

By: James Bloom - Updated: 7 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Marriage Relationship Divorce Breaking

If your partner is an alcoholic or drug abuser there are many ways in which you can take action to help them. You may find it difficult getting them to quit without the involvement of a specialist self-help organisation. If you or your children are experiencing abuse or violence then you should take immediate action to protect yourselves (read our article Escaping Abusive Relationships for more information).

Managing Your Behaviour

If your partner is having problems with drink or drugs it is only natural that you should want to help them. Their behaviour has an emotional effect on you and your family. Therefore it is easy to find yourself being dragged into the problems they are creating. But their abuse is their problem alone. The better you can behave with this idea in mind the better able they will be to take responsibility for their actions.

The basic rule is to try to stay detached. Of course this can be difficult and you may find yourself playing a role towards your partner. This in turn could help fuel their pattern of abuse. The typical roles partners find themselves playing unwittingly as a response to substance addiction fall into a few basic categories:

  • The Rescuer – If he falls asleep on the lawn she will tidy him up and carry him into bed. She will lie to neighbours to avoid embarrassment. Anything to stop things becoming ‘a problem’.
  • The Provoker – She will wait for him to come home and give him hell. She will scold, belittle and nag him, tell her friends what a loser he is and threaten to leave. She never lets it go.
  • The Martyr – She is ashamed of him and lets him see that she is. She sulks, pouts and cries to her friends (if she's not too embarrassed). She will become increasingly depressed and withdrawn as the abuse continues.
Spotting your own behaviour is an important step in making the necessary changes for yourself and the relationship. Give yourself a pat on the back for doing so and get on with the painful process of spotting it when you are actually doing it. You may find it easy to detach, or you might find it very hard to do. At the end of the day it will be of benefit to yourself and your family, no matter how immediately painful it might seem.

Organisations That Can Help

Your partner will probably find it helpful to contact an organisation that specialises in substance abuse to change their behaviour. Obviously, alcohol or drug dependencies will produce different behaviour and symptoms. There a number of organisations that specialise in helping with specific forms of abuse, and they share similar methodologies. www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk and www.al-anonuk.org.uk both provide help relating to alcohol abuse. If you find it hard persuading your partner to see them, you can go along yourself for a family group meeting. The meetings provide a useful forum in which to gain understanding and feel understood. Participants refer to having acquired ‘true perspective’ or ‘serenity’ as a result. Alcoholics Anonymous also have a helpline: 0845 769 7555.

Narcotics Anonymous (www.ukna.org) provide a similar service for drug abusers. As with the above organisations, there is a spiritual aspect to their programme, but it is independent of any particular faith. You can go along and observe as a non-addict, but will not be able to contribute to the discussion. For immediate advice over the phone you can call the National Drugs Helpline on 0800 776 600.

Talking About it

Unless your relationship is so bad that you find it impossible to talk your partner, you should arrange to sit down and discuss the problem in an open and honest way. Give each other time to talk and show that you have listened and understood. Setting a precedent of openness creates an environment in which problems can be more easily solved. If you are thinking about separation, it will also help you to maintain a civil relationship through the divorce process.

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Hi I am currently I'll with bipolar and rhumatoid athritis.I work f/time in arts industry as well as bar work and other freelance work.My partner of four years is a semi functioning alcoholic. He also works ((VERY occasionally! ) in entertainment industry.Most nights I come home to him drunk..staring at tv...he insists i bank all my wages into joint account as I'm "useless with money"...i Have to justify how I spend from account..he books holidays etc and I'm now in debt with rent. House is in my name and if I throw him out he will be homeless. .. he makes me feel guilty for this...but i dont Want someone draining me financially and emotionally. . He refuses to acknowledge he has a problem..won't communicate and leaves me angry and frustrated. It is making me ill. . I dont drink alcohol at all...even socially. But I'm set to lose everything if I dint get rid of him...too late for change. Just don't want drama if I throw him out
Protopunklass - 23-Sep-18 @ 8:35 AM
Trinity - Your Question:
I want to divorce my alcoholic husband but can't afford to leave as I don't have regular work. He has a well paid, full time job and could afford to move out. Our mortgage is paid off and I have asked him to leave me the house and I will not touch his rather substantial pension, which is worth more than the value of the house. Where do I stand with this?

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you work or not, everything is still considered jointly owned unless the marriage has been short. It may be worth you seeking legal advice to explore your rights.
DivorceResource - 14-May-18 @ 10:59 AM
I want to divorce my alcoholic husband but can't afford to leave as I don't have regular work. He has a well paid, full time job and could afford to move out. Our mortgage is paid off and I have asked him to leave me the house and I will not touch his rather substantial pension, which is worth more than the value of the house. Where do I stand with this?
Trinity - 13-May-18 @ 10:17 AM
Daz - Your Question:
I need to divorce my drug addicted wife with whom I have not lived with for 2 n half yrs I want to divorce her but she says no do I have to wait the 5yr period thnx

Our Response:
If the papers have formally been served and your ex is ignoring the papers, then you can ask the court to proceed with the divorce without your ex's approval. It helps if you have evidence that she has received the papers and is ignoring them. It also helps if you are using the grounds of unreasonable behaviour to justify your reasons.
DivorceResource - 6-Mar-17 @ 11:15 AM
I need to divorce my drug addicted wife with whom I have not lived with for 2 n half yrs I want to divorce her but she says nodo I have to wait the 5yr period thnx
Daz - 5-Mar-17 @ 9:54 AM
Memaw - Your Question:
Prior to our 7 yr marriage, my husband introduced me to a drug. I became hooked. I had quit the drug, but he never would! Last year we split up. I came clean with my family and friends about our problem. After about 3 weeks, I allowed him to move back home.with the stipulation that me could no longer do this drug.nor have it on my property (premarital property). Over the last 2 weeks I have videoed him doing the drug at my home. When I felt I had enough proof, I took his stash and confronted him. He lied repeatedly. He doesn't know I recorded his actions. I told him I know he's not telling me the truth and I wanted him to find a place and move out. Not hateful.just done. He refuses to move out. Short of taking the drugs and videos to the police, how can I make him leave?

Our Response:
You may be able to apply for an occupation order through the courts. An occupation order temporarily excludes one partner from the home. However, you'll need to show the court that it's appropriate for your partner to be excluded. For example, you may have to show that there's a risk of harm to yourself or your children. If you do get an occupation order, you can change the locks while the order is ongoing. The fact you own the house and your husband doesn't may also help your situation. But legal advice is needed here in order to ensure you are within your rights in whatever action you decide to take.
DivorceResource - 12-Aug-16 @ 10:07 AM
Prior to our 7 yr marriage, my husband introduced me to a drug... I became hooked. I had quit the drug, but he never would!Last year we split up.I came clean with my family and friends about our problem.After about 3 weeks, I allowed him to move back home...with the stipulation that me could no longer do this drug...nor have it on my property (premarital property).Over the last 2 weeks I have videoed him doing the drug at my home.When I felt I had enough proof, I took his stash and confronted him.He lied repeatedly.He doesn't know I recorded his actions. I told him I know he's not telling me the truth and I wanted him to find a place and move out.Not hateful....just done.He refuses to move out.Short of taking the drugs and videos to the police, how can I make him leave?
Memaw - 11-Aug-16 @ 3:28 AM
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