Unfortunately, drinking is often the one thing married couples do together. So, what happens when one or both of us quit? Will we even know each other without the comfort zone of drinking? Can our marriage survive without alcohol? Annie gently navigates through this tricky question with her best insight and advice.

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Download EP:222 Transcript

Feeling Like Your Marriage Is Dependent On Alcohol

We often feel as if our relationships need alcohol in them. It may be how we met our spouse or the way we spend time together. It can be hard to decide to stop drinking if your marriage is dependent on alcohol.

Number one, if you’re having a hard time quitting because of somebody else’s behavior – I think that’s valid for sure. But ultimately this needs to be a decision for you and you need to be true to yourself because if you aren’t true to yourself in this decision, You won’t be able to bring the best of you to any marriage, and it just won’t have a chance. A lot of times we have the option between guilt and resentment, right? In relationships. And so we stop drinking, but we feel guilty because our spouse is like, “Oh, but I miss you and we used to drink together and blah, blah.” But we feel guilty, or we keep drinking. And then every time we’re like, “Well, I would be looking after myself, and I wouldn’t be drinking , and I would be healthier and happier, but it’s because of you.”

Resentment Around The Fact Your Marriage Is Dependent On Alcohol

Then we feel resentment. And so guess, which one of those two things, guilt or resentment kills a relationship? It’s the resentment. It’s not the guilt. So we can all handle feeling a little bit guilty, but once we start to resent another person, once we start to blame them. So it sounds like if you’re saying I can’t stop drinking because you drink, and I’m blaming you, you are bringing resentment into it. So I think really shining a light on like, is this for me? Is it a decision for me?

Change Disrupts

Number two is just understanding that no matter how positive the change, if somebody in a marriage decided to wake up the next morning, and they were going to run three miles a day for the rest of their lives. No matter how positive the change or they were going to eat healthier, anything, no matter how positive is going to disrupt the balance of a marriage. Because you have this lifelong programming of how you interact with each other, and it’s mostly unconscious. And you’re going through the motions and then somebody does something different. It disrupts the balance of the marriage.

Often people can feel a few ways. They can feel threatened because they feel like they’re not good enough for you anymore. Or they can feel threatened because they feel like, well, maybe you’re evolving beyond them, and you’re doing something, and you’re not bringing them along. They can feel fearful, and they can lash out in different ways. They can feel judged because they feel like if you’re elevating yourself up, then maybe you know, you’re judging them. That they’re not quite at the same level you are all of a sudden.

Validating Their Feelings

There’s all these things that somebody can feel when somebody makes a change. So I think realizing that this change, even though it’s so incredibly positive, is going to impact your marriage. The best thing that I have found and lots of people that I’ve talked to through this I found is that, having compassion and rebuilding trust for your spouse through this. Not having any expectations. The thing that kills marriages faster than anything else is selfishness. If you want them to change for you, that’s selfish. But not having any expectations of them changing, just having compassion for where they are. Realizing they don’t know everything, you know now. They’re not inside your head. They never will be.

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Trust When Your Marriage Is Dependent On Alcohol

Also doing whatever it takes to rebuild trust because chances are if you’re drinking heavily for a long time, I know in my experience there are a lot of things that I frankly had to rebuild trust with my husband about. Because guess what? I wasn’t showing up being the best person. I could be. Not the best mother I could be, not the best wife I could be. And I think the best way to rebuild trust is just really take it on the chin and say, “Hey, you know what? You didn’t do anything. I’m sorry. And this is what I know that I’ve done to break down trust with us and this is what I know I’m going to do going forward. And you don’t have to believe me because words are cheap. You know? But you’re going to see it through my actions.”

Keep Listening

In this podcast Annie provides real tips on how you can break free from alcohol even if your marriage is dependent on alcohol. It is possible to stop drinking even if your spouse chooses to continue. Listen to find out more.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License