How are alcoholism and divorce connected?
Recent research has shown that alcoholism is more likely to occur in people who are divorced rather than people who are married, and that divorced people use alcohol more obsessively. The research also shows that divorced people are more likely to develop alcoholic disorders and participate in risky activities. Previous studies showed that alcohol abuse lead to divorce, however, the recent research flips that statement backwards: Divorce can lead to alcohol abuse.
The study focused on a large number of Swedish people born between the years of 1960-1990. The people studied had all married during or after 1990. There was no alcoholism present before they were married. However, once the person divorced, the risk of alcoholism increased six times for a man and seven times as likely for a woman. The statistics further increased for alcoholism when there were other factors involved such as poor education and prior problems.
While people who had an alcoholic disorder before marriage did have an increased risk of getting divorced, those who re-married had a lesser chance of developing an alcoholic disorder. However, it’s important to recognise that there needs to be a definition between occasional alcohol intake and actual alcoholism. The characteristics of alcoholism include:
- The need to have a drink
- The loss of controlling how much you wish to drink
- Being physically dependant on alcohol – when you stop drinking you experience nausea, sweats and shakes.
How Can Alcoholism Affect a Marriage?
Major effects can include someone not being able to control their behaviour and neglecting their family relationships. They may act outright in anger towards their partner or not fulfil their duties as a parent. Alcoholism can be scary and drastically affect the relationship between you and your partner, hence why it can lead to divorce.
Continually drinking alcohol – especially against the wishes of one partner – can affect the communication and intimacy between the couple; two important things that exist within a marriage or de-facto relationship. Alcoholism can impact finances, especially if it leads to the loss of employment.
What To Do?
In most cases, an alcoholic will not change their behaviour until they’re ready to admit there is a problem. It is very important that you and your partner seek counselling. A therapist can be incredibly helpful through a significantly hard time, but you should also encourage your partner to seek specialist treatment as alcoholism is a serious medial issue.. However, if you feel that you are simply in a toxic relationship and nothing is helping, then you should consider getting a divorce.
Tips for Divorcing
Divorce can be hard and difficult, especially in cases of extreme alcoholism. You may be worried the other person will not cope with the news. Therefore, we have compiled some top tips.
Protecting you and your children during the divorce is vitally important. Alcoholism tends to be connected to aggressive behaviour, and you may fear your well-being if this is the case. Therefore, you can create a plan that will allow for you and your family’s safe exit. Make sure you have outlined and organised a way to exit and a place to stay once you leave. Also, having trusted family member’s or friend’s numbers memorised in case of an emergency is important.
2/ Get a great lawyer
In some cases, the person with the alcohol problem will not be easy to settle with. They may be demanding to keep the kids or just refuse to sell the home. You will want a family lawyer who is experienced with dealing with a range of different people. Ensure you have fully briefed your lawyer with your circumstances and expressed your concerns, especially if you are worried about the safety of your children.
If your scenario becomes a court battle, you may need evidence of the drinking. Discuss with your lawyer the best way to gather evidence. In a court battle, if you are worried about parenting arrangements, you may need to give detailed evidence about why you believe your partner shouldn’t have custody.
4/ Seek help
Counselling for yourself is incredibly important while you proceed through divorce, especially if you have children. Divorce can be one of the most stressful incidents you’ll experience, which can be worsened where an addiction is present.
At Groom and Lavers, we are always happy to help. Contact us today to speak to our friendly, experienced family lawyers.