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More than six percent of adults in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder. Without proper and timely treatment, alcohol addiction can have devastating consequences not only for the victim but also for those around them. When struggling with alcohol addiction, one of the aspects of your life that is likely to suffer is your marriage. In fact, research has found a connection between alcohol addiction and marriage failure. But how exactly can alcohol addiction harm a marriage?

Here’s what to know. 


There is no doubt that heavy alcohol use can adversely affect a marriage. Below are some marital troubles couples may experience when one partner is battling addiction. 


Drinking too much alcohol can harm your health. Heavy alcohol use can lead to the development of liver disease, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and various forms of cancer. Addiction is also known to cause anxiety and depression, and make the conditions worse in people who already have them. 

Deterioration of physical health will affect a couple’s quality of life. Similarly, mental health problems will have a negative effect on how the victim relates and communicates with their spouse. This can cause stress in a marriage. 


Overdrinking can affect the quality of sperm in men and damage a woman’s ability to conceive. In addition, heavy drinking may lead to diminished sex drive and lower marital satisfaction, something that will affect the quality of sex for both you and your partners. 

For couples who are keen on having children, this can lead to frustration, anxiety, depression and feelings of worthlessness in life. Such couples may increasingly have frequent conflicts that could threaten the marriage. 


Over time, excessive drinking will impact your social life. Once you have a drink, your thoughts will be clouded and you may experience memory loss. Alcohol can also numb your feelings and cause you to withdraw. 

Emotional intimacy plays an important role in ensuring a healthy and happy marriage. When one partner is emotionally detached, their spouse will lack the emotional connection and support they need. Detachment and emotional unavailability will ultimately weaken the bond that the couple once enjoyed. 


Addiction is a financial burden. The habit can be particularly expensive if you drink heavily on a daily basis. To feed your addiction, you may drain your bank accounts and accumulate huge debts. In extreme situations, family savings could be wiped out.

The poor judgment linked to alcoholism can quickly lead to financial instability. Also, the affected party will appear to be prioritizing an activity that is not financially worthwhile. The resultant pressures are likely to lead to conflicts and strain a marriage.  


When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, they tend to prioritize their own enjoyment whenever they are under the influence. The victim of alcohol addiction will progressively find it difficult to complete tasks and meet their family obligations. They may also neglect the marriage altogether. 

Once you neglect important duties, your spouse will have to take on parenting, chores and other responsibilities. This will contribute to more negative interactions, potentially leading to marital breakdown and destroying a family. 


How people react to alcohol varies widely. However, alcohol abuse will usually cause big changes to the drinker’s personality. An intoxicated partner may all of a sudden become emotional, egotistical, aggressive or just plain mean. In some cases, there may be a general deterioration of morals, making the victim of addiction difficult to be around. 

These changes in attitude could be accompanied by a loss of interest in activities that you previously enjoyed taking part in as a couple. This will erode the marital bond and lead to emotional distress on the part of the sober spouse. 


Overdrinking can contribute to emotional instability. When an intoxicated partner becomes confused and aggressive, abusive behaviors may begin to develop. Over time, the marriage will turn toxic, characterized by verbal, emotional and physical abuse. 

Other abusive patterns include severe jealousy, control of your spouse’s social life, keeping score, unnecessarily harsh criticism and sabotage. These harmful habits can cause embarrassment, affect the self-esteem of the sober spouse and inflict stress on a marriage. 


Serious alcohol addiction can create a host of dangerous and unhealthy behaviors. The individual suffering from addiction may blame their spouse for their own behavior, threaten self-harm, unfairly use the children against their partner and be unfaithful to their spouse. 

In case their spouse tries to leave the abusive relationship, the partner struggling with addiction can hide identification cards and keep finances from them. While this is usually done to prevent the spouse from leaving, it can result in serious relationship problems.  


Spouses can reinforce each other’s drinking problems. People are likely to drink more if their spouses also drink. This makes it difficult for partners to support each other when it comes to cutting back on or quitting alcohol.  

Reinforcing each other’s drinking problem increases the risk of both partners becoming addicted to alcohol. This will compound some of the problems that arise in marriages due to alcoholism and make it more difficult to resolve them. 


Overindulging in alcohol will ultimately make an individual unreliable, something that will result in problems at work. From time to time, a victim of addiction may show up to work late, demonstrate poor performance or fail to report to work altogether. An intoxicated employee may also put their colleagues in danger.

Alcohol dependency can contribute to reduced income and job loss. This will further affect the individual’s and family finances, a factor that will result in additional pressures that can strain a marriage. 

Most of the problems above can lead to marital conflict and serious legal issues. The good news is that understanding the relationship between alcohol addiction and marriage breakdown can help you make sound decisions. This includes seeking professional help as soon as you notice any signs of alcohol addiction. 

Alcohol Addiction and Marriage Help

At Covenant Hills Treatment, we are uniquely a Christian addiction treatment center located in Orange County. We offer two programs: one for people looking for a Christian approach and another for clients who prefer to have a non-religious treatment approach. Regardless of the option you choose, you can be sure of quality addiction treatment. Contact us today to learn more.