I’ve been with my husband for 13 years. With two kids, two careers, hobbies, and social lives, we kept ourselves pretty busy. And then the kids grew up, a global pandemic hit, and everything changed. My husband, who has always struggled mildly with depression, suddenly began slipping away into a deep, dark place that he began using alcohol to escape from. Before I knew it, I had the realization: I am married to an alcoholic.
Being in a relationship with an alcoholic is a challenging and emotionally draining experience. I know first-hand how difficult it can be to navigate the impact it has on a relationship. For me, one of the most significant effects of being married to an alcoholic has been codependency. I found myself becoming overly reliant on my husband and taking on responsibility for his actions. This led me to struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety, and it made it difficult to set boundaries and make decisions that were in my best interest.
The unpredictability of my husband's drinking habits and moods has been the most difficult part for me to navigate. It felt like I was surrounded by someone on a rollercoaster ride of emotions; his behavior could be so unpredictable and difficult to understand. I was never sure what version of him I was going to get.
Hello, increased anxiety! Hello, constant feelings of instability!
As I navigated this experience, I found that seeking support from others who had gone through similar situations was incredibly helpful. I attended a few Al-Anon meetings, and although they did offer insight, I felt like I was missing direct connection with others who I had more in common with.
Enter the WhiteFlag App! As soon as I started connecting with others there who were also married to alcoholics, struggled with some of my same mental health issues, and had similar experiences to mine, I began making real progress in understanding how I had been affected, where and how I needed to do work on myself, and what steps I could take to heal. I felt validated and empowered in a way I never thought possible.
In addition to peer support, I’ve also been seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma and trauma recovery. I gained tools and resources to navigate my complex emotions and to develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage them. I began to heal my trauma and learn how to move forward. I’ve learned so much about boundaries that prioritize my mental health and I’ve learned to recognize and understand my own emotions and needs.
If you’re in a relationship with an alcoholic, I encourage you to seek support. Remember that you are not responsible for your partner's behavior, and it's okay to prioritize your own mental health. Remember that you are not alone in this experience.
Get support. Give support. Download the app today.