Do you fear alcohol is undermining your relationship?

For most people, alcohol is a social lubricant that mellows the mind and removes shyness. Unlike other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, it’s legal, freely available and enjoyed regularly by many adults. However, it’s also a powerful psychotropic drug that affects mood and behaviour, sometimes in violent ways.

Most relationships can accommodate alcohol with no problems. Many people meet while under the influence at a party or disco. Later alcohol is often a component in social life. Perhaps you like to unwind with a stiff glass at the end of the day, or socialise with friends in pubs or clubs on weekends.

That’s fine. But if you notice any of these signs, you should take heed and consider seeking professional help.

· Secret drinking.

· Drinking in the daytime.

· Drinking alone.

· Lying about drinking. Honesty is often the first victim of addiction

· Getting angry when confronted or challenged.

· Missing work.

· Becoming withdrawn and uncommunicative.

· Displaying mood swings with outbursts of anger or bouts of self pity.

· Aggressive behaviour.

· Broken promises and missed appointment indicate a waning integrity and concern for others.

Heavy drinking could just be a sign of stress, or could be a response to boredom or inner conflict. Or it might be a sign of deep underlying problems that will cause serious issues in the future if left unacknowledged.

In any event, you need to take action. Alcohol can damage a relationship in so many ways.

It increases the level of conflict and recrimination, leads to financial and legal problems, and destroys intimacy, honesty and trust. It dampens sexual performance

and increases the chance of risky behaviour such as casual encounters.

One major problem with alcohol dependence is that of denial. The human mind is remarkably adept at keeping obvious truths hidden from us. Often the sufferer is the last to admit he or she has a drinking problem.

Another danger of having an alcohol abusive partner is that of co-dependency. In this condition, the fear of loss means you actually support your partner’s drinking.

If your partner has started to prefer the bottle to you, what can you do?

People need support to learn to live without the object of their addiction. That support should be both personal and professional.

Your first move should be to persuade your partner to confront the issue with a professional relationship counsellor. Auckland is home to many professionals who can help you talk through your issues and gain perspective on your situation.

It’s a long path from social tippling to the raging alcoholism of the Lost Weekend. However it is a subtle and insidious disease that can wreak havoc on health and relationships unless confronted and dealt with.

Talk to your partner about counselling. A willingness to seek professional advice demonstrates that you both value your relationship. That’s a very optimistic sign. Come in and discuss you needs with a qualified relationship counsellor, Auckland professionals are waiting to help. Otherwise, you may learn to your cost that alcohol and relationships don’t co exist easily.  Contact us now.