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5 Tips on How to Cope With an Alcoholic Partner

5 Tips on how to cope with an alcoholic partner

Living with someone who struggles with alcoholism can be incredibly challenging. It often involves navigating a rollercoaster of emotions, from concern and frustration to anger and sadness. It's also essential to prioritise your own well-being at the same time while also offering support to your loved one.

Kristina Golding is the wife of a recovered alcoholic, and now professional confidante to those living with an alcoholic, as well as the co-host of @TheGoldings.Show, a podcast called “Overcoming Addiction Together” together with her husband David @SoberCoachDubai. She is also mum to four children who are now 7, 8, 11 and 13.

In 2023 Kristina felt it was time to share her story of living with an alcoholic husband, how she coped for five years in ‘the madness,’ and then how they overcame addiction together.

Back in 2014, when David and her initially got together, she knew he’d been to The Priory Clinic, but she thought that had been for depression. It wasn’t that David lied, it was accepted, and they moved in together. David was sober at that time. By the time they'd got engaged and set the date for their wedding, the wheels had come off. David had relapsed, and now Kristina was dealing with a fiancée who lied, manipulated, and disappeared for days on end. Their wedding plans were halted, but they finally tied the knot in June 2015 after deep soul-searching. She is often asked why. That is a story for another day.

For the next four years, Kristina had to adjust constantly. She learned from her mistakes and became hardened by their chaotic life and David’s addictions to alcohol, cocaine, and gambling.

When addiction makes its way into a relationship, it doesn’t just disrupt; it transforms the entire dynamic, often leaving a trail of confusion and pain. As someone who's nights were long with worry; Kristina agonized over fears for her children, and her days were uncertain.

Today Kristina shares her top tips on how to cope with an alcoholic partner, should you find yourself in this situation.

Tip #1: Family Safety and Crisis Preparation.

This is the number one tip for a reason. Domestic violence is very real. People do things in a drunken blackout that they cannot remember. Many individuals end up in A&E every month, calling the police or even worse. Luckily this wasn’t my journey, but it is for many.

I am not mentioning this to alarm anyone, but if this reminder saves one life, then it is worth it. I want you and your children to be safe. That is a basic human right, and there are steps we can take to ensure safety when feeling unsafe.

Tip #2: You did not cause the Addiction. You also can’t fix it.

Despite what is said to you, it is not your fault. Sure, you need to be responsible for your words and behaviors, but to be loud and clear: “It is not your fault.” Please keep hold of that message, especially on dark days. Acceptance begins with acknowledging the stark reality of addiction’s presence in your life. This acknowledgment isn’t about admitting defeat but about stepping into a space of awareness and proactive engagement, from learning how to establish and uphold boundaries to understanding the fine line between support and enablement.

Tip #3: Facing reality: Have you had enough yet?

One of the most profound yet challenging steps is facing reality - acknowledging the true impact of addiction on your life and your family. This acknowledgment is not just about seeing the surface-level effects; it's a deep, often distressing admission of how addiction has reshaped the dynamics of your relationship, altered daily life, and affected the emotional well-being of everyone involved.

Fear will surround you at this point. Being able to predict the future is not something you’ve been able to do for a while, but now it is possible to take control of you.

Use the answer to this question as the real springboard for change. Saying you have had enough is knowing, “I am ready to put in action.” This will take effort; you will have to dig in.

Tip #4: Stop trying to Control or Fix the Alcoholic!

When you are struggling with someone else’s addiction, two critical truths emerge that can reshape your approach and perspective: the need to relinquish the urge to control or fix their addiction and the ability to distinguish between helping and enabling.

Understanding and implementing these principles can be transformative, not just for the alcoholics’ journey towards recovery, but for your personal well-being, sanity, and the health of your relationship.

Tip #5: Seek Personal Support.

Engage in support groups, counselling, or therapy to maintain your mental health and gain perspective. Seek Help Early: Don't wait for the situation to deteriorate; seek support as early as possible. Losing the shame and desire to ‘keep it all secret’ is something that you must break through. The truth is that we cannot do this on our own. If you have a trusted friend or family member, then find time to open up. 

It can take an alcoholic many years to come to terms with their addiction, but during this time, you can and must take care of yourself. You are allowed to be happy.

If you'd like to connect with Kristina, find her on Instagram here: IG @KristinaKonfidential

kristina Golding


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