Alcoholism & Divorce: When the bottle usurps your love for your spouse

ALCOHOLISM AND DIVORCE: When the bottle usurps your love for your spouse. (Originally published December 25, 2009)alcoholism
This past Christmas arrest of Charlie Sheen and his wife Brooke Mueller’s alleged recanting of her allegations that he threatened her physically, influenced our pulling this one out of draft. Why? Well at the bottom of the Sheen/Mueller controversy, it appears that alcohol played a big role. Brooke allegedly recanted and allegedly said she was drunk at the time she called in the police report. Media reports indicate that both Brooke and Charlie were given sobriety tests at the scene and that Brooke blew about a .13 to Charlie’s .04 – allegedly. And so there’s been all these divorce talks ever since and we got to wondering once again about the impact of alcoholism on divorces the world over.
Not that we are saying either Brooke or Charlie are alcoholics. But if in fact they both blew as much as they reportedly did – at 8:30 in the morning, it does sort of beg the question whether alcohol has been playing a negative role in their relationship. Though married less than 2 years, the two are said to be on on a trial separation for the past three (3) months. Charlie was previously married to Denise Richardson and she accused him of a whole smorgasbord of crimes including inebriation, physical abuse and verbal abuse. It is also a matter of common knowledge that Charlie had some substance abuse issues in the past which he seemed to have worked on successfully.
However, this post is not about Charlie and Brooke and Denise. It really is more general in its scope as we search for the answer to “what happens when the bottle usurps your love for your spouse?”
Well, if the statistics are any indication, not a lot of good things happen when the bottle usurps your love for your spouse. In most cases, overwhelmingly, a divorce results. Some couples may take years to divorce. They try everything from alcoholics anonymous to al anon to counseling. And there are folks who stay off the bottle for their whole lives. But others have many falls off the wagon and eventually it just takes a toll. Celebrity David Hasselhoff comes to mind. What a mess of a marriage he seems to have ended up with after his drinking got the better of him.
The thing with alcoholism is that it touches on more than just celebrities and people of ill repute. This problem crosses all lines and affects a wide cross section of people and their marriages and the welfare of their kids.
What is the solution? Good question. I don’t know the answer, however.¬† Each couple¬†would seem to handle this problem in their own unique way.
One state that is handling alcohol issues and allegations in a divorce/family court proceeding differently is Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Law Journal the courts are considering “incorporating an alcohol monitoring system, traditionally used in criminal courts, into divorce and child custody cases” into the family court proceedings. What that would mean is that parties in a custody dispute who are alleging alcohol abuse would have to wear SCRAM (Secure Continous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) bracelets the way that some criminals and DUI offenders have to do in criminal and traffic court. This, according to the court, would serve to prove or discredit allegations of alcohol abuse that could impact the welfare of children.
There’s an idea. It would certainly be cheaper than hiring a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate these allegations with random alcohol breathalizers and tests. Plus, as one person pointed out, it is less invasive for the parties. And it will cut down on litigation.
Drinking problems not only can lead to divorce, but these problems can play havoc with a person’s life post divorce as well. For some advice for post-divorce alcohol issues, check out this link for an interesting blog post I came across recently: Post-divorce alcoholism.
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