Alcohol Abuse Claims 88K Lives Annually: How To Deal With An Alcoholic Spouse
It can be unfortunately easy to downplay the effects of alcohol, but with 88,000 deaths caused by alcohol abuse every year, it should be taken seriously. You don’t even need to drink to be affected negatively by alcohol. If your spouse is a problem drinker, it can put you through a great deal of stress. Here are tips on how to deal with an alcoholic spouse.
Acknowledge They Have a Problem
Recognizing alcoholism as such is important for both the alcoholic and their loved ones. It can be uncomfortable for them to face their demon and for you to realize you’re married to someone with an addiction. However, if you’re not addressing the reality, you risk living in denial. Take a moment to sit down with them and tell them that they need to admit they have a problem. Once they do, you can move forward.
Set Ground Rules
Once you and your spouse understand that they’re an alcoholic, it’s time to set some ground rules. Their sobriety should be their primary goal. Don’t tolerate false promises to “cut back.” They need to make a real commitment. If you’re not comfortable with confrontation, it’s time to put your foot down. You letting your spouse know what you will and won’t tolerate could save their life.
Don’t Guilt Them
Alcoholism is a disease that can cause people to do and say terrible things. Your spouse may have done some seriously wrong things to you and others. If they’ve apologized and you’ve accepted their apology, it’s time to move forward. You don’t want this to be something you lord over your spouse. The two of you need to work together to support each other and your marriage.
Find Them Help
Your support for your spouse is indispensable, but it can’t be the only help they have. They need to have the assistance of addiction specialists. This can start with going to meetings with others in recovery. If necessary, you might have to enroll them in a long-term alcohol rehabilitation program. Overcoming an addiction isn’t done overnight, and these programs will help give your spouse guidance that could last forever.
Your spouse is more than their alcoholism. After all, you wouldn’t have married them if they didn’t have the qualities you loved. However, ignoring or downplaying the seriousness of their disease is unacceptable. To really show that you love them, you need to be willing to work with them by helping them get treatment and setting clear boundaries.