Alcoholism is rampant across the United States. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), one in every 12 adults in the country currently struggles with alcohol addiction. Even more Americans participate in binge drinking on a regular basis, meaning that the number of full-blown alcoholics is likely to keep rising.
The problem becomes personal when one of those Americans is your spouse. Marriage is a partnership, but keeping that partnership happy, healthy and equal is impossible when one spouse’s life revolves around alcohol.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your household and your spouse from the dangers that go along with a substance use disorder. The following tips can help any spouse who has discovered his or her partner has a drinking problem and isn’t sure how to get the loved one the help needed.
Don’t Blame Yourself
It can be difficult to watch your spouse drown themselves in alcohol and not wonder if you are to blame for their drinking. This is a common response among spouses of alcoholics.
However, it is important to understand that you are not responsible for your partner’s addiction. Blaming yourself will only worsen your personal guilt and increase the likelihood that you are enabling your partner’s substance abuse.
In some cases, alcoholic partners actively blame their spouses for their drinking habits. An alcoholic spouse will regularly turn to emotional manipulation if it means continuing his or her own drinking. Recognize that marriage troubles are not a valid excuse for your spouse deciding to turn to alcoholism.
Educate Yourself About Alcoholism
Understanding what your loved one is going through will make it much easier to deal with an alcoholic spouse. Substance abuse is a complex, destructive disorder that has serious side effects.
For instance, heavy drinking can lead directly to:
- Organ failure
- Overdose (alcohol poisoning)
- Accidental death
- Reckless behavior
Alcoholism also makes changes to how the human brain is wired. Over time, the body will develop a tolerance to alcohol, forcing an alcoholic to increase his or her intake to enjoy the same numbing, inhibition-releasing experience. Understanding these and other aspects of alcoholism will make it considerably easier to deal with an alcoholic partner.
Stop Enabling Your Alcoholic Spouse
By becoming more knowledgeable about substance abuse, you will also become more familiar with the concept of “enabling” your spouse. There are many ways that you can enable your spouse’s drinking, ranging from managing their schedule while they drink to turning a blind eye to the consequences of their drinking.
It’s easy for a spouse to get caught up in helping his or her alcoholic partner and end up making it easier for the drinking habit to continue. If you are concerned about your partner’s drinking, it may be worth reviewing how your own behavior has contributed to the problem. This type of honest introspection is necessary if your goal is to stop enabling your spouse.
Schedule an Intervention
Remember that you don’t need to deal with an alcoholic spouse on your own. It makes sense to communicate your situation to friends and family so they understand what you’re going through. It’s equally important that you get appropriate help for your spouse.
Communicating with an alcoholic can be extremely difficult, especially for friends and family. Alcoholics are quick to dig up old sleights against their loved ones if it means continuing their consumption of alcohol. Even if the alcoholic is lucid enough to participate in a constructive communication, there’s no promising that he or she will make good on promises.
In cases like these, the assistance of a professional interventionist will make all the difference. Professional interventionists are trained to help clients deal with an alcoholic spouse. They are skilled at speaking directly to addicts and helping them to recognize that they are in need of treatment. Likewise, an interventionist can work with the rest of the family to determine if and where enabling behaviors exist.
Our Alcohol Abuse Intervention Service
At Family First Intervention, we understand how difficult it can be to help a spouse overtaken by alcohol consumption. Thankfully, our skilled and experienced interventionists can help you and your family foster constructive communication. We also help families by aiding them in planning and scheduling their loved one’s travel to a rehabilitation facility.
Work with a Professional Interventionist to Tackle Your Partner’s Alcohol Addiction