Over 14.5 million people over the age of 12 suffer from alcohol use disorder. In other words, there are nearly 15 million alcoholics in this country.
Most families are affected by alcoholism to some degree, and these families might encourage their loved ones to seek help from a treatment facility.
After all, seeking treatment can help a person break their dependency on alcohol.
What if you’re married to an alcoholic? What are your options to help them?
Being married to someone who misuses alcohol is a difficult place to be, but there are things you can do. This guide discusses what you can do when your spouse is an alcoholic.
Take Care of Yourself
Living with an alcoholic partner isn’t easy, and that’s an understatement in some situations. But as the sober person in the marriage, you’ll need to stay strong. One way to do this is to take care of yourself.
Caring for yourself isn’t a selfish act like some people think. Instead, it’s a healthy way to live, whether you live with an alcoholic or not. It’s also a means of survival.
Caring for yourself means that you take time to focus on your health and wellbeing. You can do this in many ways, but here are some ideas:
- Attend church
- Visit with friends
- Take walks
- Enjoy hobbies
You need to be healthy to handle this situation, and you shouldn’t neglect yourself. But unfortunately, many spouses do when married to an addict.
Don’t Take the Blame
Secondly, your partner’s alcoholism isn’t your fault, no matter what they tell you or imply. Unfortunately, many spouses in your situation fall into this pit, where they take the blame for their spouse’s addiction.
Even if you haven’t been the best spouse, it’s not your fault. Your partner chose the route of alcoholism, not you. Blaming yourself is a normal response, but it’s not healthy.
You can avoid feeling down on yourself by realizing this and sticking with this principle. It might also help to remember that you didn’t force your spouse into this addiction.
Avoid Enabling Their Addiction
Enabling consists of several things but isn’t helpful for addicts.
The first element of enabling is providing an addict with resources that promote their addiction. For example, running to the liquor store to buy beer for your alcoholic spouse allows their addiction to continue.
It’s better to say no to these like this when the actions encourage or promote an addict’s behaviors.
Secondly, enabling involves making excuses and covering up your spouse’s addiction. It’s also helpful to avoid doing these things.
When you enable the addiction, it gives your spouse the power to continue it. It aids them to continue misusing their substance of choice. Therefore, you should do all you can to avoid falling into this common trap.
Stop Tracking and Controlling Their Use
It’s no doubt that alcoholics have addictive behaviors, but you’re likely not going to help the situation by trying to figure it out. In other words, you shouldn’t track their drinking habits or try to control their use.
Many spouses spend hours a day or week tracking various things, such as drinking habits, money spent on the addiction, etc.
While you might think these things are helpful, they’re not. Instead, they might drive you crazy. You might focus so much time and energy on these things that you fail to care for yourself.
You already know if your spouse has a problem with alcohol, so you don’t need to record every factor relating to it.
Another step that might help is creating consequences. However, if you decide to do this, you must stick with the consequences you make.
Setting consequences holds a person responsible and shows your seriousness about the situation. If you aren’t sure how to do this, contact a local rehab to ask. They can give you tips and advice about helpful steps.
Creating consequences lets your alcoholic spouse know that there is a severe problem that they must address.
For example, you can tell your spouse that they will not have access to your bank accounts to get money for their addiction. If they want money to buy alcohol, they’ll need to get a job.
Another example is telling your spouse that you will separate or divorce if they don’t seek help from a rehab by a specific date.
It’s important to avoid making threats and instead create consequences. There is a difference between these things, and you can learn more by speaking with a rehab.
Host an Intervention
You can inquire about hosting an intervention when you speak to a rehab. An intervention is a planned event where you and others confront your spouse about their addiction.
An intervention gives a family the chance to tell the addict how they feel and provides the opportunity to request that they seek professional help. It’s the ideal time to offer clear direction and consequences to the addict.
Research Rehab Facilities
Finally, you might want to take some time to research rehab facilities in your area. You can compare the difference between detox vs rehab as you do this to see which is the better choice for your spouse.
You can also learn about their programs, the costs, and the treatment methods they use. Choosing a rehab is a great option before hosting an intervention, as the staff can assist with this meeting.
Married to an Alcoholic? Take the Right Steps
Being married to an alcoholic makes life difficult, but you must remember that you can’t control your spouse. It’s up to them to seek help for their addiction.
However, you can follow the steps listed here to encourage them to seek help. With the proper support, your spouse might find a way out of their addiction.
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