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How To Help A Husband Suffering From Alcoholism

by Landmark Recovery

May 16, 2019

Alcoholism is a major health and social problem that affects millions of people in the country. In general, it refers to the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol that leads to health issues, rifts in relationships, or problems with social functioning.

When one member of the family abuses alcohol it can cause disruption and disharmony within the family and can lead to problems with all family members.

According to one study, family members of alcoholics often feel an array of “emotional states ranging from guilt, shame, anger, fear, grief, and isolation. Among all members, the wives of alcoholics are the most adversely affected.” Depending on the situation, wives of alcoholics can experience trauma in the domestic environment which can lead to a number of psychological problems like anxiety and depression. There is also the possibility of domestic and emotional violence in relationships for wives of alcoholics.

Spouses of alcoholics, especially wives, can be subjected to various forms of abuse that can range from a mild insult to outright physical violence. The problems they face can be broken up into five major domains including emotion, health-related, social, financial, and physical violence. With that said, it can be difficult for anyone to talk with a loved one or family member about a substance abuse problem that they may have. But, if the problem is leading to difficult social and family situations, it needs to be discussed.

How Do I approach alcoholism

Everyone’s personal situation with alcohol is different. For example, your husband may not be physically harmful when he is drinking and he may even be high functioning and able to get his work done, but this does not mean that there is not a problem.

Alcoholism comes in many forms and regardless of the form, there are always consequences whether it be to the rest of the family or to just the individual with substance abuse problems. But what should you do? How do you help your loved one without making the problem worse or creating a new one?

Many can become defensive when they are being critiqued or feel like they may be being attacked. Because of this, it is best to remind your partner that you care about them and be loving when talking with them. Learning more and understand how and what you need to talk about with your partner can be instrumental in helping them achieve and maintain long term sobriety.

Talking With Your Partner

When close friends or loved ones recognize a drinking problem that exists or is beginning to develop they may attempt to speak with or persuade that person to engage in management strategies to try and control the person’s drinking.

Partners may complain, withdraw from their partner, or even threaten them if something is not done. Unfortunately, these things tend to make the situation worse and can create animosity between the two parties.

Clearly, chastising your partner can escalate the tension that was originally caused by drinking and may even lead to increased subsequent alcohol use. Even if a partner does reduce their drinking levels, controlling efforts can interfere with what would have been a beneficial outcome and can lead to other problems like emotional and vocal arguments and disagreements.

However, there are other management strategies that can be taken which have a positive focus and can lead to positive overall results to promote sober living. Studies suggest that regulation attempts that are perceived as critical, demanding, or punishing will be less effective than attempts that seem genuine or warm.

“With regards to addictive behaviors, positive reinforcement for sobriety yielded lower levels of emotional, psychological, marital distress whereas confrontational coping techniques by the partner yielded higher levels of distress,” the study said.

Addressing the topic of alcoholism can be a hard thing to do, but if you care for your husband or spouse, you need to let them know. Help them understand that you care about their well-being and their place in the family and that, if they could control or stop their drinking it would heal some family ties.

Results from the study also underscored the importance of communication between partners regarding acceptable versus unacceptable drinking levels that may result in alcoholism.

Seeking Treatment

Seeking treatment from alcoholism, people can deal with a number of side effects than can be life-threatening if not done correctly and if not done with medical supervision. Because of this,

sometimes it can be too hard for someone dealing with substance abuse to stop on their own, and, in a lot of cases, it may not be safe. Because alcohol withdrawals can be dangerous, it is normally best to seek the help of a treatment center to achieve sobriety.

When talking about this with your partner and discussing drinking problems in general, it is best to take a warm and caring approach to not alienate them. Along with a safe detoxification program, many treatment centers can offer your loved one time for individual and group therapy programs that can even go on to involve the family. Family therapy is becoming a more common part of treatment as a lot of substance abuse problems have ties with family life.

Family Therapy

Many substance abuse counselors treat addiction as a family disease that affects all members of the family and can create negative changes in moods, behaviors, and relationships, and at times impact physical health.

Through family therapy, not only will the person battling substance abuse be able to learn more about the processes of addiction, it can also be a good opportunity to educate family members, especially spouses.

What’s Next

If you’re looking for a treatment center to help you or a loved one, Landmark Recovery can help. At Landmark, we treat our patients with evidence-based and personalized care as they begin their individualized path toward recovery. Our staff is equipped with the tools and knowledge to teach our patients about addiction. Through group and individual therapy sessions during inpatient treatment as well as outpatient treatment following discharge, patients can build a sober support network that will help to promote and encourage long term sobriety. If you want to learn more about Landmark Recovery, please visit our website and reach out to our admissions staff today.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.