Trying to deal with an alcoholic husband is one of the most helpless feelings in the world. Watching a loved one self-destruct because of an addiction to alcohol. Wives of alcoholic husbands inevitably feel trapped, scared and helpless, afraid of what their husband may do if they force him into a recovery program. They may also be torn between abandoning their spouse or remaining in a difficult situation that seems to have no easy resolution. If you are the wife of an alcoholic and unsure about what to do, be aware that seeking help immediately is not only essential to supporting your physical and psychological health but also for keeping your marriage from becoming another divorce statistic.
Dealing With An Alcoholic Husband – Step One
The hardest thing for wives of alcoholics to do is to step back and completely separate themselves from the problem. They will need to push aside any strong feelings of guilt, shame, resentment and responsibility they harbor towards the addicted spouse in order to view the situation objectively. Realizing they are not the problem is essential for them to tap into their innate strength and reach out for professional assistance from a substance abuse treatment center.
Options for Getting Help
Staging an Intervention
You can stage an intervention by contacting an addiction recovery center and talking to intervention specialists experienced with persuading alcoholics to help for their addiction. With the support of family and friends closest to the alcohol abuser, intervention specialists directly confront the alcoholic about their problem and end interventions by offering help through a recovery program. Interventionists may also ask the alcoholic to listen to what their wife and loved ones have to say about how his addiction has affected them.
Joining a Support Group
Wives of alcoholic husbands can join a support group for spouses of addicts by contacting their local community action center or Health and Human Services Department. These places can give you information on nearby support groups comprised of people who are also spouses of substance or behavioral addicts. ALANON
Seeking Mental Health Counseling
Mental health counselors can provide support and insight in the form of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and life skills enhancement to help wives of alcoholic husbands cope with the depression, anxiety and guilt of being the spouse of an alcoholic. Co-dependency counseling may be necessary if the spouse suffers from control and self-esteem issues that make them to feel responsible for “keeping the peace”. In fact, co-dependent wives of alcoholic husbands often contribute to their spouse’s alcoholism by purchasing alcohol, driving their husbands everywhere and making excuses for their drinking.
Committing an Alcoholic Spouse to a Rehab Center
Depending on state’s laws, a spouse may be able to commit another spouse who is an alcoholic, drug addict to a hospital or rehabilitation center if it can be proven that the addict is a danger to himself or others. Usually, an involuntary commitment is based on mental health evaluations that find the person in question is suicidal or suffering from a severe psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Although it is frequently difficult to have someone committed to a medical facility against their will, it is possible and may be a last resort in cases where interventions or ultimatums failed to influence the addict into seeking help.
Other Ways to Deal with an Alcoholic Husband
Everyone handles long-term, overwhelming stress differently according to their personality, past experiences and even genetic influences. Some people find that taking refreshing walks in the evening, reading self-help books or engaging in quiet meditation helps them regroup, refocus and rediscover that strong sense of self conducive to feeling stable, structured and whole.
Others prefer a more extroverted approach to managing stress, such as talking to trusted friends or family members or calling a support group associate when something triggers intense feelings of anxiety and depression. While their husband is in alcohol addiction treatment, it is also important that wives prepare themselves psychologically for the uncertainty and pressure of living with a recovering alcoholic by familiarizing themselves with stress techniques that are effective for them.
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