What to Do If You Think Your Spouse Is an Alcoholic
Talking with an alcoholic spouse can be one of the hardest things to attempt. There is no right time to do it, but it’s best to sit them down before they take their first drink of the day. If you try to argue or confront your spouse when they are intoxicated, even slightly, anger might overcome their true emotions. They might feel trapped and resent you for the feelings you have instilled within them at that time.
No matter which approach you take to confronting them and no matter how harsh their words are, you have to remain calm. You cannot in any way blame them for their past and current mistakes. Attempting to talk to an alcoholic can be a stressful process, but understand they are enduring the indignity of embarrassment that comes with this conversation. Discussing their alcoholic tendencies is not something they want to hear.
What they do want to hear is positivity for the future. Most want acceptance and forgiveness from their mistakes and help to improve their future rather than to dwell on their past faults.
The key is to let them know you hear them. Understanding how they are feeling will help determine the best response. Make sure they know you are only here to help and support them every step of the way, this allows the conversation to smooth out into an ideal solution.
Do I need to have an intervention for my alcoholic spouse?
The goal of an intervention is to have your loved one agree to attend a rehabilitation facility. Interventions are held by family members and close friends of the alcoholic, but you may include a professional for extra help. Alcohol addiction is a serious and deadly disease. If your spouse has continued to drink at excessive rates after you have had countless conversations begging them to quit, you may need to stage an intervention.
Gathering information is the first step in a successful intervention. Providing knowledge on the effects of prolonged alcohol abuse can help the alcoholic realize why seeking treatment is essential to their health for the future. Awareness of how much alcohol your spouse is abusing is also important in determining how severe their case is. This information will absolutely help in determining the best solution to help your spouse.
Have you tried an intervention before and your spouse is back to their alcoholic ways? A professional may need to be brought in to influence the decision to seek treatment. An intervention specialist will help guide the conversation so that no one is at blame. Specialists help form mutual opinions on what is best for the alcoholic and explain the serious risks at stake if they do not agree to treatment. The intervention specialist can come to your home and help you plan out what to say prior to the intervention. Practicing the intervention and how the conversation will go best prepares the reactions and emotions you might experience.
Do I have an alcoholic spouse?
Is all this necessary? What if they are not an alcoholic? It starts out as a drink with lunch, and then another drink with dinner, then transitions into a night cap. You notice your spouse seems off, something isn’t right. Could it be the alcohol?
Recognize the symptoms of alcohol abuse in order to help them in every way possible.
Have you noticed:
- The garbage is piling up with beer and booze
- Your spouse gets very irritable or angry in spurts
- They have lost interest in things they once loved, replaced by drinking
- Going out to bars has become a new habit of your spouse
- Coming home late after a night of drinking seems to be a pattern on the weekends leaking into the weeknights
- Mood swings begin to become constant
- They lack completing responsibilities and instead choose to drink
- Your spouse has been starting to isolate themselves from friends and family
- They drink alone
It’s hard to label someone you love as an alcoholic. You might have noticed their drinking was getting out of hand but didn’t want to believe the reality of the disease. Know that you did not lead them to drink and it’s not your fault their actions have gotten out of hand. However, you can help them change their past ways and seek out a more positive and renewed future.
There are plenty of resources such as inpatient and outpatient care as well as groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous that are filled with professional help amongst others experiencing the same things. If you really want to help your spouse, do your research on the risks of alcohol abuse and just how much they abuse the substance. Finding help for a spouse might be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Millions of Americans are going through the same situation, and millions more can’t stress enough how much seeking treatment has changed their lives for the better.
Your spouse is suffering physically and mentally from their disorder, and you have the strength to help. Don’t put it off.
My loved one is addicted.
Knowing the right approach can be hard. We’re here to help.