If you are at the point of questioning whether or not you are married to an alcoholic, chances are pretty high that you are (or at least be given good reason to worry); however, if you are still unsure here are a few questions to think about regarding your spouse’s drinking:
- Do you find yourself making excuses for how your spouse is acting when he drinks?
- Is your loved one hiding how much he drinks?
- Does drinking (and the subsequent hangover) get in the way of family plans?
- Have you started to notice that items or money has gone missing?
- Does your loved one forget or black out from drinking?
Now that you have a clearer view on your spouse’s addictive behaviours, there are a few things you need to remind yourself:
You are not to blame for your spouse’s drinking
Regardless of what your spouse may or may not try to say, you are not to blame for his choices. Your loved one has a disease (yes, alcoholism is a disease) that you did not cause. Though the choice may have initially been his to pick up the drink, the need and the effect it has over him is not something within his or your control.
You love your spouse and want the best for him, and that doesn’t change because he is struggling with addiction. It is common to believe that you are doing the right thing when you are trying to help him. At the end of the day, you may not realize that your help could be enabling the habits and behaviours of your spouse and making the situation worse: when enabling an addict, you are preventing them from seeing the total consequences to their actions and/or behaviours.
You can and should say NO
Promises of a better future are all too common when dealing with an addict; however, these promises are most often repeatedly broken time and time again. You need to be true to yourself and what you will and will not accept from your relationship with your alcoholic spouse. Setting boundaries and expectations is important both now and in the future. You need to feel safe and respected in your relationship, and be able to say No and mean it when you need to.
Self-care is important
Regardless of what happens in your relationship, you need to take care of the one person that will accept your help – you. Seeking out professional help, someone that you can talk to openly and honestly about the situation and your feelings, will be very helpful during this time. You also need to remember who you are, outside of your spouse’s addiction: do the things that you love, meet with friends or even join a support group to meet and learn from other people in the same situation.
Ask for help
Keep in mind that if you are thinking about bringing up your concerns about your spouse’s drinking to him, do not be surprised if he denies or even ignores your concerns. After all, no addict truly believes they have a problem until they are ready to admit it themselves.
Your loved one needs more help than what you can offer them on your own. No amount of pleading, begging or ultimatums will be completely enough. If you are worried about your loved one’s drinking, contact us today at The Farm to learn how our alcohol addiction treatment program can help.