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Expert Advice on How to Help an Alcoholic Spouse

a person stands crying in a therapy group while others applaud

According to studies, alcohol abuse is on the rise. The largest preventable cause of death in the US is excessive alcohol use, according to the CDC. Even the number of hospitalizations and deaths related to alcoholism has increased. Signs of alcoholism are typically noticed by a loved one before it escalates. 

If your partner suffers from alcohol abuse, there are many ways you can support them. Keep reading to learn how to help an alcoholic spouse. 

What Is Alcoholism? 

Alcoholism is an addiction defined by persistent alcohol use. This dependency on alcohol causes mental, emotional, and physical issues.

The inability to stop drinking is among the most glaring signs of alcohol abuse. Alcoholics have a high tolerance for alcohol and will constantly have an intense craving for it. 

Similar to other illnesses like cardiovascular disease, addiction is a terrible disease. Both interfere with different bodily organs’ healthy functioning and have serious negative repercussions. This disease can last a lifetime and even result in death if untreated.

How Alcoholic Spouse Affects You

Having an alcoholic spouse can adversely affect you and your lifestyle. When your partner suffers from alcoholism, you may experience any of the following. 

  • Control
  • Self-Blame
  • Enabling 

Family members often grapple for control and try to force their partners to stop drinking. In reality, you can’t will a partner’s alcoholism away. Alcoholics are even unable to control their drinking habits. 

People with alcoholic partners often grapple for control. They experience self-blaming and enable their partner in public settings. These behaviors have adverse effects on your partner as they suffer from an over-dependency on alcohol.

Don’t hold yourself liable for your partner’s drinking. You must accept that they alone are responsible for managing their emotions. Your loved one’s alcoholism is a chronic medical illness, rather than a simple choice. 

You need to stop inadvertently enabling your partner. To save face and find comfort, you may find yourself “covering” for your partner. In doing so, you are enabling them and minimizing the impact that drinking has on your spouse and their loved ones. 

Educate Yourself and Find Resources in the Area

You can support an alcoholic loved one more effectively the more you understand about alcoholism. Take the time to speak with a counselor or healthcare provider who focuses on substance abuse to get started. 

If you are concerned about your loved one’s alcohol use, you should sift through reliable resources. By looking through these sources and having conversations with others who may have suffered in the past, you can educate yourself. 

Look into different resource programs near you, so you can develop a plan and find localized resources. This will help you to find a counselor and establish a long-term plan for support. 

Develop a Support System 

A robust support system can give someone the confidence they need to maintain focus when fighting their alcohol addiction. Having strong support networks might help you cope with the stressful times of alcohol and drug rehab. Support is crucial at these times because this is when recovering addict is likely to resume their old habits.

Connecting your partner to Alcoholics Anonymous is a great way to support them. Members of AA and sponsors can relate to your partner’s struggle with alcohol. 

As a partner, you may not be able to relate to the realities of alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) encourages people to spend more time with others who encourage efforts toward recovery. These groups can help develop improved confidence in social situations.

Don’t Be an Enabler

Loving partners often try to over-insert themselves and detract from their spouse’s journey to recovery. Rather than making excuses and overstepping boundaries, you should offer support for your partner’s recovery efforts. By setting clear-cut boundaries and letting your partner deal with their consequences. 

Consider Rehab

The National Institute on Drug Misuse (NIDA) reports that individuals with drug abuse problems frequently have mixed feelings about receiving addiction treatment.

The best course of action to assist your loved ones is by encouraging them to receive treatment as soon as they are prepared for it. The recovery outcome is better the earlier they begin treating the alcohol problem.

Inpatient rehabilitation programs are places where people who need assistance with an alcohol addiction reside full-time. In contrast, outpatient rehab is when a patient receives treatment during the day and returns home at night. Inpatient rehabilitation is suitable for serious addictions and provides care around the clock.

If you drink heavily for a long time, you might have problems when you stop or cut back on how much alcohol you drink. Withdrawal is incredibly difficult and is often the point when most recovering alcoholics reach for a drink. Inpatient rehabilitation, often known as residential therapy, is suitable for serious addictions and provides care around the clock. 

Celebrate Small Victories

Even small victories in sobriety come at a major feat. Milestones are markers of progress toward larger or longer-term goals. You should learn to make them essential to both addiction recovery and general rehabilitation.

The path to recovery is a long one with many obstacles along the way. Even after setbacks, the encouragement from small victories can help your partner feel supported. Alcoholism is a serious disease that is likely to have struggles along the road to recovery.

Learn How to Help an Alcoholic Spouse

Since hundreds of Americans lose their lives to alcoholism each year, it is a national crisis. As a loving spouse, you should prioritize finding treatment and a support group for your partner. Learning how to help an alcoholic spouse can help prepare you to walk with them on the lifelong journey to recovery. 

Contact us at Apex Recovery to help guide your partner on their path to recovery. 

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