Addiction is one of the most difficult issues to deal with in a marriage, and the toll that alcoholism takes on the family can never be minimized. As the spouse of someone who is addicted to alcohol, it can often feel as though you never know what might get thrown at you next. When your spouse is sober, you may be reminded of all the reasons why you fell in love. Then, the very next night, you may find yourself worried sick about their safety when they don’t come home from the bar. Figuring out how to help your spouse without enabling their condition is possible by using these professional relationship tips for dealing with addiction.
Avoid Threats and Punishments
Abuse in relationships should never be tolerated. For this reason, you may need to seek a temporary or permanent separation if you believe your safety or that of your kids’ is at risk. That being said, you may choose to stay in the relationship if you are not being physically or emotionally harmed. If you do choose to stay, avoid arguing with your spouse when he or she is intoxicated, and don’t try to punish their behavior by withholding your affection. Instead, continue practicing effective communication tips like as waiting until both of you are calm to broach difficult topics such as their drinking habits.
Reach Out For Support
It is impossible to help your spouse when you are beaten down by the effects of abuse in marriage or worried about how you will handle their next bender. Therefore, you need to seek professional counseling to learn how to cope with circumstances that feel as though they are beyond your control. In fact, they likely are not beyond your control, as couples therapists are trained to help adapt their strategies to changing circumstances. For example, you may decide to start individual counseling at first and involve your partner later once they see the results and start to show interest. Having professional support available helps you to stop feeling so alone.
It might not seem fair to have to skip having that glass of wine after work in the evening when you’re not the alcoholic. However, keeping alcohol around the house is a major trigger for relapse. Try to find ways to limit your partner’s triggers for drinking. For instance, keeping stress levels low and choosing to find a marriage counselor to help you resolve conflicts can head off problems before they start. You might also need to give your partner a free pass from attending social functions where you know that alcohol will be present.
Agree Upon a Recovery Plan
It is wonderful news when your loved one chooses to get sober. However, it is important to remember that the serious work for rebuilding your relationship is just beginning. During the worst days of their alcoholism, things may have happened such as cheating or financial infidelity that has weakened your trust. Regaining trust in relationships takes time, so work together with your counselor to develop a plan to help both you and your spouse to recover. Agreeing upon things such as avoiding certain people or places that trigger their drinking will help them avoid temptation while giving you reassurance that your spouse is actively working on recovery.
Support groups and counseling are available for spouses of people with an addiction to alcohol, and it is important to avoid trying to handle this alone. While you may not be able to control your partner’s drinking, you can take action to ensure that you stay emotionally healthy and safe in your relationship by reaching out for help.