Category: Family

alcoholic spouse

How To Live With An Alcoholic Spouse (And When You Should Leave)

Over 14 million American adults have Alcohol Use Disorder. However, it’s important to note that there are countless others who never report their problems or seek treatment for addiction. Realistically, the number is much higher. 

The question is, what do you do if you think you have an alcoholic spouse? How can you support them and love them without enabling them or turning a blind eye to their addiction?

A more difficult question to answer is, what do you do if you’re being physically, mentally, or emotionally abused because of their alcoholism? At what point should you leave?

Keep reading for some guidance on how to deal with an alcoholic spouse.

Understand Their Addiction

First, you need to accept, as hard as it may be, that their addiction is a disease. Though there is always a choice to drink or not drink, they may be helpless in the struggle. 

While we understand you probably feel exhausted and frustrated, it’s important to understand that it’s not entirely their fault, and it certainly isn’t yours. Addiction can be linked to genetics, underlying mental issues, circumstances, and more. 

Avoid Enabling Their Drinking

However, there’s a difference between understanding/empathizing with an alcoholic and enabling their drinking. Learning how to help an alcoholic spouse means being open and honest with them. You need to confront them about their problem and tell them hows it’s affecting you. 

Try to help them cut back on their drinking and encourage them to seek counseling. 

Be Able to Recognize a Dangerous or Unhealthy Living Situation

As the partner to an alcoholic spouse, you should do everything in your power to help them get sober and come out on the other side. However, you can’t sacrifice your own happiness, safety, or well-being in the process, nor that of your children’s. 

Learn how to recognize the signs of a dangerous or unhealthy living situation, such as:

  • Verbal, mental, and emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Physical destruction (punching walls, trashing the house, breaking items)

If you have any doubts, seek help for spouses of alcoholics. There are groups that can provide emotional support and help guide you to make the best decisions for you and your family.

Set Boundaries for Yourself

When living with an alcoholic spouse, you must learn to set boundaries for yourself. This means having the courage to talk to them about the potential consequences of their continued alcohol abuse. They need to understand that they could lose you if they don’t get control of their situation.

If you have children, it’s just as important to set boundaries for them. If your spouse gets loud, vulgar, destructive, or violent when intoxicated, your children don’t need to be in the house. Let your spouse know if they choose to drink, you’ll take the kids and get out of the house for the night. 

Reach Out for Help

Finally, remember that dealing with an alcoholic spouse doesn’t have to be something you do alone. You can reach out for help in a myriad of ways. For example:

  • Get other family members and friends to help
  • Host an intervention
  • Talk to your spouse about treatment programs
  • Look into in-patient and out-patient facilities

Remember, even though you feel alone, you’re not. There are people around who can help.

Are You Living With an Alcoholic Spouse?

If you have an alcoholic spouse and you’re beginning to fear for the future of your relationship, it’s time to do something about it. Talk to your spouse about getting treatment and don’t do it alone. Get the support of friends and family members who care about your spouse. 

And if you have any questions about treatment options or how to proceed, please contacts us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

family members of addicts

Family Members of Addicts: The Top Tips for Dealing With Your Loved One’s Addiction

In the United States, the drug epidemic spans across generations, races, ethnicities, and economic statuses. It’s a problem that not only impacts the lives of the addicted but impacts their family and friends as well.

Nearly half of all adults in America are suspected to have a family member or close friend currently battling a drug or alcohol addiction. And while these loved ones may not be hooked on a substance themselves, they still face the hardship of seeing a mother, brother, or best friend succumb to disease.

Family and friends are often confused about how to deal with a loved one with an addiction. They want to help the one they hold near and dear but aren’t sure how to do that in a way that’s safe for all of those involved.

If you find yourself caring for a close relative or friend with an addiction, keep reading and we’ll give you some important tips for family members of addicts.

Education is Key

The first step in helping your loved ones if they are addicted to drugs is educating yourself on what addiction really is and what’s it’s not.

Addiction is a chronic disease that tricks a person’s mind into believing harmful behavior is actually satisfying to the biology and psychology faculties of the body. Addiction is not the result of a weak mind and reckless choices.

It’s also important for family members of addicts to understand that many people with drug or substance abuse issues have some deep-rooted personal triggers they try to numb with mind-altering chemicals. These triggers must be dealt with carefully if a person is going to successfully overcome an addiction.

Love is not Enabling

Oddly enough, it’s quite common for family members of addicts to enable their loved ones. Family members will do things from loaning money, to making excuses for loved ones, to bailing loved ones out unsavory situations. These are all not helpful behaviors.

In addition, it’s not helpful to deny a loved one has an addiction if all the signs of addiction are present. Denial will just convince a loved one not to get the help he or she needs.

You’re Important Too

While you may not be able to control your loved one in the addiction, you can control how you respond to that person while he or she is abusing substances.

It’s up to you not to join your loved one and start abusing substances. It’s up to you not to become stressed out to the point you manifest physical symptoms. And it’s up to you to seek out support groups for family members of addicts where others can relate to how you’re feeling and help you through this journey.

Final Notes for Family Members of Addicts

Remember that beyond the addiction and disheartening actions of your parent, sibling, or even cousin, love is still present. You still love the addicts, and they still love you. And they need you to love them enough to support them in getting the help they need.

Should you have further questions about how you should handle a loved one with an addiction, or you are interested in getting a loved one into a highly qualified rehab center in Florida, make sure you contact us.

Understanding and relating to your family member with an addiction

Many families go through life without addiction making an impact on their immediate family. If there is no history of addiction in the family, most people do not know how to understand or relate to the family member who is challenged with a substance abuse problem.

A common question is, “why can’t they simply stop using/drinking?” Or, “why don’t they realize how they are throwing away their life?” Having a family member self-destruct due to substance abuse can be one of the most painful and exhausting experiences in life. You worry for their safety, for their future, for their livelihood. As parents, you’ve raised them to be strong and independent, yet for some reason, they’ve chosen drugs over other life obligations – work, family activities, school…

There are several approaches many family members take. Some will enable their loved one, giving them money for rent and utilities. Others take the tough-love approach demanding that they “straighten up” or all ties will be cut. While enabling is dangerous and allows the individual to continue use at the expense of those who care for them, family members maintain a bond, despite continued and persistent substance use. The tough-love approach has different psychological effects on the person with the issue. More often than not, those in treatment for a substance use issue report low self-esteem and isolation from family members. This can lead to depression and perpetuate continued use.

What can you do to help a family member?

1 – Learn about addiction and how people are physically dependent on the substances they are abusing.
2 – Speak to your family member about the issue – encourage them to admit they have a problem.
3 – Research treatment options in your area. In some cases, it is better to get treatment out of town where is no risk of running into someone familiar in the treatment setting.
4 – Encourage them to consider the options you found – but remember, this is their fight and they need to take ownership of it and do follow-up research. This can also lead to a sense of accomplishment and pride.
5 – Set boundaries of expected behavior and stick to these boundaries, regardless how challenging it is.
6 – Find a local support groups like al-anon or nar-anon so you can learn from others who are also experiencing similar situations with a family member and addiction.
7 – If they agree to go to treatment, participate in the treatment experience. Attend visitations and family therapy sessions.
8 – Make sure they know you support them in their fight to be well and lead a life of recovery.

Related Blog:  Addiction and Family

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.