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There are several telltale signs your husband has developed a problem with alcohol. Some of these include:
If you know your husband drinks a lot, and these symptoms are also present, it could be a sign of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). If you’re wondering how to help an alcoholic husband, understanding whether he has a drinking problem is the first step.
It’s also important to note that not all alcoholics are unable to maintain their daily responsibilities. Living with a high-functioning alcoholic husband has a different set of challenges because it might seem to the outside world that there is no problem.
If you are in this situation, you still need to know how to deal with an alcoholic husband.
AUD puts a huge strain on a marriage.
If you are living with an alcoholic husband and you want to improve your marriage:
Alcoholism has devastating effects on a marriage.
Verbal aggression in marriage is twice as likely to occur if either partner has consumed alcohol in the last two hours.8 Moreover, marriages in which one or both partners abuse alcohol are 20% more likely to get divorced.10
Other ways alcohol abuse harms marriages include:
Many couples bond over drinking. It is part of their social life and something they enjoy doing together. But when one spouse develops a problem with alcohol, enjoying a drink together is no longer a healthy option.
If your husband drinks too much, you might want to stop drinking as a way to discourage his drinking and support his recovery.
If you’re ready to give up alcohol, it helps to:
Watching a loved one struggle with alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. This is especially true when that loved one is a spouse.
There are things you can do to help an alcoholic spouse and improve the chances of recovery.
If you’d like to help your husband stop drinking, consider:
Confront him and let him know how his drinking affects you and other family members. Avoid blame and focus on using “I” statements, such as “I feel hurt when you drink too much and neglect our relationship.”
Consider planning an intervention with the help of an addiction professional.
An intervention brings together everyone who cares about the person who's drinking too much to respectfully confront them. That specialist serves as a mediator and resource and helps everyone deal with a difficult situation.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program that has helped many alcoholics deal with recovery. It’s a community program that allows people to speak openly and honestly about their AUD and get support from their peers.
Residential treatment programs or inpatient treatment offers a full-time option for people struggling with AUD. These programs provide medically supervised detox and round-the-clock care and attention from addiction specialists.
People in residential treatment programs focus entirely on recovery, away from the stress and challenges of their everyday lives.
These programs are ideal for people who have attempted recovery in the past or who have the option or need to make recovery their full-time focus.
There are many treatment options available for alcoholics and their family members, including personal and family therapy. If you have an alcoholic partner, you can speak to an addiction specialist about the various resources available to help families dealing with substance abuse.
Both the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require health insurance providers in the United States to pay for addiction treatment.
This includes all types of programs, including time spent at a full- or part-time treatment facility, prevention programs, early intervention, and treatment for co-occurring disorders.
People who do not have health insurance coverage also have options for treatment. Community programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous are free to attend.
Many programs offer scholarships or sliding pay scales that make them affordable for uninsured and/or low-income people. It’s also reasonable for some people to ask for financial support from friends or family members.
For some couples, yes. Ideally, it isn’t the first option if you are married to an alcoholic, but if you’ve tried everything to help your spouse and nothing has worked, divorce might be your only option.
The important thing to remember is that your safety and the safety of your other family members are your main priority. For many, the solution for dealing with an angry, drunk spouse is leaving the marriage.
If an alcoholic spouse poses a threat to you or your children, physical distance from him is appropriate and justified. The thought of ending a marriage with an alcoholic and starting over can be overwhelming. But it might be the best decision for you and your family.
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