Prayer For Alcoholic Husbands
How Can I Help My Alcoholic Husband Quit Drinking
Almost 10 million American men battled alcohol addiction in 2015, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports.
Alcoholism impacts entire families as individuals face negative social, emotional, physical, behavioral, financial, legal, and occupational consequences as a result of chronic alcohol abuse.
Someone struggling with alcoholism spends the majority of their time drinking, thinking about drinking, or recovering from drinking and therefore has difficulties fulfilling daily family, work, school, and other obligations.
The Industrial Psychiatry Journal publishes that wives are the most adversely affected by a spouse's alcohol abuse and alcoholism. High stress and emotional (and potentially physical) trauma related to alcohol abuse can significantly impact family life, and wives may suffer from anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, isolation, fear, anger, and more.
About 40 percent of all violent crimes involve alcohol. In addition, alcohol is the number one mind-altering substance contributing to instances of spousal abuse, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) warns.A partner may have to pick up the slack for an alcoholic husband who is no longer able to carry their weight financially, socially, or with the family.
If your husband is an alcoholic, there are steps you can take to get him professional help. Alcoholism is a treatable disease that can be managed through specialized programs.
Hosting an Intervention
An important component of getting help for your husband is to stop enabling his drinking behaviors.
It can be easy for a spouse to make excuses for a husband's tardiness, absence, or behaviors due to the drinking in order to “save face” and help them keep their jobs, protect appearances, and so on.
It is important to stop doing this. Your husband’s drinking is not a reflection on you in any way.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a brain disease that is chronic and reoccurring. It can be managed with specialized treatment.
Less than 10 percent of people who struggle with alcoholism will seek professional help, however, and of those who don't seek help, more than 95 percent don't think they need it, the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports.
It may be helpful to stage an intervention to show your husband how his alcohol abuse has disrupted your life personally and to guide him into entering into an addiction treatment program.
An intervention is a structured meeting that is hosted by loved ones with the goal of getting the person to agree to willingly go to rehab. It can be helpful to hire a professional interventionist to guide you through how to plan and carry out a successful intervention.NCADD publishes that the majority of interventions are effective when a professional interventionist is involved in the process.
If your husband struggles with co-occurring disorders; is prone to self-harm, aggression, or violent outbursts; or abuses other drugs in addition to alcohol, it is always best to have the guidance and support of a trained professional when hosting an intervention.
An intervention is often planned without the knowledge of the person involved, and a spouse can be a key member of the intervention team.
This team may also be made up of neighbors, coworkers, friends, other family members, teammates, or others who are close to the person and have been impacted by their alcohol abuse.
Members of an intervention team will often write letters ahead of time to read to the person during the meeting. These letters will detail specific instances when alcohol abuse has been a problem.
They should be nonjudgmental, sticking to “I” statements rather than blaming the person.
The point of your letter is to help your husband see that their alcohol use is affecting others around and get him to recognize that he needs help.
It is important to host the intervention when he is not drunk or hungover, so he will be most ly to hear what is said. As his spouse, you will need to be prepared to outline consequences, that you will stick to, if he decides not to enter into a treatment program after the intervention.This may mean that you ask him to leave the home or stop supporting him financially. Regardless of the consequences you set forth, you need to make sure you carry them out.
Hopefully, your husband will decide that admission into an alcohol rehab program is preferable to the outlined ramifications.
Steps for Offering Help While Staying Safe
It is important to take care of yourself when your husband is prone to alcohol abuse and struggles with alcoholism.
Since alcohol is a mind-altering substance, it impacts moods, thoughts, and behaviors, and can increase the odds for aggression, increased risk-taking behaviors, lowered inhibitions, out-of-character behaviors, and intensified situations.
Refrain from self-blame and stick to non-confrontational, honest, and private conversations when discussing his alcohol use. Try not to lecture or place blame on him; rather, offer understanding and compassion. Reiterate that you are in this together and you want what is best for both of you.
Family members are often the most important people in a person's life; therefore, they are highly impactful in addiction treatment and recovery. Here are some guidelines for helping an alcoholic husband get professional addiction treatment while protecting yourself from further harm:
- Only talk to him when he is sober and receptive to hearing what you have to say. Sometimes, it may take several small, honest, and simple conversations to get your point across.
- Educate yourself on the disease of alcoholism and treatment options that exist near you.
- Consider seeking out support for yourself via a therapist or support group, such as Al-Anon, which is a self-help program for family members of substance abusers.
- Get help planning and carrying out an intervention, and have treatment programs already lined up ahead of time.
- Stop covering for your husband and start asking him to take responsibility for his actions. Do not accept negative behaviors and stop enabling him to continue drinking.
- Don't try to control his drinking on your own as this will often lead to outbursts and additional issues. Instead, enlist professional help to host an intervention.
- If at any time you feel unsafe physically or emotionally in your home or at the hands of your husband who may be under the influence of alcohol, seek immediate professional help. Do not try to diffuse the situation by yourself.
- Try not to take his drinking personally. Remember that alcoholism is a progressive disease involving brain chemistry, and it often takes a professional treatment program to heal and recover.
- Commit to making positive changes in your own life. Engage in hobbies, social outings, and recreational activities that make you happy.
- Get help for yourself, and find healthy outlets for support. Join a support group and/or attend therapy.
- Keep up with the family schedule regardless of whether or not your husband is participating in normal family functions. This can help to keep a sense of normalcy and balance at home to ease stress and tension.
- Research treatment programs, and offer them to your husband at an intervention or at other times when he may be the most receptive to hearing you.
- Offer your husband love and support throughout treatment and recovery, remembering that you are one of the most influential people in his life. Visit him while he is in treatment during designated times and actively participate in the program when possible.
- Make sure your husband knows you love him, but that you do not love his actions when he is drinking and therefore you will not tolerate these behaviors anymore. Outline concrete consequences for his inaction if he refuses to enter treatment and stick to them.
When addiction is present in one partner, codependency is often present.
Marital or family therapy can be key to overcoming issues related to codependency, helping each partner to get their own needs met in a healthy and balanced way while improving communication skills and the overall family dynamic. Individual therapy can be important for you, as you have been significantly impacted by your spouse's drinking and alcoholism.
Again, alcoholism is a treatable disease, and with professional treatment, marriages can be repaired. There is hope for your husband in recovery.
Today I’m brining you the story of a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. She is sharing bravely and submitted her story anonymously in hopes of support. I’m proud to share her words.
Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of drinking, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.
If you’d to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.
Please show your support to our reader who has submitted the story below.
He’s in hospital again.
My depressed, anxiety-stricken, suicidal, alcoholic husband.
It’s the third time this year. Saying it’s been rough is a bit of an understatement, especially since I’ve been trying to shield two boys from the chaos.
His first wife believes the booze is the base problem. (I wish she’d given me the heads-up sooner.) I’m not sure I know which came first. The chicken or the egg. The booze or the depression.
Whatever may have started it, they are all dancing together in a horrible, destructive, downwards spiral, and have been for some time.
It’s the lies that bother me the most.When we met, he was open with me about his depression, and how his first wife left him because of it. But her leaving was basically good, because his misery in the marriage was the root of his depression. So he said, and I believed him. Depression I can deal with. I deal with it daily. I suffer myself.
I knew he drank a lot, but so did I. And it wasn’t he was drunk all the time, or drinking in the morning, or anything. But when he drank, he drank a lot. He couldn’t have just one beer. He had to have 4, or 6.
Dinner out meant a cocktail, a 70/30 shared bottle of wine (or 3 beer), and an Irish coffee. It was expensive, and made him tired so he fell asleep early instead of spending time with me, so I complained.
But it didn’t change.
Then we had our son. And our son was difficult. More difficult than most parents could imagine. My husband couldn’t handle it, and he drank even more. His temper was horrible. I once called him a monster. He heard me that time, and he tried really hard to control his anger. And he did a good job.
But he still drank to relieve stress. And to sleep.
Did you know that alcohol completely disrupts your sleep? It may help you to calm your mind so you can fall to sleep, but it will give you a fitful and disrupted sleep. So then you drink more. And your tolerance increases the more you drink. So you drink even more. And then your liver starts to feel the effects.
Not to mention your relationships.
Alcohol is a depressant. When you self-medicate with alcohol to deal with your depression and anxiety, you may dull the pain in the moment, but you contribute to your depression in the long run. You get worse. And you can’t stop drinking. You spiral.
And it sucks. And the people you love pay the price.
My husband is very successful in life. He is fantastic at his job and is highly respected. He can put on an amazing show of competence and composure, even when he’s tanked. If you are a stranger or a colleague. But if you’re family? Forget it. We get the full show.
Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net “Ambro”
For the last six years I have been holding this family together with the thinnest thread imaginable. I’ve begged him to see a doctor, to seek help. I put myself between our kids and their dad, softening the blow of his vodka-induced rage.I try to hide the fact that he’s passed out on the couch. I make excuses for why he isn’t doing whatever household chore, or why he won’t go to the zoo with us. I make excuses to our friends, to his office when he doesn’t show up.
I make excuses to me.
I’m tired of making excuses for my alcoholic husband
I’m tired of feeling a single parent.
We’ve lost our husband and father to alcohol. I’ve been holding on to hope for years, because I love this man. I remember why I love him when I see him in his sober moments and he fixes man things around the house, or cooks an amazing meal, or plays with the boys. And, don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of those days. He is an amazing man when he is sober.
Even the depression doesn’t keep him down, now that he’s medicated. And since his failed (thank God!) suicide attempt this summer, he has been trying really hard, as far as I can see. He was himself again for a long while, though it was a struggle, and he had a lot of professional support. He was wonderful. But then something triggered him, and he started again.
And the lies started. I mean, I know this man. I can tell when he’s drinking. And I long ago gave up on being quiet about it. But he denies it every time. He would deny it when I’d kiss him as we left the parking garage in the mornings and parted ways for our separate offices and I could taste it on his lips. He denies it now when he yells and wails, and then passes out at 8pm. But I know.
The lies hurt me the most. That and how his actions are affecting our children. No child should have to see their father this way. No child should have to walk in on their dad passed out on the couch with an empty vodka bottle rolling around the floor. No child should have to know that their dad is in hospital because he wanted to end his life for the third time this year.
No wife should have to continue to protect her children from this every day.
One week ago I announced that I’ve begun a 90 Day Weight-loss challenge with high-hopes and a feeling of excitement. Why is it that it only takes a week for me to feel I’m slogging through, desperately diverting my gaze from the lovely cheeses in the grocery store, feeling I should run from temptation?
Temptation, ah yes well I’ve proven in life that I am one who tends to dive right in when faced with a temptation and we all know how that can end for me. Alcoholic much?
So knowing that I tend to be a person who seeks instant gratification you’d think I’d have enough tools in my little red toolbox of life to fend off that feeling where my mind is screaming “I NEED THAT” at me right?Apparently not; by Tuesday I was ogling foods full of preservatives and fatty deliciousness almost convincing myself that I could have just a wee bit to stave off the need. My inner thoughts were horrible, cheese, ice cream, chocolate, pop…..utterly focused upon whatever foods I had made the decision to eliminate from my diet were at the forefront.
I was going crazy!
Why did I think weight loss would be easy?
Chalk it up to good intentions with little reality but I really thought I could jump back on the healthy living train with little discomfort. I hadn’t really gotten far off track but I had been eating whatever I wanted for a few months, cough ok more than a few but still.
Ultimately I had to give my head a shake and reach out for the tools of success which I’ve learned over my almost 40 years.
The fact is that temptation will always surround me, whether it’s alcohol, unhealthy foods or anything else resembles something sparkly to me at the time I can be assured I will find it. I cannot avoid temptation.
Rather than avoiding temptation I’m refocusing my thoughts.
I’m choosing to pay attention to my goals and allow this focus to overwhelm the feeling of temptation.
For example, when I was feeling that deep, all-encompassing need to eat something which wasn’t on my dietary plan I moved myself into a different place and shut the thought down by focusing upon my goal.
Here’s how it went:
“Oh my goodness I haven’t had a pop in 3 days, I want one badly. I can drive to the store and get a pop, it’s cheap and there’s no calories so really it’s ok”
BANG, temptation presented in my thoughts and plans made in a millisecond.
Action: Stood up, walked to the kitchen and poured an ice water while thinking:
“Breathe, just breathe, move to kitchen and get water.” then “What do I have to do today, ok so now onto task 1”
In those few moments I rid myself of the instant need for the temptation and redirected my actions and thoughts back on track. I even got some things done that I was avoiding simply to keep my hands and mind busy.
It’s a matter of training myself to replace bad habits
In the end this week I did keep to my plan and the fixation upon cheese (I know it’s a bizarre one) has passed for now but I know it will be back. By knowing that it will I have planned my strategy for dealing with it and know that I can overcome the “need”.
This week I went without any pop (or soda for you Americans), avoided processed foods and ended up losing 6 pounds. To me the weight-loss is less important than proving to myself that I CAN retrain my unhealthy behaviours by choosing to change my thoughts.
Once again my thoughts drive my behaviours and I know between God and I we’ve got the power to achieve beautiful things!
So tell me friends, how’d you do this week?
Were you facing temptations and if so how did you jump the hurdles?
Don’t forget to link up your posts if you’re writing about a resolution/improvement in your life.
8 Ways to Cope With an Alcoholic Husband
These tips for coping with an alcoholic husband – or a spouse who drinks too much – are inspired by my work in a residential recovery program for men who are alcoholics and drug addicts.
Read Reclaim Your Life: You and the Alcoholic/Addict by Carole Bennett for specific communication tools that empower you to implement confident boundaries in your marriage.
I can’t tell you everything you need to know about coping with an alcoholic man in this blog post.
You need to work through this process — and know that reclaiming your respect, dignity, and peace of mind are achievable goals.
Below, my tips on how to cope with – and help – an alcoholic husband are information from Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as my experience working with men in the residential recovery program for alcoholics and drug addicts.
These tips range from educating yourself about Al-Anon to letting your husband suffer the consequences of his choice to drink. I hope they help you face the reality of alcoholism and get the support you need.Remember that you can’t help your husband cope with alcoholism by yourself. In fact, there is nothing you can do to reform or change him…you can only change how you respond to his drinking problem.
The more you read and learn about alcoholism, the better able you’ll be to help the man you love, save your marriage, and pull your family back together. But remember that stopping him from drinking is not YOUR responsibility. You can support and walk alongside your husband, but you can’t make him change unless he is ready.
Have you contacted Al-Anon yet? It’s is an organisation for the relatives and friends of alcoholics, who share their experience, strength and hope with each other in order to solve their common problems. Al-Anon has one purpose: to help the families and friends of alcoholics. Anonymity is an important principle of the Al-Anon program.
Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease – and the proponents of Al-Anon believe it is a family disease. They also believe a wife can help an alcoholic husband stop drinking.
1. Remember that he is not choosing to drink
As an alcoholic, your husband no longer has the power to choose not to drink, so he needs spiritual power to quit drinking. He can’t overcome the disease of alcoholism by himself or through willpower. The only thing he can do is turn to God, admit how powerless he is, and turn his life over to a Higher Power who can save him.
2. Think about having an intervention
Here’s some important information from Alcoholic.org’s article How to Help an Alcoholic Husband:
If you think he drinks too much – or if you even find yourself thinking but not saying “My husband is an alcoholic” out loud – then you need to think about the best way to help your husband stop drinking.
Remember that an alcoholic husband must have a desire to change before he accepts treatment, and he should believe that stopping his dependency on alcohol will benefit his life. Treatment centers and interventions can help an alcoholic recover.
Admitting that there is a problem is the first step to recovery, so it may be important to have an intervention.
During an intervention, a special interventionist can help you work with your husband and talk out the problem. You will be able to express how the alcoholism affects you, and with the interventionist’s help you may be able to get your husband to admit that he has a drinking problem.
3. Do what you can to protect your relationships with others
Be determined that your husband’s alcoholism won’t spoil your relationship with your children, your family, or your friends. You can still have a full, interesting, and good life even if you can’t learn how to help an alcoholic husband stop drinking. Don’t set your heart on reforming him, or helping him stop drinking. You may be unable to do so, not matter how hard you try.
4. Don’t tell him what to do about his drinking
In the “For Wives” chapter on how to help an alcoholic husband, it advises women never to tell their husbands to stop drinking or what to do about his drinking. If he sees you as a nag or killjoy, your chance of helping him may be zero. He will feel misunderstood and criticized, which won’t help him stop drinking.
5. Let your husband explain his life to people
Whenever possible, let him make his own excuses to his employer, coworkers, family members, neighbors, church community, etc. Don’t protect him, don’t lie to people to cover up his drinking problem.
If you are serious about helping your husband with his alcoholism, you won’t lie to people who have a right to know where he is and what he is doing.
Talk about this with him when he is sober and in good spirits.
Remember that there is a difference between learning how to help your husband deal with alcoholism, and falling into a codependent relationship.
6. Never be angry
I’m not sure about this tip on how to cope with an alcoholic husband, but I’m sharing it anyway! The Alcoholics Anonymous book says that the first principle of success is to never be angry with your husband for his drinking problem (disease). Even though he may become unbearable and you have to leave him temporarily, they advise you to go in peace, patience, and a good temper.
4 Ways to Create Love and Peace in an Unhappy Marriage might help you learn how to rein in your anger and frustration.
7. Get support for wives of alcoholic husbands
This is the most important tip for coping alcoholic husbands: Get help.
Find the closest Alcoholics Anonymous group, or the nearest Al-Anon group. Trying to deal with your husband’s alcoholism on your own is futile, and will set you up for disappointment and despair. Join forces with other women who need help with their alcoholic husbands.
Get support, give support. Help yourself, and you’ll learn how to help an alcoholic husband help himself.
8. Hold on to your own spirituality
The foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous is spirituality. The alcoholic is powerless to stop drinking because alcoholism is a disease.
A drinker can’t summon the willpower to stop drinking – when he is an alcoholic, he has no choice.
He needs to turn his life and body over to God (whatever he understands God to be)…and I believe that to help an alcoholic husband, you need to do the same thing.
To learn more, read How to Live With and Love an Alcoholic Boyfriend.I welcome your thoughts on coping with an alcoholic husband. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience. I know I haven’t offered any brilliant insights or ways to help him overcome his drinking problem, but I hope you see you’re not alone.
I especially hope you reach out to other women whose husbands are struggling with alcoholism, so you can gain strength, comfort, and solidarity.