Being married to an alcoholic can be an emotional ride. Alcoholism, or Alcohol Use disorder, is characterized by an addiction to alcohol through dependency, tolerance, or compulsion to use. Being married to someone who is an alcoholic can feel frustrating, confusing, or complicated. They may fear for their safety, children, or marital satisfaction. People who are married to someone who struggles with alcohol use may feel that they are powerless. However, here are some practical steps you can take to seek help for your loved one and yourself:
1. Prepare to Approach- Rehearse what you can say to your spouse so you are prepared. Try not to shame, blame, or guilt them.
2. Be Honest with yourself and your spouse- it’s natural to make excuses for your spouse, enable, or minimize- which can lead to co-dependency. Look at yourself in the mirror and be honest about what you’re feeling and what your spouse is doing.
3. Seek help for yourself- seek emotional support for what you’re going through. This can be individual counseling, support groups for spouses, or personal means.
4. Commit to change- whether this is boundaries you are setting, following through on your desires, or allowing your spouse to experience the consequences of their behaviors.