What Can I Do About My Husband’s Drinking?
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If your husband is abusing alcohol on a regular basis, he may have an alcohol use disorder. This is a disease that is difficult to manage without expert intervention and support. If you wonder, “What can I do about my husband’s drinking,” you will definitely benefit from reading this blog.
Is My Husband an Alcoholic?
Your husband has been drinking more than you are comfortable with, but how do you know if it is alcoholism? At what point should you be concerned about his drinking?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the umbrella term that covers a spectrum of disordered drinking behaviors. These range from mild to severe and include binge drinking, alcohol dependence, and alcohol addiction.
The severity of the AUD is based upon how many of the following symptoms are present:
- Being unable to control alcohol intake.
- Is unable to cut back or quit drinking.
- Much time is devoted to drinking or recovering from drinking.
- Having strong alcohol cravings.
- Experiences increased tolerance that led to more alcohol consumption.
- Ignores obligations; he misses appointments, forgets to pay the bills, and misses work often.
- Experiences blackouts.
- Has little interest in hobbies or social events he once enjoyed.
- Continues to drink regardless of the adverse effects on his life.
- Engages in high-risk behaviors while drinking.
- Experiences withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.
- The husband is depressed and drinking.
Having five or more of these symptoms indicates a severe AUD.
How a Husband’s Drinking Affects the Wife
Alcoholism impacts both the marriage and the individual partners in the marriage. The alcoholic partner is suffering from the disease that he has no control over. He sees his life in shambles, yet cannot seem to gain control over his drinking.
The wife, however, bears the brunt of the husband’s AUD. She feels powerless against the addiction and becomes fearful about how the alcoholism will affect her husband and the marriage. If the disease is allowed to escalate, there could be serious consequences. The AUD will adversely impact her husband’s health, his job security, their family life, and their financial health.
Consider the ways a husband’s drinking problem affects the wife:
- You begin to isolate. You may pull away from friends and family, and skip gatherings, as his problem worsens. This is because you feel ashamed and embarrassed about his drinking.
- Your husband may lose his job. Your husband’s drinking may escalate to the point it starts affecting his job performance. He also may be missing a lot of work. This sets up the possibility that he will lose his job, an event that will have a direct impact on you.
- You become an enabler. Sometimes a wife will play the protector and make excuses for his drinking or bad behavior. She may lie to his boss when he doesn’t show up to work. This only enables his drinking to continue.
- You are at increased risk of domestic violence. Male alcoholics can become physically violent. In fact, a majority of domestic violence cases against women involve alcohol abuse.
- You are becoming depressed. Having a husband with a drinking problem causes so much strife that you may find yourself in a state of depression. If this happens, it is essential that you reach out for help.
What Can I Do About My Husband’s Drinking?
When living with an alcoholic husband, the hard truth is that it is not much you can do to stop his drinking if he has AUD. This is also true for your husband, as the alcoholism takes control over his will once dependency takes hold.
There are some things you can do to nudge him toward treatment though. If you want to know what to do about your husband’s drinking, consider these options:
- Address the problem with him. Approach your husband about the drinking when he is not intoxicated. Find a moment when you are alone together and calmly explain your concerns about his health.
- Ask him to see his doctor. Suggest that he schedule an appointment with his doctor for an annual physical and labs. This can identify liver enzyme counts that are outside the normal range, which would prompt the doctor to suggest treatment for AUD.
- Start learning about AUD. To gain a better understanding of what you are dealing with, read up and learn about the disease of alcoholism. Start researching different treatment options and check with your insurance for what services are covered.
- Consider an intervention. If your husband is not receptive to your concerns about his drinking problem, you might want to consider holding an intervention. An addiction specialist can assist you and your family members in conducting an intervention.
When Your Husband is Ready for Treatment
You might find that your husband is inspired to get help when you address the drinking issue with him. He may have believed that you were not aware of his problem or didn’t really care. When you convey your concerns to him in a loving way, he may decide it is time to enter treatment.
If he does, then he will need to prepare for what to expect in the detox and rehab phases of recovery. He must make plans to be in treatment for a couple of months, which means planning for the family’s needs in his absence.
Recovery begins with detox and withdrawal, which takes about a week to complete. Rehab follows and involves a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, education, 12-step programming, holistic activities, and family therapy.
After rehab, he will participate in aftercare activities, such as outpatient therapy, alumni activities, 12-step meetings, and regular exercise. Combined, these efforts help to solidify sobriety and launch a whole new healthy lifestyle in sobriety.
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