When to Give Up on an Alcoholic Husband

when to give up on an alcoholic husband

If your husband is an alcoholic, you have come to realize that his alcoholism is also your problem. Alcoholism does not only affect the person with the drinking problem, it affects everyone in the family.

But even as bad as it has become, you still hold out hope. Maybe someday soon your husband will wake up and realize he needs professional help for his drinking problem. It is very hard to know when to give up on an alcoholic husband, something you struggle with daily. But before giving up, why not try a couples program?

Signs Your Husband is an Alcoholic

Even though a wife may notice strange behavior in her husband, she may not realize they are signs of alcoholism. The list of common signs of alcohol use disorder includes:

  • He is obsessed with drinking and spends much time drinking and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  • He has memory blackouts.
  • He has tried to cut down on drinking or stop but was not able to follow through.
  • He stops caring about his appearance or hygiene.
  • He has alcohol cravings.
  • He neglects his responsibilities at home and work.
  • He is more withdrawn and avoids social events so he can drink at home.
  • He engages in risky behaviors.
  • He keeps drinking, even with all the negative effects on the marriage, his job, and his health.
  • He has increased his alcohol consumption over time to achieve the desired effects.
  • He has withdrawal symptoms in the morning.

The Effects of a Husband’s Alcoholism on a Marriage

When alcohol abuse spirals out of control it can wreak havoc on a marriage, or any relationship. Alcoholism is, as often noted, a family disease because it impacts all aspects of family unity.

Alcoholism takes a very specific toll on a marriage. The effects of alcohol abuse on marriage may include:

  • Instability. The marriage itself becomes rocky due to the stress that alcoholism has placed on daily living. The wife of an alcoholic husband cannot count on him to follow through, to keep his word, or to even come home at night.
  • Unhealthy relating. When a husband or wife is mired in alcoholism it can cause the other spouse to assume maladaptive coping techniques. These include enabling and codependency.
  • Financial problems. If the alcoholic husband is the main breadwinner and loses his job due to alcoholism, it can cause money problems. Other financial effects include legal bills due to DUI arrest or the expense of the alcohol itself.
  • Domestic violence. Alcohol abuse in the home can result in violence. This can be devastating and often leads to physical harm, arrest of the spouse, and divorce.
  • Divorce. The effects of alcohol abuse can cause much harm in the marriage.  At some point, the wife decides it’s time to give up on the alcoholic husband and file for divorce.

How to Help an Alcoholic Husband

One of the biggest challenges the wife will face is trying to get her husband the help he needs. Why is that? Why wouldn’t a man want to get a handle on a problem that is ruining his life? There are reasons for this hesitancy. These include not wanting to appear weak, not wanting to take time off work, and not wanting others to find out. Also, he may just not be ready to give up alcohol yet.

In the meantime, there are some actions a wife can take to gently nudge her husband toward treatment. These include:

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  1. Offer support. Tell the husband that when he is ready to get help, you will be there as his emotional support. He needs to know you are there for him.
  2. Check insurance. One of his concerns might be about the cost of rehab. Call the insurer to ask about coverage.
  3. Research rehabs. Get a jumpstart on looking for treatment programs so that when he decides it is time for rehab this work is done.
  4. Hire an interventionist. If the husband is in total denial and has no intention of going to rehab, try an intervention. These meetings can help them see how the alcoholism is harming the family.
  5. Consider couples rehab. A couple’s rehab or marriage retreat places the focus on the marriage and ways to improve the relationship in recovery.

Couples Rehab for Alcoholism

Sometimes, it is exactly when a wife feels it’s time to give up on an alcoholic husband that spurs needed change. When both spouses are ready to deal with the alcoholism, a couples rehab is a good treatment option. As a couple, you will be immersed in therapy and learning new relationship skills to help support the husband’s recovery.

Spouses that tackle the substance abuse as a team are more willing to be supportive and follow through with new coping strategies. They learn how to support a sober lifestyle as a couple, and to recognize the warning signs of relapse.

A rehab program for couples uses specific therapies that are targeted to help the couple change any dysfunctional behaviors. This is especially helpful if the wife has found herself enabling or codependent.

In addition to psychotherapy, rehab involves individual therapy sessions, family group, 12-step involvement, holistic methods, and classes.

How Marriage Improves After Couples Rehab

Once you are taught healthy relationship skills during treatment, you’ll begin to put them to use in recovery. Some of the signs of a renewed marital relationship include:

  • Less anger. Now that the husband has shown his resolve to overcome his alcohol use disorder, the relationship begins to heal. The anger and resentment the wife felt before starting to subside as her husband makes a heartfelt effort to sustain sobriety.
  • Become healthier. One way to reinforce recovery is to establish healthy lifestyle habits. When the couple embraces these new healthy habits together, they both benefit.

Capo by the Sea Offers Couples Rehab for Alcoholism

Capo by the Sea offers an upscale addiction treatment setting and specializes in couple’s rehab. If you are at the point when you’re ready to give up on your alcoholic husband, give us a call at (888) 529-2114.