This is the question so many women ask when they discovered they are married to an alcoholic man. It’s a painful situation, full of self blame and feeling of powerless.
I’m the husband.
I lived through this situation firsthand, when my wife watched silently for years as addiction destroyed my life. Only later did I ask her why she didn’t do more. Her response:
I thought that if I just loved you enough we could get through it.
Obviously, no single blog post can fix your marriage but the following are a few suggestions based on my experience.
1. Educate yourself. There are dozens of books and even spousal support groups available. There is so much about addiciton and living with an alcoholic that can be learned from others.
2. Seek counseling for yourself. Before your try to fix your broken husband, you need to be strong for yourself. This means dealing with the pain and shame that you are feeling. A good counselor can help you understand and navigate your own response to the situation.
3. Don’t become the nagging wife. Even done from love, constant pressure will only make the alcoholic withdrawal. When I was at my worst I needed an ally, not someone criticizing my lack of willpower.
4. Offer support and understanding. There was a time when I first told my wife about my drinking problem. She was surprised and completely unprepared because my alcohol abuse had been very secret. This was a key moment in our relationship and my recovery. I was seeking help from my most secure relationship. It didn’t work out.
5. Keep things as private as possible when seeking support. Another key point in our relationship. After I my breakdown she went to the pastor and her family for help. In doing so, I effectively became an outcast. What could have been a short term private separation became the talk of our small town. I don’t fault her for seeking help, but things became very public without my consent. Even in recovery I’m not sure how to even return to that town.
That’s all I have to offer for now. I’d love to hear your feedback, you can leave a comment below.
For more ideas about helping your husband quit drinking, check out the addiciton blog’s sample conversation for husband and wife. I also like the advice on the Love Blossoms relationship blog.
The following graphic is from the Spiritual River website.
[…] things as private as possible when seeking support,” writes Tony on How can I help my husband quit drinking? on the Daily Recovery Blog. “Another key point in our marriage. After my breakdown, my wife went […]