It can very difficult when your wife drinks too much. It may affect her health as well as her relationship with you and other family members. You might feel powerless because she pushes you away when you try to help, or she has tried to quit before and not managed. The situation might look hopeless now, but recovery from alcohol use disorder is possible.
This blog post outlines ways that you can help your wife if she has a drinking problem, and includes suggestions for medical care.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
It is important to educate yourself about alcohol misuse and addiction. This can help you understand what your wife is going through.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse means drinking more than recommended. This is 14 units per week. The number of units in a drink depends on whether it is beer, wine, or spirits and how big it is. This can be confusing, and you might want to look up information on units before drinking. According to the NHS:
It is also advised to spread those 14 units over three or more days and to make sure that you have alcohol-free days every week. Having an alcohol intake of 14 units in one session is binge drinking.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
The more at-risk/hazardous use of alcohol some one shows, the more likely they are to develop dependence and addiction. Both develop gradually with drinking but may not occur together.
Dependence is when your body gets so used to the substance that your body chemistry changes. At this point, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur when you quit drinking alcohol. Addiction is when you can not control your drinking, and you continue to consume even when it causes negative consequences, such as disease.
In former times, it was very common to refer to someone with an addiction as an alcoholic. Reducing stigmatization is critical and much research has been done in recent years to elimintate shame based terminology. We understand today that addiction to alcohol is a mental health disorder and that it is better to say that someone is living with an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Another reason to avoid terms such as ‘alcoholic spouse’ or ‘alcoholic wife’ when living with a spouse that abuses alcohol, is that it reduces your partner’s identity to their problem. Therefore, when talking to your partner, try to avoid these terms.
It is important to seek professional support and guidance when dealing with at risk – hazardous alcohol use behavior. Other pre exsisting issues need to be concidered and assessed, these include mental health disorders, a family history of substance abuse, and going through trauma in childhood.
Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder
You might be unsure whether your partner’s drinking requires support. It is never too early to intervene, however it is advised to get professional support or to visit a support group such as al anon. Certain behaviors will indicate that your wife may have an alcohol use disorder, also known as a substance disorder. Look out for the following signs of dependency and addiction.
- She struggles to limit the amount she drinks.
- She tries to quit or drink less but does not manage.
- She experiences withdrawal symptoms when she stops drinking.
- She stops keeping up with her work or other responsibilities.
- She continues to drink alcohol despite negative consequences such as damage to your relationship or her body and mind.
What Can I do to Help My Wife’s Drinking?
Worrying about a loved one’s alcohol use disorder can be emotionally draining, but there are steps you can take to support your wife’s well-being and encourage her to seek treatment.
Speak Openly With Her
It is important to speak honestly with your wife about her drinking, your worries, and how it impacts you. Think about what you want to say to her. Then choose a quiet moment when you will not be interrupted. Make sure you do not blame your wife or get overly emotional when you speak with her. Focus on your concerns for her. Before speaking to her, you can also research treatment options and other things that could help.
Some people hold an intervention to speak about their loved one’s drinking problem. This could involve other friends and other members of the family. Professional interventionists can help you to plan an intervention and even run it if needed. Make sure that you are not trying to force anything on your wife. For lasting recovery to be successful, it is important that she believes that it is right for her.
Take Care of Yourself
It is vital that you take care of your own needs and your own health. You will not be able to support your wife if you are not looking after yourself. You might need to speak to a therapist about your feelings at this time. It can also be helpful to talk to a supportive loved one or make time to do activities that you enjoy.
Setting boundaries is part of self-care. Make sure that your wife understands what you will not tolerate, including emotional or physical abuse and showing no signs or willingness to change after a long time.
Work Together With Your Loved One
A good way to support your partner is by setting shared goals. For example, you may decide to cut down or quit together. This can also help because having alcohol in the house is often a trigger for people who are addicted to it. You can talk to your wife about other triggers so that you can help to minimize them. This will help her to avoid relapsing if she has quit.
If you do want to go to social functions that involve drinking, you can think of ways to manage this. For example, you can both leave early once people become drunk.
It is important not to enable your wife to drink. Making excuses for her or taking on her responsibilities when she is drunk or hungover, will not help her to recover.
Get Professional Support
If your wife is dependent on alcohol, it is recommended to get professional help. Quitting alcohol can be dangerous and even fatal due to withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing from alcohol under medical supervision is a good idea because the person can receive treatment for their symptoms.
After detox, most people will need to continue therapy and go to support groups to remain sober. You can support your partner by taking her to places where she receives help. You can also assure her that you will manage your joint home responsibilities while she is away if she decides to undergo inpatient treatment.
Treatment at Crossroads Antigua
Recovery from substance use disorder is possible with the right treatment. Your wife can go on to live a sober life with support from professionals. At Crossroads Antigua, we are committed to helping people to recover from substance use disorders.
At our residential treatment center in Antigua, we provide holistic treatment to heal the mind, body, and spirit. We use the 12-step program, a program that has worked for countless people with addiction problems. Our programs are tailored to the needs of the person, and we carry out assessments to ensure that they continue to be right for them.
Treatments that could benefit your spouse in her recovery include the following.
- Medical detox
- Individual therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and trauma therapy.
- Group therapy, including family therapy.
- Yoga, fitness, and other activities such as visits to the beach.
- Nutritional counseling
- Activities to help maintain sobriety after treatment.
Please visit our website. We look forward to hearing from you.