An alcohol use disorder creates a lot of relationship challenges for a married couple. It can feel like a daily struggle for a spouse to cope with the effects of their wife’s drinking. Finding healthy ways to respond to these new challenges and sustaining your efforts to support her become priorities.
Fortunately, there are recommended strategies you can learn to help her and valuable resources that can provide the proper care and treatment for an alcoholic wife. Today, we’ll introduce a few of them to guide you onto the path of finding recovery help.
Discovering your wife is an alcoholic can be a stressful experience for any spouse. What choices you make next will be pivotal. Keep in mind, it’s most helpful to be supportive and show unconditional love. You will want to set boundaries as necessary so you’re not enabling your wife’s continued drinking.
Guiding her towards treatment can begin by learning what treatment options are available. Women with a co-occurring mental health disorder will benefit from dual diagnosis treatment.
My Wife is An Alcoholic, Now What?
You may see the signs of an alcohol use disorder a short time into a marriage or years after being together. No matter when you first observe it, one of the early steps you can take is to educate yourself on addiction. Finding resources to learn about how addiction affects a person and changes the brain is important.
You may need to make some changes to the relationship as a part of the help you provide. Those changes could involve setting boundaries with your loved one. By explaining the consequences of their drinking, you’re communicating expectations. Once you communicate them, it’s very important to follow through on the consequences.
One boundary may be to establish the home as somewhere no drinking with others takes place. A consequence of drinking there may be letting her drinking friends know they’re no longer welcome to visit if drinking is involved.
Addiction Recovery Options for Women
One main goal of your communication with your wife about her drinking should always be encouraging her to start treatment. One way to do this is to explore what kind of treatment is available for her in your area. The more you know, the better you can guide her towards the help she needs.
Residential treatment is one option for her. As alcohol withdrawal at home can be dangerous, finding a source for a medical detox is recommended. It may be offered as a first step at a treatment facility specializing in alcohol use disorder treatment.
Addiction recovery options for women go beyond the dependence on alcohol, too. Programs offering diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders can be valuable resources. Factors like depression, anxiety, or unresolved trauma may be contributing to your wife’s alcoholism. Treating a dual diagnosis at the same time can increase the chances for her recovery.
Dos and Don’ts during Addiction Support & Recovery
Care and support during your wife’s recovery will be essential, and you can learn ways to improve the quality of support over time. At the beginning, it may feel uncomfortable to speak openly and directly about your wife’s addiction to her.
But, a few tips on what to do and what not to do can get you started in the right way.
- Do keep the tone of conversation kind and respectful and be encouraging about a future in recovery.
- Do listen carefully to what your wife says about her addiction experiences.
- Do remain predictable in your behavior as an example of what she should be working towards.
- Do show her unconditional love and support, especially in difficult moments.
- Do set boundaries and enforce consequences whenever necessary.
- Don’t make excuses for their behavior related to drinking.
- Don’t attempt to humiliate them publicly as a punishment for their drinking.
- Don’t enable their drinking or other self-destructive behavior.
- Don’t solely focus on her addiction and lose balance in self-care.
- Don’t act like the decision maker for treatment choices and take away opportunities for her to be an advocate for her own care.
Couples Therapy Options
It’s helpful to know that you have resources as a couple during the recovery process. It’s not enough to help your alcoholic wife get clean and sober. You also want to devote time to repairing the damage to the relationship that her drinking has caused.
Couples therapy can be an excellent way to discuss the impact of drinking on the relationship in a safe space. One therapy goal may be to practice openly and honestly communicating their thoughts and feelings. Another may be learning the tools to handle conflicts without criticizing or blaming a spouse.
Working towards feeling emotionally safe with each other will take time. Set expectations realistically about how many visits you may need with a couples therapist. You may benefit from individual sessions in addition to joint sessions with your wife.
Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
For information on our programs, call us today: 561.841.1272.