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How to Deal With an Alcoholic Husband

by
author image Barb Nefer
Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."
How to Deal With an Alcoholic Husband
A worried wife standing in front of her husband. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

According to the National Institutes of Health, almost 17.6 percent of American adults are problem drinkers. Their alcoholism affects them personally, and it has ripple effects if they are married. The Mayo Clinic's Edward T. Creagan, M.D., explains that wives of alcoholics often feel stress, anger and frustration. There are ways to handle these feelings in a healthy manner, whether or not your husband is getting help for his alcoholism.

Actively Drinking Husband

Step 1

Write a list of the ways in which your husband's behavior affects you and your relationship. HelpGuide.org, a self-help website, explains that many alcoholics are in denial and do not admit they have a drinking problem. The list gives you objective examples of problem behaviors rather than focusing on alcohol.

Step 2

Discuss the problem behaviors with your spouse and ask him how he plans to handle them. HelpGuide.org advises that you should choose a time when he is sober to have this discussion. Do not make accusations. State the behaviors and explain their negative effects. Ask for your husband's help in making an action plan to address them, even if he does not admit they are causing by his drinking.

Step 3

Tell your husband you will not help him cover up problems when his behaviors affect other parts of his life, HelpGuide.org recommends. For example, refuse to call his employer to report him sick if he is suffering from a hangover. Don't make excuses for him if he is late for appointments or commitments because he stops at bars or is drunk. Explain that he must handle those situations and the consequences himself.

Step 4

Incorporate stress management techniques into your life. Your attention may be focused on your alcoholic spouse and his problems; if so, step back and take some relaxation time. Get a massage, take a yoga class or just take a hot bubble bath.

Step 5

Vent your emotions to family members and friends. Don't worry about discussing your husband's problem. It is not your responsibility to hide it. You can also keep a journal or talk to a counselor if you prefer a neutral party.

Recovering Husband

Step 1

Support your husband if he acknowledges that drinking is a problem and agrees to get help. HelpGuide.org advises that treatment is necessary before all the alcohol-related issues can be resolved. For example, you can help him make time for support group meetings or drive him to counseling appointments if he lost his license for driving under the influence.

Step 2

Remove alcohol from your home and do not buy beer, wine, liquor or other alcoholic beverages for your household. This reduces temptation if your husband is going through a stressful period. If you have a party or social gathering, warn friends and family members ahead of time that it will be alcohol-free.

Step 3

Talk to a professional counselor to get assistance relating to your husband. You have most likely learned certain patterns, behaviors and conflict styles based on his personality while he was drinking. The counselor will help you learn new, healthy ways to interact with him when he is sober. You will also have a safe environment in which to vent if he slips occasionally and you get frustrated.

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