If your husband is an alcoholic, than you’re suffering from alcoholism as well.
That’s because alcoholism is a “family disease”. To cope with your spouse’s alcoholism, you’ll develop defense mechanisms that get in the way of your own happiness. You might feel despair, hopelessness, even fear – despite being stone cold sober. The truth is that if your spouse is struggling with alcoholism, you become “sick” as well, and you need recovery.
There’s no “one size fits all” advice for dealing with an alcoholic husband. Every situation is different, but you really only have 3 options:
At a certain point, you have to look out for your own well-being, and the well-being of your children – especially the well-being of your children.
Most people don’t see leaving as an option. Obviously you shouldn’t consider leaving the second you realize “my husband is an alcoholic”, but at some point it becomes the only right choice. You may not be at this stage yet, but do know that this is an option that you may one day have to take in order to protect yourself and your children.
If your husband is getting physical or violent, even if he hasn’t hit you or the kids (yet), then its time to leave. Perhaps its just temporary, or perhaps you should be hitting the road and never looking back, but you definitely need to remove yourself and your kids from the threat of physical harm.
2. Stay and Do Nothing
Unfortunately, many with alcoholic spouses choose this option.
Unfortunately, suffering in silence and hoping for the problem to go away won’t lead anywhere, except maybe towards misery and depression.
3. Educate Yourself & Get Support
If you’re living with an alcoholic, you probably already realize that confronting an alcoholic rarely results in immediate change, or even an acknowledgement of the problem.
If you’re not ready to leave, and your husband won’t come to terms with his addiction, you can either do nothing and wait for his alcoholism to ruin your family, or you can educate yourself and reach out to others for support.
Remember what I said earlier about alcoholism being a family disease? If you’re dealing with an alcoholic husband, you need to seek out recovery. You can do this by going to an Al-Anon meeting.
At Al-Anon, you’ll find others who have friends or family afflicted by addiction. Al-anon follows the same steps as AA, showing family members how to change their thinking. You’ll learn to “mind your own business” and separate your own life and happiness from being dependent on his sobriety. You’ll learn to take inventory and come to terms with the past and develop a relationships with a higher power. You’ll find support and develop new tools and insight to better deal with your husband’s disease. And perhaps you’ll gradually move your spouse closer to surrender and treatment.
However, do know that this can be a very slow process that can take years. There may be a point in this process where you simply need to leave to preserve your sanity, no matter how much you want to stay and support your husband.
Whatever you choose to do, one thing is for sure – do not live in denial and expect the problem to resolve itself while you do nothing. Go to an Al-anon meeting and get the support you need. You’ll learn that you can be happy, whether your alcoholic husband is sober or not.