Living With an Alcoholic Husband

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If your partner is battling alcohol use disorder – the clinical term for alcoholism – there are steps you can take to support both you and your spouse as you navigate the challenges associated with their excessive drinking.

If you are married to an alcoholic husband, keep in mind that you are neither the root cause of their substance abuse nor the sole solution to it. Having said that, you can play a constructive role in the recovery journey while also prioritizing your well-being. So, if you are living with an alcoholic husband, read on to discover:

  • Does my husband have a drinking problem?
  • How do I help an alcoholic husband?
  • When to give up on an alcoholic husband?
  • How to handle an alcoholic husband who needs help right away.

My Husband Is an Alcoholic, What Do I Do?

Working out how to deal with an alcoholic husband can be tiring and frustrating.

If you have questions like, “Does my husband have a drinking problem” or “Is my husband an alcoholic”, start by learning as much as you can about alcohol use disorder. Learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options to gain insight into your spouse’s struggle and to help you determine whether or not his drinking problem requires professional intervention.

Reach out to support groups or therapy for yourself. Al-Anon and Alateen are organizations designed to help family members of alcoholics. Therapy can provide you with tools to cope and make more informed decisions.

Initiate open and honest communication with your spouse. Express your concerns and feelings without blame or judgment. Establish clear boundaries regarding acceptable behaviors and consequences for violations. Communicate these boundaries calmly but firmly. Avoid behaviors that enable their drinking. This includes not covering up for them, not participating in their drinking, and not making excuses for their behavior.

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Encourage your spouse to seek evidence-based treatment for their addiction. Offer support and resources to help them on their path to recovery.

Prioritize self-care to maintain your physical and emotional well-being. Exercise, meditate, and engage in enjoyable activities.

If your spouse’s drinking leads to dangerous situations or violence, prioritize your safety and consider seeking help from law enforcement or a domestic violence shelter.

In some cases, staging an intervention with the help of a professional may be necessary to motivate your spouse to seek treatment.

Depending on your situation, you may need to protect your assets or consult an attorney for legal advice, especially if alcoholism has triggered financial distress.

Remember that you can’t control your spouse’s actions, but you can control your response and seek support for yourself. Your well-being is paramount, and by taking care of yourself, you can support your spouse on their journey to recovery more effectively.

How to Communicate with an Alcoholic Husband

Communicating with an alcoholic partner about their drinking habits requires sensitivity, understanding, and preparation. The approach you take can significantly influence the outcome of the conversation. Here are some insights on how to engage in this delicate dialogue effectively.

Before initiating the conversation, it’s beneficial to educate yourself about alcohol addiction. This knowledge equips you with the insights needed to address behaviors that concern you and to recognize any misleading or dismissive tactics your partner might use. Understanding addiction can also help you articulate your concerns more effectively and empathetically.

Researching addiction treatment options available in your area is also advisable. If your husband expresses readiness to seek help, you’ll be prepared to offer information on the professional support accessible to him, demonstrating your support and the practical steps he can take toward recovery.

Choosing the right moment for this discussion is imperative. Conversations about sensitive topics like addiction are more productive when both parties are sober. Your partner is more likely to be receptive and able to engage in meaningful dialogue without the influence of alcohol.

Express the impact of his drinking on you and the family. Rather than placing blame, share your feelings and the consequences of his actions on the household. Phrases like, “Your drinking worried me last night when…” or “I felt alone when you didn’t come home,” help convey the emotional toll while emphasizing the need for a solution.

Reassuring your husband of your love and support through his journey to recovery can be incredibly comforting. Acknowledging the challenge of admitting that there’s a problem and seeking help, and assuring him of your unwavering support, can encourage him to take the necessary steps toward healing.

In conversations of this nature, avoid counterproductive behaviors – engaging with your partner while he’s intoxicated, expressing anger, or resorting to judgment can lead to defensiveness and further withdrawal. Remember, addiction is often accompanied by feelings of shame and fear. Approaching the topic with compassion rather than accusation can promote a more open and constructive dialogue.

Resist the urge to accept blame for his drinking or to adjust your behavior as a bargaining tool. Keep in mind that you are not the cause of his addiction. Similarly, avoid immediate plans for change or unrealistic expectations. Instead, allow space for reflection and encourage small, manageable steps towards recovery, like consulting with a healthcare professional.

Communicating with an alcoholic husband about his drinking and its effects is challenging but necessary for the wellbeing of both partners and the family. Through informed, compassionate, and supportive dialogue, you can help pave the way for recovery and healing.

Getting Help for an Alcoholic Spouse

Alcohol use disorder shares the complexities of any addiction, where the person affected must ultimately decide to pursue help. As someone close to them, you can play a key role in their journey toward recovery by being a source of positive influence, though. Encouraging them to explore various treatment options can be a way to support them without overstepping. 

Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse begins with the individual’s acknowledgment of their loss of control and their desire for change. If your loved one seems uncertain about how to begin their journey to sobriety, offer gentle encouragement to research safe and effective methods for stopping drinking, ensuring they are armed with accurate and helpful information.

When to Leave an Alcoholic Husband

Deciding to leave a partner struggling with alcohol use disorder is deeply personal and heart-wrenching. It’s a decision that only comes after much contemplation, emotional turmoil, and efforts to support your partner’s journey to recovery. When contemplating this difficult choice, compassion for yourself and your partner should remains uppermost.

Leave when your well-being or that of your family is consistently endangered, whether through physical harm, emotional distress, or a severely disrupted living environment. When your efforts to support recovery are met with persistent refusal, denial, or aggression, this makes a healthy relationship impossible. Leaving an alcoholic spouse also becomes a consideration if the situation severely impacts your mental health, leading to feelings of despair, isolation, or depression.

This decision does not signify giving up on your partner but rather acknowledges the need to prioritize your safety and mental health. It’s an act of self-compassion, recognizing that you cannot control the behavior or recovery of another person, only your response to it.

If you decide to leave, do so with support – reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals who can offer guidance and emotional backing. Remember, leaving is not a failure. Rather, it’s a step toward preserving your well-being and allowing space for potential change in your partner’s life from a distance.

In moments like these, compassion towards yourself and your partner involves understanding the struggle of addiction while also recognizing your limits and the necessity of maintaining your health and happiness.

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How do you live with an alcoholic husband

Get Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Your Husband at Ohio Recovery

If you need to help your alcoholic husband connect with effective addiction treatment near you, reach out to Ohio Recovery Centers.

We specialize in the intensive outpatient treatment of alcohol addiction, enabling people to remain anchored to their everyday obligations while pursuing addiction treatment around their commitments.

Over the course of several months, your husband will engage with an individualized blend of medications, talk therapies, and counseling. This will enable him to address the physical and psychological sides of addiction, and also to learn coping skills invaluable in ongoing recovery.Call 877-679-2132 today and your husband can begin his recovery journey in Cincinnati, Ohio, tomorrow.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn