Is There Help For My Functioning Alcoholic Spouse?
Watching a loved one struggle with their drinking can be one of the hardest things you do. Being a spouse to a high functioning alcoholic or a drug addict is exhausting physically, emotionally, and mentally. No matter the substance, it is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Sadly, there isn’t much you are capable of doing to help them, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to help them. You can educate yourself and your family on alcoholism, you can maintain your health and wellbeing, and offer support to your spouse without enabling their habits. Education, awareness, and taking action are the best ways for you to help your spouse that is struggling with alcoholism.
Can I Help My Functioning Alcoholic Spouse?
Helping your spouse starts by educating yourself. Learning the signs and symptoms of alcoholism helps you become aware of what’s going on if you’re unsure if they are drinking. It can often blindside you if you have no experience or knowledge of what alcoholism looks like. Educating yourself on the facts about alcoholism is the first part of understanding what your spouse is going through. There are different ways to educate yourself on such topics. There are many different websites, support groups, and literature on dealing with an alcoholic spouse. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a chapter called “To the Wives,” entirely dedicated to the families living with alcoholics.
Alcoholism doesn’t only affect the one drinking, but it affects the entire family. Addiction and alcoholism are family diseases. Having a spouse that is struggling takes a toll on you, and it is common to lose yourself in your spouse’s alcoholism. Alcoholism changes relationships. One moment it’s a loving, healthy relationship, and from right under your nose, it can become the exact opposite.
Self-Care Is Important When Your Spouse is a Functioning Alcoholic
Dealing with an alcoholic spouse, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Instead of thinking about ourselves and our needs. We continuously think about our spouses; if they’re drunk right now, if they’re safe, are they driving a car? The list of worries goes on and on. Even if your alcoholic spouse is “functioning,” we can’t help but worry. If you are not healthy and taking care of yourself, how can you expect to help your spouse?
Self-care can start at any time. Two of the most popular programs to help loved ones of an addict or alcohol is to attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon support groups. Such groups offer you the support from people who have been through what you’re facing, and they can help you care for yourself. Having the experience and advice from others can help you. These groups give you support from people who have been in your position before.
How to Support, but not Enable Your Functioning Alcoholic Spouse
There is a fine line between helping a loved one and enabling them to death. To not enable their habits, you must set boundaries, which for many people, can be difficult at first. Sometimes seeking outside help such as therapy, counseling, or support groups will give you the strength to hold fast in your boundaries. It is common to feel like the lines between enable, and support can be blurry and what would be beneficial to them throughout this process.
Boundaries are set in place for yourself, not for your spouse, who is struggling. Without sacrificing yourself, you are fully capable of setting boundaries for your spouse. Once the boundaries are in place, it is up to them to adhere to the boundaries, and you to stay true to your boundary. Over time, setting boundaries for your alcoholic spouse becomes more comfortable for you and will only benefit them no matter how angry or upset they become. They will be thanking you later on down the road.
How can I get Help for my Functioning Alcoholic Spouse?
At GH Recovery Solutions, we can help you determine what care would be best for your functioning alcoholic spouse. Although you can’t force your spouse into treatment, we can also help you to set up an intervention to help push your loved one towards treatment. Call us today at 888-345-3638