In today’s fast-paced environment, for many people, surviving and staying afloat means working harder and working longer hours. As job insecurities abound, the added stress of long hours can easily cause feelings of anxiety to surface and grow.
While constant anxiety can be hard to live with, using alcohol to cope is a sure way to make a bad situation worse, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine. Dealing with a husband who’s caught up in drinking can be difficult, but the decision to get treatment help is his to make.
Fortunately, there are ways to help your husband stop blaming his drinking on anxiety and take steps towards getting sober.
6 Ways to Help Your Husband Start Getting Sober
1. Learn How Addiction Works
As a spouse, understanding how addiction works can help you better cope with the situation in several ways:
- Understand the addiction cycle and how it shows up in your husband’s daily behaviors
- Know the types of treatment options available
- Allows you to be a knowledgeable source of support
- Better able to make informed decisions concerning your own well-being
Discussing your concerns with your husband should be the first step towards helping him come to terms with a drinking problem. It’s important to approach this step with reasonable expectations as he has to make the decision on his own behalf.
Issues you many want to address include:
- Point out the problems drinking causes, such as poor health, strained relationships or poor work performance
- Express your feelings regarding alcohol’s effects
- Provide him with reading materials on anxiety and drinking
- Suggest anxiety treatment options
3. Suggest Recovery Options
Depending on how the discussion goes, an opportunity to suggest treatment recovery options may arise. Ideally, you want to match his willingness to get sober with the right treatment option.
If your husband still harbors considerable resistance, attending AA meetings may be a good first step. If he’s more agreeable, a detox program followed by residential treatment offers the best approach for overcoming a drinking problem.
4. Boundary Setting
If your husband’s drinking has reached a point where his behaviors threaten the safety and security of the home, it’s time to start setting boundaries. Setting boundaries means letting him know what will and will not be tolerated in terms of destructive behaviors and abusive interactions.
According to Cornell University, boundary setting works to protect you and any other family members from addiction’s harmful effects.
When setting boundaries, it’s equally important to assign consequences for intolerable actions. Keep in mind that you must be able to follow through on any stated consequences or else drinking behaviors will likely become worse as a result.
Stated consequences may take the form of:
- Notifying the authorities should he become violent
- Taking control of the finances when bills aren’t getting paid
- Taking space when drinking behaviors occur
6. Hold an Intervention
When nothing else seems to work, holding an intervention meeting can, at the very least, make your husband aware of the seriousness of the problem. An intervention meeting opens up the lines of communication between your husband and all the people who matter in his life.
In effect, an intervention meeting provides your spouse with multiple reasons to get sober, which may be hard for him to see on his own.
If you need information on alcohol treatment programs, or have questions about how to conduct an intervention, please feel free to call our helpline at 800-598-5053 to speak with one of our addiction counselors.