People say that alcoholism is a family disease. This is because the disruptions to the addict’s life always have repercussions for the people closest to them. Changes in their personality can make them more argumentative and unkind, especially when they’re inebriated. Job performance may decline to the point where they stop working entirely. They may even lose touch with their faith. All of these scenarios can be extremely challenging, especially for you as their wife.
While it may feel like everything is spiraling out of control, remember that addiction is treatable. Too many couples suffer in silence, afraid of judgment and embarrassed to admit that there’s a problem. The best thing a Christian wife dealing with her alcoholic husband can do is find solace in her community, get counseling for herself and encourage her husband to seek professional help. While the latter is easier said than done, there are steps you can take to work towards it.
Educate Yourself About Addiction
It’s easy to fall back on the understanding you’ve always had of alcoholism or recall outdated opinions about it. To get yourself in a stronger position to help your husband, you’ll need to become an expert on alcohol use disorder. Find out about the diagnostic criteria, and seek out other people’s experiences with an alcoholic husband. You’ll see patterns that repeat with the condition. This can help you stop taking his actions to heart and, instead, see them as part of his problem.
Love the Person and Resent the Disease
Remember, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15) The Lord forgives, and you can, too. Overwhelming attachments to anything other than God can make a person lose some element of their will and initiative. Addiction causes behaviors that you can learn to understand are separate from the person; otherwise, you may take his problem personally.
Learning to resent the illness and not the man allows you to be more compassionate toward your husband. You can despise and feel angry with the disease while staying strong in love. Those who are living with alcoholism are usually hypersensitive. Negative sentiments can send them further into the pain that causes them to drink in the first place. The healthiest way for you to unload your negative feelings is to confide in a trusted clergyman or a substance abuse counselor.
When someone is drunk, they are much more prone to get into an argument. Not only that; the guilt an alcoholic feels often leads them to get defensive and belligerent. While their words can hurt, getting into name-calling battles will only serve to make you both more miserable. Sadly, fights can be used as an excuse by your husband to continue his drinking patterns. When you rise above his petty behavior, you are protecting your self-esteem and avoiding the cycle of dependency.
When you’re finding it hard, meditate on these words, “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) Prayer can also help you find the answer to staying calm and positive in difficult times.
Stage an Intervention
In many cases, the way to convince an alcoholic to seek help is by staging an intervention. As his wife, you’re best placed to bring together all the people he trusts and loves. Ask them to read him a letter explaining how much they care about him and why they want him to go to Christian drug rehab. When confronted with compassion, understanding and love, he is much more likely to be responsive and make an effort.
For more advice about how to stage an intervention, or if you just need to talk about your situation, call Holdfast Recovery at 800-351-6858 today.