How Can You Live with an Alcoholic Spouse?
Do You Sometimes Feel That The Person You Love, Loves Alcohol More Than You? If So, You Are Not Alone.
12 Step Programs Saved Our Marriage
From the time that my husband and I began dating, he would occasionally have too much to drink. However, like a lot of young women right out of college, I never thought his behavior was unusual. After all, he mostly over-indulged on the weekends, he had a great job, and he was reliable and considerate. There didn't seem to be any reason why I should be concerned. Most of the guys I dated in college had been regular drinkers, too.
As the years went by, however, my husband's drinking became more frequent. When he wasn't drinking, he had hangovers ... although he always insisted that it was "the flu." Often, he couldn't control how much he would drink. He would plan to just have one alcoholic beverage with friends, and instead he would not be home until midnight.
In addition, he always insisted that alcohol be available no matter where we were. If we took a long road trip, we even had a portable bar in a briefcase that we would bring along, just in case we couldn't easily obtain alcohol wherever we were going.
What is amazing is the fact that I considered all this normal. It was almost a decade into our marriage before I began to believe that his drinking had gotten out of hand. By that time, there was nothing I could do.
Fortunately for me, my husband also saw what was happening to him. Without warning, he came home from work one day and told me that we were going to attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that night. I knew nothing about it.
Alcoholics Anonymous changed my husband's life. However, by this point in time, I was angry and resentful because of his past behavior. I even resented the amount of time he spent going to AA meetings.
Eventually, I realized that I had to go to Alanon, the program for the family members and friends of people who are active or recovering alcoholics. I also read the book "The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage." (Available from Amazon, below.) This book helped me understand what was happening in my marriage and how alcohol abuse had almost destroyed the love we had once felt for each other.
I realized that I, too, had a program that could change my life, as well.
After 47 years of marriage and 37 years of sobriety, my husband and I are still married. Even after all these years, we both go to our separate meetings on a regular basis. He attends AA and I attend Alanon. I often read Al-anon books, as well as other Alanon literature, and they have helped get me started on my own journey of self-discovery and personal improvement.
However, there is more you can do to save your marriage and bring peace and serenity to your life.
More Ways to Find Peace and Serenity
I have found it was very helpful to our marriage when I began to go to Al-Anon meetings, got to know other members of Al-Anon, and read a wide variety of Alanon literature. The people you meet in Al-Anon are wonderful to turn to when you are upset or worried. You can get brochures at nearly every meeting. In addition, you will want to work the steps and work on improving your behavior and the way you react to your spouse.
Even if your alcoholic spouse continues to slide downhill (and, sadly, they sometimes do), you will at least have the emotional and psychological support you need to survive, even if your marriage does not.
If, however, your Alcoholic spouse does stay sober, you may convince them to also attend Alanon meetings. In many areas, there are meetings just for men. People who belong to both AA and Alanon are sometimes called "double winners," a humorous nod to the fact that they need help from more than just one program.
Reading Alanon literature, going to meetings and making friends with other Al-Anon members, when you can, are all good ways to keep your life together.
Do you love an alcoholic?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Deborah Carr