Help For My Husband
Finding help for your husband
Your husband’s dogged determination to maintain a ‘high’ or state of inebriation comes before everybody and everything. Clouded judgment has wrecked his list of priorities.
Addiction puts a unique strain on a marriage. In essence, you are forced to watch as your husband self-destructs before your very eyes making you feel trapped and impotent. A marriage of two equals has become unbalanced and you find yourself in the exhausting predicament of picking up the slack from a domestic, social, familial and financial perspective.
You should be able to lean on your husband for comfort and support but when he is an addict those fundamental requirements fall by the wayside. You feel your husband is drinking too much and are unsure what to do.
There is a very fine line between helping and enabling, one your husband’s addiction will have no qualms taking advantage of. Helping your husband means taking immediate action to prevent his dependency on his substance of choice. Almost every other form of ‘help’ is actually enabling.
If you give him money, lie to family and friends on his behalf, make excuses for irrational behaviour, phone his work and deceive his boss for yet another absence, show understanding and even appeasement for his litany of broken promises, help him rationalise the addiction, clear up after him, put him to bed after a rough night and even run his errands all permit and sanction his addiction.
My husband’s drinking is pushing everyone away
In the chaos of your husband’s addiction, your life is effectively on hold. Due to the erratic nature of the disease, you are unable to commit to plans with friends and family. You have stopped inviting friends to your house, as you are fearful your husband will make a scene. All of this intensifies a sense of loneliness and isolation.
You may even wish to start a family but how on earth can your husband be responsible for a baby when he can’t even look after himself? The disease of addiction centres everything on the addict, which is why words like ‘selfish’, and ‘self-centered’ are almost always exchanged during heated discourse.
Adding to your misery is his inability to hear your appeals “If you really love me you’d stop drinking (drug taking etc) because it’s destroying us.” Despite the heartfelt sincerity of the plea, it will be unsuccessful because once the dependency takes hold the opiate or drink of choice snowballs. This means your husband will fail to register loved ones emotional distress. It is important to remember the disease of addiction is not your husband. The man you married is still there buried beneath the burden of cravings.
How do I set boundaries
Setting boundaries is also a sensible idea. You have inadvertently become an addiction accomplice but by taking a stand you can break away. No longer being a partner to the disease makes it harder and lonelier for your husband to continue down this destructive path. Find out how to help a loved one in addiction.
Change first and foremost must come from your husband. If it does not any attempt at rehabilitation will be as futile as trying to soak up an ocean with a sponge. If he doesn’t want to help himself then all your effort and support will be for nothing.
The more you can immerse yourself in knowledge about addiction the better your understanding will be of your husbands struggle. If your husband suffered from diabetes you’d learn the Do’s and Don’ts of the disease in the hope of living a normal life. Break the stigma of addiction by debunking the myths and clichés proliferated in the media.
There is a lot of literature ranging from medical journals to personal experiences and recovering-addict diaries. Thankfully there is a vast array of rehabilitation services offering emotional support (for you and your husband) and counselling for a future where your husband’s addiction remains in the past.