My wife drinks too much. How can I help her stop?
If you think your wife is drinking too much, there are several things you can do to help her.
Tell her you are worried, if you haven’t done so already, but make sure you do it when she has not been drinking. Approaching the subject of excessive drinking with someone who is drunk generally leads to arguments and denial. If you can choose the right time and place and tell her how you care and that her drinking is causing you concern, you are more likely to get her attention and her acceptance of what you are saying.
Try not to accuse her or seek to blame her. When you raise the subject, think about the things you say. Being supportive and understanding rather than aggressive and angry will achieve a more positive outcome to the conversations.
Think about her pattern of drinking. Is she drinking after a day at work or maybe a day at home with the children? Why do you think she is drinking more and more? Has anything happened in her life or your marriage that is leading her to use drink as an emotional outlet?
Educate yourself. If you find out about alcoholism, the possible causes, the effects it has on your health and ways in which it can be overcome, you will be arming yourself with the necessary information and tools to guide her in the right direction towards recovery.
Help her to cut down. If she is drinking with you, perhaps you could drink less, or find other things to do at times when she is most likely to drink to excess. Suggest that maybe you could start a new activity together and choose things that don’t involve alcohol. Try and replace the times when she is drinking with other things to do.
Do not enable her drinking. If you find you are lying or making excuses for her, even though it might sound uncaring, you need to stop facilitating her drinking. If she is late for work because she is hung over or lets people down, do not keep covering up for her. She is more likely to sit up and pay attention to what she is doing if she is not covertly getting away with it.
Encourage her to get help. If your wife’s drinking has gone beyond her control, she will need professional help to overcome her addiction. There are different types of rehabilitation treatment programmes which she could access, but the type of programme that will work for her, will depend on the level of her addiction. The important thing is that she seeks help and knows that she has your support and understanding to help her through.
Look after yourself and any children you have. Living with an alcoholic becomes the whole family’s problem. You will need to take responsibility for your own wellbeing and the safety of the children, while your wife is drinking to excess. If the situation causes you to suffer emotionally, you will not be in the right place to help her.
To find out more about different rehabilitation options, speak with one of our expert advisors who will listen to your story and advise you on the best course of action.