When a loved one has an addiction to alcohol everyone in the family suffers, especially the spouse of the alcoholic. The spouse of an alcoholic can feel isolated and suffer silently while they watch their marriage fall apart. Many spouses keep the situation a secret by making up excuses, and covering up for the actions of the alcoholic due to embarrassment or shame. It can be a very traumatic and desperate situation that can leave the spouse desperate and alone. There is help for spouses of alcoholics that is widely available. Now, spouses can get the support they need from others in the same situation, a group who can relate and empathize with the problems alcoholism causes in a marriage.
In a marriage spouses should be a priority for one another and the most important thing to the other person. Spouses usually depend upon each other for their needs to be met emotionally. This is not the case when married to an alcoholic. In an alcoholic’s marriage, the spouse has been replaced by alcohol. An alcoholic’s spouse can’t depend on them as long as alcohol is involved because an alcoholic will always choose their drink above everything else. It weakens the bonds of the partnership resulting in the loss of trust and building resentment. It is hard to understand exactly what the spouse of an alcoholic has to deal with unless you are in the situation.
The spouse of an alcoholic has many options for getting help. The most popular are support group meetings which are specifically for spouses of alcoholics. These meetings are an open forum to tell stories about personal hardships and experiences and share with people who have similar stories. Here is peer group that can relate and provide a support system for each other. Just knowing that there are people in similar situations, who have experienced the same pain and frustrations, helps the bonding experience between the members of the group. Veteran members of the group can be a really valuable asset when it comes to providing advice for new members. The group meetings can be helpful when the spouse of an alcoholic feels desperate and isolated because it fosters camaraderie and support through the expression of emotions and by providing support reciprocally.
The peer counseling groups also offer advice and assistance in acquiring help for the alcoholic. They can provide information on treatment programs and systems, guiding the distraught spouse on the best ways to seek treatment for their loved one.
Counseling with a licensed counselor or psychologist can also be of tremendous help to the spouses of alcoholics. Counselors can help explain the complexities of alcoholism and help spouses understand the fundamental aspects of why the alcoholic acts the way they do. This can provide a basic understanding of alcoholism for the spouse so they can stop placing any blame on themselves for their marital problems. Counselors and psychologists can play a vital role in providing help for spouses of alcoholics.