Having a spouse who is addicted to alcohol can be tiring and difficult, especially if a spouse has relapsed after recovering from alcoholism. This alcohol relapse can leave the alcoholic’s spouse in despair.
Often, support is only given to the alcoholic. While this is important, the alcoholic’s spouse also needs support. If you or a loved one are in this position, then you know that this can cause a feeling of hopelessness. Thankfully, there are a few steps that can be taken if an alcoholic’s spouse relapses after recovery.
A spouse of an alcoholic should take the steps necessary to learn about the condition. Alcoholism is a chronic illness that can be disabling for the victim. Research shows that a person can be genetically prone to alcoholism and such a person may spend their entire life fighting the illness. Understanding the mechanisms behind the illness is important for both the alcoholic and their spouse. The spouse will be better able to support an alcoholic through recovery.
Additionally, if alcohol relapse occurs, the spouse will have more knowledge about why the relapse happened and possible steps to take going forward. In fact, a spouse educated in the struggles of alcoholism may recognize the dangers of alcohol relapse before it happens and take steps necessary to prevent it from occurring at all.
Avoid Making Judgments
It may seem logical to blame an alcoholic for their illness. However, as mentioned, alcoholism is a chronic disease. A spouse of an alcoholic does not truly know the feelings, temptations, and struggles that their husband or wife are experiencing. It may seem simple to stop the addiction, but such judgment can actually hinder recovery. If an alcohol relapse happens, it is helpful for the spouse of the alcoholic to try to understand why it happened, rather than instantly forming blame.
Do Not Accept Defeat
Although it has been mentioned that the spouse should avoid making any judgment towards their alcoholic husband or wife, this does not mean that the spouse should lower their expectations if an alcohol relapse occurs. A spouse of an alcoholic can still hold high expectations of recovery, while being understanding and forgiving of the mistakes an alcoholic may make along the way. Support, not judgment, is the best way to encourage a re-direct towards recovery after an alcohol relapse.
There are many support groups available for alcoholics. However, there are also support groups for their spouses. These groups are available online, through message boards, or in person. Attending these meetings can be a life-saver because they will show the spouse that they are not alone in their struggles, and emotions.
Take Care of Yourself
While finding support is the first step in taking care of yourself, there are other important aspects as well. First, if you or a loved one have a spouse who relapses, ensure that the situation is safe. If harm is possible, remove yourself or your loved one from the situation as soon as possible. Also, an alcoholic’s spouse should take care to avoid spending all of their time caring for their spouse. Spending time with their hobbies can be helpful for a spouse supporting their husband or wife after a relapse.
If you or a loved one have a spouse who has relapsed after recovering from alcoholism, you are not alone. This can leave a loved one feeling hopeless. However, a relapse does not mean that an alcoholic’s spouse should give up. Find support, or encourage a loved one to get help as soon as possible to recover from this difficult situation.