Lifestyle

My husband's alcoholism is slowly killing our marriage, please help!

My husband's alcoholism is slowly killing our marriage, please help!
  • In relationships where one spouse is an addict, the best chance for the relationship finding help is when the sober partner becomes the voice of hope, reason and support.
  • I pray that you will move with wisdom as you try your best to bring good and supportive people around him. Encourage him to get help.

Dear Kitoto,

My husband lost his job due to drunkenness. Since then, our marriage has been very unhappy. He calls me all sorts of names and claims that I don’t value him. Instead of finding another job so that he can fend for his family, he has turned to drinking alcohol late into the night.

He has become cruel to the extent that I fear accompanying him anywhere lest he starts insulting me in public. We used to go to church together but he has quit church. In fact, he blames God for his misfortunes. I have noticed that he has become short-tempered. Sometimes I fear for the safety of myself and our child.

My parents feel I should move in with them together with my child as we try to work out our marriage. However, I am hesitant to leave because I took a vow to keep our marriage going. Separation or divorce is not an option for me. Recently, my husband started making demands for a second baby.

Things are already tight given that he still hasn’t secured a job. I am at a loss on what to do. Please advise.

Hi,

I am sorry that things have got that far with your husband. It is not clear to me what started him on this habit of taking alcohol and staying away from home till late.

Whatever the causes, it appears like the alcohol not only caused him to lose his job, but also his church friends.

The loss of a job must have led to further drinking of alcohol, emotional abuse meted out on you and the late arrivals home.

Joblessness could easily lead to a season of anxiety and the possibility of anger that may quickly slide into wrong company.

This cycle may lead to further use of alcohol to drown his sorrows. With time, he has come to a place where it seems he cannot do without alcohol.

Alcohol has now become his place of refuge. With the love of alcohol, one could easily be drawn to abuse or even promiscuous behaviour.

For some, this may show itself through the love of pornography and cybersex. Without a job, the feeling could make him feel like he is a failure.

As a result, his actions could be a show of wanting to take control through manipulation.

SEARCH FOR CONSOLATION

This is the web where many find themselves causing their families great pain. This could be the reason your parents do not want to see you continue to suffer.

Your man has become a captive of alcoholism, resulting in outbursts of anger and the deflection of blame to you or even God for all he is facing.

At times he will feel bitter and betrayed by the world around and drown himself more in drinking alcohol. The best thing is to remain a friend.

In relationships where one spouse is an addict, the best chance for the relationship finding help is when the sober partner becomes the voice of hope, reason and support.

This is hard particularly where the habit goes on for a long time. To make things hard, you have to look for ways to address his desire for a second baby.

For him, he might see another baby as a consolation or a win in such moments of uncertainty.

I pray that you remain focused and find the grace to remain the voice of hope to yourself and to a man who needs help.

I do agree with your perspective on divorce. I pray that you will move with wisdom as you try your best to bring good and supportive people around him.

Encourage him to get help. What you need to watch out against is any form of violence or physical abuse.

FINDING COMFORT

I sense a level of heightened frustration and pain that has built up over the years.

I believe that as you create a conducive environment at home, it will help you remain positive. Change will not come through blame and accusations.

Many are being wasted by alcohol, thereby making very little contribution to their families.

Here are some practical ways of helping both of you walk a road towards healing: 1) Be sure that he sees and knows that, regardless of what both of you face, you love and honour him.

Remember, your level of wellness is key to the focus you will have. Don’t carry anger and revenge.

2) Make home the best place he would want to come back to. Be uncompromising, firm and yet caring. Avoid being erratic in your temperament by being consistent in serving him.

3) Grow a tough skin to those who are talking negatively about him and your family. He is a man in need of help. As much as he is looking wasted, the home gives him assurance.

4) Demonstrate the kind of life God would want to see from you. Be clear on the sort of behaviours or actions that you will not tolerate.

5) Be consistent in praying for him and yourself. Have good people surround you in prayer, including your close friends from church.

Have faith that a day is coming when all this will be behind you. Knowing what drives people to become alcoholic will help you give him support.

COUNSELLING

In a previous article, I have written about researchers working to pinpoint how genes could increase a person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic.

Because alcohol could alter the balance of chemicals in the brain, the body could end up craving alcohol to restore pleasurable feelings and avoid negative feelings.

Because of the job loss, alcohol could be a great hiding place. People feeling low about themselves can slide further into addictions of various kinds if support is absent.

It is most likely that your husband’s alcoholism is driven by his desire to forget the problems he is facing.

Getting professional help could be the next level if things don’t improve. This will help unearth and bring understanding to the background of this drinking problem.

Getting out of such a trap and cycle requires breaking out of such habit and building new habits instead.

Depending on what drove him to start drinking alcohol, you will be able to determine whether, with the help of your counsellor, he is sliding into addiction.

Remember, his drinking problem did not start after he lost the job.

WIN HIS FRIENDSHIP

Since you are the only person in the whole world who understands him better, your perspective on what caused the initial slide into using alcohol is vital.

As much as he may appear militant, your constant assurances may be the best avenues to get him out of the problem.

As I mentioned earlier, your inner healing is key to getting rid of blame that will do nothing but drive your husband away.

If allowed, this could work negatively for you and the child. What works for one may not work for another.

However, consistency in doing good from an unselfish heart will deposit little seeds that will one day germinate and bring forth the desired change of behaviour or an acknowledgment that they need help.

The worst thing you can do is to force him to change. The best way is to win his friendship. He says that you look down on him.

Could this be more so in words and actions that are the result of your inner pain? Therefore, there is a need to make your husband feel he is important and needed.

He may have faults but with your support, the future can be bright. Love and acceptance given in wisdom could help bridge the gap.