An alcoholic is someone who is addicted and dependent on alcohol. Alcohol use disorder is a disease that affects millions in the U.S. Addiction to alcohol often changes the behavior of a person, putting him at risk of financial and legal problems. It also affects one’s memory and cognitive abilities. Worst of all, alcohol can negatively affect relationships with spouses, parents, children, siblings, and friends.

Alcoholism can be grounds for divorce from your spouse. Is there a way to save your marriage with an alcoholic? Yes, there is. Alcohol use disorder is a disease and therefore, it has a treatment. With the willingness of the alcoholic, and your support as his spouse and family, the road to recovery is not an impossible dream.

What Can You Do to Help Your Spouse?

  • Have an honest and open discussion with your spouse.

When approaching an intervention, the discussion must not focus on blame or shame, but rather on your love for your spouse and on the value of your relationship. Be honest and keep the approach simple.

Your spouse may deny the problem or blame you. It may be difficult, but you must stay focused on the problem at hand. Remember, your goal is to heal and save your marriage, not end it.

It is sometimes best to have your spouse’s bag ready for a trip to the treatment center. There are times when an alcoholic changes his mind after agreeing to treatment, so it is best to take him to a treatment facility right away.

  • Get help.

Whether for your own emotional support, or to make an intervention and recovery plan, you will need the help of other people. There are groups that offer support to those struggling and suffering because of alcoholism. There are people who have gone through and survived the same thing you are going through now. They can give you insight and advice, as well as understanding and support.

  • Get your spouse into a complete detox and rehabilitation program.

Once admitted, a patient is evaluated and undergoes detoxification. You can opt for residential rehabilitation or an outpatient program. Residential rehabilitation is the best option for those who have previously failed to remain sober in an outpatient program. An outpatient program allows the patient to have more freedom and to continue doing his daily responsibilities. A professional therapist can help determine which option is best for you.

  • Support your spouse by undergoing family therapy

If you have children who suffered the effects of having an alcoholic parent, family therapy can help them and you address the damage inflicted by the loved one’s addiction. It can help heal strained relationships. Through this, you may also be able to support your spouse better in his or her road to recovery.

Living with an alcoholic spouse is not easy, but it is not hopeless. Recovery is not impossible with your support, and that of your family. However, if there is no improvement to the drinking habit of your spouse and the relationship has become abusive, seek legal help immediately. A family lawyer can help you get the things that you need to file for divorce or legal separation.

Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.