Drinking Alcohol making you uncomfortable?
Do you think your spouse is drinking too much? As a counsellor for alcohol awareness classes i often ask my students this very question. Confronting a spouse regarding their drinking habit is a very difficult issue. This article will help you assess the behaviour of your spouse or loved and offer ways to handle this delicate situation.
Handle with care!
From personal experience, i understand how difficult it is to bring up the issue of problematic behaviour with a loved one. Each time i was confronted by the possibility, the reality, that my drinking behaviour was so egregious that my loved one felt the need to confront me, i would lash out in anger or withdraw in silence.
From ill temper to gambling to drugs and alcohol, addictions need to be handled with extreme care.
Why are you uncomfortable?
Be advised it is possible to drink alcohol every day and still not have a problem. I counselled the wife of one of my students (a first-time dui offender) who cried because her husband drank every day. When asked how much she told me 1-2 beers before dinner, rarely anything after. Experts believe that two drinks per day for a man, and one for a woman, are considered to be acceptable. There are proponents of drinking who believe that a drink or two a day, especially red wine, is healthy.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s drinking behaviour to ask yourself the following questions: does your spouse or loved one drink most days? Every day? How much do they drink? Do they drink and drive?
If you are feeling uncomfortable with the amount of alcohol consumed by your spouse that in itself is an important enough reason for you to evaluate and flesh out the behaviour.
Evaluation is the first step
If you are feeling bothered by a possible drinking problem of someone you love, monitor their alcohol intake for a week or even a month. Before you confront your loved one, it is important that you have an idea about how much they drink.
If they are drinking every day, do they drink to the point of intoxication every time? If they drink twice a week, do they get inebriated each time? Do they have any qualms about getting behind the wheel after two or more drinks? Do they become a “different” person after drinking? Are they mean or do they get happy? Make sure you have solid foundation before confronting a loved one about their drinking behaviour.
I cannot stress highly enough that both you and your partner be sober when bringing up the issue of a drinking problem. Alcohol severely impairs rational behaviour and neither you, nor the drinker, should be intoxicated when addressing your discomfort.
Most addicts know they have a problem. Treat them with respect and compassion. Do not be surprised if, despite your compassion, your loved one becomes agitated and upset. This is very common.
If this is the first time you have brought up the issue of their drinking, it may take some time before they are ready to address the situation out in the open and may not be responsive. Do not threaten them with adverse actions like divorce. Also, don’t give up. Very few addicts stop after the first confrontation. It may take some time, but with love and support, you and your spouse can work together toward success.
In addition to programs like alcoholics anonymous, there is online alcohol classes and alcohol awareness classes that can be taken from a home that can be of help. For the spouse of an alcoholic, i would highly recommend al-anon, a support group for loved ones suffering from alcohol addiction.