My husband has recently been having severe anxiety attacks which he sought help for. He was prescribed Zoloft and was told that he shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking the drug. He was referred to attend an inpatient rehab facility. Basically his drinking never affected me except for the fact that he became more and more withdrawn. I carried on with my life, my career, and raising our three children.
Am I expected to go and find a support group and “get help” as well? Again, it wasn’t a perfect marriage but I’m a very independent person and our situation seemed like having the best of both worlds.
It is always recommended that the spouse of an alcoholic seek help for themselves as well. Of course, this is a choice that is completely up to you. One of the reasons this is recommended is for your sake so that you can process the effect his drinking has had on you. However, another reason it’s recommended is for his sake. It’s important that you know how to support him through his recovery, understand the do’s and don’ts, and recognize enabling behaviors in yourself. I’m sure that you would learn a lot in the process of seeing a counselor. There may be effects that you aren’t aware of because they seem normal and familiar to you. Honestly, it probably can’t hurt. In addition, you may need marriage counseling to repair damage done by his withdrawing.
I would recommend setting up 3 appointments with a counselor. Talk to him/her honestly like you have just shared with me. Ask for honest feedback from the counselor. Does he/she think that you are in need of further counseling? The counselor will be the best one to make that determination. You are probably too involved to be objective about your situation and I don’t have enough information to say for sure.
I’m not sure the ages of your children but you may also want to have them try counseling. Alcoholism in the home can have a huge and lasting impact on children. You may not see the fruits of this impact until they’re much older. It would be good to have them evaluated as well. Again, a counselor will be the best judge of their emotional development.
To read more about how to help an alcoholic, or how alcoholism affects families, follow the links.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.