Can I Save My Marriage When My Husband Is An Alcoholic?

She has already tried marriage counseling to try to save this marriage to an alcoholic. After 7 years of marriage she is moving out and says, “I still love him but know I can no longer live with an alcoholic. Is there anything I can do to get him to get help for himself and hopefully save our marriage?” When she moves out she'll be taking the first step towards saving the marriage. Let me explain.

The only healthy way to remain married to an alcoholic is to take care of yourself first. It's very much like instruction you get on an airplane to secure your own oxygen mask first before trying to help anyone else. Every situation is different and sometimes taking care of yourself does mean moving out.

Moving out works because you are protected from the day to day drama of living with an alcoholic. Anyone who has not lived in close proximity to an alcoholic cannot begin to understand the amount of chaos that is generated when alcohol abuse makes rational behavior impossible. By moving out you deprive the alcoholic of your protection. This makes it possible for him to fully experience the consequences of his drinking.

One of the most important ways to take care of yourself, even after you leave the alcoholic, is to attend Al-Anon meetings. These meetings allow people who are in close relationship to alcoholics to share their stories, learn from each other and get information about the impact of this disease on family members. Most people who attend find it extremely empowering.

Many marriage counselors and psychotherapists are not trained to treat addictions and may not be helpful to the alcoholic unless the addiction is being treated as well. Few people will seek addiction treatment until they experience the negative effects of addiction themselves. If family members are around to rescue them from these effects they have no reason to change. Therefore moving out may help your husband experienced the effects of his addiction and move him a step closer to getting the help he needs.

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