Can you breathe a sigh of relief now that your husband is no longer a devotee of alcohol?
Yes, yes, it is indeed marvelous to see your better half choosing water or juice over whiskey, gin, wine, or any beverage whenever you go out. You may also feel delighted by the fact that your man comes home without a stench of liquor wafting around him. Plus, you don’t need to sort the glass bottles he emptied and left on the floor as his drunken days are OVER.
However, the real question is: how confident are you that he’s not going to relapse?
You may look for various sources of information online, but most studies reveal that beating alcoholism once does not make anyone – not even your husband –immune to the addiction. While the probability of ending sobriety decreases as years pass by, time cannot guarantee that he won’t revert to his alcoholic ways. The sudden news of unemployment or mid-life crisis may strike your spouse, for instance, and that may enable him to fall back into his old steps.
“The term “alcoholic” places the problem within the person, not within the nature of the drug.” –Sara Nash, PhD, LMHC
Instead of getting worried sick due to this disclosure, though, you need to practice constant vigilance to notice the following signs of relapse.
- Your Beloved’s Brain Is All Over The Place
Alcohol addiction is not too different from being in love, in the sense that your husband may only think of his subject of affection. Whereas the latter makes him dream of a special someone, though, the former allows him to fantasize about his favorite liquor and perhaps chugging its bottle until the last drop. Because of that, you cannot expect his thoughts to be present even when he is sitting across from you.
Given the reality that spacing out is not the only relapse indication, your significant other may try to redirect your suspicions. The man may tell you that it’s the exhaustion doing that to him or that he has too many things to ponder about in the office. Nevertheless, once you confirm that he barely does anything at his workplace, then you ought to accept the possibility that his addiction may be on the rise again.
- It Does Not Take Much For Your Spouse To Snap In Anger
The deal with relapsing addicts is that they often contemplate whether they should return to their bad habits or not. These folks are highly aware of the consequences of what they’re itching to do – no doubt regarding that. At the same time, however, the need for their substance of liking must also be getting stronger. As explained by Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I, “Addiction develops over time, as a person continues to use a substance and grows more dependent on it.”
With that idea in mind, you should take note of any extreme change in your husband’s mood. If his usually calm demeanor often dissolves when something does not go his way, that may be an indicator of impending relapse. If he yells at your kids for wanting to play with him, it can be another sign too.
- He Finds Ways To Avoid Treatment Or, Worse, You
Last but not the least, your husband will try to relinquish his connection to people or things that help him get better if he is on the verge of relapsing.
At first, he may only skip treatment, saying that he has extra work to do. Other times, your spouse may claim that he feels okay enough to stop the therapy. Considering the excuses do not affect you anymore, he may then go out to shake you off and hide the truth that his love for drinking is coming back.
As the spouse of a former alcoholic, you have no choice but to take on the role of your husband’s minder. “There is a fine line which makes distinguishing alcohol abuse from alcoholism.” Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD explains. Make sure that he gets to manage his stressors well and that they do not cause anxiety or depression to grow in him. Know the typical characteristics of your better half; don’t be afraid to inquire if something seems amiss. Otherwise, you may have already noticed the signs of relapse in its early stages, and yet you ended up ignoring them and letting the addiction rule since you didn’t have any clue of what they may be.
Hopefully, the indications above will encourage you to learn more about alcohol relapse and save your better half from going through that. Good luck!