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Is My Husband an Alcoholic? Your Signs and Solutions Guide


Is My Husband an Alcoholic? Your Signs and Solutions Guide

If you’re already asking yourself the question—”Is my husband an alcoholic?”—chances are, it’s not coming out of the blue. Maybe you’ve picked up on something small—the liquor cabinet is needing refills more and more frequently, or he’s been staying out drinking just a little too late a little too often. Or maybe it’s something big: he’s been acting like a completely different person, forgetting where he’s been, or he’s been missing work or family obligations.

It’s natural to worry if you believe something may be amiss. It’s also natural to want the answer to this question to be “no”—to the point where you may even be unconsciously ignoring some major red flags. But the truth is important, not just for your own peace of mind but also for the sake of your husband’s wellbeing.

So how can you tell if your husband is struggling with alcoholism?

Answering the Question, “Is My Husband an Alcoholic?”

Unfortunately, alcohol addiction isn’t always easy to spot, even for those who are close to the person struggling. Many people are so-called “high-functioning alcoholics,” able to perform well enough at work and in their social lives to seem fine while still struggling silently with their addiction. Married men, in particular, may feel pressured to be stoic and put up a brave front for their family even as their health slowly deteriorates.

While only a medical professional can accurately diagnose—and treat—a substance abuse disorder, there are certain warning signs you can look for that may indicate the need to seek professional treatment for alcohol addiction. These include:

Emotional Signs

Physical Signs

Behavioral Signs

  • Mood swings
  • Reacting defensively or overreacting
  • Paranoia
  • Acting secretive or distant
  • Lying, especially about drinking habits
  • Depressive or anxious episodes
  • Violent outbursts (verbal or physical)
  • Overconfidence, lack of inhibition
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased tolerance (needing to drink more to get drunk)
  • Clumsiness, making frequent minor mistakes
  • Decline in sexual functioning
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including stomach cramps
  • Passing out or even blacking out
  • Irresponsibility, failing to fulfill obligations or acting rashly
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or appearance
  • Frequent forgetfulness
  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Lack of self-control, inability to stop drinking once he starts

Any one of these signs alone does not necessarily indicate alcoholism, although certain signs (such as violence or drunk driving) definitely indicate a need for professional help. However, the more boxes you tick off, the more likely it is that your husband is, in fact, dependent on alcohol.

Living with an addicted spouse can be extremely difficult. You may feel helpless to stop your husband’s drinking or unsure of how to help him get well—even if he is already attempting to walk the road to recovery. But you are not helpless in this situation. In fact, as his partner, your support could play a vital role in his recovery.

If your husband becomes verbally or physically abusive, please seek help as soon as possible. Even if he is a loving, caring man outside of when he drinks, addiction is no justification for abusive behavior, nor should you have to suffer abuse in silence. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline any time at: 1-800-799-7233.

Supporting Recovery vs. Enabling Addiction

The key to helping your husband heal from alcohol addiction is to offer support without unintentionally enabling his addiction. It is all too easy to mistake one for the other, which is why we have outlined some tips below to help you distinguish between what is helpful and what may hurt your husband’s progress toward recovery:



  • Make excuses for your husband or cover for him when he drinks. This only encourages him to keep drinking.
  • Encourage progress toward replacing alcohol with healthy coping methods, like exercise or mindfulness practices.
  • Fulfill his obligations for him when he prioritizes drinking over his responsibilities.
  • Set personal boundaries. It’s good to help when help is needed, but it’s not helpful to take on all of his responsibilities as your own.
  • Prevent him from dealing with the consequences of his drinking; for many, these consequences are a wake-up call.
  • Protect yourself and your family from suffering the consequences of his drinking. Your health matters, too.
  • Avoid discussing or dealing with your husband’s drinking. Ignoring this situation won’t make it go away, and denying its existence may even exacerbate the problem.
  • Calmly discuss the issue with your husband, and be open to seeking help for yourself or other family members as well. Your husband isn’t the only one who needs to heal from this; addiction affects the entire family.

Families often play an instrumental role in supporting the recovery process. However, your support alone cannot address all of the physical and psychological challenges of withdrawal and sustained sobriety. As such, the most important thing you can do if your husband is an alcoholic is to help him find a suitable addiction treatment center in which he can begin the healing process.

Helping Your Husband Recover from Alcohol Addiction

It isn’t easy to admit your husband may be addicted. It may be even harder to help him to recognize that he has a problem—and that the best solution to that problem involves beginning recovery in a safe, alcohol-free environment with the support of specially trained clinicians who can ensure his wellbeing throughout withdrawal, therapy, and beyond.

The sooner he can begin treatment, the sooner he will begin to feel well again in his body and in his mind—and the sooner your family can begin to feel like a real family again.

New Choices Treatment Centers offers quality care for drug and alcohol addiction recovery in a comfortable, judgment-free setting. Call us at (726) 888-7003 or contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programming, including our family program.