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How to Help a Spouse Who Has an Alcohol Problem

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If you have a spouse who won’t stop drinking, they likely are struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Dealing with a loved one’s drinking can have many adverse effects, which can harm your mental health due to your spouse’s potential abuse. 

It’s essential to take steps that help your spouse while protecting yourself. You must identify and stop enabling behaviors that allow your spouse to continue drinking. You will need to learn more about alcohol use disorder and have a calm but serious talk with your spouse. 

If all else fails, you should consider having a professional intervention that provides you with options necessary for addiction treatment.

Addiction Is A Disease That Requires Treatment

Alcohol use disorders are severe diseases that range from mild to severe. If your spouse drinks heavily and fails to stop or slow down, it may indicate that they are struggling with this condition. The partner of someone struggling with this is in a tough position because they often are suffering too. The difference, however, is they do not escape reality and drink, so they are facing these problems alone and without chemical help.

If you find yourself in this position, you must not blame yourself and continue to enable your spouse. You must have a calm discussion about the problem and point out how your spouse is hurting you, themselves, and your lives as a couple. They must learn more about alcohol use disorders and come up with options to manage their drinking. If they still don’t make changes, you must consider an intervention. If that does not work, you must remove yourself from the situation entirely. 

Toxic Relationships In Recovery

The Consequences of Living With A Spouse Who Drinks

If you are living with a spouse who won’t stop drinking, there can be severe effects. Spouses of alcohol users are at a significant risk of domestic abuse or verbal and emotional abuse. As a spouse, you are at a much higher risk of developing health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts. It can be a toxic environment for all involved.

If your spouse consumes excessive amounts of alcohol, it may also mean that you will avoid friends, become socially withdrawn because of embarrassment. You may even notice your health deteriorating as you spend more time catering to your spouse. In the long-term, if you live with someone who will not manage their drinking, it will lead to harm to your family or children, divorce, financial problems, and the inevitable break up of your family.

Finding Help

As we’ve discussed above, you may deal with severe repercussions if you do not help your spouse get their drinking under control. To do this, you must seek professional help and plan an intervention. If your spouse does not agree to this, you have to make a bottom line that you follow. Once someone reaches a rock bottom, they will be more inclined to get the treatment they need. Alcohol treatment is vital due to the potential dangers of withdrawal. If you don’t know where to turn, contact a professional today to discuss your options.


CDC – Alcohol and Public Health Home Page – Alcohol. (2017, August 10). from

Alcohol, Violence, and Aggression – Alcohol Alert No. 38-1997. (n.d.). from

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). (2020, January 16). from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). What is drug addiction treatment? from

Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction. (2017, July 20). from

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