Helping an Alcoholic Spouse Stop Drinking

Living with an alcoholic spouse is a condition few people bargain for when they say I do. Equally few people ever envisage one day becoming alcoholics and yet alcoholism continues to plague many marriages.

Sometimes alcoholic partners get extremely violent and abusive towards their spouses and children; and in such cases, no matter how much you love your spouse and feel they may love you, the best thing to do for everyone is to get yourself and your children (if you have any), out of that situation.

However, if you can spot the symptoms of alcoholism early enough, there is a good chance you may be able to help your spouse overcome this problem and continue to live in a happy and fulfilled marriage. Follow this guide to aid you as you attempt to help your spouse overcome alcoholism.


  • 1

    Be Clear About the Effects of their Alcoholism on You and Others

    The unfortunate truth is that no matter how nice your spouse normally is, drunken people exhibit behavior that may be violent, abusive or just generally obnoxious. This kind of behavior can be very strenuous to live with and much more unacceptable if there are children in the home.

    Your spouse may not remember everything they do when they are drunk but you will need to let them know, gently, that their behavior is having a negative effect on their loved ones. Sometimes this might just be the wake-up call that your spouse needs, to get back to being the person that you fell in love with and married.

  • 2

    Identify the Root Cause

    Sometimes people drink just because they enjoy it, but a lot of times, alcoholics are people who drink excessively due to issues, perhaps emotional, career related, financial or even marital.

    If you are concerned that your spouse is becoming or has become an alcoholic then the first step on the path to recovery for them is to pin-point the exact situation that is leading them to alcoholism. A problem identified is a problem half solved.

  • 3

    Deal With the Problem Together

    Overcoming alcoholism can be a long and difficult process and your spouse will need your support every step of the way. Your involvement in helping them overcome their alcohol addiction will make them see how much their well-being means to you, which will further motivate them to get their act together.

    Also, your support will be needed in times when your spouse may feel like giving up. You will need to be strong enough to say no to them.

  • 4

    Improve Your Communication

    The stark truth is that after many years of marriage, instead of getting better, many couples lose their touch and connection, and their mutual communication suffers as a result. In some cases couples don’t even communicate in any meaningful way at all.

    To overcome your spouse’s alcoholic behavior, you will need to develop better communication with your partner. Be there to talk to and communicate with your spouse. When facing challenges, this will reduce their inclination to seek solace in a bottle instead.

  • 5

    Group Therapy

    Group therapy has actually proven to be effective as long as the individual has the will to overcome their addiction. There are many effective support groups for alcoholics. A simple online search would probably help you find one most convenient for you and your partner.

    Again, the emphasis is placed on your involvement, as it is not enough to make your spouse register with an alcoholics support group. You will need to show commitment on your part even if it means driving them to meetings and so forth.

  • 6

    Appreciate Their Progress

    Consider the challenge of overcoming alcoholism to be a race and you are your spouse’s number one cheerleader. They may have let you down in the past with their addiction and related behavior, but you are in this together now.

    Encourage their progress and let them know that their efforts to get better are noticed and appreciated by you. This will help provide further incentive for your spouse to overcome alcoholism.

  • 7


    Excessive drinking can be a very difficult situation to deal with in marriage. However, with early intervention and the right approach, you can help your alcoholic spouse stop drinking.

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