Alcoholism Tips for Spouses

Is drinking getting in the way of your relationship with your spouse?

There are a handful of telltale signs indicating that your partner may have crossed the line from social drinking to substance abuse.

While almost everyone knows what alcoholism is, it’s harder to discern what it looks like in our day-to-day lives – particularly if it affects someone close to us. While drinking alcohol is common and socially acceptable, there is a line that separates occasional use from addiction, and recognizing when someone we love goes over that line is essential to providing the care and treatment that will get them back on track to a healthy life.

Accepting that our spouse may have a drinking problem isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially since the idea may not even occur to us. When does drinking become too much? When is it a problem? There are a handful of telltale signs indicating that your partner may have crossed the line from social drinking to substance abuse, and if they have, it’s crucial to find drug and alcohol treatment centers that can help.

Recognizing Alcoholism

Whether you suspect your spouse may be an alcoholic, or don’t even believe that such a possibility could be real, there are indicators that can help you make that determination.

Here are just a few of the warning signs that could indicate your partner may be developing a problem with alcohol abuse:

  • Drinking as a form of relaxation: Grabbing a beer after a stressful day isn’t a bad sign in and of itself. But if it occurs frequently, or if it happens after you and your spouse have had an argument, they could be using alcohol as a method of relaxation and stress relief, which is a sign of dependency.
  • It’s a problem for your relationship but they keep drinking anyway: You and your spouse have had discussions or arguments about their drinking, but they continue to do so anyway. For example, your partner goes out for drinks with your friends and comes home drunk, even though you’ve made it clear that this upsets you.
  • They neglect responsibilities at school, work or home because of their drinking: This could include anything from failing classes and doing poorly at work to neglecting children and missing out on commitments.

If you’ve noticed that any of these have happened when your partner drinks, they may have a problem with alcoholism. Consult with Fairwinds Treatment Center about what your next steps should be.

How to show your support

What Not to Do

Alcohol abuse is a very delicate physical, psychological and emotional issue. If you suspect your spouse may have a problem, it’s important to proceed with caution rather than immediately demand that they admit themselves to any alcohol treatment centers. Even if your intentions are good, the wrong approach in dealing with this situation can inadvertently prompt your partner into drinking more and causing even further harm to themselves and your loved ones.

Here are some helpful “Don’ts” to keep in mind when broaching the subject with your spouse:


  • Argue with them while they’re intoxicated
  • Bribe, threaten, punish or preach to them
  • Drink along with them
  • Play the martyr, as these kinds of emotional appeals may increase your partner’s guilt, causing them to drink more
  • Make excuses for, or cover up, their behavior so that they can’t see the consequences of their actions.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t blame yourself for your partner’s drinking. Whatever underlying issues may be inciting their behavior, it’s ultimately their decision and not your fault.



If you are ready to discuss treatment for yourself or a loved one, the Fairwinds admissions team is here to help.

Contact Fairwinds

Why Choose Fairwinds Treatment Center

At Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, we provide a unique and effective treatment approach that combines psychological and emotional support with nutritional guidance. Our medical professionals know that every patient is fighting their own intensely personal battle. With that in mind, our treatment programs are tailored to the needs of each individual and their family. We operate a small, comfortable residential treatment center where you or your loved one can take the time necessary to truly heal.

If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, an eating disorder or mental illness, there is no time to waste. Contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today by phone or via our online form to start the journey toward treatment and recovery.

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The History of Fairwinds Treatment Center

Fairwinds Treatment Center was founded by Dr. Khal El-Yousef in 1989, and we offer a treatment model that combines the benefits of therapy with a more clinical approach to eating disorders, addiction and the underlying psychological conditions that can spur these self-destructive behaviors. We believe that addressing all of the factors that contribute to an eating disorder is the only way to facilitate a full recovery. As such, we are one of the only dually licensed psychiatric and substance abuse treatment facilities in the nation to earn accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which empowers us to address any chemical dependencies or behavioral issues that may contribute to an eating disorder.