Is My Spouse an Alcoholic?

It is normal for many people to have a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail at the end of a strenuous day. The same is true at parties; people generally accept them as occasion to get drunk. Nonetheless, are you beginning to suspect that your wife or husband is an alcoholic?

But, you argue, my spouse can’t be an alcoholic because we all know alcoholics are drunks and lushes. They wear sloppy clothes, fly into rages, and pass out, right? Well, some of them might. However, there are just as many alcoholics that are high functioning, which means they aren’t going to follow the stereotype; they hold down jobs and maintain their responsibilities at home. Spotting alcohol abuse in a highly functioning alcoholic may be trickier.

If, after reading this, you become more certain that your spouse is abusing alcohol, you will need to urge them to seek help. This can be a difficult situation. Alcohol abuse is incredibly dangerous and if left untreated can severely impact your spouse’s health and potentially cause life-ending conditions such as liver damage or cirrhosis.

A part of treatment that you may not be prepared for is the detox process. In addition to the effect alcoholism is having on your relationship and your spouse’s familial, occupational, and social connections, it will have an effect on the detox process. Alcohol detox is one of the most difficult types of detoxification and it can literally kill a person if done improperly.

When you spouse is ready for treatment, you should be prepared and have done some research. can help you gather the information you need to make sure your spouse gets through detox and treatment as smoothly as possible.

Contact to find detox treatment that will meet the needs of your family.

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Levels of Drinking


Defending the need to drink in order to cope with stress is a sign of alcoholism.

One sure indicator of alcohol abuse is heavy drinking. It signals an unsuitable relationship with alcohol.

Moderate alcohol use is, as determined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, up to 1 drink a day for females and up to 2 drinks a day for males. Moderate use is generally a time to consider alcoholism, but it is not a clear indicator—according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans—moderate alcohol consumption.

On the other hand, heavy drinking is a problem. In the words of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) heavy drinking is defined as “drinking 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.”

If your spouse is a heavy drinker, you may both be in denial about the severity. If you find that you fall into the heavy drinking category, you may be experiencing denial about the seriousness of their drinking problem, and you should consider advocating for detox and treatment.

Signs Your Spouse is an Alcoholic

Heavy drinking isn’t the only sign of a problem, and you should consider other indicators of an alcohol abuse issue.

Although you cannot answer questions about your spouse’s habits as well as they can, it will help you to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Does your spouse drink alcohol as a reward and/or defend drinking to relieve stress?
  • Does a single alcoholic beverage set off a craving for your spouse?
  • Does your spouse appear to be preoccupied by the next drinking opportunity?
  • Does your spouse display personality changes and/or compromise their ethics when drunk?
  • Does your spouse repeat undesirable drinking patterns and behaviors?
  • Does your spouse continue to drink even after they have experienced negative consequences?

Answering yes to many of these questions is a good sign that your spouse needs help to control their drinking.


Fad diets and juice cleanses have popularized the term detox, and it seems to be used most often by people attempting to remove toxins from their body. Drug detox is obviously also about removing drugs and alcohol from a person’s system, but it is more complicated that drinking lemon water or using a sauna.

Most people think about “cold turkey” detox, where you simply stop using the substance. This is also the most dangerous method because you and your spouse are not addiction or medical experts and this method can be very dangerous. Detox may cause delirium tremens (DT), a condition marked by both delirium and shaking. DTs concerns 5-20 percent of alcoholics in detox and it kills 5 percent of them.

Instead, look for a program using a medical or social approach. This ensures that medical professionals or a support staff will guide your spouse through detox and keep them safe. Once the process is complete, they can begin a treatment program.

If you would like help finding a good detox program, contact Our helpline at 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) and speak to one of our experts.

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