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Dealing with an alcoholic husband sure ain’t the easiest thing do every day or a brother, parent, friend or neighbor.  If you’re clean and sober, it can be a living nightmare. There are roughly 18 million people [adults] in this world currently suffering from some form of alcohol abuse.

Truth be told, more people than that binge drink on the regular. Alcoholic behavior such as this is risky because binge-drinking may lead to a much bigger problem. I’m not surprised but studies show men are likely to drink way more than women.

Men are also top candidates for DUI arrests, suicides, and aggressive behaviors. With this in mind, it’s safe to say we may all know someone who drinks way too much and too often. But what to do with an alcoholic boyfriend, brother or friend when they won’t admit to needing help?  

What do you do when dealing with an alcoholic husband is embarrassing? They are truly some aggravating people to be around. Goodness, do your alcoholic repeat themselves and the same old song?  Lawd, Geezus how many times must we hear the same pitiful old blues song? [sigh] 

How do you handle this kind of situation as a married couple? It’s one thing when they can go home, but how do you even begin to help a family member when you know they are just two steps away from killing themselves?  Keep reading, okay?  We’ll discuss it. 

Being in a Relationship with an Alcoholic

My friend’s alcoholic husband can refrain from drinking hard liquor because he knows it is bad for him. In this case, you’d think he’d just decide to quit drinking beer the same way, however, it’s harder than anyone may think.

You can spot someone who drinks too much too often. How? You notice their mood swings, the lies, and Lawd, why does their breath stink like alcohol? Please, do something about that! That aroma coming out of your mouth smells really bad.  

It’s not attractive, okay? I’m just being honest.  In fact, it smells like it’s coming out of the body. No one wants to be around that. So, before you get mad at the wife ’cause she doesn’t want to touch you, don’t be.  Check yourself!  It’s not her… it’s you.  [kml] How much did you drink?

Seriously though, when you realize who you’re dealing with, it’s too late. They already have a drinking problem. The process happens over time, however, by the time most of us see it, things have gotten out of hand. Alcoholics are good at hiding their behavior. 

Signs of an Alcoholic

Just so you know, women should not consume no more than one beverage a day. Men can have up to two drinks a day. That means only two 12 ounce beers, men, and a [one] glass of wine for the ladies. You’ll know if you’re dealing with an alcoholic the more you agree with these signs – 

  • An alcoholic will take a drink upon waking 
  • They don’t eat much – they drink more than they eat
  • Alcoholics sometimes have poor hygiene
  • May fall a lot or injure themselves often
  • They don’t show up for appointments/engagements
  • Always late coming home or getting to work

You argue, you fuss and fight ’till the cows come home. And somewhere between the exclamation points, squiggly lines and BOOMS comes an admission. It all makes sense now.

You understand where the extra money had gone, why the secrets, why he didn’t answer the phone and the rest of the funny behavior. You get it. It wasn’t another woman after all. Yep, you’re living with an alcoholic, my friend.

Dealing With an Alcoholic Husband - Strong black man by a fence with arms folded
Dealing With an Alcoholic Husband Every Day Ain’t Easy But When You Love Them, You Go Through It.

You’re wondering what to do now ’cause you love the man and when he wasn’t drinking, he was a decent guy. Since you do still care, you want to help him out of this situation. After all, you’re married and he’s hurting. He’s fallen and he can’t get back up by himself.  He needs you now.

Maybe you two have kids together, maybe because the relationship was once golden, whatever the reason, you want to help him get it together. Good for you as he’ll need support from loved ones. The road is not going to be a smooth one.  Expect a setback or two, but don’t give up. 

But it’s in this moment, you realize you don’t know what to say to an alcoholic. It’s like that sometimes… we don’t have the words to make it better but don’t worry. Let your words come from the heart and give your husband the assurance everything is going to be okay.

Can an Alcoholic Love Someone?

Loving an alcoholic obviously means you’re going to have some serious issues. Alcoholics never want to go anywhere a drink is not welcome. This disease can turn a good parent into one who is never available. It can turn a valued employee into a deadbeat.

Alcoholism takes everything positive away from you, sometimes, your future. In the long run, it will affect your health. Alcohol poisoning is a serious matter. Over 100,000 people die from alcohol-related incidents and diseases each year.

Countless numbers of my friends have died from the effects of alcohol and drugs. These people were still young, not even 60 yet and it’s sad, they won’t even make it.  On that note, if you made it past 16 and you haven’t experimented with alcohol, you still had a chance.

Dealing with an alcoholic husband? I don’t know anything about marriage personally, however, I have lived with someone who had addictions. So, yes, I know well what it’s like to live with an alcoholic and to fear the weekends. Although, most feel remorseful.

Helping this person may take more than just love and the process may need repeating. With this in mind, it’s safe to say an alcoholic can love other people. Loving themselves becomes harder and it’s difficult to see, but they love you.  Sobriety may take professional’s advice and treatment.

Remember, someone is at risk when they have more than seven alcoholic beverages in a week. This number is also downgraded for women as they become suspect after three or more.  If they drink more than double this amount, you may be dealing with an alcoholic husband or wife.

How to Help an Alcoholic

Dealing with an alcoholic husband may call for drastic measures. Some people have had progress with intervention, a counseling strategy that uses motivational enhancement therapy.  Its intent is to change the way a person behaves so that cravings are low or totally absent.

However, just getting the person to take a raw look in the mirror will spook some people enough that they will want to make a change. Here a couple of ways that they can get treatment

  • The 12 Step program is still alive and well
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a wonderful program
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a way that patients are able to see themselves in the eyes of others with role play.
  • Addicts are given medicines to dull the cravings for alcohol

Living With an Alcoholic Boyfriend? Remember This – 

You’re not to blame

There are going to be people who don’t get why you’re dealing with an alcoholic husband or why you’re willing to help. The people who don’t understand have not been directly affected by alcoholic behavior. It’s okay. Everything ain’t for everybody to understand.

Not in a Forgiving Mood, Don’t Worry

The period your husband or alcoholic boyfriend was drinking heavily, they probably did some hurtful things. You don’t have to forgive just because they decided to go to rehab.

However, forgiveness is for you and not for the other person. Do your best but to forgive, but doesn’t mean you have to take the other person back. No one will fault you for leaving an alcoholic you love.

Angry and for Good Reasons

Dealing with an alcoholic husband, I’m sure he did some rotten things and you have every reason in the world to be angry, and it’s perfectly understandable. Holding on to that anger? Let it go. It hurts you more, physically and mentally. 

Alcohol is one self-harming behavior that affects other people. They make a mess of things. They embarrass us. They steal from us. We get angry at them but anger affects the body but not in good ways unless you’re working off that anger in the gym.

Shoving Out Tough Love

You feel so bad for them, you want to say yes when you know you shouldn’t. Face it, my friend, you can enable them and expect them to get help at the same time! You can’t clean up after your husband forever. Establish your boundaries and don’t move from them.

Dealing with an alcoholic husband, you never know what’s going to pop off. You don’t know what kind of mood they are going to be in. If they are going to be in a good mood, sleep or violent. I would thank God for the sleep and pray to keep him in a good mood because the rest was just ugly.

Addiction experts [addiction.com] says if you knew the weekend was going to be a drunken one, prepare yourself for it. Learn some coping techniques for dealing with an alcoholic husband and apply them. It’s the only way you’ll get through it with your sanity intact.

Dealing with an Alcoholic Husband: Conclusion

It’s difficult to know how to help someone, especially when they won’t accept the truth.  Once you do that, there’s help available.  Living with someone who drinks way too much and too often is extremely annoying, depressing and debilitating.

Some of us come out of alcohol recovery fine while others dealing with an alcoholic husband suffer along with the addict. Often, this is long after he or she is gone or is sober. You’re still trying to clean up the credit, recover the stuff at the pawn shop and make amends to the people he’s hurt. It’s hard to keep your head up dealing with an alcoholic husband some days.

Getting help from a Higher Power is always an option, but in case you want more “down-to-earth” assistance, you will likely benefit from an addictions counselor.

According to the American Addiction Centers, when dealing with an alcoholic, there’s always more than one victim. Get help before it’s too late. Good people die young.

Dealing with an alcoholic husband is, again, difficult and that’s putting it mildly. What do you think the wife should do?  Should she stick around for more?  If he doesn’t get help, would the wife be justified in asking for a divorce?  

References – 



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Mikki Donaldson is a southern girl, born in “hard time Mississippi.” She, like her town, has seen many hurricanes, but bounce back each time. Mikki is no different from any other person with a passion, late to bed and early to rise. The writer adores her family and seeks to leave her mark on this remarkable world.