By: Nick
May 9, 2022

What are the Signs My Spouse is an Alcoholic?

Table of Contents

When you marry your spouse, you vow to stick together through thick and thin and sickness and health. There is no doubt your marriage will experience many highs and some significant lows. Of all the challenges your marriage will find, having an alcoholic spouse is one of the biggest challenges you may face. You may not see the signs of addiction at first, but their behavior and health throw up red flags that something is amiss.

You may have suspicions that your spouse is abusing alcohol. You may be asking yourself questions such as the following:

What are the signs that my spouse is an alcoholic?

Is my husband an addict? Is my wife an addict?

What if my spouse is becoming an addict? How do I help?


Being able to get the information you need to answer these questions will allow you to be proactive in helping your spouse get the help they need to overcome alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse.


What are the Signs of Substance Abuse?

If you have a feeling that your spouse is becoming an addict, they will exhibit various signs of substance abuse. These signs can be difficult to pinpoint because your spouse will go to great lengths to conceal their drug and alcohol use from you and your loved ones. Despite their best efforts to cancel their substance abuse from you, there will be warning signs that your spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict. These initial signs can include the following:

  • Increasing problems in work, school, and family life
  • Deteriorating physical appearance such as sudden weight loss, weight gain, bloodshot eyes
  • Poor hygiene and grooming
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Growing financial issues


In addition to these initial signs and symptoms, your spouse will display a variety of other signs of drug abuse. The most common signs and symptoms associated with drug and alcohol abuse are the following:

  • Sudden change in friends and withdrawal from old friends and family
  • Unexplained changes in personality and attitude
  • Wide and unpredictable mood swings
  • Engaging in high-risk behavior such as drunk driving and having unprotected sex
  • Becoming secretive in their behavior
  • Defensiveness when confronted about their substance use


How to Convince a Loved One to Get Help

You may have gone from asking what are the signs my spouse is an addict, to knowing for certain that your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol. That moment of realization can make you feel angry, confused, and even hopeless. Despite what you may be feeling, addiction is a treatable condition. In order for your spouse to get the help and support they need, there are things that you can do to effectively help your spouse enter treatment and achieve lasting recovery.


First and foremost, learn all you can about your spouse’s addiction. Talk to your family doctor or local addiction treatment specialist. You also should consider going to support groups such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. These 12-step support groups are geared towards family members and friends of addicts. In these groups, you will receive support and encouragement from those who are going through similar experiences to yours. 

It is important to not engage in enabling behaviors such as paying their bills or covering for them and their behavior. While it is understandable that you want to help, enabling behaviors to shield your addicted spouse from the consequences of their behavior. As a result, they will continue to use substances and fall deeper into addiction. 


You must also put yourself first. Get plenty of rest, exercise, eat a balanced diet, and take some “me time.” Being in great physical and mental shape allows you to put things into perspective better. Most importantly, you must set definitive limits as far as your spouse’s behavior. If your spouse crosses boundaries, be firm and let them know that you will not put up with or help them until they take the initiative to help themselves. If needed, it is perfectly acceptable to disengage and step away from your spouse simply. Doing so may be the spark they need to get serious about getting help.


How to Find a Drug Treatment Center for Your Spouse

Watching someone you love struggle with substance abuse is heartbreaking to witness. You want to help, but you may not know who to talk to or where you can turn. You may be looking at drug treatment facilities for your spouse, but are overwhelmed with all the treatment levels and programs available. Fortunately, MCR can help you—starting today. MCR is an outpatient treatment facility in Burbank offering a wide spectrum of care and services that are tailored to meet your spouse’s needs.

MCR understands the complex nature of addiction. Our experienced and compassionate treatment staff will work with you, your spouse, and your family to address addiction in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Our number one goal is to empower and inspire those addicted to substances to transform and grow. Call us today and learn how our addiction treatment programs in Southern California can help.