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Ways to help your alcoholic husband

Updated on May 27, 2011


It is known that alcohol abuse is a major factor that contributes to family and relationships breakups and conflicts that leads to divorces, separation, and also poor or declining development growth on the children. It is emotionally draining and physically hard to live and cope with an alcoholic spouse or partner. In many cases it is the husband who drinks and the wife is left to clean up his mess to keep up a positive image of the family. Drinking is more of a disease and there are several negative effects that come with the abuse of alcohol. These effects include: loss of job, emotional stress, violence, irrational thinking, kidney disorders, unwise usage of family finances, lack of family time, lack of proper listing of priorities, infidelity, divorces, suicides, separation, conflicts with friends and family, a decline in one’s self esteem and even at times it causes suicide or death.

 It goes without saying that having a spouse that drinks should act like a warning sign to the other spouse who has to get up and try and do something about it. But it is equally wrong to say that you will change your husband,. There are very few things that one could do to change the husband’s drinking behavior.

1.       Talk when sober. Sit down with your husband when he is sober and lay the issues brought about by his drinking on the table. Also bring up the effects of his drinking on the family e.g a decrease in family funds and savings, children having a decline in their development in school and personal lives, conflicts between the two of you. Discuss and both of you should have an open mind in dealing with the issues at stake. He may defend his drinking but deep inside he gets your point of view so this will call for your patience.

2.       Pray. This is hard for some but one thing that will definitely work is prayers. It may take a while before you see some results but prayer will definitely lead to your hubby completely quit the bottle. Be consistent and sincere when praying and leave the rest to God.

3.       Counseling. If your hubby is willing to take part in some counseling sessions then go for it and hope for the best. Be proactive and attend the sessions with him, for moral and emotional support.

4.       Activities.  If he is doing the drinking mostly during the weekends, then it is up to you to include some activities into your life that will involve the whole family. These activities include swimming, hiking, fishing, and gardening, playing whatever game of interest, watching movies or even cooking. Make him part of the activities and be consistent, make the activities satisfying and enjoyable. With time he will feel guilty if he has to forego such family times so as to go drink, and so he will have to reduce his drinking time.

5.       Be calm, no insults and yelling.  Your husband has just come back home at midnight and he is staggering because he is drunk, you have the irresistible urge to yell and hurl insults at him. As much as it hurts, get control of your emotions and be calm, help him into bed and if he wants to eat, feed him.

6.       Be there for him. Marriage is for better for worse. Your husband may be under so much pressure that this leads to him drinking. You may never know about his worries unless you become his best friend and someone he can confide to. Let him tell you all about his desires, worries, fears and sources of joy. Continually reassure him of your love to him and make sure he know your shoulder will be always be there for him when need be.

7.       AA. Alcohol anonymous. Encourage him to register and take part in the groups that help people addicted or rather abusing alcohol to live a life without alcohol.


It is important to know that drinking can be a very addictive activity so whatever steps you take to help your hubby reduce or/and stop his drinking you have to be patient and understanding. Remember it is the love you share with him that brought you together,  do not give up on that love because deep inside this man who has turned to become an alcoholic, there is the same man that you fell in love with.


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    • profile image

      JC 4 years ago

      The things we must do are detach with love, set boundaries, let go and not be an enabler. Those four things are difficult to master, but when used on a regular basis, life will be better for all involved in an alcoholic relationship.

    • George Huss profile image

      George Huss 6 years ago from United States

      Remember you didn't cause it, can't cure it, and can't control it. Al-Anon's 20-question self-quizzes can help you decide if Al-Anon may be of help.

    • zuriki profile image

      zuriki 6 years ago

      Thank you Prektjr.dc for your comment. Sorry to hear about your experience and though it is hard to move on, it is the best thing that you could do for the sake of yourself and your children. My husband is also an alcoholic but he is not abusive. I cannot deny that there is the emotional, psychological abuse of dealing with an alcoholic spouse. We are working together with him for him to quit and I thank God that it is working so far.

      God will take care of you, be strong.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      This hub struck a chord with me. I am the former wife of an alcoholic. Your steps were good and were many which I followed. It is important to state that in the event of physical abuse created by the alcoholism, one should keep the children's safety in highest priority. My pastor rescued my children and I from a seriously abusive alcoholic spouse. It is difficult to move forward, but important. I wish I had begun the steps earlier. There might have been hope for us. Good hub, voted up and useful! God bless!