7 Recovery Secrets Every Spouse Should Know


When you’re around an alcoholic it doesn’t take long to realize there’s more going on than simply meets the eye.

Your alcoholic drinks because of the addiction to alcohol. It’s really not much more complicated than that.

When it comes to how you cope with your alcoholic it’s a little more complicated. There are some things you should know.

Here are a few…

Find an addiction professional

I can’t stress to you how important it is to locate an addiction professional for the time when your alcoholic is ready to get into recovery.

Many people think when they go to their family physician or a therapist they will get the help they need for addiction. More often than not the experience with addiction has limitations.

You probably remember a doctor when he/she suggested you refrain from some behavior for your health. Many of us just don’t follow doctor’s advice.

The physicians won’t give up on the doctor patient relationship because you ignore their advice, they just see you next time.

An addiction professional is trained to understand alcohol, drugs and the behaviors that surround abuse.

Even if you’ve found a therapist or counselor it’s important to make sure they understand your alcoholic and the needs represented by the addiction.

Assessment by professionals

I’ve heard so many time from alcoholics, “I’m not an alcoholic, I can quit any time I want”.

This is a great line for when your alcoholic uses it as an excuse to continue use.

My response is simple, “Okay, that’s your opinion. Now, let’s get a professional opinion”.

That’s what an assessment is all about. It’s when the addiction counselor evaluates the history of alcohol and drug use to make an objective diagnosis.

Support’s a MUST

Your alcoholic, no doubt, isn’t eager to attend support groups where there are other alcoholics in various stages of recovery.

12 step groups and other groups where they can talk about issues of recovery are necessary.

One of the biggest benefits is being held accountable to someone who will be objective about what happens.

The experience of others who are successful in recovery often does make the difference between success and relapse.

Denial’s Powerful

I’ve never seen an alcoholic who didn’t have some level of denial going on in their life.

There have been people I know who have years of recovery and still have issues with denial.

When your alcoholic decides to allow others to help him face denial he’s on his way to recovery.

Relapse Happens

You need to know alcoholics drink. That’s true for an active alcoholic and for many who are in early recovery.

Relapse is common and not the exception.

I’ve known people who gave up more than 20 years of sobriety to have a drink.

If you look for a ‘forever’ change, I’m not sure your alcoholic can make that promise.

What they can do however, is to make a commitment to take one day at a time. In each day to the things necessary to keep free from alcohol and accountable to someone objective.

Does he need Detoxification?

If your alcoholic drinks to stop tremors or can’t make it through a day or two without use, there’s a high likelihood he may need detoxification.

In an alcoholic’s mind they can’t imagine being totally off alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms are very difficult and often is the reason to drink again.

Detoxification is a safe place to withdraw from alcohol. Physicians give medication to minimize or eliminate withdrawal symptoms.

This process is devoted entirely to safety of withdrawal and motivation toward recovery.

Rehab Works

I understand your alcoholic may not like the idea of rehab. The excuses can be very difficult to refute.
I will tell you, rebab works.

There are several things I’d make sure the rehab program has in place.

  • Experienced professional
  • Emphasis on development of support
  • Establish relapse prevention strategies
  • Follow up plans
  • Willingness to re-admit if relapse occurs

These are a few recovery secrets you should know as the spouse of an alcoholic.


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Here’s What 18 Other People Thought...

  1. davidtulk

    How can I help him on his way to reach the point where he wants to change and can say he is ready to enter the recovery process?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      There are many things you can do to increase the chances for your addict to chose recovery. It’s important that you understand it’s his decision. The only thing you have control over is what you choose. The more you do to take care of yourself and the less you do taking on his responsibilities the greater the likelihood he’ll find his way into recovery.

  2. agnes

    Thank You for this website. My spouse can’t admit that he is alcoholic. That he has no problem even when starts the day drinking brandy and finish he bottle by end of the day. Drives and drinks a government car and thinks that it’s ok. His is very good covering it up hasn’t got caught, yet. Working out of town, I ask not to come home this weekend, so I can have a nice Mother’s Day weekend. He agree not to come home. It broke my heart. I can’t enable him any longer.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      We’re glad to offer this website for you and others who live with an alcoholic or addict. It appears to me you’ve accepted some harsh realities. He hasn’t been caught yet but he’s not sober yet either. I’ve seen people stop before they lost much and others lost everything. The important part you’ve come to understand is you can no longer enable him. Maybe you can do something for yourself to honor your mom and you as well. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Ronda

    My husband is an alcoholic but he won’t admit it. I’m so sick and tired of his nagging especially when he get drunk.i don’t know what else to do. I try to avoid his nagging and here I look he’s following me in the bedroom. I’m just tired of him being an alcoholic. Plus he has the shakes like when he comes home from work and don’t have a drink first thing. I drink but not like him, I haven’t drink since Sunday.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It sounds like alcohol is no friend to your family. I’m proud of you for your effort to stop drinking yourself. Your husband is quite advanced in his alcoholism if he’s having shakes when he goes without alcohol. I’m not sure what it’ll take for him to admit his alcoholism. My recommendation is for him to get to a detoxification program when he’s ready to quit. Withdrawal symptoms only get worse from here. Thanks for being part of this site and for your comment.

    • WHen I was about 5 or 6, I went camping with my dad. My step fmaily went as well. There was a giant barn where one night there was a party. There was a lot of dancing and music. I was 5, so of course I wanted to dance with my dad, right? So he got extremely drunk, as always, and then when my mom called, he wouldn’t let me talk to her, or her to me. Eventually the police had to come and take him to the station that’s all I remember from that experience, but there are plenty of others He still gets drunk all the time and I have begun to not speak to him. He also did not call me on my birthday this year. I have had enough and he tries to talk to me on facebook, but I just gave up. If anyone knows what I can do, then please help me.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Silvia, Your father apparently chooses his alcohol over the relationship with you. That’s not uncommon with alcoholism. Maybe you can begin to recognize alcoholism in your father as the illness it really is. This helps some. It doesn’t change the fact of what’s happened or the distance in the relationship.
        When you’re able and you find him sober, let him know exactly what you feel. It won’t necessarily change him but you’ll know he knows how you feel.

  4. My husband is an alcoholic and readily admits it.On his days off work he begins drinking as soon as he gets up and continues until late in the night. He seems to hate me once he gets to a certain point in his drunkenness and will begin to rant and rave at me. This results in me being awake most of the night and having to miss work myself. On days that he does work he will drink anywhere from 10 to 18 beers and follow each with a whiskey chaser.He says this is me and if you dont like it I dont know what to tell you ” it is what it is ” Recently he is becoming more aggressive and just the other night busted both of our TVs. I have had to leave him and relocate to another state to keep him away from me. I love him very much but it is completely out of control and there seems be nothing I can do. Now that I have left he is being very mean telling me how he doesnt love me or never did and that he wants me gone from his life. This suits me fine but where does it leave me. I left a good job without notice and all of my belongings except a few clothes, which he has sold. All furniture and tangible property is gone and he has moved into his mothers in a bedroom and is drinking himself to oblivion. He says he is looking for a job but I dont think so. Lately he has been calling me and telling me to hire a lawyer and file for divorce, he has found someone else. I try to explain to him that I am looking for a job but do not have the money. Will he ever leave me alone. I cant stand anymore even though I love this man tremendously. Sometimes I feel as if you have to quit worrying about the one causing the situation and do what is right for you. I believe in my mind that I have done the right thing, but it is hard to get my heart there. I do not want anything bad for him. Are there any kind of support groups to help me through what I am feeling. Would appreciate any input you could give me on this situation.

    • Wendell

      The first thing I would like you to know is when your alcoholic started to become aggressive you were very correct to not tolerate it. Here at FreeMyAddict we support zero tolerance for violence. It appears your alcoholic is more committed to booze than to your relationship. I don’t tell people to leave or stay because it’s a very personal decision you really have to live with for a long time. I will tell you this, if he continues to be aggressive you may need to get a restraining order so he’ll be required to leave you alone.

      As far as support most areas have alanon meetings here’s a link to find <a href="http://www.al-anon.org/meetings/meeting.html&quot;?AlAnon in your area.

      At FreeMyAddict we have several levels of support:

      Community Connect (Membership- Access Free Group Coaching)
      Advice Now (Email Support- 30 Days only $5)
      Accelerated Coaching (8 sessions 5 to 10 minutes use as you choose)
      Mastery Coaching (full hour session to work in depth on any issue)
      We have a Scholarship Program available for anyone who needs financial assistance for coaching

      Here’s the link to these support options.

      I would like to suggest after all you’ve been through if you believe you’ve done the right thing, give yourself a little credit and trust your decision.

  5. Nadia

    Hi. Thank you for this website. My husband is 43 by years old. He served in the Navy for 4 years (he changed a lot) and has been a detective for 12 years. I don’t know how to recognize if he is an alcoholic. He’s always drink beer, but mostly whiskey for the last 15 years. I’ve only seen him drunk twice. We’ve being together for 24 years and have 3 boys. He usually don’t drink on work days, very rare he does. He does start drinking on his final day of work and the next 2 days off that follow. He has a container where he mixes it and drinks from. Its a little bigger than the size of a regular size bottle of water. He has 3 sometimes 4 of those the day he drinks. He does stop when he wants for days. He never gets drunk. He even seems sharp and normal. We’ve always had problems in our marriage. But now more than before. For the last 7 years he’s being learning how to play the battery (timbales) used in salsa music. He stated for fun. Now it has become an obsession, a hobby and wants to become a professional at it. I hate it. Its taking time off his family and its occupying most of his time. He is also obsessed with collecting salsa music. For the past 3 years he has been going to a park weekly to meet others that play instruments along to music. There’s drinking involve all the time. He has friends come over to hang out and play and there’s drinking involved. All that he does involves drinking. I told him he may have a problem and says he can stop any time. He is a gamer online too (war game), and he plays and gets better when he drinks. He says his aim gets better and his online friend tells me its true. What do I do? I’m worried. I am about to quit because of the other issues with the hangout and the music, but his friend today point out to me that he has a drinking problem and should start with that. I never saw it like that until he made me think it must be true. Please help. Thanks.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      We have placed a screening instrument M.A.S.T. Answer the questions truthfully and it will give you a good idea if he has a problem with alcohol.

      Not every alcoholic gets drunk. I know that sounds odd. There are some who binge more than drink steady. Some just keep an amount of alcohol in their system most all the time. These individuals are just as addicted as the one who drinks to get drunk, sobers up only to do it again.

      Regarding the music. IF he wants to become a professional musician it does take lots of practice. It also requires a discipline (sober is better for this). He needs to make time for you and the boys. Regardless of the vocational or avocational choices he makes, you and the boys need to become a priority.

      Speak truth to him and don’t be afraid to do it consistently.

      Thanks for your comments.

  6. Nadia

    Sorry I forgot to mention he drinks whiskey mixed with soda always. And its been 4 times in the past months that he has being playing online until late while also drinking, sleeps 3, 4 or 5 hours and has awaken very late to work. 2 days ago he got to work one and a half hours late. He use to be responsible with work. He always plays a lot online and ghost goes to bed at 3, 4, 5 or 6 a.m. just wanted to add that. Thanks.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Sounds like his drinking is starting to catch up with him. It’s time for him to address his issues with alcohol. No doubt his employer will not like him coming to work late.
      When someone has issues with alcohol they lose focus on what’s important and sometimes risk it all for another drink.
      I hope he understands before that happens.
      Thanks for your comments.

  7. Vicky

    I was hoping you could help me. First off let me start with I had 3 children ranging from 1-5 when my now husband and I met. We now have a daughter of our own as well. So we have stress in our daily lives. We have had our share of fighting over drinking. This last month we finally came up with a compromise that he could have one 2L of rum a month and that I wouldn’t regulate it. He finished it all by the 7th and he bought it on the 1st. So almost every day since it has been gone he will tell me I should let him get more and I always say no. He almost always waits until the kids are in bed to start drinking, but its like it is always a part of his life. He says its his way to deal with stress and time I bring it up he gets Very defensive and blames it all on me. He just isn’t the same person anymore, I don’t know what to do?!?! I don’t know if he has a problem or if im making to much out of it.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      One fallacy of your arrangement with the 2L of rum is that for an addict ONE drink is too much and a HUNDRED isn’t enough. Alcoholics drink, drug addicts use drugs, there’s not the ability to have just a little.
      Based on his responses to the arrangement it suggests he has issues with alcohol and he thinks this arrangement with you (therefore YOU) is (are) the problem. Truth? He has a problem with alcohol. Thanks for your comment

  8. Lisa nutter

    My husband resumes to admit he is an alcoholic. He drinks a Mickie a day or 2 and doesn’t appear drunk at all. His sleep is terrible and is complains about stress not enabling him to drink. He nags and complains about silly things and go right into rants. His entire personality is changed in the 2 years he has been drinking. He drinks at work although denies this. He complains about hating his job and life. He has become very agressive in his language and is always hating about everyone and thing. He decides to stop rum, his drink of chose, and will switch to coolers or beer or wine for a few days. He says it not like alcohol. Then he is back to hard liquor. He barely eats saying the family is the reason as the kids can do not right in his eyes. It’s our fault he doesn’t eat. He says he doesn’t eat when he is upset and we just don’t care about his feelings. He has shakes a lot. He had a bad flu and was home from work for a week ( doesn’t get paid) and drank from morning to night. He drinks before work but says he’s never drunk so he has no issues. He says I don’t understand him and everything is my fault. I don’t know what to do anymore. Please help me. He is yelling at me right now.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Lisa you are describing an alcoholic. Your husband changes what he drinks believing it’s the hard stuff he need to quit. It’s all alcohol. Everyone and anyone, everything and anything, or no one or nothing is the reason he uses if you listen to him. The truth is he drinks because he’s alcoholic. I would urge you to read the articles on this site on how to stop enabling. You need to take care of you and your children first.

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