How Do I Know If My Husband Is Alcoholic?


A classic response from any alcoholic is to deny they have a problem with drinking.

You’ve probably been on the other end of that conversation a time or two.

How can you be sure you’re right about him being alcoholic?

Here are a few things you to check out.

Increased Tolerance

This can be a confusing sign because in the early stages of alcoholism it looks like your alcoholic can really handle his booze.

When others are stone drunk he’s able to function. He may even be the life of the party. It may look like he’s the one who should drive everyone home.

The ability to ‘hold’ the alcohol is a very early sign that looks much different as the illness progresses.

Eventually it takes more alcohol to have the same effect. Many alcoholics actually are unable to get the same high they used to get regardless of how much they use.

Inability to Stop

Many alcoholics stop drinking for a few days, even a few weeks or months. The key here is they return to alcohol and the patterns of use resume.

These aren’t successes at quitting, they are relapses back into the booze.

I’m sure you have heard “I can quit anytime”. This is much more of a wish than the truth.

I suggest it’s not a quitting problem it’s the inability to not start again.


When your alcoholic says he doesn’t remember what happened or how he got home after he’s been drinking it could be true.

A characteristic sign of alcoholism is blackouts.

Blackouts are not just memory failure it appears the events of the blackout period are not even recorded in the brain.

Legal Issues

When you directly connect legal issues to the use of alcohol such as DUI, Public Intoxication or Drunk and Disorderly, it may be because of alcoholism.

The key here is that in spite of the legal issues there is continued use of alcohol. This inability to connect alcohol to the legal issue and stop is characteristic of this sign.

Physical Harm

Alcohol breaks down into acetaldehyde this is part of the body’s detoxification.

When there’s excessive consumption of alcohol it’s much more difficult for the liver to breakdown the acetaldehyde.

This results overtime in complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive issues and much more.

It not just how much the harm alcohol does to the body but the fact your alcoholic continues to drink when they know the harm exists.


The dominant issue the alcoholic won’t admit but you see frequently is this issue of denial.

It’s characterized by refusal to admit how much is consumed, problems resulting from use or the extend of the influence has over day to day life.

Changing from liquor to beer, avoiding beer to drink only wine or any combination is an example of denial.

The truth is alcohol’s the problem and when you have the illness of alcoholism you can’t control it.

You may see your alcoholic in these signs. Some of the signs may just be at the early stage. If you see two of these signs in place I can assure you there is alcohol dependency.

It’s not about a label but a recognition of the illness. The important part is for you to be able to understand how necessary it is to face this illness head on.

Here’s a simple self administered screening test called the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) I’m sure you’ll want to check out.

Do you see the signs of alcoholism with your alcoholic? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 41 Other People Thought...

  1. davidtulk

    I like the word ‘illness’ rather than ‘disease’. A disease would seem somehow to be less in his power to combat. He has such wonderful qualities deep down.
    I feel the Real Him is buried. Somehow his subconscious is persuading his conscious mind with all sorts of lies. He’ll feet better if he has another drink and another. He is fine, he’s got into a bad habit that’s all, it is no big problem, just a mid-life crisis, boredom with work etc. At least he is admitting he has a bad habit. That’s a step in the right direction right?
    How can he re-discover the Real Him and start fighting those lies with truths?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Admitting is the beginning of recovery. The short answer to your final question is through sobriety. It’s during sober times self discovery happens. It’s the only time you really can get through to an alcoholic. When the cost of problems associated with alcohol become higher than the benefits it’s amazing how self discovery happens and the lies are then confronted.

  2. Bill

    My fiancee is in total denial. Increased tolerance really defines a big part of her addiction. She boasts about her ability to “outdrink” most people because of her 30 years of drinking. She claims to only have 2 or 3 drinks a day but they are in 12 oz. glasses and it’s every day without fail. She doesn’t get “falling down drunk” but the personality changes are obvious. This has been going on for years and finally last week she took a handful of my blood pressure medication during an argument and ended up in ICU. Two days later she’s explaining to me all of the reasons she can still drink and doesn’t have an alcohol problem. FYI….her father and both brothers were alcoholics. I say “were” because the father drank until the day he died, 1 brother committed suicide and the other has spent more than half his life in prison. I have no idea what to do.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      In the early part of last century Jellinek identified a type of alcoholism where a person simply stayed inebriated much of the time. He differentiated from the types we see where there may be a binge or just drink until intoxicated. The bottom line is they all shorten the alcoholics life by about 15 years.

      The signs are there along with denial. My recommendation to you is to keep the truth in front of her. Don’t let denial go unacknowledged. Taking the pills along with alcohol is a serious issue and you don’t want to gloss over it with her.

      As for resources, there are books for her and you in our Essentials Library. Coaching is available.

      We’d love to have you as a member in Community Connect.

  3. Jason

    My wife has accepted the fact that she is an alcoholic, but is not doing anything about it. I strongly agree with your identifiers in this article and would recommend an additional point… Relationship troubles. We are now not talking because of the alcohol and is blaming me for our 14 yr old daughter becoming more aware of the affects of alcohol, which include death. During an argument

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Jason, thanks for your addition to the points in the article. When alcoholism sets in any relationship to others is compromised by the obsession to the chemical. Hang onto your hat, there’s going to be a lot more blame before she gets well. Your 14 year old probably understands alcoholism more than either of you think. Telling her the truth only lets her deal with it head on. I believe that’s healthy. Hopefully your wife begins to understand what alcohol is doing to her. Thanks for your comment.

    • Denise

      Jason or anyone who may want to reply I’m at a crossroad right now in my life. My husband is a functioning alcoholic and all these patterns are him to a tee. The question now he is in fantasy land, he claims he can stop at anytime which he has done in the pass but always seems later to go back to the bottle. His tolerance level is so high in the morning before he leaves for work he is cold, clammy hands shaking well all that is withdrawal his situation is a deal breaker. I have a 4 yr. old son, I have been a good wife stood by him through financial problems, work outside the home part-time but do way more on some weeks at the Hospital where I work. I’m exhausted it’s 1 in the morning I should be sleeping we have been married close to 10 yrs in April I told him tonight things must move forward we are not reverting back to bad behavior, I’m 40 I put my dream on hold about having another child, and now I realize he is not on the same page maybe I always knew that.
      We will have a discussion in the morning – Here is the question “He is a “alcoholic” and now I feel all bets might be off, this is a deal breaker I have to think about my son now because he isn’t when he tips the bottle and not only that I think he is mixing pills with alcohol- I can’t be chasing him around like a little kid he is too old for this shit!!
      Yes I’m angry because tonight I asked him I thought we were going to move together as a Family I thought he wanted to build a life with me he says he does but his behavior speaks louder than words mind you he is so intoxicated now passed out on the bed. Question is I’m wondering if I should cut my losses now, I’m so hurt right now very sad this is not my fault I have been a good wife and will continue to be how much more do I have to take?? I love my husband with all my heart I don’t want to get divorced but living with someone who has an addiction is very unhealthy I’m sure people will blame me for getting a divorce, not sticking around, he has to take responsibility for his actions not just going to work he needs to be tuned in to his Family.
      Now I see the writing on the wall we can’t move forward because of him, his addiction, well I don’t know if I should even stick around anymore. This is definitely not something that is a quick fix in a marriage he always had this addiction kept it under wraps now at this point in his life it has come to surface clearly now. Where do I turn and who has my back I have parents who are very supportive but this is a private matter and should be kept private until I know what to do, but things have to change I refuse to live in denial anymore time to get real. I will be strong for myself now
      God bless all of the Families especially the spouses they are trying to keep things together but now I realize I can’t do it alone anymore I need help someone has to help me be in my corner with this.
      Sad in New York

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Your situation sounds very typical when you are involved with an alcoholic. You may want to cut your losses. If you choose to stay you have your eyes open to what life is with an alcoholic. Your dreams will not be his priority because he’s in love with alcohol, or at least the high he keeps pursuing.
        Some choose to stay others choose to leave. Either way hurt happens. Make sure you know what you want and then decide. Thanks for your comment.

  4. David

    My wife told me she didn’t love me anymore and wanted a seperation. Although I can’t be sure that alcohol has fuelled this decision or personality change, I am sure there’s alcohol abuse to the point I’d stick my neck out and say she’s alcoholic, first discovered 3 to 4 years ago. My problem is we have 2 wonderful children and at the moment we’re both living under the same roof co-parenting. I feel I need to be here in a protective role both monitoring this illness and looking after the kids. Where on earth do I go from here. I deserve to live my own life, to be loved and live fulfilled, but can’t while I’m living in this charade.
    Just wondered if anyone had or is experiencing a similar situation and whether there’s any light?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Whether your wife loves you or not you’ve recognized she loves alcohol more. There’s a real value for you being there for the children. Your point about deserving better, it’s true. Anyone who cares about someone who has a major illness could say the same. It isn’t fair and you don’t have to like it. Your wife has an illness and it effects the whole family.

      You have made a good start by not hiding the truth about her alcoholism. Keep the truth out front and you have the best opportunity to influence her toward rehabilitation.

    • Byrd

      Yes, I am facing the same troubles right now. My husband, out of the blue, has said he has not been happy with me for almost our enitre 4 years of marriage. He has made absurd accusations that I have cheated (totally wrong). We have two children and he has kicked us out twice. He is complete denial about his drinking. His parents are losing trust in me because of all the lies he tells about me. We are separated and at a crossroads on what to do next. I do not want to keep his children from him but I cannot trust he won’t drink and drive with them or worse, take off with them.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        When alcohol is involved judgment is generally impaired. Your children may be at risk depending on his ability to keep sober. Lies come with alcoholism. Keep to the truth. Hopefully articles on this site help to support your journey.

  5. Tears

    My husband likes who he is and where he is in regards to drinking. He does not see or care what he does or who he hurts. He is now in blackout stages, has again changed from beer to hard liquor. He blames me for things he has done himself. I am now the enemy since I do not hide what he does and make things easier for him to hide the drinking problem. I am in a place of being alone as all my family have passed away. His family seems to enable him to drink more and instigate problems causing such distress to him he again drinks more. I have no choice other than to seek separation/divorce if I am going to weather this to be healthy/happy/free from the husbands choice to drink. Husband recently claims he willing to go to couples counselling and get help in regards to drinking.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      If he’s agreed to couple’s counseling and get help with his drinking problem he at least understands there’s a problem with his drinking. I’m glad you’ve decided not to hid his alcoholism. Just that decision puts the responsibility back on him where it belongs. I’m hopeful he’s at least contemplative of recovery.

  6. exasperated

    My common-law and I have been together for over 9 years now. My children have all grown up and both are doing extremely well. They all encourage me to kick him out but I guess I must love him as I just can’t see myself doing that. I own everything; work full time and financially secure so financially dependency is definitely not the issue! I make threats but he obviously knows I will get ovr them as the last one was that if he got picked up for impaired driving he would have to leave. This finally happened on New Year’s Day and it is not his first time although the last one was 11 years ago. He does have a drug & alcohol counsellor but it is just to appease the Court as it still hasn’t been dealt with in Court. I even hired a lawyer for him which he told me he is paying me back. I only did this as he did originally quit drinking after he was picked up & I told him he had to if he wanted to stay with me at the house. He has since relapsed and going back to where he was before. He is starting to have his first drink again later in the morning and his tolerance is high again. I spoke with his counsellor & he indicated I could come to the sessions as long as it was ok with my common-law. He was not happy over this but has agreed for me to go with him. I am nearly at my wits end as he doesn’t think he needs to stop completely. He just keeps saying he is going to reduce his intake. When he quit drinking he went through severe withdrawals & I had to take him to the Dr. to get medication for him to get through this. It was so bad with the hallucinations, sweats, shakes that I thought he may go into convulsions. He refuses to go to rehab as states he has gone through AA in the past & he can do it on his own. I don’t know what to do other than not to enable him but find myself drinking socially with him as this is our only time together. I even quit drinking myself to support him when he quit but he started before I did so gave in. Any suggestions?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It’s clear to me your common law husband is in denial about his ability to handle a few drinks. Abstinence works along with a support system to encourage recovery.

      If your welcome to the counseling sessions I would encourage you to go and tell the truth. Don’t gloss over what’s really happening.

      You’re right about the only thing you can do is to stop enabling. He needs to know he’s responsible for his drinking and ALL of the consequences related to it. Don’t pickup the pieces anymore.

      Hopefully the judge will require a support group. My suggestion would be three things: 1. Abstinence verified by random urine monitoring (some courts require a breathalyzer screen to be able to start your car) 2. A regular home group with AA, Celebrate Recovery or Smart Recovery and 3. An accountability person (in AA they’re called sponsors).

      To answer your question about not drinking as a support to him let me give an example to think about. If your husband had diabetes would you go to the bakery and have donuts or pie with him? If he was allergic to walnuts would you eat them in front of him? I’m not suggesting you can never have a drink but as a support it’s really possible to avoid times where it would directly influence him.

      We know he doesn’t need any assistance to come up with a reason to drink.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. Jason

    I am in the exact same boat you are right now with living separately under the same roof with my alcoholic and 2 wonderful kids. I also feel a need to deal with the illness for the sake of making my children feel happy and supported. We are in the second round of separation and she is constantly blaming others for her behavior. But as you and I both know by now, it’s not our fault. Sometimes I wish she would just release me from having to fight to keep this family together and finally make a decision on what direction she really wants to go. At that point I will be happy for at least knowing it was not me who gave up. There are going to be no winners when an alcoholic chooses a drink over her family. All I can say is keep trying an maybe one day she will walk away from the alcohol, or even the family, but at least you didn’t give up. Good luck and I am right there with you.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks Jason for your comment and supporting of David.

  8. Anita

    Hi, I have just read a few of these and am certain now that my husband is an alcoholic, we have been together 28 years and he has always liked a drink although now he drinks every day, when he is working the day after he has anywhere between 4 – 6 cans of lager a day, if he is on nights he has them in the morning when he comes home, if there is any spirits in the house he will drink them, in the past month he has drank a full bottle of whisky and almost a bottle of vodka along side the cans that he is drinking, I should have left him a long time ago but we still had the children at home, now I just can’t afford to move out but it is making me ill. He has changed as a person too, he is much more aggresive although he has never hurt me physically, mentally I feel drained. I look at him sometimes and he talks constantly with a slight slur, also one side of his mouth seems to droop a little and I am worried this is due to his drinking. Thank you for letting me have this little rant. xx

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Anita, I’m glad you found our site. I trust you find ways to take care of yourself. Put some energy into making sure you and your children are okay. Find out how to stop enabling and let him become responsible for his drinking and the consequences of it. You are NOT responsible for his drinking.

  9. Liz

    all of the stories here sound so familiar. i’m in my mid 30’s. my husband and i have been together for over 10 years, married not too long ago. he is a gentle soul, yet he drinks and can’t seem to stop. when we first moved into together about 8 years ago i was so naive and didn’t know what alcohol dependency was or what it meant. i saw that my then boyfriend often drank at home and often drank the hard liquor. i didn’t like it at all but i was hoping that with time he will ‘grow’ out of it. several years went by and it only got worse. it got to the point that he was coming home from work already drunk. i have no idea how and where he was getting drunk and how he got home without killing himself or anyone else for that matter. with time i have learned and understood what i was dealing with and confronted him each time but he was denying everything and didn’t want to talk about it. about 2 years ago he has finally admitted that he has alcohol problems and started seeing some counseling and also did some therapy for other personal issues he has been dealing with. however his counseling didn’t last very long as he wasn’t’ fully committed because he did it ‘just to shut me up’. he’s drinking behavior was getting out of hand and embarrassing in front of friends and family. in early 2012 he started seeing another counselor and attended few AA meetings. he’s counseling lasted 7-8 months, during which his drinking decreased from everyday to now ever 2-3 days. he didn’t like AA and stopped going as well. he’s still drinking ever 2-3 days (he doesn’t really get drunk but just likes to get ‘buzzed) and in his mind that’s a big progress. he does however get drunk drunk at least once every 2 weeks. he has admitted to me that he can drink a bottle of Gin at one setting. he buys alcohol and hides is from me, his choice is ‘Gin’ as he thinks it doesn’t smell like vodka does. i also point out to him every time i see he’s been drinking so he doesn’t think that just because no one sees it, it means it didn’t happen. he doesn’t think his problem is as big as it used to be, and i don’t know what to do anymore. I want to have a family and we are going through the IVF cycle right now as with my medical condition i only really have one shot at getting pregnant. However with my husban’s alcohol, i’m terrified that i’m making a huge mistake. i don’t have anyone to turn to, no where to go. i’m embarrassed to admit to anyone that he’s an alcoholic as from the outside we look like a perfect couple, except from the few times he got drunk which everyone thinks ‘it happens to everyone’. he is a good person, does most of the house chores, including laundry and dishes. he walks our dogs and does literally everything. Money is also not an issue, i work and i can support myself.
    am i wasting my life with this man? should i forgo my dreams of having a family and leave him now??? i don’t want to wake up 40 years from now and look back at my life just too realize that i have wasted it with an alcoholic? if i leave, am i going to find someone who will accept me as a woman that can’t have children how would i admit this to a man)?

    • FreeMyAddict Team


      One thing for sure. Your husband need6s to get support for his alcoholism. I can’t assure you he will quit or stay quit. My experience tells me most alcoholics have relapses on their way to a consistent recovery.

      It appears to me you are asking some difficult questions only you can answer. In my opinion it’s never a waste to care about an alcoholic. This doesn’t mean you have to live out their addiction with them.

      When you establish some strong healthy boundaries you will be able to see what you need to do and what his willingness is to participate with you.

  10. Arlene

    My common-law boyfriend and I have been together for over 10 years now. We have 4 kids, 2 disabled children together and he has helped me raise 2 children from my 2 previous marriages. He is exhibiting most of the signs of alcoholism listed on your site, all the way from building a tolerance, claiming to be affected by hard liquor only and switching to beer to fix it, having black outs (usually these are the times he’s been aggressive), to blaming me for his habit; he says that I control him & nag him so much that it drives him to drink. But what I nag him about is his drinking and what I control is the money to prevent his drinking.
    At times of anger due to his drunken episodes, I’m sure that I want him out of my life & want to kick him out, at least until he gets helps and has been sober for a while. But once the next day comes around and the rage is gone he down plays the situation and I second guess if I’m making a big deal out of nothing as he says and being too hard on him and then I just can’t seem to ask him to leave.
    We work together thru self employment. The Business is mine, the house is under my name, and I’m a hard worker and able to work full time. I guess you can say that even though it wouldn’t be easy, I can be financially secure so financial dependency is definitely not the issue! I make threats but he obviously knows I will get over them as soon as I cool off. I’ve threatened in the past when he hit me once in front of my son (he didn’t even remember doing it the next day), that if he didn’t stop drinking he would have to leave and he stopped drinking temporarily but it didn’t last long. He believes that if he doesn’t drink hard liquor and just has a few beers he can control himself but 2 beers to him are two 36oz bottles of beer so he always relapses and goes back to where he was before. He has also used cocaine or smoked marijuana as his drinking progresses and he starts to build up a tolerance that’s when the monster comes out in him. He is otherwise a really nice person. Everyone loves him and he is always the life of the party. I am at my wits end as he doesn’t think he needs to stop completely. He just keeps saying he is going to reduce his intake or change the type of alcohol he consumes. When he quits drinking he is a completely different person, I love to be around him. He gets up eager and in time for work, he is energetic, loving toward his children and I, and looks great. He refuses to go to rehab and states he has gone through AA in the past & he can do it on his own. I don’t know what to do other than not to enable him by limiting his access to money and not covering the ugly behaviors he exhibits when he is drinking by pointing them out to him when ever possible. He always says “I’m not drunk!, stop exaggerating!” He thinks that no one notices and that it isn’t obvious, but it’s very obvious to all those around him. They just don’t see it every day like I do so they think it only occurs occasionally for social gatherings. He’s usually sick the day after a heavy drinking day and always blames it on illness (the flu, stomach virus, allergies, etc) but when I point out to him that he’s sick because of the alcohol he drank the night before he swears it’s not, he says he’s just sick. I do not want my kids growing up witnessing these behaviors and thinking it’s ok but at the same time I do not want my kids growing up without both parents in the home like my older 2 kids did and it’s not easy raising disabled kids.
    When I asked him to quit I told him I wouldn’t drink either to support him but he always starts up again so I find myself just giving up too. It upsets me that I should not enjoy a cocktail during dinner or a glass of wine before bed just to support him when he’s drinking liberally and not supporting himself but on the same token, I feel guilty when I do give up because I find myself drinking socially with him again and it ends up being our only fun time together, although temporary it seems to be all I have left of the guy I fell in love with and If I can keep him from over doing it that day he might stay nice and not disrespect me in public by belittling me in front of people. I feel as though he is a full time job. I have to watch that he doesn’t drink too much where he might get violent, embarrass me in public, maybe get mad at the kids or blow something small out of proportion. I have to watch that he doesn’t try to drive to get more beer, or that he will be willing to get up for work on time, or that someone at my kids school might notice or that even a nurse caring for my disabled daughter in the home might notice and report it. I love him but I’m exhausted, Any suggestions as to how I can get him help? Or should I be running in the other direction?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      There are several thoughts that come to mind. One you need strong boundaries not idle threats. If you get to a point where you won’t tolerate his drinking as you said, you have financial security and own the home. You can insist that he leave. Be sure not to use this as an idle threat because it won’t mean anything to him unless you follow through.

      Alcoholism is an illness. The excuses he makes are part of the symptoms. One thing you need to understand. You can’t care about his recovery more than he does. You can’t make him recover or even get treatment. What you do have control over is what YOU choose to do. Then he truly has a consequence for his behavior. This will result in him making a decision about what is most important to him, drinking or family.

      Don’t be shocked if he chooses alcohol. Many alcoholics do.

      I hope you take time to read articles on this site and see how you can gain strength for your journey with or without your alcoholic.

      You would benefit from a few sessions of Mastery Coaching

  11. jennifer

    is it possible for someone who is super healthy, exercises for hours everyday, etc. to be an alcoholic? my partner is really healthy, super fit, exercises all the time, but i am constantly finding empty beer and wine bottles, or evidence of drinking (beer bottle caps) all over the house and garage and yard. he swears he is not an alcoholic, just says he feels a compulsion to hide things from me (not just alcohol, but other things, too) but i just can’t seem to ignore all of the evidence of alcoholism. except that he seems so healthy. i’m so confused. am i in denial?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Addiction doesn’t have favorites. Denial is typical with alcoholic behavior. The first step to recovery is admitting the problem with alcohol. Your perceptions are likely spot on. I would say just by the question you asked you are not in denial. If you played along with his excuses and denial then I would say you would be in denial.

      Thanks for your question many have the same concern.

  12. Tash

    About a year ago I realized my partner had the illness, he would drink 8-12 cans of lager every night and more on a weekend. He doesn’t get drunk and his personality doesn’t change. After confronting him to cut down he did (so I thought) iv discovered empty hidden bottles of Stella in the laundry basket hidden in the clothes he would wake to use the bathroom half 4 in the morning and have a beer. He says he drinks because “he likes the taste and “its his wind down thing after work” he does work hard to provide for us and his 5 y/o little boy who lives with us. We are due to be married in just 6 weeks time. I fear it’s going to get worse and it’s going to come between us. I believe his dad too had the illness and became physical with his wide. I don’t what to do or what to think anymore. I love him dearly and would break my heart to see him drink his way to his grave. I’m led to believe this drinking behavior has gone for years. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Early drinking is typically a sign of an addictive pattern of use. There would be no good reason to hide alcohol if there wasn’t a plan to use more than one wants to admit. These patterns are troubling. Just because his father became violent when drinking is no guarantee he will. However, there are behavioral patterns observed that do get picked up by the observer.

      Your fiances alcohol use seems to be problematic. If as I suspect he may be alcoholic, it won’t get better for him or you until he admits the issue and gets support for recovery.

      At this point, knowing what you know you have a big decision. Do you want to take on your marriage with someone who has an illness, doesn’t acknowledge it and understanding it will in all likelihood get substantially worse before it gets better.

      I know people who choose to take this challenge on and I know others who reluctantly walk away. Either way there’s significant emotional distress.
      Thanks for your comment. Hope this helps.

  13. Rachel

    This is a whole lot to take in, but at least I know now that I am not crazy and I am not to blame for all the problems in my marriage. All the signs have been there but I guess I wanted it to be my fault because that was something I could fix. After reading all of these posts and the article, I am sad but relived at the same time. My husband has alcohol dependency and is in classic denial. He fits the tolerance and inability to stop too. He does not get falling down drunk but has serious personality changes. For the longest time I could not tell he was drunk, I could not understand why we were arguing. We would be getting along great and then all the sudden he would become argumentative and say I was doing it. Worse…I believed it. I have been beating myself up for almost a year. A few month back he brought to my attention how much he had been drinking and realizing has been a slow process. Tonight is the first time I stepped out of denial and ended up here. Thank you to all who posted. Where do I go from here?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks for coming to our site. We consider it an honor to help you in this process of discovery. Once your eyes open you have two choices:

      1. Continue to Grow, or
      2. Go back to denial

      When you continue to grow things become more and more clear. Eventually you will recognize the game before it’s even played. Then you can actually decide not to play along with it.
      The result?
      You get some freedom from guilt and no longer take the responsibility for his actions.
      Thanks for your comments.

  14. Claudia

    Hi, I just don’t know where to start… I need help.
    My husband drinks until passing out anytime there’s conflict, we’ve been married for almost three years now, we had a stillborn baby in june 2011, next year I lost my job and yesterday our beloved pet died. When our baby died he used to drink almost everyday but after realizing he was hurting me deeply (I ended locked up on a psychiatric hospital)things where “normal” for a time but this year it started again, I have got to say that he is supporting me financially and pays all the bills, works hard, etc. but every weekend he buys beers and he can’t hold his liquor and starts acting annoying, saying things that make no sense, and sometimes he gets offensive towards me, his dad was an alcoholic and he has always told me he saw her mom suffer a lot and that he vowed never to become like his father, but it hasn’t worked that way. I used to have fun going out with him, but now if I know there’s going to be booze I get very anxious and ask him to please don’t get drunk, and it’s the same always he ends up drunk and acting annoying with me or anyone else, next day he apologizes and promise it won’t happen again. But it does, yesterday I was really depressed because of the death of our pet, he instantly goes out to buy beers and I ask him, politely, please don’t get drunk I need you, he says he won’t he just NEEDS to drink, all day goes by and he’s getting drunk, he gets very affectionate saying he loves me and I am the love of his life, next he tells me he’s going to buy more beer, i get in the car with him and BEG him not to, we drive away and he stops at the supermarket I ask him again cryying please don’t drink anymore. He goes into the market, gets out with more beers, next he stopped by a gas station and comes out with a little bottle of jaggermeister again me crying telling him that’s not the way to deal with things, we could just go to bed and watch tv, he says he’s not going to drink anymore, when we get home he opens a bottle of beer i get angry and tell him that he promised no to ddrink anymore, he gets furious at me sayin he’s not doing enything wrong, he pays everything in this house, screaming at the top of his lungs, he tells me to get the fuck away from the house, then he says that he’s the one leaving, I just stood there not saying a word, then he starts throwing things at a wall and I grabbed the jaggermeister bottle, and he screams at me saying that if I break it he is going to leave for ever, i walk to the bedroom, still with the bottle on my hands and the he got physical with me trying to get his booze he pushed me to the ground and that has left a bruise on my back, i just layed there crying, i gave him the bottle and he walked away screaming that he is going to leave me and that he hates his life with me, because ha can’t do whatever he wants, then he walks in the bedroom again (i was still lying down not looking at him) he screams at me: look at me! look at me! and I wasn’t moving or looking at him, then he grabbed me by my arm and flipped me back and got on top of me, demanding that i look at him, he put his hands around my neck shaking me, I started screaming, he released me and then proceeded to scream some more got his passport and screamed he was leaving, he hasn’t left he’s on the other room watching tv and he went to get more beers for today, he hasn’t apologized or anything. I don’t know anyone I can talk to, I’m scared, depressed, don’t know what to do, he has told me in the past that he is not an alcoholic because he doesn’t drink everyday. Please help me, I’m begging you to respond and tell me what should I do, I’m so sorry for the big rant

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      My best recommendation Claudia is to schedule a few sessions with our Coach. These are not uncommon issues. They take time to work through. The link for the coaching is “a href=””>Mastery Coaching

  15. Nancy R.

    23 years in a marriage, left him 6 years ago because after 5 years of sobriety he returned to drinking, lies, and bars and we argued all the time. We also argued during his 5 years of sobriety. I left him 6 years ago, still thought he would change, NOT! Stayed friends, didn’t file for a divorce, and continued our “intimate” relationship; although in the past year it has been my intimate as he no longer can meet that task due to alcohol use. Recently, he came to my home, with vulgar accusations toward me, and was very well tipsy. After a confrontation because I refused to discuss his nasty talk, he left drinking and driving. Several weeks before this we had an arguement about the past. So, 10 days passed, he never called, I delivered him a “dear John” letter and when we finally had to talk since we are not divorced, he listened to me and replied, “I am not a drunk no matter what you think. Our problem is we can’t get along.” I of course wanted to retaliate and say, “Prove your not a drunk” but it is pointless after 23 years and I am positive we have had as many conversations as a person could have; oh and by the way, while talking to him I could tell he was a bit tipsy because generally he will repeat himself over and over again. What do I suggest? I am in conseling this time, stay strong and busy, I am thinking of joining the al-anon, but the chapter we have in my community is just not what I was looking for years ago, but I am willing to try again. I am also willing to try to attend an “open” AA meeting, not sure if I am there yet. Good luck, but it never gets better for long…

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You’ve invested a lot into a 23 year marriage. I’m sure you have become pretty capable of recognizing when your husband is or has been drinking. Sometimes alcoholics may have issues where they act like what we call a “dry drunk”. For all intent and purposes it’s the same as being drunk without the alcohol. Either way you want change and have every right to ask for it.
      You mentioned AL-anon. I would like to suggest to you to consider a Celebrate Recovery group. It may actually help you as well or better.

  16. To Late

    My husband was a functioning alcoholic and all these patterns fit him to a tee. This past January, marked our 32 anniversary of marriage. My husband’s father had a problem with alcohol but was able to completely quit. My husband said he liked the taste of beer and it quenched his thirst better than anything else. He has always said, “I can quit anytime” and occasionally would for short periods. He would often see the doctor for various digestive issues and would monitor his blood pressure. He would routinely visit the doctor for a liver blood test and brag that the test showed that he still had the liver of a 20 year old. He couldn’t understand why his drinking bothered me since he wasn’t abusive and he took good care of his family both financially and otherwise. He had convinced me that I was wrong, that he needed to drink to calm his mind and that any issues we had wasn’t due to his drinking, but it was due to me being too busy, or too distant, or too something else. When I confronted him about his drinking impacting his behavior, he blamed it on liquor and would switch to beer or wine for a while but later change back. A couple years ago I had enough and did not want to be involved in this marriage anymore and told him–I gave up on our marriage. I wanted leave; however, I ended up staying since I could never get comfortable leaving and hurting our 3 children ages 12 to 18. The drinking continued to bother me so I started measuring his drinks and confronted him with how much he was drinking, his response was to start locking up and hiding his drinks so I couldn’t count them anymore. To close this long post; my husband died 4 months and 2 weeks ago. The cause of death, liver failure. The doctor said he had alcoholic cirrhosis and therefore was not eligible for a liver transplant. His first sign of cirrhosis was almost 1 year prior to his death. During that year he saw numerous doctors, refusing to believe it was liver problems and thinking it was something else. He made numerous attempts to get a liver biopsy to confirm cirrhosis, but due to incompetent medical professionals aided by my husband’s stubbornness that never happened. My husband continued to drink up until a week before he died as he said that was the only thing that made him feel better. The memories of how the disease quickly eroded his health and those final very stressful days in the hospital where he expected me to help him get better, but the doctors were telling me there was nothing more to do, still haunt me. I now believe that we both were in denial. My husband was a well-educated, financially independent, highly respected and competent man with strong values. He did drink almost every day but rarely gave the appearance of being drunk. While I told him he was an alcoholic, neither of us fully believed that. I felt compelled to post to this site in hopes of helping others so maybe they would not find themselves in the position that I currently find myself which is that of still wondering why and how this could happen to us? And feeling guilty wondering how I contributed to this problem and if I should have done or said something differently so my children would still have their dad, who undeniably loved and protected them.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      First, I’m sorry for your loss. You knew he was alcoholic but he refused to come out of denial. Unfortunately too many alcoholics follow his pattern. Thank you for your comments.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry for your loss.

    • eyeopener

      Thank you too late for your story. It has really opened my eyes why I need to do more to intervene with with my husband’s drinking. I have read alot of information about alcoholism and one of the first early signs is high tolerance, which my husband has. His father was an alcoholic, died of lung cancer due to smoking. I’m sure the alcohol was replaced by nicotine.I have talked to him about my concerns. He did drink one drink in his truck before going into work. I wasn’t aware of this until I confronted him about why there was alcohol in his truck.He agreed that he doesn’t think he is an alcoholic, but may become one if continuing that behavior. Now my young adult daughter mentioned that she thinks her Dad is an alcoholic because of his high tolerance. He drank all afternoon and evening for the past 2 days.Your story plus my daughter’s concern has really opened my eyes. I love him. We are in marriage counselling, but maybe the bigger picture is alcohol abuse. He says he won’t stop drinking. I’m not sure if he can decrease or not to socially drink. He is close to retirement, but I think he feels trapped to stay even though he will receive a pension and I will still work. Sorry for your loss, but please know that you have helped me with your story!

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        I don’t know if you have shared your concerns with the counselor but it may be helpful. It may be your husband is alcoholic. It further makes sense he is adamant about not giving up his drug of choice, alcohol. Ultimately alcoholism gets worse with physical damage and losses. This often doesn’t result in stopping alcoholic consumption. I would urge you to read the articles about enabling on this site and make sure you don’t enable him that will help a lot.

  17. An almost alcoholic

    Hi there, my husband of 10 years does not think he has a problem with alcohol. He does not drink bottles of hard liquor, have black outs, or miss work. What he does is drinks and lies where he is. Says he is at work late, or at the mall, but is drinking with his management team or family members (also have alcohol problems) I do not know how to react anymore when he comes home way later than expected and it is obvious he was drinking and lying to me about it. When he is out and I call him, he never picks up. I assume it’s because he knows I will pick up on his slurred words and change of attitude. The next day he apologizes and admits he needs help. He has gone to therapy a few times but doesnt seem to stick. He says the drinking isnt the problem, it’s me (and our ups and downs) When I tell him that he doesnt have to be a full blown alcoholic to have an alcohol problem it’s made that I am the crazy one. Our daughter is now 7 and doesnt want Daddy going out anymore because she wakes to hear me crying and shouting. I have to think of her and myself- but how do I open his eyes? How do I react when he ignores my phone calls and comes home clearly under the influence? It is hard to control my anger, hurt and disapointment. Thank you.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I would first let you know social drinkers do NOT have blackouts. Only alcoholics have blackouts. This is not almost alcoholism it is alcoholism. You have every right to be concerned. I would encourage you to read articles on this site about enabling. You’re on the right track.

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