Married Couple Holding Hands

How to Cope with an Alcoholic Spouse

It can often feel like an uphill battle when you have a spouse who is living with alcohol addiction. Many husbands and wives realize sooner or later, that no matter what lengths they may go to, they cannot control the addiction of their significant other. In this situation, one often feels completely helpless and may start to think that there is no hope for recovery.

However, there is always hope for recovery, but your journey begins with changing your mentality on how to properly cope and deal with an alcoholic spouse. After adjusting your perspective, and if your spouse is willing, you may seek out a professional detox and rehabilitation program.

When exploring the best California alcohol treatment program for your spouse, it is important to keep in mind that the road to recovery is a long process that requires much patience and understanding on your part, but that it’s also just as important for you to seek professional help, such as family group therapy (if multiple family members are involved), to properly heal and improve broken relationships.


Common Mistakes When Dealing with Alcoholism

Before explaining the mindset you should adopt to better cope with your spouse with alcohol use disorder, there may be a few things that you are doing now—which you may not be aware of—that are actually enabling your spouse instead of helping them.

It is a common mistake to try to keep your struggling spouse in a protective bubble, but this is the worst thing you can do, and it is not beneficial for any party involved. There are a number of actions which could be enabling your spouse, including:

  • Making excuses for your struggling spouse or hiding evidence of the problem in an attempt to keep a positive image of them in others’ eyes. This includes if they ask you to lie in order to cover up a bad choice involving alcohol. By allowing your spouse to deal with the results of his/her actions, they are more likely to realize they have a problem.
  • Attempting to control or cure your loved one by keeping the drinking at home, getting rid of all the alcohol at home, or coercing/shaming your spouse to stop drinking. Not only is this potentially dangerous for you and your family, but alcohol use disorder is never resolved this way. You are not responsible for curing your spouse. They need professional help.
  • Excusing troubling behavior because your spouse wasn’t “acting like themselves at the time” or because “they had too much to drink.” By keeping incidents of troubling behavior unchecked, you may soon find yourself in more intense and abusive situations.
  • Rescuing your spouse every time they reach a point of crisis (i.e. losing their job, receiving a DUI, etc.). This is a pivotal moment that your spouse must experience on their own because it is often when they will admit they have a problem and are open to receiving professional help.

The Right Mindset

Married Couple Going To Alcoholic Counseling

Now that you have been made aware of common mistakes that are made when dealing with an alcoholic spouse, you can change your mindset and tactic when it comes to coping.

  • You are not to blame for your spouse’s addiction. They are going to drink no matter what you say and may even try to blame you, but it is a matter of brain chemistry. They have developed a strong dependency on alcohol which even they cannot control.
  • Do not take their broken promises or lies personally. As stated before, your spouse has no control over their addiction, and thus even their decision making is compromised when it comes to alcohol.
  • Do not have unreasonable expectations. Your spouse is deeply in denial that they have a problem and will often go to great lengths to cover it up. If they cannot be honest with themselves, how can they be honest with others?
  • Alcoholism is a progressive disease. It is important to stay focused on the situation as it exists in its current state in order to move forward. Additionally, thinking of alcoholism as a disease that is not within your loved one’s control will allow you to be more patient and understanding.
  • Be honest and open about the problem. As stated before, hiding the situation only enables them.
  • Seek help from others. This is not a solo battle. You are not alone.


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, rehabilitation is possible at Yellowstone Recovery. Find out more about our affordable treatment options and start the road to recovery today!

Request More Information

Start your recovery today.

    • Treatment Options
    • Program Curriculum
    • Program Services
    young man talking to his therapist

    Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

    Intensive OutPatient treatment (IOP) helps people establish the foundations for lifelong sobriety…

    patio with tables covered by umbrellas


    Our California alcohol and drug addiction treatment program is predicated on restoring you to your ideal health. Detox is a crucial part…

    gate for one of the rehab facility homes

    Primary Care – Residential Treatment

    The first phase of our program is primary care. During this phase clients will be in a 30-day “blackout” period…

    three straw men standing in front of two trees

    Residential Treatment – Extended Care

    Residential treatment extended care starts on day 31 and goes through day 90. This period is very important for a client in early recovery…

    small outdoor pond

    Outpatient Treatment

    Outpatient treatment serves as aftercare for clients who have completed extended care (90 days of residential treatment)…

    gate for one of the rehab facility homes

    Sober Living

    Sober living at Yellowstone begins after the initial residential treatment portion of the program is successfully completed…

    emotional support group with five men and women

    Weekday Schedule

    Detox and Residential Treatment

    Depressed woman looking away

    Experiential Therapy

    Experiential Therapy is therapy of the mind rather than the body. It is a tool to help…

    typewriter writing the words

    Contact Yellowstone Recovery


    Why Choose Yellowstone?

    Low Cost Pricing

    Financing Available

    PPO Insurance Accepted

    Provide Complete
    Continuum of Care