When your husband or partner falls into addiction it can be both shocking and heartbreaking. Even when the signs have been there all along, it can be difficult to accept that they have lost control over the situation. When substance abuse is severe it can lead to a lapse in judgement and responsibility which can be detrimental to all aspects of a marriage.

    Today we will be discussing the signs that your husband or partner is an alcoholic: including the dangers of alcoholism and where to go for help.

    Understanding Alcoholism

    Alcoholism is a complex illness and not all signs necessarily apply to everyone. Signs of alcohol misuse can vary significantly depending on what a person’s drinking patterns and behaviours are. But in a broad sense, a person falls into one of these two categories. 

    Functional Alcoholics – A functional alcoholic appears to be on top of things. Despite their struggle with an addiction, they can hold down a job and a manage a family while being seen as reliable by others. These kinds of drinkers are more likely to drink in private and less likely to show outward signs of alcohol abuse. Because they exhibit lower levels of self-destructiveness, functional alcoholics are less likely to be confronted by friends and family. It also means they are less likely to get treatment early on. Those that abuse alcohol over the course of many years also put themselves at a higher risk of developing long term health problems. Dysfunctional Alcoholics – Dysfunctional alcoholics lack the self-control to moderate their drinking and will even drink heavily throughout the day regardless of what responsibilities they may have. Because of their lack of self-control, dysfunctional alcoholics behave in ways that endanger themselves and others.

    Those with this severe form of alcohol use disorder (AUD) perform poorly at work and have trouble holding down jobs. They also struggle with maintaining healthy relationships and marriages. 

    Symptoms of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

    When a person abuses alcohol it acts like a kind of sign language. Everything about their appearance, mannerisms and behaviors change. If your husband or partner is doing any of these things, it may be a sign that they are an alcoholic.

    • Rationalizing their need to drink with others (e.g., just needing to relax after a long day)
    • Not being able to drink in moderation
    • Slurred speech and clumsy movements (from excessive drinking)
    • Easily agitated or enraged
    • Needing to spend long periods recovering from drinking
    • Frequent and dramatic shifts in moods
    • Poor performance at work and school
    • Missing family obligations
    • Engages in dangerous behaviours (e.g., drinking and driving, drunken brawling, etc.)

    Dangers of Alcoholism

    Alcoholism is progression, your husband likely did not get addicted to alcohol from one drink but instead became ensnared overtime. This is the crux of drug and alcohol addiction– as the negative consequences of drinking worsen, the urge to drink becomes stronger–nullifying the ability to motivate change.

    To avoid the myriad of risks associated with chronic drinking it is often necessary to step in and push them into an abstinence program. The earlier you can get your loved on into detox treatment, the more likely you are to prevent any of these dangerous consequences coming to fruition. 

    Legal Consequences

    Alcohol is famous for its ability to impair judgement and self-control. Even if your husband drinks on occasion, one night of excessive drinking is sufficient cause disastrous legal consequences.

    Some people become abusive when they drink leading to domestic violence which can culminate in an ugly divorce, a restraining order, or criminal charges.

    Those who take their alcoholism into public can face legal actions for destruction of property and physical violence. Should they get in a car, they may end up with a DUI, an injury lawsuit and even serve jail time.

    Physical Health Consequences

     The long-term physical health consequences of alcohol abuse are numerous and include:

    • Liver cancer and failure
    • Memory impairment
    • Problems with motor control (asterixis and in severe cases hepatic encephalopathy)
    • Digestive issues (including stomach ulcers and pancreatitis)
    • Bone Damage
    • Neurological problems (dementia and numbness of the extremities)
    • Heart problems (high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke)
    • Increased risk of cancers

    Alcohol Poisoning and Blackouts

    Those who struggle hard with binge drinking can experience blackouts and alcohol poisoning regularly.

    Blackouts occur when a person consumes high levels of alcohol. The alcohol causes a temporary disruption in the registration of short-term memories into long-term memory. The result is the person being unable to recall a portion or all the memories from a previous night of drinking.3

    Once somebody gets into blackout territory, it is possible for them to go even further. Alcohol poisoning occurs when an individual’s blood alcohol levels (BAC) are so high that the body begins shutting down vital functions. When an alcohol overdose happens, severe brain damage and even death can occur.4


    Excessive drinking can cause seizures, especially during the withdrawals or lapses of regular drinking. Among 3% of those who get withdrawal-induced seizures will develop a condition called status epilepticus which can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.

    How to Safely Detox from Alcohol

    The safest and most effective way for your partner to detox from alcohol is an inpatient detox program. Detox programs get your loved one past the initial phase of withdrawal symptoms and alcohol dependency. 

    Once their detox is complete, the urge to drink is still powerful and it is recommended that they continue treatment in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. These abstinence programs offer evidence-based therapies, group counseling and medication assisted treatment (MAT) all in an environment that shields them from easy access to alcohol.

    Eagle Recovery is an alcohol detox treatment center serving residents and visitors of the Los Angeles and Orange County area. For more information on our alcohol misuse prevention programs, call us today at (888) 512-1378.


    Alcoholism: List of Symptoms and Signs of Alcohol Abuse. American Addiction Centers. (2021, October 26). Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/symptoms-and-signs.

    Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2018, July 11). Alcohol Use Disorder. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243. 

    Mosel, S. (2021, November 19). Blackout Drunk: Signs, Causes & Dangers of Blackout Drinking. American Addiction Centers. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/blackout.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-dangers-of-alcohol-overdose. 

    Warning Signs of Alcoholism. Alcohol Rehab Guide. (2021, October 14). Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/warning-signs/.

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