Help! My Wife Is Drinking Too Much

By Emma Williams

 When someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, it can be hard to know when to get help – especially if that someone is your wife. But if you think your wife is struggling with alcoholism or is beginning to drink too much, it might be time to reach out for the help and support you both need. Not sure where to start? Here’s the basic information you need to help get your wife on the road to recovery.

 
Alcohol & Women: What You Need to Know
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), while more than a third of women in the U.S. drink alcohol, only one in 10 women consume more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
 
If you know your wife is routinely consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day, or if she seems unable to go a whole day without alcohol, it’s time for her to get help. Because women typically weigh less than men, it doesn’t take as much alcohol to affect them. That’s why the dietary guidelines for women classify moderate drinking as just one drink per day on average for women (versus two drinks per day for men).
 
Does She Have a Drinking Problem?
If you think your wife might be drinking too much, but you’re not sure whether you need to seek help, the first step is to honestly assess the reason for your concern. After all, the fact that you are worried about her alcohol consumption may well be a sign that your wife does indeed have a problem.
 
In addition to posing a serious risk to your wife’s personal health and safety, alcohol abuse can put you, your family members, friends, and even community members at risk. So while it can be difficult to admit that the person you love may be struggling with an addiction, remember that getting her the help she needs is one of the most supportive things you can do.
 
Consider some of the following key warning signs of alcohol addiction. If more than one of them is familiar, your wife may be an alcoholic and it’s definitely time to get help:
 
  • She consistently fails to meet work or family responsibilities
  • She regularly drinks more than she intended, or more than is necessary
  • Her alcohol consumption is affecting social engagements and relationships (you may find that you are declining or avoiding social activities that you used to enjoy because of concern over your wife’s drinking)
  • Your wife’s alcohol consumption is putting her and/or you and other family members at risk of physical harm, including drinking and driving
  • She seems unable to go even one day without an alcoholic beverage
  • She regularly justifies or rationalizes her alcohol consumption with excuses and “reasons” for having another drink
  • She promises she will stop drinking or cut down on her drinking, but never does
 
What to Do Next
While these are just a few of the typical signs of alcoholism, if even one of them is familiar, it’s time to seek help before your wife’s problem spirals out of control. But where – and to whom – do you turn?
 
If you’re comfortable doing so, the first person you need to turn to is your wife. Try to share your concerns with her in a caring and loving manner, and ask if she is open to getting some help, with your partnership and support backing her. If you don’t feel equipped or ready to approach this conversation alone, consider finding help within your community. In addition to local chapters of various alcoholism support groups, you will also find professional counselors who can help you reach out to your wife.
 
Working with a qualified professional will also help you find the right alcoholism treatment center for your wife when she is ready to take the first step toward successful recovery. And because alcoholism affects spouses, children, and other family members too, many professionals and alcoholism recovery programs will also provide support and counseling for you.
 
Whether you decide to open the conversation about your wife’s alcohol consumption with her directly, or opt to seek guidance from a professional counselor first, remember that you and your wife are not alone: The help you need is available in your community, as soon as you reach out for it.

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