While most of us know what alcoholism is, it’s hard to pick it out in our daily lives, especially if it’s affecting someone close to us. It’s not easy to see if someone’s drinking habits are normal or part of a bigger issue.

Those with healthy relationships with alcohol don’t drink often or excessively enough where it’s unhealthy. Alcoholics on the other hand, are physically and psychologically dependent on the substance and have a hard time stopping once they start.

It’s important for you to know that anyone, happy or otherwise, can fall into addiction. That’s why it’s especially crucial for you to be aware of the telltale signs of alcohol abuse of someone you love. Then, you can provide the support and care that he/she needs to recover successfully. Here are three signs that signal it’s time to talk to your spouse:

He/she is hiding or covering up drinking

A spouse being dishonest about the frequency and amount of his/her drinking indicates a bigger problem and could worsen. Watch for hidden alcohol throughout the home, late nights at “work” that result in drunken behavior, and vodka being the drink of choice for its odorless scent. Try talking to your partner about these dishonest actions. Tell he/she your concerns and discuss how you can both handle this issue together.

Life is becoming unmanageable for your spouse

Alcoholics have difficulty managing their responsibilities at work, home, and school. Spouses might have multiple DUIs, lose their jobs, have trouble in school, isolate family and friends, and have unexplainable injuries. If your spouse is usually on top of his/her schedule and then suddenly isn’t, this could be a sign of alcoholism.

Can’t have just one drink

Alcoholics drink with the goal of getting drunk every time. A spouse constantly drinking to inebriation, without showing a sense of care for their behavior, is a sign of alcohol addiction. A lot of times, those with a dependency will drink before attending drinking events to get ahead. This might be a way to reduce some anxiety over the event itself. Talk to your partner about his/her excessive drinking and the impact it’s having on your lives.

Alcoholism remains a very sensitive and complicated disease. Because this addiction thrives in secret, it is important to proceed with caution if you suspect your spouse has an issue. Don’t immediately demand answers and force him/her to admit themselves to treatment. The wrong approach could have your spouse turning to even more drinking, causing more harm.

Remember, you can’t blame yourself for your partner’s addiction. His/her issues have nothing to do with you. It’s ultimately your partner’s decision to drink.

Erica Franco Mortimer, MA, LPC, LCADC
Founder and CEO
Center for Healing
Evan Berk Erica is a licensed therapist with over twenty-years experience in mental health. Erica offers practical and straight forward advice to those struggling with addiction and their families. Having deep insight and understanding of addiction, Erica is able to offer guidance to those looking to regain control of their lives.

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