Q: How can I cope with my spouse who has an alcohol abuse problem? It is hard seeing it every day and not knowing if he will ever seek help.

A: Hi there,

We’re so sorry to hear that you’re struggling — we know it’s so difficult to cope with loved ones’ challenges. In terms of coping, you might consider seeking support from those around you, like family and friends, because it’s hard to deal with this sort of thing alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, whether it’s a friend to talk to or just companionship during difficult times. 

We’re also wondering if you’d be open to helping your spouse seek support. That could look like taking the first step with your spouse by sitting down together and calling treatment centers or therapists to work with. Often, individuals struggling with substance use need someone to take the first step with them. 

You might also want to consider what your boundaries are if your spouse does not want to seek help. Setting your own boundaries could keep you from accidentally enabling their drinking behaviors (for example: setting a boundary that you do not want to spend time with them when they’re intoxicated, or you do not want to go out to bars with them). Only you can decide what your boundaries are, but it might be something to explore with your Thriveworks therapist. 

We hope this information helps! 


Emily Simonian, M.A., LMFT