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How Do I Know If My Wife Is An Alcoholic?

answered 04:35 PM EST, Fri September 30, 2011
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anonymous anonymous
My wife drinks more wine than she used to. A couple/three glasses on weeknights and much more on weekends.

We used to party harder when we were young but as I and most of our friends have sort of slowed down as we get older and have kids and jobs and all that, she seems to be picking things up.

She takes care of her business and she’s a great mom and she says she’s fine but I think she is starting to have a bit of a problem. It is becoming a sore point between us. How can I know for sure if she is becoming an alcoholic?

Dr. David Sack Says...

One would need a lot more information to be able to say that someone who is drinking has slid into dependency.  It is not simply a question of how many drinks your wife is having.  Women are more susceptible to alcohol’s effect than men and she is drinking a considerable quantity.  The question becomes is drinking affecting her life?  Is she having health consequences?  Is it a sore point between the two of you because her attitude and mood changes when she drinks (irritability, hostility, depression, anxiety)?  Is she experiencing problems with work (lateness, absenteeism, less productive)?  Is she having legal problems like DUIs or car accidents?  My suspicion is that if you are already concerned, her drinking has become a  problem even if you can’t put your finger on it.  

There are several directions you can go in.  If your wife is willing, the two of you could see a therapist experienced in evaluating and treating alcohol problems and see what conclusions they come to.  If she is not willing to go for an assessment, you may want to attend Alanon meetings to understand more about the disease of alcoholism and to sort out what you can do about it.    

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