Life married to an alcoholic

August 11, 2008

Signs of an alcoholic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — tiredwife @ 7:41 am

Since there is nothing new to relate on my front, I’ve been browsing the web this morning looking for a good article with the “signs of an alcoholic” I really can’t find a good one. They seem to be so broad that 50% of the population over 21 fits, or so narrow that only 1/3 of alcoholics fit the bill.

Let me be the first to tell you that an alcoholic CAN hold a good job and go to work every day. That seems to  be a common misconception from the sites I’ve looked at. My husband has missed 2 days of work in a year, and neither were related to alcohol or hang overs.

Also, an alcoholic CAN make it to family functions, get togethers, meetings, appointments and what not.

There is even a term for it. A “functional alcoholic” They can do the normal day to day things. They can and do go to work, go to family events, kids plays, parent teacher conferences. All the same stuff a non-alcoholic does.

So here is MY list of signs:

1. He or She cannot relax or wind down without getting “buzzed” A bit of stress increases the drinking.

2. If alcohol is in the house, or readily available, the person seems unable to stop at just a couple.

3. The person becomes defensive, angry or dismissive if you bring up their drinking habits. Also included is changing the subject or deflecting your concerns.

4. The drinking is a “secret”.  Not really drinking in secret, but keeping the amount and the frequency of the drinking a secret from friends and family who don’t witness it.

5. Sudden changes in behavior. Tense, anger, anxiety, “grumpiness” and such when alcohol is not available. An immediate turn around when alcohol becomes available.

6. Poor judgement. Most rational people know when they have had too much to drink. An alcoholic tends not to. Alcoholics rack up multiple DUI’s. They insist they are ok to drive. I realize that those who are not alcoholics also drive intoxicated, but rarely get more than one DUI or DWAI.

7. Behavior that seems “unlike them”. My husband is a quiet introvert. When drinking he becomes extroverted and talkative. He says whatever comes to mind, no matter how rude. some alcoholics become brave and initiate fights or become abusive **

(**It’s important (to me!) to note that my personal beliefs come into this one. Although I am not an expert I believe that an alcoholic who is abusive, both verbally or physically, or does crazy behavior while drunk always has those inclinations. I think the alcohol just allows them an excuse to act upon those behaviors. I don’t believe a guy only beats a woman because he’s drunk. I believe that the alcohol gives him an excuse to beat a woman)

8. Blackouts and not being able to remember what happened the night before

9. Constant use of cologne or breath mints to cover up the smell of alcohol

10. The physical aspects. The red nose. The broken blood vessels in the cheeks. Alcohol poisoning, etc. These don’t show up in everyone. My husband does not have red cheeks or nose. He has great blood pressure. Every physical has reported he is in great health. However, if he drinks vodka, his face, knees, hands, neck and elbows develop big red splotches. No matter how much he denies it, I can tell if vodka is in the house.

11. He is unable to have a good time without alcohol. He believes that in order to have fun there must be alcohol provided.

Of course there are more signs. And not every sign fits every drunk. All of these, except 10 fit my husband. He has not had more than one DUI, but I know that he has driven while intoxicated. I know that he will do whatever he can to get his next drink. I have hidden his wallet, keys and shoes before. He has walked barefoot, in snow, with dimes and nickels to the liquor store. His wild behavior can be funny. It was funny when he believed he was in “Pablo’s house” and attempted to pee on the answering machine. It was not so funny when he didn’t know where he was and peed in the kids toy box. Or on the car.

All I can say, is I am not an expert (I repeat that a lot!) nor do I claim to know all the signs. If you have thought rationally about it, and think that someone is an alcoholic, you are probably right.

And, as a final note, if you do find yourself involved with an alcoholic, don’t feel bad if you find some of the behavior funny. I did for a while. But, it also helps to laugh, in my opinion. I still have a private giggle over the time my husband and his friend hugged each other for a long moment, slapped each others butts and declared “I love you man!”



  1. Thankyou. This is exactly what I needed.

    Comment by brokemom — August 20, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  2. Thank you for writing. I have just fetched my very drunk alcoholic husband from a binge and totally ruined my 12 year old sons sleepover. My husband thinks that vodka drunk neat from the cubby hole of your car is normal and not at all alcoholic behaviour. I was starting to think I was the one that was losing my mind. Your words are my thoughts and it brings be a relief to know that this is real and I am not imagining things.

    Comment by soberwife — August 28, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

  3. […] Signs of an ALCOHOLIC […]

    Pingback by Alcoholic Signs Symptoms — May 19, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  4. Hmmm? Lots and lots of identical behavior. Mine is the most giving, loving and sharing human in the world!! That’s why I married him. But in the past year, he is unable to sit in bed and read or watch tv or play a game of back gammon without pounding 3 to 4 beers an hour! I love beer! I work in the restaurant biz and we all love to take the “Edge” off…but 2 to 3 and then maybe a bowl of ice cream or a glass of milk or a doctor’s sleeping pill get’s the regular people to sleep. I am a diagnosed insamniac….but I turned down sleeping pills after horrific side effects from them. I had to give up caffine due to breast systs, we all have issues….but to be stumbling, slurring drunk, repeating the same things over and over each night of the week is a problem. I love my husband, he is good to me and loves me. He is not abusive physically but yes I can tell instantly from his comments when he is “buzzed ” on Vodka. He is in sales and we all know how that is, but he was given prescrpition “colanapin” he can cope each day with his day to day cold-calling sales. Then having 4-5 beers at home, I can’t even have a conversation with him. We use to take walks and throw the football, play darts, backgammon or watch “Wheel”, it turns my stomach when he comes upstairs stumbling knocking things over. I do not have a problem with a few beers or a drink to relax….but when you just can’t stop at a normal ammount, something is wrong. We have been in arguments and scarry threats about leaving, but he ignores me and pretends the next day that everything is perfect. I try not to confront him when he is buzzed anymore, it leads to horrible screaming matches and me leaving the house! He goes to work every morning and pays all the bills, well, 75 %, and I work hard and pay plenty and clean the house..he cleans too! He is perfect except for he doesn’t know when to say “enough”….I just thank God each day for him and I am glad he is a “Happy Drunk”….but I don’t want him to fall down the stairs while he is so happy!! My mother was an alcoholic and as I turned into my 20’s she still had never seeked treatment…she died of cancer in her late 40’s and never knew a sober day. Thanks for sharing…I’m scared.

    Comment by Carla — July 7, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  5. Thank you for writting… I have been browsing the web. hoping to find some sort of answer to my Question. I do now beleive that my husband is really An alcholic. he often have a block out and cannot remember anything the next day.. very irretable, and cant go a day without drink…all the words fits to my husband category, thank you again.

    Comment by eva — October 6, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  6. Thank you for taking the time to write this down. It felt like a mini Alanon meeting.All what you describe I experience at home with my husband. I am the one he blames for everything that goes wrong in his life. I remember once how he got up in the middle of the night and peed against the bedroom wall. It was not funny. Again thank you all for sharing. Hanna

    Comment by Hanna Rodriguez — June 9, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  7. My husband was also the “happy drunk”. Everyone loved him. He made everyone feel better about themselves. Except me. When we were alone, he would become beligerient towards me. I was clueless in his opinion. Doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. He wasn’t sick….his heart problems were not at all from his years of alcohol abuse. Vodka. They (all the health professionals) told me different. He died this year. May 8th, Mother’s Day. I came home and found him dead. Heart finally gave out. I have heard the term for years….”drink themselves to death:……but had no idea. It was bad. I’ve started going to Al Anon meetings. Trying now to “fix” me. I have hope and a wonderful support system with my family. Thank you God for them.

    Comment by Rose Casey — August 3, 2011 @ 2:30 am

  8. Thank you for writing this. It helps to know I’m not alone. I worry about how this is affecting our kids. It’s difficult because I either ‘fight’ the fact my husband is an alcoholic & stay irritated and mad at him or I ignore it & pretend it’s not happening. I switch back and forth between the two. It’s lonely being married and feeling single. Our relationship is not like married people should be,it’s like roommates who have kids together. It’s very sad.

    Comment by Gina — November 30, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  9. This post has helped me a lot…pretty much describing my sitaution I feel as if it is hopeless sometimes ….the sneaking the lying the hiding it gets to be to much sometimes and they treat you as if your “crazy” for accusing them when you know full well their drunk and sometimes I do let it get to me and feel like I’m over reacting but I know anyone who steals whatever they can to catch a buzz has a problem I love my husband so much and we have the most amazing child together ….I just wish there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Comment by steff — June 2, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

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