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  • Writer's pictureJulia Koroleva

New Horizons Therapy NY Blog: How to Talk with Your Spouse About Their Problem Drinking


If you're concerned about your spouse's drinking habits, it's important to address the issue with compassion, understanding, and a focus on open communication. Talking about sensitive topics like alcohol misuse can be difficult, but it's a crucial step towards supporting your spouse and strengthening your relationship.

Here are some tips for approaching this sensitive conversation:

  1. Choose the Right Time and Place: Avoid starting the conversation when your spouse is intoxicated or in a public setting. Find a private and quiet space where you can both talk openly without distractions.

  2. Start with Empathy and Concern: Express your love and concern for your spouse's well-being. Let them know that you've noticed changes in their drinking habits and that you're worried about the impact it's having on their health, relationships, and overall life.

  3. Use "I" Statements: Focus on how their drinking makes you feel rather than accusing or blaming them. For example, instead of saying "You're always drunk," try "I feel worried when I see how much you're drinking."

  4. Listen Actively and Validate Their Feelings: Give your spouse space to share their perspective and feelings about their drinking. Listen without judgment and try to understand their underlying reasons for drinking.

  5. Avoid Lectures or Ultimatums: Approaching the conversation with a confrontational or accusatory tone can be counterproductive. Instead, focus on expressing your concerns and offering support.

  6. Offer Solutions and Support: Encourage your spouse to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling. Offer to accompany them to appointments and provide emotional support throughout the process.

  7. Set Boundaries and Prioritize Your Own Well-being: While supporting your spouse is important, it's equally crucial to protect your own mental and emotional health. Set clear boundaries regarding their drinking and seek support for yourself if needed.

Remember, you're not responsible for your spouse's drinking, but you can play a crucial role in their journey towards recovery. Encourage open communication, offer unconditional love and support, and seek professional guidance when needed.


At New Horizons Therapy NY, we offer individual and couples therapy for alcohol misuse, as well as support for loved ones of individuals struggling with addiction. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol misuse, please seek help from a qualified mental health professional.


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