Characteristics of the Alcoholic Husband

Many disorders that humans contract have obvious signs, such as a red rash or watery eyes. Others are identifiable by a blood test or X-ray. Identifying someone suffering from alcoholism can be a bit more difficult. Determining whether a man is merely an alcohol drinker or a full-blown alcoholic requires an understanding of the signs of alcoholism. If your husband or partner has several of these signs, ask him to to be evaluated. Also, find help for yourself and your family, whether he admits he has a drinking problem or not.

Over-Consumption of Alcohol

This characteristic can be tricky, but, in general, alcoholics consume more alcohol than they should. For males, this means consuming more than two drinks at one sitting. Some alcoholics drink every day or night, and others may drink once a week. Still others maintain periods of sobriety, then engage in binge drinking. Drinking until one is impaired more than a couple of times a year can be a sign of a drinking problem.

Ritualized Drinking

According to the Mayo Clinic, alcoholics often develop rituals around their alcohol use. The man who has three glasses every night before dinner may have a problem with alcohol. He may become irritable if a different plan is proposed or if he does not have beer available when he expects it.


Often, an alcoholic develops a tolerance for alcohol and consumes larger amounts over time. A 12-pack of beer that used to last a week may be gone in three days.

Difficulty Managing Responsibilities

The husband who is an alcoholic may begin to have problems at work. Tardiness and absenteeism may begin to mar his work record, and his employer may question him or ask him to seek help for his drinking. He may break promises he has made to you regarding family plans in order to drink. According to an article titled, "Challenging Old Assumptions About Alcoholism," by the "New York Times," some alcoholics are able to successfully manage their responsibilities, but still need help with their drinking.

Physical Withdrawal

Alcoholism often leads to physical dependence. This may manifest with the development of physical symptoms when the sufferer cannot obtain alcohol. You may notice trembling, sweating and a lack of desire for food. Thirty minutes after having a drink, these symptoms begin to ease.

Emotional and Behavioral Changes

The man with a growing dependence on alcohol may be irritable much of the time. He may quit wanting to be around some of his friends and be only in the company of heavy drinkers. He may become defensive or angry when questioned about his drinking or where he has been. If he drinks away from home, this may be the only sign that you notice. Some alcoholics feel guilt after drinking or after being irritable and attempt to be charming and kind to win your forgiveness or keep you from realizing he has a problem. Alternatively, he may seem like his normal self when he is drinking, then do unkind things or engage in odd behavior when he is not drinking. The alcoholic may attempt to hide his drinking from you or others, causing further erratic behavior.