Can I Drink Alcohol While My Spouse Is in Recovery?

Addiction wreaks havoc on our lives. When we are in the throes of addiction, we feel helpless, hopeless, and unworthy. Addiction makes us feel isolated, breaks our spirit, and leads to severe health complications. Addiction also affects finances, job productivity, and relationships with loved ones.

When a person gets help for a substance use disorder or addiction, they must change everything about their lifestyle. A person in recovery needs your support and encouragement to stay sober. This means you should avoid alcohol while your spouse is in recovery.

Transitioning to sober living

A person in recovery goes through daily struggles to stay sober and will need encouragement and support to maintain sobriety. Drinking alcohol while your spouse is in recovery can create an unintentional temptation for them to drink. Keeping alcohol in the house does not fit into your spouse’s new, healthy, and positive lifestyle.

For your spouse’s health and recovery, keep alcohol out of sight and out of mind. Having alcohol at home increases the risk of your spouse drinking secretly. When some people drink secretly, they add water to the bottle of alcohol to make it seem like they never had any. Easy access to alcohol is too tempting for a person in recovery.

If your spouse prefers your home to be alcohol-free, you need to be willing to make that sacrifice. There will be times when your spouse will be around alcohol, such as special events, during holiday parties, or while vacationing. Try to make sure there will be plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available.

A person in recovery needs to avoid people, places, and things that were associated with their drug or alcohol use. They can feel guilty, depressed, and ashamed. Often, people who struggle with addiction or a substance use disorder also suffer from a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD. Symptoms of these conditions can worsen with drug or alcohol use. Staying alcohol-free will keep your spouse’s mind off alcohol, make recovery easier, and show your support and encouragement for their sober lifestyle.

Addiction and the brain

Addiction makes changes to the way the brain functions. Alcohol can impair the brain’s ability to form memories. “Blackouts represent episodes of amnesia, during which subjects are capable of participating even in salient, emotionally charged events—as well as more mundane events—that they later cannot remember.” (Goodwin, 1995, NIH). These periods of amnesia are primarily anterograde, which means that alcohol impairs the ability to form new memories while the person is intoxicated, but does not erase memories formed before intoxication.

Alcohol use disorder can lead to liver failure, some cancers, overdose, and early death. In recovery, your spouse’s brain needs time to learn to function without the control of alcohol. Making lifestyle changes takes determination, commitment, and a lot of hard work. By avoiding alcohol, you are helping your spouse’s recovery to restored health, a renewed spirit, confidence, and self-worth.

Living with a spouse in recovery can be challenging, but with the right lifestyle changes, you can help in their life-long recovery. Avoiding alcohol will also help improve your health. Help your spouse find healthy, sober activities they would enjoy. Alcohol is not necessary to have fun.

Healthy activities 

There are plenty of healthy activities for you and your spouse to enjoy without alcohol. Outdoor activities, such as hiking, walking, running, biking, boating, or swimming are great ways to get more oxygen to your brain. Spending more time in nature also improves mental health. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and stress are significantly lowered.

Drug and alcohol use can result in decreased blood concentration and deprive brain tissue of oxygen. A lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to brain cell death and coma. Staying active in an oxygen-rich environment helps boost morale, reduce stress, and makes the recovery process much easier.

Addiction interferes with relationships. Offer to go to support groups and therapy with your spouse. This will show them how much you care and reinforce your support for their sobriety. Using encouraging language with your spouse will help them stay on track with staying alcohol-free.

Treatment for addiction, substance use disorders, and mental health

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction or substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, get help now. Addiction is isolating and makes you feel helpless, hopeless, and worthless, but you are not alone. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable and recovery is possible.

Mental health and substance use disorders often co-occur and must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best success in recovery. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Holistic treatment focuses on healing the mind, body, and spirit while helping you transition into your new, sober, healthy lifestyle. Take the first step toward an increased quality of life in sobriety with restored health, a renewed spirit, and a rejuvenated you and get help today.

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~ Joseph Campbell


Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.